Microsoft will not be adding back the Start button in Windows 8, but will likely include a tutorial to help desktop/laptop PC users get used to the new OS.
That’s according to investment banking firm Nomura, which hosted meetings this week for investors with Tami Reller, the head of marketing and CFO of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft.
At the meeting, Reller appears to have addressed concerns that Windows 8 — which is currently in Consumer Preview and seems likely be released to the general public in October — can be confusing to use for those on a desktop or laptop. Though Windows 8 users can go into the familiar, traditional desktop mode, they have to first go through the OS’s new Metro user interface and continue to use some of the new Metro commands to get back to the Start screen, which has replaced the Start button.
Metro seems better designed for touch, rather than for keyboard and mouse, and while Windows 8 has garnered generally positive press for how well it works on touch-centric tablets, accounts have been more critical about how the new OS works on desktops. Many have said that switching between Metro and the traditional desktop mode can be jarring and that the way a mouse is used to call up new Metro-style commands in desktop mode can be unintuitive and clunky.
Based on the meetings with Reller this week, Nomura says that though the Windows Start button will remain gone, there will be some new things to help users — “mostly a tutorial to show keyboard/mouse users the new commands that they need to orient themselves with in the new OS so they are not lost when they first encounter the product.”
Nomura also notes that, based on screen shots of Office 15 — the upcoming version of Office that has been somewhat Metro-ized — the user experience seems “unaltered in Windows 8’s desktop mode when using Office.”
(Image of Windows 8 Start screen from Microsoft)