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When I first set up Windows 8 (core edition) on my desktop PC, it showed the following behavior when I right-clicked a start screen tile:

start screen with ribbon

It was possible to right-click multiple tiles and use the ribbon to act on all of them.

After a few hours, without my reconfiguring anything obviously related to the start screen, it changed so that right-clicking brings up a context menu instead:

start screen with context menu

Now if I want to act on multiple tiles, I have to ctrl-click them and then right-click to select an action.

What caused this change? How can I get the ribbon back?

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Microsoft changed the behavior several weeks ago when Windows 8.1 Update 1 was released. The old behavior happens with installations with touch based devices. If you don't have a touch display there isn't a way to get the ribbon back. There also isn't a "home edition" its normally called "Core" instead of "Professional" or "Professional w/WMC" –  Ramhound Jun 6 at 19:07
    
It's on a desktop, not a touch device. Sounds like I must have gotten a stealthy update shortly after the install. Thanks for all the information. I'll update my question with the proper nomenclature, and if you want to post this as an answer I can accept it. –  octern Jun 6 at 19:14

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