Why Microsoft killed start button on Windows 8

Do you use the Start button in Windows? If not, then you’re supposedly the reason Microsoft got rid of it in Windows 8.

Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft, told U.K. computer publication PC Pro that data indicated a decrease in the use of the Start button. Citing “telemetry” obtained by the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program, Sareen said the company found more users relying on the Windows taskbar for pinning and accessing their favorite software instead of going through the Start menu.

As a result of the reportedly dramatic drop in Start menu usage, Microsoft felt the time was ripe to do something with the old-fashioned menu — “to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power.”

So apparently, Microsoft cooked up the new Metro Start screen, feeling it would provide that sense of power. Of course, the Start screen has proved to be perhaps the most controversial and debated feature of Windows 8. For people who choose to steer clear of the Metro screen, Sareen seems to feel the taskbar can do all the work.

“So I’m a desktop user, I pin the browser, Explorer, whatever my apps are,” Sareen told PC Pro. “I don’t go [to] the Start menu as often. If you’re going to the Start screen now, we’re going to unlock a whole new set of scenarios, or you can choose not to go there, stay in the desktop, and it’s still fast. You can’t beat the taskbar.”

Sareen also played up the keyboard, claiming that Windows 8 users are opening apps via keyboard shortcuts as an alternative to the old Start menu. And amid complaints that Windows 8 is geared more for touch-screen tablets than PCs, Sareen says the OS “really works well with the mouse and keyboard.”

Hmm, where do I start? Microsoft clearly continues to feel pressure to justify its decision to kill off the Start button. The company has received a lot of feedback via its Building Windows 8 blogand other resources, a fair amount from PC users unhappy over the changes.


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