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Why the Start button isn't enough reason to wait for Windows Blue

Christina DesMarais | April 24, 2013
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.

Boot directly to desktop

There's also a rumor that Windows Blue will let you boot directly to the desktop and skip the start screen altogether. That's because the Windows 8 dual interface--both the desktop view and the Modern-style Start screen built for touch-enabled devices--can seem at odds with each other.

When I'm researching and writing, I keep both Chrome and Word open side-by-side on the desktop. I can see emails as they come in, and keep several tabs to various websites open while I work in Word.

Would the option to bypass the Start screen appeal to a knowledge worker like me? Meh. My work machine is a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, a fantastic touchscreen Ultrabook. While I spend my work day mostly on the desktop, if I'm killing time on the sofa the Metro interface is more appealing.

Who should upgrade to Windows Blue?

Kleynhans says lots of companies are playing around with mobility and investing in small numbers of Windows 8 tablets to see if they make sense for particular users or business functions. When they're done with that testing--probably by the end of the summer--you'll see more companies investing in new tablets running Windows 8.

As for people working on a traditional PC, there aren't huge reasons to start using Windows 8, rumored enhancements coming or not.

"It boots up a little faster, it has some interesting security capabilities, they've tweaked a few things here and there around the way you copy files and the way certain communication protocols work. These are all nice to have but probably not enough to cause a company to want to jump into it," Kleynhans says.

However, when it comes to Windows 8 tablets it's another matter, particularly for certain kinds of workers--such as salespeople, factory workers or people who flit from meeting to meeting.

"[They're good for] people who need to be on the go. They need to have more information at their fingertips and deal with applications that are a little richer than you can typically handle on a smartphone," he says.

And of course, companies that tend to be tech-forward might simply like the idea of having the latest OS on their machine. If that's you, there's no shortage of rumors about how Windows Blue will change Windows.


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