Next Windows Version to Resurrect the Traditional Start Menu?


windows-8-logo-large2If you are an avid tech news reader, you’ve probably seen all the headlines – the next planned version of Windows (8.2), which has apparently been codenamed “Threshold”,  is rumored to see the return of the traditional Start Menu. Well, my friends, that’s exactly what this is at the moment, nothing more than a rumor.

The prospect of a returning Start Menu was fist mooted by Paul Thurrott on his Windows Supersite blog and then, in typical snowballing fashion, the rumor-mill jumped all over it, embellishing and retelling the story under sensationalist headlines all over the net.

I am not criticizing the original author at all, who explained the situation honestly and unambiguously. In fact, Mr. Thurrott didn’t even mention the rumored change in his original headline. Neither am I necessarily refuting his story. What gets up my nose are the followers-on who take a largely unsubstantiated rumor and transform it into something that appears to be factual.

Paul Thurrott is a well respected blogger and if he says there are grounds to suspect that Microsoft may be planning to resurrect the traditional Start Menu, then I’ve no doubt he has good reason. However, I must point out to our readers that, at this stage anyway, this is all merely conjecture. Personally, I don’t care if Microsoft chooses to bring back the Start Menu or not, I am more than happy with the Start Screen. However, based on the numbers of users complaining about the missing Start Menu in Windows 8, it would certainly appear to be the prudent course of action for Microsoft to return it. I just wonder what percentage of the complainers have actually used or even tried Windows 8.

If this rumor does actually come to fruition; what I am not comprehending is this; if Microsoft has indeed been contemplating the return of the traditional Start Menu, why choose not to do so in Windows 8.1. rather than wait a further 12 months or so? Surely if the decision has been based on placating disgruntled Windows desktop users, sooner would have been much more preferable than later?


Maybe recent changes at the top of the Microsoft tree have also seen a radical change in thinking? Whatever, it’s certainly an interesting prospect, albeit a wait and see one.

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

9 Comments

  1. It’s never to late for Microsoft to admit they made a BIG MISTAKE and return the Start. Guess the word is also spreading that there are third party companies which can not only bring back the missing Start, but can advance and customize the way the new Windows looks as well (talking about Start 8).

    Personally, I’m quite happy with my Classic Start Menu (third party utility) and now others will have the ability to jump onto Windows 8 without feeling lost, Mindblower!

  2. If enough people say it is going to happen then that could be the catalyst for a change of mind at MS. They gambled on being able to drive the tablet market with it and that has been singularly unsuccessful and I feel the poor reviews of the modern UI desktop have contributed to that failure. They had a tailor made opportunity to make a system that would please everyone, and but for removing the start menu, they almost achieved it. 8.1 is a step in that direction but wasn’t far enough to appease people enough to drive a switch to windows 8. It stands to reason that they will still be wanting to drive this switch in the next version (though I think they would be better learning from the Vista debacle, and calling it Windows 9).

    One fast operating system where users can choose – easily- between an improved Windows 7 interface and modern UI is all they need to come up with and they could re-kindle the windows market.

    We all know now that Tablets are not going to completely replace the PC anytime soon any more than laptops killed off the desktop. The number balance may change but I suspect they need to develop for both markets for many years to come. No one has yet been able to put the kind of power a high end PC has into a tablet and even where they manage to produce power laptops, they are so heavy and cumbersome as to not deserve the name laptop (DELL XPS for example).

    The only way that tablets can completely replace the PC will be by dumbing down software and doing the processing in the cloud. Even if it were possible to get a full on internet connection wherever you are 24/7 it will be a long time before the cloud is totally trusted. How for example are you going to put together an hour long HD movie, edit it and somehow get it to play on your 60″ TV – the filesize along would leave you uploading and downloading for days at a time.

    Checking email, writing letters and web browsing may be what the overall majority are happy with but there is a huge minority who need something much more than that

  3. When HP gave me a new Windows 8 desktop computer in November 2013 because they were unable to fix a problem with the motherboard on my Windows 7 computer, I tried really hard to get used to using Windows 8 and its infamous Start Screen (Metro). I imagined that when I clicked Desktop and it opened, I would then see some sort of start menu, showing all the programs on my computer. But no, there was no such menu on Desktop and I couldn’t find any way at all to see a list of all the programs (Windows and third party) on my computer? As soon as I realised that and found that I had to keep typing in a search to find certain programs, I admitted defeat and installed Start Menu8 – and I haven’t looked back!

    As for using Internet Explorer or Mail from the Windows 8 start screen, forget it because neither app has the same functionality as the fully fledged versions that are accessed via the desktop! In fact, I would go so far as to say that NONE of the apps on the start screen have the same functionality as their predecessors did in Windows 7! Take Microsoft’s Spider Solitaire for instance: you click on it and instead of it popping up in play mode immediately, you have to wait for the Microsoft Solitaire Collection screen to display, then click on Spider. And instead of it automatically minimising to the task bar as it did in previous versions of Windows, you cannot hide it at all – instantly or otherwise. The best you seem to be able to do is grab the top and drag it down to the taskbar?

    Please forgive me for going off-topic somewhat and turning this into a rant!

    • You rant away Sheri… no problem. 🙂

      I’ll just take you to task over the following: “I would go so far as to say that NONE of the apps on the start screen have the same functionality as their predecessors did in Windows 7!

      What predecessors? Apps are brand new to Win8, and the exact same desktop programs which are available for Win7 are also available for Win8. There really hasn’t been any change in desktop functionality at all, if anything the apps are extras.

      Cheers… Jim

  4. The metro interface is poorly designed for mouse users. The mouse has a far greater degree of precision than touch and can comfortably choose between far more options than a touch screen interface can. The menu system in metro is like a maze, choosing an option takes you to a a completely different screen. Touch screen interface isn’t up to handling all the options of the control panel and start menu so menu options are greatly dumbed down so touch screen users don’t have to deal with an unwieldy number of options.

    The third party app I use to add start menu functionality to windows 8 is called classic shell. It has over 10 million downloads. I understand that there are many alternatives. Clearly vast numbers of people wanted windows 8 to retain those features and users may not have upgraded to windows 8 as a result. MS could have left start menu features as they were so users could choose as they saw fit.

    While I despise the metro interface I have to conceed that there are some good free store apps that I like. I really hated the idea of the store initially. The prospect of my os trying to sell my s**t angered me but that was an over reaction.

    If start menu is restored and I gain the ability to launch metro apps from the desktop I would be pleased with the OS and would never use the metro interface.

  5. I don’t know. I’m one of the few people who seem to not mind the new start system. The start mentu really hasn’t gone it’s just changed – Hit start, type for what you want and then hit enter/touch/click etc.

    The thing is a lot of people I’ve spoken to who have moved onto 8/8.1 have said they got used to it and enjoy it now. However they all, including myself, agree that if the start menu was there as an option they probably would have used it. The thing is people don’t like change and if you give them a way to avoid it they will.

      • Jim, what about “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or “change for the sake of change” is bad. I’ll clue you in on a strange but true story. Years ago I purchased a vehicle which had the horn switch in the turn signal, as opposed to the conventional steering wheel. I was informed by the dealer this was the European version. Sadly I did not investigate and now I which I had. If you equate a car to the o/s, you might expect some treats like cruise control and radio switches on the steering section, as it’s closer. But, you still expect to push the pedals and turn the wheel, since we’re doing the driving, Mindblower!

        • Honestly MB, as far as the Start Menu is concerned, I really can’t see that there have been any drastic or detrimental changes, it’s merely ‘different’. The Start Menu is still there, and remains available by clicking on the same Start button in the same location. The only real differences are that the Start Menu now opens full screen instead of in a small overlay window and, because of the additional available real estate, is much more customizable.

          Cheers mate… Jim