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Dot Matrix

Windows Start Menu Discussion

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READ BEFORE POSTING: Before I begin, I wanted to layout the purpose of this thread. It is meant as one user?s (mine) in depth analysis of the current implementation of the Windows Start Menu as seen in Windows 7 vs. the current implementation of the Windows Start Screen (dashboard) as seen in the Windows 8 Release Preview (Build 8400), and why I feel the changes Microsoft is making are justified. Also, this isn't about Metro/RT apps, this is just to focus soley on the Start Menu/Start Screen.

This is not a hate thread against Windows, the developers of Windows, or any one poster here on Neowin, and by no means shall it. I wish that this thread to remain on topic, and civil at all times, and I encourage others to post an analysis if they choose to do so themselves to cover more angles and form more opinions. Please no ?tl;dr? crapola, or outright ?Metro/Windows 8 sux. Lolz.? replies. I took the time to really dig into the menu to see what?s there, and wish that my time be respected.

With so many fighting nail and tooth to save the Start Menu, I wanted to dive in to see what exactly users are fighting to save and compare that to the changes in the new Start Screen.

Mods, I hope this is ok. I deliberated for the better part of a day if I should past this or not, If you feel this should be included in another thread, please feel free to move it.

The Start Menu was introduced all the way back in Windows 95 (?Chicago?), nearly 17 years ago. Back then, things were different. When you bought a PC, it was more than likely a desktop model, complete with a clunker of a monitor, mouse and keyboard. However, if you were lucky enough to afford a laptop, it too, was huge and clunky. You didn?t move much with it, it was heavy, awkward to use, and 802.11 WiFi was just a gleam in someone?s eye, so it too, most likely spent much time sitting on a desk.

Also, back then the Internet was a different place. Home users spent no more than one or two hours at most connected, before disconnecting and enjoying the rest of their day. There was no Twitter, Facebook, or Google for that matter, and to connect, you had to dial in over a 56k modem (fun stuff). Windows 95, just like its predecessor, Windows 3.1, was also mouse intensive. There were very few keyboard shortcuts and the Start Button on the keyboard didn?t exist yet. Back then, there were no touch screens, Kinects, remotes, voice control, controllers, nothing. The mouse was the only game in town, and even by then it took years to catch on. Since this was also the rise of the home computer, Microsoft needed a way for users to easily find what they are looking for, thus the Start Menu was born. Flash forward to Windows 98, 2000, and the Start Menu carried on strong, basically unchanged until XP, however even though XP introduced the ?enhanced? Menu, it still has the same layout it had all those years ago, but by this point, I feel it?s become a mess of epic proportions. It?s that building downtown, which despite repairs, has still managed to decay. Let?s take a look:

This is the Start Menu as we know it today in Windows 7:

On one side, you have either your most recently or commonly used apps, or your static, pinned apps, and the toggle to trigger your ?All Programs? view. On the other, you have a slim selection of system locations and services to choose from, and on the bottom, your machine?s power options. The ?All Programs? list is a carry-over from the original Start Menu in Windows 95, while the ability to pin apps is not. Pinning has made selecting my most used apps hassle free, but what happens when I need to access that one oddity that I don?t have pinned? Sure I could search for it, but some of you here have claimed it takes ?too much effort? to search for it, or you don?t know the name of it to begin with. That means you?re left to browse for it. It?s not a common occurrence anymore, but it does happen.

However, ?All Programs? hasn?t really received any TLC since the 90?s. Upon further inspection, it appears to be a mismatched conglomeration of folders, apps, and system widgets that God only knows go where. This isn?t something your ordinary user needs or really should have to dig through to get to where they want to be.

Some apps don?t have folders, while some do. Some are hidden away in sub-folders of sub-folders, made worse by names that can be intimidating or scary sounding for ordinary users - ?Accessories?, ?System Tools?, etc. Also, since Windows Vista, sub folders no longer fly out over the desktop; users are now literally confined to the tiny space in the corner of their screen for search through the menu, which can lead to problems of its own:

As you can see, the more you dig into the menu, the more space you run out of, something that could be addressed with fixes, but at the same time, do you really want to go back to those awkward flyouts like Windows 95-2000 had? I don?t. It increases mouse travel time, and certainly isn?t touch friendly at all. So what do you do? Do you get rid of it all? I don?t really think this would work as a Start Menu:

Users would never be able to find anything, and power users would be left in the dirt too, unable to be very productive with just a search bar and power options. So, it?s pretty obvious at this point that the Start Menu has many, many fallacies with just the All Programs menu alone, with little viable solutions without a complete overhaul. Microsoft could have cleaned up the All Programs menu, reorganized everything into better hierarchies, but that too would have forced change, and forced users to relearn where everything is, and those little 16x16 icons still aren?t touch friendly. Microsoft could have also increased the resolution of those icons, but that then puts strain on the limited horizontal space the Start Menu is forced to exist by. They could try to extend the Start Menu out horizontally, but according to complaints, this covers more screen space, and could potentially create awkward situations when dealing with subfolders, again due to space limitations.

So, it appears that in order to ?refresh? the Start Menu idea, a series of sacrifices have to be made. But one thing is certain; the menu as we know it today isn?t a viable long term solution anymore. New advances in hardware and the overall way we interact with machines are forcing some changes here. While app pinning in the Start Menu in Windows 7 is a great idea, and one that I could not be without today, it too is limited in how many apps can be pinned, and is also limited by what kind of apps can be pinned. In Windows 7, only individual apps can be pinned, Control Panel widgets and folders are not allowed. However, they are able to be pinned to the taskbar under the Explorer icon or Control Panel icon.

Another limitation to pinned apps is the icons? size. In order to pin as many apps as a user desires, the icon size is limited to either 32x32 or 16x16. While the 32x32 size may be touch friendly, 16x16 is not, and 32x32 is too small of an icon to display any sort of live information. How exactly does a designer deal with these issues? For those arguing that the Start Menu isn?t broken, it is for these reasons, which I respectfully disagree. It?s a good idea, left to decay with each release.

The only thing I can see about the Start Menu that's worth saving is, the pinning abilities, which thankfully, Microsoft carried over to the Start Screen, but on Windows 7, the menu is limited by your screen's size. I can fit 23 apps in my Start Menu on my 22 inch screen. My laptop is even less with 12 apps, my netbook? I can fit 6 apps. The rest have to either reamin buried in the "All Programs" menu, or live on the taskbar (I don't do desktop shortcuts anymore).

Reflecting from my first paragraph, today?s world is different from the world of 1995. We have always on Internet, mobile computing is a booming market, the mouse is no longer the only I/O game in town, and everyday seems to bring about a new change that makes the current iteration of Windows seem outdated and archaic.

A few years from now, chances are my desktop or laptop will be augmented with both touch and motion sensing input. I know many here don?t want that, and will most likely stick to using older systems and monitors to avoid the touch world, but it appears that?s where the market wants to go, and with Windows 8, it seems Microsoft is leading that charge. The outcomes of that I can think of are touch wins and the market and developers accept that, pretty much forcing everyone else along for the ride, or touch fails, however, if touch does fail, I don?t see things returning to the way they are now in Windows 7. Chances are some new form of computing will rise in its place, forcing yet another change in Windows.

I still believe that Microsoft is right in fitting Windows to touch devices, the market has shown that too many versions of Windows leads to confusion (Windows 8 Touch Home Premium Metro Ultimate Edition, anyone?). As a Windows user, I want Windows to be simply Windows. It simplifies things by not dividing the market (Windows, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 Touch, Windows 8 Non Touch, Windows RT, etc. Which one do I develop for? Which one will get me the most users of my app? Which one has the most long term viability? Yikes, too much going on here!), and it allows Microsoft to concentrate on one platform for multiple devices. Two if you count Windows Phone. They don?t need to worry about multiple editions of Windows anymore, and neither does the consumer (well, unless you count WinRT).

Since Windows now has to play nice with a wide range of devices and input methods, Microsoft had to develop an easy to use, and device neutral way of interacting with the computer. Thus, the Start Screen was born. Many people think of this has a touch only design because of the large tiles, however, they ignore the fact that just because the on-screen elements are bigger, they are by no means touch only.

We all know what the new Start Screen looks like. After a bit of tinkering, we have a clean easy to use and understand layout that can accompany anything and everything you wish. You can pin as much or as little as you want, no longer limited by screen space, if you pin more than can fit on screen at once, the Screen slides off to the left or right. Also new here, are live tiles; these automatically update to present you with the information that matters to you. News, weather, calendar, mail, social updates, and app updates. You name it, it?s there. As you can see, I am now no longer limited by what I can pin. I can pin apps, folders, Control Panel widgets, and Metro focused apps. Better yet, I can organize them any way I wish. I am no longer limited to what I can do. With that said, is it perfect? By all means no, but it does address the limitations of the old Start Menu as described above. Because of this, I feel the new Start Screen is working with you, rather than against you, no matter which device you are using.

The first common complaint is that it takes up the whole screen. While this is true, this is one of those ?rock and a hard place? moments for the designers and users alike. While the Start Menu enabled users to use the menu and keep an eye on things going on at the same time, the Start Menu suffers usability issues because of its limited space. There are a few ways around this, though. First is to pin most commonly used apps to the taskbar. Second is the one I find the best, with using a second (or third) monitor. It allows you to invoke the Start Screen on one, while keeping that special app(s) open on the second.

While this isn?t a perfect solution (especially on laptops) it is a work around that directly addresses this complaint and the limited space seen in the Start Menu. I feel it?s making direct use of the screen real estate available to the select user. Better yet, the Start Screen can be invoked on either monitor, depending which side my work is on.

To address the ?All Programs? issues in the current Windows 7 Start Menu, in Windows 8, Microsoft redesigned the layout of the now ?All Apps? menu. On the left side, you have a list of Metro and pinned apps, while on the right side, you have a cleaner list of all installed apps, however there are a few curious omissions.

Gone are the miscellaneous folders, the conglomeration of ?homeless? apps, and scary sounding folders and sub folders. We?re left with a clean, easy to use list of the installed apps we have on our machines. On the left, we have a list of Metro and pinned apps, and on the right we have a clean list of the rest of our apps we either haven?t pinned, or used. This menu can easily be accessed by pressing Win+Q or by clicking on the Search Charm. A third way is to right click directly on the Start Screen.

However, there are many notable apps missing in this list. Backup and restore is one I feel should be listed here, instead of buried in the Control Panel. Also, Microsoft has moved the shortcuts found on the right side of the current Menu into the Settings Charm which can be accessed at any time by either pressing Win+I or by mousing over to the top right of your screen.

Here you can find easy access to the Control Panel, Personalization features, PC info, and Help, along with the power options, volume control, and Network access.

This change has led to a lot of anger and confusion, but I feel this divorce of options makes the UI cleaner, and more organized, than shoving everything into the Start Menu.

The few downsides to this right now, are that it leaves a lot of ?white space?, and no customization features. The Charms are purely fixed.

Is the new Start Screen perfect? By all means no. I think there needs to be a visual cue somewhere to let the user know it?s OK to type to search, and I think that splitting up the search into three separate categories is a bit odd. I really wish it was possible to automatically go to the category where the thing you are searching for is found, but I have to manually select it for some reason. And as I said before, some of the power features of Windows are curiously absent from the ?All Apps? list.

Also, I think the Start Menu could have greater customization features, like the ability to use a background image instead of awkward colors and patterns.

But it does address the many problems with today?s Start Menu. Again, to those who say it?s ?not broken?, I disagree. Once you dive into the guts of the thing, its problems and limitations become apparent, and many of these are fixed with the new Start Screen. Also, the Start Screen eliminates device ?bias? by being able to play equally with all devices, and input methods. This is something the Start Menu would never be able to do.

After using both the Start Menu and Start Screen on both touch and non-touch devices, it?s apparent that the Start Screen is a needed change if Microsoft wishes to make Windows to work across a wide range of devices. Continuing to use the decrepit Start Menu/desktop only paradigm would have been akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

I?m positive we?ll see a lot more changes and fixes for Metro in Windows 9, but for now, I?m happy to see Microsoft finally coming to terms with Windows, and its lack of long term viability, because I for one would like to see it survive, and would like to continue using it in the future.

What do you think? Was I able to cover all bases? Or did I miss something? Like I said, I put a good day and a half into putting this together and really running through the Start Menu, so let's be respectful here. :)

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good read, you made a lot of good points :)

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I quite like your review here. For me it has been an interesting transition from Windows 7 to 8.

I had a Windows 7 laptop and actually own and am using a Mac now, but my parents still use a Windows 7 PC.

In Windows 7 I always found launching programs a bit redundant. There were 5 possible locations for that to happen

1) Via Shortcut on Desktop

2) Via Pin on Taskbar

3)Via Pin on Start Pane

4) Accessing the All Programs Menus

5) Searching in the Start menu

For Me in Windows 7 I had no shortcuts though on the desktop and all my most used apps on the taskbar

The rest were on the Start Pane

In Windows 8 however, I quite like the approach and reminds me mostly of my experience in OSX

My most used desktop apps remain still on the task bar quite like the dock and I have a search option now on the desktop like in OSX

Now for the rest of my apps those will remain on the start screen, most of these will not be a desktop app though. This for me is more like launchpad, but better, Also with this there are no application folders.

For me its a actually a nice transition especially if you start thinking of the "desktop" as an app within the system now

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these unwelcome and unnecessary changes will be the downfall of win 8...and perhaps MS...

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since when did you start respecting others time and opinion that we do the favour for you?

nice review. didn't change my opinion.

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I always thought what would make the current desktop more interesting or useful would be if MS would have gotten on the wagon and allowed for free customization's of our desktops and NOT leave it to pay for services as those of window blinds etc.

I know, I know.. Linux is free open source, but the idea... Linux allows for alot of customizations

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Just wanted to point out theres no reason you cant manage/change the windows start menu.

Sure by default it may be less than ideal.

I have all my apps sorted into categories (folders) like Audio Apps, Video Apps etc.

Easy peasy, create new folder...bit of dragging and dropping later..done

It makes it way more manageable

Good management negates many of the points above, cant always blame the vendor :)

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Nice piece.

And I totally agree with you.

I've been using Win8 since DP and now it feels weird using Win 7 when I have to.

Really like the new start screen, even on my non touch latptop

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Just wanted to point out theres no reason you cant manage/change the windows start menu.

Sure by default it may be less than ideal.

I have all my apps sorted into categories (folders) like Audio Apps, Video Apps etc.

Easy peasy, create new folder...bit of dragging and dropping later..done

It makes it way more manageable

Good management negates many of the points above, cant always blame the vendor :)

Exactly

c04b81db3f114b86f43573c6a4e41.png

I'm still not installing Windows 8. I love the desktop enhancements, but I can't deal with the intrusive Start Screen. (And I'm still trying to understand what Metro apps bring to the table that a simple HTML5 website can't give me) I have no need for a fullscreen Weather App, no need for a limited Mail client, no need for a fullscreen Stocks app, etc.

I'm nos buying/drinking this kool-aid

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I'm still not installing Windows 8. I love the desktop enhancements, but I can't deal with the intrusive Start Screen

see, this is what I don't understand from people like you.

if the start screen is the only thing you don't like why not just install one of the start menu replacers and be done with it? many of them (ok, just 2 right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if that number rises) are starting to allow logging in straight to the desktop bypassing the start screen all together, so I don't see what the problem is, especially if you like all the other improvements.

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see, this is what I don't understand from people like you.

if the start screen is the only thing you don't like why not just install one of the start menu replacers and be done with it? many of them (ok, just 2 right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if that number rises) are starting to allow logging in straight to the desktop bypassing the start screen all together, so I don't see what the problem is, especially if you like all the other improvements.

Its not just the star menu on Windows 8 thats the issue.

Metro is just wrong for a non-touchscreen desktop.

99% of people are going to be using it non-touchscreen

My desktop OS needs to be functional as its primary concern, not pretty with ridiculous tiles that center around social media which is the ar$e end of the internet

I dont need to know when some *celebrity * (which is apparently almost anyone with a pulse (or stupid haircut) these days) does something insignificant, i just want a proper interface

Of course you can disable Metro as well, but then it also disables a lot of the new fucntionailty which was ridiculously linked to Metro, and therefore you end up with something akin to Windows 7.

Windows wants to create its own ecosystem, same interface across desktop (and its ignored its customer base who largely hate Metro, and its also trying to block users from altering the start screen/menu), phone and tablet,, so its trying to become Apple...

If this continues ill switch to Linux full time.

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just a weee error here

The Start Menu was introduced all the way back in Windows 95 (?Chicago?), nearly 10 years ago.

should technically be 19 years ago as Chicago build came out in 1993, or 17 years ago for windows 95 itself

seems like a fair enough review, you clearly like the way MS is going .. (for desktops I don't) ...Only thing I would change if I were you is change the word "app" to "program" and "control panel widgets" to anything but, cause its clear your in the mindset of a tablet user .... yes yes i know "app" means application, but rarely do you here a desktop user calling MS Word for instance an app...

maybe if Microsoft had the start menu changed to something less obtrusive than a start screen, something that didn't take up the whole screen, maybe even transparent and also have the power buttons some where on the screen, problem is there are so many little design faults and they don't seem to want to listen to others opinion ....

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snip

Posted on main, good job.

Also corrected the 10 years ago statement to 17.

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It's a nice opinion piece.

I don't happen to totally agree with all of it. I've said before (and i'll say again) : There are places for Metro, and there are places not for it. My non-touch based desktop computer falls into the latter category.

Personally, I can't see why Microsoft didn't give people the choice to use Metro or Classic. XP has such a [classic] choice. So does Vista. What caused Microsoft to suddenly force Metro on Windows 8 users? I won't understand that decision, and personally I think it's a bad move. Today's world should be about freedom and choice. Not the opposite. Yes, Windows 7 is an option. Yes, classic start menu hacks are an option. But they're not exactly freedom of choice...

That all said, I'm not going to knock Windows 8 (yet), as it's still to be seen how it gets taken up and what it will mean for both touch and non-touch devices. Time will tell...

Edited by Raa
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Excellent analysis, Dot Matrix.

What many fail to see is how the Windows 8 UX is primarily aimed at 'PC+' devices like the MS Surface or touch-enabled hybrid ultrabooks. To me it looks as though Microsoft are considering traditional desktops and laptops legacy devices which will sooner or later be superseded by next-gen devices. Is it a risky bet? Yes. Will it pay off? Time will tell.

Personally I'm not fully sold on Windows 8 yet. It'll take some more getting used to. Will I be upgrading to Windows 8 once it RTMs? More than likely yes. The under-the-hood changes and improvements to the desktop experience alone make it worth it imho.

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I've not posted in a while, busy semester of 17 units but side issue.

I enjoy Windows 8 on my HP dv7-1270us laptop I won't lie. I've made the RP my only OS as of now until it hits RTM. It LITERALLY is faster than Windows 7 in nearly all areas such as boot time, shutdown time, load times for programs, not to mention Windows Installer-based programs don't have that stupid delay like they do in Vista and 7. It is instantaneous as it was on Windows XP. Minor details aside, the USB 3.0 is gonna be especially welcomed for my new build coming as soon as I get my Core i7-3770k processor, I've already gotten everything and am waiting on my Asus Sabertooth Z77. Can't wait til this sucker hits RTM so I can get my new rig running, Windows 8 on a Crucial m4 128GB SSD, 16GB RAM, 2TB RAID 1, CM Storm Scout, Intel HD Graphics (Until I can afford a dedicated GPU, tight budget and I'm making this by running my own small business repairing computers).

This Start Menu/Metro ordeal is a controversial one to me. On one hand, I like how Metro is set up. On the other hand, I don't want it engulfing my whole 1920x1080 screen. The idea behind Start8 should AT LEAST be made an option in Control Panel but to each their own. I personally could care less for the start menu as I have everything I need pinned to the taskbar but that's not always the case. There are times where I need an application that I barely use, yet I don't want it pinned nor as a desktop shortcut. The Start menu was a neat place to hide that crap and maintain minimalism. But then there is another issue, and that is that again the point of the folder + subfolder awkwardness is there. Don't forget those extra needless shortcuts like "Uninstall PowerISO"; "PowerISO Website", "Order PowerISO". I wholeheartedly admire the Windows Store approach because it eliminates the needless extra crap shortcuts but it can't be fully done away with either. Look at Mac OS X Lion and Launchpad with those needless additional icons installed by Adobe Creative Suite for example. Hell even Adobe Flash Player makes a stupid additional Uninstall shortcut, I mean really that isn't needed there! Launchpad-Control is a must-have in that case to alter and organize it otherwise Apple chugs it down on you.

I prefer the Metro approach to at least being able to remove the extra icons, not perfect but it is better than Apple's Launchpad. Metro can still be given some options though. The colours are rather restrictive. I have the red colour scheme set but me personally I want Black and White, or at least Black and Red to match my new Rig's LEDs with the Black CM Storm Scout and the Red LED fans + lighting I have inside. Bypassing the fullscreen metro screen should also be a given under the Control Panel because it is pathetic that I have to stare at the tiles EVERY time I restart. Given on my new rig, its pretty much going to be on 24/7 so that won't be an issue but on a laptop going back and forth and with a battery life of ~100 minutes, it does make a world of difference. My mother is extremely computer illiterate and being used to Windows 7 isn't too helpful. I WISH she would want to learn more formally so we can avoid the confusion barrier of basic functions such as using the internet and email.

At least on Windows 7, Shutting down was a matter of 2 clicks. In Windows 8 especially for someone like my mother, good luck having her go to the top right corner, catching the side menu (this is someone who is VERY incapable of using a touchpad steadily), figuring that you go to Options > Shutdown. 3 Clicks but to do that function can be hellish when you can't use a touchpad or even regular mouse without a little precision effort. One caveat there too of Windows 8, not everyone owns a touchscreen, let alone multitouch. Make the delay a few hundred ms longer for that right-hand sidebar and save newbs some hassle.

Software developers, if you don't want your software to go through Microsoft's Windows Store then don't cram bulls*** shortcuts down our throats anymore because it ruins the consistency of Metro. You need to understand that as well, no more uninstall shortcuts and links to ordering. Figure out how to do those things through your application, not through peoples' menus because it really is pathetic. My $0.02

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I always thought what would make the current desktop more interesting or useful would be if MS would have gotten on the wagon and allowed for free customization's of our desktops and NOT leave it to pay for services as those of window blinds etc.

I know, I know.. Linux is free open source, but the idea... Linux allows for alot of customizations

There are downsides to that though, and that's too much customization. Windows is a pretty standardized OS, in use by billions of people, having it all look reletively the same makes support easier, and keeps costs down.

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I'm accustomed to using the Start Menu in "Windows 95 mode" since the first days of my Windows experience, I find the Windows 7 menu less useful (and pretty annoying) because it isn't customizabile like before and I hate the Windows 8 "Start Screen" with all my heart.

There are different Windows users in this world, and this particular user wants to have nothing to do with this plague called Metro UI on his computers. I'm almost regretting purchasing a damn Windows Phone right now....

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Excellent analysis, Dot Matrix.

What many fail to see is how the Windows 8 UX is primarily aimed at 'PC+' devices like the MS Surface or touch-enabled hybrid ultrabooks. To me it looks as though Microsoft are considering traditional desktops and laptops legacy devices which will sooner or later be superseded by next-gen devices. Is it a risky bet? Yes. Will it pay off? Time will tell.

Personally I'm not fully sold on Windows 8 yet. It'll take some more getting used to. Will I be upgrading to Windows 8 once it RTMs? More than likely yes. The under-the-hood changes and improvements to the desktop experience alone make it worth it imho.

I don't think desktops and laptops are legacy devices, however, they're moving in a new direction, augmented by new technology, which is already happening with AiOs and Transformer type PCs. I think we're going to see some interesting things happen with touch and motion technologies.

Also, I just realized that my blurb about the power options in Windows 8 didn't make it over here. Must have gotten lost when I copied over from Word. :/

Anyway, I had meant to say that the power options in Windows 8 are a litle awkward at first, and I'm still not sure if I like them hidden away in the Settings Charm. I do think they would work better if there was a dedicated Power Charm that users could easily toggle. Also, I'm not sure people are going to easily find the "Lock", "Log Off", etc options under the user tile on the Start Screen. So there are some trade-offs with the change, but these changes have brought about some awkward changes itself, but I feel that having the new refreshed Start Screen is a nice start, and I'm thrilled to have a cleaner layout.

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Has anyone seen banding on individual non metro app tiles? Microsoft cannot even do something right.

GW4gl.png

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the W7 start menu feels good, it isn't an eyesore (flashing of the animation) like in W8 RP. I want my menu in W8 to transition from different directions/orientations, as in taskbar to the left, with left hand orientation for menu layout as an example. The traditional W7 menu has its flaws, like too many icons make the start menu look huge. But I like the changes to the W8 start menu interface, although give more options for colour, layout orientation, layout editing etc to adress any transition issues. Also, I think MS should keep the start button as a concept. You click it and W8 metro menu opens. Simple, they retain current W7 users, and phase in their intended new start menu for metro. I don't like having to click on the fringe of a corner to get my menu to pop out... just retain the reflexive behavior involved with going to one place without any prior knowledge of the OS on a whole, to know exactly where to open the start menu. Its a solution that can make both parties happy. Now just choose the start button design to fit into metro and viola.

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Great post OP - it's good to see someone highlighting both the shortcomings of the start screen and the original start menu at the same time. I agree that in 7 the expand-o-matic mess of all programs was horrible to use but I don't think they've entirely solved it in 8 because legacy apps don't recieve any automatic grouping. I really hope they add this in the final build because doing it by hand is a PITA. In fact, if they could make the management of groups in semantic zoom better overall plus sort out the size of the icons for legacy apps (they're way too small and hard to skim with the eyes) it would answer my only real gripes with it.

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You are complaining about banding in an beta software really? lets wait until it gets released to say that MS doesn't do its job right.... A 200 Billion $ company

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Sorry, banding? :huh:

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Personally, I can't see why Microsoft didn't give people the choice to use Metro or Classic. XP has such a [classic] choice. So does Vista. What caused Microsoft to suddenly force Metro on Windows 8 users? I won't understand that decision, and personally I think it's a bad move. Today's world should be about freedom and choice. Not the opposite. Yes, Windows 7 is an option. Yes, classic start menu hacks are an option. But they're not exactly freedom of choice...

Personally, to me, it looks like they're making a clean break across all their platforms and services. They're sheding the past and moving towards the future.

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