Windows 8.1 Start button revealed in Windows Server 2012 R2

Microsoft is set to release a preview build of Windows 8.1 later this week, but the company posted Windows Server 2012 R2 to MSDN not long ago. If you are wondering why we care about 2012 R2 hitting MSDN, it’s because it has the new Windows 8.1 Start button included in the build.

The new Start button is displayed in all its glory as well as the new boot options that come with Windows 8.1. One new item we can see is what happens when you right click on the Start button, as there are several new options including the ability to shut down the machine.

If you have access to MSDN, you can try out the new Start button in all of its glory, but know that the preview build will be out in only a few days, so it may be worth waiting for the majority of users.

Microsoft will be releasing a preview of Windows 8.1 later this week with current rumors suggesting that the build will hit RTM sometime later this summer.

Source: Robert Mclaws (Twitter)

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69 Comments

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Any option to completely disable all corners, charm bar etc like Startisback? I mean, all the tablet-related bloat.

They got to add something truly useful at the very least. An entire service pack ( 8.1 ) full of just useless features for the vast majority, gosh...

Did you even look at the screenshots in the article? The second one clearly shows options to disable the charms and multitasking corners, as well as an option to boot to the desktop.

That looks good actually, I am OK with this. Maybe they should have included a "This PC" option at the top but its fine.

Thank God. I think I might switch to Windows 8.1 with these new options. I'd uncheck all those that are checked (corner navigation) and would check all of the start screen checkboxes

That Options Dialogue window looks like it has some nice options there, looking forward to that in Windows 8.1.

However, that right click menu was introduced in windows 8, in fact, is one of my favorite features to be added, so quick and easy to access my system window, or device manager.

The shutdown option on that menu is new though, which is of course a nice addition.

Yep, even with the desktop experience installed, the available themes do not offer taskbar transparency. The theme on the screenshot is basic.

lolneowin said,
Nobody noticed that Aero taskbar is gone.

Server '12 never had Aero. The theme in the screenshot is the original Server 2012 theme. It hasn't changed.

Server 2008 R2 didn't have it unless you added the Desktop Experience feature. Although, third party apps will put Aero on there for you.

Server 2012 is the same its like that until you add desktop experience which is needed even less now since you can get directshow without it

I believe that it's been said by Microsoft already that there is no way to turn it off which I can understand given all of the belly aching over it.

Ha. My question makes about as much as since as all the people crying over it's previous non-existence.

Also I should clarify that I wasn't seriously seeking a way to turn it of. I was just being silly.

Justin Jones said,
If people still complain after all these options they are just anti-Microsoft trolls. This fixes pretty much everything.
Actually people like me weren't complaining about a button. We wanted a start menu and a way to bypass that hideous start screen that most people never use. This however is a step in the right direction.

JHBrown said,
Actually people like me weren't complaining about a button. We wanted a start menu and a way to bypass that hideous start screen that most people never use. This however is a step in the right direction.

But you do have a start menu. It's just kinda big.

rfirth said,

But you do have a start menu. It's just kinda big.

i have lots of options, having to scroll right to find my applications is annoying and having to move the cursor so much and so often just to interact with windows on my laptop's small touchpad is a serious pain in the ass. Windows 8.1 is a step in the right direction, not sure if it will be enough to convert me from windows 7 though.

You just have to organize it a bit. I didn't figure this out for a while either, but then started to sort them and pin/unpin according to my usage. Now icons only take up half of my screen, and I have only the ones I actually use daily. For the rarely used ones, I just type in the name and press enter.

If you come to think of it, this is pretty much the same as the Win7 start menu. Most used apps come in the hotlist, for everything else you start to type the name and browse from the results. Just don't tell me you browse through 200 apps when something's not on your hotlist

torrentthief said,

i have lots of options, having to scroll right to find my applications is annoying and having to move the cursor so much and so often just to interact with windows on my laptop's small touchpad is a serious pain in the ass. Windows 8.1 is a step in the right direction, not sure if it will be enough to convert me from windows 7 though.

Well, with the resizable smaller icons, it should be no different than the small icons/folders you get with the old Start Menu. At least now, you'll get everything at once, horizontally.

I like it, but the main problem with Windows Server 2012 is that I'm usually accessing it in an RDP window, and getting to the hot corner is a little tricky, especially if the desktop of the RDP session is larger than the RDP window and requires scrolling. It would be nice if they just put a couple of large buttons right on the desktop that you can click to bring up the start menu or the lower-left shortcut menu (whatever it's called).

It is a button now instead of a hot corner. The click/ right click target should be basically the same as the Windows 7 start button was.

I feel your pain. The first thing I did was learn the keyboard shortcuts for RDP in 2012.
Alt+Home takes you to Start Screen, comes in handy.

Stetson said,
It is a button now instead of a hot corner. The click/ right click target should be basically the same as the Windows 7 start button was.

I see. That will be 100% better.

LLTC said,
I feel your pain. The first thing I did was learn the keyboard shortcuts for RDP in 2012.
Alt+Home takes you to Start Screen, comes in handy.

Yeah, and Ctrl+Alt+Home is another one that's a must to learn.

So I have to scroll & click to get to the desktop, then hold the ALT key and press the F4 key, then select shutdown and click the OK button... just to shutdown my PC?


No thanks.


[*Some steps may not apply, depending on your setup]

Good to see you contributing to climate change!

But seriously, with rising electricity prices, why bother? My computer doesn't need to be running, so I leave it off at the powerpoint.

And that's just me, not to mention all the businesses out there that probably would need to shutdown for various reasons...

Raa said,
Good to see you contributing to climate change!

But seriously, with rising electricity prices, why bother? My computer doesn't need to be running, so I leave it off at the powerpoint.

And that's just me, not to mention all the businesses out there that probably would need to shutdown for various reasons...


from a business standpoint, having quality power management features and ultra low sleep os more important because they can set this up via group policy to apply to all computers on the network and not have to get everyone to remember to shutdown. Not to mention the savings that out of hours maintenance (updates, disk defrag, av scanning) brings via improves productivity.

Raa said,
So I have to scroll & click to get to the desktop, then hold the ALT key and press the F4 key, then select shutdown and click the OK button... just to shutdown my PC?...

If you're not at the desktop, all you need to do is click Win+D and then Alt+F4. Alternatively, you can just hit Win+I to bring up the settings fly out and then shut down from there. Hope that helps although I feel your intentions are more to troll than genuinely express a concern. How often do you physically shut down your computer? If your computer is so old that it requires full shut down then I don't know what to tell you....

MidTxWRX said,
People shut down their computers? Why?

Mine's hasnt been shut down except for when it restarts when updating.

some of us don't like wasting electric that we have to pay the electric bill for maybe?...

neufuse said,

some of us don't like wasting electric that we have to pay the electric bill for maybe?...

All due respect but how much electricity does a computer in sleep mode use in a month really?

Obry said,

All due respect but how much electricity does a computer in sleep mode use in a month really?

Not much, especially if you're running Windows 8+

MidTxWRX said,

Not much, especially if you're running Windows 8+


That hardly has any effect when combined with power hungry hardware.

OMG there is finally a shutdown and restart where it should have been! Microsoft should have put that in the power menu from the start! Thank you Microsoft for the common sense fixes!

Abid Din said,
I swear to god, if someone now says shutting down is too hard, I will chuck him out of Windows. Get it?

It is too damn hard. haha

Abid Din said,
I swear to god, if someone now says shutting down is too hard, I will chuck him out of Windows. Get it?

I believe the "Shutdown" choices are only visible when you right-click the Start button. Not when you left-click, as most users would do.

But since this is Windows Server, the problems of the hidden Shutdown and Logoff buttons are less of an issue. The big question here is: Who on Earth thought it would be a good idea to put the Metro interface on a server?

Chugworth said,
I believe the "Shutdown" choices are only visible when you right-click the Start button. Not when you left-click, as most users would do.

That's irrelevant. The point is that Microsoft has finally recognised that desktop users were frustrated by having to shut down their computer via the Charm Bar and added an option to do so via the Start Button. For me this is just what I was hoping for, as it goes back to the Windows 7 style two-click solution.

It's such a small change but it will make a big difference. Using the Charm Bar with a multi-monitor setup is incredibly tedious.

Abid Din said,
I swear to god, if someone now says shutting down is too hard, I will chuck him out of Windows. Get it?

Your word of the day is: "defenestration".