Anybody who’s been reading this blog for the last year knows that I’m a big fan of the $5 Stardock software utility known as Start8. While it’s not free (and for those who want to spend absolutely nothing on a Win8 start menu replacement, I recommend Classic Shell instead), it’s not exactly expensive, either, and I find it to be the best option out of the nearly two dozen start menu replacements I’ve been able to find out there on the Internet. Thus, as I’ve started digging into the Windows 8.1 Preview and exploring lots of features and functions — thanks in large part to a Sybex book I’m tech-editing on the MCSA: Windows 8 exams (70-687 and 70-688) — I found myself struggling to get the production version of Start 8 working on the new 8.1 version. That’s when I remembered seeing a forum post about a new beta version on the Stardock forums:
After a couple of unsuccessful tries to get the production version working on Win8.1 Preview, I remembered there was a new beta version available…
And indeed, my suspicions and hopes were confirmed once I perused said post, entitled “Start 8 1.17 Beta Available for Download” (if you’d rather, you can just go straight for the download link instead). Download in hand, I ran the installer (which also removed the previous production 1.16 version before installing the new beta) and once again found myself in possession of a workable start menu replacement for Windows 8.1. If you try the 8.1 Preview, you may want to do likewise as well. And while 8.1 stays in Preview, the beta is free — though you should expect to have to “license up” as soon as a commercial version of Windows 8.1 becomes available.
It doesn’t say “Beta” anywhere, but the version number is indisputably 1.17.