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This Windows 8.1 Demo Actually Uses Mouse, Start Button

By - Source: IDG News Service | B 59 comments

Microsoft demonstrates who the Start button and wallpaper unifies the desktop and Modern UI experience.

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

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  • 36 Hide
    BSim500 , June 9, 2013 9:41 AM
    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)...
  • 18 Hide
    flyflinger , June 9, 2013 10:20 AM
    I dunno... I'm starting to think I should stick with Classic Shell after seeing this demo.
  • 18 Hide
    ingtar33 , June 9, 2013 9:05 AM
    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
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    ingtar33 , June 9, 2013 9:05 AM
    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
  • -9 Hide
    unknown9122 , June 9, 2013 9:27 AM
    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 Hide
    chriswong , June 9, 2013 9:35 AM
    The mouse and keyboard navigation is not news? Mouse and keyboard navigation works in Windows 8 today; it just takes one extra click to get to the All Apps screen...
  • 36 Hide
    BSim500 , June 9, 2013 9:41 AM
    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)...
  • 10 Hide
    Krisk7 , June 9, 2013 9:43 AM
    Who was clapping? Microsoft employees again like during the XBOX reveal?
  • -5 Hide
    pcichico , June 9, 2013 9:47 AM
    Did you hear the standing o in the video? If only this had been the way it was released in october, then I think they could have avoided the bulk of the complaints, except from you toms trolls. Of course you still have to set it to share the wallpaper and possibly boot to the desktop–its not the default. I don't think I'll give up start8 just yet but this is pretty compelling. Also I think startisback is better than start8 for those want the total exclusion of metro. Here come the thumbs downs even though I've presented a non fanboy balanced comment that even includes suggestions for people who don't like metro.
  • -9 Hide
    computerguy72 , June 9, 2013 9:53 AM
    Lots of people are really vocal about their microsoft hatred but the new menu really is a step up from the win7 start menu. I have both and my Win7 start menu is chock full of dead or dormant shortcuts, failed un-installs that couldn't remove the old shortcuts, it breaks down the list into program files "all" and whoever the current user is. The win7 start menu is old and terrible in many ways but it's just really really familiar for some people. I hope MS continues to improve the Win8 menu as it obviously has lots of room for improvement but sheesh compared to the old start menu c'mon now.
  • 2 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , June 9, 2013 10:18 AM
    So let me get this straight. Microsoft adds a button to the Taskbar, which is finger-friendly, which takes you back to their finger friendly start screen?
    Well, I'll say this. I never liked the Start Menu for a couple of reasons. First of all, applications will add folders to the Start Menu. You'd have to click on the Start Menu, navigate to the folder, expand the folder, sometimes even subfolders just to find the EXE (or whatever file) you're looking for. That kind of was a PITA. Secondly, I don't think I've liked the Start Menu since Windows XP. With Vista/7, it's very similar to 95/98/Me. You have a single column list you have to scroll through. The way I see it, you can much more easily customize this start screen, see bigger icons and not have to navigate through folders or scroll through a list as much. Of course, with a Start Menu, you could also cut out the crap, or even do what I do, make a Quick Launch toolbar. If I ever do get Windows 8.1 (and to be honest, now I think I will with my new build next month), I will be making a Quick Launch toolbar.
  • 18 Hide
    flyflinger , June 9, 2013 10:20 AM
    I dunno... I'm starting to think I should stick with Classic Shell after seeing this demo.
  • -1 Hide
    shikamaru31789 , June 9, 2013 10:27 AM
    Windows 8.1 looks good enough to me that I'll probably upgrade my XP computer to it instead of to Windows 7. I can understand why people want the old start menu back, it's familiar and therefore easy to use, I like it too. But metro does seem like an upgrade to me, and it can only improve more with each yearly update. It would be fantastic to have things like weather and email right there on my screen when I turn on my PC without having to open a web browser, and switching between metro and desktop is as easy as single click of the mouse. I'm also thinking that Windows 8 will last longer for gaming than Windows 7, looking at games now, several no longer support Windows XP, and I think some no longer support Vista. In a few years time, Windows 7 might not allow the playing of the latest games, but Windows 8 should last a few years longer.
  • 8 Hide
    afrobacon , June 9, 2013 10:54 AM
    Great, now for those that are too lazy to press the windows button on the keyboard, they have conveniently add clutter to the desktop.
    This is by no means beneficial and in no way brings back the functionality of the start menu that is needed. Let me add tiles that link to device manager, computer management, or whatever else I want to get to with ease.
  • 2 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , June 9, 2013 11:16 AM
    "Unfortunately, it's not the one we've come to know, love and depend on since Windows 95,"
    Loved ? No way ..... the start button cumbersome interface was simply replaced with a more cumbersome interface. Give me back HP's "Dashboard" or PowerDesk's "Coolbar" for ergonomics.
  • 9 Hide
    bluestar2k11 , June 9, 2013 11:17 AM
    Change for the sake of change is irrelevant. (Like metro for non-touch displays)
    Change for the sake of progress is useful. (Like the automobile)
    Windows 8 interface for desktops is not useful, it's kind of a hindrance, at which point, it's change for the sake of change. Perhaps for tablets it's outstanding, but desktop is pointless. And there's no reason microsoft couldn't include the start menu as it's been since windows 95. Improve it and clean it up? Yes, but removing it has no value to the user, it's just change for the sake of change.
    Change for progress like the automobile, jets, the computer, the smart phone, all those were practical changes to make life better for consumers, name one way windows 8 is such a change as to make life better for the consumer?
    It's faster? I guess. if a second or two really matters to you. But then you'd buy an SSD instead, a much greater improvement then any OS could give. Not really making life better. Give me an computer/OS that boots my PC from a cold boot up, to in game (A modern game) in less then 20 seconds and I'll label it life changing. Right now with an SSD, it takes about 2-3 minutes combined. Mostly because the game takes forever to load.
    It's more secure? I question that. Nothing is secure these days. Saying this OS is more secure then this one, is like saying Ford cars take less damage in a crash then Honda. When both are pretty equally smashed after impact. Again not really a life changing event.
    When windows does something that truly changes the way a consumer does something, and that means, better then the old way, then it will be change for progress. But thus far, microsoft hasn't done that since they invented the start menu. All i've heard even from users of W8 is it's a hassle to work with even for industry veterans.
    Maybe Windows 9 will do what 8 "should" have done.
    If not, Linux is starting to pick up a bit in the gaming community, perhaps it will do better.
    (Plus being open source, anyone can change an aspect they don't like all the way down to the core of the OS, by installing a new element or re-coding the original ^^)
  • -1 Hide
    DarkSable , June 9, 2013 11:26 AM
    Can I disable the "start button" then?
    Even before windows 8 came out, I would make my start button invisible because it looked cleaner - the fact that windows eight lets me just use the windows key and start typing was actually a PLUS for me.
    I know I'm in the minority, but if this is as much forced for me as not having a start button was with normal W8, then windows is just setting up another comedy of errors.
  • 0 Hide
    beoza , June 9, 2013 11:27 AM
    While I dislike Win8 currently (I've had very little hands on experience with it) I will be buying a separate hard disk and Win8 just to play around with it on a dual boot system. I have to know how to support it for work so actually getting it makes sense from a support perspective. I definitely do not like the modern ui, it feels clunky and I have an extreme dislike for tiles/icons covering my desktop unless I place icons there, that's why I used the start menu and pinned apps to the task bar. I'm sure once I get accustomed to the new gui I'll feel more comfortable with it, after all I grew accustomed to the last gui over the last 2 decades coming from using the cli on old (read ancient) computers that only ran basic/dos based programs and of course the many different Linux OS flavors. Definitely staying away from touch screens unless they're the tablet/phone stuff...can't stand finger prints on my desktop monitor(s)!
  • 7 Hide
    squirrelboy , June 9, 2013 11:31 AM
    This is just Ubuntu 11.04 all over again. The difference between Win8 and Ubuntu is that on Ubuntu (or any other distro) you can easily install a different interface if you don't like the default one, and it won't try to lure or force you back to Unity.
  • 3 Hide
    ingtar33 , June 9, 2013 11:54 AM
    i like all the paid microsoft blogged spamming this thread.
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