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Tihiy

Start Is Back - 2.1 release

2,083 posts in this topic

Ladies and Gentleman, i proudly present you StartIsBack, version 1.0!

http://www.startisback.com

startisback.jpg

Short story: I've reinstated Windows 7 start menu without using any files from win7 and it's awesome. No Ex7forW8 limitations.

Long story: There is a problem with Metro on desktop. In fact, there are many:

- Removed Start Menu and other UI and voiding existing Windows skills and muscle memory

- Touch paradigm works bad for mouse

- Metro multi-tasking is breaking usual workflow and can be very annoying on desktop

- New Start Screen is not so cool and quickly becomes a mess unless you keep it clean, which is hard

So i've took the chances and i'm rethinking Win8 / Metro interface. That's what i've done:

Restored Desktop to its place With StartIsBack, computer starts to desktop. Always. Unlike other tools, which 'skip' Metro by sending keypresses, StartIsBack loads Metro alternative way and keeps it in its place.

Restored Windows 7 Start Menu and Start Button There are tons of start menu clones (check the thread here), but they're all inferior. StartIsBack restores original Windows 7 start menu (with very special magic). It's NOT a replica, it's 100% original Start Menu as you remember it, with search, drag&drop, customization, etc. Start Menu is shown on Win key, as you expect. Start button is behaving as you remember it.

Disabled hot corners By default, all but charms hot corners are disabled. You can customize which corners to show on desktop. And this works better than in any start menu clones i've tried.

Modified Start Screen Now, we have Start and Start. Start Menu and Start Screen. Both search and start programs. Isn't that schizophrenic? So! Start Screen is no longer Start Screen. It's Apps Screen and shows only Metro programs (optionally). This way, Metro and Desktop experience are separated and Start screen is just a launcher for funny Metro apps, while real work and programs run in Desktop.

Also not in your startmenu replacer No extra services running, no extra processes running, no files patched, no admin rights required, fully translated into your language.

Additional features

* There is no startup programs delay with StartIsBack

* You can close Start Screen with Alt-F4

* F3 on desktop launches standard search

* Press Ctrl+Win to invoke Start Screen (configurable)

* Choose start button orb from thousands of alternate ones

* Use msstyles with natively skinned start menu

So that's how i make Windows 8 desktop better.

Now, let's discuss and try beta. Rules for this topic:

* No Metro flamewars

* No off-topic

* No whining 'please restore this function from win7'

* Constructive concepts are welcome

You can contact me startisback at gmail dot com

Edited by Tripredacus
removed tag
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Please note: this program is not freeware. However, useful beta testers will be receiving license keys for free. Translators are also required

DOWNLOAD version 2.1: http://www.startisback.com/StartIsBack_setup.exe

NOTE: This version is fully featured trial evaluation and will work for 30 days. After 30 days, start menu will go blank and every boot there will be nag about trial over.

Edited by Tihiy
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Tihiy, you ROCK!!! This makes me reinstall Win 8. Now let's get testing.

nitroshift

PS. As Tihiy already mentioned, PLEASE KEEP THIS THREAD CLEAN! Thank you.

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Ah someone leaked it to Neowin... i hope Andrea Borman doesn't come here, otherwise i'll have to switch to closed testing. :realmad:

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I have an "index out of bonds" error in the config app when I uncheck the options for the metro UI setting:

post-70718-0-26997400-1349944775_thumb.p

ok, got it:

* If configurator shows error on applying settings, you must choose start shutdown option first

that was the cause. Btw, can you implement that several live tiles can be shown on the desktop (with configurable location)? it would be nice to have the live tiles as gadgets replacements on the right side of my monitor.

Edited by MagicAndre1981
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Btw, can you implement that several live tiles can be shown on the desktop (with configurable location)?
That's an awesome idea, but implementation would be very hard. Metro is run in isolated windowing subsystem which can be overlaid only on top of everything, you wouldn't want such gadgets :hello: Edited by Tihiy
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I've already figured this out. I'll test it now a bit while testing our apps in Windows 8.

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I found an issue. Selecting that the admin tools should be shown has no effect. The startmenu doesn't show it:

post-70718-0-86755600-1349951169_thumb.p

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This is amazing.

You just perfected Windows 8 for me.

Thanks!

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Thanks for this, I'm glad it also still supports reading the msstyles for images, margins, fonts and colors.

Administrative Tools doesn't work though.

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Btw, can you implement that several live tiles can be shown on the desktop (with configurable location)?
Metro is run in isolated windowing subsystem which can be overlaid only on top of everything, you wouldn't want such gadgets :hello:

this is ok. I don't have other icons on the right side of the screen. There can be a large metro panel with 3 -4 Live tiles I need (mail, message, weather).

So! Start Screen is no longer Start Screen. It's Apps Screen and shows only Metro programs (not implemented in beta 0) This way, Metro and Desktop experience are separated and Start screen is just a launcher for funny Metro apps, while real work and programs run in Desktop.

this really sucks so much. I can't wait to see this in later versions of the tool :) Install VS, SQLServer and Delphi and the screen is full of useless entries.

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Ever since Developer Preview, I asked on the B8 blog to MS to add a Group Policy at least to not automatically pin shortcuts to all desktop apps on the Start screen. They obviously didn't listen. Not pinning desktop shortcuts to the Start screen is a good idea, giving clean separation of serious work apps vs toy/fun apps. yes.gif

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Here are my testing results (I ran through all the options and tested as thoroughly as I could, on fully-patched Windows 8 x64, using x64 registry key):

- The "Shutdown Action" should be preloaded with a value

- If "Shutdown Action" cannot be preloaded, then the value should be validated, and a friendly warning should be used instead of "List index out of bounds"

- Clicking "Defaults" should also reset "Shutdown Action" and "Number of recent programs to display" options to their default values.

- The "Number of recent programs to display" appears to have an off-by-1 bug (I choose 8, it lists 7)

- If I go through the options and turn everything off, yet I still see "Pictures" and "Music". Those 2 should have options, identical to "Documents" and "Videos".

- Right clicking a program shortcut does not immediately show "Pin to Start menu". I have to shift-right-click. Can you make it work on just Right click only?

- The Windows Logo no-longer represents Windows 8, and should either be a Windows 8 Logo or customizable.

- I originally had a problem on installation, because I ran the registry key, but had saved files to "C:\Program Files\StartIsBack". Upon restart, Windows 8 only half-loaded. I found the problem, and relocated the files, but this begs 2 questions:

- Can the user select their own install location?

- What should happen if, on Windows load, the StartIsBack files cannot be located?

I haven't tested the shutdown options, nor the Modern UI Apps... but you've done a great job so far. You should work to explain the "special magic", so we know what's going on behind the scenes. The paranoia in people need to know how your program works, because right now it feels like we're running rogue code.

As far as your ambitious goal of "It's Apps Screen and shows only Metro programs (not implemented in beta 0)"... I don't recommend going that route. For user flexibility (I may WANT a mix on my Apps screen!), I'd just leave the Apps screen alone.

Kind Regards,

Jacob Klein

Edited by JacobKlein
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- The "Shutdown Action" should be preloaded with a value

- If "Shutdown Action" cannot be preloaded, then the value should be validated, and a friendly warning should be used instead of "List index out of bounds"

- Clicking "Defaults" should also reset "Shutdown Action" and "Number of recent programs to display" options to their default values.

- If I go through the options and turn everything off, yet I still see "Pictures" and "Music". Those 2 should have options, identical to "Documents" and "Videos".

- Right clicking a program shortcut does not immediately show "Pin to Start menu". I have to shift-right-click. Can you make it work on just Right click only?

- The Windows Logo no-longer represents Windows 8, and should either be a Windows 8 Logo or customizable.

Absolutely agree on those. Suppose you have testing experience? Though mostly minor, i'll try to fix all this stuff.
- Can the user select their own install location?
There is no installer. We would talk a bit later when there would be one...
- What should happen if, on Windows load, the StartIsBack files cannot be located?
It will be in half-usable state like you've seen. Unfortunately in this state explorer is not communicable. I'm not exactly sure yet how to work around such situation. However, it's unlikely to happen (once we have installer).
You should work to explain the "special magic", so we know what's going on behind the scenes.
I'm not sure how detailed that explanation should be for everyone to understand.
For user flexibility (I may WANT a mix on my Apps screen!), I'd just leave the Apps screen alone.
For user flexibility, this option will be (it if happens) configurable. Edited by Tihiy
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Nice work, how much are you going to charge for this? I will be definitely buying this once the final version has been released.

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I would say that when this hits "gold" version, you should submit it to the Windows 8 app store... but they'd probably reject it. (Yes you can submit "desktop" apps to the App Store too) ;)

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you must be kidding me :)

I had another approach in my mind thought, metro only experience packed into small winpe image... might see if I can get it work

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Can't seem to get this working just a black desktop and blank taskbar after restart.

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I created my own installer so I could plug the registry settings into ALL USERS. Here's the problem I'll be running into with Ex7forW8. I've already installed it on over 30 machines. Maybe half of them have it installed for the local admin user and the current domain user. So when I go through and remove it, I have to make sure to unset ALL users per machine otherwise months later when I go to login as the local admin, it'll fail because it can't find the Win7 explorer to load.

By setting the values for all users I can make sure they're unset for all users when/if for whatever reason I need to remove it or change it (like I will be with this new version later on). Maybe the future installer can have a current user/all users option?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

User tile works!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Admin Tools works for me, however, my entire start menu is altered via a reg file. Here's what little code brought it up:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]

"Start_AdminToolsRoot"=dword:00000002

"StartMenuAdminTools"=dword:00000001

Also here's another bit that mentions admin but wasn't need to get it up, might be needed for something else:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]

"Start_AdminToolsTemp"=-

More to come....

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Can't seem to get this working just a black desktop and blank taskbar after restart.

Did you make sure to put the files in C:\StartIsBack? Sounds to me like the reg file you imported isn't properly pointing to the files.

Edited by ISOHaven
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Can't seem to get this working just a black desktop and blank taskbar after restart.

Have you copied the files to C:\StartIsBack?

INSTALLATION

============

Extract this archive into directory "C:\StartIsBack".

Run INSTALL_X86.reg on x86 Windows version (32-bit)

Run INSTALL_X64.reg on x64 Windows version (64-bit)

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How likely is it that they'll be able to patch the exploit that you're using out? For obvious reasons I'll be a bit reluctant to spend money on something that could be screwed by a patch

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Nice work.

Just a couple of dumb questions:

Can we still use the hotkeys like WinX?

Beta will run for 14 days, I'll wait until you release some final and then donate (don't like to use beta soft)

How much $ will this be?

Thanks for the hard work and hopefully you can make a killer app out of this!

Cheers.

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My Server 2012 experience is identical to Win8. So far no additional issues.

Can we still use the hotkeys like WinX?

Yes, Win+x still works.

Edited by ISOHaven
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