One of the most-hated aspects of Windows 8 was that it eliminated the Start Menu. After two years of users screaming, it seems Microsoft has finally listened: a future version of Windows will include the return of the Start menu in enhanced form.
At the Build 2014 developer conference, Microsoft showed off prototypes of a future version of Windows 8.1 that will include a desktop start menu. It will be able to access both Modern and traditional Win32 apps.
[related title="BUILD 2014" tag="build-2014" items="9"]There have been good third-party Start menu replacements available ever since Windows 8 emerged, but making it a default option is a better choice for most of us. It's also a tacit admission that the touch-first focus of Windows 8 so far hasn't totally caught fire.
Another example of that: Microsoft also announced that equipment manufacturers making tablets or phones with screens of less than 9 inches can immediately license Windows for free. That will also apply to all versions of Windows in the future, though there isn't yet a timeframe for that, or an indication of whether features might be missing from the free release.
Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Microsoft.