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I briefly helped out a friend, who has an HP laptop (not new). I saw she had a start button for her Windows 8 floating in the corner of her desktop. Is this something HP provided? I didn't get a chance to investigate and I'm pretty sure she didn't download a third-party program.

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marked as duplicate by Tog, Mokubai, Carl B, Michael Kjörling, Dave M Sep 26 '13 at 14:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

If your friend is running Windows 8.0 then third-party software is being used. There is already a question that outlines about 12 different choices. If you are running Windows 8.1 then third-party software is not required for the button but is required for the Start Menu. Most of those same choices will be updated to support Windows 8.1 – Ramhound Sep 24 '13 at 11:20
haven't used it but apparently 8.0 has no button and 8.1 does. so maybe she has 8.1 that's how she got it without third party software. – barlop Sep 24 '13 at 11:29
@Ramhound post that as an answer so it can be accepted and this question marked as answered. – xdumaine Sep 24 '13 at 12:07
@xdumaine - I am not going to duplicate an answer that already exists. if anything the question that already exists should be updated to explain the changes that happen with Windows 8.1 – Ramhound Sep 24 '13 at 12:11

Microsoft is committed to having everyone use the Start screen instead of the Start button and start menu found in previous versions of Windows and therefore has no setting to enable or disable the start button in windows 8.

But in windows 8.1 Microsoft brought the start button back even though it isn't the Start button of old. The classic multi-step application launcher is still missing.But you may be able to use third party software like Start8 to bring back the old Start button experience in windows 8.1 once it is released.

Either your friend is using Windows 8.1 preview or she installed a third party software.Third party software like Start8 can be used for start button in windows 8.The article here gives 6 start menu replacements for windows 8.

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@Ramhound thanks for the suggestion. I've made necessary changes. – Ashildr Sep 24 '13 at 12:42
Much better :-) – Ramhound Sep 24 '13 at 12:53

ViStart is a great free tool , that gives you the same start button in Windows 8

I found a link which explains step by step procedure with screen shots about how to install and use Vistart

You get the same Start button orb icon, the same Start menu search box, the same jump lists, and — for better or worse — even the same Aero transparency! e

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