Microsoft angered and confused millions when it released Windows 8 without the operating system’s iconic Start button. The company took those criticisms to heart with Windows 8.1, which brought back the Start button but simply used it to switch from the classic Windows desktop view to the new Metro UI instead of offering a full menu. Now a new rumor suggests the Start menu may return in full force with the next Windows OS update, though that probably won’t be any time soon.
According to Windows journalist Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is planning several major changes for the next version of its desktop OS. Aside from the returning Start menu, the software upgrade will help merge the Metro and classic Windows interfaces by allowing Metro apps to run as floating windows in the classic desktop UI.
A new report from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley also supports the latest Start button rumors, adding that “Threshhold,” which is expected to launch in spring 2015, will usher in a new set of software categories that’s different from the current Windows/Windows RT/Windows Phone dynamic. Foley claims Microsoft will offer a “modern” Windows that runs on PCs, tablets and smartphones, as well as a “traditional” version strictly for PCs and an enterprise version for business management.
We’re looking forward to the next big Windows update, though we’re not expecting any major changes until mid-2015. For now, our focus is still on the long-overdue Windows Phone update, which could be announced as early as February 2014.