Microsoft today (in their Windows 8 development blog), described the thinking around changes being made to the Start Menu.

It’s a good read and I advise everyone to check it out.

I have to say that in the blog post, Steven Sinofsky (I assume it’s him) or Chaitanya Sareen, the stated author makes a very profound statement that to me is representative to the new way Microsoft looks at the evolution of Windows.

He says:

We recognize that to some people, any change to Windows is going to be disruptive, and so we want to make sure we continue an open dialog about those changes.

I love that statement. It (and the blog) is reflective of a very open and smart approach to Microsoft software evolution.

The article talks about the evolution of the start menu from Windows 95,

Windows 95 start menu

Windows 95 start menu

to Windows 7 (picture at article beginning).

They talk about how the stsrt menu is used today:

Their quote:

It is striking to see how dramatically different the use of the Start menu is in Windows Vista vs. Windows 7. Some of the Special Folders (what we call those items on the right side of the menu) dropped in use by over 50%. Likewise, people accessed pinned items on the Start menu half as often in Windows 7 than they did in Vista. People also access All Programs and the MFU far less often. Finally, we see an 11% drop in how often people are opening the Start menu at all. While 11% may seem like a small number at first, across our hundreds of millions of customers it is eye opening to see such a drop for a universally recognizable element of the Windows interface. We’re not talking about some hidden setting that is tweaked by a minority of people—we’re talking about a fundamental piece of Windows that people are using less and less.

Apparently, the introduction of the start bar was responsible in large part for how people changed their use of the start menu.

They also talk about the difference in stats between the number of pinned apps on the Start menu (top) vs. on the taskbar (bottom).



Windows power users in particular use their Windows 7 taskbar even more than the Start menu. Pinning apps to the taskbar is popular but it’s also increasing in popularity because you can now also pin websites to your taskbar with IE 9.

Basically, Microsoft are re-imagining the Start menu and want to make it more valuable.

Their next post will talk about the start screen…

Once again, you can read the full article here

About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. ( and The Redmond Cloud (

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  • Shirubio B.

    how the hell do they know how many times i click on the folders in the start menu????

  • Jchookum

    Where is the “Shut Down” button??? I’m having to use the “Control – Alt – Delete to get it off. NOT USER FRIENDLY!!!

  • Adrian


    I think you click the “Settings” charm and click the “Power” button.  See


    When Windows is first installed, a popup appears asking consent to send anonymous usage data back to Microsoft.  I always click “Yes”, since I’m a power user and want my usage to be included in their data.  Unfortunately, many power users are paranoid and don’t believe the data is anonymous, so they click “No”.  Doing this causing Microsoft’s data to be skewed toward non-power users.

  • Kostagh

    I concurr to that! I’m also VERY paranoid about the so called “anonymous” usage statistics windows and other applications (for instance Google Chrome) send to their respective makers. I don’t think it’s anonymous and I don’t think it’s “being used to improve your user experience” exclusively! I hate “red tape”. Let them take out whatever crap they will. If it suits me not, then I’ll stick to XP as I still do.