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Iconic Windows UI element makes a comeback -- but perhaps not how some hoped

In many ways, Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) new Start Screen -- originally codenamed Metro -- represents the old-fashioned start menu on steroids.  There's both good and bad to this; on the one hand it allows for rich animations, powerful sorting, and better support for touch.  On the other hand, many app developers make poor use of its extra space and many users feel it's uncomfortable and bloated on a traditional PC.

As it marches towards Windows 8.1, Microsoft is looking to show it's listening to criticism from its fans -- halfway listening at least.  The Verge is reporting that its sources are saying that the beloved Start Button will make a comeback in the upcoming release.

But this isn't your daddy's start button -- it will dump you right back into the Start Screen (Metro UI) similar to the Charm.

Windows Blue
A new Start Button is reportedly being added to Windows 8.1, but it doesn't work like the start button of yore. [Image Source:]

The second report corroborates  ZDNet's chief Windows expert Mary Jo Foley, who last week said her sources were buzzing over a Start Button comeback, contradicting previous rumors that it would stay dead:

For those looking to stay on the desktop and navigate a more traditional start menu, you can always grab a third-party app like Pokki.  As of January Pokki had already recorded 1.5 million downloads and was used on average 10 times a day by customers, despite Microsoft's insistence that its own internal research showed customers were no longer using the Start Button.  (Pokki monetizes itself via a bundled third-party app store).

Microsoft sold 60 million Windows licenses as of January, but a significant portion of those are though not yet to have made their way to end users.  Regardless of the actual number of live Windows 8 users, it's clear a relatively large minority have opted to restore the Start Button via third party workarounds.

Windows 8.1 will also reportedly have the option to boot directly to desktop via a setting.  The new operating system is expected to launch sometime in the next few months.

Source: ZDNet

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RE: Why, MS?
By GoodBytes on 4/22/2013 10:39:37 AM , Rating: 1
Agreed. Honestly if the Start Button comes back, I am not upgrading. I uninstalled Windows 8 public Beta, because of that. It was hard to use Windows 8. If you mix a Metro app with the desktop (like have a Metro app on the left, with the desktop on the right) accessing the start button was hard. It required precises control, and with touch pad being junk on most laptop, I really don't see how people will do it.

Moreover, on a Metro app, what do you do then? There is no Start Button.

All this made Windows 8 completely inconsistent and hard to use at many times. It was a big complain, and Microsoft solution of the hot corner is what solved this, and everyone was happy. Sadly once it got released, people don't try. They look at Screen Shots and goes "BACKGROUND HAS CHANGED COLOR!!!! Can't use anything!"... I wonder what they do when they buy a new car.. then again, maybe that is why we have so many bad drivers on the road.

RE: Why, MS?
By MrBungle123 on 4/22/2013 10:52:31 AM , Rating: 4
They look at Screen Shots and goes "BACKGROUND HAS CHANGED COLOR!!!! Can't use anything!"... I wonder what they do when they buy a new car.. then again, maybe that is why we have so many bad drivers on the road.

Windows 8 is closer to the car companies replacing the steering wheel with a controller and hiding "advanced features" like the ability to change gears and start/turn off the car under the floor mats. Its not that I "can't learn" its that for my usage pattern the old interface is superior.

RE: Why, MS?
By GoodBytes on 4/22/2013 10:57:22 AM , Rating: 2
No, it's like the car radio is different.
The integral part of Windows is the same, so the steering wheel is the rest are all the same.

RE: Why, MS?
By tayb on 4/22/2013 11:05:54 AM , Rating: 2
Huh? Replacing the steering wheel with a controller? Hiding advanced features? Care to expand on either of those?

RE: Why, MS?
By HoosierEngineer5 on 4/22/2013 11:44:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well, we all know the headlight dimmer belongs on the floorboard, and the ignition key belongs in the dash.

RE: Why, MS?
By freedom4556 on 5/7/2013 6:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
The headlight dimmer hasn't been on the floorboard since the '70s and even then only domestics. I had to ask dad what it was when we bought an old motor home when I was a kid. We've had headlight omnistalks since column-shifters went away.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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