Microsoft removes the start button!? Leave well enough alone…

On February 29th Microsoft made public the next evolution of the pre-release version of the popular Windows operating system: Windows 8. In an effort to set itself apart from other competitors and in a blatant attempt to target tablet users, they have developed the new “Metro” user interface.

Admittedly, I am the first to run out and upgrade to the newest version of anything I can get my hands on, but Windows 8 seems to be headed in the complete opposite direction of where it should be. Prior versions of Microsoft Windows have had a “tablet PC” version which had certain features that were great to the targeted users. However, it seems that Microsoft is trying to put all of these features into one version with Windows 8.

Undoubtedly so, installing the consumer preview is a breeze. I was up and running in roughly 20 minutes; which is so much nicer than the hour long install days of Windows XP. Everything was going so smoothly until I was presented with the funny looking task bar below. I thought for a second, maybe I did something wrong. There had to be a setting somewhere to toggle the start menu back on. After Google search upon Google search, I was wrong. Microsoft why in the world would you remove the most clicked button in Windows itself? While there are some third party plugins that restore the start menu, which seem to be weak at best and hardly look like they were a native part of the OS, there is no official way to return the start menu. One of the better third party ways of getting this back is Start8, but why should I have to install something and clutter up a pristine install just to get a basic function back! Why Microsoft?

As a software developer, I will most likely never have the need for a touchscreen on my desk, therefore making the new “metro” start screen useless. It looks nice, but the functionality isn’t there. One of Microsoft’s largest sources of income is from businesses and corporations, which leads me to question why they are targeting home users in the mainstream build. Another thing I found particularly amusing is that fact that the user interface continuously tells me to “touch here” when clearly I don’t have a touchscreen. An operating system coming from almost 30 years of development can’t figure that out?

All of that aside, I wanted to see how other people felt. After reading some reviews this seems to be a very big complaint amongst the general user population. Interestingly enough, even the server version of the new operating system doesn’t have the start menu. Great, so now I am going to need a large graphics card to maintain a server that has a simple role of serving up some web pages.

I realize that there are headless options with the Windows Core installation on servers, but as of now I am perfectly happy using my remote desktop settings to manage IIS and various system settings.

Most likely, Microsoft will wise up and add the option to put the start menu back, but until then, if you feel the same way as I do, spread the word and let Microsoft know!

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