Classic Shell is dead, so what are the alternatives? Not many but StartIsBack++ is one of the programs which are really good because there small in size, cheap and there getting updates to work with the latest Windows versions. In this little review we going to check if it’s worth to support the project and the developer or not.
The original name is StartIsback but since the version comes for each OS in a separate installer the author decided to split the name, which means StartIsback is for Windows 8 only while StartIsBack+ is for Windows 8.1 and the StartIsBack++ version is only for Windows 10. The decision here is in my opinion here to separate the product name so that every user easily identify the product and know then which version is for what OS – I also assume it’s done because size reasons, theoretically one Installer would be possible but it would include things which you might not need.
The software is really small in size, around 1.2 MB only and you can test the product 30 days – after the period is expired you see a sad smiley face in the start menu and you have to unlock/buy the product to use most of the functions. StartIsBack is very cheap you pay 3 Dollars for a lifetime license, so there is no argument to pirate this product. It’s also possible to buy a 2 PC or 5 PC license which are around 5$ and 10$ right now. Business licenses are also available.
StartIsBack is documented more or less, there is a basic FAQ. Two support forums are here and here from my knowledge there two because the project original started in MSFN forums (first link) and then the developer decided to create an own separate forum.
There not much options to mention here, if you like the Windows 7 or 8 Start menu you will love this program because you can customize it the same way.
The program itself does a fantastic job and if you liked the Windows 7 Start menu you will be able to bring it ‘back’ with this fantastic little program.
Unique Features and less memory consumption
Because of the fact that the program is small in size you not need to care much about system resources, because StartIsBack++ doesn’t waste any resources in my case it’s around 1,27 MB max in memory so you won’t even notice it.
This feature shown on the picture above is unique, some other Start Menu programs copied it later but preventing the original SearchUI.exe and ShellExperienceHost processes are special, it should in theory prevent to launch the original Start Menu, sadly this option never worked for me. I’m not sure if it is on my end or not, but the programs are still running maybe because of the fact while some Windows services want constantly these programs running in the background and traditional stopping these services won’t work, they simply restart. SearchUI is a part of Cortana/Windows File indexing and the ShellExpirenceHost is a part of the Windows Security Center among other notification. The ‘Remove Pin to Start from shell context menus’ option also never worked for me, hopefully the developer will fix this but it should’t be a big deal. All other functions are functional and you can customize everything like you want.
The program needs some updates here and there because with every new Windows Update or major release the developer have to add workarounds within the program source code to ‘fix’ the broken functions – I don’t blame the program here, it’s simply because Microsoft change something over the time – this is normal and the program simply need to address those changes more frequent.
I remember when the project started and a lot of other programs basically copied the program more or less and it’s functions. What I love on StartIsBack is that the program is simple, small in size and does it’s job. You get a program which doesn’t cost much, it gets updates regular and you can manually control everything – What is missing? – Well in my opinion nothing but I’m not the hardcore Start Menu ‘freak’ I simply like the look and it’s functionality because I simply don’t like the integrated Windows Start Menu.
I know the developer and he is normally really quick fixing reported things and always friendly, you even can contact him in case you have some license problems which is really a plus when it comes to the support question.
The program gets my full recommendation. Go buy it now – you won’t regret it.