SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft confirmed on Wednesday that its Windows 8.1 service pack will have a traditional Start button and let users boot directly to the desktop.
Microsoft got a lot of criticism for its decision to omit the Start button on Windows 8. During his keynote at the firm's Build conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed that Windows 8.1 will have a Start button and that the free update will offer users the ability to boot directly to the desktop.
Ballmer didn't waste much time in telling Windows 8 users what they wanted to hear. He said, "What we will show you is a refined blend of our desktop experience and our modern user interface and application experience. You will see we will bring back the Start button to the desktop. You will see that if you want to boot to the desktop, you can boot the desktop.
"You will see, nonetheless, we have enriched the Start screen and the Start menu, but we have brought back the flexibility for you to see the many, many applications that you use everyday in a simple and quick glance."
Microsoft's about-face regarding the Start button brought the loudest applause from the audience and the firm demonstrated the Start button, which it said will "float" the Windows 8 Start screen over the desktop. The firm seems to have kept the new Windows 8 Start screen while still trying to entice users to upgrade from previous versions of Windows.
Ballmer also said that Windows 8.1 is one example of Microsoft's move to a "rapid release cycle" and that it will become the norm for the firm to issue releases on a much shorter cadence for all products. According to Ballmer, the rapid release cycle is what is now needed for the firm to meet users' needs.
As it had promised, Microsoft has also released a preview build of Windows 8.1, allowing users to see what is coming. However it didn't say when it will release the final version of Windows 8.1, though it is unlikely that the firm will wait too long, given the frosty reception Windows 8 has received. µ