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5/30/2013
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Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist

Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 will include boot-to-desktop options and a restored Start button. But other interface criticisms remain unanswered.

8 Free, Must-Have Windows 8 Apps
8 Free, Must-Have Windows 8 Apps
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Microsoft announced Thursday that Windows 8.1 will restore the Start button and include a boot-to-desktop option, confirming a series of reports published the previous afternoon.

At face value, the tweaks smooth over several of Windows 8's most-criticized rough edges. What remains to be seen, however, is if the new features' implementations will mollify detractors, or merely shift criticism for the OS, which has struggled to gain users, in a different direction.

Corporate VP for Windows Program Management Antoine Leblond confirmed the new features in a blog post. Specifically, he said "Boot to Desktop is Coming" and "the Start Button is Back -- Sort of."

[ What else does Microsoft need to do? Read 5 Windows 8 Gripes Microsoft Must Address. ]

Rather than replicating the Windows 7 button, the new version will connect to the Start screen -- that is, to the same Live Tile interface to which Windows 8 currently boots. Users can set the button to summon an "All Apps" view, however, in which app icons can be arranged by usage, installation date, name or category.

The Start button will most likely benefit traditional mouse-and-keyboard users, but users with touchscreens will be able to access "All Apps" by swiping from the bottom of the display. The Start button will be visible at the bottom of the taskbar when the user is in desktop mode but will only appear in the Modern UI if the user moves the mouse to the lower left-hand corner of the screen. Microsoft also said that newly installed apps will only appear on the Start Screen if the user pins them there.

And yes, Win 8.1 will allow users to boot directly to either the desktop or the "All Apps" screen in Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 will feature greater multitasking flexibility within the Modern UI. Users will be able to run up to three apps per screen, and multi-monitor viewing will be supported. Each open app can be freely resized, and users can run multiple windows of the same app, such as two instances of Internet Explorer.

Windows 8 currently forces users to jump from the Modern UI to the desktop when they need to access the Control Panel. Windows 8.1 will make more tools equally accessible in either interface. Leblond specifically mentioned controls for display resolution, power options, system information, product keys, Windows Update and SkyDrive.

Live Tiles will come in more sizes, bringing some welcome customization to the Start screen. Users can also use the same background for both the Start screen and the desktop, an option that could make moving between the UIs more cohesive.

Leblond stated people inadvertently move tiles on the Start screen. For that reason, Windows 8.1 will require that users press and hold -- or, for desktop users, right click -- an icon before moving it around.

In Windows 8.1, the search function will return files, apps, Bing Web results and SkyDrive files. Windows 8.1 also will feature stronger and more numerous hooks to SkyDrive.

Windows 8.1's native apps are getting upgraded. The blog post said, for example, that the Photos app will include editing features, and that the Music app has been redesigned.

Leblond offered little information about IE11, expect that users will be able to open as many tabs as they want, and that open tabs can be synced across all Win8.1 devices.

Microsoft's announcement falls in line with rumors posted by several websites, including ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurott's Supersite for Windows.

Indeed, most of the features that Leblond confirmed have been part of the rumor mill for months. Nevertheless, most Win8 critics are likely to welcome this news, which suggests Microsoft is both listening to and acting on customer feedback. That said, these adjustments do not constitute a panacea for Windows 8's woes.

At least one report suggests, for example, that Windows 8 users -- even those on tablets -- have relatively little use for Modern-style apps. By allowing users to boot directly to the desktop, Microsoft will remove the mechanism that currently forces users to look at those apps each time Win8 boots up. With that strong-arming no longer in play, what must Redmond do to keep Modern apps from languishing? Will Windows 8.1's refreshed native apps be a step in the right direction?

And what about traditional desktop users? Leblond promises that this group has not been forgotten, and to mouse-reliant users, Windows 8.1 should be easier to navigate than the current version. But is it enough to tempt Windows 7 users to upgrade their desktops?

Only time will tell. For the present, Leblond promised that more information will be revealed between now and late June, when Microsoft is slated to release a preview version of Windows 8.1 at its Build conference in San Francisco. The official version is expected to begin shipping in the following months.

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AsokAsus
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AsokAsus,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/30/2013 | 3:50:28 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
No restored Start Menu = Microsoft is lying though their teeth about
listening to their customers. If the restored Start Button just takes a
user back to Metro, Microsoft has pretty much just spit in the faces of
their users and has indicated that it no longer has any real interest
in remaining in business, because the outrage that will be engendered by
such a move will make the anger triggered by the original Start Menu
removal look trivial.

Potential customers are waiting to see if 8.1 shows Microsoft is
listening or not. If not, then the current stall out in PC sales will be
nothing compared to what's going to occur after a
poke-you-in-the-eye-with-a-stick 8.1 is released.

Given what's coming down the pike with 8.1 and Xbox One, Steve Ballmer seems absolutely determined to kill Microsoft.
Lord_Beavis
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Lord_Beavis,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/30/2013 | 5:34:57 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
This is only a small part of the reason that I am switching to Linux. Now id someone would make an open source game system...
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 1:54:59 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Ballmer is absolutely determined to make the Metro strategy work as it's the best strategy to make the most money from the Zune store. At least with Vista the PC manufactures offered "downgrades" for XP but M$ has killed the Win7 OEM licenses to eliminate the choice. More people are going to go Apple and Google instead...just might kill M$.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2013 | 4:48:27 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
No reason to upgrade Windows 7 to a slightly better Windows 8 Desktop but no reason to downgrade a new Windows 8 System to Windows 7.

A couple of changes to the configuration and you can comfortably stay on Desktop until you want to go to the Modern Front End and play with it..

I run both a Windows 7 and Windows 8 System side by side every day.

No reason not to upgrade a Vista or XP system . I upgraded a retired XP at the $40 special price and it brought it back from the dead.
Lord_Beavis
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Lord_Beavis,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/30/2013 | 5:38:01 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
The only way to upgrade a Vista or XP system is to go to Linux.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/9/2013 | 7:45:19 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Right, and how exactly are you planning to run your daily programs in Linux? You're dreaming.
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Ninja
5/30/2013 | 5:27:32 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Making a "fake" START button redirect users back to the Metro screen is just playing a cruel joke on long time Windows Users. Look MS, give us desktop users a REAL START BUTTON and maybe a desktop icon for getting to the Metro tile apps screen, if we ever feel the need to waste time playing with a bunch of nearly useless apps. If I'm on a real desktop why would I want an app between me and the real web site I'm wanting use such as Facebook? These "Vista Gadgets on steroids" need a way for the user to permanently eliminate them in a desktop setting, or at least be assured they are not running in the background stealing CPU cycles.
Lord_Beavis
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Lord_Beavis,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/30/2013 | 5:36:48 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
When I saw the details behind the new Xbox One's second hand games market strategy, I knew then that the 360 would be the only and last game system I bought from Microsoft. Starting to wish I had bought the PS3 instead...
zman58
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zman58,
User Rank: Strategist
6/3/2013 | 4:11:03 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Sony is not any better. They will take your blood if you let them.
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2013 | 6:53:43 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
OK, I have been a Microsoft support Technician since 1989. My Son is not very computer Savy, but does fine with Windows XP. I know he would also do OK with Windows 7 because it is similar in operation. IF he needs to learn a whole new GUI format and not have the same click and go, point and shoot! Why not just get him an Apple Product? He can use any word processor for his English Major, as long as it spell checks and saves in .doc....who cares? The Gaul of Microsoft to demand it's customers learn this mess.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 1:38:21 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
There are plenty of Word compatible third party apps on iTunes and Google Play. No need to use pop's computer once he's got a iPad or Android tablet.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2013 | 11:52:18 AM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
So we only get a lousy button, but not the functional start menu? Does Microsoft really think people are that stupid? This is not fixing anything! The Metro screen just stinks, it is kludgy and dysfunctional, it offers zero value and makes interacting with the system a major pain in the rear. It is the most useless thing Microsoft ever added to any of their OS.
Microsoft is just utterly resistant to advice, free advice from customers that is. Bring the start menu back in 8.1 and make it so that one can eradicate anything Metro. And even then we just get a slightly better version of a castrated Win7. If this is all that Microsoft has to offer then 8.1 has the same appeal as 8.0: absolutely none!
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 1:35:17 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Its about what M$ thinks will make them more money not about what customers would prefer. M$ doesn't want to give the user a real choice as its afraid we won't choose Metro where the Zune store resides.
zman58
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zman58,
User Rank: Strategist
6/3/2013 | 4:13:18 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Has it ever been about what the customer wants? Once you read the EULA, it becomes very clear as to what it really is all about. It has nothing to do with what you prefer as a customer.
Aroper-VEC
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Aroper-VEC,
User Rank: Strategist
7/22/2013 | 2:08:19 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
I don't think the Start button is really that big of a deal. I could hide the Start button here at my office and nobody would know it was missing. If there isn't a shortcut to something on the desktop, according to the EU, it isn't installed or doesn't exist. The Start button and Start Menu are enigmas to these people.
Faye Kane, homeless brain
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Faye Kane, homeless brain,
User Rank: Strategist
5/31/2013 | 9:20:58 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
==-
The new "start button" will connect to the Metro Start screen?

G Do they think that's funny?

Ballmer just spit in our faces, all but literally. I can see him holding his crotch and yelling "You want a Start button? I got yer start button right HERE!"

He's *got* to be bribing the board members. It's the only possible reason he's still there.

--faye kane G girl brain
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 1:31:36 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
M$ just can't help themselves can they.
elleno
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elleno,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/1/2013 | 1:34:27 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Looks like Windows 7 is going to be the last version of Windows I use - Linux is in my future. What are they doing there in Balmer kindergarten?
zman58
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zman58,
User Rank: Strategist
6/3/2013 | 4:16:04 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Why wait? Go there now and get Linux. The sooner the better and you will be far ahead. Once you get there you will never look back--your IT world will change for the better.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/9/2013 | 7:43:43 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Let us know how all your business apps run in Linux and any games or other productivity tools. Just install Classic Shell and Win8 is fantastic. Linux is an empty threat, you simply cannot work, play, or be otherwise functional in Linux as there are essentially no commercial apps for it.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
6/1/2013 | 5:39:31 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
I do like my Start Button/Menu but

If you miss the Traditional Start Button, then you are probably an experienced Windows users who is going to be on the Desktop a lot.

1. The folder "File Explorer, automatically put on your lower task bar,
gives you most of the capability of the Start Button Menu. Just set
the default to "all folders" if you want.

2. The ability to pin programs is actually the Start Screen on the
Modern Front End or you can pin to the lower task bar or the Desktop
itself or mix and match.

3. The ability to look at all programs is a right click on the Modern Front End

4. Shutdown options can be accessed in various ways, but the three
fingered M/S salute (Ctl, Alt, Del) and press the power icon works in
all situations and gives you quick access to the Task Manager.

The Run Command can be found by mousing to the left corner on Desktop
(that left mousing ability goes away if you install Classic Shell, but
of course you then have a start button/menu) or Click on the Windows Key
+ R

Don't get me wrong, I installed the Classic Shell and got my Start
Button back because it is comfortable for me after all these years.
But, how to do without it can fit on a Post-It Note.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 1:29:53 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
I think you made a good case for why most people prefer the Win7 Start button not Win8. Too much changed for doing the exact same thing. Microsoft would be very good at training mice, but people don't like change for just change.
zman58
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zman58,
User Rank: Strategist
6/3/2013 | 4:21:53 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Better approach,
Get Linux Mint install disk. When asked, checkbox the option to overwrite *all contents on the hard drive*--thereby deleting Windows forever from the system.

Complete the Linux Mint installation...it takes only a few minutes...

There, now you have an extremely powerful and usable system with no restrictions. You also have a desktop GUI that is very easy to use. And you have free updates and free new releases with community support.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/9/2013 | 7:42:26 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Why fool with all that? Just install Classic Shell and skip all the mess you just described.
Tronist
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Tronist,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2013 | 10:50:43 AM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
So what about all that crap cluttering the desktop (a.k.a. Live Tiles)? I assume boot to desktop will bypass that eyesore.
zman58
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zman58,
User Rank: Strategist
6/3/2013 | 4:22:35 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Those are "charms". Do you find them charming?
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 1:45:47 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
I see M$ resistance to a real Win7 functioning Start button in Win8 desktop computers pushing more consumers toward Apple and Google products in the PC world. Its only a matter of time before the same thing occurs in business as they won't opt for the massive retrain cost. So go ahead M$, you just keep doing what you're doing.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 2:02:01 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
" Leblond promises that this group (mouse/key board users) has not been forgotten", so why was this group forgotten to begin with? Close to a billion desktop PCs with key boards and mice in the world and Microsoft forgot about them? How to shoot yourself in the head by Bill Ballmer.
zman58
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zman58,
User Rank: Strategist
6/3/2013 | 4:27:48 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
It should be clear, at this point, that they are smarter than the sum total of all of their millions of customers combined. After all, people just keep buying don't they? They complain, but continue to buy. One thing for sure is the brilliance of how they can leverage their customer base to make ever more money.
zerses
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zerses,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/10/2013 | 1:03:21 AM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
They won't allow any REAL people into their betas any longer - so they are NOT going to get the feedback they did with XP.

MS is losing - and they will go down with a THUD because they stopped caring a LONG time ago if they EVER DID.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/9/2013 | 7:41:13 PM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
This means Classic Shell will continue to be the Win8 solution for desktop users.
zerses
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zerses,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/10/2013 | 1:01:39 AM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Like Vista, Windows 8 will go down in history as a HORRID OS.

Vista frustrated so many customers that they DROVE people to Apple and Linux/Unix, now with Windows 8 they are doing even more damage than before.

They couldn't just take the WONDERFUL (compared to every other except XP at the end) Windows 7 and EXPAND it and make it MORE HUMAN FRIENDLY as well as MORE SECURE???

LAZY MS!

Pajama-wearing-to-work-indolent-Microsoft!!!
zerses
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zerses,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/10/2013 | 1:04:01 AM
re: Windows 8.1 Restores Start Button, With Twist
Revert all Windows 8 to Windows 7 - problem solved.
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