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Pokki software resurrects Start menu for Windows 8

Nervous about finding your way around the upcoming Windows 8 operating system? SweetLabs Inc. has a solution – Pokki.

An add-on for Windows 8 users, the free download offers the nostalgia of the earlier Windows Start Menu, modernised to meet today's uses.

The Pokki Menu provides users with a central point to easily find and launch programs and apps, access folders and files, search their computer and the Web, manage settings, and shut down. Additionally, it enables Windows 8 users to boot directly to the desktop, or turn hot corners on and off, according to the SweetLabs.

"On October 26, Microsoft is foisting its touch-oriented 'Metro' interface on the world and we just don't know if it will work for all the 1.3 billion PC users out there who are heavily reliant on keyboard, mouse and desktop," SweetLabs CMO Chester Ng said in a statement.

In an effort to build a bridge between the old and new versions of the Microsoft OS, Pokki provides a Start Menu functionality along with the modern app experience, Ng said.

Meanwhile, users can use the Pokki Menu as a notification centre, using it to organise apps, sites, files, and folders, as well as an app recommendation service, and for one-click access to free Pokki apps like Instagram, Gmail, Facebook, and Angry Birds.

The menu interface is compatible with Microsoft Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, and XP, and runs in five primary sections, which are customisable depending on the OS version.

New features include the sidebar, where users can find one-click access to commonly used desktop programs, Web apps, files, folders, computer settings, power options, and Windows 8 apps, as well as the search box to look for anything via the computer and Web.

Favourites, recommendations, and notifications have been rolled into the new Pokki from earlier versions. The latest Pokki for Windows 8 beta is currently available to download.

"As a unique startup that loves the PC and cares deeply about making the PC experience better, we hope this new version of Pokki makes the Windows experience better," the Pokki blog said.

Of course, you could always just not upgrade to Windows 8. But if you do, Microsoft last week began accepting pre-orders for the boxed version of Windows 8 Pro, set for release on 26 October.