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Microsoft must really love Windows 8, or hate its legacy install base. The Aero interface introduced with the hated Windows Vista and perpetuated with the loved Windows 7 is being canned from Windows 8, the company has revealed. In another achingly long Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft called the Aero interface it once championed …

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After much thrashing around and downloading of Classic Shell et al I've finally managed to make Win 7 work more or less the way I want it to ... ie with the Win2000 user interface. It is not as good as Win XP was due to some upleasant behaviour from the file manager but it is tolerable.

I don't want a new interface every time I get a new computer (which is about the only time I change the version of Windoze). The classic interface does everything I want the way I expect it to. It is not the best interface in the world but it is familiar. If I try to learn Win 8 it will have changed again long before I am half as comfortable with it as I am with Classic.

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I don't want a new interface every time I get a new computer

By that logic we'd still be using Win3.1

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Pint

Re: By that logic we'd still be using Win3.1

But using it on machines that can handle many cores, many GB, and periphericals with every modern bus you've ever heard of.

You're right. It would be awful. Every action would just complete immediately and there'd be no time to make coffee or crak open a <icon>.

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Re: I don't want a new interface every time I get a new computer

Funnily enough I am still using as my primary system at home, one where the GUI hasn't significantly changed since before windows 3.1 was released. Runs on Arm chips too.

Looking forward to trying it on a Pi, once USB drivers for it are sorted and my Pi arrives.

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Happy

Windows 9...

...will style a modern 'retro giant pixel' look. Curves and anti-aliasing are so last year.

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Trollface

Windows 10...

Punch card input and a teletype output??

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Anonymous Coward

And the funny thing is....

By the end of the day that it launches Win8 will be running on a larger number of PCs than Linux has been installed on. Just saying.

And I am loving the weird, yet confused, mixture of emotions on this thread. There is a fear of change mixed with a bizarre sense of schadenfreude, (from the usual haters,) which is somewhat misplaced as the product has not actually shipped yet. These are the same people that proclaim every new MS product a failure before it ships but time after time they get proven wrong.

Me? I am going to wait and see what the finished product looks like.

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Re: And the funny thing is....

Larger number of desktop/laptop PCs, not larger number of PCs in total. There's a gazillion Linux servers out there.

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Re: And the funny thing is....

Ah well, it's all fine and dandy to wait for the release, but many of us have been trying the consumer preview (myself included). It would be a significant surprise if the release turned out to be very different. Personally speaking I hate the metro interface on a desktop but I can see it working quite well on a tablet.

Two problems for Microsoft. First, there's a distinct lack of good PR resulting from the consumer preview. This might actually translate into bad PR once the mainstream press wake up. That's never good for a product launch.

Second, a platform depends on the developers to make it successful. Now developers are never going to use a tablet for this; they do too much typing and want several large screens. They want a good desktop OS, something that Win 8 really isn't. So if their life becomes too hard they might just go to a platform where life is easier. OS X springs to mind. The most talented individuals out there will certainly jump ship as soon as they get fed up.

The trouble is that there aren't enough devs to show up significantly in MS's usage statistics, yet in essence they are MS's most important customers. MS will ignore their views at their peril.

I'm very disappointed with MS. When they first started talking about ARM I thought great, proper Windows on ARM, maybe Metro for mobiles, ARM servers just round the corner, etc. Looks like they've been lazy buggers and tried to do mobile on the cheap and ruined desktop at the same time, and no hint of them innovating in ARM servers.

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Trollface

Re: And the funny thing is....

not to mention all those phones and tablets running linux with android on top...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And the funny thing is....

Ummm, I think you will find that MS tracks devs very, very closely. They have a large team in every country (DPE) whose specific role is to listen to and work with devs. They will be able to tell you the number of devs in each country more accurately than any other company in the industry, as well as the percentage share that .NET represents vs other platforms. MS do realize that devs are important, trust me on that one.

The more specific question is 'does MS listen to everyone who calls themself a dev when posting on the register'. The answer to that in No. The reg does not represent a very mainstream view of the IT industry. Especially in the comments sections.

But I am sure that MS read the comments and enjoy them immensely :-)

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WTF?

@AC - Re: And the funny thing is....

AC wrote : "By the end of the day that it launches Win8 will be running on a larger number of PCs than Linux has been installed on."

So we mustn't discuss a new release of Windows, or compare it with Linux or anything else because there are more copies of Windows than Linux?

Like we shouldn't discuss a new Ford model, or compare it with a Chrysler or any other car, because there are more Fords around than Chryslers?

Not sure I get your point or follow your logic.

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FAIL

Hello McBalmer! Wake UP!

Balmer & Co need to wake up and actually look at who buys and uses their software, in particular, businesses. My company has 12,000 desktops in the UK and 40,000+ in Europe of which 95% still run XP. Why? because it's stable. Yes, we should have gone to Windows 7 much earlier but political infighting and waiting to outsource IT put paid to that. The Windows 7 rollout is going to start later this year if they think that companies like mine (and I suspect, many others in the same boat) are going to jump to Windows 8 when it's so massively different, is ridiculous. It's simply not going to happen!

Why would businesses jump to Windows 8 when we're all using mice, keyboards and ordinary monitors - NOT TABLETS! Tablets are consumption devices, they are NOT productive devices. The Metro front end is a joke from a business point of view and even getting rid of this the loss of the start button had my tech colleagues and I going WTF?!

When W7 came out I jumped on the pre-order bandwagon and got 3 copies for £45 each from PC World but I'm avoiding W8 like the proverbial plague. W7 ain't perfect but it works, the kids like it, my wife has got used to it - so it's staying!

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Re: Hello McBalmer! Wake UP!

I think the problem is that they *have* looked and have drawn entirely the wrong conclusion.

They seen that people don't always upgrade and have concluded that the only source of revenue for a new version of Windows will be OEM sales on new hardware. In fact, this is arse backwards. They already *have* a product for new hardware (Win7), whose development costs have by now been amortised to nil. All the cash they've spent developing a new one only makes sense if they can persuade existing customers to upgrade (i.e., selling them Windows for a *second* time). Then there's the fact that an OEM licence for Windows on new hardware makes them sweet FA whereas each upgrade makes them several times as much.

Commercially speaking, upgrading existing customers on existing hardware should be at the forefront of their minds whenever they design a new version of Windows.

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Pint

There is just one windows version

And it's Windows 2000

All those Windows versions list, Windows 98 R2 better than 98 but worse than XP... blah blah

W < 2000 = Dos with a coughing UI on top

W > 2000 = Windows with useless eye candy and bloated security on top

Yawn.

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bored of the old

i'm looking forward to the new interface. aero's getting boring after all these years.

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WTF?

Puh-LEEEEZE!

"This style of simulating faux-realistic materials (such as glass or aluminum) on the screen looks dated and cheesy now, but at the time, it was very much en vogue."

But big monochromatic squares are so haut couture, oui?

Fuckin' puh-LEEZE awready! Shut the fuck up and just give is what we the customers want. (You do remember customers, don't you?)

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Windows

Re: Puh-LEEEEZE!

"You do remember customers, don't you?"

Yes, and Michael Dell thanks you for your concern.

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Devil

Why force a touch-based user interface when 99.9% of people won't have touch screens.

I love my Mango phone but I'm not really looking forward to metro on the desktop as:

1. it doesn't work that well with dual screens

2. While it is quite elegant (perfect for many "content-presentation" apps such as newa, stocks, entertainment) one size does not fit all and the traditional desktop feels like a second-class citizen.

3. I absolutely despise the fact that the IE Metro is not the same as the desktop IE, with among other no support for favorites and no support for flash (hello Youtube).

But I am happy that at least 2 people are bullish with Sinofsky.

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99.9% ? The Far East supply chain figures suggest factories are currently tooling up for about 15-20% of laptop displays being multi-touch next year. I don't have figures for monitors. Windows 8 has to look to the future not just the installed base.

Its looking like multi-monitor on Windows 8 desktop will be a worthwhile improvement on Windows 7.

I agree with the Microsoft line that once you've experienced touchscreen on a monitor, it feels a bit odd not to have the feature despite the fact that its still mouse/trackpad and keyboard most of the time on laptop/desktop. Most of the criticism seems to come from those who have not tried it but somehow know it will feel wrong.

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"not tried it but somehow know it will feel wrong"

I just reached out toward my closest monitor. Finger got to about 1cm away from the screen surface. Do I really have to try anything more to know touch control on it is not usable and likely to cause severe RSI?

I look forward to the lawsuits when the RSI aspects sink in.

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Reminds me of PC games

Modern games on the PC have similar interface problems because the designers^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hmoneymen want to release simultaneously on consoles but don't want to change the interface to make it more sensible on a PC.

E.g. the second and third iterations of Deus Ex. Absolutely disastrous.

As for Linux - I agree Unity and KDE4 are absolute horrors, but that's why the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) was created. It's basically an optified fork of KDE3.5, which can coexist with a KDE4 installation and run KDE4 apps.

Currently running it on Debian Sid. Very handy.

http://www.trinitydesktop.org/

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Linux

Forget Trinity

Time for you to re-evaluate on KDE 4.8.

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Linux

Re: Forget Trinity

"Time for you to re-evaluate on KDE 4.8."

I have.

It's an improvement, but not yet enough of one to force me from KDE 3. Actually, I was better impressed with the previous iteration of KDE 4, so I've no idea what they did to 4.8 but it seemed a lot more sluggish to me. Possibly they added another lump of bloat to it to replace what they took out before? I dunno.

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Re: Forget Trinity

The crunch moment for me was when all that "semantic desktop" garbage became a compulsory part of KDE and kmail in particular - I'd been using KDE very happily for most of a decade until then. Still, sylpheed's not at all bad and e17 does what I want very well, desktop wise.

Windows has never, ever been configurable enough to achieve that, leaving aside the ten million other reasons I won't use it.

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Meh

Aero?

Why Bother?

I'm using the Classic theme, because it's an OS. It lets me find the apps I want to run, and I want it to be clean.

As long as I'm not FORCED to use Metro day-to-day i'll upgrade, otherwise I'll stick with Win7 on all my machines.

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Stop

Dated and Cheesy?

I agree. Put a 7 desktop and an 8 desktop side by side and one does indeed look dated and cheesy.

Their analysis is correct, it's their targetting that's off.

Those Metro applications look to me like a global implementation of the UI from Windows Media Centre. I always thought that was shit too.

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Windows

Seems an earlier comment wasn't that much off....

In a previous comment I jested at MS removing support options from Windows (keyboard / mouse) because people could be bothered with the inability to use them.

However, this latest move makes one seriously wonder....

Aero is /much/ more than merely a shiney interface. Its highly functional as well; the option to have status bars display in the taskbar icons is IMO invaluable. In Windows 7 you can /always/ see the progress of a download or copy action.

In Windows 8 you should be using full screen crapola anyway, so who cares about all that Aero nonsense anymore?

Well: I DO!

This is yet another reason to avoid Win8 on the desktop.

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Win8 probably aint bad...

...and long overdue for tablets but for a desktop user there are no reasons to chose it over Windows 7.

I really cannot imagine someone buying an upgrade from vista or 7 to 8 and definately not for the amount of money that they are charging.

"Many remain in the dark as to how programming for this thing will work." Euhm Install the developer tools and get programming?

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Why?

So us software developers will now have to code for 3 OS's that are really quite different from one another. Believe it or not, in most corporations, XP is still the OS of choice. At the moment we have to test against XP SP3 and 7 (we skipped Vista, but if it runs on those two it probably runs on Vista anyway). Now we're going to have the craptastic 8 to throw into the mix too.

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Re: Why?

I think you are worrying too much. Apart from replacing the start menu with a scrolling screen of pain, the desktop experience on Win8 is not noticeably different from 7.

As I noted in an earlier comment, Win8 is 6.2 at the API level, so you'll be able to treat it the same way you currently treat Vista. Focus your efforts on XP and 7. Perform basic sanity checks just in case you have customers blighted by having to use Vista or 8, but focus the testing efforts on XP and 7.

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Anonymous Coward

For your own good

The people have spoken and Microsoft have listened. People no longer want a grid of static desktop icons and a start menu leading into silo'd applications they want interactive live tiles bursting with useful information that only the Windows Metro Interface can provide. This is the future people embrace it

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Coat

YOU SUCCESSFULLY UPLOADED LOLCAT IMAGE!!!

"interactive live tiles bursting with useful information"

The tweet generation. In your home, on your desktop and inside your OS.

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Coffee/keyboard

@AC - Re: For your own good

You are being funny, right?

".... interactive live tiles bursting with useful information ....."

........ priceless!!!! You should be on the stage! It was when I read that part that I went bursting with coffee over keyboard. Worth it though - I am going to remember that soundbite for a long, long time.

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Facepalm

Re: For your own good

Jeez, to judge from the downvotes as I post this, nearly 95% of the El Reg readership have a sense of humour bypass. Do we need to make the use of the joke and troll icons mandatory?

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Metro is nasty.

If you want a small sample, use a patches xbox 360.

Unfortunately as I am in computer support I will have to use but it but I really do not want to.

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It Will Fail

I have installed it and played with it. It is a disgusting mess and it will fail. I wouldn't want it on my phone. I certainly do not want it on my PC. Besides all the other faults that have been pointed out, it lacks style and dignity.

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FAIL

In 5 years time

Touch based interfaces for desktop PCs were so dated and cheesy.

Oh, wait a minute. Did I say 5 years?

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Ye right on microsoft because what looks like a not too bad UI on a 4" or less touchscreen is automatically going to scale up to a 24" plus monitor using a good ole mouse and keyboard? Why not leave aero in and let the USER decide which shell they want to use! If I wanted the metro interface I would have bought a windows phone, but instead I bought an android!

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Anonymous Coward

Didn't notice windows Aero.

The first thing I did, was swtich it off and go to windows classic, with the coffee bean (tiled - so I could defocus and turn it into a sird to save my short range eyesight,)

I also switch off all the other stupid stuff their marketing staff have come up with in the last 5 years, such as menus that don't show you everything (deliberately done I think, to remove any advantage of memory muscle.) and all new features that are style over content, such as "Combine all buttons to one on the taskbar."

My dream would be a restore of the Up button, and the removal of the Ribbon, which sucks the sweat of a dead man's balls.

There should be a simple switch. "Make this look like a really fast, really powerful, windows 2000 installation, that shows you everything, doesn't pseudorandomly change the relative positions of things relative to each other and so on, and doesn't remove features because cocaine addled marketing types don't need them personally." which does exactly what it says on the tin.

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Re: Didn't notice windows Aero.

Sounds a bit like Linux mint (in relation to Ubuntu).

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Re: Didn't notice windows Aero.

Awesome description of that switch. Completely agreed. I want one... or perhaps I'm not waiting for it and switching to Linux as my main desktop environment...

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Anonymous Coward

Windows 8 - "sucks the sweat of a dead man's balls." (r)(c)(tm)

The entire marketing campaign in a single sentence. Perfect.

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Cheesy

These pointless glass effects have looked cheesy even when they were introduced.

And they where completely non-functional: Because the main part of a window needs to be easily readable, they only made the outside border transparent, while the rest of the window stayed opaque. That looked idiotic. And even on the outside border, this caused problems, e.g. for the window title. So they had to add drop-shadows to the text of the title bar, etc.pp. Jut a bad idea that they tried desperately to fix, but it did not work because it was a bad idea right from the start.

Of course power users used the "classic mode" on Win7 because of this. I am glad that MS understands this and will fix it.

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Windows 8: no choice

Why does it matter to Microsoft if Aero is in Windows 8 or not? Surely this is a user preference. If there's a performance problem on a specific implementation, it seems to me an appropriate course of action is to make the default something other than Aero. Maybe no one uses Aero? I do. How many Windows 7 users will this affect?

So I'm cheesy, huh? But then I have about 2 billion CPU cycles per second free so squander. How much effort does it for Windows to process key clicks (that's what my laptop does most of the day)?

Even modern A10 chips run at nearly 2Ghz (I know CPU speed is not always a good proxy for processing speed but we don't have anything else). So another question is: what is Windows 8 doing to consume so many cycle that it can't paint the screen? Maybe malware is built in to the OS?

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Flame

Yaaaaawn

Not being funny, but how come _everyone_ is a fricking expert? I mean come on - it's an OS, and if you don't like it don't use it. Yes, most versions of the M$ OS have been buggy in the early days - our general rule of thumb was to wait until the first SP before looking to upgrade - but having jumped ship to Ubuntu some time ago I can say the same for the LTS releases there.

_But_ lets be realistic - with a choice of XP, Windows 7, Vista (if you are feeling sadistic) and all of the various Linux distro's - not to mention MAC - I fail to see the vitriol behind a companies release.

News update folks - M$ didn't make it for YOU, they made it to make money. It's their train set, and if it works then great, if it doesn't, well, there'll be another along in a year or so.

This shit is almost as dreary as the Olympics.

Apologies for the grammar/punctuation etc, I'm doing this on mah phone.

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Flame

Re: Yaaaaawn

You have a point. From my own POV, however, what annoys me is this "we know what's best for you" attitude that Microsoft is adopting here. I want my computer to do a certain job in the way I want it to be done, not how some "expert" wants me to do it.

So when I see that they are forcing me to change (this is a big problem here - the word "change") the interface to a method that is not suitable for purpose just to make some fashion statement, I get annoyed.

And I HATE being annoyed!

The wages of Metro is.... oh sorry. You nearly brought out the Virtue in me!

But, as I said, the word "change" is the important one here. Change for the sake of change will always get up the collective noses of the great unwashed, but change in itself will always provoke some people regardless. That being the case, change should be presented properly, and Microsoft appears to have completely forgotten how to do that. Hence the comments we have here.

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Re: Yaaaaawn

Everyone is a fricking expert because the topic is usability and we are all users. I'd guess that most of us here are fairly heavy users and have far wider experience than average of different UIs on various systems past and present.

Not being funny, but the real question is what are Microsoft smoking? Twenty years ago, GUIs were sufficiently close to being "designed" that vendors frequently issued design guides with references to actual research in human-computer interactions and models of how people think when they approach a computer. Every version of Windows in the last ten years is sufficiently far from those models that MS don't dare publish similar guides. They may have something called a design guide, but it doesn't reference research and is instead full of arty comments about the emotions they want the UI to inspire in their users.

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What are Microsoft smoking?

The same thing the folks at Apple, KDE, Gnome and Canonical are all smoking it appears.

I don't know what it is with UI designers and sudden onset dementia at the moment but I sure hope it aint catching.

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Facepalm

7 years ago they said...

...we'd all be using netbooks.

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