Windows 8's Move To Kill The Start Button: Why'd they do it?

Microsoft is betting the farm on Windows 8. As they've recently waned from increased competition from the Mac and iOS platforms, almost everyone agrees they need a small revolution to continue in their current form.

So they created Windows 8. It combines their forward-thinking UI, called Metro, with a more classic version of Windows to which every PC users is already accustomed.

But what it doesn't include, anywhere, is the classic Start button.

Where's the Start button?

Hot Corner Pop Up 

Recently Used Apps

Why did they take it out? I have a couple of theories.

Theory 1: Force the User to use Metro
Microsoft definitely wants everyone to use Metro. In an ideal world they'd only have to support one UI per device. Since they can't (or at least won't) cut support for classic Windows, the next best thing is to push users into the new UI.

Removing the Start button forces people to interact with Metro and helps some make the transition who might not have otherwise. This is definitely common in tech, as feature sets are changed and even removed in software all the time, especially in web applications.
But I do wonder: if Metro is as great as Microsoft claims, why wouldn't customers use it just because they like it? If it's so compelling, why the forced interaction?
And on the other hand, if the user wants what they're used to, why give them everything but the Start button? If you're going to let people stay with the old stuff, why not give it to them just as they remember?

Theory 2: Microsoft Considers the new Hot Corner a Replacement
If you mouse down to the bottom left corner a "Metro preview" will appear, showing recently opened applications.I don't think the functionality should have been hidden behind a hot corner, but what it does is much better than the Start button. Instead of showing you every possible file on your computer (or so it feels), the hot corner pops us a list of your recently opened applications. Since most non-technical users use only 5-10 applications, this is probably all they'll need 90% of the time.

Theory 3: They Want to Show They're Moving On
But maybe there is a third reason: the Start button is such an abomination that they finally just axed it. The Start button has become so synonymous with Windows (hence even this article) that keeping it would indicate to potential customers, at least at a quick glance, that nothing had really changed. Not a good sign when this is supposed to be your flagship transition to a New And Improved Microsoft.

Regardless, if you really want that button you can add it back by following these instructions. Most users won't know how to do that, but as long as they're happy with Metro, Microsoft won't care.


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