Windows 8.1 Start Button
Windows 8.1 Start Button / Paul Thurrott

Rumors Confirmed!

A leaked screenshot of Windows 8.1 operating system update confirmed the rumor that the Windows Start Button will be back. It’s not the Windows 7 multi-colored orb but a monochrome logo that Microsoft adapted since it introduced Windows 8.

Windows 8.1, code named “Blue” will supposedly address some of the issues that surfaced from Windows 8 users. This includes the difficulty in finding the apps that you want to use in the current Start Screen and the lack of the option to start or boot up Windows directly into Desktop mode.

Start Button is Back in Windows 8.1 But the Start Menu is Not

This is the catch. Even if the Start Button is back, the Start Menu is not.

When you hover over the Windows 8.1 Start Button, it just changes color and clicking on it will just take you to the Start Screen. Yes, frustrating but that’s what the current Windows 8.1 Milestone preview shows.

A consolation is the new feature where Windows 8.1 users can set the same background to the Metro view and the desktop view to make the transition between the two full screen interfaces smoother and less “jarring”.

Side By Side Comparison of Windows 8.1 Start Menu and Windows 7 Start Menu
Side by side comparison of what Windows 8.1 (left) and Windows 7 (right) Start Button do when clicked. 

Don’t Worry, Windows 8.1 has Something Close Enough to a Start Menu – the Apps View

Windows 8.1 Apps View
Windows 8.1 Apps View / VR Zone

If you really want the Start Menu back, you can switch to boot to the Apps View instead of the Metro Start Screen.

In the Apps View, all your installed applications are listed as icons on a full screen interface. It lacks the live updating of Windows 8 tiles but you can configure them.

One way to arrange your apps is by name but the most important way of sorting might be by the frequency of usage.

I smiled when I saw the leaked screenshot on the above. I thought the user was using the Alarm App too much that’s why it appears first. I then realized that the apps are arranged by name. Funny me.

Finally, Windows 8.1 will Let You Boot to Desktop View Directly!

This is probably one of the most sought after change for Windows 8 – the ability to go to the Desktop View directly after turning on your computer instead of the Windows 8 Start Screen.

There are now three options where you want to go to after booting up in Windows 8.1:

  • Windows 8 Start Screen
  • Apps View
  • Desktop View

However, the Windows 8 Start Screen is set as default. You’ll have to tweak your settings to achieve what you really want.
Do you think you will like the Windows 8.1 changes? Share your thoughts in the comments.