Windows 8 Start Button, Active Corners, & Trackpad Gestures Fix

If you’re looking for a way to get back the Windows 8 Start menu & Start button, disable Windows 8 active corners, or disable laptop trackpad gestures in Windows 8, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve provided a walk-through below, but if you’d prefer the peace of mind of having someone else do it, we are glad to do it for you in our Lexington repair store.

Replace the Windows 8 Start Menu

If you’re missing the classic Start menu and Start button in Windows 8, you are not alone. It was a drastic change to an old favorite that a lot of people found useful.

Luckily, there is a free easy way to get it back – actually multiple ways. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll walk you through just one of the better options. If you want to check out some more, see this article for a good comparison of a few of the top Start menu replacement options.

Classic Start Menu

Classic Shell’s most noteworthy component is the free Classic Start Menu, and it’s exactly what many Windows 8 users have been missing.

In the project’s own words, Classic Shell is “a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but were later removed.” There aren’t any fancy or annoying UI elements here, which is a good thing. Classic Shell offers interface patterns that previously worked well with Windows and that Microsoft took away for reasons unknown. 

After downloading and installing the program, hit the Windows key on your keyboard, and a Start menu pops up, just like from Windows of yesteryear. Classic shell even lets you choose your preferred skin styled after XP, Vista, or Windows 7.


Clicking on the Windows orb after installation lets you choose between displaying all settings in the Start menu, or just the basics. You can also select between a simple single-paned menu or the more modern dual-paned menu.

 [Keep in mind that during the installation process, you will be given the option to install Classic Explorer and Classic IE9. If you don’t want these features, just click the arrow next to each one and select the red X to not install that feature. Classic Explorer solves some Windows Explorer annoyances by adding a toolbar with some common operations (copy/paste, go to parent folder, etc.), showing the free disk space and the total size of the selected files in the status bar, disabling breadcrumbs on the address bar, and more. Classic IE9 enhances the interface of Internet Explorer 9 and 10 by including the current website’s title in the window title bar, showing the current security zone in the status bar, and showing the loading progress in the status bar. I didn’t choose to instlal these features, because I use Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, and I’m happy enough with the Windows 8 version of Windows Explorer.]

To customize the appearance of Classic Start Menu, right click on the start button and select “settings”, here you can browse through the various settings that are important to you and tweak the ones that make you happy.

For instance, under the Start Button tab, I selected the Metro Button look, because I think it looks nicer than the shell icon.

Disabling Active Corners in Windows 8

If you select the Windows 8 Settings tab in Classic Shell, you can choose to Disable Active Corners in Windows 8. Active corners is the feature that pops up the Windows 8 charms bar when you hover your cursor in the top right of the screen. Since I rarely used this feature, I chose to disable it. You can also choose to Skip Metro screen, which will bypass the Windows 8 Start screen completely when logging into Windows.


In addition, you can pin items to the Start menu by right clicking on the desired program and selecting “Pin to Start“, and you customize nearly every aspect of the Start menu that you desire. Classic Start Menu is just like the Start Menu you know and love, only more customizable.

A feature I use often is search. After pressing the windows key on your keyboard, you can just start typing to search for programs or settings. Then use your up and down arrows to select the one you’re looking for and hit Enter to launch it. This search feature makes it pretty easy to find programs or Windows settings – much easier than searching through the Windows 8 start menu in my opinion.

The Classic Shell menu displays shortcuts to all of your Windows 8 programs, documents, and settings. Clicking on the Shut Down icon pops up choices for Shut Down, Restart, Hibernate, Lock, and Switch User. The Help command even calls up the new Windows 8 Help and Support page.

The latest version of Classic Shell also adds the ability to search for and launch Windows Store apps directly from the program’s submenu.

Classic Shell offers an array of basic and advanced settings that lends itself to convenient customization. Advanced users can even back up customizations as an XML file if the ever need to be restored or transferred to another PC running Classic Shell.

You can find more information on the program’s detailed FAQ page. For Windows 8 users in search of a free, simple, and flexible Start menu program, Classic Shell is likely the best solution out there.

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page will download the software to your system. This file is donationware. The developer offers it for free, but encourages donations toward its development.

Disable Trackpad gestures in Windows 8

If you’re one of the users who is annoyed by the Windows 8 touch gestures on your laptop’s trackpad, it’s very likely the driver for you trackpad provides options to disable them. Look under the Control Panel under the mouse settings to see if there are options that look similar to the ones below. The mouse properties on my laptop look like the first image, and I chose to disable Top Left and Right EdgeAction to stop the charms bar or apps switcher from accidentally popping up.