What is Windows 8.101?

Windows 8.101 is my humble attempt to unravel the hidden gems of Windows 8.1. In this series, I will highlight new features of Windows 8.1 and how to make the most practical use of them.

In the second blog of this series, I will cover the how to configure and use familiar interfaces in this modern Operating System.

Start Button, Start Menu & Boot to Desktop

The Start Screen was the main attraction and feature of Windows 8. It gave you a very modern way to pin your favorite apps & launch them. However, we received a lot of feedback from our customers about the Start Screen and lack of the Start Button & the Start Menu. We heard you and have brought back the Start Button in Windows 8.1 and a new Modern UI version of the Start Menu as well.

Apart from the Start Button a few other new enhancements help bring back the traditional Windows experience to your Windows 8.1 PC. These include the new Boot to Desktop feature along with the revamped All Apps View, the modern Start Menu. 


Start Button

With Windows 8.1, the user does not have to use the Modern UI to shut down or sign out from his account. He can use the familiar desktop interface and the start button to Shut down, Restart, Sleep or Sign Out of the account.

Right Click on the Start Button to see the new additions to the drop down menu which includes a Shut Down or Sign Out option

One can now directly boot to the desktop , use the Start Button to shut down the PC and also go directly to the All Applications list on clicking the Start Button.


All Apps View, the modern Start Menu

Though Microsoft brought back the Start Button, we decided to continue with the modern version of Start Menu, or the All Apps View.Our telemetry data showed that only a handful of users used the traditional Start Menu to launch programs. Very rarely would you find a Windows 7 user browsing through his programs list to look for an application - instead most of the times one would create a desktop shortcut for the same.

You would have noticed the arrow on the bottom right corner of your Start Screen which leads to the new All Apps View. This is a list of all the application currently installed on your Windows 8.1 computer including both Modern and Desktop Apps. This is the Modern UI version of the All Programs Menu which we had in the traditional Windows.

è On the All Apps Screen you can click on the drop down menu on the top of the screen to view the Apps in the particular order you like as shown below.


è  We can also configure the Start Button to take the user directly to the All Apps View instead of the Start Screen hence taking over as the Modern Start Menu for Windows.


Boot to Desktop & Desktop Background in the Start Screen

The Start Screen offers a convenient and efficient way of launching applications and even more using the vibrant and attractive live tiles feature. This Modern UI is made to cater efficiently to both the touch enabled devices and also to the non-touch power house PC’s.

However, we received a lot of feedback stating that for non –technical users it was not intuitive enough for them to go to desktop mode and start their work after landing on the Start Screen hence hampering their productivity. Windows 8.1 now provides an option to boot directly into Desktop without landing on the Start Screen.

This allows non-technical users to get into the familiar interface when they boot their machine and resume their work. In this manner they can explore the Start Screen at their own pace without reducing their productivity.

You probably have noticed but the background of the Start Screen here is the Microsoft IT desktop background. This is another new feature where we can show the Desktop Background in the Start Screen. Using the feature , the user can have the same familiar desktop background while on the Start Screen to keep him comfortable.


How to set it up?

To enable these features :

Right click on the Task Bar in your Desktop Mode → Click on Properties → In the Taskbar and Navigation which opens select the Navigation Tab


The boot directly to desktop enable When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of start.

To have the same background across all screens, enable Show my desktop background on start.
To go directly to all Apps View from start button, enable Show the Apps view automatically when I go to start.
To view the Desktop Apps first in the All Apps view, enable List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it’s sorted by category.
As you can see you can also disable the hot corners through this menu.
P.S. These settings shown above can be configured centrally using group policies as well

Available on :


ü  Windows 8.1

ü  Windows 8.1 Pro

ü  Windows 8.1 Enterprise

ü  Windows 8.1 RT