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February 07, 2012

Microsoft News - Microsoft Chops Start Button off Windows 8

By Miguel Leiva-Gomez, TMCnet Contributor

Ever since Microsoft (News - Alert) released Windows 95, it incorporated a button, known as the "Start" button, which takes you to the principal settings and programs you’ve installed in the operating system. In the development of Windows 8, the newest version of Windows to come out later this year, Microsoft decided to scrap the start button for the first time. This little button that has benefitted many people with an easy-to-use interface will disappear and will be replaced by something else.

According to The Verge, a news publication that launched in November last year, Microsoft will be removing the start "orb" found in Windows 7 and will replace it with something known as the "super bar." Screenshots were posted on the website to demonstrate Windows without its traditional Start menu. Microsoft is expected to release a "Consumer Preview" version of Windows 8 by the end of February, allowing the company to see how customers react to these changes.

The leaked screenshots of the almost-final version of Windows 8 "Consumer Preview" (build 8220) clearly show a taskbar similar to the one seen in Windows 7 but missing a vital element -- the start orb. In previous versions of the operating system, Microsoft simply decided to change the start "orb" back to a button that appeared flat to blend in with the new "Metro" user interface it's been pushing.

The Start menu, however, hasn't been removed; it's just accessed differently. Instead of clicking a button on the lower left corner of your screen, you now have to hover your mouse over that corner for a menu to appear that allows you to navigate to all the basic elements of the traditional start menu; this is a feature that was already incorporated into tablets that had Windows 8's Metro interface.

As far as we can see, Microsoft plans to keep some functionality of Windows 7 in its newer version of the operating system, such as the ability to pin icons to your taskbar. According to The Verge, we still might expect the start button to come back if customers react adversely to the changes brought forth by removing the button itself. More than likely, many people will be confused about the lack of a Start button, so we could expect it to be re-integrated into the interface in the near future. For now, though, it seems like the Start button will not be a part of Windows 8.

Miguel Leiva-Gomez is a professional writer with experience in computer sciences, technology, and gadgets. He has written for multiple technology and travel outlets and owns his own tech blog called The Tech Guy, where he writes educational, informative, and sometimes comedic articles for an audience that is less versed in technology.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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