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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 inighthawki on 4/22/2013 9:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
An argument that is almost entirely invalidated when you realize that virtually nobody looks anywhere other than that "5-10% of the screen" when it's open (Microsoft has done eye tracking tests to validate this information, not just guesswork and telemetry data). If you notice that people don't look at 90% of the screen when it's open, why not change it to maximize the amount of space you can use, while utilizing a 2D space to maximize visual memory?

RE: Start
By retrospooty on 4/22/2013 10:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
??? I dont really care. I was splaining why I dont use it on my work computer. I am not upset about it, I am not railing against it and I am not complaining. I use 8 at home and 7 at work and I am fine with it. Pirks for whatever reason seems pissed that I dont like 8 at work... Whatever.

RE: Start
By Pirks on 4/22/2013 11:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
inighthawki above already debunked your BS so I have nothing to add to his words

feel free to argue with him though :P

RE: Start
By SlyNine on 4/27/2013 7:29:09 AM , Rating: 1
That's bullshit, there are plenty of things you could be doing that might require you to look over to see what project you're on. Say I need to open an particular Excel sheet for a certain database when I'm working on multiple databases. How about converting blu-rays to MKV files, that's a multistep process (depending on how you go about it) and sometimes it helps to look back and see where I'm at and exactly what program I need for the next step.

I use the start menu all the time. It's small and unobtrusive. Metro does not jive with how I do my work.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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