What's new

Does Anyone Really Care About the Start Menu?

Following along this same kind of thinking... what do you suppose was the reason for removing POP3 support from the Metro mail client?

Yes, I'm aware that I can configure my POP3 mail to go through outlook.com as an intermediate step. But why? What valid business reason (for the customer) could there be for refusing to support that feature? I can't think of any... can you?

Could it possibily be that Microsoft wanted you to see all of the advertising on Outlook.com??
That's a good question regarding the POP3 and I can't say that I have seen a good explanation for why it is missing. However, it is a big assumption to think that ad revenue being driven by POP3 users reverting to Outlook.com is enough to justify a position that POP3 was removed for this reason. I understand there are some users tied to POP3 for various reasons but the blip in ad revenue they would cause on a major website is insignificant. MS/Bing has far larger fish to fry to get their web ad revenues up than this simple little omission can make up.

I suspect we will either see an update or app that corrects the issue or MS is going to take the position that advanced mail features require Windows 8 not Windows RT. I don't see how the very small portion of ad revenue generated is going to influence this big of a software decision though. Most likely there are other factors involved which while they may come back to money are far beyond the scope of a simple ad play.

I can make a guess on why they removed POP. Its a VERY old technology and is designed on the idea of moving the email to your local system.

For example, searching all your POP emails requires a local copy of them all. On a thin client or mobile platform, this can take up Gbs of space. Personally, I have 1.5Gb or email.

The IMAP protocol allows server side searches that return a list of message ids. Then the headers are all that are pulled down. Clicking on one makes the system get the email in question, not a copy of everything.

IMAP only stores a few days worth of headers (usually) on your system. POP requires all of it.

POP is highly inefficient with network traffic normally.

IMAP also supports additional features that are very helpful on a mobile environment, such as IMAP IDLE (sometimes called push), which permits near instant notification of new emails. POP requires regular checking of the server asking if there is anything new to download.

IMAP also allows you to pick which folders are downloaded and which are not. Additional issues with folders are, if I get an email from POP, move it into a folder on my mobile system, my home one will not see what folder I moved it into.

Overall, IMAP is far superior, especially on a resource restricted or mobile platform.

So the reasons for dropping POP are simple, IMAP is a better solution and forcing its use makes for a better experience.

And before anyone whines about "Microsoft shouldn't make me use the system in a certain way", think back. People whined about the downplaying of the command prompt then Windows 3.1 and Win96 first came out.

"Who needs a mouse? I can do everthing easier and faster with a command prompt."

This also goes along with the "the internet is just a fad", "no one will want a smartphone", "why would anyone want a pc without a keyboard" and the list goes on.
Yes, those are valid arguments... for a mobile device. But what about a traditional PC?

By way of example: I routinely use two email accounts... a POP version for my personal email, and an IMAP version for my work email. I have Outlook 2013 on Windows 8 Pro in which both email streams are downloaded to PST/OST files on my local PC. So, that means that locally-cached emails are already on my PC. So, tell me again why I can't use the Metro version of email to interact with my POP mail?

In this scenario, I see no inherent benefits of one email technology over the other... In fact, the only this I see is a reluctance of Microsoft to support the most prevalent email standard in the world.
If I was to guess why MS doesn't support POP it would be due to it being less secure than IMAP. Email providers like using POP because it puts less strain on their systems, unlike IMAP it does not default to requiring a secure connection so most users don't use encryption with it, and they can just push all email out without polling etc. It is common practice for Exchange administrators to disable POP for security reasons.
I guess you are right but blog writers and technical evaluators required an easy point of strike before common launch to "scare" people into studying their weblogs. That and they also fall short to see the problem and can only concentrate on what is incorrect with Windows of any launch. This will most likely be a way over offered problem when seemed back at several years from now. In fact the discussion will probably be made that the Begin Display is far simpler to use than the Begin Selection and the advancement of releasing applications from the beginning screen and unifying that experience across PCs, mobile phones and pills was the great new route for Windows . . . . . . . . .

Business Marketing
Last edited:
If I was to guess why MS doesn't support POP it would be due to it being less secure than IMAP.<snip>

POP3 communications can be secured by using TLS or SSL via STLS.

For me, the reason is, and it makes sense, is that POP3 is a connect-retrieve-disconnect protocol, requiring a message store on the client. With the limited storage, that can be abused, it will present a problem. Yes, you can leave the mail on the server, but POP3 issuing a UIDL command will be very inefficient compared to IMAP, that uses 32-bit UIDL associated with messages, making off-line access much more efficient.
When Microsoft realized how much money Apple was making off of applications they decided to get serious. Why let all that potential revenue slip through their fingers. Thus the Start button was eliminated and the Merto interface was developed to draw the cash from our wallets.
I seem to recall the Start button was one of the most criticized features of Win95, despite using the Rolling Stones' song (but who could criticize long filenames?). Now its departure is criticized.

I actually missed it, although I mostly work document centric, that is I find the document or image on my desktop or in My Documents and then click on it to launch the default app or right click to pick Open With... (I also haves shortcuts in Send Toto notepad and IE to open files with that).

A cascading "Start Menu" can be made by right clicking on the taskbar and picking Toolbar/New Toolbar and then navigating to (or paste the path is as it's a hidden and system file) to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\ and the pick the Programs folder to serve as a toolbar. (I want to post a screen shot but the insert image button doesn't work).
The list goes on, but the results are mostly the same… changes that support Microsoft’s internal business goals, but do very little to support the customer. It's all about Microsoft making more money.
nonsense. no one makes money by irritating customers for no reason. All of the things replaced were in the interest of satisfying the most customers in the long haul. The took the most useless and annoying GUI elements and improved them with more touch/mobile friendly versions that are still an improvement in the desktop environment once you learn how to use them. The also kept a lot. The taskbar is still there - the control panel, etc... Yes, for business users, there is not much of a compelling case at this point to move to Windows 8 with the lack of corporate-oriented business applications in the market. Business software lags consumer for years, sometimes decades. We still have stuff at work that doesn't support a 64 bit OS fully yet. The thing is, all Windows users are not business desktop users, so MS cant sacrifice everyone else long term by not responding to mobile and touch tech and losing all of those customers to competitors. MS is trying to make the most users happiest over the long haul. This is not about the mid-year 2013 quarterly report - its about the future of MS and their ability to continue to make a broad user base happy.
Last edited:
I personally don't miss the start menu. I imagine they got rid of it to force customers to utilize customers to get used to the features of the windows 8 interface. I felt a bit lost at first, but now I feel perfectly comfortable without it and find that I never feel the need to access the old start menu. I say good move microsoft
Microsoft tried to tell us they got rid of the Start Button because no one used it. Amazing how people reacted so badly to losing something they never used, but I digress. And then there's this:

For those looking to stay on the desktop and navigate a more traditional start menu, you can always grab a third-party app like Pokki. As of January Pokki had already recorded 1.5 million downloads and was used on average 10 times a day by customers, despite Microsoft's insistence that its own internal research showed customers were no longer using the Start Button. (Pokki monetizes itself via a bundled third-party app store).

** I'm not sure exactly how these companies are legally tracking how many times a day users click their Start Button, but that's another story altogether.

The problem with getting rid of the Start Button is like jumping in the cold ocean on a hot day. Although you'll get used to the water temp after a while it's a shock at first. Most people trying Windows 8 in the store never got a chance to get past the shock phase. The Modern UI is ok once you have gotten used to it, but it presented a learning curve at first and consumers don't like learning curves. That and it sucks with a mouse.

(It's almost as if MS believed Modern UI would never be widely adopted unless it was forced upon us all at once. You can't push on a rope and MS's rollout of Modern UI has been just that. If Modern UI wasn't strong enough to draw consumers to itself on it's own, why even have it except that MS had gone down that road and was committed and had no choice.)

What MS should have done if they were smart (they aren't) is leave the Start Button and have Modern UI there as something the user could try and get used to. Eventually the user could choose to drop the Start Button if they liked. But consumers did not appreciate MS shoving Modern UI down their throats. Enterprise users especially gave a collective WTF?

It all boils down to bad marketing, something MS is infamous for. Modern UI isn't a bad product, but the rollout was an arrogant disaster. I consider Modern UI to be the bastard child of Office Ribbons which replaced Office Menus (also disastrously). Everyone hated Ribbons too (and many like myself still do). Apparently MS thinks we are too dumb to manage menus - we need lots of big pretty tiles and pictures to keep us entertained. Screw functionality, look at the pretty pictures!

The single most useless aspect of Modern UI? Live Tiles. I mean seriously, WTF? What real utility does anyone get from Live Tiles? It is too little information to be useful and it is too in-your-face to ignore. Thank God MS at least gave us the option to turn that silliness off.
Last edited: