Windows 8 is here and it brings with it a few adjustments. The world of Windows has always had a Start menu in the lower left corner. Removing it may makes sense to the mobile world of phones and tablets, but I don't think this will go over well with many of us who have relied on this source of links. "If it ain't broke..."
Well, thankfully, some third-party software developers have created their own alternatives to the now-missing Start menu. There are probably dozens now and countless to follow, but I'll list here three that I've used personally so far.
I first tried Classic Shell and then Pokki. They are both free and do most of what the Windows Start menu does. They both had their quirks and limitations. However, they also both offer a great number of options and customizing, so perhaps more effort on my part could have made it more to my liking. Of all three, Stardock's Start8 is the only pay-for option, but it's only $4.99. It's my favorite of the bunch and I intend to buy it.
I fought the Windows XP Start menu when upgrading from Windows 98 and kept 98's "classic" start menu for a good while. Over time, I began leaving Windows XP's menu as the default and eventually couldn't go back to "classic." Perhaps the same will happen and we'll soon learn to love the new Modern/Metro tile-based Start menu. It's too soon to tell. In the meantime, try out these alternatives.