back to article Windows 8: Thrown into a multi-tasking mosh pit

Does Windows 8 improve upon Windows 7 for the use cases that my real world customers and users demonstrate? After a week of tinkering with the consumer preview, the answer is far from simple. Now that's what I call multitasking (click to enlarge)... First up is the ribbon. For new users to a product, my experience …

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  1. TeeCee Gold badge
    WTF?

    So many words...

    "... demonstrating their belief that we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in computing..."

    Doesn't "playing wankword bingo" mean exactly the same thing?

    1. garetht t

      Re: So many words...

      Just because you don't understand the words, doesn't mean it's "wankword bingo".

      [Microsoft is] demonstrating their belief that we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in computing.

      [Microsoft is] showing everyone that they think that the our whole way of doing things with computers is about to change.

      The first sentence is a shorter, intelligible and perfectly cromulent way of expressing the same idea as the second.

      While we spend our lives surrounded by marketing buzzwords & creaking acronyms, but not everyone believes that a paucity of vocabulary is doubleplusgood.

      1. Chicken Marengo
        Happy

        Re: Cromulence

        >>The first sentence is a shorter, intelligible and perfectly cromulent way of expressing the same idea as the second.

        Well done sir. I fell suitably embiggened.

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Re: So many words...

        Moving from MSDOS to Windows 3.1 GUI was a paradigm shift.

        Moving from Windows 3.1 to Windoze NT was a paradigm shift for business users.

        Moving from Windows 3.1 to Windoze 95/98 XP was a paradigm shift for home users.

        Calling the change from NT/XP to Vista/Windoze 7 an upgrade IS wankword bingo. For most users it is just pricking around with the interface (most users are not aware of the changes under the hood), change for the sake of change and a total and utter cluster-fuck of a change.

        Right now I have a severe pain in the butt with users complaining, asking how to do some of the simple stuff that was so intuitive under NT/XP, a simple operation like pasting plain text into a document has gone from ALT-e for edit, s for paste special mouse-click to ALT-h, v, s, mouse-click. What is it Mickysoft says about windoze? "A consistent Interface"... Bollocks!

        Trevor Pott is also correct about the ribbon. For new users the ribbon increases discoverability of the most common features, great if you are typing up a school project. For a business organisation that has spent many man person-years developing macros for power users the ribbon is a wholesale disaster, macros were embedded in document templates that had customised toolbars, it was relatively easy for users or developers to create a macro, and assign it to a custom toolbar, not so with the ribbon. What is it Mickysoft says about windoze? "A consistent Interface"... Bollocks!

        So you are right garetht, Mickysoft is on the cusp of a paradigm shift in computing, but only if you consider going backwards and making the user interface more cumbersome and awkward to use. One 'app' at time is just the dumbing down of an interface. FFS, a lot of the power business users here need a dual monitor setup just to give then enough desktop real-estate to work effectively.

        Double plus ungood garetht.

        1. MacGyver
          Facepalm

          Re: So many words...

          Windows 8 is a paradigm shift alright, for users to switch to Linux. They should change the name to "Windows GC (Grandparent and Child Edition)".

          I completely agree with this author, and have been saying similar stuff since they went from XP to Vista. There was no gain in changing the interface the way they did, none. The core stability changes are fine, I could even live with the security changes. Changing the interface the way they did is stupid for no reason. I'm not adverse to change, DOS->3.1 amazing, 3.1->95, amazing, 95->98 better, 98->ME WTF?, ME->XP amazing, XP->Vista why?, Vista->W7 so, W7->W8 see ya.

          They are betting the farm on this stupid crap, I mean really, is the lead designer Bill Gate's son? Why would they go against what their users (previous) want, time and time again?

          Let me explain your sales figures:

          Vista (yay, new windows, wait what happened here? is XP still available),

          Windows 7 (maybe it will fix what they broke in Vista, no? but it is more stable, right? is XP still available)

          Windows 8 (what is this, is this a Zune virus/commercial, no, it's made like this? XP is gone? can I get this with Linux installed instead)

          Just make each release more stable, make a pretty theme, make some new icons, and throw in the snazzy new app or two. Don't make all of your users attempt to use a dumbed down interface.

          The only thing that kept me from switching to a flavor of Linux years ago, was the functionality and solidness of "File Explorer" in Windows 9x, 200x, and XP, and most of the changes they have made since Vista have been chipping away at that reason. The new interface is going too far.

          Bye Microsoft, hello Linux.

        2. garetht t

          Re: So many words...

          The article doesn't say that it's a paradigm shift, and I didn't say it's a paradigm shift. We both asserted that Microsoft believes it to be so.

          I just wanted to make a stand against the idea that using a flourish of vocabulary was distasteful, superfluous or redundant.

          If it is not the case, perhaps "Mickysoft" and "windoze" could be added to the Commentards Bingo?

      3. Adam Nealis

        Re: So many words...

        "Just because you don't understand the words, doesn't mean it's "wankword bingo"."

        But is isn't a paradigm shift either based on the original Kuhnian meaning of the term.

        OTOH it may just be "innovation". But as an innovation is supposed to be a significant improvement, the "improvement" part is so far subjective.

    2. Neil Cooper

      Re: So many words...

      Its not like this one-at-a-time thing is a new concept.. Microsoft had a world-leading product out a while back that demonstrated this. What was it called now? oh yeah... MS-DOS.

  2. jai

    "multitasker," "power user," or "content creator"

    so, that would be anyone who uses a computer at work then. with the possible exception of management and their PA's, who probably quite like the idea of one window on their screen at a time. and because management are the ones that appropriate the budget, it's means the rest of us plebs in the workforce, the ones who actually use our PCs for more than just Outlook, are going to get Metro shoved down our throats whether we like it or not, and then get reprimanded and demoted when our productivity deteriorates.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: "multitasker," "power user," or "content creator"

      ..and perhaps front office staff.

      1. ed 22
        Mushroom

        Re: "multitasker," "power user," or "content creator"

        Parental Units++

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: "multitasker," "power user," or "content creator"

      When I was a copyeditor I routinely had just Outlook and Word on screen at once, side by side and without overlap, with time spent elsewhere very minimal. That's probably not too common a use case though; even in the job before that I was juggling at least InDesign, CorelDraw and Outlook.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "multitasker," "power user," or "content creator"

        Corel Draw? You poor sod!

  3. present_arms

    I had to look

    I had to look twice at the top screen shot because it looked like my Linux Mint screen with the way the top right hand side of the tool bar with name and all :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I had to look

      That's funny, I thought it looked a lot like the Mac interface.

      From ten years ago.

  4. Ian 62

    Potentially I can see this being the 'rebirth' of the WORKS style of applications.

    The ones that were masters of none, jack of all trades.

    Imagine the one application as your do-a-bunch-of-things-at-once-that-are-unrelated-but-you-want-side-by-side.

    So in part of the full screen application theres a pane thats got an RDP client embedded, another pane thats got a browser, another pane thats got a chat client. Its ONE application but made of up different bits.

    I dont like it...But that sounds like the only solution to me. Maybe an API that lets you tile them together?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Maybe an API that lets you tile them together?

      Then that API could be expanded, allowing the tiles to overlap each other, and allow the user to drag them about...

  5. Bob Vistakin
    Go

    Windows 8 will shape the future of Microsoft!

    I can hardly wait for this to come out - I've never anticipated anything from Microsoft so much! I just hope they stick to their guns and ignore what anyone else says. Go Microsoft! You know best!

    1. CaptainHook

      Re: Windows 8 will shape the future of Microsoft!

      "I just hope they stick to their guns and ignore what anyone else says"

      Me too, I've often wondered what a world in which MS was reduced to an also ran would look like, and MS is trying its best to show me it.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Windows 8 will shape the future of Microsoft!

        > I've often wondered what a world in which MS was reduced to an also ran

        Well they've been getting into bed with Nokia rather a lot of late and who'd have thought a few years ago Nokia would have taken the road to oblivion. Will the two of them set off into the sunset together hand in hand?

        1. Bob Vistakin
          Devil

          Re: Windows 8 will shape the future of Microsoft!

          "getting into bed"!!!

          The word you seek for the Nokia/m$ relationship is RAPE my friend. Very nasty, very brutal and will only end when the victim dies.

    2. BlueGreen

      Re: Windows 8 will shape the future of Microsoft!

      Thus far thirteen people's sarcometers clearly need replacing. It's not even irony FFS.

      Painful.

      1. Ole Juul Silver badge

        Re: Windows 8 will shape the future of Microsoft!

        "Thus far thirteen people's sarcometers clearly need replacing. It's not even irony FFS."

        It's up to 19 now. For some reason certain subjects seem to bring in more of the linguistically impaired.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I do really love my Asus Transformer. The form factor works, the operating system works for that style of thing. If I want to do anything serious at all, I have to load up a laptop though... I can't see how I can really build a website properly without multiple monitors, and a couple of things open at the same time.

    The annoying thing is I think Windows 8 could be great on a tablet... but an absolute disaster on a real PC. I spent four hours the other day trying to find settings, and generally just use it.

    I really like some of the changes in Windows 8... but I'm not installing that on a main PC, it's not an operating system for a PC. It's a tablet OS and Microsoft didn't tell Microsoft.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho
      Facepalm

      Second that

      And it probably means many of us will have to move to using either an unsupported OS (which many do with XP now) or start using a Server OS instead (I know several that use Win2K8 for that purpose).

      Clearly, this is just Microsoft thinking that the PC will be dead longer term. Personally, that may be the dumbest idea ever out of Microsoft. And this from the makers of Microsoft Bob. :o

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Second that

        "And it probably means many of us will have to move to using either an unsupported OS (which many do with XP now) or start using a Server OS instead (I know several that use Win2K8 for that purpose)."

        When I used Win2K8 for the first time I immediately thought "This is fine, I don't need anything fancier". I don't want Aero, I don't want Transparent windows or cute sound effects, and I want a backup solution that isn't the crippled thing that comes with Win7. I'm not a gamer, not a graphics designer and the Win2K8 interface gives me what I need.

        Typed using Remote Desktop from an aging XP system into WHS2011, which is fine but comes with licensing restrictions I could do without..

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Second that

          > using a Server OS instead

          Microsoft seems to be moving to GUIless servers.

          1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

            Re: Second that

            "Microsoft seems to be moving to GUIless servers."

            They have tried to with Server Core,. but everyone is so scared of the command line interface* that the latest recommendations seem to be to use Remote Desktop into it.

            * the Windows CLI is just about the most hostile I've come across, and I've used a few. Powershell is one answer, but it wasn't available on Server 2008 Core.

  7. ShelLuser
    Stop

    "Unfortunately, the take home message is that the people who will find themselves affected by this are simply afraid of change, their numbers small enough to constitute a rounding error. Microsoft is not losing sleep over us."

    This is what people said when Windows Vista came out and we all know what happened next; all of a sudden it seemed Microsoft couldn't even /get/ any sleep while Windows 7 wasn't put on the road.

    What the author is also overlooking (IMO) is that Metro goes way /beyond/ the powerusers. A lot of people have only "recently" became familiar with the concept of clicking start, or clicking start and getting a whole new environment to cope with (start menu). So what about those guys ?

  8. Antidisestablishmentarianist
    Windows

    I don't really care about all this. My work is in the very slow process of compatibility checking all our bajillion in house apps against Win7 with a view to upgrade our bajillion PCs from XP. By the time they're brave enough to do it again it'll be another 10 years and there will be a completely different paradigm, with completely different issues.

    Sometimes it's nice to live in the slow lane......good luck all!

    1. Mikel

      Pick up some spares

      They've found a uefi end-run around this strategy, so you'll want spares and growth on hand before W8 launch. Don't count on W8 hardware being available much after that.

  9. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    It's going to be interesting to see how this pans out. At home I can see the attraction of Metro - but then all I do at home is answer a few emails and browse the web. At the office I just can't see Metro being any use. Like the author I'm a multitasker and often have to compare different windows or monitor multiple windows.

    But MS has never really understood us it seems. Why else would it still allow newly started applications to steal the focus? It wouldn't be so bad only these days most apps take several seconds to launch so inevitably once I've issued the launch command I go off and do something else. Ten seconds later I'm rudely interrupted by some application proudly announcing its arrival.

    1. Paul Shirley

      ...or the way completion alerts steal focus. Fire off a long job, start working in another window and some random time later, BANG, you're typing into a another app. Or worse, hitting a 'do it again' button before realising what's happening.

    2. rory dobson
      Holmes

      Stealing focus...

      ...is the biggest BUG left in MS-Windows. Quite WHY MS have never fixed this nonsense I don't know.

      Flashing on the bar - fine, poping to front and then taking the next "o" I type as OK, well that's just plain wrong, and gets me in trouble at least half a dozen times a day.

      Of course learing to type without looking down would help... but where's the time for/fun in that?

      Multiwindowmultitasker all the way...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stealing focus...

        A teethgrindingly annoying bugbear of mine on OSX too. It's not just Microsoft!

        1. Tinker Tailor Soldier
          WTF?

          Re: Stealing focus...

          What version of windows are you using? Win 7 just blinks the app in the task-bar if it wants attention. App-launch does steal focus though.

          I've found OS/X much more obnoxious than Win 7 when it comes to focus stealing.

      2. n4blue
        Unhappy

        Re: Stealing focus...

        Yes I agree it's a real pain. Not helped by the inconsistent use of MDI in Office 2010 - with Excel you can easily close the last document without closing Excel - in Word you can't without losing the ability to easily switch between docs. So while I launch Excel once on a Monday and it stays running until I shut down on Friday, I must launch Word a dozen times a day.

      3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Stealing focus...

        MS did attempt to fix this. They then wrote work-arounds in their own bloody apps to steal the focus anyway... and what MS Office does, other apps copy.

      4. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Stop

        Re: Stealing focus...

        I don't know if this is really a windoze problem as such; is it just stupid developers (mickysoft or otherwise) overusing system modal forms. Some developers just do not realise that their app program is not the most important one.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Stealing focus...

          > I don't know if this is really a windoze problem as such; is it just stupid developers (mickysoft or

          > otherwise) overusing system modal forms.

          It's a Windows problem, because even system modal dialogs shouldn't get focus until acknowledged by the user. There's far too much risk of input accidentally going to the dialog instead of to the application that the user thought had focus. Changing focus without explicit user action violates the principle of least surprise. It's a huge flaw in the user interaction model.

          And system modal dialogs are a UI design failure in the first place. Applications shouldn't be able to commandeer the input stream. If the OS needs to do it (typically because of critical failure), that's another matter; but even then it should be used very sparingly.

          Even application modal dialogs are mostly a tragic failure to implement a proper control model.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Andrue

      -- "At home I can see the attraction of Metro - but then all I do at home is answer a few emails and browse the web. At the office I just can't see Metro being any use."

      I'm not a rocket scientist at work who turns into a lolcat-spamming retard at home - in fact, it's probably the other way round.

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    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Andy Farley
    Thumb Down

    Here’s your Windows 9 preview:-

    “The Metro start screen can be accessed as an option under the start menu”.

    And there will be great rejoicing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 9

      May it be as successful as dBASE V.

  12. Steve Evans

    Yuck...

    I've had a few minutes of play with 8 & Metro, and it's horrible.

    The thought that I have been left with is that M$ seem to be committed to some crazy idea of a "unified user experience" across all devices, something which even Apple realise is a stupid thing to do.

    Maybe M$ will use this as some anti iStuff advertising ammo, "You use our desktop like you use our tablet, or our mobile"...

    The problem is a scratch and sniff touch interface is designed for big fat fingers prodding on a small screen. A desktop machine with a huge monitor and several hundred DPI optical mouse doesn't need 200x200 pixel squares to click, you can easily hit a 16x16, and use the rest of the screen real-estate for more information and other stuff.

    1. MIc
      Alert

      Re: Yuck...

      a whole few minutes huh.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yuck...

      I was attracted and willing to learn something new at first, but it's horrible. I mostly switched to Macs last autumn and I can't see myself ever going back now.

  13. paulc
    FAIL

    Paradigm shift???

    More Like Microsoft NOT learning from the fun their shills were having poking fun at Linux users disgusted with changes to Ubuntu... bit of a Schadenfreude moment... and Windows users have no real way round it unlike Linux users...

  14. Bodestone

    What's the worry?

    We all know that before final release there will 3rd party software to bring back the start menu and hide Metro unless specifically asked for.

  15. Sil

    A content consuming platform

    Interesting. This is exactly the reason why I don't care for tablets: they are for consuming not working.

    I hope MS will back down on Metro and make it optional the same way Windows Media Center is optional.

  16. Fuzz

    search box

    The search box is still there and still works as a run box. Hit the windows key or click the non existent start button and start typing. They've messed one thing up though, in windows 7 you can load programs, documents or control panel just buy hitting start, typing the thing you're after and hitting return. In Windows 8 if you're looking for a control panel item, e.g. you're after power settings so you hit start type "power options" and hit return. On windows 8 if you do this you're told there are no results because by default you can only select the programs loading a control panel item or a document requires a click of the mouse.

    I disagree with the author about the metro start being better for finding apps, where are the nested folders?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: search box

      "I disagree with the author about the metro start being better for finding apps, where are the nested folders?"

      For that matter, where is the full text of the program name? MS seem to have managed to use up more pixels and yet display less text. No wonder the damn thing needs half a dozen screenfuls to display what previously fit into a tenth of that space.

  17. Al Jones

    I somethimes think I'm the only person in this building who doesn't maximize their applications

    It drives me to distraction, but most non IT-types I see seem to believe that applications are supposed to fill their windows, and some of them are still closing their e-mail so that they can open a spreadsheet.

    I'm not looking forward to the brave new world of Metro apps - it's not that I object to change for the sake of change, it's that in this case, there is a very obvious cost to this change, without an obvious benefit.

  18. Mage Silver badge
    Alien

    Maybe...

    They think the 15" 4:3 and 17" 16:9 and larger high resolution screens we have had for 10 years are vanishing and we will all be using 4" to 12" screens on PADDs.

    No Roddenberry Icon :-)

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Maybe...

      At least it's not a Cardassian GUI.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Maybe...

        It could only have been designed by the

        BORG

        we will assimilate you all!

  19. banjomike
    Unhappy

    There are alternatives...

    ...but I don't see myself switching to a Linux desktop, not unless Windows 9 turns out to be as anti-user as Windows 8 seems to be.

    And I don't see that adding third-party utilities is likely to be very helpful. When Microsoft removed the filesize/properties option from the explorer status bar they also removed it from the APIs. None of the utilities that try to restore that function can do it with Windows 7. When Microsoft remove a function, it stays removed.

    1. petur
      Boffin

      Re: There are alternatives...

      Honestly, why not? I switched years ago and kept my productivity ;)

      Even better, this linux install on this pc is now 4 years old and still as snappy as the day I installed it. Got a new pc at work at around the same time, using xp, and by now it has become slow as hell.

    2. davtom

      Re: There are alternatives...

      It's funny you should say that.

      On my most powerful PC at home, I am using Linux Mint, and only that.

      I don't like the way Ubuntu is going, and I don't like the way Windows is going.

      My experiences with Mint? Some things work well, and some don't. Some things are better than in Windows 7 and some things are worse. I'm doing real stuff with it and not just playing around. I have Windows 7 on my laptop.

      On the whole, the people behind Mint seem to be the only people left who are making an operating system that is truly usable without trying to make it look flashy but extremely limited. It's only fair to say that I do not have experience or knowledge of MacOS, though. But it's time to wean myself off the drug.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
        Pint

        Re: There are alternatives...

        Cinnamon!

  20. Morphius
    FAIL

    The way I see it, if the IT department won't use it, then they won't have the experience to support it properly and as such uptake in most organistations will be slow. For most businesses money talks and for a major upgrade there must be returns, if those returns are financial and time based losses then it should be shot down.

    I asked my boss (not of the pointy-haired variety) to shut down my Windows 8 CTP box, it took him nearly 10 minutes to find where the shutdown button was (on the menu that pops out to the right and under settings). He is far from anti-change and knows his way around most computers but was amazed that they had removed such intuative features.

    If you want a fun game, get a non-techie and a techie user to race against the clock to shut down the box (without using Ctrl+alt+del as that method at least exists still) - this could even make it into the olympics and provides great entertainment for a Monday afternoon.

    Change is good, except bad changes, those are bad.

  21. DS 1

    Hmmm

    People still don't get whats going on. The Metro shift isn't just a change of START button and UI. Its a shift into a different platform and thats inclusive of things like Kernel and power management. Its not jusdt apps looking different. Its a change of the actual platform, and a death of Win 32/x64 as it stands in the older desktop.

    In desktop terms, its abysmal. Its taking high powered gear and lobotomising it. Who the hell would want a phone style single apping nature in such devices? And the jarring crash to desktop for legacy is just as abysmal, miserable and the removal of the start button is a lasting piece of vandelism to try and force users back to Metro.

    Few people understand why tho. That enforcement of Metro has to happen to allow Metro on ARM. I'm not calling this garbage Windows on ARM, because its not. Its at best Metro on ARM.

    I have nothing good to say on Windows 8. Its a vandelising job on what was Windows, seemingly to try and shoehorn an ARM build of windows in some foul cludge. 99% of applications remain legacy, win32/x64, and these applications today remain superior to Metro in every way.

    What I am surprised is how much latitude the Metro nazi's have managed to get inside Redmond and from the press. They deserve none in either case.

    Microsoft should make Windows 8 Metro optional on the desktop, and primary on tablet/ARM, and they should break this down now. There is no reason whatsoever to deciate Win32/x64 this way, and beyond that, I can see Win 8 being a complete train wreck outside of tablets/ARM.

    Worse, without showstopping Metro applications, its coming in very late against IOS and Android, and it may be a train wreck there too.

    1. jason 7
      Meh

      Re: Hmmm

      I keep getting told by 'younger viewers' that "It's all about the thousands of wonderful Metro apps that are coming!" and by staying with Windows 7 we will be denying ourselves computing nirvana.

      Well I have a few issues with this.

      1. As we have seen thousands of apps means nothing if the quality isn't there. Usually it isn't.

      2. On any App store only a dozen or so apps really count, the rest are copies or trash.

      3. So will SAGE/ACT/insert any major corp or enterprise app here be turned into a Metro app? Nope, I doubt it.

      4. Who is going to buy a Windows Tablets anyway when Apple have pretty much blitzed it already? Yes there is Android too but which type of tablet is the CEO and his pals already going to have? Aint going to be a Archos is it! We've already seen the iPhone creep in as corp phone of choice over BB so the iPad as corp choice of tablet is pretty much there too.

      Not going to be MS is it?

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: Hmmm

      I believe Microsoft have bought into their own post-PC meme. Faced with a world where the tablet dominates, Microsoft are trying to leverage their desktop OS monopoly to force their way into the tablet market. The only tool they have is acclimatising users to Metro on the desktop and so Metro must be forced onto their locked in users, who they hope will stick with what they know.

      If that screws over some PC users they simply don't care, they have an effective monopoly and it doesn't matter how much they annoy us, they'll still have that monopoly. There's little hope they can convert existing iOS or Android users and Metro is so dumbed down even the majority market (media consumers) don't really have any compelling reason to use it on all their devices. Most of the apps they'll ever use come preinstalled in every OS already, run from the cloud and are platform agnostic.

      With Win8 so late to the market it seems just a matter of time till MSFT have to acknowledge its a failed landgrab and revert out the collateral damage of Metro on the desktop. Maybe that collateral (from both imposing then reverting Metro) will remind 'consumers' that they really do have a choice.

      1. Captain Save-a-ho
        Alert

        Re: Hmmm

        "Faced with a world where the tablet dominates, Microsoft are trying to leverage their desktop OS monopoly to force their way into the tablet market."

        This is perhaps the smartest observation I've seen on El Reg. There's no question Microsoft is using this strategy, in hopes it works as well as it did for IE, among other products. If the US Govt had decided to break up MS like they did AT&T, there would be no discussion of this ridiculous strategy being reused over and over.

        Too bad it won't work for them this time. Too little, too late.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm

        -- "I believe Microsoft have bought into their own post-PC meme."

        It's not a meme; it's a viral. (Memes are of the people; virals of the corporations.)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Window 8

    Maybe they should remove the S from Windows?

  23. Donald Miller
    Boffin

    What to do?

    Buy all the copies of Windoze Family Pack you can afford. Win 7 looks to be the next XP, chugging on forever. Or, in the Roddenberry vein, only the odd numbered ones are worthwhile.

    1. Steve 114

      Re: What to do?

      On all my machines, XP is the next XP. (Except a new netbook with Win7, which is merely irritating).

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: What to do?

        After fighting Vista then Win7 on my brothers laptop, XP is the future. Just need to find a VM with acceptable DirectX acceleration for an XP client and I can continue gaming, the only thing I really need Windoze for.

  24. Soruk
    Stop

    Itt's been bugging me...

    but, why "metro"? Naming it after a small car that wasn't exactly reliable. Then again, we're going back to DOS Shell with a GUI, and that wasn't exactly reliable either.

    1. Anonymous IV

      Re: Itt's been bugging me...

      Surely it wasn't named after a small car, but a free newspaper? I agree that both were/are rubbish.

    2. davtom
      Joke

      Re: Itt's been bugging me...

      Nah. Metro because it needs to be hidden underground. :-)

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Itt's been bugging me...

        Not that either. The Paris Metro works fine, and even the name of the line tells you which direction you are going.

        Superman's or Fritz Lang's Metropolis?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_%28film%29

        *Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia".

        Dystopia says it for me.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Itt's been bugging me...

      could be worse - "allegro", anyone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Re: Itt's been bugging me...

        'Microsoft Austin Ambassador Y Reg'

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multiple desktops, mate. Been doing it for a decade

    F1 brings up my main editing screen. F2 is the web. F3 is for spreadsheets. F4 for drawing and stuff etc.

    I can flick to another context instantly and not worry about all the windows getting in eachothers' way.

    This is on Linux, which generally has had the best desktop for years and years,

    1. Al Jones

      Re: Multiple desktops, mate. Been doing it for a decade

      Back to the future, mate - we all did that in DOS before Windows was even released.

  26. KakersUK
    Thumb Down

    I love how Microsoft say those who don't like it are just afraid of change, fans of Ubuntu said the same thing just before the distro was knocked to 2nd place in favour of Mint (Yes I know it's a flavour of Ubuntu). I for one am not afraid of change, for example: If they do the same shit with Windows 9, I'll probably buy an Apple Mac and that's after using Windows as my main OS for over 10 years.

  27. Azzy

    Wow - the author hit the nail on the head

    Windows 8 Metro looks like a spectacular operating system for a media consumption device, where you're not multitasking and aren't doing anything complicated.

    But it's just not going to do it for productivity tasks, where multitasking is critical, and people run multiple applications side-by-side, run remote desktop clients, and so on.

    Microsoft DOES have a problem with every other version of windows.

    Win 3.1 was good, and was the standard for years. Then win 95 came, and it was buggy and slow and unstable. Win 98 was a big improvement. Then they made WinME, which cannot be accurately described in polite company. Then WinXP came out, and it was great. Then Vista came, and it sucked - slow, buggy, and unpopular interface changes. And Win7 came and was good.

    If you look at the kind of interface changes they made in WinME and Vista, they're the same kind of things that are in Win8 (only on a much larger scale in Win8)... "Make it easier for home users, who we know are idiots", trading functionality of the interface for form, and poorly planned security measures that cause problems that should have been forseen and avoided. Will they ever learn?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Wow - the author hit the nail on the head

      "Windows 8 Metro looks like a spectacular operating system for a media consumption device, where you're not multitasking and aren't doing anything complicated."

      Not even that really. Win8 metro *manages* that use-case, but if all you want to do is consume media then you could create a stripped-down platform that was about 1% of the size of a full Win8 installation. If you ask me to install a 10GB operating system, I want to be able to do more than surf the web and spend money in your built-in store.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Wow - the author hit the nail on the head

      Difficult to give much credibility to a windows history that doesn't mention NT, the original XP....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow - the author hit the nail on the head

      The key to Windows XP for me was that the new dumbed-down Fisher-Price aspects of the UI were easily enough reversed to a Windows NT-style desktop fit for tech users - we could get back square windows, the classic desktop and start menu, etc. It's still possible on Windows 7, though a bit more fiddly. If they're going to make it impossible to do it on Windows 8, then it's not fit for purpose - end of.

  28. Peter Simpson 1
    FAIL

    Tablet UIs on work PCs...

    Bad Idea.

    This is going to be the Microsoft Bob of the new century. Someone in Marketing has decided that the UI should be the same across platforms. Someone in Apple Marketing has seen what Someone in MS Marketing has done (or vice-versa) and someone in Canonical Marketing has decided likewise.

    What they have all missed, is that people do not use a Desktop/Laptop the same way they do a tablet or a smartphone. And they never will. Desktops (which may look like laptops or tablets with an attached keyboard and mouse) will always exist, because they offer more than a tablet can: more storage, more ergonomics and more CPU horsepower. The use of a Tablet/Smartphone UI on a desktop is just plain silly. It doesn't make you more efficient, it makes you LESS efficient.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Tablet UIs on work PCs...

      > people do not use a Desktop/Laptop the same way they do a

      > tablet or a smartphone

      Microsoft has a serious problem and forcing Metro down everyone's throat is how they intend to fix it.

      Metro on WP7 is almost non-existent and is only a phone OS it cannot be used on tablets. Windows (XP, 7) on tablets is almost a non-event, it is expensive, doesn't work well and has been bought in only tiny quantities.

      The 'standard' GUIs for phones and tablets is iOS and Android.

      A Jazz musician was on the radio and his view was that if you played enough Jazz to people who didn't like it then they would like it, eventually. He set out on a tour of schools with his Jazz group to play concerts for free. ie force it down their throats.

      Microsoft seems to think that the same will happen with Metro. They said that it will soon be the most familiar UI on the planet. The expectation is that eventually everyone will like it and want it on their phones and tablets.

      The failure is that it will take several years before Windows 8 (or 9, 10) will have as many users as XP does today. By that time iOS, MacOS, Android and Linux will also have developed and many will be wanting those UIs on the desktops (or on what has replaced their desktops).

      Android is already appearing on TVs, in cars, and on cameras (real cameras). Windows (and DOS before that) always has been in catch up mode, copying features that first appeared years before on DR-DOS, GEM, Apple, BeOS and many others. Previously when replacement of machines was of the order of 3 to 5 years this was not too much of a problem. People waited for MS's vaporware for months or years while MS wrote the code to catchup to their competitors.

      Now with replacement cycles for phones and tablets of a year or less to 2 years maximum, being over a year behind the rest of the market is complete failure. Buyers aren't going to wait until next year for a Metro (Apollo) phone or tablet, they will buy an iPad or Android, especially as an iPad2 is now cheaper.

      Buyers also aren't going to buy a WP7 phone (maybe a few will) because WP8 will make them obsolete, there will not be an upgrade of current phones to WP8. WP7 phones are single core and WP8 will require dual core.

      The other problem is that MS will require licence fees for Windows 8/WOA and for Office which will price them at least $100 above that for iOS or Android on equivalent hardware. For Windows 8/Intel tablets these may be even more expensive.

      1. Toastan Buttar
        Joke

        Re: Jazz music

        Jazz music sucks and I don't think I'll ever come to like it. I'm trying to educate myself by "reading the articles" in jazz magazines, though.

  29. Armando 123
    Windows

    Once again

    MS is showing that they don't quite get this. I was leery of Apple saying that they were going to pull interface features from iOS into the OS X desktop. However, they didn't do a whole-hog-smoosh, which would have been bad, and they didn't take away the established methods. Where an iOS feature made sense to add, they added it. Where they didn't they left it out. This made the desktop OS X a better interface, and I considered it superior to other GUIs before that.

    Metro, however, ... I'm far from convinced that MS are doing this right.

  30. MIc
    Mushroom

    The sky is falling

    I love the extreme language: "If so, many of us many find that it is one we are unable to adapt to. "

    Windows + R is sooooooo hard OMG lolz.

    I work with elevendybillion apps n' doc per minute! HOw canz you stealzz my start buttons??!

    I took me 4 hours to adapt to multi tasking with 4 monitors, visual studio, RDP, and a Gajillion docs per hour.

    I don't think reality is nearly as dramatic as we wish it was.

    1. multipharious

      Re: The sky is falling

      I did not downvote you btw. Some people never close anything. If their hardware can handle it, then let them. It looks like madness to me. I use a ton of shortcuts, and minimize/maximize with the keyboard, as well as moving windows between monitors.

      To our dear author, may I suggest Sysinternals Desktops for grouping things? You can effectively quadruple your desktop space. That is if you are running on Windows, otherwise you have the built-in multiple desktop linux feature. Other than that, man I feel your pain getting Xterminals working properly with disparate versions of linux/unix especially over multi-hop ssh. Sounds like you work with new machines all the time so setting it up is just not practical. Have you gotten into scripting or coding some of the key combinations yet?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
        Pint

        Re: The sky is falling

        Thanks for the suggestions, but I feel they may not work. THe issue with a multiple workspace solution (such as sysinternals) is that you still can't putthree or four windows beside one another and look at information on them while you enter information into the other. (Or into the "run" command...)

        Frankly, the past week has involved a lot of testing with other OSes, and I find that after only a week I have already adaped to a post-Windows desktop client quite well. It is not for myself I worry; but my clients. I try not to let my personal choices influence them, but I do encourage them to try the next generation in use before commiting to an upgrade.

        That said, I have three meetings next month regarding enterprise Apple deployments, so maybe the suport burden will simply fizzle.

        Cheers!

        1. MIc

          Re: The sky is falling

          "Thanks for the suggestions, but I feel they may not work. THe issue with a multiple workspace solution (such as sysinternals) is that you still can't putthree or four windows beside one another and look at information on them while you enter information into the other. (Or into the "run" command...)"

          I'm confused. Is this an issue that you are trying to resolve/work around in Win 8? I do this all day long with win 8.

          On the flip side I have relegated the Metro UI to just an app launcher / search tool. I don't use any metro apps. If I was to give MS any advice I'd say roll metro to the tablet. Then in win 9 or win 8 R2 roll it to the desktop after they get more feedback.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The sky is falling

          Well Trevor. At least you do not appear biased towards Windows 8 or anything. However, I fear the world is probably rather indifferent to the fact that 'you have spent the last week testing other OSes'. Microsoft themselves probably do not fret too much about the opinions of a junior systems admin who has penned an article to try to appear cool to his equally junior techy pals. Hows about you write another article when you have worked out how to use the software eh?

      2. MIc

        Re: The sky is falling

        My point is that I have a hard time sympathizing with the author when I read that Win+R is just too hard. It's just too much emotion crammed into an unemotional topic. Maybe that just saps all the fun out of it though...

        1. Wibble
          Holmes

          Re: The sky is falling

          Winkey+R is not hard but it is unintuitive.

          That sums up the problem with W8. They've radically changed the user interface so that experience with previous versions doesn't work. They then compound this by removing all the visual clues one would expect. That is why the START button said start, menu bar showed at all times, and the little X closed things.

          W8 appears to have replaced the familiar Windows interface with gestures and a telepathic interface.

          Even Microsoft can't be this belligerent to release W8 in this half-arsed format.

          I'm sure they've only released the preview under the misguided belief that any news is good news.

    2. multipharious

      Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

      one more bit, I think you misread this article Mlc. When you have nested terminals open like our author is discussing at one point, it becomes a serious headache to type commands, and sometimes a real nightmare to type a password, much less pull a CTRL+ALT+DEL out of your ass. Holding down a key (like Windows + commands) is also very different than typing it (assuming you want to send ASCII in combinations.) Look up "ALT+ASCII keyboards" to understand what is happening with keyboard filters, and why they get buggered up. Also look up C++ Send commands to see how you can write a short bit of code to send a command to a window. You can do it, but most of the time (at least as far as passwords are concerned) it is easier to plink on the keyboard until you find the right keys in a txt file and then copy and paste. If Xterminal is configured properly. :)

      1. MIc

        Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

        I must of. When I re-read it I see that the author is doing this from a phone. I don't know if that is what I'd call a core scenario.

        As with the ASCII stuff I was able to repro that in win 8 just fine. I am confused about the comment you made regarding "Windows + commands" I was under the impression this was regarding being up the run box and then typing a command. Once the run box up it is business as usual where you can use ALT + num-pad to enter ASCII chars.

        1. Leo Maxwell
          Holmes

          Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

          Windows+r etc are OK if you are in one desktop.

          If you have multiple terminals, VMs, remote sessions, etc, that sort of keyboard shortcut only works in the main session.

          So you're connected to a remote PC via RDP you hit win+r and it opens a run dialogue on your PC, not the remote host.

          1. MIc

            Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

            Nope. Just reproed it. It opens the run box on what ever RDP session has focus. The RDP session has to be full screen but that is how the Window key it behaved on win 7 / server 2008 RDP clients.

        2. Notas Badoff Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

          Okay, now go back and re-read it again. You missed some additional windows. (cough!)

          Another scenario is having multiple windows open to multiple machines. And some of those are VMs. And some of those are gateways to other machines. Sometimes more than two levels deep. Now who 'owns' the Win key?

          Oh, and did you notice those sessions required setup, and can't just be hotkeyed open at will. Oh, and the need to reference from one window to another while peering at another while checking results in another? Your multi-desktop froofroo is just fu when you gotta see multiple windows at the same time, y'kno simultaneous like?

          1. MIc

            Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

            @Notas BadoffNot really sure what we are talking about now. I'm pretty sure "who owns the windows key" has not changed with win8. I have tried to repro a scenario with the windows key in win 8 that is different from win 7 / 2K8 in terms of focus / ownership.

            1. Tinker Tailor Soldier
              Paris Hilton

              Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

              I think the point is that somewhere in his chain in a non-RDP client. Then, yes, this does go sadly south. Windows TS client actually handles mapping of the windows key and even Ctrl-Alt-Del (Ctrl->alt->break instead) really well.

              Having suffered through no machine for a bit, I've really started re-appreciating TS client.

        3. Peter W.

          Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

          Mlc,

          What you've missed here is that the "Windows + insertletterhere" commands do not properly translate through nested layers of remote support applications such as Remote Desktop/VNC/TeamViewer/etc.

  31. Tony Paulazzo
    Gimp

    Bring back the start menu and allow a configurable ribbon and Win8 would be a worthy upgrade.

    That swipe left (even on my touch screen laptop) is an abortion of the highest order when other windows are in the way, and being that I use two monitors in extended mode I can't just whack the mouse into the left corner to bring up the start screen, I'm forced to radically slow down my mouse move and bring it to a perfect stop before flicking into the next monitor, doable but aggravating and annoying.

    And I'd love to meet the designer who thought putting the shutdown / reboot options worked well in the settings screen, not exactly intuitive - maybe on a tablet since it's rarely turned off, but a desktop / laptop? Just dumb...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impressive

    Finally something that is at least as un bias as possible to do with Win8 with perfectly valid comments portrayed in a clear and un FUD like manor! well done!

    Personally having used it quite a lot now, i agree with most of what you say, i find it bizzar that some folk on here seem to pass judgment and sentence after only using it for 5 min, you cant do that and be completely objectionable!

    anyhow, from my perspective i see it like this, Metro maintains all the wee things that are usful, it displays a snap shot of important current events that can all be scanned over in a few seconds in a single glance. Using Metro like this (as its intended on Windows phone) is actually very productive, ive been using desktop mode to do all the important stuff, which as some folk seem to have missed, displays windows just fine for multi tasking.

    Like the author, my concerns are over the start menu, and icon placment, ie clutter! which ive fed back via the response forms MS have littered about all over the OS which believe it or not were placed there to get your feedback whilst you actually test the thing, like you asked to do in the first place :)

    1. jason 7

      Re: Impressive

      Been using it for 4 days now on a Windows tablet laptop (Tecra M7).

      All the drivers were there pretty much (got some Vista 32bits for the missing ones).

      After 4 days as a pretty much normal PC/Windows user I still don't know why I need Metro. Should the message from MS take that long?

      That's the problem. I don't see how its making my computing life better. The main reason I have bought new operating systems has usually been the increase in performance, stability, the compatibility with new hardware and standards, better security etc.

      With 8 I just see more swiping back and forth, more hotkeys, stuff in different places and metro apps. I've had a play around with them and loaded some up but the usability of them is pretty poor (the ones that work that is). I see left and right is the new up and down. How many weather and news apps do I need exactly?

      Windows 8 just feels like a cul-de-sac to me.

  33. windywoo

    Lots of overreacting

    Pin stuff to the taskbar or put it on the desktop and you cover most of what you were used to with the old desktop. The old control panel is on a charm if you mouseover the top right corner. A little bit different but not so jarring as warrants this sneerfest.

    Metro is for new users and as far as I can see they normally love whizzbang effects over actual function. Hence the success of Apple.

    1. blondie101
      FAIL

      Re: Lots of overreacting

      Which new users? The ones coming from iPad or even Android? Really? You are serious? Won't ever happen.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gnome Wins

    The only thing that makes the Unix (Gnome) desktop far and away superior to Windows is that it supports multiple virtual desktops.

    Think Microsoft will ever offer that? Never!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gnome Wins

      Like this?

      http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Gnome Wins

        For bonus gloating, we should point out that although the About Box screenshot on that page has a copyright 2006-2010, multiple desktops were baked into the Win32 API around 1992 and "Windows Internals" (as they were before Microsoft's lawyers hunted them down) were offering this utility in the mid-90s, if not earlier. For comparison, you'll struggle to find a copy of Linux from 1992 and you certainly won't find a copy of Gnome from the mid-90s.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gnome Wins

          Not quite 1992. The first version of Windows NT was released in 1993 and the window station and desktop APIs weren't introduced until NT 3.51 in 1995.

        2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

          Re: Gnome Wins

          '"Windows Internals" (as they were before Microsoft's lawyers hunted them down) were offering this utility in the mid-90s, if not earlier. For comparison, you'll struggle to find a copy of Linux from 1992 and you certainly won't find a copy of Gnome from the mid-90s.'

          By 1998 I was using a CDE (Common Desktop Environment) system (X11 really) which had multiple desktops. Multiple desktops are extremely handy for managing separate groups of computers - one desktop for Development systems, another for Test systems and so on.

  35. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Seems to me that Microsoft, Apple, Canonical etc. are making a clear statement that they are only interested in content USERS, not content creators.

    Fine by me, I'll carry on as I am doing real work.

  36. Notas Badoff Silver badge
    WTF?

    Dog food? Tails will tell...

    Has anyone found out if the most important reality check for developers is being observed here? That is, do Microsoft Windows developers *have* to use Metro completely unchanged/unhacked to do *their* work? Wasn't "eat your own dog food" one of the cardinal truths to come out of Microsoft, or at least former Microsoft dev managers?

    Oh, yes, 'former'...

    Wanna bet soon-to-be former MS devs will be jamming the computer book shelves with "How to use Win8 for non-Dummies" and "Win8 in spite of Win8" and "Survive the Win8 UI Starvation Diet!"

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am currently in Windows 8

    And I have 3 copies of Visual Studio running, two visible at the moment, one on the left, one on the right, I can Windows Key and Tab into metro apps then drop back to the desktop where my Visual Studio windows are still how I had them. Metro is nice, I think it is clean and it'll work well on a tablet and if I don't want to use it then I won't.

    What exactly is the issue or is everyone just having a bash because it is microsoft and not cool as a result?

  38. DaemonProcess

    Why? Well...

    The first mistake MS made was to look at the declining sales figures of PCs versus the growing sales figures of tablets correction iPads and decide that tablets were the exclusive future. This is not a logical conclusion. It merely means that tablets are a new device for working in a new way - ie on the coffee table, in meetings or other places where notebooks aren't convenient. Many people will still upgrade their notebooks and desktops when the time comes.

    MS might get some sales in business - people may stop taking their iPads or notebooks to meetings and take a tablet with Metro on it instead. I guess thats the thinking - sell them a licence for their work desktop with full office suite and also sell a licence for a Metro tablet - Ker-ching! They may also get some sales in the home browser / minimal functionality required markets if people haven't already gone " iApple, do you?".

  39. bluest.one

    It sounds like Windows 8 comes from the Millenium/Vista side of the family.

    I love Windows 7. I'll be waiting for Windows 9 when they ditch all the half-arsed ideas or implement them properly.

  40. Jeff 11
    Meh

    Paradigm shift

    superfluous f

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I was Microsoft I'd be worried

    El Reg readers must be Microsoft's primary customers - the sort of people responsible for 1000's of Windows licenses in their businesses. If they are having 'reservations' about Metro, Microsoft really hasn't done its homework. Perhaps Microsoft believes it can still steamroller buyers - 'there is no alternative' - does Microsoft still have such a strong lock-in?

    1. aThingOrTwo

      Re: If I was Microsoft I'd be worried

      Had El Reg existed at the time, I have no doubt a number of El Reg readers would have had reservations about the funny GUI and mouse fad as well.

      Although you will never get Microsoft to admit it, version 1 of the Metrofication of Windows is aimed at consumers buying tablets. Businesses can coast by on the excellent Windows 7 until Microsoft have something better for them later.

      And there will be improvements and refinements later, that much is certain.

      1. blondie101
        FAIL

        Re: If I was Microsoft I'd be worried

        And when will that be you reckon? The same day mainframe will get their supremacy back or when there will be dinosaurs again?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If I was Microsoft I'd be worried

      Hah hah, seriously? You think that reg readers are MS primary customers? Maybe their bosses bosses bosses bosses bosses boss.......... and they will always choose MS. Just saying.

  42. steeplejack
    Thumb Down

    Steve Balmer is Trashman.

    I think MS have blown it with this one, as it doesn't have a single redeeming feature for Desktop use. My guess is that Windows 9 will follow, rapido, and will be a Desktop-centric OS.

    The stupid, stupid people should have written at least 2 new OSes, not expect 1 to do for all three kinds of devices.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With the prolifieration of micro management...

    ... and spreadsheets recording everything you do, every minute of the day - the time of true multitasking is over for me. I for one welcome our Metro overlords.

  44. James Pickett

    I'm sure it will go down well with pointy-haired managers, for whom single-tasking is a stretch, and will be irrelevant to Dilbert, who has been using Linux for years.

  45. Someone Else Silver badge
    FAIL

    Round THIS, Micros~1

    "Unfortunately, the take home message is that the people who will find themselves affected by this are simply afraid of change, their numbers small enough to constitute a rounding error."

    The last "rounding error" I recall from Microsoft was that WSH (Warm, Steaming Heap) they lovingly referred to Vista.

    You might want to reconsider your rounding algorithm, kids....

  46. Orv Silver badge
    FAIL

    Lack of context

    One of the big problems I perceive with Metro is, for an OS meant to help new users, it has a serious lack of context clues to tell you what's clickable. The standard of shading buttons to look raised didn't come about because it looks pretty -- it came about because it clues you in that this is a clickable button. Metro's flat squares, un-windowed text, and magic screen regions you have to put the mouse into provide few hints to the user about how to proceed. It's not very discoverable. I never would have figured out how to navigate Win8 if someone hadn't told me to put the mouse in the upper right corner, or how to log into the stupid thing if someone didn't tell me to click and swipe upward.

  47. N2 Silver badge

    "paradigm shift"

    When ever I hear business speak crap like that, I feel an uncontrollable urge to vomit.

  48. Andrew Williams

    On the bright side

    They (Microsoft) probably pumped a billion or few at creating W8. And given this "investment" I'd say they have a vested interest in pumping a truckload more billions into getting it to work (or hurriedly moving on to W9).

    So, if you hate it with a passion, enjoy the oodles of cash Microsoft will burn fixing it or moving on. If you think W9 will be all that, be grateful for no expense being spared to fix up the eyesore that is W8.

    And yea, Ballmer said, W8 is all you'll ever need, until W9 comes up (I think rather soon).

  49. shawnfromnh

    No Gates

    This is what happens when you remove Bill Gates from the MS leadership.

    Ballmer, it's not weak to ask for someone's opinion. It's lame though to pass off something like this as the next MS OS.

    I should have figured though since ME, VISTA, and now 8. 9 ought to be pretty good then if the pattern is as usual.

    I guess we'll have to wait till Ubuntu changes first so you can copy their GUI style and get it right this time or we might just lame out twice and create another Desktop phone interface.

  50. n4blue
    Windows

    It's all part of the plan

    I think I've figured out what's going on here. Why do Windows versions alternate between awful and quite good? Because otherwise no one would ever buy the expensive upgrades.

    If every version of Windows was just a little bit of an evolution on the last (as OSX appears to be - I'm not a Mac user so I can't comment) then no one would bother upgrading until they bought a new PC. The only copies of windows sold to consumers would be the OEM versions.

    I bought my PC-before-last in late 2008. When W7 came out the following year I struggled manfully on with Vista for a while but eventually had to give in and fork out a fairly substantial sum for the W7 upgrade. If Vista hadn't been so awful I'd not have got W7 (on my home PC at least) until that PC died a few months ago.

  51. damien c

    Not Getting Touched

    Window's 8 for me is just not worth it.

    If I wanted to use a touch interface and tablet styled interface then I would simply buy a tablet, which I did when I got a Android tablet.

    Apparently from what I have seen if you install Windows 8, when released and you are using a UEFI bios then you won't be able to install any other operating system including older Window's OS's, without paying Microsoft a license fee but I may be wrong about that.

    I will simply stick to Window's 7.

  52. Simon R. Bone
    FAIL

    win2k

    oh dear.... oh dear....

    I'm using this nice piece of freeware

    http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/

    to make my win7 box look like win2k so I can actually get work done efficiently - let's hope they can create something similar for win8

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: win2k

      Classicshell (sort of) supports Win 8. Nuch work is needed yet.

  53. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    FAIL

    Visual Studio ?

    The metro interface looks like it will be real fun for anyone trying to use a development environment like Microsoft's own Visual Studio.

    What a load of rubbish - make WinME and Vista seem superb.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: Visual Studio ?

      Seriously?

      Go and use it. Visual Studio looks exactly the same. It runs on the desktop not metro. Go and do some research and you'll discover that people are getting really excited for no reason. I've been using Win 8 since the developer preview and now the consumer preview and it is fine. You can use the desktop just like normal and VS is exactly the same.

      This has some screenshots for you:

      http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jasonz/archive/2011/09/14/announcing-visual-studio-11-developer-preview.aspx

      Visual Studio, Office etc will run on the desktop, not metro.

  54. Chris Willsher
    Unhappy

    Commercial suicide?

    I suspect MS has issued this metro version of Windows 8 as a Consumer Preview just to test the strength of resistence. To launch Windows 8 in this format would be commercial suicide. This Consumer Preview has to be the best case ever for not upgrading Windows for the enormous worldwide installed base of desktop users. A strategy of incorporating the best features of the new OS into a Winows7 Plus version and launching Windows 8 as Windows Metro would have a far better chance of gaining new users without destroying the existing base.

    As someone who has migrated from early versions of MSDOS through every iteration of Windows this is the first time I have reached the point where if the Consumer Preview is what we are going to get then I will still be using Windows 7 long after user support has ceased.

    I wish I could be sure that MS would listen. Their obstinate approach of forcing the Ribbon on Office users and leaving it to third parties to offer alternatives show how they can kill their own golden goose without even trying! I know plenty of people who cling to Office 2003 and will never upgrade just because of this factor. I have little or no respect for Microsoft's basic marketing ability.

  55. Bassey
    IT Angle

    Blinkered and old fashioned

    Currently yuu have many many windows open and have had to learn to switch, arrange, refocus etc etc. Surely a better way of doing things would be to have two apps open on one monitor that manage all of this for you?

    I hate the way IT folk spend so much time whining about change. We force it on our users all the time in order to keep US gainfully employed but woe betide anyone that does it to us.

    WHy not try seeing this as an opportunity to IMPROVE the way you work? What you describe sounds like a nightmare. Come up with a better solution rather than moaning about how the half-arsed none-solution you've duck-taped together doesn't transfer well. Everything you have just described tells me YOUR solution is wrong. If it won't scale, won't translate and can't be taught to someone else then it ISN'T a good solution.

    And no. I don't claim to be any different. Just hypocritical.

  56. Ant Evans
    Thumb Up

    Gnome Unity

    Actually, now that I've tried Metro, Unity doesn't look so bad.

  57. Peter Mc Aulay
    Thumb Down

    Evolution

    From small screens and single-task systems to big screens and multi-tasking systems to... small screens and single-tasking systems. Full circle in 30 years, a little slower than the fashion industry but still, well done Microsoft.

    I blame the mobile computing hype. Everything is a phone these days, even things that are not phones.

  58. William Hinshaw
    FAIL

    Metro = MS Bob 2.0

    Metro is Bob 2.0 pretty much. It will die like Bob did as well. Cheers to another OS skip. Only this is Bob 17 or 18 years later. Really MS just don't do this or have the options to completely disable-remove it. All I can see is lots of trouble.

  59. DN4
    FAIL

    Fail

    So, now it is possible to publish articles here whose sole point is to demonstrate that you failed to learn how to organise windows (and work) using workspaces. How sad.

  60. KayKay
    Devil

    skip it

    The company I work for is just now starting to change to Win 7, only because XP support is coming to an end. It's taken months of testing and planning to check what else may need upgrading as well. (And of course they found Firefox bookmarks can't be transferred, unless they first disable the code that deliberately refuses to transfer them).

    For big companies it takes so long to make an OS change, they can't do it every 12 or 18 months anyway. So they will just wait until some version comes along that is not too awful, and/or won't halve everyone's productivity for 3 months.

    Many of us have replaced the ribboned Office with our own copies from home of the 2003 version that actually runs our macros.

    Probably the main reason most companies won't change to a *nix OS is, it would render all the existing files unusable, because of the different file formats. But they certainly don't need to change to Win8, they can wait for the next one.

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