Story of the week: The return of the Start Menu

In our first story of the week, we talked about the design behind Windows 8. A lot of the criticism for the new design was caused by the removal of the Start Menu (which was replaced by the new Start Screen). It seems like Microsoft has decided to give in after all, and announced today that the Start Menu will return in a future update for Windows 8.1. The user will be able to choose whether they want the new Start Screen or this more traditional Start Menu.

It’s quite surprising to see Microsoft bringing back the Start Menu after they spent so much effort pushing the Start Screen since the release of Windows 8 in 2012. Many argued that the Start Screen didn’t work for power users on traditional desktops and laptops. The idea is that these power users will now be able to use the Start Menu, making them finally switch from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1.

Another major new feature is the ability to run Modern apps (formerly Metro apps) in a window inside the desktop environment. This has been much requested and reduces the gap between the modern environment and the desktop environment.

We also have differing opinions about the Start Screen: Vital loves it, Mattias hates it. With the introduction of the new Start Menu, Mattias might consider switching over since now his greatest annoyance about the OS is going to be fixed.

What do you think? Will you switch to Windows 8.1 now that it will have a Start Menu (if you’re not on Windows 8.1 already)? Or do you think this is a step backwards for the platform?



  1. It’s a bit weird they’re giving in so quickly. People usually take some time to get used to a change, so just giving in to whatever they want will keep you in the same place forever…

    1. Well, Windows 8 is already one and a half years old (general release in October 2012). That’s already a long time when talking about computers. They really tried to give it a chance, but the market share of Windows 8 and 8.1 is still below expectations.

      I also feel that at the moment, Metro is very separated from the desktop. It almost feels like two separate operating systems, which is not a good thing. With the new Start Menu and windowed Modern apps, the transition between the desktop and Modern environments should be more gradual.

      Besides, they’re not giving up on Metro, they just give users the option to use a new Start Menu. If you’re fine with the Start Screen as it is now, then nothing will change for you. They just give more power to the power users. 🙂

  2. My opinion: it sucks. It is a typical move for Microsoft to give in after all, they had courage to push something that’s totally new but apparently they don’t have the courage to push it through.

    To be able to run Metro-apps in a window and only use the desktop environment is also a feature that will make less users use the Metro apps and finally this Metro will be little.

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