Preston Gralla

Windows Blue's Start button -- no, it won't be the real thing

April 22, 2013 10:05 AM EDT

The Start button that Microsoft is said to be baking into Windows Blue may not be the Start button that users are clamoring for. In fact, it is said to do the exact opposite of what people want it to do, and merely bring up the Windows 8 Start screen, but not the traditional Start menu. So reports the Verge, and if true it would be a major misstep for Microsoft.

The Verge reports that sources have told it that a Start button will be built into Windows Blue, and that:

"...the button will act as a method to simply access the Start Screen, and will not include the traditional Start Menu. The button is said to look near-identical to the existing Windows flag used in the Charm bar."

When it comes to Windows 8, it's almost as if Microsoft has a death wish. The complaints about the lack of a Start button have been that there's no way to bring up the old Start menu, which was a simple, all-in-one navigational tool for searching your computer and the Internet, opening files you've used recently, quickly launching apps, jumping to the Control Panel, and more. I haven't heard a single person asking for a Start button that will head you back to the Start screen.

In fact, there are already several quick ways to get back to the Start screen if you're not already there. Just press the Windows key on the keyboard, or hover your mouse over the lower left corner of the screen until a Start screen thumbnail shows, and then click. That's all it takes.

So if the Verge report is accurate, the new Start button doesn't do anything that Windows 8 doesn't already do. It just puts a button in place to alert people to a feature that already exists. And it doesn't do what people are clamoring for -- bring back the Start menu's features.

On the upside, there are reports that Windows Blue may include a direct boot-to-the-Desktop option. WinBeta says that the Russian site MicrosoftPortal has found code in twinui.dll that is "responsible for disabling the Start Screen" and will let you "go to the desktop automatically" in Windows Blue.

Mary Jo Foley adds that "One of my sources confirmed this is now looking like the plan" for Windows Blue.

Still, adding a Start button to Windows 8 that does the exact opposite of what people want it to do is a slap in the face of Windows 8 critics. It's hard to know what Microsoft is thinking if the Verge's report is accurate.