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Windows 8.1: Start Button Coming Back

by Shashank Bhardwaj

To all those who have missed the Start button on their Windows 8 taskbars – there is good news. Microsoft is reportedly bringing back the Start menu button in the latest Windows update – Windows 8.1

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Sources close to Microsoft have apparently told The Verge that the Start button will make a comeback in the upcoming update to Windows. But before you rejoice, be aware that it is not going to function like the earlier buttons used to.

The button is only going to serve the purpose of returning you to the titled Start screen of Windows 8, much like the Start button on the Charms bar that you get when you mouse over to the top right of your screen. It will not bring back the Start Menu.

The removal of the Start button in Windows 8, earlier a part of all Windows editions up till Windows 7, had received a generally negative response from users. It was one of the many dramatic changes in interface, in order to fit in with Microsoft’s aim of providing a uniform experience across computers and tablets. Microsoft had defended its decision to do away with the Start button based on the results of its Customer Experience Improvement Program. The results suggested that Start menu usage had declined, and users simply used the taskbar to launch applications.

Nevertheless, people who missed the button too much found ways around the discomfort by using apps that would serve as replacements to the Start menu. There are numerous such apps – some of the popular ones, like Pokki, had been downloaded 1.5 million times back in January itself, indicating there are many who prefer the older approach to Windows. Others such as Classic Shell (which hit 4 million downloads) and Start 8 have also been popular.

Another feature that might make it to the Windows 8.1 update is the option to ‘boot to desktop’ – by which users can bypass Windows 8’s Metro (or Modern UI) interface and start up right at their desktop. A boot-to-desktop option had long been called for as well, and some of the Start menu replacements offered it as one of their functions too.

With a start menu coupled with a boot-to-desktop option, the tiled Modern UI Start screen effectively becomes the secondary interface for users wishing to stick to the classic Windows look. For those who still want the actual Start menu back, the app replacements are the only options for now.

Windows 8.1 may release at Microsoft’s Build Conference sometime during June 26th to June 28th this year.

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