Offering desktops and laptops that boot straight into desktop could help push Windows 8 sales.
Many people may disagree, but one of Microsoft's biggest mistakes with Windows 8 is forcing desktop and laptop customers to boot straight into the new Modern UI overlay. While it's understandable that the Redmond company is trying to push a new way of computing that spans across multiple devices, the move should be gradual, perhaps even optional, so that customers who have relied on the desktop since the early 90s can get used to the change at their own pace.
Sure, there's a tile that leads directly to the desktop, but throw in the removal of the traditional Start button/menu, and long-time Windows customers may be reluctant to upgrade from what's been "normal" for decades, even more so with touch-based solutions still rather pricey. Because of this, Microsoft may be caving in to the keyboard and mouse crowd with the release of Windows 8.1 later this year.
MicrosoftPortal (via WinBeta translation) reportedly dug into important operating system files stemming from one of the recent Windows 8.1 leaks and discovered references for disabling the Start screen. One such file was twinui.dll -- which is responsible for switching between the Modern UI and desktop user interfaces -- that contained a setting labeled "CanSuppressStartScreen".
According to the report, disabling or modifying this code will supposedly make the system boot into desktop automatically without the need for third-party software like Start8. The current leaked builds reportedly don't feature a toggle for booting directly into the desktop, so it's possible that Microsoft still hasn't decided on whether to include the desktop toggle or not.
Previous reports surrounding the leaked Windows 8.1 builds indicate that Microsoft is actually trying to move even further away from the desktop, throwing more controls onto the Start screen than before. But with Windows 8 partially blamed for the continued decline in PC sales, Microsoft may not have any choice but to allow Windows 8 towers and laptops to be sold with the desktop as the primary focus, not the new Start screen. This could possibly ease consumer reluctance in upgrading their current Windows platform or from buying a completely new machine.
Windows 8.1 is part of Microsoft's "Windows Blue" release schedule which sees the Redmond company refreshing the Windows platform annually rather than waiting every three or four years. Windows Blue will supposedly span across multiple platforms including Windows Phone and Windows RT.