Posted by: hamish
Microsoft is bringing back the Windows Start button among a slew of improvements aimed at winning over tablet users and placating PC customers alienated by Windows 8.
Windows 8.1, a free update to be released later this year, represents Microsoft’s concessions to long-time customers taken aback by the dramatic changes to an operating system that had become a staple in households and offices around the world during the past 20 years. Research group IDC has blamed Windows 8 for accelerating a decline in PC sales.
With the release of Windows 8 seven months ago, Microsoft introduced a start screen displaying applications in a mosaic of interactive tiles instead of static icons. The shift agitated many users who wanted the option to launch the operating system in a mode that resembled the old set-up. That choice will be provided in Windows 8.1.
But Microsoft isn’t bringing back the start menu on the lower left corner of the screen. Windows has offered the button for accessing all programs and settings on every previous version of the operating system since 1995. Microsoft believes the start screen replaces the need for a button, but its omission has ranked among the biggest gripes about Windows 8.
Microsoft is hoping to quiet the critics by resurrecting an omnipresent Windows logo anchored in the lower left corner. Although it will not be labelled “start”, it features the Windows logo and takes the user straight to a grid of applications. Users will also be able to ensure their favourite applications, including Word and Excel, appear in a horizontal tool bar next to the Windows logo, similar to the design of Windows 7.