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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 retrospooty on 6/26/2013 10:05:27 PM , Rating: 2
True for small touch screen devices... Not for laptops and desktops and even worse for large screens... Especially if you multi task alot

RE: Right Click on Start
By datdamonfoo on 6/27/2013 10:33:26 AM , Rating: 3
This simply isn't true. I have no problems with Windows 8 on my laptop, my 47 inch tv or my dual 27 inch monitors. And I multitask A LOT. I'm in and out of the start screen in just a few seconds, otherwise my computers all look just like Windows 7.

RE: Right Click on Start
By Mint on 6/27/2013 12:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
With monitors so cheap, most heavy multitaskers have an extra one, and Win8's dual taskbar is much better for that.

The start screen is a launcher for infrequently used apps (frequently used ones are pinned). It's designed to let you go in and out as fast as possible.

Honestly, I think Win8 is better for heavy multitaskers. It's the light multitaskers that don't care about the second monitor not having a taskbar, that didn't have a bunch of programs to navigate through in a tiny start menu, that didn't adopt pressing the Win key and typing as a result, etc.

If other programs put so many options into a nested menu, it would be considered poor UI. Chrome gives me a few items to go back to in a menu, but for more items it covers what I was looking at with a history page. Office 2010 covers my work with a load screen when I click on "File".

There's nothing moronic or unconventional about a start screen. Where MS made the mistake was in underestimating how comfortable people were with the start menu, and removing the option of bringing it back.

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