Alternate reality where Windows 7 shell survived

Start menu is back and it's better than ever. Get the most useful shell enhancement for Windows 10 now!

Genuine start menu

Your faithful desktop friend which helps you:
  • Launch programs you use frequently
  • Open documents you're working on
  • Find stuff you're looking for
  • Go to system places in one click
  • Easily shut down your system
  • Feel at home with new Windows
StartIsBack fully integrates with Windows and provides original Windows 7 start menu and taskbar experience, enhanced with many new features as well.

Supports all Windows languages!

Reinvigorated for new Windows

StartIsBack++ for Windows 10 can:
  • Apply skins to taskbar
  • Replace taskbar jump lists (context menus) with better ones
  • Center taskbar icons
  • Restore larger taskbar icons
  • Fine-tune taskbar color
  • Reduce OS resource usage
It looks totally awesome with new style, round user avatar and modern glyph icons.

Also it opens 100% of a time and always finds what you want to find - sorry, Windows 10 gimmick!

Unique experience

Personalize your system as you want it:
  • Choose a skin for start menu
  • Choose a skin for taskbar
  • Choose start button appearance
  • Choose shortcuts in Start menu
  • Make Start menu work like XP one
  • Configure translucency for Start menu and Windows taskbar
  • Tinker with anvanced settings
Whether you're power user or senior citizen, StartIsBack will work for you.

Plus plus much more!

StartIsBack is lightweight and secure: it does not require administrator rights to install, consumes minimal amount of system resources, does not run additional processes or services.

StartIsBack is actively developed - you can get StartIsBack for Windows 8, StartIsBack+ for Windows 8.1, StartIsBack++ for Windows 10, StartAllBack for Windows 11.

Each version is tailored for specific Windows version to be able to address weaknesses of each Windows release and gain strength with targeted features and clean user experience.

License key just for $4.99! Works with any StartIsBack version.

Free Trial Just $4.99


How do I configure Start Menu?

Either right-click Start button and click "Properties" or right-click opened Start Menu itself and choose "Properties" context menu item.

Can I use StartIsBack without start menu, just for skinning / jump list / awesomeness?

Yes. Just pick leftmost (Windows 10) style. Then select taskbar and start button styles separately.

Can StartIsBack break my system?

No. If you experience issues with old StartIsBack on too recent Windows 10 update, just hold Escape key when logging in to disable StartIsBack.

How do I uninstall StartIsBack?

As expected: go to Control Panel - Programs and Features, find StartIsBack and click Uninstall.

Trial, licensing and activation

How trial version works?

There are no limitations in trial version. After installing it runs for 30 days. If you don't activate it with license number you bought within 30 days, it will still work, but in limited mode: Start Menu will be blank and sad; every boot you'll be nagged about evaluation period over. Trial period runs for each user which have installed StartIsBack on one PC separately.

What is activation and why is it needed?

Activation is a process of validating your license online. It ties your computer to your license via online service. It is required in order to make sure license use is not abused. One license key allows you to activate a limited number of computers.

How my computer is identified?

Your computer is uniquely identified by motherboard unique number and hard disk physical serial number OS is installed to.

What if I change hardware configuration of my PC or replace it?

If you change both hard disk and motherboard, you will need to activate your license again as modified PC will count as new. You can activate your license on new PC after 30 days since you used license on the old PC, so you may need to wait while trial period is over.

Does StartIsBack "phone home"?

No. StartIsBack does not collect information about your PC hardware or software. It does not use Internet connection for license validation purposes except the moment you activate it. Online activation service does not collect your IP address or any other information which could identify you or your computer. Computer unique identifiers are transferred in hash form, which does not allow anyone else to view it.
Note: automatic new version checking functionality requires Internet connection.

How many times can I reinstall / reactivate StartIsBack?

There is no limitation on how many times you can activate an installation on the same PC.

Does my license expire?

No, your license will never expire. New versions of the app for new OS upgrades may require an license upgrade payment.

Download now

StartIsBack++ 2.9.20 ~1.4 MB download

This download is intended for Windows 10 only.
Check Windows 11 page or Additional downloads for Windows 8 versions.

StartIsBack is digitally signed by Stanislav Zinukhov. Do not download StartIsBack from untrusted websites.
Before downloading, installing or using this program you must read Personal License Agreement and agree to be bound by it.

English, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, French, Danish, Greek, Italian, Turkish, Spanish, German, Polish, Czech, Croatian, Slovak, Finnish, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Serbian, Slovenian, Bangla, Hungarian, Swedish, Simplified Chinese, Indonesian, Arabic, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Farsi, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Latvian, Japanese, Romanian, Hebrew.

StartIsBack / StartIsBack+ Deployment guide and group policy template
StartIsBack 2.1.2 (for Windows 8 only)
StartIsBack+ 1.7.6 (for Windows 8.1 only; password: startisback)
StartIsBack++ 1.3.4 (recommended for Windows 10 up to Anniversary Update, 1607)

Aero 8



Place downloaded file into StartIsBack 'Styles' subfolder.

    Version +1.0.5 8 November 2013
  • Default start button selection covers whole taskbar edge
  • StartIsBack DLLs are now digitally signed too
  • Fixed: running search items with parameters didn't work
  • Fixed: minor issues with right-button-drag on start menu items
  • Fixed: userpic could display wrong on domain-joined machines
    Version +1.0.4 31 October 2013
  • Flat selection is used for flyout menus with flat styles
  • Search shortcut is not shown in All Programs menu
  • Better Modern UI icons in high contrast white mode
  • Tap & hold-ing shut down button on touch screen shuts down without 'slide to shutdown'
  • Trial & updates are also checked when you unlock your session
  • StartIsBackCfg and StartScreen commands can be executed from Run dialog
  • Start button and user picture are rejuvenated when video driver crashes (CloverTrail)
  • Fixed: can't remove pinned shortcuts of deleted games
  • Fixed: programs can't be dragged into start menu from XP styled All programs
  • Fixed: start button did not close start menu on touchscreen
    Version +1.0.3 26 October 2013
  • Fixed: return to last used environment didn't work properly in some configurations
  • Fixed: start menu issues with NVIDIA surround
  • Fixed: high contrast theme became transparent
  • Fixed: wallpaper on start screen could be shifted
    Version +1.0.2 21 October 2013
  • Updated and new translations
  • 'Resize to fit taskbar' when adding orb is off by default
  • Fixed: PuTTY jumplist issue
  • Fixed: uninstall folder security bug
  • Fixed: Start screen screenshot could be offset
  • Fixed: Start screen animation did not play first time
    Version +1.0.1 16 October 2013
  • Support for Win7 userpic animation tweaking
  • Fixed configurator error on some rare PCs species
    Version +1.0 10 October 2013
  • First public StartIsBack for Windows 8.1 version. Read what it brings.

    Version 1.3.3 18 Jan 2013
  • Fix: StartIsBack could fail to work on some systems with DEP enabled
    Version 1.3.2 12 Jan 2013
  • Fix: new program highlighting errorneusly fired for new users and roaming profiles
  • Fix: orb unhides when hidden taskbar is shown (IrfanView)
  • Fix: icons could fail to show in program list
    Version 1.3.1 5 Jan 2013
  • Fix: program highlighting could work incorrectly
  • Fix: moving metro apps between monitors didn't update hot corners
  • Windows 7 start menu pinned items are migrated on first install
  • Startup programs are launched without 10 second delay
  • Shortcuts for newly installed games are created in Games start menu subfolder
  • New translations
    Version 1.3 26 Dec 2012
  • Fix: MFU app list could contain duplicate item
  • Fix: Start orb could be moved by rogue programs
  • Fix: license activation for all users could fail on some systems
  • Fix: shortcuts created by Windows Installer didn't show 'Pin to Start Menu'
  • Hot corners are enabled for Modern apps only for monitor where they're open on
  • Newly installed programs are properly highlighted
  • Right-to-left Windows languages are now supported
  • License key is no longer stored as a plain text
  • Improved start menu performance
  • AeroByDesign skin updated
  • New translations
    Version 1.2.1 7 Dec 2012
  • Fix: user frame could be incorrectly placed for bottom taskbar
    • Version 1.2 6 Dec 2012
    • New: skins! StartIsBack now supports start menu skins without third-party tools; two beautiful ones included
    • New: option to combine start button menu with Win+X menu
    • New: option to hide user account picture
    • New: shortcut for configuring Start menu in Control Panel
    • Fix: hibernate shutdown option could fail to show in configurator
    • Fix: high contast themes start menu issues
    • Installing for all users no longer requires log off
    • New translations
    • StartIsBack is now digitally signed
      • Version 1.1 20 Nov 2012
      • Fix: opening start button context menu did not prevent autohide
      • Fix: uninstall could fail to remove settings / license
      • Fix: taskbar unhide didn't work in start button area
      • New: silent install (/silent for user install; /elevated /silent for machine install; if machine must be run with admin rights; does not start explorer back)
      • New: option to start with start screen
      • New: option to call start screen with Win key
      • New alternate orb (by PainteR)
      • New translations
      • Less restrictions (same as in Windows 7) on items which can be pinned to start menu
      • Start button context menu shows same items as in Windows 7
        • Version 1.0 9 Nov 2012
        • First official version

Buy Personal Edition license

You can buy personal license with PayPal or direct card payment (with Gumroad). All payments are processed securely.

1 PC

for you


direct card payment

2 PCs

for you & you


direct card payment

3 PCs

family pack


direct card payment

You should receive license key to your buyer e-mail address in several minutes after payment.
Please check your spam folder. If you don't receive email in reasonable time, please try resending your license key

Personal License can be used only for personal purposes. You must agree to be bound by terms of license agreement.

Icons by Icons8

Business Edition license

If you want to use program at business environment, you should buy Business License.

It is perfectly suited for corporate use: 100% compatible with all Windows 7 start menu group policies and settings + has additional group policies which will help you restrict features as well as customize appearance.

Additional features provided by Business License

Business Edition License Agreement


Does Business license requires downloading special version?

No. Currently, Business license key is applicable to standard program version you download.

Can I split, resell my license key?

No. You can't resell, split, sublicense, lease or rent your license key. You may want to resell Personal Edition instead.

How do I proceed with offline activation?

Offline activation is possible with StartIsBack+ version 1.7.5 and later and only available to license keys for 1000PC or more. To use it, either:

Buy Business Edition License Key

PC count
PC count

You should receive license key to your Paypal buyer e-mail address in several minutes after payment. Please check your spam folder.
If you don't receive email in reasonable time, please contact me

Sorry, but there are no alternate payment methods now.

Query license information

If you have lost or never received your license key, use the form below.

Your purchase email:

General support

If you have licensing or urgent support questions, please email me to

StartIsBack MSFN forum