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back to article Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor

The Windows rumor mill is buzzing yet again, with word that Microsoft is planning yet another update to Windows 8.1 that will ship in the fall, possibly to be followed by a new, cloud-centric version of Windows that will be available free of charge. This latest scuttlebutt once again arrives care of Russian pirate group "WZor," …

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Anonymous Coward

please, not the start menu

One of the nice features of Windows 8.x to my mind was the disappearance of the old start menu, it had got to feel well past its sell by date. I've seen a lot of grumbling about start menu removal by vociferous people who don't want to use Win8 or have a thing about Microsoft but not much from normal people.

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Re: please, not the start menu

I use Windows 8.1 for my main PC (I installed it for Visual Studio 2012 C++/CX), and I tried using the "Start Screen", but frankly it is shit because it is just not finished; doesn't work with big screens; doesn't multitask very well; with huge amounts of screen real-estate dedicated to looking good from ten yards away in shops.

When they get round to finishing it, it'll be more like Windows Phone and might well be pretty neat, but won't work much like the current "start screen" because that one is shit

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Re: please, not the start menu

Oh well. I'm sure some enterprising 3rd parties will make a start screen replacement for you.

If that sounds snarky, that's because it is.

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Re: please, not the start menu

The tile implementation is broken on a desktop or a non-touchscreen laptop. It's an unpleasant place to work. Plenty of 'normal people' feel that way, despite your lazy dismissal of anyone who doesn't share your view. I own a Windows phone and I like it and I think Win8 works really well on small-form factor touchscreen devices such as tablets and phones.

The removal of all the functionality everyone's used to using has to be done for a good reason. Good reasons do not include "All computers must look the same, BY ORDER" or "Our marketing department told us that the start menu is so last week". Start menu removal was a dismal failure and was done badly and annoyed the very demographic that Microsoft HAD TO WIN OVER in order to sell their product - the geeks like me, who, when people say "What's Windows 8 like", say "It's a royal PITA and you should stick with Win7". Microsoft didn't learn that lesson with Vista. Maybe they'll learn it now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: please, not the start menu

> Oh well. I'm sure some enterprising 3rd parties will make a start screen replacement for you.

Indeed... if the Start Screen was such a big hit, enterprising 3rd parties would be selling a work-alike shell for earlier versions of Windows.

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Re: please, not the start menu

The question of whether the Start Screen is popular or not, is not the same as the question of whether it is better. It's been the victim of a lot of reflexive hate from the start, from people who never assessed it objectively and just hate change. A tech community of all things ought to be more open to new things, but the same neophobia prevails here just as much as it does in the rest of the species. Only with more sophisticated rationalizations.

I hope this is a fake and MS stick to their guns like they did with the Ribbon. You don't get anywhere by listening to old people who get angry at change. Especially in a shrinking market.

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Re: please, not the start menu

@h4rm0ny

the screen certainly looks like a fake. This doesn't alter the fact that the Start Screen is entirely inappropriate for desktop computers and one of Microsoft's bigger mistakes.

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Re: please, not the start menu

The Start Screen had "been the victim of a lot of reflexive hate from the start, from people who never assessed it objectively and just hate change."

Yes. And the change they hate is the sudden change from one working environment to another, just to launch a program.

It jars every single time - thankfully, it's only necessary for things I run less often; the rest is either pinned to the taskbar, or on the desktop.

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Re: please, not the start menu

How about the majority who just want software vendors to give users options instead of "take it or leave it"? That isn't really that hard to understand.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: please, not the start menu

Well... why not just have an option, for 'normal' people they could choose the spangly dangly new Metro/TIFKAM/LiveTile thingy and the 'vociferous' people could have a normal start menu with no popping back to the lovely new interface.

It's only the 'vociferous' bunch who will be harmed by not having the 'oh so efficient' tile interface and the *vast* majority (the 'normal' people) would get the just dandy new interface.

As there would obviously be so many normal people taking up the new and improved, Microsoft-knows-best interface then there would be absolutely NO problem and *everyone* would be happy :-D :-D :-D

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Re: please, not the start menu

What is the employment benefits for working at MS?

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Re: please, not the start menu

from people who never assessed it objectively and just hate change.

Making a lot of assumptions there. Maybe some of us decided to try it, got a VM spun up, fiddled with it for a little while, and now the VM image sits there gathering dust except for the occasional run to see how much more the latest update has buggered things? Myself, I'll see what the new rumoured menu does if it arrives, and if it's shit, the disk image sits in a dark corner of the hard drive with a dunce cap on yet again.

Seriously, if a pipsqueak upstart like Canonical can manage to officially support at least three different desktop environments with their Linux distribution, I'm sure Microsoft could manage "Metro" and "Classic", or whatever they want to call it.

I hope this is a fake and MS stick to their guns like they did with the Ribbon.

Best thing Microsoft ever did... from the viewpoint of the LO.o and OO.o devs. There's a lot of people who wouldn't even be contemplating looking for alternatives if it wasn't for the Ribbon.

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Re: please, not the start menu

>>"As there would obviously be so many normal people taking up the new and improved, Microsoft-knows-best interface then there would be absolutely NO problem and *everyone* would be happy :-D :-D :-D"

I'm fine with the choice. My fear is that there wont be one and that all the defaults will alter perpetuating people being stuck in the old paradigm through not being aware of something I consider better. Example, last week I updated Windows 8 and found that the fairly sensible Metro environment now had two ugly additions, neither necessary. The first is an unsightly black bar that appears across the top whenever your cursor nears it. This is just so it can have a minimize button and a close button. Minimize makes zero sense in Metro and the close button is entirely redundant both because most of the time closing a program is redundant in the Metro paradigm and because there are already very adequate ways of closing it. You can use the mouse to drag down, you can hit Alt+F4 - both of which are as quick or quicker than trying to position a cursor over a tiny X (uncontrolled motion is faster than controlled motion), or if you're on touch you just drag down anyway. Not only is the black bar entirely useless except as a sop to people who struggle with new ways of doing things, but it actually gets in the way as it appears whenever the mouse goes up there. E.g. if I click on my name at the top of this page to see my topics, I usually trigger the unwanted bar and have to move away and back again. Ugly and neophobic.

You cannot turn this off.

The other is the pinning of Metro apps to the taskbar. I don't like this because it blurs the boundaries between two separate contexts that shouldn't mix. Thankfully in this case, you can disable it.

So choice is good and I'd be okay with that. But I suspect MS will mess things up and we'll end up with some disgusting mess that is neither fish nor fowl, but some sort of feathered trout with a beak on it.

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Thumb Down

Re: please, not the start menu

>>"What is the employment benefits for working at MS?"

I've never worked for MS, never have, don't expect to. Some networking software I worked on was apparently bought by them a long time ago I was told. It was written on HP UNIX 11. That's the extent of my connection with MS. Someone can have an opinion without being paid for it, you know.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: please, not the start menu

You can cram it up your arse.

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FAIL

Re: please, not the start menu

@h4m0ny

The other is the pinning of Metro apps to the taskbar. I don't like this because it blurs the boundaries between two separate contexts that shouldn't mix.

Nail, on head, hit. I think you've pointed out the biggest problem with Windows 8: it seems constantly to mix the Metro and Windows 7 aesthetics and feels disturbingly schizophrenic as a result. Oh, you were trying to use this to justify Windows 8? Massive fail.

I also don't buy your pro-choice arguments. There are plenty of UI choices out there with the phones providing more choice than we've had on MS desktops for years.

Better stick to networking code! ;-)

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Re: please, not the start menu

"My fear is that there wont be one"

Ha, welcome to the club.

Maybe you can install Classic no-start.

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Another day, another anti-Windows 8 story on The Register

Honestly you guys should be ashamed. The tone of this article, as if another update to their OS is somehow a bad thing, betrays a very negative agenda.

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Re: Another day, another anti-Windows 8 story on The Register

Just like all the Apple stories that the the Fruity haters out in droves.

That's like here on El Reg. Just get used to it or find another site to troll.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another day, another anti-Windows 8 story on The Register

Microsoft are an established multi-billion dollar company, Windows 8 should have been there or there about on release, but it clearly wasn't, and two years later and the inference from these updates is that they're still trying to fix it. At the same time they're expecting everyone to spend oodles of cash upgrading to an OS that doesn't appear fit for purpose or offer anything (much) over the 10 year old OS they've just ditched. They've earned this negativity.

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Angel

Re: Another day, another anti-Windows 8 story on The Register

Isn't this the site that bites the hand that feeds IT?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another day, another anti-Windows 8 story on The Register

In IT everything sucks.

Some hardware sucks less than other hardware but it still sucks.

All software sucks. Again, the only thing that varies is the amount by which it sucks.

If you haven't realised this yet and choose to support one side, I predict a rapid rise for you into management followed by an even more rapid descent down an elevator shaft as part of a systems "fix".....

Lots of love

A SysAdmin

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Re: Another day, another anti-Windows 8 story on The Register

I'll have you know we here commentards are fair and balanced in our opinions

We hate Microsoft on here, and we hate Apple even more. But the one thing that really irks us the most is when Microsoft try and be like Apple - like they did in Vista, and like they're doing in Windows 8. And 8.1

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all the more reason

to stick to windows 7 for the foreseeable future I guess(at least your not as much of a beta tester as you are with windows 8 constantly being jiggered with I mean it seems practically as bad as Linux in that regard - I say that as someone who has used Linux on the desktop for 16 years now - and have stuck to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS long past it's support cycle because it isn't broken for me(yet).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: all the more reason

Just stick to Windows XP.

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What the F is "the cloud" anyway?

Just sounds like a scam to get people to turn over all of their data, and lose control over everything. Not interested in the least, no matter how they spin it.

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Re: What the F is "the cloud" anyway?

I hate the cloud. Internets can and will go down at some time. What happens when your internet goes down and your only copy that you need right now is in a cloud? Oh sure, a hard drive can die instantly too, but if you are smart enough to have a backup then you can still get your important files when you need them.

Plus I never trust free cloud services. "The first one is free", says the drug lord to get you hooked. "The first 5GB are free", says the cloud overlord to get you hooked. Then when you are hooked, you'll quickly fill up that free amount and then you want more and more. "I gotta have it man! Give me another 5GB." Then your wallet gets lighter each and every month. Keep your money, I always turn off every cloud feature in Windows 8/8.1. All these cloud programs, like Office 365 and Adobe's products, are just a way to keep getting your money perpetually. I prefer a one-time fee so I can use my program as long as possible.

I like the cloud for sharing copies. But that is a copy, not the only one. I like the cloud for legitimate backup services, although I personally prefer backups that include bare-metal recovery like the one found in Windows Server and Windows Home Server. And by legitimate I do not mean this "My PC backup" junk that infects far too many computers today.

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LDS
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Re: What the F is "the cloud" anyway?

Yes, it looks an attempt to get into the Chromebook market. Just those who are praising those data-stealing device will accuse Microsoft of wanting to do what Google does now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What the F is "the cloud" anyway?

The difference being that you are the customer Microsoft is selling services to, rather than the product Google is selling to the world. I know what I'd rather if I was after a subsidized notebook.

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Holmes

Re: What the F is "the cloud" anyway?

Yeah, SUN saw this a long time ago - remember "The network is the computer" ? Look what good it did for them.....erm...wait...

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Embrace and extend...

EFI purpose now becomes clearer. Fortunately, the almost unusable networking here in Oz, coupled with the local spooks slowing crap almost as much as the multitude of slow responding cookie/add companies, (hi LinkedIn) means the cloudware version of windows will be great in large suburbs and a few CBDs if one does not mind not owning ones stuff and getting really slow access to it. It will be fail everywhere else.

I suggest this will break the PC platform into Windows friendly and "open" versions. EFI workarounds may be coded to work around the Windows phone home and connect, but these days, who trusts BIOS/EFI to not continue spying or being vulnerable to undesired installs if the hardware is designed to be open to external network connections.? Concurrently the Pi looks better every day as a general purpose device. Old hardware may also continue to live long after its use-by-date.

As a business strategy the MS move makes sense IMHO, but modern IT hardware and OS business seems to be not making much sense. It has become producers of toys for the bling distractable (to coin a phrase) with no increase in useful functioning. If I had any one direction to suggest that Big Vendor(tm) would hear, it would be get voice recognition running well on all form factors, including small devices like tablets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Embrace and extend...

Share and enjoy....

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Facepalm

Yawn

ZZzzz...

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Anonymous Coward

Please No !

Win 8.1 was the most long winded service pack (whoops not call it that any more) that MS has ever come out with. Takes forever to install, whatever happened to deltas ?

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Re: Please No !

"(whoops not call it that any more)"

Why ever not? :) As far as I'm concerned all the "debate" about what to call it is irrelevant. It is "Windows 8 with the latest service pack" and anyone who hasn't got the latest service pack running can whistle for support. Funnily enough, that's exactly the attitude of Microsoft, too.

You can start shouting about a "new version" when it is chargeable (and, consequently, not everyone can realistically upgrade and so software vendors actually have to support both platforms).

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LDS
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If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

Application icons are just a thing from the past, something good for old school OS like iOS, Android and Linux.

If I were MS, I would fully replace application icons with live tiles - both in the start menu, on the desktop, any folder, and the taskbar also. This way any icon could convey useful informations, be resized to show more of them. Think about a mail app icon showing you actual messages, instead of just a plain image of an envelope. Outlook telling you what's next.

Ooops, I should have patented this before telling, I guess, LOL!

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Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

That sounds horrendous.

Fine, but only if you also add a nice little tick box in the settings somewhere so I can turn it off if I don't want it...

For me there's nothing worse than stuff i don't want flashing about on screen or making noise.

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Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

You are clearly not a developer. Perhaps a manager? Or a barrista? Maybe a troll... *Live* tiles? Of all apps? ...

I'm glad we have this chance because I am quite a fan of Microsoft and I have to rant and shout and foam-at-the mouth at this piece of shit that is Windows 8.x Just what the fuck were they thinking? Its a mixed up unusable hybrid where even simple things are difficult to impossible to do, and 20 year power-users of Windows are stopped dead in their tracks by the shitty OS's insistence on sometimes switching to "tile" mode, with no option to fucking switch it off.

Some tasks which should be easy and perhaps even fun (change your login avatar/icon) become 'hmm let me google this' difficult. My gf struggled to do this until I decided to help out. Nothing new there. Except I couldn't either.

Looking deeper, Microsoft seems to really have some internal cultural problems, with overpowered idiot managers, and I suspect that an engineer in Microsoft is putting his/her career on the line by speaking sense. Its the only explanation for the persistence in so many fuck-ups recently (see also 'XBox One', from its fucking stupid name to its stupid management team, now gone, to its arrogant approach to its own customer base. See also Sony kicking MS ass this console generation...).

Early on it must have been clear as day that the missing start menu was going to be commercial suicide. *Every* tester must have commented on how difficult the OS was to use without it, and how shit and schizophrenic the tile parts seemed. But MS chose to ignore this. The popularity of the now ubiquitous start menu replacement app should have been a killer indication to MS that they fucked up, but still 8.1 they didnt put it back. Internally not admitting mistakes is more important than losing market share.

Its not hard Microsoft. You have the talent internally. Just start listening to your own customers, stop trying to be a shittier version of Apple and Google. Let them do their own thing. Play to your strengths.

Also, ffs, pay attention to games. Its the last area Windows pwns at ('PC' gaming) but fuck you idiots will throw that away too.

End rant, thanks.

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Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

Application icons are just a thing from the past, something good for old school OS like iOS, Android and Linux.

Because Android doesn't have widgets AT ALL.

Neither does KDE4. That's a Linux desktop environment just so you know. There are so-called "Screenlets" if you're more of a Gnome person.

Difference is, you can do entirely without them.

Think about a mail app icon showing you actual messages, instead of just a plain image of an envelope.

Sounds like the Gmail notifier widget. Though, showing the actual messages rather than a number does sound like the sort of horrendous privacy faux-pas that only Microsoft would be capable of. Yes, that is a little ironic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

" Though, showing the actual messages rather than a number does sound like the sort of horrendous privacy faux-pas that only Microsoft would be capable of. "

Which reminds me, a very useful little hack for jailbroken iPhones - something that removes the message from the skype popup that appears every time a message lands. This avoids the unintended display of "... Christ I'm horny, get you arse over here I need a bonk" messages.

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LDS
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Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

You're clearly someone who doesn't understand what computers are for. And never coded a real, useful application. You're still happy with Win 3.x Program Manager like UI, and think they are cool... why an app icon should be static? Just because 25 years ago computers could just display some static bitmaps? I would welcome ways to interact with some application without having to open a full window, but hey, I'm just a professional developer leading an R&D group... with more than thirty years of experience... but I can also prepare good cocktails... just I don't spend much time gaming, that's for children... never change children toys, they hate changes, they need to repeat the same thing over and over...

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Trollface

Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

9/10 -- Obvious, but you got plenty of bites, so congratulations!

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Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

Well, strictly speaking, with KDE4, you can't avoid widgets at all because everything is implemented as a widget in Plasma, even the taskbar and the components on the taskbar like the application launcher, window list, tray, clock, etc. They implemented them in a way that they don't feel like widgets though, despite being coded as such and being just as modular.

I'm just being pedantic though. For all intents and purposes, I use KDE 4 without any widgets on my desktop, more or less mimicking the Windows 7 desktop, even putting a Show Desktop button in the bottom-right corner out of habit.

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Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

9/10 -- Obvious, but you got plenty of bites, so congratulations!

After coming out with this spectacular fail, despite various screenshots of dynamic, interactive widgets that pre-date Microsoft's shitty flat, limited "tile" things by years:

why an app icon should be static?

...I'm inclined to believe you. Obvious troll is becoming very obvious.

never change children toys, they hate changes, they need to repeat the same thing over and over...

Exceedingly, unequivocally obvious.

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Re: If I were MS, I would be much bolder and replace icons with tiles.

I'm just being pedantic though.

Yes, yes you are. Goes with the territory I guess.

Have a +1 anyway, because you're not wrong.

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IMHO MS should extend the tile interface into a full jigsaw metaphor - only when you solve the jigsaw do you get to go to work - fun for all the family

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Joke

Te-He

and if your IP was deemed to be at Apple HQ, the puzzle would become infinite

(like the address)

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Trollface

@forget it

I thought that it was a metaphor about having to self-mutilate to get out of some horrific thing you are trapped in.

Clearly watching too many horror movies

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xyz

Considering...

...that all developers wander about intoning "Ye must decouple, ye must decouple" how hard could it be to have Windows 8 "I'm thick, live in 1998 and run my monitor in 640x480 resolution," Windows 8 XP," "Windows 8 (7)" and "Windows 8 Hipster" interfaces? Given the time it's going to take to get Windows 8 "right" it would have been quicker.

And as for the cloud, given the "it's great" BS, I still can't believe that the only thing not connected to it is the black box of MH370, which would be more useful than putting the crash recording mechansim inside the thing that is to crash..

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actually...

I quite like the Start Menu as shown in the article. I never found the live tiles totally objectionable, just stupid looking across two non touch 23 inch screens. But as shown, almost phone size, assuming they don't take like 5 seconds to open the start menu, it's fine - however the new 4 GB downloads and 2 hours to update I could quite happily live without..

this whole Windows Cloud business sounds a bit fishy to your humble Reg hack

The first hit is always free, business 101.

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