The plot really thickens this time. The Start button has been the major bone of contention ever since the world got word that Windows 8.1 (codename Windows Blue) was in development.

Sources close to the matter hinted last week that Microsoft had listened to customer feedback, and the software titan was planning to bring back the classic Start button in Windows 8.1, as a fair fraction of its user base was said to be confused with the lack of this feature.

More than one sources hinted of this. But now another source has confirmed that the Start button is indeed coming back — but with a radically different behavior.

According to a report at The Verge (citing unnamed sources within Microsoft), only the Start button will return in Windows 8.1, not the Start Menu. The shiny new Start Screen will still remain the prime focus of Microsoft’s flagship platform.

Instead, the Start button will only server to redirect Windows 8.1 users to the Start Screen — not unlike the physical Start button on hardware keyboards currently functions.

While this may come as a relief to third-party Start Menu replacement developers (such as the Start8 as shown in the image above), it will leave a lot of users who were expecting an official Start Menu from Microsoft to make a return, disappointed.

Additionally, the Start button will have a look quite similar to the Windows logo used in the Charms bar, but it would obviously work to provide a more visible option to quickly access the Start Screen.

Nothing more — nothing less!

Microsoft, as you would have guessed, has not said a word on this whole affair. But more details on this will most likely come our way by late June, at the BUILD developer conference. It is near this event that the software titan is expected to unveil the public beta version of the upcoming OS.

Until then, however, we will have to make do with unofficial reports and rumors like this.

Nevertheless, feel free to comment with your feelings on this matter. Is this the triumphant return of the Start Menu you hoped for? Or is the Start Screen your new home, and this cosmetic function to bring up the tiles just an unnecessary trip? Sound off below.

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  • John


  • Mike

    Please quit complaining about the missing start menu. I am extremely happy to see Microsoft innovating in a way we haven’t seen since Windows 3.0. I found Windows 8 confusing at first. But I embraced the change, and after a day I was back on track. And to my surprise, my productivity increased.

    With Windows 8 I was afraid that Microsoft would have severely crippled their OS like Gnome on Linux. I was ecstatic that there was no loss of functionality in the new “Metro” UI. When Gnome on Linux switched to version 3, I got lost. I tried to embrace their changes too, but eventually I had to revert back to version 2. Mainly due to how much was missing, forcing me to use BASH for everything.

    If Microsoft brings back the start button, I will want to turn it off.