Windows Blue is now officially Windows 8.1. It will enter into a public beta in June. It's rumored that the start button and a boot to desktop mode will be offered alongside numerous other updates. Thanks to a leaked screenshot, we can seemingly confirm one of those rumors.
Paul Thurrot's Supersite for Windows shared the following screenshot today that shows the Start button is back in Windows 8.1, and it's looking better than ever:
The start button will behave mostly as it did in Windows 7 with a few key Windows 8 eccentricities. For starters, hovering over the Start button changes it color in much the same way the Start charm changes color in the current build of Windows 8. It's also impossible to turn off the Start button, at least for now. That should ensure that newcomers to Windows 8 won't be confused by the lack of a start button.
Thurrot also reveals two more really interesting tidbits about Windows 8.1. The first is that you can use your own wallpapers now as backgrounds in the Start menu. Previously, you could only use a small number of Microsoft-designed illustrations and colors. Secondly, a boot to desktop mode is indeed present, but it is turned off by default. It's understandable as Microsoft is still trying to sell consumers on the walled garden Start screen experience.
Microsoft will presumably make all of this and more official later in June when it releases the Windows 8.1 public preview on June 26.