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When troubleshooting trivial problems via phone, I'm often in this situation:

  • Me: Click on the Start Button
  • Other: What button?
  • Me: sigh The blue circle on the lower left with the windows logo on it
  • Other: What logo?
  • Me: SIGH On the lower left of your screen, there should be a blueish thingamajig, please click on this. You should then see a menu popping up.

Is there another way to tell a user to open the "Start" Menu, so that I can avoid going through this?

(And, by the by, since the button has no text anymore, is it actually still called Start-Button?)

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It's the start orb officially - I call it "That little blue circle on your taskbar" – Phoshi Mar 16 '11 at 20:30
"Click the Blue Start Button in the lower left corner of your screen" should fix it, then he can't say "what button" and "what logo" anymore. :P – Tom Wijsman Mar 17 '11 at 9:08
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I have heard some people call it the windows button now that it no longer has 'start' on it.

When you are working with people of this level of computer knowledge, I don't believe you'll be able to succintly describe the Windows Button if they can't follow your directions to look at 'the lower left with the windows logo on it'.

The other option would be to ask them press start on the keyboard, users may be more familiar with that term

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You could ask them to press the windows button on the keyboard but that might cause a similar problem so why not tell them to press Ctrl+Esc on the keyboard?

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Keyboard shortcuts are usually for advanced users. I find it hard to believe that someone who doesn't know what the Start button is will be able to easily press Ctrl+Esc! "It doesn't do anything" "Press Ctrl and Esc at the same time" "...Nope" "OK, hold down Ctrl then press Esc and then release Esc, then release Ctrl" – billynomates Mar 17 '11 at 9:49
Possibly... but I only suggested that if something like "Press the key with the little wavy flag picture on it" doesn't work. – andygrunt Mar 17 '11 at 11:46

It is to be called the Windows 7 Start Orb!

Since this seems to be a very un-techwise user. They probably have not changed the location of their taskbar, meaning that the Windows 7 Start Orb is ALWAYS in the BOTTOM LEFT CORNER.

Furthermore, depending on the theme installed in Windows 7, if Aero is enabled, it will be a colorful Orb. If the Basic theme is installed, it will still be an Orb. If classic is installed, it will say "Start".

Just tell your user to refer to the BOTTOM LEFT CORNER and click the COLORFUL LITTLE FLAG.

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I have heard it referred to as 'Orb' in official Microsoft texts. It's still the Start Menu though, it just doesn't say Start! – Shinrai Mar 16 '11 at 19:18
The tool-tip on it says Start! :P – billynomates Mar 17 '11 at 9:50

Some people call it an Orb.
Therefore you could call it the Windows Orb
This would be consistent with the Office Orb that appeared in MS Office 2007 but was done away with in Office 2010

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I've been using 'start orb' since Vista came around and I've (surprisingly) never had trouble with people identifying it by that name. Though, as Albic correctly points out, according to Windows 7's help it's the "Start Button". – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Mar 17 '11 at 0:32

Yes, it is still called the "Start Button" (example from Customize the Start menu):

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Right-click the program icon you want to remove from the Start menu, and then click Remove from this list.

I would say somthing like "click the round button in the bottom left corner of the screen".

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The taskbar can be moved to other locations. Top, left, right, or even another screen. All of which I did while typing this comment. – Mike Chess Mar 16 '11 at 19:18
@Mike: I figured that people who know how to move the taskbar probably know what the Start button is. But technically your're right. – Albic Mar 16 '11 at 19:40
quite probably true. But there are plenty of users who do things without knowing how or why and can't fix it. – Mike Chess Mar 16 '11 at 21:45

The start menu was first changed in Windows Vista. According to Microsoft, it is still referred to as the Start Button. While many users refer to it as the Windows Orb, the phrase rarely appears in official Microsoft documents.

By default, with Aero enabled, the button is not labeled; however, hovering over the button provides a tooltip which says Start:

windows 7 start menu

With most users, it could just be referred to as the Start Button, as they will likely be familiar with the concept. If not, you could use one of the following:

  • The multicolored circle
  • The blue orb
  • If you are communicating via email, etc, include a screenshot or do what Microsoft does in their documents and say "Click the Start Button ( windows logo )".
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I've always called it the "start medallion", but that usually requires an explanation before people understand what I mean.

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