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!

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. 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.