Microsoft: Start button was 'warm blanket' taken from Windows 8

Microsoft made a decision to take away both the Start menu and button from the desktop of Windows 8 in 2012. That move proved to be highly unpopular, so the Start button returned in Windows 8.1, and Microsoft will launch a new version of the Start menu in a future version of the operating system.

In an interview with CNET, Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager lead on Windows, said that when the team was first developing Windows 8, there was lengthy internal debate about whether or not the desktop Start button would be included.  He said: "It's not like someone sits there and says, 'There will be no start button.' It's a long discussion. A very, very long discussion."

Ultimately, the decision to ditch the Start button was one that many, perhaps most, of the people who used Windows 8 felt was a mistake. Sareen compared the feeling to that of a "warm blanket" that is suddenly taken away from a person. He added, "There are some times when you have to take a bet, and there are times when you have to adjust what you're doing."

That is exactly what Microsoft did with the release of Windows 8.1 one year after Windows 8's launch, and again with Windows 8.1 Update coming just six months after that. Sareen says that quick response will continue for future Windows updates, stating, "You better believe that we are faster and faster responding to feedback than before." The big question is will those updates will come fast enough to energize sales of Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets.

Source: CNET | Image via Microsoft

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My point exactly. Stationary PC and desktop UI are not inextricably joined. There are other ways of using a computer and other UIs that are just as effective.

simplezz said,
Finally someone at Microsoft has some sense. There's nothing stopping them developing Metro, but just don't ram it down the throats of everyone (desktop users) in order to push your mobile agenda.

What else are you going to use going forward? I highly doubt there will be very many developers left coding for Win32 now that Microsoft has unified their platforms.

Dot Matrix said,

What else are you going to use going forward? I highly doubt there will be very many developers left coding for Win32 now that Microsoft has unified their platforms.

Programs for getting actual work done will remain Win32. You often want high density UIs with many controls just 1 click away. That's hard to do in modern apps.

But windowed modern apps will make them a lot more useful and get more people to develop them. Previously you had to choose Win32 or modern and they can't easily be used at the same time. You could snap the desktop but I hated doing that, it resizes my windowed things. Blegh. Now with the ability to run modern apps in a window there won't be much reason not to make the app a modern app if it doesn't need a high density UI since you'll then be able to effectively use it on either a tablet or a desktop.

Dot Matrix said,

Office disagrees...

They're not discontinuing office on desktop, they're just making modern versions. Those are useful for tablets. But when you want to use a large screen with a desktop or a docked tablet the windows version is a lot better. Switching between programs, copy and paste, drag and drop, and much more isn't possible in Modern.

Maybe with the capability to run modern apps in a window this will change. Hopefully they also allow drag and drop functionality on windowed modern apps. Then it will change from being a totally different interface that runs in the same OS to just another way of creating an app that scales better across screen sizes.

mrp04 said,

Switching between programs, copy and paste, drag and drop, and much more isn't possible in Modern.

... Of course it is! I can drag and drop in Mail, as well as copy and paste into various Modern applications daily! Where are you getting that you can't do this? In fact, here's evidence: http://imgur.com/YCJi1gl

Edited by Dot Matrix, Apr 4 2014, 1:53am :

mrp04 said,

They're not discontinuing office on desktop, they're just making modern versions. Those are useful for tablets. But when you want to use a large screen with a desktop or a docked tablet the windows version is a lot better. Switching between programs, copy and paste, drag and drop, and much more isn't possible in Modern.

Maybe with the capability to run modern apps in a window this will change. Hopefully they also allow drag and drop functionality on windowed modern apps. Then it will change from being a totally different interface that runs in the same OS to just another way of creating an app that scales better across screen sizes.

To add to my above comment, you can also drag and drop tiles on the start screen.

Making everything full screen on a Desktop is the biggest stupidity EVER, there is no bigger stupidity than that, it is not Windows anymore it is !#@!#@#@%

I really, really wanted to know where the stupidity is coming from, and today it is crystal clear!

Full screen apps are perfect for phones and tablets, but not desktops, like the ocean is perfect for fish, not the land.

john.smith_2084 said,
Making everything full screen on a Desktop is the biggest stupidity EVER, there is no bigger stupidity than that, it is not Windows anymore it is !#@!#@#@%

I really, really wanted to know where the stupidity is coming from, and today it is crystal clear!

Full screen apps are perfect for phones and tablets, but not desktops, like the ocean is perfect for fish, not the land.

Good news then, you can snap the apps. Have you tried that yet? Fullscreen apps are great for reducing on screen clutter.

Dot Matrix said,

Good news then, you can snap the apps. Have you tried that yet? Fullscreen apps are great for reducing on screen clutter.

Snapping is pretty terrible on a big screen.

Good thing they're going to allow modern apps to run windowed with update 2. I NEVER use modern apps on my desktop with a 30" screen other than Netflix. Now I might actually use them with windowed mode.

They work fine on my 12.5" tablet but are pretty stupid on my 30" desktop.

I liked the start SCREEN though. Fits more shortcuts than the start menu did.

mrp04 said,

Snapping is pretty terrible on a big screen.

Good thing they're going to allow modern apps to run windowed with update 2. I NEVER use modern apps on my desktop with a 30" screen other than Netflix. Now I might actually use them with windowed mode.

They work fine on my 12.5" tablet but are pretty stupid on my 30" desktop.

I liked the start SCREEN though. Fits more shortcuts than the start menu did.

Snapping works great on my 22 inch screen. Not sure why it would be any different on a 30.

Dot Matrix said,

Snapping works great on my 22 inch screen. Not sure why it would be any different on a 30.

Because it just sucks. Apps must extend all the way from top to bottom. Want to open 3 programs at once? Well now you have three small slivers on your screen. Sometimes on my desktop I'll have a program on the left half of the screen and one in the top right and one in the bottom right. Can't do that in modern.

Switching between programs is also terribly inefficient. My taskbar has 23 items on it right now. That would just be horrid in modern UI. How do you effectively switching between that many windows? You can't.

In Modern you have to move to the left corner and then to the center of the screen, grab the item that you want and then drag it to where you want it. On the desktop you can just simply click the window in the taskbar and it's back to where you had it. 1 click vs swipe to corner then center, click and drag, and then drop.

mrp04 said,

Because it just sucks. Apps must extend all the way from top to bottom. Want to open 3 programs at once? Well now you have three small slivers on your screen. Sometimes on my desktop I'll have a program on the left half of the screen and one in the top right and one in the bottom right. Can't do that in modern.

Switching between programs is also terribly inefficient. My taskbar has 23 items on it right now. That would just be horrid in modern UI. How do you effectively switching between that many windows? You can't.

In Modern you have to move to the left corner and then to the center of the screen, grab the item that you want and then drag it to where you want it. On the desktop you can just simply click the window in the taskbar and it's back to where you had it. 1 click vs swipe to corner then center, click and drag, and then drop.

How the heck do you have 23 items open? I have NEVER seen a user with that many things open at a time. Not even developers.

Dot Matrix said,
How the heck do you have 23 items open? I have NEVER seen a user with that many things open at a time. Not even developers.

Really? 23 isn't even that many...

Dot Matrix said,

How the heck do you have 23 items open? I have NEVER seen a user with that many things open at a time. Not even developers.


Then you haven't worked where I've worked, with users having so many windows open at once it's a miracle they even know what they're doing. Three CATIA windows, two Unigraphics Windows, multiple emails (each in their own window), a half dozen spreadsheets, and more...

Then they complain about how slow their machines are running, and why can't we do anything about it... and the suggestion that they close programs they're not using gets you a nasty look and a few choice words that can't be published.

john.smith_2084 said,
Making everything full screen on a Desktop is the biggest stupidity EVER, there is no bigger stupidity than that, it is not Windows anymore it is !#@!#@#@%

Windows 8 Modern UI : "now without window". genius!. /s

Tal Greywolf said,

Then you haven't worked where I've worked, with users having so many windows open at once it's a miracle they even know what they're doing. Three CATIA windows, two Unigraphics Windows, multiple emails (each in their own window), a half dozen spreadsheets, and more...

Then they complain about how slow their machines are running, and why can't we do anything about it... and the suggestion that they close programs they're not using gets you a nasty look and a few choice words that can't be published.

I've seen people who work like that. 20 spreadsheets, 30 Word docs, 15 IE windows, and the slowness is a problem with the computer. Or negligence on my part since I haven't done routine maintenance. Of course, for that the user would have to relinquish the system for half an hour . . .

DConnell said,

I've seen people who work like that. 20 spreadsheets, 30 Word docs, 15 IE windows, and the slowness is a problem with the computer. Or negligence on my part since I haven't done routine maintenance. Of course, for that the user would have to relinquish the system for half an hour . . .


Been there, done that, got the tentacle hickeys to show for it.

Yes, MS it was indeed warm blanket taken of but it was not the user who lost but your company lost billions in sales revenue and bad image for your company. The only looser in win 8 fiasco has been you only.

"Desktop" interface is not a warm blanket but a bulletproof vest.

And no, it is not about a lousy button. Silly MS that doesn't know the difference between the start menu and the start button.

When win8 was launched , I read MS said there is no plan B as it was all metro and metro crap lovers were beating their chest that give some chance to metro and it will be best thing after sliced bread. Now fast forward 2 years and this metro fad went in to drain.

The stupid Start Menu is *not* the "Desktop interface", Macs don't have it and never have and the desktop interface was basically born there. In fact the Start Menu is a major detriment for the desktop interface. It takes away from the desktop interface.

I'm never using that stupid Start Menu again. Screw it.

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