Windows Blue: Microsoft May Resurrect Start Button

Dennis Faas's picture

According to a new report, Microsoft may be considering reviving the Windows Start Button with the release of Windows Blue, its next major update for the Windows 8 operating system (OS).

The report comes to us from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, a prominent industry insider with sources at Microsoft.

Foley says she's learned that Microsoft may bring back not just the Start Button -- a landmark navigation tool found in virtually every single previous Windows operating system -- but also the ability to boot straight to the desktop. (Source:

If true, this would mean a major overhaul of Windows 8's user interface.

Microsoft Maintains Live Tiles "Easy" to Learn

The operating system caused quite a stir by effectively forcing users to employ a new "Live Tiles" user interface (UI) that is designed with mobile devices (like tablet computers and smartphones) in mind.

Criticism abounded but Microsoft officials have insisted that the Live Tiles UI is "easy to start to learn."

Like many Windows 8 users, Foley isn't buying Microsoft's argument. "I, myself, have adapted to the new UI well on my touch-screen Surface RT," she says.

"But like a number of business users, I find the new UI more of a curse on non-touch-screen machines. As a result, I am still running Windows 7 on two of my three Windows devices." (Source:

Obviously, the return of the Windows Start Button and automatic booting to the desktop would introduce huge changes to Windows 8. More importantly, it would also be an indirect admission by Microsoft that it went too far too fast with the new Live Tiles interface.

Nevertheless, Foley says that at least one of her sources has confirmed that Windows Blue will bring these hallmark Windows features back to life.

Windows Blue Expected Later This Summer

Of course, Foley admits that, at this point, nothing is for certain. "It's not 100 percent sure that either / both of these options will be baked into the final Blue release, which is expected to be released to manufacturing on or around August 2013," she said.

Although Windows Blue (which is also known as Windows 8.1) isn't expected to be released until at least late summer 2013, a Windows Blue Preview could be available by June. (Source:

That should provide us with some indication as to where Microsoft is headed with this new and somewhat mysterious new update.

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