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Microsoft's reenvisioning of the classic Desktop Mode Start Menu may be taking longer than expected

Top Windows blogger Mary Jo Foley wrote a post last week seeking to clarify exactly when Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) was planning on releasing its revived, reimagined version of the Windows Desktop Start Menu.
While slightly overhauled to feature a flatter, more graphical rich Modern UI style, the new Start Menu will be available in Desktop Mode and is expected to function much like the old Start Menu you knew and loved from Windows XP/Vista/7.
The bad news, according to Ms. Foley, is that the new Start Menu likely won't be finished until the launch of Windows 9 in April 2015.  We already know that Windows 9 is expected to be a pivotal release, unifying the APIs and app marketplaces of Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone, and Xbox.
According to Ms. Foley's sources -- sources that have a "good track records on Windows information" -- Microsoft had initially hoped to offer the Start Menu revival with its Windows 8.1 Update 2, which is expected to launch later this year.  However, it wasn't satisfied with the results, so it decided to push that item on towards Windows "Threshold" -- a codename that is believed to stand for the next major version of Windows, Windows 9.

Windows 8 Start Menu
[Image Source: Redmond Pie]

The ability to run Modern UI (Metro) apps in a windows form in Desktop Mode has also reportedly been punted until Windows 9.
So what's Windows 8.1 Update 2 going to include, since the two big-ticket items (Start Menu, windowed Metro apps) are gone?  Ms. Foley says she's not sure, writing:
So now what's going to be in Windows 8.1 Update 2? Will there be any user-interface changes or will it be more a vehicle for under-the-covers programming interface and reliability improvements? I don't know at this point.
If true, this is rather disappointing news for many Windows fans, but it is not altogether unexpected.  At BUILD 2014 in April, Ms. Foley asked Microsoft's Windows executive vice president Terry Myerson why the Start Menu wasn't included in Windows 8.1 Update 1.  He explained at the time:
The reason we (showed) that work is we thought it was important to share with developers. When do I deliver it? I really don't have anything to share there. We're just not ready yet.
If Ms. Foley's sources are to be believed, it sounds like Microsoft is still feeling the same way, hence it has opted to make an already major release (Windows 9) even more of a leap.  For now Windows 8 users will have to make due with less tightly integrated third party alternatives, such as Start8 from Stardock and the Pokki Windows 8 Start Menu, if they want a Start Menu on their Windows 8 desktop.

Source: ZDNet

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By Argon18 on 6/9/2014 11:55:40 AM , Rating: -1
Tick, tock. File the Eight turd into the same bucket as Vista, ME, and 95.

RE: Business
By EasyC on 6/9/2014 12:02:02 PM , Rating: 5
Vista was good if you had a machine that wasn't entry level.

From a power user standpoint, it was WORLDS more reliable than XP. XP had to be reinstalled every so often due to performance degradation. It wasn't very good at keeping itself clean.

That said, chalk this up to another failure on part of MS. I only use windows 8 on machines I don't have to interact with a lot (My home server, for example). Anything that I have to actually get stuff done on, is done on Windows 7.

Sigh.... I had hopes MS would fix this.

RE: Business
By Flunk on 6/9/2014 12:08:10 PM , Rating: 3
It almost seems to be an attempt to convince people that skipping every other version of Windows is the thing to do. You know that thing you wanted Windows 8 to do? Well do we have a Windows for you! Windows 9!

I have Windows 8 on my desktop at home, I don't have a problem using it. I have all my stuff I use all the time on the Start Screen and otherwise I just use search like I did in Windows 7. But I get that some people are rigid and inflexible, why hasn't Microsoft figured that out yet?

RE: Business
By Warren21 on 6/9/2014 12:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
I too get the impression that MS is doing this specifically so they can boost the sales of Windows 9. It's going to be a very important release for them, so they might as well cram all the "I want that" features into it.

It's a shame though, 8.2 with these features would've silenced a lot of the critics.

RE: Business
By dashrendar on 6/9/2014 12:21:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I find myself more efficient with the new Start Screen than the Start Menu. The Start Menu is a hierarchy of executable links most of which I don't care about. With the Start Menu, I can at least customize what needs to be prominent on the screen and what doesn't. Plus, the task bar pinning option kind of negated the Start Menu for me for years.

If Microsoft adds a Start Menu that is similar to that of Windows 7, I might actually disable it or start looking for a third party tool that does disable it.

RE: Business
By sadsteve on 6/10/2014 1:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
Start Menu is a hierarchy of executable links most of which I don't care about. With the Start Menu, I can at least customize what needs to be prominent on the screen and what doesn't.

You can configure the start menu too. You do not have to live with the layout the application installer chose. I always made my own layout to work the way I wanted, removing or adding start menu folders and shortcuts.

If you have a limited number of applications, the non-hierarchical layout is ok. If you you've got tons of programs you're going to have quite a few pages of applications to scroll through.

I'd actually be more likely to use the Start Screen if it had a hierarchy. Have tiles that open a subwindow with more tiles on it. I could define my own categories like 'browsers', 'file utilites', 'programming', etc. But since it doesn't, I'll just stick with StartIsBack.

RE: Business
By retrospooty on 6/9/2014 12:22:01 PM , Rating: 2
"It almost seems to be an attempt to convince people that skipping every other version of Windows is the thing to do. You know that thing you wanted Windows 8 to do? Well do we have a Windows for you! Windows 9"

It does appear that way. MS could teach a class on broken marketing.

RE: Business
By Mitch101 on 6/9/2014 12:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think Microsoft has figured it out. Since the CEO change a large number of mediocre/poor decisions have been reversed.

If this was applied to Windows 8.2 it would probably slow sales of Windows 9 which is not far off. I can only guess that Microsoft is using this as a carrot to get Windows 9 to have a successful launch with big numbers.

I have Windows 8.1 just being able to drop to desktop instead of the full screen start was the item that made me happy with Windows 8. I also uninstalled all the apps that I'm not interested in. Windows 9 adding the hybrid start I can see this as being the Windows 7 replacement people wanted. Cant imagine what people will complain about next but Im sure something will be labeled as the new disaster.

RE: Business
By inighthawki on 6/9/2014 2:44:16 PM , Rating: 2
This started long before the CEO change.

RE: Business
By retrospooty on 6/9/2014 12:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
"Vista was good if you had a machine that wasn't entry level."

Not really true at release. It was buggy and had massive driver issues - MS's direct fault or not the driver issues were indirectly due to poor communication and poor OEM direction... AS for the majority of bugs, SP1 was pretty decent and by then the drivers issues were mostly resolved.

"Vista SP1 was good if you had a machine that wasn't entry level and OEM supported hardware" would be a more fair statement.

RE: Business
By Mitch101 on 6/9/2014 12:37:53 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed Vista had several big issues.

1 - Memory was duplicated which was a performance hit and required you had twice as much ram. It was later fixed but the damage was already done. Vista is really Windows 7 at this point.

2 - Drivers but not from Microsoft. Horribly written drivers especially from NVIDIA. Since NVIDIA was probably the majority back then Nvidia is mostly to blame for getting a horrible reputation.

NVIDIA drivers responsible for nearly 30% of Vista crashes in 2007

On top of that many companies never released drivers for Vista. I had a new scanner just 3 months old that never got drivers for Vista. That didn't stop the company from releasing new Scanners that did support vista. They screwed the consumer hoping to double dip you into buying a new scanner. Many companies hoped to dupe the consumer into well you need to buy new hardware for Vista to boost sales.

RE: Business
By Nutzo on 6/9/2014 12:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
I had several high end laptops at work (dual core, 4GB ram) that came with Vista, and after struggling with them for several months we finally gave up and loaded XP. Much faster more reliable, and no driver problems.

Few years later, I loaded Windows 7 (64 bit) on the same laptops, and they ran better with Windows 7 than they did with XP. Allowed us to use then for a couple more years. Now they have been moved to the loaner pool, for the ocasional person who needs a laptop for light use out of the office.

RE: Business
By villageidiotintern on 6/9/2014 12:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
I built a machine specifically for Vista x86 on its release. I had no drivers for anything. Within weeks I was able to find a printer and a scanner with adequate drivers from Canon. nVidia did not work. I used an ATI card with minimal problems. As the months passed and the vendors caught up to where they should have been, problems ceased to exist. I still use this machine daily although it is for secondary uses.

RE: Business
By kmmatney on 6/9/2014 12:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
We have several XP machines that have been running fine for many years (10 years or so). I run CCleaner on some of them, but on others the built-in disk clean-up is good enough. The main reason that XP machines slow down over time is due to hard drive fragmentation, and that fact that they have older hard drives to begin with. We have a few XP machines with SSDs, and they fly. Reliability has never been an issue with XP, at least for us. Obviously it wouldn't be around this long if it wasn't reliable.

I run a lot of virtual machines within my Windows 8 laptop (running from an SSD), and the Windows XP machines always start the quickest.

RE: Business
By Manch on 6/9/2014 2:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
Once you installed the service packs too it was almost indistinguishable from 7. "7" only came out to get away from the Vista name.

RE: Business
By tamalero on 6/9/14, Rating: 0
RE: Business
By momorere on 6/9/2014 12:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
Along with Linux. Or is this finally the year of Linux desktop ? I'm still waiting for it 20 years now.

RE: Business
By retrospooty on 6/9/2014 12:28:57 PM , Rating: 3
Nope... LOL.

It will just stay the year of Windows 7 until 9 comes out. Win 7 is still growing (sorry Argon).

RE: Business
By kmmatney on 6/9/2014 12:30:59 PM , Rating: 2
I can believe that Window 7 is growing. It makes sense - a lot of businesses are finally migrating from their Windows XP machines, and going to Windows 7, not Windows 8.

RE: Business
By retrospooty on 6/9/2014 12:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
The scary part of that is that almost 21 months after 8's release, 8 and 8.1 combined are under 13%. Win7 was at this same point in only 7 months.

RE: Business
By Mitch101 on 6/9/2014 12:39:43 PM , Rating: 4
They should have timed Windows 9 with the death of support for Windows XP. I think they would have had a record sales movement.

RE: Business
By peterrushkin on 6/9/2014 12:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, I don't think it will ever be the year of Linux on the desktop.

I went from Xp to Ubuntu desktop and then to a mac. I havent looked back.

I'm a developer and sys-admin. My mac does everything I need it to do and more. Never had any issues with XP/Win7 and no issues on the mac.

Besides, my productivity has increased so much so, that the work I have done has paid for the mac more than 30 times now. Can anyone else say that about their Windows machine?

RE: Business
By Ahnilated on 6/9/2014 1:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
Well then you must be making $300K/yr because if you figure in the average cost of a PC compared to a Mac which costs a lot more then you must be making bank.

RE: Business
By Argon18 on 6/9/2014 4:23:38 PM , Rating: 2
"Along with Linux. Or is this finally the year of Linux desktop ? I'm still waiting for it 20 years now."

You've been looking in all the wrong places. Linux haa already taken over the world:
1. The Web : Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, the biggest of the big all run entirely on Linux.
2. The Internet : All Cisco switches, routers, and appliances, the backbone of the internet, all running Linux.
3. Mobile Devices : The #1 phone platform, Android, is Linux.
4. Gaming Consoles : The PS4 console is FreeBSD, loaded with open source bits, plus new consoles like OUYA that are built on Linux. Don't forget Valve's SteamBox console, running Linux of course.

Basically everything around you, every computing resource you interact with is already on Linux. Oh right, that boring desktop peecee running your Excel spreadsheets, that one is still stuck on Microsoft.

RE: Business
By hpglow on 6/9/2014 7:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
He said Linux on the Desktop. None of what you have listed is a desktop device.

RE: Business
By DiscoWade on 6/9/2014 12:30:18 PM , Rating: 1
8.1 is really not that bad. The start screen is miles better than regular 8.0. Although I still hate the "metro" start screen, I can tolerate it in the 8.1 version.

There are other things in Windows 8/8.1 that I cannot tolerate. The biggest is the lack of Aero and the general ugliness of the UI. For some reason, my eyes have a hard time with the UI of Windows 8. The square corners and the lack of color just bother me.

The second is how hard Microsoft tries to get you to use a Microsoft ID to log in. A common problem with Windows 8 is when it the wireless settings and password settings become corrupted. When you boot your computer, sometimes it is not connected to the internet and so Windows 8 tells you to use the last password you used, but that is also corrupted. You'll have to find a wired connection to fix the problem. But what if you really did forget your password? You will need another computer to log in. My problem with the whole system is that I should not have to check-in with Microsoft to use my OS, ever, and it is much more difficult to clear a bad password.

The third is I do not ever ever EVER want to be forced to go through a Microsoft store to purchase my programs.

RE: Business
By retrospooty on 6/9/2014 12:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
"8.1 is really not that bad"

Yup. It's really not. This should be MS's new slogan. " Windows 8.1 , it's really not that bad"


I personally really like the hybrid tart menu and was looking forward to it in Win8.1 update2. Bummer.

RE: Business
By haukionkannel on 6/12/2014 5:37:03 AM , Rating: 2
It would have been nice to have those features...
I am quite happy with win8.1, but I have heavily pimped version of it. Start8 (start menu), modernmix (windowed metro apps), windowsblind (better looking ui), object dock (some more eye candy), rain meter (even more eye candy...

Those first two are most important and those features were supposed to be in win 8.2. But I can understand why those make better sense in win9 from economical point of view.
But MS tendency of big leap, refine, big leap, refine... will lead to this kind of situation. Automatically this mean that the second version is almost always better, because most hard parts have been tinkered out. Is it wise... that is harder to say.
But as I said win8 is fine os, is just is too much different than previous one. It has been very stable and with some eye candy suitable also to my kind of user who likes his UI to look good, even at the expense of speed.

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