Microsoft is resurrecting the Start button with Windows 8.1, a.k.a. Windows Blue, according to a report Monday by the Verge. This might be great news, as the missing button is one of the biggest complaints about Windows 8, along with the perception that an upgrade requires a steep learning curve.
Windows 8 is so different from its predecessors that PC makers have blamed it for lagging sales and businesses have shied away from deploying it for fear of having to train employees.
But is this really true? Are there good reasons for using Windows 8 at work? Can the Start button save Windows, come version 8.1?
According to Stephen Kleynhans, a research VP with Gartner, business adoption of Windows 8 is very low, but this shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, Windows 7 also had very little business uptake after six months.
"Businesses are the poorest barometer of an operating system's success in its early days because they're very slow in doing anything," Kleynhans says. "Right now businesses are by and large head down in trying to figure out how to get Windows XP out of their environment, and they're doing it through Windows 7."
Steep learning curve?
I use Windows 8 for work and like it. Admittedly, a 20-minute Geek Squad hands-on at Best Buy helped considerably when I bought my laptop. While companies may need to train employees, this doesn't need to be a huge investment. I can see enterprises offering an hour-long Windows 8 training session in the company auditorium. What's the big deal?
In fact, Kleynhans says that while companies might not like the idea of investing in Windows 8 training, it's not a significant factor in keeping down adoption of the OS. After all, it takes time for companies to get budgets and projects set up. "And with Windows 8 a lot of them are saying, 'All my resources are still tied up with Windows 7.'"
Can the Start button save Windows?
First off, the missing Start button isn't that big of a deal. The capability to shut off your machine, which the Start button offered, is still there. It's just found in the Charms bar, which you access by dragging your mouse to the bottom right of your screen. It's the same thing with frequently used apps. Just tap the Windows key, and you'll go to the Start screen, where you can double click an app icon. Can't find the Snipping Tool? Just search for it in the Charms bar.
Computerworld's Preston Gralla points out that bringing back the Start button might actually be a big mistake for Microsoft. Apparently, the Start button Microsoft may include with Windows Blue doesn't work the way it did in Windows 7. It merely pulls up the Windows 8 Modern interface that's vastly different from the Windows of old.
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