If you’ve been holding fire with upgrading to Windows 8 because of the new start screen, then here’s something that you might want to check out. This is a Windows app called poki. Essentially, it’s an alternative to the Windows 8 start screen(which I will still call the Metro UI for a long time to come).
To start things off, it has an interesting button that you click to access the menu. This menu has space for all of the apps you have installed. As you can see I have not installed apps! If you do want more, then there is also an app store and it will also pull in the Windows apps that you have installed(VLC, handbrake, teamviewer etc.). In another interesting move, if you click on the picture then you’ll notice that you have an app store for the Pokki start menu. From there you can download a whole slew of apps. Essentially, this gives you another place to go to get your apps. At this time there are already quite a few apps in there including your usual suspects such as a facebook client, a twitter client, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and anInstagram app.
Another feature that this thing has is the ability to boot your computer straight to the desktop. In my tests, I can confirm that this has not worked. However, I can confirm that the people behind Pokki are working on that. You can also set things up so that your windows key brings up the Pokki launcher and you can still access the Metro UI at the click of a button. In addition to that you can access your music, pictures and other files
In the time that I’ve had to play around with this utility, I have to say that it is quite a nifty little app. I like the fact that my favourite apps will appear in the main portion of the launcher. I also like how the apps installed from the Pokki app store are shown alongside your apps on the taskbar within the desktop. Given that this is a beta, it is a good app and a recommended alternative to the Metro UI.