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Screenshots show return of Start button in forthcoming Windows 8.1 update

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Despite there being hundreds of tweaks, improvements and additions planned for Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 upgrade, the most anticipated feature has somehow become one we’re already very familiar with; the Start button.

Ditching the permanent Start button on the desktop page of Windows 8 seems to have infuriated those who have adopted the latest operating system, and so Microsoft has confirmed it will bring back the button in the forthcoming Windows 8.1 update.

Now, thanks to high profile Microsoft insider Paul Thurrott, we can see just what the new Start button looks like. “It’s back, baby,” said Thurrott, posting a screenshot of the Windows 8 desktop page complete with Start button on his site Winsupersite.

Just like every version of Windows before, the Start button will take up permanent residence in the bottom left corner of the Desktop taskbar. However, clicking it won’t load up a vertical Start menu as on old versions of Windows – the user will simply be taken to the full screen Start menu, as is now standard with Windows 8.

The new Start screen in Windows 8.1

On the plus side, the update will cause the Start menu to use the Desktop background to fill the space behind the app tiles, rather than a garish block of colour. This should help with the confusion between the Desktop and Start screens in Microsoft’s latest OS, which seem to confuse new users.

Previously known as ‘Windows Blue’, Windows 8.1 will launch as a free update for Windows 8 desktops, tablets and laptops later this year, although Microsoft hasn’t confirmed exactly when it will arrive. Amongst other features there will be an option to split the screen 50/50 to show two apps side-by-side, a new browser in the form of Internet Explorer 11 and more.