Why are so many software reviewers and critics boring endlessly on and on about the Start Menu; when it will be brought back, whether it will be brought back, how crucial it is to a mass of users? The Start Menu is available now, as is the ability to run apps in desktop windows, and for that matter, for those who love them, gadgets.
I have been running Windows 8.1 Pro for several months with the Start Menu, with apps in desktop windows, and with all my old favourite gadgets, plus a desktop icon organisation program, courtesy of Stardock applications Start8, ModernMix (apps), WindowBlinds (for Windows-7-style Aero windows), and Fences, at a total cost of around $27. The gadgets come courtesy of 8GadgetPack, for free.
Not only does the cost undercut any possible Windows upgrade fee (except free of course), but also Stardock's implementation is stellar, probably much better than Windows' own will ever be. I virtually never see the Start Screen, since I boot directly to the desktop.
I also almost never run Microsoft's pathetic apps - which were presented as the way to go for gadget users, on the grounds that gadgets were insecure. Gadgets, of course, are no less secure than any other application run on a computer, being capable of being scanned and watched by anti-malware software, and safe in any case if obtained from a reliable source. I just wanted to keep Core Temp, Top Process Monitor, Network Meter, and one or two others from the core well-tested gadget suite, like the Windows Clock and Calendar for instance, nothing exotic. I found it rather traumatic to lose Solitaire, and even found a way to run Windows 7 Solitaire on Windows 8, but now I run the MS Solitaire Suite, in a windows and started from a desktop icon.
So there isn't a problem. It's solved, done and dusted, ready now. Let's move on.