8.1 has something kind of like a Start button...it only has a button in the shape of a window that makes it easier for you to get to the same boxy menu that Windows 8 has instead of having to go all the way to the bottom left corner. It's Microsoft's way of saying "lol".
But you can also set it to go to the app list. They also added where you can right click the start button to get to shut down among with a lot of other 8.1 changes. I have to say everything is better in 8.1 than 8.