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We’ve been following the saga of the Start Menu for some time now. Ripped from users when Microsoft made the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8, the Start Menu has been one of the most-requested features that Microsoft still refuses to supply. This past April at its Build Conference, Microsoft confirmed that the Desktop-based Start Menu would finally be coming back – but since then we’ve learned that it won’t be until Windows Threshold (aka Windows 9) comes out in 2015. Last night, however, an image of what the menu will actually look like seemed to leak online.

A post on Neowin offers up the image, which – well, looks basically like a nice blend of the Modern Start Menu tiles that you get when you hit the Windows Button in Win 8, as well as the classic menu we all know and love from Windows 7 (and Vista, and XP, and I guess Windows 98 too?). In all, the Start Menu looks like everything we could actually want, and if that’s what I’ll get in the new version of the operating system, I’ll be quite pleased.

The Neowin post also goes that extra mile and checks the image with its source who is close the company. According to that source, the “image appears to be legitimate,” even with the “Win 8.1 Pro” text in the bottom right corner. According to that person, “these builds inside of Microsoft still use this branding.”

Whether it’s legit or not, this is clear, at least to me: this is about as close to the ideal blend of Windows 7 and Windows 8 as we’re going to get. I don’t hate Modern mode for Windows 8, I simply forget it exists. That’s all the more troubling considering that I mostly use Windows 8 on touch-enabled tablets. I don’t know too many people who’ve ever sung the praises of Modern mode, and we’ve heard that Microsoft will actually be refocusing on the Desktop with Windows 9, so if you’ve got a non-touch PC, you’ll get the Desktop by default.

What will happen to Modern mode in Windows 9? One of the main reasons I even forget that Modern mode is there is because all the apps I need to use the most – Word and Chrome – work in Desktop mode. If Microsoft releases a Modern-optimized version of Office, I might be persuaded to give that a try, and snap each app to the sides of the tablet screen. But at this point, Desktop mode just…works.

It’s a conundrum. I respect what Microsoft has done with Modern mode, and the attempt they made at embracing a touch-focused future while trying to hold onto the desktop. But at this point, Windows 8 simply doesn’t make a good argument for abandoning the Desktop.

We’ll see what happens when Windows 9 drops next year. For now, what do you think of the image above? Like it? Hate it? Think it’s real or fake?

start-menu-hi-res

[Source: Neowin]

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