There are plenty of pages on the web that describe how to boot/login directly to the desktop instead of the apps screen. For example:

  1. Boot straight to desktop and remove Metro UI elements
  2. How to eradicate Metro from your Windows 8.1 PC

That is great but whenever I press the Windows Key, it switches to the apps screen (aka Metro).

In Windows 7, pressing the Windows Key, simply pops up the Start Menu. I know Windows 8.x no longer has a Start Menu, but if right-click the bottom-right icon, I get something close to it:

enter image description here

Is there a way to uninstall that Metro/apps screen completely so that pressing the Windows Key invokes the semi-Start menu pictured above?

Update: Why this isn't a duplicate as suggested below: because I want to uninstall the Windows 8.1 apps screen completely, not just boot/login directly to the desktop.

  • 1
  • yes all involve third-party software
    – Ramhound
    Mar 16, 2015 at 2:45
  • @JeremiahBarrar - All those programs work for Windows 8.1 I mean hell, your answer mentions Classic Shell and Start8, which was an answer to the duplicate question. Sort of ridiculous you are suggesting the samething again.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 17, 2015 at 10:44
  • @JeremiahBarrar - The majority of the suggested applications work for Windows 8.1. Feel free to provide all the working applications instead of just one. I would find an answer that did helpful.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 17, 2015 at 13:48
  • @JeremiahBarrar - The comment about the possible duplicate is generated by the site. If I deleted the comment I would be scolded by a moderator. I have personally verified that the majority of the programs suggested in that duplicate question still work on Windows 8.1. I don't see how the questions are different. Both are asking how to disable the Start Screen on Windows 8.x. The reason I want to see a single answer, I don't want to see 30 different answers, all advertising a different product.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 17, 2015 at 14:18

3 Answers 3


Open-Shell can be found here for free: https://github.com/Open-Shell/Open-Shell-Menu

It can replace the start menu in Windows and it has many customization options. It looks good and the original Windows start icon can be used.

When installing, you have an option to only install the start menu. The package includes a classic file browser which you may not want.

Is there a way to uninstall that Metro/apps screen completely so that pressing the Windows Key invokes the semi-Start menu pictured above?

Classic Shell can replace the start menu and activate with the Windows key. Those options are in the settings.

To access the Metro Windows 8 start menu, you can hold shift and click the start menu. You can configure an "Apps" menu item that will allow you to open any Windows Store App without using Metro.

Here are a few examples, there are many possible configurations:

Windows Start Example 1 Windows Start Example 2

  • Thanks Jeremiah. I happened to have the Pokki one factory-installed in my laptop, but pressing the Windows Key still brings that Metro screen (instead of invoking the Pokki menu). Is there a setting I can use to invoke Pokki instead of the Metro screen with I press the Windows Key?
    – sfinja
    Mar 16, 2015 at 0:51
  • 1
    Jeremiah, please keep your edits substantial. You've now edited this post more than 10 times, and every time it's edited, it gets pushed to the front page.
    – slhck
    Mar 17, 2015 at 7:55
  • @JeremiahBarrar Thank you. I really want to get rid of all the bloat (disk space, RAM space and CPU...) but for now your answer is the best. Accepting.
    – sfinja
    Mar 18, 2015 at 0:51

If you don't mind spending five bucks, there's Start8. No relationship except that I'm a happy customer of theirs.

I've also heard really good things about Classic Start. It's free and apparently more feature-ful, but it comes with no obligation of support.

Alternatively, of course, you could always "upgrade" to Windows 7. :p


To keep metro out of your way you can set it up as you want with its new settings. Right-click the taskbar, click Properties and select the Navigation tab in the resulting screen. Here's where you can tame the majority of the annoying Metro features that pop up. You can disable hot corners, the app switcher bar, and most importantly, boot directly to the desktop.

  • He is looking to disable the Start Screen which he calls the "app screen"
    – Ramhound
    Mar 17, 2015 at 14:17

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