Windows 8.1 Start button finally shown off on video

Microsoft announced in May, to the delight and relief of many, that a Start button would be added to the desktop UI of Windows 8.1 when it is released later this year. However, in Microsoft's official screenshots and video showcasing Windows 8.1, the Start button isn't actually displayed.

However, Microsoft finally decided to give the audience at its Computex 2013 keynote address in Taiwan a quick glimpse of the Start button in action this week. Networkworld.com posted the video on YouTube, which features the Start button around the 1.16 mark.

The video showcases another feature of Windows 8.1 that lets users set up the background of the desktop so it can be the same as the background for the Modern style Start menu. The video shows that clicking on the Start button on the desktop screen brings up the Start menu, but since the background is the same for both, there's no sense that there's been a huge jump from one UI to another.

The video also shows the new All Apps part of Windows 8.1, which will allow users to view a list of Windows 8 apps with small icons on screen as an option to the regular tile-based Start menu.

Source: Networkworld on YouTube via The Verge

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I wish they would've made the start screen "remote" friendlier. I kind of like to use it on my living room TV but the lack of support kind of sucks. It could've replaced MCE completely but I don't know what Microsoft is doing anymore =/.

Can I use the options to get rid of the start button? Rarely used it. Was great when they got rid of it. The start screen is much better.

I using windows 8 but i will not update until i have more information about software compatibility with classic shell.

0nyX said,
Start menu and Start button was always there, just redesigned.
Stop embarrassing yourselves.

look in the mirror, its you embarrassing yourself!

all I want is to boot directly to desktop, use start menu and completely hide freaking start screen. metro is simply hideous and not to mention that the Start screen is nothing but annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can't hide the start screen, but you can have the start screen use the Desktop wallpaper to make it a less jarring experience. You can also boot directly to desktop in 8.1. You can also have the all apps screen load when you press start, instead of the start screen. The all apps screen is a lot like the All Programs menu on the old Start menu.

I am really thankful the Start Button is reappearing. I hope they are bringing back the Start Menu too. I don't care if they make the Start Menu look a little like Metro. Actually, I'd kind of like that. I just don't want it taking up the whole screen.

They are still not listening, this isn't exactly still what I would want in order to go to Windows 8 I still don't want that Start Menu crap period. I don't know what part of Microsoft doesn't get when they decided to bring back the start button.

Microsoft's logic of trying reason with people is crappy. Most of all the people want the option for the Start Menu to return to how it was before and still not be half ass done as it is right now.

meh.. I won't be installing windows 8 or 8.1.

I cannot be told by the obvious MS militia around here that a tablet OS is what I need and it is the future.

As distrowatch.com's motto is; "Put the fun back in computing.."

All apps is not new.

sometimes I wonder if blog writers have actually used Windows 8. it has been updated in Windows 8.1 with new features. you can access it by opening the search charm from the desktop, by right clicking on the Start screen and choosing All apps...

personally, it's hilarious that people care about a demo of the Start button. as someone who has used Windows 8 since the Developer Preview in 2011, I have no desire to add a Start button. it would just take up space on the taskbar. the Start button is for rookies.

I use several Windows 8 virtual machines (testing + development) running in separate windows, and it's near impossible to to use any of the hot corners quickly.

Adding an optional button for people who want it has no effect on you.

No one said All Apps was new. The way you get to all apps is new, the sorting options for all apps are new, and the ability to click the start button and be taken directly to all apps is new. All are great additions.

Ok guys, I've watched the video, I've used Windows 8 on a laptop for just about year, and I still do not see how Windows 8 is a revolution for Microsofts operating system. It still isn't as fluid as I would personally need it to be. For me, there are to many transitions from desktop to the new UI. I've really gone back and forth between Windows 7 and 8, and I can fluidly move through the OS faster with Windows 7. Maybe if there were no desktop and everything ran in this new UI I would feel more comfortable about it. Actually I think that would probably be a more revolutionary OS. No disrespect to the guys who like Windows 8, but Metro looks like a Stardock add on program for Windows 7. Just my observations and personal opinion.

now if microsoft would bring back program manager and send those arrogant and idiotic fanboys into a collective fits ... lmao.

Alright, looking better. Still needs a shutdown menu, though. It doesn't have to be obtrusive - just toss it in the corner exactly the same as it is on the Ctrl-Alt-Del menu.

Start -> Shutdown has been a staple of Windows since 1995. It works well and people are used to it.

No old start menu. It's not being added because people complain about the lack of a start menu. It's being added because it's a better UI design to have a visible button for the start screen than to not have a visible button for the start screen.

then this is going to make a lot of people upset, everyone knows that Windows 8 removed the start menu, and all those people think that the start menu will be back with SP1. so they will be greeted with a placeholder... how fun... i just hope they do something about all the other bugs in the kernel and hal....

SaT.161 said,
i just hope they do something about all the other bugs in the kernel and hal....

I hope in 8.1, when I want to safely remove a USB storage device, it'll actually tell me WHICH programs are using it.

Or when I am moving/renaming/deleting a file, I'll get helpful message, and not just "The file is open in another program"

The ability to show which program a USB storage device is using would be great, however Windows already tells you exactly which program a file is open in when you try to move/rename/delete a file...

SaT.161 said,
... and all those people think that the start menu will be back with SP1.
Win 8.1 is not a service pack....

Everyone has always said that since DOS 1.0. XP in particular was bashed severely. The joke at the time was XP was the emoticon for squinting you eyes and sticking your tongue out. My conclusions is people will always complain about anything different.

Hoping I can disable that start button. My keyboard already has 2 of them no reason to take up useful space on my taskbar.

Zero21XX said,
Hoping I can disable that start button. My keyboard already has 2 of them no reason to take up useful space on my taskbar.

I only have 9 or 10 icons at my taskbar at all times. Do you actually manage to fill yours?

Not really, just don't see the point of having the start button there after I got used to using the ones on my keyboard. Will not lose any sleep if I can't disable it, but I do like the current W8 taskbar setup.

Everyone is clapping that the start button is back, this is a new way to make money when you run out of ideas, remove the good features of Windows 7 in 8 and then return them slowly in 8.1 and 9, yehhh, windows rocks

stupidity beyond stupidity

Um, Windows Blue is free, so if this is an attempt to make more money off Windows 8 (Which was heavily discounted for upgrading compared to Windows 7 BTW), then they're doing it completely wrong.

john.smith_2084 said,
Everyone is clapping that the start button is back, this is a new way to make money when you run out of ideas, remove the good features of Windows 7 in 8 and then return them slowly in 8.1 and 9, yehhh, windows rocks

stupidity beyond stupidity

I've also thought about that, and it doesn't make any sense, as Windows 8.1 is a free update.

Looks good. I've always like the idea of the start page as a full screen launcher, but to me it just felt like I was forced in and out of two completely different environments each time I launched it. Maybe with the ability to use the desktop background it will feel more like an overlay to the explorer desktop rather than a completely different user interface.

That's exactly how it looks to me from the video.. For me it looks like a dramatic difference, for one the background being able to be identical is probably the biggest part but second its also how they made the transition between the desktop and the start screen. Its such a smooth motion that to me you don't have a jarring feeling anymore.

I never minded the jarring motion between the two from the beginning though, I just adapted.

Am I the only who who thinks that the Windows 8 menu goes against a bunch of basic design rules ? It's just plain ugly with the icons all over the place. That and the bottom left hot corner that pop-ups with a very odd size that does not blend in nicely at all.

And as far as the video goes, looks like Microsoft totally missed the point. People wanted the functionality and classic look of the start menu. Not just the frigging button ! Very clever Microsoft...

I thought Metro sucked on the desktop but the more I used it the more I like the new start screen. There is really no need for the old start menu when you can just pin your most used programs on the taskbar.

xplatinum said,

And as far as the video goes, looks like Microsoft totally missed the point. People wanted the functionality and classic look of the start menu. Not just the frigging button ! Very clever Microsoft...

They are adding a visual element which shouldn't have been removed at all. Hiding elements like the start button is really bad design; the whole point of a graphical UI is that you can have the major options (like access to the start screen) visible to the user.

Microsoft doesn't do what people want, they are doing what they think will make the best product. In the long run, if they make a good product now, they'll be successful; at least that's what they are counting on.

Lamp Post said,
...

Agreed.

They got rid of folders, and opt for a full screen of icons instead (All Apps).
Sure, they have sort abilities, but the eye still needs to scan an entire screen-worth of icons to look for what it needs.
Semantic zoom helps a little. But the full screen transition does not help.
Besides, you get taken back to a screen full of apps anyway.

The start screen is too "busy".
In web design, there's the idea of "heat maps" and "hot spots".
Most people find it hard to see "everything" at once. Instead, your eye jumps around to "hot spots" on the screen.
Ideally, you want to reduce the amount of eye tracking the user does.
Too many hot spots (live tiles, full-screen of icons, full-screen animation etc) leads to eye fatigue and slower recognition.

With the traditional start menu, you have a single, vertical list of folders/icons.
There's no need for the eye to scan the height AND width of a 27" monitor.

Just pin to task bar? That's already a feature in Win7, and works well IN CONJUNCTION with the Win7 start menu
Just use search in Win8? That's also already a feature in Win7.
And a better thought out one too.
Once again, you only deal with a single, vertical list of results, with the OPTION to use an explorer window.

Lol, amazing how much applaud a button gets for just remaining visible. The left bottom corner as it is right now is the same function as that button. If you say what makes it better is that it's always visible now, it always has been, it's that button on the left of the space bar that has the Windows flag on it, lol. I'm all for option, but that's a bit excessive just for keeping something visible. Now I wonder what happens if you move the taskbar.

It doesn't hurt to have it visible, and it is less confusing to have UI elements like that visible. That was what made graphical UIs a lot more user friendly than command line based UIs: the ability to visually see the available options and not having to know the commands for them.

That's actually not as lame as I thought. It sounded like the start button was just going to be on an on screen windows key. It still doesn't appear to provide all the utility of the Windows 7 start menu with all the stuff on the right side like your libraries, control panel, and power control.

You realize even in current Windows 8 if you right click the Start Tip (the thing that replaced the start button) you get a bunch of power user options including both Control Panel and Power Options that you mentioned.

I didn't mind it the way it was before, but after seeing it in action, it certainly looks like it will feel smoother and of course satisfy many who complained about it before. I guess I may not need Decor8 anymore.

First part of video, nice animated background bubbles are moving on the fish, second video towards end.. I love the seamless background of the two desktop and modern/metro tiles. I also noticed the screen has to darken to make the tiles stand out more when you are in modern/metro mode.

The fish is a "Betta" fish, which MS have always used for their Beta/preview versions of Windows since Win 7 Beta's. It will likely be gone in the finished version, although theres other new animated backgrounds.

The fact that the start button stays visible in the start screen is nice.

I do think that Windows 8 needs an (optional?) unified taskbar. Having one way to switch between desktop apps and another way to switch between Metro/Modern/Whatever apps is the exact opposite of 'seamless' and is probably one of the main reasons that I never use Metro/Modern/RT/WindowsStore apps.

Also if desktop / metro apps could communicate with each other and maintain a "unified" state - that would be great!

Stetson said,
The fact that the start button stays visible in the start screen is nice.

I do think that Windows 8 needs an (optional?) unified taskbar. Having one way to switch between desktop apps and another way to switch between Metro/Modern/Whatever apps is the exact opposite of 'seamless' and is probably one of the main reasons that I never use Metro/Modern/RT/WindowsStore apps.

True, said that the fact that you will be able to use the same background both with the desktop and the start screen is, IMO, a huge improvements. Before it was like swapping between two rooms with completely different and opposite colours and was disturbing.

Also it is interesting that in this second video Jensen Harris is using a mouse and, presumably, a keyboard; in the previous one he was interacting with the PC using his fingers.

Stetson said,
The fact that the start button stays visible in the start screen is nice.

I do think that Windows 8 needs an (optional?) unified taskbar. Having one way to switch between desktop apps and another way to switch between Metro/Modern/Whatever apps is the exact opposite of 'seamless' and is probably one of the main reasons that I never use Metro/Modern/RT/WindowsStore apps.

I agree with this. I always thought the taskbar would remain at the bottom of the screen, with the system tray becoming more finger friendly when using your fingers. The elements on it are big enough to be easily hit with a finger and it would make switching between ALL programs, desktop or modern just 1 click.

I'm just amazed how one button relocation freak the **** out of the entire industry. Is there any other equivalent in the world?

Axel said,
Welcome to '95! So much fuss over a button!?
Id like to respectfully correct you on that. The fuss was not about a button, but the meat behind that button. AKA the start menu!

yeah but couldn't you already create that by pinning those items to the start menu? I think it was over the button. the start menu was always there!

suprNOVA said,
yeah but couldn't you already create that by pinning those items to the start menu? I think it was over the button. the start menu was always there!

Create the start menu by pinning items to the start menu? Also, the start menu was not always there, it was one of the major improvements that came with Windows 95.

Are you kidding me? - all the new "start button" does is take you back to the metro screen?

FFS that's what we want to get away from!