Microsoft experiments ahead of Windows 8's public beta, is the Start button going the way of the dodo?

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As we draw closer to the Windows 8 public beta this month, we've come to learn many different details of what Microsoft is cooking behind the scenes in the new OS, which is expected to debut in final form by the end of this year.

The latest tidbit, it's being reported that in the most recent Windows 8 build leaked to the web, Microsoft has tweaked the traditional desktop mode by removing the signature Windows orb button from the taskbar.

Traditionally known as the Start button, this quick access menu debuted in Windows 95 and has remained a central piece of the operating system's user interface since. The button was stylized as an orb in Windows Vista and Windows 7, and on earlier builds of Windows 8 it'd been replaced by a plain looking square that went in line with some of the new UI elements and Metro interface language.

Functionality will remain however - or at least that's how it's working on the leaked build - but instead of clicking on a button you need to move your mouse over the bottom left corner of the screen and the Start menu will pop up. Who knows, maybe the change makes sense and it simply works best like this once you get used to it.

Nonetheless, it's evident the primary focus will be on the Start screen (Metro-based dashboard), leaving the traditional desktop view as a necessary leftover interface as most applications will be depending on it when the OS launches.

Other new and upgraded elements of Windows 8 that have been uncovered in the past few months include changes to Explorer, mobile broadband and WiFi connection interface enhancements, new refresh and reset options, a smoother setup experiencebuilt-in device synchronization, and more.

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