This Windows 8.1 Demo Actually Uses Mouse, Start Button

This week during Computex 2013 in Taipei, Microsoft gave a demonstration of Windows 8.1 that briefly revealed the returning Start button. Unfortunately, it's not the one we've come to know, love and depend on since Windows 95, but rather serves as a quick hop to the Start screen for mouse-based customers. The IDG News service caught the whole thing on video which coincidentally shows how the updated platform can be manipulated with the traditional mouse and keyboard setup. Finally.

As we've already seen this week, Windows 8.1 adds two new tiles sizes, one of which allows the user to view a string of information within one box like weather details or the last several emails received.  Users can also swipe up from the Start (AKA Home) screen to reveal an app drawer where all apps installed are listed instead of dumping them on the Start screen by default. This way, users can add whatever they want.

Although this app drawer was loaded up using a finger, the demo also showed how it can be pulled up using a mouse. Once the peripheral is moved on the Start screen, a "down" arrow appears near the bottom-left of the screen. Click on that, and the All Apps screen jumps up from the bottom featuring a similar "up" arrow in the same location. Click on that, and the screen tucks back into the bottom.

Later on in the video, which is just 1:44 long, the Start button shows up in its familiar seat located on the left side of the taskbar in desktop mode. The Microsoft rep said that with Windows 8, there seemed to be a separation between the desktop and the Start screen: two worlds on one device. The company has fixed this by allowing the desktop wallpaper to appear behind the tiles on the Start screen as well.

To demonstrate the new unity between desktop and Start screen, he set the wallpaper to be the same on both. He then clicked the Start button, and magically Windows 8 became one OS once again. Just in appearance, it looks as if the tiles are turned off and the taskbar turned on in one click, and the tiles turned on and the taskbar turned off in the next click. Rinse and repeat. The only items that stay the same is the wallpaper, and the Start button.

Take a look at the example below. While the Start button doesn't return the Start menu to its rightful place, Windows 8.1 looks to be a step in the right direction. The preview version of the update arrives later this month on June 26 during Microsoft's BUILD 2013 conference.

Computex 2013: Microsoft demos new Windows 8.1 interface

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
59 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • BSim500
    No thanks. Staying with Windows 7. It's the ergonomics, stupid. The reason why the Start menu has existed for almost 20 years (Windows 95 to W7 and Classic Start Menu in W8), and is well liked, is quite simply because it works so well with a mouse and keyboard. As do hierarchical menu's which "just make sense" (and make even more sense the more you have installed).
    As to the usual stupid "resistance to change" emotional kneejerk responses like codo's - would swapping a QWERTY keyboard for an obscure DVORAK layout then telling everyone they're stupid or "hate change" improve typing speeds? No. That's just change for the sake of change which isn't down to user or ergonomics, it's a marketing ploy that only the gullible fall for every time (remember Vista's "Sidebar"? LOL)...
    35
  • ingtar33
    so basically they replaced the "spot" in the taskbar where the start button was, which if you clicked it would take you to metro... with a button, which if you clicked takes you to metro.

    sounds like zero change to me~ no start menu in win 8.1, about the only change i can see is you can set the background for the metro screen.

    this looks like a fail all around
    17
  • flyflinger
    I dunno... I'm starting to think I should stick with Classic Shell after seeing this demo.
    17
  • Other Comments
  • ingtar33
    so basically they replaced the "spot" in the taskbar where the start button was, which if you clicked it would take you to metro... with a button, which if you clicked takes you to metro.

    sounds like zero change to me~ no start menu in win 8.1, about the only change i can see is you can set the background for the metro screen.

    this looks like a fail all around
    17
  • codo
    if you're complaining about W8, you're an old crook who hasn't used it and is resistant to change. its great, its fast, its fluid and secure. I dont miss the start button at all, but I'm glad to now have my wallpaper apply to the start screen.
    -21
  • unknown9122
    The new start menu is fine. People may say, "If something works, dont change it". Yes, but MS is reluctant on pushing the new start menu, and the start button is the best solution. Change is good.
    -8