One of the main changes in Windows 8 is the new metro UI or the modern UI start screen and it completely replaces the old classic style start menu. While many like the new start screen, there has been constant complaints from people that the new start screen is best only on touch screen tablets and not suitable for desktop. While many developers created apps to skip the start screen, most of them do not work on Windows 8 RTM.
Start Menu X is a nice freeware app, which is perhaps one of the best start screen alternative and brings back the classic start menu and start button to Windows 8.
There are two aspects for the programs, one is that it adds a start button which is customizable and secondly it add the traditional start menu seen in Windows XP. You can even create your own start button and use it on Windows 8.
Another nice feature of the app is that while installing, you can select whether you want the start button or not.
There is also option to select whether you are accessing the start menu using mouse or touch.
Overall, the app is perfect replacement for Windows 8 and is fully compatible. There is also a pro version which allows you to add folders to start menu.
Please note that when you install this app, the metro start screen will not be accessible and so is the app switcher.