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Rumor: Start Button in Windows 8.1 to Have No Menu

While we've already seen reports that Windows 8.1 may provide a Start button when it's supposedly released later this year, a new report suggests that it won't pull up the Start Menu as we've come to know and love over the last two decades. Instead, by clicking on the button, users will only be greeted by the tile-based, touch-friendly Windows 8 Start screen.

This would be unfortunate given that one of the complaints surrounding Windows 8 has been a lack of a Start button that pulls up the Start Menu. Last year after the platform went live, Microsoft defended its removal, saying that customers didn't really use the Menu, that they pinned shortcuts to the task bar instead. A lackluster reception of Windows 8 and the strong sales Stardock has seen with its Start8 app seemingly says otherwise.

According to reports, the Windows 8 Start button will reside at the bottom-left of the screen just as it has in previous versions. It will even feature the Windows 8 logo as seen on the Charms bar and on Windows 8-based keyboards. The problem is that the function to switch to the Start Screen already exists at the bottom-left corner – why do we need a button that does the same thing? Will this button make it easier to jump back and forth between Start screen and desktop?

Winsupersite reports that the addition of the Start button comes from the upper management which "overruled objections from the Windows team". He said that the Windows team, which is also objecting to the boot-to-desktop option, was given too much free reign after the success of Windows 7. But now that Windows 8 is seemingly blamed for the decline in PC sales and Steven Sinofsky is out of the picture, the upper management is taking more control and tuning in to customer feedback.

Meanwhile, evidence of a Windows 8.1 Preview has surfaced in another leaked build of the "Blue" OS upgrade. Reference to the "Preview" was found in the system files along with mention of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows RT 8.1. There's speculation that Microsoft will launch a public preview of the new Windows RT build for Surface customers and perhaps even those who purchased RT tablets from Microsoft partners.

There have certainly been a number of "leaks" taking place over the last several weeks, all slowly revealing new features and changes to the Windows 8 platform. Are they controlled leaks to generate some positive buzz around what many OEMs have called a disappointing platform, or is it really that easy to lose an OS? The number of recent leaks is both a bit troubling, and a little hard for Microsoft to deny.

We expect to learn more about what's going on in June during BUILD 2013, and could even see the launch of the Windows 8.1 Public Preview during the conference.

  • godfather666
    I don't know about what others think, but this may potentially solve 75% of my problem with Windows 8, if I understood these changes correctly. Why? Because:

    1. I can boot to the desktop.
    2. If I understood correctly, pressing the Windows button in 8.1 will toggle between Start Screen (where I can search for stuff) and the desktop. Right now, pressing the button toggles between start screen and whichever app I had opened last.

    The issue for isn't so much with the lack of a menu, but for the fact that the desktop was turned into "just another app". I want the traditional desktop to go back to being the focal point of the operating system, which is what I think these changes will enable. I was really just using the start menu to search for software and files, which I can still do easily in the start screen, just by typing.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Windows 8.2: Microsoft gives up and restores full Windows 7-like desktop functionality along with proper Start menu.
    Reply
  • christop
    Touch-friendly Windows 8 Start screen. My desktop doesn't have a touch screen. Why not give people the choice to have it what ever way they like. I will not upgrade to w8 until this is fixed. I have used win8 and hate the metro UI.
    Reply
  • jack1982
    A simple "Are you using a touchscreen? Y/N" would have eliminated this whole problem, but some guy making a 7 figure salary was way too smart for that.
    Reply
  • jamesjones_det
    I don't understand why MS won't allow the desktop and metro experiences to merge on desktops and laptops. This way you wouldn't have to mange two completely different desktop environments based on the type of app I opened.

    This change does nothing, I can still access metro by moving my mouse the the same area as the start button. Any fool who believes this will fix the complaints obviously dreaming.
    Reply
  • HavocX
    This will not appease the hardcore users who are angry they had to spend ten minutes installing a start menu replacement, but I think it will help the average joe not getting confused with Windows 8. After all, the start screen is basically a big start menu.
    Reply
  • ojas
    Yeah. We wanted the menu too.
    Reply
  • warezme
    Uh, yea, the point of the start button was to get back the contextual menu items, duh? People just refer to it as the start button because that is what is used for? So MS just heard the button part. Now how much money do these ya hoos make again?
    Reply
  • ap3x
    I personally like the Metro interface even without a touchscreen. When you get used to it it is wayyyy faster than the start menu. It threw me off at first but after a while I got use to it and really can't imagine going back to the old way. I think most of the hatred toward Windows 8 is really a combination of people not being use to big changes in something that they have used for a long time and Microsoft really doing a poor job of showcasing the advantages of metro for normal computing purposes. If you want to find a app or anything you don't have to go find search you just start typing and Metro finds it. Emails, Documents, Settings, Apps, Store Apps, everything. I think it is refreshing to be able to get to anything I want super fast.
    Reply
  • ap3x
    I personally like the Metro interface even without a touchscreen. When you get used to it it is wayyyy faster than the start menu. It threw me off at first but after a while I got use to it and really can't imagine going back to the old way. I think most of the hatred toward Windows 8 is really a combination of people not being use to big changes in something that they have used for a long time and Microsoft really doing a poor job of showcasing the advantages of metro for normal computing purposes. If you want to find a app or anything you don't have to go find search you just start typing and Metro finds it. Emails, Documents, Settings, Apps, Store Apps, everything. I think it is refreshing to be able to get to anything I want super fast.
    Reply