The Start Menu won’t be back until Windows 9

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Hopefully you weren’t getting too excited at the prospect of the Start Menu rising like a phoenix from the ashes in Windows 8. It’s not coming back until Windows 9 is released.

The good news is that isn’t too far off: Windows 9 is expected to arrive in April of 2015. We’re not used to Microsoft releasing a major version update for Windows that early in the year, but the cycle has changed a lot in the last three years. Windows 8 has already undergone two fairly big revisions, and it’s not even two years old yet. Microsoft’s also been releasing a new Internet Explorer every year, something which took at least three years prior to IE9.

Microsoft VP Terry Myerson recently showed off the retooled Start Menu at Build. It’s not going to be the same one you saw in Windows 7 or Vista. All the same functionality will be there, but Microsoft is integrating a bit of the Metro experience, too. The right-hand pane will feature a selection of your Live Tiles, which will stream updates just like they do on the Start Screen in Windows 8.

Originally some insiders thought that the Start Menu might be finished in time for the second Windows 8.1 update. Turns out that’s not the case, and according to Mary Jo Foley’s sources that may never have been the plan. It’s considered a “Threshold deliverable” — Threshold being Microsoft’s Halo-inspired internal code name for the next major Windows release.

One other feature that’s being saved for Threshold is the ability to run Metro apps in a windowed mode. Until Windows 9 arrives next spring, you’ll have to keep running them full screen. Once the upgrade arrives, you’ll be able to hunker down in the Desktop interface and never leave it, not even if you need to fire up a favorite app that’s only available from the Windows Store. Metrophobes, rejoice!

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