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 …
Are you blinded by your hatred of MS to the extent that you can't see the glowing square around applications that are running and the plain icon of those which aren't?
If you're going to troll anti MS on every article about them, at least make it accurate.
To be fair, the glowing square is not always obvious - depends on the colour scheme in use and especially whether or not Aero is enabled. Also when you have a few items open it can be hard to tell what's going on - for example applications either side of the one in question can make the one in the middle look active to the casual glance.
As an alternative, I use small icons and show the programme name (stacking multiple instances and hiding names only when there's no room), makes it much more obvious whether an application is open or not.
Was one of the biggest improvements from Vista/7 in my opinion - combined with the ability to order your taskbar icons. I used to bitch about XP that after explorer crashed, the taskbar icons would all shuffle order on recovery and I struggled to find the applications I commonly used (which I always grouped on the left). I've always hated the desktop as a metaphor for starting stuff. The start-menu was a weak metaphor as well. But a taskbar where all the commonly used apps are permanently on it has worked brilliantly for me. The best thing with Windows though is that you have the choice of which one you use. I hope they don't remove that choice in Windows 8 - that would be a significant regression in my book.
Win7 taskbar and start menu rocks
I use xmonad with dmenu on linux. I love xmonad because it allows me to switch between full screen applications quickly. (Mod4+1 = shell, Mod4+2 = browser etc.)
I always wanted a similar setup under windows. Recently I made a stunning discovery: after rebooting from linux, I accidentally hit Mod4+1 (win button +1) to open a shell, and windows opened the first program that was pinned to my task bar. It works similar to my xmonad workspaces! In fact I can easily move around the pinned icons, so now I have win+1 for git shell, win+2 for chrome, win+3 for visual studio...
Why did I not know about this for all those years!
In fact, I can hit the win key, start typing the name of a program and can easily launch it. Just like dmenu. I can even find documents, email, whatnot the same way.
All these power features in a user friendly interface, that even my lawyer wife can use.
I wonder what other awesomeness MS added that I don't know about.
"Glowing square"? Do you people even read the nonsense you post? What kind of normal person is going to to find that distinctive enough. It's a little too subtle even for those of us prone to aspbergers. It's a braindead approach when Apple does it and it's no less brain dead when Microsoft tries to clone it (poorly).
Oh I don't know...
...someone with eyes maybe?
"But a taskbar where all the commonly used apps are permanently on it has worked brilliantly for me. "
I HATE IT! Why change what worked well for the majority?
"That horrible MetroUI that's like it's been teleported from 1990"
WOW, can I have some of those drugs your taking? They seem to be very strong!
When, in the 90's, were live tiles used?
Are Microsoft trying to kill themselves?
Bring in all this confusion and I am sure people will start looking elsewhere.
Ribbon Menu - means I will not update MS Office at home, at work I TRY to avoid it, got shareware alternatives for Paint (WHY!!!!) and what ever the outlook express replacement is called.
I have decided I will be investigating alternatives as I do not like the direction they are going.
Right click on the ribbon; select 'Minimize the Ribbon'; ribbon gone.
If you're desperate to have the old menu structure back, numerous freeware programs are available.
Yes and this is pushing me to get them.
When I use a package occasionally, I want to be able to find an option, not be presented with a blank page and lots of little pictures.
Have I got time to relearn a package I have used for years? No, got more important things to do.
Every version of Windows has had some productivity removal, with XP the file dialog not remembering ever you want detail view, Vista - existing, Win 7 having to strip back all the fluff to get a working PC. I remember Win98 OSR2 fondly, and even WFW
The ribbon took some getting used to for me but I stuck with it and I'm now I'm not just used to it: I actually like the way it's quicker to get to certain options. But the fact that it needed a learning curve showed that it wasn't the great leap forward that dramatic changes can be.
Innovation means change, some of which will be perfect and some will be dire. The UI designers have to somehow try and keep everyone happy - and run the risk that nobody will be. I also loved Win98 OSR2 - in its day - but I'm hugely grateful that, say, an iPad or an Android phone doesn't rely on the Win98 way of doing everything. The thing about great design is that it's intuitive. If a task feels clunky to undertake or is hard to learn then, frankly, that feature's a dud. As a manufacturer Apple have had far more successes at this but there are still minor interface elements where the polish isn't quite there. In their case change hasn't been a bad thing because, whether you're eight months old seeing one for the first time or a wizened techie with years of IT experience, an iPad is intuitive first time.
If we all just stuck with what we were most familiar with then I'd still be using Wordperfect 5.1 and trying to optimise DOS memory usage. I'm hugely grateful that word processing no longer involves pissing about with obscure function key combinations and a separate view to actually see how things'll look on paper. Sure, I miss some features but to see change as 'productivity removal' isn't a positive way to look at things. It's actually what keeps me in a job.
The ribbon is worse when 'hidden'
For some reason in that mode it pops up hiding everything in the top of your document.
Thus you can't see the thing you're changing.
It's true that menus do that, but only for a section rather than full screen width, and toolbars do not!
The ribbon is also always at the top, at a time when widescreen monitors were rapidly becoming the only ones you can buy.
So, while a change in UI might have been excusable, the ribbon is not.
Re: Matthew 3
Time to learn hmm. Now do I spend it learning the interface for something I use once a week or so, or do I use it to increase my knowleage of development tools?
I am busy, I have more important things to do than work out how to do basic tasks in a Windows application, I have used Windows since WFW, got on well with 98 OSR2, XP apart from the serious file manager bug (2 real whole works days I have calculated changing from sideways scrolling to detailed, taking off type - I KNOW WHAT TYPE, and sorting by date.)
Quite simply if I have the odd day to learn something, I am going to do something usefull, like moving our system to use a data dictionary, or develope some stored procedures, why should I waste my time learning what the not very pretty picture means, when I will forget it next time I use the application.
I UNDERSTAND the File Edit system.
Dumb move if you ask me...
With this move I think Microsoft is going to alienate a /lot/ of users, more than they might realize. Giving desktop users (so people using a mouse or trackball) an environment which was optimized for touch enabled devices is not in their best interest.
My main problems with Win8 (from the looks of it) as missing Aero (when in Metro you can no longer see icons which give you a status update on current operations) and the start menu. For example I've also grown fond of jumplists...
For example; I click start.. wait a sec.. Do I go to the 'virtual pc' to optimize its disk, do I click the 'Downloads' link to check up on that zipfile or shall I update my Word document ? Ok; green bar not fully full on both virtual PC (shutdown process) nor Seamonkey (yes, it fully supports Aero!). SO Word it is.
From what I've heard and read so far; Metro doesn't do this. Sure, we get 'some' desktop-like application but the moment you click start again you will no longer see what's going on.
Its going to be ironic IMO. MS is currently presenting their Windows phone with speed tests ("I can get a picture quicker on facebook, I can quicker get navigation directions from here, I can quicker lookup someone in a picture, etc, etc.). So basically; a guy claims he can perform certain tasks faster with his winphone than you on your own phone.
I wonder what will happen if we put Win7 & Win8 on the desktop to that test. As mentioned above; accessing your programs can be 2 clicks and a few inch drag away. In Metro you'll need that same drag amount to even get to the first tile!
Metro UI does support active tiles which tell you what they're doing. Having said that - it's not Metro or nothing, it's Metro or classic (well, slightly updated) Windows UI. If you want to use Metro apps, you have to use Metro, but otherwise and especially if you're on a desktop, you'll be running Windows UI 90% of the time.
Having used it for months now...
...I can confirm that Windows 8 is by far the worst-designed, least intuitive interface ever put on a desktop. And I'm including ME in that.
On a tablet - meh, it might work OK, but as a desktop UI it is utterly horrendous. They can't possibly be serious about expecting it to work in the corporate world - it will be avoided like the plague. Maybe they've been looking on with envy at how crApple manages to tell it's customers exactly what to do, and have them masochistically enjoy it at the same time - and are going to try and 'force' adoption in the workplace - which would make the Vista fiasco look tame.
Looks to me like they've changed their mind again and are going to end up diverging into consumer/corporate markets with two distinctly separate offerings. Massive, massive fail on their part if that's the case - the best thing MS ever did was execute 9x and bring everything under NT/2K - XP is the most stable O/S I've ever used, and I still use it at home as there are things about Win7 that irk me.
I wish they'd just stop fucking around with things. Every O\S they release looks more and more like it was designed as a Toys-R-Us in-store display unit.
You'll run classic right until that moment when you hit start again, which is my main complaint.
I mean; even if you are 90% on the desktop, why do they need to take you completely away from said desktop only to end up firing up an application which puts you right back ?
Even if all you want to do is to look and fire an application you're faced with Metro, there is no way around it.
Well, apart from putting your desktop & taskbar full of icons I suppose, but that doesn't really sound appealing to me. I tend to keep those 'space gobblers' to an absolute minimum.
Have to agree. Windows 8 on anything other than a tablet is an epic-fail-level-horrible experience. On a tablet it's awesome. In fact I find it so awesome on a tablet that it's making Windows 7 feel inadequate. Spending more time on my tablet than on my desktop. Weird. But cool.
RE: Having used it for months
I tried few times, really-really hard but it's just f'n IMPOSSIBLE to like, period. It's one thing that t is so effin' ugly that even a mother wouldn't hug it but it's LITERALLY EFFIN' IMPOSSIBLE TO WQORK WITH IT.
Yes, I understand that MOST MS decision-makers DO NOT WORK AT ALL but a lot of us - you know, people who pay for Windows et al which covers your paychecks - ACTUALLY WORK.
NBow that's pretty much impossible with this utter PoS called WIndows 8/Metro.
Re: Having used it for months now...
I agree, utterly horrendous but I figured that out in about ten minutes, then decided then that I would be switching to Mac OS.
Calm down, I'm sure there will be registry setting that puts it back.
Don't be so certain..
Don't be so certain.. when I first got Office 2007 I spent ages hunting for the setting that gave me my pull-down menus back. Of course, it wasn't there because as well all know Microsoft is just a couple of guys in a garage and I guess they didn't have time to code it..
So you spent "ages" looking on how to go back to the old way rather than just attempting to use the new way? If you were so terrified of change then why did you even upgrade?
Every time I've heard someone complaining about the ribbon, the option they were looking for is so much easier to find than it used to be in the menus (usually it's on Home). In fact there have been several of occasions when I've heard people saying how great all these new features are when actually they are old features that were previously impossible to find in the horrible menu system.
That said, I am not a fan of how 8 is looking at the moment because with no start menu, surely there'll be no search box, which is one of the best vista / 7 features IMO. If that's coming back (or being made even better) though then I'm all for it.
It sounds as though instead of a Start Menu that can occupy up to 1/4 of your screen when the orb is pressed, instead the bottom left hand corner will be a "hot zone", so simply moving your mouse / pointer to that corner (without clicking) will launch something that will take over your entire screen.
Did they take a look at GNOME 3 / Unity and think "That's a cool idea!"?
Why are so many UI designers narrow-mindedly concentrating their UI design efforts purely on the tablet market? People have been predicting the demise of the desktop PC for years (decades?) and it hasn't came about, at least partially because the platform (while static) is far more customisable (for both OEMs and power users) than a tablet - including the easy ability to upgrade bits as they become obsolete thus extending the life of the device, rather than having to scrap it and buy an entirely new one when it reaches obsolescence (or in the case of a certain fruity company, when a slightly better model is released in a year or two's time). What works well on a tablet PC where, despite the screen potentially having a high resolution, you're likely to be using comparatively large and imprecise pointing device (fingers), won't necessarily work well on a desktop PC, where you're using a mouse whose pointer doesn't obscure a significant portion of the screen, has a much greater degree of control, and can manipulate desktop objects small enough to be buried under a finger. One size does NOT fit all.
"People have been predicting the demise of the desktop PC for years (decades?) and it hasn't came about, at least partially because the platform (while static) is far more customisable (for both OEMs and power users) than a tablet"
That's why we now get Windows 8. If this doesn't kill the desktop and make people scream for touch enabled input then nothing will!
Just too bad that MS hasn't considered the other alternative: people staying on Win7 (maybe even XP) and/or trying to find other alternatives to do their work.
The things look now I'm pretty confident that I won't be upgrading any time soon.
Oh noes - not "Improved search" again
Every time the say these words it gets harder to find anything
First thing I ever do when using a company machine.
Turn off the indexed searching.
Why is it that the ongoing saga of the Control Panel come to mind here? Consider that this has been a staple since Windows 95 but, since Windows XP, they keep trying to change it into some sort of obscure category based monstrosity that many users change back to a classic view a la W2K whenever they find it. Even Windows 7 has this. Goodness knows what 8 will do!
There's nothing new under the Oracle...
no start button?
without it , I wouldnt know where to start!
I'll just install XFCE over the top.
What? Why? Oh.
Well, I know your jesting but when MS' Virtual PC will remain embedded as it is now in Win7 then such a scenario wouldn't surprise me at all.
SO; people start Win8, click on the start icon to start a virtual Windows XP (full screen) and then continue to work with that.
Its already being done on a smaller scale; for example people who hate Windows Live mail and who want to keep Outlook Express. Some simply use Win7's "XP mode" to start the OE version within it.
It's a "preview release" not a beta!
What's with the press jumping the gun here? we haven't seen what MS are planning with the "classic" desktop yet. We have seen lots of ribbon changes with the folders and task manager, but nothing front end yet. We all can clearly see MS is up to something, but what it is we will no doubt have to wait till we get to see it in beta.
Look at what we've had so far, multiple "preview" editions. People keep calling these beta's but they aren't, they are just what they say in the name "previews". Did IE9's preview demo the gui? no it didn't did any of the other MS previews demo anything much than a couple of things they want to show off at that time. No they didn't.
We can all criticise it when we finally get to see whatever it is MS is up to. But until we do see it, why all the scaremongering? As for me, hope they don't get rid of it, as it's pretty much the corner stone of the OS for the last 17 years. But guess we can but wait and see.
Re: jumping the gun
Experience shows that once MS actually start calling something "beta", it is feature frozen and if you want any changes then its tough tit.
If your intentions are simply to have a good (pointless) whine then by all means wait for the beta. If you are actually hoping that MS might listen to your feedback and change tack, *now* is the time to speak up.
beta = final?
i seem to remember Longhorn being in beta, right before it was scraped, gutted, ripped apart, stuck back together again and laminated in to something that was mostly Vista.
Not saying your wrong but generally, until something hits the Public preview program, its pointles talking about it because it can change with drastic differences. even up to RC2 small changes are made, infact calling them RC is a bit cheeky given that MS had no intention of RTM'ing them its more like another test phase where things change
The chopstick. Plain simple and always works.
The knife. Been with us since our ancestors need to slice and dice. Continues to allow school-kids to attack each other and get stopped and searched by Plod, a classic.
The bicycle. Still relatively new ( Carry On Caeser aside! ) but a fairly simple machine to operate with some practice, still pretty much the same as it was then it first appeared.
The START button, available on shed-loads of hardware devices all over the planet, simple to understand does what it says. Anyone speaking any language can understand ON/OFF or the more common line half inside a circle icon.
Start button used on the O/S with the highest install base on the planet, people know what it does, simple, elegant, functional and a classic. KDE, Gnome classics both use a similar sort of icon to get users up an running and help advanced ones find the installed app "kickers".
Why do they need to screw with a classic?
Not necessarily a bad idea
Assuming it can be reinstated then it's not a bad idea to hide it by default. A couple of things have to be possible though 1) Touch devices can't easily thumb into a corner and some kind of "thumb into corner" gesture is likely to be annoying so something else has to happen there 2) Some people with multi screen setups may not have a corner to mouse into. So assuming these issues are resolved then I don't see a big deal.
Mac inspiration anyone?
I think Windows recognises the START button is a horrid staple on their OS now. Although, I disagree. Organise the apps by explicit type, make the GUI nicer with the bold icons rather than in the horrible threaded system that's made it difficult to navigate. Why alienate millions of Windows users by introducing a new way of starting applications with no thought or a cross-over alternative? Same with Office 2003 to Office 2007 introducing the ribbon bar. Yes, it made it easier; but confused a hell of alot of users!
Seems like the M$ devs have studied the Mac OS X system and said, "what could we do? what could we do?" Lets splice off our OS symbol! Bad, bad.
Beer time for M$.
So we're all supposed to hate the start button now are we?
Because MS are changing it? uh-huh.
<ctrl> <alt> <t>
shutdown -h now
do I have to learn anything else???
What's your point?
And the cycle continues
Win 7 Good
Win 8 ....
I got a vision!
You hit the nail on the head...
The maya's must have been right after all... This cycle of doom will continue until Windows 2012 which will be the end for all of us!
That sounds OK. Back to file manager days maybe. As long as it sticks with managed-by-window instead of manage-by-app I'll be happy.
After 17 years, they've finally questioned the logic of clicking "Start" to turn off your computer.
Makes perfect sense..
if you think of shutting down a PC as a procedure. Windows does actually follow a procedure when you shut down the OS. Basically because it needs to do quite a lot before it's safe to turn the pc off.. Things like asking applications nicely to close, then checking if they have and offering to force close the others. Also ensuring any open files are closed, and any data cached is written to disk. Not to mention closing any network connections and I've ignored the possibility of a logout script that could do a whole load of stuff.
So, looked at like that, it is quite logical that you click "Start" to initiate the procedure.
Trouble is, most people don't think of it like that..
They fixed that ages ago
If you don't know about starting a shutdown, you do know about the on/off button on the front of the box. Once it became a soft button rather than a power switch the problem was solved. Briefly press the button, and Windows (or Linux) shuts down cleanly.
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