There is hope! Windows 8.1 may bring back the Start button

dell-windows-8_dt

There’s been a lot of mounting evidence that Microsoft will be making many more adjustments to Windows 8 in its forthcoming Windows Blue (aka Windows 8.1) update, and the din is getting even louder today. When a few lines of beta code surfaced on a Russian tech site yesterday, we saw evidence that Microsoft would begin letting users boot directly to the desktop. Today, Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, who’s often right on the money in terms of Microsoft rumors, is reporting that Microsoft is not only seriously considering letting users boot directly to the desktop (instead of booting to the Metro interface and clicking to the desktop from there, as it is now), but it’s also considering bringing back the Start button that’s been a part of the OS since Windows 95.

The lack of a Start button and immediate access to the desktop have been two of the biggest and most constant complaints Microsoft has received since Windows 8 debuted last fall, so it’s possible the company may change its course on these two interface features. Why the sudden change of heart? Though Microsoft has officially said that users aren’t confused by Windows 8’s interface, the recent drop in PC sales blamed, in part, on Windows 8, seems to be telling a different story.

ZDNet’s sources are saying Microsoft is currently planning on giving users the option to boot to the new Metro start up screen or to the traditional desktop when the Windows 8.1 update is released around August 2013. Those same sources say the company is considering making the Start button optional for users who want their old, familiar Windows interface back, though that doesn’t seem as concrete as the desktop boot option at this point. While we won’t know for sure what will be included in the final version of Windows 8.1, we should have a good indication when the preview version, called Blue Preview, is released this June.

On non-touchscreen computers, we’ve found the Metro interface a pain to navigate. Perhaps, in the future, Microsoft will differentiate versions of Windows 8 for touchscreen and non-touchscreen devices. While that would fragment Windows 8 a bit more, it would also provide non-touchscreen users with a better experience overall. 

Computing

Android app mirroring is coming to Windows 10, and it could save tablet mode

Several months after a brief demo on stage during a Surface event, Microsoft is now starting the process of testing out a beta version of the Android App mirroring feature with Windows Insiders.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Computing

The Edge browser is dying. Here's what we know about its replacement

There's a new Microsoft Chromium browser coming, and it looks like it will be replacing Edge for most people. Here's everything you need to know about this new browser, how you can use it, and when it's expected to come out.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Deals

Walmart slices price on Canon ImageClass MF232W Wi-Fi laser printer

If you don’t need color printing, a monochrome laser printer like the Canon ImageClass MF232W can save you a lot of time and money. This beefy all-in-one Wi-Fi printer is on sale from Walmart for almost half off, letting you score it for…
Computing

Is 14 inches the perfect size for a laptop? These 4 laptops might convince you

If you're looking for the best 14-inch laptops, there are a number of factors to consider. You want good battery life, an attractive screen, solid performance, and a good build. Our favorites that do all that and more.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Get Corsair’s best mechanical keyboard at a decent discount

From March 17 to 23, you can get one of the best mechanical keyboards around at a great price. The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is normally $200, but this week you can pick one up from Amazon for $160.
Computing

Need more from your conference white board? The Surface Hub 2 should have it

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Computing

Teens using Google Docs as the modern version of passing notes in class

Google Docs is reportedly being used by teens as a secret communications app. Instead of passing notes, students are now using the software's live chat function or comment boxes to talk with their friends while in the middle of classes.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Computing

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

Here’s how you can watch today’s Nvidia GTC 2018 keynote live

Nvidia's rumored 7nm Ampere graphics could debut soon. The company will be kicking off its GPU Technology conference at 2 p.m. PT today, Monday, March 18, and you can watch the opening keynote here.
Computing

After fourth attack, hacker puts personal records of 26M people up for sale

A serial hacker going by the name of Gnosticplayers is selling the personal data of 26 million people who have been using the services of six different companies from across the world.