Image: The Verge
The complaints about the lack of the well-known Start Button in Windows 8 never ceased. It continued and continued until finally—as The Verge reported—the Button is back…although not in the same capacity as we’re all used to. While it will be available in vintage Windows form as well as Windows 8 form in Windows 8.1, it’ll do a different function than expected.
So what’s so different about the blasted thing this time? It will simply bring you to the Windows 8 Start Screen or the All Apps section. You all know you love that Start Screen. Start Menu? Who needs it, right? The thing is, you can already do that in Windows 8 as it stands. Microsoft must really want people to get use to that Start Screen as you more than one method of getting there.
During the development of Windows 8.1 and in the midst of user complaints, Microsoft had to know that the absence of the Start Button—as trivial as it might seem at first blush—was somewhat of a design faux pas. As a matter of fact in reference to the “start tip”, Windows User Experience Team director Jensen Harris mentioned “We knew we needed to change that to the Windows logo. Once we had that there and we figured out that was the change we needed to make it was pretty straight forward to keep the same button in the same place in the task bar…it lends back a little bit of familiarity. It makes the whole PC work the same way.”
Who’d thunk it? What Harris said in layman’s terms is “We shouldn’t have tried to fix what wasn’t broken. It’s been there for almost two decades and worked perfectly. We shouldn’t have done that.” Which is true, it’s always done what you expected it to do. So know that it’s back in body, will users appreciate that it doesn’t do what it’s been expected to do?
If it’s there, it might calm some, but others they want The Start Button. The one that goes to the Start Menu. At least this one will be visible already and won’t require any tinkering with the options. That’s always a plus. Windows 8.1 will also give users the ability to boot to the vintage desktop view and use the Windows 8-style Start Screen with your custom wallpaper. Other features to be present are: improved lock screen, a better search functionality baked in giving you the ability to search the web and your device, Snap View setups for Metro-styled apps.
There’s more here. Skydrive will be readily available within the new OS and cloud storage will be visible from File Explore and apps, so users don’t have to go searching for it. Internet Explorer 11 will be included and will allow for syncing browser tabs between Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 devices. Windows 8.1 will bring some improvements to the virtual keyboard.
While a release date for this improved OS hasn’t been announced, Microsoft will be presenting a demo version at the Build conference on June 26 and you can bet they’re excited to debut Windows 8.1 and really showcase what it can do. The new features are sure to please users as there’s a little something for everyone there.
Could Windows 8.1 draw new users from Windows XP and Windows 7? Let’s not get silly, now. For those of you who use Windows 8 are you looking forward to it?