We first heard rumors about a possible comeback of the Start menu button in Windows 8.1 last week, but now sources speaking to The Verge have confirmed that this will indeed be the case, only it’s probably not what most detractors were hoping for. The newly reintroduced button will reportedly sit on the traditional bottom left corner, and will look near-identical to the existing Windows flag used in the Charm bar, but clicking on it will simply bring up the tile-based Start screen rather than the old Start menu.
There are already several quick ways to get back to the Start screen from the desktop. Users can just press the Windows key on their keyboard, or hover their mouse over the lower left corner of the screen until a Start screen thumbnail shows, and then click. So while there’s nothing new here functionality-wise, Microsoft apparently hopes to appease at least some of the criticism by adding a shortcut users might be more familiarized with.
To be fair, you can already do everything the Start menu allowed with the redesigned Start screen -- searching, opening recent files, quickly launching apps, jumping to the control panel and so on. But those who have been criticizing the change have an issue with having to jump back and forth between Modern UI and the desktop to do these things.
Another noteworthy change expected to arrive with the upcoming “Blue” update is the addition of a boot to desktop option. So far only hints of this have appeared on internal builds, and there’s currently no toggle to enable it through the operating system’s UI, but Microsoft is apparently working on how to add this feature -- Windows Weekly’s Paul Thurrott believes it might be limited to Pro and Enterprise Windows 8 SKUs only.
Downloads and Drivers
From the Forums
Subscribe to TechSpot
Receive a weekly update of our best features and tech news you don't want to miss: