back to article Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

What happens when your data sample isn’t representative of the public? We already know, for 2015 is turning out to be the year of the dodgy opinion poll. And it isn’t just politicians who are being stung. In Windows 10, Microsoft says it will hide running apps from the task bar, breaking a twenty-year-old convention which …

  1. Yugguy

    Design by Comittee!!!

    Awesome!!

    Cos that always produces the best results.

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Re: Design by Comittee!!!

      The problem regarding how to show running apps over multiple desktops was solved by XFCE years ago - with multiple monitors too. I'm sure many other Linux desktops too. Jeez, this "it's new to us so must be new to the world" attitude got old back in the W95 days.

      And we see this week the beginnings of the eventual forcing of everyone to upgrade. Upgrade they will, but not the way you think.

      I never would have thought ms themselves would fight so hard to make next year the year of Linux on the Desktop. Remember that includes Chromebooks...

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Design by Comittee!!!

        The problem regarding how to show running apps over multiple desktops was solved by XFCE years ago - with multiple monitors too

        Shrug. In my opinion, it was solved just fine by UWM nearly a decade before XFCE was a gleam in Fourdan's eye.

        But users are not homogenous and no one solution is going to please everyone. As, indeed, this article demonstrates.

    2. Preston Munchensonton
      Flame

      Re: Design by Comittee!!!

      There's nothing wrong with Design by Committee. The entirety of Microsoft's problem (and software vendors in general) is that they think that their users aren't smart enough to have user-specified options.

      Why the fuck can't they just make this a feature to toggle on or off? I'm not entirely sure when user choice was thrown away, but it gives me good-ol-day syndrome of the highest order.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Design by Comittee!!!

        "good-ol-day syndrome of the highest order."

        Enough for me to remeniss about 3.1, 95, NT4, 2K, XP

        but as it is looks like ill stick with W7 for some time to come, if i cant see what is running what's the point of a task bar :-(

        DONT get me wrong i want to upgrade to get the improved background security improvements but if the UI is too radically different im not spending time relearning all my work flows.

        OK read further posts and it seems the show on tasks bar is configurable so just have to learn how to make windows work like windows should and has for decades .

      3. jdv

        Re: Design by Comittee!!!

        From TFA:

        > Don’t worry global Taskbar fans, you can have it your way with just a settings change: Settings app > System > Multitasking > Virtual Desktops.

        1. Tromos

          Re: Design by Comittee!!!

          Settings app > System > Multitasking > Virtual Desktops.

          Of course. So obvious! (Settings > Sarcasm > Off)

          1. Naselus

            Re: Design by Comittee!!!

            Or you could, y'know, just tell Cortana to find it.

      4. veti Silver badge

        Re: Design by Comittee!!!

        @Preston Munchensonton: they are making it a feature to toggle on or off. But there's a default option.

        To criticise Microsoft, of all people, for not allowing for user choice seems about as wide of the mark as it's possible to throw, without actually tossing the missile backwards over your shoulder. There are more "user-specified options" with every version of Windows. Looking at my "Taskbar" options right now (W7), I see: "Lock the taskbar", "Auto-hide the taskbar", "Use small icons", "Taskbar location on screen", "Taskbar buttons ('Always combine, hide labels')", "Notification Area", "Preview desktop with Aero Peek". And that's just on the first tab (of three).

        And then you can get (often, free) third-party extensions to add in yet more options (e.g. the start menu in Win 8). Try adding something like that to OSX, see how far you get.

        Windows 8 tries to reduce the complexity, but it doesn't do it by taking options away - oh no. Nothing's gone. Nothing's ever gone gone. It's just hidden. For instance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Design by Comittee!!!

          My choice : do not install Cortana or Bing.

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Design by Comittee!!!

            > My choice : do not install Cortana or Bing.

            I'd prefer to have a significantly more modular MSWin, where you can elect to not install pretty much any component of the system. I have no desire to use MS Msdia Player, since I use VLC. Would prefer to skip WordPad or Notepad, since I'd probably be installing LibreOffice and Notepad++. Or, if I'm setting up a VM on my Linux systems for running some piece-of-cr*p software (yeah, I'm looking at you, TaxACT) that simply refuses to run under Wine, I'd like to have a severely striped-down install that provides just the bare minimum needed for the application to run.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Design by Comittee!!!

      Windows 8 was decidedly NOT design by committee, it was design by dictate, ignoring the users. How'd that work out?

      1. SuccessCase

        Re: Design by Comittee!!!

        "The specific problem here is quite straightforward. Normal people don’t sign up in large numbers to try out very rough alpha software, or at least not knowingly."

        The problem is consulting users to decide design choices at all. Years ago I used to do graphic design. Every now and then I would have a client sitting on my shoulder or a design would get reviewed by a marketing board or some such before it was complete. Almost every time this occurred, whenever there was a customer making decisions part way through the process, the result would be a dreadful compromise. Yet I know from experience, whenever the customer didn't have the opportunity to review work until it was complete and coherent, in general, they would prefer the work I had done. Getting understanding of user input and preferences is a good idea. In this regard, I'm pretty sure UI design will be the same as Graphic Design. Giving users power and choice during the design process is abdicating your design responsibility and a bad idea.

        Of course every now and then I would come up with a dud design and every now and then the customer would have a great idea, so I'm not being dogmatic about this; just saying that in my experience, across the large volume of work I did, I know the clients were usually happier and (ironically) preferred the result when we could keep them out of the process until a final coherent design was delivered.

        Referring to asking users what they want, Steve Jobs would quote Henry Ford. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

        The problem isn't a failure to ask normal people. It's a problem of a fear of design and abdicating design to normal people. Sinofsky didn't prove Microsoft needed to listen more, he simply proved he was a good politician and a bad designer and he lived in a political environment where the man who promised to save Windows (by welding it onto a tablet design) would survive. At Microsoft pure designer in the mould of Johnny Ive would have remained unpromoted and unloved.

        1. Nicole D.

          Yet the influence of Johnny Ive....

          "The problem isn't a failure to ask normal people. It's a problem of a fear of design and abdicating design to normal people. Sinofsky didn't prove Microsoft needed to listen more, he simply proved he was a good politician and a bad designer and he lived in a political environment where the man who promised to save Windows (by welding it onto a tablet design) would survive. At Microsoft pure designer in the mould of Johnny Ive would have remained unpromoted and unloved."

          True enough. Yet the minimalist influence of Johnny Ive is where we can trace a decision (or even an "insider" preference) to de-task the Taskbar back to.

          I don't know what portion of the customizations I've done to Windows over the last decade or more were so I could bypass Apple's influence on the UI, but I know that most of them were about un-hiding things previously visible, turning off things (like effects) that provide no benefit, or simplifying OS navigation and application use by creating more direct routes to functionality hidden safely away from my prying, end-user eyes.

          Apple's influence on UI design as been for shit. Google's may well prove worse (as it follows the same "let's hide stuff from the dummies and shove what suits our purposes down their throats" approach without even the pretense of an aesthetic rationale.) I approach each new version of Windows wondering not "Where do I want to go today," but how will I de-Mac-ify this thing to get it to run like a serious work environment should.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Design by Comittee!!!

          > The specific problem here is quite straightforward. Normal people don’t sign up in large numbers to try out very rough alpha software, or at least not knowingly.

          Whenever I'm looking at preview software (such as the MSWin10 preview I have on a scrap laptop), not only am I looking for bugs/defects (such as the Synaptics touchpad bug that will consistently crash your system as soon as you use the touchpad, http://tiny.cc/jqx2yx) but I'm also considering how my brother or the in-laws will view and use the system. And I will submit bug reports accordingly. Of course, with MSWin10, I would probably be running ClassicShell instead of the built-in "start menu", except the current release can't see the "apps" menu and various other Metro/Modern functions in the later W10 builds.

  2. MattLoren

    Avoiding people with clipboards is a very basic skill

    As a result, only the stupid, unobservant and the very slow are ever in a position to give their opinion to a pollster or fill in a survey. Heck, I'll happily cross the road to avoid someone with a clipboard. What's shocked me is that they don't regularly get everything wrong, given this indisputable observation.

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: Avoiding people with clipboards and television cameras is a very basic skill

      I will expand on that and say I also avoid people with television cameras. Many years ago when Star Wars Ep. 1 came out, I saw that piece of garbage with my brother and a friend. We came out of the movie studio and there was a lady from the local news wanting to interview us. We purposefully were trying to avoid her, but she came walking briskly toward us anyway. When she asked to interview us, all 3 of us said no and kept walking. She had the look of confusion, as if nobody has ever turned her down. The last thing I needed is my picture on TV with the words "local Star Wars fan" under it, especially that Star Wars movie.

      1. king of foo

        Re: Avoiding people with clipboards and television cameras is a very basic skill

        Sounds like you missed an opportunity to show the world your deathstarfishes.

      2. Rob Gr

        Re: Avoiding people with clipboards and television cameras is a very basic skill

        What are you talking about, I refuse to believe in the existence of more than 3 Star Wars films.

        1. Matt Devney

          Re: Avoiding people with clipboards and television cameras is a very basic skill

          Apparently, there might be a 4th film coming out this year. But that might just be a rumour. We'll know for sure on December 17th I think, when I may or may not have some kind of memory lapse. About something. I don't know. I've got a feeling of deja vu here. Can't think why. Just the three films so far anyway...

  3. Yag

    What is the difference between a "design by democracy" process with a biaised sample and the age old "design by comitee" process?

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      "What is the difference between a "design by democracy" process with a biaised sample and the age old "design by comitee" process?"

      two very important points:

      1 : The democracy do not know what day it is.

      2 : The committee knows that it is almost time for lunch.

      Conclusion:

      The democracy make decisions based solely on their ignorance whereas the committee make decisions based upon their desire for smoked salmon accompanied with a glass of Viré Clessé.

      1. WylieCoyoteUK
        Coat

        Of course the camel was the result of the horse design committee.

        Mine's the one with the hump.

        1. Ralphe Neill

          A camel is a horse designed by a committee to government specifications.

          1. Khaptain Silver badge

            The government specifications actually recommended buying three fish but the committee like fish, as mentioned above, therefore they decided that a horse would be better. They love French wine but they don't care for French horse, even when cooked "à point".

        2. Mpeler

          Mine's the one with the hump.

          Igor (from Young Frankenstein): WHAT HUMP???

    2. Charles Manning

      democracy

      Democracy is ultimately doomed because stupid people outnumber clever peoplee

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: democracy

        > Democracy is ultimately doomed because stupid people outnumber clever peoplee

        Nice touch of irony there, with the spelling of the last word ;)

        Actually I did wonder in the past about this - that half the population are below average, etc. Then I read that the distribution is such that the vast majority are of (or around) normal intelligence, so it turns out to be not as bad as I feared. However, this may be at odds with perception due to the number of complete buffoons who rise to positions of power - which is another phenomenon of its own.

  4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    A novel idea?

    How about just making it user configurable and let us have the choice for how we want our own desktops? Even down to the manga wallpaper... :)

    Or is too much choice deemed even worse than enforced choice for the poor guys who have to use the product?

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: A novel idea?

      Indeed. If your testing finds that a majority of people prefer mode X, but a significant minority prefer mode Y, you introduce a feature to switch between the two and default it to X.

    2. Radelix

      Re: A novel idea?

      It is configurable. There is a setting available to reverse the this view so all open apps are visible on all taskbars.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A novel idea?

      It is configurable.

    4. LMitchell
      Happy

      Re: A novel idea?

      From the source MS Blog post:

      "Don’t worry global Taskbar fans, you can have it your way with just a settings change"

      So apparently choice hasn't been deemed as being worse.

    5. dogged

      Re: A novel idea?

      > How about just making it user configurable and let us have the choice for how we want our own desktops? Even down to the manga wallpaper... :)

      Andrew somehow neglected to mention that in fact, it is user configurable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A novel idea?

        Yes, the trivial is configurable.

      2. Jyve

        Re: A novel idea?

        Yeah, was first wondering what the fuss was about as wasn't really mentioned WHAT was the problem until the 2nd page, and then... 'oh, yeah, you can change that setting".

        And lets be honest, how many regular users ARE going to start faffing with multi windows?

        And regular power users will already be using vdesk.exe or desktops.exe and all configured to work they way they like. (which in this case, I think MS hasn't done that good a job, nothing seems to have ever kept up with the sheer speed/configuration of the original windows nt 3.1 resource kit's vdesk.exe that only just stopped working after all these years with Windows8).

        This is a non-issue for anyone that'd use it.

    6. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: A novel idea?

      "Or is too much choice deemed even worse than enforced choice for the poor guys who have to use the product?"

      It may not be too serious for this particular decision, but as a general rule you increase the size of everyone's test matrix each time you introduce such an option. Also, only one of the options can be the default, which in many cases means that only one of them gets properly tested. On the other hand, if you do end up with a fair distribution of usage, everyone in a support role who prepares "howto" guides has to write defensively, covering all common cases.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: A novel idea?

        Also, only one of the options can be the default

        Which is just the start of the trouble with Microsoft... when some braindead "User eXperience" drone decided that hiding all the keyboard shortcuts by default, enabling intrusive animations(*) and effects by default or at one point (when Active Desktop was the latest things to push), hiding all the bloody desktop icons by default. The particularly dumb stupidity is hiding all the notification area icons by default which when coupled with a retarted timer which starts when the application with a notification area icon first thinks about showing a notification, not when the OS gets round to showing, the notification shows for about 10ms or often just long enough for you to notice it but not to get the mouse there in time and by then the icon has disappeared (because that's "helpful") so you're not even sure which application produced the notification in the first place. Twats.

        * I have nothing against animations in a GUI, just so long as they don't make the process of using the interface considerably slower than without them. Little more annoying than having a really fast PC then have the use of it slow to a crawl because every damn window and menu "needs" to animate in and out at an annoyingly slow speed.

        1. Michael Strorm

          Re: A novel idea?

          I still love the irony- or cheek!- of how in Windows XP, when you choose to turn the animated search-help characters off, rather than doing this straight away, they actually illustrate this by showing the user another animation(!) showing the dog (or whatever) running off and disappearing over the brow of the hill.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A novel idea?

      @ a. custard

      That's why I like Linux and in particular KDE. The biggest bugbear I have with windows is it's GUI seems to be designed by the Politburo.

      1. Chika

        Re: A novel idea?

        Actually KDE (and most UIs) are designed by or at the behest of a committee (or whatever you want to call them) and aren't without their detractors. The difference is that most Linux/Unix UIs are designed to sit on a pre-existing system rather than being a part of the system itself so swapping UI is possible if you want to do it.

        Goodness knows I've moaned about KDE's designs for KDE4 before this. And probably will continue to do so. But then I'm a miserable old duffer like that, really...

    8. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: A novel idea?

      > ...Even down to the manga wallpaper... :)

      Could be worse, they could be bundling Hentai wallpaper. You don't think that would be bad? Well, your grandma might see it and decide to get frisky with grandpa.... (now try to get *that* image out of your mind...)

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: A novel idea?

        "Manga Wallpaper" - really says it all.

        The people designing Win10 obviously spend too much time looking at a blank screen and not enough time actually working.

  5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  6. TRT Silver badge

    You can't please all of the people all of the time...

    But you can allow shit like that to be customisable, something Apple seem to have forgotten with it's non-skrewymorphic updates and default full-screen green button etc etc.

    Microsoft's Windows 8 removal of the Big Friendly Button is another thing that could have been left up to the user to choose - it's not like it's any more work because they ended up putting it, or at least a version of it, back. I accept that if you allow every version of a desktop to spawn a new stream that needs to be coded for in future updates, then it could get out of hand, but forced changes like they have done in the past... I was left floundering the other day over an Excel question because the menu bar has been replaced by an icon filled ribbon that mutates depending on how you use the program - a disaster when you're trying to guide someone over the phone towards a particular function.

  7. Adam Jarvis

    Why call the July release 'Windows 10'?

    I'd say it needs a lot more time, best to go by the Telemetry data; Microsoft Feedback programme hasn't suddenly dropped to a few whispers, now has it - in terms of numbers.

    I'm sure Microsoft would be shouting that from the rafters, if they had.

    Like Windows 8 they had a date for release, and this (Windows 10) seems exactly the same methodology, get it out the door, patch later.

    What seems daft is naming the July build 'Windows 10', because if its free/or with special discounts for 12 months there is absolutely no need to officially name it 'Windows 10' (the name that could stick/be associated to a bad first release) during the launch period.

    Much better, giving it a much softer, but more robust (over time) launch. Calling it officially Windows 10 in Jul/Aug 2016, when discounts end, seems more sensible given its current build state.

    Its different to Windows 8 in this regard as that was a charged upgrade from the start.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: given its current build state

      They're supposedly working on a rapid update development cycle, so troublesome features should get fixed a lot quicker than MSFT users are used to - no waiting for service packs, no bugfix-only policy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: given its current build state

        "They're supposedly working on a rapid update development cycle, so troublesome features should get fixed a lot quicker than MSFT users are used to - no waiting for service packs, no bugfix-only policy."

        They're supposedly working on a rapid update development cycle, so troublesome features should get introduced a lot quicker than MSFT users are used to - no waiting for service packs, no bugfix-only policy.

    2. DanceMan

      Re: Why call the July release 'Windows 10'?

      Because they need a new name to get rid of the stink of "Windows 8."

    3. Richard 81

      Re: Why call the July release 'Windows 10'?

      Since they've said something like "Windows 10 will be the last version", with any subsequent changes taking the form of incremental patches rather than discrete service packs or full releases, why don't they just go the whole hog and just call it "Windows"?

    4. Chika
      Happy

      Re: Why call the July release 'Windows 10'?

      What seems daft is naming the July build 'Windows 10', because if its free/or with special discounts for 12 months there is absolutely no need to officially name it 'Windows 10' (the name that could stick/be associated to a bad first release) during the launch period.

      This seems to be an excellent idea for a comp! Anyone want to come up with an idea for an alternative name for Windows 10? (Hey, I did my part with "Windows as a Disservice"! It's somebody else's turn!)

  8. Squander Two

    Hmm.

    The problem isn’t the decision per se, but that it was taken on shaky evidence. Microsoft stressed to me recently that Insider Preview feedback is just one part of the input into a decision.

    Bit of a non-story, this, then, really.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows is UX Cubism

    Having recently been forced to do some Windows 7 tech support after last having used XP, I am still recovering from the experience.

    The laptop belonged to an 80 year old woman, who used the machine for 3 things - Facebook, Skype, and Yahoo mail.

    I was instructed to make the computer stop "acting crazy" - and as I sat down to see what was going on, she said the first thing is figure out why she can't touch the screen without it "messing up the desktop" - I discovered the screen was actually touch sensitive, and this was interfering with her being able to point to the text on the screen as she read it, or point to pictures on Facebook she was showing her friends.

    I had to google how to disable the touch screen, and marveled at what that feature must have added to the manufacturing cost, only to have it disabled because it was useless. It emerged that she had paid a previous tech to erase Metro and install Windows 7, she said Metro didn't work.

    Next, I was instructed to move Word from an old laptop to this one, which I informed her was not possible without the install media, and she refused to pay for another license since she had already paid for the previous one, and the old laptop was going to be recycled - I suggested I could download Office from a torrent site and she heartily agreed - all old people seem to have more understanding of torrent sites than I do.

    Finally the last bit of craziness was the way the task manager would flip up the applications as you Alt-Tab through the running applications, as opposed to XP where it shows you a list of the running applications but doesn't actually switch to them until you release the keys - I could not for the life of me change the behavior so I assumed it was baked into Windows 7.

    The Start button was baffling too, instead of just snapping up a list of applications, it would come up blank with a search box, and you had to type the name of the application - sometimes if you waited long enough the list would populate, but they seemed to be following some sort of obscure algorithm that determined what was shown there.

    In summary, it is obvious the user interface is the product of thousands of people putting in their two cents, punctuated with a few design tyrants pulling large swaths of alternate UX philosophies into the mix, resulting in a Cubist morass that tries to be all things to all people and resulting in something that transcends logic, perspective, beauty, and predictability.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Windows is UX Cubism

      If everyone puts their two cents into, say, an old sock, you get a very effective cosh with which to smack people over the head leaving them dazed, confused and in need of (chargeable) professional assistance.

      Befuddlement as a service, it's the way forwards.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows is UX Cubism

      In summary, it is obvious that grouchy 80 year olds and laptops don't mix well. This is true in clubs as well.

    3. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Windows is UX Cubism

      Wow - whoever explained / trained her in using Windows 8 was terrible. I have entirely the opposite experience having installed it for another 80+ year old. She loves Windows 8 and I get far fewer requests for help than I ever did. You just need to configure it right.Give them a big screen with a few large images and voila they know where they are going.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Windows is UX Cubism

        "You just need to configure it right"

        Agree, however this takes time and understanding of the OS, user and application suite installed, a task that is ideally suited to having a Wizard to assist with, shame MS forgot to include one.

    4. Archaon

      Re: Windows is UX Cubism

      A befuddled tech trying to fix a befuddled computer being used by a befuddled elderly lady.

      Just...wow.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows is UX Cubism

      I hope you have "recovered" from this terrible nightmare. It must have been very awful being "forced" to deliver Win 7 support. Who forced you by the way? Were you paid to provide this support? If so, you should give the money back.

      When you were asked to move office from one machine to another, why did you torrent a (presumably illegal cracked) copy of office? ISOs are available to download from Microsoft (for free) provided you have a valid licence code. Microsoft will even reset the activation code if you are told you have used it too many times.

      I am impressed (though you probably shouldn't be) that it seemed to you that "old people" have more understanding of torrents than you do. It is just a shame that her adavnced understanding of peer to peer file sharing was not mirrored by a knowledge of touchscreens (what is this magic??? the computer goes "crazy" everytime I touch the screen).

      A helpful hint for you which should help you the next time you are "forced" to support a Win 7 user. The "All Programs" selection in the start menu will show you........A list of programs.

      I hope you recover soon.

  10. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Democracy?

    "but like real democracy, it only works if every person has one vote"

    That aspect appeals to the idea of fairness - that the robber barons, etc, don't get to dictate over the views of the proletariat by virtue of money or connections.

    But the problem with democracy in practice is the same as MS has, the voters are often ill-informed or idiots, and the choices they have have been pre-selected by a few with vested interests.

    However, it should also be stressed that GUI stupidity is not a MS exclusive, as we see various flavours of Linux desktops, browsers like Chrome and Firefox, and the anointed "master" of GUI design Apple all pushing unwanted and/or ugly and/or irritating changes our on long suffering users.

    Really what a lot of people don't want is just that - change for no good reason (as they see it). Would I be so pissed off with the Office ribbon if there was a small config option to put the menus back as they were? No. Same for changes Gnome has made, etc.

    1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Gimp

      Re: Democracy?

      Real democracy works by *not* giving every person a vote. Children, prisoners, slaves, immigrants and women don't get to vote (OK, in some countries women can now vote and some even abolished slavery). In some countries only wealthy taxpayers got to vote. The Insider program is real democracy: the people who count do vote and they get to convince their fellow lusers that the right decision was made.

    2. ADRM

      Re: Democracy?

      http://www.ubit.ch/software/ubitmenu-languages/

      I have used this since the ribbon came out. It is a life saver for the occasional office user who wants to get something done. It is free for home use and really cheap for company use.

  11. Graham Marsden
    Facepalm

    So...

    ... Microsoft *also* think that First Past the Post gives a valid and representational result of what people want...

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: So...

      Proportional representation needs a floating point unit, and we all know how dodgy they can be at times.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So...

        1993.999987 called, it wants its FDIV joke back...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: So...

          *boom tish*

          1. Chika
            Unhappy

            Re: So...

            Somebody exploded my tish!

  12. bigtimehustler

    Having used various OS's that employ virtual desktops, I don't really think this is going to be an issue. If you don't see a program running then it is either in a different virtual desktop, in which case you can just take a quick glance at them to be sure or it really isn't running. How often do you forget which apps you have open? And if you have forgotten and open a new one, is that the end of the world?

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: Having used various ... virtual desktops

      I think perhaps part of the perceived problem is that MSFT users on the whole haven't been exposed to the concept of virtual desktops, and they're just going to wonder where their running apps have gone.

    2. Radelix

      Normally I would agree. I'm more concerned with persons who magically manage to create a new desktop and wonder where all their apps that they had open went. Luckily a quick explanation of ctrl + Win + L arrow or crtl + Win + D should resolve it...once I explain that yes they hold down the first 2 keys then tap the 3rd, what the win key looks like (yes, I do work in IT for an engineering company), get frustrated, remote in and do it myself, finally going to my calendar to schedule a beating for the GPO guy for not reversing this setting.

      I the not normal tech person really like virtual desktops, not sure I have the fortitude yet to support it.

      1. ZippedyDooDah
        Joke

        Leave that Postman alone

        "schedule a beating for the GPO guy for not reversing this setting"

        People blame Royal Mail for all sorts but beating up the Postie for not reversing settings is a bit extreme.

    3. Squander Two

      Quite. People who can't figure this out are mainly going to be people who wouldn't use multiple virtual desktops anyway, aren't they? And yes, opening a second instance of an app doesn't matter, assuming Windows 10 will manage memory as well as Windows 8 does.

    4. John Sanders
      Linux

      So funny

      Me on the other hand always envied how in windows everything is (was) always visible.

      There are three things in the Windows desktop which I always have considered genius.

      1) Double click in the tittle of a window maximizes.

      2) Graphical applications are always shown in the task bar.

      3) Graphical applications can be easily switched on & off via alt+tab

      I grew up with the computers and terminals of the 80's those are really great and innovative ideas, I do not know if MS came with them first, but it was Win95 that gave them universal exposure.

      They are like the keyboard and mouse almost perfect, over 30 years very little of utility has been introduced in those that has had any real usefulness, barely some refinements like using more than one screen.

      For me a work-sane graphical desktop has to have those three.

      I do not use/refuse Macs because it doesn't do them, I can not use Gnome 3 for the same reasons, I can still use Win 8.1 even not liking it because it still does those.

      I can use any Linux desktop where I can have these and a terminal. (Currently I'm a XFCE fan)

      Can a better form of graphical input be designed/created? Its not impossible, but I believe it will not happen for the time being, we'll have specialized input controllers like a tablet, joystick, etc like we have had for a long time but that's about it.

      if MS was clever IMHO they will leave that alone, but seeing what they did to menus in modern Windows I'm not entirely convinced they would.

      1. ceebee

        Re: So funny

        Let me start by saying I find Windows 10's UI ugly ... I detest the flat look ..makes me think of 1989 and Windows 2.

        Bot onwards.. many of the graphical UI ideas we take for granted come out of the famous Palo Aalto experiments by Xerox and the work done at Apple in the development of Lisa and the Macintosh and from Unix X window managers.

        The spatial file browser, windowing (yes windows come from that fruit company.. developed to solve the problem of small screens of the day) etc.

        Your three UI elements are present in the Mac by the way. The dock show running items in OSX and prior to OSX a menu displayed running apps. And Apple copied Alt+Tab from Windows.

        Double clicking title bars minimises Mac windows too.

        Windows95 's taskbar is the development of the Windows 3 minimised icon model which showed running apps on the desktop. I have to say it remains an inspired design choice.

        Windows 8 made major changes to basic concepts and hid elements in stupid ways. It was rightly criticised for that.

        But for me the serious failings in Windows 10 (if they may be considered as such) are the loss of functions ... no Media Centre and no DVD player? Huh? Was Microsoft having a bad hair day or something?

        But then i haven't forgiven for the mess known as the Windows Explorer in Windows 7.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So funny

          No media centre or DVD player? Good!

          Usual Windows media experience is:

          1. Click on media thing

          2. Clanking and whirring as ugly feature-poor Microsoft app lurches into life.

          3. Ugly feature--poor Microsoft app bitches that it cannot handle the media thing and offers to begin long-winded, tedious and unsuccessful process of finding a Microsoft fix.

          4. Install VLC.

          1. Archaon

            Re: So funny

            Largely agree but calling the "Microsoft app" ugly when comparing to the default appearance of VLC (which looks like it's from 1998) is a little ironic, don't you think?

            1. Chika

              Re: So funny

              Generally, I'm more interested in what appears inside VLC rather than what it looks like as an application.

        2. Test Man

          Re: So funny

          "But for me the serious failings in Windows 10 (if they may be considered as such) are the loss of functions ... no Media Centre and no DVD player? Huh? Was Microsoft having a bad hair day or something?"

          Clearly you must be smoking something. DVD playback was removed in Windows 8, but virtually no one missed it because the ones that did already had software that does it provided to them by the OEM, which has been the case since forever.

          From a business point of view it made sense, because paying the MPEG-2 licence for every single copy of Windows was silly.

          As for Media Center, it's hardly a serious failing, barely anyone used it.

        3. TRT Silver badge

          Re: So funny

          Now if Apple stole the side-by-side view of Windows 7... Joy! That's the one feature that I love about Windows.

        4. Rob Gr

          Re: So funny

          "yes windows come from that fruit company.. developed to solve the problem of small screens of the day"

          Er.. no they don't. Windows come from Xerox Parc.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_graphical_user_interface

  13. John Sanders
    Meh

    ""After the years of the Sinofsky rampage, which via Windows 8 forced drastic changes on to users, Microsoft felt it needed to be more of a listening company. Windows Insider was a “listening exercise”. It showed Microsoft now cared much more about the user experience; design could be democratic.""

    Once again, nothing has changed at MS, all is a pure PR exercise, Sinofsky did what Gates and Ballmer told him to do, the hate towards Sinofsky has to do with the fact that he didn't manage to change windows sufficiently and fast enough to get quick to market with a tablet that worked and in the process of renewing the interface he broke many cups (he let people see the seams).

    Windows 10 will be what you see here now just with some differences, much of what you find lacking will most surely be lacking by launch time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sinofsky presumably gets a lot of credit for Windows 7, the highpoint of Windows. It is my all-time favourite OS (and I am also a long-time Linux user, and by choice). I find Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10 generally appalling! Not sure what to think about Sinofsky. Maybe he doesn't really exist! Maybe he's a bit fucked up.

  14. Stephen Leslie
    Go

    Windows 10 is neat and tidy

    Windows 10 probably is not the Longhorn vision of Wiz-Bang, but at first glance it's relatively neat and tidy, albeit rather low key.

    I like it .. it will do its job .. so .. I will be putting it on some of the machines around here.

  15. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    Will it be like my phone?

    And have several apps running in the background for no apparent reason or utility (to me).

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Will it be like my phone?

      And have several apps running in the background for no apparent reason or utility (to me).

      No, it'll be like previous versions of windows where there will be lots of apps running in the background for no apparent reason or utility (to you).

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Will it be like my phone?

        It'll be like your phone and go off when you're trying to have sex. And it's no fun when the screen goes blank when you're trying to have ...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's absolutely no point having several workspaces, if the taskbar stays as crowded as it was when everything was running in a single workspace.

    Obviously the author of the article gets pretty worked up about how M$ came to this design choice, because he doesn't seem to like it much.

    Maybe they haven't asked enough people from a group representative of their typical customers, but nonetheless, this - for once - was exactly the right decision to make.

    (Comparing it to manga wallpapers and Metro is a bit far fetched, really.)

    Maybe the author should get in touch with M$ and ask them to add a tickbox to alter the way the taskbar works, as it seems easy enough for small groups to influence them... according to the article.

    1. 420Penguin

      When I shift workspaces in Linux the taskbar represents what applications are active in that particular workspace.

    2. Squander Two

      > Obviously the author of the article gets pretty worked up about how M$ came to this design choice, because he doesn't seem to like it much.

      It's worse than that. Orlowski gets worked up about how they made the design choice even though he says he actually has no problem with the design choice itself:

      I think in this case, most Windows 10 users will be actually able to cope just fine. ... The problem isn’t the decision per se

      He then claims that this criterion for making design choices outweighs any other criteria MS may have:

      Microsoft stressed to me recently that Insider Preview feedback is just one part of the input into a decision. It still runs qualitative UX feedback sessions, too. But Gabe Aul has just demonstrated what really counts.

      He quotes as evidence Gabe Aul saying this:

      "We also observed that users are 34 per cent more likely to be strongly satisfied with the filtered Taskbar and three times less likely to be strongly dissatisfied compared to the global task bar."

      ... but chooses not to continue quoting Gabe Aul, just two sentences later, saying this:

      The Taskbar will be filtered by default starting with this flight. Don’t worry global Taskbar fans, you can have it your way with just a settings change: Settings app > System > Multitasking > Virtual Desktops.

      ... which rather undermines Orlowski's whole argument. This is barely even a design decision: the design decision was made back when MS were designing both versions of the taskbar and the ability to switch between them. This is merely a decision about whether a particular setting is on or off by default. Both options have plenty of pros and cons and are going to disappoint as many people as they please, so this is exactly the kind of thing where probably the two best ways to make the decision are asking a bunch of users or flipping a coin. Orlowski's extrapolation from this one trivial instance to his claim that Insider Preview feedback always outweighs qualitative UX feedback just doesn't hold water. I would be astounded if every single aspect of the UI has been designed this way, and Orlowski offers no evidence to persuade me.

      Orlowski's actually one of my favourite journalists, and this piece makes a good point about bad sampling of demographics. But, as for the rest of it... well, perhaps he was having an off day.

  17. Dan Paul

    Government by committee..........

    is just another way to describe CLUSTERF@CK!!!!!!

    If even half the money that gets directed to marketing could be diverted to the programming side, much of this could go away.

    Say what you will but the old dictatorial "Lead, Follow, or get "Out of my way" method of years long since past is a better way of doing most everything in Business and Politics.

    The new "touchy/feely" "Everybody Wins a Trophy" methods ONLY PRODUCE CRAP!

    1. Squander Two

      Just wondering

      How did you feel about Windows 8? That MS were right to forge ahead with their own path or that they should have listened more to users like you?

  18. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    Was it Ben Franklin

    who commented that democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on lunch ?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another "innovation" failure

    Hmmm, now the market researchers made redundant because "we're crowdsourcing this bad boy" will know how the developers of last decade who saw their jobs go offshore felt.

    Where's the Pastor Niemoller des nos jours ?

  20. Erik4872

    I think they're at least trying

    I've been signed up for the preview since the beginning, simply because I like the under-the-hood enhancements Windows 8 made, but hated the user interface. I still hate the Modern UI or whatever they're calling it now, but it's been toned down to a reasonable level that I can live with. And Apple knows all, so if they flatified their OS, it must be right. :-)

    One of the nice things about this is to see whether or not this new OS will be a good fit for all the users in our organization who will be Windows 7 upgraders. I am very unhappy with the fact that Microsoft still doesn't seem to want to include advanced theme support in the OS. My feeling has always been this -- disable all the UI elements you want by default, but leave the hooks in to turn the classic themes back on. Unfortunately, since they also want this to run on phones, we are going to get a phone user interface whether we like it or not.

    It is very strange watching the Windows Feedback on this go back and forth -- Aero and theme support!! No Aero!!! Bring back Windows Classic!!! Soliciting input from users that aren't part of some focus group is a good thing, and a big change from the way Windows 8 seemed to be built up. But it can sure result in a lot of confusion.

  21. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    I joked with Microsoft that the release would include manga wallpaper. After all, that reflects the Insiders' tastes pretty well.

    I hate to say it, but ALL of the tech is determined by the "Insiders". The fact that a "Start Button" has become lore and part of the expectation does not mean it comes from "Outsiders" or is a good idea.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aren't the people likely to confused by a filtered task bar exactly the kind of people who won't use virtual desktops anyway?

    Given all the stick Microsoft got for not listening in Windows 8 I'd have thought people would be happier with *any* feedback going in!

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      WTF?

      @AC

      GIGO...Heard of it?

  23. breakfast
    Joke

    X position

    "Windows 10" is a bit of a cumbersome title, perhaps they could go for something a bit more classy, maybe a Roman numeral?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: X position

      Windex?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: X position

        Now now... no smears.

  24. DubiousMind

    Don't ask the user!

    Before the invention of the car, when asked what the people wanted, they said 'more horses'!

    1. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Don't ask the user!

      Difference is that at the time while people understood the reliable horses, cars were seen as complicated and unreliable.

      Most of the time all we need is the same we have with the defects we appreciate corrected.

      To be honest that's what the majority of people want.

      In the words of someone not technical I helped recently moving from Android 4.4 to Lollipop:

      "Why the fuck did they have to change the way quiet works? I missed my alarms this morning"

      There you have it.

    2. Vic

      Re: Don't ask the user!

      Before the invention of the car, when asked what the people wanted, they said 'more horses'!

      Since the invention of the car, what many of us want is more horses. I've got about 120 at present - but it's never enough...

      Vic.

      1. Thecowking

        Re: Don't ask the user!

        That's not what people said when they tried adding more horses to lasagne!

  25. AegisPrime
    FAIL

    I totally agree - like it or loathe it, Windows 8 was at least a focussed piece of design (and a lot of good came out of that in the phone space). I'm so on the fence about Windows 10 - the new start menu is next to useless (yes, you can pin whatever you like in the tiles but the left hand side *only shows recently used* - you can't customize it in any way - the Win 8.1 Start screen is actually way more useful albeit twice as ugly in Win 10).

    The sloppy attempt to modernize control panels still hasn't been completed in 10 leaving Win 7 users equally alienated and Win 8.1 users wondering where the heck everything went. Microsoft is pushing cloud logins even harder in Win 10 with even more of the bundled apps effectively unusable unless you switch to a Microsoft ID. There's some good stuff in there too but whilst I was an early adopter of XP, Vista, 7 and 8 - Windows 10 feels like the most mismanaged of the bunch to me. I hope come launch day my reservations prove unfounded but even so, I doubt I'll be upgrading for some time in that first year.

  26. nilfs2
    Holmes

    Important polls are rigged, specially political ones

    The party leading the poll will get more bribes and money for campaign, you just have to bribe the poll makers to ask only the right people to get the results on your side.

  27. tekHedd

    My god, that shirt...

    Blue is not his color. Just saying.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " self-selecting “Insiders”" and "Fanbois"

    I confess to the former appelation, but not the latter. I signed up to the Insider thing to see what Microsoft were intending, and to make use of some spare cores on my laptop (with VirtualBox).

    I've been very critical (both here and via the feedback app) of features that I think are just crap.

    I sure as hell ain't a fanboi and, judging by some of the comments on the Insider forums, there's a lot of others like me.

    On this issue, it seems that what they are planning is to not put icons for open applications from all workspaces on the one taskbar. As long as the taskbar clearly shows the open applications for the workspace currently being displayed, then it seems sensible.

  29. jason 7

    The issue is...

    ....from what I see of run of the mill customers.

    Is that all new stuff should look and work exactly the same as all the previous old stuff.

    However, this ONLY applies to Windows and NOTHING else in the entire world apparently.

    Now in the real world IMO Windows 8 only differed from previous windows UIs by say 25% (no Start and the Start Screen mainly) but that was enough to send everyone into frothing anger.

    Stuff changes in 11+ years I had to keep telling people. Are all the buttons and switches in your new car or TV in the same place as the previous one? Nope, but did you rage quit with it at the dealers just as you opened the car door? "F*ck this Climate system crap! I'm off to Audi!"

    However, most people, when they realised that things change over time, were a bit more accepting.

    "Well I suppose you are right!"

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: The issue is...

      Thing is, when I get into *any* car built in the last sixty years or so, the *important* controls are in the same place. The big round thing with which I steer is not hung from the steering; the pedals aren't on the passenger side and are always in the same order. Even if I get into a car with the steering on the other side, things are still relatively the same.

      Sure, when you do something *different*, by all means change the interface. But ask yourself why the qwerty keyboard is everywhere: it's not because it's necessarily the best layout, but because everyone knows how to poke it.

    2. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: The issue is...

      Your argument doesn't fly too far.

      Compare XP vs 7 they are different, but work the same.

      Car dashboards may be different, but all cars handle more or less the same.

      Good luck selling a car that behaves like a car but it is operated with the controls of an excavator.

      Good luck really.... (Gosh now I want to drive one of those...)

    3. iranu

      Re: The issue is...

      Does your car have a wheel to steer it and where is it located?

      Does your car have a pedal to make it go faster and where is it located?

      Does your car have a pedal to make it go slower and where is it located?

      Is the button to turn your radio on hidden under the passenger back seat?

      Where is your car's speedometer located?

      Do you have to open the boot and pull out the space saver to access the knob that turns your car headlights on? If not where is the knob/lever located?

  30. 420Penguin
    FAIL

    Insider here

    I've been testing Windows 10 from day one, mainly out of curiosity of how the process will play out. I've made feedback comments about lack of utility/customizability of the new start menu and some networking problems I've discovered. I was amazed at the silly things people brought up when I read the tester feedback! Very little about real problems and lots of stuff about superficial fluff, or comments like, "Thank you Microsoft for letting us test the new Windows!". Obviously most of these "testers" have never filed a real bug report.

    Microsoft has spent an inordinate amount of time on the look of Windows 10, moving buttons around. It has not fixed important underlying problems, like when you log in with a Microsoft online account your ability to see and connect to other computers/shares on the network go away. (Maybe this is intentional, forcing you to do all your file sharing in their cloud at some cost-per-GB.) Microsoft hiding the ability to create local accounts (that do work with local networking) does seem to be an issue that was often mentioned in feedback (using their cloud and many apps require you to change to a Microsoft online account, which destroys local networking). What's going to show up on July 29 is going to be one big mess!

    1. Epobirs

      Re: Insider here

      Or... something is strange about your setup, because I have no such problem in my household network involving multiple NAS boxes and and PCs, nor have I seen it in two other locations testing Windows 10. Are you experiencing this in a domain managed network or a simple LAN?

      1. 420Penguin

        Re: Insider here

        I have a mix of Windows 7, Linux Mint, and NAS4Free boxes as well as the Win 10 tester in a workgroup LAN. Everything can see everything else. All PCs used local logins including the Windows 10 box, and everything was visible and accessible. I tried an app on W10 that required me to create/use a Microsoft account. I used my old Hotmail account and W10 changed my computer login from local to a Microsoft account (not just for the app!) When my account type changed I lost the ability to see and connect to anything beyond the W10 box, including mapping a drive. (I also lost my files from the local account!) Without seeing other machines I was not even offered the alternate account login capability that I've always had with Windows, or any other OS I've used. Perhaps I would be able to see shares on another W10 box, but I did not have that set up to test. It looks like it "lock-in time" again!

        1. John P

          Re: Insider here

          I think what you probably needed to do was link your local account to a Microsoft account, thereby getting the best of both worlds as you still log in to your PC with your local account, but the Microsoft account is there for applications that need it. I do this on my machine at home and my domain-joined machines at work and have never had any problems.

  31. Epobirs

    Much ado about nothing

    This only applies to multiple desktops, a feature which will be used by a small fraction of the overall installed base. Seeing as the Insider group represents a generally more sophisticated set of users who care about features much of the general public finds obscure, that sample was actually a fairly valid way to decide on the matter. You cannot even put the question to the great majority of computer users, as the answer will simply be "Wha?"

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    maths?

    In the UK apparently you have to pass GSCE Maths to get anywhere... yet, no-one ever seems to notice that asking maybe 100 people a question and then extrapolating it to 60,000,000 may have something called a "margin or error".....

    I actually enjoy adverts for beauty products now, first they introduce whole new words to the language and then they say 90% of people love it....followed by really small print saying "but we only asked 87 people"... (and at least 3 of them said f**k off).

    I am a old jaded computer guy of 37 (yeah, i served 3 tours on win95, but i don't want to talk about it) and there is exactly nothing MS can say about any windows that is more believable than your average politician...

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: maths?

      GCSE Maths won't help you with that. For starters, you should be thinking about the separate GCSE in statistics that far fewer people actually take. Even with that under your belt, remember that Feynman described science as the history of us learning how not to fool ourselves (or something like that) and Ben Goldacre has carved out a second career blogging about how even the best medical researchers still have to work hard to get genuine results out of their experiments.

      On the other hand, asking the crowd to design a user interface was never likely to be any more successful than asking them to design an aeroplane. A UI is a machine to translate user intent into software commands. If you get it wrong, it is "bad", not "ugly". UI design should be left to engineers who have actually read up on the research in this area (of which there is plenty).

  33. Bucky 2

    So, to summarize....

    Some self-styled "insiders" tested an option Microsoft was kicking around, and demonstrated a minor preference for it.

    They didn't spend a great deal of money producing a statistically valid evaluation of how much people might or might not like it. On the other hand, the option can be flicked on or off at the whim of the user.

    I'm trying to wrap my mind around the problem here.

  34. bomyne

    Or how about... giving people a choice of how they want THEIR operating system to function?

    OMG, No way! Choice! Microsoft's arch-nemesis!

    What Windows could do with is the ability to use third party desktop environments, similar to how Linux works and how Windows 9x and earlier worked. Don't like Explorer/Metro but still want to use Windows? Just change out your desktop environment.

    1. Dan Paul

      It DOES work that way...

      It's called a "Shell", something that has been around since Windows 98 or perhaps before.

      It makes Windows look like a completely different program. It can even change the way Explorer looks and acts. Usually affects the dll files.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: It DOES work that way...

        And ?

        In Linux, even though I am almost a complete n00b on the subject, even I know that you can choose which UI you want if the current one is not to your liking.

        I would really like you to show me a site where I can download different Windows shells and try them out as I please.

        Actually, scratch that. If that was in any way allowed (note : I did not say possible) then all that hoopla around The Interface Formerly Known As Metro would have been but a footnote in Win8 history.

        1. Pookietoo

          Re: "I would really like you to show me a site ..."

          Here you go then. Or here.

          How do you think the various Windows 8 Start Menu modifications work, if you can't mess with the UI?

  35. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    Is it evil? Is it stupid? Yes, it's Microsoft!

    Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Superman. NOT Microsoft.

    Actually, it's possible that MS isn't as evil as they used to be. It is possible they have enough money. ROFLMAO.

    Another logical paradox. Anyone who gets that kind of giant money WANTS the money and will NEVER have enough of it.

    Different paradox here. MS marketing people have noticed that people like choice. It's that whole stupid freedom thing of meaningful options without coercion. The problem is that MS lives by coercion and fake choice. This is why they are so confused. The only choices they (barely) want to offer are fake and meaningless choices, like the desktop wallpaper.

    Monolithic thinking. Perhaps the natural outcome of a philosophy that is driven by the single metric of money? Companies are NOT people, my friend in a flying pig's eye.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UIs are irrelevant

    Really, they are. Every new version of Windows has had some (many) failings.

    Except NT 4.0, that was perfection.

    But I digress. Shortcomings in Windows interfaces have spawned a cottage industry in Annoyances books, 3rd party add-ons and sometimes frightening registry hacks. Windows 10 will be no different.

    Instead of jumping on the bandwagon and concentrating on the superficial, it would be refreshing if someone -- anyone -- were to take a closer look at what, if anything, has changed below the surface. Maybe advances in system management, security or multimedia handling.

    As I sit here brooding over the last 3 Windows machines in the house (everything else has been either converted to or built from scratch with Linux or FreeBSD), what I really want to know is if I should just bite the bullet and upgrade from 7 to 10 and be done with it. An educated guess is that I should, just as I will soon upgrade from Fedora 21 to 22 and recently to the latest pfSense.

    What does anyone else think?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      So I take it that you think the Ribbon is superficial ?

      Well I have to say, given the amount of comments I have personally had in the last 4 years as a trainer, there is a chance you may be in the minority on that point.

      Especially when confronted to people who know Office 2000 shortcuts by muscle memory and feel that Office 2013 is literally pulling the rug of productivity from under their feet.

      In any case, I have to say that I find all this new UI stuff very amusing in light of the fact that, back in 1996 when I was studying to become a Lotus Notes consultant, we were - in all seriousness - given a copy of a report emanating from Microsoft on the importance of the UI and its stability.

      One of the most important points was that, if a menu was more than 3 layers deep, you needed to rethink the menu structure. Three was the maximum admissible. Then there was the color conventions, with alerts to the fact that different cultures viewed alert colors different (red does not always mean danger in every part of the world).

      I have the feeling that Microsoft has lost this report. If they need a copy, they should ask me.

  37. Christian Berger Silver badge

    @The Reg, Please use more relevant images for this

    After all there are lots of great Windows photographs and videos out there.

    Opps, correct link:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcCxC_-ABFs

  38. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    Re: Must say it..

    Of course, the correct way of handling differing views on a UI question is a massive flame war on t'interwebs followed by forking the distro.

  39. Lusty Silver badge

    Listening

    "After the years of the Sinofsky rampage, which via Windows 8 forced drastic changes on to users, Microsoft felt it needed to be more of a listening company. "

    Don't worry about research, the story is fine with make believe. Windows 7 and Windows 8 were based almost entirely on feedback from the customer experience program. The reason many geeks think MS wasn't listening is because geeks are the ones who always tick the opt out box for this. Telemetry told MS what people were clicking on and when, hence removal of a load of stuff in the start menu for Windows 7. It then told them that after clicking start, users almost never clicked on something other than the menu, hence the decision to make the menu full screen and get more results visible in searches.

    MS have been listening for years, and they have publicly explained this in every release since XP.

  40. Dan 55 Silver badge

    As always, The Simpsons

    Well, when it was good.

    "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" In which Homer discovers his long-lost brother, designs the perfect car for him as he owns a car manufacturer, and bankrupts him.

  41. Esme

    Desktop UI choices

    Sure, I'm a penguinista, and I've long had fun at MS's expense due to some of the plain weird (IMO) things MS have done over the years, but with regard to desktop UI woes, I actually have a smidgeon of sympathy for them this time around.

    In Penguin Territory, we're well used to having multiple choices of GUIs from which to command whatever we've installed on our PCs, so if one GUI doesn't suit, try another - in theory. Whereas with Windows, its users have, in the main, become used to a 'what you see is what you get, like it or lump it' situation. Yes, I know that there are alternative Windows GUIs and customisations that can drastically alter its look and feel available (or at least, there were, last time I looked, a few years ago), but I;d put good money on it that most folk that use Windows arent; aware of it, and at work, they'd be unable to take advantage of that even if they are aware.

    So, MS radically changes the GUI,and users howl that they dislike the changes. Even in cases where it;s possibel to revert, more or less, to something like the previous style of GUI (I use 'classic style' GUI on my PC at work simply because it works well and I'm used to it, and I found the more recent one annoying. But I know there's folk that aren;t even aware that's possible). However, this is no cause for Linux users to gloat, because as others have commented, some of the changes made in the KDE and Gnome desktops have upset plenty of users, too, and IMO the reason is down to the programmers thereof having teh same mentality as MS - that their new whizzy ideas are new and therefore must be better, so lets try to impose them on everyone.

    No. IMO what those in the KDE and Gnome teams should have done was to form their projects if they didn;t like the way that the UI many had come to like worked. I started prefering KDE. KDE lost me when they buggered things up with a very buggy release that changed teh way things worked, without, so far as I was aware, any warnning. So I switched to Gnome. Guess what? some time later, much the same thing happened with Gnome. Since when Xfce has been my desktop of choice.

    In short, once you have created a UI with a particular name, people will expect it to behave much the same way forever, and they will expect that something that behaves differently will be called something different. And most won;t mind being given the option to try something new, but they will get upset if something they haven't asked for dont like and don't want is shoved in their face so that they have to work at it to get back a desktop that they feel happy with once more. And if you can't get your head around the way that the new UI works very well, that can be a very challenging task for a non-IT-er.

    So my advice to MS would be - leave the familiar desktop as it is - but have a really obvious and simple way for folk to be able to try the new UI and to switch back if they don't like it. And I'd offer the same advice to the KDE and Gnome teams, too, if they don;t wish to fork their efforts. All I know, is i'm not in a hurry to try their desktops again after the last time they ignored the fact that teh reason I used their desktops when I did was because back then, I liked the way they worked. Options are good. Enforced change for no obvious benefit is not.

  42. GrumpyOldMan

    I'm running it....

    ...And I hate it. Yes it's configurable but the Thought Police got there first so it's a very very limited set of options. For example, the custom colour pallet where you can set the RGB values? Nope. Unless someone can tell me where it is. And WHY can't I pick White for my start menu, for example? Any why under All Apps are they under letters of the alphabet? Cos we're all too stupid to realise that they're in alphabetic order as per previous versions of Windows!

    The problem with the GUI is a lot of people have to stare at it and use all day. And enterprises won't let you install your fave 3rd party add-on theme that makes it look like XP. Or Star Trek. YOu have to keep that on you're own private ... thing.

    Windows is getting dumber and dumber IMHO.

    On the plus side, it's a lot faster. I'm sure I'll get used to it. I will. May take time... 10 or 15 years?

    1. tabman
      WTF?

      Re: I'm running it....

      Why are you running it if you hate it??

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        He didn't say where he was running it.

        As a responsible IT person in a reasonable-size IT company, somebody has to test the bloody thing.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is it so hard to convince Microsoft...

    * To include an expert / pro button so that we can do maintenance on users, family and friends boxes easily and quickly.

    * Before M$ fanboys downvote and go on about on how user-customisable windows is, please listen... Going through all the unhide know file extension / disabling autorun type options is time consuming and repetitive. Plus, its not always possible to just connect a USB with a bunch of scripts or utilities to do this even at work.

    * Just a temporary 'change of view' at an OS level is all we're asking for, ok Microsoft...?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "include an expert / pro button"

      Yeah, because only actual experts are going to click that button.

      I would agree with you, really, and I would dearly like such an option, but I am aware of human nature, and I just know that there is a gaggle of blithering idiots who consider themselves experts because one day they managed to schedule an automatic backup.

      So I think I get why Microsoft does not include such a button. If you really are an expert, you know how to get to the proper parameter in the Control Panel or, at worst, the Registry.

  44. James Anderson

    Only slightly better

    than Sinofsky's hand picked focus groups that though windows 8 was such a great idea.

    Any commercial survey group works very much like business consultancies. First they determine the answer the customer want to hear, then they go about gathering evidence for that specific answer.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    render unto caeser that which is his

    I say let the shills and fanboi go ahead and they can congratulate themselves at the result whilst the rest of the world escape to reality.

    If businesses continue to feed the MS cashcow then they can enjoy being the blind following the blind and everyone else will be happy when they finally walk off a cliff.

    Lets look as windows benefits

    1 compatability sadly there are now many more systems running a flavour of unix than windows so asside from games windows users are living on a desert island.

    2 Easy of use/staff training costs again MS have chosen a radically different interface that hides OS dialogues from the user, I would suggest this means more UI type support calls and associated employment of even more semiskilled windows zealots to explain why it was necessary for the productive user to not know what their computer is doing when they are logged in.

    3 Cost of hardware, most business users employ their machines for browsing and opening,working with a standard office suit, all of which can be done on other devices and operating systems for a fraction of the price of a windows 10 system and associated infrastructure.

    Conclusion letting the fools help MS to their demise is a good thing for everyone

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: render unto caeser that which is his

      1. There may be more system running a flavour of unix. but NOT on the desktop / laptop there isn't. If you include mobiles then you're realistically only talking about iOS and Android and to the user they aren't unix of any kind.

      2. My experience differs - I get fewer calls for help with W8 a than W7. Your suspicions don't match my real world experience.

      3. PCs cost very similar if you buy with windows or buy empty and have to install linux. The vast majority of users have windows pcs at home and at least have some familiarity. You are missing the cost of training in your calculations.

      I really don't agree with any of your points. We all have to remember that us IT folks are the minority - nearly all users have windows PCs at home and will prefer to see that when they get to work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: render unto caeser that which is his

        1. Who mentioned desktops? I said systems and compatability with existing systems is compatability with the hardware being used by the people you communicate/do business.

        2. I can't really argue with your experience but if we assume that you are employed to support PC users then I guess either you are ignoring the addition user training when they met win8 or they just dont' call you with UI problems.

        3 Your point here is assuming buying new kit, if you are an existing company with kit that you would have to upgrade to run windows 10 then you don't necessarily have to upgrade for some time yet if you choose a different OS. Additionally with most linux distributions the minimum footprint for a tailored office machine is tiny relative to a windows install to provide the same functionality. If your company is of any size there are MS licensing costs which are pretty much absent on linux, over all MS is very expensive to run and maintain. If you are dealing with home users then moving to windows 10 means they all become unpaid beta testers, we have seen how historically reliable and secure MS products have been when they were sold as being out of beta, god knows how bad it will be when MS can just say "oh, sorry this is beta dude live with it". At least with linux you can always fix it yourself if you have the skill or post it to people who take pleasure in fixing problems rather than pretending they do not exist.

        Overall MS is a very very expensive option in business, the old premise of compatability is gone as most people use systems runnning something other than windows. So why bother spending money to keep your company in the dark ages

        1. InNY

          Re: render unto caeser that which is his

          Yes, MS is an expensive option. But have you ever tried to explain to a C-level that there are viable alternatives? They listen, state "Linux? Built by Commies? We don't support Commie terrorists. Apple? Liberals like Apple. My [closish relative] is a liberal" Then go on to tell you that "Windows is the way forward, after all Joe, yes I get to call him Joe ('cause I'm good at my job and am very successful) says his company uses Windows. So Windows it is. Oh, and don't forget the taxman. If we're clever enough we can pass the costs on to the good citizens of <nation> who believe in our right to do [whatever it is] " - end of conversation. But, look on the bright side - people have well paying jobs and consultancies because of MS Windows.

    2. Chika

      Re: render unto caeser that which is his

      I say let the shills and fanboi go ahead and they can congratulate themselves at the result whilst the rest of the world escape to reality.

      I daresay they'll do that without any bidding.

      If businesses continue to feed the MS cashcow then they can enjoy being the blind following the blind and everyone else will be happy when they finally walk off a cliff.

      Actually I can see a flaw in that argument, but I'll leave that for now.

      Lets look as windows benefits

      Ooo goody!

      1 compatability sadly there are now many more systems running a flavour of unix than windows so asside from games windows users are living on a desert island.

      I'd be interested to hear where you got your statistics from. Yes, compatibility is a problem but only for those actually trying to run a specific item from a platform different to the one the application was designed for. Even there the problem isn't quite as big as it was even a decade ago except for those few for whom a degree of lock in is actually part of their modus operandi. Even with games, the increasing interest of companies like Steam have changed the previous dependence on Windows somewhat.

      2 Easy of use/staff training costs again MS have chosen a radically different interface that hides OS dialogues from the user, I would suggest this means more UI type support calls and associated employment of even more semiskilled windows zealots to explain why it was necessary for the productive user to not know what their computer is doing when they are logged in.

      That's true to an extent. Certainly the changes made at Windows 8 were a cause for concern in that respect and while Windows 10 has brought a degree of reversion on the poor choices made by Sinovsky, there are still some concerns. Having said that, it's all down to how much change there is and how much of that change is really relevant to the end user.

      In my own experience of shifting Windows XP users to Windows 7, for example, there was very little to do for the majority of users. As long as the applications they used were on the desktop somewhere, the most they needed to do is negotiate the change to the login page (Microsoft haven't got this bit right since XP really, IMHO) and all was well. The only ones that got into a muddle were the power users that were expected to delve further into their machines and they were a fraction of the overall user base.

      But that all comes from a single case and it's always difficult (and probably unwise) to generalise in these situations.

      3 Cost of hardware, most business users employ their machines for browsing and opening,working with a standard office suit, all of which can be done on other devices and operating systems for a fraction of the price of a windows 10 system and associated infrastructure.

      That depends on the case in question. Going back to my own example, the majority of the users I changed from WXP to W7 received new or replacement computers for a couple of reasons. I should also mention that you ignore the fact that many companies lock themselves into a Microsoft environment - not necessarily due to office suite considerations but where they will sometimes use bespoke operations or applications.

      First, it made for a quicker transition and provided a degree of protection against the possibility that the new system might not have gone in correctly. If you get a problem, the old system could slide back in temporarily while the problem was resolved.

      Second, this was an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 and the spec of the XP machines was quite a bit inferior to the sort of thing that would run W7 satisfactorily for the purpose we used these machines for.

      Again, generalising like this is a bit dangerous. A machine's age, spec and use are all considerations when upgrading and a new operating system does not necessarily require new hardware.

      Conclusion letting the fools help MS to their demise is a good thing for everyone

      OK, this is the problem. Microsoft has a large section of the world's desktop and server infrastructure and has had for some time now. If Microsoft were to decline, it could take a large amount of the commercial sector with it unless that sector had already moved elsewhere, whether Apple, Unix, Linux or wherever.

      Suffice to say that I feel your pain but the whole Microsoft thing was pretty much in place as far back as the 1980s when they were still being pushed down the throats of the commercial sector by IBM to the detriment of every other computer/operating system company of the day. It's a little late now to complain about that much but as we are now we have to make the best of what we have and speak out when something comes along that is detrimental.

      And yes, the "fools" as you call them have put themselves in that position but calling them names isn't going to solve anything.

  46. BornToWin

    It will end...

    ...when few people buy Win 10.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Unfortunately, every person who buys a new PC will be recorded as buying Win One/Zero.

      You do know that that is how Microsoft has been trumpeting the success of every single OS release since the beginning of time, don't you ?

      Getting actual usage stats on the different OS versions has always been the province of the Internet, using various unreliable metrics (such as IE11 users have to be post-XP, but nobody knows if Vista or Win7).

      Getting the straight dope from Microsoft has been impossible from day one, and for good reason : Microsoft is loath to show just how much every OS version apart from 7 is being treated like the plague.

  47. sabroni Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Orlowski articles

    always seem to have over zealous moderation.

    Why so sensitive?

    1. Chika
      Happy

      Re: Orlowski articles

      Probably because he attracts so many zealots!

  48. comb_ridge

    Same old stuff different day

    1. Some will complain but not make any changes (just gotta have it)

    2. Some won't even notice (a lot of users I meet are pretty much oblivious and/or dont' care)

    3. A few might consider an alternative but not do anything

    Conclusion: another blip in the radar. (I'm getting cynical and old; I used to care more about Windows users but as I get older it doesn't seem to matter much - "what did that cost you to get it fixed?"

    I used to feel sorry and care and help out ---

    PS - I tried Windows 10 (pre-release), thinking I might work on puters again, "need to know this - get up to speed." My interest didn't last long........

    (SalixOS - runs the house, yes, I'm a lazy Slacker)

  49. Brad Ackerman
    Alert

    I hate to break it to you, but Microsoft has had the manga wallpaper for a while.

    ... when did el Reg remove the "badgers" icon?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Thank $Deity I've never seen that before !

  50. azaks

    Andrew, you forgot...

    ... to provide any alternatives to what you are citicising them for. A more skeptical person might think your article is nothing more that fodder for the people that will never actually use Windows but wait breathlessly for any excuse to bash it. Helps keep the lights on I guess.

    You say user input is a welcome change from the Ballmer era. How else are you going to collect it except by asking people actually using it to vote on whether they like it? Spam every email address they have on record for every change (coz people just love getting unsolicited email)? How about delivering an update to every Windows user with a pop-up that you cant clear unless you vote? And do that for every proposed change. Or how about a site where anyone can vote regardless of whether they will use the product or even know what the hell you're asking them? We'd love to hear your bright ideas on how you would do things differently...

  51. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    The problem I see is MS does not have a BDFL for Windows will enforce a consistent design ideas throughout with due consideration of the opinions of others. Must successful Linux distros operate with a BDFL who makes the final decision. MS is not listening to their customers because the group they listened to is not representative of their customers.

  52. JDX Gold badge

    Might not be representative of Joe Public but...

    ...Joe public doesn't use the Task Manager or even know it exists. The W10 preview users will be disproportionately weighted to tech-savvy users since for a start, they're the only ones who would know how to find/download/install the preview and also because Joe Public doesn't care (or even know) about W10.

  53. holeysockman

    Lots of decisions on much more important matters are finalised based in part on much smaller surveys of 100 or a 1000, the windows insider programme has over 2million members... I would say that would give a pretty fair assessment and those small percentages which decided the changes in fact equate to thousands of people.

  54. ecofeco Silver badge

    Taking bets on the remaining life of Microsoft

    MS is going backwards. By leaps and bounds. 8 was far more convoluted than it should have been. Office 365 is the biggest piece of shit I have EVER seen and this is what MS will force us to use moving forward. Windows server are the slowest pieces of shit on the market and Sharepoint is a nightmare. ( I have YET to see ANY company use SharePoint effectively but after looking under the hood, I can see why) Now combine all that, put it in the cloud and call it Azure.

    Nope, nope, nope.

    Then there is Dynamics, which looks like it has serious enterprise level potential, until again, you start looking under the hood.

    But then again, it seems the entire OS industry (and many other major software companies) is going fucking backwards. The exception, might, MIGHT be Linux . Maybe. All I know is that it's starting to look better every year.

    1. Wardy01

      Re: Taking bets on the remaining life of Microsoft

      I know a company that basically runs everything on Sharepoint, I also know that Microsoft runs around 100,000 websites managed by 3 guys, don't see many companies claiming that!

      Newer versions of windows server "feel slower" but that's UI response, if you actually benchmark what its doing behind the scenes the apps and services on the box are usually running faster.

      I've also heard a rumour that Dynamics will be seeing some major change soon potentially related to a rumour about MS looking at buying salesforce.

      In short though, it's common knowledge that Microsoft is all about cloud so it wouldn't suprise me if very soon all your complaints basically become cloud based offerings where the cloud instance is either a rented azure instance or an azure instance running on you own managed server.

      As for progress on the OS front, I would say MS is probably a little ahead of the curve certainly from an interop point of view ... no other OS runs on virtually hardware like windows 10 does.

      1. Peter Brooks 1

        Re: Taking bets on the remaining life of Microsoft

        I know a number of companies that keep sharepoint middens.

        It's amazing that they manage to survive despite that.

  55. Joey M0usepad Silver badge

    you know what grinds my gears about recent window implementations?

    just off the top off my head:

    - Giant icons where you cant read the filename (a problem since day 1)

    - that stupid printer queue combining thing in w7

    - hiding the bottom-right icons so you cant see how much shit is running (w7)

  56. Wardy01

    That's hilarious

    Correct me if i'm wrong but linux (some versions) does exactly this already !

    The concept of having multiple desktops isn't new, the question asked was more "do you want to see everything running on this desktops taskbar or just the stuff open on this desktop?"

    I don't see a problem either way.

    Maybe I should write an article entitled "Microsoft Hater does the usual and writes yet more biased crap".

    Its also worth noting that windows is planned to be an evolutionary thing so all the feedback related stuff in windows 10 (as I understand) will likely be here after release to ensure that ALL users can provide feedback in this way.

    To my mind, microsoft should focus on making the system faster, more secure, reliable, and flexible than worrying about this superficial UX stuff as we are at a point now where whatever they change on it someone will be unhappy.

    I still have issues with sound card drivers constantly telling me I plugged in and removed headphones and my 4k screens flickering on and off for no reason ... those feel more important to me than "Which bar should this app appear on"

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: That's hilarious

      The issue with multiple desktops, is being reminded they are in use!

      So as far as I'm concerned, I'm happy for the taskbar to only show the running applications for this desktop; but I also expect the taskbar to show me a reminder that I'm running multiple desktops and give me a simple and obvious mechanism for me to see what I have running in each.

      [Aside: I agree the constantly changing UI/UX is distracting from all the other changes; but then that might be deliberate, as then MS would have to explain what they actually meant by 'faster', 'more secure', 'reliable' and 'flexible'.]

      1. Wardy01

        Re: That's hilarious

        Now that makes sense!

        Seems like a great candidate for feedback to Microsoft.

        I would also be interested in getting "'faster', 'more secure', 'reliable' and 'flexible'" defined in there own words!

  57. Greg D

    Not entirely sure why this has caused so much butthurt?

    The default behavior in Windows 7 has always been to not show all running tasks.

    You have to go into the taskbar options and turn that on.

    I don't think Microsoft have that much hubris (at least since Ballmer left) that they wouldn't make it a configurable option.

    1. Chika
      Coat

      Re: Not entirely sure why this has caused so much butthurt?

      Well I know why I had so much butthurt.

      I spent quite a long time testing Windows 10 on my laptop. And my chair isn't that comfortable. By the end of it all, Numb Bum Syndrome abounded!

  58. AdamG57

    Command line

    Shells... Perhaps the clue is that if you are a power user you will at some point use PowerShell - back to the Command line. Something you only do on a Mac when things are Terminal...

  59. W. Anderson
    Meh

    Can't be any worse than Windows team efforts until very recently.

    It cannot be any worse that the blank heads "designing" , or in reality modifying Windows till now, since little improvement has been made since Dec VMS base was used for Windows NT.

  60. Zmodem

    its made by twats, like every other windows release, windows needs selectable usb polling rate in the device manager on your device properties for usb3.1 midi/networks that don`t care for thunderbolt and any mouse can be a gaming mouse

    if a sound card is installed, make ASIO the default audio player

    1. Zmodem

      windows default usb polling is 125hz, which makes latency 8ms, then usb ports will be read 1 at a time, which is rubbish when you can have 12 ports with a few pci-e cards

      you have to overclock your mouse port, to 500-1000hz, make windows run in test mode then move to mouse to another port and do the same each time

      it for twats

  61. Peter Brooks 1

    Designers in the borg??

    What would designers be doing at Microsoft? They've never needed them before.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019