Never say Microsoft doesn't listen. Whether or not the company listens well is a different matter. At the very least, however, the Start Button will return in Windows 8.1, and as The Verge noted on Sunday, a new Microsoft ad promoting the OS upgrade spotlights its re-debut.
The ad, shown below, shows a hand moving a Windows icon to the lower left corner of the screen, in desktop mode. Tapping the icon is shown to take the user to the Start screen. It's also possible to set up Windows 8.1 to take you to the Apps View, instead.
While this is a nice change, as many complained about the lack of a Start Button, you won't get the Start Menu back. There are, however, several apps available that already return the Start Button to Windows 8, recreate the Start menu, and make the OS boot directly into desktop mode.
This was another Windows 8 "feature" that was criticized in Windows 8. Many users want to go directly into the desktop mode, eschewing the so-called "Modern UI" interface. In other words, many said, "I just want my old Windows back." This is something else that Microsoft has listened to; an option that will take end users directly to the desktop will appear in Windows 8.1.
It's not the easiest to navigate to -- the option, that is. To set up "boot into desktop" mode,
- go to the desktop (by clicking on the desktop tile in the bottom right-hand corner)
- right-click on the Taskbar
- click on Properties, Navigation
- tick the checkbox labeled "When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start"
Some folks already have the RTM (release to manufacturing) version in their hot little hands (and legally, too), meaning MSDN/TechNet subscribers and volume licensees. For the rest, however, wide release begins on Oct. 17, when folks will be able to upgrade their Windows 8 installs, and at retail and on new devices starting on Oct. 18.
Just a few days later, as well, Microsoft's new tablets, the Surface 2 (for RT) and Surface Pro 2 will ship to early adopters, on Oct. 21.