When Microsoft launched Windows 8, desktop users were taken aback by the strange new Start Screen (it wasn’t even just a menu back then). Not only were their programs presented in a grid with large colored boxes, some of those boxes would regularly flip to show some information gathered from the app or from an online source. These Live Tiles may have been a hit on the Windows Phone but they have been maligned ever since they appeared on the desktop. Microsoft may finally be dropping those tiles but the replacement might not please Windows desktop users either.
To be fair, Live Tiles do serve a useful purpose but its usefulness is really best suited for mobile. By presenting dynamic information on the phone or tablet home screen, a user doesn’t need to dive into an app just to check if there’s anything that needs immediate attention or of interest. On desktops, however, the Windows Start menu isn’t some always-visible window and live tiles only get in the way of quickly accessing apps and files. At the very least, they can be a distraction or an unnecessary feature.
Given that Microsoft no longer has a mobile platform of its own, it seems to also have lost interest in Live Tiles itself. The feature hasn’t seen any improvement or changes over the past years but continues to exist on Windows 10, feeling more like excess baggage and dead weight. The end is near, according to Windows Latest, but Microsoft’s replacement could prove to be just as controversial.
The new Windows 10 Start menu could take its inspiration from the Windows 10X Start menu that has already been shown off to the public. While it does do away with all tiles, whether Live or Dead, it also still loads a lot of items that aren’t directly related to launching or searching for apps. Aside from a grid of favorite or recent apps that are pinned to the top, it seems that Microsoft’s new Start menu will revolve more around Bing Search and AI-based recommendations.
Those who have revolted against losing the old Windows 7 (or maybe even Windows 98) Start menu might find this new version just as bad. Those that seem to have an allergy to anything mobile coming to the desktop will definitely feel just as offended. That said, they’d pretty much be left between choosing a Live Tiles-laden Start Menu or a new AI-powered Fluid on, because Microsoft will definitely not be moving back to the plain Windows 7 version.