A complete disaster? According to who? I honestly cannot understand this point of view. Not liking the look of something is one thing (that is pure opinion) but claiming the usability is worse is just stupid - IT ISN'T. Also...yet again some idiot (the article writer, not you) posts that ridiculous video of the old man using Windows 8. But of course they COMPLETELY IGNORE the fact that the video is edited to make a point. What the entire video ACTUALLY shows is that after a short time using Windows 8 that guy's dad learns how to use it quite easily. As for the settings - they do need improvement. All settings should be duplicated across both Metro and desktop environments (well...no reason really for desktop only settings need to be exposed through the Metro settings but most things should live in both places).
Let’s face it. The Windows 8 user interface is a complete disaster. I realize that some of you – my tech-savvy colleagues, included – are perfectly willing to write off Microsoft’ inclusion of Metro/the “Modern UI”/the “new Windows user interface”/whatever the heck Microsoft’s calling it nowadays. I respect that opinion as a tech-savvy individual myself. But even though Metro is just a big, out of control search tool that you can theoretically ignore if you just want that classic Windows 7 look and feel, it’s just not good enough.
It’s not good enough because average people – and don’t take my word for it, consider the surveys – are being overly confused by Microsoft’s decision to slap a tablet (or smartphone) OS onto Windows 8 for desktops and laptops. So much so, that they can’t even perform normal tasks on their desktops.
The solution? Microsoft needs to refine the user interface, period. And this can take a number of forms. The most obvious solution is treating Metro the way it was meant to be designed: as a supplement to the “core” Windows 7 operating system rather than a botched attempt at a primary UI. Let users boot into the desktop if they want. Give them their Start button back. Give them the option of restricting Metro’s interface to Metro apps only, which also solves the irritating issue of installed apps filling Windows 8’s new user interface full of crappy tiles.
I don’t really have any good suggestions for dealing with the “bars” found in Windows 8, nor do I think Microsoft would be all that willing to abandon its Charms. It’s unfortunate that Windows 8 comes with two disparate settings menus – at the very least, a link from PC Settings to the Control Panel, and vice versa, would be a pleasant touch. As for Share, well, that’s still fussy depending on the kind of content you’re actually trying to show off to others. Caveat emptor.
Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This (App) Wall
Why Metro doesn’t talk to Windows 8’s Desktop Mode, and why Windows 8’s Desktop Mode doesn’t talk to Metro, we’ll never know. Or, rather, we’ll never know the reason why Microsoft didn’t do everything in its power to break down the wall between the two halves of Windows 8 – for apps, that is.
Windows 8 currently makes you run two browsers (one for the normal desktop and the other for Metro).
Here’s the confusing bit. If you go to load Internet Explorer, the Metro app, it doesn’t match up with the desktop-based version of Internet Explorer in the slightest. The same holds true for Google’s Chrome, or just about any other app that happens to have both Metro and Desktop versions on Windows 8. What you end up getting are two completely different experiences within – arguably – identical applications: Your tabs in one don’t match your tabs in the other, among other synchronization problems.
Whether this is a Windows issue or a development issue, Microsoft needs to make it easier for apps found on the two parts of its operating system to get along. And while we’re at it, let’s get a fix for the “Can’t load Metro-based browser unless it’s set to be your default browser” issue. I’m not a huge Internet Explorer fan, but there’s absolutely no way I’m going to even be able to use Internet Explorer in Metro the minute I set another browser as my default. In some cases, maybe I’d like to – or need to – use IE. Why send me off to the desktop if you don’t need to, Microsoft?
Desktop doesn't "Talk" to the Metro environment because Metro apps live in a sandbox. They can only communicate through the Windows 8 contracts. This is for security reasons and like it or not will never change. HOWEVER. What he is explaining about Google Chrome has NOTHING to do with desktop apps not talking to Metro apps. It sounds like what he is expecting is the metro and desktop instance to be the same process? Once again, this cannot and will never happen. Perhaps though he is only arguing that it should sync tabs between both instances. Maybe it should, but I would ask what the hell he is doing running the desktop and Metro browsers at the same time? If you are on a desktop/laptop use the desktop version, if you are on a tablet use the Metro version.
Improved Metro Apps
I realize that Microsoft has the capacity to upgrade Windows Store apps as it sees fit, so there’s really no compelling reason to wait until the release of Windows 8 SP1 to do so. Even though we did point out the best Windows 8 apps out there, it sure does feel as if users are beta testing the most basic functionally Microsoft can see fit to release right about now.
Let's get more and better apps on there!
Let’s run through the quick laundry list. Mail app? A joke. Calendar? Doesn’t even integrate with the Mail app – a peanut butter and jelly combination here one tastes a little bit awkward on its own but, together, make for a compelling meal. People? A complete nightmare of a contact list for anyone realistically looking to make edits on a semi-mass scale to the imported personas. Store? Make this app a live tile! Have it tell users when they need to jump in and upgrade their apps! SkyDrive? Kind of a pain in the butt to operate, at least compared to the ease that is the conventional Windows File Explorer. Messaging? Where are all the other supported services, let alone any of the other features one could find in a simple messaging app like, say, Trillian?
The list goes on. Microsoft needs to kick some spice into its Metro apps which, right now, make Web apps even look preferable to what Windows 8 has to offer. Take the apps off newbie mode, Microsoft: Give us some advanced functionality in SP1.
The apps will come. This has nothing to do with a service pack request. As time goes on there will be more and better apps, that is all there is to say about that. I do have an issue with hiss complaints about the stock mail, etc. apps. They are just like any other mobile app. WTF is he expecting? If he wants fully functional programs use the desktop version. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.
As for the Store - it is a live tile that does tell you when updates are available. It could be updated to tell you which apps specifically have updates ready but my god that is really nitpicking for complaints at this point.
Metro, by default, restricts your ability to add, change, or modify just about anything within the UI – save the pretty background picture and the colors (see our Windows 8 tips guide). Why not open that up? Microsoft could be doing users a great service by giving them additional options to configure Metro’s column-and-row UI as they see fit.
This could include, but isn’t limited to: Changing the raw shape of Metro’s tiles themselves (maybe you’re a circle kind of a person); building in an easy means for developers to create live tiles or beautiful icons to use as their tiles and reducing the disparity between Windows Store Apps’ prettier tiles and the uglier tiles of Desktop apps you install outside of the Store; giving users the ability to define the size and shape of columns as they see fit; giving users scrollable columns (Stardock's Fences, anyone?).
And, the biggie: Giving users some kind of method for selecting which of an installed app’s shortcuts they actually want Windows to make into tiles instead of defaulting to “everything.” Even better, it would be great to have some kind of automated means for dumping certain tiles into previously established Metro columns instead of just some huge, default chunk. Perhaps Windows there could be some way to flag a program as a “game” as a part of its installation routine, which would then allow Windows 8 to dump the program’s official tile into a “Games” column that a user has already set up – something like that.
There’s really no reason why Windows 8 users should have to turn to registry hacks or the freeware world just to be able to increase their control over their Metro experience. Let users experience Metro how they prefer to do so, not how Microsoft prefers them to do so.
They aren't going to let you make the tiles circle, this is perhaps the most absurd this I read in this article. I agree customization is always better - I have disabled the transparent charms bar hint that pops up when you hover your mouse in one corner. His complaints about the icons that get created on the start screen are a valid one - Visual Studio is among the worst offenders (even then it took about 10 seconds to remove them). However, while his wish to let the user choose which group an item's tile is placed is a good idea, it could only be done if: 1. Microsoft provided a mechanism for doing so. and 2. App developers updated their install routines to utilize it. No old application (we are talking every application currently in existence) could perform it, and Microsoft couldn't do it automatically because application and installer development on Windows is the furthest thing from standardized.