And if it does prove false, there's already a host of software products that can restore the Start button even without Microsoft cooperation.
Another popular Blue rumor is that users will be able to boot Windows 8 machines directly to desktop mode, avoiding the Windows 8 Start screen that many people find confusing and annoying.
Windows Defender protects Windows 8
"Windows 8 has the lowest malware infection rate of any Windows-based operating system observed to date," according to the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report.
Part of the reason is that Windows 8 runs Windows Defender by default, running malware scans in the background and blocking dangerous code. As a result, just 81.% of 32-bit Windows 8 machines and 7% of 64-bit Windows 8 machines are unprotected, the report says.
Also, Windows 8 is still pretty new, so there's been less time for customers to disable the anti-malware or for the real-time protection to expire, the report says. The operating system was only available for the last two months of 2012, and the report covers the second half of the year.
Those Windows 8 machines that didn't have protection turned on had an infection rate 16.2 times greater than machines with protection, according to the report.
The most common threat family found attacking Windows 8 was Win32/Keygen, software that generates product keys for pirated software, allowing the software to be run on a machine illegally, the Microsoft report says. Customers who choose to use these key generators typically turn off malware protection in order to load the generators, increasing their chance of infection, the report says.
The third most common threat found attacking Windows 8 machines was INF/Autorun, malware that is ineffective against Windows 8 even if it is unblocked. Windows Defender blocked it anyway, Microsoft says.
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