Since Windows 95, Microsoft has been using the Start button, which eventually became a Start “orb” button in Windows 7. Leaked screenshots from the upcoming Windows 8 Customer Preview build shows that the familiar Orb button is missing this time round. Users will be expected to simply hover their mouse over any corner of the screen (almost like hot corners in Mac OS X), which will then bring up the new Metro-infused Start menu screen.
Touch screen users will also just hold their screen over a corner of the screen (or use a swipe action). Windows fans might be peeved at the lack of the Start Menu in Windows 8, but it should be pointed out that in future the Start Menu is now being replaced by the “Start Screen”, which uses Metro style apps that look very similiar to Windows Phone 7, and also share a lot of the code base. This will make future cross-platform development between Windows 8 and Windows Phone a lot easier.
Windows 8 is clearly going to be a major shift for Microsoft, and we are actually very impressed that Microsoft shows the guts to do this…