When Microsoft shocked the world by removing the Start Menu from Windows 8, developers all over the world responded by creating third party Start Menu for Windows 8. Microsoft later brought back the Start Menu in Windows 8.1 but the third party Start Menu software kept on evolving into very helpful tools for the Windows users. Many of these Start Menu programs for Windows are open source software like Power8 and Classic Shell. Power8 is one of the few Start Menu programs that is being offered in both the installer format and the portable format. Power8 works on Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
Power8 shows up as a stylish “eight” in the lower-left corner of the Windows desktop. You can click on it to open the Start Menu that shows the most frequently used programs as recorded in the Windows registry for the currently signed in user. You also get the shortcuts to PC, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Network, and all the power options like shutdown, restart, sleep, hibernate, log off, switch user, lock PC and so on.
You can right-click on Power8 to access settings and quickly toggle the auto-run and auto-updates for it. In the settings, you can choose to auto-sort menus or lists, choose a custom Start Menu image, opt for the Windows 98 style Start Menu etc. You can also choose the buttons to be displayed in the Start Menu like This PC, Network, Administrative Tools etc.
You can use Power8 to quickly search the web using a variety of search engines. For this you can first open the Power8 Start Menu and then type the key (e.g., b for Bing, g for Google, y for Yandex, w for Wikipedia etc.) followed by the search term and press Enter. You can find and customize these keys from the settings for Power8. You can even add your own search engines if needed. For example, we have added key “t” for TrishTech.com in the following screenshot of Power8 settings:
Verdict: Power8 is definitely a helpful and useful Start Menu replacement for Windows 8.x and Windows 10. But it does not really look like the classic Start Menu from the older versions of Windows. It does not even respond to the Windows logo key on the keyboard. If you want a small and portable Start Menu, then you should try Power8.
You can download Power8 from https://github.com/AgentMC/power8/releases.