Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boot directly to desktop, possibly Start button, coming to Windows Blue

Those who have struggled and cursed at Windows 8's Metro-style interface on a desktop computer may have a reprieve. Two of the most requested features for Microsoft's current OS, the ability to boot straight to the desktop, and the Start button, may return with Windows 8.1, codenamed Windows Blue, according to a Tuesday report.

One of her sources told ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley that -- although neither of these changes were on the original roadmap -- the ability to boot directly into the desktop now appears to be in the plan. That same source added that Microsoft is also considering the return of the Start button.

However, the source, who requested anonymity, warned:
Until it ships, anything can change.
The expectation is that -- if these features are destined for the final release -- there should be some indication in the next milestone, the Blue Preview, appears, either by leaking or when the public version of the preview goes live at around June.

Windows Blue is expected to be released to manufacturing on or around August.

Microsoft has long claimed -- and continues to do so, publicly -- that end users are not confused by the new Windows 8 user interface. The company says that users find it "easy to start to learn," especially on touch screen devices.

That may, of course, be the case, but on non-touch-screen desktop and laptop machines, the interface is more of a curse than anything else. Quite a few people were seen buying Windows 7 before Windows 8 released, to ensure they would have a backup plan if Microsoft's latest OS fell on its face.

While Foley feels the Start button will return, The Verge doesn't agree. Even without an official Microsoft Start button, there are third-party tools that revive it.

The Verge does agree that the "boot to desktop" feature would seem to be a done deal. References to a "CanSuppressStartScreen" option in early builds of the Windows 8.1 registry were recently discovered.



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