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New build removes Start Menu code

It's been called the worst hack job to happen to Windows business users since Windows ME by some; others say it's a huge leap forward for Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and super-intuitive to use.

We're talking about Windows 8, the new Windows operating system from Microsoft that's launching in October and bringing with it the new Metro user interface which Microsoft first developed on its web sites and mobile devices.

The second mass consumption test build, the "Release Preview" is now live, replacing the previous "Consumer Preview".  

You can get it here.

Beware, you can no longer hack your Windows build with third party apps to restore the Start Button and Start Menu in the desktop.  This is because Microsoft purposefully removed the legacy code that drove these features, which lay dormant and non-visible in the Consumer Preview build.

More changes are still in store.  While Microsoft is planning to retain a desktop it's reportedly planning to strip away the icon styles of the Aero UI and the Aero glass look, replacing it with a new desktop with more Metro-like square icons.  While the core aspects of the Windows desktop (other than the start menu) are expected to retained, items like Windows Explorer are expected to be overhauled with Ribbons and Metro-like touches.

Microsoft has a tall task when it comes to Windows 8, following the fastest-selling operating system in history, Windows 7.

Sources: Microsoft [download], [press release]





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