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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: Start
By The0ne on 4/22/2013 6:47:45 PM , Rating: 3
I find this hard to say but I have to agree with Pirks. If you monitor your desktop usage you'll noticed that you use shortcuts for many of your daily tasks. The start menu is really for those one off things that isn't pinned to your taskbar or desktop.

At 1600x900, small icons, you have have almost 50 icons on the taskbar. Desktop is even larger. Then if you need more you can choose to increase the taskbar by 2 rows instead of one. If lacking real estate is the issue then you jump to Virtual desktops.

And if you want to get organize there are 3rd party utils available that can help. I like Stardocks' Fences. Double click and it hides your group.

I use the start menu for those one off things and when I'm lazy I select windows update instead of typing it. That's pretty much about it. Advance users make use of virtual desktops and a robust file manager that never closes. Consider them.


RE: Start
By Belard on 4/24/2013 8:56:37 AM , Rating: 2
And yet metro doesn't fix anything.


"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini














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