Microsoft may bring back Windows Start Button: reports

Since the launch of Windows 8, the outcry from users and critics has been deafening: bring back the Windows Start Button. And it appears Microsoft may be listening.

A series of recent media reports all indicate the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant may be preparing to bring back the Windows Start Button when it launched Windows Blue, the next version of the Windows OS, later this year.

From The Verge:

Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have revealed to The Verge that Windows 8.1 will include the return of the Start button. We understand that the button will act as a method to simply access the Start Screen, and will not include the traditional Start Menu. The button is said to look near-identical to the existing Windows flag used in the Charm bar.

From ZDNet:

One of my sources confirmed this is now looking like the plan and added that Microsoft is also considering bringing back the Start button as an option with Windows Blue.

And Windows watcher Paul Thurott:

I’ve separately confirmed that this is really happening, with the Start button, in particular, driven by upper management, which overruled objections from the Windows team.

While Microsoft could still change their minds, with three independent sources confirming the odds of the Start Button’s return are pretty good. Of course, it appears it won’t be the traditional Windows Start Button with all your programs, but rather a way to access the Windows 8 Start Screen. Perhaps they’ll consider at least a minimal traditional startup menu to access key aps and controls.

Either way, it would appear to be a significant about-face for Microsoft. At the launch of Windows 8, which turned the vendor’s traditional user interface on its head, executives were adamant this was the way of the future, and there would be no going back. We got used to those darned ribbons in Office, but it appears the Start Button is a different matter.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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