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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


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


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