One of the things that a lot of people dislike about the later versions of Windows, is the removal of the start menu. There are a few ways to overcome this, but my preference is Classic Shell with Classic Explorer.

Classic Shell™ is free software that improves your productivity, enhances the usability of Windows and empowers you to use the computer the way you like it.

The main features are:
Highly customizable start menu with multiple styles and skins
Quick access to recent, frequently-used, or pinned programs
Find programs, settings, files and documents
Start button for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1
Toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer
Caption and status bar for Internet Explorer

Classic Start Menu

System Requirements
Classic Shell works on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and their server counterparts (Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2). Both 32 and 64-bit versions are supported. The same installer works for all versions.

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