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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: Why, MS?
By Belard on 4/22/2013 11:40:30 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty much... most tiles are not live. And as MS says, nobody spends time in the Start menu... those live tiles are kinda useless for the desktop environment.

When I used Win8... charms would show up when I didn't or won't sometimes when I did want them too. A lot of aiming about.

With all the changes in Win8... in the end, it offers little reason to replace Win7. I know that I spend less time in the Task Manager than a start menu/screen... the File copy window is great. The UP button in explorer is nice to have back... those handful of things = not WORTH $40 and the headache.

If Win8 didn't have Metro and its reason for its design and they didn't uglyfy the desktop, I'd have upgraded all my PCs to Win8.

The MS App store is the only way MS will make money in the future. I will not be part of that. Hey, I have a steam account - it works very well. Running my desktop like my phone is NOT what *I* want. The end game is that WinX86 functionality is to die. Otherwise, no need for Metro.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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