Toshiba's Windows 8 devices will come with start menu replacement

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 19, 2012
Software, Windows

There are more than 10 alternative start menu programs available for the Windows 8 operating system of which the majority are available for free. One could think that this in itself is overkill for an operating system that has not been released yet. It is likely that things will get sorted out eventually, that one or two popular apps rise to the top and are used by the majority of Windows 8 users who want the start menu back.

Samsung some time ago announced that the company's devices running Windows 8 will ship with S-Launcher, a start menu replacement for the classic desktop that users can make use of to quickly access the features the start menu provided to users of previous Windows operating systems.

It appears that Samsung won't be the only manufacturer that will add a start menu to Windows 8. Toshiba in a press release yesterday revealed that the company's Windows 8 devices will feature the pre-installed Toshiba Desktop Assist program which provides users with similar functionalities that the Windows start menu provided users with.

Toshiba's new laptops feature spacious touchpads with Windows 8 gesture support to allow users to perform gestures on the touchpad as they would on a touchscreen device. In addition, to help transition consumers to the innovative interface in Windows 8, Toshiba's new PCs come pre-installed with Toshiba Desktop Assist, a utility designed to give users easy access to their programs, control panel, as well as files and folders, similar to the Start Menu in previous versions of Windows.

toshiba windows 8

With two major developers adding their own start menus to Windows 8, it almost feels as if no-one believes in a start menu-less operating system.

Microsoft on the other hand is fixed on the idea that the new start page, the first page that users see when they boot into Windows 8, is the new start menu, sort of. It looks different, but the core functionality is still there, albeit sometimes faster or harder to reach than before. While it opens with a tap on the Windows key, just like the old start menu, it is launched in a full screen interface that users will certainly need some time to get used to.

It will be interesting to see how Samsung's and Toshiba's start menu implementations fare against the ones already on the market. I'm not a fan of software that manufacturers add to the PC, as it is usually bloated and less usable than third party solutions.  What's your take on this?


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  1. Broader Perspective said on October 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Microsoft cares for what majority of users want to do -so next step in attaining ease of use will be reducing computer start page to one big blue FBIbook icon so every challenged user could without problems put the finger on it .
    Well ,indeed ,it is so discriminating for finger-challenged spl
    that it should boot right into FBIbook account.

    All in all , computer managment is so difficult 4 spl that in order to make them happy (nr 1 FBIbook )everything what is as trendy approved will be remotedly via chip in brain from clouds delivered
    ending pains of mind work ,wrong choices or dangers of being seduced by conspiracy theorists .

  2. Paul B. said on October 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    MS is large enough that it can get away with almost anything, but that this change is a potential disaster on wheels is proven by OEMs so quickly stepping into the gap. What’s interesting is that the OEMs now will be in competition for the best usable interface to mediate the face of the operating system. This is quite a slam to Redmond, which seems to have abdicated all sense of relating to its customer base.

    Businesses with employees not given to relearning how to use a computer – that is, most businesses – are going to be looking at the costs of retraining their workforce, and the numbers here, and the potential for disruption, will be prohibitive.

    I plan on upgrading at least one machine, for three reasons: personal interest, better hardware resource usage, and to be able to work on others’ machines. But businesses will delay upgrading because of the costs of retraining, unless some ready solutions are offered to the problem MS has created.

    It’s like MS has created the OS core, and is handing the user interface over to the OEMs. Ironically, MS’ heavihandedness here has lessened, not increased, its control of the user base.

  3. JohnMWhite said on October 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    This is pretty telling for Microsoft’s direction with Windows 8 if even tablet manufacturers are putting the start menu back in. When OEMs feel the need to give users “a utility designed to give users easy access to their programs”, it does somewhat suggest that the OS wasn’t doing the job itself, which is kind of a fail since that is pretty much what the new interface was designed to do.

  4. not ilev said on October 19, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Doesn’t Microsoft have some kind of licensing agreement that would disallow OEM to put back the Start menu in some form? Why would they go to the trouble of killing the Start menu only to be undone by the OEM?

    1. ilev said on October 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Again ? It is not my comment :-)

      Microsoft can’t afford the luxury of limiting sales of Windows 8, which doesn’t
      look bright anyway (according to Intel and others) , not after Microsoft’s quarterly report announced yesterday
      with -22% drop in profit and -50% drop in profit for the Windows division.

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 19, 2012 at 10:41 am

        You seem to have a secret admirer :)

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