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back to article Microsoft: YES! You can have your desktop back again for FREE!

Microsoft has confirmed that it will issue its Blue update to Windows 8 without charge, with first code scheduled at the company’s Build conference starting on June 26. This is in line with Redmond's previous policy in which users have been charged only for an entirely new iteration of the Windows OS, not for service packs and …

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Joke

Can't wait!

Once it's released, I might bother to torrent a copy!

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Mushroom

Re: Can't wait!

"Once it's released, I might bother to torrent a copy!"

You know it still hasnt been hacked? You cant fully activate a priate copy without a valid license key or valid KMS server.

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Mushroom

Re: Can't wait!

^Pirate

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Re: Can't wait!

Why bother with an illegal torrent when the ISO is freely available from MS?

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Re: Can't wait!

...but is that because it's better protected or just not worth pirating?

why pirate win8 if you can have 7 ;)

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Facepalm

Re: Can't wait!

"Why bother with an illegal torrent when the ISO is freely available from MS?"

Yes, that's probably why there was a "Joke Alert" icon on the OP.

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Mushroom

Re: Can't wait!

Posting this two hours after restoring a system image twice within a week due to CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED on boot, with no working offline System Restore from recovery options and no working Safe Mode....

Fuck Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 will suck just as much.

By the way, binding RPC and associated vulnerable crapware to 127.0.0.1 breaks TIFKAM apps :p

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can't wait!

"Yes, that's probably why there was a "Joke Alert" icon on the OP"

Americanisation is steadily engulfing el Reg.

This post may have been near hot water, and may or may not contain or have been near something containing peanuts. Or something.

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N2
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“advance the bold vision”

Dont you mean 'give users choice' with stuff like Metro & that crappy ribbon thing, as opposed to ramming it down their throats?

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Re: “advance the bold vision”

There's no interpretation of “advance the bold vision” in English that means restoring excised code and the associated features. I conclude 8.1 is mostly about forcing the new stuff on us more effectively. Since I don't believe MS are past the denial stage yet I don't believe they're ready to actually fix the problems and 8.1 will just try to make them look less like mistakes.

The cynic in me suspects any restoration of dropped desktop features has more to do with blocking 3rd party work rounds than restoring the excised features. I wont be surprised if the rumoured return of the Start Button overrides replacements, dragging users kicking and screaming to the unwieldy Start Screen we're trying to avoid.

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JDX
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Re: “advance the bold vision”

You don't make progress without taking risks. You don't take risks without knowing some will not pay off. Ribbon has (by and large) won users over, but it took a long while - many staunch haters now actually like it. Clearly, Metro desktop is one step too far, or too big a step in one go.

But I believe MS (and other companies) should be taking these kind of risks, if we go by what people want then what they want is nearly always what they know, which is what they have already. Many said touchscreen phones were dumb, and that the iPad was a dumb idea... they were both big risks that paid off.

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Re: “advance the bold vision” I call bull

"Ribbon has (by and large) won users over, but it took a long while - many staunch haters now actually like it."

Many staunch haters still cling on Office 2003. You might be talking about Office 2010, which partially "restored" menus in the form of the File menu. That one has got a less flamey reception, but the thing is that the Ribbon still sucks as a full menu substitution. Fortunately, I don't have to fight the Ribbon in the Mac. Using both menus and the Ribbon here, it does work; but notice that it is when combined with the menus that it ends up working.

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Re: “advance the bold vision”

Actually, what should be the case is that about ten different companies are making operating systems for three or four different processor architectures. So you might buy an Intel box, and get Windows or OS/2 for it; or you might buy a 68k box, and get the Atari OS or the Amiga OS or the Macintosh OS for it; or you might buy a PowerPC box and get the Macintosh OS or OS/2 for that.

With none of these choices being a clear market leader. So that if you don't like Windows, you have somewhere else to go that is just as good.

But having more software available is something that happens due to things like name recognition, not necessarily to an OS being intrinsically better itself, and it snowballs. So maybe the OS is a natural monopoly, and thus the U.S. government should own Windows or at least regulate it like the telephone company.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision”

@JDX

"You don't make progress without taking risks" - true enough, but the risk we would like them to take is to offer the new UI as an option and make the existing UI paradigm available as a parallel option.

They don't even need to compromise one UI with the other, they could offer 2 editions of Windows 8 ("touch" and "desktop") between which customers can choose.

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Re: “advance the bold vision”

If you want actual choice your running the wrong OS.

Linux you do have choice , kde cinnamon, elementaryos are all great usable desktops (most are except unity/gnome3) - also the kernel is appartantly 1/2 a decade ahead of the Windows one...

http://www.zdnet.com/anonymous-msft-developer-admits-linux-is-faster-than-windows-7000015236/

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ZAM
FAIL

Re: “advance the bold vision”

"Ribbon has (by and large) won users over, but it took a long while - many staunch haters now actually like it."

No most users in the corporate world don't have a choice. They are stuck with the damn thing. All of the advance users of Office that have any experience with Word pre 2007,universally dislike the ribbon, but they have no option to change it. Hell one chap brings in his own lappy with 2003 for use on any complicated documents he has to prepare. LOL

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Re: “advance the bold vision”

I quite like the ribbon and don't fully understand the dislike for it. Especially once you've set it to automatically hide, it's a pull-down menu that has icons as well as words. Then once you can rely on people's ability to discern pictures more quickly than words, you can go back to the old-school approach of putting things in the drop downs rather than in toolbars. One of the reasons they did that was that screens used to be smaller; now laptops are the predominant form of computers, screens are smaller again.

I guess the counter argument is that the icons don't add anything to the words or the words don't add anything to the icons so one or the other just acts as visual noise, spreading everything out so as to make navigation more laborious? I can't say I've faced that problem but I'm hardly a power user — in Word I use little beyond style sheets and am sufficiently fussy that I expect not to set them up in way that satisfies me very quickly.

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Happy

Re: “advance the bold vision”

Bold vision is always used when the mistake has already been made. Prior to the mistake it is innovative or disruptive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision”

The Ribbon is a POS. End of.

you might be able to hide it where you are but my Corporate Laptop is so locked down you can't hide the ribbon. You can't change anything and that is also part of the problems with Widows. MCSE's wield untold power in corporate environments often for no good reason than 'because they can'.

I'm far more productive with Office 2003/LibreOffice than Office 2010 etc.

They really do need to offer us a real choice.

Menu or Ribbon and not able to be locked down.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision”

As someone who designed builds for corporate laptops/desktops - and I don't have any vendor sponsored "professional qualification" - the reason that builds are locked down is to stop people tinkering and buggering them up. I used to see the stats from the helpdesk at "FTSE 100 company" where I worked in the mid 90s and the people still on Win 3.1 caused more problems installing their own screensavers and changing their settings was an order of magnitude higher than when they went onto NT4 workstations in the upgrade program I was working on. The same people regularly changed their screen colours so that they couldn't see the foreground from the background.

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WTF?

Re: “advance the bold vision”

"Ribbon has (by and large) won users over"

Really?

All the users who have an extra couple of inches of monitor they don't actually want to use? I still hate it. I can never find what I want to use any more - I'm always hunting for functionality.

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Re: “advance the bold vision”

> All the users who have an extra couple of inches of monitor they don't actually want to use?

Good point, except the ribbon takes up a few pixels less height than the previous menu bar + two toolbar set up.

As for the collapsed ribbon, that takes up even less.

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Re: ability to discern pictures more quickly than words

ThomH: "once you can rely on people's ability to discern pictures more quickly than words"

That's the mistaken thinking that got Microsoft so deep into trouble. I distinguish text faster and more accurately than icons, always have done and I don't see much chance that will change. Especially now the UI world is on a rampage to eliminate skeumorphism, in favour of increasingly cryptic symbols. Additionally I only have to learn the layout of a text UI compared to learning the symbols AND their layout.

In case you haven't guessed that's a large part of why I find the new Start Screen unusable, though the sheer bloated space wasting, extra mouse use nature of is a bigger problem. It's also a huge part of why I use the classic text based start Menu instead of trying to spot the right icon in a sea of them, a sea that Windows loves to rearrange before I can learn it.

I'm near the extreme spectrum on this but I'm not alone and it would be nice if Microsoft remembered we're all different and stopped trying to reduce our options.

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Re: ability to discern pictures more quickly than words

It's not necessarily the ability to discern words quicker than pictures that's the issue, it's that the words never change. Delete is always delete, paste is always paste, cut is slways cut, but have two programs that do the same thing, or even two versions of the same program, and the pictures to do common functions will be in a small or large way, different, and then starts the hunt. It's even worse when you change the interface style, because then every icon has to change to match the interface, so every icon has to be relearnt, but guess what? Delete is still delete, paste is still psate and cut is still cut.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision”

No.

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Thumb Up

Re: “advance the bold vision”

"Then once you can rely on people's ability to discern pictures more quickly than words, "

The trouble is , when you know your way around the menus - the words become pictures, in that you don't actually read them , you scan down to the symbol (word) that you recognise by its position in the menu. you don't really 'read' them at that level.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision”

"also the kernel is appartantly 1/2 a decade ahead of the Windows one"

That article is by a troll. Not wanting to dilute your argument with any facts or anything, but in most functional benchmarks Windows outperforms Linux on the same hardware (e.g file server, database server, directory server, NFS server, Hypervisor, graphics, local large file copy, etc.)

It is also usually Linux playing catchup with Windows kernel features in between major Windows releases - and the underlying architecture of the Linux kernel is many decades old (monolithic) whereas Windows is a more recent modular (hybrid microkernel) design...

Not wanting to dilute your argument with any facts or anything...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision”

I would say its because you obviously have little experience with pre ribbon menus and how intuitive they were and how you could use keyboard short cuts and didnt need to google how to perform a basic command.

Ribbon sucks mouldy donkey but we are stuck with it

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@jaywin: Re: “advance the bold vision”

It's true the default toolbars on older version of Office take up a hell of a lot of space as well. Thing is, if you've got a lot of horizontal and not so much vertical space, like your average widescreen moniter, you can move your toolbars to the side. If there is a way to do this on Office 2007 or later, it's rather well hidden. It's almost as if the designers of the ribbon never considered monitor ratios other than 4:3.

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Re: ability to discern pictures more quickly than words

I distinguish text faster and more accurately than icons, always have done and I don't see much chance that will change.

I just can't express how true this statement is. Google have similar approach actually, so Microsoft should not be singled out.a Unless you are the designer remembering/associating pictures to actions always seem extra trouble till the point I have to hover the icon to realize what it is.

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Facepalm

Re: “advance the bold vision”

Good point, except the ribbon takes up a few pixels less height than the previous menu bar + two toolbar set up.

The toolbars are optional, you know. If you're short of screen space you can turn them off -- or dock them to the side of the window -- and the menu alone takes less space than the ribbon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision”

@AC 08:19

I hear this a lot but seriously dont believe (based on my pretty limited experience). I know this is subjective but I bought a cheap windows 7 laptop just as everything went to windows 8 (didnt want the change). I uninstalled the crapware and didnt have any high expectations from it but it was so painfully unusable. I had also decided to dual boot with linux mint because I believe in the right OS for the job and for me thats sometimes windows other times its linux.

While it took a few seconds longer to boot I found that linux mint (not tried any other on the lappy) actually runs at what I would consider a cheap mid range machines performance. Everything responds as I click it, all animations flow as they should and while apps are not instantly on screen the delay is very short. Finally the keyboard and mouse are responsive.

Compared to the win7 experience this is a huge difference. From a basic fresh install windows loads a few second quicker on boot. Logging in is very slow and the keyboard/mouse get laggy whenever the computer thinks about anything. Applications open eventually but the wait is very irritating and it causes the computer to lag. The performance was so unusable I stopped using it completely.

I am not pushing linux over windows and I am sure this laptop could run XP perfectly fine. But as a win7 machine vs linux mint there is no doubt that linux runs better and uses less resources.

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Re: “advance the bold vision”

That article is by a troll. Not wanting to dilute your argument with any facts or anything, but in most functional benchmarks Windows outperforms Linux on the same hardware (e.g file server, database server, directory server, NFS server, Hypervisor, graphics, local large file copy, etc.)

Citation needed, I mean badly!! In my humble experience Windows is nowhere near Linux's epoll [1].

Not wanting to dilute your argument with any facts or anything...

Show some references, please. Otherwise it's just trolling.

[1]: http://linux.die.net/man/4/epoll

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MJI
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Re: ability to discern pictures more quickly than words

Pictures vs text been having a look at various software here in the office.

Well what does a frying pan mean?

Or a yellow nose?

Or a combine harvester?

Various old bits of card in different colours?

Hover over them and......

What does a frying pan have to to with searches?

What does a yellow nose have to do with reminders?

Or a combine with printing?

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Unhappy

Re: “advance the bold vision”

"They don't even need to compromise one UI with the other, they could offer 2 editions of Windows 8 ("touch" and "desktop") between which customers can choose."

Or even simply just offer the choice at install or first login of which you want as the default which you can change later via control panel. To not do something so obvious was just bloody minded and petty.

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Re: shortcuts

Shortcuts are still there on the new versions of office.

If you are used to the old shortcuts from 2003 you can use those OR you can use the new shortcuts which are displayed on the screen.

you even get shortcuts for you Add-ins e.g. on my Outlook the sequence alt, X, Y2 sends an SMS with my SMS Add-in.

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Holmes

Re: “advance the bold vision”

... is exactly what I've done; my current six Windows 7 machines will be the last Microsoft OS-installed machines I will ever have: it is Linux, now and future, for my computing needs...

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Thumb Up

Re: ability to discern pictures more quickly than words

Right from the my very first experience of Windows Server 2008 (then later Win7 and 8) the first change I make is to restore the names on the taskbar icons instead of just the icons.

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Unhappy

Re: MJI

I have the same here with some calling the hour glass a "little iron". I understand their frustration too, as suppose to some here who would shout them down.

Personally I like the ability to have both options? Why? Because I'm not too proud to admit people are different. Some prefer images, some prefer text. Some are bind or visually impaired and require one or the other.

Being dyslexic myself, I prefer a (non-autohide) menu bar for ease of understanding, and simple (but configurable) icons (not ribbons!) because a ribbon hides menus, and my word/icon memory is so poor I forget what/where things are.

This is also with years of, basic user, experience with Windows 3.1, 95, XP and 7. WIndows 8 hides so much information, replaces some with text, some with icons, with now where or why, and it's rather confusing. :(

I can use software that is 100% text, or 100% icon gui. I can use software that uses both and is customizable. If the software hides menus, but does not use context sensitive pop ups (try doing that in a word document!), then it's shooting it's self in the foot.

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Re: I don't believe MS are past the denial stage yet

Even marketing types are subject to the discipline of the market. Given that Reller has access to the real numbers from Win8 and not just the fluffed up press release numbers the rest of us read, I can believe they have been sufficiently chastised to rescind their bad choice.

Of course, that also means those numbers are really, really frighteningly bad if you are an MS exec.

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Re: someone who designed builds for corporate laptops/desktops

Agreed.

When the Help Desk can't assume they can start an instruction with "Click on the Start Button" because a user might not know what the Start button is, lockdown is the only choice.

We offer some choices at the desk I work on now. I don't want to tell you the number of dead silences I get when I ask "Which browser are you using? IE, Firefox, or Chrome?" Or worse, the number of people who confidently answer "Firefox" and then when you visit their desk or remote it, they are running the Big Blue e, version 8* (which you know doesn't support that Google Apps feature and would have made troubleshooting the problem so much simpler).

*yes I know, IE 10 is out, 11 will be soon. We consider it a victory we were able to get them off IE6. And there are troubling but legitimate business reasons to keep them on 8.

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Boffin

Re: “advance the bold vision”

you can rely on people's ability to discern pictures more quickly than words

Can you cite any reliable evidence for this? It seems to be widely believed, but personally I doubt it.

The process of see word->read word->associate with concept is complicated and hard to understand, but it's very well-trained in literate people. It's fast enough to allow assimilation of pages of text at an average rate of one word every quarter second.

In the case of pictures, the idea is that process is more like see image->associate image with concept. The trouble is that the relationship between a picture and a concept is far vaguer than that between a word and a concept, so the second step in the process is slow, and may require some sort of probabilistic filtering produce an unambiguous result. This is one of the reasons why alphabetic writing displaced pictograms.

I get very annoyed with instruction leaflets that decide to set the clock back 47 centuries and communicate entirely in pictures. In the case of taskbar buttons, I find I often click one with the wrong icon but similar colours to the one I want, and I don't find a blue elephant to be the obvious symbol for a database.

Road signs are probably the exception, because they use a small set of images and you're obliged to learn what they mean, but even then some of the more obscure road signs require a lot of mental gear-churning before you can be certain what they mean.

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@Kubla Cant

I think the whole recognition thing came from the marketing department as an attempt to sell a cost cutting feature.

Yes, in English you and I (probably) think faster in words than pictures. Not so much in Spanish or German and God forbid trying to decrypt even non-kanji Japanese. If you are releasing programs in all those languages plus 40 others, you start to run into issues with screen layout because the words are different lengths in different languages. Make it a picture with a word balloon if you hover over it and you solve the programming issue as well as reducing your code base. In short it's a win for everybody but the users.

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Childcatcher

Re: “advance the bold vision”

Any evidence for your claims? I still want to meet someone who likes ribbons or metro 8^)

Microsoft taking risks? I have no idea what you mean. They are stuck with an OS that is still single user focused with lousy networking capabilties, slow and resource hungry.

So the only the risk they are taking is "let's see if people pay for low quality". Surprisingly, a lot do.An in that, it's not a risk then anymore 8^)

/Zane

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision” I call bull

Professional applications such as InDesign and QuarkXPress have easier and simpler interfaces than Word. By trying to hand hold its customers it's now nothing but bloatware.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: “advance the bold vision”

Problem is of course, is most users just want a updated Windows 7. Give us the speed improvements in Windows 8 and put Aero back that you took away to discourage us from using "old windows"...

Windows 8 was never about what USERS wanted, it was about Microsoft selling us lots of apps Apple-style, hence ramming metro interface down everyone's throat.

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Re: @Tom 13

" In short it's a win for everybody but the users."

Put more bluntly: 500mil users need to suffer so 1000 Microsoft engineers can be lazy.

Except the localisation work is incremental and mostly already done in any Windows iteration. It's happening now because marketing demands that all products in their plan be reduced to the lowest common factors, otherwise the Win8 everywhere message doesn't work. Somehow they overlooked that the resulting products don't work either.

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WTF?

@John Savard Re: natural monopoly

Natural monopolies only occur when there is a _physical_ reason for the monopoly - not market reasaons. An example of a natural monopoly would be power distribution, or even better would be a mining facility. Extremely high capital costs or there's only one (or only several) place(s) to get the material.

However, being a perceived monopoly (a la Microsoft) could be a determining factor for government intervention to to monopolistic practices. In MS case, it's really a shame that politics got involved and they didn't get more intervention because of their proven monopolistic practices (as proven by the courts in MS v. Word Perfect)

As far as name recognition, you have a point. In the case of Linux, it's taken off despite the lack of name recognition for Linux itself, but Red Hat seems to have taken off in several sectors (like server space) despite not having the name recognition.

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Joke

Re: ability to discern pictures more quickly than words

Maybe it's Cockney rhyming slang in icon form?

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