back to article Microsoft to RIP THE SHEETS off Windows 9 aka 'Threshold' in April

Microsoft will map out its plans for the successor to Windows 8.1 – which might be named Windows 9 – at a company event in April, we're told. Microsoft will start a discussion around the next iteration of its client operating system at its Build Conference on 2 to 4 April in San Francisco, California. "Threshold", believed to …

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Re: It's part of a bigger picture

I would have thought that the effort "converting Kms to Nautical miles." would be identical to the effort needed to convert Imperial (and by extension US) miles to Nautical miles.

Hell, airplanes measure fuel in in litres and then make caluclations in pounds and measure air speed in knots.

I really don't give a toss, I am equally comfortable with metric and celcius or Imperial and Fahrenheit. Where I get it wrong is when in the US, we have a US gallon, a US quart and so on. So personally, if the US started using any other standard for liquid measures, that would be a good start.

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Re: It's part of a bigger picture

"Apple is floundering "

Wow, that is statement so removed from reality that it is mind boggling.

(removed original post with incorrect quote)

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So many people are missing the point. Metro is there to provide a consistent interface across different devices, so you don't need to learn three different ways of doing things across three different platforms (PC, tablet, phone). I think most people would consider that a great idea if it wasn't MS pushing it.

The problem is, people don't like change. XP was hated when it came out too but it went on to be a great success. I think most of the public are starting to come around to Windows 8 too. Certainly in our company where we have rolled it out, many in management were concerned. I still have an email from a senior manager talking about a "growing groundswell against Windows 8", yet it has been our smoothest, most successful, and most well received upgrade since, well, ever, and I remember the move from Windows 98!! That isn't just anecdotal. User satisfaction (yes, I hate that too) with IT has risen more than 8% in a year since the rollout.

13% is not a huge market share, but it continues to grow, even in these times where many companies don't need to run the latest and greatest, and that is no disgrace.

Ultimately though, there will always be those bitter about anything MS, and resistant to change, that is human nature to some degree, but thankfully, the innovation doesn't stop, and we will continue to see progress.

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Really - people hate the utterly retarded UI just because MS released it? How about this... maybe everyone (and, in my own experience dealing with a huge range of IT-using punters every day, it really is effectively everyone) hates the retarded UI because it's retarded. Maybe we should just all put earplugs in and go about blindfolded so that we all have a consistent experience of the world around us whether or not we are naturally deaf or blind?

I'm of the opinion that if the default Windows 8(.1) experience really does suit someone they probably shouldn't even have a PC at all; they'd be better off using their similarly handicapped phone or tablet.

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XP was hated when it came out too but it went on to be a great success. I think most of the public are starting to come around to Windows 8 too.

No it wasn't. XP was massively desired, it added some glitz and features that windows 2000 didn't have, it didn't crash like 98/ME and had a newer version of DirectX. It was so popular that they literally had to invent Bittorrent in order for enough people to download it from the scene (this is not true).

User satisfaction (yes, I hate that too) with IT has risen more than 8% in a year since the rollout.

You gave everyone new machines with bags of RAM and user satisfaction rose? Must be down to Windows 8!

13% is not a huge market share, but it continues to grow, even in these times where many companies don't need to run the latest and greatest, and that is no disgrace.

It continues to grow due to obsolescence of existing PCs and not being able to purchase a windows PC that does not come with windows 8.

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@quarky - If you are telling us

that we should do things on a 24in wide screen display in the same way we're doing them on a 4in phone display then, boy, you're the one missing the point by more than a mile.

Beside that, I don't know about you but most people already learned to find their way across the three different platforms so I don't see any need for Microsoft to dumb us back with their help.

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Yeah...

... those people probably have iPhones.

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> I think most people would consider that a great idea if it wasn't MS pushing it.

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. I spent a couple hours removing a nasty thing (not recognised by our antimalware) from a several computers 2 weeks ago; 2 XP, 1 Win7, and 1 Win8 (same nasty, spread by a single user's USB drive). On the XP and Win7 machines it was a fairly annoying but straightforward job (stop the nasty process, delete its install directory, remove all related keys from the registry, reboot, check that it was gone). On the Win8 machine it was very frustrating, with the Metro UI constantly getting in the way. No more difficult, but considerably more upsetting. I don't care who pushed for it, or what the reason were, or if it seemed like a good idea at the time. All I care is that it gets in the way. It is a touchscreen UI designed for small displays. On a non-touch 3840×2160 24" monitor it's very annoying and makes you want to throw the thing out the window.

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@Quarky

People who have Windows phones hate Windows 8 on their desktop PC. People who have Windows tablets hate Windows 8 on their desktop PC. Apple understands this, and sells three different interfaces matched to three classes of devices: phones, tablets, and desktop computers.

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Horse Apples

"So many people are missing the point. Metro is there to provide a consistent interface across different devices, so you don't need to learn three different ways of doing things across three different platforms"

My phone has a 4" screen.

My tablet has a 7" screen.

They run the same version of Android and the software can adapt to make use of the larger screen on the tablet. MS could do this too, and they should do it.

My desktop has a full keyboard, a mouse, 2 screens, loads of storage and far more power. Why would I want to use the same UI as my phone? It's not useful in any way. Should they put peddles and hand brakes in cars so bike riders will not have to learn to drive?

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Errr no, but nice try. User satisfaction has often fallen in previous cases after an upgrade because users need to get used to a new work environment, and there is a learning curve.

As for XP, I can only assume you were not around then when "Teletubbie Windows" was released.

"But the launch has been overshadowed by criticisms about pricing, the bundling of unwanted features and Microsoft's all-powerful market position."

http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/1830275/windows-xp-mixed-reception

"Research firm Gartner predicts that most consumers won't switch operating systems until they buy new PCs. Gartner predicted tepid initial sales, which would be in line with the lukewarm reception received by Windows Me and Windows 2000 last year."

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-274939.html

Or this one from December 2003 (from than two years after XP's launch):

"By contrast AssetMetrix found that only 7% of the PCs companies were using had the latest Windows operating system, XP, installed. Windows 2000 was the most popular operating system."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3324471.stm

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Perhaps a metaphore will help you

"So many people are missing the point. Metro is there to provide a consistent interface across different devices,"

Why does a car have a steering wheel, a bike handle bars and a horse have reigns?

Technically we could have the same UI across all and, by your logic, this would help people and lead to better road safety. But after 100 years of co-existence, these UIs have not merged.

If you are holding something in your one hand and manipulating it with the other, then a touch screen makes a lot of sense. To do touch well requires a certain screen layout (eg. bigger targets, and not changing the screen behind the user's finger). Due to the natural feedback in your hand/eye coordination, touching something you are holding accurately is child's play. Even moving from stylus to finger touch was a massive UI change.

A desktop is primarily suited to typing on a real keyboard and for precision pointing (mouse). That means you want more text entry, have smaller targets and can pack in more info. ie. a completely different UI.

What you certainly do not want is to mix the two. Having a touch screen monitor on a desktop is just plain terrible. You have to reach away from the keyboard, lean forward (back strain etc) and touch the screen. It is hard to do that accurately and fast. Accuracy and speed are essential for any corporate desktop and MS need to get corporates right otherwise they fail.

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Flame

If Metro got in the way, you were doing it wrong. Metro is no more annoying that a start menu.

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"So many people are missing the point. Metro is there to provide a consistent interface across different devices, so you don't need to learn three different ways of doing things across three different platforms (PC, tablet, phone). I think most people would consider that a great idea if it wasn't MS pushing it."

What? Thank you, Mister Obvious. What a brillllllllliant observation.

Couple of problems, there. (1) Microsoft has proven multiple times (Windows Phone, (a Start button? On a phone?? Really???) Windows "Tablet Edition" and now Windows Phone 7 / Windows 8) that Microsoft Does Not Understand Touch Interfaces. They've forgotten or ignored all the things they learned about conveyance and usability that they had improved and polished from Win95 to Win7. They've gone from the worst of all possible worlds (a mouse-centric interface grafted onto a touch device without a mouse) and gone and found a new, better worst of all possible worlds -- a touch interface where you can stare at it all day and it is not at all apparent what you should do next.

(2) Putting a touch interface on a KVM machine is PANTS. Defaulting to full screen apps on PCs with large displays is INCREDIBLY STUPID. In short, a consistent interface across devices with RADICALLY DIFFERENT input methods didn't work when they put a start button on Windows Phone, and it still doesn't work putting a touch-centric interface on a PC. What is totally amazing about this is that Microsoft could have the stupidity or hubris (or both) to take what they had learned in the past and make the SAME mistake again.

So yeah, we know WHY they did it. That part, at least, has been painfully obvious. It's still a really REALLY bad decision.

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Re: Perhaps a metaphore will help you

"Why does a car have a steering wheel, a bike handle bars and a horse have reigns?"

<slaps head>

Reading some of these comments almost makes me ashamed to work in IT. A car, a horse, and a bike have completely different methods of movements and working. You turn a bike by leaning and steering the front single wheel AWAY from the turn (at anything other than slow speed), while a car is turned by turning the front two wheels IN to the turn. Just because they both "go" doesn't mean they work the same way. Similarly, the throttle on a bike has much more control than just "faster/slower". Throttle control is critical to control and stability of a bike through a turn, and even in a straight it is vastly more important than in a car, hence the requirement for a much more subtle touch (and hands rather than feet). A horse, well, obviously a horse is an animal so you give it an instruction and hope it goes the way you want it to. However you slice it, you are going to have to learn three methods of operation because they are all completely different beasts that are made to "go" in fundamentally different ways.

A PC/phone/tablet pretty much all work the same way. In all cases you input instructions (typically via a keyboard and/or mouse but these days also with a touch screen (either as well or instead)) and tasks are run on the CPU, data is retrieved and processed, and displayed back to you. The difference is purely device size. Some are convenient to hold in one hand, some are not convenient to hold at all, but a 8" Windows tablet works the same as a desktop with a 40" screen running Windows. The same for Android. The difference is that some (most these days) smaller devices (phones and tablets) have a touch screen. Some laptops and desktops also have a touch screen. That is often an additional control method, or a replacement control method. However, if you know how the OS works, and you how to find an application, start an application, control and application etc, whether you do that by pressing on the screen with your finger, or moving a mouse pointer there and clicking, IS THE SAME. The difference in required learning between leaning a new way to activate an appilcation (press with your stylus or finger vs click with a mouse) is much less than learning a new (going from an XP like interface on one device to a Win8 interface on another).

I thought all that would be obvious, but I guess not.

As for a touch screen on a desktop/laptop, it is an ADDITIONAL interface. It doesn't stop you using a mouse or keyboard. It isn't one of the other. Having said that, why don't you ask people who have worked with touch screens for years? Certainly the ones in the ticket office at St Pancras find them very useful, but I suppose they haven't been told yet that they should be having back pain etc.

It is just like the Kindle e-ink debate. The number of times I have been told that I must get eye strain by reading from a tablet instead of an e-ink... The same tribal blinkering here.

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> If Metro got in the way, you were doing it wrong. Metro is no more annoying that a start menu.

Yes, yes it is. Unlabeled or badly-labeled "active zones" are a pain to use with a mouse (especially when the luser's dumb setting mean that you need to move the mouse for 2.5 miles to reach across the screen).

I also don't care terribly much about their friend's updates on FaceBook or Tweeter, so copping a facefull of that along the disinfection process is definitely what I'd call "getting in the way".

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Re: Perhaps a metaphore will help you

I've said it before and I'll say it again. There are two sides to this argument:

1: "I like Windows 8, though I obviously realise a lot of other people don't."

2: "I hate Windows 8 and THEREFORE SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE."

Politics, religion, baths versus showers, and now this.

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Do they have quantum PC's yet

or whatever will be required to run it till the first update tuesday?

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Re: Do they have quantum PC's yet

yes.

and no.

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the Metro language is going to be fixed and "matured"?

WTF is that supposed to mean? There is no Metro language.

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Re: the Metro language is going to be fixed and "matured"?

"WTF is that supposed to mean? There is no Metro language."

Switch an XP or Win 7 user over to Win 8 without warning.

You *will* hear plenty of 'Metro' language, and yes, it's pretty mature!

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Re: the Metro language is going to be fixed and "matured"?

They probably mean the Windows 8 tiles page will use a better pattern matcher, so that a dyslexic can also find his apps. Well, more often than at present. Xecel ... Cexle ... Exlec ...

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There is a language and it is immature

There is a Metro language. It's all the new terminology to describe the UI features and the associated verbiage. No more clicking icons, you now swoosh tiles or some such bollocks.

Then they have charms.

Now I can understand having things called charms on My Pink Pony OS designed for 9 year old girls along with other UI elements called sparkles, tassels, gloss and glitter.

But how is any corporate user meant to take it seriously?

If Joe Sixpack phones up tech support and they tell him he needs more charms they will think they're taking the piss. He will go down there and give 'em a right kicking, no doubt with support from HR.

That's the kind of crap that isn't mature yet. They need to take off the lizard marketing pants and put on beige if they want the corporates back again.

We're here to do work. The computer is a tool, not a lifestyle appliance.

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Rol

Surely

The great advantage over an analogue machine interface is the ability to reconfigure and customise a software defined digital environment to the users liking.

That MS resolutely refuses to get on-board with this notion is lamentable, especially when you consider the likes of Linux has several flavours of desktop environment, not to mention the bespoke implementations that focus all of a machines resources to a specific task, without the need to get under the bonnet and rip out all the guff that insists on staying resident when it is clear it is hogging resources for no purpose.

One size does not fit all, is true for shoes and is only true for operating systems if they choose to similarly cobble it together.

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Unnecessary Windows 8.1 Hate

My PC boots in about 4 seconds now Windows 8.1 is installed on it and is usable immediately; Windows 7 didn't come anywhere near close to that on exactly the same hardware. After a few bits of customisation, after login it goes to the desktop, files open in desktop applications and links open in desktop browsers. Learning a few of the mouse gestures makes it more usable too (such a mouse top left, pull the mouse down). Instead of a clunky start screen or the often 'desktop full of icons' I have a start screen containing only the shortcuts I use with most other application win+S away. Shutdown/restart is a single right click away. It creates a cleaner, more productive environment and the OS is considerably faster and chunters much less than Windows 7. All the traditional config snapins/dialogs are still there as they were in Win7.

Actually try 8.1 for a few days after customising it then comment...

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Re: Unnecessary Windows 8.1 Hate

I did try Windows 8.1 - the free trial version downloaded from Microsoft.

I was using a traditional laptop, vintage 2007, and I did not like Win 8.1. In particular, the sheer hassle in getting everything switched off properly at the end of the day.

Yes, it recognised the hardware excellently. But that was no substitute for general anti-useability.

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Re: Unnecessary Windows 8.1 Hate

We all know this - don't you see that what you've actually done is wasted useful time in fiddling with fairly obscure settings in order to get a semi-usable experience? This is the whole issue that has annoyed so many people - Windows 8 can be made to work reasonably well but only after tweaking; a desktop OS should come ready-configured as a desktop OS, not some kind of dumbed down phone.

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@John 172

There's another big flaw you've hit upon - you absolutely *SHOULD NOT* have to spend time to 'learn' where Microsoft has hidden core features. I'm an IT admin and I have many users running Win8, so I would say I'm somewhat familiar with the interface, but even then I sometimes have to shout out in the office 'where've they hidden the log off button again?'

An OS should be designed such that all core features are intuitively located so that users instinctively know how to get to them.

It's a good job Microsoft have made a web browser so easily accessible in Windows 8, because most people need to use Google every 30 seconds to look up how to do something that was obvious and easy in almost all prior versions of Windows.

THAT is why Windows 8 is crap and THAT is why it doesn't, and won't, ever sell well.

Windows 9 will be Windows 7 with an option for a touch interface if you want it. That is what Windows 8 should have been all along.

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Re: Unnecessary Windows 8.1 Hate

"Actually try 8.1 for a few days after customising it then comment..."

So, you're saying it's great after you fix all the problems?

Have I got a used car for you!*

*(Needs steering wheel, new tires, bearings and, brakes, the engine needs an overhaul... and the car could use some body work and paint, but hey, once you're done, it's a dream car!)

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Re: Unnecessary Windows 8.1 Hate

I have. I don't like it. I'm back to W7. It works. End of.

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Instict and intuition @ leeph

> you absolutely *SHOULD NOT* have to spend time to 'learn' where Microsoft has hidden core features. ... An OS should be designed such that all core features are intuitively located so that users instinctively know how to get to them.

I hate to break it to you, but everyone who waxes lyrical about the Start button had to learn how to use it. In most cases, they learnt so long ago that they've forgotten they had to learn it and they are now under the mistaken impression that its use is instinctive. But it is learnt.

This means that, where users ask for "intuitive" features, what they really mean is "familiar". That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is an awkward obstacle for anyone who wants to update their UI.

Apple got around this problem by telling anyone who preferred OS9 to OSX "Fuck you." Microsoft, whatever you may think of Windows 8, have been more considerate than that.

By the way, Microsoft have hidden the 'log off' button under Ctrl+Alt+Delete, which isn't intuitive either but is quite familiar to anyone who's used a PC before.

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Re: @John 172

"It's a good job Microsoft have made a web browser so easily accessible in Windows 8, because most people need to use Google every 30 seconds to look up how to do something that was obvious and easy in almost all prior versions of Windows."

That is so fucking true. I have been dicking around with a new 2012 cluster machine today and it was an awful experience and yes I had to google all sorts of things. And that fucking default colour scheme has got to go, asap.

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Re: Unnecessary Windows 8.1 Hate

For me, the problem with Windows 8 was summed up by a quote I encountered recently - can't remember if it was here on El Reg, or on Slashdot. With acknowledgements to the original (unknown) author:

"Microsoft have given us new ways to do familiar things. The problem is, we wanted familiar ways to do new things."

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Trollface

Windows 8 Conspiracy

I think that the whole Windows 8 project was a vast conspiracy between Microsoft and the Indian government as a scheme to expand their online support industry there......Microsoft was receiving commissions on the number of support calls which exceeded the license fees from actual sales.....

The goal was full employment for India.....adding hundreds of millions of support reps....

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Alien

First it's Threshold, then Foothold, and finally Stranglehold?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshold_(TV_series)#Planned_storylines

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How about a price cut too?

This is supremely wishful thinking, but how about making upgrades cheaper too? I (for about 0.9 nanoseconds) considered buying an upgrade for my windows 7 PC after hearing rumours that Windows 8 performs better with games. Then I saw it was £99.99 for the (non professional) version! I had an iMac until middle of last year, and I never paid more than about £20 for a new Mac OS and Mavericks was free!

Surely once you've developed the OS the "pile em high sell em cheap" approach is better? Sure the margin per unit is lower, but in most cases all the cost was upfront in building it. Selling 1000 copies at £50 would be better than selling 200 copies at £100 surely (numbers purely made up by me).

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Re: How about a price cut too?

Microsoft wants to charge for this (service pack) err, upgrade; That's the main reason it'll be an new version and not an upgrade to win8.

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Re: How about a price cut too?

If you're going by that reasoning then MS should have given XP to all ME users, and 7 to all Vista users, as a way of an apology. Yes, they should, but no, they won't.

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The real fun starts

when Microsoft decides what to call the successor to Windows 12.

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Joke

Re: The real fun starts

Windows 14, of course.

(Ask a Chinese if you need an explanation of the joke).

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Let us not forget

After Windows 9 will come 10 and 11 to be lauded and then scorned by their maker, each in their turns on the endless wheel of making you buy the same stuff over and again.

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Anonymous Coward

Can't they just save time and money

by rebadging Windows 7 as Windows 9?

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MS till ducking critical questions on it's new Gee-Whiz OS

The one critical topic that is never breached in all the years that new versions of Microsoft are announced or hyped is that of "security". Will Windows 9 desktop still require installation of bloated anti-malware to order to maintain a 'minimum' level of security protection?

The other topic is that of 'standard' Operating System (OS) file system for new Windows 9 OS desktop. it is my clear understanding from Microsoft representatives that .the Windows 8.x "desktops" still use a modified version of venerable (meaning old and cranky) NTFS file system, albeit integrated with Bitlocker upgraded features, but a tired 'anachronism' none the less. How can Microsoft expect to be taken seriously as an effective technology company, particularly in 2014 ,when all this Gee-Whiz! gibberish about new desktops omits critical technical improvement needed to compete successfully with the very modern and powerful Linux based Android, ChromeOS, the upcoming Samsung/Intel Tizen Linux computing devices and the Apple OS X Maverick OS?

Loyal Microsoft Windows purchasers and supporters are unfortunately very ignorant and naive about the serious shortcomings carried forth in every new iteration since Windows NT, and this dilemma will not help the company adapt successfully to the new but still very dangerous Internet age where the vulnerabilities of Windows remain a serious stumbling block.

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AV @ W.Anderson

> Will Windows 9 desktop still require installation of bloated anti-malware to order to maintain a 'minimum' level of security protection?

Well, Windows 8 doesn't, so I doubt it.

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Joke

Don't they already have Windows 9 something?

It is in the form of Windows 95 and Windows 98

No comment as to quality of these though, it seems to vary greatly.

(maybe this isn't a joke, time will tell)

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Anonymous Coward

Windows RG

YouTube demo of Windows RG (Really Good). It's been around for years, but makes me smile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r8up0evNLo

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N2
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Trollface

Good luck

It will all be fixed in the next release!

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Re: Good luck

Which you'll have to pay for to fix the bugs and issues in the previous version that you also paid for.

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Coat

Since nobody seems to have said it yet...

"Threshold" ...of PAIN.

Thanks, you've been wonderful, I'm here all week, don't forget to tip your waitress.

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