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Microsoft brings the Start menu to Windows RT devices with new update

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If you're still holding on to a Windows RT device like the Surface 2 or Nokia's Lumia 2520 then a new update rolling out this week will bring a fresh look to your tablet. Microsoft has been promising a mysterious Windows RT Update 3 for months, and the company has been fairly silent about what it contains. The update started rolling out quietly last night, and it doesn't appear to include much more than a new Start menu.

While Microsoft isn't bringing the exact same Start menu from Windows 10 to Windows RT, it's updating devices with one that looks very similar. I installed the update on my Surface 2 today, and the updated Start menu isn't enabled by default. You have to accept a prompt about the Start menu returning, or dig into the task bar settings to turn it on. Once it's enabled it changes Windows RT in a couple of ways. The most obvious way is the new Start menu, of course, but Internet Explorer also changes. If you launch IE from the Start menu then it opens full screen in an "immersive" view, but if you launch it from a desktop shortcut it will launch as a stand-alone desktop app. The Start menu itself is rather inelegant if you attempt to launch it with apps running, so if you use a Windows RT devices as a tablet you might want to stick with the Start screen.

Windows RT update 3

Windows RT is now dead

Microsoft has also altered the logon screen slightly to include support for circular user account pictures. This support has also been added to the Start menu, PC settings, and other dialog boxes. Overall, there's not many differences with this update. Microsoft isn't providing Windows RT users with the full Windows 10 update or experience, so apps will continue to launch fullscreen and you won't be able to access the full Windows Store with Windows 10 apps. It's unlikely that Microsoft will be updating Windows RT significantly in the future, so it's safe to assume this is as good as it gets.