Microsoft Discusses Reasons for Dropping Start Menu in Windows 8

Rob Williams

Staff member
Since Windows 95's release, the Start menu has become an integral part of many computing lives. Over time, it's experienced continual improvement, with the introduction of pinned items, a search bar, quicker access to key folders and so forth. But with Windows 8, Microsoft will be shelving the Start menu as we know it, instead opting for a full-screen "Start" page.


Read the rest of our post and then discuss it here!


No ROM battery

Admittedly I've not been paying enough attention to Windows 8 development. But this fell like a bombshell on me. It may be true that once we get to see it in action, maybe it will be different. But no Start Menu for me (when all my workflow has been dependent on it for years) will almost certainly not work for me. At all!

I was under the impression that this whole Metro nonsense was an optional part of Windows 8. If Microsoft is starting to want to incorporate multitouch UI logic into what's essentially still a keyboard and mouse usage pattern of a desktop operating system, I see no good on this. But then, I've never seen any good on UI changes based on debatable usage metrics from a fraction of Windows users that actually enable the option for Microsoft to collect this type of data.

One of the reasons Windows Vista was so poorly accepted was the radical change to the UI that took users (home and especially corporate) 3 years to get used to. For some cases (like myself) the whole operating system was in fact skipped and the only reason we eventually adopted Windows 7 was because we had no choice, given that we were imposed it by the lack of Windows XP support for more modern technologies. Otherwise I would still be using Windows XP clean and to the point interface. Make no mistake.

When Windows Vista was shipped, I regained a sudden interest on Linux. From then on I've been running it as an alternative OS. Both in an attempt to enrich my overall knowledge of computers and OSes operations, but also as a fallback operating system in case things just become too unacceptable regarding Windows. I'm in a period of my life when I can start making these type of calls without fearing them having an impact on my productivity. In fact, I've been meaning to abandon professional software development for some time. That's been my number one reason to stick to Windows as my main operating system. So, if push comes to shove I won't think twice in using windows as some glorified gaming box and make my final move to Linux.

And I wonder about many others. I especially wonder about corporations who aren't interested one bit in running training sessions for all their employees, every time Microsoft decides to have a brain fart. No single operating system in Microsoft history has such a small adoption by corporations as Windows Vista. And if Windows 8 really introduces this type of change without any fallback option, I have very little doubts that record will be beat. A GUI set of operations are at the chore of a user workflow. Changing that not only demands heavy adjustments to operations the user just did naturally and without thinking before, but also it can lead to highly frustrating first impressions and even refusal. Gnome has been toying with its users for some time. Gnome 3.0 is the last mental diarrhea coming of a development team that just insists on doing things because "they feel like it is the right thing", without any real and proper attention to user feedback. The result is there to be seen, with droves flocking away from what used to be their GUI for years on end.

Microsoft has been experimenting with UI changes based on user metrics since pretty much Windows Vista. They always did it, but not so noticeably. Making changes for the sake of it, because some metric shows a certain type of behavior, and without any concrete point to it other than make it simple, or pretty or both, is bound to upset those that depend on computers to actually do their work. I'm not going to welcome this change just because it may work for me. The question that will be lingering on my head is why I need this. And the answer to that will always remain, I don't. Take that reasoning to the level of a corporate IT department and you'll see how this type of change is not a good idea at all.


Techgage Staff
Staff member
My problem is the blog didn't answer a single question I had, highly irritating. I would assume because they pointedly mention in the blog that users like to have the ability to disable or revert to prior versions with design elements that they would incorporate that ability, but they don't say. There's no real mention of what's final or what's to change. Some things I've read suggested users can revert to the Windows 7 interface if they wished... again no confirmation.

It's too early for me to really make any calls or say anything regarding Win8, the software isn't even in public beta yet and much of the preview was incomplete or being modified. But the blog is stirring up more questions than actually answering, and that's a bit annoying.