Why Microsoft scrapped the Start button in Windows 8
Microsoft has done away with the Start button and Aero interface in the Windows 8 operating system. What could have been the possible reasons for Microsoft ditching the all so familiar and popular Start button and Windows Aero?
Earlier, Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management for Microsoft’s User Experience team,Â explained that they removed Windows Aero to change the visual appearance of the desktop in Windows 8. According to Jensen, [quote]“We have moved beyond Aero Glass — flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distracting gradients”.[/quote]
Now, Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft,Â has revealed the reasons that prompted them to scrap away the Windows Start button.
Microsoft says Start menu usage has dropped in Windows 7
In a statement to computer magazine PC Pro at TechEd in Amsterdam, Sareen said that the use of the Start menu in Windows 7 has declined. This was found in telemetry data gathered by the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program. According to Sareen, [quote]"When we evolved the taskbar, we saw awesome adoption of pinning [applications] on the taskbar. We are seeing people pin like crazy. And so we saw the Start menu usage dramatically dropping, and that gave us an option. We’re saying, look, Start menu usage is dropping, what can we do about it?”[/quote]
It’s not just that more and more people are now pinning programs to the taskbar for easy access. Sareen also cited that Windows 7 users are now increasingly employing keyboards shortcuts rather than the Start menu to open programs.
Windows Start button is easy to use
Telemetry data collected by the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program suggests that the Start button is not popular any more. But the fact is that the Start button is easy to use and makes things efficient. It’s a lot simpler to open the less frequently programs using the Start menu as compared to the new Metro interface. Generally, people pin only those programs to the taskbar which they use quite often.
In Windows 8, Microsoft should have provided an option to enable or disable the Start button. But the company is very serious about the Metro interface and is trying to ensure that hacks to enable the Start button don’t work on Windows 8.
Image credit: Comedy_nose (via Flickr – cc).