back to article More than half of Windows 8 users just treat it like Windows 7

For all Microsoft's hype about The Interface Formerly Known As Metro (TIFKAM), more than half of all Windows 8 users ignore the new Start Screen and treat the OS as if it were Windows 7, according to a study by PC management firm Soluto. Soluto chart tracking Windows Store app use How many Windows 8 users launch a Windows …


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  1. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Classic Shell. You know it makes sense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I prefer simply not to buy it.

      Classic shell implicitly means condoning it, and I want the creators banned from the industry.

      Windows 8 is to me like Star Wars 1 was, or Highlander 2.

      1. Bob Camp

        Re: I prefer simply not to buy it.

        Highlander? When it comes to operating systems, there can be only one?

      2. billranton

        Re: I prefer simply not to buy it.

        Yes definitely. Also, if you really want to justifiably despise something, you must masochistically immerse yourself in its filth as I have been doing with my new laptop for a month now. There's no telling what I'll be capable of by the time Win8.1 is released.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge


      No OS should ever require 3rd party programs in order for it to become useable.

      TIFKAM appears to have been designed by Microsoft in order to follow Microsoft's strategic plans, it seems very difficult to believe that many actual objectively thinking users were consulted during it's developement.

      1. The_Regulator

        Win 8 requires zero 3rd party programs to run and be effective for personal use. Get over it, if you don't like Metro don't use it.

        1. Don Jefe

          Yes Windows 8 is perfectly usable and so is a 1983 Chevrolet Chevette but the experience sucks. MS has spent decades getting into the minds and hearts of the vast majority of PC users by using a fairly consistent layout. For them to do something so radical at a time when OSS options are becoming somewhat usable for the average Joe was just stupid. I'm OK with change and learning new things about a software package can be fun but TIFKAM is pants. So are Chevettes.

        2. Chad H.

          So regulator...

          How do I get a start menu that doesn't force me out of everything and take up all of my screen on win 8 without a 3rd party fixes?

          1. Gavin Ayling
            IT Angle

            Re: So regulator...

            I think this misses the point. The idea is that apps move to a common design that doesn't have a start menu etc. For now, not all things can be done this way, but it's the beginning of a brave new world.

          2. Chris Long

            Re: So regulator...

            The Start screen doesn't 'force [you] out of everything', what are you going on about?

            1. Chad H.

              Re: So regulator...

              It takes up the entirety of my screen, covering the video I'm watching, the chat I'm regulating, and whatever else I may be doing. I am forced out of all of that until I find the program I want.

              all this to launch a menu that should at worst be no more than a 3rd of the screen.

              1. The_Regulator

                I like how you included regulating here :)

                I split my OS up essentially so if I'm running in desktop mode I rarely need start tbh

          3. jason 7

            Re: So regulator...

            So you haven't set your Default Apps to the Desktop versions then?

            Here you go -


          4. The_Regulator

            I think you are missing my point. I launch my desktop apps from my desktop taskbar and my metro apps from start unless I want to run control panel or something similar that I use infrequently which is shortcutted to start.

            I do not put my legacy apps shortcuts on the start menu generally if I use them on a regular basis.

            Essentially I use metro only for consumption eg news, weather, sports etc. I use legacy desktop for creation and productivity and it works great for me.

        3. asdf Silver badge

          >Get over it, if you don't like Metro don't use it.

          I wonder if that's Microsoft's pitch to enterprise. Might explain the adoption rate.

        4. James Anderson

          you need a start menu

          Without the third party start menu apps the ancient desktop is unusable.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            You are so wrong....

        5. Robert Heffernan


          Try playing a DVD without installing a 3rd party app.

          1. Gavin Ayling

            Re: ???

            You can with Media Center edition. DVD's are old-school anyway and a third party app is a requirement for a lot of activity.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          You are technically correct in the fact that you can use the stupid thing without a 3rd party app, YOu need the 3rd party app to have the system useable.

      2. Panzerbjorn

        Deep breath now...

        Calm down and relax. TIFKAM is perfectly usable, it just isn't the interface people are used to.

        Just the same way that Linux users have been able to change their UI, so can windows users. And if you don't like TIFKAM, then use another one, but TIFKAM itself is fine.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Deep breath now...

          @Panser and the Regular

          If TIFKAM is so usable then why are MS deciding to do a u-turn and give us back, at least partially, the existing start menu. ????

          So calm down ladies, when MS also admits failure then there was obviously something wrong somewhere along the line and it can't always be the users fault.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Deep breath now...

            "when MS also admits failure then" --- they have their dick and their head stuck in the same vice.

          2. Mark Allread

            Re: Deep breath now...

            @ Khapatain: Prepare to be seething even more. The rumour is they're going to put the Start *button* back, not the start menu.

          3. The_Regulator

            Precisely for the reason we are debating right now because a majority of people seem to be lost without it. Personally I see no need but obviously I am in the minority here based on the number of down votes I get for voicing my opinion on a daily basis.

        2. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Deep breath now...

          TIFKAM is perfectly usable, it just isn't the interface people are used to.

          It is usable, sure, but not perfectly so.

          What angers users is that it replaces something that was more usable (though still not perfect). Products are supposed to improve as theye evolve, not deteriorate.

          1. h3

            Re: Deep breath now...

            Linux is a great example of things deteriorating completely on the desktop.

            The default for pretty much every distro is sacrifice 50% of your 3d performance for pointless desktop effects.

            Pulseaudio makes it so sound is just wrong.

            Microsoft has not killed performance of anything for Windows 8 or done anything particularly badly that affects me all that much.

        3. James Anderson

          Re: Deep breath now...

          Things you cannot do in the "modern" interface that you can in the "ancient" interface.

          View twi screens together.

          Switch apps with two keystrokes or one mouse click.

          Find an application in a submenu with three mouse movements.(as opposed to searching for the right tile in multiple start screens).

          Etc. Etc.

          1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

            Re: Deep breath now...

            Things you cannot do in the "modern" interface...Switch apps with two keystrokes...

            I emphatically do not like the new GUI, but ALT-TAB still works. In fact, it was one of the few familiar things I found when using a friend's new laptop. Not so sure about the rest of the comments as I stopped using the machine as quickly as possible. She said it took her about a week and a half to get used to it. She is a non-IT type.

        4. Gray

          Re: Deep breath now...

          especially worrying to Microsoft, which has already spent mega-millions on marketing Windows 8's new UI, apparently to little effect.

          TIFKAM violates a basic principle of human nature, which Microsoft seems unable to grasp as it flings good money after bad: no matter how much they sugar-coat and garnish a turd, people still don't like it.

        5. Dinky Carter

          Re: Deep breath now...

          I really like my Windows Phone, but TIFKAM is just complete shite on a desktop.

          Full screen apps are non-sensical on a desktop (drag 'n' drop???)

          And even such basic functionality as being able to choose the default app background colour is now gone (we have to live with retina-burn white)

          Windows 8 has to be one of the biggest retrograde steps in recent computing history.

        6. Paul Shirley

          Re: "TIFKAM is perfectly usable, it just isn't the interface people are used to."

          Metro is a UI designed down to the least common denominator, one designed for what a small screen touch only device is capable of (and I'd argue crap like magic corners is inherently bad design even there).

          Not just different, it's an impoverished UI, hamstrung by it's assumptions:

          1: that it has to look the same everywhere (a pure marketing requirement with no real reason to exist), where 'everywhere' leaks strongly into desktop mode (so even functional window chrome had to go)

          2: that it has to behave identically everywhere, regardless of the quality or precision of your input devices

          3: that fullscreen is always the 'right thing', whatever the hardware, whatever restrictions it causes

          There's a more subtle assumption: that desktop=legacy mode. Legacy modes inevitably become 2nd class, with degraded support and allowed to rot before being dropped completely - at least in the minds of the managers and developers maintaining them... and Win8 desktop mode is showing signs of neglect, from the hastily crippled chrome and theming options to the astonishing bugginess of File Explorer to the almost random organisation of settings and on and on.

          The real issue here remains the same, if I'm using an 'interface people (aren't) used to' there's no reason it should be a Microsoft interface. If users are increasingly using reduced function devices instead of PCs, Microsoft are screwed because traditional Windows doesn't work there.

          Everything in Win8 has to train users to use the impoverished Metro UI that does work on new devices. Metro can't be allowed to work better on a PC than a tablet and desktop has to be subtly (and not so subtly) degraded to make Metro more attractive. It's cynical, desperate and failing.

      3. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        No OS should ever require 3rd party programs in order for it to become useable.

        So you're criticising Microsoft for creating a market opportunity for a third party? That might be a first :)

        1. Khaptain Silver badge


          Third party applications are fine but not for something as essential as the start menu. It is one of those elements that you really want to be "perfectly" integrated.

          1. Schultz
            Thumb Down

            @Khaptain: Third party applications are just fine.

            There is nothing essential about the start menu that would require it as part of the OS. There is no need to buy into the MS propaganda that this or that function must be an essential part of the OS, at best those were essential functions to embrace and suffocate the competition.

            I like my software modular and I like choice.

          2. h3

            There really is no difference between the Metro screen and the start menu in any ways that matter.

            Using the windows key or ctrl + escape and then just typing part of the name is the same on both OS's

            windows + r still works (for stuff like regedit or cmd where it is quicker).

            windows + x has most of the rest of the useful stuff.

            I use the Metro Mail app for personal mail that is it. (Used to brilliant when gmail activesync worked. No way to get it back after a system refresh though so the cloud sync of setting is completely pointless).

            My TV is not certifed for Windows 8 or I might have used that feature.

            1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge


              >>My TV is not certifed for Windows 8 or I might have used that feature.

              certifed! certifed! WTF SHOULD A TV BE certifed!

              Next you'll be telling me that only a MS Mouse will work with your favourite OS.

              It also needs a 3rd. party spell-checker by the look of it.

            2. MacGyver
              IT Angle


              "There really is no difference between the Metro screen and the start menu in any ways that matter."

              Other than efficiency. I very rarely use the keyboard, and most of the functionality you listed needs the keyboard and to add insult to injury they want two hands to issue the key combinations. Which blows my mind in the fact that this is supposed be designed for computers lacking keyboards. That just screams poor design.

            3. Anonymous Coward

              I want an operating system...

              Not a computer that needs psychoanalysis to get it working.

              You know like "The ON button" and "The OFF button".

              But noooooo the management of Microsoft, insist that you stick the tooth brush up your arse to clean your teeth...

              This is what an epic idiot trip their OS's and software have become.

              Stupid new ways, to do plain old things.

              For the profit margin that's why. For the profit margin.

        2. MrDamage

          "So you're criticising Microsoft for creating a market opportunity for a third party? That might be a first"

          I believe people criticised Microsofts security model that lead to the rise of 3rd party AV/Firewall suites as well, so not exactly a first.

        3. Tom 13

          Re: criticising Microsoft for creating a market opportunity

          It's the correct application of the word "required" that presents the problem. Stacker wasn't required for Windows 3.x to work, but some users thought it made the software better. QEMM wasn't required for Windows 3.x to work, but it was a pretty handy tool for most users, even as MS kept breaking it to kill it because their tool was crap.

      4. Anonymous Coward


        "TIFKAM appears to have been designed by Microsoft in order to follow Microsoft's strategic plans, it seems very difficult to believe that many actual objectively thinking users were consulted during it's developement."

        Oh, but it isn't, Microsoft actually consults its users all the time. If there's one thing Microsoft does "right" (sort off) it's providing a platform for their users to share their opinions on the matter. And for their entire range of products too; from Windows (through their Windows blog) right down to their development products, for example through the Visual Studio UserVoice site.

        What does seem unbelievable though is that Microsoft actually pays any attention to all the feedback they've been getting.

        There are some exceptions, but even those show how stubborn Microsoft actually is. For example; while a regular suggestion for Visual Studio 2012 ("VS2012") gets approximately a few hundred votes (500 - 600) the suggestion to bring back colours to the interface quickly grossed in a few thousand during the first week. Yet only after approx. eight thousand votes did someone at Microsoft suddenly wake up and considered to write a theme editor module for VS2012 which allowed users to change the colour scheme as they deemed fit. They also added a few more themes apart from the default 2 (which were called "dark" and "light"). At this moment the suggestion in question has gotten thirteen thousand votes and the number still rises.

        Microsoft is consulting their users all right, the only problem is that they're totally ignoring what is being said.

        1. h3

          Re: @Khaptain

          I prefer monochrome for writing code I think it is a good choice it is not detracting.

          I used a sparc classix x terminal for a while at one place just a single full screen xterm

          19" monochrome monitor and it was great so easy on the eyes not detracting.

        2. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Don;t attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by normal projetc management.

          "Yet only after approx. eight thousand votes did someone at Microsoft suddenly wake up and considered to write a theme editor module for VS2012"

          Maybe the project was behind schedule, and when they reviewed the remaining development effort and plans for QA they started striking features off the list, and a "theme editor module" didn't survive the purge. On a later date, and when faced with vocal demand from thousands of users, the requirement was re-prioritised, resources were re-allocated, and the "theme editor module" got back on the list.

          Don't we all witness similar scenarios in our own organizations?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Khaptain

          Sounds like any manager in a large corporation to me.

        4. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: @Khaptain

          Except that they relied on "telemetry" this time, not speaking to people. E.g. the most common Win 7 search was apparently about start menu alternatives. So they got rid of it, rather than improving its flaws.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Khaptain

          Actually, they stopped development stage user UI testing after Windows 2000. They listen to feedback now only after releasing the product. Both Vista and 8 have suffered from this. Windows 7 (and 8.1) are the results of the feedback. This seems to be a bass-akward way of development, but maybe they view bad PR to be better than no PR.

        6. GrumpyOldMan

          Re: @Khaptain

          But are those 'users' it listens to all MSDN subscribers who do the alpha and beta testing, IT guys who have to fix the bugs or fix the UI so that users can use it, or are they - if the ads are to be believed - Mrs Jones who's a mum with that oh-so-cute little girl in an immaculate house in a nice suburb somewhere but seems a little bit too computer-savvy to be believable? If MS really do listen to their users why do we still have the ribbon? Having said that it took me a year to get off Windows 3.11 and on to Windows 95, then ages to shift to 98. I went NT4 not long after that and then to 2000 Pro at work which was great. Again, XP took me aeons - SP1 was well and truly out - but then took me ages to get off it and on to Windows 7 which I really like and intend to stay with now. So in about 4 years I may dip my toe into Windows 8. Or not...

      5. Grey Bird

        3rd part desktop manager/start menu

        I know this will probably get a lot of downvotes but... Linux has had to use 3rd party desktop managers/start menus since it started using a gui. Xwindows, KDE, Gnome, xfce, etc. are _all_ 3rd party code and not native parts of Linux. So I don't see using a 3rd party desktop gui as a big deal. I really like DesktopX and Windowblinds! :-) That being said, I don't currently have any plans to "upgrade" to Win8 ever. If I bought a windows tablet it might be usable, but it just doesn't appeal to me. I've used Windows since 3.1, and MS-DOS before that. I've used various flavors of (maybe I should say flavours) Linux and Mac OS. Even a little bit of actual UNIX and DEC and way back, CP/M, but I just don't see the appeal of TIFKAM.

        1. fandom Silver badge

          Re: 3rd part desktop manager/start menu

          " Xwindows, KDE, Gnome, xfce, etc. are _all_ 3rd party"

          Nope, they are all second party


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