Windows 8 navigation tips that will help you forget the Start Menu

Just press the [Windows] key and start typing

This photo gallery is also available as a post in the Windows and Office Blog.

Are you a Windows 8 user who is pining away for the old Start menu? Do you really need it? Or are you just looking for some comforting familiarity?

If you need that familiarity, there are actually several third-party Start menu replacement options such as StartW8 and Classic Shell, both of which are free. Or you can purchase Stardock's Start8 for $4.99. There are several others out there but these are the ones that I have heard most people talk about using.

However, if you really think about how much you've used the Start menu in recent years, chances are good that you'll find that you don't really need it anymore. In fact, Windows 8 provides plenty of very efficient ways to launch your Desktop applications - you just need to be aware of them. In this blog post, I'll show you several techniques that you can use to launch your Desktop applications in Windows 8.

The [Windows] Key

If you think of the [Windows] key on your keyboard as a replacement for the old Start button on the screen, you'll find that the Windows 8's Start screen provides you with a great way to launch your applications and other desktop-based tools. All you need to do is press the [Windows] key and start typing the first few letters in the name of the application that you want to launch. As soon as you do, the Apps Search tool will launch and begin searching for an application that matches.

For example, if you want to launch WordPad, just press the [Windows] key and type word. When you do, the Apps Search tool will immediately find WordPad, as shown. To launch the application, just click the icon/tile or press [Enter].

Credit: Images by Greg Shultz for TechRepublic

By Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.