Details have emerged for how the Start button will work in the Windows 8.1 update, after complaints from users about its disappearance. The free Windows Blue add-on will include a Start button on the taskbar, just as it did in previous iterations of the operating system, but it will not apparently load a pop-up list of programs and folders like it did before.
According to ZDNet and Windows SuperSite, the Start button will have a stylized appearance, making it look like a miniature version of the Windows 8 logo. By clicking it, users will be presented with the same screen as if they would go into the Windows 8 Start menu, but this can be altered to display the “All Apps” version of the same menu instead. These icons can be rearranged by the user, and will still be a full-screen item rather than a window or a pop-up list.
It has been claimed by the report that users can choose to boot directly to the desktop, rather than going to the Windows 8 Start screen by default. Users will also be allowed to set the background of the Start menu to be the same as the desktop itself, in order to “feel less jarring.”
Employees of Microsoft explained the decision to remove the button in a blog post last year. It was found that users would "pin" applications to the taskbar for quicker access to the apps, and in turn dropping the number of instances where they would access the Start menu in the first place.