With less than a month to go before Build 2013, the attention on what Microsoft has planned has predominantly centered on Windows 8.1, a.k.a. Windows Blue.

Under the larger Blue umbrella is even more pointed talk of the return of the Start button, and today we may have a look at what the brand new button will look like, thanks to Paul Thurrott over at Windows SuperSite.

However, we'd like to point out a big caveat with these screenshots - the new button shown by Thurrott looks awfully like Stardock's Start button replacement tool Start8.

Look like the Start charm to you? Apparently, when users hover over the Start button icon, it changes color, taking on a black background and the flag logo's accent color. The Start button is said to be a permanent fixture of the internal Milestone Preview build of W8.1, but users may be able to turn it off at a later date.

Windows Blue Start button

Credit: Windows SuperSite

There's more

Many of Thurrott's pronouncements were reported on/backed up by Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet today as well.

According to Foley, for those tired of tiles, Microsoft will let them set an "All Apps" view as default, wherein selecting the Start button will pull up a list of apps as icons - not tiles - on the Start screen. Users will reportedly be allowed to arrange apps by usage, too.

In addition to the Start button - which Foley's source said will be invisible until users move their mice to the bottom left corner of their screens - Microsoft also plans to let users keep their desktop wallpaper as their Start background, thus eliminating the disorienting transition from one screen to the next.

Start button

Credit: Windows SuperSite

However, this feature must be enabled as it's off by default. Speaking of off by default...that boot to desktop feature is apparently in a default as well, though users should appreciate that it's there at all.

  • Build 2013 too far away? Check out our E3 page for info on the early June event!
To find out more about the changes coming with Windows 8.1, check out the video below: