Windows Start Menu is used to quickly access the programs installed on the computer, documents and system settings. Usually, it is the first place we look into after powering up the PC. It contains a collection of useful shortcuts such as our Internet browser, an email client, the programs and folders that we frequently use and even the most recent documents we opened.
If you are still running Windows XP but also want a modern-looking, full blown Start Menu that resembles the one in Windows Vista, 7 or 8, you should try ViStart. In fact, using the application gets you to the point where you’re able to switch between all of these appearances, regardless of the OS you’re currently using. Thus, even though you’re a Windows 8 user, you can still revert to 7’s start menu comfortably and with few efforts.
The program actually replaces the start menu with a fully customizable solution that has the same look and feel of any of the above mentioned OSes. The shape and buttons arrangement are similar and the application provides even the transparency and blur features. The menu responds very well to commands and we did not feel any impact on the computer's performance.
The application’s skin manager comes with three pre-installed skins and four start orb buttons (logos that describe Apple, Firefox, Ubuntu and the standard Windows Flag). The start orbs can be associated with any of the skins, thus allowing you to combine appearances and personalize the menu to the maximum. However, if you get bored of the integrated styles and colors you can always download a skin package from the developer's website.
Everything can be managed from ViStart’s control panel. You can switch between styles (XeBlack, Windows 7 or Windows 8) and you can replace the start menu orb with all the changes visible in real time. This is also the place to configure the items to be shown inside the start menu (such as Pictures, Music, Games, etc.) and the way they should be displayed. Thus, shortcuts can be shown as links, as menus or hidden altogether.
For Windows 8 users, ViStart is a treat. Extra options to skip Metro (offering you direct access to the desktop) and to disable hot corners, Charm Bar, the drag to close feature and the bottom left corner are provided for fans of this OS.
During our tests, ViStart performed quite nicely. The program helps you find files and programs with ease by just typing a few letters in the search box and the search interval is quite short because the program indexes all the items.
In conclusion, ViStart is an awesome choice for those who wish to customize the appearance of their Operating System. The fine selection of styles and buttons, together with the wide array of tweaks recommend it as a reliable Start Menu manager.