Julie Larson-Green at the Wired Business Conference

Julie Larson-Green at the Wired Business Conference

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Julie Larson-Green, Corporate Vice President for Windows, took to the stage at the Wired Business Conference a little while ago to talk about Windows 8 – reiterating much of the momentum Tami talked about earlier in this blog post. She also talked about our approach to making Windows 8 for a world where mobility is at the forefront. We continue to listen and respond to our customers. As part of the continuing journey for Windows 8, we have an update planned due out later this year codenamed “Windows Blue.” Julie unveiled that at BUILD at the end of June, we’ll be releasing a public preview of Windows Blue for folks to check out. Look for more from us on Windows Blue leading up to Build in June!

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  • JoeB
    0 Posts

    I like Windows 8 with the exception that MS no longer offers the integrated Start Menu.

    Good that there are 3rth party programs like Classic Shell, Start8 etc.

    I can't stop to wonder how many of you people that think Metro is that great actually work on your PC's?

    Like programming and IT administration?

    I mean, Metro isn't bad, but with zillions of programs open it is a lot slower to use than by opening the next program via a customized menu.

    Who uses more than 1% of the apps for work on a desktop PC anyway? Few of them are good, and they only cover parts of their desktop counterpart.

    Might be fine for the average user and some small office, but MS forgot something with the Enterprise part.

  • MoWeb
    0 Posts

    I agree with some people in that there needs to be a mouse target for system functions. After all: Apple computers have the "Apple Logo" in the top/left menu bar - that provides links to system functions, power options, and preferences. Linux computers have some form of logo in the top menu bar (i.e. Ubuntu logo top/right) - that provides links to system functions, power options, and preferences. And Microsoft USED to have the Windows logo on the taskbar (bottom/left) - and it used to do all the same cool stuff as the others (and more). Now it has hot corners that DON'T have the added functionality and options? Weird change Microsoft!

    Interestingly, "Windows 8 Developer Preview" actually shipped with a start button in place. It was there, just like the rumoured one in "Windows Blue", and served to trigger the "Start Screen" or display a menu on right-click. Not perfect, but okay. Annoyingly, it got removed in later builds, presumably after it was found to be confusing people (which it did). You see, Microsoft CANNOT offer a "Start Button" without a "Start Menu". The two have been tied together for 18 years or so. Using the button to trigger the "Start Screen" was jarring for users. Based on this, I am glad they were prompted to change it - but think they changed it in the wrong way *sigh*.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying I want the "Start Menu" back. Heck no. I absolutely love the new "Start Screen", Windows Store apps, etc. What I was hoping for Microsoft to do (and is what I sent more than one item of feedback about) was to introduce chrome to the "Start Menu" to make it appear like a full-screen desktop menu - when launched from the desktop. Think of Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013, and their "File Menu". A full-screen experience that presents a LOT of information, but without ever taking you away from the desktop environment. And I know it can be done, because the tool "Start Menu Modifier" exists... and this let's you customise the docked position and number of rows/columns the "Start Screen" uses, and allows it to sit over the "Desktop" without actually leaving it. What I want is THAT! And perhaps a default bar on the right side that gives me the same sort of customisable links to things like "Computer:, "Downloads", "Control Panel", "Administrative Tools", and others that I used the "Start Menu" primarily for.

    So yeah. I do NOT want to the "Start Menu" back, as I love the new one. I do want the "Start Screen" to appear as a menu within my desktop, however, and not full-screen within the "modern" UI. Unfortunately, I think we'll just get the "Developer Preview" button back, and that will be even WORSE than not having it at all. At least now you can use a free start menu app without it looking stupid. Try hijacking the start button if they put it back, or adding a second start button... ewww.

  • thanks for announcing date for "windows blue"...

    I accept windows start screen..Its amazing...please continoue  a start screen  in "blue" with some changes...some unwanted things and files are pin in the start screen .remove that in windows blue .i want a start screen shows only apps installed in desktop version and windows ui version

  • Cobra
    0 Posts

    If you were really listening and responding to the customers you would be removing the interface formerly known as "Metro" from the desktop/laptop operating system in addition to resurrecting the Start menu. The big, square tiles are okay for a tablet or phone but have no place in a keyboard/mouse environment, which most of your customers will be using, especially in business, for quite a while. Your customers do not want a "one-size-fits-all" operating system. Instead of adding missing items to the "Metro" side of things how about allowing the desktop environment to stand totally on its own with no sign of the tiled interface. On a related note, it is inconceivable that this play-school-like interface made its way into the server version of the OS. How many servers do you know of that have a touch screen? Please step back away from the picture and take a good hard look at what you are doing. Forcing your idea of a next generation, reimagined operating system on a customer base such as yours does not make sense and could spell the beginning of the end for a once proud giant.

  • There's plenty to complain about in Windows 8 and RT, but the Start experience isn't one of them. I'll concede having a button on the taskbar that launches Start is a good thing, but the new Start experience itself is fine once you get used to it. Do you complain that Office (2010 and later) made the File menu cover the whole window? It's the same concept.

    I'm looking forward to seeing "Blue" firsthand at BUILD.

  • MoWeb
    0 Posts

    The biggest issue I have with the "We continue to listen and respond to our customers" is that, Microsoft has NEVER done a great job of listening to customers (or being approachable at ALL), so "continuing" to do the same level of listening is not inspiring.

    Starting with Windows 8, I assumed things would change... as we now had the "Building Windows 8 Blog". Sinofsky and colleagues provided users a natural-language, real understanding of new features - and we all had the ability to comment on posts, ask questions, and engage directly with official Microsoft representatives (even from engineering departments). When you combine this with the fact that almost all of the Microsoft "Windows Store Apps" (pre-loaded or available in the store) had a "Provide Feedback" option in the settings, we felt that we were being listened to. Not much of what we complained about got auctioned, but it was most certainly listened to and responded to. Now... not so much.

    Today, all the install-able "Provide Feedback" tools are gone. Some apps (like the "Store" app itself) no longer have a "Provide Feedback" option - despite me having feedback for them based on real-world-use.The "Contact Microsoft" web pages have the "Provide Feedback" forms either hidden/relocated or removed entirely. The "Community" posts almost never get responded to by Microsoft - so I doubt they are reading them. And the "Chat" options aren't much use.

    At this stage, Microsoft is one of the LEAST approachable consumer technology companies around... and they make it extremely hard for people to provide feedback on their products and services. So when a Microsoft representative claims they continue to "listen"... listen to what exactly? Telemetry data from CEIP-enabled computers is not the same thing as listening. And there aren't too many way to have Microsoft actually "hear" you these days.

  • After using Windows 8 for quite some time, I am thinking that there are two real improvements for those that have desktop systems with multiple windows: 1) The start screen should be snap-able and also able to be left open on a monitor, so the benefit of live tiles can be really seen. 2) Though I have installed ModernMix from Stardock, a built-in capability to handle "windowed" and full screen Windows Store Apps would be very helpful. I regularly switch between IM+, Mail, Skype, and other messaging applications. Though a snapped Start Screen might alleviate this need, there are other times where I could really use seeing two apps open at the same time on two monitors. So maybe just the capability to have multiple Windows Store Apps on multiple monitors, for example: Mail on one monitor, Calendar on another, and IE10 on the third. That would eliminate my need for ModernMix for the most part.

  • @Misfit410: My experience with the Win7 start menu was that it was usually anything but neat. If you installed software without organizing the start menu into sub-folders, it quickly became unwieldy (often so big the menu would span multiple columns).  The solution on Win7 was usually to spend the time to organize the folders, or at least pin commonly-used items to the start menu or task bar.

    The same principle applies for the Win8 start screen. If you let apps install tiles on the start screen and don't take the time to organize it, it becomes unwieldy. But the start screen is easy to organize. You can drag tiles into groups, and give the groups names (zoom out, right-click on a group, and select "name group"). You can have tiles for both metro apps and desktop apps, and also create tiles for websites.  You can keep the start screen minimal (just the things you regularly use), and search to find anything else (just start typing the app name).

    If the only difference between Win7 and Win8 was square tiles vs. menu items, I would probably agree with you -- the start screen would be a needless change. For me, the magic of Win8 is the "live" aspect of the tiles. Some live tiles are just a distraction, and I turn them off.  But others are really great, e.g. mail, weather, calendar.  I can tap the Windows key and get a quick summary of what's going on without having to open/check each individual app. I find this very helpful!

  • @ChrisLynch so you do't find it horrible when instead of being organized in nice neat folders on the classic start menu that you get depending on what you install, hundreds of icons puked all over the metro screen?  it's horrible,  Metro has no use outside of tablets (hey, Surface Pro Tablets are amazing and I can't wait to have some spare cash to throw down at one.. but on desktops? ick)

  • If designed with best practices in mind, one can pinpoint during debugging when and why it isn't working. You should look into using MVVM. That entire programming model is about UX, separation of concerns and reusable code. I agree that once you have the fundamentals down with a workable XAML pattern it's difficult to go back to other patterns. XAML is powerful especially with data binding and its loose coupling of Model and View. There is plenty of free courses on Microsoft Virtual Academy or MSDN that you could use to get a thorough understanding of XAML. Also, you can use Pluralsight. They are great instructors and programmers.

  • LMKz
    0 Posts

    Re. XAML - I used to be pretty negative about XAML too - the learning curve is steep and it is overly verbose. BUT once you have mastered the basics there is no doubt it is very powerful and ultimately a preferable environment to asp.net, windows forms, etc.

    It is not "interpreted" in the classical sense of a language that interprets commands at run-time; I would say "parsed" is a better word. If there is any performance penalty to this at all (unlikely to be noticeable), it will be at page load only.

    I still have occasional bugs in XAML which can be hard to track down - this is more a shortcoming of the tools than the language itself. If there were a Firebug equivalent for XAML this would not be an issue, as it no longer is with HTML/Javascript.

    I have no doubt that once mastered, XAML + VB|C# is by far and away the most productive programming experience available today. Only let down by the tools, Visual Studio still having many bugs.

  • I was going to moan about Windows 8

    But I guess it comes down to one thing.

    Either Microsoft listens to its customers or it doesn't and it ends up with losing market share.

    I've been here and got the T shirt since Windows ME - I'm at the end of my patience.

    @ edrohler

    XAML is the worst programming experience I have EVER had. It's like going back 30 years to the era of ZX81 but worse because on top of being interpreted you don't actually know why it isn't working. As one programmer put it, I spend 95% of my time trying to work out why XAML doesn't work.

    On top of that you cant even create a dynamic screen, you cannot delete the background processes for old definitions so the whole thing just crashes in a big heap.

    Given languages today are supposed to be object orientated I'm amazed and dismayed XAML was ever created.

  • @JefferyD90  The Bing Desktop App does not allow Windows 8 to Boot straight to the Desktop, however Start8 does.  I have tested both.  

    Personally I have no issues with the Start Menu gone, everything is still there it is just a different way of getting to stuff.  If you need help finding some things two tips on the Start Screen right click (or swipe up from the bottom) and then hit All Apps, also in the Desktop if you are looking for settings and other functions right click in the lower left hand corner or hit the Windows Key + X to get to the WinX menu.  

    Now if the Start Button comes back I would like to see something like the one in the Windows 8 Developer Preview with the addition of a shortcut to the WinX menu.  That is just my two cents take it with a grail of salt if you must but the new Windows is good and I am not going back.  I am also not using any Start Menu replacement on my non touch laptop or desktop.  

  • LMKz
    0 Posts

    Wow a lot of over-reaction to the whole start-menu thing. That's nothing compared to what MS did when "re-imagining" Visual Studio from 2010 -> 2012. Completely changed the entire icon set and did away with all colour creating a completely flat monochrome UI devoid of all familiar visual cues. Now THAT was something to get upset about (although I have grudgingly accepted that it will not be "fixed").

  • Brandon,

    Will there be a "Blue" public preview for Windows RT?

  • I tried hard to get used to the Modern Start Screen. However, turned back to the old Start Menu using a third party solution...

    The problem with the Modern UI is that it does not have something to replace the "notification area" near the clock. For a user like me, who relies a lot on "desktop" applications that somehow make use of this feature, the Start Screen turns into a nuisance.

    I see no logic in rafa94p comment: "If Microsoft gave an option for the classic start menu, most windows users would never even bother to experience the new screen or new apps, and all the new features of Windows 8 would be pointless, you might as well just stick to Windows 7."

    Having to force users to adopt a new solution only proves that the solution is not that good...

    Today, the best choice for Microsoft would be to keep the Start Menu as an option. It's all ready there - what's the problem in keeping it? Let the user make his/her choice.

  • thegame
    0 Posts

    Ok I was surfing around and came across this and decided to add my two cents. I was one of those that bought Windows 8 and just like many out there I went back to Windows 7 and let me explain why. 1. Of course that little feature called the Start button, while some will say “get over it” and other stuff the fact is when I turn on computer everything is right there in front of me and ready to start the day (by the way if you’re a graphic designer it will be a nightmare for you). 2. something that Microsoft doesn’t say and that is getting rid of the Media Center (which also adds support to play DVDs). This feature was free and available with the Windows 7 operating system. Yes I know you can download but you now have to pay the $99.99 to have it. 3. It was stated (and what someone wrote below) about the insane security, and incredible speeds, well I don’t see it, I timed both boot ups the Win 7 and Win 8 but Windows 7 was only 2 seconds slower. While both were compared under a clean install I don’t see the bragging rights but more of an exaggeration. 4. While the apps might be a neat thing use at first but however they are a security risk due them demanding the rights to your personal information. 5. I don’t feel I got what a paid for and thats a newer and better operating system but instead what I did get was a tablet operating system, I’m using a laptop not a tablet! Its common sense that we got Windows RT which is made for Microsoft Surface tablets, but its branded as Windows 8 because of the few added features. On a good note, I do like the "Refresh" and "Reset" functions in the “Recovery” features. For the Windows Defender which is based on Microsoft's Security Essentials well again not impressed. MSE is and has been getting a lot bad press lately because lack of detection rate and the lack of prevention, so better security? On a final note, isn’t it funny that Microsoft blames the people because low sales? What ever happen to the customer is always right?

  • Every time MS launches a new OS, or office suite for that matter, they seem to be of the opinion that we, the customer won't mind if all the buttons we use on a daily basis to do are work, have moved.

    Well I do.  and April next year or not, i'll be dammed if i'm going to stop using XP - the last decent OS MS made.  as for office, it's 2k3 or open office for me.  

    My Computer(s) are my tools.  I don't mess up my tool kit every few months so i can't find my wire strippers when i need them so why the hell should i have to put up with pointless changes to a GUI that works just so marketing can sell us something new.

    Remember all that hype over Vista?   next best ting bla bla.  strangely dropped like a stone for W7 and no-one mentions it any more.

    I'm sure this will get a panning from the W8 / W8 mobile community, but i'm sorry chaps (and chapetts) most of you lot weren't born when i started using computers, windows sure didn't exist.  So if you want a funky new interface that works with touch, fine.  just put back the rest of it that we all use, like it was when i trialled the 1st beta of W8

  • Windows 8 is the right direction! Please leave the old 2000/xp etc. world behind. Cut the old desktop. Make the new style more handy. Don't go back to the old school. Please.



  • Except Metro UI , Windows 8 has lots of other improvements. In boot time reduction,performance and so on.. May be uncomfortable to someone, but to me it just works great. Anyways, waiting for 'Windows Blue' ;)

  • MrBusty
    0 Posts

    I was wondering, why this button got removed in first place. - A very stupid decision!

    I would like to have following behavior:

    * left click on start button => Win7 start menu

    * right click on start button => metro start screen

    And Aero Glass has to come back too - otherwise I will not update to Win8.

  • For the love of god get over the freaking start menu. If you truly so incredibly stupid that you can't learn a new UI, then maybe you should be using technology at all. No other modern OS has a 'start button' and users do not complain. If you are willing to give up 5 second boot times, insane security, and incredible speeds because one menu is missing, you are truly not worthy of posting on this forum.

  • I just do not get why people complain so much about the start screen and design.

    A., if you're a power user as most of you claim to be, you were already using the windows key (and other hot-key combinations) to open up your start screen and navigate in Windows anyways. Now, instead of it being a 4-6 inch pop up it's your whole monitor.. Oh, miss the "ALL Programs"  menu?? Right-click and then click all apps or swipe up from the bottom (touch the bottom and drag up quickly if you're not so technically savvy). Same scenario just optimized for the touch monitor. As a designer, this makes complete sense because if you can get the program to work for touch touch you don't need to design for a mouse it will integrate easily. Sometimes, I wish I could use touch instead of my mouse..

    B., if you don't like developing on windows 8 RT, develop a desktop app with C#/XAML, C++/XAML OR, OR, the age old JavaScript/HTML. There are several areas in the .NET framework to develop in. If you understand OOP and data driven programming, which I am certain you do because you've developed before; you will find that the markup and OOP principles are still there.. You just have to try something different. I know, I know, change is scary. But I can assure you that programming in a new language, a new format or style will not kill you..

    C., Don't like the design? Perhaps, you should take a few design courses, then, design AND develop an experience and not just a logical program; find out how truly difficult it is to cater to 900 dimensions to please everyone and I am certain your opinion will change about the ugly and "godwful" design of Windows 8. (hold on, did you say "godwful"? Are you 5? No one is on a power trip) Anyway, it's not just about the design, stop thinking so singularly. Add design, development, ease of use, simple guidelines and user pleasure and guess what, you no longer have a logical program you have a fully fleshed out, living, evolving experience. Which is the future of technology. I think Steve Jobs, said, there will be a time when users don't need hard drives. He was right. Think about all of the devices you use, tabs, phones, comps, laptops.. I am tired of them not working together.. Having 100's of passwords and saving in multiple places.. In 2005, I tired having my cable tv, internet, telephone all working through my computer.. Unfortunately, it was too soon for that at the time. But not now. Now, my xBox, laptop, desktop and even my servers are all connected.. I even run a domain controller on Azure and connect my local environment to the DC in azure. Do you know the possibilities of this for Small Business, aka, the backbone of our economy..?

    About MAC's, let's be honest, go to your awesome MAC change the desktop background and then go to your tablet and tell me if the same is image is displaying.. (using only stock apps) I doubt it, because they are not actively designing with the notion of simplicity ACROSS devices in mind they are designing with sexy SIMPLE devices in mind. Think about that for a second.

    Lastly, it's not that they aren't answering your complaints, it's that they are not complaints they are opinions and it appears every bad opinion is the about windows 8. Though I am certain Microsoft values your opinion; every time I read these things it's the same issues over and over, I want the start screen, bring back DOS, where is this and where is that.. Here is something I bet you've never heard. LEARN SOMETHING NEW. Try it before complaining and really try it, don't half-ass it and bring some improvements to the table, instead of bitchy complaints, and I bet you'll feel more appreciated.

  • I agree that Microsoft should bend to their customers demands, but the start SCREEN is truly better, try it and you'll see. Bringing back the start menu would be a step backwards and a big mistake, solutions exist for backward people, let that be enough.

  • This better be free as a way of saying sorry to all the customers you messed areound with 8

  • LMKz
    0 Posts

    Here is my latest app, which relies on GPS so unfortunately is pretty useless on my Surface RT... pretty disappointing.


    I think if MS want to maximise the number of apps in the Store, they need to seriously consider whether they charge an outrageous subscription fee. The majority of developers such as myself would be very lucky to get our subscription back each year from app proceeds, at the current glacial pace of app downloads.

    Also, the WinRT API feels very low-level, it desperately needs another layer to simplify common tasks, such as reading all text from a file, etc.

    I would also like to see Windows RT opened up to desktop apps (as per the jailbreak) as there are many .Net desktop applications that run fine on RT without recompilation.

  • If you listened to your customers you would have improved Windows 7.... I hate everything about windows 8... I never use a desktop I always pin my programs to the taskbar... Windows 8 is another ME in my honest Opinion... Period... Trash it and start over...

  • Please, enough about the Start button. Learn to use the Windows key for chirst sake.

    I agree, the start screen is excellent. It will even be better with more tile sizes. And if they had boxes to put the tiles in, we'd have a hierarchy system, too. But the one thing I'd really love to see is a better system for IE favorites. Or at least some guidance on how to convert from the old system to the new. I have hundreds of links (yes I know, that's a bit overboard) and swiping/clicking through the list is beyond tedious.

  • - we'll be able talk more about the developer stuff for Windows Blue at the Build conference at the end of June including any sort of API changes that the update might bring and other things relevant to developers so you should watch for content that comes out of Build.

    If you've built a Windows Store app - would love to know which one!

  • - let's keep comments constructive and respectful please. You are more than welcome to comment here and express your opinion and how they differ from others but the expectation is they remain respectful. Thanks!

  • LMKz
    0 Posts

    I really hope you are addressing the issue surrounding external GPS on "Metro" apps - i.e. these devices can't be used at all. On RT, the Serial Port Profile doesn't even exist for Bluetooth, a huge oversight that I am anxiously waiting to see fixed.

    As a developer, I am also curious as to whether there will be API changes, or just cosmetic changes to the OS?

    I'm not sure why people are hung up on the Start button, it is very simple to press the Windows key and either start typing or click the program you want, I've never had a problem with this model. Some just don't like change I guess.

  • @ChrisLynch You took the words right out of my mouth.


    "I can't wait to test Windows Blue.

    @patchrowcester I completely disagree that the Start Screen is "ugly" or "godwful."  I hope that the legacy Start Menu never returns.  If you want the Start Menu, go get Start8."

  • No. He was ripped off by MSFT, not the third-party, because he had to pay an extra $2 for a feature that should have already been included and or optional in his purchased operating system.

    No one cares about your anecdotes of how much you love Windows 8. You and your fellow Win8 loving cronies need to relax and understand people have different taste to you.

  • Nawzil
    0 Posts

    That is what I meant: "... release date of Windows 8.1 'Preview' already." But I forgot to mention Preview.

  • rafa94p
    0 Posts

    @Andrew If you paid $2 for the start menu you were ripped off, I have a fully functional and even customizable Start Menu that I downloaded free

    I actually rarely use the classic start menu, as I prefer the Start SCREEN, I use a Non-touch ACER laptop as well as a touch ASUS tablet, and on both I prefer the new start screen

    If Microsoft gave an option for the classic start menu, most windows users would never even bother to experience the new screen or new apps, and all the new features of Windows 8 would be pointless, you might as well just stick to Windows 7

  • I simply cannot wait for the update, I have loved windows 8 since the day it launched. The sleek apps get the information i'm looking for to me faster in a more aesthetic way. Not to mention the cross functionality between "desktop" mode and windows mode. but my favorite part is the seamless sync between my windows 8 machine and my windows 8 phone. Its truly fantastic.

  • Agreed. And this quote from JLG is also quite telling, "It's hidden, so some people like the comfort of having it show up on the screen all the time, so they just know their home place and where to go.", in reference to the start hot corner. If she's going to concede an important beginning point of operating Windows is effectively "hidden" from its user, then the OS has failed its user.

    Sorry, but you're both in the minority.The users and market have spoken. Let users choose. Windows was never about OS autocracy.

  • - to be clear, we haven't announced a release date for Windows Blue other than it's coming later this year for customers. What we announced today was a public preview version of Windows Blue that will be available at the Build developer conference in June.

  • I hope they don't charge for Blue.  I'm tired of paying for beta products from Microsoft, and then have to buy the fixed version--a la Vista/Win7.  I paid two dollars for StartIsBack.  That functionality is something that should have been included from Microsoft from day one.  Sorry if I'm not drinking the Metro koolaid, but that was a farce from the beginning.  

  • ChrisLynch THANK YOU!!!  I couldnt have said it better.  I would give ANY AMMOUNT OF MONEY to never see a menu EVER AGAIN!!!

    Those of you who say "We just like the start menu better" simply have not tried the start screen.  And btw folk, its not called Metro anymore.  They did away with that, they simply want it to be known as Windows.  They are not going back anytime soon.

    And for those of you who say "Let us boot to the desktop", if you installed BingDesktop like Microsoft ask you everytime your PC checks for a update it already WOULD!

    Those that dont like Windows 8, dont like it because they are ignorant about it.

  • Nawzil
    0 Posts

    I agree with you @ChrisLynch

  • Nawzil
    0 Posts

    We knew the release date of Windows 8.1 already, but thanks for officially announcing it.

  • I can't wait to test Windows Blue.

    @ I completely disagree that the Start Screen is "ugly" or "godwful."  I hope that the legacy Start Menu never returns.  If you want the Start Menu, go get Start8.

  • So, when you say you continued to listen and respond to your customers, do you mean completely ignore them?

    That would explain why there isn't any news about the start menu. Honestly, a lousy start button to access the godawful metro screen is really no better than not having the button.

    Give users the option. What is so wrong about that? There are those who like the metro screen. Great, let them have it. There are many of us who don't want to stare at a full screen, ugly "menu", so give us the start menu.

    Its a win-win.