The new Start Menu, which incorporates a visual style akin to Windows 8.1’s tiled Metro UI, was reportedly set to be released with Windows 8.1 Update 2. However, for reasons unknown, the Microsoft group in charge of operating systems has decided to hold it back for Microsoft’s Threshold project. Threshold may end up being Windows 9, or may be something else entirely. Meanwhile, the next update to Windows is expected to be released sometime in August, or this fall.
Despite the delay, the report indicates that Microsoft is working to make Windows more accessible with mouse and keyboard-based desktop users of the OS. For example, Microsoft is expected to make Metro apps available to run in Windowed mode in the classic desktop UI. However, as is the case with the Start Menu’s return, the ability to run Metro apps in Windowed mode while in the desktop likely won’t be released until Threshold/Windows 9 in 2015. Running them in the desktop at all was a feature that was first available in Windows 8.1 Update 1, which debuted on April 8.
Considering that the two biggest known changes coming to Windows 8.1 will now be held back until next year, we can’t help but wonder how Microsoft will go about making Windows more desktop-friendly, since it’s keeping its big guns holstered for this year.