back to article Win8: A beginner's guide to FondleWindows

Microsoft has unveiled the biggest design changes to Windows in the past 15 years, and probably the biggest redesign in its 26-year life. There are also implications for Windows developers – many of you will soon be obliged to learn the Ways of the Script Kiddie. These are huge changes and you should have a look yourself. What …


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  1. SteveBalmer

    Microsoft Bob + Android ripoffs does not make a new OS.

    Android users have been using thumb keyboards for a long while....

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Don't be silly.

      Apple only invented them yesterday.


    2. alexh2o


      Yes of course Microsoft copied Android here... it's not like Microsoft were showing off a split thumb keyboard for their UMPCs back in 2006, a full 2 years before Android was even released! How very dare Microsoft!

      (For reference: )

    3. Testing123

      Those who ignore history

      What's depressing is that Windows Mobile offered dozens of alternative finger / thumb friendly keyboard layouts which have either been ignored (WinPho7) or are noe being 'invented' Windows 8!

  2. CraigRoberts


    WinFS looked great - was disappointed when it was dropped from Vista and then just killed off...

    ... And didn't Lord Saviour Jobs say t'other day that he wanted to kill off the idea of the filesystem?

    Windows 8 looks fine for Fondleslabs - but I'll stick with the Win 7 UI for desk/laptop machines with keyboards and meeces... Maybe I'm just getting old...

    1. John70

      File System

      There is mention of a new file system called Protogon.

    2. Malcolm 1


      Mary Jo Foley has reported on the mysterious Protogon FS:

      No real idea what it is though (other than a file system driver)

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Well, indeed.

      "Windows 8 looks fine for Fondleslabs - but I'll stick with the Win 7 UI for desk/laptop machines with keyboards and meeces"

      Lord Jobs has this vision of slowly killing off the desktop, not above cutting his nose to spite his face by killing his own desktops if it comes to it, do you think the iCloud nonsense is just for storing some MP3s and a few docs? Nope, you buy your fondle slab, with next to no internal storage and use it merely to access your entire life stored up in the Apple iCloud. You think Google want to bother with all those browsers and desktops? Nah, they want the same thing as Jobs, your life stored in their little datacentres and accessed via some device they have a big say in.

      I'm not saying it's good or bad, just pointing out that supposedly the desktop is heading for the bin, we shall see.

      Grab a bag of popcorn and a beer, big changes are coming!

  3. Paul_Murphy


    Why don't we ever get more than one shell for windows?

    A choice would be nice ... oh that's right, never mind then.


    1. Anonymous Coward


      Who cares.

      W8 tablet. I want.

      1. dogged

        "Talked Down" or "Waved Down" is more likely.

        Does it look like Windows Media Center(sic) to you?

        Me too.

        Add a Kinect.

        Hello Minority Report.

  4. Thoguht Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    Can we refer to the new interface as being "thumbed down"?

  5. Danny 14 Silver badge

    now then!

    If these beauties can be attached to a domain and have the usual GPOs applied to them then I see these being rolled out quite a bit. We would certainly purchase 1500 of them. The problem with ipads and other slabs are the lack of granular central control.

    1. rich0d

      I concur.. ish.

      Yeah, I can imagine sales peons- I mean people creaming in their suits for this. Whilst I, the sys admin, will still be using Win7 as I can't stand the look of it - or at least I hope that it doesn't get shoved down my throat with no escape of the aptly named FondleWindows.

  6. Risky

    Touch is not the best interface for everything.

    I just don't get it. Has the entire industry lost their minds here. Sure touch is a hand interface in certain specific instances, but to be honest surfing the web on a phone was easier with the old touchscreen & stylus setup. On an office desktop is ridiculous and exactly who wants to interact with their tv by getting thumbprints everywhere.

    I really can't think of anything I do with my PC, squeezebox, laptop netbook that would be helped by interacting with my thumb. Hell I don't even rate it on the phone, you obscure half the screen with your thumb and half the time end up hitting the wrong thing. Perhaps it's viable if you dumb down the UI/webpage and have a girlie hands. Sure its handy when you're on the tube or walking somewhere and of course if great for a Epos system and so on but for doing anything more complex - such as writing this reply it is just a pain in the rear.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      touch interface

      I agree, touch is rubbish for anything we know now, with the exception of small/midsized portable devices and epos.

      However as an idea for new interfaces (the one I've been banging on about ever since playing brake border in Japan) is having a second touch interface for your pc/console/whatever, so you have your big screen for say the cockpit of your giant city crushing robot, you've got your joystick for your shooty shooty movey movey, then you have your touch monitor inteface pad in the middle, it of course has the keys for various things "activate repair system" ect, then a map, which shows the satellite feed, from there you can direct your allies across the battle field, drag in artillery barrages and orbital supply drops.

      all the while trying to keep your eye on those Assault armour units hammering you from behind what looks suspiciously like a gas storage container. Flip the hat to incedary round and strafe getting yourself behind the rock formation in time to miss the inferno you just set off. Position clear, damn it's a good day to be in the alliance!

      1. introiboad

        I see what they did there

        You mean like this?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          indeed that's similar, however I encountered the concept playing this in Japanese arcades

    2. Andrew Hodgkinson

      That's what Apple say

      Apple seem to agree with you! Touch is for tablets and phones, not for monitors. That's what the Magic (ugh) Trackpad is about and why they've got multitouch trackpads in the laptops. The new multitouch features in Lion are all gesture based, not point-and-touch based.

      While they may yet converge the GUI of the likes of a 10" iPad and a 27" iMac, it looks some way off - if indeed it ever happens at all. Lion is about taking *ideas* from iOS and using them on OS X, not about replacing it entirely as some IMHO very misguided pundits seem to be claiming.

      When the iPhone was announced, Apple said that they thought you needed an entirely new GUI for touch screen devices compared with more traditional form factors. Microsoft, trying to use the WIMP / Start menu metaphor with Windows Mobile, persisted with their dated attempts for one-size-fits-all before finally abandoning it and coming up with WP7. And rare as it is for me to say good things about Microsoft, their GUI looks like a genuinely different approach in both philosophy and design, rather than just another me-too iOS clone. But Microsoft, being champions of the entirely missed point, are now trying to bodge that back onto Windows - and using a totally different implementation language just for kicks.

      With Lion and iOS 5, I really don't yet see signs of the Apple approach changing. I just see a remarkably comprehensive set of very well integrated and well regarded products, but from a company who appear to be too fond of control for our own good and seem far too happy to press the legal red button. It's a dilemma - arguably the best technology and unmatched when taken as an end to end solution, but all provided by an arguably questionable company.

      It makes me wonder if in the medium to long term, there's a by-then-monopoly break up brewing; iTunes to be run by an independent organisation, for example.

    3. Rovindi

      Totally agree

      To get to the Comments on dearest El Reg, I have to zoom in, and click on the link. On the standard view, it simply can´t handle/thumb it.

      I was an early adopter of both Palm´s and IPAQ´s and had quite a few tablet PC´s, which were OK to a point.

      Whilst I like my Galaxy-S, it is not a replacement for my PC or lappy. It´s just another tool in my collection and not a replacement for all the other tools.

      Talking of tools, it´s time this one went for a beer.

      pip pip

  7. Ruli Manurung

    logarithmic leaps?

    umm, i'm pretty sure they meant something more along the lines of "exponential escalation" instead??

  8. david bates

    Waht happened to

    Scalable Fabric? I would have thought that would have worked nicely for a tablet.

  9. NHS IT guy

    I don't get it

    I might just be being dense, and feel free to call me on it if I am, but...

    There's all this showcase of FondleWindows' touch screen interface, but 98% of the world don't have touchscreen computers. 98% of the world sit at a desk using a keyboard and a mouse on a monitor that's a couple of feet away. Any chance of seeing what the UI that, almost everybody, is going to be using?

  10. Len Goddard


    From Wikipedea:

    In human–computer interaction, WIMP stands for "window, icon, menu, pointing device", denoting a style of interaction using these elements. It was coined by Merzouga Wilberts in 1980.

    The odd version quoted here actually aconymizes to WIPM, which sounds more like something you would use on a baby's bum. Perhaps that is appropriate?

  11. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    That's all.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      and I was

      Always led to believe that it was Windows, Icons, Menu and Pointer.

      When I first touched windows 1, mice were an outrageous price.

      1. Zippy the Pinhead

        @ AC

        Try to buy a decent one now.. they are freaking stupid priced.. All want is a decent sized mouse that is accurate and doesn't lag with two buttons on the side so I can go browse back and forth... Try to find something like that and you get something with macro software and counter weights and 78 freaking stupid buttons and it has to be form fitting...

        I'm 6'3"... I can freaking palm a bowling ball... just give me a decent mouse.. not a touch interface.

    2. J 3


      Do not like. It's Unity, iOS, now this W8 thing... At least with the first one we have the freedom to change to something less stupid, so I'm still safe.


      "Once you have a decided to create a direct manipulation UI, there just aren't a lot of different ways of do things."

      Does El Reg have an opening for someone who can edit the articles? It's getting worse by the day, seriously... If you pay well, I'm willing to change continents (saying that guarantees my post will have at least one glaring error, I know).

  12. Ooo-wait-BUT!

    windows [even release number] (tm)

    'nuff said in the title really... I ain't touchin' this with a fekkin bargepole.

    1. Glyn 2

      Old wives

      The fallacy about even numbered windows releases being bad is totally without basis. It's about as true as all odd number Star Trek films being bad...ah, sorry, yeah you're right

      Let's merge the 2 together, call it WindowsTrek Zero (neither even, nor odd). Lcars interface anyone?

  13. Robert Grant

    Pretty weird stuff

    Why's this article banging on about the file system? I think the headline writer and the article author should really talk to each other.

    Also, about the UI borrowing heavily from iOS - really? Where's the big grid of tiny unmoving icons? Where are all the grey apps? It borrows from the Zune interface, sure, but it looks nothing like iOS. The only similarity is the "feel" which Apple perfected on their first try (and fair play) where things can be dragged and pinched and so on. But that is only one aspect of a UI, and this interface looks like a much better use of a non-phone-sized screen than iOS.

    Finally, someone's already mentioned the WIMP blunder. Bad Google fu there.

    1. Jerome 0

      Not the slightest bit weird

      "Why's this article banging on about the file system?"

      Because this article is about the next iteration of the Windows operating system and, just as with Vista and Win7, one of the biggest disappointments in it is the lack of any innovation in the file system.

  14. Kurt S

    If I wanted

    to use a phone or tablet UI I'd be using a phone or tablet wouldn't I?

    As I use either a desktop or laptop for my productivity and entertainment I'll be giving this one a miss then.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Should it not

    be called Fondows?

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      How about-

      i8 Windows

    2. Sir Sham Cad


      Nah. Given the type of device this will work best on, it's a Windle.

  16. Jon Green
    Thumb Down


    Surely WinGropes?

    Oh, BTW - "WIMP"'s original meaning was Window, Icon, Menu, Point(ing device).

  17. Mark 110 Silver badge

    Kinect integration

    This interface would work great on a big monitor with Kinect integration. Thats something Apple don't have yet and can be Microsofts USP. I'll be stunned if Microsoft pass up the opportunity to integrate the Kinect functionality into the PC experience.

    Though they seem to be getting good at missed opportunities.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Not for me thanks

    I don't really want to purchase a quad i7 with 16GB RAM, and install the OS on it's own striped array just to have a new virus pit to launch Firefox.

  19. Dave Murray
    Thumb Down

    This better be optional

    This touch screen crap is about as useful for getting real work done as the mythical voice interface we'll all be using in the future. Looks great in a movie but useless in the real world. Sure touch is great on my phone or for a tablet but from my usual seating position at home I can barely reach my monitor and definitely can't reach the TV to use a touch interface on my media centre.

    I've read a number of articles on this new interface and all I can say is it better be optional or I'll be sticking with Windows 7 until I'm forced to find an alternative.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think we're heading to another Windows disaster here. Well, disaster for Redmond, not for us.

    When I look at that Win8 demo and ignore the touching section (don't have touch displays here nor do I want them) all I can think of is "even more limited than 7". When I moved to Win7 (by 'upgrading' my Vista box) the first thing I had to get used to was the removal of the quick launch bar. Granted; for me they managed to make up for that with both the search feature as well as the jumplists. But still; I have 4 programs pinned to my taskbar, 2 on the start menu and the start menu shows 8 of my most recently used programs (a feature I've begun to appreciate very much).

    So; even without the quick launchbar I still have (semi-) direct access to 14 items of the stuff I use most, where jumplists expand a bit on this by sometimes showing me recent used data, or the stuff I need most (pinned to the jumplist).

    But this 8 touch gui looks like its giving me even less direct access to my stuff. Since those massive big icons gobble up quite a big part of the screen. So then I started to look for what happened when regular stuff was started and behold; a Windows 7-like taskbar shows up, pinned items and all.

    While MS says that the "touch gui" is also perfectly usable for people using keyboards and mice I don't really see this happening. So if this "touch gui" is the big deal when it comes to Windows 8 then I really see no reason at all to upgrade. For me Windows 7 really manages to do it all, even natively supported my bluetooth dongle and allowed me to send/receive stuff from/to my phone out of the box.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Underwhelming

      'I think we're heading to another Windows disaster here. Well, disaster for Redmond, not for us.

      But this 8 touch gui looks like its giving me even less direct access to my stuff. Since those massive big icons gobble up quite a big part of the screen. So then I started to look for what happened when regular stuff was started and behold; a Windows 7-like taskbar shows up, pinned items and all.

      While MS says that the "touch gui" is also perfectly usable for people using keyboards and mice I don't really see this happening. So if this "touch gui" is the big deal when it comes to Windows 8 then I really see no reason at all to upgrade. For me Windows 7 really manages to do it all, even natively supported my bluetooth dongle and allowed me to send/receive stuff from/to my phone out of the box.'


      This comes up so many times and its clear people aren't thinking. Do you really think MS is going to alienate nearly 99% of the installed usebase ?

      MS is trying to create with Windows 8 a unified OS that has the ability to scale up and down as required. If you have a tablet you wont probably see the standard desktop and vice versa. (unless you want to)

      People are reading far to much into these sneak previews. They have obviously (!) concentrated on the tablet/touch UI as they are trying to pedal fast after Apple, Android etc. and need to provide some confidence that they are attacking this end of the market. The desktop is very mature UI so there wont be any dramatic changes hence less to shout about

      Eventually we will see some joining up between the two however that will be further down the line.

      As to the article this looks nothing like or borrowed from iOS and is actually quite good and innovative for a pre Alpha and MS. For that they deserve some support. and maybe success

  21. Generic_Web_Guy

    Windows Mayan Apocalypse Edition

    How about Windows RSi ?

  22. Miek

    LDAP For Drunks

    "WINOLDAP" Wino LDAP anyone ?

  23. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    To scroll down the page,

    you push the page up, surely?

  24. Steve Coffman
    Thumb Down

    "Tiles are better than icons," insists Microsoft's Jensen Harris

    Sure, in the same way icons are "better" than a command line interface. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish...

  25. XMAN

    Don't fix what aint broke

    Why do MS insist on making the interface "simpler" to use with each release. Everything gets larger, with more of the UI eating up screen real estate and you have to jump through more hoops to multitask.

    Apple Lion is going the route of iOS

    Windows 8 is going the route to iOS


    1. N13L5

      exactly my sentiment

      Every Effort at Microsoft to make things "easier to use" has been putting the brakes on pro-users, by veiling everything behind multiple obfuscation screens, just so that simpletons don't have to deal with toooo many options.

      This was prompted by the drive for winning a spot in the livingroom, and the hope for enlarging the market. Understandable goals.

      But for god's sakes, don't start treating ALL your users like morons... then I might as well buy Apple.

      To Microsoft: Please have, like some Applications already do, a beginner interface, an intermediate interface and one for advanced users, where you don't make us search for every freaking thing with 30 extra mouse clicks to shuffle through all the idiotic single question windows to get something done.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Database" file systems are stupid

    What's better than being able to arrange your own files according to whatever system you want, on whatever drives you want, via folders and drag-and-drop?

    "Querying" for files makes for some semi-interesting demo scenarios, but why query for a file when I could just put it on my desktop and double click on it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Yeah, and "name-based" file systems are stupid too.

      What's better than being able to rewind your tape to right where you want it and type "LOAD"?

      Listing directories makes for some semi-interesting demo scenarious but why look for the name of a file when I could just put the right tape in the cassette player and hit SHIFT+RUN/STOP.

  27. Matthew 25

    Not for me ta!

    I don't like touch screens (miss the physical keyboard I had on my blackberry) so won't be interested in this.

    Can you imagine trying to write code on a touch screen?

    1. N13L5

      I like keyboard with touchscreen

      You're right, for most things i prefer the keyboard. Nothing comes close for speed. I prefer keyboard shortcuts too, I don't like to move my right hand to the mouse when it can be avoided.

      And touchscreen keyboards are nothing short of awful by comparison to real keys.

      But I still like a touchscreen: its great for drawing stuff, Photo editing, 3D modeling.

  28. Arctic fox

    I am most relieved that the author alerted us to his piece being "opinionated" .......

    .......otherwise we might have thought that the manner in which the assertion.............

    "The design borrows heavily from the iPhone's system, iOS, also used for the iPad. Cue grumblings that Microsoft has ripped off Apple again. These are justifiable,"

    ............was presented indicated that it was a statement of fact rather than a highly subjective allegation/opinion. My personal *opinion* is that they appear to have lifted it directly from the WP7 UI (a design that is not to my personal taste whatever the merits/demerits of the OS itself).

  29. Rattus Rattus

    Can I turn

    this annoying new interface off and use a sensible view that works? No? Then no Windows 8.

  30. Scorchio!!

    Shorely shome mishtake

    Windows Icons Pull-down Menus? Not something that Xerox would recognise:

  31. Whatithink

    How long should we give Microsoft?

    Let's face it, this is just utter sh*t. Why do companies do this sometimes? They just decide to fail and nothing seems to be able to stop them. Older readers will remember a time when Marks and Spencers, for example, was OK. I'm a boring middle aged man and there's nothing in M&S I'd wear. There never will be, not even the socks. Microsoft's going that way. If they keep trying to bully their customers into going away they'll succeed.

  32. N13L5

    There's a lot of different ways for touchscreen UI's to look

    This Windows 8 screen was already done by Rainmeter with the Omnimo 2 Skin. Done really well for that matter, very customizable in what realtime info you wanted to see.

    And I know they're all high on that WinPhone7 guy's stupid Tiles at M$, but seriously, I've seen a more interesting Touchscreen UI in the Iron Man movies:

    You touch some element, and it grows a ring of options, and as you move onto one of those options, further items pop up. Its a nice drilldown requiring minimal finger movement for maximum effect.

    Best would be a real 3D UI, where you're not smudging your screen with your paws, but you're fumbling around ...err gesturing in thin air infront of the screen :)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No mention yet...

    1, Of how secure it will be (I'm guessing the usual MS 'secure as a wet paper bag' scenario).

    2, Of how often we're going to see the blue screen of death (I'm guessing almost as often as the boot screen)

  34. BobChip

    All fingers and thumbs

    Wonderful news for CAD users! Want to fly in an aeroplane that someone designed with their thumbs? Still sure about that?

    To repeat what several other posters have already said, possibly a great UI for browsing the web, but absolutely useless for serious work. I have actually tried to "work" with an A0 drawing on a tablet, no mouse present, and work it does not.

  35. Fred 5

    The title is required

    "But it's unavoidably going to be called, now and forever, FondleWindows." No it won't. It'll just be you.

    What a dreadful article. Microsoft have come up with something really different in WP7/W8. I've not decided whether I like it or not, but it's certainly different. Yet somehow this is ripping off Apple "innovative" grid of icons?

    Also, where can I get one of those "conductive screens" you mention at the top of page 2?

  36. Chika

    Industry fads

    Let's face it, folk. What we have here is another chapter in the latest industry fad. Do away with keyboards and mice. The industry has, after all, been trying to force users off the desktop and onto the laptop/netbook for a few years now, and this is just the latest fad to hit us. No doubt this is of great use for some folk but the headlong dash will leave some users cold for any number of reasons, none of which seem to have been addressed by the industry.

    The personal computer was designed to be a general purpose device for use by as many people and in as many situations as possible. Before we start moving to a new platform, we need to be absolutely sure that this new platform can be used in the same arena, otherwise what we have is a piece of specialist equipment which can never be a valid replacement. There have been quite a few references here to Microsoft Bob, for example.

  37. Atonnis

    Hardware's more important anyway...

    I can see the benefits of this on a tablet...if you have a use for that sort of thing.

    However, until the hardware can really make it worthwhile, I'm not that bothered. Windows 7 is excellent for all aspects of my PC use, not just touchy-feely stuff and media consumption.

    When you can give me a good tablet unit that works with everything my PC does, and can be hot-slotted into a base unit that then connects to (ie boosts) the CPU, memory, hard drives, network, etc up to a proper desktop standard (proper by my standards) then I'll be more interested.

  38. Leigh 5

    Microsoft should return to stealing from Apple

    This interface is so hideous, it reinforces Microsoft's reputation for clunkiness and design ignorance.

  39. dannymot


    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer

    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer

    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer

    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer

    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer

    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer

    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer

    Windows Icons Mouse Pointer

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