You argument is simple not logical. Buttons on the start menu are easily big enough to be recognized quickly, and it's a lot faster to select something when you don't have to move the cursor all over the damned screen to do so (and sometimes scrolling to get where you want).
Usable density and overall without clicking through tabs of things. I could find any program on that start screen far caster then in that start menu a human is going to be able to pick up a colored image with an icon then a bunch of tiny icons with text.
I still don't get how you are using the screen that requires massive movement of the mouse. Scrolling takes little to no precision when clicking through tabs in a start menu is. Most other operating systems have abandoned the start menu style of displaying programs.
Quote from JohnOptegrove»
The Start Screen requires far too much moving the mouse to get anywhere.
Actually, that is the equivalent of the "All Programs" menu- or rather, With the start screen the equivalent automatically shows the contents of what would otherwise be tucked into the All Programs Menu.
But really, I'm surprised anybody would use the "All Programs" menu or the Start Screen equivalent anymore. They are both absolutely horrible.
Talk about an XP Dinosaur.
On Windows XP, if I want to start, Say, the SpyXX tool included with Visual Studio:
1.Press Start Button
2. Click or hover over "All Programs"
3. Click or Hover over "Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0"
4. Click or Hover over "Tools"
5. Click "SpyXX"
It get's really fun when you install programs that follow Windows Design Guidelines. See those design guidelines say that the Start Menu should be arranged so your program falls in a category for your company name. This is great if you happen to memorize the company that makes every single program or game you use. But that isn't always the case.
It's rather frustrating knowing you have a game installed but not being able to locate it without actually looking into every single item in the Start Menu. (And it's not much better having to scroll through the start screen, which is sort of like an automatically grouped foldout of the Start Menu/All Programs list). Also a frustration I had that actually seems to have been eliminated for the Start Screen is focus steal- Sometimes when I'm trying to find something on an XP machine some stupid dickface program will decide to steal Window focus, which closes the Start Menu Entirely. In fact in 20 seconds just now running XP in VMWare I went to launch Visual Studio 2003 and the Notification balloon about "No antivirus software is installed" from Security center stole the focus, because the mouse cursor was near the bottom, the notification appears, the mouse was over it so the start menu lost focus.
The "Proper" way to use the start menu- and objectively better in every single way to the alternative, was introduced with Vista.
Get the computer to find what you want.
if I want to start Visual Studio I don't have to drill down through a bunch of folders in a heirarchal start menu- I press the windows key, type "2013" (or "2014" on my laptop, or "Visual Studio" or "Studio" or "Visual" or any number of other queries- and it shows up in the search results.
This behaviour is semantically identical between Windows Vista, 7, and 8.1. 8 requires an extra keystroke or a setting changed to have it search everything.
What it boils down to is this mini debate here about the "Start Menu" versus the "Start Screen" seems to ignore the objectively fastest way of using it.
That is, take _Xiae's post above comparing them. What it is comparing is actually Pinned Start Menu and Start Screen applications. Every single one of those required that they right-click the program icon and pin it to the start menu. (The drop downs for each will show the last active Jumplist for the program, thus the arrows for Firefox and Internet Explorer).
Pinning Programs is a pain in the ass. I've never understood the appeal of it and I think that feature is ridiculous. Start Menu pinning and removing the Title Text in Win7 was another change I thought was silly. Of course these features can be changed or not used so eh.
But there are two other things to consider:
1. The Main Start Screen is only the default. I have mine set to show "Apps by category" by default, rather than the empty start screen I have (since again, I don't pin anything). The equivalent on the previous start menu was the "All Programs" Menu.
The All Programs Menu is simply crap- refer to my notes above for why. The Start Screen implementation doesn't require drilling down; the reason that was the way Win95 did it was because the hardware couldn't possibly do all that without big performance implications. Some systems struggled the way it was already.
But both pale in comparison to the feature that has existed since Vista.
Seriously. If you are using either the Pinned Start Screen Tiles or Pinned Start Menu programs, you're doing it wrong. Both require user-maintenance. You have to add, remove, change, edit, etc the pinned programs yourself, for one thing.
Since Vista you can press the Windows Key and type what you want. 99% of the time, it will find it. And you can use it to answer questions in a way, too- something you cannot do with the former methods:
"I want to start Visual Studio 2012"
Windows Key, "2012", enter.
"I want to start Visual Studio 2013"
Windows Key, "2013" enter.
"What versions of Visual Studio do I have again?"
Windows Key, "Visual Studio", enter (oh right, 2012, 2013, and 14 CTP3)
"What programs does my Office install have again?"
"2013" answers this question. This is the same query used above to start VS 2013; the reason that works in my case is because 2013 get's used more than the other results for 2013, so that is the first result; Office applications also appear in the results so I can use it to launch those as well.
And of course, this is NOT Windows 8/8.1 specific. My point is it's pretty much the same as it was before. Personally, I have no trouble moving back and forth between systems because it's semantically identical- that is, I can use the same keystrokes to launch applications via Start-Search From Vista forward anyway.
Now, some might argue that, "well, some people prefer the Start Screen/Start Menu/All Programs Menu".
And that is true. However, that preference, I feel, is sort of like preferring to have a flat tire.