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Microsoft reportedly looking to bring back Windows Start menu

  • Paul Thurrott reports Microsoft (MSFT) is looking to bring back Windows' traditional Start menu with its 2015 Threshold OS updates (previous). The company is also said to be interested in allowing users to run (touch-friendly) Metro-style apps in desktop mode.
  • Microsoft brought back the Start button with Windows 8.1, but not the full-blown Start menu; a power menu can be accessed by right-clicking the button.
  • Meanwhile, Mary Jo Foley reports Threshold could feature the release of three Windows variants (SKUs): A "modern" consumer SKU focused on Windows RT apps and touch devices; a "traditional" consumer SKU meant to placate keyboard/mouse users; and an enterprise SKU featuring "all the usual business bells and whistles."
  • The reports come at a time when Windows 8/8.1's adoption rate continues to significantly trail that delivered by Windows 7 following its launch, thanks to minimal enterprise uptake and ongoing complaints about its dual UIs and lack of a traditional Start menu.
Comments (23)
  • Rejoice, rejoice - that marvel of interface design will be brought back! Let's just hope they never make ALT-F4 and CNTRL-ALT-DEL any more awkward or we'll end up missing those other genius interface ideas too!
    9 Dec 2013, 07:24 PM Reply Like
  • Not giving users the option of keeping the traditional interface when Windows 8 was first introduced will go down as one of the most bone-headed decisions in corporate history.
    9 Dec 2013, 07:34 PM Reply Like
  • W8/8.1 adoption rates are lower than W7 simply because people fled Vista like plague, whereas W7 is perfectly good OS, so people will only upgrade to W8 organically as they by new (often touch enabled) machines.
    9 Dec 2013, 07:41 PM Reply Like
  • I agree here. This could be an issue going forward if they plan new OS every few years.
    9 Dec 2013, 09:00 PM Reply Like
  • This does sound interesting. Look at my MSFT doin' work.
    9 Dec 2013, 08:05 PM Reply Like
  • Windows 8 has more bugs than a ghetto kitchen. I have it on my tablet but I would never consider installing Win 8 on my laptop or desktop. I 'upgraded' to WIn 8.1 but rolled back to 8 after just a few days because it was even worse.
    9 Dec 2013, 08:06 PM Reply Like
  • Interesting. I bought a Win 8 ultrabook when it came out and have loved it since then. It is the finest OS I have used yet, but, I do see how some older folks would not be used to it. So, I think bringing back the start menu, even for backward compatibility purposes, is the right move.
    10 Dec 2013, 09:24 AM Reply Like
  • RC, I bought an HP Envy x2 tablet and I suspect some of the issues I have are with the HP BIOS. I’ve had it take as many as 100 attempts to turn the device on. This is a known issue with the Envy x2’s and HP has failed to resolve it after 10 or 11 months on the market. As a note to anyone considering purchasing an Envy x2; find something else.

     

    If someone is using Win 8 to run apps more than programs, then they would probably prefer Win 8 or 8.1. But 99% of my use with my laptop or desktop is running programs and MS doesn’t make it easy to do that in Win 8. I got around the lack of a Start Button on my tablet by putting shortcuts on my Taskbar of the programs I use the most, but you can only put so many items on a Taskbar. For reasons I can’t explain, I have never used desktop icons or that would be another solution.

     

    I’ve had Win 8 lock up more times in 9 months than I saw the BSOD in my previous 25 years of using computers. I have programs decide on their own to refresh the screen for no apparent reason (Adobe PDF is the biggest violator). I have the keyboard pop-up sometimes when I am not in a program that requires input. Sometimes there is a ‘Close’ button for the keyboard, sometimes there isn’t. I’ve moved files from 1 folder to another but when I open the new folder, they aren’t there. Short of doing a forensic examination of my hard drive, I have no idea where they went to.

     

    I think bringing back the Start Button will improve the functionality of Win 8 but unless they get rid of most of the bugs, that OS will not be allowed on my money makers.
    10 Dec 2013, 12:29 PM Reply Like
  • Definitely you have a hardware/OEM problem; I'm running 8.1 on 3 machines and had run 8 on one of them until the upgrade. Absolutely no OS bugs (some internet explorer bugs) and I love the fast startup/shutdown. I can never go back to my old laptop still running windows 7; just have lost all patience to wait for a classic BIOS machine to boot/wake up.
    10 Dec 2013, 05:59 PM Reply Like
  • Otto70, some of the issues I am having are almost certainly caused by BIOS or Resource conflicts, but some issues clearly fall on the Win 8 OS. I have Win 7 on my desktop and laptop, it aint broke and I aint fixin’ it.

     

    BTW, MS announced yesterday (I think) that the distribution of retail copies of Win 7 were discontinued at the end of October. I think this smacks of desperation on the part of MS to push a failed product (Win 8) onto consumers. They would probably have better luck if they offered consumers a product they actually want or that works.
    11 Dec 2013, 05:55 AM Reply Like
  • It will be interesting to see if APPL benefits with rising PC OS market share at the expense of Windows 8 -- I don't see how that can't happen. I see many more Mac PCs than Windows with the technical elite/hipsters who are key influencers in the PC arena.

     

    Few want the schizophrenic Windows 8 personality of the Windows Desktop stuck onto "Metro". The lackluster sales of touch based Windows 8 PCs also doesn't bode well.
    9 Dec 2013, 08:07 PM Reply Like
  • No need to keep the "modern" and "traditional" separate. Just bring back the start menu.
    9 Dec 2013, 08:08 PM Reply Like
  • The ability to run modern apps in windows is exactly what's needed and I'm looking forward to it.
    10 Dec 2013, 05:59 PM Reply Like
  • Now that wasn't that hard, was it?
    9 Dec 2013, 08:08 PM Reply Like
  • The touch "metro-style" apps that exist inside of a separate interface from standard apps is a clumsy and annoying feature. Yes, they need to make these act more like regular desktops apps and they should implement this next year, not 2015.
    9 Dec 2013, 09:40 PM Reply Like
  • I remember I was complaining about the loss (or decrease) of command line functionality when moving from DOS to Win 95... I was resistant to change, but after some time, couldn't go back to DOS.
    10 Dec 2013, 12:09 AM Reply Like
  • Yes but wasn't that moving forward, from command line to GUI?? In this case, its going backward, from fully resizeable and movable windows, they made the interface a 'full screen only' Metro apps that are terrible. Instead of clicking a small 'X' to close a window, you have to hold and swipe an app off the screen. Not very good with keyboard and mouse. They didn't think it through very well did they
    10 Dec 2013, 07:40 AM Reply Like
  • "Instead of clicking a small 'X' to close a window, you have to hold and swipe an app off the screen. Not very good with keyboard and mouse."

     

    I do it with a mouse and keyboard all day long, and have never had a single issue with it - not a single time in more than a year; in addition, I've rarely / never heard this complaint from other users. You might be making a bigger issue of this than it really is, no?
    10 Dec 2013, 08:15 AM Reply Like
  • docmike: "I remember I was complaining about the loss (or decrease) of command line functionality when moving from DOS to Win 95"

     

    WTF?

     

    Command line functionality has dramatically INCREASED since the old DOS days. How do you think sysadmins automate managing large numbers of machines?

     

    Check out powershell - http://bit.ly/18SxiZT .
    10 Dec 2013, 02:54 PM Reply Like
  • thus Steven Synofsky's abrupt MSFT career end...
    10 Dec 2013, 05:59 PM Reply Like
  • "The reports come at a time when Windows 8/8.1's adoption rate continues to significantly trail that delivered by Windows 7 following its launch, thanks to minimal enterprise uptake and ongoing complaints about its dual UIs and lack of a traditional Start menu."

     

    On the other hand, it's in-line with the uptake for XP - how did that one turn out again? Last I remember it proved pretty successful...
    10 Dec 2013, 07:34 AM Reply Like
  • People forget that windows XP was never successful until service pack 2. To me, windows 8 is akin to windows 95, the first attempt at a new paradigm. I have been using windows 8 since the preview and am quite used to it now. There is obviously things that can be improved, but I don't doubt they will be. I actually like the full screen start menu, which is how I view the modern UI, and with a very small amount of work customizing it, it is far superior to the old start button access. People complain too much. If you have ever used a Surface or something akin to it, it becomes very apparent what they are going for, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will get it right given time.
    13 Dec 2013, 11:43 PM Reply Like
  • Jammer, you have a great point on the ‘new paradigm’ but MS did not leave business users behind with Win 95 and I think that is the main problem with Win 8 and 8.1. We’ll see how well 8.2 addresses this.
    14 Dec 2013, 05:31 AM Reply Like
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