Windows 9 Start Menu Leak
Microsoft may implement a redesigned start menu in its next operating system version, Windows 9 Reuters

Images from an early build of Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8.1 successor, Windows 9, suggest the Redmond, Washington, tech giant may resurrect its classic start menu.

Screenshots of an alleged early version of Windows 9, code-named “Threshold,” leaked online over the weekend. A new start menu design is included in the leaked images, which means Microsoft may bring back an incarnation of its classic Windows 7 start menu.

Microsoft first unveiled a new version of its start menu at its Build conference in April, and it received praise from attendees at the time.

The start menu change comes nearly two years after Microsoft unveiled the Microsoft Design Language-styled start menu, commonly referred to as the Metro UI in Windows 8, which was widely criticized for its confusing touchscreen-optimized design.

Windows 9 Start Menu
A purported screenshot of the hybridized Windows 9 start menu. Courtesy/My Digital Life Forums

The redesigned start menu is a hybrid between the Windows 7 and Windows 8 designs; the latter offers some features from the Windows 7 start menu next to Metro UI tiles.

The watermark present in the screenshots says that the new start menu is part of Windows Build 9788, which may be an early build of Windows 9. While the screenshot watermark is labeled as Windows 8.1, ExtremeTech noted that it’s not uncommon to see alpha builds of a new Windows operating system using current version numbers.

It’s possible that this version of the start menu will make its way into the final version of Windows 9, but sM4llziE, a member of the My Digital Life Forums, cautions that there are multiple versions of builds, which may contain different features:

“There are multiple Threshold branches FYI, meaning stuff seen in this build might not be in other builds.”

Should this version of the start menu be in Windows 9, it could help Windows users become more accustomed to the tiled menu design in Windows 8, which many users have kicked to the curb in favor of third-party alternatives such as Start8 and Classic Shell.

Microsoft is expected to launch Windows 9 in Spring 2015.