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New details emerge on how the Start button might work in Windows 8.1

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Start Button

The most-clamored-for feature in the upcoming Windows 8.1 release is undoubtably the return of the Start button, the longtime hub of the Windows experience that Microsoft tried to ditch with the release of the touch-centric Windows 8 last fall. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, who has a long track record of accurate Microsoft scoops, has now given us some new details on just how Microsoft plans to re-implement the Start button in the next version of Windows due to be released this summer.

Apparently Microsoft will place the Start button in the lower left-hand corner of the task bar while in desktop mode, just as it always has for traditional builds of Windows. In the Metro mode, however, users will have to scroll their cursor over the lower left-hand corner of the screen to get the Start button to pop up. Microsoft is doing this to maintain the Metro menu’s identity as a touch-centric interface that is primarily used for tablets and touch screen laptops.

But the Start button isn’t the only big change Microsoft is bringing to Windows 8.1. Foley’s source says that the company is also giving users the option of using the “All Apps” menu that they can now access on Windows 8 as the default touch screen menu instead of the tiled Metro interface. Foley says that “users will be able to arrange the icons by usage, allowing the most commonly used apps to be first,” which will make the All Apps menu somewhat similar to the classic Start menu Windows 7 users see in desktop mode.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.