Windows 8 missing Start button – what missing Start button!

One of the most common complaints regarding Windows 8 has been the so-called ‘missing’ Start button – have a look around any discussion forum or blog and you’re bound to find numerous references. In fact, there are already at least half a dozen or more 3rd party products available which mirror the traditional Windows Start function.

Seriously, I do not understand what all the fuss is about. The Start button is still there, in almost the exact same location (bottom left of screen), and a Start menu remains accessible in the exact same manner, via a single click of the left mouse button.

Let’s compare Windows 7 and Windows 8 “Start” buttons and functionality:

Windows 7 requires a single left-click on the Start orb and up pops the Start menu.

Windows 8 requires a single left-click on the Start button and up pops the Start screen.

From there:

In Windows 7 – Click on a program, folder or system location included in the Start menu and it will immediately open or run on the desktop.

In Windows 8 – Click on a program, folder or system location included in the Start screen and it will immediately open or run on the desktop.

Can someone please explain to me exactly what it is that is “missing”?

And here’s the rub; the Start screen menu in Windows 8 is actually a lot more configurable and customizable than it ever has been. You can add, remove, resize, sort and categorize. Here is a screenshot of the basic Start screen setup on my Windows 8 Pro (early days):

For a much more in-depth overview be sure to read through Dave’s excellent guide… Navigating your way around Windows 8: Customize the Start Screen.

The only real difference I can see between the Windows 7 Start menu and the Windows 8 Start screen is in terms of real estate… Windows 7 displays via a small overlay window, Windows 8 displays full screen. Oh, and of course, there is also the customization aspect where, in my opinion, Windows 8 gains superiority over previous versions… just about anything and everything can easily be added into the Windows 8 Start screen for speedy one-click access.

Okay, so let’s now address the Restart, Shutdown, etc. options which are no longer included as part of the Start menu:

In Windows 7 – Click on Start, access the Shutdown menu, and then select your desired option.

In Windows 8 – Click on the Taskbar, then press Alt + F4 and select your desired option.

Or… From the ‘Charms’ bar; click on Settings then Power, and select your desired option.

Seems pretty simple and comparable to me, merely accessible from different locations.

And finally; yes, the system in Windows 8 involves swapping between the Desktop and Metro style environments. However, the transition is not at all noticeable, it’s smooth, seamless and nigh on instantaneous.

Now, after saying all that, I do openly admit to still finding myself mentally accessing the old Start menu at times … but that’s purely an automatic response born from years of habit and nothing that familiarity will not eventually overcome.

There are bound to be those who do not agree with my assessment, that’s a given and not a problem at all. However, if you’re going to disagree, I would be grateful if you’d provide sound reasoning to support your stance… specifics please.

**Later this week I’ll be publishing a guide on how to add one-click ‘Shutdown’ and ‘Restart’ shortcuts to both Desktop and Start screen. So stay tuned for that 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.

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