It’s true! Windows Start button’s return confirmed in Windows 8.1 screen shots

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Windows 8.1 Start Button

As Microsoft’s Build conference (June 26 to 28) nears, it’s only natural that we’d be hearing more and more Windows 8.1 rumors, and actually confirming a few of them. Today, we can semi-validate one previously unverified report that the updated operating system will bring back the Start button.

According to Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows, Microsoft will indeed be bringing back the Start button. You’ll no longer have a need for Start menu apps since Windows 8.1, informally called Windows Blue, is returning the long lost button to its users. In fact, it’ll look very similar to that of Start8, one of our favorite Start menu apps.

Thurrott, who has access to the Milestone Preview build of Windows 8.1, reports that hovering over the Start button will cause it to change colors “with a black background and the accent color used on the flag logo.” It’ll look just like the Start Charm and it cannot be turned off (not that you’d want to after finally getting it back!).

Even more good news is coming with 8.1: you’ll be able to boot straight to the desktop, completely avoiding the Metro-style Windows 8 home screen that so many users detest.

Thurrott also confirmed that in addition to the preloaded backgrounds and colors provided by Microsoft, users will also have the option of having their desktop wallpaper sit behind the Start background, though we wonder why this is a new addition and not something Microsoft made available to begin with. After all, Windows 8 is supposed to be all about customization and making an OS that works for everyone.

As we reported earlier this month, Windows 8.1 will be a free upgrade available as a public preview on the first day of Build, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it. 

[Update 7:10 p.m. EST 5/30/13: Microsoft commented on the Start button as well as other new Windows 8.1 features. Read more about it here.]

Showing 42 comments

  1. Rahul Barua 10 months Ago  
    another Lame fix
  2. Mahmoud Attia 10 months Ago  
    Wow, welcome back :) lets start again :)
  3. James Matthew Wright 10 months Ago  
    stupid. If windows DIDN'T do something different, everyone would complain. Windows did something different, but not really...just simplified the home page and the baby boomers lose their minds and want the same old windows.

    Get over it and learn how to use something new.
  4. Patryk Krajewski 10 months Ago  
    that star button is from Stardock Windows 8 start button software I have the same one unless microsoft bought it from stardock?
  5. Andrew Chastain 10 months Ago  
    lol
  6. Phillip Courtright 10 months Ago  
    About time.
  7. Robert Salender 10 months Ago  
    A bit too late, Microsoft... Start8 gives me the Start Button, let alone the classic Windows kicker. Can change that so it opens the Start Screen too... Besides, that's why a WINDOWS KEY exists. Also, my thoughts on desktop wallpaper as the SS background: not all wallpapers are decent backdrops. I use Decor8 and used a seemless tiled image, as well as giving it parallax. I'm sorry, but Stardock beat you to the game.
  8. Manny Muriel 10 months Ago  
    OMG THANK YOU
  9. Allan Knox 11 months Ago  
    "not that you'd want to after finally getting it back" totally, i hated having to move my mouse that extra few pixels to open my apps... i mean, be serious, how backward and stubborn.

    i can tell you, i spent more than 5 seconds using it and found that it was much better, it prompted me to start using the start key. thus meaning that i didnt have to use my touchpad to go to the start button and then back to whatever i was doing.

    people like you need to get your head out of your ass and embrace the technology you so obviously wanted to start using. i mean there is nothing wrong with windows 7. if you wanted a windows 7 experience then use that! why on earth would you want windows 8 to be exactly the same as 7? if it was the same you would no doubt be whining about how they didnt change anything and how its a ripoff! sort yourself out ya damn fool! haha!
  10. webandother 11 months Ago  
    To be honest I still don't get what all the fuss was about the start button. windows 8 was a great release, but it feels more that isues like the Start button were marketing efforts from other companies against Microsoft.
  11. jesterking 11 months Ago  
    I've been using windows 8 for about 6 months now at work. The lack of a windows button never crosses my mind. "Windows key + R" is pretty much all I have to do to bring up anything I want in the desktop environment. Honestly, I don't get the rage over the lack of a windows Key. Just sit down with an open mind for an hour and get used to it. Seriously.
    1. At this point, I do not want nor need a windows Key.
  12. Leo Watson 11 months Ago  

    This has been one of my few complaints about Windows 8, glad it's making a comeback!

  13. Rahul Barua 11 months Ago  
    another Lame fix
  14. Mahmoud Attia 11 months Ago  
    Wow, welcome back :) lets start again :)
  15. Matt Wright 11 months Ago  
    stupid. If windows DIDN'T do something different, everyone would complain. Windows did something different, but not really...just simplified the home page and the baby boomers lose their minds and want the same old windows.

    Get over it and learn how to use something new.
    1. "something new" is welcome but something familiar is expected. People don't want to "learn" Windows all over again. For you computers may be more than a tool. You may enjoy tinkering and that's great, I do too.

      The reality is that 95% of Windows customers see it as a tool to get things done. Tools should be familiar if not intuitive, like a car. MS effectively swapped brake and gas pedals then put the steering wheel in the trunk. Maybe that's a better way to drive but most aren't interested in finding out. Driving the old way always worked just fine. Linux is going through the same issues with Gnome and Unity.

      IMO the problem is Windows 8 is best on hybrids and they may be the future but they're outrageously priced and people don't see the immediate need for such a thing. Easing users into it should have been priority 1. Instead the entire experience is a perfect mess. It has a looong way to go. I don't know they'll get it right in time for 9 at this rate.

      Get over it, no! I won't settle for crap. Not at the prices they demand.
      1. What is there to re-learn? It took all of 5 minutes to "figure out" what needs to be done for 100% functionality... People just refuse to even look at it, and get all huff and puff over it because it looks different. When in reality, it's really just the same old Operating system.
        1. It takes more than 5 minutes just to change all the extensions to open with desktop programs rather than Metro apps. It takes the average person more than 5 minutes just to figure out how to power down.

          Claiming that it's the same old OS is disingenuous at best. Accusing customers of being dumb instead of acknowledging the problem is the best way to lose them. That's exactly what's happening.
          1. Ok, your right. 10 minutes. Seriously, a bit of sarcasm never went as far as you just made it go. It took me about an hour to figure everything I needed to know with windows 8. Shutting down? Really? Anyone who has been using computers for more than 5 years should know how to operate windows 8. Changing the open as, is on a need to run basis.

            Fact is, it is the same old OS. The OS still reads as "Windows 7". At least mine does (win8 pro 64). I heard all of the same kinds of complaints when we went from windows 98 to XP back in 01. The only difference is, today you have four windows OS still operating in at the same time. XP, Visa, 7, and 8. Back then, you really had no choice. People were forced to figure it out. Today, people just don't want to.
      2. I recommend a book for Jesterkink by Alan Cooper called "The inmates are running the Asylum". I am in the 95% that itolyouiran was talking about. I just want my os to be something in the background that allows me to do my work the way I always have. I don't have time to solve new issues no matter how non-trivial they are where they worked in a previous os just fine. Now that being said, if 8 should me a new way to do something that reduces my overall work load I would learn it in a second but currently all it does is slow me down. All MS products are starting to get in the way in my opinion and this is because of Ballmer.
  16. BrianAnim 11 months Ago  
    Just download and install classic shell, done!
  17. Patryk Krajewski 11 months Ago  
    that star button is from Stardock Windows 8 start button software I have the same one unless microsoft bought it from stardock?
  18. Andrew Chastain 11 months Ago  
    lol
  19. Phillip Courtright 11 months Ago  
    About time.
  20. Robert Salender 11 months Ago  
    A bit too late, Microsoft... Start8 gives me the Start Button, let alone the classic Windows kicker. Can change that so it opens the Start Screen too... Besides, that's why a WINDOWS KEY exists. Also, my thoughts on desktop wallpaper as the SS background: not all wallpapers are decent backdrops. I use Decor8 and used a seemless tiled image, as well as giving it parallax. I'm sorry, but Stardock beat you to the game.
  21. Manny Muriel 11 months Ago  
    OMG THANK YOU
  22. Lucas Barton 11 months Ago  
    Microsoft is not listening.

    The customers who wanted the Start button back wanted it linked to the Start menu.

    None of them wanted a Start button that takes them to the Start screen.

    On the other side of the room are the customers who are perfectly happy with today's Start screen, and have no use any longer for the Start button.

    So Microsoft is planning to further annoy the first group, by giving them only half of what they've been asking for.

    And they're planning to annoy the second group by reintroducing something they didn't want any more.

    This is NOT a winning business strategy.

    Microsoft: do not bring back the Start button without the Start menu. That is not what customers have been clamoring for since late last year. You will simply annoy an even larger group of people than you are annoying today if you make this change.
  23. vladamir.untruksur 11 months Ago  
    Windows 8 sucks. Period. It has been attributed to a decline in PC sales and MS squashed the next study that compared tablet sales. Windows 7 was just fine and MS seems to have overlooked that the rest of the world doesn't have, nor want, a touch screen.
  24. Jason 1044 11 months Ago  
    OMG -- Anyone that thinks they need the start button simply has not put more than 5 minutes into researching how to use the new interface. People that are supportive of this change are the same people that prevent innovation and evolution in GUI / Ergonomic Design. Plain and simple.

    Hey Idiots -- Ever just start typing on the windows metro home screen? OMG what a concept. You can just type for whatever you want and it will freakin' show up. What's that? You need to click on something? Oh, well, that's what the windows explorer icon is for on the old-skool desktop view.

    So pathetic.
    1. The windows 8 metro interface is a single window interface. I have two 27 inch monitors and they are pretty useless when you can only use one window at a time.

      Another regression was the inability to use any kind of folder or to just be able to hide the icons in the start menu. I have hundreds of icons that show up that I have to move to the far right. Some may be used in the future, so i don't want to delete them, but most just take up space.
      1. You can't use a folder or hide icons??? Go to the desktop and create folders. In metro, right click the icon you want to hide and "unpin" it. You don't delete anything, you just unpin them from the start up metro screen. You can still do a search for them in the upper right, and select "applications" as the search criteria.
    2. What if you don't have a touchscreen monitor? I want to start on my desktop, not the metro tile start screen.

      1. Pin desktop applications to your metro screen, so when you start in metro you can easily open whatever you want (which you would do from the desktop/taskbar anyway) and it plonks you into desktop mode.
        1. I hate that there feels like two different versions of Windows in one OS. Would be nice to be able to customize things more. Thankfully it sounds like the direction they are going into.

      2. For me, there was a desktop icon out of the box. It was literally one click to desktop.
    3. "Ever just start typing on the windows metro home screen?" Huh? Why would I even think about trying that? I will try it now once I get home, but really, who do that? It is so anti-intuitive. The problem, though, with simply typing on the modern UI or with the search charm (love that term) is that you have to KNOW at least a tidbit of what you want. I always forget the name of "Snipping Tool" and I had to go to the start menu to remind myself just now. I know where it is, but i don't always remember the name. It's sorta like knowing your neighborhood where you grew up like the back of your hand but can you identify every street and house in a 5 block radius by name? Nope. The Yellow house with flag pole over there is how you'd describe it. It's the same thing. Welcome back Start. Start8 at least helped out for a while.
    4. "Ever just start typing on the metro screen?" No, I haven't. Why would I? It doesn't make sense unless someone told you that you can do that. It is counter-intuitive. If it works, it sorta makes sense in an odd sort of way. Still, you have to know what you want by name. I don't always remember, but I know how to find it. For example, I never remember the name of the Snipping Tool (had to go look at that to say this) but I know how to find it. Think about your neighborhood where you grew up. You know everything about it, or do you? Do you know the name of every occupant, name of every street in a 5 block radius? No, but you do know every shortcut, every mean dog, every pretty girl's home. It's the same thing. I can find anything given the right tool, but if I'm expected to remember every name for possible item, it's not going to happen. Welcome back Start Button. And aren't you a little bit hostile and elitist? Dial it down a bit, will you?
  25. Paul Coddington 11 months Ago  
    Now, please Microsoft, fix the regression bug in Windows 8 image tagging so we don't have to kill the Explorer process every time we tag a photo.
  26. KingPCGeek 11 months Ago  
    How can something that we never had return? Windows 95 through 7 have a Start Menu. This is just a button that brings up the Metro interface. Its the same thing as hitting the Windows key.
    1. Its says nothing about the button triggering the Metro interface. It clearly implies that it will trigger a start menu, probably much like the one in Windows 7. And it also clearly states that Metro won't be the default interface on boot. Whether the Windows 8 right side popout menu, the one which currently gives you a shortcut to access to Metro and a few other functions when on the desktop screen, will still remain in 8.1 remains to seen
      1. Read more then this little SEO bait article and you might get some education.

        "This one is interesting: According to Mary Jo’s source, the Start button will be enabled—on the desktop only—by default. It will look just like the Start charm in Windows 8, and be positioned in the same place as it was in Windows 7, but will of course trigger the new Start screen when clicked, and not the legacy Start menu."