One of the most controversial changes Microsoft made to Windows in its latest iteration – Windows 8 – is the removal of the Start button and menu. According to The Verge, the company wants to bring it back with Windows 8.1, which is also known as Windows Blue. While the button will make its comeback, the Start menu itself will still be absent. Hitting the start button will result in opening the Start page with your tiles. According to sources of The Verge, the new Start button is set to look a lot like the Windows flag used in the Charms bar.
The software giant also plans to add a new feature to Windows 8.1 – the ability to boot directly to the traditional desktop instead of the Start page. While this won't completely remove the Start page, it's still a boon for those who prefer to use their regular desktop instead of the touch-oriented Live Tiles. The charms and Start screen's hot corner functionality will remain intact.
Microsoft is undoubtedly making these changes because of the criticisms it has faced for Windows 8. The company attempted to push a touch-based interface on to users who use keyboards and mice. These criticisms have also seen the rise of software that let users bring back older Windows functionality, such as Pokki, which brings back the Start menu.
The Start screen isn't going anywhere, though
Back in March, some leaked screenshots gave us a look at Windows Blue. It showed that the company was addressing some of the problems that users faced with Windows 8. One criticism was that tiles could only be arranged in two sizes – small and large – which didn’t exactly make the best use of larger screens. Now with Windows Blue, users have two more sizes to choose from. The smaller tiles should be useful for apps which you use often, but don’t need such a large space, such as browsers. There’s even a larger desktop tile, which hints at the possibility of a bigger tile size, which would be ideal for Photos or Travel app.
The Blue update also brings greater control over the colour customisation and additional Snap Views. The new Snap Views will allow users to place apps side-by-side in the Windows 8 view, which was not possible before. The new view is similar to the snapping on Windows 7, but the screenshots also show that Windows Blue will support up to 4 snapped apps alongside each other.
Microsoft has updated Internet Explorer to version 11 and a tab sync feature could be included, which would allow users to carry bookmarks and other settings across devices.
There are new utilities in the offing as well. A new alarm app, an improved sound recorder, movie moments, and Windows 8 -style Calculator will also take advantage of these new views. From what has been posted on the forum, developers will be able to update their apps to include support for the new Snap Views. The improvements to window management also extend to external monitors, where users will be able to open separate Windows 8-style apps on two different monitors.
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