Evidence mounts for Windows 8.1 boot to desktop option

A few days ago, an examination of twinui.dll in Windows 8.1 build 9364 revealed that there might be an option in the update that will allow users to boot straight to the desktop. While there is currently no interface option in the builds that enables this feature, the code is apparently there, waiting to be worked into the rest of the operating system.

Now a report from The Verge, citing unnamed sources close to the matter, has bolstered the validity of these claims, stating that Microsoft is testing builds of Windows 8.1 that allow a direct boot to the desktop environment. The option will reportedly be disabled by default, which doesn't come as a huge surprise, and even when the option is enabled, hot corner functionality for Charms and recent Modern UI apps will still be present.

The boot to desktop option comes amid pressure from desktop and business users that rely on traditional PCs, as opposed to touchscreen devices which the Start Screen is more suited to. IDC reported last month that Windows 8 users most want the Start menu and a boot to desktop option in the OS, and while the former will almost certainly never return, Microsoft looks to be satisfying some needs in Windows 8.1

Source: The Verge

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I seriously don't have any issue with the start screen other than its annoying search and having to select a specific category. Also, that I can't pop search from the start menu into an explorer window. I don't get the fascination with booting to desktop, considering if you launch a desktop program from the start screen, that's where you end up. Or, just press the damn desktop tile.

Wesley - I understand where you are coming from about informing customers and letting them know what their options are. As a business owner, I definitely do the same with my customers. Although I will say my customers are 'smart cookies' and they come to me asking me my honest opinion of what do I use for my business. Will I use Windows 8? Is it something that makes me more productive, etc.

Thus I'm fully honest with them about my own insights into using Win8 and having it here at my office. I let them know that I don't use it because for me as a tech/business owner I find it more difficult in shear navigational ability than any other OS (including DOS). It's lack of coherency and continuity cause me more time spent on doing a simple task which should take mere fractions of seconds, not closer to minutes to accomplish.

Once they hear this, they come to the conclusion that if it's harder for the "computer guy" to use this software, they realize and begin to ask more questions of how will it be for their businesses to use it. Will it be harder to teach the office ladies who are comfortable just navigating to word and outlook with minor file browsing on the server? What about the office power user? And so forth.

I could tell them that the start button is forever gone and be all smiley about the new start screen, but I can't. I see major issues with the OS and know it will negatively impact customers which I genuinely care about. When my customers have a functioning business that is operating smoothly IT wise, it reflects good on me. Likewise if it's negative. I simply worry more about my customers ability to do their jobs than to sell them a new product.

Maybe there is hope that Microsoft realized the big mess they created with Windows-8 and is now getting serious about fixing it. A company just does not abandon a huge segment of their marketplace and expect to get away with it. The Windows-7 method of working is still the primary way in office/enterprise and serious consumer PC user settings. Windows-8 is fine for the mobile setting only. So, yes, make the Start button, Start menu, and the desktop a choice for users to make on installation!

I too dread trying to sell a new Windows 8 setup. But to my surprise, most of my customers, given a brief, and I mean BRIEF, explanation on what's changed and what's been added, tend to be very excited about Windows 8. They pick it up very fast as well. Your users will tend to follow what you say, and the first thing I will normally say to any of my users using Windows 8 for the first time is, "Now you''ll notice the start button is gone, but don't worry, this is what they have now instead". And after this I never hear a complaint. Now if I started off by saying, "Oh look at this crap that Microsoft pulled". Then you could imagine how my customers would feel. To get to the point, most of my users that have "issues" with Windows 8, are the ones that have a preconceived notion of what it is, long before actually using it

I agree with Modem 100%! I have used it and cannot get used to it and I know Windows well and it took me 15 minutes to figure out how to shut down the machine.

In Win 7 just click the Start Orb, then click Shutdown. 2-3 seconds flat. Not 15 minutes

flynempire said,
I agree with Modem 100%! I have used it and cannot get used to it and I know Windows well and it took me 15 minutes to figure out how to shut down the machine.

In Win 7 just click the Start Orb, then click Shutdown. 2-3 seconds flat. Not 15 minutes

in windows 8, it is possible to shutdown in desktop by moving the mouse to the right side of the screen. Sometimes it fails but doing a "harlem shake" with the mouse could show this vertical screen. Windows 8 is pretty funky.

As a computer tech who owns my own computer business, I can say the impact of Windows 8 on customers has been hugely negative. Of all of the Windows 8 setups I've done for customers, only 1 has requested not to have a start button hack installed to bypass the metro 'live tiles' start screen.

Businesses despise Windows 8 because they see a new operating system that radically changes how their employees interact with a computer and thus that means having employees relearn the new OS. At their expense of course. They see the frustrations that come with radically changing the interface, their employees who feel lost when icons aren't where they are supposed to be, taking much more time to just navigate the OS/UI to accomplish the most basic of tasks all of which impede on the productivity of work in the business environment. This is not my speculation, this is the words from the mouths of business clients I have as to why they are clinging to Windows 7 and abhor Windows 8.

They (and home customers alike) see the metro interface and actually are scared of it. Why? Because the traditional start button and desktop are 'gone'. I dare say 80% of my customer base are standard computer users. Whether they use computers at the office doing Office docs and emailing all day, or are at home doing basic emailing and google search and the most basic of navigating, such a massive change takes away what is 'safe' and 'secure for them. Which is what they have been used too for many years.

Secondly many business customers of mine are in specific industries such as insurance, banking, utility services, etc. All of these customers have very specific programs either programmed just for their business or for their industry. Each time a new OS comes out, they have to remain on the older OS for up to 2 years afterwards until manufacturers update the applications to be compatible. I saw this big time going from XP to Vista/7. I dare say that these programs probably won't be updated for Metro at all if the adoption rate of 8 is so slim in the business/enterprise market. Thus from a business perspective, forcing the enterprise market to shun Windows 8 from that stand point alone.

Lastly I dare say, Windows 8 apart from the metro interface has become generally more confusing to use. A friend of mine who is a tech expert and has been working with me in the tech field for the past 16 years who is a linux/unix specialist and is strongly capable in Windows. It took him an hour to figure out how to enable the bluetooth on his mom's Windows 8 Tablet before having to Google it to figure out.

This is simply unfathomable to what Microsoft has created. They are essentially committing software suicide with Windows 8 if they don't revert back to the traditional desktop and the start menu. There may be a market of users out there who enjoy metro and like it (and good for them), but they are in the far far minority when it comes to business/enterprise adoption. Especially when such a change hinders the work of business employees and costs the business more money to retrain the employees.

+100

Unfortunately a lot of people don't seem to understand this. You tell them that this is what is wrong with Windows 8 and they turn around and say that YOU are at fault, YOU are resistant to change, YOU are making a big deal for nothing and YOU are too stupid to learn a few "simple" new things.

I have to totally agree 100% with you.

I had to setup a W8 Base unit for internal software testing and it took more ages find how to enable RDP.

In the end i installed Classic Shell and with seconds was back to setting the base unit up in a flash.

the Metro (and yes i will refuse to call this MODERN, as it nothing not in anyway modern) is just a nightmare to use, the idea of rolling this out to the rest of the office.

Also my pet hate in using this, when i launched for example MAIL but not create an account, it says i Login Failed and suggest setting up an account.. but no way to get out of this full screen mess, you think ESC would take you back to START screen.

Either had to TAB out or GRAB at the TOP and slide it down.. and then don't get me started with how ugly this action is.

the START screen may look nice from a far as you walk past.. but horid to use up front when all u need is a desktop environment.

I can't even fathom using Modern Outlook/Office.. NOT ALL OF US run apps FULL SCREEN.. or want to.

Panda X said,
Why the dramatic angled photograph of a monitor?

I usually uses this kind of photos for my sites. Is way better than to show a simple screenshot.

Brony said,

I usually uses this kind of photos for my sites. Is way better than to show a simple screenshot.

Way better how? I get the whole story from the title alone. The dramatic image doesn't do anything for the reader.

going back completely to a start menu is not the answer
but neither is a full metro

something like modernmix but made form MS themselves is the way to go for DESKTOPS

they can keep full metro for tablets

and this has always been my argument, im not against metro, it just dosent make a whole lot of sense on desktops, metro on tablets is fine the way it is.

Not really going to make that much difference to PC sales being eaten up by tablets and that's where the real threat is. And when people accidentally enable this option there will be more of the "Windows sucks" complaints. Good luck MS, the end is drawing near.

The most important case for this functionality are for computers that function as a kiosk such as Windows based CCTV / DVR systems. Although the applications may be rewritten for metro (or whatever we are meant to be calling it now) at some point in the future, it is potentially a huge task to do so. Also as the applications use quite low level API's and access to drivers I am not sure they will work well in a sandboxed environment.

Robin Jones said,
The most important case for this functionality are for computers that function as a kiosk such as Windows based CCTV / DVR systems.

true.
many digital signalization panels in public places such as airports are just full screen Windows apps automatically run at startup.

currently, Windows8 (except embedded versions) can't display them at startup, since they will be hidden by the start screen.

the funny thing is that an option to boot directly to desktop was available in Windows 8 developer preview, through gpedit.msc.
then it was removed from the consumer preview.

I always knew it would return at some point, because MS knows a lot of enterprises are using standard versions of Windows to power kiosks and giant displays.

I'm pretty sure they removed this option with the intend to restore it in later versions of Windows, once the start screen receives enough exposure to users.

If this comes true and we see even more tweaks to the start screen itself that helps it work better overall for mouse users then it should be very interesting to see how this turns out.

I think a option that let's the start screen slide out from the left partially like the right side charms menus do that it'd be a nice middle ground.

That's good, but I quite like the start screen, will probably leave it on. The background with the floating islands reminds me of Chrono Trigger.

Good. Please add Start Menu? Let people choose what they one. Modern vs classic. It would be better if it is asked the option on the installation option. Express would be default new metro, new start menu, but custom user can choose old desktop and old start menu.

Hokgiarto Saliem said,
Good. Please add Start Menu? Let people choose what they one. Modern vs classic. It would be better if it is asked the option on the installation option. Express would be default new metro, new start menu, but custom user can choose old desktop and old start menu.

If you want the old start menu, there are many alternatives and some of them free. They look just like the start menu in Win7 and it disables/hides the Metro start screen so you dont have to see it again.

MS is not going to bring back the start menu.

That's down to the app developers though.

If someone can migrate a complex office or mainframe or coders app into a nice clear, modern, easy to use app then enterprise could also stay in the Modern environment. If Outlook ran in modern, then likewise.

It's up to the software teams to battle this, not just enable a tick box and live with messy desktop apps, each with a different UI forever.

Although, I doubt people will ever get consistant, even in the Modern UI. So, yeah, I agree it would be in the minority for a while.

I completely agree, lunamonkey. Developers and businesses bringing in Modern apps will help drive adoption of the new interface. I know we have plans to release a modern app or two as examples, I just hope the funding doesn't get cut!

ingramator said,
Choice is good, I probably won't use it though tbh.

I'm not all that put out by hitting one key clicking a tile either.

Cyborg_X said,

I'm not all that put out by hitting one key clicking a tile either.


Tell that to IT people who deal with dozens/hundreds/thousands of end users who *will* whine about having to click one tile to get to a desktop they would likely prefer to be in to start with. Was that way when I was in the military. KISS principle in full effect LOL.

It's good to have a choice, but I'm sure there's a whole user group out there that would happily live with the default Mail and Metro apps, rather than go to the desktop to reinstall Live apps or extra office apps. (Not all of them of course, but some people would be happy).

Surely living in Metro is the easier, most instantly accessable option to carry out basic mom-and-pop tasks. (Touch or no touch).

As far as people that do "real work" on their PC, whatever that means, I don't see why they would be using the start menu so much anyway. Desktop and taskbar icons can easily be replaced by the start screen. Once I have launched my apps from the XP desktop at 9am, the only time I use the start menu, is to get to recent documents and fill out my timesheet at 5pm. Which I could easily do from Excel anyway.

Because the lack of software, Windows RT is inferior to iOS and Android but it also more expensive so, for those people that want a easy interface then, there are better options around here.
And for the power user, Modern UI is a annoying interface that we are forced to click "desktop" everything that we boot up.

Also, the integration between Real Windows (aka desktop) and Modern UI is pretty dim, i will use more Modern UI if i would be able to play desktop applications inside Modern UI.

I agree with that except for this part

"And for the power user, Modern UI is a annoying interface that we are forced to click "desktop" everything that we boot up."

You're not forced though and annoyance is a personal thing. You can launch any type of app from Modern, or enterprises can use Modern apps when they (slowly) arrive/coded. And once you've launched a desktop only app once, and you're in the desktop UI, your most used shortcuts are of course on the desktop for your other apps.

Maybe if people see the start screen as that, a launcher, and not an environment, this whole issue would disappear.

On my non-touch desktop, I have not once been annoyed or hindered by using the start screen to perform "real work".