In this series, we’re presenting a look at Windows 8.1. Today, we’ll be talking about the famous Start button.
One of the major barriers to 8 adoption in the first place was the radically different user experience of the “Modern” interface, which was too different to justify for day-to-day users. We’d heard that Microsoft was adding the Start button back, along with the ability to boot to desktop, bypassing the unfamiliar tile screen. We also heard they would establish lock-downs at the corporate IT level to give managers the ability to re-create the more familiar Windows 7 experience for traditional users. Here’s what we experienced:
You will immediately notice that this does not look anything like the old Start button. And it’s not 100% the same in terms of functionality either. What’s different:
- Right-click to activate—Left-clicking on the Start button only takes you back to the Windows 8 Start screen. You must right-click the Start button to pull up the menu, which leads to the second difference, below. We haven’t tested this yet, but we understand that there’s a way to lock down the desktop so you can’t click to the Windows 8 interface—we’re still investigating if you can designate the left-click to launch the menu in a locked-down environment.
- The Start menu is streamlined, for good or ill—This is what you see:
Right away, you’ll notice nothing is pinned to the Start menu; it’s just a simple list of commands. You can still find everything you were used to, plus a few new areas like Disk Management, Event Viewer, etc. As of the Preview, we don’t think there’s a way to customize this as you would in a Windows 7 environment. Honestly, this feels like a step backward from the simplicity and elegance of the Windows 7 Start button. Here’s a refresher: