updated 06:46 am EDT, Mon April 15, 2013
Microsoft pondering return to 'boot to desktop' in Windows 8.1
Code uncovered in Windows 8.1 hints that Microsoft may allow users to boot directly into the desktop mode. Currently, when users boot into Windows 8, users are taken to Microsoft's controversial, but touch friendly, Modern UI Startscreen. Users who traditionally work in the desktop mode must view this screen first and then select the desktop mode, which has raised many complaints from long-time Windows users.
The code string in Windows 8.1, if accurate, would allow users to select whether they boot directly into the Windows 8 Startscreen or directly into the desktop. Microsoft received similar negative feedback about booting users directly into the Startscreen but opted to go with the change regardless. However, the worst PC market in 20 years has led to considerable criticism from Microsoft's hardware manufacturing partners blaming Microsoft and Windows 8 for the poor sales of their products. A switch back to a more traditional UI paradigm on booting could help to appease OEMs and customers who don't like the new touch-based Startscreen UI.
Another controversial change in Windows 8 was the removal of the Start button from the desktop UI, although there is not evidence that Microsoft plans to reinstate the legacy functionality. Currently, users are still pushed to enter the Startscreen to search for their apps, whether they are the new Modern apps, or traditional 'legacy' desktop apps. Alternatively, users can avoid the Startscreen to some extent, by initiating a search for an app that they want to launch. Windows 8.1, also referred to as Windows Blue, is set to address a number of lingering issues in Windows 8. For example, the Snap feature will return to splitting apps in a 50/50 split, rather than the current, and somewhat annoying, 30/70 split. [via Neowin]