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Microsoft releases Windows 8.1, finally brings back Start button

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Let’s be honest: Windows 8 has been fraught with problems. Completely overhauling a well-known desktop interface versatile enough for mobile has left Microsoft attempting to shoehorn Windows 8 into both desktops and tablets — users are left with a steep learning curve. Windows 8.1 is now here (and free for Windows 8 users), and promises to be easier. Along with little performance changes, Windows 8.1 features an updated search system, a greater focus on Sky Drive,  Internet Explorer 11 and the return of the familiar Start button. Download the system — along with updated apps — on Microsoft’s website.

12 Responses to “Microsoft releases Windows 8.1, finally brings back Start button”

  1. useless cosmetic update. What’s the difference between pressing the windows key on the keyboard, press the start button on the right side of the screen and the new start button? Why not bring back the entire start menu, dumb Microsoft?

  2. No, they did not bring back the start button. All it does is throw you back to the tiles screen. To get the real functionality, you still need a third party add on.

  3. Gearmesh

    How long did it take for Microsoft to figure out Windows Mobile 6 wasn’t a good fit for a phone. They still can’t figure out their Windows 8 Tile Desktop has no place on a computer. I don’t need fingerprints all over my computer screen!
    Yes they put Start button on the desktop but it doesn’t do the same thing as all the previous Windows version. Nope….it takes me right back to the lame Tile Desktop that I don’t need.

  4. Is it too much to ask that a piece not start with “Let’s be honest,” followed by something so trampled it holds no real meaning. The beginning of the next sentence makes absolutely no sense, “Completely overhauling a well-known desktop interface versatile enough for mobile.” Are you implying the desktop interface is already versatile enough for mobile, are you stating the intentions of the overhaul, or just putting a few big words next to each other? Let’s check the rest of the sentence! “.. has left Microsoft attempting to shoehorn Windows 8 into both desktops and tablets — users are left with a steep learning curve.”
    So you are suggesting that Microsoft is “left attempting to shoehorn,” as-if they didn’t intentionally design the interface overall, and suddenly they’re stuck holding the bag? Then to cap off a landmark 2nd sentence, you simply decide it’s not worth the effort to use words to connect two separate ideas and simply give us a ” – ” followed by a pity-plea for the poor users who just can’t figure out windows.
    How about some analysis on the ambitious effort, but failed implementation, to consolidate multiple OS’s into a unified cross-device experience? Instead, we get served a summary of extremely basic Windows 8.1 “feature enhancements” that really are no different than in Win 8 (i.e. start button).
    I think to myself, what a terrible article! Certainly someone else is annoyed by how stupid I’m treated here at Gigaom. Nope, apparently @techgenious enjoyed this post about windows and gets excited about how well the Surface works as a touch screen device, then in a condescending tone the MSFT shill subtly suggests that it’s the consumers fault for not taking the time to navigate the UX nightmare that is Windows 8 on a Surface.

  5. The main problem Windows 8 had as a press problem–like members of the tech press who write sentences like the first one in this article.

    Even my 80+ year old step father didn’t have a problem figuring out Windows 8.

  6. @techgenious

    I love Windows 8 especially on a touch screen monitor or Surface. This OS is based on touch.
    Sad that consumers have no interest in taking the time to learn new things, because they are missing out on Windows 8.
    I find it faster and movement is smoother than the iPAD.

    • You assume tablet computing is a valuable ‘new thing.’ Truth is for most people outside a mobile phone or an ereader tablets just arent compelling enough to warrant the cost, conversion or interest.

      Everyone and mean Everyone does touch better than M$ and just because a few buy into the greed of an app ecosystem doesnt mean everyone else will. Win 7 may be my last OS and I am perfectly happy about that.