Microsoft to bring back the start button on new Windows 8.1

Reports suggest that Microsoft are intending to bring back the start button, after consumer complaints caused a massive backlash against the Windows 8 start-up page. The start button was the most complained about missing feature for Windows 8 users, with many describing the start page as confusing and unnecessarily complicated.

The complaints have caused a significant move away from desktop computers as people are tending to now buy iPads, tablets and smartphones. This is thought to be because the swipe touchscreen is much more user-friendly on iPads and tablets, but desktop users who have to use a keyboard or mouse tended to find it more confusing.

Microsoft start-animated - Windows 8.1

The new start button will become available as an updated free download for owners of Windows 8, and is presently code-named Windows Blue. A screenshot of a leaked picture of the Windows 8.1 new start-up page shows the start button at the top of the screen on the left hand side, as featured on Paul Thurrott’s Windows Supersite.

Microsoft corporate vice president Antoine Leblond recognises that PC users still use their keyboards and mouse and the swipe system might not be as users friendly to them: “PCs today are evolving for a world of mobile computing where people interact with their devices through touch, and we designed Windows 8 for this. But we also recognize there are many non-touch devices in use today – especially in the commercial setting. As such we’ve focused on a number of improvements to ensure easier navigation for people using a mouse and keyboard. We’ve improved the way you navigate to Start with the mouse by changing the Start “tip” to be the familiar Windows logo. The new tip appears anytime you move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, and is always visible on the taskbar when on the desktop.”

Reports also suggest that Microsoft are updating the search function, by including a single search bar which allows users to easily look for documents, apps, or items on the Internet. By swiping down or pressing a button on the screen, users would be able to see all their applications immediately in a grid. And they can also customise their own start screen more easily by changing the sizes of app icon ’tiles’ and controlling which apps appear.

The new revamped Windows 8.1 is said to enable users to to open two windows at once, and will include Microsoft’s latest browser, Internet Explorer 11, and allows users to restore the address bar and tabs back to the screen view.

Microsoft start-w-wallpaper

Leblond wrote in a post to the official Blogging Windows blog: “It’s Windows 8 even better. Not only will Windows 8.1 respond to customer feedback, but it will add new features and functionality that advance the touch experience and mobile computing’s potential.”

The addition of the new start button will mean that users will also no longer have to switch to the old desktop view, something that many were doing, in order to make the set-up less confusing. Some programs, such as Word or Excel have not been redesigned to function in the new Windows 8 style however.

Leblond says: “Windows 8 has been a bold, necessary move towards mobility for the PC industry – pushing ourselves and our industry ahead with a touch-first approach that is redefining the PC as we know it, while offering the best of all worlds across any device at any time. Our commitment to that vision – and to always improving – remains the same as we stay the course of the evolution of Windows with Windows 8.1. We’ve been watching, we’ve been listening; Windows 8.1 will continue to build on what you love bringing the latest advancements in hardware, apps, cloud services and the OS to enable a unique experience in everything you do.”

For more information visit blogs.windows.com

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