Much has been made of Windows 8's missing Start menu. Windows 8.1 provides a Start button on the desktop, and you can right-click on it to access a menu, but the menu's contents are not as exhaustive as what was available in Windows 7.
Although the Start button is new to Windows 8.1, the original Windows 8 release had provided the same basic functionality by right-clicking in the lower lefthand corner of the desktop. One thing that was missing from the menu however, was a Windows 8 shutdown option. Microsoft has added this option to Windows 8.1 as a way of making the transition to the new interface a little bit easier.