Microsoft has finally changed the Windows Start Menu in a big way. The biggest change ever, as a matter of fact.
The only change to the Start Menu as big as this was actually its creation in Windows 95. The Windows Key (or Ctrl + Escape) has always made the Start Menu pop up at any time.
Now in Windows 8, it brings you to the Metro Start Screen. This big change might be a shock to some user who are so used to the classic, traditional layout of Windows.
There is still the classic desktop, but it still does not have the classic Start Menu we have all come to know and love.
This change is similar to the one between Window 3.1 and Windows 95. When Windows 95 was first introduced, the most defining feature was that it had a revolutionary menu that would let you access all of your programs, files, and settings from one convenient place.
This was a lot different from the method of accessing programs back then which was to go through the Program Manager and go through all of your files just to find one. The same exact Start Menu followed us through all the versions of Windows evolving a little bit in each version.
One of the biggest enhancements to the Start Menu was in Windows XP. It got a second column that helped people access their files even faster and easier.
That would have been a great place to stop and find a new method of finding your programs such as an instant search feature like Spotlight from Apple’s Mac OS X, or adding a feature like Mac OS X’s dock.
But no, Microsoft continued to evolve the Start Menu. They did add an instant search feature into the actual Start Menu with Windows Vista, but it just wasn’t fast enough. The Start Menu started to seem bloated and unnecessary.
The last time Microsoft used the Start Menu in a desktop version of Windows was in Windows 7. It didn’t change much from the Vista Start Menu, though overall it was received better by consumers because Windows 7 was received better than Windows Vista.
Vista had been such a flop, that anything, really, would have been better.
The Start Menu also felt very unnecessary in Windows CE. (The mobile version of Windows.) If the Start Menu felt bloated in the regular sized version of Windows, just wait until you tried it on a phone.
Back then you had to use a stylus to accurately select buttons on touch screen devices which was annoying by itself. Now add in the Start Menu. That’s why Apple’s iPhone did so great in the mobile market. No Start Menu or taskbar to select programs from. Just finger sized icons.
I think that the Start Menu lived a great life and now is a good (if not a little late) time to retire it.
The Start Menu just isn’t needed anymore.
You can now search by clicking on a search button that pops up when you mouse over the bottom left-hand corner, most of your programs are on display in the metro user interface, and if not in the Metro UI, there is always the taskbar and desktop shortcuts.
What do you think? Will anything ever be good enough to replace the Start Menu?