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Microsoft gets back to its desktop roots

The upcoming Windows 8.1 (code-named "Windows Blue") is rumored to be preparing to win back critics of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTMetro user interface by reportedly allowing them to skip Metro and boot directly to desktop.

The new option was first spotted as a registry entry dubbed "CanSuppressStartScreen" in a leaked build.  That build lacked a UI element to enable the user to trivially disable Metro, but reportedly such an option will be added to the control panel.

Reportedly hot corner functionality for access to Charms or the (Metro) Start Screen will remain active, even if you set it to boot to desktop, so those on the fence can always still poke around in Metro when they get the urge.  By default, Windows 8.1 will reportedly boot to the Metro Start Screen unless a user tells it otherwise.

And ZDNet's chief Windows expert Mary Jo Foley says her sources indicate a Start Button may be making comeback to the desktop, contradicting previous rumors that it would stay dead:

Perhaps Microsoft is caving to the criticism?

Windows 7 Start Button
The start button may return in Windows 8.1.
Windows 8 has been a bit of letdown for Microsoft after the record-shattering success of Windows 7.  Fans blasted Microsoft from over-innovating saying it should have stuck with the same "old-fashioned" desktop model that had long drew it derision and mocking from Apple, Inc. (AAPL) users.

So far Microsoft's license shipments to OEMs have been decent, but Windows 8 has struggled in end-sales.  Worse, some customers are opting for a downgrade, much like they did with Windows Vista.  Microsoft has also struggled on the profit front with the new OS.

The struggles have triggered a leadership change, with the departure of Windows President Steven Sinofsky.  They also prompted Microsoft to switch to a shorter cycle of OS releases, similar to Apple.  The first result of that shift will be seen in Windows 8.1's release this fall.

Source: My Digital Life Forum

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By Lord 666 on 4/16/2013 2:33:43 PM , Rating: 5
Totally made my day. Going to start the 8.1 migration plans now.

By FITCamaro on 4/16/2013 2:54:05 PM , Rating: 3
Honestly yeah. I didn't view the new interface as bad for touch screens but for a mouse it is a bit cumbersome. If they give me the option to stay with the same interface as 7, I'll consider upgrading.

Honestly though the biggest let down is that in Windows 8 Professional, they removed the built in back up software for essentially a Time Capsule clone. I want to be able to image and restore the OS. Not just create a backup of the registry and file structure.

By kmmatney on 4/16/2013 3:09:00 PM , Rating: 2
This might be useful to you:

Apparently they still have back up image capability, but have it hidden.

By Motoman on 4/16/2013 6:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a big fan of Macrium Reflect. The free version is awesome, and realistically all anyone ever needs.

I never actually used the built-in backup thing in Windows at all. I'd been doing such things since Ghost was new, and have just been evolving along with the market for similar applications.

By Wolfpup on 4/17/2013 9:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
Whoa...I had no idea they'd removed that backup image thing...didn't they only just add that to 7? Or maybe it's been there since Vista.

That's the heck does Microsoft think that people are supposed to restore Windows 8, for the 99% of systems without system discs? I honestly have no idea what they're thinking.

That's awesome and surprising if the start menu's coming back though. They made a huge mistake, and that'll pretty much fix...well, a lot of it (though 8's still missing stuff from 7...more than I realized!)

By inighthawki on 4/16/2013 3:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I would rather see aero glass than anything related to the start menu/screen/button. It bugs me a bit to see that the desktop version is suffering from limitations of tablets.

By max_payne on 4/16/2013 10:53:51 PM , Rating: 2
Amen to that ! Win 8 desktop looks like Win 98. What's the big news with the start button ??? There is already 10 third party programs which bring it back and more.

By Belard on 4/17/2013 10:27:45 AM , Rating: 2
Hell... Win8 looks more like windows 2.0

By Motoman on 4/17/2013 10:45:39 AM , Rating: 2
...have you seen Office 2013? It looks like WordPerfect did in 1990.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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