back to article Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Update 1 – with pain relief for those suffering from “customer satisfaction issues” – is widely expected to be released in early April. It'll probably coincide with the Build developer conference starting on 2 April. This spring update has already gone to computer manufacturers to install on their new …

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  1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Think

    I'll wait until Windows 9 before considering an up/down grade from win7

    Or just go Linux mint on everything

    1. Cornholio
      Linux

      Re: Think

      Being a bit of a Luddite, I currently face the prospect of finding something to replace XP on my machines.

      Installed Mint on them all last week. Kept one with the option to boot into XP for those times when only Windows will do.

      Think I'll give 8.x a miss. If 9 looks better I'll try it. Assuming, that is, that I feel I need to go back to Windows.

      1. moiety

        Re: Think

        @Cornholio

        Windows 7 can be hacked into a working approximation of the XP interface with Classic Start Menu; a registry hack to bring back the quick launch; plus an explorer replacement because the one that ships with windows is in fact 2 separate windows and the thing you think is selected ain't necessarily so (you only delete the My Documents folder by accident once before looking for an alternative). My explorer replacement is Explorer++. All the above is free; and the whole lot combined is an improvement on XP, I feel, because it's a lot more stable and just as easy to get about.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Think

        Ditto...since XP went I've moved to Mint too and use Wine to run Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Will wait for Windows 9

    2. Jim 59

      Linux desktop

      The Linux desktop is struggling at the moment, thanks to KDE4, Gnome3, the "Unity crack pipe" etc. Your choice is to opt for modern but unstable (Fedora, Mint, Ubuntu, Mandriva) or older and stable (Centos, RHEL).

      With the former, your scanner is likely to stop working any time there is an update. On the other hand, Centos and RHEL won't be able to drive your scanner in the first place. It would be nice if there was a distro in the middle. Stable, but with reasonably modern enough kernel.

      NB I am a Linuxtard for many years now, please don't flame me that you compiled such-and-such a kernel for scanner X or whatever. A system where you are doing kernel experiments is not a stable one.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Linux desktop

        You missed out Debian in there. I find it a good stable OS and whilst it's true I don't use bleeding edge hardware with it, I find it supports what I need. For front end, I have Xfce which meets my needs.

        1. Jim 59

          Re: Linux desktop

          Oops missed Debian - it is in the old/stable camp with RHEL an CentOS. Debian is easily the best small server OS in the world IMO. And XFCE is my choice too. But on the desktop, Debian's kernel is just too old for some peripherals, eg nework scanners.

      2. keithpeter
        Coat

        Re: Linux desktop

        I'll just remind Mr Orlowski and the poster above about Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL/Oracle Linux/CentOS/Scientific Linux/Springdale Linux) which has application updates until 2017 and security updates until 2020. Gnome 2.30, a range of kernels including i686-PAE and 64 bit. Very very solid.

        Then I'll get my coat and leave this forum to the Windows people

        1. Jim 59

          Re: Linux desktop

          Thanks keithpeter but the latest RHEL 6.5 kernels are, as I said, too old to talk to some modern peripherals, even after much post-install tinkering. On he server side, RHEL is a winner obviously.

      3. fishman

        Re: Linux desktop

        <<<The Linux desktop is struggling at the moment, thanks to KDE4, Gnome3, the "Unity crack pipe" etc.>>>

        KDE4 has been sorted out for a long time now. Even the older version of KDE4 shipped in RHEL6 is ok.

        <<<On the other hand, Centos and RHEL won't be able to drive your scanner in the first place.>>>

        Never had any problems with CentOS and my scanner.

        1. Jim 59

          Re: Linux desktop

          KDE4 has been sorted out for a long time now.

          Light yesrs better than earlier versions, but KDE is still a confuising place to do any serious business. Sure you can do your accounts if the file manager widget will stop rotating for a minute, but the user experience is still "7 out of 10" or thereabouts.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Jim59 - Re: Linux desktop

        You say you have been a Linux user for years, yet you speak about RHEL as a desktop OS. I'm flaming you for this, however I didn't give you any downvote.

        And no, Linux desktop is not struggling at all in my opinion. You still have a lot of choice and if you feel Linux desktop is really terrible, for a modest fee Win8 with its Modern interface is waiting for you with arms wide open.

        1. Jim 59

          Re: @Jim59 - Linux desktop

          @AC (who posted the politest flame ever) - thanks

          ...you speak about RHEL as a desktop OS.

          Latest RHEL comes with Gnome 2 as standard, making it a desktop OS right out of the box. And what a pleasure it is to use. A simple, calming GUI but with pulsating server power behind it. Being enterprise though, the kernel is still old and lacks many of the drivers of the 3.* kernels. A desktop user has his work cut out making it talk to modern peripherals, or even the latest laptops.

          I'm a committed Linux desktop user (Fedora/XFCE), but I feel that Gnome/KDE are moving further away from desktop glory, not towards it. Windows is trembling now and the desktop market is likely to open up sooner or later. I just wish somebody would do a "business desktop" distro - stable, with a sober GUI, but a newish kernel - maybe about 6 months old. Think of it as "small business" as opposed to "enterprise". Users could then sacrifice just a tiny bit of stability for increased hardware compatibility. Otherwise, Google might step into the desktop gap and foist something hideous on us.

          Sorry for the interminable and off-topic waffle.

      5. Euripides Pants Silver badge

        Re: Linux desktop

        "The Linux desktop is struggling at the moment, thanks to KDE4, Gnome3, the "Unity crack pipe" etc."

        Got four words for that: Ex Eff See EEEE.....

      6. James Anderson Silver badge

        Re: Linux desktop

        I cannot help feeling that if Ubuntu/GNOME etc. had stopped p***ing around and just improved boring old Gnome 2, then Linux would have captured about 10% of the desktop market place by now.

        This urge to change everything for no particular reason has just given MS a "get out of jail free" card, and, two years to backtrack from the "Modern" disaster.

      7. joeldillon

        Re: Linux desktop

        KDE 4 has been out for 6 years now. How is it 'struggling'?

      8. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Linux desktop

        >your scanner is likely to stop working

        Good points, but, to be fair, it seems to me that many scanners really, really, hanker for Windows, at some deep down level so they are kind of a special case. Or at least they were in the past.

        I've had 4 so far, since 2003 or so, and the first 2 flat out refused to work on Linux or OSX. Canon, looking at you. On the other hand, my Fujitsu Scansnap and the preceding Epson V300 were quite happy on Linux, Windows and OSX - I had done my research in advance by then.

        While it would be nice to have 'Nix systems that automagically deal with every scanner, I find it more practical to give my business to scanner manufacturers that use technologies that allow proper low-level compatibility with OSX and Linux, however that gets achieved. And skip the others.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      I'll wait until Windows 9 before considering an up/down grade from win7

      Well it wouldn't make sense for W8 to radically change and still be W8, really. W7 is essentially Vista with the problems fixed, but it makes more sense it is a separate version. Much easier to say "we realise we mucked it up, this new version fixes it" than try and get everyone to notice that W8.3.2 suddenly addresses all the problems with W8 - people aren't going to listen/care/notice.

      Most likely we'll all be waiting for W9. Vista didn't really hurt MS - they carried on selling XP and then they had massive uptake on W7 afterwards.

      1. Pseudonymous Coward

        Re: I'll wait until Windows 9 before considering an up/down grade from win7

        > Well it wouldn't make sense for W8 to radically change and still be W8, really. W7 is essentially Vista with the problems fixed, but it makes more sense it is a separate version.

        Agreed. Why fix the crap for free now when you can offer a proper upgrade later and charge handsomely for it.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I'll wait until Windows 9 before considering an up/down grade from win7

        Vista didn't really hurt MS - they carried on selling XP and then they had massive uptake on W7 afterwards

        Complete bollocks. Vista really and persistently damaged the image that Microsoft had carefully cultivated with XP (the merger of the DOS bastards and NT). It had huge hardware demands and, although intrinsically more secure, it managed to have application permissions so confusing that most people looked for the "Michael Rimmer" switch to disable it!

        Vista was supposed to completely replace XP but, once PC makers found that they couldn't sell it, Microsoft extended XP's lifetime so that they could at least sell that. It put corporate customers off upgrades they might otherwise well have done and entrenched Microsoft's reputation as a purveyor of shoddy browsers with a synthetic restriction on which OSes get which browser.

        Because they make so much money from Office and the volume licensing that they have the damage to the bottom line didn't show up immediately. But Vista killed Silverlight and a host of other technologies that Microsoft was hoping to force down the world's throat.

        Windows 7 is a fine OS in the XP tradition - I primarily use MacOS and am not a huge fan of Windows - but everyone I know is reasonably happy with 7: it's stable, has all the apps and drivers you could ever want and you know where things are.

        Windows 8 was a clownish attempt to tell the market what it wanted. It proved to be both Sinofsky's and Ballmer's (and who knows who else's?) exit pass. And it still doesn't work. Now that the PC/tablet inflexion point has been passed, Microsoft's bottom line is much more susceptible. It's managed to come up with a strategy that satisfies neither touch nor desktop users. Microsoft has massive traction in the installed base and is still managing to lose market share.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Think @Boris the Cockroach

      I think many are waiting for Win9 not necessarily because they will move to it, but because they believe it may give an indication of how successful Satya Nadella's has been in refocusing MS on its customers and specifically it's enterprise customers.

      The question is whether the Linux community can deliver a compelling competitive product suite offering in the same timeframe thereby giving business a real alternative if MS stumbles...

  2. Norman Hartnell
    Thumb Up

    "Is it time to "reimagine" Windows again, so that tablet and phone users get one experience, and PC Windows – if it has to do anything - simply provides a runtime for these phone and tablet apps?"

    Yes. Next?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Kernel

      "Microsoft has implemented many excellent optimisations within Windows during the past five years, distancing the operating system's kernel from the version in Windows 7 and Vista"

      What? "Windows 8.1" is Windows v6.3. Just like "Windows Vista" is Windows v6.0.

  3. CADmonkey

    Well I told them at the time

    but would they listen?

  4. jason 7 Silver badge

    I just uninstall the Modern Apps on any Windows 8/8.1 machine.

    Its the simplest solution. If people are complaining about them then just get rid of them.

    You don't need them if non-touch. Then you just stay Desktop forever.

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
      Pirate

      BOFH?

      So you get rid of the people who are complaining about the modern apps? Sweet. I've got to try that..

      Do you prefer a trip down the stairwell or the cattle prod?.

      1. Captain Save-a-ho

        Re: BOFH?

        Personally, I prefer the tape safe.

  5. Mark Jan

    Windows 9?

    Just wait for Windows 9 since 8 is clearly today's Vista.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Windows 9?

      Unless Win 9 is tomorrow's Vista.

    2. Chika

      Re: Windows 9?

      That's rather a simplistic way of putting it, but I see a couple of flaws in this statement. The first is that nobody knows for certain what Windows 9 will have in it and when it is likely to come out. All we can do about that is wait and see.

      The second, more likely problem is that Microsoft have proven themselves as too bloody minded about this whole thing and while it shouldn't be that much of a problem to set it up to run as it did all the way back when the first trial versions came out (e.g. the one where you could actually switch the system between desktop and TIFKAM and get on with your life, including the availability of the whole start menu as per Windows 7), Microsoft will avoid this for as long as possible purely because they cannot accept that they were wrong.

      What I see here (I'll say more if and when I see it for myself) is yet more fudging around the main issue which is that Microsoft shot itself in the foot the moment they foisted Windows 8 upon the world. It isn't all bad, but Microsoft tried too hard to force the computing world to adopt their view when, firstly, they had no control over the market they wanted to take over and, secondly, the majority of users that were most likely to need Windows (the PC and laptop users, their numbers far higher than Windows tablet and smartphone users) didn't really want or need this change. Until Microsoft gets the message and admits its mistakes, Windows 8 will find it hard to shake its negative image.

      1. dddandan

        Re: Windows 9?

        Nail on the head.

      2. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

        Re: Windows 9?

        Yes, their bloody mindedness is a wondrous thing to behold. Loved the bit "But users of Windows 8 on non-touch devices were in general a little less satisfied". Unfortunately that doesn't sound like a company that has learned anything.

      3. Mark Jan

        Re: Windows 9?

        I guess the new paradigm that MS haven't really understood is that the market they control is ever diminishing and the market they would like to control has alternatives, and very good ones. It ain't the 1980s, or 90s or even noughties...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 9?

      Please don't take this personally, I know you're not the only one... but that's an appalling solution!

      Microsoft aren't listening, they're only adding a few "mousey" things out of desperation, or they would have done something since the W8 Preview/Beta response.

      What if 9 is just as lame..are going to cling onto 7 until 10 comes out? Think about the current situation with XP.

      /!\ You all need to act soon - either "up"grade, or switch /!\

      1. Havin_it

        Re: Windows 9? @AC

        Well, this is the problem, innit? If we vote with our wallets and don't buy any non-touch Win8 PCs, they conclude "the non-touch market is toast" and don't waste any further effort catering to it. If we do buy them but complain a lot, they may notice but it won't provide the wolf-at-the-door stimulus that a sales FAIL provides, so you get these half-hearted concessions as seen here and in 8.1 gold version.

        And of course what of us, that is to say our actual need for a desktop/laptop computer? We still need the thing, so what are our alternatives?

        1. Mac. They conclude we've moved to a richer market segment, so fuck us.

        2. Chromebook. They conclude we've moved to a poorer market segment, so fuck us.

        3. Just buy the thing and put Linux on it. They never know*, and they made their money anyway.

        *This is one bit they might actually tumble to over time, if they care to. Because any significant usage of metro apps == Windows Store tracking data for them (and that's what it's all about after all), if they notice that there's only one active Windows Store sub for every 10 Windows non-touch devices sold, then I guess that tells them that they're not getting what they actually want out of that operation. And maybe, just maybe, this moves them to give a shit about the 90%. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

      2. Robert Grant

        Re: Windows 9?

        Yeah I agree, better to pay a few quid (and it is just a few) to upgrade smoothly to 8 than to try and make a big jump later.

    4. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Windows 9?

      ... but who is to say that Windows 9 will be significantly better?

      Microsoft are between rock and hard place, and they need to make some hard choices to retain their position on desktop and in the server farm. Not all of them will be to the liking of customers, I think this we can take for granted. So, what will these choices be?

      1. JP19

        Re: Windows 9?

        "Microsoft are between rock and hard place, and they need to make some hard choices to retain their position on desktop and in the server farm"

        Retain their position on desktop? They almost have a monopoly on the desktop. The desktop is a shrinking market.

        Win 8 was not about retaining desktop position it was about how much they dare piss off desktop customers and risk loosing desktop position in order to gain in the fondleslab and phone market.

        I don't see much indication that it is working or feel it is likely to work in the future but Microsoft having already done most of the damage will probably keep trying.

    5. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Windows 9?

      Windows 9 since 8 is clearly today's Vista.

      It was always thus with Microsoft. You'd almost think they have a development strategy of alternating between pushing the envelope(*) and pissing people off and consolidation. Win8 was always going to be a bit of a lame duck. Win 9 should be pretty good.

      MSDOS was the same. 3=good, 4=buggy, 5=good, 6=buggy. 2.0 would be exception to this rule but it was early days. Perhaps they hadn't formulated their strategy at that point.

      (*)As far as MS can ever be said to have pushed the envelope.

      1. Sooty

        Re: Windows 9?

        Windows 9 since 8 is clearly today's Vista.

        I'm going to be contravertial and disagree with that, windows 8 is actually really good under the covers, it was just lumbered with a UI that is rubbish. From my experience, most of the stuff that made me want to punch someone was sorted out in 8.1, which is at least a free upgrade... unlike Vista to 7 :)

        There are still annoyances, and I have to rely on the search to find options instead of just going to a sensible place, but it certainly now a usable interface on top of a pretty slick underlying OS.

        Cards on the table, i do have a touch screen laptop, but i rarely use it for more than swiping the side menu on. I boot directly to desktop and don't use any 'modern' apps. Occasionally I still press the start menu by mistake, expecting it to do something useful, but the side menu/search has pretty much replaced that and i'm almost used to it.

  6. Sander van der Wal

    If you want to have multiple UI's, a moused desktop one and a touch tablet one, you still need a single API and a single app. That app reconfigures itself based on being in a desktop or a tablet state.

    Next.

  7. All names Taken
    Happy

    Say what you will ...

    I'm sticking to Vista, XP, OS 10.6.x, OS 10.7.x and Android wotevah!

    At the same time I acknowledge the incredible functionality we now take for granted oh-so-easily-peasily nowadays.

    Things like home movies, large MB digital image files, ... Heck even one.com online facilities and utilities work with Mac OS and who needs ftp nowadays?

    Interim conclusion: I'll stick with what I have as it does the job nicely and I see no need to change

  8. Andy Miller

    A touchscreen optimised UI on a desktop PC is as useful as a steering wheel on a washing machine.

    1. Robert Grant

      Mark this for posterity; I want to wheel it out when iOSOSX gets half a makeovertouchscreen and everyone can't remember criticising WP flat UItouch on the desktop.

      1. Daniel B.
        Facepalm

        But...

        It won't. They did put something touchy-friendly, Launchpad, and it proceeded to be the least used app on OSX. They did notice this and thus no forced touchy interface for OSX. Compare to Microsoft.

      2. Jordan Davenport

        The funny thing about OS X is that there really wouldn't need to be that many UI changes to enable proper touchscreen support. The dock would be well suited for launching and managing programs, they've already implemented full-screen support in most applications, and full-screen applications are treated as their own virtual desktop in the desktop switcher.

        They've been adding small elements from iOS to OS X at a slow but sane pace since 10.7 appeared. Basically all OS X would really need for a touch-screen MacBook would be to increase the icon size in a few applications. My only fear about future OS X interface tweaks is that they might decide to implement the icons from iOS7.

    2. Chika
      Happy

      Actually, a steering wheel on a washing machine has already been done back in the 1940s.

      They called it the VolksWagen. :)

  9. FartingHippo
    Mushroom

    Pet peeve

    If I had a penny for each time I'd accidentally shifted to a Modern app from the desktop, I'd have....uh...a couple of quid.

    I'd sell a couple of toes to stop the corner activation.

    1. Jim Willsher

      Re: Pet peeve

      Save the toes and use your couple of quid to buy (almost) Start8. Then tick "Disable all Windows 8 hot corners when at the desktop". Job done.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: Pet peeve

        For some reason I thought that also disabled the Charms Bar. Which you need because they've hidden some settings there for some bizarre reason.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Pet peeve

      It drive me f***ing mad. And I can't install a new bit of software on each machine I have to use. The number of times I've moved the mouse a bit incautiously and whatever it was I had in front of me has suddenly vanished to be replaced by the sodding screen full of useless rectangles!

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: Pet peeve

        I also bought Start8. It's a shame it is needed... but with start8 and modern mix, W8 is quite nice...

  10. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Windows 8

    An explosion inside a spaghetti factory. In slow motion.

    At least they seem to have fixed the colour interface now - full 16 colours, modeled on the OS/2 Shell. None of that MsDOS monochrome stuff. Oh... wait a second!

  11. Steve Knox

    The one Modern App

    I consistently use is the Weather app. It provides more detailed information that I've seen from any iOS or Android weather app, and is easier to navigate than most weather websites.

    1. Wibble

      Re: The one Modern App

      A new weather website could be developed at any moment and you could start using that any time.

      However, you won't ever get an alternative metro-weather app -- it's too much effort for MS to update, and it's too specialised a market for an application developer when compared with developing an HTML5 website.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: The one Modern App

        The best Metro program I've come across is Windows Media Center, but it's not included in Win8.x, maybe because it runs on the old fashioned desktop?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A change is as good as a rest

    Switched from Windows 8 to Snow Leopard via a secondhand Mac Mini with 2gb RAM. Less fretting about cryptolocker, zbot or similar nasties and a better gui. Now my Windows PC can be just for gaming.

  13. Lamont Cranston

    Having used every desktop version of Windows since 3.11,

    8 has been the only version where I couldn't sit down in front of it and find what I wanted straight away.

    I don't oppose change, but MS has made a huge mistake by not giving people what they want. Technically, my phone, tablet, and desktop all run Linux, but it doesn't take a genius to see why Android is not installed on my desktop.

    Take the hint, MS, and make whatever-you're-not-calling-Metro go away on desktops - no more half-measures.

    1. Return To Sender

      Re: Having used every desktop version of Windows since 3.11,

      Ditto. Win8 (or rather, Server 2012) has been a PITA for me. Try driving a touch-oriented interface over a slightly iffy shared remote desktop session not actually having used said interface before. And then trying to work out where the hell everything's gone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Having used every desktop version of Windows since 3.11,

      I simply don't believe comments like this. Windows 8 has excellent system wide search, you just need to type the name of what you want and its icon appears. The desktop is pretty much untouched from Win7.

      Everything is still in the same place under the hood (with the possible exception of logoff/shutdown), it's just got a different start menu. The people that I've spoken to who made comments like this just freaked out about the start menu and didn't move from that point of view.

      I fully accept that many people don't like Windows 8, but the "I can't find anything at all, and I'm an IT Pro" says more about the person saying it than it does about the OS.

      1. Jyve

        Re: Having used every desktop version of Windows since 3.11,

        That the IT Pro has been using the existing paradigm for 20 years and finds Win8 simple does things odd?

        MS trained us to work this way, and things you learned in Win386 still worked after all these years until now. Things like setting the properties on the icons so you can zoom around uber fast. Worked in Progman.exe, all the way upto Win7. Now, the default UI won't let you do that, you drop down to Desktop mode, that has been deliberately knobbled. I still find it staggering that even after all this noise is being made, MS is STILL trying to force this through and these tweaks are minor at best, and users are being forced to install Start button programs to get back lost functionality.

        That whole 'charms' thing, NO obvious UI hints to that at all, suddenly there's hidden things appearing? And... right clicking in Windows Store for more options, not having a menu in place to start with to know there IS a menu? It just breaks everything UI design has been working towards since UI design was thought of.

        Why is MS fighting it's own users so hard on this?

    3. Captain Save-a-ho

      Re: Having used every desktop version of Windows since 3.11,

      You would think Microsoft would understand the problem, given how well they navigated the shift from Windows 3.x to 95. But then again, all those really smart people are long gone by, right?

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I never understood the fascination with touch screen in the home. People don't want it, it was never asked for and was never dreamed of in the "HOME OF TOMORROW". Yes, it works very well on a phone or tablet, but that is because they have teeny tiny screens not 22inch widescreen HD res monitors (and that size and res is constantly increasing).

    When you are at home you don't need to have a touchscreen. Like most people my PC is at a desk, the monitor around 3/4 of an arm length away, so using it as a touch screen would be uncomfortable, and annoying.

    What people actually wanted to have was gesture control, something microsoft could have easily achieved by getting windows 8 to support the Kinect out of the box, that way they can sit in their chair and swipe through docs and webpages without having to lean forward in a unnatural and uncomfortable position. Even if it was gesture support rather than touchscreen though there would be a limited requirement for it, most people would use it for the gimmick it is over a couple of weeks then go back to the trusty mouse and keyboard anyway.

    So by designing a whole UI around a "product" that no one has and no one wants in their home MS have totally alienated a massive section of their target market. MS are just lucky that Google is focusing on "cloud OS" solutions and that the Linux community are only good at scaring people off when they ask a basic question rather than developing a coherent OS as otherwise many people would jump ship to an alternative.

    1. earl grey Silver badge
      Joke

      lean forward in a unnatural and uncomfortable position

      I think that's called "bending over"....

    2. AceRimmer

      "Like most people my PC is at a desk"

      Define most people!

      Most people outside of the techie circles are ditching their PCs in favour of tablets and laptops. Just look at the sales stats. The desktop is dying

      The only significant people left buying PCs are enthusiast gamers and techies who market wise are in the minority and should know how to fix an OS to suit their means anyway.

      FWIW I can count the people I know with a desktop PC on one thumb and personally,as a travelling contractor I've relied on laptops for the past decade

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Define most people!"

        People who still use a desktop PC. Rather than a laptop or tablet.

        "Most people outside of the techie circles are ditching their PCs in favour of tablets and laptops. Just look at the sales stats. The desktop is dying"

        People outside of the techie circles are KEEPING their PCs, and adding on a tablet or laptop to their arsenal. But they are still interested in upgrading to the latest version of windows (new shiny shiny effect in full flow). you are also forgetting the main market for new desktop PCs, offices. The desktop will not die out for a long long time especially whilst we still have small offices with employers looking for the cheapest solution.

      2. sam bo
        Thumb Down

        Most office folk still use desktops - despite the constant intrusion of their personal mobile phones into the work environment. I see see very few offices with workers doing their day to day duties on tablets and phones.

        As you are being pedantic, I suppose you use your laptop on your lap rather than a desk in your contracting duties. do you have your own custom written laptop OS as well ?

      3. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Anyone in a proper office with desks and chairs needs a machine with a keyboard at elbow height and a screen at eye height. When you see a tv shot of a place where people use computers to do work, e.g. type stuff, that's what you see. They're not sitting poking fingers onto little fondle slabs.

      4. Blitterbug
        Headmaster

        I can count the people I know with a desktop PC on one thumb...

        Then you're out of touch, Mr Rimmer. As a travelling contractor, I'd say at a rough count that 60% of my customers have a desktop or all-in-one as their prime computer, even if they have one or several laptops and tablets in the home. Why? Well, a lot of it seems to come down to age. Older people tend to prefer a more formal seating arrangement, with a desk, nice big screen, etc. And though laptops do feature as the main PC in a lot of homes I visit, it's not nearly as often as desktops or all-in-ones.

        Sure, I'd agree that the market is moving away from desktops, but now that they offer respectable power, all-in-ones are taking up the slack for those who like a more formal office-like environment.

        Don't forget that lappies really don't like being used on the mains 24/7, unless you like your li-ion crystallised, and many people know this. Having said that there's nothing wrong keeping one plugged in all the time. Just don't expect to be able to bring it on holiday with you...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It was always a gamble

      They thought that by putting Metro on the pc, people would automatically flock to Windows Phone because it offers the same experience. Sort of a revere Trojan; whereas they used to try and foist Windows onto every conceivable product (phone/pda), now the reverse is true.

      As some people have pointed out already, the interface was never meant for 20" and up screens. If they could modify the screen so that it would provide me with actually useful information about my system, contacts, email &c then that would be a step up, but as with Apple, they clearly don't care about professionals anymore.

    4. jason 7 Silver badge

      When humans evolve...

      ...grease free fingers then Touch will be truly ready.

      1. h4rm0ny
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: When humans evolve...

        It's called soap.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: When humans evolve...

          >It's called soap.

          Unfortunately, soap is something many little boys are allergic to! and they find it difficult to understand and/or remember the TV screen doesn't respond to touch whilst the small 'TV' (displaying the same/similar UI) does.

        2. Blitterbug
          Unhappy

          Re: It's called soap...

          Hah. Good one. Problem is, I keep an alcohol gel dispenser on my desk for this purpose and use regularly before handling fondly-slabby things. It helps, yes, but only for about 30 seconds. Sadly, us meat-bags seem to have annoying things called sweat glands in our fingertips.

    5. devlinse

      On a laptop it's fine. Scrolling up and down documents works very naturally, pinch to zoom and rotate in graphics apps.

      As a use case, touch isn't applicable to everything but where it does, I find it works well.

    6. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Take this gesture

      "What people actually wanted to have was gesture control"

      I think you are right. I often find myself using gestures towards my windows PC. However if it explicitly followed them it be disappearing up its own arsehole

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apart from anything else, I like my screens to be clean. When people are looking at my screens and poke at them, I slap them.

  15. BigAndos

    MS seem to just keep proving that the "Modern Interface" (TIFKAM) is completely pointless on a dekstop/laptop PC. It sounds like the "Modern" applications are less functional than even Android or iOS versions for crying out loud.

    They either need to bite the bullet and do a proper unified API allowing the same core code to work with all interfaces, or just give up.

    I hope they think this through carefully when Windows 9 rolls round...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Meanwhile in Redmondland...

      The Microsofties are going around with their fingers in their ears shouting...

      la-la-la-la I can't hear you.

      They won't change anything with respect to TIFKAM/Metro/Modern this side of an A-Bomb going off in Seattle. We should just get used to this fact and stop bitching.

      you could move to other Desktop Operating Systems. One poster has seemingly already called time on windows and gone to OSX. I am sure they won't be alone.

      1. Gazman

        Re: Meanwhile in Redmondland...

        Too true, Steve Davies 3. I used MS-DOS from v2 onwards, Windows from v3.00 onwards. By the need of it all, had set up everybody who wanted help from me with "all-MS" solutions. Then trialled Windows 8 and pretty promptly switched to OS X for desktop use (also allowing easier connection to iThings) and FreeBSD server-side. I will suggest the same to the others as Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 walk towards the Elephant's Graveyard. I am not likely to be coming back to Redmond for an OS any time soon (though I do still use MS Office on Mac so they got me there).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meanwhile in Redmondland... @Steve Davies 3

        "They won't change anything with respect to TIFKAM/Metro/Modern this side of an A-Bomb going off in Seattle. "

        Probably true, but let's see. If you'd said, "It's extremely unlikely they'll ..." rather than "They won't" it would've been better. Assumptions can be a poor way of presenting your case.

        "We should just get used to this fact and stop bitching."

        Would you all do that, please? After all these years, The Linux zealot whining and superiority complex has gone far beyond tedious. Or at least do it somewhere else. People here should generally be aware of their choices and decide based on their requirements and preferences so all you're doing is preaching to the choir. Or more likely, choosing a sympathetic audience. If you want to evangelise, try it on Windows forums. You might actually achieve something then. Come to think of it, this applies to a lot of the threads around here, while I'm pointing it out.

  16. LDS Silver badge

    OneNote is a nice app - but you need a digitizer-enabled table to exploit it.

    Among the "Modern UI" apps, The Bing ones (News, Sport, Weather, Translator, Maps) are usable. I like how the sport ones display me tennis tournaments and results in real time.

    But most "Modern UI" apps looks to have been designed with tablets in mind, not desktops.

    The Mail app is fine on a tablet, but clumsy on a desktop. IE works enough well for a tablet, but I won't use the Modern UI version on a desktop. Funnily, it doesn't support Silverlight so I can't use SkyGo but from the desktop version.

    I find OneNote a very powerful app - but only if you use it on a digitizer-enabled tablet like the Surface 2 Pro (and a better pen than the MS one, I'm using a Wacom). I no longer take notes on paper, I do on the tablet, then I'm able to read them on any other device.

    Skype is still limited compared to its desktop counterpart (i.e. no proxy support!). Same for XBox VIdeo/Music, it can't play many formats Media Player can - it looks too much oriented to sell you online contents, I wasn't able to connect it to my dlna network (Media Player finds it effortlessy)

    Drawboard PDF is a nice app to annotate PDFs, but again works well with a digitizer. The Kindle app is fine - but again on a tablet, reading full-screen on a 27" monitor looks a little silly, while Kobo retired AFAIK its modern UI app, and tells you to use the desktop one.

    Windows 8 was designed for tabets - and there works well although it lack some apps, and they forgot to add a real desktop version. Hope 9 will be such a version...

  17. Paul Westerman
    Windows

    Modern apps

    I got Win8 early on and started off using the 'modern' apps for email, FB, news etc. I've found that I've slowly and subconsciously moved back to doing everything on the desktop. I've also installed Start8. I did try TIFKAM but it's just too difficult and frustrating to do what you need to do. Win8 itself is brilliant though - rock solid and very fast.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Modern apps

      About the only Modern App I use a lot is the eReader. Whilst there are more functional third-party products available (and I have one installed), I've left the Modern eReader as the default because it does seem to open documents faster than a normal desktop app - useful for quick lookups. Obviously having installed ModernMix this mixed use of Desktop and Modern apps doesn't cause me any real problems.

  18. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    Doesn't matter what version you use...

    They all suck the sweat off a dead mans balls by the look of it.

    XP - Most popular, the one people want, has more security holes than Rab C Nesbits vest - so M$ are getting rid of it.

    Vista - Basically windows ME for the new generation.

    7 - Best of a bad bunch.

    8.X - Appears to be Steve Ballmers madness made real, realising they have missed the iPhone / iPad revolution they best bang something out quickly.

    There are better alternative out there, get moved away from M$ - I prefer a mac, but there you go.

  19. Squander Two
    Devil

    > But who, given the choice, would use the Modern Twitter app when the old, Desktop-style Tweetdeck is available?

    But who, given the choice, would use Twitter?

    FTFY.

  20. Test Man

    "And the Start screen retains a button that does a quite baffling miniaturisation. I’m not sure why."

    It's for the people who have very long Start screens - you can go from one end to another without having to swipe so many times.

  21. Fat Freddy's Cat

    I've used just about every version of windows that has existed, recall the excitement when the GUI replaced my txt DOS interface. Some versions were pretty cool and worked well... my favourite was Win7. That versions seemed to get just about everything working well.

    Then, what does MS do?

    Releases win8.

    I was stupid enough to install it over my trustee win7 (irrecoverable) installation and tried... yes I really did try... to get to grips with Win8.

    It is, undoubtedly, the worst version of windows that has ever existed, eclipsing Vista entirely. Its clear we'd never get an OS like Win7 out of MS again.

    My solution was for the first time ever, to swith to a Mac and I now use Mavericks... not the best OS by a stretch, but compared to Win8? no contest.

  22. h4rm0ny
    Flame

    As if this will make people happy!

    The massive wave of complaints wasn't motivated by real issues, just hysteria, vitriol and a hatred of change. The segments of the IT community that got whipped up like that should be ashamed of themselves. Neophobia is the best term for what I witnessed.

    Example, the endless mantra that Windows 8 penalized mouse and keyboard users. Windows 8 was better for mouse and keyboard users. Any serious user should have already been in the habit of launching programs by tapping the Windows key (which is permanently a centimetre away from your left hand when using the keyboard) and typing the first few letters of what you want. Want Control Panel? Win-key + 'con'. I can literally launch it in under a second. And this search-launch function works faster in Windows 8 than in 7. Additionally, it includes documents and settings in the search. And people claim that it's all designed around Touch? What I've just described is faster than reaching for a display.

    And if for some reason you're too conditioned by older versions of Windows to adapt to using the keyboard and insist on launching something with the mouse. Well for those people who really struggle to adapt, mouse approach is also faster than in 7. In both cases (we'll ignore that you can just hit the Windows key as we're talking about people who are phobic of keyboards for some reason), you have to move the mouse to the lower left. This too is easier in Windows 8 because in Windows 7 you have to move it only so far and stop on the Start menu, so you must control your mouse movement. In 8 you just whip it to the lower left corner where it will stop by itself. Controlled movement is slower than uncontrolled movement and don't try to say that the extra few pixels travel offsets that because any honest person can try it right now (go ahead - see how fast you can move the mouse to the lower left corner compared to how fast you can move it to a small rectangle near but not at the lower left corner. And don't respond to this point until you've tried it).

    So you have to move your mouse to the lower left and that's approximately the same action (marginally faster on 8). Then you click. Same action. Here we diverge again and the speed advantage of 8 becomes more apparent. I'm a power user. I regularly use a lot of different programs - far more than most. I counted them and the come to 27. My Start Screen has space for around fifty on the desktop machine, and around thirty-five on my old laptop. You know what that means? No navigating up and down menus carefully like the Start Menu. Which could pin a finite amount of things - I can't remember how many but it was less than the Start Screen on even my laptop. Again, it's faster and easier to whip the mouse to a large icon in the screen (and they're grouped by function too!) than it is to go to a menu option in the Start Menu, wait for the sub-menu to appear, move to the option you want, etc.

    All of which is irrelevant as any keyboard user will have launched their program in half that time with the method I described earlier.

    But no, people clapped their hands over their ears and shouted "a UI designed for touch on a non-touch interface is stupid!" Never mind the facts, they'd found something to be angry about.

    The list of stupid objections was endless. The Start Screen would obscure what was on the page. Right - so you navigate the Start Menu without looking at it do you and without stopping from reading what you're reading in the main window? Of course you do... Or how about that opening a PDF would, by default, launch the Metro PDF reader causing the poor confused user into the Hell of Metro land where they would flounder helplessly. I heard that one loads of times. So switch the default app for PDFs, I'd say. It's just right-click on the file. But users wont know how to do that - they just want to read their PDF. Uh, you do know that Adobe Reader isn't part of Windows 7, right? That if the user just does it on Windows 7 it wont even open at all - just ask them if they want to install something that will read it? Uh, well, they respond. Some OEMs pre-installed Adobe Reader. Yeah, and they can do the same on Windows 8. Stop trying so hard to find things to struggle with.

    If you kept shooting down all these arguments eventually you'd get to the nicely indefinable ones as people got more defensive. Such as "context switching is disorientating". Oh, grow a brain! You can handle the Start Menu but the Start Screen appearing causes you context disorientation? I'm not a genius and I seem to manage it fine. Or "it looks like a child's toy". Well you can't argue against taste so that's fine, but you can set all the panels to grey if you want. It's not a functional argument as to why 8 is objectively worse.

    Oh and lets not forget the video of some chap struggling to launch IE because his son didn't tell him the very basic fact that you can get the Start Screen from clicking in the lower left - something that Windows tells you the first time you start up. Never mind that the moment he was shown this he was fine. Never mind that I could find someone who would struggle with a Fischer-Price toy and video them if I wanted to. This apparently became evidence of how flawed Windows 8 was.

    I feel deeply sorry for the MS engineers. They produced something that was well-thought out, objectively improved in many areas, still had the same capabilities of its predecessors, and when it was unveiled, a large section of the IT community (who should be open to change as much as anyone), did nothing but pour hate and abuse at what they'd worked on. Whipped up further by people who love to hate MS who treated the new interface as Christmas and their Birthday wrapped up in one and went into full on Witch-Burning Mob mode.

    Shame on the fucking lot of you.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      TL;DR

      In short, you are saying we have to jump to whatever new way MS demands we use things?

      And then re-train all of our friends/family/non-tech users to match

      If so, why not learn to use Linux instead an save the license fee?

      1. dogged

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        > If so, why not learn to use Linux instead an save the license fee?

        That's your choice but by any non-brain-damaged standard, learning to use win8 from XP or 7 is several orders of magnitude less taxing than learning to use any linux from XP or win7, once the user discovers the "Desktop" tile.

      2. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        @Paul Crawford:

        No, he's pointing out that Windows 8 was *more* keyboard-friendly than Windows 7 even in its 8.0 incarnation. It's right there in the second paragraph; is English not your native language?

        There is nothing "new" for you to jump through in Windows 8 if you've actually bothered to learn the keyboard shortcuts. Which is, incidentally, what you're supposed to do. (Mice are the biggest cause of RSI, not keyboards. You really aren't supposed to use them all the time.)

        If you haven't been mentioning that rather crucial bit of information to your "friends/family/non-tech users", then the fault in their training is entirely yours and yours alone. You don't get to blame Microsoft for your own ignorance.

        WIMP GUIs have always been designed to provide neophytes a way to discover functionality for themselves and learn the keyboard shortcuts as they do so.

        There are textbooks explaining this core principle that date as far back as the 1970s. (The WIMP GUI concept was first mooted in the 1960s, but the first implementations had to wait until some core technologies became available in the 1970s.)

        1. Alex Brett

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          'WIMP GUIs have always been designed to provide neophytes a way to discover functionality for themselves and learn the keyboard shortcuts as they do so.' - can you explain then why with the Ribbon in Office MS have been actively discouraging the use of keyboard shortcuts?

          1. dogged
            FAIL

            Re: As if this will make people happy!

            > can you explain then why with the Ribbon in Office MS have been actively discouraging the use of keyboard shortcuts?

            Can you explain why pointing out that laziness is not actually a great reason to raise a lynch mob over an operating system means that h4rmony should now defend an entirely unrelated product which was not under discussion?

            Didn't think so.

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: As if this will make people happy!

              "an entirely unrelated product"

              Entirely unrelated except that both are Microsoft products which had deeply unpopular UI makeovers forced on them by Stevie S and Stevie B. Is it really that unreasonable to expect that Microsoft's UIs might all reflect a common set of UI design principles?

              I think it is an entirely reasonable criticism. Microsoft just don't seem to be going *anywhere* with recent UI designs. They seem to be entirely driven by "This is new. Therefore, this is good.". The reality is that when all your third-party apps were written to Win7's UI guidelines (or, heaven forbid, XP's) they are treated as second class citizens under Win8. It's a mess.

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: As if this will make people happy! @dogged

              re: "f you've actually bothered to learn the keyboard shortcuts. Which is, incidentally, what you're supposed to do" [h4rmony's post at root of this thread]

              It is totally relevant to bring up the subject of the Office Ribbon. Remember with Win95, MS started to diminish the keyboard shortcuts - both it and Office 95 didn't ship with a shortcuts/hotkey crib card. In fact Win95 only retained keyboard shortcuts because of Bill Gates insistence on retaining some backwards compatibility and user familiarity. One of MS's arguments was that the whole point of a GUI was for it to be intuitive and for it not to require users to remember archaic key sequences. The ribbon interface was in some respect the logical extension of this philosophy. Interestingly Office 2007 was the first version of Office that wasn't signed off by Bill Gates, in fact according to history he questioned why it didn't retain the option of a 'classic' UI, but he decided that as he was stepping back it was up to the team to make the final decision.

              So it is h4rmony in his opinion regarding the use of keyboard shortcuts that is out of step with the general ethos around the Windows GUI that MS has built up over nearly two decades, not the typical user.

              Aside: I suggest those who think the Win8 UI is wonderful to read the work of Donald Norman, specifically "The design of everyday things".

              1. h4rm0ny

                Re: As if this will make people happy! @dogged

                >>"It is totally relevant to bring up the subject of the Office Ribbon"

                Not really. I wrote an extensive post taking apart the most popular criticisms of the Windows 8 UI. It was fairly robust, therefore a lot of people who want to criticise are switching to personal attacks, misrepresentations or broadening the argument to other topics in the expectation I'll be forced to defend those. Responding to a defence of the Windows 8 UI with "well in the Ribbon X", is exactly such a tactic. It's a result of people having an Us vs. Them team mentality where the goal is not to examine the actual topic, but to make the opposing 'team' (MS in this case) look bad. Even if means switching topics from a comparison between the Windows 7 and Windows 8 UIs to MS Office's Ribbon.

          2. Squander Two

            The ribbon

            > can you explain then why with the Ribbon in Office MS have been actively discouraging the use of keyboard shortcuts?

            Er, what? I'm a bit annoyed that some of the shortcuts have changed and I'm having to relearn them, but surely little white highlighted boxes with the letters in them are more prominent than discreetly underlined letters inside the menus.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          WIMP GUIs have always been designed to provide neophytes a way to discover functionality for themselves and learn the keyboard shortcuts as they do so.

          So, we should be using vi for everything then?

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: As if this will make people happy!

            >>"So, we should be using vi for everything then?"

            That's an extreme argument. But it illustrates the principle of a little up-front learning reaping huge benefits for long-term use. I've been using vi for over a decade and I can do things with it far faster than other people faffing around with a mouse and a lesser text editor.

            Now vi is far too extreme an example for most people. Sticking to something more modest, such as Windows Key + Type that we were discussing, sure. I forced myself to stop reaching for the mouse. Took a day or two of constantly reminding my hand to get back on the keyboard. The end result, I can do things far faster on Windows than most people. Given I'll probably be using Windows for years to come, that tiny amount of up-front learning will be well worth it. Same is true for many other areas of the OS and its software.

            Too much gets sacrificed in the name of expediency, imo. A guitar with one string would be a lot easier to learn, but also a lot less useful. You'd need four or five guitarists to play the same piece of music. Pretty much akin to someone needing four or five mouse clicks to do what you can do with one keyboard shortcut. Now Windows lets you take both approaches, so everyone should be happy. But it's wrong to attack Windows for being a one-string guitar when the five string guitar is right there too.

        3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          @Sean Timarco Baggaley

          "There are textbooks explaining this core principle that date as far back as the 1970s."

          I am pretty sure they have a lot to say about metro's lack of discoverability and the surprising behaviour on hitting corners or odd track-pad gestures.

          "You don't get to blame Microsoft for your own ignorance."

          No, but I can blame them for forcing an unwanted interface upon us and not giving us the choice. All would have been just fine if you could have ticked a box (perhaps auto-detected when no touch screen) for "classic interface" when touch, etc, was unwarranted.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: @Sean Timarco Baggaley

            >>"and the surprising behaviour on hitting corners or odd track-pad gestures."

            I love how in the previous post, I am arguing against you for your complaining about people not knowing about the corners and here I'm arguing against you for your complaining people are surprised by hitting the active corners.

            Are you just looking for things to complain about? ;)

        4. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          There is nothing "new" for you to jump through in Windows 8 if you've actually bothered to learn the keyboard shortcuts. Which is, incidentally, what you're supposed to do. (Mice are the biggest cause of RSI, not keyboards. You really aren't supposed to use them all the time.)

          This may be an ideal, however MS have been steadily hiding keyboard shortcuts in windows and their applications, making them less obvious and often removing them entirely.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: As if this will make people happy!

            Some people seem to think that the workers in the offices have the time, interest, understanding, will and energy to make sense of TIFKAM.

            They don't. They need to get their job done. Which uses computers because they need to do computery things, like click on a little picture and make a document. And they need that document to stay where they can find it. Few know or care about keyboard shortcuts and even when they do seldom do more than ctrl-c/p/s/v.

            That's all.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: As if this will make people happy!

              >>"That's all."

              If that is all, then you're in agreement with me. Nowhere in my initial post did I claim no-one had learn anything at all to use Windows 8. Indeed my explicit point throughout has been that objections are overwhelmingly due to people not liking change / things they are unfamiliar with.

        5. Pseudonymous Coward

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          > WIMP GUIs have always been designed to provide neophytes a way to discover functionality for themselves and learn the keyboard shortcuts as they do so.

          Not a good way, though. If every time someone pasted by clicking on a menu item a little Android-like toast appeared with "Control-V" on the screen, then that would have a better chance of teaching people.

          Google Docs has a more intrusive popup that you have to click away telling you that you can use Ctrl-C/X/V whenever you do it via a menu time. That's showing you want people to learn this sort of thing (though in this instance a bit too strongly, I feel).

          An obscure and more easily ignorable entry on the right of the menu as most UIs (including Windows) offer doesn't cut it for the majority, I'm afraid.

          Also while I am to a degree in the same camp and do prefer to use the keyboard I am fully aware there are situations when I don't. Like when I don't have both hands free because (I know what you're thinking but...) I'm eating, holding my phone, one of my kids sitting on one of my legs. It's nice to have decent mouse-based alternatives then and it's nice if these don't radically change from one version of Windows to another.

      3. MCG

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        Err, because of the lack of apps and drivers on Linux?

      4. h4rm0ny

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        >>"TL;DR In short, you are saying"

        Got to appreciate someone who starts a post by saying mine was too long so they didn't read it, and then posts an incorrect synopsis of what I wrote.

        I listed most of the popular objections I heard people rushing around to post when Win 8 was released and then took them apart objectively. No, that's not me saying you have to jump when MS say so. It's me saying much of what people posted was unexamined hysteria. Short enough for you? Of course now you'll be able to just say "no it isn't" rather than actually address any specific argument, because you chose not to read the specifics. Go and have a look. If you think my post is wrong, then don't just post a bad synopsis, try and take apart one of the arguments. I've got twenty-five downvotes so far, yet every argument I posted stands up and you yourself just go straight for the mischaracterising what I wrote with an argument against things ever changing. Yes, that's what your argument is because you just went straight to change resulting in re-training people and that's something that's true with any change.

        >>"If so, why not learn to use Linux instead an save the license fee?"

        No reason at all, as far as I'm concerned. I use GNU/Linux (Debian) daily. And I've been using GNU/Linux since at least SuSE 6.4 (I remember buying it). GNU/Linux is great. I'm just tired of people posting flawed criticisms, usually which they read elsewhere and just repeat endlessly.

        1. dogged

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          Something's wrong. None of these neophobes has called you a shill yet.

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          @h4rm0ny

          >>"TL;DR In short, you are saying"

          Got to appreciate someone who starts a post by saying mine was too long so they didn't read it, and then posts an incorrect synopsis of what I wrote.

          While TL;DR might have been a bit glib, the point is you made a huge rant on telling us how we should be liking Win 8. We are just not holding correctly, perhaps?

          In fact you have made one critical point yourself:

          "...the very basic fact that you can get the Start Screen from clicking in the lower left - something that Windows tells you the first time you start up"

          What if you did not go through the tutorial because it was someone else's PC? Or life was just too short?

          Discoverability. The principle of least surprise.

          Win 8's interface violates them both big-time. Now that is not to say others do not share some of the same stupidity of this approach (Ubuntu's Unity, a lot of Android, some of iOS) but the basic fact remains the same: What was an acceptable user interface for XP (more so if you chose "classic" a la Win2000) has become an exercise in sucking donkey balls. Actions are non-obvious, you have to learn things (hello command line, I love you!), and you are trying to do something and you get the metro screen slapped in your face due to some non-obvious track-pad gesture.

          Choice. Why not? With XP you could revert to Win2000 if you preferred, which I did. Why are we now forced to use metro?

          That is a rhetorical question, as the answer is well known and explains why most are unhappy. We are forced to suffer so MS hopes to get developers, developers, developers for an interface few wanted.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: @h4rm0ny

            >>"While TL;DR might have been a bit glib, the point is you made a huge rant on telling us how we should be liking Win 8. We are just not holding correctly, perhaps?"

            Actually I've nowhere said that anyone has to like it. When someone demanded to know why they shouldn't use GNU/Linux, my response was: I use GNU/Linux, I think it's really good. What I am doing is showing how many of the popular blandishments people dump on it don't actually stand up when tested and that's something different to saying what people have to like. In fact, you'll notice how few of the responses I get actually try to challenge the facts and instead attack on things like "you're telling people what they should like". Including yours. You don't have to like it at all if you don't want to. But if someone says Start Screen is inferior to Start Menu and claim that's for reasons other than just familiarity, then I want to examine that because I work faster with Start Screen than I did with Start Menu for reasons I've gone into in depth. And they're not reasons that are particular to me or a small sub-set. The distance you move a mouse on a given screen size is the same for everyone.

            >>"What if you did not go through the tutorial because it was someone else's PC? Or life was just too short?"

            Doesn't matter. It's a simple matter of knowing something once, knowing something elementary once, and then you're done and you have something faster for ever more. You're again trying to address something I never said and actually stated I wasn't saying. My contention is that the objections to Windows 8 are overwhelmingly due to familiarity issues, not things wrong with the UI itself. Those people not replying to post with character attacks or outright strawmen, are overwhelmingly then stating how someone might not know how to do something. Really just the same as how someone would not immediately know how to do something on any other OS they weren't familiar with. This is the category your post falls into. And it supports my point - the hate against Windows 8 is largely informed by people not liking change / having to learn something new, rather than objective flaws in the OS.

            Everytime you attack my argument on these grounds you reinforce my point. Windows 8 UI is not bad, it's just something people don't like to learn. And the things you need to learn to use Windows 8 are very minor. There's no Start Menu button in the lower left. You can flip from common programs in the Start Screen to all programs mode. You close or sideline Metro apps by clicking at the top of them and dragging. That's pretty much the three real things a Windows 7 user needs to learn to use Windows 8. I suppose you could add clicking on the tile marked Desktop to get to Desktop if you have low standards for learning. All that stuff with, e.g. the settings in the Charms menu? Well those are new shortcuts to make things quicker, but the old ways of doing things are still there. Nothing at all stops you opening Control Panel to change a setting - it's exactly the same as it was in Windows 7.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        Hear hear! It is not Luddism as is routinely implied. If you are forced take the major step of relearning an environment, having not been given a choice as the paying customer to opt in, then it is time to vote with your feet

        Similar arrogance was displayed back in the day with Win2k and the announcement of reduced support, after organisations had just migrated from NT. IBM and others then started shipping machines with Linux preinstalled, someone at mickeyshit actually woke up and suddenly it was life extended.

        A number of companies will save money and get a maintainable stable product in house by going open source now. Some will fill Apple`s coffers, but if eventually forced to 8?.............

        A large part of the problem with 8x is motor memory, Try explaining over a phone how to do something and you realise how much is trained movement sequences. Retraining those? Hard and difficult work that paying customers should not have to do.Win 8 non touch becomes a nightmare for users as a wrong click or move which used to be appropriate takes you somewhere unexpected.

        I have since despite retraining my mouse hand by going very slowly struggled with win8x installs, (mainly because the users want to kill someone and I have to be in full body armour as first point of contact) but my first experience was April last year:

        I bought a netbook with win8 and I have never sworn so much in my life until I put classic shell and several other utilities to restore functionality Redmond decided I didn`t need any more.

        The lost unsold surface tablets no longer referred to? Find Steve Ballmer and rectally insert them all without lubricant . He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed ( despite his own loud opinion) but knows when to run is good,

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      Steve ... is that you?

    3. Jim Willsher

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      TL;DR indeed

    4. dogged

      To be fair...

      I do have one complaint. The touchpad on my Samsung 5 series laptop interprets any number of accidental finger motions or deliberate mouse moves in any direction as "swipe in from the right".

      That's infuriating.

      The rest, I can live with.

    5. monkeyfish

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      Nice rant.

      The issue I've found is that when I've come to try and use it I wasn't the installer or first user, so I was not aware of these methods.

      First time use: cousins kid comes around and wants to connect his new laptop to the wifi, ok, where are the wifi settings? Where is the desktop? WTF, how do I even exit the start screen? ESC? No. Windows key? No. Really, how do I get to the desktop? Took all of about 30 minutes to figure out what I was doing, not a good first start.

      Second time use: Sister-in-law bought a very nice new laptop with a hi-res screen, only trouble is the text is too small. Eventually I found the settings, but the scalling is crap. Also struggled with the settings being all over the place, not all of them are in the control panel, not all of them are in the 'mordern' interface. PITA. So not a good second impression either.

      Guess what? First/second impressions count. Maybe if I used it all the time I would figure out how to use it easily, but why precisely should I bother?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        >>"Sister-in-law bought a very nice new laptop with a hi-res screen, only trouble is the text is too small"

        See - that's fine. That's a constructive, supportable criticism. I don't argue with those. It's the moronic repetition of rallying point arguments such as "a touch-based UI makes no sense on a non-touch interface" are the problem. That particular argument gets trotted out like its a religious slogan but the truism doesn't actually measure up to reality. It's just an assumption that things are without support that they are.

        The interesting thing is that aside from this, all of the other issues you list are issues of familiarity. And that's my point. Very few of the hysterics launched their attacks with "I'm not familiar with this" and the reason they did not is because there's a very easy counter to it. That counter is "spend half an hour playing around with it." Within a few days I was very used to it and out of the habit of thinking of Start Screen as some alien state. Also not that many of the hate brigade launched their attacks with "why should I take the time to learn something new?" Because it is a weak argument. It suddenly turns into someone giving you reasons and then you're stuck trying to argue why you're laziness / difficulty in learning new things, is a virtue. And that doesn't fly.

        Keep things the same for the sake of familiarity is ultimately a weak argument. People will be using their chosen OS for five years, quite probably longer. Half an hour to learn the changes (press Windows Key, drag down from top) and maybe a day or two to actually become comfortable? Against over half a decade of use? That's shameful to anyone who calls themself open to new ideas. Also, it's an argument for stagnancy. If you keep things the same for familiarity, it just gets more and more staid until someone comes along and really revolutionizes things and then they eat your product for breakfast. Change is good, so long as it is positive change.

        So of course the only strong attacks are ones that argue the changes are bad. But rallying point arguments people were using. They don't stand up. At the time of posting, my rant has about 29 downvotes and a couple of replies insulting me or asking me if I'm Steve Ballmer. (I am not). But all the points I made stand.

        >>"Maybe if I used it all the time I would figure out how to use it easily, but why precisely should I bother?"

        Well I'd like to give you the answer which is true for me - which is that it's fun to learn cool new ways of doing things and shake things up now and then. But I'll give you something less subjective. I'm able to work faster on Windows 8 now that I'm familiar with it, than I was on Windows 7. It also has a raft of really great new features. Even just having the same desktop across all my monitors and not having to go all the way to the left most corner of the left-most of three monitors to hit the "start menu" is nice. And those are the least of the good things in it. Isn't that worth a day or two of phantom Start Menu syndrome before it goes away? :)

        By the way, that last paragraph is pretty much the same answer, bar a few particulars, I give to all those who ask me why they should bother to learn GNU/Linux. ;)

        1. sam bo

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          "asking me if I'm Steve Ballmer. (I am not). "

          Thanks for clearing that up , I thought he meant Steve Jobs.

          You don't know what you don't know, until you know it ;-)

        2. Blitterbug
          Headmaster

          Re: See - that's fine. That's a constructive, supportable criticism

          Ok, try these:

          1. Try right-dragging your favourite icons from the start menu (sorry - start screen) to the desktop, so the user has a small selection of what they want (IE / Chrome / FF, Word, Excel, Outlook, VS). Can't be done. Please don't suggest an elderly user 'shakes things up' and learns to dive in and out of metro each time they want to run something. They don't have many years left to learn trendy new things and these sorts of changes *scare* them.

          2. An elderly user wants to read a PDF they downloaded, but finds after double-clicking and reading it in the (quite nice) Metro app, that they now seem to be lost in a world of rectangles (I deal with this one a *lot*, it is not hypothetical). Now try and guide a vulnerable old boy over the phone through changing the default app that launches PDFs back to Adobe Reader, so that after reading their downloaded printer manual they stay in familiar desktop territory.

          Many, many more situations like this I deal with *every* day. I have bought several Start8 licenses, using a number of email addresses, and I donate the installs to my customers. It's to date the *only* way I can mitigate the stress amongst my user base.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: See - that's fine. That's a constructive, supportable criticism

            And each of your items reinforces my point - the issues are not ones of the Windows 8 being bad, but issues of familiarity. Nearly every responder I have had has (ignoring the personal attacks and outright disinformation) immediately dispensed with my actual points (which were explicit) and proceeded to make arguments based on having to learn something new or not already being used to something.

            Now people are free to make such complaints, but the issue is that in all the hysteria when it came out, the primary attacks were on Windows 8 UI being bad. And the reason for that is it carries a lot less weight to condemn something because you have to learn it, or because you don't like change.

            All I've done is deconstruct the most popular attacks on Windows 8 UI that I recall. Almost no-one has tried to address those. If people concede or agree that the issue is more one of learning, I'm happy with that.

            Of course I learned it in under a day and expect to gain from that for at least half a decade of improved efficiency, so I'm not overly swayed by arguments this is an onerous task. But that's another discussion. The main thing is that your whole post is things like "unfamiliar land of rectangles". For what it's worth, the tech-inept I've taken through it have found it quite easy. Preferable to working out where something is in a system of menus that contains nearly every single executable on the system.

            1. ScottK

              Re: See - that's fine. That's a constructive, supportable criticism

              You just don't get it do you? I and several others have presented multiple concrete legitimate reasons as to why the GUI causes problems. It may work on a client. If I had a touch device I might like it. However, I am a server guy with a speciality in terminal server/remote desktop solutions. Microsoft decided to saddle the server OS with the same GUI as the client and it just doesn't work.

              I need to be able to install multiple applications on a server and present subsets of these applications to diferent users. Since Windows 2003SP1 this has been a breeze. Redirect the desktop and start menu and use ABE to limit what shortcuts users see. Job done. Doesn't work anymore. There is no way I have yet found to achieve the same objective on the 2012/R2 start screen.

              I need to limit screen updates so that users on slow links get acceptable performance. On previous versions of Windows when finding a new application, the user could go to the start menu. Only a small portion of the screen changed. Now, they hit the Windows key and Bang! They have to wait for the whole screen to update and then sometimes get animated tiles to make matters even worse.

              These are just 2 real world examples of how this causes problems.

              I can accept your point of view that the GUI works for you. You should accept mine that putting this GUI on the server was a stupid decision.

              Just think, if Microsoft had simply offered the choice of interface we would both be happy, nobody would be having this endless conversation and Microsoft would probably have shifted a lot more Windows licenses.

              1. ScottK

                Re: See - that's fine. That's a constructive, supportable criticism

                One other issue with the search functionality that drives me up the wall.

                Example, I hit the windows key and type notepad. After a while, I want to open another notepad, so I hit search and type notepad again. It takes focus back to the original notepad instead of launching another instance. Very annoying. Even more so when dealing with control panel applets or MMC snapins and constantly ending up on the wrong one.

                Every time I fall for this, I swear then remember to hit Windows-R to bring up the run box instead.

                1. h4rm0ny

                  Re: See - that's fine. That's a constructive, supportable criticism

                  >>"Example, I hit the windows key and type notepad. After a while, I want to open another notepad, so I hit search and type notepad again. It takes focus back to the original notepad instead of launching another instance"

                  I can see how that would be. (I recommend Notepad++, btw, which is tabbed). But again, that's not a rebuttal to anything I have said, yet you present it as such. I picked the most popular reasons that were hurled against Windows 8 when it came out (and still sometimes are), examined and shot them down objectively. My point was that there was a lot of hysteria about Windows 8 and it was primarily just lack of familiarity. Whilst it may be true that you're annoyed by type to search returning you to the same instance of notepad, no-one has been lambasting Windows 8 on every forum because of a problem launching two instances of notepad. That's legitimate, it's also a non-issue for the huge majority of users.

                  I'm saying the hysteria and hatred against Windows 8 is unjustified. If everyone was howling hatred because of wanting to launch multiple instances of notepad repeatedly, then your point would refute mine. But that's not what people were ranting about.

    6. Fading Silver badge

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      Wow- now you've explained it I'll rush off an but win8 right away...... alright I won't I've already got win8 installed and even now after 3 months of use it still finds ways to annoy me (did you know that dragging an app to the bottom of the screen doesn't always close the app - I didn't (talking to you useless mail app)).

      Even with classic shell installed and file associations set to desktop programs (took me about an hour to get it to work like my previous Vista install - sucker for punishment me) every now and then it will fire-up in app mode (and on a 28 inch screen this is not an efficient use of screen estate) . If it would let me run the start screen in a window (so acting like a shortcuts folder that I create and used on all previous versions of windows - if I'm drinking coffee I only have the one hand free) then I probably wouldn't get annoyed so much.....

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As if this will make people happy!@ h4rm0ny

      "Whipped up further by people who love to hate MS who treated the new interface as Christmas and their Birthday wrapped up in one and went into full on Witch-Burning Mob mode"

      Whilst I don't agree, I have to admire the long, full-on rant, which oozes heartfelt, spittle-flecked fury. All the downvoters are people who have no admiration for true craftsmanship, and I say a pox on them.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      No it's not Neophobia. But the notion that we should learn a new UI from scratch, especially one with such poor discoverability for the sake of absolutely NO improvement in productivity or functionality is ridiculous.

      I recently picked up a Macbook Air, intending to dual boot windows on it. But it took me an hour to figure out how to do everything on OSX and by the end of the day, I had it customized to my preferences. I never bothered to install windows.

      I also installed Linux Mint as dual boot on my desktop recently - I was up and running within 10 minutes and the productivity on both these OS's is fantastic - just having no slowdowns makes a huge difference.

      I spent 2 hours with windows 8 - even when I did figure out how to work it, it made no sense, it was awkward and inconvenient. So unless there's a significant benefit to be had, I'm not going to bother reading your instructions, or learning the new UI.

      Why should I? Life is too short.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        >>"No it's not Neophobia. But the notion that we should learn a new UI from scratch, especially one with such poor discoverability for the sake of absolutely NO improvement in productivity or functionality is ridiculous."

        How is the "discoverability" worse in Windows 8 than in Windows 7. I think it's better. I'll support that. Open the Start Screen in Windows 8. All common programs are right there in front of you, unconcealed by menus or sub-menus, and they are grouped thematically. In Windows 7, items are similarly grouped but you do have to explore through sub-menus.

        Additionally, in the Start Screen, you have all common programs right in front of you, then all programs total in the expanded Start Screen. In contrast, the Start Menu has all items present at all times. This means for the majority of use cases, it easier to find what you are looking for in Windows 8 which has the division of Common / Uncommon which is what the Start Screen / Expanded Start Screen represent.

        I don't think it's a large difference, but Windows 8 is not worse and for the reasons above, I think is somewhat better.

        However, that's really a non-issue either way because if you press the Windows Key and start typing, you instantly get matches from the entire pool of installed programs. This is the same as in Windows 7, but in Windows 8 that typing ALSO pulls in documents and settings that match. Thus I'd say Windows 8 has greater "discoverability" than 7.

        All of these are objective arguments. If you wish to argue that there is an issue of less familiarity with the new system, I'm fine with that. It's my contention that the issues are nearly all ones of preferring that which one is familiar with.

        As an addendum, in case you're referring to settings on Windows 8, all of those are still exactly where they were in the Control Panel so this area of Windows 8 cannot be worse than Windows 7, it can only be equal or better. And it can only be equal and not better if you ascribe absolutely zero value to the fact that many common settings have been duplicated in the Charms bar and thus made more immediately accessible.

        >>"discoverability for the sake of absolutely NO improvement in productivity or functionality is ridiculous."

        See, I've already in my original post listed several ways in which the new UI is more efficient so to me that part is already addressed. I'll add that there are many other cool things in Windows 8 that are good reasons to upgrade as well. Just the kernel-hibernation which leads to super fast boot times is a plus. Automatic disk encryption I like as well. But the list is really very long. As I wrote, the UI itself as a number of advantages objectively measureable in terms of number of clicks, mouse movements, etc.

    9. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Down

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      Thanks for telling me how I should have been using my PC.

      I actually do use the start-menu-type-what-I'm-looking-for approach on my Mint desktop, but that's only because I've never gotten around to organising the menu properly (and thus can never find anything). I'd rather not flick my hand back and forth between keyboard and mouse, thank you very much, which was why my Vista (shut up) Start menu was organised so that everything I used regularly was accessible with a minimum of clicks.

    10. WylieCoyoteUK

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      Cool. so I just type kmnet on my laptop and I get 12 apps, none of which looks any different from the others, because it doesn't show the whole n.....

      I have well over a hundred specialist apps for dealing with equipment from several different manufacturers, none of whom use a sane naming convention, most of the beginning of the name being some made up corporate label.

      Maybe they should make the search field black with green lettering......then we can type an entire string just to launch what used to take 3 mouse clicks (if, of course, we can actually remember exactly how to spell it) like "stupidlylongmeaninglessname.exe"

      I also want multiple windows open at once, and default settings that are consistent.

      It may be OK for some, but to be honest I just don't like it, and I don't like it because I have no choice but to spend half a day configuring the desktop, and then show someone else.....

      People are complaining because it is a huge waste of time, ugly, unwanted, unnecessary, and achieves nothing.

    11. Anonymous Bullard
      Facepalm

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      "Shame on the fucking lot of you"

      Yes, it's outrageous that people don't like the same as you. It's disgusting that Microsoft have to listen to their customers, and back-peddle on something that wasn't appropriate.

      As the old (but seemingly forgotten) saying goes: The customer is always right.

      I didn't like Win8 because I use a desktop computer. I do not like the direction they are heading with it (walled garden), non-TIFKAM apps are "legacy", dwindling support for desktop apps in VS. I actually liked Vista.

      It's because people want to use their PC as a PC. Not a phone, not a tablet.

      If people are so scared of change, then why are so many apparently considering moving away from Windows completely? I've been developing with MS tools for 20 years, I've used every MS OS since DOS 3. I then migrated to Mint a year ago - now THAT is change.

      I wonder if, say, Oracle shat out something exactly the same as Win8 - would you be jumping for joy over that?

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        >>"I wonder if, say, Oracle shat out something exactly the same as Win8 - would you be jumping for joy over that?"

        Not really. It would cost £2K per processor I wanted to run it on and I'd have to re-pay yearly or they'd sue me.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          Not really. It would cost £2K per processor I wanted to run it on and I'd have to re-pay yearly or they'd sue me.

          You forgot the bit about the documentation being extra, the product being obsolete and unsupported after a year leaving a system with serious functional and security holes. And you'll still be expected to pay per processor, or even per core, for this until you paid for an upgrade and continued again. Just with higher costs.

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        >>"Yes, it's outrageous that people don't like the same as you. "

        That's not the problem I stated in my post. The problem I stated in post is people saying things that are demonstrably untrue. E.g. it being slower to launch things in Windows 8 when I can demonstrate being able to launch things faster. Windows Key + Type is significantly faster than reaching for the mouse on either 7 or 8. That's a simple case of having to move further to use the mouse, then move the cursor around, plus the mental context switching of changing input devices. And the type and launch approach works faster on Windows 8 than it does on Windows 7. Additionally it brings back results from file names and from settings, further reducing times. Ergo, it is incorrect to say that Windows 8 makes it harder or slower to launch programs. Not an issue of people not liking the same as me - my post is clearly not founded on that at all. It's founded on people repeating things that are not true. Ditto for not using the keyboard method and using the mouse. When you have twenty-five good sized icons laid out before on even a modest laptop screen, then that is also demonstrably faster than controlled movements through a menu system aiming for smaller targets. This is something easily deduced and easily tested. Yet people repeated how the Start Menu made things harder. With the exception of the poster who said they have "hundreds" of programs they need from different manufacturers, which is far outside of normal use case, it's demonstrable that the Start Screen, with its clustering by function / theme, is more efficient in terms of mouse use as well.

        This was explicitly my point. Instead you've gone for a non-germane strawman of "outrageous people don't like the same as you". That's not at all the basis of what I said and therefore does nothing to refute what I said. It's just a shifting of argument to something I never actually said or argued, so that you can attack.

        1. Anonymous Bullard

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          "Instead you've gone for a non-germane strawman of "outrageous people don't like the same as you""

          It's OK, you don't get it.

          The main thing people have a problem with is Windows is their work (and hobby) envronment.

          Windows isn't your primary OS - you have control over your environment. It doesn't effect you.

          Sure, you're fed up with reading about other people problems and you'd rather hear constructive criticism - but constructive criticism was made during beta.

          Now the hurd is pissed off at being ignored (and being shat on in general for years), so instead of doing something about it (ie, not using it), they vent out instead. If you don't like reading it, why don't you do something about it and press alt+left.

          My main complaint is the company's direction in general. I'm over the fact that (in my opinion) the OS is shit. I'm predicting the herd's next move, and I want to get there before it does by re-training because my career currently has a vested interest in MS.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: As if this will make people happy!

            >>"Windows isn't your primary OS - you have control over your environment. It doesn't effect you."

            You keep coming up with the weirdest rebuttals. I post actual objective comparisons of mouse and keyboard requirements for given actions in Windows 7 and Windows 8. You avoid them like the plague and say "sometimes people like what you don't like". I point out that this has nothing to do with an objective deconstruction of the arguments why Windows 8 UI is bad and that none of the arguments I wrote depended on my personal preference. So then you respond with the above. Wrongly as it happens. I use both WIndows 8 and GNU/Linux throughout the day. (I run Windows 8 and Debian in a VM which typically has a monitor to itself all day long, plus very RHEL servers I SSH into).

            Your post dances around ever actually addressing what I wrote, as did your last one, and goes straight to a non sequitur that is pure argument by assertion and assumptions about me.

            And then you round it out with a little offensive hyperbole to complete the post:

            >>" the OS is shit"

            Speaking as a former systems programmer, I'm pretty impressed with the sheer amount of effort, design and cleverness that has gone into Windows 7/8, as I am with GNU/Linux and Mac OS. Only an ignorant person would look at such immense and successful projects and say something as off-handedly uninformed as "the OS is shit". There are tonnes of clever features in Windows which are very useful. If you're repeated avoidance of actual discussion and abrupt shifts to other avenues of attack hadn't revealed your bias, this would.

            1. Anonymous Bullard

              Re: As if this will make people happy!

              "You keep coming up with the weirdest rebuttals"

              "If you're repeated avoidance of actual discussion and abrupt shifts to other avenues of attack hadn't revealed your bias, this would."

              (sorry if you thought I was attacking you)

              My bias has always been towards Windows. I've been using it since 3.1, my career has been developing for Windows. I have a MSDN bizspark subscription. Looking at my CV, >90% of it is MS tech. It's not like I've just read some anonymous whingers on here, and grabbed my pitchfork.

              I downloaded the preview before the uproar.

              I genuinely don't like using Windows 8. Not because I don't like change (I do if it's for the better). Mostly, I don't like the direction Microsoft are heading, and I'm disgusted by the way MS are treating developers. So much so, I've jumped ship.

              It doesn't matter if you can provide metrics that prove metro is better than chocolate, or I'm holding it wrong, or I'm stuck in the past - I've gave it a try for a few months with an open mind and I do not like it, and I don't like their direction.

              So I searched for alternatives and found something I really like. It's as simple as that! xx

    12. chris lively

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      Wrong.

      Win8 attempted to bring a tablet experience to the desktop. But it wasn't just the OS, they screwed over just about everything from their dev tools to office.

      This release feels, more than any other, as if it was put together by a bunch of recent grads who have absolutely no idea how people use their computers. We didn't need a revamp of the desktop UI. Not did we need to be directed to have our login credentials handled by MS's servers. And we sure as hell didn't need settings to be dumbed down to the point of being unusable.

      Win8 is simply NOT a product that belongs in an office setting and if I wanted a toy then I'd get an xbox.

    13. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      Let's deal with this step by step: Apologies for the length, but I'd rather tackle everything...

      Example, the endless mantra that Windows 8 penalized mouse and keyboard users. Windows 8 was better for mouse and keyboard users. Any serious user should have already been in the habit of launching programs by tapping the Windows key (which is permanently a centimetre away from your left hand when using the keyboard) and typing the first few letters of what you want. Want Control Panel? Win-key + 'con'. I can literally launch it in under a second. And this search-launch function works faster in Windows 8 than in 7. Additionally, it includes documents and settings in the search. And people claim that it's all designed around Touch? What I've just described is faster than reaching for a display.

      Windows 8, and in particular the Microsoft applications that come with it further devalue the keyboard and the mouse. Many keyboard shortcuts have silently removed. Only minor ones such as Ctrl-C, Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V. These no longer work and a user is forced to right click to copy, cut or paste text - admittedly this does favour the mouse but it requires a user to change hands and switch concentration to a different input device.

      The mouse pointer is not a substitute for a touch interface, it is not possible to "fling" elements around in the same was as one can with a touch. The mouse scroll button does not scroll the UI elements that can only be scrolled by touch, using a largely hidden scroll bar that's too small or repeatedly clicking forward / back buttons (which are sometimes hidden until you guess the exact spot on screen).

      A "normal" user does not operate a computer like a keyboard obsessed geek. A "normal" user tends to use a computer as a tool to perform the limited array of tasks they require. They don't give a monkey's what the name of the application they are looking for actually is (it is likely to also deal with their spelling mistakes), however they have learnt that the green "X" signifies Excel (or spreadsheets), the blue "W" signifies Word (or writing in some form) and the orange "O" signifies Outlook, but they'd prefer it was "E" for email. They also recognise "E" as "Internet", (another great mismatch). These normal users look for the visual clues that a visual user interface should be giving them - things like clear indications of their commonly used applications, what is a button and what is not and how to close an application or just shut down the computer.

      And if for some reason you're too conditioned by older versions of Windows to adapt to using the keyboard and insist on launching something with the mouse.

      The mouse was introduced to ease navigation in a graphical environment for average users. Yet you are already demonstrating crass stupidity in assuming that all users want to use the keyboard (searching for the letter to press each time) and would prefer this instead to clear functions being presented visually for them to choose from. Much like real life interactions - you look at a display of fruit on a stall and select from what is available, you'd be ****ed off if the display of fruit was hidden and you'd have to type on an unrelated the name of the fruit that you'd like without knowing what is available or sometimes even what the name might actually be. It's not a great example, but applicable enough as icon imagery is there to show a user what functions or options are available and the mouse is there to make it easier for the visual link between what you want and how to get it.

      Well for those people who really struggle to adapt, mouse approach is also faster than in 7. In both cases [snip]more ranting about keyboard[/snip], you have to move the mouse to the lower left. This too is easier in Windows 8 because in Windows 7 you have to move it only so far and stop on the Start menu, so you must control your mouse movement. In 8 you just whip it to the lower left corner where it will stop by itself. Controlled movement is slower than uncontrolled movement and don't try to say that the extra few pixels travel offsets that because any honest person can try it right now (go ahead - see how fast you can move the mouse to the lower left corner compared to how fast you can move it to a small rectangle near but not at the lower left corner. And don't respond to this point until you've tried it).

      So you are recommending that a user, as in a normal person, should somehow magically know that there is a hidden function in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, clicking on which will solve all of their problems? You are quite correct about the difference between constrained and unconstrained movement, but before attacking others and suggesting that they try it, you do realise that Windows 7 works exactly the same way? Yes, you can fling the mouse into the bottom left hand corner of the screen and click on the clear visual indicator. On the "constraint" of options being a very useful tool - a set of visual function indicators gives a neat, constrained list of options and is much better than a keyboard free type search of "everything". I actually like the ability to search everything with ease, but this should be seen as a useful tool and extension, not a crutch for a unusable user interface.

      I regularly use a lot of different programs - far more than most. I counted them and the come to 27. My Start Screen has space for around fifty on the desktop machine, and around thirty-five on my old laptop. You know what that means? No navigating up and down menus carefully like the Start Menu. Which could pin a finite amount of things - I can't remember how many but it was less than the Start Screen on even my laptop. Again, it's faster and easier to whip the mouse to a large icon in the screen (and they're grouped by function too!) than it is to go to a menu option in the Start Menu, wait for the sub-menu to appear, move to the option you want, etc.

      You have very succinctly proven you exact problem. You class yourself as a "power user". Guess what? 99.999% of Windows are not power users. They don't run 27 different applications, they don't care about such things. For most users a PC is a glorified typewriter that has the advantage that it comes with Internet and Email access.

      But no, people clapped their hands over their ears and shouted "a UI designed for touch on a non-touch interface is stupid!" Never mind the facts, they'd found something to be angry about.

      A UI designed on a non-touch interface is not stupid... it's mind bogglingly fuckwit stupid. I first developed touch interfaces over ten years ago and I can assure you, it is not extremely difficult to produce a combined interface that works well with both. It does introduce a lot of restrictions and in the end you either have a restricted interface (touch) or a much less restricted interface (mouse / keyboard). The chief difficulties are that a mouse is much more accurate as the hit point is more precise and a user does not have their hand / finger in the way and a mouse has two or three standard buttons allowing consistent selection / menu actions. Not that right click menus are exactly great from the UX point of view, however they are an established standard and are a good tool for providing additional control at the point of use compared to a user having to find the same control elsewhere in menus / buttons further away from the focus of interest. The point about them not being great for users is very pertinent when you realise than a great many users just don't know that right click menus exist...

      The list of stupid objections was endless. The Start Screen would obscure what was on the page. Right - so you navigate the Start Menu without looking at it do you and without stopping from reading what you're reading in the main window? Of course you do...

      I'll give you this point, but only on the very narrow aspect of looking at a modal interface (popup window) that either covers the screen or just prevents you from using the rest of the screen without disappearing. The poor thing about the new start screen is that it is a) ugly as sin (subjective of course, and it does depend on the content), b) is a poor way to locate what you want as it's invariably full of junk, which lead onto c) removes all of the useful features that have been built up in previous incarnations of windows. Such as Most Recently Used documents and applications, pinned items, sorted items, indicators for new items and so on. It's not that the old start menu was great, it's that the new one is a functional step backwards.

      Or how about that opening a PDF would, by default, launch the Metro PDF reader causing the poor confused user into the Hell of Metro land where they would flounder helplessly. I heard that one loads of times. So switch the default app for PDFs, I'd say. It's just right-click on the file. But users wont know how to do that - they just want to read their PDF. Uh, you do know that Adobe Reader isn't part of Windows 7, right? That if the user just does it on Windows 7 it wont even open at all - just ask them if they want to install something that will read it? Uh, well, they respond. Some OEMs pre-installed Adobe Reader. Yeah, and they can do the same on Windows 8. Stop trying so hard to find things to struggle with.

      Again you're thinking about a non-average user. An average user will just hate the mind jar switch to a deficient interface and the mind jar of how to get back to where they were previously (this is mind mapping allowing a user to visualise and refer to their position within an interface - it's a key user interface point and break it and you will confuse users).

      1. sam bo

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        "you'd be ****ed off if the display of fruit was hidden and you'd have to type on an unrelated the name of the fruit that you'd like without knowing what is available or sometimes even what the name might actually be. It's not a great example,"

        Oh yes it is - that is exactly the problem I had when I got to the desktop on a win8 machine. I had absolutely no clue what progs were available or what they might be called. I have win8.1.1 and I like it with classic shell. I am in a rural location with an expensive 3g home internet service and I really don't appreciate having Modern apps downloading data constantly in the background, all modern apps have been uninstalled. As long as I keep the mouse away from the bottom right corner of the screen it is very fast and functional OS.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        Spot on!

    14. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      (and part 2)

      If you kept shooting down all these arguments eventually you'd get to the nicely indefinable ones as people got more defensive. Such as "context switching is disorientating". Oh, grow a brain! You can handle the Start Menu but the Start Screen appearing causes you context disorientation?

      See the above point about good user interfaces allowing a user to maintain their point of reference within an interface. Break this and you break the interface. It's not about "growing a brain", it's about producing a good interface in the first place. So it's not about the start screen causing disorientation in itself, it's about where you wind up afterwards in an entirely separate and dysfunctional interface.

      I'm not a genius and I seem to manage it fine.

      Please don't... I'm struggling right now with this invitation :)

      Or "it looks like a child's toy". Well you can't argue against taste so that's fine, but you can set all the panels to grey if you want. It's not a functional argument as to why 8 is objectively worse.

      I will admit that its appalling appearance is a subjective point. However the poor design's impact on usability can be objectively measured with time taken for users to find what they want and an aggregate survey of their subjective opinions.

      Oh and lets not forget the video of some chap struggling to launch IE because his son didn't tell him the very basic fact that you can get the Start Screen from clicking in the lower left - something that Windows tells you the first time you start up. Never mind that the moment he was shown this he was fine. Never mind that I could find someone who would struggle with a Fischer-Price toy and video them if I wanted to. This apparently became evidence of how flawed Windows 8 was.

      It is good evidence of a single instance of a serious flaw. A good interface should be obvious and consistent. There is no such thing as purely obvious when it comes to user interface design, however "adheres to expectations" is the closest we can get to. These are expectations such as a "button" indicates an action (not a hidden arbitrary section of a screen or a mouse right click) and that triggering these gives an indication of success (a poor design will leave the user wondering if the button they pressed worked). Consistency is where you learn something non-obvious but apply it throughout, for example you love the function of the Windows Key (I do too), however if this was removed in a later version of Windows, subverted in certain applications or drastically turned around (e.g. "Windows key now launches Internet Explorer, your portal for everything") would you be happy and appreciate this? Similarly a button with a green tick on it indicates acceptance, a button with a red cross on it indicates rejection. Simple things but without consistency they become worthless.

      I feel deeply sorry for the MS engineers. They produced something that was well-thought out, objectively improved in many areas, still had the same capabilities of its predecessors, and when it was unveiled, a large section of the IT community (who should be open to change as much as anyone), did nothing but pour hate and abuse at what they'd worked on.

      Some of the MS engineers did a great job. As in those that worked on the stability and reliability of the core Operating System, a chunk of this I suspect was removal of support for archaic hardware (VM installs of earlier versions of Windows that do not have this legacy crud are also more stable and run and boot considerably faster). Unfortunately those ultimately responsible for the User Interface (User Experience) should be taken to a dark alley and shot as a favour to humanity.

    15. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      I'm not sure whether to go with, "Lighten up, Francis," or "Calm down, Beavis," as both seem applicable.

      Anyway, there are a few points that you fail to address, ones which I've made before, and which the rabid MS fanboys can't seem to grasp:

      The main problems with the Start screen are:

      1) It is non-hierarchical; i.e., everything in creation gets splattered all over the screen. When an application installs multiple shortcuts, it's nice to have them associated with that application, not put on the top level by default.

      2) It is unsorted and unsortable. I find it logical to sort things in some kind of order, say alphabetically, automatically, without having to shuffle everything around by hand.

      3) It is hideous. This is, of course, a subjective viewpoint, but the default available color schemes are wretchedly ugly.

      Now, to address the inevitable counter-points:

      1) Yes, I know you can re-arrange icons by hand. That's fine when you have only a few applications, but I have dozens of applications with probably over a hundred icons among them. Some sort of default order is called for.

      2) I don't care whether my complaints seem like minor objections to you. They constitute a non-trivial impediment to the optimal setup of my primary workspace.

      3) I also know that you can install programs to return the Start menu to its pre-Win8 configuration. The availability of those programs does not negate the criticism of the Windows 8 Start screen; if anything, they support the criticism because they indicate that there is a significant market for the return of the old configuration.

      Apart from those points, you make repeated references to using keyboard shortcuts on a touch-screen interface. If you fail to see the irony here, you are beyond help.

      Finally:

      "Shame on the fucking lot of you."

      Bite me, fanboy.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        >>1) It is non-hierarchical; i.e., everything in creation gets splattered all over the screen. When an application installs multiple shortcuts, it's nice to have them associated with that application, not put on the top level by default.

        I addressed this in the post you replied to. I'm a power user and I typically use about twenty programs reasonably regularly. That's significantly higher than most people. That fits on even my laptop screen. On my Desktop machine, I can fit fifty. Hierarchical structure is an approach to dealing with too many things in too small a space. That's why the Start Menu has this approach - it places every single thing in the system into a small strip. Where you actually have space, then a buffet model of everything laid out to be selected, is more efficient. Provided there's not so many that you can't find what you want which brings us neatly onto:

        >>"2) It is unsorted and unsortable. I find it logical to sort things in some kind of order, say alphabetically, automatically, without having to shuffle everything around by hand."

        It isn't unsorted or unsortable. There is the structure of columns which places things in groups and installed programs do get placed in groups along a theme, normally. Some programs get dumped in the miscellaneous, but that brings us onto the "unsortable". You just drag them where you want. An incredibly simple action that has been ingrained into computer users on Windows, Macs, KDE/Gnome/Xfce for a long time. Click and drag. So yes, demonstrably sortable. Additionally, the Start Screen has a very useful division built into it. Things you frequently want and things you don't. Compare that to the kitchen sink approach of the Start Menu where it has to get super-hierarchical because everything in the entire system is crammed into that little strip on the left-hand side. The Start Screen divides according to commonly-used / rarely-used and that's much more time efficient.

        Also, all of the above and your entire case, ignores that you don't need to sort or search. You just start typing. Want Control Panel? Type 'con' and hit return. Your objection becomes a non-issue.

        Yes, you already posed some "inevitable counterpoints" in your own post, but you did so only so that you could frame them yourself and I would prefer to put them in my own words. They remain counterpoints. For example, you say you have "dozens of application". That's fine. You can fit dozens of applications in two and a half groups on the Start Screen (one block = two columns of five) which is viewable at a glance. And as I keep writing and people keep trying to find reasons to dismiss, just type. Even if you had to type six characters to narrow down a program (very, very rare), that's still faster than taking your hands away from the keyboard.

        Also, some of your "inevitable" counter-points I wouldn't dream of making. E.g. restoring the Start Menu being possible. Maybe you missed my entire post on how Windows 8 is better than the Start Menu. I don't want it back and I'm certainly not going to advocate clinging to it like a baby to its dummy to other people, either.

        market for the return of the old configuration.

        >>"Apart from those points, you make repeated references to using keyboard shortcuts on a touch-screen interface. If you fail to see the irony here, you are beyond help."

        I've never once made such a reference. The entire thrust of my argument is explicitly that Windows 8 is as good or better as Windows 7 on a non-touch screen interface. That it is better than Windows 7 on a touch screen interface is really beyond question imo, and I've never so much as touched on the subject here.

    16. Retron

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      FWIW, Windows 8 (and 8.1, and by the looks of it 8.1 update 1) has all the hallmarks of an unfinished rushjob.

      Remember the Release Preview version of Windows 8? That still had Aero Glass, translucency and didn't look like something out of the 80s. That all got swept away in the few weeks before final release, because all the gloss and shininess made laptop batteries run down slightly faster. Gee thanks, that's really comforting to see on my desktop.

      Windows 8 is an inconsistent mess. Let's see, whereas Windows 7 was pretty much consistent throughout and looked decent, we have:

      * Vista icons

      * Windows 7-style "shiny" Media Player, pretty much carried over as-is (minus DVD playing features, even if you have a codec installeD)

      * A non-shiny port of the Windows 7 Action Center, Volume etc popups on the taskbar

      * Metro-style Network popups on the taskbar, with functionality removed from the Windows 7 popup it replaced

      * Some dialogs (but not all) converted to Metro, seemingly at random (for example, "This App can't run on your PC" if you try and run a 16-bit program on x64 Windows.

      * An acknowledgement that the Start Menu should have been kept - right click on the start menu thumbnail/start button and you get essentially the Windows 95 Start Menu minus the "Programs" cascading menu. The back-end of this is a nasty registry hack-job with some shortcut files for good measure, screaming "last minute add-on".

      We still have legacy carry-overs - does Windows RT really need to bundle a copy of MS-DOS 8? I really doubt it.

      In short - Windows 8 and 8.1 are an utter mess. Hopefully Windows 9 will actually show some polish, rather than being a hacked-up jumble of UIs.

    17. ScottK

      Re: As if this will make people happy!

      @h4rm0ny

      Do you do any work on Windows servers? It is all very well to say just hit the windows key and search, but when you are trying to work in a nested RDP 2012 session where the Windows key doesn't get passed through, this is a pain. Also, the full screen context switch can be slow. When using remote sessions over crap links you want the fewest number of pixels to change as possible.

      One other thing. On my home PC I still use an ancient IBM model M keyboard as no newer keyboard has anything like the robustness or feel. It doesn't have a Windows key. This has never been an issue until now.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: As if this will make people happy!

        >>"Do you do any work on Windows servers? It is all very well to say just hit the windows key and search, but when you are trying to work in a nested RDP 2012 session where the Windows key doesn't get passed through, this is a pain"

        Very, very little. I set one up for someone once because they needed an IIS setup (I forget why), but I've got RHEL on all of my servers as I'm more familiar with GNU/Linux. Plus it's a solid set-up.

        I have started learning Powershell which I'm finding very cool. (I love how you can pipeline objects which you can't do in Bash). If the Windows key isn't passed through RDP, that must be a pain. I doubt that most of the hateful comments about the Windows 8 UI are due to frustrated Server 2012 administrators, though, I hope you will concede. Question - I thought the general intent with Server 2012 was that you remotely administer via Server Manager which is supposed to obsolete RDP, no? Have you been using that, at all?

        1. dogged

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          > If the Windows key isn't passed through RDP, that must be a pain.

          But it is passed through RDP so it isn't a pain. This is just more complaining for the sake of complaining.

          1. ScottK

            Re: As if this will make people happy!

            It isn't always passed through, especially when you are having to access a nested session (when you have to RDP to one server to be able to bounce across to another). It can also sometimes fail due to policy settings. I work with this stuff every day. It happens, don't call me a liar.

            I have worked with Windows Server OSs since NT4 and have adapted to the various changes with few issues. 2012 is the first time I have found design decisions in the interface actively hinder they way I work. It is a fantastic operating system saddled with an idiotic interface. None of the servers I use have a touch screen, so why do they get a touch UI?

        2. ScottK

          Re: As if this will make people happy!

          Yes. I use core installs, remote management and powershell. RDP is one of the tools I use, which unfortunately the new GUI makes far more difficult to use. Powershell is great for scripting things or making bulk changes, but sometimes when you just need to make a quick change under time pressure a GUI tool makes more sense instead of trying to remember the exact syntax you need for the shell.

          Some applications such as Exchange REQUIRE the GUI. You also generally need a GUI on Remote Desktop servers. It is a bit hard to tell end users that they should use powershell for everything on their RD sessions.

          Remote management is fine when handling fleets of well managed servers, but I also need to support single standalone servers at small customer sites via RDP. Their local IT person is generally not conversant with powershell and wants to use the GUI.

          The other thing with the new GUI, especially on remote desktop servers is that none of the GPOs and management practises I have developed over the years to lock down desktops work anymore. The start screen is essentially unmanagable. I cannot present selected applications to groups of users.

          I am sure some people are very happy with the new GUI. Unfortunately it makes my life more difficult. Why can't I just have the choice of how I and my users work? This is all most people are asking for.

  23. Rallicat

    I'd say that Windows 8 apps have improved dramatically over time. For example,. nothing is mentioned in this review about the mail app being drastically improved since the original 'version 1' release. by the same token, many third party apps have also come on leaps and bounds, and those that have not are simply lagging due to the lack of developer investment on behalf of that third party - not problems in the OS.

    It's also worth pointing out that there are still certain strengths to Microsoft's OS on the tablet side (since we're talking about apps it's only fair). Native (and unparalleled) multi-user capability, native split-screen app multi-tasking, file and network browsing that's pervasive throughout the OS both on desktop and in the 'Metro' environment to name but a few.

    I'll agree there is room for improvement, and the return of the start menu as well as native ModernMix style capability can't come quickly enough.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was crap on release and now its just slightly polished.

    The only good thing about Win 8 was it forced my company to go open source. Rough going for the first six months, but now its working brilliantly.

    1. earl grey Silver badge
      Joke

      Whick only goes to prove

      You actually CAN polish a turd.

  25. Seanie Ryan

    separate UI for pc or touch?

    simple, buy a mac and iPad/iphone

    I remember when windows 95 came out, and apple handed out cool stickers to all us resellers, with an Apple Logo, and the words : "Windows 95 - Been there, done that"

    http://www.mapleridgeauction.com/images/2010-01/DSC04816.JPG

    Here we are again, different UI for Desktop/Touch - did that 7 years ago!! Yes, SEVEN.

    Good man Ballmer.

    1. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      Re: separate UI for pc or touch?

      Ah, someone that actually remembers how System 7 looked like when Windows 95 came out. Indeed, Win95 was basically "pirated System 7" and even then it wasn't even an actual OS; Win95 was DOS 7.0 with a shell extension. You still had to run WIN.COM the same as it was with Win3.1 (don't mention Win3.11, that's the ME of the 3.x days) but now WIN.COM was automatically executed after config.sys and autoexec.bat so you didn't notice this. Win95 basically copied the System 7 look & feel, dumping the horrible Program Manager interface.

      Incidentally, Windows 8's Start Screen is the Program Manager revival...

  26. dddandan

    Thankfully Ballmer has gone and can take most of the blame with him - providing Windows 9 is substantially different. Considering they've struggled with consistency even in the product name (years, letters, numbers, words) I'm hoping for another total change in direction. Merge the two device's UI when it makes sense, but please don't try and turn my PC into a mobile device, or my mobile device into a PC.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Does anyone think MS as they are today are actually capable of developing a new desktop UI instead of just modifying the one which came with the previous version of Windows a bit?

      Windows 8 was a total change in direction after sitting down and thinking about the UI they wanted, showing the world, then ignoring feedback and releasing it anyway.

      Windows 8.1 and this update are incremental updates to the UI but still not really taking on board that feedback. In most cases this latest update does very little apart from re-arrange the deckchairs on the Titanic.

      They can't really design from scratch and can't really refine based on feedback. Doesn't bode well for Windows 9.

  27. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Windows 8 is just .....

    ..... becoming a lesson in someone not admitting they made a big mistake. These tweaks will never be enough especially for those of us on Win 7. And stop calling Win 8 pro ... pro. A Fisher Price interface screwing up your workflow is not professional.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Rationalization over Reality

      >>"h4rm0ny, keep on rationalizing away the complaints of life-long Windows users (such as myself). I know, I know. [...] I'm a life-long Microsoft platform developer since MS-DOS and OS/2."

      Go ahead and point out any flaws in the arguments I listed. I grant you I'm not a life-long Windows user as I started with Windows 7, but that doesn't make anything I wrote invalid. In fact, it lends support to my contention that it is difficulty / dislike in dealing with change that is the chief problem rather than anything being objectively bad. So thank you for supporting my case.

      >>Or are you just pissed that no one is buying your Metro apps, so you blame it on a frothed-up segment of Start button lovers?

      Not really. I'm about 50% management and consultancy these days but I still do a substantial amount of development work. On GNU/Linux. Again, by the way, your comment doesn't undermine anything I wrote, it's just an ad hominem. A hilariously wrong one, actually.

      1. Youngdog

        Re: Rationalization over Reality

        Dead h4rm0ny,

        While you are being so kind as to reply to correspondence could you please advise me as to the best way of informing someone with 9.2 million pixels of display running up to a dozen apps showing rapidly changing real time information that any frustration they encounter when their Desktop suddenly disappears behind a load of tiles or is obscured by a full-screen browser session is actually their own fault for not 'getting with the times' and cannot be blamed on the default behaviour of the OS.

        Ta Muchy

        Y.D.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rationalization over Reality

          @Youngdog - I assume you're describing a multi-monitor system. In multi monitor systems the active monitor is the one that the menu displays on, all others are untouched. Likewise if you load a metro app, it's only on the one that the menu was on.

          1. Youngdog

            Re: Rationalization over Reality

            Well paint me blue and call me Susan! I'VE SEEN THE LIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            oh wait - update edit. Still lose a full monitor. Not good enough sorry.

    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Rationalization over Reality

      I think I know who h4rm0ny is!

      Welcome, Mr Sinofsky. :-) And, no, we don't want your TIFKAM, thank you.

      1. Daniel B.

        Re: Rationalization over Reality

        I think I know who h4rm0ny is!

        I thought he was the anti-Eadon, formed after the original one was nuked. Maybe he possessed Sinofsky?

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Rationalization over Reality

          >>"I thought he was the anti-Eadon, formed after the original one was nuked"

          Eadon hated me. I was a GNU/Linux programmer with more experience than they had who liked Windows 7/8. I pretty much made their head explode on a daily basis.

          I'd also like to point out that I've been backing up all my arguments with reasoned and supportable points.

  29. Chris Long

    No problem

    I've been using Win 8 on my main desktop machine since November 2012 and haven't had any problems at all. I completely agree that there's no need for a touch UI on a desktop, which is why I don't have a touch-capable display and don't use any* Metro/Modern apps. I'm always completely puzzled when people complain that they've tried to use Metro apps on a desktop and found the experience to be less than satisfactory... well, duh, obviously. It's like reviewing a Land Rover and claiming it's rubbish because you drove it up the A1 in low range with all the diffs locked - obviously, that would be a bit shit, because you're doing it wrong.

    On a desktop machine, use the desktop, keyboard and mouse... on a tablet, use the touch UI. If you have a convertible, switch between the two. Don't use the wrong interface for the job you're doing.

    * The exception being Hill Climb Racer which I enjoy playing (with the keyboard) in all its 1920x1200 24" HD glory.

  30. Tom 35 Silver badge

    But users of Windows 8 on non-touch devices were in general a little less satisfied".

    A little?

    Understatement of the year.

    1. Fihart

      Re: But users of Windows 8 on non-touch devices were in general a little less satisfied".

      @Tom 35

      In big scary corporations no one dares speak openly in a way that might imply lack of loyalty. In part, this is why corporate pronouncements from concerns like Microsoft are so verbose and actually say little. And why things go wrong and everyone is scared to admit it and nothing changes.

  31. Wallyb132
    Stop

    The mistake Microsoft made was...

    The mistake Microsoft made was thinking that the whole world was ready to just ditch the traditional style non-touch keyboard/mouse computers and jump head first into using tablets and such.

    Now that they've made that mistake, they should realize that after three major attempts, now matter how hard they try, no matter how much makeup they put on the pig, in the end, its still a pig in a dress, and nobody wants to take pig to the prom, even if its in a really pretty dress.

    If they dont get win9 right, they're gonna seal their fate. The world is not ready for the single unified interface and it wont be for a long time to come. Even apple gets this, thats why OS X and iOS have different interfaces. If it was time for the single interface across all that is electronic, everyone would be doing it. Although i'm sure apple is very grateful for Microsoft doing all the market research for them. They dont have to travel this road themselves, all they have to do is pay attention to Microsoft's fuck ups.

    I expect that Win9 will be pretty good though, Microsoft has a distinct pattern with OS releases dating all the way back to windows 3/3.1 which sucked, 3.11 was pretty good. Win95/Win98 sucked, win98se was good. WinME was an abortion, Win2000 was ok but not finished, WinXP good, Vista sucked, Win7 was good, Win8/8.1 sucks, Win9 should be pretty good.

    It seems like every time Microsoft is just about to cast themselves in to the bin of uselessness, they put out an OS that works for the world and save themselves from total doom.

    Maybe now that they've got some fresh blood calling the shots they can break this every other OS sucks pattern, but that depends on how much of a sock puppet the new CEO is.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: The mistake Microsoft made was...

      "I expect that Win9 will be pretty good though, Microsoft has a distinct pattern with OS releases dating all the way back to windows 3/3.1 which sucked, 3.11 was pretty good. Win95/Win98 sucked, win98se was good. WinME was an abortion, Win2000 was ok but not finished, WinXP good, Vista sucked, Win7 was good, Win8/8.1 sucks, Win9 should be pretty good."

      Er, there's no pattern there. Firstly, WinME and Win2K are from parallel forks even in terms of marketing (developers trace the fork back to NT3.1 versus 3.11, but marketeers insist that the first version of NT was 2K). Secondly, if you feel free to combine successive releases (as in 3/3.1 and 95/98) then pretty obviously *any* history which contains good and bad releases is going to be painted as an exact alternation good-bad-good-bad... Thirdly, I find it hard to believe you ever used 3.0 in anger if you can lump it together with 3.1. 3.1 had parameter checking on APIs. 3.1 was rock solid compared to 3.0 (despite being as flaky as hell to any impartial observer). 3.11 was such a minor point release that you're the first person in years I can recall who actually flagged it up as a separate release.

      1. Wallyb132
        FAIL

        Re: The mistake Microsoft made was...

        Who ever said I used 3.0 in anger, I just simply said it sucked...

        And I know very well that WinME and Win2000 were parallel forks, one of Win95/98 one of WinNT, thats why they were listed separately.

        And your argument that Win3.1 was rock solid compared to 3.0 (despite being as flaky as hell to any impartial observer) shoots itself right in the foot, because if it was flaky as hell to the casual observer, it was flaky as hell to all observers. It was just simply flaky as hell.

        As for Win3.11 being such a minor point release. It may have been a minor point release, but at least for me it was much more stable and fixed many problems. It was as minor of a point release to Win3.1 that Win98se was to Win98.

        I appreciate your efforts, but your arguments are invalid...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The mistake Microsoft made was...

      Hold on - are you complaining about the fact that Windows 8 does have a single unified interface that the world isn't ready for, or that it doesn't have a single unified interface that the world isn't ready for?

      Windows 8 has 2 distinct interfaces, both of which are fully usable with a mouse and keyboard, but it's not hard to avoid the TIFKAM apps if they really annoy you that much.

      1. pirithous

        Re: The mistake Microsoft made was...

        It's not hard to avoid Windows 8.x if it really annoys you that much.

    3. Snapper

      Re: The mistake Microsoft made was...

      Love the 'even Apple' bit!

      Apple have carefully kept separate the Mac OS and iOS since, oh, the time the iPhone was introduced (January 2007). About the time you left kindergarten then.

  32. itscoldhere

    Who needs the pain of farting around with trying to learn how to use yet another experiment from Microsoft. Just go with the alternatives and stick to spending your time being productive instead of Googling how to do the most basic thing in the latest MS POS.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Modern and simple

    I, for one, like the Modern UI and the apps that I can use. I like the simplicity and lack of clutter and when I do need something more complex I just drop into the Desktop to get the job done.

    Gestures (on a tablet) are so natural, I find myself preferring to use my tablet to my laptop for much of my stuff now.

    I suspect Project Gemini will return some simplified apps which are quick and easy but lack the full features of their desktop counterparts, but I'm cool with that as long as the desktop counterparts are available.

  34. Simon R. Bone
    IT Angle

    Still One Question Unanswered

    For a solely desktop user what is the advantage (other than longer support time) of upgrading to 8 from 7?

    Server 2008-> 2012 yes, lots of benefit - but how is 7-> 8.1 going to improve my computing experience?

  35. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good review.

    Windows 8' schizophrenia is so disorientating that it makes me wonder whether anyone at Microsoft is actually using the shit on a daily basis!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    It was designed for tablets.

    YES, after struggling to use it: Suicide Pills!!!

  37. Daniel B.

    Meh

    So MS is either still going "la la la can't hear you" or they've already written Win8 as a loss and are re-coding Start Menu and "traditional" UI as something for Win9. Even the MS shills over at ZDNet are starting to say that MS screwed the pooch by now.

  38. JimBob42
    Alert

    Windows 8 has driven me to take the unusual step of buying an Apple MBP. OSX takes some getting used to, but it seems to work fine. I like the giant multi-touch trackpad, except for dragging stuff. There's probably a dozen more hotkeys I need to learn.

  39. Morten Bjoernsvik

    surface pro2

    I bought my wife a surface pro2 because I got an offer I could not refuse. but unfortunately she's not using it. she rather use an old netbook with XP.

    The worst thing is the desktop and the apps do not talk to each other.

    I have to use the processlist to kill apps that do not show on the desktop, and it is a resource hog.

    Better buy a standard laptop with win7. I've lost the word icon for the apps, it is in the desktop but not showing anywhere as an app.

    I have to read a book just to learn the basics, that is not needed with any other 'modern' OS.

    I run opensuse on arm on an old asus transporter T300 and it is way more mature than win81 touch.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customer issues installing Windows 8.1 upgrade ..

    'Bill Gates’s first day at work in the newly created role of technology adviser got off to a rocky start yesterday as the Microsoft founder struggled for hours to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade'

  41. DoctorNine

    Win7 and Leave the Win8 Madness

    there's no good reason to use Win8 of any stripe, unless you're a touchy pad type. For my desktops, a nice 64bit Win7 and tweaks into a classic XP interface keep my small network and the people on it both productive and in a familiar place.

    Win8 can hang. I'll not be supporting Microsoft's poor decisions with my hard-earned currency. If they want my love, they must service me according to my kinks, not theirs.

  42. Teiwaz Silver badge

    This to you article is?

    If ms are still flogging the tikfram (or whatever) ui at all it's a dead horse.

    What is required is a touch ui that can blend into a more traditional desktop/laptop ui, not something that resembles the map for shoppers in a large mall.

    For this reason, Unity and the other modern OSS user interfaces like KDE, Enlightenment or Gnome Shell are far superior.

    It's just a pity that, being either products of smaller companies or community groups that don't have the resources to rush to market a tablet/transformer device that would clearly demonstrate it's superiority.

  43. Tim Fischer

    OS/3?

    Windows 8.1 reminds me of OS/2 with the integration of Windows 95... It worked, but was readily apparent when switching between the completely separate operating systems. I have a Sony Flip 15 and it is absolutely painful to find anything without the start menu... multiple versions of SQL and Visual Studio make the icons a complete mess...

  44. Private Citizen.AU
    FAIL

    Me too! all aboard the M$ bashing

    My collection of programs (not apps) make use of the whole screen, I dont wont my GUI gatecrashing my programs just because I wandered into a corner of my desktop. I like the shutdown button, and my programs to be somewhere near a familiar start button. I like to select my gaming forces and direct them to attack the enemy hiding in the corner. Instead I end up fighting the enemy that my GUI has become.

    The way microsoft is shoving windows 8.x down our throats reminds of those IBM salespeople in red ties shooing us pesky kids away from their trade booths. They did not listen! Where are they now?

    I am up there with the rest of the desktop industry when I ask that microsoft give me back a true desktop operating system.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Me too! all aboard the M$ bashing

      " I dont wont my GUI gatecrashing my programs just because I wandered into a corner of my desktop".

      I think that's the bit that gets me most.

      Now you see it,....... etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Me too! all aboard the M$ bashing

        Funny, it's the one complaint that I see repeated that has me completely scratching my head. I have used 4 or 5 machines with Windows 8.1 installed, tablets, laptops and desktops from major manufacturers, and a couple of home built systems, and the only time I have ever seen the "Start" screen is when I explicitly press the button in the bottom left of the Desktop. I don't remember this being a problem with 8.0, either, with it's "hidden" start button.

  45. Doug Elliot

    Elephantine or not the tile interface is steadily being adopted by all systems. I like it.

  46. Who's that there?

    Microsoft have forgotten the most important aspect of any sales operation.

    The customer is always right!

    1. h4rm0ny

      >>"The customer is always right!"

      "If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse".

      --Henry Ford.

      1. Lexxy

        A faster horse

        Well yes - but you needn't be so literal - obviously you must still innovate. The customer still got their faster "horse" and Mr. Ford didn't confuse the issue by including a bundled horse with the car for legacy support on certain roads.

  47. Duke2010

    Nice

    This article is bang on.

  48. LJK

    IMO, 1 of 2 separate UIs, should be selectable on installation, or reconfiguring, touch UI with 'modern' apps or traditional UI.

    I have been using Windows 8 since it came out, since it was a very cheap way to upgrade my old Windows XP. however I use none of its 'modern' features.

    As soon as I installed it, I installed 2 other applications, 7+ Taskbar tweaker and Classic shell. With these, my W8 can look like any old flavour of Windows, so I continue to get the Windows 200 experience, although it is W8 under the hood.

    I have NEVER used any of the Modern features of W8, and never expect to unless I get a W8 tablet and I am not sure why I would ever do that, considering the alternatives.

  49. seansaysthis

    I gave up and installed classic shell

    Perhaps windows 8.1 will iron out the kinks in the original 8.0 release. I was the canary for my department as I pretty much told everyone to hold off till 8.1 or install classic shell.

    My main bug bear is windows 2012 interface being the same as a tablet to me that was a major fail.Yes I know we are supposed to be using power shell to configure our servers but sometimes you have to log into the box.

    Windows 8.0 was the first desktop i couldn't grok within a few hours and Ive used everything from windows for work groups to hp ux to mac os to gnome kde and unity including all of the variants of windows. I really felt that with windows 7 that Ms had finally nailed the desktop . Its really bad when your desktop UI makes you feel annoyed and stupid and costs you time.

    I get that the tablets needed a different UI to support touch but why did they have to foist this on desktop users. At home I'm booting linux mint with cairo dock and its just lovely.

    1. SamM-IDRC

      Re: I gave up and installed classic shell

      Agreed. The open source (and free) Classic Shell did the trick. Traditional Start Menu and boot-to-desktop. http://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/

      The only other thing I do is unhide system files/folders so I can hand-adjust the menu tree contents. I'm sure there are tweakers for that, but an old habit.

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: I gave up and installed classic shell

        Classic Shell is still free but it's no longer open source. Apparently the creator didn't like people reusing his code, which is kinda missing the point of open source.

  50. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Sums it up for me

    Just went to change some simple setting on a laptop (nontouch) with Win 8.1

    OK, I don't mind too much having to remember where they are. That's life now.

    But, having got the right screen I incautiously moved the mouse just a tad. I don't even know where exactly I moved it. It may be that the where doesn't actually matter, but that TIFKAM interpreted it as a swipe.

    Whoosh. Screen I'm working on has vanished and I'm looking at some photo APP (presumably the last thing that has been used). . Mostly it's a black screen. There is no icon to click on to take me ANYWHERE else.

    If I move the mouse to a tiny area in the top leftt corner I can get a working screen again. If I can get exactly the right place. This takes a couple of attempts, but since every machine is different I already know that it won't be exactly the same next time I go through this.

    Windows 8. It's like playing darts blindfold with your back to the dart board.

  51. pirithous

    More Lipstick on the Pig

    No matter how much lipstick Microsoft puts on the repugnant pig, every iteration of Windows 8 has a known back door with unknown functionality and unknown potential; MS can remove any application off of your computer at the flip of a switch. I decide what's on my computer and what stays, not Microsoft. I do not give Microsoft the master keys to remove things off my hard drive just because I "trust" them. Can the back door provide MS with spy functionality and allow traditional Win32 applications to be deleted? Microsoft has already been caught handing over private citizen's data to the NSA; can the backdoor be utilized by governments to break into computers running Windows 8.x? Is it an open avenue for crackers to crack the system? We don't know, because Microsoft has been very silent about this unfeature. What other unpublished nasty unfeatures does the backdoor have? Why should we trust MS as far as we can throw them? What if a dispute happens between a dev and MS, and MS decides to just pull the app because they're the ones who have the power? This should make app developers very scared, for reasons other than the app store being a total flop.

    Microsoft is exhibiting a totalitarian attitude in a very surreptitious and stealth manner over Windows 8.x, which is a feudalistic attempt to lock the whole thing down. They are doing this because they are losing market share, and they are trying as covertly as possible to trick people into accepting what is foisted upon them, without them detecting the extra control they're attempting to gain.

    Shame on Microsoft for still making Windows 8.1 Update 1 a complete piece of garbage, that will _never_ have _any_ place on _any_ of my devices.

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