Microsoft’s next-generation Windows 8 desktop and tablet platform has been something of a mess thus far. Traction is finally picking up now that Windows XP is no longer supported and Windows 8.1 has been released along with some much-needed refinements, but Windows 8 has hardly been the boost PC vendors were hoping for. Consumers and enterprise users have a long list of common complaints, and Microsoft seems to be doing a good job of addressing them slowly but surely. Soon, one of the biggest complaints will finally be addressed.

For the most part, users do not appear to be particularly fond of Microsoft’s new tile-based user interface. This new Start screen remains one of the most controversial elements of Windows 8, and Microsoft has been taking steps to decrease users’ reliance on it.

Soon, Microsoft will bring a real Start Menu back to Windows, potentially allowing users to avoid having to ever visit the new Start screen if they don’t want to. And now, an image of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8.1 start screen has seemingly leaked.

The image was posted on the MyDigitalLife forum by a user named “DUF_” and according to Neowin, it appears to be authentic.

Is this the answer to Windows users’ prayers? You be the judge — the leaked image follows below.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.