Is the new Windows 8.1 Start Button really useful, or is it just a ‘Placebo’?

Among the many new features will be added in Windows 8.1 will be the appearance of a Start Button. This single news has bought smiles to many a Windows 8 users, who were missing the Window Start Button and Menu. Unlearning first – and learning  again to use the new Windows 8 UI with the Start Screen, was something that did not did not appeal to many. Windows users felt robbed of a Start button and menu they had got to love so much! It was even harder for the long time Windows user to let go the button which once offered them quick access to important programs, folders, and most configuration options. As a result, there were many freeware launched, which in some way or the other emulated the Windows start button or the start menu.


But we had asked. Do you really need a Start Menu or Button for Windows 8? While some did not need it, a sizeable a number of Windows users missed it. Sizeable enough for Microsoft to introduce a start button in Windows 8.1. This announcement itself has made many happy – and given them a sense of having ‘won’.

Microsoft has been sensitive to user needs, and if it’s a start button users wanted in Windows 8 – they would now get one in Windows 8.1, which will be available as a free upgrade.

But how would the start button function? Would it throw up the good-old start menu? Well, it is nothing like that. the Windows 8.1 start button does nothing of that sort. You will not get to see the old start menu.

Even today on Windows 8, when you take your mouse cursor to the bottom left corner and click, you get to see the Start Screen. Click again and you are sent back to the desktop.

The Windows 8.1 start button does just that and nothing more really. Click on it and you get to see the start Screen. Click again and you are sent back to the desktop. As an additional feature, Microsoft will also be adding an All Apps view which will appear when the Start Button is activated. That’s all there is to the new start button – from what is known.

So what is the point in having such a Start Button in Windows 8.1? Or am I missing something?

Seeing a Start Button on the taskbar makes Windows users feel complete, I suppose. It is visually reassuring, and the feel-good factor would come into play. Users will feel more comfortable seeing the familiar start button in its usual place. So what do we call this? ‘A Placebo‘?

During Computex, NetworkWorld captured a video of the start button in action. Watch the video to see how it works. The Start Button operation starts around 1.15 s.

Is this what you wanted? Or did you want something more? Or are you satisfied the way things are in Windows 8!? Speak your mind and let us know.

Knowing how demanding and finicky Windows users are, I would not be surprised if we now saw tweaks or freeware for removing the Windows 8.1 start button!

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, an end-user Windows enthusiast, & a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. I am one who misses it and do use it regularly. The problem with the third party Start Buttons are that they are slow, ugly, unstable or a combination of all the above. I’ll be glad to have it back and working properly.

  2. You didn’t understand or maybe you missed the main point in the post – this new start button doesn’t really do anything… 🙂

  3. No I didn’t read the part of what the new button does. To me that’s just a worthless addition. I spend a lot of time using a browser, not the desktop or start page, so I really see no use for another way to get to something I hardly ever see or use.

  4. alfred bjam

    I still won’t upgrade, I’d never use a touch screen and have finger prints on my monitor, Microsoft has let us down again.

  5. tj.texas

    Start button without the menu is like a ladder with no rungs.
    Like many others I don’t like the jumping back and forth between desktop and start screen.

  6. Den_Col

    I guess Microsoft just doesn’t get it. The start button is essential if they ever want Corporate America to use it.

  7. Auto

    Hey man, the Start button is an habit – since 1995 – and you can’t change an habit for millions of people without complains. I got addicted to no start button in windows 8 in few days, but for
    non-experts people it a lot easier to use the Start button. The changes in windows 8.1 are very good indeed. The ‘Placebo’ effect doesn’t exist. If you believe something, it does has an effect, despite who believe it doesn’t!

  8. I’m pretty efficient when it comes to computers so I really don’t see how being a computer expert, or not, has anything to do with it. I prefer working with a mouse as much as I can and only use the desktop for a few things. They keyboard I use for typing, not shortcuts or hot keys. Very often I may not see my desktop for quite a few days. Having no Start button slows me down, a lot.

  9. I was asked on Facebook when I read a post about Windows 8 just customise it. My answer was why should I have to, needless to say no reply came. I re-installed windows 7 and that was difficult but I managed it and I’m glad I did

  10. maxxxem

    I use stardock 8 its works well no bugs so far …Get it you don’t have to wait for the snail to arrive

  11. GraveDigger27

    Been a Windows user since the beginning and felt that Windows 8 was a case of “too much/too soon” – Microsoft dove in trying to transition millions of users to a operating system that is more designed for “touch based” devices like phones and tablets than the existing base of desktops and laptops. Even though it offered several “improvements” over Windows 7 (and Vista & XP) the move from the traditional desktop to the Modern UI-based start screen overnight was a miscalculation. It took years for programs to move from the DOS environment to being designed for the Windows desktop. We’ve used the start button and menu since the days of Windows 95. Even Microsoft didn’t release a Metro-based version of Office at the same time (which they DID when Windows 95 came out – I stood outside CompUSA the night it came out and it was one of the few programs available for that OS – including a few Norton programs (Norton Navigator, Utilities and Anti-Virus…))

    Most existing systems are not “touch based” and the keyboard and mouse that most people are familiar with aren’t improved by the new Modern experience. Most businesses are not going to invest in the training required to move to Windows 8 – they’ll stick with Windows 7 (or worse XP) until they’re forced to upgrade their applications to newer versions… I installed Stardock’s Start8 utility on my Windows 8 laptop (which I upgraded from Windows 7) and spend almost NO time on the start screen.

    Until there are more apps that are ONLY Modern UI-based I don’t see a big move to Windows 8 (or 8.1) and the addition of a “Start Button” that only takes me back to the start screen ISN’T enough to change my feelings. It’s an admission that Microsoft might’ve made a mistake, but it’s not much of a solution – they needed to “start” a transition from the desktop to the Modern/Metro UI – not a wholesale abandonment overnight…

  12. JF

    Classic Shell has the best ‘close to the original’ start menu you are going to get. Go to As easy, free, download and install with no ‘hooks’ to advertise some other product like some of the other substitutes have.

  13. Aruta

    Its neither, they are just straight up trolling us now! Their marketing people must be apple users or something. I won’t recommend Windows 8 to my company or my friends because of this. This really is the first time i’m doing this with a new Microsoft OS… sad really. I can’t think of any reason to not even give us the OPTION of having the classic start menu. Unless the goal is to lose market share.

  14. Alreed

    Windows Still Blows away Apple by far!!!

  15. I like being in my environment and not Microsoft’s I tried all this on 8 however in the end (with great difficulty) I reinstalled 7 professional, I’m glad I did now too. As Anand said the new start button doesn’t do anything

  16. Get a stylus I did for my tablet,

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