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One of the most noticeable differences between Windows 7 and Windows 8 is that Microsoft’s newest operating system replaces the classic Start Menu with a new full-page Start Screen. The Start button is also gone. Instead you can bring up the Start Screen using gestures or by pulling your mouse cursor to the lower left corner of the screen.

While Microsoft apparently has no plans to bring back the full Start Menu, it’s starting to look like the always-present Start button may be making a comeback in Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 Start

Here are some of the day’s tech news stories from around the web.

  • Windows 8.1 to bring back the start button (but not the start menu)
    One minor change in Windows 8 should make the operating system a little more familiar for long-time Windows users. There will be a start button in the lower left corner of the screen again. But it won’t open a start menu. Instead it’ll bring you to the same full-screen Start Screen Windows 8 users have learned to love/hate/feign indifference to. [The Verge]
  • KlyDE project is working to build a light-weight desktop environment based on KDE Plasma
    Xfce and LXDE grab all the headlines when it comes to Linux desktop environments that aren’t resource hogs. But some developers are trying to show that KDE Plasma is versatile enough to be light-weight too. [Muktware]
  • Linux booting in under 1 second on an Allwinner A10-powered device
    The Allwinner A10 is an ARM Cortex-A8 single core processor. It’s not exactly fast… but with the right software, you can boot a very simple operating system in less than a second. Don’t expect to do this with a full Ubuntu desktop Linux OS anytime soon. [CNX Software]
  • HTC now offering SIM-unlocked HTC One for $575
    Don’t want to spend $650 on the HTC One Developer Edition? No problem. For $75 you can now pick up a model with an unlocked SIM, letting you use it on any supported network. What you won’t get with this model is 64GB of storage or a bootloader that’s already been unlocked. [GSM Arena]
  • Minuum raises $87k in crowd-funding effort to reinvent Android smartphone and tablet keyboards
    Think the on-screen keyboard on your mobile device takes up too much space? Apparently you’re not alone. The folks behind Minuum are working on a low-profile keyboard alternative, and after launching a campaign to raise $10,000 from potential users, they wound up raising over $87,000. [Android Police]
  • Upcoming Acer laptop transforms into an all-in-one desktop
    Acer plans to unveil a new laptop that you can unfold into a desktop computer May 3rd. The company has also put out a promo video that tries to make you think the laptop has something to do with the next Star Trek movie. [The Verge]

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11 replies on “Lilbits (4-22-2013): Microsoft might bring back the Start Button”

  1. I like the older style ‘start’ button. I like the idea of ‘it it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. MS ‘fixed it’ and broke it; IMO.

  2. I’d rather have the start button open up the all apps screen instead of the Start screen. That’s mor similar to the original Start button function and, at least for me, more useful.

  3. The Start Button is back BUT ITS TOO LATE FOR M$ the damage IS already done.

  4. The start button that takes you to the start screen instead of being a traditional start button menus? IMO; the start screen is good if one has a touch screen but not so good for a notebook computer without a touch screen. If they bring back the start button, it should lead to the regular menu instead of going to the annoying start screen.

    1. Start Screen is actually designed to be usable on any device, it scales, re-orientates as needed, is customizable, easily usable on multiple monitors, and works with either touch or mouse or touch pad… Helps if you’re actually using a touch pad or mouse certified for Windows 8 of course!

      So in many ways it’s better than the older static Start Menu, especially with small high resolution screens.

      Main problem is the Modern UI is always full screen and people dislike switching to full screen when they only want to quickly view a list of apps and are working on the desktop with multiple windows open.

      So if they simply let the Start Screen get squished into a window instead of full screen then that would pretty much solve the issue for most people.

      There are already 3rd party utilities that do this, like RetroUI, etc… Combined with a Start Button to make it easy to point and click to access it should be a optimal compromise.

      Mind keeping two completely separate app menu systems defeats the ultimate purpose of Windows 8… to have one common UI/OS for usage on a wide range of devices and thus make it easier to switch between them!

      Besides, touch screens are quickly becoming as common as touch pads… along with other alternative input methods, like eye tracking, motion tracking, etc. quickly becoming practical alternatives… Eventually, some of those alternative methods will even be arguably easier to use and more practical than having to use a mouse.

      1. Personally, I just use it as a keyboard app launcher. Hit the start button on your keyboard and start typing the name of the app you want to open. It’ll probably show up befoe your finished typing.

      2. Sorry to bust your bubble, but I have about as much use for a touchscreen on my desktop as the Octomom as for birth control pills. 🙂

        From where I’m sitting right now the display is just out of reach and that is just where I like it. Besides, I’d always be wiping the darned thing if I was touching it all the time.

        Without a touchscreen the start screen is just a distraction, flashing up over a desktop and often requiring large mouse movements. And btw, the GNOMEs are making exactly the same mistake here. As for just using the keyboard, yea that is sort of a solution for either one… but then wouldn’t I rather just use ratpoison or something totally keyboard centric if I’m going to go that way?

        1. Some people felt the same way about the mouse when it was first introduced and computers slowly made the switch to GUI, fact is all user inputs can be useful and whether you use one or the other depends on what’s best for the kind of input you need at any one point in time.

          Like a mouse is lousy for typing, and a keyboard is lousy for point and clicking… Similarly a touch screen has usages that it’s best for as well.

          While as also pointed out those aren’t the only options coming out and some of them can potentially provide even better control than a mouse!

          So sorry to burst your bubble but whether you have any use for a touch screen will depend on what you’re doing on the computer and that will change as options and how the software is designed to work changes!

          While, aside from the annoyance of being full screen, no, the Start Screen is not a distraction any more than the Start Menu… You’re using either for the same reason!

          You can also use the Search Function with either, you can customize either, you can opt to pin your most commonly used apps with either (Windows 8 lets you pin more), you don’t have to stare at either any longer than it takes to click the app you want to run!

          While power users are the ones that will tend to use the keyboard because those shortcuts tend to be the fastest ways to get things done! Especially with anything more complicated than a point and click job…

          Though some of them are pretty darn simple and useful for even the average lay person… Like a simple Alt+F4 works the same in most versions of Windows and for Windows 8 lets you close both desktop and Modern UI apps and also brings up the shutdown/reboot option from the desktop… all usually faster than you could do it with the mouse!

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