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


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. 


Amazon takes $200 off Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Air with retina display

Amazon is taking $200 off Apple's latest MacBook Air. This MacBook Air has 13-inch retina display, a built-in FaceTime HD camera, and that classic lightweight wedge shape the Air is loved and known for.

Get the best of both worlds by sharing your data on MacOS and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.

Microsoft's latest Surface Laptop 2 runs past the updated MacBook Air

Apple recently updated its venerably MacBook Air, giving it a sleeker and more modern design. That pits it against the Surface Laptop 2, Microsoft's update of its own traditional laptop.

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

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.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Product Review

Razer just made our favorite gaming laptop even more powerful than before

The Razer Blade, our favorite gaming laptop, is now more powerful than ever before. That’s thanks to the new Nvidia RTX graphics cards inside. Do they help Razer retain its edge over the competition?

Samsung drops a solid $100 discount on the Chromebook Pro

If you're in the market for a new laptop, but can't afford to drop $1,000 on one of the best models out there, Chromebooks are an excellent option. Right now, Samsung is offering $100 off the Samsung Chromebook Pro.

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.

Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs at every price

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.

Is Ice Lake coming soon? Here's what we know about Intel's future chip design

Intel's Ice Lake may end up launching before the architecture it was supposed to replace. With hints of more announcements about the chip design in the very near future, here's everything you need to know about Ice Lake.

Apple is reportedly set to showcase a new Mac Pro at WWDC 2019 in June

Our Mac Pro 2019 rumor roundup covers all the news, leaks, and rumors about Apple's new machine, set to be announced sometime in 2019. Here's what Apple has said, what the experts think, and what we're likely to see with the new Mac Pro.