How Start Menu Evolved in Windows


In a recent blog post on building Windows 8, a new post has been found in which the emphasis has been given on the how and why of reimagining Start. In the first post the readers can read about the history and evolution of the Start menu, and several of the problems, and trends that have been gathered from your feedbacks. Perhaps, it is always important to understand where we’ve come from before we talk about where we’re headed.

According to the post, authored by Chaitanya Sareen, program manager, stated that Start menu is one of the the most visible parts of Windows, and so we don’t take any changes we make to it lightly. The environment around Windows has changed immensely since we first introduced the Start menu, and we want to make sure we’re still delivering an experience that is both relevant and tuned to the dynamic computing world we live in today. The evolution of the Start menu is inseparably linked with the development of several other related, but disparate concepts, such as application launching, application switching, system notifications, and gadgets. The history behind these and the divergent paths they have each taken create an opportunity for us to do a much better job in providing a cleaner, more powerful, and more uniform way of working across the wide variety of apps and PCs we use today. The new Start screen embodies this effort.

In order to make it understand well, the author got back in flashback to explain it more appropriately about the Start menu.

Start – A Brief History

In 1992 the design of the Start Menu began for its inauguration in Windows 95. The author described that the Web was still an experiment and people had to drive to a store to buy software. It was a very different time. The fundamental goal of the menu was to provide an obvious place for people to start their computing tasks. It replaced the venerable Program Manager, that Windows 3.x concept that placed shortcuts in a floating window which happened to interfere with the desktop and other applications. Anchored to the taskbar, the Start menu was a consistent and consolidated portal to your apps and system functions. It was essentially the fastest way to start programs without hunting down an executable somewhere in the system.

With the course of time, everything changes and another vital evolution of Start was the introduction of instant search. Vista and Windows 7 both made it really easy for the users to open the menu and just type what they wanted. Many users enjoy this powerful method, as it reduces “time to launch.” The introduction of advanced commands also reduced the need to use the Run dialog. However, there were still areas for improvement. The most amazing part that you won’t have even imagined is that Windows 8 Start screen will also support search. On the Start screen, just start typing to instantly see search results that can be filter by apps, files, or settings. And just like in Windows 7, the full power of search is available in Explorer.

Chaitanya Sareen, the program manager in the wrapped up saying Start, a new opportunity and also added :

With the Windows taskbar becoming the key launcher and switcher for the desktop, and the Start menu being revealed as a poor everyday launcher, an opportunity appeared to reimagine Start and make it into something more valuable. Since we now know most of you can (and do) just use the taskbar to access the things you commonly use on the desktop, this freed us up to make Start even better at its unique strengths and to unlock new scenarios. Improved search, more room for all your programs, tiles that are alive with activity, and richer customization all suddenly become possible when the venerable, but aging, Start menu is transformed into a modern Start screen. Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll talk about the Start screen and how it represents the way we use our PCs today.”

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