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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: WindowsForum.eu]

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: Figured as much
By MrBungle123 on 4/22/2013 11:04:02 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Most probably with Windows 9 MS will replace everything with Metro, and integrate missing features (just as Win 8.1 already does), which makes it more productive than Win 7 currently is.


For productivity tasks moveable re-sizable overlapping windows are superior. No amount of tweaking to a UI design paradigm that insists on full screen low information density app(lications) is going to change that. IF Microsoft is stupid enough to force that then they are done. The business world will abandon them in droves because the ability to compare and create content efficiently is the primary reason that just about every desk in every office in the western world has a computer on it. Microsoft is playing with fire and if they don't figure this out they are going to get burned.


RE: Figured as much
By xti on 4/22/2013 12:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
IF Microsoft is stupid enough to force that then they are done.


its this stuff that everyone is tired of. Microsoft is not going to "be done" just because the start menu comes back.

business world is on win7 for the most part, it takes them years to switch over due to the obvious reasons... I didnt get win7 on my work laptop until almost 2 years after its debut.


RE: Figured as much
By MrBungle123 on 4/22/2013 1:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
its this stuff that everyone is tired of. Microsoft is not going to "be done" just because the start menu comes back.


I wasn't talking about the start menu I was talking about the assertion that the desktop functionality in windows would be completely replaced with metro/modern UI.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007














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