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back to article Has Microsoft finally killed off Windows 8 Start button?

Microsoft is reportedly killing the Start button in Windows, a staple of Redmond's PC operating system since the landmark Windows 95. Purported screen shots of Windows 8 Consumer Preview are reported to show a Super Bar that extends across the full bottom of the screen minus the Start button orb. In place of the orb is a "hot …

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Anonymous Coward

No Start button

works fine for techies and others who understand the system but will it work for the masses?

Time will tell....

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I bet it'll go over about as well as the ribbon

Ok, maybe not that badly. It's hard for anything to go over that badly and still sell.

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Flame

Invisible start button?

But it's got a "hot corner" that works like a start button? How does this differ from a start button, apart from you have to know it's there because you can't see it?

Maybe you don't have to click it either? Oh great, so there's a corner of the screen that you have to be careful to avoid with the mouse because all sorts of annoying or even dangerous things happen if you don't.

Then someone will work out how to paint it with an icon, give it an option to require a click to un-mask the stuff underneath, and they'll call it an app and sell it to you.

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Coffee/keyboard

Unfortunately

Nothing ever works for the masses. We're doomed to hear things like "Where's my win-dirs button!?" and "I liked my XP's better!" Change one small thing and all hell WILL break loose.

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@Fembot

> Nothing ever works for the masses. We're doomed to hear things like "Where's my win-dirs button!?" and "I liked my XP's better!" Change one small thing and all hell WILL break loose.

You got that right. I hear that crap all the time when ANY little thing changes, or big thing as well. Going from Win95-Win2000 to WinXP, XP to Vista/7, Windows to Ubuntu, etc... That's one of the things that has held "other" OS's up was looking a little different. But if the consumer is too confused, you could slap anything on there with the explanation "oh they all do that now, and this one looks more like your old XP." Risky strategy on MS's part.

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Facepalm

Time will tell...

Only if they can find the right button to set the clock!

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Anonymous Coward

- Improved search

I'd rather be able to *know* where my stuff is, in some sort of structure.

- more room for all your programs

While replacing icons with (larger) tiles.

- tiles that are alive with activity

Bells and whistles.

- richer customization

So we can transfer less knowledge from the use of one machine to another.

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> - Improved search

> I'd rather be able to *know* where my stuff is, in some sort of structure.

You mean like doing away with that antiquated drive letter thing in favour of a proper structure? Gets my vote!

> - richer customization

> So we can transfer less knowledge from the use of one machine to another.

So we can further confuse the ordinary luser. In other words, relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights!

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Microsoft Design Meeting:

"I know, let's replace the iconic and well-understood, most important part of the desktop that's always visible in the bottom-left hand corner with a mysterious, undocumented, hidden area that's still just as critical but only appears when people know or guess to hover over nothing in the same place as the previous method used to be."

In other words: Let's screw the desktop user until they complain, then put it back, and pretend we listened to them (while secretly having distracted them from all the other new problems we introduced to make people less productive on Windows 8 than on Windows 95 so they have to buy more computers and licenses to get the same amount of work done).

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Given how they seem determined to foist pixel sub-addressing on us regardless of your complaints it seems about par for the course. Hopefully the lack of a Start button at least won't make me feel nauseous.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe there will be a big animated "CLICK HERE TO BEGIN!" arrow jerking itself spasmodically at the corner, like I seem to remember Windows 95 having?

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Groundhog Day

Yawn. You lot come out the woodwork every time Microsoft moves a pixel to denounce it as the worst thing ever to befall mankind. Yet looking at the two screenshots in Sinfosky's linked blog post shows Windows 95 Start vs Win 7 Start and it's the vast increases over time in functionality, usability and usefulness mean the two, although clearly related, are two completely different species. It's Ardipithecus Ramidus Vs Homo Sapiens. Their design descisions have been spot on the vast majority of the time! Like most stubborn IT archaea, I bet you hate the ribbon as well?

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Law

RE: Groundhog Day

I was sort of with you up until you mentioned ribbon in a positive light... I've now come to my senses...

People like what they like... most people don't like drastic change, especially in software they use (or forced to use) daily.

For me it seems to flip-flop between like and hate.

Like Windows 7... hated Vista...

Liked XP (ignoring the blue skin), hated Win ME...

Lliked 98, hated 95

So I'm expecting to hate Windows 8... be it metro, lack of start menu, or more ribbon using, but we will see.

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Anonymous Coward

@law

folk seem to have rose tinted glasses on when it comes to XP, lets not forget that the OS was not that good at all until SP2, Vista kept the negativity against it all the way, but the reality is that after SP2 it was actually very good, all be it a tad late and on the tail end of Win 7 launching

98 was a gloryfied 95 and it wasnt until 98SE that it got its act together

all im saying is, there hasnt been a single OS release in Microsofts (recent) History where they didnt need to change it after it was released to make it "good" with the possible exception of Windows 7

So looking at it that way, there is no tick tock nature of MS releases other than those made up by ourselves with a slight bias, lets perhaps put our sensible mature hats on and wait until the damn thing is released and functional in front of our eyes before slating it.

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UI not OS

This thread is about the UI not about the OS. The XP UI remains pretty much the same as the 2000 UI and not so very different from the NT4 UI. In my book that's no bad thing - it's become second nature over the years, so I can think about what I'm using the computer *for* rather than having to think about *how* to use it. There may well be a host of incremental improvements that I don't recall, which again is how it should be. None were big enough to annoy me!

And now they've thrown all that away and given us "7" which is gratuitously different. And now they are planning to make 8 gratuitously different squared, so I won't even have a chance to make friends with "7" (which I am starting to think isn't actually all bad if you've got enough Gbytes of RAM and a modern graphics chip).

Yes, XP the OS was pretty dodgy in the early days, and maybe the 7 kernel is better than XP. It's just extremely annoying that Microsoft links changing the kernel to forcing a new UI down our throats!

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Anonymous Coward

indeed Nigel

but thats the point, are they?

we dont know, default setup is one thing changable is another and we dont know whats going on

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Odd

That's odd! It sounds just like the launcher on my KDE setup. I'm sure it's been there for years. Are they going to add right click on any open area to get the opportunity to close the thing down?

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If they want to use ideas from linux . . .

. . a great improvement would be multiple desktops.

<CTRL><ALT><Right Arrow> tabs me around.

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Anonymous Coward

@Roger

It's in the Reskit and has been since NT4.

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Anonymous Coward

I was utterly outstanded the other day, after plugging in a second monitor to my Windows 7 box, to discover it still doesn't support a taskbar per screen (or with it, the ability to filter applications running on each screen to their task list). Seriously, Microsoft?

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Yeah it is a bit stupid they haven't sorted this out yet, I use a program called Ultramon to get this affect, does the programs on screen filter for the tool bars and has some other good features, 30 day trial but you can just uninstall-reinstall to get another 30 days.

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WTF?

> It's in the Reskit and has been since NT4.

You call that PoS a comparable virtual desktop implementation? What are you smoking and where can I get that stuff?

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Devil

I'd love to do this at work, just to piss the lusers that insist on double screens off!

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TRT
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FAIL

Isn't that how it used to work in Windows 11? And given that Apple has just created that screw up that is the Launch Centre...

At least make it an option, though. And how will old installers cope?

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TRT
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11? I'm sure I typed 3.1.

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Trollface

Been playing with DeLoreans again?

v11. Gawd - that's a bit depressing :(

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404
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Trollface

Probably has his own hoverboard too... u jelly?

:)

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jai
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launch centre?

that's a 3rd party iOS app isn't it? nothing to do with Apple

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TRT
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Oh, that silly full screen thing with all the icons in OSX Lion. I've avoided it myself.

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jai
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Ah, you mean launchpad. I like it myself, on the small macbook air screen, it's easier to find apps than scrolling up and down the list that the Application folder on the dock puts up. But on my desktop, it's always easier to find the app I want in the /Applications/ folder. Or you could use Spotlight to find the app you want and launch it i guess.

So I guess my point is, on OS X, the Launchpad is just one of the many options you have, and people use whichever they prefer or suits best at the time.

However, I fear with Windows, MS will decide that this new start screen is the only way to go, and that'll annoy everyone, regardless of whether they like the new system or not.

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TRT
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Launchpad

That's the baby, yes.

But no-one's tackled my question yet of just what will old installers that try to create start menu short cuts do?

And... Where will they put the most important button? That's the Shutdown button. And, for that matter, the button that's essential for Windows... Restart.

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They show up as tiles.

One installers just create a tile in the Metro start page. Tiles can be grouped (although a bit non-intuitively, at least in the developer preview). Tap/click a tile, Metro switches to the desktop and the app launches.

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TRT
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Installers for programs written for Windows 8. What about legacy software?

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Both work exactly the same way.

Native Metro apps have live tiles that contain information, like a custom image, the temperature or similar. Legacy tiles just contain the file name and icon.

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TRT
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Ah, right. OK. So there is the possibility of restoring the old style, because the appropriate folders will still be there?

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Law
Happy

Not looked at the Win 8 beta myself (if it's even out yet) but I'm assuming they'll make it fairly seamless to the average user switching from legacy installers/applications to new metro-enabled ones.

Nobody really notices if a 32bit program is installed on a Windows 7 x64 machine or not, they hide the fact they've placed it in a Program Files x86 folder rather than the the traditional program files dir. They hide the fact the registry keys for these applications also get stored in the wow6432 tree too, and loads of other tweaks to get that application working on a 64bit machine.

Sure there are usually a few teething issues switching to new things, but worse case I'm sure they will mix a static tile or icon list and just use the current icon packs or something - I'd expect them to do that as a minimum.

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Happy

11!

@TRT - Hey I was thinking maybe your OS went to 11. Hehe

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WTF?

Thank god I use Linux ...

... where Gnome and KDE would never dream of radically updating the GUIs to make them less usable , sorry , I mean more cool and funky.

Seriously , what is it with GUI designers, can't they just leave well alone? All a GUI needs to do is provide a consistent interface to contain and launch applications, nothing more. We've got that so leave the look and feel alone! Until proper 3D displays come along there is no reason for any radicle overhaul other than to give designers and coders something to do.

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It's all about providing a consistent interface across multiple devices, they want people who pick up a mobile to be able to instinctively use it based on their experience with a desktop and vice versa.

It's all bollox of course because not only are the form factors different, the thing each class of device is used for is different as well, negating the need for the same interface everywhere.

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UI designers

Unfortunately most seem to forget the part about "User" and the fact that UI design encompasses usability as well as shiny things.

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FAIL

Linux and GUIs??

"...Gnome and KDE would never dream of radically updating the GUIs to make them less usable..."

Ask anyone who switched from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3.

Come to that, ask anyone who has recently abandoned Ubuntu due to the execration that is Unity.

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FAIL

@Martin

I think you missed the invisible sarcasm tags on the original post.....

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Anonymous Coward

Has already happened in Linux

umm, I hate to point this out but... gnome3/unity?

"Gnome and KDE would never dream of radically updating the GUIs to make them less usable".

This has actually happened rather recently, its why so many users have dropped gnome 3 and have piakced up distros that use gnome2 (i.e. linux mint etc...)

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Er wut?

"... where Gnome and KDE would never dream of radically updating the GUIs to make them less usable , sorry , I mean more cool and funky."

The changes between GNOME 2 and 3 are far more radical than anything Microsoft has ever attempted. I suspect even if Windows 8 gets tiles or other stuff that most of it can be disabled or dialled back to leave a fairly traditional looking desktop. With GNOME 3 the only way you get anything remotely approaching GNOME 2 is to run it in compatibility mode and even that is for the chop once improved software rendering appears for Mesa.

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FAIL

@DrXym

Gawd almighty , does sarcasm have to been signposted in neon around here for some people??

Yes I know Gnome 3 sucks , so does KDE 4, that was rather my point.

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Let 'yum install LXDE*' be your friend.

or XFCE or many others.

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Joke

@boltar

Huh? Sar-Chasm? That's near the Grand Canyon isn't it? :) (sorry couldn't resist after all that)

PS - KDE after 4.7 finally got its crap together and works fine, and with 4.8 its brilliant, but it was touch and go for years after 4.0 came out.

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Linux

Ah, but there's a difference here. On quite a few distros, you can decide what you want in front depending on what you select.

I still use KDE 3.5.10 on openSUSE even though they push KDE 4 (until the latest version, 12.1, they seemed to actively dissuade all users from loading 3.5 because they thought that KDE 4 was a mature enough product), an option open to other distros too. The same thing applies to GNOME.

It's another reason why I often point out that Linux is not the sum of a single distro or package, an advantage that Windows is unlikely to embrace this far down the line.

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FAIL

Microsoft lost the plot along time back.

That horrible MetroUI that's like it's been teleported from 1990.

The Vista task bar pinning where you can't work out if it's an open application or a pinned one....

Bob.....

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MJI
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Pinned task bar

VERY confusing, I click on them to shut them down but then they start up.

Do not exist on my PC luckily

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