In our previous related posts (Evolving the Start menu, Designing the Start screen, and Reflecting on your comments on the Start screen) we discussed the evolution of the Start menu and the reasoning behind the design. We also discussed how organizational mechanisms and search are powerful tools that make it easier to find and launch apps. As you install more and more apps, these tools become increasingly important. For the past several releases, searching from the Start menu has been established as the quickest way to find and launch apps, particularly for keyboard users.
When planning Windows 8, we wanted to make sure the efficiency and dexterity of the Windows 7 Start menu search was carried forward into the new Start screen. Before we dive into the details of the new experience, let’s take a quick look at the evolution of search from the Start menu, and how people are using it today.
Evolution of searching from Start
The search box in the Start menu as we know it today first made its appearance in Windows Vista. It became easy for users to search for programs or apps, settings, and files on the desktop and in personal folders like Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos. The search experience aggregated different types of results in one view with programs and settings combined in a single group. The results of a query displayed a small set of items in heuristically sized groups. You needed to click “See all results” to see the rest in Windows Explorer, which aggregated everything into one ungrouped and unsorted view.
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Source: Building Windows 8 Blog