The Start Menu was a fast way to find and launch programs in previous versions of Windows. Microsoft killed it in Window 8. Partially that may be because you can pin apps to the Desktop taskbar, but pinning apps is no replacement for the Start Menu. If you're a fan of it, it's easy to get back by following these steps:
1. In the Windows 8 Desktop, launch Windows Explorer, click the View tab on the toolbar, and check the box next to "Hidden items." That will display folders and files that are normally hidden from view.
2. Right-click the taskbar and select Toolbars-->New Toolbar.
3. From the screen that appears, navigate to Program Data\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and select it. That will place a Start Menu toolbar on the far right of the taskbar. If you want to move the Start Menu toolbar to the right, right-click the taskbar, uncheck "Lock the Taskbar" and drag to the right. Lock it when you have it where you want.
4. You can now use the Start Menu by clicking the double-headed arrow. It works just like previous versions of Windows.
Note: For more Windows 8 tips and hacks, check out my blog post, "Five Windows 8 secrets, tips, and hints." And to add the Quick Launch toolbar to the Windows 8 Desktop read "How to bring back the Quick Launch Toolbar to the Windows 8 Desktop."