The start button evolved to become the operating system's 'launchpad', offering access to software, files and search functions.
According to leaked screenshots from the tech site, The Verge, earlier test versions of Windows 8 had flattened the recognisable 'orb', but the new build removes it altogether. Microsoft's iconic start button, which was introduced in Windows 95, is likely to be removed in the software firm's upcoming Windows 8 version, according to a report.
A thumbnail-like user interface will appear in Metro or desktop mode, providing a consistent way to access the Windows desktop and Start Screen in Windows 8 regardless of touch or mouse input," it added. Microsoft has not announced a release date for the new operating system, built to work with touchscreens as well as on conventional PCs, but it is widely expected to be released in the second half of 2012.