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  (Source: Microsoft)
Is this the start button you're looking for?

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) "Release Preview" builds of the upcoming free Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 upgrades aired today.  Windows 8.1 represents Microsoft's bid to revive slumping personal computer sales and make up for the misses of Windows 8, which led some to pan the ambitious user interface redesign.

The changes in the Release Preview are pretty much along the lines of what was previously shown in media previews:
  • "Start Button", which switches you to the "Modern UI" Home Page
     
  • Color theme customizations
     
  • Large and Tiny Live Tiles
     
  • Batch Live Tile operations (move, etc.)
     
  • Improved knowledge-enabled global, unified search
     
  • Side-by-side resizable app panes
     
  • Improved Windows Store
     
  • Improved SkyDrive support
     
  • Camera UI and photo slideshow on lock screen


The first change is the most notable -- and probably the most controversial.

After initially saying that customers no longer were using the Start Button and thus it was gone for good, Microsoft took note of the noisy outcry surrounding this topic and changed its mind, allowing the Start Button to make a comeback in Windows 8.1.  

...well, sort of.  Instead of the traditional Start Button, which pops up a menu of apps (on the same screen) in Desktop Mode, the new "Start Button" yanks you out of Desktop Mode and drops you onto your "Modern UI" (aka "Metro") Home Page.

It's clear that this won't be the Start Button many Windows traditionalists were hoping for.  But it does allow faster transitions to the Modern UI, for better or worse.

Windows 8.1 Preview

Microsoft has a full guide on the other new features here, and a Faq on Windows 8.1 Preview here.  Microsoft warns that some systems with 32-bit Intel Corp. (INTC) Atom processors will need to update their drivers before running Windows 8.1.

To get the update itself, go to the Preview page, which will install the necessary updates, then take you to a download link in Windows Store for the main installer.

Microsoft's annual BUILD Conference for developers is kicking off today and runs through June 28.

Sources: Microsoft [download link], [YouTube], [Blog]



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RE: Right Click on Start
By inighthawki on 6/26/2013 5:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
The effect in windowblinds 8 is hardly comparable. It just draws its own theme which allows basic transparency. This has been doable with other utilities for ages now. Glass does not exist at all.

If you want real glass do a search for bigmuscle's reimplementation on msfn. He actually hooks into DWM to provide the blur effect used by glass.


RE: Right Click on Start
By max_payne on 6/26/2013 5:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
what ever you say man but the effect is the same. See through with texturing ... may not be full w7 blur, but good enough for me ! The original w8 framing is dull and horrible, looking like windows 98. Btw no one as done it in W8 before.


RE: Right Click on Start
By retrospooty on 6/26/2013 5:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
Windowblinds Aero interface worked pretty damn well even years ago in Windows XP. At least if you had a decent system. It was totally seemless, smooth and stable.


RE: Right Click on Start
By inighthawki on 6/26/2013 5:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
Plain transparency doesn't work very well with text unless the transparency is very minimal. After that, it blends in too much with the background. I enjoyed setting the transparency in aero glass almost all the way down - nearly completely transparent, and it looked amazing. This is not even remotely doable with alpha blended transparency. If you do not apply special effects like the blur, the background and foreground layers become indistinguishable and text is unreadable.

Go try bigmuscle's mod and you'll see the difference between it and the junk that stardock released is not even on the same playing field.


RE: Right Click on Start
By max_payne on 6/26/2013 6:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
inighthawki, who care how it is done ? bigmuscle snitzel or not, just try it out (30 days trial). The framing is beautiful and light years nicer then what you get with windows 8. Basically I have jumb to w8 because, with third party start buttons and windowblind, it looks more like w7. I don't ever have to deal with modern ui idiocy but enjoy the improvements of the w8 desktop. I certainly won't move to 8.1 if I cannot do that anymore.


RE: Right Click on Start
By inighthawki on 6/26/2013 7:16:58 PM , Rating: 2
Why would I waste my time installing a third party app that probably sits open and installs a service on my pc which will then cost money after a free trial when I can just run the patch and get full aero glass (native running inside DWM, with full hardware acceleration) and then install any theme I want on top?


RE: Right Click on Start
By max_payne on 6/27/2013 12:10:40 AM , Rating: 2
Because I look at bigmuscle project. He is just a hacker. It was more an experiment. It is buggy, was never release and no install/interface available. It will cost money if ever does get released. Now that will bring only aero look but you will have to chase your themes and hacked windows to get them installed. There is nothing there for the regular joblo here who want a turn key solution and a "setup.exe" which WBlind bring. At least you will get support and update after.


RE: Right Click on Start
By inighthawki on 6/27/2013 12:55:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because I look at bigmuscle project. He is just a hacker. It was more an experiment.

How else are you going to hook in unsupported functionality?
It started as an experiment but now he's finishing it.

quote:
It will cost money if ever does get released.

No, it's not goingt o. It was speculation but he claimed he never had any intentions on selling it
quote:
Now that will bring only aero look but you will have to chase your themes and hacked windows to get them installed.

The uxtheme patch is probably way more stable than installing a service on your computer to hijack the theming API


“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith














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