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This article explains Microsoft ideas regarding the Start menu Evolving the Start menu - Building Windows 8 - Site Home - MSDN Blogs Since the hotspot in the lower left corner of the desktop has much the same functionality as the Start button it would make sense to keep the Start button. That would have the additional benefit of avoiding the confusion when one starts up that Christmas present computer with Windows 8.
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Why is it invisible - to help you forget that it was ever there at all.
Remember, 99% of windows users kept the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, so did not have the luxury of the vertical taskbar with the start button at top left or right, or the horizontal taskbar with the start button at the top left.
I prefer the taskbar at the top, ever since using the SuperOS distro of Ubuntu 8.4, when Vista was unbearable on my new laptop. With Fedora, I went silly and had both top and bottom bars.
I imagine that 22-odd years ago, when many secretaries found their typewriters replaced with a PC and a black screen that had a friendly green C:\> prompt, that they too felt that they did not know what to do next, until someone showed them what typing 'wp' did, and within a few weeks, became expert typists on WordPerfect. Becoming expert wordprocessor operators took a little longer.
PCs were too expensive for Christmas presents in those days.
I think this is the first Windows Version where the majority of people are actively trying to revert to the "classic" look, which is probably another reason why Microsoft did not include an option to revert to the old ways. "No compromise" can be found in much of the PR literature relating to Windows 8. Elvis has left the room.
As far as forcing metro apps, I am not so sure - it is dead easy to unpin them all, and never see an app, unless they start to arrive unbidden in windows Updates.
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I was thinking about this and I think I have a pretty good idea why it's invisible.
It's because of the app snap feature, where you take a metro app, snap a third of it next to another. But if you're in the Desktop, you snap a third of that app next to the Desktop interface. In the Developer Preview when you did that, the Start button gets pushed over along with the rest of the Desktop. So where you traditionally have the Start button gets awkwardly set over.
In the Consumer Preview, when you do that, you don't have the awkward Start button chilling a third over on the screen. That, I bet, is the main reason. I think though, the actual Start LOGO, not thumbnail, needs to come back to where it rightfully belongs. It should be hard coded into being in the lower left corner of the screen AT ALL TIMES. It shouldn't be like switching to a whole app, it's a Start Screen, it's the new start menu, not a Desktop-lite interface.
If that were to be done, I'd be fine with the Start button being invisible.
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What some are missing about the loss of the Start button is the dual functionality now seen where the Start button would have been. It's not simply a simple left click but also a right click for the System menu to appear! You now see that rather then the Start/taskbar properties for things like user settings, network config, Disk Management, etc.
That's referred to as the System Tools menu rather then digging through Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools as well as going into the Control Panel>Administrator Tools>Computer Management>Storage just for the DM! What MS did was put everything on one easy to access menu there.
Now for those who want to use an addon like Start menu 7, Start 8, or ViStart you will want to right click on the taskbar to see that set to top not the default bottom in order to see that menu as well as the Start screen available. Many simply leave the taskbar at the default bottom setting and then wonder why there's no Start button. MS had a reason for it now being gone while they failed to take into consideration of how the typical user would react to this type of change.
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