Microsoft reveals customized Windows 8 Start Screen, identical to Windows Phone

By Tom Warren, on 30th Aug 11 9:50 am with 89 Comments

Customized Windows 8 Start Screen

Microsoft revealed a new version of its Windows 8 Start Screen interface on Monday.

The interface was shown briefly at the end of a video demonstrating Microsoft’s VHD and ISO support inside Windows 8. The tiles look identical to Windows Phone, arranged in blocks of four and featuring the distinctive Metro tile colors found in Windows Phone 7. The tiles appear to be square rather than the rectangular look that Microsoft first revealed in June.

The brief appearance of a newly designed Windows Start Menu and Start Screen appear to be no accidental mistake. Microsoft is drumming up interest in Windows 8 by revealing fairly trivial aspects of the operating system alongside some hints at the workings of the new user interface. Microsoft revealed its new Windows 8 Start Button during a previous “Building Windows 8″ video. The Start Button appears to be more flat with pastel colors, reflecting Microsoft’s adoption of the Metro design language it now uses throughout the company. Microsoft’s new Start Screen UI is designed to support the latest PC form factors, including touch-based slates and tablets.

Expect to see further hints at the new Windows 8 user experience in upcoming “Building Windows 8″ videos from Microsoft. The company will unveil Windows 8 in full at its BUILD conference next month.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    it really looks boring, i can’t wait until BUILD, then we will judge 

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    it really looks boring, i can’t wait until BUILD, then we will judge 

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    it really looks boring, i can’t wait until BUILD, then we will judge 

    • Anonymous

      same here

    • Anonymous

      same here

    • http://www.flavors.me/fludlyt Fludlyt

      I hope they allow for wallpaper on the start screen and not just a single colour like WP7. If not then I’m sure someone will find a way ;)

  • http://twitter.com/ondraster Ondra Moravek

    You know what I am worried about? That they show this UI even on laptops – yet on laptop I’d expect to see normal, Win7-like Start Menu (with tweaks) rather this full screen menu. I hope that they won’t forget about that.

  • http://twitter.com/ondraster Ondra Moravek

    You know what I am worried about? That they show this UI even on laptops – yet on laptop I’d expect to see normal, Win7-like Start Menu (with tweaks) rather this full screen menu. I hope that they won’t forget about that.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      It’s designed to replace the Start Menu regardless of whether it’s a desktop, laptop or touch-based device.

    • http://twitter.com/ondraster Ondra Moravek

      But you have mouse on PC and laptop and you can do pixel-wide clicks. For work I prefer having MORE things visible at once or having them nearby, rather doing it like MAC OS X Lion with their Launchpad (that I still don’t know why is on Lion) – bringing tablet onto PC. I prefer it the other way. WACOM digitizer and good pen and you’re done.

    • Guest

      Then I hope the make it a lot more attractive and informative than that example.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      It’s designed to replace the Start Menu regardless of whether it’s a desktop, laptop or touch-based device.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      It’s designed to replace the Start Menu regardless of whether it’s a desktop, laptop or touch-based device.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly what I was thinking.. Will be smarter to maintain the normal interface for desktops, notebooks, laptops etc and keep the new UI for touch based devices other than it becomes overused and will loose its appeal. Why would anyone one want to get a tablet, notebook, and desktop which acts and looks the same?

    • Candid Calum

      No, that wouldn’t be smarter. The new Immersive experience works great on a desktop, notebook, etc with a keyboard and mouse, and from what we’ve seen, it is much better than the old “Desktop mode” in many ways. I am very happy with Microsoft’s decision to go for it on desktops and notebooks. Why wouldn’t people want to get a tablet, notebook, and desktop that act and look the same (in terms of the operating system that functions on them? I certainly would. The only reason I’d get a notebook or tablet is for portability, and I much prefer consistency. If I’m using Windows on one device, it should function and look the same on all Windows devices I own.

    • Anonymous

      SO what will be the differentiating factor between tablets , notebooks and PCs? I know that its good to maintain some level of consistence across different form factors but that only works well when each one of them have their individual advantages.. Right now there has been lot of talk of what advantages the tablet brings as the “3rd” devices.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11814278 Chris Woelfel

      The differenting factor between the three are their form factors and input devices. Why should there be different OS’ when one can fit all three and the only thing that is different is really the input? If you design around all three, then why not?

      This reminds me of coupling and cohesion. (Not saying it is exactly but it just reminds me of it)

    • Guest

      Size, weight, battery life, touchscreen, virtual keyboard.

    • Guest

      Size, weight, battery life, touchscreen, virtual keyboard.

    • Anonymous

      Why don’t you give examples for you statements? Why is it better not to have the “recent apps” list on a Start menu? Why do you think it is better to move the mouse all over the screen for accessing simple icons? How do you drag things from Start Menu to the Taskbar? Were Jumplists in the Start Menu a bad idea?

      It seems you just repeat what you have heard from Microsoft.

    • Anonymous

      The big difference here is live tiles…for example, suppose you want to check your e-mail, but don’t want your e-mail app (outlook, for example) running and taking up CPU cycles.  You just leave it closed, and the live tile will still check e-mail periodically.  You hit start, see your live tile has no new e-mails, and then go back to what you were doing.  Same with twitter, facebook, etc. etc.  Now you can get information without having a program running. Or if the live tile had something interesting, you can just open it.

    • Anonymous

      I know the advantages of Live Tiles. I’m not against them but how the new Start menu seems to be implemented. The crazy part is that from what we know so far it would take two clicks (or a swipe and a tap) to open the new start screen. So in your scenario it would be easier to open the mail app from the Taskbar.
      But how do I open the last Excel file for example? There are a lot of unknown things…

    • Anonymous

      Oh I see.  No, it’s just one click for the start menu though.  That menu (the black one that shows a big clock, etc) is the hover menu I think, in the mouse/keyboard scenario.

    • Anonymous

      Oh I see.  No, it’s just one click for the start menu though.  That menu (the black one that shows a big clock, etc) is the hover menu I think, in the mouse/keyboard scenario.

    • Anonymous

      Oh I see.  No, it’s just one click for the start menu though.  That menu (the black one that shows a big clock, etc) is the hover menu I think, in the mouse/keyboard scenario.

    • Anonymous

      I know the advantages of Live Tiles. I’m not against them but how the new Start menu seems to be implemented. The crazy part is that from what we know so far it would take two clicks (or a swipe and a tap) to open the new start screen. So in your scenario it would be easier to open the mail app from the Taskbar.
      But how do I open the last Excel file for example? There are a lot of unknown things…

    • Avatar Roku

      Better yet there should be no difference between a tablet and a laptop, they should be the same product. In 5 years if they’re still making laptops without touch screens and removable keyboards I’ll be shocked. The tablet is not a new category, its a new form factor. The shift to ARM processors makes the classic laptop obsolete.

    • Candid Calum

      No, that wouldn’t be smarter. The new Immersive experience works great on a desktop, notebook, etc with a keyboard and mouse, and from what we’ve seen, it is much better than the old “Desktop mode” in many ways. I am very happy with Microsoft’s decision to go for it on desktops and notebooks. Why wouldn’t people want to get a tablet, notebook, and desktop that act and look the same (in terms of the operating system that functions on them? I certainly would. The only reason I’d get a notebook or tablet is for portability, and I much prefer consistency. If I’m using Windows on one device, it should function and look the same on all Windows devices I own.

    • OMG55

      That what I thought windows 7 is for. it’s not being discontinued and I believe MS is just showing the Win 8 will simply work on all form factor if you choose to install it. I honestly beleive you will be able to choose which OS you want on your system. If you’ve ever ordered a PC direct from the Manufacturer, then you always been able to chose win XP or Win 7; wouldn’t the same rule apply? Maybe by default Win 8 will be shipped on tablets, pads, slates and item with touch capability natively.

    • Guest

      “Why would anyone one want to get a tablet, notebook, and desktop which acts and looks the same?”

      If size and battery life weren’t tradeoffs, why would anyone want a tablet that wasn’t as functional as their desktop? PC OSes are going to take on some of the aspects of mobile ones. Apple is doing it. Google is doing it. MS is doing it. It makes sense.      

    • Anonymous

      Uh… isn’t that exactly what we have now? All of our desktop. laptop, notebook, etc. user interfaces look exactly the same.

    • Avatar Roku

      I hope that instead of a screen saver the computer automatically goes to the new start screen when the computer is idle.

  • http://twitter.com/ondraster Ondra Moravek

    You know what I am worried about? That they show this UI even on laptops – yet on laptop I’d expect to see normal, Win7-like Start Menu (with tweaks) rather this full screen menu. I hope that they won’t forget about that.

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    I’m confused – I thought clicking the start button in Windows 8 took you to the Start screen on all devices, and that’s what you’d use most. So why is there a Start Menu? And why have they improved Windows Explorer if everyone’s going to be using the Start screen interface all the time?

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    I’m confused – I thought clicking the start button in Windows 8 took you to the Start screen on all devices, and that’s what you’d use most. So why is there a Start Menu? And why have they improved Windows Explorer if everyone’s going to be using the Start screen interface all the time?

    • http://twitter.com/iAmNowDiamonds Carl

      Haha I’m convinced not even Microsoft know wtf they are doing. BUILD is either going to be amazing, or the biggest embarrassment since Vista. Lets hope it’s the former…

    • markusdevine

      F**k off troll.

    • http://twitter.com/iAmNowDiamonds Carl

      What do you want me to write instead then? How much I love Microsoft and how they never do anything wrong? I’m using Windows 7 right this minute and I eagerly await Windows 8 as well as BUILD, I’m anything but a hater of Microsoft (also using WP7).

      I’m just not a idiot, if I see something I don’t like then I’ll say, I don’t care if it’s Microsoft, Apple or Google, I’ll give my honest opinion. If you want a comment section full of love for Microsoft then look somewhere else because I and many others will praise Microsoft when they deserve it (WP7 among other things) and complain when they don’t.

    • http://twitter.com/iAmNowDiamonds Carl

      What do you want me to write instead then? How much I love Microsoft and how they never do anything wrong? I’m using Windows 7 right this minute and I eagerly await Windows 8 as well as BUILD, I’m anything but a hater of Microsoft (also using WP7).

      I’m just not a idiot, if I see something I don’t like then I’ll say, I don’t care if it’s Microsoft, Apple or Google, I’ll give my honest opinion. If you want a comment section full of love for Microsoft then look somewhere else because I and many others will praise Microsoft when they deserve it (WP7 among other things) and complain when they don’t.

    • Guest

      I think it’s just a little early to start commenting on RTM design when the product hasn’t even entered BETA yet.

      I for one thing it’s dumb and redundant to have the Windows 7 interface as well as the Metro, they should stick to one or the other, not just add extra memory hugs to the OS.  But I won’t critique W8 for that, since we do not know what will be shipped next year.

    • Anonymous

      I believe there is a way to give the same functionality we have now with a simpler look and feel provided by Metro. Zune shows how to do it and even Windows Media Center is an excellent example.

      I wouldn’t put much faith into a completely new look to show up. At the Vista development, everyone waited for “Aero Diamond” and the big new vector based UI. Windows 7 had the final look very early too.

    • Guest

      Springing a full Metro look on an installed base of nearly a billion users, most of which won’t be using touch screens and have invested a lot of time and money is learning the existing UI, would be suicidal. They need to offer both and they will. The real issue is how good a job they do on the Metro-only tablet scenario.

    • Guest

      Sorry

    • Guest

      Sorry

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      No real need for that here…Carl is free to voice his opinion without people telling him where to go.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001039271971 Martyn Metalous

      Vista was ruined by security crack down on a fairly open OS imo.

      Windows 7 took Vista and made the proper UI changes to make the security changes bareable.

      Windows 8 will now only improve that position as they are trying to play catch up on iOS.

      Well in my humble opinion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001039271971 Martyn Metalous

      Vista was ruined by security crack down on a fairly open OS imo.

      Windows 7 took Vista and made the proper UI changes to make the security changes bareable.

      Windows 8 will now only improve that position as they are trying to play catch up on iOS.

      Well in my humble opinion.

    • OMG55

      I currently have several computer that run Win 7 and a couple that run vista and don’t have a problem with either. Most people here claim to be or either have some technical abilities. Well if any of them knew how to tweek a system to enable or disable features, then they would know that many of the security features you mentiond could be modified to be less of a burden. That’s the first thing I do is tweak my systems for performance. This is also why if you purhcase a computer from the MS store, Dell, and many others, they offer to tweak and remove third party bloatware from them before you take it home. It’s a shame the all of these techies blame MS for all of the third party item that get included in a PC at the point of sale.

    • Anonymous

      After SP1 Vista became a great OS. just never got Accepted into Society.

    • Anonymous

      After SP1 Vista became a great OS. just never got Accepted into Society.

    • Anonymous

      >they are trying to play catch up on iOS.
      What are you smoking, Mr. Troll?

    • Anonymous

      well i wont say you are a troll…. BUT do you think they dont know what they are doing? seriously? are you developer, or at least (in this case) UI designer? do you think microsoft aren’t changing features? or its all about UI?. they are doing both, but you cant see the way features change…

      and like i have said couple times. do you think windows phone and xbox are the only ones that will get a nice Metro UI?. of course they know what they are doing, but its an OS, used for most people… so they have to test and change alot of things…..

      and Vista wasn’t an embarrassment, it works fine, Vista was amazing. But you have to think about… other companys and how they did work, and then you would know, they didn’t do it well. why? because companies like Ati (before AMD bought them) had 2006 video card that didn’t support windows vista. so they didn’t make video drivers, they didn’t HAVE video cards compatible for the OS that was released the same year!, why? and one reason, because they weren’t ready for the big change, obviously windows 7 has better stuff like in explorer, like libraries, or favorites folder. nice UI changes, but you cant say its sooo diferent than vista, but it has cool new features like snap, and shake, also you feel it faster, taking advantage of hardware, but its not like old computers run like my 6 core computer.
      i never had problems with vista. not even a incompatible software. the only i can think about its Age of Empires didn’t work in vista, and then they brought a patch and it worked! so Vista wasn’t bad, it was good, but other companys didn’t make it look good at the beginning. i also remember a game not compatible with windows 7 but it is for Vista. does that make windows 7 bad? no, does that make vista better? no!. is it game developers problem to make it windows 7 compatible? yes! do they care? it seems not. so my point is, you cant complain about vista, and you cant blame it for old hardware being old for it. and some wasn’t even old but not compatible with vista like that Ati video card i had and only because people were like “omg i cant install it in my computer its horrible, Vista is a fail!” it doesn’t mean, it was a fail. since it seems to work perfect for me. xp was buggy and horrible when it was released, i dont remember having so much problems, but you cant say it was perfect BUT hardware didn’t have problem from 98/2000 to XP. like XP to Vista. now hardware obviously is compatible with Windows Vista and it would be compatible for 7 automatically. Vista was fail because people wasn’t ready for it, not because of the OS itself. which is why you are using a nice Windows 7… since windows 7 its like based on Vista not XP.

      but anyway this is my long point of you, about your point… and we are different. and in the end i trust microsoft know what they are doing. honestly, seeing windows phone (since you have one) and xbox dashboard… you can tell they do know. but come on!, they need to test stuff!

    • http://twitter.com/iAmNowDiamonds Carl

      Haha I’m convinced not even Microsoft know wtf they are doing. BUILD is either going to be amazing, or the biggest embarrassment since Vista. Lets hope it’s the former…

    • http://twitter.com/iAmNowDiamonds Carl

      Haha I’m convinced not even Microsoft know wtf they are doing. BUILD is either going to be amazing, or the biggest embarrassment since Vista. Lets hope it’s the former…

    • Candid Calum

      Calling it the “Start screen interface” is misleading; it implies the Immersive experience revolves around the Start Screen, but it is actually much more than that. It’s dubbed the Immersive experience, not the “Start Screen interface.”

    • Candid Calum

      Calling it the “Start screen interface” is misleading; it implies the Immersive experience revolves around the Start Screen, but it is actually much more than that. It’s dubbed the Immersive experience, not the “Start Screen interface.”

    • Candid Calum

      Calling it the “Start screen interface” is misleading; it implies the Immersive experience revolves around the Start Screen, but it is actually much more than that. It’s dubbed the Immersive experience, not the “Start Screen interface.”

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    I’m confused – I thought clicking the start button in Windows 8 took you to the Start screen on all devices, and that’s what you’d use most. So why is there a Start Menu? And why have they improved Windows Explorer if everyone’s going to be using the Start screen interface all the time?

  • http://thommck.wordpress.com Thom McKiernan

    I preferred the look in the first video (Win 8 on ARM tablets). This seems like an odd waste of space.

    I love how Microsoft keep sneaking in these extra surprises in the background :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11814278 Chris Woelfel

      I’m sure it’s different for each person (and application). It’s like how some people like having a clean desktop and other’s like everything under the sun on their desktop. ;)

  • http://thommck.wordpress.com Thom McKiernan

    I preferred the look in the first video (Win 8 on ARM tablets). This seems like an odd waste of space.

    I love how Microsoft keep sneaking in these extra surprises in the background :)

  • http://twitter.com/ringleader_ Vladan

    I think tiles are resizible – so we can choose whether it’s square od rectangular (2x square). For example, marketplace was rectangle on first video (with icon and title next to it), now it’s square (with icon and title underneath). :)

    We’ll see, BUILD is in 15 days! :) Excited!

  • http://twitter.com/ringleader_ Vladan

    I think tiles are resizible – so we can choose whether it’s square od rectangular (2x square). For example, marketplace was rectangle on first video (with icon and title next to it), now it’s square (with icon and title underneath). :)

    We’ll see, BUILD is in 15 days! :) Excited!

  • Jung

    I think that interface is for when you go into all applications tile or something like that. I see Windows Market place and IE10 Tile there.

  • Jung

    I think that interface is for when you go into all applications tile or something like that. I see Windows Market place and IE10 Tile there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mexukas Meelis Lilbok

    Minimalism :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mexukas Meelis Lilbok

    Minimalism :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mexukas Meelis Lilbok

    Minimalism :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mexukas Meelis Lilbok

    Minimalism :)

  • Frylockns86

    At least it’s customizable. I was almost afraid it wasn’t going to be.

  • Cloud

    Metro UI is simply beautiful.

  • Cloud

    Metro UI is simply beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    Well dissapointing,  i orefer the one showed at D9 NOT this !!!!
    This look Ugly, that one showed at D9 is ok to me
    I cant wait for BUILD
    I trust In Microsoft, but i dont wanna be dissapointed, i hope they do things right
    But this is ugly, and the ribbon in explorer looks ugly and cluttered, i guess i would just hide it
    Like Ballmer said this is their riskest product ever, if they dissapoint Ballmer is Gone – but i believe he wont dissapoint
    BUILD BUILD Come already

  • Anonymous

    Well dissapointing,  i orefer the one showed at D9 NOT this !!!!
    This look Ugly, that one showed at D9 is ok to me
    I cant wait for BUILD
    I trust In Microsoft, but i dont wanna be dissapointed, i hope they do things right
    But this is ugly, and the ribbon in explorer looks ugly and cluttered, i guess i would just hide it
    Like Ballmer said this is their riskest product ever, if they dissapoint Ballmer is Gone – but i believe he wont dissapoint
    BUILD BUILD Come already

    • Anonymous

      if something makes you better THIS BUILD nor others are FINAL… and well, not BETA!

      do you think after seeing WP7 and xbox new dashboard, they dont know what they are doing?… i mean, windows phone looks amazing, and xbox will have an amazing metro UI as well.. and you think they wont make something amazing of windows? like… its their amazing product for over the years, and now it will run on ARM, so its obvious they will make it look right.
      and sorry but the build in BUILD, wont be final… you cant even judge windows 8 based on that. yeah it will pretty much show what they want to bring and such, but it doesn’t mean they wont do anything else, specially in the UI, which is the “easiest” thing to change and test. its like if they weren’t changing features in windows, of course they do, but since they aren’t visual.. you wont notice that.
      they are building the next Windows. its not a small software for just few people, its for 90% of people who use computers, so they have to test alot.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it is different. they just don’t have any rectangular tiles at the time of the screen shot. If I take a pic of windows phone w/o double width tiles, you may think it doesn’t have them. but if this is indeed the case, I have to say it looks uglier than the ogirinal one. or maybe it is just the black background. I really hope microsoft doesn’t go this oversimplification rathole too much. simplicity doesn’t really mean ugly and the metro UI can be really pretty without the need to sacrifice its simplicity as the original win 8 ui showed.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it is different. they just don’t have any rectangular tiles at the time of the screen shot. If I take a pic of windows phone w/o double width tiles, you may think it doesn’t have them. but if this is indeed the case, I have to say it looks uglier than the ogirinal one. or maybe it is just the black background. I really hope microsoft doesn’t go this oversimplification rathole too much. simplicity doesn’t really mean ugly and the metro UI can be really pretty without the need to sacrifice its simplicity as the original win 8 ui showed.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it is different. they just don’t have any rectangular tiles at the time of the screen shot. If I take a pic of windows phone w/o double width tiles, you may think it doesn’t have them. but if this is indeed the case, I have to say it looks uglier than the ogirinal one. or maybe it is just the black background. I really hope microsoft doesn’t go this oversimplification rathole too much. simplicity doesn’t really mean ugly and the metro UI can be really pretty without the need to sacrifice its simplicity as the original win 8 ui showed.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it is different. they just don’t have any rectangular tiles at the time of the screen shot. If I take a pic of windows phone w/o double width tiles, you may think it doesn’t have them. but if this is indeed the case, I have to say it looks uglier than the ogirinal one. or maybe it is just the black background. I really hope microsoft doesn’t go this oversimplification rathole too much. simplicity doesn’t really mean ugly and the metro UI can be really pretty without the need to sacrifice its simplicity as the original win 8 ui showed.

  • http://twitter.com/PossessedTARDIS George Sabourin

    TOM, I think this is the same startscreen we saw earlier this year. It’s just this one has titles missing/hidden. So obviously add a few tiles (the longer ones) and it looks back like it did before.

    • Anonymous

      Right. Links to apps do have smaller tiles as seen in the very first video. 

    • http://twitter.com/win7user win7user

      Exactly! I hardly believe that Microsoft wants to include *sarcasm* 65 *sarcasm* different interfaces in Windows 8! lol. :)

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think that is the case.  The original start screen in the building windows 8 video was 3 tiles high with application tiles taking up a full height but only half width.  These tiles are four rows high (which is exactly the amount on WP7).  If you look closely you can see that one tile is double wide but still much smaller than the one in the first video.  This is either an early prototype, the new look, or the tiles can be resized and look closer to WP7 when viewed at that size.  I think the last is most likely as you see the IE tile looks alot like the one in first video not like the one in WP7 (the logo is bigger and text is right justified).  I think the tiles where increased in size during the first video to throw people off of the fact that windows 8 is also windows phone 8.  The smaller side of the split screen view looks almost perfect for a phone sized UI.  3 GUIs one OS.

  • Guest

    Microsoft, just deliver this and make it work well on a touchscreen tablet throughout the entire OS:

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/03/windows-phone-7-series-tablet-concept/

  • Guest

    Microsoft, just deliver this and make it work well on a touchscreen tablet throughout the entire OS:

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/03/windows-phone-7-series-tablet-concept/

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikhilj Nikhil Jain

    It’s just a screen Saver, nothing else!

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikhilj Nikhil Jain

    It’s just a screen Saver, nothing else!