Did Microsoft execs overrule Windows team to put Start button back in Windows 8.1?

Earlier this week, rumors hit the Internet that Microsoft was at least considering putting back the Start button as a feature for the Windows 8.1 desktop user interface. Now another rumor claims that not only is the Start button coming back, but that there was an internal fight at Microsoft to make that happen.

Paul Thurrott posted word on WinSuperSite.com, via unnamed sources, that the Windows team had objections to restoring the Start button for the first major update to Windows 8. However, it appears that Microsoft's upper management made an executive decision and overruled the Windows team, telling them the Start button is back in the Windows 8.1 desktop UI. The article does not give any specifics on which members of the Microsoft executive team pulled the trigger to put the Start button back in Windows 8.1.

Before this week, there's been no indications that Microsoft was going to change its mind on the Start button issue. Indeed, the two leaks of early Windows 8.1 development builds, including one that was posted on the Internet earlier this week, showed no evidence in its code of a Start button revival.

However, there can be no doubt that the missing Start button was one of the most controversial decisions Microsoft made for Windows 8. Research firm IDC said recently the lack of the button was something that Windows 8 user miss "consistently" along with being able to boot Windows 8 into desktop mode. More importantly, a number of third party software solutions have been released that add versions of the Start button back to the Windows 8 desktop, including RetroUI, StartIsBack, Pokki and Start8.

Source: WinSuperSite | Image via Stardock (of Start8)

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Discoverability - a basic UI principle. The Win8 taliban who thought that their fundamentalist approach should override basic usability should never have been allowed near UI design.

It seems the Start menu won't come back, the button will only bring up the Start Screen.
But please can we have the Start Screen WINDOWED on the desktop, not fullscreen.

gb8080 said,
Discoverability - a basic UI principle. The Win8 taliban who thought that their fundamentalist approach should override basic usability should never have been allowed near UI design.

It seems the Start menu won't come back, the button will only bring up the Start Screen.
But please can we have the Start Screen WINDOWED on the desktop, not fullscreen.

Let's hope Windows 8.1 is also for workgroups.

gb8080 said,
Discoverability - a basic UI principle. The Win8 taliban who thought that their fundamentalist approach should override basic usability should never have been allowed near UI design.

I agree 100%.

If there is no startmenu then I will continue to use third party alternative and completely avoid the metro abomination. Metro has no place on desktop and pc overall. If MS dare to restrict third party workaround then I will not any further downgrade my system.

tytytucke said,
The start menu doesn't make or brake the OS.

It does for people who use an OS to perform the tasks they want. By forcing a touch-based UI on a person who isn't using a touch-based system, you're placing them within an environment that has absolutely no relevance to them and it hinders their performance.

srprimeaux said
It does for people who use an OS to perform the tasks they want. By forcing a touch-based UI on a person who isn't using a touch-based system, you're placing them within an environment that has absolutely no relevance to them and it hinders their performance.
Explain to me exactly how it hinders the users' performance?

I'm just curious because I get the feeling like a lot of people who complain about it either (ᴀ) haven't used Windows 8 at all, or they (B) haven't customized the Start Screen to their liking yet.

Once they add all their apps, websites, and folders to the Start Screen, I really have a hard time seeing how that hinders their performance.. Everything they want is literally right there in front of them. If they want to go back to the Start Screen but (for ex.) they don't like using hot corners, then all they have to do is press the Windows key. If they want the Desktop again, press the Windows key. That's all.

I think the lack of aid for users to get to know and learn how to use Windows 8 is what really ᴘɪssᴇᴅ 'em off. That's where I personally think Microsoft screwed up.

Edited by dtourond, Apr 21 2013, 2:20am :

dtourond said,
I think the lack of aid for users to get to know and learn how to use Windows 8 is what really ᴘɪssᴇᴅ 'em off. That's where I personally think Microsoft screwed up.

Steven Sinofsky is to blame for windows 8. Not being able to easily flow through the UI fluently, that's the major concern and will be addressed in windows 8.1. Also when I said "The start menu doesn't make or brake the OS." I was referring to the sales figures.

The Windows 8 'touch-based UI' works excellent on a desktop/laptop. Win 8 is far from perfect, but if you adjust and use it differently you can preform effectively on these platforms. Try again on win8.1 or even win8

People are used to win7 and try to use win8 as if its the same OS.
Learn, adjust, preform.

wasting 3 seconds for the extra effort pre action is saved when you account for the beneficial features that save you even more time.

The start menu doesn't make or brake the OS. ?

I think Microsoft would argue with you on that one lol

and dtourond this has been explained endlessly i don't think your listening.

I really think the start button / menu belongs on a desktop / server OS not needed for tablets. I'm happy if they bring it back. I mostly use Linux but I think it's the right thing for them to do.

Arghhhh... People are so conservative... I don't need Start button or menu... I'm right good with Windows 8 scheme... I really hope this start button will can be disabled.

Wireless wookie said
Arghhhh... People are so conservative... I don't need Start button or menu... I'm right good with Windows 8 scheme... I really hope this start button will can be disabled.
Agreed

I really don't get why everyone is having a problem over a silly button. I know 8 is a big change and it took me a while to get use to it. But I find that the lack of a button for desktop/notebook computing is just fine. Actually sliding the mouse all the way into the lower left corner and clicking is easier and has the same effect as if there was a button slightly up and over.

I think the biggest problem most people have is what happens after you click/tap start and all you get is animated squares and the familiar menu is gone. Well the next best thing is using your WINDOWS BUTTON + x. This shortcut gives you all the necessary prompts for what the old start menu was used most often for.

Now for Surface and other Windows 8 tablets... yeah. I do think there maybe should be a hard windows button just like on my phone. I wouldn't have problem with that. The swipe and tap for start on touch screens would be simpler with a dedicated hard button.

With 8.1 on the way, what they really need to do is give the user more control over this. Inside the control panel somewhere give us the options to turn these things on and off. Just as in previous windows version where you could change the desktop to basic and go back to windows 95 looks, or disable aero. If they make it easier for the end user to make it their own experience, I think it will make everyone happy.

spoetnik said
explain how it is not..
Besides all the big hooplah over the whole MUI (including the Start Screen) and the lack of the Start Menu, Windows 8 is still a great OS. Why: Because, it has been proven several times to be more secure, faster, uses less RAM, and even works better with older hardware than 7. It's more lightweight than any Windows version yet.

I wouldn't argue with some of what you said. Many people may perceive Windows 8 as great and that is fine but some people like this guy that commented said it was a failure and what i say is that it is both. And as much as you wanna scream louder than the other guy to try and cancel out his opinion i say tough too bad and suck it up. His opinion is real and valid. I believe Windows 8 is a big failure and a success at the same time and if you wanna argue with that then you have some major psychological issues because after all the one we thing we SHOULD be all able to agree on is that Windows 8 has split up the windows 8 fanbase into two groups at war and if you can't see that then i dunno what to say lol

spoetnik said
I believe Windows 8 is a big failure and a success at the same time
Care to explain why you believe it's a failure..?

whether I (or we) agree with having the start menu back, I **think** that perhaps this is a move to (try to) stop the growth of alternative start button/menu software. Perhaps MSFT thinks that adding the start button back would slow-down the adoption of those 3rd party software. Maybe it would increase the end-user acceptance if they see something familiar (even if it takes then to the start screen).

Personally, all I want is a way to search for apps without changing focus from the desktop and a way to fully customise the All Apps section of the start screen without having to go to my AppData\Start Menu\ directory. If those options are added, then I would upgrade my main desktop to Windows 8.

See I'm really torn about the whole start button thing now.

I went for quite a while having no start button, as windows 8 is meant to be, and it came with it's frustrations at times (Multiple monitors just feels awkward on any but the leftmost to get the menu up). So I felt I could live with no button but wanted it back

I recently installed classic shell for other reasons (Hot corners breaking games...ffs -_-) and let it put the button back. It feels kind of...unnatural to have it opening a screen and is weird to use now. I actually kind of want it back the other way! I can't unless the hot corner thing is fixed again though (Funnily enough, it worked for about 3 months after a windows update, then broke again the next time I let my computer install a windows update...fail)

If it takes me to the start screen then I would still get a start menu replacement as this won't do what I want.

It's interesting that management seem to be at least considering the opinions of their customers while the Windows team isn't. I normally thought it was supposed to be the other way round...

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