Why Did Microsoft Remove the Start Button

The removal of the Start button from Windows 8 has had a lot of people… well – pissed. It’s not even an option anymore. I’ve been using the Start menu since Windows 95, and I can see it’s usefulness running out for some. But, for others (myself included) still use it efficiently. I can pin a couple dozen apps on my Start menu, a few dozen icons on my desktop, and still require more for applications that I rarely run (and can’t efficiently search because I don’t recall the exact name of the application). Cluttered, for sure.

Microsoft has their reasons, but I don’t care much for their reason. I can see other reasons (touchscreen, etc.) but for this simple reason, I’m not convinced. If this were the biggest reason that Microsoft removed the Start button, it should be an option to put it back for those users that still use it. There are a few conspiracy theories out there – Metro can push users to the Windows Store to raise more money, kill off desktop applications within the next few releases to make the Store the only outlet.

"We’d seen the trend in Windows 7," said Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft, referring to the telemetry gathered by the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program. "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? What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?’"