Microsoft is trying to fix what it got wrong with its radical makeover of Windows. It’s making the operating system easier to navigate and enabling users to set up the software so it starts in a more familiar format designed for personal computers.
The revisions to Windows 8 will be released later this year. The free update, called Windows 8.1, represents Microsoft’s concessions to long-time customers taken aback by the dramatic changes to an operating system that had become a staple in schools, offices, and households around the world during the past 20 years. Research group IDC has blamed Windows 8 for accelerating a decline in PC sales.
With the release of Windows 8 seven months ago, Microsoft introduced a startup screen displaying applications in a mosaic of interactive tiles instead of static icons. The shift agitated many users who wanted the option to launch the operating system in a mode that resembled the old setup. That choice will be provided in Windows 8.1.
However, Microsoft isn’t bringing back the start menu on the lower left corner of the screen. Windows has offered the button for accessing all programs and settings on every previous version of the operating system since 1995. Microsoft believes the startup screen replaces the need for a button, but its omission has ranked among the biggest gripes about Windows 8.
(Next page: More information about the revisions)