We all know by now that the Start Button won’t be there on the final version of Windows 8 but we really need to stop panicking because it won’t change much of how we use our Windows machine.
Why The Start Button (And Menu) Is Now Just A Vintage Windows Relic
Let’s start with a very basic question — Why do you need the start button and the menu attached to it? You will immediately go back in your mind to your present (Windows 7/Vista) and past (XP, 98, 95) Windows machines and think of how everything had to start from the ‘Start Button’. It was called that for a reason. How can we live without it?
Well, as of Windows 8 we have being doing absolutely fine without having to use it. Sure it was there on the developer preview but how much did we use it anyway? The Start Button and the Start Menu has always there to find programs and other items quickly. Because back then the Windows application management was quite, well, primitive. So needed the Start Button+Menu to keep things organized in one place. What it actually was was a giant collection of shortcuts to applications that were littered throughout the system and also access to special controls and settings.
With Vista came the neat little search function and soon sifting through piles of applications became faster and easier. This was further fine tuned in Windows 7. But in Windows 7 and Vista, the Super Bar became even more super.
It is now an intelligent bar where programs were neatly organized into their own piles of nifty, square buttons. The program you have pinned to your bar will launch and stay that way without opening a new instance of itself on the bar.
Meet The Future: Meet The Start Screen
Come Windows 8 and we are simply typing or swiping to get to where we want. Intelligent menu items and controls are places alongside the screen no matter what we are doing thanks to the concept of Charms that you can swipe out of the edge of the screen at any given time. Going back to the Start Screen is a one-click affair and searching is as easy as just starting to type. And then there are groups and the ‘Semantic’ zoom feature that makes it easier to sort through hundreds of apps in a Flash.
The Start Screen has been designed from the ground up to give you a far better experience than the Start Menu could’ve ever given you. Microsoft has already talked about this on their blog with a lot of data and diagrams. Back then they did not say anything about getting rid of the Start Menu completely. Now that they have gotten rid of it, your workflow still won’t skip a beat. In fact, it might become faster because it is easier to find an app on from the Start Screen than on the Start Menu. Plus it adapts really well to all kinds of screen sizes. The larger your screen, the more apps you can see on the screen. Not true for Start Menu.
The reasons are simple — your apps are spread throughout your screen and not just on a small menu area. You will no longer have nested menu items that force you to deal with sub-folders inside the menu. Now that your app collection is all set to explode, features like Semantic zooming will be your new lifesaver.
The Start Menu is also faster and lighter while still displaying everything your need in one place. Combine this with the user experience unification — you will be using the same interface on your Windows Phone, Windows tablet and Windows PC/Laptop. Not only is this helpful, it actually gets rid of the need to constantly change gears and whole cars inside our head to start using another device as soon as we are home. We have all experience that moment of disorientation when you sit down in front of your home PC after using a phone and tablet all day to do the same things — email, surf, music, etc. With Windows 8 — everything promises to stay the same on all your screens.
The bottom line is really simple — you now have a whole new magical thing called the Start Screen to work with — you will never miss the Start Menu. Soon you will forget why you ever wanted to have it.