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Should Microsoft Bring Back the Start Button?

Perhaps the most controversial of David Pogue's Windows 8 tips was the first one suggesting third-party tools that let users effectively re-instate the Start menu that made its debut with Windows 95 but was removed from the new OS.

Pogue said those who bemoan the absence of the Start menu can get it back via third-party apps such as Start­IsBack, Classic Shell, Start8, Power8, Pokki and StartW8. Admittedly, I tried Start8 and found it to be a nice crutch. It made me wonder, why doesn't Microsoft just bring it back in the next service pack?

I asked a spokeswoman at Microsoft if there are any plans to bring back the Start menu and she said the company had no comment. One critic slammed Pogue for even suggesting users bring back the Start menu, arguing such a move would be a step back. "I look forward to an article on Windows 8 by a real enthusiast, not someone who explains how to undo the interface," wrote Mark Justice Hinton.

While Microsoft removed the Start menu to wean people off its traditional way of using Windows to the new app model in Windows 8 via the Windows Store, some habits die hard. Some agreed, asking why Microsoft didn't leave Start menu intact?

"The start menu would have minimized retraining, provided continuity and allowed both the tablet and desktop communities to be well served," a commenter known as D Weeberly wrote. "A simple option could have been provided to disable it for those with an opposite preference."

For some, the removal of the Start menu has turned them off to Windows 8 altogether, especially those who had to get new PCs and were content with the way earlier versions of Windows worked. "I have several friends and acquaintance that have needed new computers recently and HATE W8," one commenter said. "I have now found StartW8 and 8GadgetPack so I can now at least offer them a working solution."

Keep in mind, if Microsoft wanted to play hardball, it could have architected Windows 8 so it wouldn't allow third-party Start menu add-ons or permit them in the Windows Store. Do you think if Microsoft brought back the Start menu it would be a setback for its effort to move people to its new modern Windows Store model? Or would it actually help ease the transition from Windows XP or Windows 7 to the new OS?

Let me know if you think Microsoft should bring back the Start menu by dropping me a line at jschwartz@1105media.com.

 

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/11/2013 at 1:15 PM


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Tue, Mar 19, 2013 W8 Hater

Hate W8...I'm an admin assistant and work on programs all day long. W8 is not intuitive. It take more work to close windows, search for hidden files, ugghhh! Hate it...some of the other more complex programs in the Adobe Suite are eventually picked up, but not Windows 8!...I find myself using other computers, laptops, mobile devices rather than my new computer! This is a drag!

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 Tom

Removing the start btn for Windows 8 was a mistake of epic proportions. Not having it on my Surface RT is fine and I can live with it because I don't do much 'real' work on my tablet. Likewise tiles on the surface and my wp8 is fine, I like them. But on the desktop it's just pure aggravation, plain and simple. On Win7 with multiple windows open, I like to be able to scroll through my list of programs (via the start btn) and NOT have the screen completely replaced with icons (like Win8) as it's jarring and I lose fluidity in my work. Also the loss of Aero is a real pain in the neck because part of the way I work is being able to have a sense of depth perception on the screen. And so for example I might have my cmd prompt window behind another window, and so I'm able to see that cmd prompt through the aero glasslike title bar. Another thing is the squared-off windows as opposed to the nicely pleasant rounded windows of win7 - it's aggravating. So here's what I propose: 1) Return the start btn to Win8, 2) Return Aero to Win8, 3) Return rounded corners to windows in Win8, 4) Allow an easy way to boot directly to the desktop and 'lock' it there. And make all these user selectable options. Do these things and the enterprise will adopt it more readily. Don't do it, and MSFT will lose marketshare and open the door for competitors. Example, there are start btn replacements which make the desktop reasonable OSX. So I heard one guy say at a store: 'Hey it looks like a Mac, so I should just buy a Mac'.

Mon, Mar 18, 2013

When asked for their reaction to this article, a spokesman for Apple declined to comment. During their reply, there did appear to be an audible level of laughing emanating from the surrounding offices.

Sat, Mar 16, 2013 Howard M. Cohen Lawn Guyland

Hate to burst your bubble, buddy, but the Start button really is kinda still there! My good friend Bob Hunt, Sr.IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft, points out that if you drag your mouse into the lower left hand corner where the Start button should be, it pops up. Well, the Start screen icon pops up. Beyond that, if you think about it, the entire "modern UI" is really just a Start Menu on steroids and Windows 8 is really still Windows 7 but they called it "The Desktop" just to confuse users. Fun.

Fri, Mar 15, 2013 Erik MN

I really can appreciate where microsoft is going, basically tie together the pc, the tablet, the xbox, the cellphone and make them work under a familiar interface.If they left the start menu in windows 8 + the metro interface they would have had a winner on their hands. Taking it out, especially on server 2012 was a mistake. This is honestly the first version of windows I cant recommend to my business customers.

Thu, Mar 14, 2013 Jacob Knoxville

I have to agree with a few comments here about the lack of the start button on servers. The fact that MS wanted to transition to touch technology on the home front is one thing, but I don't operate my servers the same as I do my desktop. I'm not running around with a touch screen monitor on the data center floor. The fact that MS has once again decided that they are smarter than the thousands of administrators who use it everyday is what, once again, has turned me off. W2K8 R2 has by far been THE BEST interface that MS has put out. Why replace it for the simply sake of replacing it?! Bad call. This looks to me to be the next ME or Vista.

Thu, Mar 14, 2013

Removing it is fine for home user desktops, but Metro is a nightmare for server admins. When I have an issue with a server, I need to get in and fix it fast, not mess with corners, or tiles or spend tons of time looking for the utilities I need. For a server they should have left the win2008 interface, Metro just makes no sense for server platform, it's made me less efficient... great job MS.

Thu, Mar 14, 2013 John Morga Ne

I keep reading how fast Windows 8 is and how clean it is, it's gaudy, looks like an 80's design, and the OS has terrible, terrible latency, Try using pro audio editing software, and all you get are spikes, glitches and my favorite, BSOD. I need performance, not stupid tiles. And when having latency issues, the fact that screens do not *close* they hibernate, only adds to the cpu spikes, wasted resources, causing more poor latency. Call it what you want, but I call it useless. I have a new powerhouse laptop that has Windows 8, and has issues daily. I also have an older laptop, same software, and Windows 7, no issues. So how is the Windows 8, being Windows 7 when it fails for the problems I mentioned, And yes, I have called and spoke to techs about these issues. It's a Windows bug, and it was ignored by Microsoft. Windows 8 has given me more issues than it's worth. Useless, IMO

Wed, Mar 13, 2013 Terrence Loughlin MD Hoffman Estates, IL

I bought a windows 8 computer for my medical office recently and I believe that W8 and the new 'surface' interface is the worst thing Microsoft has ever done. The W8 interface is for 'touch screen' tablet computer users. It is not designed for 'touch pad' or 'mouse pad' computer users. The leaders at Microsoft have lost touch with what sets them apart from Apple. Apple controls all aspects of what a user can do with their products and rips off apple customers with Apps that can only be bought from Apple. The name 'surface' is great because people have only noticed the surface of the problems with W8. I found out that W8 will not allow the customer to install W7 in a partition. I tried installing W7 in a partition on the W8 computer because W8 won't run some of my technical software. W8 won't allow the W7 installation. W8 computers come with internet explorer 10 (IE 10) and W8 won't allow installation of IE 8. I tried to install IE 8 because I need IE 8 to get into the x-ray servers of my hospitals to look at my patient's CT scans and X-rays. The IT people at my hospitals confirmed that IE 10 will not allow access to the 'Rad' or X-ray viewing system. For all those who have said that people like me need to be "weaned" from W7, Vista, or XP; I have to say that you clearly don't understand the magnitude of the trouble that Microsoft has caused for business computer owners like me. There are many reasons that the lead Microsoft W8 developer Steven Sinofsky was fired. Does anyone else out there get a sharp pain in the middle of the head whenever they see the W8 'surface' tiles on a computer advertisement?

Wed, Mar 13, 2013 Dirk

I do not like the start button and and happy that they removed it. It is cleaner and easier to use the "search" function or the start screen. I have Win8 on all my computers and it really is not different than windows 7 except start menu. I understand the annoyance it causes to learn new ways to do it but it is also more efficient and cleaner this way. Win8 is so much faster than Win7. I just feel that anymore people want to complain about windows.

Wed, Mar 13, 2013 David - IT Consultant Chicago

Absolutely!!! Microsoft should make the start button an interface option that can be turned on. They should even make and interface option to turn on min/max/close buttons on Metro UI apps! I have yet to be in a business that can possibly afford to implement 8 in its current state. Every 8 machine I have brought online in business has had Start8 installeld, and metro UI apps deleted to minimized the possiblity the users get "stuck" without a close buttton on a window. If Microsoft wants to stick with the Metro UI and no alternative they ought to provide 1 yr of free help desk to users, and knock the price back to $70 for at least a year. (I bought about 10 licenses at the introductary price, and now that the price has jumped not to 140 but to 200 I can't convice anyone to even consider it. Everybody wants 7 to save hassles and $60 compared to 8) PS anyone who acts like bringing back the start button is some backward move, has no business experiance, and won't last a week if they try to get some unless the entire company is 20 somethings!

Wed, Mar 13, 2013 Mitch Netherlands

Yes, they should absolutely bring back the start menu. It would be nice to be able to switch between the touchscreen orriented modern user interface and the desktop orriented interface with just the desktop and the start menu. A PC is not a tablet and a tablet isn't a PC, Apple gets it, why doesn't MS?

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 TKA CLE

My hubby is a dev/programmer/architect and updated our computers to W8. I think he is super sick of my complaints on how UN-USER friendly this application is! I don't have time to waste trying to figure out where to go, where it went or what corner I need to click or hover on! Nor does he have time to take my tech support calls while he is trying to work! If a product is that Unintuitive - than it cannot be good! C'mon Microsoft... the people are speaking - are you listening? Can't you see all the $ that flying out the window from lost revenue sales??? Get it together for the love of relationships! Bring back the start button!

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Jerry New Jersey

Another IT admin here. Just purchased 5 new Win 8 workstations. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????????? No way in hello can I spend the time and resources to even attempt to retrain the staff. WIN 8 is an absolute abomination. Installed classic shell to make them usable. I'm so done with microsoft. Linux is the final answer!

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Matthew Borcherding San Jose, CA

And yes, HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc. should be offering Windows 7 for their consumer-level systems right now. There's obviously an unmet consumer need given the anemic PC sales and horrible adoption rate on Win8. Meanwhile, business-class systems either: 1. get systems without Windows pre-installed, then install whatever they want via volume licenses, software assurance, etc. 2. get systems with Win8 Pro licenses and downgrade then to Win7 -- as permitted by Microsoft. So if you get say, a Dell Latitude, Precision, or Optiplex system, you should have no big problem with Dell getting you Windows 7 pre-installed.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Matthew Borcherding San Jose, CA

For the love of , YES! Bring back the start button! Microsoft has broken the desktop experience and created a UI nightmare. Allow end users Just about the first thing I do on new Win8 setups now is install ClassicShell. Microsoft should also offer the same functionality of Stardock Software's new ModernMix product: allow Metro apps to run in a resizable, repositionable window and not just full screen. I'd also love them to dump ribbon menus, and the ugly new FULL CAPS menus, but I'm not holding my breath. Ribbons are terrible for power users. The new full caps menus in Office 2013 and VisualStudio 2013 are just ugly. They even had the start menu in early Win 8 betas if you enabled some registry keys. Whatever persons, teams, etc. have been in charge of desktop UI at Microsoft for the past 3-5 years should be fired. They're dumbing down the UI while making it more difficult all at the same time.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 vlaz Ontario

I think MS should bring back the Start button to the desktop to silence the complainers. I know they wanted to force the 'metro' interface on users, and I think its a great UI for tablets, but many home computer users just don't get it and it is causing huge headaches and paranoia amoung basic users. I installed Classic Shell 8 on my Win8 laptop to make it easier for my wife to use, but she has really embraced the 'metro' UI once she spent some time using it. It helps that our laptop has a touch screen.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Russell Oregon

PC vendors have hurt their sales by not offering Win 7 OR Win 8 with new PCs. Many friends and family members are putting off purchases as long as possible, and some may never go back after getting iPADs. HUGE MISTAKE HP & DELL!

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Gregory Ardrey Central Ohio

If we lived in a world where all of the computers I support had touch screens, then maybe we could live without a START button where I work. The reality is that we don't. Most of the machines deployed right now are not touch screen, they're keyboard & mouse desktops. The Win8 fanboys aside, most of the world is not going to make a smooth transition from 7 to 8 without a START button. I also question if the touch interface is the best interface for all tasks. My mouse pointer is much finer and more precise than a blunt finger for things like editing video on a timeline for example. I have a high end home desktop workstation that I use for video editing and recording programming with Windows Media Center. I miss the Aero glass interface which looked far nicer on my big screen than the new monochrome Win8 interface. The point I'm making is that Win8 is a good TABLET interface, NOT A GOOD DESKTOP INTERFACE. What MS needs to do is create 2 versions of Win8... a lean mean tablet/laptop version which is what they have now, and a desktop version that takes advantage of the higher quality graphics cards, stronger CPUs, and keyboard/mouse environment that is more effective for many tasks. Forget home / professional... split the OS based on the hardware platform instead.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 John

Bring back the start button. I have bought one copy of windows 8 to try on one of my PCs. I have used it on a tablet as well. The "Metro" interface is OK, but not great for tablet use. The mismatch of "Metro" and crippled desktop is just messy and poorly thought out. Microsoft please allow people who have time to wast to use "Metro" and people who want to get things done use the tried and tested and evolved start menu.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013

Why did Microsoft fix soemthing that was not broken? Offer an option in the Control Panel to enable the Start button.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Andre Vermont

I don't get it. I hear people in these posts upset that some of us don't like the new Windows 8 interface. Why the upset? If the way I work and the computer that I work on make it preferable to have the Start button then why is that such a big deal? You love the new interface? Great, just don't tell me that I should love it too. I also hear some saying that it is just inertia, people don't like change. Well, I have tried the new interface and I simply find it annoying when trying to do the day to day things I do in supporting a computer. Sometimes I have to quickly log off and back on, multiple times, when testing something. Not so easy without the Start button. It is also faster and easier to restart and shut down the computer with the Start button. Sure there are workarounds but why should that even be necessary? Some of the Start button replacements allow you to keep the hot corners and still readily access the tiles if you want. Why would that be a bad thing? You would still have the new interface along with the old. You could explore and learn at your leisure. If Microsoft had made it impossible to restore the Start button that would have been it for me. I use Windows on a non-touch PC. I would not use the new interface there and I wouldn't recommend it to my customers. I like Windows 8 because they have made some definite improvements and it is faster than Windows 7. I have played with the apps that came with 8 and added some but they fell short for the most part. They were not feature complete or frustrating to use compared to the IOS or Android versions so this new apps interface just didn't cut it for me. I am completely happy using the Desktop interface and Start button. I suits what I do on a computer better. I had thought the apps interface would be fun to have and I actually looked forward to playing with it but was disappointed. Maybe as the apps improve and the number of available apps increases it will ultimately be what I had hoped for but it isn't yet.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Walt Texas

Yes!

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 David Lethe Texas

Windows 8 is UNUSABLE when you use remote desktop protocol from many unix platforms w/o a start menu. You can't make the gesture (or more correctly, something is lost in the translation) from a Mac running Cord or other RDP packages.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013

I support over 400 Windows servers. I cannot in good conscience force my IT peers to use Windows Server 2012 (even with its compelling technical advantages) because they're having a hard enough time farting around with Windows 8 on their desktops to get basic tasks accomplished. Can someone in Redmond answer this: how many tablet-based servers are out there? I get the whole code base sharing aspect of Microsoft OS development, but come on guys! A tablet interface for server? Really!? In my organization, you guys royally screwed the pooch on rapid adoption of Windows 2012!!!

Tue, Mar 12, 2013

TOUCH is for TOYS. I bet none of these comments were tapped out on touch screen. I used to love Windows. Now PCs are worse than useless expensive toys.

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Dave UK

First thing I did was load Classic Shell on my W8 desktop. Why don't M$ give users the option to enable/disable the Start Menu, then monitor it's use?

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 Niall Gibb Dundee, Scotland

I like Windows 8 and use it in the office and at home. For the 5,000 Windows 7 desktop PCs I manage in the city schools, however, the modern UI is an unwanted barrier to migrating to Windows 8. Touch is a complete irrelevance to these desktops. I want the performance benefits of Windows 8 but cannot move until we are able to present a traditional interface. The prospect of training 23,000 users is unthinkable. I am unwilling to spend money a 3rd party solution. Only Microsoft can resolve this to my satisfaction.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Maximilian United Kingdom

To this: "I don't understand why in a point and click touch interface you would drop a point and click Start menu in favour of a click and type interface to find an application" Sir, if you really want to start applications quickly and efficiently, there's shortcut on your taskbar for this. You still can create shortcut by point-and-touch, finding it on Metro menu. But the truth is, we these days have so many applications on our computers, that search is infinitely more progressive than hierarchical menu -- which the Start menu is. You can have the best of both worlds, but stubbornly refusing to use keyboard robs you of productivity.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Maximilian United Kingdom

What I read here, is mental inertia. "Bring back Win 7". One post in particular said it all: "My Start Menu... hundreds of applications in hierarchical order". I am sorry, but am I the only one who dropped Start Menu altogether in favour of system search?! Win+Q and type the name of your app is so much more efficient than clicking through menus/submenus... It started even on Windows 7 when people stubbornly switched Control Panel into classic mode -- instead of just typing what they want in free English!! --- By sticking to outdated practices you the Professionals are robbing your users from learning new techniques as quickly as possible to enjoy them during all the product cycle, instead of switching to new system only when it becomes old. --- I spent 20 years supporting various companies and I never allowed the lag behind, my users switched to new technologies on time, yes five hours of bitching are really worth it when they proudly display their knowledge of newest systems to their colleagues in other companies. (e.g. we're on Win7+Office 2010 when others are on XP+2003...) --- Stop whining, stop bringing crutches, drop them and try to understand why were these changes brought?? People in Microsoft aren't idiots, contrary to popular (idiotic) belief. Read their blogs and try to understand why. --- PS I am not affiliated with MS at all.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 80's Rocker

Win 8 on tablets "Kicks Apples Butt" and that is a quote from my nephew who is an Apple fan boy. He is selling his iPad so he can get one of the new Win8 Hybrids that are out. And his wife wants to get a Surface RT. I do not miss the start menu, but users should have option to turn on if in desktop. They should also allow users to boot directly to desktop. Win8 is not perfect, but MS is correct in that people want hybrid tablet / laptop devices. One of our pastors got the Dell XPS and loves it.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

I don't understand why in a point and click touch interface you would drop a point and click Start menu in favor of a click and type interface to find an application. I am not planning to roll out W8 to my end users without a start menu. I have time to hold for W8 sp1 or 2. I have tried the MS Store and compared to iTunes the MS store is the most un-user-friendly thing I have used.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 John Wagner Richmond, Virginia

I believe that a majority of folks who are lamenting the demise of the start button are really just missing order, or what they conceive as order. With the Start button, one can easily ascertain all of the programs available on the PC, in alphabetical order. Without the Start button, you’re left with an attractive desktop with very little on it on installation (in desktop mode) or a menagerie of tiles in a seemingly random formation that forces the user to swipe left-to-right attempting to find the application he or she wants. That is really the only advantage to the Start button – a quick and easy guide to all you have. If MS had kept this simple function (a humble list, more or less, and nothing more) then folks would have more easily adapted to the new interface. Essentially it would have become a “safe” or “home” button. Eventually, after users became acquainted with the new interface they would have gladly stopped using it. MS didn’t have to remove the Start button, they just had to show users that they no longer needed it.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Noel Kentucky

All these threats about the start button, (my company won't upgrade, etc.) is ridiculous to say the least. The "it's another Vista" phrase is also ludicrous! It took very little time to get to know the interface. The desktop is a click away. You can have all the apps listed with a click or have shortcuts galore. You can still have multiple Windows open. I think some of these respondents may be pushing against Windows 8 for other reasons. Bottom line is that it is a very fast and secure OS.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Al

There's so much misinformation about Win 8's UI. I even see it here in these comments. One guy says he can't access things when he uses RDP to connect to a Win 8 machine (hint, press the client computer's Win key -- this even works with RDP under Linux with an Apple keyboard for Pete's sake). Someone else complains everything is in full-screen mode, clearly not understanding how Desktop works. One other guy says MS wants to make money with an App store. Gee, you think? The bottom line is you can use your Win 8 computer just like a Win 7 computer if that's what you want to do (that's how I use it). If you need to run calc, kick-off Notepad, or some other app, just tap the Win key on your keyboard and type calc, cmd, whatever. It's no different than Start Run, or Start Search in Win 7. You can also press the Win key and click the tile for the app if that's your preference. I haven't moved my mouse to the corner since about the second day of using Win 8, again, the Win key is your friend). If you have a tablet, you also have a UI that is appropriate for a tablet. MS has pulled off what the naysayers including Apple said could not be done. The real complaints are with the missing Start button and I don't see any harm in having one that can be enabled/disabled. If there has been a disservice it has been that MS didn't supply a few paragraphs explaining how the UI works (the videos are more for marketing and not for training). No UI and OS is completely intuitive. Anyone who thinks so either forgot what they learned along the way or is not really leveraging what the UI/OS has to offer. Win 8 is faster, safer, and more versatile than previous offerings and it really isn't that far a reach for experienced Win 7 users.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Richard Muller Maryland

I am a retired independent computer consultant. I would have had my consulting engagement cancelled forthwith if I "improved" a client- application's interface into something unrecognizable to the user community. Microsoft's software engineers are daft.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Gene Tampa FL

As a recently retired MCSE, I find the lack of a Start button on a non-touch device to be an unnecessary complication for the user. The MSOS should facilitate productivity not get in the way. Experienced users can find the programs they want to start, but they have to work at it. What was MS thinking?

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Los Angeles

Lot of whine in this thread. I didn't like what I saw of W8 when I read the reviews...then I installed it. It's faster, cleaner, uses fewer resources. The Start screen is just a bigger Start menu. Since '95, the Start menu has gotten bigger with each release...they just decided to go full screen with it. You don't have to live there; in fact, I don't go there often at all. Regarding RDP access...if you're using the most recent RDP client (and yes, this is available in W7), it knows you're connecting to W8 and gives you a new menu at the top to access things that are difficult to hit via hotspot. All in all, I'm satisfied.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Richard Montana

I support computers that run everything from Windows 98 to W8. My users range in age from 12 to 87. Based on input from end users, removing the Start button/orb was probably the worst thing MS could have done. I personally have disliked the look/feel of the interface since Vista was introduced. But I always use the latest version to stay familiar. I am still getting W7 machines, under contract, from our bulk provider. I am not looking forward to having W8 in widesoread deployment. Those who say...you're a moron for not moving on...obviously have no clue what it takes to train end users to something this different.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Terri Ithaca, NY

This editor's opinion really struck a chord. We bought laptops for my three step kids for Christmas. Couldn't for the life of us figure out how to pull up certain "basic" features/programs (we are in our 50s) and kept asking the kids, "Isn't there a Start menu?" Now I know . . . bring it back!

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

My take on this is that Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot. Yes, it is a huge conglomerate, but not too big to fail. They've tried several times, but didn’t because they were the only game in town. But now they are facing competition (Google and Apple), and haven’t learned how to navigate in a competitive environment. In my opinion, they will soon piss off enough people that their market share will begin to fade. Imagine a world in which we actually have some say and choice! Won't happen as long as Microsoft is the size player it is

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Brian B

I agree with ART. We are too lazy and always looking for the easy and fast way to do things. We should all just learn the W8 keyboard shortcuts and not use the mouse. After that we can learn the dozens of shortcuts for all our apps and just unplug the mouse altogether. Once we've been weaned off the mouse we'll realize that we're just back to using DOS and all this Windows nonsense was just a way for MS to make money by selling us new apps. Forget being productive, just memorize hundreds of keyboard shortcuts!

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Col. Panek Griffiss AFB

I have a "Yes, Master?" button on my LinuxMint desktop menu. It's the least important reason I had for switching. Ach, schadenfreude!

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Terry

Right now no one wants to buy Win 8 because they are forced to use such a cumbersome interface. If the users had the option to turn this on and off Win 8 might actually sell. At this rate though, no one wants a Windows tablet and no one wants a touchscreen interface for their non touchscreen computer. No one wants to be forced to do something they already know and love to use differently. Apple succeeded because they had no market share and forced people to bite on their methods. MS cannot do this through the alienation of current customers, but they seem to be trying. Nothing is persuading me to buy Win 8 right now, the user experience is awful and that's what drives consumers these days. Without a start menu we will end up with another Win ME, Win Vista debacle. I'm sorry Microsoft, but you can't drive the consumers. The consumers drive you or you are out. There are other options out there and people are becoming more open minded. If I have to change, why not try out that free Linux distro that does have a start menu? At least I don't have to pay to not like it.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 PC

Read all the great comments here - I think it is clear that MS needs to accept the fact that information consumers have different requirements than information creators. Now and well into the future the desktop needs to be efficient to use without a touch screen. Win7 is a great desktop environment for productivity - don't fix what ain't broke!!!! Imagine a Win7 GUI with Win8 under the hood - now that gets me excited! MS - listen and respond or watch this long-time MS partner leave the nest.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Alf NJ

I use windows 8 on an old Dell laptop, non-touch screen. I really don't miss the Start orb. I hit the windows key and start typing. The search finds what I am looking for. Yes if MS kept the Start orb from Win7 it would make the transition easier but I don't see a need for it. We have become a society that does not want to do anything we need to actually think about or may cause us to work hard. We want a pill to lose weight, stop smoking, etc. because we don't want to do the work ourselves. Cosmetic surgery for anything that we don't like. Stop being self absorbed babies and use your magnificent brains to learn something. I have always used the keyboard shortcuts to get things done, in XP, Win7 and now even Win8. There are even more. My personal experience has not changed, I am still as productive. What I do have though is a logitech touchpad for when I am on the Metro side, mostly for scrolling and zooming in and out of photos. WIN8 is not so bad.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Ed S Colorado

I'm sorry Mr. Delta seems to be having a very bad day. Put me in the list of users who are too stupid to appreciate the W8 experience. Complaint about the Start button is a symptom. If Microsoft brought it back, I would still reject W8 because it is a TERRIBLE desktop experience. It's pretty stupid having an 8 core machine with lots of RAM and only allowing it to run 1 app at a time, and forcing the little app to be full screen on my 27" monitor, etc. Let's check the business strategy: they want to drive people to their app store, so they create an OS that only 2.5% of people want to use (to use Mr.Sweeney's data). It might take a while.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Mike E. Delta

Forgive me, but if you use a windows machine then your keyboard has a Windows key, which is exactly the same as the so-called and SO highly sought after "START" button. It is now the SECOND decade of the new Millennium and no longer the 1990's. If you really want your tiny little box with the tiny list in alphabetical order(whatever, I know you can make it half the size of your screen) then I apologize when I call you a RE-TARD! The next generation is clamoring for your end, get with the program or get out of the way. You don't hate Windows 8, you're afraid of it and what you really are afraid of is obsolescence (which is what Microsoft is also worried about, trust me I keep reading/hearing/seeing it every day from the masses) and it's too late for the lot of you. Whatever, no one really cares anyway and none of this will matter very soon...the end comes for us all.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

Is is all about the money. Microsoft saw Apple making millions from the app store and wanted in. The only way to force users to use the Microsoft app store is to remove the start button. it will not come back. End of story.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Joe Sweeney Sydney, Australia

I recently conducted a survey of Australian desktop managers and IT folks about plans for Win8. And here is the guts of the matter: of those companies still on XP (between 45-55% of the market), just on 95% will be moving to Win7 for desktops (3.4% error) with just 4.6% moving to Win8. Yes, you read those numbers correctly. The main reason mentioned for avoiding Win8 is the challenge of change management, due in no small part of the start menu. A much higher percentage of IT managers will consider Win8 tablets, but for the desktop, it is clear enterprise upgrades will be limited. This is a shame, because there is nothing 'wrong' with Win8: it ticks all the boxes for enterprises. But then again, so does Win7. The issue is not that MS has delivered a flawed OS, but rather that people are resistant to change. From a pure marketing perspective, is now clear (as it was during the beta) that MS should have allowed enterprises the choice of enabling the start button as a default for desktops and non-touch-screen devices. Giving the choice to consumers would have eliminated most of the current negative kickback. Can it regain the market support by adding it back in SP1? Doubtful, as most enterprises that need to migrate have already locked in Win7 plans.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Warren Sternin Orange County, Calif.

I've been an IT Pro since the early 80s and supported everything from DOS 2.0 to OS/2 LAN Manager and Windows 1.0 through Win7 and Server 2012. I really like W8 on touch screen tablets like the MS Surface. I installed Win8 with Start8 in a small business several weeks ago and they're happy. Last week, I installed a new desktop at home and decided to bite the bullet and get used to the new GUI. After nearly a week, I still don't care for it. I'll give it a few more days and probably install Start8.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Marc Wagner Bloomington

An earlier comment suggested that the Windows 8 Start Screen was worse than useless for the Desktop user. Well, simply put, it is not intended for the Desktop user. The new Start Screen is intended for quick access to information, and for full-screen tablet-oriented consumption. You can adjust Windows so that when you boot into the Metro "Start Screen" you can start your favorite Desktop applications and spend the rest of your day on the Windows 8 Desktop. You do not have to return to the Start Screen the rest of the day. You can set up your Desktop apps to appear on your taskbar, In short, Windows 8 gives you all the tools you ever had.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 MIKE NEW YORK

StartIsBack is just what I needed for my W8 desktops. I added it to my install scripts. Let's do the math... $5 for the license or the cost of two or three days of training for every employee....

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

I really hate that everything opens full screen and there is no way to change it. Once monitors and thier resolution was high enough to display a full page in a window I learned to use many windows simultaneously and have never looked back. Win8 opening each application full screen, on Dual non-touch 24 inch monitors is completely ridiculous looking. I went back to Win7 ASAP!!

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Heidi Denver

Unless they give up the idea that all electronic devices are created equally...YES! People who use PCs for business need to keep their productivity up. Maintaining continuity between the old and new helps achieve that. No "Start" button works on phones & tablets, but please make the WORKstation about WORK and not just browsing, e-books and games. Besides that, what crackpipe were they smoking when they decided to put all the Apps under "Search" anyway? That makes no logical sense!

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 JoeZeppy

Try to RDP into a Windows 8 machine in a window and get to the Computer Management app to check the event log or Control Panel, or the run box, or a cmd prompt. You cant mouse to the corner, if you can't see it. If you go one pixel too far, youre out of RDP and back on your own desktop. You can't hit Win+X, because that only works in full screen. No one in support is anxious to walk users through this mess. If you don't have the IT people, you dont have evangelist hyping the OS to the end user.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

The start menu is needed so long as there is a desktop interface. The Desktop was designed for it. Having to switch back to the Win 8 interface to start a desktop program, only to go back to the desktop upon execution, is a bit pointless.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Christian Olivares Iquique, Chile

I don't see the point of establish a new interface (metro) but the main office apps still uses desktop mode. I already find useful the (metro) interface with some new apps (like some e-readers) ready for tablets, but is annoying the switch between (Metro) and desktop. I'm using Win8 long before the RC. I have already installed into my office pc. At home, okay, metro. But at office, 90% of my working time i use MS Office and others apps in desktop mode. And yes, i bought Start8 because i really miss the start button. If the start button is not restored, i think the enterprises will stick to win7 (Hello, Vista?)

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 NikPow

Bring back the START button.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 JohnnyB New England

I am an IT Professional, and although things such as new OS releases come across intuitively, and from working across multiple platforms - Mac OS, Windows, Linux, etc - I could not be absolutely objective to this. I find the new Windows 8 interface ok - I do admit that I would prefer to have the start menu - the real test was when I upgraded my wife's laptop to Windows 8 - and she absolutely hates it. She has used Mac OS, and Windows 7 - generally finding the Mac OS a bit more user friendly. Based about her own feedback, which is as close as you get to an average Windows consumer, Microsoft dropped the ball on Windows 8 interface, and, the decision to drop the Start menu.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Mike Ziegler Hampton, IA

With almost 20 years of IT experience, and a Windows user every day of my career, I fancy myself pretty darned efficient with the traditional start / run / explorer interface. I completely agree with Allan, re: the Metro interface being fine for media and information consumption, but frankly, pretty useless, clunky and painful when trying to get some actual work done. It seems that Microsoft has really missed the target with their Windows 8 UI assumption that everyone, in all use cases, should be just tickled by the crafty Metro interface. The reality (for me, and many others, I'm sure) is that I MIGHT want to use the Metro interface on a tablet, or a phone, or any other 90% consumption posture. However, when I'm one my Precision M, I want to get down to business, and get some work done with the same extremely efficient navigational practices I've developed over the years. A real win, which would satisfy everyone? A service pack option to toggle Metro on (I.E., no start button) or Off (back to the Win7 navigation). That would be best of both worlds, would drive faster adoption, and may even be useful to toggle occasionally on the same device.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Thomas Lee UK

Of course Msft should bring back the start button. And it should allow/facilitate Metro Apps running in a Window as well. These two 'features' utterly ruin what is a very useful desktop/laptop OS. I put Windows 8 on my laptop and from the moment I started using it, I hated the UI. It just seemed to make everything more difficult. Then I discovered Start8 and my view of Win8 is transformed. I love the laptop OS now, and use it pretty much every day. It is only arrogance that prevents Msft from bringing back the start button. An arrogance that makes Start Dock money. I have to ask this: if the start button was so poor (and the start-button less UI so good), would anyone really pay out for Start8?

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 JimmyMac Sonoma, CA

Until the majority of business and home PC's have functional touch screen displays, the default Windows 8 interface is a hindrance to productivity and from what I've seen a huge mistake to deploy in a production environment. The only way so far to alleviate (not eliminate) the loss of productivity was/is to install a third party start button. I have been instructed by several of my clients to NOT implement any Windows 8 systems. I will say however that Windows 8 (with the classic start menu add-on) out performs Windows 7 on the same hardware.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 RRT USA

I have used Win8 enough to understand Microsoft's thinking, but I believe they made a mistake by not including a fully functional Win7 style desktop
so people could ease into it. Use of Windows 8 on non-touch screen devices is awkward at best, and without the complete Win7 style interface, it
requires a pretty steep initial learning curve. This is because you can't just click past the tile start screen and go to work on the desktop. You have to figure out how to use it, AND how to mimic gestures with a mouse, to get anything done. I dread trying to support users through that transition. And this is from someone who has supported users thru the green screen to GUI transition, the Win 3.x to Win 95 transition, Win95 to XP, etc.
3rd party software is nice for a home user, but many corporate enviroments will not allow it. And in fact it, is not required. Minor tweaks to Win8 such as Greg has outlined would be enough to provide a "Win7 like" crutch, on the desktop, to aide people making the
transition. The full Win8 experience is still there, untouched, for those that already know Win8, or are quick on the uptake.
Microsoft, please don't permanently saddle the entire user community with a significant short term productivity drop, just because you are unwilling to admit that you may have reached a bit too far in one step. People will adapt to the Win8 interface. Microsoft should give them the time to do so a bite at a time, rather than swallowing the entire watermelon.
As it is now, your core corporate users are holding on to Win7 while some home users are opting for an ipad ininstead of a new Win8 box, because of the misplaced perception that Win8 is "hard" but Apple is "easy".

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

One app at a time makes sense on a 4.5 in. screen but not on a 24 in. I typically have 8-10 windows open at at a time and am opening and closing apps all day long. It is not a matter of converting or convincing, it is a simple difference in use and environment.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

Tiles work on touch screens. I have Windows 8 on a touch screen ultrabook and it works well. Tiles do not work on point and click desktops or on servers. I can only guess that whoever wanted tiles on a server assumed that best practice of using Server Core or Minimal Graphical Interface would be adopted. Try explaining that to a system owner or applications developer.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Dan Pennsylvania

The bottom line is that this is TWO operating systems. A great tablet OS, which has been forcibly grafted to a desktop OS in such a way as to effectively cripple BOTH. The tablet paradigm is fast and fluid for consuming information, but the desktop is where real work gets done. But even the tablet side has its faults, especially the fact that many of the commands are now undiscoverable due to the fact that they have removed all visual cues that something can be interacted with and force the user to find out through trial and error the touch-based gestures to initiate something. And that's if you HAVE a touchscreen. It's mouse support is abismal. Granted, if you do EVERYTHING at the desktop side thorugh keyboard shortcuts, you've actually gained something in some cases. But the wonderful enhancements under the hood cannot make up for the fact that this interface is the worst, most confusing and user un-friendly experience Microsoft has ever put out IMHO.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Realist

Microsoft only wants to make money - and it's doing it like the women's fashion industry (change even though it ain't broke). Their unilateral, unwanted, change to user interfaces is a HUGE waste of money for the corporate world. Rather than being tools that help business make money, they make businesses spend untold BILLIONS of dollars retraining every user and wasting productive time. How much money would be wasted if the government came along and made everyone change to driving on the left? Same thing with Micro$oft - no need for it, but no choice.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Tom Illinois

Removing the start menu was a HUGE mistake. We have 200 hundred desktops & laptops in our company. We will not roll out Windows 8 until we can get back to that menu. That's 200 people - half of which are over 45 years old - and some of which still have Windows XP machines. The undeniable loss of productivity for x weeks/months, the training time, and the need to ensure mission critical application compatibility are all major problems for us. We are in a business to make money. Time is money. Loss of productivity impacts the bottom line. I'm not anti Win 8. My wife has a new Win 8 phone and I like the UI there. It works great, but it doesn't work as well on a business desktop running non Metro applications and I shouldn't have to be forced to try to make it do so.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Vic Wisconsin

I really do not think that Win8 will be ready for business use until they do bring back the start menu, or make it a lot easier for the novice user to switch quickly from app to app. The institution I work for has no plans to upgrade anytime soon, and since I do a lot of the tech training, I am eternally grateful.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Vic Boudolf Charleston, SC

I love the tiles on my phone, but on desktop I do not. Let's say I'm working very hard writing a document, and wnat want to quicly reference and email. Hit the widows key to bring up outlook, and my document disappears. It is distracting -- rude even -- and not productive.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Mike Dayton

Of course they should bring back the start button, as well as booting to the desktop, for the same reason books are formatted differently than magazines--we approach each medium with a different purpose. Sure, they share many common elements such as pages, paragraphs, and punctuation, but it's OK that they have a different "feel" about them! With a bit of noodling, Microsoft's designers should be able to figure out a way to build two interfaces that "feel" different but allow users to share the same mental model about how it operates and where things are.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

for those of us that do not have a touchscreen the start button helps, I still like my win 8 on a non touch screen laptop, but I can feel how the touch screen begs to be touched. I have not added a start button yet.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 An "enthusiast"

"I look forward to an article on Windows 8 by a real enthusiast, not someone who explains how to undo the interface," wrote Mark Justice Hinton. - Earth to Mark. Real people need to do real productive things with their computers. When the interface gets in the way of this, with an almost ruthless level of efficiency (as the Metro interface does) then they will naturally want to change it to one that works. Microsoft better learn quick that there will be ZERO adoption of Windows 8 in the corporate environment as it stands now. Bring back the Start Menu as an optional interface in SP1 or this OS is doomed to irrelevance. I, as many other IT folks, have tried to adapt to the new IU and the bottom line is, it sucks. Not just different. It sucks. Which is too bad, because underneath, Win8 is very stable and fast.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Eric Thirolle Durham

Agree with comment above re folks who have dozens or hundreds of apps. This is the reality in an engineering company environment. The Start Menu is just a more efficient way to access this number of apps. I think this little thing - absence of the Start Menu - could be enough to dxelay adoption of Win8 in my company.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Vic Boudolf Charleston, SC

At least make it scroll up and down like the mouse wheel!

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 bigpalooka hoboken, nj

I don't care if adding a Start button would be a setback for microsoft's plans. It's a setback for the way I work. I've seen my hi-tech buddies struggle with the new interface and I'm staying away until MS un-Bob's this one. Some people are saying these addons are a crutch, but I was fine even without a crutch before. I want to work unhindered by the operating system, of all things.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 JP MISSOURI

I HAVE THE TILE SYSTEM ON MY WINDOWS PHONE, AND I QUICKLY GOT USE TO IT AND LIKE IT. MORE RECENTLY I BOUGHT SEVERAL LAPTOPS ALL WITH WINDOWS 8... ARRRRGH HOW FRUSTRATING THIS LEARNING CURVE... LUCKILY IT IS MY WIFE'S AND GRANDKIDS LAPTOPS, MINE STILL HAS WINDOWS 7 WHICH I LOVED INSTANTLY. IN MY MID-SIXTIES, I FEEL LESS AND LESS INCLINED TO WASTE TIME ADJUSTING TO NEW WAYS OF PERFORMING MUNDANE TASKS!!!

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Vonskippy Western Slope, CO

" if Microsoft brought back the Start menu it would be a setback for its effort to move people to its new modern Windows Store model" So it's no longer MY computer working the way I want it to eh? Where does MS get off telling me what I can and can't do with my own desktop. Wasn't Gnome 3 enough of a lesson for all of us?

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Dennis Barr Kansas City

I am a fan of Windows 8. I've upgraded all my home PCs to Windows 8 Pro, I've been using a Surface RT as has my wife, and, to quote Steve Ballmer, we're "all in" to the newest OS from Microsoft. That said, I still think they made a terrible mistake by eliminating the Start menu. In most of the work I do, professionally and personally, I am in the Desktop environment. The Start menu is the quickest way for me to find the programs I need when I need them, particularly those I don't use all that often. I have been using Classic Shell as my Start menu replacement since my first upgrades to Win8. I've tried some others, but none of them has been as productive as has this free program. It's the one I'd recommend to any new Windows 8 user who can't make the leap to Modern just yet. Like I said, I'm a fan of Windows 8. The architectural improvements it makes from the Windows 7 base are generally worth the trouble of upgrading. The lack of a Start menu can be easily overcome. With or without a touchscreen, the newest version of Windows has been an overall winner. Did Microsoft make a mistake eliminating the Start menu? I think it's undeniable. Is this a deal breaker? It wasn't for me, once I did a little research and found some good options. I'll continue to recommend Windows 8 until I find some reason to change my mind.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Allan Fabrick United States

A smart phone/tablet interface is great if you are consuming information. People usually have a manageable number of applications that they use. However for creating content (programming, writing, etc.) the smart phone approach is not efficient. The start menu lets you arrange hundreds of applications in hierarchical order, allowing fast access to the desired application. The start button search is an alternative way to quickly access one application out of hundreds. Not sure why Microsoft decided to remove the start button when it could have left users with both ways to access programs in Windows 8. I am going to wait until the next service pack before upgrading and when I do I will definitely replace the functionality of the start button.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Sue New England

The PowerShell button brings back the command line interface. That should bring back all the memories users need.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

I've used Windows 8 on a desktop PC and a tablet PC, and found that on the desktop PC I use the Start button replacement I downloaded, whereas on the tablet I find the new Start screen works better for me.

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 Art Michigan

I think it would be great to ease the transition...

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