The Schwartz Report

Blog archive

Microsoft Says Start Button Will Return (with a Catch)

Microsoft yesterday made official one of the worst-kept secrets in the world of Windows these days -- that it's bringing the Start button back when it releases Windows 8.1 later this year. Moreover, users will have the option of booting up to the traditional, or classic, Windows desktop rather than the tile-based modern user interface that defines Windows 8.

But these two changes come with a bit of a caveat. First, the Windows 8.1 Start button will be there but it will use the Windows flag, rather than the old round button used in earlier versions of Windows. And by default, clicking on it will take you to the tile-based interface. In order to have it launch the Windows menu a one-time configuration is required, The New York Times Nick Wingfield reports.

Likewise, Windows 8.1 by default will still boot to the tile-based interface and you'll need to configure it to boot to the traditional desktop. Not a big deal but I anticipate grumbling by some already.

The original decision to remove the Start button when releasing Windows 8 angered more than three quarters of Redmond magazine readers, generating more response than any other issue in recent memory. And that response was emotionally charged on both sides of the argument.

Those angered by the move felt Microsoft was making it harder to use Windows in the traditional desktop mode for no beneficial reason. But I heard from plenty of IT pros who felt Microsoft's decision to remove the Start button was necessary to wean users away from it and toward the tile-based touch metaphor. Change happens and we need to adapt to it, the argument went.

But Microsoft failed to realize many business users who have no current need or interest in the tile interface -- and more importantly use machines that are not touch-capable -- resented the removal of the Start button. I happen to like the tile interface. But for applications that run only in the traditional desktop mode, I didn't see the benefit of learning new habits. Nor do I see why leaving it in would discourage me from using the tile interface, which seemed to be Microsoft's concern. Microsoft apparently realized that it was premature to remove the training wheels. I think it was a sensible concession with no downside. Do you?

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/31/2013 at 1:15 PM


  • Azure Active Directory ID Protection 'Refresh' Now Available

    Microsoft's enhancements to the Azure Active Directory Identity Protection service are now said to be "generally available" (GA), or ready for commercial use, per a Wednesday announcement.

  • Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Version 1909

    Microsoft on Tuesday announced the release of Windows 10 version 1909, a new operating system product that's also known as the "Windows 10 November 2019 Update."

  • November Microsoft Security Bundle Addresses 75 Vulnerabilities

    Of that number, 13 vulnerabilities are rated "Critical" to patch, while 62 vulnerabilities are deemed "Important."

  • The Future of Office 365 Pricing

    With a raft of new Office 365 features in the pipeline, Microsoft also seems ready to change the way it bills its subscribers. Will it replicate Azure's pay-per-use model, or will it look like something else entirely?

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.