Microsoft Tribe


Start Menu vs Start Screen


There has been alot of complaining about the Start Screen recently especialy from a small group of people called "The Power User" and yes it is a small minority. I installed Windows 8 to see if their reasoning was true. I have decided to do a comparison between the old Start Menu and the new Start Screen.

Thing the Start Menu can do

  • Pin (I think it's XP+)
  • Search (Vista+)
  • Full program list
  • Power Options

Things the Start Screen can do

  • Pinning
  • Search
  • Full programs list
  • Provide information using tiles.

My comparison between two GUIs from experience

Pinning - Start Menu in Windows XP, Vista and 7 allow pinning programs and folders. I am not sure about XP but the maximum number of pinned items in Vista and 7 are 10. Start Screen on the other hand is more advance in pinning. Not only can you pin programs and folders, you can also pin websites and people from the social networks and files on your system. On top of that, there is no limit to how much you can pin. Pin as much as you want! These pinned objects can then be grouped to make your Start Screen more organized.

Search - Start Menu allows searching in only Vista and 7. When you search something using the start menu, It will look for files and programs on your computer. Start Screen search is a bit more powerful. Not only will it do what Start Menu already does but it can also search content with programs or through Programs. This is really useful. Start Screen doesn't just have more search functionality but also speed. When you search something in the Start Menu, it takes a lot of time. Sometimes, people recomend turning this feature off to speed up windows. Start screen on the other hand is blazing fast. Results appear as you type. What's even better is that these result are organized i.e. if a program has multiple components, all these components will be grouped together. Lastly, due to the contracts feature in windows 8, you can extend the functionality of start screen search without Microsoft having to implement the feature in the OS itself.

Full programs list - To see the full list of programs in Start Menu, you have to click on "All Programs" then scroll in a screen space similar to a phone with hundreds of programs in the list some times. In many cases, these programs are further buried in deep folders. All in all, bad experience. In the Start Screen, when bring up the full app list, it takes up the full screen. Things are not cluttered and are organized. No digging through the folders.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Power Options - Start Menu provides people with With power options While start screen does not. In windows 8, power options are found under settings charms. You do have to realize that windows 8 does not need to shut down. However, if you do want it to then it's just 1 extra click.

Information Tiles - Start Screen has the new tiles feature. It provides you with important information without you having to launch the program. Start Menu doesn't contain this feature.

Access to both GUIs

To access the Start Menu, you have to Click on the start button or start orb (Bottom-left corner). To access the Start Screen, you have to go to the bottom-left corner and click. I have tried this and it works surprisingly well. There is another way to to get to Start Screen and that is through the Charms menu. Windows key works for both.


There isn't anything wrong with the Start Scree, in fact, it has more functionality. Everything work fine with the mouse and keyboard. In my opinion, people don't like change when they are used to doing something a certain way and this is the biggest change since windows 95 so obviously, there will be back clash. This is the future and Microsoft should go forwards with this. If they don't do this, soon there will be no windows left as Apple's OS is starting to gain some traction. What do you think? Did I miss something?