back to article Microsoft to overhaul Windows 10 UI – with a 3D Holographic Shell

First, it scrapped the classic Start Menu and gave us Tiles. Now Microsoft has confirmed it really is working on yet another radical user interface update – one that will allow you to use your desktop Windows 10 PC with virtual reality headsets. The feature, due to arrive next year, is dubbed the Windows Holographic Shell. It …

  1. Len Goddard

    They have to be joking

    Even when I am engrossed in what I am doing on the PC there are a lot of things I need to see - reference documents, my phone, my keyboard & mouse, my coffee cup or even the cat trying to walk over the keyboard.

    This will go down really well until the first time you reach for your coffee (or tea) and throw it over the desk or into your lap.

    1. getHandle

      Re: They have to be joking

      I expected a 3D clippy to come bounding in and say something idiotic...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If it at least came... a convenient suppository format!

        1. hplasm Silver badge

          Re: If it at least came...

          " a convenient suppository format!"

          Wouldn't it just be Win10?

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        "I expected a 3D clippy to come bounding in and say something idiotic..."

        Hey I'm Cortana (Clippy in disguise) and I see you tripped over your Dog, Would you like to fill in this Microsoft Survey?

      3. Esme

        Re: They have to be joking

        @getHandle - ah, but even if it did, at least now you'd be able to punch the b*****d! Well, virtually... (need haptic feedback for a more satisfying experience on that one!)

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They have to be joking

        I would prefer a 3D Cortana to sidle up to me

      5. Servman

        Re: They have to be joking

        Looks like the same dog from Microsoft Bob...

        1. Robert Moore

          Re: They have to be joking

          It's the return on Microsoft Bob.

          Bob 3D.

      6. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        "I expected a 3D clippy to come bounding in and say something idiotic..."

        The video already has 3D Rover from Microsoft Bob so, yeah, the future is Buffoontastic.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth

      Re: They have to be joking

      Will Windows 10 bricking my machine be a better experience in 3D?

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        Will Windows 10 bricking my machine be a better experience in 3D?

        Yes, thanks to the new BSO3D.

        If you include the dimension of time that you spend waiting for the machine to reboot, it's actually 4D. That's an entire extra dimension included for free, further enhancing the already market-leading Windows 10 value proposition.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: They have to be joking

      Add to your complaints that some people will get sick from using these devices. Also, other than we can do it, what is the problem they are trying solve? Other than some games, the 2d interface is more than adequate.

      This sounds like a less than the dim idea from Slurp.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        There are some 3D applications (i.e. some CAD ones) that could benefit from such interface, but you would probably need a better way to manipulate 3D objects than a sort of wii remote, and navigate 3D "worlds". Whoever tried, knows how easy is to get "lost".

        For most text-oriented, or 2D images-oriented (i.e. photo, graphic design), it looks of very little help, and wearing a VR headset for a long time doesn't look very comfortable.

        But such kind of news are good to have media outlet talk about you.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: They have to be joking

          The 3D apps that I've used have tended to make heavy use of modifier keys (like Ctrl or Shift) with the mouse and pretty much every app (even ones geared mostly at consumption like video players) use the keyboard from time to time. Virtual keyboards on touch-screen devices are pretty ropey -- those operated by Wii-mote are even more so. All in all, I'm not holding my breath. I think this has a very limited number of real-world uses.

      2. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: They have to be joking

        <Quote>Add to your complaints that some people will get sick from using these devices.

        Have to agree, everyone that tries the 3D Goggles at work feels a lttle queasy after a certain time, 15 mins is usually quite enough.

        Spatial awareness is fundamental to our perception of where we are in the real 3d world, or should I say multi-dimensional world, and I believe that "virtual" reality or AR , regardless of it's usage ,disturbs this fundamental requirement, unless of course we are completely stationary and bored, and as such will never be taken on. Ok a few minutes here and there but certainly not for hours at a time. Even a transparent headset will disturb what your brain can percieve and eventually digest..

        Many of us already have mutiple screens and it can be diifficult to keep track of what's where, and all this by using even small eye movements, I can't imagine spending my day continually turning my whole head to keep track or the untrackable...

        As much as many people would like to have us believe we are definately not that very efficient at MultiTasking, so adding another dimension wouldn't appear to add any real advantage.. At least not to the average day in front of the screen.

        And lastly, "tangible" is good.. Virtuelle women, no thanks, tangible one on the other hands are so much more delicious. [Swap woman for man, dog or whatever turns you on]

        1. ProgrammerForHire

          Re: They have to be joking

          I dare to contradict, exactly because we are better at spatial perception, a 3d environment would be easier to manage than a flat one

    4. Fraggle850

      Re: They have to be joking

      To all the naysayers above: it's not a horrible VR headset they're talking about, it's look-through AR. You should still be able to see through the UI to reach your coffee.

      Since the start of the recent VR hypegasm I've been of the opinion that it won't hit the mainstream motherlode that everyone is banking on. My money has always been on AR. I was actually disappointed when Google blew it with glass - I'd have considered buying in if it had matured. I'm shocked to find myself saying this and have been since it was announced but I think Microsoft are onto something.

      1. Sebastian A

        Re: They have to be joking

        So they're saying "We'll do the hard part, designing a horrible UI, now some manufacturer just needs to do the easy part, creating cost-effective transparent monitors. Voila!"?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: They have to be joking

          (from the article)

          "you can manipulate the 3D desktop using a Wii-like remote control, basically pointing at dialog boxes and icons hovering in the air and clicking on them rather than moving a mouse pointer on a 2D screen."

          then Sebastian A said:

          "So they're saying "We'll do the hard part, designing a horrible UI, now some manufacturer just needs to do the easy part, creating cost-effective transparent monitors."

          (and I added)

          Well, you STILL need to be able to type schtuff in. I won't be able to write code or enter data with a Wii-mote. Micro-Shaft blew it with the "Ape" tile-screen and the Win-10-nic "Start Thing", and the entire "the METRO" "your PC is now a phone" paradigm.

          Now it looks like they want to do something _WORSE_.

          Well, maybe we can get a 'droid application going before Micro-shaft ever releases this chimera-monster into the market, and then everyone on their 'droid phones will (effectively) have virtual holographic keyboards hovering in mid-air like Washuu or the people doing the 'Zion Control' thing in the 2nd Matrix movie...

          of course you need an inexpensive headset to make this all work, preferably one with an interface that isn't limited by someone's stupid "low energy" greeny bias [like BTLE, which is notoriously SLOW as HELL] nor CONSTANT interference from everyone ELSE around you, meaning it'll need a wired-up interface, USB 3.0 or ?

          Maybe Apple will do it for iOS first?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They have to be joking

        To all the naysayers above: it's not a horrible VR headset they're talking about, it's look-through AR. You should still be able to see through the UI to reach your coffee.

        Ah, wonderful, so you agree with me that this is a covert way for Microsoft to get us to leave our cameras online in confidential areas or in our homes, because something will have to pick up that real world data, won't it? Admittedly, that's more clever than Google Glass because that was WAY too obvious (and by that I include the almost fanatic aversion to discussing the privacy implications).

        It's almost like there three separate parts to Microsoft:

        - a department with smart people (mainly hired to deprive other companies of their talents) that do weird and wonderful things and even occasionally invent something that could help with security;

        - a marketing department that uses the above invented gadgetry to make Windows look cool and innovative on the golf course (nowadays with limited success, thankfully);

        - a coding department that flatly ignores both of the above and has not developed anything new since Windows ME, it just spends its time tweaking GUIs and reluctantly resolve an item from a long list of cockups when they get really, really bored or when it threatens to harm profits too much.

        On top of that a management where the main conditions for joining must be:

        - having sold your soul to Mammon

        - have no residual ethics at all

        - considering customers the way governments do voters: a mass of idiots, ready to be milked.

        Whenever I hear the word "Microsoft" and "innovation" in the same sentence without a negative somewhere, I *know* that whoever is speaking is lying through their teeth.

        And using Powerpoint.

        1. no-one in particular

          Re: They have to be joking

          > Ah, wonderful, so you agree with me that this is a covert way for Microsoft to get us to leave our cameras online in confidential areas or in our homes, because something will have to pick up that real world data

          Or just as shown, and has existed for a fair old while, a (semi) transparent screen onto which the display is projected whilst you just look through it for the Real World.

          Pepper's Ghost

      3. VinceH

        Re: They have to be joking

        "To all the naysayers above: it's not a horrible VR headset they're talking about, it's look-through AR. You should still be able to see through the UI to reach your coffee."

        Like the woman in the video looked through them to pat the head of her dog, with her hand about six inches away from its head, you mean?

        Oh, wait, it was a VR dog. So WTF was the actual point of that bit?

    5. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Re: They have to be joking

      There are some (niche) interesting use cases - architects and construction professionals being able to explore spaces, remote operation of machinery e.g. mining.

      In the home though, can only think of games and "adult" entertainment.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They have to be joking

      Encarta 2016 :)

      1. WylieCoyoteUK

        Re: They have to be joking

        I must admit I checked the date.

        Nope, unless they have time travel sewn up, it isn't April1

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They have to be joking

      Yeah, this is pretty cool... but kind of a solution in search of a problem. I guess gaming is pretty natural application, but not sure what you would do with this thing beyond gaming... even with gaming, they would have to do HD with a crazy high refresh rate in order to make it work. They could fix Cisco's weak Telepresence with some sort of VR meeting room, but I'm not sure they could nail that where it would be a leap forward from Google Hangouts, Skype, and so forth. The annoying thing about the VR meeting is that people might want to use it and then you won't be able to do other things while the meeting is going on. Who even uses video on web conferencing apps? Other than gaming, people don't enjoy being "immersed". They want to do three things at once.... I think Google is more likely to be the winner here with their $5 cardboard VR box and a smartphone vs a $3,000 headset.

    8. This post has been deleted by its author

    9. jb99

      Re: They have to be joking

      I guess while they are implementing this, they are distracted from breaking anything else at least

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Not at all. Microsoft is expert in multitasking. They have a BreakingStuff Dept, a ShootingTheFoot Dept, and a WildNewIdeas Dept that all work at the same time.

        Mostly at odds.

    10. the-it-slayer

      Re: They have to be joking

      You do wonder what planet Microsoft seem to be living on at the moment. Humans don't have X-Ray vision and this would be a disaster for bumpy accidents... Or, you're having so much fun navigating around the 3D UI, that you bump into the door frame of your upstairs bedroom and then fall down the stairs (then die).

      At least give us a transparent 3D interface! The preview video looks like it came out of a visionary late 90s company that crashed and burned.

  2. Joerg

    3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

    Killing the childish awful unusable Metro/ModernUI nonsense would be a good thing indeed and a 3D UI is what Windows should have had long time ago ***BUT*** forcing users to get a VR headset ???


    THAT IS JUST PLAIN STUPID. Way worse than the Metro/ModernUI crap already.

    The VR headsets facade is going to die quicker than the fake 3D stereoscopic glasses crap.

    So Microsoft wants Windows users to get an headache and puke while using Windows thanks to the crap VR headsets, uh?

    Microsoft managers and CEO must be on some heavy drugs these days.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

      "forcing users to get a VR headset"

      It's a tech demo. May never even materialize. I see no mention that it will be forced upon users and they couldn't do it anyway - people who are going to own the Hololens thingy or other 3D headset apparatus will be a tiniest minority for a long time for many 1st gen reasons (pricey, lack of software, motion sickness, cumbersome, etc.)

      "The VR headsets facade is going to die quicker"

      I am not least bit interested of 3D UIs, but this 'augmented reality' stuff has a good momentum due to Pokemon. More than likely these headsets are going to be used in games, social media chats and who knows what killer app may (or may not) materialize. Good for you for knowing how fast fads will die.

      The article states that MS and Intel are working on standards which I believe is a good thing - Rift/Gear/Vive are all incompatible with each other which is understandable on this gold rush, but that isn't good for the end users at all. This whole project is still peanuts on grand scale and Microsoft/Google/Apple/FB can afford these skunkworks. Failed projects won't make a dent in their bank accounts.

      Cue the downvotes.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

        I see no mention that it will be forced upon users and they couldn't do it anyway

        They pushed out a touch-oriented UI with Windows 8 and encouraged everyone to migrate, even though most Windows devices weren't (and still aren't) touch-capable.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

          (with respect to "Ape" and Win-10-nic and the touchy-screen interface)

          "encouraged everyone to migrate"

          read: "Pounded it into our posteriors with a large mallet"

        2. BongoJoe

          Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

          The problem with touch interfaces is that people, well, touch them.

          Anyone who tries to leave fingerprints on my screens gets instant hapatic feedback by means of a punch on the nose.

        3. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

          "They pushed out a touch-oriented UI with Windows 8 and encouraged everyone to migrate, even though most Windows devices weren't (and still aren't) touch-capable."

          Aye, that they did. MS was pushing touch because back then (2012 or so) the market was changing and iPads and other tablets sold a lot and Windows 7 just isn't that usable in a tablet. Perhaps they anticipated people to buy touch screens which obviously didn't happen.

          In any case, I was responding to Joerg, who wrote 'forcing users to get a VR headset ???'

          If he honestly believes that MS is forcing people to buy VR headsets come next year then he is frankly an idiot.

      2. Deltics

        Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

        August 7th 1945: This nuclear bomb stuff has good momentum due to Hiroshima.

        1995: This Los Del Rio outfit have good momentum due to Macarena.

        Virtual Reality is not new and in the 30 years that it has been around it has never achieved anything other than niche applications.

        When it comes to Augmented Reality, first of all there is no such thing. To augment something is to make that thing greater in size. When you augment your income you have more income. When you augment a military force, you add more military force. Augmented Reality doesn't make REALITY any bigger or add any additional reality. The virtual [sic] additions are not real.

        Augmented Perception would be nearer the mark.

        But whatever you want to call it, it is a specific (i.e. niche) application of what we already had - Virtual Reality. How so ? Simple: Where "VR" creates and renders an ENTIRE world model, "SCAR" (So Called AR) takes a pre-existing model of reality (either fixed or based on observed/sensed reality) and then adds and super-imposes new virtual extensions to that model.

        In 30 years VR only ever found niche applications and I will confidently predict that AR will similarly only find even smaller niche applications (which doesn't mean that those niche applications won't be massively commercially successful).

        Video games are arguably the most successful application of VR.

        Just about every video game under the sun is a "virtual reality". Just because a 3D stereoscopic render and/or headset isn't involved doesn't change the fact that there is a complete virtual reality modelled and rendered within which the player "exists" for the purposes of the gameplay.

        There may be a huge market for AR games. But this doesn't necessarily herald a new dawn of AR in every aspect of our lives.

        1. Vinyl-Junkie

          Re: "To augment something is to make that thing greater in size."

          I suggest you go and consult a proper dictionary; the OED has:

          4) To increase or add to the resources of; to enhance in circumstances.

          Which is exactly what augmented reality does; it adds to the resources of reality.

          1. Preston Munchensonton

            Re: "To augment something is to make that thing greater in size."

            I suggest you go and consult a proper dictionary; the OED has:

            Thank goodness that one sensible person has a dictionary nearby to clear this up. #smh

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: 3D UI yes... useless crap VR headsets NO! JUST NO !

          @ Deltics: damn you, now I have THAT SONG in my head for the rest of the day!

          FWIIW, we're in a virtual reality all the time anyway. Our sensory perception lets us sense only a fraction of all there is (visible light spectrum, hearable audio spectrum, perception of time, etc), and through a barrage of filters too. Then all of that data is assembled into some kind model that relies heavily on cultural condition and brain chemistry, to name but two factors.

  3. Swarthy Silver badge

    "Mixed reality"

    Sounds about right for what MS has been living in.

    Mix: 2 parts fantasy, 1 part reality, 3 parts bloody-mindedness, and 4 parts delusion. Shake Well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Mixed reality"

      Seriously, you will need this when the casino-capitalistic economy comes crashing down while crying hordes invade the country because someone wanted to "banish evil" from faraway lands. Your joy will be interrupted from time to time as rolllng brownouts will cause the gear to go down (you wanted green power, right?) so while you wait for a reboot you can admire mobs of oppressed minorities expressing righteous anger at not getting more money from government, rioting in the streets, torching cars and stores.

      Then the postman rings to bring your your daily dose of Soylent and Coffiest.

      It will be like Lem's "Futurological Congress", only more immediate.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: "Mixed reality"

      Mix: 2 parts fantasy, 1 part reality, 3 parts bloody-mindedness, and 4 parts delusion. Shake Well.

      Dilute. Succuss. Repeat.

      Satya Nadella: "We've produced something so strong for our loyal customer base."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Mixed reality"

        There are either people who don't like "The Futurological Congress" or else we have progressive drive-by voters...

      2. Captain DaFt

        Re: "Mixed reality"

        Not homeopathy, this:

        In the beginning was the plan.

        And then came the assumptions.

        And the assumptions were without form.

        And the plan was without substance.

        And darkness was upon the face of the workers.

        And they spoke among themselves saying,

        "It is a crock of shit and it stinketh."

        And the workers went unto their supervisors and said,

        "It is a pail of dung and none may abide the odor thereof."

        And the supervisor went unto their managers and said,

        "It is a container of excrement and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it."

        And the managers went unto their directors, saying,

        "It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength."

        And the directors spoke among themselves, saying to one another,

        "It contains that which aids plant growth and it is very strong."

        And the directors went unto the vice presidents, saying unto them,

        "It promotes growth and is very powerful."

        And the vice presidents went unto the president, saying unto him,

        "The new plan will promote the growth and vigor of the company, with powerful effects."

        And the president looked upon the plan and saw that it was good.

        And the plan became policy.

        This is how shit happens.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: the plan


          Thats like one of those .edu links from the mid 90s that the internet was built on back then , along with geocities homepages

          ahh the good old days, before the masses got online and chavved the place up.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    my ass, Jesus...

    1. Dadmin
      Thumb Down

      Re: align

      Yes, they are "super aligned"... with the good old trusty, can't think of anything else, desktop metaphor. yawn.

      Did these idiots every watch ANY episodes of Star Trek Any Generation? Holy buckyballs! Let's get to the future by NOT repeating the crappy desktop friggin' metaphor. Again.

  5. YARR

    In Virtual Reality...

    ... Microsoft and Intel successful will be.

  6. Dwarf Silver badge

    Yet more training

    You lucky Windows users, its time to re-train everyone again and buy a bunch of expensive displays as MS have changed the UI again.

    I'm just wondering what this will look like in a traditional office where you have your 4ft of desk space, or better still if you try and work from the train or a plane on the way to that important meeting. What will the people sitting next to you think when you keep staring at them and making funny moves ?

    On the other hand, I suppose its a good job that the mobile side of things has died, just imagine a bunch of people walking down the street trying to make a phone call with their VR head sets and for maximum fun, after sunny days, the people supporting VR panda eyes where the head sets were

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Yet more training

      Not to worry... it might be a great UI but it's still Win10 under the hood. If it becomes reality, you'll get it via some massive "update" that you didn't ask for and won't be able to stop.

      Icon --- I'm very much less than impressed with the MS offerings but very impressed with their ability to screw good things up royally.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Yet more training

        "it might be a great UI but it's still Win10 under the hood. If it becomes reality, you'll get it via some massive "update" that you didn't ask for and won't be able to stop."

        And a demand for $29.95/month to "continue the service". once the EULA changes for the latest "free/mandatory upgrade".

  7. N2 Silver badge


    So long as you have the choice to get rid of it if not required, preferably without having to conduct an os re-installation.

  8. hplasm Silver badge
    Big Brother


    Now the NSA*/AdMongers will be able to see what you are doing, too!

    *Other spy TLAs are available.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: So-

      They already can, if they choose to.

  9. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Shitting crikey

    What a load of bollocks

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shitting crikey

      I don't remember "Fly Fishing" having that much swearing in it.

      1. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: Shitting crikey

        "I don't remember "Fly Fishing" having that much swearing in it."

        It was withdrawn from general sale, I understand...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    So Microsoft have just announced Bob v2.0

    Yay. The DevOps edition.

  11. Florida1920

    The command line

    Looking better every day.

    1. Nolveys Silver badge

      Re: The command line

      That's been the one benefit for me to come out of Windows 8/8.1/10. I am *much* better at bringing up stuff through win_key+r.

  12. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Assistive technology ... again

    In these forums I have already cast the runes ... the next few years of tech development is all going to converge on being able to allow older homo sapiens to continue to use the shiny they find invaluable.

    From self driving cars, Siri, and VR headsets ....

    1. Gerhard Mack

      Re: Assistive technology ... again

      Considering my grandmother sent her final message to me on her tablet the day before she passed on. I'm not sure how much more "assistive" the technology needs to be,

  13. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    Now, can I get a functional booloader that doesn't flatarse on the slightest occasion, please?

    What's that? People would actually be able to repair their installation if that were the case?

    Carry on, then.

  14. Ian Ringrose

    It may work well for CAD as well as games. If it is usable for “normal” application, it could give a better way of using a small (phone sized) PC while away from your desk.

    Ask me in 5 years time if it is a good ideal.....

  15. Zakhar

    Because everything else works perfectly, as you all know...

    ... we start working on this indispensable feature!

  16. Tromos

    Even in this country...'s just too hot at the moment to wear a bloody headset.

  17. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    The glorious future

    This will be the most fun IT has had in years!!!

    Imagine: watching a room full of office weenies at their trendy stand-up desks, flailing wildly as they try to "type" by grabbing letters out of the virtual sky and flinging them into a docu-cube.

    "No, I'm sorry, you must use the headset; it's the only way. And corporate ergonomic standards mandate that the joystick controller must be clipped to the front of your trousers."

    Songs will be sung of our deeds! Men will kneel in our honor!!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: The glorious future

      Go back to bed, Catbert!

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: The glorious future

        Go back to bed, Catbert!

        Catbert?!? I am Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light. Prepare to feel the wrath of my pitchspoon!

        1. P. Lee

          Re: The glorious future

          Thus it is revealed!

          Phil works for Mordac, Preventor of IT Services.

          (An evil entity starting with M. Coincidence? I think not!)

          Seriously, 3D is rubbish for data processing. Did I misread? This isn't VR or AR. This is using cameras to detect the real world and then render it in VR space. I'd guess VR is not the actual application for this. This is about the ability to recognise objects - think autonomous cars. The VR bit is just a demo to get people excited enough to pay to be alpha and beta testers.

    2. Nolveys Silver badge

      Re: The glorious future

      Those who complain of nausea will be entered into an obligatory intense ipecac-based training program.

      1. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: The glorious future

        "Those who complain of nausea will be entered into an obligatory intense ipecac-based training program."

        So spawning the next installation downloads of Windows.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A better idea ...

    ... would be for them to develop a real holographic display that does not require you to wear any special equipment. One that you can change the size of depending on what you are doing.

    It could replace laptop screens and provide large screens for tablets and smart phones.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: A better idea ...

      "would be for them to develop a real holographic display that does not require you to wear any special equipment."

      I saw a video demo of such a display a few years ago, from Japan. Apparently it's possible to use lasers to heat little dots of light in midair (even in COLOR!). I think the video showed frame rates up to 15fps, but said something like "higher rates were possible"

      Downside: it consumes a LOT of electrical power. Maybe that's what that "by 2050" thing was about a week or so ago...

      solution: build more power plants, get bigger air conditioners. all that 'warmist' garbage is just anti-progress anti-capitalist nonsense anyway.

  19. Chris G Silver badge

    Google Maps

    Stick Google Maps in 3D in there! Then perhaps MS could use it to try and find their way again.

    Since Vista they have been in remission once with Win7and then back into the wilderness.

    Oh! Jimmy, maybe you could use some assistive technology to help you to keep your gob shut, the biggest benefit of youth is that you have more time to accrue knowledge and gain wisdom. The downside is that without much knowledge and little wisdom you are unwise enough to think you have all the answers.

  20. Planty Bronze badge

    Windows 10 with windows 7 shell and aero

    That's all we actually want. Yet Microsoft are desperate to offload this metro and uwp worthless crap.

    1. Badger Murphy

      Re: Windows 10 with windows 7 shell and aero

      Actually, the shell and the aero theme being absent are merely great annoyances that must be worked around. What *I* really want is for them to get their putrid hands off my data.

  21. Dead Parrot

    Gorilla arm, now with added motion sickness!

    yeah, no. Fuck off.

  22. MotionCompensation

    Think of all the possibilities...

    ...for advertising! Product placement, placing products right on your desk. Ads all over your room or office. All that extra space, think about what advertisers can do with that! They even know where you are looking.

    Hey, you're not looking at me. Hey, pssst. HEY! (Flashing coffeepot floating in the room) Yes, got your attention now. You seem to like coffee, try ours!

    Woof! Woof woof! (Dog jumping and running in you room, looks suspiciously like your real dog. Thanks for uploading all your photos to our cloud, we turned your dog into a personalized ad for dogfood!).

    The possibilities are endless... I'm sure one of you can think of a killer... ad.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Think of all the possibilities...

      "Ads all over your room or office. All that extra space, think about what advertisers can do with that! They even know where you are looking."

      Like - "The Www.yzzerdd"

  23. Gray

    So what this means ... ?

    One might assume, then, that MS is even less likely to fix the stuff they've already released?

  24. nilfs2

    New feature idea for Windows

    Hey Microsoft, what about implementing a feature called "Reliability" on your products? That would be better than any new graphical UI attempt to make people forget about the underlaying mess of OS.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could somebody please explain to Microsoft that April only comes once a year?

    1. VinceH

      Don't worry about it - the only people they're fooling is themselves.

  26. Dwarf Silver badge


    I wonder if a BSOD looks better in 3D ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BSOD

      Oh yes, it rocks. It's like a Microsoft version of the THX intro.

  27. Bloodbeastterror


    End of message.

  28. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Once again

    Once again, Microsoft is giving us everything EXCEPT the things we want. It is like when you ask your son to cut the grass. When you come home, he washed and waxed the car, cleaned the dishes, made dinner, took the dog for a walk and swept the floors. But he did not cut the grass. All the other stuff was all well and good, but your son did not do the one thing you asked him to do. You will rightfully not be pleased because by doing all those other things, your son clearly showed he went out of the way not to cut the grass.

    Same principle for Microsoft. At this point, they are going out of their way to not give the things we are asking for.

  29. cd

    Long as I can easily find the Fart menu.

  30. Ropewash

    Bob's your uncle.

    Seriously? Not even one mention of Microsoft Bob to go with this plan?

    They even had the damned dog in the article pic.

    The ads could just run on the VR television like in real life, only shittier.

    Given that they have made Windows as flat and featureless as possible I wonder how they'll work out a way to do this while maintaining a third dimension. Should be eye-watering.

  31. G R Goslin

    Do I hear Bells and Whistles

    Makes me all the more pleased that I'm locked into Linux. Simple, reliable and malware free. Oh, I do sleep soundly. And it costs me nowt.

  32. JLV Silver badge

    go, MS, go!

    I totally trust them with this one.

    An immersive equivalent of Charms and Metro modes:

    - you never quite know how to trigger it when you're not in it

    - once triggered, you can't figure out how to exit

    Fun times in VR indeed

  33. frank ly

    From the video

    "The word 'pantheon' ... means 'to honour all deities'."

    No, it doesn't. As usual, they can't even get the simple and long established stuff right.

  34. Stevie Silver badge


    Lipstick on a pig.

    1. EastFinchleyite

      Re: Bah!

      That is being kind.

  35. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    The hardware itself can be simulated in the 3D environment

    This is exactly why Microsoft bought Minecraft. No other obvious reason... Microsoft is already secretly extending those Minecraft block-based CPUs to include the entire PC. This will enable them to replace PC or tablet hardware with pure software Minecraft blocks simulating the hardware which emulates the PC. Then the other PC software, e.g. MS-Word, can run on the software. No actual hardware is even needed. Microsoft can just takeover the whole IT industry, replacing hardware vendors with sales of virtual Minecraft blocks.



  36. Tom 64

    Lots of Microsoft bashing here

    ... and quite rightly. Microsoft often seem like a rudderless titanic heading right for the iceberg, but hey at least they have a skunkworks shop trying to make new stuff.

    They may ultimately produce complete junk and spaff away their huge wad of cash, but if it makes gaming headseats cheaper, I'm all for watching from the sidelines.

  37. Moonunit

    Any significance to ...

    ... "hono(u)r all deities..." as the closing words?

    Jus' wondering ....

  38. Ru'

    This looks totally awesome.

    I cannot even imagine how much my productivity will be improved when I can sit at my desk and get my laptop to produce a virtual desk I can virtually sit at, while virtually typing on my virtual laptop.

    Think of the further future; that virtual laptop could run a VR laptop of it's own, complete with a VR me typing on it. Multiply this up, and it will be like being in between two mirrors; millions of me, all typing! Think of the number of characters I could produce per keystroke!

    ffs. Nurse!

  39. Filippo

    I can think of a decent list of useful applications for VR/AR

    ...but operating systems ain't on it.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: I can think of a decent list of useful applications for VR/AR

      Then you're not thinking hard enough.

      Regardless of how you think software development works, outside of dedicated applications such as games, you need OS support first.

      Last year I was saying that self driving cars would be here within 10 years - to most people claiming that I was being ridiculous. And yet Ford announced a few days ago they're bringing one to market by 2021. I'm sure Apple, Google, and other manufacturers are looking at similar time scales. It will happen by 2025.

      So, let's have another prediction:

      Within 20 years (to be honest, I think it'll happen a lot sooner, but let's say 20 years to be on the safe side), either digital contact lenses, or optical implants will replace the clunky VR/AR headsets of today. Your perception of the world will be permanently enhanced. Applications you are running will be projected onto available surfaces in the world around you, or directly in front of your vision when 'at work'. On the bus, the back of the seat in front of you will become your web browser, while the window next to you will have floating conversations with your friends available - or maybe a local news station or music video. A virtual keyboard will appear under your hands for you to type on. As you turn your head, these 'windows' will remain rooted to the surface they're 'on', or if you're not sat down, they will pop from surface to surface or float in your peripheral vision.

      People like you will probably hate this. You won't see the attraction of always having information in your face. Or being able to watch a movie without a screen. (In fact, stop considering movies as two dimensional projections - fully immersive 3D movies are coming - part of my new job starting next month will be working with that sort of tech. ;)

      The next generation, however, will consider this normal, and won't even be able to comprehend how old fuddy-duddy-30-somethings managed to live without it. Forget trying to convince your grandparents about it.

      As for me? Bring it on, I say. The future can't come fast enough. :)

  40. VinceH

    "Here's what Microsoft reckons Windows Holographic will look like on a modest Intel NUC box, running at 90 frames per second:

    Youtube Video"

    And here's what they expect the average Joe User to think it will be like to use:

    YouTube video

  41. quxinot Silver badge

    God, the trouble they'll go through to prevent themselves from simply doing what their customers would like (copy older interfaces that effectively dissappear when used).


  42. David Lawton

    Why can Microsoft not understand that their GUI's are getting worse , more cluttered, and them having simple interfaces are making things harder to use and to just give us back what the majority seem to want, the XP style start menu. This all started with XP, but at least in that OS you could quickly make it more Windows 2000 style. For example first time you run Control Panel on XP you will get a messy 'Simple Control Panel', one click in the top right and you can select Classic and it stays as Windows 2000 style Classic ( Same in Vista and 7). With file sharing, they introduced 'Simple File Sharing' which made things harder, but with one click i can enable normal file sharing Windows 2000/NT 4 style so i can actually get on with things.

    Windows Vista and 7 were worse than XP but were tolerable and you could learn to adjust things to make it act like previous versions and at least had the shiny Areo interface to make things look pleasant. (But still i want a Windows 2000 GUI).

    Windows 8.0 was a complete train wreck, and 8.1 practically as bad.

    Then we have Windows 10 with its schizophrenic GUI stupid tiles and still so bad people download Classic Shell

    Why are Microsoft so out of touch GUI wise? Its not frickin hard. So they are working on a new GUI for holographic interface?! They need to get back to Windows 10 and fix the GUI mess they have made there first!

    I'm so glad i explored Linux a few years ago and also got a Mac so i rarely have to suffer the sh*t MS pump out now. No wonder Nadella pleaded with people to love Windows again, its an ugly monster now.

  43. hoola Bronze badge


    This is yet another solution looking for a problem. So to use it I need a special headset. I also need to have two eyes that work properly probably without glasses. There are many people out there with single vision for whom this obsession with 3D is discriminatory.

    At the end of the day I just want the computer to work in the first place and not need yet more wires, battery powered tat and gadgets to looks at a web page, or write a letter.

  44. Alan Bourke



    1. no-one in particular


      I was really hoping that that would be the first comment to this article.

  45. theOtherJT

    Just one word, really...


  46. EastFinchleyite


    1. Do something wrong with your product

    2. Lose market share and reduce sales overall

    3 Reluctantly concede that you did something wrong and need a redesign

    4. Goto 1

    Now I know where all the children of British Leyland car design gurus got jobs.

  47. Towger

    AKA Microsoft BOB VR

    New management have to make their mark, so make the same old mistakes the old managers learned from.

    I give you Microsoft BOB VR Edition.

  48. roeltz

    These guys started to work into this radically new shell, and have partnered up with Intel to make specifications, and I'm still waiting for them to finish porting the Control Panel into the UWP Settings app.

    They just seem to be procrastinating the really important stuff.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is the pointless second screen for the 21st century.

    Anyone heard someone say:

    "Ill use this one for Outlook and Ill use this one for working on that way I can see my emails and still work"

  50. Known Hero

    against the grain opinion !!

    I quite like it.

    If it means I don't have to look at this decrepit office and offensively bright LED lights all day long. I would go for this in a second and find a great enviroment to work in, personal taste would be woodland.

    Oh wait sorry my bad ..... BOOO PROGRESS BOOOO

  51. J J Carter Silver badge

    Magical and game-changing

    Will Cortana be augmented with tele-dildonics?

  52. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    Updates for the sake of updates

    Meanwhile, Microsoft is working on... yet another way to force their customers into having to completely relearn all the skills they have come to depend on in order to get actual work done, costing them literally millions of lost hours of productivity. It is a replay of the ribbon, of the conversion from their CLI to Monad (they switched the name to PowerShell apparently due to the original name sounding too much like what it was), of their ill-fated discarding of the Start menu and so forth.

    No, I don't mind that they come up with new things, it's just that they don't give their customers much choice and it really does cause a lot of pain on a number of levels. Before deploying any new user interface, their developers ought to answer the question "How will this increase productivity or otherwise benefit our customers?" at least in as much as the topic is office software. If the answer is not a positive one, the change should be put on hold, reworked or discarded entirely. Damn it.

  53. TopBanana

    Ready player one

    Although as I recall the OS was free, and would run on nearly any hardware.

  54. John Sanders

    This is the future...

  55. Nathan 13

    MS are intent

    on making W10 as difficult to use as etch a sketch.

    Just make a fucking computer that people can do work on easily and efficiently.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coming to a computer near you windows 10 metro 3d, whats that timmy, your $400 dx11 card you have does not support dx12, despite the fact its more than powerful enough to, well no glass metro tile effect for you, instead you get the crayons interface someones daughter designed as an alternative.

    Seriously until headsets overcome the weight issue this will never be practical. The video made me laugh so hard, 3d work spaces could be done so much better, but no we need floating 24" monitors, side boards and a virtual pet.... seriously, this is just another thing in the long line of recent microshaft decisions that make me think i want some of what they are smoking.

  57. Gis Bun

    Considering you currently can't use the "Hello" feature unless you have a premium webcam, I can imagine what these VR things will cost. Judging by the overpriced Surface, I'm guessing $300+.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Knowing Microsoft...

    Those 'virtual reality headsets' are probably proprietary Microsoft hardware with exotic connectors not compatible with existing open standards. And they cost a fortune.

    In the end, a gimmick just like Kinect.

  59. Asok Asus

    Sure, why not? Nothing else has worked.

    Touch UI failed on W8, Voice UI failed on W10, so hey, if you're Microsoft, why not go for the ultimate failed UI: the 3D holographic UI!

    The OS is not supposed to BE the application, it's job is RUN the application and stay the hell out of the way otherwise. That's what nearly 100% of enterprise users, government users, small and medium business users, and home business users want.

    Microsoft has run so far off the rails, they'll never get back on the tracks:

  60. Delbert Grady

    too many cooks ....

    I was going to keep this one brief, but i cant. I'm seeing Microsoft sending different signals..

    'You remember those rounded corners and shadows ? well here at Microsoft we got rid of the idea of pseudo 3d depth and texture on the desktop and instead gave you an infantile desktop with flat tiles, UI elements so sharp you could cut your finger on them, and bulky, shadowless window elements"

    Contrast that to this 'New desktop utilising 3D' etc - read the blurb and spot the difference.

    and it seems to me that UI designers are just about out of ideas, Win, Mac & Linux, all dumbing down the UI at the same time the underlying OS gets more complex and pervasive.

    the desktop metaphor works, because

    a) it makes sense, some humans are not spacially aware.

    b) most of us have been using it for 20 years or more

    c) monitors and mice limit the actual input we can have to the PC

    d) 'more' is 'less', and such horseplay just gets in the way

    OS's across the board are turning into appliance operating systems. dammit, They're NOT appliances. Sorry. it has to be said maybe portable tablets are, but leave the damn desktop alone eh folks.

    Now, maybe i'm using flawed reasoning, but which is it be Microsoft ?

    - such contrarianism (to me at least) smells like UI designers are lost or maybe it's an internal battle of two differing idealogies inside the company, but every OS seems to be in fear of someone wanting to paint their own ideas on it, and not everyone works the same, but we're humans, and we've adapted to what we have quite well. Lets change it then. er..

    Maybe, and this is my harsh favourite (and it's not just pointed towards UI folks at MS either) the 'designers' were needing to keep themselves in jobs, so they have to come up with something to justify their positions, and MS have, another old idea, recycled, and it didn't take off last time.

    Apple has been ditching it's skeuomorphism for a few years now and is letting it's minimalistic design ethic dribble down and dictate the actual UI by hiding things from it's users. So much for 'Think Different'

    The thing is, user interface is largely dictated by the hardware it's running on, we've got windows, icons, mice and pointers because *it makes sense* to try to drastically change the desktop paradigm may be a noble effort, but ask Alan Kay and the folks at Xerox PARC about why OS' look the way they do.

    is it just to show off ? living in a cumbersome environment looks as comfortable having to wear that heavy multicoloured jumper Aunt Flo knitted you for xmas ..

    An OS should get *out of your way* and let you get doing stuff you want. it's an Operating System, it's used to run programs and manage hardware & provides an interface to it all. simple, It's is not an end in itself, deliberately hiding stuff is bloody stupid, as it's against the whole idea of what an operating system is for, Yes, UI elements should be on every window, yes, shadows giving 3d desktop depth and and helps with window stacking and recognition in a useful visually pleasing 'environment'.

    The GL desktop cube stuff that was compiz and with it's wobbly jelly-windows was a lot of *fun* on Linux several years ago, but i bet no-one hardly uses it, it adds little and is only cool to show to someone who has never seen it before, maybe the desktop switching on cubes was not too bad, but wasn't needed, i bet most users switched most the eye candy off too after a while of playing with it. I did, It got in the way, If you eat ice cream everyday, it gets very boring and makes you ill..

  61. wsm

    2D first

    When learning to draw, most art teachers will begin students with some 2D skills--line, shading, white to black ratios, then color. Perspective and 3D come later.

    Microsoft has gone downhill with the UI since Windows 7. What makes them think they can now jump to 3D and get anything useful out of it?

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