Pokki website

Windows 8, reviewed, can be used just like Windows 7 if that's what you want to do, but the absence of a Start menu is frustrating for those who don't want to use the new Start screen.

Stardock's Start8 is a good application, but if you're after something free, try Pokki. You can download and install it in about 90 seconds, so you won't have to wait until Microsoft brings back the Start menu in Windows 8.1.

How to install, configure and use Pokki.

Step 1: Go to www.pokki.com and click the blue Download Pokki button

Step 2: Run the downloaded file and the installer will do its thing with minimal input from you. Unlike some free programs, Pokki won't try and install toolbars or other crapware on your computer.

Install Pokki

Step 3: Once installed, you should see a new icon on the left-hand side of your taskbar which looks a bit like an acorn. Click it and your shiny new start menu will pop up.

Pokki 3

Step 4: Pokki will suggest a few programs which you might like to 'favourite' by clicking the star to the right of each one. Doing this 'pins' the app to the right-hand pane of the start menu so it's always easy to find.

Pokki 4

Step 5: You can use the search box to find installed programs, settings, files and also websites. As in the previous step, you can click the star to the right of any search result to pin it to the start menu.

Pokki 5

Step 6: When you want to shut down your computer, you can use the handy Shut Down button. The arrow pointing right works like Windows 7 and Vista: it provides options such as Restart, Sleep and Switch user.

Pokki Shut Down

Step 7: Pokki also includes an app store. These are like mobile apps, but for the desktop, and include notifications for some of the most popular websites (such as aFacebook and Twitter) and games (including Plants vs Zombies and Angry Birds).

 Pokki App Store

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