From Windows 95 through 98, ME, XP, Vista and 7, we had a Start menu that enabled access to all the software installed on the PC and system functions like shutting down, restarting and so on. Windows 8 threw out this feature, leaving people with no easy way to access programs from the desktop. JetStart is one solution.
JetStart is an old program that was written long before Windows 8 was released and it was designed to be an alternative to the Start menu in Windows XP, Vista and 7. The software doesn’t look like it has been updated since 2007, yet now, all these years later, it is actually needed more than ever.
It is time to take another look at this old utility. It seems to work just fine on Windows 8 and it solves a problem that many people find irritating with Microsoft’s current operating system. With JetStart you can now access all your programs from the desktop.
Although Windows 8 does not have a Start menu, all the programs that would appear on it are stored on the disk drive. Take a look at Use a Windows 8 library to add a Start menu.
JetStart builds a list of programs and system functions, probably by scanning these folders and other places, and then presents them in an interesting way. There is an All Programs tab at the top and the alphabet at the bottom. Select * (star) and all programs are displayed. You can select any folder, which is like a submenu on the old Start menu, see the programs it contains and click one to run it.
To save you searching through all the folders looking for the program you want, clicking a letter at the bottom lists those programs that start with it. So if you wanted to run Word, you could select the Microsoft Office 2013 folder or just mouse over W to show the programs starting with the letter W.
It can catch you out though. For example, to run Chrome for example, you go to G because the shortcut is called Google Chrome. You soon learn these.
Just as with the Start menu, there is a Recent tab that shows recently run programs and selecting this is a quick way to access your most used programs.
This is not all that JetStart does and a menu is displayed when programs are right clicked. Select Category and a program can be added to Tools, Internet, Office, Games or Other. This is useful because there is an alternative way to access the programs installed in Windows.
Press Windows+A and this small window opens and shows the five categories on tabs. Click a tab and click a program to run it. It is a very simple system that works very well. It is great on Windows 8 and users of older versions of Windows might like it too.
Right clicking a program in the JetStart main window enables you to add the selection to an Edge menu. The right, left and bottom edges of the screen are used for various things in Windows 8, but the top is not. Add your favourite programs to the top edge and when you push the mouse to the top of the screen, a menu appears after a second or so.
In the above example some useful system functions have been added to the top edge, but you can choose whatever programs and functions you want. You can put your favourite programs on it to make them easy to access if you prefer.
JetStart automatically starts with Windows and it adds an icon to the right side of the taskbar. This can be clicked or right clicked, but the best way to open the main window is with a hotkey. The default is Windows+S, but unfortunately this opens the search panel on the right in Windows 8. Go into JetStart settings and change the hotkey to Windows+J, which is unused. The mini window is opened with Windows+A, which is fine.
This utility is old and forgotten, but take a fresh look at it because it solves an irritating Windows 8 problem.