back to article Windows 8.1 Start button SPOTTED in the wild

Leaked screenshots of a prerelease build of Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8.1 update reveal that the rumors are true and the Start button really is coming back – though perhaps not in the way users of previous versions of Windows might like. Screenshot of Windows 8.1 showing new Start button Thar she blows! That little …

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Facepalm

Re: Half way

I forgot about that! When the need first arose, I was kind of broadsided by "where DID they put the shutdown option anyway"? I wasted a little time ticking through the Start screen and logging out before finally asking SysInternals Process Explorer to do the job. Never mind that doing so was like using a big truck to move a single sheet of paper, it worked.

The next thing I found was a snarky article from another publication (not to be named here, but I'm sure you can find it if you believe that a Start button won't fix Windows 8'sproblems) that said "just push the power button". Whatever. That whole thing just reeked of snark and stupid. While that'll work and may be a legal move under Windows 8, I was of the impression that earlier versions of Windows performed the most orderly shutdown they could before power was shut off, if you did this. So I didn't do that.

The fact that someone has to search the web to find this doesn't just mean it is that person's fault. This is thoughtless, feckless UI design at its very worst (or is that best?) ...

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Anonymous Coward

This is what happens when you put a fat, sweaty, tyrannical moron in charge..

...developers, developers, developers!

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Anonymous Coward

This is about what I expected

What's an APP? Is that another word for a crappy little-nearly useless program that you'd download on your cellphone? Why on EARTH would I want a crappy little program on my computer for anything but a game? I want programs, not "apps". I want useful menus, actual options, intuitively designed programs, not puzzles to waste my time instead of getting shit done! I actually want menus that are labeled with these things called "words". Why on earth would I want to learn a new set of symbology for each "app" when for years programs have used any one of the thousands of perfectly good human languages that used to cover this planet? Just use the native language for each country in making computer programs. Enough with the bullshit. These marketing and product design morons really have to get fired. I don't know how these twerps got as far up the ladder as they did, but these guys have GOT to go.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is about what I expected

I always though the point of such things was for mobile phones to 1) save bandwidth, 2) provide a more simple interface to (generally websites) on mobile technology, particularly where mobile browsers didn't render sites very well. Why we need such nonsense on a desktop with a full web browser, most likely a fast unlimited internet connection and a large monitor makes no sense. Why do people need a program (I hate the 'app' term), to access twatter or faecesbollock whatnot on the desktop, when they have a full web browser?

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Anonymous Coward

I find it funny that people love the start menu so much.

It's pretty awful. Finding an app on most tablets or phones is a far nicer experience, not because they are touch-screen but because they are less cluttered (assuming you don't go app crazy).

One of the main flaws in the windows start system is that it is full with all the uninstall icons, and help icons and random links to websites in there that install packages like to add, hence it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable - except by search. Unfortunately they never resolved this with the 8 start screen - which causes the situation to be even worse...

Comparatively take any tablet and you just get the icons to launch the app, uninstall is done else where, and who ever launched a help file or web link from the start menu anyhow?

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Re: it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable

That's when you take five minutes to tidy the Start Menu, surely?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable

Spend 5 minutes working around the design flaw that's been there for the past 18 years you mean?

I wonder what software would look like if every decision was like that....

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Re: it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable

It's not a design flaw. It's an easily user-configurable option. It's also perfectly usable, if non-optimal, straight out of the box, because it's self-documenting. A program can't read your mind about where to insert itself, so it puts itself under its manufacturer's name and leaves it up to you to move or copy its entry to your place of choice. (Some programs do ask; more should). It also remembers the things you use most often and offers them to you at the top level (which is probably why most people never bother re-organising it).

If there's any problem, it's remembering how to change language, if the usual user of the PC is Finnish, or Arabic, or Chinese. But that's a general problem not specific to the start menu. Would have been so much more useful if there was a button (called Babelfish? ) on the keyboard, instead of a Windows button.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable

Well call it what you want but its cluttered on most peoples machines, as they have better things to do than move icons around. This is perhaps why Android tablets or IPads don't have home button replacements that mimic the start menu - with uninstall icons and help shortcuts inside folders for each manufacturer.

On the language thing to be fair there is an option of a language icon next to the clock if I recall. In fact if that icon still exists then it require less clicks to change language than open Microsoft Word?!

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getting better

I can't see may positive comments here so I will add one. I have a Windows 8 license, but I found too many bugs to justify using it yet. I appreciate they are listening and will definitely try 8.1 when it comes out providing it is free.

I know I am odd, but one of the things I would like to see is the ability to stay in the TIFKAM mode. If you start a desktop app and close it , it will stay in desktop mode which is fine, but to use it as an HTPC it would be useful to stay on the blocky tiles which are good for navigating from the sofa.

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New "Start Button" = "Show Desktop"?

The activity shown by the screenshots look just like what happens when I click the "Show Desktop" icon on my desktop PC (background icons/shortcuts visible, all applications minimised, etc). If I could set my W8 wallpaper (as apparently proposed in 8.1) to be the same as my desktop it would look very similar to what happens now on my pre-W8 PC - so what's changed?

I use the keyboard as little as possible, only typing when actually entering data - I use the mouse to launch applications & navigate files, so my first port of call for applications is the quick launch section of the task bar. If I need to get to files, or applications not quick launched, I have a shortcut to either the commonly used directory, or application on the desktop (either usefully to the side of my screen, with applications NOT full screen, or quickly available on Show Desktop if under a window). If not there (or I need to access a system function), I navigate by the Start Menu - Programs - or Settings (I do use Classic mode - I much prefer the Win2K interface).

I see no benefit from the TIFKAM interface to my way of working with multiple applications open and not only accessible, but also visible - I find a partially visible window more efficient than one minimised or on some list - but I do admit that I do not have lots (i.e. > 10) of windows open at one time.

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Flame

What if there are 1000+ apps installed?

We're a university. Our computers have abnormally large numbers of prograpms installed, because they are shared by students from many different departments, each of which needs a few different programs to the crowd.

A heirarchical menu is the perfect way to organise these. 1000+ tiles is not. This isn't the return of the start menu, it's a sop thrown in our faces. I wonder if it'll mollify enough people for Microsoft to get its misguided (or evil?) way with us?

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Classic Shell to the Rescue

Hopefully the developers of Classic Shell and other third party utilities will fix this. The old Start Menu I am sure will be able to be brought back. Microsoft may think they know better but users know what they want and what works for them. It would be nice to have a choice of a TIFKAM interface or Classic. Or it would be even better to customize it within WIndows!

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IT Angle

Where's The Eadon Angle?

Am I the only person who wants to read Eadon's point of view on the matter? For the hilarity that is.

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Silver badge

Re: Where's The Eadon Angle?

Eadon (http://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/34672/) hasn't made any posts since Friday 24th May. Maybe he's burst a blood vessel or been kidnapped?

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Silver badge

Re: Where's The Eadon Angle?

They disappeared it.

My money says that its currently somewhere on the Olympic peninsula being re-educated or beaten with a chair by a bald "monkey dancing" fat man if he fails to comply.

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Anonymous Coward

Win7 start menu bread crumbs still present in Win8

There's still start menu code present in Win8 explorer.exe

Because it's shared with jump list code, it wasn't removed totally. Several shell interfaces were deprecated and removed alongside with some start menu code.

StartIsBack dev reimplemented the missing parts of the original Win7 start menu code still present in Win8, as well as the start button, win key code and other things. How hacky is it? It's not hackorama-all-over, just two private functions hijacked in explorer.exe

Q: Will Microsoft remove start menu code and break StartIsBack?

A: No, it's almost impossible since it's tied with jump list code and requires rearchitecting explorer.exe code, which they won't do until next Windows version.

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And once they release 8.11...

With a start menu as well as a start screen, then the order will really start rolling in?

I don't think it will make much difference, (except to the support call volumes going to each bleeding partner- "where's my start menu" " how do I launch word?" Lol

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Mushroom

This confirms it, Gates and Baller intend to kill the PC industry

So the Gates and Ballmer software circus has decided to use a start button to shove TIFKAM down our throats even harder with a giant Microsoft sized middle finger raised to all PC makers and PC users. Actions speak louder than words...

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FAIL

The reason why I hate it is because when I'm reading a document on how to fix a server, and as I'm reading I hit the windows key, type the name of the program I need and hit enter WHILE I AM STILL TRYING TO READ THE DOCUMENT I get a giant fucking menu in the way.

Even if I have to look at my keyboard to type the name of the command (not very often), having my whole screen flash in the corner of my eye is a real distraction.

That's simply it from my point of view. The rest is just an OS. A means to an end, but not an end in itself.

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utorrent and imgburn

Wow. Whoever took that screenshot didn't even try to disguise their pirating habits.

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windows 8.1 Classic Shell style

Microsoft, if you're reading, please download Classic Shell for Windows 8, configure it so you get a Windows 7 style start button and menu, and so that the start screen is bypassed completely.

Welcome to Windows 8.1 - or how I think it should be.

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Anonymous Coward

There's a lot of people here complaining that Windows 8 isn't *exactly* the same as Windows 7. Does this not strike anyone as odd? If you want Windows 7, stay with it, it's not like Microsoft is saying "Upgrade or else". Windows 7 is, and will still be, supported for a long time. You all just sound like whining for the sake of it.

Oh, and if you've bought a computer with Windows 8 pre-installed and cannot figure out how to downgrade to 7, then you really are on the wrong site.

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I think you are missing the point. I have just bought a new computer, it should 'just work' without time consuming config hassle or licensing issues inherent in sourcing different OS versions.

I can (and did) happily install another OS (Ubuntu) but prefer to use is in a VM while keeping Windows as the primary OS - for now anyway. Is this somehow 'wrong'?

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Linux

Re: Is this somehow 'wrong'?

Yes - you should be running a Windows VM on a Linux host.

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Anonymous Coward

Not What is Wanted..

The REAL problem with the full screen start page is the context switching it creates. Having a full-screen start page hides everything you were working on and what you have open, it takes focus AWAY from your work, and is a clusterf//k of massive proportions.

Putting a button there to invoke the start screen doesn't make it any better. It needs to go away, for good, and never be seen again for normal desktop use.

But Microsoft won't do that even if it's what people are crying out for because they are hell bent on TIFKAM becoming their new cash cow via the store and eventually the only interface Windows has at all.

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Verified?

This looks suspiciously like the Stardock Start8 App to me...so many rumours flying around about this u-turn, this could be a red herring:

http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

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Go

windows 7 user

I've been holding off upgrading to windows 8 for a while now, have it on a tablet and it's perfect for that but for my pc where I work rather than surf and play I've kept to windows 7 for a number of reasons, looking at this sneak peak MS have probably done just about enough for me to make the move. It's not everything I would have wanted but possibly I need a push from time to time to move with the times, defo not ready to give up the start button just yet, my career has been built around that think like so many others I'm sure. i'd give this 5/10 its satisfactory for me to upgrade to. BTW I'm a big believer in live tiles and the metro interface it rocks on tablets and on phones but not the desktop or at least not yet!

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Its always been this simple.

Do you have a touch screen? Then up yours, Metro it is.

Do you (like 99% of PC users) have a normal screen? Then go to desktop, here is a proper start button so you don't feel lost.

If only Balmer and Co had done this life would have been much better.

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Unhappy

I'm actually sad..

...that they have buckled and actually put it back in at all if i am honest. I don't miss it, i'm probably in the minority since i use shortcuts for everything but i was actually glad to see the back of the start menu in it's old form. If you all love it so much go back to windows 7 (with it's start button and it being a perfectly fine OS) and keep using that. I don't understand why you would bother to whine on here that windows 8 isn't how you want it, well that's unfortunate... Do you suddenly have to stop using 7 because of it? That's what i thought.

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Facepalm

Windows 7 is the new XP

I'm planning to keep using Windows 7 until it EOLs with no more patches, and in the meantime slowly transition to Linux...

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FAIL

comical

A start button without a start menu..................facepalm

So glad I switched to Linux years ago.

This is just in MS's normal good os, bad os cycle......

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Thumb Down

And for Server 2012?

You try clicking on the start icon in a Virtual Machine Console. Its next to impossible.

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Re: And for Server 2012?

This. When you're using RDP to a Server 2012 machine and you want to use the start screen, having to pixel hunt for the bottom left corner of the screen to trigger it is annoying. I hate the concept on a desktop OS, but on the server OS where the default MS RDP client doesn't pass through pressing the Start Button on your keyboard? It's just awkward.

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Pint

Re: And for Server 2012?

I'm happy that I'm not the only on suffering here.

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return of the traditional Start Menu = W8.2

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TRT
Silver badge

A little bit of sick...

just came up into my mouth.

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MIc

There is a difference...

between being hard to learn and not being as good as win 7.

Win 8 is hard to learn.

It is also better than Win7.

The same way Photoshop is better than Paint.

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Re: There is a difference...

Thing is many people can never master Photoshop and Paint is all they need. Win 8 attempts to make a desktop into a smartphone and people want the desktop. Microsoft is bowing to weak sales and will be bringing back features... (Don't count the OEM licenses sold but still on shelves unsold. Win 8 on the street is weak...)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is a difference...

the problem is that Win8 is Paint (simple clown program) to the Photoshop (full-featured software for Getting Stuff Done) of 7.

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click start get metro.

But the whole point was to boot to windows and completely remove metro.

Why doesn't Microsoft sack all these useless currants?

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Pint

Start8 works fine for me

If all Windows 8.1 is about is a half assed effort on the Start button and it really doesn't do what the start button should, then I'll just stick with Start8. That gives me a Start button and Windows 7 style program menu, so I can avoid the Metro UI entirely. Maybe Microsoft will change their minds and give a full start button in the final. If so, I'll see how that pans out with others and then consider adopting it, if it's free. If it's not, I won't be buying it.

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Anonymous Coward

No Start Menu, no Windows

Is MS that stupid, no Start Menu, no windows. What better incentive for moving over to Linux. They only had to make it an option, and keep everyone happy, but once again, they are forcing people to use something they don't want.

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I am Mr under average

But I feel like I could make better decisions than the Microsoft board these days LOL

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Alert

I care not!

Windows is an 'application' that I occasionally run on Linux. They can do as they please.

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Step in the right direction

That's nearly all the Windows 8 problems fixed. Now let people toggle easy between start, all apps and desktop. Make metro apps multitask with desktop apps. Done.

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Holmes

Some things stay the same

Could someone please explain why, on both sides of the Atlantic, supporters respond to what often are very detailed Win8 criticisms in almost the exact same manner? ... i.e. by saying the critic...

- Has never tried Win8.

- Is a Luddite.

- Is technically incompetent.

- Should stop whining about the start menu

- Is a moron. (Brits are generally too polite to use this)...

I've tried to remain neutral in the Win8 "wars", but when I see this happen in comment section after comment section on both sides of the pond, I find it hard not to conclude they're working from the same Microsoft "talking points". Very seldom do I see criticisms countered on a point by point basis, as one might expect.

I also don't understand the British press' apparent willingness to believe, on the basis of precious little evidence, that Microsoft has "seen the light", and is about to do a Win8 U-turn. I believe I read the same interviews, and I just don't see what supports that conclusion..

Thanks

A Yank

,

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Re: Some things stay the same

I went to a party not so long ago with someone whose company is making a very large amount of money 'managing the online reputation' of a certain tech company. Sadly this stuff is very prevalent now and makes it very hard to believe anyone.

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