CNET reports that users of the recently-leaked RTM builds of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 have discovered that one of the tweaks Microsoft has made since the launch of the last public test build, Windows 8 Release Preview, centers on the boot process. Microsoft is reportedly now blocking users from bypassing the boxy Start screen, preventing them from booting straight into Desktop mode.
Previous test builds allowed Windows 8 users to create a shortcut that switches to the Windows 8 desktop. If the user didn't want to boot their machine into the tiled desktop UI (formerly known as Metro), they could simply schedule this shortcut to be activated immediately after logging into the user's account.
Rafael Rivera, coauthor of the forthcoming Windows 8 Secrets, has reportedly verified with RTM downloaders that Microsoft's block of the boot bypass is indeed in place. He also believes that Microsoft has blocked the ability for administrators to use Group Policy to allow users to bypass the tiled startup screen. That said, it seems that Microsoft is trying to keep the desktop of old out of sight, hoping users will simply grow accustomed to the new blocky era of Windows.
As CNET points out, there are a number of shortcuts in Windows 8 that are designed to help users that are resistant to change, allowing them to slip in and out of Desktop mode more quickly and easily. These include Windows + D, Windows + B, and Windows + M. But as we reported last week, Microsoft is getting ready to launch Windows 8-specific peripherals that will make the tiled touch aspect a bit easier to navigate for those without actual touchscreens.
Reports of Microsoft's block of the Start screen bypass may not be good news for business owners looking to upgrade their desktops. The big issue is time and money that will be spent retraining employees on how to use the new Windows interface, and how to deal with life without a Start button. Like id Software's John Carmack, they may be quite content with Windows 7 and see no need to rush into disrupting the office with a new tiled, touch-based UI.