Here is an excerpt from the New York Times on the recent release of Windows 8.1
It is a nice, simple overview of the major changes in Windows 8.1, a free update to the Windows 8 Operating System. In other words, the Start menu is covered ;>
After Bumpy Start, Microsoft Rethinks Windows 8
" ... Windows 8.1 looks virtually indistinguishable from Windows 8 in many respects. People who dislike its colorful mosaic of tiles will not find much in the new software to change their minds.
That’s because it is unlikely, as a practical matter, that people will be able to entirely escape the tile-based interface in Windows 8.1, even though Microsoft is making it easier to avoid it. As expected, the new operating system will allow people to configure the software so that they start in desktop mode — the “classic” Windows interface with a taskbar at the bottom of the screen, a background image and applications with traditional menus — whenever they boot up their PCs.
Microsoft didn’t allow this with Windows 8. Even if their destination was desktop mode, where Office and millions of legacy Windows applications run, Windows 8 users had to pass through the tile screen, an inconvenience to many. It’s noteworthy that Microsoft will still put users in the tile interface by default when they start up their machines.
Microsoft is also reincarnating the Start button with Windows 8.1, though it won’t behave exactly like the Windows Start buttons of yore, the primary way Windows users found and launched applications for decades.
There will be a Windows flag icon in the bottom left corner of the taskbar in the Windows 8.1 desktop. But clicking — or, if you have a touch device, tapping — the button will simply return you to the tile-based interface, from which you can launch apps. People can get to a more traditional looking menu of applications from the Start button, but they have to configure the system to do that.
What these changes mean is that someone who makes the effort to reconfigure the operating system will be able to spend most of their time in the classic desktop interface. In practice, Microsoft will keep nudging them in the direction of the tile-based interface at every opportunity because it believes that is the future of Windows."
NY Times Tech Blog