From the Forums: More thoughts on the Windows 8 Start menu debate

It's a topic that just won't go away for long time Windows users. We are speaking of the lack of a Start menu in the desktop UI for Windows 8. In a recent editorial, we pointed out that a lot of the users of Microsoft's latest OS had downloaded several different Start menu programs made by third parties and that was evidence that many users want to keep the familiar desktop menu around.

The editorial generated a ton of news comments on its own, with Neowin readers debating the pros and cons of doing away with the Start menu. The debate spilled over in our forums, where Neowin member warwagon launched a member poll which asked, "Do you want the start menu in Windows 8?" As of this writing, the "Yes" votes are slightly ahead with 52.85 percent, compared to "No" with 47.15 percent.

The member poll generated quite a few comments on its own, both for and against adding the Start menu back in Windows 8. Decidedly in the "Yes" section is tsupersonic who stated:

Hell yes. For people without touchscreen monitors (which is the majority of monitors), you need the damn start button in Windows. Hell, I still would want the start button on a monitor without a touchscreen. I can't tolerate Windows 8 without a start button.

Neowin member McKay is in the "No" section of the debate, and even shows off his Windows 8 Start screen to prove his point. He says:

No, I've gotten used to having my apps organised into groups that I want instead of one giant list that can only utilize the height of my screen. I see this as added functionality and I wouldn't want to lose it.

While this debate will likely continue, it seems like Microsoft has no interest in returning the Start menu to the desktop portion of Windows 8. That means that third party companies that offer Start menu alternatives will most likely continue to enjoy a large audience for months, if not years, to come.

View: Do you want the start menu in Windows 8? Poll

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My company will be staying with Windows-7. We don't have the luxury of trashing all of our hardware just to get the cutely touch-screen features of Windows-8. Nor do we have the luxury of having to retrain our unsophisticated users to a new UI. Most companies are hardly on the "bleeding edge" of technology, nor to they want to.

TsarNikky said,
My company will be staying with Windows-7. We don't have the luxury of trashing all of our hardware just to get the cutely touch-screen features of Windows-8. Nor do we have the luxury of having to retrain our unsophisticated users to a new UI. Most companies are hardly on the "bleeding edge" of technology, nor to they want to.

And nobody cares.

Nobody upgrades every year or so. Companies which need an upgrade *now*, will switch to windows 8.

I'm glad the Start Menu's gone. I hated it from day one, and most of the time I used alternate programs. When I got Windows 8, it took me a week to get used to everything (not just the new UI), but once I was all settled in, I was in love. The new Start Screen is much better in several ways. I can find, organize and run all of my programs a lot better and faster. I remember getting frustrated with the Start Menu because I would move the mouse to fast and click on something else because the icons were too small; or because I couldn't pin all my favorite programs.

The Start Menu was great in it's own way (I guess), but that's in the past now, and we need to move on.

dtourond said,
The Start Menu was great in it's own way (I guess), but that's in the past now, and we need to move on.

Why would "we" need to move on, just because you love Windows 8 Metro? Are you saying that because you like it, others should have to like it too?

Buio said
Why would "we" need to move on, just because you love Windows 8 Metro? Are you saying that because you like it, others should have to like it too?
I'm saying that because we've had the Start Menu for almost 18 years now and it's time for a change. And I'm definitely not the only one who likes the Start Screen, so no, I'm not just because I like it. I'm saying it because the Start Screen is great and people need to give it an honest chance before they go out and say the hate it.

As long as Windows-8 panders to those with touch-screen tablets, by ignoring the millions of user with laptops and desktops having traditional displays, it is not going to be "roaring success" that Microsoft would like to have you believe. By removing the choice of UI to use, MS really "put their foot in the the muck."

TsarNikky said,
As long as Windows-8 panders to those with touch-screen tablets, by ignoring the millions of user with laptops and desktops having traditional displays, it is not going to be "roaring success" that Microsoft would like to have you believe. By removing the choice of UI to use, MS really "put their foot in the the muck."

I'm kinda confused how the Start Screen is touch only. Pin your desktop apps to it, ignore the Metro apps, and you're set. No fuss no muss. The Start Screen works wonderfully with a mouse.

I don't have a touchscreen monitor at all. Same computer I had when 7 and Vista came out. I can fly right through everything the same as always.

why not use both?

install a start menu like startisback or start8 or classicshell or .... and use Windows 8 Start Screen like a 2nd Desktop putting/Pinning there only Programs that you use from time to time, like Video/Audio Converters, DVD burners like nero, etc

So basically is like this:
1. Start menu being start menu ala Windows 7
2. Desktop being Desktop with some shortcuts with stuff you use normally and fast access (like games)
3. Win8 Start Screen for only Metro and with Pinned shortcuts for 2nd usual programs that you run

see, simple, adapted to windows 8 and now i have things even more organized and faster access that i ever did on Windows 7.

Dont join the Windows 8 Internet hate, we have options to make the OS whatever we want it to be, rarely we can have a OS/software that is made especially for us

A Start Page that has the option to

Not cover the whole screen.

Add a button to the desktop taskbar so I dont have to dip right to the corner of my screen

Movable from left to right with click and drag on the mouse (like the lock screen is) and not just the mouse wheel or slider bars/arrow keys

Add more depth so move into folders or options from tiles within the start page

Looks good but I would prefer these kind of options coming as standard in such a modern operating system. Most people will never know about this app and thats a shame.

I want to see Metro apps appear in the taskbar alongside desktop apps; it doesn't make sense to have two separate locations for running apps and Alt-Tab is not a viable replacement (you can't access it with just the mouse). I'd also like the taskbar to be visible at all times, even when the start screen is displayed - that's one of the few advantages the start menu had over the start screen.

The biggest issue with Windows 8 is the way the Metro and desktop environments aren't consistent with each other and there is strange behaviour, like the screen going blank when you side-snap a Metro app or the fact that each uses different mouse gestures. It's clear that some elements of the interface were rushed to meet the deadline, which is something that Windows 9 will hopefully address.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I'd also like the taskbar to be visible at all times, even when the start screen is displayed - that's one of the few advantages the start menu had over the start screen.

see my reply a little above

thexfile said,
Nobody was demanding tiles. It Microsoft's monopoly forcing people to tiles.


You know what a mess Windows would be if Microsoft had every little thing people "demanded"?

No one demanded the Start Menu in the first place, but we still got it, and people still complained that Program Manager was the best thing ever.

Dot Matrix said,

No one demanded the Start Menu in the first place, but we still got it, and people still complained that Program Manager was the best thing ever.

Nobody demanded that it be removed either. Too much focus on tablets. And if you're going to ape iOS, at least copy the folder idea too.

The least they should do, is to give to a user a choice.
The OS should be customised to a user's needs, and not the other way around.

The "hot corners" are difficult to hit when you run Win8 itself in a window (e.g. a VM or remote access).

Here is a nice idea - why not have a little BUTTON at the lower left corner so that it will be a target to click on, so you don't need to get the pointer right in the corner?
And why not decorate it with a little windows LOGO on the button ...
And maybe you could make it show a list of apps in a window so you don't get a sudden jolt to a completely different hyperactive epilepsy-inducing screen when you want to start one ...
And the list of apps could be neatly grouped in folders to save real estate and clutter and muddle ...

That would be such a nice feature, it should be incorporated in the OS itself! It is a pity that the UI designers were so focused on tablets that they overlooked a big class of MS customers, namely people who use desktop WIMP systems to do real work....

Edited by gb8080, Feb 18 2013, 12:57pm :

Haven't been using the start menu much ever since vista introduced that search box on it.
IMHO a search driven work flow is much quicker then digging through the start menu if you know what you're looking for.
And BTW, search on Win8 works gorgeously.

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