HOW microsoft could "know" that many aren't using it is based on a false premise on their part.
See that customer experience monitoring program you either allow or not on the initial install of your OS is DECLINED by most "power users", because power users in the main tend to be atleast a little bit paranoid
So microsoft is getting information about actual useage based on only those
user who are NOT paranoid and those using factory installed operating systems.
So based on that they decided that "we" don't actually use the start menu.
I'll admit that I use it mainly to create desktop icons, but without it...?
See part of the problem is Windows is all too willing to delete some icons
create a desktop icon for the Windows solitare game of your choice
then restart your computer... Ok, where'd the icon go?
Seems the self-check on startup even in windows7 checks to see if all
the desktop icons are valid links, if not it "cleans" them.
The problem is that it runs that self-check BEFORE the OS starts all
Ok, so now you have no Icon to play Solitare and you go into start menu,
to look on the all programs list... Oops, it's gone from there too.
(Now you are starting to talk to yourself and you do NOT like the words
you are using or your tone of voice)
What you have to do is go into Windows "Control Panel" then "Programs and features"
and look there for Solitare... and it's gone there too? (WTF?)
But it's not really gone, what you need to do is turn off "Games" by unchecking
the box, "apply" then check the windows games box and presto it's back on the
all programs list.
But if you are like most Windows7 users you have no idea what made it disappear
in the first place.
The fix is to turn off the agressive system startup checking.
If anyone here had even a dim snails perception of how much time I
spent on this issue with customers... (Mostly NOT getting paid) you'd
really know how much I dread the first two or three months from the
official release of 8.
Now imagine you are having the same problem in Windows8.... I'm not even
sure if you can an issue like that in Win8 but I'm betting all the unmined gold
in the US that there WILL issues just as annoying (Even the Almighty wouldn't take that bet)
two to three months after Release I can see thousands of NEW computers with
windows8 factory installed on them floating across my workbench to have Windows7
installed on them.
Several months after that I expect to see Windows8 SP1 with the start menu back in.
Failing that I see thousands of new notebook computers impaled on wooden stakes
with a microsoft software engineer (Hurry, supplies are limited!) impaled on top of
those notebook to keep someone from stealing them (to scavenge small parts from them).
Personally I don't want my default desktop, the (formerly refered to as Metro) to look
like windows8 does
I have a collection of over 700 landscape images of various interesting places (mostly
national parks and geological features) that I use as wallpaper than changes every 30minutes
(it takes >2 weeks to cycle through all of them.
Metro, or whatever they are calling it now, looks like the startup screen for an ATM
when it's asking me what language I want to use, right before it asks me if I want
a receipt or not.
Frankly I think the engineers responsible all need new jobs, where asking if I want fries
is a part of that "new job"