Lets look at *why* Microsoft moved from the Program Manager in 3.1 to the "Start Menu" ...
Program Manager with an active open window of groups of icons ... tiled, or cascaded, etc etc ... put groups of windows with mouse travel all over the place.
Start *Menu* like in Panel of *Nix/Xwin .. started with the concept ... little mouse movements ... a 3 inch area of activation where most things could be easily reached without repeated edge to edge mouse movement... you shouldn't need to go edge to edge of your screen with a mouse to activate commands with your mouse ..
Enter the Start Screen ... like that of Unity ... In *tablet* modes ... your hands are already ON the screen ... the area of motion is roughly 5 inches either way? More natively touch based rather than carry a mouse, etc etc etc
Turn the OS into a DUAL interfaced system ... and you fix most of the complaint .. When in Desktop Mode .. you don't have to remember Win R ... Win C ... win ANYTHING other than "Win" ...
In tablet mode .. the Windows key alone, no longer gets you to the menuing system that provides full access to every command, buried or not ...
If your complaint is that the menus don't make sense in Win 7 .. then neither does the grouping under Win 8 and you have to take action to re-arrange your "Menu" to your preference ... Win 7 and older .. Right Click the start menu ... Win 8 .. press and hold on a "tile" and that signifies you mean to move it.. etc..
With that... your complex idea of digging through menus is erased .. its not my fault if you didn't think of your menu, and your hard drive like a file cabinet .. that was their analogue.
Win 7 ... like Vista even tried to FURTHER help you get access quickly in LESS than that 3 inch space .. by putting frequently used applications and commands into the Main Menu of start ..
Start Menu to Start Screen .. signified also a shift from "you start here" for "Start Menu" as they had the target laden ads and the initial "how to use" videos showing the bulls-eye target ... to the Start Screen where Microsoft is signifying "Start something" ... to which I add the hook .. and yank away with "... BUT NOT EVERYTHING" because the start screen lacks what the start MENU had, access to everything.
As to the whole laptop issue .. you made the argument for not shutting down .. I'm making the argument that I do shut down .. frequently .. because I move with my laptop frequently .. and that I don't use Sleep as a method .. for short term that's not an issue, but for me .. I drive 1 hour one way to get to a job, to a friend, or any place I need to be (I'm that geographical oddity 1 hour from just about everywhere) and having my laptop in sleep mode that hour means when I wake it up ... I have less than 1 hour run time before needing power ... etc..
And if *you* want to carry your open laptop anywhere ... then that's fine for you .. I'd rather have it flat and compact so I can hold it securely with one hand as I move etc. Hence.. disabled sleep mode for lid closure .. and still accessible to do sleep mode if I want, by hitting START cursor key to shutdown etc. etc. .. but you can't do that on your Win 8 ... not with the Win Key Alone .. can you.. and its not in your start screen .. its in your charms ...
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