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What You Get with the Windows 8.1 Start Button

windows-8-1-start-button-thumbOn October 17, Microsoft will reveal the official RTM version of Windows 8.1, marking the return of the much-talked-about Start button. While many have never missed it, a vocal group made enough noise for Microsoft to take notice and action. But don’t expect the long-lost Start button of yore - usually the one first introduced in Windows 95 and which died with Windows 7. The 8.1 version is significantly different from its ancestor.

The Windows 8.1 Start button can be a stop-gap, a bone being tossed to people who complained. Essentially it is a step between Windows 7 and Windows 9, after complete removal proved to be too drastic a difference for some.

What You Don’t Get

Excited upgraders will more than likely click the button fully expecting a menu to show up, but will not happen - there isn't any Documents, Pictures, set of installed programs or anything with the sort.


Instead Start now whisks you away to the Windows 8 Start screen, functioning no differently from the press from the Windows key or placing the mouse pointer at the bottom left corner from the screen, which is an option that has been removed and only this “new and improved” strategy for doing things.

What You Do Get

Context menus, by nature, are hidden, but Microsoft will love them for many reason. The new Start button isn't any exception - right-click about it and you will locate a rather long set of items, including Programs and Features, that's the Control Panel option for uninstalling programs, Power Options (restart, shutdown, etc.), Device Manager, Task Manager, File Explorer as well as some more.


You will note that there is something rather important lacking - a list of your programs. While Desktop option is present, it does nothing but minimize open windows to produce what is beneath them. Currently there is absolutely no option to change this, though context menu editors exist and someone, like Context Menu Tuner, is for sure to look for a way.

Surprisingly, the menu does contain use of little known, and traditionally, geeky, options like Run, Disk Management and Command Prompt.

As for viewing a full set of your programs, in the meantime things have never changed from Windows 8. In other words, you should use that Start button you have (well, may have in mid-October) gain access to the Metro screen, but and also this has changed in version 8.1. While Windows 8 scrolled to the right to view installed apps, 8.1 comes with an arrow at the bottom with the Start screen - click it for a list of everything.


In addition, obviously, there is still the Search option from the Charms menu. In fact, just typing from your Start screen appears apps - no Search needed.


It might not be exactly what many folks are looking for, nevertheless the new Start button visiting Windows 8.1 lends a bit of functionality, though hides it inside guise of an context menu. There will assuredly be ways to fix this up, though customers may have a brief await those options to become available.

Microsoft will unveil the update, which is more than the mere service pack that past versions received, but only a new OS, next month. If you can’t wait, a preview version has already been on the market, but provides no upgrade path to the RTM. Of course, the RTM has also leaked, so there are other methods for regular users to grab it, and TechNet and MSDN subscribers have advanced access.

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