The score is 2-1 in favor of the Start menu landing on Windows 8.1 while the weather’s still warm. Following reports claiming the Start menu would appear this fall, two well known Microsoft watchers say the highly anticipated update could be here before the summer is out.
Both the Verge’s Tom Warren and ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley report that Microsoft hopes to deliver the Start menu to Windows 8.1 users by August.
Hope being the operative word.
Microsoft wants to deliver updates to Windows more rapidly to keep pace with similar fast release cycles on Android and iOS that are progressively becoming more powerful. But there is a chance the Start menu could be pushed back to spring 2015 for the rumored Windows 9 release, Warren reports.
The return of the Start menu is easily one of the most exciting pieces of news for Windows 8.1 PC users. Microsoft announced the UI upgrade earlier in April.
Not only will Microsoft bring back a central piece of the Windows desktop interface, the revamped Start menu also makes practical use of modern UI apps for PC users. Part of the new Start menu will include live tile-like behavior where you can take a quick look at updates such as weather, calendar appointments, and news headlines supplied by modern apps, as seen in the Microsoft-supplied image at the top of this article.
Waiting for a window
If the Start menu does show up in August, however, the next Windows update won’t solve all of the problems for Windows 8.1 desktop users. Both Warren and Foley say the ability to run modern apps in desktop-style windowed mode aren’t expected to land until the purported Windows 9 release, codenamed Threshold, next spring.
Warren notes that Microsoft is “pushing” to release a modern app windowed mode in August along with the Start menu. Although from the sounds of it that target seems like a long shot.
Windows 8.1 users not content to wait for Micrososft to bring the Start menu and windowed modern apps to the desktop can get similar functionality today. It’ll cost up to $10 after a 30-day trial, but that’s a small price to pay for anyone looking to get a more familiar Windows UI without giving up the benefits of the Windows 8.1 desktop.