The new Start menu slated for Windows 9 appears to be the star of a video showing us exactly how it will work.
Leaked and posted by German blog site WinFuture on Thursday, the video seemingly offers an early glimpse of the Start menu in action as it may appear in the Technical Preview of Build 9834 for Windows Threshold, aka Windows 9. Reports claim that Microsoft could unveil this Preview edition later this month or early next month.
The new Start menu will be Microsoft’s attempt to appeal to both traditional PC users as well as tablet owners. One of the gripes against Windows 8 was that it tried too hard to focus on touchscreen users at the expense of those more accustomed to the mouse and keyboard. Many users also missed the classic Start menu, which was a familiar feature in Windows XP and 7, prompting them to turn to third-party Start menu replacements.
With the lackluster response to Windows 8, Microsoft needs to make sure that Windows 9 can win back disgruntled users, and the Start menu will be one key factor in that effort.
With a dramatic musical theme playing in the background, the video tour starts with a click of the Start button to display the new menu.
As seen in screenshots released by Microsoft earlier this year, the menu is a hybrid of what appeared in Windows 7 and in Windows 8. The left column of the menu provides links to your frequently-used programs as well as the All Apps section. The right column looks like the familiar Start screen as it displays tiles for Modern apps.
Standard commands such as Change Account Picture, Restart and Shut Down are all accessible from the menu. Clicking on a feature such as File Explorer changes the right column to display your top-level folders from where you can navigate to various files. You can also trigger a Modern app from its link on the left column, and that app then pops up in a floating, resizable window just like a traditional desktop app. That’s a huge change from Windows 8 and 8.1, which restrict Modern apps to running in full-screen mode.
From the Start menu, you can also run various commands on a Modern app, such as Open, Uninstall, Pin to Start, and Pin to Taskbar. Pinning an app to Start then displays it on the right side of the Start menu along with all the other tiles. You can then resize and move the tiles around just as you can on the current Start screen.
Don’t want to use the new Start menu? No problem. The full Start screen is still around, and you can easily tell Windows 9 to use that instead. Choosing that option takes you to the full Start screen when Windows launches, and from there you can easily segue to the Apps screen to see all of your installed programs.
The video ends with a glimpse of Microsoft’s Xbox video app running on the desktop in a resizable window, again showing off the ability to run Modern apps just as smoothly as you can run a desktop application.
Assuming the video is legit and actually from the upcoming Technical Preview as it appears to be, keep in mind that this is from an early build of Windows 9. By the time the final product launches sometime in the first half of next year, the Start menu as well as other features will likely go through further tweaks and upgrades.