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back to article It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources

Microsoft's forthcoming wave of Windows updates will streamline the OS and will even see the return of the much-missed Start menu, according to new reports. Rumors that Redmond is planning a new round of updates to the various forms of its OS first surfaced last week, with ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reporting that Microsoft will …

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Add a one time install option to use a traditional start menu and assign default file associations to desktop instead of Modern apps, and 99% of the whinging will go away.

If you could also pick up Modern apps from the start menu icon and drag to snap onto the desktop...boom. Best of both, desktop people are happy, Modern is still there so people can use the nice aspects of it and get used to it, slab users stay as is.

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Have you tried Stardock's ModernMix? It's worth a look - that and Start8 available for $7.99.

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To be honest, this would only solve 35% of my whinging. I still have a significant number of gripes with Windows 8 - not the least being that Microsoft seem to think that their own customers aren't worth listening to - but this would move it from "no go" territory into "I will reluctantly agree to work with this".

The other 50% of my whinging won't be addressed until Microsoft deal with the clusterfuck that is VDI licensing.

If Microsoft is serious about fixing Windows 8, then the instant I see proof that this is happening I will write Microsoft a personal thank you, a thank you from my company (a Microsoft Partner) as well as publish a thank you on The Register, WeBreakTech, Trevorpott.com, Petri.co.il and everywhere else I can get it published. They will deserve that for finally acknowledging that we are the customer and we won't buy something unless it meets our needs.

But Microsoft and I can't be friends until VDI licensing is fixed. That's just the way it has to be.

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Having listened to almost the entire world Microsoft realise they should be selling a product that people want rather than a product they say we should have.

Most likely find sales of Win 8 will increase in a significant scale.

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"Having listened to almost the entire world Microsoft realise they should ....."

You lost me there, I'm afraid.

Microsoft don't listen, they never have, they never will. This is simply a further financial knee jerk reaction to the slow motion commercial car crash that is Windows 8.

If Microsoft had listened to the W8 beta testers they wouldn't be in this mess. If they reacted quickly to the disastrous launch and negative publicity they wouldn't be here. If they'd listened in the meanwhile, looked at the various shell extensions the market is offering to fix W8, and then done 8.1 properly they wouldn't be in this place. So what are the chances of Microsoft listening and 8.2 doing the necessary job?

Give me any occaision when Microsoft have showed real contrition, recognised a past mistake, listened to users, and made appropriate amends? Take Vista - they did fix it in the end - but you had to pay for the fixed version that they called Windows 7. Leaving customers to put up with the dogs breakfast of Vista for eighteen months, and then expecting them to stump up twice for a working, stable OS, is that the same as contrition and listening to users?

I would point out I'm using W8.1 on the small fleet of home and family machines I support, and with Classic Shell it is probably even better than W7. But Microsoft's failed attempt to mollify the peasants with a 3.5 Gb reinstall, that failed to being back the functionality that people wanted shows the bad place they are in.

How can it require a near full OS reinstall and 3.5 gig of code to add a sodding start button that has virtually no functionality, when third party add ons bring vastly more capability in less than 1% of the same volume of code? And given all this, what is the chance that Microsoft will manage to get it right third time. Worse still, all these repeat attempts to fix W8 distract management from critical things like security. There is no reason in 2013 why Windows should not be as secure for the average user as OS X. Instead it remains a rats nest of critical vulnerabilities, or weeping security sores, with zero day flaws cropping up with monotonous regularity. Meanwhile all the executive effort over the past three years has goine into forcing an unsuitable and unwanted new UI onto customers, and then repeat efforts to fix the resulting problems.

Can a leopard change its spots? Probably not, but Microsoft aren't even trying.

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Have you tried Stardock's ModernMix? It's worth a look - that and Start8 available for $7.99.

I love how the MicroSoft apologists are of the belief that an additional Piece of Third-Party Commercial Software (In this case as per the usual), from Stardock for $7.99(USD), can make up for all the ills of MicroSoft's $175.00+(USD) Piece of sh-- OS...

If this Story has the least bit of creditability to it, they [i.e. MicroSoft] would do very well indeed to step it up a few notches and be ready to launch next Spring.

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Pint

"...a UI designed for keyboards and mice."

"...a UI designed for keyboards and mice."

OMG, what an amazing concept. It would be quite useful to have a UI designed for keyboards and mice for all those PCs that are equipped with keyboards and mice.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

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"This is simply a further financial knee jerk reaction to the slow motion commercial car crash that is Windows 8."

Actually Windows + Office revenue is up and still increasing....

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Too right!

I agree 100% with you. "Classic Shell" is a superb, free-of-charge add-on to Windows 8 which turns it into a faster Windows 7 desktop arrangement. Security is simply not being addressed properly by the mainstream players. I wrote a free-of-charge security product for Windows ( jacobsm.com/mjsoft.htm ) called MJ Registry Watcher that safeguards the registry and all system files by monitoring for changes and, when something does attempt to change one of these sensitive system areas, it instantly undoes the change and allows you to choose whether to allow the change to happen. It uses next to no resources, runs on everything from Windows 95 to Windows 8.1, and does not need any signature files to be kept up-to-date. If anything tries to get into an "auto-start" situation, MJ Registry Watcher will stop it and kill it! It has silent modes of operation, including a service mode, and it can email people when alerts occur, for example, when it is running on our public-facing web-servers, it can keep my team informed of any changes to the server's configuration. <sweeping generalisation>All the best software is free-of-charge!</sweeping generalisation>

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Re: "...a UI designed for keyboards and mice."

...but not just any keyboard or mouse ...

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Re: "...but not just any keyboard or mouse ..."

...the keyboard and mouse that iGod(TM) gave you!

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@AC

"Actually Windows + Office revenue is up and still increasing...."

I beg to differ.

My (small) company is (/ was?) a Microsoft reseller, simply because I think there's a good and honest market for desktops with Windows 7 and Office 2010. I also think quite positively about Server 2008. Heck, we even sold several solutions and some customers who we're still in contact with are still quite happy with their environment(s).

But the thing is; I can't sell Windows 8. Not merely because I hate it with a passion and steer clear from it best I can, but because my company simply doesn't have the resources required for its after sales. Meaning: getting customers on the phone at a regular interval because they're having a hard time with Windows 8. This goes double when those customers have upgraded from Windows XP. That is our experience, we sold a few Windows 8 licenses to customers who upgraded their Windows XP versions and didn't want the "old" Windows 7 but the most current Windows. Even though the EOL of both products lies closely together.

A first walk though on site went normally. But then, several days later, the real issues began. Because those customers don't turn to Microsoft or the Internet or whatever for support. They turn to us. Rightfully so, after all we sold it to them, but ye gods...

And for those who don't understand my frustration: the after sales,or support, goes out of our own pocket. We make a profit on selling the license, we make a lot more profit on the time required to setup their environment, but we don't make any money on trying to help people out over the phone. That only costs us time and time is money.

Office 2013? Apart from Microsoft's own push of their 365 subscription model this is also something I'd rather not sell. In our experience a lot of people who upgrade from 2010 (or earlier) run into issues as well. Usually small issues, but annoyances still.

Personally I think that Office 2013 has had a huge makeover to first make sure it would look at feel as closely as possible to the Office 365 web interface, which I consider a huge setback given the limited functionality of said web interface. But second to cover for the lack of functionality which you have in Windows 8.

Think about it: in Win7 I can start Word from my start menu or jump right to a file which I'm after. If Word sits in the "recent program list" (the left side of your start menu) or has been docked on the task bar then you can simply hover or right click and enter the jumplists. All your recently used files, with also an option to pin files which you need to be available at all times.

Windows 8 doesn't have this any more. That is; you can still pin icons on your desktop application's taskbar, but that makes working a whole lot more trivial: "Click start, click the desktop, right click the Word icon and access the jumplist".

So what did MS do? The moment you start Word you're taken directly to the "back stage" view where you can opt to start a new document or open an old one. You can't tell Word that it should always start with a new document unless you're opening one yourself.

All of those changes annoy a lot of Office users it seems. Quite frankly we saw our sale numbers go down, not up. But do keep in mind that we're a rather small company, and selling software and the likes is not our core business.

Microsofts problem is that they're still not used to competition. They're totally clueless. Even up to a point where they introduce change for the sake of change because, in their vision, "change sells". Apparently unaware that if people don't like said change they either don't upgrade or worse: bail and jump on the competitors bandwagon.

Amazingly enough we did see a rise in people asking us about OpenOffice (after which we also make them aware of LibreOffice) as well as asking us how much it would cost them for us to come over and install it.

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Re: the MicroSoft apologists

Whilst yes third-party software shouldn't be necessary to deliver basic functionality, it shouldn't be forgotten that with Win3.n (and to a lesser extent with later versions) it was normal to have to use (and pay for) third-party utility software to deliver useful functionality...

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>>> Have you tried Stardock's ModernMix? It's worth a look - that and Start8 available for $7.99.

Why have so many commentards voted this down? It's good advice and the ModernMix/Start8 combo is excellent.

Morons

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It's probably because of some stupid internet thing about hating the founder of Stardock, or something.

Who honestly cares. You constantly have to buy things through people which probably aren't all that great.

Maybe that local greengrocer hit his wife. Maybe the local butcher runs red lights.

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Had enough of Microsoft..

They deserve to be stuck in the past for the sake of us all

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

They definitely deserve to be stuck in the past.

Please, please, STFU about the start menu. Android, iOS, OSX, Ubuntu (”stock") are all just fine without something similar.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

Android and iOS are consumptive, monotasking operating systems. You don't do productivity work on them, so nobody cares overmuch if they suck giant monkey balls at actually being useful.

OSX has a dock bar that is almost a start menu - it's far better than Windows' task bar - and it has an application folder that works just like a start menu, can be resized, moved around, and - most critically - can be on the screen at the same time as other items, important for then you're trying to follow instructions or do research.

Ubuntu with unity is quite shit, as the rise of Mint has proven more than adequately.

An OS without a productivity interface is fine for the majority of devices because the majority of devices are consumptive - not productive - in nature. There are still hundreds of millions of units per year that will ship with a productive OS, even if that number is overwhelmingly dwarfed by the consumptive fondletat.

So, STFU about your desire to impose your way of life on everyone else. We're demanding choice. You're demanding we don't get access to said choice. That makes you an asshole, pure and simple.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

Any interface that demands the pre-requisite knowledge that you have to hover the pointer over this particular screen edge and quickly move it in a certain way in order to access e.g. the settings menu is f***ed up big time. The whole idea of WIMP and GUI is exactly that, it's got visual feedback. Out of the box, Windows 8 alienates the end user. OK, so with OSX you can hide the dock etc. but you can control that behaviour - hot corners turned off by default, dock hiding turned off by default etc etc. Windows 8, turn it on and it's not so much an OOBE, but a WTF?E

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers @Trevor_Pott 10:17

"So, STFU about your desire to impose your way of life on everyone else. We're demanding choice. You're demanding we don't get access to said choice. That makes you an asshole, pure and simple."

He's demanding no such thing. He's asking that you stop whining. As for imposing one's way of life on everyone else? Always seems to be the goal of those who don't like MS rather than the other way round, to be honest. At least you were right when you earlier admitted to being a loud-mouthed opinionated dick.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers @Trevor_Pott 10:17

No, he's pretty clear that he believes OSes are better without a start menu and that he would much rather future versions of Windows - or anything else, for that matter - don't come with them. In other words, he wants everyone else to not have choice regarding their OS UI simply because he prefers something different.

Demanding that those who protest a lack of choice be silent is a dick move. Almost as big of a dick move as denying individuals choice in the first place. Shockingly, however, I think you'll find that I don't hold the opinions of assholes like him - or supports of assholes such as yourself - in high regard at all.

I'd go so far as to say I hold them in sever contempt. Contempt enough that their anger, irritation and moral outrage are like the duclet tones on pure ecstasy to me. I revel in their outrage. I dine upon their annoyance. I revel in their pettiness.

So yeah, I stand up for the little guy, I demand choice and I believe that your money is yours to spend as you choose; you shouldn't be tricked, coerced, locked-in, or otherwise made to buy what you don't want. I believe that if you want to sell something you should have to sell what people want. 'm a loud-mouthed opinionated dick that's for the people.

The dude above is an asshole, and you're a jackass. Isn't the internet awesome? Have a great time, buddy, and I hope one day you find something that brings you joy other than stepping on others. Seems like you could use something worthwhile in your life. Peace.

Edited to add: and where is it written that I don't like MS? The endpoint division can go fuck itself with a rusty rake - though maybe I'll decide otherwise if they fix Windows 8 - and I hate the licensing department more than all but a handful of humans on earth. That's well known. But there's lots of Microsoft, and I am pretty much in love with the STB guys. How binary does one's mind have to be that criticism of one area must be hatred for the whole?

Microsoft and I can't be friends because continuing to give them money is validating their bad decisions. That doesn't mean I don't think there's a shitload of fantastic, intelligent people doing great works there, because there are.

It means that I don't give the person abusing me a shiny new tungsten baseball bat on their birthday. I walk the fuck out of the house and don't come back until they had a quite serious amount of counselling. Things for you to consider (if that is indeed something you are willing and capable of doing.)

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers @Trevor_Pott 10:17

I'm also a loudmouthed, opinionated dick who can't spell. Really should put Swype on this thing and get used to using it. Or get a keyboard cover. Hmm....now I want a keyboard cover for a Galaxy Note 2...

Edit: well there's lots for that 10.1" monstrosity that uses the note name, but I'm having the devil's own time finding one for the phone. Curses!

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

It's not about choice, I don't get to make the design decisions, I only get to use what Microsoft, Apple, Canonical, et al, decide to provide. At some some point in the evolution of their products all those vendors have to make a change & we consumers are obliged to accomodate those changes (by accepting or moving on)

Microsoft have had to make significant choices in order to stay relevant (maintain share) in the onslaught of mobile & cloud, their entrenchment as the legacy owner of the desktop workstation OS drove something radical.

From a productivity perspective, I have always found the Windows Start menu & selecting items from it to actually be a hinderance. I developed my use of keyboard shortcuts, the Windows 8 app selection process is very easy: hit the start key, type a few unique characters of the application name & you're there.

I'm disappointed that posters resort to personal insults while describing their point of view against others. I don't think that's necessary but a little profanity (in an adjective form) or terseness should be excused as we don't all have the time to post in verbose form and, really, is commenting that serious an endeavour?

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

And, how are these things similar to WIndows? Barring Ubuntu, which is also a piece of junk. Which is why I use Mint Linux....

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

" we consumers are obliged to accomodate those changes (by accepting or moving on)"

Bullshit. We are obliged to do no such thing. We have free will and the right to lobby corporations, designers and even governments to reverse decisions we don't like. We have the right to lobby for choice. We have no obligation whatsoever to simply suck it up and take it.

Doubly so when there is "nowhere else to go." And let me pre-empt the bullshit "well it's simple to just up and change" by saying that if you were even thinking that was a legitimate bit of internet commentard assholishness I hope a bus hits you in the crotch. Repeatedly. You fucking know better.

You stand up to bullies, you don't mew meekly in a corner. Bullies com in all forms, even monopolistic corporations with a death grip on a market segment. Especially monopolistic corporations with a death grip on a market segment. You are under no obligation to hand your abuser back the baseball bat after they're done beating you just because there's no other shelter you can find.

Your worldview makes me despair.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. @ Wanda Lust

"I'm disappointed that posters resort to personal insults while describing their point of view against others. I don't think that's necessary but a little profanity (in an adjective form) or terseness should be excused...."

So telling people they are "whingers", and because you don't share their opinion they should "STFU" should be excused because you don't like the vitriolic response that it got?

Idiot.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

Only use Ubuntu regularly - it's awful too.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

"It's not about choice, I don't get to make the design decisions, I only get to use what Microsoft, Apple, Canonical, et al, decide to provide. "

No. It really is about choice. I make choices all the time, i life and not just computers ... and I don't rely on people telling me what I want.

" At some some point in the evolution of their products all those vendors have to make a change & we consumers are obliged to accomodate those changes (by accepting or moving on)"

No. I am not obliged to accommodate anything I don't like... See me point about choice above.

"I developed my use of keyboard shortcuts"

So do I, in Windows 7 it works just fine.

"I'm disappointed that posters resort to personal insults while describing their point of view against others. "

So, I would suggest you tone down the condescending tone of your post to stop inviting them.

" I don't think that's necessary but a little profanity (in an adjective form) or terseness should be excused as we don't all have the time to post in verbose form and, really, is commenting that serious an endeavour?"

Again, do you see the condescending slant there?

How can you argue that we should not have a choice? How do you feel justified with that?

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

> Please, please, STFU about the start menu.

Seriously, go fuck yourself.

Search-for-everything is an utterly retarded UI design decision, in Windows 8 and in Ubuntu.

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>>> Only use Ubuntu regularly - it's awful too.

I installed Ubuntu earlier this year.

First impression: Awesome and does everything windows does. Why doesn't everyone install this?

Second impression: It crashes and hangs. A lot. Yet the Linux pricks still talk about the BSOD that no one has seen since around 2001.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

> I installed Ubuntu earlier this year

I'm sorry to hear that. As you've noticed it's temperamental and has almost as bad GUI as Windows 8. To this day I've been unable to get Ubuntu Desktop to run stably in emulation (Ubuntu Server is a completely different beast, perhaps because it doesn't have a GUI).

I recommend Linux Mint instead, it's a considerably more pleasant experience. As a bonus it too is based on Debian, so all commands, tips & tricks for Ubuntu also work with Linux Mint.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

"At some some point in the evolution of their products all those vendors have to make a change & we consumers are obliged to accomodate those changes (by accepting or moving on)"

Rubbish. If Microsoft implement a crap interface and provide no way of working around it, I'm not forced to either accept it or move to a different OS (ie Linux). The third option is to shun that particular version of Windows, stick with one that works properly for what I use it for (Windows 7), then make damn sure that Microsoft is aware that I think Windows 8 is a mistake.

If everyone quietly accepts even when they disagree, MS will continue to steamroller over everyone. If enough people shun that version of Windows and complain, MS eventually are forced to react. They did it with Vista (by fixing it and calling it Windows 7), then they tried to do the same thing with Windows 8.1 (although not successfully - hence the continuing complains and the further planned concessions).

And to go back to the first point, nobody is demanding that MS get rid of Metro and force the Start Menu on everyone again. I'm fully aware that not everyone loves it. The only thing anyone is asking for is choice. MS used to provide this, Windows 8 is the first version that doesn't. That is the crux of the problem.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

Don't hold back, Trevor. Say what you really think :-)

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

I can't say what I really think. If I did I'd never be allowed to write on these forums again. Believe me, this is quite toned down.

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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. start menu whingers

I expect you think that the marketing ploy called "The Ribbon" is usable as well.

Despite the fact that 60% of users still hate it apparently.

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Too little, too late?

They might as well extend the XP support period until 2015 which is when most people will next upgrade unless they absolutely have to.

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Re: Too little, too late?

Frankly if they even charged a modest fee for support of XP until 2015 many people would be happy to pay.

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Re: Too little, too late?

Well it's too late for me. I didn't like the direction MS was going with Windows and as I don't game anymore I decided to move to Linux full time (I was prevously only dabbling in it). I appreciate that it's not for everyone and there are annoyances with it for me but the choice of how I want it to look and act was the killer decision.

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Re: Too little, too late?

" I didn't like the direction MS was going with Windows and as I don't game anymore."

Boy are you in for some bad news now that Steam is on Linux then....

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Re: Too little, too late?

5 Thumbs down for SteamOS / Box? Naggh this place isn't pwned by MicroSoft Shrills now is it?

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Proxies

I just wish they'd add proper proxy support to Metro apps. You can now import the IE desktop proxy settings via the command line but it only works for fixed proxies. It doesn't do proxy.pac or WPAD which is a 100% necessity here. Which means I can't even get weather.

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Re: Proxies

To be fair, that's where you're going wrong - Metro apps are totally pointless and not actually intended for use.

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So.. Three different versions of Windows... one for the Home desktop, one for enterprise, and one for slates and phones.

Is this as well as, or instead of the current Slate and Phone versions?

Is there a migration path if it's replacing those?

Will it be a simple upgrade from current versions, or a product by product roll out?

... I'm getting a thoroughly Modern headache!

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Microsoft put considerable effort into convincing developers there would be platform convergence and at least broad app compatibility across pc,tablet and phone before completely failing to deliver it in Win8. Today's plan is little more than saying "trust us, this time we'll really deliver what we promised last time".

The only change is finally conceding they cocked up the desktop+mouse+keyboard experience though I'll be shocked if they actually revert the metro look&feel vandalism that makes it so unpleasant to use. Good thing 3rd parties have already reverted out most of the chrome breakage - the vanished or de-emphasised visual cues that just make metro mode look dull in comparison.

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re: different versions

Home, enterprise, slates, phones. Isn't that four versions? Although the home and enterprise OS systems run the same code, so three after all. Then again 32-bit x86 systems don't run 64-bit and 64-bit won't run DOS software... And I thought WinPho was a subset of WinRT or something like that. And Windows CE is still available. So how many code bases do we have?

Can I run any selected 32-bit Linux ELF binaries on Android devices? If the software needs re-compilation what's the difference? ARM compiled software won't work on MIPS platforms without compilation and more or less source diving. Doesn't this apply to Windows and Apple software as well?

OSX and IOS are incompatible. Why aren't people whining about this? Apple, of all vendors, should have the means of unifying things because they're the sole provider of both OS's and the hardware as well. Rosetta made it work when they transitioned to Intel a decade ago.

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OSX and IOS are incompatible. Why aren't people whining about this?

Because one's a consumptive OS and the other's a productive OS and there isn't a rational reason the twain should meet?

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Re: re: different versions

> OSX and IOS are incompatible. Why aren't people whining about this?

Possibly because Apple never made a big deal of how they'd have the same codebase and be able to run the same software irregardless of hardware? Microsoft did that, you know. As recently as last year Microsoft still maintained that all versions of windows were supposed to have converged by 2014.

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Start Screen vs Start Menu

Please don't bring the start menu!

Ok from Win 95 through Win2000 it was a good idea compared from what went before. Having a button in the bottom corner which was a constant and therefore could always be accessed made using a computer a lot easier, having a simple menu structure activate from that button was logical. I feel things started to go downhill when WinXP arrived with a two column start menu. In Vista is just got far too complicated, a lot of functions were cramed into a small area, it got more difficult to use and navigate, as well as slower to use.

The Start Screen could be a great interface, at the moment it just feels underdeveloped. Having the much larger area of the whole screen should give a better experience. If they improved the layout flexibility, the auto-arrange-inverted-gravity is a bit of a pain (Win Phone has a similar problem but it is a bit better).

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