No Microsoft Start Menu for Windows 8 until 2015: Sources

No Microsoft Start Menu for Windows 8 until 2015: Sources

Summary: It's looking like Microsoft's new 'mini' Start Menu for Windows 8.x won't be part of Windows 8.1 Update 2 as rumored. Instead, it's sounding like a 2015 deliverable now.


Microsoft won't be delivering a new Start Menu for Windows 8 with its coming Windows 8.1 Update 2, after all.

That recent change in plans comes courtesy of a couple of my sources who've had good track records on Windows information.


Up until recently, Microsoft was hoping to make a new "Mini" Start Menu part of a second update to Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 Update 2 was -- and still is, last I heard -- slated to arrive in August of this year.

Microsoft's operating systems group has decided to hold off on delivering a Microsoft-developed Start Menu until Threshold, the next "major" release of Windows. Threshold, which may or may not ultimately be called Windows 9, is expected to be released in April 2015. I'm not clear whether the postponement is because the feature won't be fully baked in time, or if there's another reason for the change in plans.

Microsoft still is moving full steam ahead with plans to try to make Windows 8.x more palatable and usable by those using mice and keyboards, as well as those used to previous Windows iterations. That strategy hasn't changed. 

The new Microsoft-developed Start Menu isn't going to be the same as the Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 Start Menus; it's expected to offer some familiarity, but also integrate Windows 8's Metro-Style Start screen concept. (For those who prefer the more traditional Windows Start Menu experience, there are a few third-party-developed Start Menus for Windows 8 on the market including Start8 from Stardock and the Pokki Windows 8 Start Menu.)

Terry Myerson, the Microsoft Executive Vice President who runs the unified operating system group, showed off a Start Menu mock-up during Microsoft's Build conference in early April, noting that Microsoft was going to bring a Start Menu back to Windows as part of the "next iteration" of the operating system. He didn't specify whether that meant Windows 8.1 Update 2 or Threshold, but based on leaks later in April, the internal plan was to make the Start Menu part of Update 2.

Myerson also showed off in early April a new option to run Metro-Style/Windows Store apps to run in windows on the Desktop. I'm still hearing that windowed Metro-Style apps functionality remains a Threshold deliverable, not a Windows 8.1 Update 2 deliverable.

So now what's going to be in Windows 8.1 Update 2? Will there be any user-interface changes or will it be more a vehicle for under-the-covers programming interface and reliability improvements? I don't know at this point.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Strange

    I'd sure like to know their thinking on this. I can't believe it would be a very hard thing to implement, so that can't be the reason, and surely it would be widely appreciated. Am I wrong?
    • Marketing impact

      Maximizing impact of Windows 9 would be a good reason.
      • careful

        while true, I think it would be wiser to release it as soon as possible and then ship a more polished version once the reviews come out pointing out its flaws.

        we know MSFT is clueless about UX with most of their decisions being crowd driven. windows 8 is a testament to this: users turn MSFT bad ideas into great ideas.
        • sometimes they are arrogant

          they didn't listen to all the marketing research that showed them desktop people hated not having Start Menu/Programs Menu. Even when Win8 went on sale and people complained, Microsoft STILL tried to jam it down our throats. Even when they did make a change, it was a pseudo Start button, not full Start Button/Programs Listing. As if they were clueless as to what people wanted. "Here's your stupid Start button! Are you happy now?"

          Like giving someone the keys to the car, but hiding the car. "You said you wanted the KEYS to the car! You didn't say you also wanted the car." < Microsoft.
          • Marketing Research?

            Can you show the marketing research you mention or you just repeating what another clueless person said?

            BTW, when doing an example, use one that makes sense. Missing car, missing keys does not relate to Start Menu except in your mind.
          • The Windows 8 Beta

            The beta phase went on for months and people got full blown Windows 8 free for almost a year while 95% of it was finished. I was on feedback forums then and over and over again I heard people complain about the missing start menu. It was not so much about just the start menu being missing but no visual anchors to even know what to do.

            W8.1 added a lot of visual anchors with first use pointers on how to use Metro and a Start icon on the desktop. 8.1 Update 1 added more clickable ability with the mouse. All of this could have been in the first release if MS had listen to their own solicited feedback but it was ignored.

            The thing you have to understand is at the time MS thought that the way to succeed was to be like Apple. Jobs just dictated and Ives did what he wanted. Ballmer was no Jobs and Steven Sinofsky was no Ives. That is not a bad thing. Microsoft succeeds when they try to be a better Microsoft, not when they try to be something else. RT and locking down the desktop via DRM is a perfect example of trying to build a Windows version of the iPad. Just stop and build the best Windows device you can.
            Rann Xeroxx
          • no

            MSFT thought it needed to fubar PCs in order to get PC users used to MSFT's tablet and phone UI. It was a heavy-handed ploy to force its way into tablet and phone markets, and it failed all around.

            Even if the allure of aping Apple was a draw, Windows 8 is MSFT's New Coke to Apple's Pepsi, and every bit as successful.
          • Exactly!

            This is the only correct comment, so far.
          • So, there was Beta

            Ok, so there was a beta. There is a difference between complaining and actually presenting feedback and data. Where were these beta testers who actually said "I use the start menu heavily, this is exactly how I use it, and this is why I never use other options for launching applications more than I use the start menu." Even til this day most complainers still never give concrete information on why they have to have the start menu and what about it they can't live without. Usually when you ask them how they actually use it, they have nothing to say. Whether is has the start menu or not has nothing to do with trying to be like Apple. The only thing I can agree with you on is that some of the stuff from 8.1 and Update 1 should have been there from day 1.
          • I was ab Beta tester and

            I didn't even realize the start button was missing. I did as a always do attach frequent used to the taskbar and desktop. I have been doing this since XP and I've beta tested since 98.
          • You are part of the problem then...
          • Well I'm sure that the way you use your computer is exactly

            the same as every other windows user on the planet, right? Why do we care that your usage is different than the millions upon millions of users that used the traditional start menu? We don't.
            Don't eat the yellow snow
          • Actually

            His car example did make sense. I am not going to go into finding each corresponding segment of the example and matching it with the Start button situation, too tired for that. Look harder and you'll see the similarity.
            Ehsan Irani
          • You can't operate a car without a key.

            So no, it doesn't make sense.
          • Car analogy

            Uh ya you can. You can jam a screwdriver into the area where the key goes. Then hit it with a hammer! After that turn the car over. Exactly like windows 8. You have to jam other stuff into it and manipulate it to get it to start. I liked the car analogy. Windows 8 is horrible - it has no windows.
          • car theives

            operate cars all the time without keys.
          • car-key analogy

            oH YES YOU CAN. Just replace a hard metal key with a little clicker.
            Cost you about $150 up just to replace one. Ante up. And I hope you dont have a Corvette. Guess what? I have an 01 Honda CRV that uses the good old boy system. about $3.50 for a Cut Key.
            Now imagine Bill Gates telling you you must buy a $600+ clicker. Oh, and did i mention? The controls are all there, you just have to have a giant screen on the dashboard to work them. The ARROGANCE of Power. MS. And I bet Gates legacy LOL is most hated human, even worse than Stalin or Hitler, and only shortly behind Lucifer when the Lower Regions are considered.
            On of my elementary school teachers said if one used one's finger to point to the words being read, one would wear off the end of the finger. Well, I have a finger that' I use to point, and is well used, but being waved in the air, is not going to wear out, and it's not my index finger either. Windows Vista must have been conceived by a herd of Cape Buffalo, which are not known for even fair vision. Win 7, we'll see. Win 8 puts millions of us behind the eight ball. The only thing these statements prove is that MS issues a "baiter" ;-0 version every other cycle, and the herd of Cape Buffalo ONLY KNOWS HOW TO RUN ROUGHSHOD OVER THE CONSUMER SMELLING THEIR WAY TO THEIR ALMIGHTY DOLLAR REWArd . sorry for the upper case.
          • Really? Stalin and Hitler?

            Stalin and Hitler murdered millions of human beings. Bill Gates' company makes an operating system that you do not prefer. Overstate much?

            No worries about the caps.
          • Bad example

            It's not a good example because his example refers to two necessary components. You need both the car and the keys. The start menu is not necessary for Windows to function. 90% of start menu functions are easily represented another way in Windows 8. The only things about the start menu are that you can get to search a little faster, and there is no way in Windows 8 to get to Libraries and recently opened as fast. But honestly people were getting a long just fine without using the start menu as much for years, but as soon as it was gone they panicked. A better analogy would have been a car with both a key and push start, then a car maker all the sudden deciding they don't need to provide you with an ignition key by default
          • Were You Around?

            Unless you were in a cave somewhere you should have heard the comments about the lack of a menu system in W8 (a bunch of small colored boxes, lots of colored boxes, pages of colored boxes, doesn't count). As it is general knowledge, similar to the rising of the sun in the East in the morning, your comment requesting backup is kinda silly.

            BTW. As to the missing car, if you can't understand that, I'm sorry.