Just take 30 minutes to learn the new OS. It's much more intuitive and user-friendly than prior iterations of Windows, and a lot more customizable. Also: you can add the start button if you really ****ing need, either upgrade to 8.1 or google it.
Personally, though, I prefer not having the start button cluttering up my desktop. It's much easier just to tap the windows key on my keyboard.
"And you see where that can lead you, into what mistakes and absurdities, when you are dealing with a man like Arsene Lupin."
Check bottom left corner, I think it should say gateway on it. I found it by downloading google chrome, which brought me to the normal looking desktop, and when hitting the button that looks like the start button watch where you zoom out from.
You'll want to disable the app switching gesture before it drives you nuts.
Windows key + I, Change PC settings, General,Turn off "When I swipe from the left edge, switch directly to my most recent app."
For 8.1, Windows key + I, Change PC settings, PC and devices, Corners and edges, Turn off "When I swipe in from the left edge, switch between my recent apps instead of showing a list of them."
Swap out the default apps for desktop programs. Tap the Windows key to bring up the Start screen. Type "default programs" and the search pane will pop up. There's no search box on screen, simply start typing and the search pane will open. Click on Default Programs and a new window will open showing a list of programs. Click on Windows Media Player to highlight it then click the "Set this programs and default" button. Do the same for Windows Photo Viewer and your favorite PDF viewer.
If your laptop doesn't have Windows 8.1 then I suggest upgrading. Run Windows Update and download everything. Then open the Store app and the 8.1 update will appear. 8.1 adds a start button and some other improvements to the start screen.