There will be no traditional Start button in the Windows 8 beta — at least according to Tom Warren at The Verge.
Screenshots that were leaked show the Windows 8 taskbar without a Start button, reports Warren, who adds:
Fear not though, the Start button functionality isn’t as dead as it seems. We have confirmed with sources close to Microsoft’s Windows 8 development that a hot corner has replaced the Start button orb. A thumbnail-like user interface will appear in Metro or desktop mode, providing a consistent way to access the Windows desktop and Start Screen in Windows 8 regardless of touch or mouse input. The new interface is activated on hover from the lower-left corner of Windows 8…
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview — the beta version of the newest Windows operating system — is scheduled to launch later this month.