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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: Figured as much
By Belard on 4/22/2013 2:30:34 PM , Rating: 0
Yeah... that Windows key + typing works really good? NOT!

*YOU* types are thinking as a computer geek, not a real world user. Novice, business user, etc.

Lets say a person needs to fix a computer and reading a website on the steps involved. On the Win7 desktop, your web window is always there and you can follow the directions.

With Win8... if you press START to start typing... oops, there goes your whole screen. What was that? MSCONF or MSCONIF and step 3 was what? Crap, gotta go to the web screen to see it again, then back to... aw- screw this shit, <FORMAT> reinstall Windows7 or try out this Linux thing or maybe by a Mac.

METRO is a UGLY crappy desktop UI.

RE: Figured as much
By Pirks on 4/22/2013 5:12:38 PM , Rating: 2
Crap, gotta go to the web screen to see it again, then back to
Crap, some lame idiot named Belard never learned about copy/paste shortcuts, like ctrl-c and ctrl-v. Learn the basics of using a modern computer, lamo, then we'll discuss Win8 with you uneducated one :P

RE: Figured as much
By bodar on 4/22/2013 10:05:24 PM , Rating: 2
Win8 has some major usability issues, but yeah, not a good example. Show me this "novice/business user" who can't use copy-paste but knows how to format the drive and reinstall Win7 or Linux. They don't exist.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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