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Windows 8 update to offer traditional desktop, says report

Windows 8.1, aka Windows Blue, will let you turn off the tile-based interface and boot into the standard desktop, according to a report.

Microsoft could be backing down from its full, unconditional support of Windows 8's controversial tile-based interface. With its first update -- Windows 8.1, codenamed Windows Blue -- you'll be able to turn off the tiles and boot straight to the old-fashioned desktop, according to Microsoft sources speaking to The Verge.

The news, if accurate, will be a huge relief to people who've used Windows for decades and liked the Start menu just fine, thank you very much. Microsoft has taken much flack from users who didn't appreciate having their mouse and keyboard interface hijacked for touchscreens.

It's not the only major tweak to the interface -- leaked builds indicate Windows 8.1 will let you resize your live tiles to smaller icons (as you can in Windows Phone) as well as the existing larger widgets. It'll also let you split your screen between two apps.

Microsoft is hardly giving up on the touch interface, with refined sensitivity set to allow greater subtlety of input for apps such as Fresh Paint. But it does make sense to give its core audience of keyboard-bashers a simple way of setting up their PC the way they like it.

A reluctance to upgrade to Windows 8, along with the massive popularity of tablets, has contributed to plummeting sales of traditional laptop and desktop PCs.

You can already make Windows 8 more familiar by using free apps such as Classic Shell. Learn more here:

Are you relieved you'll be able to easily ditch the new interface? Or is this all a fuss about nothing? Tap your comments below, or over on our touchy-feely Facebook page.