Talk about a reboot. After going back and forth about how it intends to use its Start Screen and Start button in Windows 8 devices, Microsoft is reportedly preparing an update for Windows 8.1 that will boot to desktop mode by default.
An upcoming “Update 1″ for the Windows 8.1 operating system may also bring shutdown and search buttons to the Start screen. According to The Verge, Microsoft will also add the familiar bar with Minimize, Close and Snap buttons to Modern apps. This would make the transition from desktop to Modern mode a lot less awkward.
Microsoft has been heavily criticized for Windows 8 and 8.1’s touch-centric interface, which many keyboard and mouse users feel is a step down from the traditional desktop in Windows 7. The company brought the Start button back in Windows 8.1 last year, but the button was a mere ghost of its former self, only letting users switch between Modern and Desktop environments and tweak some properties with a right click or long-tap.
Windows 8.1 also allows you to boot to the desktop, but that option is disabled by default. The update may also let users pin Modern apps to the desktop taskbar so they can launch them without heading to the Start Screen.
Though Microsoft has not confirmed any of the Verge’s report, these rumors dovetail with what we’ve heard from other sources about the company’s new strategy. Earlier this month, we heard that Windows 9, the next major version of Microsoft’s desktop OS, will have a fully-functioning Start Menu and the ability to run Modern apps on the desktop. This Windows 8.1 update sounds like a step in the same direction.