Windows 8 does away with the Start menu and orb. For many, this is a major source of irritation with the new operating system. Microsoft replaced the orb and menu with corner hotspots. Hover the mouse over the lower left corner and you see either the START PAGE if in a traditional Windows application or the desktop OR see a thumbnail of the Windows Desktop. Either way, if you right click what ever pops up, you’ll see many of the features that were in the old Start Menu.
For example, the RUN command is there, As is Control Panel, Windows Explorer, Search and Task Manager. More common control panel functions are also included, like Power Options and Device Manager. While this may not replace the Start Menu, it does help to quickly get to some of that functionality.