When Microsoft launched Windows 8, it removed the most familiar part of the Windows user interface; the Start button. After a mass of customer feedback, Microsoft is reversing this and re-inventing the Start button into the Windows 8.1 interface.

Windows 8.1 - Microsoft, ALJT Media

Whilst the change doesn't alter the functionality of the Operating System, it is a major change in terms of design and philosophy, as the Start button is symbolic for every Windows version. Sliding the cursor on it will turn the icon background purple, and clicking will bring the user to the modern UI.

Currently in Windows 8, a lot of complaints were received by users who were unsure of how to re-navigate back to the modern UI without the visual cue of an icon (requiring a keyboard press). Additionally, Microsoft is changing the icon that appears in the corner transforming it into the same angled Windows logo seen in the charms menu, keyboard and other places.

Microsoft is also introducing an "All Applications" screen that will list all apps installed on the PC and allow the user to sort them in a variety of ways (similar to the "God" mode for the Control Panel).

The changes have been influenced by user feedback received and data collected through the built-in cloud connectivity in Windows 8 that allows Microsoft to collect more data about how users use its core product than even before.

Alternatives for Windows 8

Many third-party companies have introduced their own versions of the Start button since it was axed from Windows 8. Samsung developed an S Launcher for Windows 8 while Pokki's Start menu is the most popular, being downloaded 3 million times, and the company says users open it 10 times a day on average.

Pokki Windows 8 - ALJT Media

Pokki’s Windows 8 app includes not only a Start button, but also a smartphone-like home screen where users can organize Pokki apps as well as websites, files, folders, and other Windows applications that are important to them. Just like on your smartphone, applications can be arranged however you like.

Wednesday’s update offers easier access to settings and customizations in Windows 8, improved Search, and moves the notifications panel to a drop-down box, allowing for reduced Start menu width and easy access to app alerts.

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