When Windows 8 comes calling, it’s not bringing that old start menu that you knew and loved for the better part of the past couple decades. Microsoft’s research found that people are using the menu less and less.
Noting that use of the start menu dropped 11 percent between Windows Vista and Windows 7, a Windows 8 program manager explains on a Microsoft Developer Blog:
“The taskbar has evolved to replace many aspects of the Start menu. You can even say the taskbar reveals many of the weaknesses of the Start menu and that the menu is no longer as valuable as it once was long ago. Search and access to All Programs are still unique strengths of the Start menu that we know you depend upon, but when it comes to the apps you use every day, one-click access from the taskbar is hard to beat.
The idea seems to be to take the uses people had for the start menu and spread them out over more of the interface, ideally cutting out some steps for users. How well Windows 8 users accept the drastic change will go far in determining how successful it is.