As concessions from Microsoft go, this one would be pretty significant, even if it is symbolic.
The upcoming “Windows Blue” update for Windows 8 will give users the option to boot their machines directly to the desktop, skipping the new Start screen, according to a report this morning from The Verge, citing unnamed sources.
If the report is true, it’s a nod to the business and desktop computer users who have turned up their noses at Windows 8′s new user interface, which is centered around the tile-based Start screen. Current versions of Windows 8 require users to go directly to the Start screen after booting up and logging in, with the ability to access the desktop from there.
However, according to the report, the option to avoid the Start screen would be disabled by default, requiring users to specifically opt for the “boot to desktop” startup process on future bootups. In addition, it appears there would be no option to turn off the Start screen entirely. That makes the move more symbolic, but theoretically it could allow someone to avoid the Start screen altogether.
The news follows word that PC sales have been slumping following Windows 8′s release, with research firm IDC last week reporting a 14 percent decline in desktop and notebook computer shipments. IDC blamed factors including a poor reception for Windows 8.
Update: Mary Jo Foley reports on ZDNet that the company is also looking into bringing back the Start button to the traditional desktop, addressing another complaint from some Windows 8 users.