Whatever changes Microsoft may have for the future of the venerable Windows Start Menu, it might not be as drastic as some expect or even hope. On the one hand, that’s a good thing since it will still be a mostly familiar experience. On the other hand, it may also mean that Microsoft isn’t yet ready to throw out something that may already be generally if not completely disliked and abandoned, like the interactive icons, a.k.a. Live Tiles. Even if Microsoft itself is likely to de-emphasize its use.
Live Tiles haven’t seen any improvement over the past releases, not that there may be any room for improvement. It wasn’t a widely-used feature and definitely not generally liked. It stood the risk of rotting which could lead to bugs or even security vulnerabilities.
There have been rumors of Microsoft axing Live Tiles as it moves towards giving Windows 10 a fluent refresh. That may not happen soon as anticipated and Microsoft’s designers let it slip that the interactive squares will still be there for anyone who still finds use for them. Presuming those still exist or that apps continue to support the feature.
Somewhat ironically, it might not be Microsoft’s preferred default. The same designers showed off one of the ideas for a new Start Menu and, aside from the clearly Fluent aesthetic, no trace of Live Tiles could be seen. Instead, tiles make use of colorful, not monochromatic, icons with frosted backgrounds that adapt to the system color scheme.
To some extent, this could be Microsoft’s way to wean users off the old Live Tiles. Desktop users might also find comfort that the proposed design, even if not finalized, at least looks nothing like the Windows 10X Start Menu whose mobile layout may offend their desktop tastes.