We have a glorious image of the new Windows 9 Start menu which comes from a genuine early build of the Windows 9 Technical Preview, shows in much greater detail how the new Start menu will intertwine aspects of the old Windows 7-era Start menu with Windows 8′s Metro Start screen.
Putting aside for a moment that the Windows 9 Start menu was clearly cut from Metro cloth, I’m actually pleasantly surprised by the functionality and UI displayed in the image.
The new Windows 9 Start menu, while it looks completely different from the Windows Vista or Windows 7 Start menu, retains most of the same functionality — but now the direct Documents, Pictures, Control Panel, etc. links are on the left side, rather than the right.
Instead, the right side of the Windows 9 Start menu either contains a flyout menu for expanded folders or a panel filled with Metro-style live tiles.
While the left side of the Windows 9 Start menu looks somewhat like the Windows 7-era menu, it’s clearly a brand new beast. Still, all of the major functions from the Windows 7 Start menu are there: A Search/Run box (which immediately has focus after you hit the Start key), one-click access to your documents and pictures, and a block that appears to be populated with your most-used apps. (Amusingly, PC Settings is stickied, but Control Panel isn’t.
I am very curious to see how Windows 9 handles Desktop configuration for mouse and keyboard users.) The power button is now at the top of the Start menu, but that’s probably a better place for it — harder to mistakenly click it up there.
This is the first footage to appear of the Windows 9 Technical Preview, which is scheduled to be released at the end of September or beginning of October. If you can’t wait for Windows 9 to bring back the Start menu, check out our handy list of third-party Start menu replacements for Windows 8.