Microsoft removes start button in Windows 8

Leaked screenshots of the latest Windows 8 build show that Microsoft has jettisoned the traditional Windows 8 Start button but tweaked the Charms Bar and other settings.

Lance Whitney
Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
2 min read
Microsoft is removing the familiar start button for the Consumer Preview of Windows 8.
Microsoft is removing the familiar start button for the consumer preview of Windows 8. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Say goodbye to the Windows start button. Microsoft has gotten rid of it from the latest build of Windows 8.

Hitting the Web over the weekend, screenshots of the new Windows 8 build display the "super bar," but without the start button orb on the left, according to The Verge. Build 8220 will be the final version released before the beta, now known as the Consumer Preview, debuts before the end of the month.

Until its untimely (or timely) death, the Windows 8 start button located in the Metro UI offered access to the search, share, devices, and settings panels. The Windows start button in the desktop simply returned you to the Metro UI.

To replace the start button, Microsoft will reportedly turn that space into a hot corner, sources told The Verge. Hovering your mouse or swiping your finger over that spot will bounce you back and forth between the Metro UI and the desktop in an attempt to offer a more consistent experience between the two environments.

Fans of the traditional start button may not be happy. But The Verge believes the move is final given that Microsoft has been chewing on this decision for awhile. On the plus side, the super bar will retain its Windows 7 functionality as home to pinned shortcuts for launching your favorite desktop applications.

Windows 8 will also sport an enhanced "charms bar," a group of transparent icons that provide access to key features, added The Verge.

The charms bar can actually fill in as a replacement for the defunct Metro UI start button by offering links to the search, share, devices, and settings panels.

A number of Microsoft users have expressed concern over Windows 8's reliance on the Metro UI and touch-based input. PC users in particular have complained that the new UI doesn't lend itself as easily to navigating via conventional mouse and keyboard, at least as seen in the current Developer Preview.

Acknowledging the concerns and tweaking some aspects of Windows 8 in response, Microsoft has promised that the new Consumer Preview will be more user friendly for traditional desktop users.