back to article There is life after the death of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Start button

The disappearance of the Start button in Microsoft’s new Windows has proved unsettling for users. “I want Start. Start I say,” said an early tester in a post entitled "Worst 60 minutes in my entire life". One year on, and the Start screen is still a contentious issue. “The advantage of the overlaid menu is that it preserves …

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  1. Andy ORourke
    Meh

    I too found after some use

    That what I originally thought was going to be an awful experience turned out to be not so bad, I mean it's a departure from tradition sure and it does take a bit of getting used to.

    Also I still can't see why (OK, I can, it's all about metro / ModernUI / Touch / App store) Microsoft can't allow you to install one or the other (or both) interfaces during a custom setup.

    I gather the Aero style was a bit old hat and the flat, bland tiles are the new design paradigm but I rather like my Win7 desktop, you can keep your dull, flat, lifeless tiles thanks

    I won't be rushing out to buy Windows 8, I simply have no need of the new features but equally I won't die if I was forced to use it

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: I too found after some use

      I've just got to the point where I'm now forced to use Windows 7. This isn't my "first run" by any means - only the other week I was testing out Windows 8 on touchscreen PC's with a view to a purchase next year.

      I tell you now, having been "forced" (i.e. I broke my previous laptop and you only get Windows 7 drivers etc. for things now, especially Optimus graphics) to use Windows 7 the very first thing I actually consciously did was go and download the Classic Shell program mentioned here. My way of working is just incompatible with the new-style menus no matter what the OS (Ubuntu has the same problem now).

      Even to the point that I then played with all of the options on that program and turned OFF things like searching through my program lists etc. It was too annoying, and inconsistent as new programs install, to get to a program the same way every time. A nicely organised start menu (which is a rarity among people who don't use computers much but is something of a necessity to me since even Windows 3.1) is quicker, smaller, smarter, more well-organised and logical. It just is.

      Literally, while pulling off the data from my old laptop to put onto the new Windows 7 one, I spent more time faffing to find programs than I did anything else. And I've barely got 1% of my software library installed on 7 as yet. In all the HOURS that it took to copy that data over, over several days, with me trying to install things that I needed as and when they cropped up, I took enough of a productivity hit from the new menus to warrant finding a replacement, downloading it, installing it, configuring it, tweaking it, etc. and still make some profit in time.

      YOU may like it. I have tried it, several times over several years, for several EXTENDED tests with a view to deploying on hundreds of machines. And I'm telling you that it slows me down and gets in my way.

      Don't even get me started on the "Computer" windows which I am really struggling to keep them from looking ugly while still providing the functionality I need.

      Everyone has different working processes. So keeping options is a GOOD thing and people who enjoy the new interface can use it and not be hindered by those who don't. Windows 8's interface - I spent ten minutes with a colleague working out how to close a metro app without using the keyboard shortcuts - just takes away options. It's like saying "Sorry, sir? You're used to driving a car where you can move the seat? But we've made a car that has the optimal position already set and unchangeable for every driver!".

      My desktop is my desktop. Playing with it and removing features and options is like coming into my office and pushing all my stuff onto the floor. Providing the OPTION hurts no-one, because people DO work differently. Forcing people to use something new because it's "better" is like forcing people to only use electricity for tools, vehicles, heating, etc. because "it can do the job of everything else".

      1. Aaron Em

        "Only get Windows 7 drivers"

        If you can turn up a copy of Windows XP x64 Edition, you should be able to use the Win7 drivers with it; you may have to screw around some to get them to install, but they should work without too much trouble. (I've successfully installed 32-bit Win7 drivers on a 32-bit XP machine, at any rate; I see no reason why the 64-bit equivalent should not work as well.)

        Of course, finding a (legit) copy of XP x64 may be its own problem in this day and age, to say nothing of learning your way around its multifarious foibles...

      2. Another Justin

        Re: I too found after some use

        Can I suggest that you investigate the Windows 7 downgrade rights?

        http://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/downgrade_rights.aspx#fbid=66BVjcQ4aQ8

        From reading your posts its clear that you won't be happy with anything less than exactly the same behaviour that you are used to. Yes everyone has different working processes, but there are also some people who just don't like change - you appear to be one of those people.

        In my (humble) oppinion Windows 7 is superior to every previous version of Windows in pretty much every way and the start menu / task bar is no exception.

      3. El Andy

        Re: I too found after some use

        . Providing the OPTION hurts no-one, because people DO work differently.

        It does though. It's expensive for one thing, every single option literally doubles the size of the test matrix, so adding more choices pushing up the cost of development exponentially.

        For another thing, it means you have to come up with multiple ways of surfacing each new bit of functionality, made worse by the fact whichever way you chose to expose it in the "old" arrangement will be changed functionality there anyway, so you're effectively changing functionality in the old feature even though you're supposedly keeping that there for people who don't want change.

        Finally, but perhaps more importantly, it's lazy. It's so easy when designing a User Interface to sidestep every difficult decision by just saying "Well we'll include both solutions and just make it optional". This is a disservice to end users, leaving them with something that just feels unfinished and clunky. As a designer you have to make the hard choices and come up with something that works. Users might complain about change at first, but, if you made good decisions, they will thank you in the long run when they adapt to the change and find themselves becoming more productive as a result. The is one of the reasons Apple products are always held in such high regard, because it's something they tend to be much stricter on than anyone else

  2. pip25
    Thumb Down

    Not this "pin everything to the taskbar" argument again

    I have no more than one or two applications pinned on my 16:9 monitor, because I need the rest of the taskbar to, you know, display my running tasks. I have 13 such windows active right now and would avoid grouping them if possible.

    1. Aaron Em

      Quite possible to avoid grouping

      "7 Taskbar Tweaker" is what I use for that; it's lightweight and lives in the system tray, and can be configured to turn off grouping. Works quite well, installs cleanly with no BS as far as I recall.

      Another good reason not to pin anything to the taskbar: I use the Virtual Dimension desktop pager, and pinned apps always appear, whether I'm on their desktop or not. This would rather defeat the purpose of using virtual desktops.

    2. Aaron Em

      A suggestion with regard to widescreen displays

      Try putting your taskbar on one side or the other, rather than at top or bottom. You can fit more open windows onto it that way, and it frees up a considerable amount of vertical space, which is a boon when dealing with aspect ratios which don't give you all that much to work with in the first place.

    3. AbortRetryFail

      Re: Not this "pin everything to the taskbar" argument again

      I'm the same. But I also enabled WinXP's Quick Launch bar because that happens to work for me. Many people don't realise that Win7 still has it, but disabled.

      I have to use WinXP at work and I choose to run Win7-64 at home, and I have to say I miss an awful lot of Win7's features when at work.

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: Not this "pin everything to the taskbar" argument again

        Yes, I not only like the Quick Launch, I have several of them.

        And Yes, Put the task bar up the right hand side, and stretch it a bit, it makes lots of use of the widescreen layout, and lets me see a bit more of each document or spreadsheet.

      2. Aaron Em

        Still has Quick Launch?

        I am one of those people! Thanks for the clue --

    4. Fuzz

      Re: Not this "pin everything to the taskbar" argument again

      How small is your screen?

      I can fit around 40 task buttons on a 22" screen. I have the ones I use all the time (about 15) pinned and everything else is launched by searching the start menu.

      Personally I have no problem with the Windows 8 start screen apart from the way the search no longer automatically selects settings or documents when the applications are exhausted

      1. Badvok
        Facepalm

        Re: Not this "pin everything to the taskbar" argument again

        My guess would be that he is using a NetBook, either that or he hasn't managed to find the "Use Small Icons" option.

        1. pip25

          Re: Not this "pin everything to the taskbar" argument again

          I am using an ordinary laptop with full HD resolution. At this pixel size, using the "small icons" option makes the icons too tiny to be useful for me.

        2. Paul 135

          Re: Not this "pin everything to the taskbar" argument again

          The Windows 7 taskbar is inefficient in terms of space and flawed in terms of usability, even when small icons and labels are enabled (the scattered "quick launch' icons get annoying). For how it should be done see KDE4.

  3. Buzzword

    Mac OS X

    I've had a Mac for a few years and initially I struggled with the lack of a Start menu. Then I repositioned my Applications folder to the bottom-left corner and lo and behold it looked much more like my familiar old Start menu!

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: Mac OS X

      I just use Quicksilver. A couple of key presses and you can find anything, apps, docs, emails etc.

      http://qsapp.com/

      1. Peter Johnstone

        Re: Mac OS X

        or Spotlight, or Alfred or Launchpad..

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

    It's the new ribbon. No one wants it in the first place but everyone has to just learn to live with it. Eventually the moaning will stop and we'll all carry on buying Microsoft, whatever UI they force on us.

    I really wish I could see a different future.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft understands...

      the inertia of its existing customers. Microsoft knows that business customers already using Windows will gripe and moan about the changes, but will eventually get used to whatever they have to use. After all, most Windows users don't really have strong opinions about the way a desktop UI ought to work, or they would have already been complaining about the lack of configurability in XP and Win7 desktops, or simply switched to a different OS. And as we know, most lusers use the desktop defaults without changing a thing.

      No, Windows 8 is about milking more revenue out of Microsoft's existing customers. At 92% desktop market share, they know that they don't stand a chance of getting many new customers. Instead, they will use their established model of forced obsolescence through incompatibility to an even greater extent going forward.

      1. frymaster

        Re: Microsoft understands...

        "forced obsolescence through incompatibility"

        rerversi from windows 1.0 still works on win7 32-bit (64-bit windows can emulate only 32-bit apps)

        1. Piro
          Pint

          Re: Microsoft understands...

          You can even still use Cardfile on Windows 7 x64.

          You need a copy of the executable from Windows NT 3.51, but it works.

          Incompatibility in the Windows world is very little, very, very little to complain about. We've been treated to a frankly gratuitous amount of backwards compatibility.

        2. Not That Andrew

          Re: Microsoft understands...

          There's a 32 bit build of SkiFree that works on Win 7 64 bit, though http://ski.ihoc.net/

      2. paulc
        Linux

        Re: Microsoft understands...

        "the inertia of its existing customers. Microsoft knows that business customers already using Windows will gripe and moan about the changes, but will eventually get used to whatever they have to use. "

        surprisingly these were touted as being reasons to stick with Microsoft and not switch to Linux... logic being that your users would need expensive training and would be confused by Linux's differences from Windows...

        Come on Microsoft, you can't have it both ways...

    2. TimeMaster T
      Linux

      Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

      Not all of us will "carry on buying Microsoft". Only the sheep without the wit to do more than follow the herd.

      Some of us will choose other options.

      Debian + Trinity Desktop Environment is my choice.

      1. Antidisestablishmentarianist
        Mushroom

        Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

        All this bloody sheep nonsense flying about. Makes you look like right pretentious twat. "I am considerably cleverer than yaouw" etc etc. Still it re-enforces the stereotypes I have about you free-as-in-free-speechers, so continue.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

          Personal computer market != Business market and it is in the business desktop market that Microsoft is king and nothing much will change that until people stop using Word and Excel.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

        >Only the sheep without the wit to do more than follow the herd.

        Er, and those who use software not available in Linux are what, exactly? Engineers, designers, people who find it useful to use the same systems as their suppliers and clients...

        We're all supporting to your right to choose, so why knock other people's choices?

      3. John 104
        Mushroom

        Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

        @TimeMaster T

        Yer so cool.

      4. Peter Johnstone
        Thumb Up

        Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

        @TimeMaster Just up-voted your post to counteract the idiots who downvoted it because you switched to a different OS and they didn't like your choice. I thought Windows 8 was terrible and jumped ship too, and had the same down vote experience as yourself (although my OS choice was not the same).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

      Lots of people found Ribbon an improvement, including myself.

      1. Anony-mouse
        Thumb Down

        Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

        And unlike you, I think the ribbon sucks donkey balls. But I was forced to use it since I had to upgrade to a newer version of Office because Microsoft changed the way Office went to the docx and xlsx formats that are incompatible with older versions of Office. And don't talk about the compatibility Pack addition for older Office versions as I've been down that road and it has it's own problems.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the issue disappears as you learn new ways of working

        "Lots of people found Ribbon an improvement, including myself".

        Well whoopee-fucking-doo.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm still yet to try Win8, does Win+R still work to get the run dialog up? Also:

    "Presuming you work mainly in the desktop, having PDF documents open in the full-screen Metro reader is annoying"

    This seems to imply random switching into Metro mode depending on file associations, is that true? That sounds nasty if it is.

    1. Brian

      Run dialog isn't needed.. just hit the win key and start typing your command. Same as for Win7.

      1. Ambivalous Crowboard
        Thumb Down

        Re: Run dialog isn't needed..

        Run dialog works great when you're on a slow machine and just want to ping something or bring up a command line without searching the index of every email you've ever written for the word "ping"

        1. dogged

          Re: Run dialog isn't needed..

          The "Power Users" menu - bottom left corner, right-click - has the Run dialog as one of its options. It works the same way as ever.

    2. h4rm0ny

      "This seems to imply random switching into Metro mode depending on file associations, is that true? That sounds nasty if it is."

      If the file association is a Metro app, then yes, it will switch you to that. But it's entirely your choice what programs you associate with what file types, just as it is previous versions. The only reason the writer is having this problem is because the Metro PDF reader is probably the only PDF reader they have installed. If you install Foxit or Adobe Reader or whatever your preference is and make it the primary for PDFs, they'll open in the Desktop just as normal. Win7 didn't come with a PDF reader installed, as far as I recall, so it's really just the same as Win7 in that you need to install something, with the caveat that if you can't be bothered, there's already the ability to open them present on the system.

    3. El Andy

      There's nothing "random" about it. Documents open in the app their file type is associated with, just as they always have done. Obviously if you open a document that is associated with a Metro-style app, it opens in that app.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The "Power Users" menu - bottom left corner, right-click - has the Run dialog as one of its options. It works the same way as ever."

      That makes me happy. :)

      "If the file association is a Metro app, then yes, it will switch you to that. But it's entirely your choice what programs you associate with what file types, just as it is previous versions. The only reason the writer is having this problem is because the Metro PDF reader is probably the only PDF reader they have installed. If you install Foxit or Adobe Reader or what"

      I was under the impression that apps would function in one of two modes, or would open with an appropriate reader for the mode you're in, to explain: Adobe Reader is installed, if you open a PDF in desktop mode, a desktop mode Adobe Reader is shown, if in Modern UI mode, then Adobe Reader is opened in it's Modern UI mode (if it has one) or if not, a separate Modern UI PDF reader would be used, but not switching between modes based on opening a file. That sound clunky at best.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waste of my time

    It's a total waste of my time to have to learn a new way to do what I already know how to do. Completely unproductive and utterly frustrating. And that's just for me as an individual - for businesses there is no upside at all, just loss of productivity.

    I'm fed up with having to relearn how to do tasks at Microsoft's whim - I'd still like to beat toa bloddy pulp the guy who thought that forcing me to use the ribbon in Office was a good idea.

    1. Andrew Baines Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Waste of my time

      I'm sure you said the same when you changed from Wordperfect in DOS to Word in Windows.

      Change happens, get used to it.

      For what it's worth, not convinced with Windows 8 either, but do like the ribbon in MS Office.

      1. tirk
        Unhappy

        Re: Waste of my time

        "I'm sure you said the same when you changed from Wordperfect in DOS to Word in Windows."

        But if you had to use Word for Windows without a mouse, would it be an upgrade over WP?

        On a tablet, the (ugly, to my eye) Metro UI may make sense, but like many oythers here I use a keyboard and dual monitors for most of my work and I can see precious little advantage in moving to touch-sensitive monitors. Can't see any point, don't like being pressured.

        1. Badvok

          Re: Waste of my time

          "But if you had to use Word for Windows without a mouse, would it be an upgrade over WP?"

          Speaking from personal experience - yes, most definitely!

          Although I'm one of the minority around here who learnt windows the hard way, from version 1, often had to work mouse-less, and so learned all the keyboard short-cuts. Another one of the good things MS have done with maintaining compatibility with older versions is that you can still use any Windows machine without a mouse!

          (I don't know if this still holds true for Windows 8, it is not something I tried when I experimented with it.)

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Waste of my time

        There were benefits to doing that. In Windows, what you see on the screen is what you might see on paper when you print it out. You don't need to stick a sheet of paper on your keyboard saying what all the function keys do. You don't have a completely different set of key-press sequences to do similar things (eg open and save files and text formatting) in Lotus. You don't have to install printer drivers separately for WordPerfect and Lotus123. You can run both at the same time and copy things between them. You can have both of them up on screen at the same time.

        What are the benefits of running Windows 8? It is a bit faster than Windows 7, which is nice, but most computers can run Windows 7 plenty fast enough.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waste of my time

      I am totally fed up with IT guys refusing to learn new skills. Do you not see the irony in working in one of the fastest changing industries in the world and bitching about having to learn new stuff? I work for a backup company, we sell one of the big three Enterprise backup packages and associated hardware, and I see it every day from backup admins, "we're not going to install a single new backup system to replace our shitbag aging systems for X, Y, Z "technical" reasons."

      Where "technical" reasons are a load of excuses which are ill informed, out of date or just plain wrong. It's always for the same real reason though: I like my cushy number here and I don't want to bother to learn anything else, despite the fact that it will be good for my CV.

      1. Nigel 11
        Thumb Down

        Re: Waste of my time

        So, you think it would be a really smart move for the UK to decide overnight that everyone should be told to drive on the same side of the road as Europe?

        Of course not. It would cause chaos and kill lots of people.

        Well, Windows 8 has made the same mistake, except it won't kill so many people. (It will certainly kill some. Annoyed or stressed users having heart attacks. Emergency service operators or medics failing to react correctly or fast enough because they are struggling with the unfamiliar new interface. And so on)

        Yes, I'm sure I could get used to it. I just don't see why I should waste my time on a completely pointless change.

        1. JC_
          Windows

          @Nigel 11

          Bad analogy: Sweden switched sides of the road (45 years ago) and it went smoothly with a decrease in accidents. FWIW, I'd be more than happy for the UK & Ireland to make the switch, and with metrication, too.

          The secret of course was that the Swedes prepared drivers for the change; MS released the developer preview of Win8 one year ago, so if you work in IT and are still not ready then maybe the problem is with you...

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: @Nigel 11

            Being a sparsely populated country with vastly fewer cars on the road than the present day probably helped, too.

            1. The Baron

              Re: @Nigel 11

              > ... vastly fewer cars on the road ...

              Seeing other cars on the road reminds you which side of the road you're now supposed to be on. In the absence of other cars, it's easy to forget and drift over the side you're used to. That's what I find when I drive hire cars out of foreign airports at silly o'clock, anyway, although jet lag and my own incompetence may of course be contributing factors.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Nigel 11

            Sweden 45 years ago. Not too many cars on the road? Or just that they've got money to change the position of driving controls, or buy a new car? Because driving an unconverted yankee car in the UK is bloody frightening!

        2. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: Waste of my time

          Well if we were to switch to driving on the other side of the road, it would need to be done overnight. You can't have some people driving on the left and some driving on the right. Maybe you could start with some islands that are connected to the mainland only by ferry, but otherwise, it would need to happen at a particular time, and if Northern Ireland were to switch, the Republic would need to switch on the same day as well.

          Having said that, I don't really see the point of it. It would cost a lot of money to replace all the road signs, repaint the road markings and redesign junctions, with very little, if any benefit.

        3. durbans
          Unhappy

          We'll never see a Minority Report UI at this rate....

          So apparently releasing a new operating system with a different UI is exactly akin to changing, in one fell swoop, the side of the road which 30 million vehicles and their drivers drive on. A fascinating insight into your mind for sure.

          The real shame is that with so many people like yourself refusing to learn any new skills, at this rate we will never get the chance to use a Minority Report style user interface. This makes me a sad panda.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Waste of my time

        "I am totally fed up with IT guys refusing to learn new skills."

        Umm, 99% of PC users are *not* IT guys. Perhaps the IT guys who you claim are "refusing to learn new skills" are the ones who play a support role, either as part of their job or to their friends and families.

        Then again, as the article notes, none of the "reasons why it doesn't matter" are actually discoverable. Microsoft is assuming that we are willing to trawl through endless "Windows Guru Secrets" blogs in order to learn how to make their latest offering even palatable.

        How about I shit on your lunch and then point out that a few days googling on the web should throw up some sanitisation options at quite reasonable prices? Do you understand why normal people might find that attitude a little tiresome?

        1. durbans
          WTF?

          Re: Waste of my time

          How about I suggest a completely unrelated and pointless analogy and use it to try and prove that I am right?

          We all have to learn new skills in life. Get over yourself. Shitting on somebodys lunch is just not nice and won't help anybody.

      3. Mr_Happy
        FAIL

        Re: Waste of my time

        Its not about us IT guys refusing to learn new skills, its about having to support 1000 users that can't understand where their start button went, how they have to waggle the mouse at the bottom corners of the screen to get something to happen, how they now have a new feature where every app is now full screen, and when seeing tiles, half of them won't work correctly as we don't use Exchange, and our proxy servers block access to lots of internet feeds

        It was hard enough getting them to understand Win 7 from XP without having to now tell them that is is no longer a start button, I know how popular I'd be if I rolled out Win 8 across the company any time soon

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Waste of my time

          @Mr happy: Train them then. Invest in your staff, most (if not all) of the changes will make things easier for them and you in the long run.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Waste of my time

            While investing in training of internal staff is usually a good thing, in this scenario it is a case of necessity bred out of ???

            So far there has been no GOOD reason give as to why Windows 8 was not released with a "Desktop (and normal Start Menu) as default" option. Even if it was not enabled by default, its existence would alleviate the support burden being place on SME IT departments by this change.

            In addition, you are assuming that the company can afford the costs plus lost work time of training all of the staff (of whom likely ~30% will actually retain what was trained, the remainder coming back to IT everytime they need to do something anyways). Some users CAN NOT (or WILL NOT) be trained (either due to a unknown/undisclosed learning disability or just not caring - in this day the latter seems far more prevalent).

            You also assume much about the increased productivity afforded by the new UI upon completion of training...

          2. Peter Johnstone
            Facepalm

            Re: Waste of my time

            @AC 11th Sept 2012 19:50

            You've obviously not had to deliver IT training to staff!

        2. durbans

          Re: Waste of my time

          Group Policy Objects are your friend. And user training is always appreciated, be it new LOB application or new OS. Or new business practice, or anything else that significantly affects the business.

          Besides, if you've already migrated to Windows 7, you can skip Windows 8 and everybody will be used to the new UI on their home PC's by the time Windows 9 arrives!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waste of my time

      Learning stuff is what prevents your brain from turning into mush.

      Or do you want to be one of these VAX or DOS experts no longer in demand?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "in a couple of years we will look back and wonder why there was so much fuss ..."

    The danger is that we'll be wondering why there was so much fuss because "Windows n" will be a minor, niche OS.

    OK, that's exaggeration - I'm sure companies will stick with Windows for a long time. But for the home users the enforced change, that apparently only becomes acceptable after intensive use and a crash course in shortcuts and tweaks that MS don't document very well, may prove too much.

    Of course it needs a serious competitor to get its act together to provide a decent alternative...

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "in a couple of years we will look back and wonder why there was so much fuss ..."

      I found the change from 98SE to XP a bit of a strain.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "in a couple of years we will look back and wonder why there was so much fuss ..."

        I know you're being sarky, but I have to say that I found 98SE-->XP-->7 pretty much seamless. Each seemed a logical progression of its predecessor and the changed bits were almost always for the better.

        8, on the other hand......

        What really irks is those continually trottiing out "It's there / it's quicker / it's only available if you use Windows key + whatever / CTRL + whatever". Listen carefully: IF I WANTED TO DO EVERYTHING WITH FUCKING KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS, I'D BE DOING IT IN VI.

        1. Oninoshiko
          Trollface

          Re: "in a couple of years we will look back and wonder why there was so much fuss ..."

          As a vi user, I welcome you!

          Wait, what? Oh, that was supposed to be some kind of put down huh... interesting.

          besides, those shortcuts look a bit more like "Esc Meta Alt Ctrl Shift"... I always said it just needed a boot loader!

        2. apjanes
          Meh

          Re: "in a couple of years we will look back and wonder why there was so much fuss ..."

          Clearly it's your choice whether you use the keyboard or mouse, so this isn't criticism, merely a comment that I have always found it odd how many people don't seem to bother with keyboard shortcuts. For me, the more I can do with a keyboard the better, after all the keyboard gives me 10 'pointers' rather than one and, if I'm typing it avoids me having to move my hand to the mouse!

          That is why I use 'Executor' (Gnome Do for Windows), ALT-Space brings up a dialogue for me to type any program or folder I want with far more speed than a start menu.

          Each to his own though!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "in a couple of years we will look back and wonder why there was so much fuss ..."

          What really irks is those continually trottiing out "It's there / it's quicker / it's only available if you use Windows key + whatever / CTRL + whatever".

          That's because you aren't the power user you think you are.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I found 98SE-->XP-->7 pretty much seamless"

          Sure, me too, really, but I think the point is that even then it is a big change for many, many people. I've multi-booted since forever, but took a full year to get to where I used XP most of the time. Same when I switched from IE to FF. Same to W7. Seamless from the geek pov but stressful from the Human, and more so the older you get. Maybe this is one of those examples where the reality is counter-intuitive, but it seems to me that if someone like me who is always trying new operating systems and software can't adjust in less than a year, the average user certainly won't.

          Sometimes it seems like Microsoft stress users out 'because they can'. But I think it just comes down to they have to keep continually selling new versions for the shareholder's sakes and maybe it's like the way the supermarkets keep rearranging their layouts. I'm sure we all agree in the supermarket's case its about stopping us going straight to where we knew what we wanted was and instead having to look at all the shelves of everything else as we try to find where they've put it, thus increasing impulse buys. Hello Windows Store. Windows Store 8. Self-checkout.

  8. Select * From Handle

    My main gripe with Metro/Modern UI

    Ok the lack of start menu is a bit anoying at first, but i did get used to it and i do love how fast Win 8 is, but.... the modern Ui/metro start menu is horrid. i loved the win7 start menu, not because it was what i am used to but because it didn't in-peed my view of my HD backgrounds... the aero affects also made your own personal backgrounds more erm.. personal as your bars are more see through.. i HATE having to look at the metro when i press the windows key why microsoft only lets u have a few designs and colors i don't know... i think i would like it better if i could customize metro more. Also remove that swipe screen upwards to unlock, it fails for desktops.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My main gripe with Metro/Modern UI

      See, kids? This is how you type after a stroke. Watch for the signs and call for help as soon as possible.

    2. Dave Robinson
      Happy

      Re: My main gripe with Metro/Modern UI

      It's the latest thing. Apparently, removing punctuation, capitalisation and spelling improves legibility... just like removing 3D effects and colour from the icons in Windows 8.

  9. hplasm Silver badge
    Windows

    How odd

    Pay for stuff that doesn't work the way you want, then pay for more stuff to make it work the way you want it to.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: How odd

      When they could have just included a "classic mode" check box, or at least not removed the registry key to turn it off".

      If they are so desperate to force everyone to use not-metro will SP1 break (opps) the tools that put a start menu back?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Windows

      @hplasm

      And the worst part; if that "more stuff" comes through the Marketplace then Microsoft gets to cash in on both sides; from annoyed customers who resort to 3rd party solutions and from the developers who try to sell their 3rd party solutions.

      Talk about a twisted business model...

  10. EddieD

    Stardock

    I thought that they would think up something - always liked my WindowShades...

    One minor thing though - Win95 you had the QuickLaunch bar to work as a launcher, so it predates Vista/7, after you installed the desktop update, so I've been a taskbar launcher for probably a decade and a half... I think I'll get used to 8 very, very quickly - and the more I see (i.e. plagiarise from the folk actually doing the mousing/clicking/touching), the more I like.

    1. EddieD

      Re: Stardock

      Sorry, a wee bit of checking - Win98 (my favourite pre-2000), not 95. Still nearly a decade and a half

      1. Fuzz

        Re: Stardock

        are you sure it was 98. I think it might have been possible in 95 with IE 4 installed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stardock

          And in NT4.

  11. SirDigalot

    I find it is less

    of an issue if I am the only one who has to change the way I am working, however having to help hundreds of other users change the way they work is a bit more of a time waster.

    Since this most likely will be deployed in a corporate environment, and I know it will be in mine, the people who have just got used to using the start button in windows, and maybe even the search, and occasionally the task bar, this will probably put a large strain on our department as the unwashed masses try to get to grips with another way of working, in the end they may like it, but until they do we will have to go to them and help them through tasks that they have been familiar with.

    It will be even worse if the angry salesforce start using it, they really do not like change and some complain about an extra click or two already....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    moan moan moan

    What was wrong with the 3.11 gui, I am used to it and know where everything is. This windows 95 gui is useless and it slows me down

    oh sorry, bit of a blast from the past as all the comments about windows 8 are the exact same ones I have heard many time before.

    While I agree change for change sake is not a good thing, this is a good move forward to combining touch interfaces with a traditional desktop environment and having used it, it is quite nice. It isn't the major learning curve that all the moaners seem to think it is. It really doesn't work that differently from the windows gui you are used to, it just looks a bit different.

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: moan moan moan

      Problem is that the Win 3.1/3.11 UI was pants. In fact, TIKFAM reminds me a bit of it. Win 95 was certainly a change, but mostly for the better. Whereas Win 8 is only an improvement if you are using a tablet. Now you can argue that tablets will eventually replace the desktop and I will agree with you, but I will also ask why desktop users need to be relegated to second class citizens.

  13. Bee Keeping Is Much More Fun

    How about a .....

    .....choice of having a start button or not. That would be a start. Same with the stupid Tabs in Office. NO choice.

  14. Len Goddard

    Change happens, get used to it?

    Whenever anyone questions change some cretin comes up with the mantra:

    "Change happens, get used to it"

    Why? It is just as reasonable to complain about change for the worse as it is to complain about maintenance of a bad design.

    I'm perfectly happy with windows the way I have it set up now - win7 with classic shell to make it look as close to the XP/classic interface as possible. So I suppose this is more or less a Win 2K look and feel. Basically it does what I want without too many unpleasant suprises - most unexpected behaviour is where the emulation fails (such as the brain-dead version of Windows Explorer in Win 7). I could have slavishly learned each new interface along the way but why should I? The best OS is the one you don't notice - things just happen the way they always did.

    I don't object to new interfaces provided they are not mandatory. If Win8 had a nice prominent initial setup option - Use Classic Interface - I could quite happily leave TIFKAM to those who want their desktop to behave in the same way as their tablet or phone (a not unreasonable desire). Unfortunately it does not, and the monolithic Windows design precludes complete desktop replacements in the way allowed in linux. And yes, I did move from Ubuntu to Xubuntu because the Unity interface screwed up my normal workflow (ingrained over the last 6 years) but Xubuntu required very little change in behaviour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Windows

      @Len

      "Backwards compatibility".

      What most people seem to ignore is that Microsoft used to be very straight forward with this. You'd be surprised how long "progman.exe" was kept included with Windows even though they had long implemented the start menu. Eventually it obviously got removed.

      And this has always been the case; Microsoft implemented some drastic changes before, but /ALWAYS/ made sure that customers could move back while eventually removing those options, but only on newer versions.

      Windows XP could be made to look and feel like Windows 9x with a single column start menu. On Windows Vista and Windows 7 this specific option got removed, but you can still change the appearance of the start menu and Windows as a whole.

      THAT is IMO the reason why many people complain and why I think Win8 is going to turn into a failure. Microsoft should not have broken their own cycle; the start menu should have been included in Windows 8 and maybe get removed in Windows 9.

      1. El Andy

        Re: @Len

        And almost nobody used Progman,exe even in Windows '95, despite the fact that in all the build up all the tech crowd were insisting that there was absolutely no way anyone would ever be able to cope with the crazy new interface. The "stupid" new Start button interface was awkard and illogical and everybody was obviously going to hate it. Sound familiar?

        The shocking truth is that people cope with new interfaces. In fact, they typically cope better when the change is significant enough to break their old mental associations with how things work rather than a handful of minor, incremental changes.

  15. Mike Moyle Silver badge
    Devil

    Grouping application tiles

    <NedSeagoon> Right...! Hands up, all you people who are going to arrange your application tiles to spell dirty words on your desktop...! </NedSeagoon>

    1. The Baron

      Re: Grouping application tiles

      I wasn't going to do that, but only because the idea hadn't crossed my mind. Many thanks, sir.

  16. TetraAsh
    FAIL

    Contradiction

    So the new start menu is not so bad because......

    a) Users don't use the old start menu anyway....

    Well my 500 odd users do.....not sure what your users do but mine have been trained on the advantages of using the start menu to find files, change settings and open programs.

    b) the new start menu allows us to group items together.....

    what like folders do??

    c) you can easily install a 3rd party app to put the start menu back......

    Hang about, I thought you said the new one was fine? If the new menu works why would anyone need the old one back?

    d) you finally note that having things open in full screen metro Apps is annoying and a Tech can fart around with the file associations to correct this....

    What you have said is Windows 8 start menu is not suitable for business desktop users. FAIL!!!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    None of those third-party programs can fully DISABLE the Metro/Modern UI start screen

    I don't want to see a single tile AT ALL.

    Therefore, I'll just skip Windows 8. Sales of it will be abysmal, possibly worse than Vista.

    1. Piro
      Pint

      Re: None of those third-party programs can fully DISABLE the Metro/Modern UI start screen

      I'd say it will do better than Vista, if only because it'll probably have some success in the consumer tablet market, whereas most people looked at Vista if it was something a dog left on their doorstep (even if later on, this image was unwarranted).

      However, it'll do far worse than 7, because what business (I'd imagine the bulk of Microsoft's market) will change to some "my first PC" version of Windows. There's not enough booze in all the land to calm the nerves of every tech if all staff had to learn 8..

  18. Shonko Kid
    FAIL

    The bottom line...

    " in a couple of years we will look back and wonder why there was so much fuss about the Windows 8 Start menu"

    That's mainly because the majority of PC users will still be using Win7, having only just upgraded from XP.

    And Microsoft themselves will be busy touting Win9 as the next best thing; trumpeting their latest UI 'innovation' - a handy way to group all your programs and documents into one place, easily activated by a small icon at the bottom left of the screen....

    1. Notas Badoff
      Devil

      The new dismissive line...

      So we've heard 'dated' and 'cheesy', from Microsoft themselves, describing Win7. When Win9 comes around will we hear Win8 dismissed as being 'idiosyncratic' and 'restrictive'?

      Microsoft is sounding more and more like a political system at war with itself, and the civilians are suffering mightily.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The way people go on you would think they spend their entire lives in the start menu. Press Win Key + Q, type the first few letters of the application you want then press enter.

    It works better for what the start menu was intended for than it's Windows 7 counterpart imo.

    1. keithpeter
      Boffin

      "Press Win Key + Q, type the first few letters of the application you want then press enter."

      Or in my case, "press Alt[*] + P then type the first few letters of the application you want then press enter."

      [*] except I rebound that option to the Win key

      Anyone guess what I'm using?

      1. spiny norman
        Thumb Up

        I held down Win Key and then pressed Q, nothing happened (in Win7). Then I did Alt + P and a popup Pocket window appeared that I'd never seen before. So thanks for that.

        1. moiety

          @Cam2A

          You're assuming that you can remember the name of the application you want. I have a bunch of stuff that I don't use very often and I can't remember what half of them are called.

          Your system would be fine on a relatively specialised computer with not too many apps installed; but is completely impractical for a jobbing "general techy dude"'s computer; particularly if that dude is also a packrat.

    2. Ambivalous Crowboard
      WTF?

      Win + Q?

      What the fuck is Win + Q?!

      (And that is the problem with Windows 8.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: Win + Q?

        @Ambivalous Crowboard

        A "Windows key" = key that saw its first debut on keyboards in the mid 90's and is on most keyboards you buy these days.

        Q = Also a key on the keyboard, found to the far left on QWERTY keyboards.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    What a bunch of nonsense...

    The author has a point here and there but every time ignores the major issue: decrease of usability and functionality.

    "Pin the applications you use most often to the taskbar, and you rarely need the Start menu."

    The problem with this is that a set of pinned applications is purely static. I actually use the 'most started' section because it reflects the stuff I most often use. When I'm doing software design you'll find stuff such as NetBeans, VP-UML, Word and so in there. When I'm doing administration or presentations you'll see stuff such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel and such appear.

    And without Aero on the desktop I wonder if those pinned icons will actually give me jumplists like I have now.

    "Windows 8 also adds the Administration menu, mouse bottom left and right-click, or press Windows key and X. It is the quickest route to things like Disk Management, Event Viewer and Device Manager, and you miss it when returning to Windows 7."

    Miss it on Win7? Nonsense: just add "Administration tools" to your start menu. Then click start, hover over 'Administration tools' and you're done.

    Another nasty side effect to this Win8 crapola: because you're in TIFKAM you can't simply right click and use the option "run as administrator", which you can in Win7. Why would you want that? Well, believe it or not; but there are people who actually don't use an admin account while on Windows 7.

    "Finally, search in the new Start screen is better than before. Just start typing."

    And even more nonsense. On Win7 I hit the windows button, start typing and get my results nicely sorted in sections, where programs are obviously on top because those get started most often. But I also see control panel options, documents, etc. All nicely sorted. On Win8 you can only search in certain sections, one at a time. In other words you always need to remember to press the right shortcut to search OR after typing the search string "simply" use the mouse to click on the section you want.

    Its not easier; it adds more burden to get to the same results.

    1. El Andy
      Thumb Down

      Re: What a bunch of nonsense...

      And without Aero on the desktop I wonder if those pinned icons will actually give me jumplists like I have now.

      Yes, they do.

      because you're in TIFKAM you can't simply right click and use the option "run as administrator", which you can in Win7

      Yes, you can. (Aside from actual Metro apps, which never run elevated, by design)

      On Win7 I hit the windows button, start typing and get my results nicely sorted in sections, where programs are obviously on top because those get started most often. But I also see control panel options, documents, etc. All nicely sorted.

      Well you see maybe one or two of them, before the Start menu "helpfully" crops the list to fit everything in a small amount of space. Wheras Windows 8 shows you everything. And let's you search across services and applications in the same interface.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        @Andy

        No, the icons in the taskbar do not have jumplists. Jumplists were a feature explicitly tied to the start menu.

        "Yes, you can. (Aside from actual Metro apps, which never run elevated, by design)"

        Sorry, but you're wrong. You right click in the corner where you normally click to go to the TIFKAM start screen. So you're calling up a context menu from which you can select things such as "computer management", "disk management", etc.. You can't right click again here in order to raise your privileges.

        In the other example the same deal applies: you're in the charms section. You can't right click there to call up more options.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It's all so "Gnome 3" though isn't it?

    "Gnome 3 isn't so bad. You can get around it's crapness by installing Cinnamon to get your desktop into a usable state." is what I keep hearing.

    Really, it's not a great testimonial to Windows 8 that you have to install some plugin additions to get what you have in Windows 7. What's the point?

  22. Leedos
    WTF?

    They just needed to put it a "Start Slice"....

    Like many others, I have no problem with the new Start screen. Searching for the app I need by pressing a few letters works well. I like using the keyboard.

    My problem is with the way you are required to move the mouse to the corner, then click on start. The desktop slice on the right of the taskbar works as it did in Windows 7. Why didn't they just put in a "Start Slice?" There is now a chunk of the taskbar on the left side that is completely useless. They just left a gap there that doesn't do anything. All people want is the ability to click something where the start button was. If you have used Windows since 1995, you would think you should be able to click something in that gap, but clicking there does absolutely nothing at all. I don't see how moving the mouse to the bottom left corner, then clicking Start is more production than just being able to click on the slice to accomplish the same thing. This becomes more of an issue when RDP-ing into a Window 8 / Server 2012 box that is not running full screen.

    With Server 2012 and Windows 8 already RTM'd our only hope to correct this flaw is that maybe they will come to their senses and issue a "Shell Update". Just like they did when IE 4 came out and added some great new features to the Windows shell. While they are at it, go ahead and add the Shutdown command to the new Start button's right-click menu. Done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They just needed to put it a "Start Slice"....

      Why click anyway? I find it infinitely more efficient to use the Windows key or the Windows key + Q. Presuming your keyboard has them of course.

      1. Leedos

        Re: They just needed to put it a "Start Slice"....

        I use the Windows key all the time. Like I said, it's more of a problem when using RDP to connect. The windows button on my keyboard is not mapped to the remote machine, unless I'm running in full screen. Sure that can be changed in the remote desktop client, but you are missing the point. Why is there dead space on the left of the task bar that has no use?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They just needed to put it a "Start Slice"....

          What dead space? There is the same size margin to the side of the left most icon as there is to the right of the clock. Hover over them and you will see how big the "dead space" actually is.

          1. Leedos
            Megaphone

            Re: They just needed to put it a "Start Slice"....

            "What dead space? There is the same size margin to the side of the left most icon as there is to the right of the clock. Hover over them and you will see how big the "dead space" actually is."

            The difference is that the space on the right has a function, the one to the left doesn't. You click the space on the right and the desktop is shown. If you try the same thing with the space on the left and nothing happens. Get it now?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They just needed to put it a "Start Slice"....

              Yes but if that ~16 pixel wide block was not there then it would look uneven.

  23. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I am sure microsoft will re-enable with start menu with Windows 8 SP1 when they realise that Stardock is the top selling program on the windows 8 app store

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What would be the point? That in its self will prove that people don't mind enough about the start menu "issue" to stop them buying Windows 8.

      1. Len Goddard

        People don't buy windows 8

        I doubt that many people will rush out and buy a copy of win8 to upgrade an existing machine. Most copies will be sold with new hardware, particularly once MS puts the screws on vendors to stop them installing win 7.

        I'm actually having a hard time remembering when I last upgraded a copy of windows on existing hardware. I think it was when I went from 3.1 to Win 95. Not a happy experience. M$ does not have a good record for allowing upgrade-in-place, preserving installed apps and configuration options. Unlike my work Ubuntu system, which was upgraded every six months from 5.10 to 11.10 with more or less no problems.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: People don't buy windows 8

          Last time I tried to update Ubuntu it locked up mid-install due to there being a known serious bug on systems with my (very common) particular graphics card. Alas the bug was found after the code freeze (but before release) so they decided to let it go out without even a note on the download page.

          People have differing experiences.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. MissingSecurity

    I've been using it off an on with VMware.

    In all honesty, I don't think this is a revolutionary change for the good but I think people will get over it. It basically feels like my desktop PC has become this horrid system designed for cloud based environments, you know where everything is throw into the void and some NOSQL-like system is used to sort out irrelevant information.and all I'm suppose to do is click on web based buttons so it feels like functionality exists.

    In reality though the back end isn't much different than Win 7 and I think if they just would have put the tiles to basic functionality such as Computer, Control Panel, etc. Thing would make a little more sense. Though they seem to want to challenge users into finding out that you need to right click, select all programs, than find your application, than manual pin the things.

    I can relate the "Start" menu for use with launching applications and such, but what is really going to be a pain is if non metro app won't launch from the start screen and if you need to manage two separate task bars. I know Linux has already gone through the wave of disappointing GUI "improvements", but I would ask, if everyone's doing it, why not go with them?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's less of an issue if you...

    Just install Linux or Mac OSX. Neither of them are susceptible to hacking, Viruses or Trojans like M$ is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's less of an issue if you...

      Troll or drastically misinformed?

      3...2....1...

      VOTE!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8 is pretty good....

    ... if you use something like Classic Shell. I've got Classic Shell set to go straight to the desktop, add the start menu and turn off those bloody annoying corner hotspots.

    Once you do this, Windows 8 is pretty good.

    It's a bit like an old girlfriend of mine. Great back end and performs rather well but in need of a lot of cosmetic attention to make the face acceptable. Classic Shell provides a full coating of Maybelline to cover up the blemishes.

    1. John M. Drescher

      Re: Windows 8 is pretty good....

      I do that but this does not take care of all the ugly square windows. They may now call Aero cheesy but to me removing it is very frustrating.

  27. John 104
    FAIL

    Windows 3?

    Seems to me that this is just windows 3 all over again. We have a bunch of icons on the desktop with bigger borders around them and in order to do any systems work, you have to dig to get to things. Fail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 3?

      Try pressing the first letter of the application you want. You don't even have to open the start menu yourself.

  28. William Hinshaw

    The fuss is licensing for the enterprise these tools. While free to the general user that isn't typically true for the enterprise.

    So yeah still no sale on Win 8

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Application support...

    My issue is with some applications still remaining incompatible with Windows 7 as there was a quick succession of OS'. More mainstream applications have caught up, but i keep XP on a partition for the apps that only function on that platform. With the roll out of a 3rd OS in 6 years, developers are going to begin to adjust to the incumbent OS and drop support for redundant ones.

    1. El Andy

      Re: Application support...

      If your applications don't work on anything newer than Windows XP, maybe it's time to go out and get new applications. It's clear you're dealing with (effectively) abandonware at this point and you'll probably be much better off getting software that's being actively developed (and security patched!) Don't give your business to developers who clearly don't care about their users.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Application support...

        Not as simple as "go out and get new applications". Again these are niche applications and as I stated, most mainstream ones operate without bugs. I take your point on poor development. However most of my incompatible apps are freeware with no better alternative.

        I wouldn't be so concerned if the end of support for XP wasn't imminent, resulting in a complete migration to Win 7, which still isn't completely ironed out. XP has it's issues, but for compatibility it's second to none.

  30. arrbee
    Facepalm

    looks familiar

    I've been looking at that start screen trying to think what it reminded me of - its Lotus Notes.

  31. johnwerneken

    startmenux - startbuttonx

    StartmenuX and startbuttonX from Ordinarysoft do the job well, for win8 DP CP RP and RTM. http://www.startmenux.com/ or http://www.ordinarysoft.com/

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Or...

    ... you can stick with windows 7 and use other operating systems, such as Linux or MacOSx :)

    Unless your going to use the touch aspect of windows 8, I can see little to no point in the upgrade right now.

    Windows XP, after a decade, has only recently been overtaken by Windows 7 in terms of desktop market share.

    Short of windows 8 offering a significant speed boost over windows 7, why bother?

    There's some history here too:

    win95 - reasonable

    win98 - terrible, took win98se to improve core os

    winXP, based on 2k - excellent

    windows Vista - terrible

    windows 7 - excellent

    windows 8 - ??

    Completely bullshit view, I'll admit, but I can see a pattern - every other microsoft release is a bit of a dog.

    ... Or ...

    You can just downvote this post and tell me I'm talking out my ass...

    1. Ambivalous Crowboard
      Paris Hilton

      TIFI

      Win95 - reasonable

      Win98 - great

      Win98 SE - superior

      WinME - awful

      Win2k - reasonable

      WinXP - great

      WinXP SP2 - superior

      WinVista - awful

      Win7 - reasonable

      Win7 SP1 - great

      Win8 - no, wait, that doesn't work...

    2. mechBgon
      Meh

      Re: Or...

      They do have some good security advancements under the hood that Win7 isn't likely to get. High-entropy ASLR and declarative permissions for apps, for example. Enhanced Protected Mode on IE also looks promising.

      I don't like the new I-can't-make-up-my-mind UI, but if I can use one of the utilities mentioned in the article to get a fair approximation of the traditional Windows UI, then I'm interested. I think Microsoft will eventually recognize their two-faced UI as the Mother Of All Goof-ups, and trot out an option pack that basically does what these third-party fixes do: let the customer decide for themselves.

  33. Sean Timarco Baggaley
    WTF?

    Jesus Christ on toast.

    Microsoft have been fiddling with the "Start Menu" since Windows 98. Almost every release of Windows after Windows 95 has made some changes to it. Even the world 'Start' has been removed from the button, a change that happened in Windows Vista.

    That screen with the tiles? That IS the bloody Start Menu! All Windows 8 has done is remove a completely unnecessary button as everyone knows where the damned menu is by now. I think 17 years is plenty of time to learn, don't you?

    For those complaining about having to remember keyboard shortcuts: that's how ALL GUIs are intended to be used!

    You start out as a newbie, mousing around and bumping into new features, learning them, and gradually becoming familiar with the system. See how Windows add underscores to a letter in each menu title, and has similar underscores under a letter in each menu command? That system—the "ALT+F, O" for accessing the "File > Open" command—dates right back to the days when MS-DOS was still king. It's the "Common User Access" standard, created by IBM.

    In addition to that CUA system, Windows also supports direct shortcuts, like "CTRL+O" (for the same "File > Open" command).

    Apple never adopted the CUA standard, so the direct shortcuts are all it has. On the other hand, Apple's keyboards have always had three modifiers, rather than just the CTRL and ALT keys found on pre-Windows 95 keyboards. (In addition, Macs have always let you re-bind any menu shortcut, in any application, to any keyboard combination you desire. Yes, even before OS X; this has been a standard feature of Macs since the 1980s.)

    You are SUPPOSED to learn these! Mastering keyboard shortcuts is the key to getting the most out of a GUI. If you have been using computers for years, but are still using the mouse for everything, you are doing it wrong. End of story. Seriously, there are university textbooks on this and everything. It really is a known science, not some dark art. This isn't just how Microsoft design their GUIs, it also informs Apple's own GUI design choices.

    Oh yes: the reason for that "ModernUI" interface and all the focus on multi-touch and trackpads? The mouse is dead.. Kiss the WIMP / desktop metaphor goodbye, because 75% of all Macs and Windows PCs sold in the last few years have NOT been traditional desktops with separate displays, mice and keyboards, but laptops. With trackpads Almost all laptops released these past couple of years support multi-touch gestures too now, although Windows 7 never made much use of them. Windows 8, on the other hand, does.

    If you have one of those traditional desktop systems—some of you here have even mentioned multiple displays—then you'd better get used to being a niche market. And not at some distant time in the future, but now. Today. You literally aren't the target market any more.

    1. Ambivalous Crowboard
      Facepalm

      Re: Jesus Christ on toast.

      You're clearly an idiot.

      So you're saying that every school in the UK (possibly the world?) is a niche market? All the computers that the kids use to get their work done are niche devices, and are obsolete?

      Are you saying that the vast majority of employers with fleets of business desktops (multi-monitor desktops at that) are about to fall off the face of technology acceptance?

      You, sir, have drank too much of the kool-aid (whatever that is, but I'm sure you're down with that too).

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley
        FAIL

        Re: Jesus Christ on toast.

        "So you're saying that every school in the UK (possibly the world?) is a niche market?"

        Yes. They even have their own dedicated suppliers, who specialise solely in the education sector. Ever heard of Research Machines? Schools and colleges are almost the definition of a niche market.

        "Are you saying that the vast majority of employers with fleets of business desktops (multi-monitor desktops at that) are about to fall off the face of technology acceptance?"

        You can plug external monitors into a laptop just as easily as you can plug one into a desktop.

        However, anyone who claims that the "vast majority" of employers have "multi-monitor desktops" clearly hasn't seen the inside of the vast majority of office buildings.

    2. WylieCoyoteUK

      Re: Jesus Christ on toast.

      So lots of laptops are sold. big deal.

      Most people hate trackpads, one of the first laptop add-ons purchased is a mouse.

      In businesses and schools the desktop is still king. Many businesses users have multiple displays because they have been proven to increase productivity.

      As for getting people to use keyboard shortcuts, about 50% of users still use a mouse to move between fields on the screen, and click OK, even after being shown how to use tab and enter, they use the mouse clicks for cut and paste instead of ctrl-c ctrl-v.

      The trouble with keyboard shortcuts is lack of consistency in applications. i.e. apart from some basic ones, they don't always work or they are different in different applications, trust me, I train people all the time on a wide range of software from different sources.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Re: Jesus Christ on toast.

        "Most people hate trackpads, one of the first laptop add-ons purchased is a mouse."

        Ah, anecdata plucked from thin air. I haven't used a mouse in over a year now and I sure as hell don't miss it.

        People who "hate" trackpads don't actually hate them. They just hate change. Their loss. Especially if they're then going out and buying an accessory that offers them less control and more RSI.

        "As for getting people to use keyboard shortcuts, about 50% of users still use a mouse to move between fields on the screen, and click OK, even after being shown how to use tab and enter, they use the mouse clicks for cut and paste instead of ctrl-c ctrl-v."

        So this "50%" of people you claim (without any sources) still use a mouse. So what? Their inefficiency and unwillingness to learn how to use a tool that is part of their job is hardly Apple or Microsoft's fault. And, do note, both companies still support the point-and-click option too.

        "The trouble with keyboard shortcuts is lack of consistency in applications..."

        Apple have very strict guidelines about GUIs in applications. Your app can even be rejected from their App Stores if you fail to adhere to them. Microsoft also have a series of guidelines, though they're nowhere near as anal about them.

        On Windows, CTRL+P is usually "Print", CTRL+O is "(File) Open"; CTRL+S is "Save", and so on. (On OS X, just swap the "CTRL" with "CMD".) Need to change a Windows application's settings? "Tools > Options..." On OS X, it's the "Preferences..." command in the menu named after the application itself—shortcut: (CMD+comma key).

        Good application developers, who don't treat support as a primary revenue stream, do go for consistency, although Microsoft themselves do like to try new ideas every now and then. (Their "ribbon" UI is far, far better than the previous icon-heavy toolbars, even for Office veterans like myself who remember using MS Word for DOS.)

        The File, Edit, Tools, Windows and Help menus are usually handled pretty consistently as those are menus Visual Studio will often create for you if you use one of its application project templates. If you opt for the Ribbon UI, you can make your application fit that model consistently too.

        There are exceptions though: many graphics tools, like 3d studio max, Maya, etc., are cross-platform and either roll their own GUI and pretend the OS's native one doesn't exist, or they use the godawful Qt library. (I sincerely hope Qt dies a horrible, painful, slow death. It's responsible for some truly awful UIs.) If your work relies on such applications, I can understand the frustration, but nothing Microsoft can do will change that, so Windows 8's GUI changes are an irrelevance in such arguments.

        I've also used enough GNU / Linux applications to know nobody in that community can even spell "consistency", let alone apply it.

        1. spiny norman

          Re: Jesus Christ on toast.

          >> "Most people hate trackpads, one of the first laptop add-ons purchased is a mouse."

          >> Ah, anecdata plucked from thin air. I haven't used a mouse in over a year now and I sure as hell don't miss it.

          >> People who "hate" trackpads don't actually hate them. They just hate change. Their loss. Especially if they're then going out and buying an accessory that offers them less control and more RSI.

          Your response to "anecdata" is more of the same, based on your personal preference, and an unproven assertion about other people. Unless you got it from a survey of 120 Marie Claire readers, which I suppose is possible.

  34. banjomike
    FAIL

    It is still damned ugly...

    ... and was designed and coloured by chimps.

  35. Joerg
    FAIL

    In a couple years we will have Windows9 and Metro/ModernUI dead.

    Metro/ModernUI will die a quick death.

    People already rejected the awful unusable childish unproductive Metro/ModernUI on WindowsPhone7.x which only got 2-3% of market share.

    No matter how much Microsoft marketing dept machine with its lies tries to spin it up... the world doesn't want Metro/ModernUI.

    And so it's even dumber and just plain lame what Microsoft is doing with Metro/ModernUI and Windows8

    They are completely out of mind.

    Let's hope Ballmer and all the hacks behind Windows8 Metro/ModernUI big mistake will be fired forever as soon as Windows8 collapses and it's a clear failure in the next months.

    Microsoft will have to do a huge U-turn this time.. while Vista had issues but was usable.. Windows8 it's an absolute mess due to Metro/ModernUI but the unreliable integrated software-RAID (disk-pool) implementation too.

    Windows9 will need to be written mostly from scratch on its core elements to clean up the mess the marketing hacks did with Windows8. Metro/ModernUI will need to disapper quickly. And all the mess done to APIs and SDKs and Visual Studio will need to be fixed too. And maybe .NET will need to be made as a new universal version compatible backwards with the oldest versions for once.

    True engineers, programmers, developers and designers will need to be put at work at Microsoft once again just like it happened with Windows7 after the Vista failure.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grumble grumble

    I don't like icons all over the desktop and I don't like icons filling up the taskbar. I like the jump lists and search field in the Win 7 Start Menu - which are not seen until required, but only a short mouse movement and a single click away. And I don't like having to move the mouse back and forth from one side of the screen to the other and/or the top to the bottom more than once in a while. What I like on the desktop are wallpapers, not clutter.

    Windows 8 is foremost an attempt by Ballmer to herd everyone in the world into Windows Store, which when I install Windows is one of the very first things I disable and delete; one of the main reasons I want editions with Group Policy.

    All these years we've had lots and lots of users who don't mind adverts everywhere. Windows 8 is for that mindset, people who live in shit and think its gravy.

  37. Nuno trancoso

    Plan

    Manage to get bosses help into evaluating Win8's "user readiness". Wait for the hissy fit and the "will NOT roll this out". Pat your yourself in your BOFH back and tick another item on the todo list.

    @someguy that said IT people are awkward in that we hate change, dig head out. We just hate change that bring no benefits at all and instead brings (more) problems. Fixing what wasn't broken and finding solutions for problems that didn't exist is a waste of two resources already in short supply, time and money.

    Time to bring Gates back and to show "the monkey" the door, me thinks...

    1. Martin Howe
      Thumb Up

      Re: Plan

      "Fixing what wasn't broken and finding solutions for problems that didn't exist is a waste of two resources already in short supply, time and money."

      This.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Program Manager

    "I like the way you can easily organise applications into thematic groups. You click the little dash in the bottom right corner to get a zoomed view, then you can name groups of icons and drag entire groups around the screen."

    Yes. I enjoyed the funcationality of having application icons in thematic groups, being able to make that group regular sized or full screen (or even iconed!), and being able to drag that group about the screen.

    Oh how I miss Windows 3.11.

    1. Piro

      Re: Program Manager

      To be fair, Windows 3.11 with Program Manager is like an improved version of Metro, because you can drag the windows arbitrarily, change the icons for the shortcuts right there in the interface, and so on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Program Manager

        Good point well made Piro.

        You can also install Calmira - which gives a Start menu!!!!

  39. Mr Turkey
    Alien

    OK, so I've been using windows 8 for a couple of weeks to see what all the fuss is about and here is my view on TIFKAM.

    If you think about it, its actually exactly the same as windows 7...... hold on I hear you say how can that be (I'm sure I'm about to get massively down voted) but with a little bit of thought you'll see what I mean.

    Take the start menu that appears when you press the start button on W7 and previous version of windows (obviously those which had this functionality).

    Now hold that in your mind and imagine it twice as big......OK got that, maybe that seems quite useful because you can get more info on the start menu for other information (we'll get to what the extra information might be later on, look out for **)

    Now this is the hard bit imagine you made the start menu as big as the screen........ that's right you would have the new windows start menu in windows 8!!!!

    Once you realise that the new windows 8 start screen is just a full screen version of the previous start menu's (you see, its actually exactly the same as it was previously just tweeked)

    The next thing to think about is when you start W7/XP/2K3/2K didn't you just have a lovely old time sat there using all the programs as you logged on which were automatically running for you...... no that's right none of the user based app tend to start when you log on.

    So imagine if what Microsoft did is gave provided a big list of applications to choose from when you logged on and so you just clicked on the one you wanted from a selection on the full screen start menu

    ** Plus when you logged on you get all your info about applications which are running on the machine in little mini windows giving you a overview of what you might decide to run first, maybe you can see that an important email has come in, or there's a news story on the BBC or whatever website which takes your fancy.

    This is my take on the way Microsoft have redesigned windows 8 and in actual fact I really like it. I used to use search nearly all the time in windows 7 to get what I wanted, less clicking and taking my hands away from the keyboard when I typing or doing the productive side of working on the computer, in windows 8 its there for you. I've actually found that I can move around much faster with windows 8. All that is needed is an open mind to try it out.

    Is it perfect, clearly not are there things I would change some yes. Is it actually very useable I would say yes and I think broadly a positive change.

    Anyway cue all the down votes.........................

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Start Button imitations

    It's a shame (although inevitable) that people have developed applications like this.

    Yes it gives you a choice to go back to using a start menu, but it also means people afraid of change will remain that way.

    It may also get confusing for users who buy a PC that may eventually be bundled with this. If they come to use another PC without this type of App installed they won't really know what's going on.

    I think Dell used a Stardock application when Vista was released which was re-branded as "Dell Dock". Some less informed people who saw this assumed it was just part of Vista.

    I'd always encourage people to try something before dismissing it. People who are afraid of change will never try things like Linux or OS X either.

    I know some people genuinely don't like it, but there are so many people who haven't even tried it properly.

  41. kwv-dc
    Thumb Down

    A Truly Ugly Desktop

    A Truly Ugly Desktop .... wake me up when Win 9 is announced or MS is bankrupt, which even come first.

  42. Steven Roper

    The Start Menu isn't the problem

    with Windows 8 as far as I'm concerned, and I'm amazed that so many are focused on this non-issue than the REAL problem with Windows 8.

    That is, this forced full-screen app bullshit (no multiple onscreen windows anymore) and the concomitant loss of multitasking. This is the BIGGEST STEP BACKWARD I HAVE EVER SEEN THE IT INDUSTRY MAKE. Now I don't know why this doesn't stick out with you people, but in my case the last full-screen-app-only, non-multitasking computer I used was called a COMMODORE 64.

    I've moved on since then, chaps, and I have no intention of going back to the Commodore 64 way of doing things, now or ever. Quite why MS think this is a better way of doing things is beyond belief. It has convinced me that the entire computing world has gone completely and utterly insane.

    I very often have multiple windows open on my desktop while working - a chat program, a notepad window, a calculator, a couple of explorer windows, etc. etc. According to what I'm reading, with Windows 8 I'll no longer be able to do that. From the sounds of it I'll have to be constantly flicking back and forth between fullscreen apps, with only one visible at a time. I mean, wasting a full screen on a calculator, for example? That's going to fuck me up so badly that I'll be avoiding Windows 8 on the strength of that alone.

    Fuck the start menu, fuck the taskbars, why you lot aren't screaming about the loss of multiple on-screen windows and multitasking has got me stumped!

    1. Mr Turkey

      Re: The Start Menu isn't the problem

      With the full screen TIFKAM apps you can have a maximum of two at a time by putting the mouse cursor at the top of the screen and dragging it either to the left or right. I agree this side of it is an interesting one and what the designers have done here is take some statistics about the most effective way of working. I saw they cited a report which stated that when multitasking the optimal maximum number of 'tasks' is not more than two. So they went ahead using this point to restrict the number of TIFKAM apps which can be displayed simultaneously, however what they didn't notice was the flaw in the conclusion they drew by not realising it is possible to work on a single task using information (multiple windows) from more many places and certainly way more than two sources. I think this is a real shame that they couldn't actually think about the logic of what they were doing here and realise this very clear and simple distinction between multi-tasking and working from more than one information source on a single task.

  43. Bruce Ordway

    Forget the start menu

    >in a couple of years we will look back and wonder why there was so

    >much fuss

    I still haven't gotten over the "ribbon" in Office.

  44. Roland6 Silver badge

    It does look like Microsoft has really messed up with Windows 8

    Reading the article and the discussion - particularly those comments of the form "I want to do some simple and necessary task but can't work out how" and get a response "simple just point mouse at x and perform a masonic handshake on the keyboard", I'm left wondering what will the average person who buy's a new computer from PC World et al make of all this? particularly as their last computer was probably purchased prior to 2006 and runs the original OS (possibly Vista, but more likely 2000/XP) and application suite it came installed with (Office 2000/XP)...

    I expect there will be many more failures, as for example if the shutdown option is not obvious they will just turn it off at the plug ...

    As for those who go on about how wonderful change is and all those stick-in-the-muds will get used to the new interface and ways of working etc etc.; I note that all of you miss the fact that you will still be using a QWERTY keyboard and mouse with Windows 8!

    Does any one know if it is possible to have a clean desktop (ie. no icons displayed, start bar auto-hide) with Metro?

  45. Interceptor
    Mushroom

    Do you know what *I* want?

    I want an OS that doesn't look like it's running in Safe Mode all the time. Dear Microsoft, not everyone who uses your OS is a latte chugging facebook-addicted hipster MONG some of us still have desktop PCs to use, and they have actual real robust hardware inside, not wafer-thin video cards whose capabilities bring us back to yesteryear when the Voodoo II was a hot item.

    I want my hobby back, I want my Big Iron treated like a computer, not a godawful soccer mom fashion gadget. It isn't a goddamn phone, you nitwits. Quit ruining computing fun and quit ruining your company and quit ruining the only thing worth a fuck to come out of Redmond.

    1. fung0

      Re: Do you know what *I* want?

      Well said, Interceptor!

      It's incredibly naive to suggest that everyone's qualms with the "Modern" Start Screen begin and end with usability. (Although usability does suck hugely, on mouse-and-keyboard PCs.) The real problem is not that the Start screen is horrifically awful, but that it shows a boundless lack of respect for the most loyal and demanding users of Windows. It is very obviously designed for touch, and hence obnoxious in the same way as references to the 'A' button are in PC games hastily ported over from the consoles. Worse, it's the gateway to an entirely new OS that's being piggybacked on top of Windows, even though it's aimed at an entirely different market.

      I've had a chance to try "Modern OS" on a tablet, and it's actually really nice. But Microsoft should never have called it Windows, since it doesn't look like Windows, doesn't work like Windows and doesn't run Windows software. Calling it Windows is a deceitful bait-and-switch ploy. The Start screen is a reminder of that deceit, and of Microsoft's contempt for my years of loyal support. And no amount of rationalizing about usability will EVER make me forget that.

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