Microsoft demos the new Windows 8.1 Start button -- is it what you were hoping for?
The good news for many frustrated users of Windows 8 is Microsoft is bringing back the start button in Windows 8.1. It might not operate in quite the same way as the Start button does in previous incarnations of the operating system, but at least it’s there.
Microsoft released a teaser video a couple of days ago which highlighted many of the new features to look forward to in the OS refresh, but the Start button wasn’t among them. The software giant did however, demo the button -- and the improved interface -- at Computex 2013, and a video captured by NetworkWorld shows our little clickable friend in action.
The short clip begins by covering the UI improvements, including the ability to swipe upwards to reveal the Apps page, and then takes us to the desktop, where the Start button is to be found in its usual position. When the button is clicked, the Start screen appears with the Windows wallpaper behind it -- making the Modern UI appear more like an overlay than a totally different interface. It’s pretty far less jarring, pretty seamless, and brings the desktop and Modern UI much closer together.
I can’t help wondering if it might not have been better to actually have the Start screen as a real overlay -- so open windows are visible in the background -- but I’m happy to reserve judgment until the public preview build is released on June 26.
There are plenty of other YouTube videos of Windows 8.1 in action at Computex, including this excellent (and very long) public demo of the forthcoming OS. Microsoft also released a very, very short -- blink and you'll miss it -- Start button teaser.