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Microsoft releases test version of Windows 8.1

Missing start back in place 

Microsoft released a test version of its Windows 8.1 software on Wednesday, bringing back the "start" button and a host of features it hopes will appeal to users.

The updated Windows, which was signalled at the end of May, should soothing traditional computer users, many of whom were unsettled by Microsoft's shift towards a new "tile"-based interface that works best on touch-enabled devices. Since few people had touch based screens this innovation was largely pointless and just hacked off people who wanted to find their software quickly.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer quietly told a developer conference in San Francisco that he had received “a lot of feedback” from users. For those who do not speak Ballmer, “feedback” means complaints. He decided to put it in coffee terms.

"Why don't you go and refine the blend here? Let's remix the desktop and your modern application experience. Let's balance them better," said Ballmer, summing up user er feedback.

Ballmer also promised a "rapid release cycle" for Windows in future, abandoning its previous policy of making new versions of Windows every three years, in an effort to match Apple and Google.

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