There has been a lot of controversy over the fact that Microsoft decided to remove the familiar Start-button from Windows 8. The Start button arrived with Windows 95 (Start me up – anyone?), and the fact that you had to hit the Start button in order to shut down Windows have been derided many a time, although that seems to have been forgotten recently.In Windows 8 it is gone… or is it?
Some of Microsoft’s decisions on whether to change or remove features from their products are based on user metrics. When you agree to participate in the so called Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program you shared your usage metrics with Microsoft. One of the findings there was that not so many users were actually using the Start button in Windows 7 anymore
Which brings us to today. As can clearly be seen in the following screenshot of the taskbar on the desktop there is no Start button anymore:
Muscle memory is a fact, so what does a poor guy do, when something familiar is taken away?
Well, the Start button is gone, but the functionality is still there:
If you hit the Windows key, which previously would activate the Start-button you are taken to the Start screen in Windows 8:
And here is my point: The Start screen is the new Start button. Yes, it is completely redesigned. It takes up your entire screen, and it looks “different”. But it provides you with access to everything you could find through the Start-button previously, although in a slightly different way. The information presented to you on the Start-screen is engaging with its live tiles, and everything you want is at your fingertips.
One of the more touted features of Windows 7s Start-button is the ability to just hit the Windows key and start typing away to find the program, folder or file you are looking for. Guess what – it still works that way.. Hit the Windows key, start typing and you are immediately given results;
In the screenshot above the results are filtered as you type, and in this example also filtered by the Apps category,. If I would rather find settings or files I just have to change my selection. As also is evident in the screenshot above, I can also directly search the Windows Store, Bing, Pictures, Maps, and so forth. I personally find that this is an improvement to the way it worked before.
As before, you can also pin your most favorite programs to the Start-screen, as well as to the taskbar. On the Start-screen you now can move the tiles and icons around, sorting them into the groups you want, instead of using the predefined ways of older versions of Windows.
Remember the screenshot of the Start-screen above? Well I moved things around , and now it looks like this:
Yes, yes, I know that all the apps I have under the Office name, is not part of the Office suite, but you know what? It is my Start-screen
There are of course other ways to get to the Start-screen besides hitting the Windows key;
1. Mouse or touch the lower left corner of your screen (left part of where the Start-button resided previously) and the Start-screen Icon will slide in from the left. Hit it and you are there.
If you the slide the mouse up you a bar will slide in which shows you the running applications
2. If you mouse over to the lower right corner (or upper for that matter), the Charms-bar will slide in from the right, and there you will see the Windows 8 logo, which brings you to the Start-screen.
I am demonstrating this in this short video:
I am the first to admit that jumping from the Start-screen to the desktop and back is a bit jarring at first. It takes a while to get used to, but I did get used to it, and a lot faster than I initially believed I would. Now it is starting to grow on me, and I honestly think that the new Start-screen is an improvement over the previous one. I strongly recommend against installing third-party apps that sort of bring back the old Start-menu and the Start-button. You don’t kneed it, and once you get used to the new ways, it actually works better than before.
I guess some of you won’t agree, and that is fine. Share your thoughts and comments below.