Microsoft Finally Bringing Back Start Menu

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Windows Start Menu

It's back! Today at its Build conference, Microsoft announced that the company is returning the traditional start menu to Windows. The company is also adding the ability to run Windows Store apps in their own Windows. The updates will be available not in Windows 9, as previously rumored, but in a future update to Windows 8.1.

In a brief demo, Microsoft's VP of operating systems showed a desktop screen with Windows Store apps running in their own windows and a traditional Start Menu open on the desktop. However, the Start Menu also contained tiles for Windows Store apps. 

MORE: Windows 8.1 Update: Top 5 New Features

In addition, Microsoft announced that a future build of Windows 8.1 will be available for free for device makers. As of right now, Windows tablets under 9 inches will get Windows 8 licenses for free.

The company did not say when the future Windows 8.1 update would be available or when the free version for system builders would launch. However, bringing back the Start Menu and allowing you to run Windows Store (aka Modern) apps on the desktop is a welcome change that users have wanted since Windows 8 launched in 2012.

Current third-party utilities such as Stardock's ModernMix and Start8 allow you to get both features today, but such functionality always works better when it's built into the OS.

It remains unclear who will benefit from the free versions of Windows 8.1. Will the new $0 licensing fee make small tablets cheaper or just provide higher profit margins for the likes of Lenovo, HP and Dell? Stay tuned.

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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1 comment
  • Asok Asus Says:

    How is it considered "desktop friendly" when the "restored" Start Menu is nothing but a reformatted version of the universally loathed Metro UI Start Screen? Microsoft is completely insane. Their first attempt at "restoring" the start menu was just a button that took you back to the dreadful Metro UI. Now the second attempt is just a miniature version of Metro UI which accesses ONLY Metro UI apps and NOT DESKTOP PROGRAMS! I wonder who they think they are kidding? Certainly not their bread and butter enterprise and SMB customers. If anything, these pretend-restorations just continue to demonstrate the utter contempt that Microsoft has for their rapidly fleeing customers.

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