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Does anybody know how to hide this "Start" button in Windows 8.1 so that the task bar looks like it did in "old" Windows 8?

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Agreed! I liked it fine the way it was. –  Moshe Katz Jul 1 '13 at 17:56
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I find it ironic that people now complain because the Start button is back, after so much complaining that it was gone. This is just a general observation though. :) –  Corporate Geek Jul 3 '13 at 15:03
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I very believe that they wanted not the button it self, but the whole menu behind it. Ironically, MS taken this thing literally: "You wanna button? Here is your button!Y :) –  Sevenate Jul 3 '13 at 15:57
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@Sevenate This maybe of interest it gives you options to change the start button in Windows 8.1, but I don't think it will allow you to hide it door2windows.com/windows-8-1-start-button-changer –  Simon Sep 27 '13 at 11:55
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I got Community to protect your question (I helpfully flagged 2 answers here as spam). –  damryfbfnetsi Oct 24 '13 at 18:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 25 down vote accepted

You can't as of current versions, maybe in later version but not currently.

Microsoft has indeed brought back the Start button, but contrary to what people expected, an option to disable it and stick to the standard Windows 8 desktop UI is missing from the operating system.

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Sad, but sounds like an answer. Thanks. –  Sevenate Jun 27 '13 at 13:38
    
That's just sad... I mean how hard could it be? (+1 for source, even if it was bad news) –  shadow Oct 19 '13 at 2:48
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I can see some guy at Microsoft complaining "you asked for it back, we gave back to you". I still don't get why people wanted to duplicate the functionality of the mandatory dedicated hardware button that does the exact same thing and is easier to reach. –  Ed Hinchliffe Oct 23 '13 at 14:57

There are at least 2 options out there which will help you hide "Start".

One is StartIsGone, which allows you to remove the Start Button in Windows 8.1 and get the extra space on the taskbar.

StartIsGone

Features:

  • It is a freeware, portable application which does not require .NET Framework or installation.

  • It is just icon in your tray with few options in the context menu. Tick "Run at startup" and your start button will be removed every time your Desktop shows.

  • It is available as a separate application for Windows 8.1 x86 and Windows 8.1 x64.

  • It works on Windows Server 2012R2 (DataCenter for ex.).

  • It works with the new 2014 April / Spring update too.

  • WARNING: It removes the Start menu. There is quite a difference between hiding and removing it. Windows 8 had a hidden Start. If you use this application, you won't have Start at all. At least, not a clickable one. Hotkeys like WIN+Q, WIN works of course, but you won't be able to open it with your mouse only.

Pre-Spring update alternative, but an alpha release now available too...

  • The stable version works no more with a fresh Win8.1 or Server2012, but the developer is trying to release a new version with a fix. See here. You can also grab the alpha version from the url.

Alternatively you can install the free App 7+ Taskbar Tweaker which will allow you to hide the Start button. Once you have installed the app, you can easily hide the start button from the “Other taskbar option” group in the App (shown below).

7+ Taskbar Tweaker

You do not have to restart or log off the PC to hide the Start button and the process is instant allowing you to unhide it as well.

See also this video: "How to Hide or Disable the Start Button in Windows 8.1".

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While this sounds like a working solution I still waiting for something like a register value changes to hide this thing completely rather then patching it every time after restart. –  Sevenate Sep 27 '13 at 23:11
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Simon, thanks for update - the tool looks great (and I've upvoted the answer), but one thing that troubling me a bit: "Also remember that the tweaker injects into explorer and modifies it’s memory, which is indeed suspicious." (quoted from offsite). I just not sure that it really worth it - "plus 40x50 space on task bar" for such (regular, I assume) injection... Anyway I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who will find other features of this tool even more useful then just hiding this useless button! –  Sevenate Nov 15 '13 at 17:09
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@Sevenate It is far more useful than hiding the start button - I agree, but I came across it had this feature so I thought that I had better let you know. –  Simon Nov 15 '13 at 17:12
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@Sevenate Besides who needs a start button when you can turn your Windows 8.1 Start screen into a large organized Start menu winbeta.org/news/… –  Simon Nov 15 '13 at 17:20
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+1 for 7+ Taskbar Tweaker. –  Paul Nov 15 '13 at 17:20

Try Pokki.

Not only does it bring back most of what I missed from the Windows 7 Start Menu, the latest version is built for Windows 8.1 and actually has a "Settings" option which lets you uncheck the box "Show Windows Logo Button".

After that, the Windows 8.1 Start button simply disappears and the Pokki 'Start Button' sits in its place. Pokki also has other features I like. Gmail and Facebook Lite sit in the taskbar and notify you when you get Gmail or updates.

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David, thanks for answer and I'm sure this tool could do what you have mentioned, but I'd rather prefer to remove this useless (to me) button completely (i.e. without any replacements like other "classic Win7 start button") with either some register key changes or with a patch-tool, but which could sort it out once-and-forever without reruns every time after restart. –  Sevenate Oct 19 '13 at 20:52

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