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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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No one uses the start button
By DrApop on 4/22/2013 3:15:42 PM , Rating: 2
....or so Microsoft claims. And it may well be true. If you are running WinXP-Win7 and have perhaps an HD monitor, you can have 95% of your most common shortcut icons on your desktop because they are so small and you have a lot of screen real estate.

But along comes Win8 and on an HD screen (1920x1080) you have 6 or 7 huge icon blocks, each representing a program/shortcut.

So Winxp-win7 you can have 60-70 program icons on one desktop. Win 8 you can maybe get 10. Of course you probably don't use the start button much in Winxp-win7. But you likely want it in Win8.

RE: No one uses the start button
By Pirks on 4/22/2013 5:09:04 PM , Rating: 2
Winxp-win7 you can have 60-70 program icons on one desktop. Win 8 you can maybe get 10
Why can't you place 70 shortcuts on your Win8 desktop? I smell BS :)

RE: No one uses the start button
By Piiman on 5/18/2013 2:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
Then get your nose out of Balmers ass.

By inighthawki on 4/22/2013 5:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
You've clearly never used Windows 8. Please stop posting about BS until you do, because this is a complete lie.

RE: No one uses the start button
By nikon133 on 4/22/2013 6:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
I have 47 tiles on my 19" 1440x900 screen without scrolling (last column of 5 tiles is only half visible tho'). If all my tiles are small size, I'd be able to see 50 of them... but I like keeping my Desktop, Mail and People tiles large.

By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 8:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
It is a very inefficient use of desktop space.

Large targets make sense for small touchscreens. You need to be able to touch them with your fingertip. A mouse pointer is a much higher precision pointer than your finger, which is why smaller icons make sense there.

The Modern UI doesn't make sense on desktops and laptops for this reason. It is common sense.

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