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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: Start
By acer905 on 4/22/2013 12:25:42 PM , Rating: -1
Are you seriously still ranting about the Ribbon? Get over it. Office 2010 proved it's here to stay, and fixed some of the minor annoyances about it. Win8.1 is going to do the same thing with the Modern/Mobile/Metro side of things. The vocal minority always likes to pound fists, make enough noise to make them seem important, but they are always the minority.

RE: Start
By drycrust3 on 4/22/2013 12:39:47 PM , Rating: 2
The vocal minority always likes to pound fists, make enough noise to make them seem important, but they are always the minority.

Which still leaves the matter of falling sales of computers with the Windows OS on them. Your explanation is ... ???

RE: Start
By Da W on 4/22/2013 2:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
Haven't you seen profit grew?

Declining PC sales don't take tablets into account nor old still good PC that got upgraded. More people use windows 8 than you'd like i'm afraid.

RE: Start
By Pirks on 4/22/2013 2:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, I installed it on three of my home computers already and I enjoy it very much, my wife too. Always fun to read desperate screams of some MotoRetroLuddite in here hehe :)))

RE: Start
By retrospooty on 4/22/2013 3:39:47 PM , Rating: 2
Stop acting like such a child... I said I DO use Win8 at home, but not at work because the lack of a start menu makes me less productive with a computer I do a great deal of different tasks on... Hardly what anyone would call "desperate screams", I just dont prefer it on my work PC.

RE: Start
By Pirks on 4/22/2013 5:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
the lack of a start menu makes me less productive with a computer I do a great deal of different tasks on
How so? Do you feel head ache when you see start screen or your nose becomes very itchy when you see live tiles or what?

RE: Start
By kmmatney on 4/22/2013 1:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
I've gotten used to the ribbon, but I recently had to do a lot of work on an Office 2003 equipped machine, and quickly found the old normal toolbars great to work with. I can use the ribbon, and it looks nice, but it doesn't help with productivity. Maybe its better in Office 2010 - haven't tried that yet.

RE: Start
By Master Kenobi on 4/23/2013 12:58:06 AM , Rating: 2
The big difference for the ribbon from 2007 to 2010 was that you could completely customize it. Put what you wanted on each ribbon tab or invent your own. I found it a welcome feature and let me setup a tab for some of the advanced functions I use for specific tasks.

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