From The Forums: Ideas for some "common sense" Windows 8 fixes

There's certainly no topic that is more polarizing for Neowin readers than the discussion of Windows 8. Microsoft's latest OS has its supporters and its detractors, and there are many in the middle who like some elements of Windows 8 while hate others intensely.

One Neowin member, CSharp., recently offered what he called some "common sense" fixes for many aspects of Windows 8. His forum post on the matter has generated quite a few discussions among our readers already.

One of his suggestions is simply to rename the Start screen the App Screen and to place the user name on the left side rather than the "Start" label. The Search charm is also shown on the screen as a magnifying glass icon, according to his mockup of the App Screen. Finally, showing all of the Windows  8 Moderns apps on screen at once is done away with. This new design breaks up apps into different categories.

The power setting is placed on the lower right corner of the App Screen in this new design and in the settings menu, there should be an option to boot to the desktop, something that IDC recently said many Windows 8 users want right now.

CSharp. states his reasons for these changes:

Takes one click to show all apps or search or reach the settings and power menu, all easily discoverable. Give the user the choice as to whether he or she wants to skip the Apps Screen after a system start.

He also has some ideas of how Modern Windows 8 apps should be redesigned. Among this suggestions are that apps should have a button and keyboard shortcut to put apps in windows and a setting icon should be visible in the lower right corner of all apps.

He even has some ideas for the desktop UI of Windows 8, including showing the currently active, recently launched and  pinned Modern apps in the task bar and allow some kind of integration of the Windows 8 Share charm into the desktop-based apps.

There are plenty of other ideas in his forum post and those suggestions have certainly inspired many Neowin readers who have supported his views, along with others that feel they won't work. In a later forum post, CSharp. admits, "For the record, Windows 8 is my favorite Windows OS yet, but it took Start8 and ModernMix to achieve that."

With Microsoft reportedly planning to make at least some UI changes for the next major Windows 8 update, Windows Blue, perhaps Microsoft might take some of these ideas to heart, although it appears that a return to the Start menu is not in the cards.

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K all I have to say is for the folk that miss certain elements from Windows 7 and will make your Windows 8 experience better for you is to get these 3 programs and you will never look back.

1. Start8 (start menu)

2. Modern Mix ( run modern app on desktop

3. Clover ( tabbed browsing in file explorer)

this is for all the people that can not let go with the start menu stuff, install these 3 programs and let me know what you find better win 7 or win8???

As I'll say as I've said alot lately; " Microsoft screwed themselves by relying on word of mouth advertising instead of paying for a legit advert campaign like they did back for win95. At any rate, Microsoft thought they would make history with a new tech UI yadda yadda.

All I see MS pushing is tablets so that people are forced to rely on the cloud for their storage..

i love the bitching and moaning about the start menu. metro is the same thing, only not as cramped down in a corner. but i guess it's bitching for bitching's sake - the same people would complain if nothing had changed ('selling us 7 with a new skin *cry*')

When Windows7 was released, people talked about its new taskbar... Not so much but a lot of people complain about this change... As they ever do about every change...
Microsoft showed up that these people could sets their taskbar to look back XP/Vista Style. For now, nobody used this option.
So... Leave Windows 8 alone.
ModernUI screen is like a board, with main features (email, task, calendar, etc.) it's more like a Outlook today page than a desktop replacement.

People has to understand that Microsoft can't stick in classic Windows desktop devices. It has to embrace touch devices now. So ModernUI was its choice, and the good choice(from a design and usability point of view) to di it.
Cause these same people slamming and asking Microsoft to not make any changes on Windows are also buying Google or Apple touch devices on the other side. So when the classic desktop will be really obsolete, these same people will let desktop, and Windows, and Microsoft, behind them.

Windows 8 is actually the best OS for this transition. It should matches everybody needs, less or more.

I think CSharp isn't a ModernUI fan. Metro can't be a categorie, if it was, we should also have a Windowed app categorie. the the only thing I think is missing on the start screen, is, on my opinion, the time. It could be on the right or below the Start word...

Wireless wookie said,

Microsoft showed up that these people could sets their taskbar to look back XP/Vista Style. For now, nobody used this option.

Well I know quite a few people that use this option, so seems your data is wrong...

The option to move it may not be a bad idea, but not move it all together. Being right handed It feels more natural for me to have it on the right hand side somehow. Because of that (personal) observation I could see how a lefty may prefer it on the left ..

paulheu said,
The option to move it may not be a bad idea, but not move it all together. Being right handed It feels more natural for me to have it on the right hand side somehow. Because of that (personal) observation I could see how a lefty may prefer it on the left ..

I was just under the assumption that it's pretty common, at least on websites, to make sign-in and account access on the top right portion of the page. I'm pretty sure Microsoft was just following the usual convention of placing a username/account access.

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
Yawn. Not another one of these...

I wouldn't mind if the "common sense fixes" were actually good ideas... instead, it seeks to undermine some very well thought out UX that I believe will pay dividends. It's just a sharp shift that takes a little time to settle and understand.

GOD I am so tired of hearing you people go on and on and on about the missing start button.
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA the start button's gone!!!!!!!!!
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I want to boot to the desktop..
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I don't like metro..
Honestly stick with windows 7 and just STFU...
The rest of us who have no problem learning new things and embracing change.. will move forward.. you can just fade into obscurity......

So now matter what a company does to their products, you accept it?

Have you any wool?

If you like Windows 8, good for you. But guess what? People other than you are also entitled to their opinions. Just because they don't match yours, doesn't lessen their validity.

It's called be a grown-up.

COKid said,
So now matter what a company does to their products, you accept it?

Have you any wool?

If you like Windows 8, good for you. But guess what? People other than you are also entitled to their opinions. Just because they don't match yours, doesn't lessen their validity.

It's called be a grown-up.

I never liked iOS but I rarely b*tch about it. I understand where R3DL1N3 is coming from. Microsoft made a choice to step away from the desktop and embrace the modern UI for all their devices.

When this became apparant expressing your opinion was only natural. But its been half a year already. Yet each article about Windows has the same complaints about the start button (often from the same people).

laserfloyd said,
An option to have it boot to desktop or start screen would be fine by me. Start menu? Nope, it's dead, Jim.
Did you even try to type 'boot windows 8 to desktop' into something called Google? I guess not..

Just made a shutdown shortcut on my desktop. Double click and walk away.

"C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /s /t 0"

majortom1981 said,
or you can just press your computers power button. will do the same thing.

If it's configured that way...

In my opinion an easy fix for a lot of problems is to have a switch 'reveal hidden UI elements'. When you're on a PC they should do away with all the 'swipe from the edge' gestures. They are really cool and fun on a tablet, creating a lot of space for content* but on a PC it feels misplaced and unoptimized.

So instead of hidden UI elements there should be a command bar on the bottom when you flip this switch. This command bar should include the charms (with the startbutton-charm all the way on the left) as well as app specific options (like the search bar when you're in Internet Explorer or 'add new contact' when you're in the people hub). All the way on the right should be notifications, the time+date and the other quick settings from the setting-charm. Last but not least there should be a button that opens a window with all running apps to easy switch between them. Thay way the interface is mouse friendly while not being all that different from the touch version.

In my opinion the start screen is the new desktop (and so much more - in one), especially as more applications become available as modern apps. The old desktop is there for the same reason why Windows 98 had a DOS-mode. But in order to meet this new role the start screen needs to get more of the functionality of the desktop. Things like the control panel need a modern skin. These arent big changes but they can make all the difference. What does need big changes are the main apps like Xbox Music.

*Makes you wonder why they havent united W8 and WP8 by bringing the same gestures and hidden UI elements to WP8 and unify the two in other ways as well.

Just yesterday, I was helping a guy over the phone who had Windows 8. I was going to have him open an application while on the start screen. I told him just start tying it. He said ..where there is no place to type it? I said, just start typing it on the screen.

he said ."Well look at that".

He had no idea you could ever do that.

I am not 100% happy with Metro, yes, but when I read the forum post from CSharp and especially the answers, or "ideas" from other users on other websites, I am not sure if would more like a Windows 9 with a desgin only from MS or a design with more user involvement. I tend to say that MS did not the worst job...

Lastwebpage said,
I am not 100% happy with Metro, yes, but when I read the forum post from CSharp and especially the answers, or "ideas" from other users on other websites, I am not sure if would more like a Windows 9 with a desgin only from MS or a design with more user involvement. I tend to say that MS did not the worst job...

MS
- force you to boot to the Start Screen instead of the Desktop
- force you to use a full-screen app launcher and desktop search tool
- force you to use a hidden UI to search, launch apps or access settings and power options
- force you to keep "Modern" apps in full screen
- prevent Desktop apps from providing or making use of the "Share" functionality
...

I propose making every single one of those items optional and extending the Share functionality to Desktop apps. If you disagree with that, I'd at least be interested in hearing your reasons?

CSharp. said,

MS
- force you to boot to the Start Screen instead of the Desktop
- force you to use a full-screen app launcher and desktop search tool
- force you to use a hidden UI to search, launch apps or access settings and power options
- force you to keep "Modern" apps in full screen
- prevent Desktop apps from providing or making use of the "Share" functionality
...

-What good is booting to the desktop, when first thing you'll do is click *back* into Start to get to your pinned apps?

-So? What's wrong with a full screen app launcher and search?

-Charms Bar is far from hidden. It's discoverability is almost unavoidable. You hit it just by moving your mouse.

Edited by Dot Matrix, Mar 16 2013, 5:36pm :

Dot Matrix said,

-So if I boot directly to the desktop, and have to go back into Start anyway, because that's where my app shortcuts are, what good is booting to the desktop doing users?

- you might dislike the the Start screen and prefer using the task bar and a windowed launcher
- you might want to check whether there's anything left on the Desktop to work on
- you might want to access documents you know are on the Desktop
- you might like booting to a "blank slate" (yes, I'm serious)
...


Dot Matrix said,

-So. What's wrong with a full screen app launcher and search?

Nothing. What's wrong with providing an option for a windowed desktop search and app launcher?

Dot Matrix said,

-Charms Bar is far from hidden. It's discoverability is almost unavoidable. You hit it just by moving your mouse.

:-| In my reality, it is hidden. I don't see it unless I perform a gesture. And, for the record, that's a nice option to offer, but there should (imo) be a visible alternative offered (preferably by default), at least for searching and settings/power options

Plus, not only is the Charms bar hidden even though you may want to access it, but it is at the same time possible for it to get in the way when you don't need it at all. And it can't be turned off. Even though 3/5 of its functionality are useless on the Desktop.

Dot Matrix said,

o? What's wrong with a full screen app launcher and search?

Two things for me

1.. it's nice to see what time it is (without having to press anything)
2.. also nice to see what programs i'm running (without having to press anything)


Dot Matrix said,

-Charms Bar is far from hidden. It's discoverability is almost unavoidable. You hit it just by moving your mouse.

only just this week I had a customer who had windows 8 for 2 weeks and didn't know about the charms bar (or how to shutdown) until he was shown..

CSharp. said,

If you disagree with that, I'd at least be interested in hearing your reasons?


Well, I disagree with all of that, no one is forcing you to use anything. _You_ choose to use WIN8 and if it's not for you feel free to use any other OS including WIN7.

MSFT is not hiding anything, they very clearly explain most of what you claim they hide.

CSharp. said,

MS
- force you to boot to the Start Screen instead of the Desktop
- force you to use a full-screen app launcher and desktop search tool
- force you to use a hidden UI to search, launch apps or access settings and power options
- force you to keep "Modern" apps in full screen
- prevent Desktop apps from providing or making use of the "Share" functionality
...

I propose making every single one of those items optional and extending the Share functionality to Desktop apps. If you disagree with that, I'd at least be interested in hearing your reasons?

QUOTED FOR TRUTH my friend, the keyword here its simple "FORCE"... Windows use to be a very customizable experience why force a thing that people dont like or wont like....

Let people choose what they want to do with their computer experience, desktop user dont need or like metro its not productive and its a hassle as much as M$ want to deny it.

When stardock apps "workaround" to do what M$ should allow in the first place you should know why people are not happy with windows 8.....

Where vista its a performance mess, 8 its a usability mess. M$ should fix this asap...

I not said, that Win 8 is perfect, but if I see your suggestions, add the suggestions from the Forum answers and posts at other websites, (and some of them are only the result of "It is hard to teach an old dog tricks") what Windows this should be?

eilegz said,

QUOTED FOR TRUTH my friend, the keyword here its simple "FORCE"... Windows use to be a very customizable experience why force a thing that people dont like or wont like....

Let people choose what they want to do with their computer experience, desktop user dont need or like metro its not productive and its a hassle as much as M$ want to deny it.

When stardock apps "workaround" to do what M$ should allow in the first place you should know why people are not happy with windows 8.....

Where vista its a performance mess, 8 its a usability mess. M$ should fix this asap...

If you don't like being "forced", then why are you using Windows? Contrary to popular belief, you've been using the OS *AS MICROFT INTENDED* for some time now. Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 ALL forced you to learn new things, and forced you away from older ones. Windows 8 is no different.

Dot Matrix said,
If you don't like being "forced", then why are you using Windows?

Isn't Windows supposed to offer more choice and/or options than (or at least the same amount as) the Mac? That's not true these days.

CSharp. said,

Isn't Windows supposed to offer more choice and/or options than (or at least the same amount as) the Mac? That's not true these days.

Windows DOES offer me more choice, I can build a machine out of any hardware I want, and Windows will install and run perfectly, but it's ALWAYS presented *ONE* UX. Same thing with Windows 8.

I just don't understand how the biggest software company in the world releases something so half-baked, basically the frankenstein of all operating systems. How hard could it be to design a OS that detects the hardware you're using and adapts the interface accordingly. Using a PC? Start menu pops up filling about 25% of screen real estate. Using a tablet? No biggie. Start menu fills entire screen. I understand their move from a business perspective, but why execute it so badly?

T-1000 said,
I just don't understand how the biggest software company in the world releases something so half-baked, basically the frankenstein of all operating systems. How hard could it be to design a OS that detects the hardware you're using and adapts the interface accordingly. Using a PC? Start menu pops up filling about 25% of screen real estate. Using a tablet? No biggie. Start menu fills entire screen. I understand their move from a business perspective, but why execute it so badly?

Start screen works just fine on desktop non-touch based PC.

Crimson Rain said
Start screen works just fine on desktop non-touch based PC.
Agreed. I'm using it on my 3 year old laptop. Couldn't be happier.

Crimson Rain said,

Start screen works just fine on desktop non-touch based PC.

There is a difference between working fine and working optimally. Right now the start screen is like a pc game that is a crappy console port. It doesn't take advantage of using a mouse (having smaller buttons/tiles for example as mouse is more precise...etc)

Note: I do use windows 8, but it certainly needs a lot of adjustments.

Mamoun said,

It doesn't take advantage of using a mouse (having a smaller buttons for example as mouse is more precise...

Smaller buttons would be less efficient according to Fitts' law. If you're concerned about optimality, you won't want smaller buttons. For their size, you can access more items in less time on the start screen than the start menu. If you want even *more* items on the screen at a time with smaller buttons, there is a view that offers this as well.

Mamoun said,

There is a difference between working fine and working optimally. Right now the start screen is like a pc game that is a crappy console port. It doesn't take advantage of using a mouse (having smaller buttons/tiles for example as mouse is more precise...etc)

Note: I do use windows 8, but it certainly needs a lot of adjustments.

If there's one thing I *can't* stand, it's 10x10 UI controls, why do they need to be small? Our screens are getting bigger, and our resolutions higher, we *need* the bigger controls.

Not to mention Fitt's Law...

Mamoun said,

There is a difference between working fine and working optimally. Right now the start screen is like a pc game that is a crappy console port. It doesn't take advantage of using a mouse (having smaller buttons/tiles for example as mouse is more precise...etc)

Note: I do use windows 8, but it certainly needs a lot of adjustments.


I agree. I do not think it is optimal yet.

However, it works better than start menu ever did.

Dot Matrix said,

If there's one thing I *can't* stand, it's 10x10 UI controls, why do they need to be small? Our screens are getting bigger, and our resolutions higher, we *need* the bigger controls.

Not to mention Fitt's Law...

No we don't . You just think they are too small for a finger.

warwagon said,

No we don't . You just think they are too small for a finger.

There is no reason we still need tiny controls. A larger striking area will benefit everyone, including mouse users. I can't tell you how many times I mis-click, even though the mouse is supposed to be "so precise".

T-1000 said,
I just don't understand how the biggest software company in the world releases something so half-baked, basically the frankenstein of all operating systems. How hard could it be to design a OS that detects the hardware you're using and adapts the interface accordingly. Using a PC? Start menu pops up filling about 25% of screen real estate. Using a tablet? No biggie. Start menu fills entire screen. I understand their move from a business perspective, but why execute it so badly?

Half baked? Runs like a champ.

Mamoun said
It doesn't take advantage of using a mouse (having smaller buttons/tiles for example as mouse is more precise...etc)
Actually the Start Screen does take advantage because since the content on the screen is bigger, it's easier to get to. I always hated the start menu because there were times were I'd click on the wrong program because they were just simply too close to each other.

Dot Matrix said
There is no reason we still need tiny controls.
Exactly.

Dot Matrix said
I can't tell you how many times I mis-click, even though the mouse is supposed to be "so precise".
That's happened to me so many times. It's so frustrating.

dtourond said,
Exactly.

That's happened to me so many times. It's so frustrating.

Can't say i've ever had that issue. Doesn't a larger screen with larger buttons sort of defeat the purpose of a larger screen?

warwagon said
Can't say i've ever had that issue. Doesn't a larger screen with larger buttons sort of defeat the purpose of a larger screen?
That's a good question. I guess it depends on whether you're fast with the mouse or not. For me, I often mis-click on something when it's too close to something else, hence forth why I hated using the Start Menu. With the Start Screen, I can move things where I want it to be, and not be afraid of clicking something else.

Update: Also, because the Start Screen has unlimited space for things you can pin, I think the question of a larger screen defeating the purpose would cancel itself out because there's always room in the Start screen for more things.

Dot Matrix said,

I can't tell you how many times I mis-click, even though the mouse is supposed to be "so precise".

Seems you never learned how to use a mouse, too bad for you... But just because you never managed to use a mouse, why should we suffer?

What's next? I know countless people that can't touch type, so let's remove keyboards too...

I'd say MS is doing design by committee. Nothing else can explain why there are so many inconsistencies in Win8.

I mean the thing has at least 3 or 4 different control panels accessed from different places, many common settings like shutting down are crammed in hard to find places (shutting down is not a "PC Setting"), the charms bar is largely useless probably 90% of the time as it show buttons but when you click them it says you can't do anything.

Larger buttons are good to a certain point. There's a fine balance between them being just the right size for easy clickability vs wasting space. Most people who buy a very high res display like a 30" 2560x1600 want one because they can fit more content on screen - things like several documents side by side or Photoshop with the whole high res picture in view at once without excessive zooming.

I much prefer the way I've got a stack of Applications set on OSX for showing a list of applications compared to using the fullscreen Launchpad that is essentially the same as MS's Start screen. The smaller stack view (essentially a popup with app icons and folders) lets me see about 20 apps at once and that is generally most of the usual suspects. Meanwhile the stack doesn't take over my whole screen, require me to move my cursor a lot or distract me from what I was working on.

MFH said
Seems you never learned how to use a mouse, too bad for you... But just because you never managed to use a mouse, why should we suffer?
Well instead of trying to be the #1 jackass here, maybe you can think for a minute, or is that too hard for you.. He's far from being the only person who's experienced that. I fix computers for a living and I've seen people on any computer or laptop mis-click something when it's too close to each other..

dtourond said,
Well instead of trying to be the #1 jackass here, maybe you can think for a minute, or is that too hard for you.. He's far from being the only person who's experienced that. I fix computers for a living and I've seen people on any computer or laptop mis-click something when it's too close to each other..

As I said: I've seen countless people not able to touch type, according to your logic we should therefor switch to onscreen keyboards, 'cause they are easier to use (but horribly bad...)

MFH said
As I said: I've seen countless people not able to touch type, according to your logic we should therefor switch to onscreen keyboards, 'cause they are easier to use (but horribly bad...)

No.. Actually, I disagree about switching to on-screen keyboards; BUT.. Based on what I've seen I've noticed more people mis-clicking on things using the mouse or the trackpad than I have seen people screwing up at typing..

dtourond said,

Based on what I've seen I've noticed more people mis-clicking on things using the mouse or the trackpad than I have seen people screwing up at typing..

That's where I have to disagree...

Usually in the old and new Microsoft should maintain the old and add the new. Give people the choice weather they like the old or new Start Menu . So that the old Windows skill that people has invested is still save. I think that the middle way.

You can just type whatever you are looking for on the start screen to initiate a search, no need to hit a button/icon first..

The grouping and naming off tiles is in there now, nothing new.

I just do not get the obsession with the shutdown/reboot/whatever function. Just get a keyboard which has a power switch or program the power button on your PC to bring the PC to sleep instead or power off when pressed.

His idea of gradient tiles is just too ugly to even get into.

paulheu said,
You can just type whatever you are looking for on the start screen to initiate a search, no need to hit a button/icon first..

Yes, but how do you know that? A search box ( http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...p__595575226#entry595575226 ) might clarify the existence of that possiblity. And even just the magnifying glass icon would at least indicate a clear path as to how you would go about looking for "more stuff" than is currently visible on the start screen. Basically, I'm merely proposing to reveal the main elements of the Charms bar on the Start screen by default instead of leaving it up to the user to somehow find or recall hidden UI elements.

paulheu said,

The grouping and naming off tiles is in there now, nothing new. [...] His idea of gradient tiles is just too ugly to even get into.

That's just a placeholder for the 7Digital app. Making any changes to the tiles or their grouping wasn't part of my proposal. Apparently I failed to make that clear in my posting.

Microsoft is trying to train users and developers how to use this new UI: a universal search button in the same place is a key element of this, along with centralized share, and settings. This has a very key benefit, for while it lacks discoverability, it is consistent through every app, and accessible from anywhere. To make up for the lack of discoverability, they tell you exactly where to find these items the first time you log in.

To offload this functionality from the Charms menu onto the app itself will completely subvert that effort. You'll have different icons for settings. Different locations for search. It'll be there in some views but not others.... basically all the problems the current UI has.

ModernMech said,
Microsoft is trying to train users and developers how to use this new UI: a universal search button in the same place is a key element of this, along with centralized share, and settings. This has a very key benefit, for while it lacks discoverability, it is consistent through every app, and accessible from anywhere. To make up for the lack of discoverability, they tell you exactly where to find these items the first time you log in.

To offload this functionality from the Charms menu onto the app itself will completely subvert that effort. You'll have different icons for settings. Different locations for search. It'll be there in some views but not others.... basically all the problems the current UI has.

This.

A centralized UI will be a god send. This is why you won't get the start menu back, or why you don't have the option to turn it off.

This is what we need - not ten billion different UIs, with ten billion different UXs.

ModernMech said,
Microsoft is trying to train users and developers how to use this new UI: a universal search button in the same place is a key element of this, along with centralized share, and settings. This has a very key benefit, for while it lacks discoverability, it is consistent through every app, and accessible from anywhere. To make up for the lack of discoverability, they tell you exactly where to find these items the first time you log in.

To offload this functionality from the Charms menu onto the app itself will completely subvert that effort. You'll have different icons for settings. Different locations for search. It'll be there in some views but not others.... basically all the problems the current UI has.

I certainly recognize that problem. In fact, conceptually, I really like the approach of the Charms bar and love the idea of consistency in that context. There are several issues with it though. One, as you mention, is the lack of discoverability by choosing to keep them hidden. But, like you say, maybe it is possible to teach the concept of revealing the Charms bar to the user, even though, I might mention, it has been shown that even if users already KNOW about the existence of the charms it takes them longer to remember to apply them when needed and involves a certain cognitive overhead compared to clicking on clearly visible UI elements. The more seldomly needed Share and certainly Setting Charms probably make more sense to be hidden than the Search Charm.Another problem is that Charms already work inconsistently in Metro apps simply due to the fact that not every app supports searching or other operations provided by the static Charms bar, and yet they are still offered, falsely suggesting that ability. More importantly though, there is absolutely no consistency between apps as soon as the Desktop comes into play. Both the Share Charm and the Devices charm are useless and neither the Search Charm nor the Settings Charm can be applied to any Desktop apps. This becomes an even bigger deal once you run Metro apps in a window. Which is why I argued for the removal of the Charms Bar on the DESKTOP at least. All it would take is for the Search and Settings button to be integrated into the task bar. And since the Start Screen is responsible both for the Desktop as well as Metro environment, it might make sense to make it consistent with the task bar (and present both the Search and Settings button), especially when the placement of the button is consistent with the placement of the (hidden) buttons in the Charms bar that could be revealed from full screen Metro apps.

CSharp. said,

Yes, but how do you know that? A search box ( http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...p__595575226#entry595575226 ) might clarify the existence of that possiblity. And even just the magnifying glass icon would at least indicate a clear path as to how you would go about looking for "more stuff" than is currently visible on the start screen. Basically, I'm merely proposing to reveal the main elements of the Charms bar on the Start screen by default instead of leaving it up to the user to somehow find or recall hidden UI elements.

That's just a placeholder for the 7Digital app. Making any changes to the tiles or their grouping wasn't part of my proposal. Apparently I failed to make that clear in my posting.


Intro video teaches you to move mouse to top right and that displays a LARGE magnifying glass representing search. Enough as a start. Users will find out other methods with time.

CSharp. said,

There are several issues with it though. One, as you mention, is the lack of discoverability by choosing to keep them hidden.

Then you have not been paying much attention. This is quite clearly shown during the install process you will _always_ go through. It is also in the documentation that comes with WIN8.

What you are basically saying is that MSFT should take into account that users do not bother paying attention or at least browse the enclosed minimal get-started guide.

WIN8 is fine as is and the only people truly having issues are the exact people who should know better. WIN8 does anything WIN7 does and does it better (but sometimes differently) in most cases. The bickering over minor things like the off switch are trivial. The Charms bar as a single unified goto place for context sensitive general actions is one of the best things WIN8 offers IMO. The start screen does anything the startmenu did and much more. If you prefer the old way you get a tool to go back to it. It's time for us to move on.. I mean seriously..

paulheu said,
Then you have not been paying much attention.

Yes, you need to pay attention. And then remember and think of it when it is needed (instead of just being able to glance at the screen to be reminded). And then perform a gesture to reveal a click target instead of being able to click something already on the screen. That's why I mentioned the (arguably unnecessary) cognitive overhead that's need. And - again - this isn't an optional feature, but the default UI necessary to successfully navigate the OS.

paulheu said,
MSFT should take into account that users do not bother paying attention or at least browse the enclosed minimal get-started guide.

Absolutely!

paulheu said,
The Charms bar as a single unified goto place for context sensitive general actions is one of the best things WIN8 offers IMO..

It is and it isn't. By the way, the Charms bar is only context sensitive for Metro apps, not Desktop apps. So it is far form "a single unified goto place".

paulheu said,
If you prefer the old way you get a tool to go back to it. It's time for us to move on.. I mean seriously..

Exactly what I (and probably many others) did. As I outlined in post #35 of the thread ( http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...iew__findpost__p__595574556) . In its default configuration though, I just see no good reason to recommend Windows 8 to anyone.

Dot Matrix said,

This is what we need - not ten billion different UIs, with ten billion different UXs.

One UI to rule them all... Sounds to me like: "Jack of all trades, master of none." => perfect description of W8.

There is no reason to return to the Start menu. Contrary to people's claims here, there is nothing wrong with a full screen dashboard.

Dot Matrix said,
There is no reason to return to the Start menu. Contrary to people's claims here, there is nothing wrong with a full screen dashboard.

Last I checked windows 8 had a much lower adoption rate than vista thereby making it a total failure, obviously there is something wrong and if it's not the start screen then what is it?

Order_66 said,

Last I checked windows 8 had a much lower adoption rate than vista thereby making it a total failure, obviously there is something wrong and if it's not the start screen then what is it?

At its current rate of adoption, Windows 8 will achieve 30% market share in 3 years. While not as high as Windows 7 achieved in 3 years, this is still higher than Vista managed. And Vista and Windows 7 didn't have to compete against iOS or Android tablets. Even if it ends up below Vista, your contention makes no sense; by your metric, every OS including Windows XP, OSX, and Linux is a failure.

ModernMech said,

At its current rate of adoption, Windows 8 will achieve 30% market share in 3 years. While not as high as Windows 7 achieved in 3 years, this is still higher than Vista managed. And Vista and Windows 7 didn't have to compete against iOS or Android tablets. Even if it ends up below Vista, your contention makes no sense; by your metric, every OS including Windows XP, OSX, and Linux is a failure.

Windows 8 is a verifiable colossal failure with a much lower adoption rate than Vista, it's really not even debatable anymore, my question was to Dot Matrix, if there's nothing wrong with the metro start screen then why did windows 8 fail at retail?

Dot Matrix said,
There is no reason to return to the Start menu. Contrary to people's claims here, there is nothing wrong with a full screen dashboard.

Nothing wrong except for a fired division head and worse adoption rates than Vista - an OS gimped by poor 3rd-party driver support.

It's a dead, failed concept. Deal with it.

Athernar said,
worse adoption rates than Vista

Why do you think that is? When Vista was released, we didn't have tablets like the iPad or Nexus 7/10.

Order_66 said,

Windows 8 is a verifiable colossal failure with a much lower adoption rate than Vista...


I hate when idiots who don't understand how the industry posts crap luke this. The reason why the adoption rate is people don't like to buy new hardware or software unless they have to. Most consumers don't purchase the OS alone, but they purchase a new PC with it preloaded. This is why XP is still out there and Windows 7 will be too, especially with all those crappy netbooks people bought. From the consumers I've seen that actually did buy new hardware with Windows 8, they actually like it and find it fun. If you look at sites with comments from a nontech crowd, again you'll see positive comments. The only failure is to you and the rest of the whiners who can't adapt to change.

Order_66 said,

Last I checked windows 8 had a much lower adoption rate than vista thereby making it a total failure, obviously there is something wrong and if it's not the start screen then what is it?

LOL it's been three months.. how can you talk adoption rates.. Nice job making facts up..

Order_66 said,

Windows 8 is a verifiable colossal failure with a much lower adoption rate than Vista, it's really not even debatable anymore

It's not debatable only if you don't want to look at the whole picture. You're obviously referencing these stats: http://www.computerworld.com/s...alls_further_behind_Vista_s

This view fails to take into account the fact that Vista's initial growth was quite good, and it only later failed to live up to expectations. Had vista continued to grow at this rate, it would have reached about 40% market share during its lifetime (only a little less than Windows 7 reached in 36 months), rather than the 20% it ultimately achieved. Windows 8 is currently growing faster than Windows Vista's average growth rate.

my question was to Dot Matrix, if there's nothing wrong with the metro start screen then why did windows 8 fail at retail?

Again, only if you're looking at the facts selectively. Windows 8 sold more licenses in 3 months than Windows Vista sold in 6, and is matching Windows 7's pace. According to Statcounter, it's now being used by 3.7% of internet users, which is more raw users than Vista in the same period. Next week, Windows 8 is set to surpass iOS internet traffice according to Statcounter. We're now on month 3 after the upgrade special ended, and growth has not showed one hint of slowing down. In fact, last week according to statcounter Windows 8 experienced its biggest weekly gain since Christmas.

Windows 8 is on track to be on 200 million computers by the end of year 1. You can keep plugging your ears and calling it a failure, but you're starting to sound ridiculous.

Dot Matrix said,
There is no reason to return to the Start menu. Contrary to people's claims here, there is nothing wrong with a full screen dashboard.

I guess you haven't used one extensively then. While the Start menu is crap and always has been, the full screen dashboard has its own set of issues.

- On very high res monitors (1440p and up) you have to move your cursor a lot to select different apps
- It doesn't allow you to read any data you might have open in the background while you try to figure out what app you want to open
- It usually works poorly when using multiple monitors

This applies to both OSX's Launchpad and the Win8 Metro start screen. Both are concepts coming from tablets and phones where the way people use them is different but when put on the desktop they just don't work.

Ace said,

Why do you think that is? When Vista was released, we didn't have tablets like the iPad or Nexus 7/10.

Actually I did have a Tablet PC and no problems using Vista or 7, although I prefer by far to use a pen than my fingers mostly because I cannot write with the former.

Order_66 said,

Last I checked windows 8 had a much lower adoption rate than vista thereby making it a total failure, obviously there is something wrong and if it's not the start screen then what is it?

Would you please let me know which OS you use?

Dot Matrix said,
There is no reason to return to the Start menu. Contrary to people's claims here, there is nothing wrong with a full screen dashboard.

I agree, however, there's a lot more work to be done in my opinion. This feels largely unfinished and unpolished of an experience to me. I feel Windows 8 will be a necessity moving forward, and hopefully by Windows 9 or whatever they bring into the works, they get all the kinks sorted out and flesh out all the ideas into a truly amazing experience. As it stands, it's not bad, but it's definitely not amazing...

dead.cell said,

I agree, however, there's a lot more work to be done in my opinion. This feels largely unfinished and unpolished of an experience to me. I feel Windows 8 will be a necessity moving forward, and hopefully by Windows 9 or whatever they bring into the works, they get all the kinks sorted out and flesh out all the ideas into a truly amazing experience. As it stands, it's not bad, but it's definitely not amazing...

Well, of course, that's the way things go, they'll always improve and get better, and I greatly look forward to what's coming next. But, the chances of Microsoft returning to the desktop only gig they had? Slim to none, It's 2013, not 2001 anymore, things have changed, and there's no reason to go back just because a few old dogs don't want to learn new tricks. It's also an impossibility, when's the last time you head of a company reversing course and falling back to an old way of doing things?

Microsoft has quite a nice thing going with unifying their services' UX, and the "immersive" feel it has. It's something no other company has done, and I think with a little more work, it'll pay off for them.
I love the dynamic environment it presents, and there's no doubt in my mind that it's a leg up on the bland desktop UX we had before. Windows 8 made me excited to use my devices again.

yowanvista said,
Make a pure desktop version without the touchscreen bloatware, simple as that.

Riiiight. As if Microsoft doesn't make enough Windows SKUs already. Remember the Vista SKU debacle? And that's not counting the "lite" versions for the EU.

Dot Matrix said,

Riiiight. As if Microsoft doesn't make enough Windows SKUs already.

Let's count them:
Windows RT (only through pre-installation on ARM devices)
Windows 8
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Enterprise (only through volume licensing)

So that's 2 regular editions. Doesn't sound that much...

MFH said,

Let's count them:
Windows RT (only through pre-installation on ARM devices)
Windows 8
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Enterprise (only through volume licensing)

So that's 2 regular editions. Doesn't sound that much...

Windows 8 RT with Desktop
Windows 8 RT with Metro

Windows 8 with Desktop
Windows 8 with Metro
Windows 8 Lite with Desktop
Windows 8 Lite with Metro

Windows 8 Pro with Desktop
Windows 8 Pro with Metro
Windows 8 Pro Lite with Desktop
Windows 8 Pro Lite with Metro

Sounds like a craptastic good time for the support staff at Microsoft. Windows needs less SKUs, not more.


You can't cling to the desktop forever. Digital convergence is creeping in the more we move along. AiOs, tablets, and touch screen desktops are pretty powerful machines. Windows 8 finally gives them the opportunity to show their full potential.

yowanvista said,
Make a pure desktop version without the touchscreen bloatware, simple as that.

Make a pure desktop OPTION - if touch isn't detected then leave out the irrelevant stuff.
My laptop doesn't have touch, and so the properties page says "No pen or touch input is available for this display". Windows knows I can't use touch, so leave it out and give me the desktop.
How hard is it to provide an OPTION? Unless you are so fanatical that you don't care what your customers want?

gb8080 said,

Make a pure desktop OPTION - if touch isn't detected then leave out the irrelevant stuff.
My laptop doesn't have touch, and so the properties page says "No pen or touch input is available for this display". Windows knows I can't use touch, so leave it out and give me the desktop.
How hard is it to provide an OPTION? Unless you are so fanatical that you don't care what your customers want?

That's how Microsoft rolls. They'll probably shove it down your throat until you think you like it. Same happened with the Office ribbon, but that was a minor annoyance. Not like this Window version. Let's see if choices like these drag them down the abyss.

Dot Matrix said,

Windows 8 RT with Desktop
Windows 8 RT with Metro

Windows 8 with Desktop
Windows 8 with Metro
Windows 8 Lite with Desktop
Windows 8 Lite with Metro

Windows 8 Pro with Desktop
Windows 8 Pro with Metro
Windows 8 Pro Lite with Desktop
Windows 8 Pro Lite with Metro

Sounds like a craptastic good time for the support staff at Microsoft. Windows needs less SKUs, not more.


You can't cling to the desktop forever. Digital convergence is creeping in the more we move along. AiOs, tablets, and touch screen desktops are pretty powerful machines. Windows 8 finally gives them the opportunity to show their full potential.

You forget the N-editions, the K-editions, the NK-editions and those all over again for some countries (like China).

gb8080 said,

How hard is it to provide an OPTION?

What exactly would you call the dozens of start menu replacements out there? To me, they provide the OPTION to use the old start menu. Bonus points for being able to use one that fits my needs exactly, instead of a stock one provided by Microsoft.

It really boggles my mind that people are able to complain about a lack of options for an OS as extensible as Windows.

Dot Matrix said,

Windows 8 RT with Desktop
Windows 8 RT with Metro

Windows 8 with Desktop
Windows 8 with Metro
Windows 8 Lite with Desktop
Windows 8 Lite with Metro

Windows 8 Pro with Desktop
Windows 8 Pro with Metro
Windows 8 Pro Lite with Desktop
Windows 8 Pro Lite with Metro

Sounds like a craptastic good time for the support staff at Microsoft. Windows needs less SKUs, not more.


You can't cling to the desktop forever. Digital convergence is creeping in the more we move along. AiOs, tablets, and touch screen desktops are pretty powerful machines. Windows 8 finally gives them the opportunity to show their full potential.


Yeah because fullscreen touchscreen metro apps totally make sense on a 26" desktop. Windows 7 was fine but msft shot themselves in the foot when they fixed something that wasn't broken.

Powerful? Really? Last time I checked most of those AIOs/touchcrap devices had underpowered dual core i5 or atom junk hardware with low end HD4000/GT630-640M graphics which is basically considered LOW END in PC Terms. I bet Windows 8 totally changed the definition of what 'powerful machines' really are..

Windows 8 is nothing more than a cheap OS for cheap underpowered crap hardware.

yowanvista said,

Yeah because fullscreen touchscreen metro apps totally make sense on a 26" desktop. Windows 7 was fine but msft shot themselves in the foot when they fixed something that wasn't broken.

Why don't you use Windows 7 then...?

Crimson Rain said,

Why don't you use Windows 7 then...?

I do, however a PC isn't a tablet, the mouse/keyboard weren't designed to emulate touch responses in a touchscreen interface. That's basically what's wrong with Windows 8 on a PC, it has a personality disorder.

Crimson Rain said,

Why don't you use Windows 7 then...?

Maybe because informed people know that W8 offer many improvements unrelated to the GUI and the Metro paradigm?

yowanvista said,

I do, however a PC isn't a tablet, the mouse/keyboard weren't designed to emulate touch responses in a touchscreen interface. That's basically what's wrong with Windows 8 on a PC, it has a personality disorder.

Then keep using it and let us use Windows 8 on our PC without listening to your stupid whining.

Fritzly said,

Maybe because informed people know that W8 offer many improvements unrelated to the GUI and the Metro paradigm?


Informed people also know that there are simple software (even free iirc) that they can use to make windows 8 like windows 7.

btw, "informed" people do not call i5/HD4000 "underpowered crap." So guess what he is.

but ya wouldn't have windows RT desktop cause it's designed for tablets so really you could have something like this...

Windows RT with Metro
Windows 8 with Metro
Windows 8 Pro with Desktop
Windows Enterprise (with the option for both)

sounds simple really, where did you get the Lite editions? never heard of em

ignore the N or K editions they are not relevant to this conversation ( I live in the EU & fix computers and have NEVER come across one)

Oh I use windows 8 now (with Startisback and all the metro crap turned off) and it's very very good this way ..

Crimson Rain said,

Informed people also know that there are simple software (even free iirc) that they can use to make windows 8 like windows 7.

btw, "informed" people do not call i5/HD4000 "underpowered crap." So guess what he is.

i5/HD4000 owner detected.

Crimson Rain said,

btw, "informed" people do not call i5/HD4000 "underpowered crap." So guess what he is.

Intel HD graphics are among the most low end solutions, they're only good at running Angry Birds or any ancient games. Throw in any modern game like Crysis 3 maxed out and you'll love the lag. HD4000 poorly handles MapsGL or anything that relies on heavy processing. And yet some diehards would call those trash overpriced Windows 8 AIO/Tablets 'high end' when they clearly aren't. A cheaper custom rig provides much more power than such crap Windows 8 hardware.

Som said,
but ya wouldn't have windows RT desktop cause it's designed for tablets

File Explorer is very useful on RT.

Som said,
Windows 8 Pro with Desktop

Does this mean Pro users wouldn't be able to run any Metro apps? What if some of them want to? What do they do then?

maybe that would work but there are something EASIER, just put start menu and ALLOW certain degree of customization so people that want DESKTOP can have desktop. people that prefer tablet UI then stay with it.....

Why force a single interface

yowanvista said,
Make a pure desktop version without the touchscreen bloatware, simple as that.

you'll be happy to know that Windows 8 has little to no bloatware.

Athernar said,

i5/HD4000 owner detected.


I have i7 3770K @ 4.2GHz, 16GB DDR3 @ 2.4GHz, GTX 580 running on a Delux mobo from Asus.

Now go troll somewhere else, kid.

yowanvista said,
Make a pure desktop version without the touchscreen bloatware, simple as that.

1. Desktop option - Clean desktop OS, not messy, hybrid.
2. Remove everything tablet-related bloatware
3. Bring Start Menu back
4. Update and improve Windows Media Player
5. Update all desktop icons to clean, modern 2D ones.
6. Sold.

Dot Matrix said,

Windows 8 RT with Desktop
Windows 8 RT with Metro

Windows 8 with Desktop
Windows 8 with Metro
Windows 8 Lite with Desktop
Windows 8 Lite with Metro

Windows 8 Pro with Desktop
Windows 8 Pro with Metro
Windows 8 Pro Lite with Desktop
Windows 8 Pro Lite with Metro

Sounds like a craptastic good time for the support staff at Microsoft. Windows needs less SKUs, not more.


You can't cling to the desktop forever. Digital convergence is creeping in the more we move along. AiOs, tablets, and touch screen desktops are pretty powerful machines. Windows 8 finally gives them the opportunity to show their full potential.


Yeah 'cause all these combinations make total sense /s
Adding a simple option => no different SKU, but I guess that's too complicated for you to think about...
If you're happy with low powered touch hardware fine, I'm not...

Crimson Rain said,

Informed people also know that there are simple software (even free iirc) that they can use to make windows 8 like windows 7.

btw, "informed" people do not call i5/HD4000 "underpowered crap." So guess what he is.


Of course there are but I would prefer a "built in" option. You might remember "Classic view" in XP
http://windows.microsoft.com/e...nge-Windows-to-Classic-view
Not that I personally would use it but broader your audience, more chances that one size does not fit all.
Btw my reference to "informed" people was not referred to anybody therefore your remark is off.

Crimson Rain said,

I have i7 3770K @ 4.2GHz, 16GB DDR3 @ 2.4GHz, GTX 580 running on a Delux mobo from Asus.

Now go troll somewhere else, kid.

A wishlist on an online store doesn't constitute ownership, little boy.

Athernar said,

A wishlist on an online store doesn't constitute ownership, little boy.


? what's unrealistic about those specs? I have nearly the same machine running here...

Basically the Start Page needs to be drastically enhanced as it doesn't even offer the lean way or storing a lot of programs that the Start menu did. The desktop is so much better than the modern interface at this stage and MS were foolish to push touch interface over it. With all the enhancements made to Explorer, MS should have been flying the flag for the desktop, and modern for the touch screen, their ignorance here has really shown them up as still not getting what their users want.

Orange Battery said,
Basically the Start Page needs to be drastically enhanced as it doesn't even offer the lean way or storing a lot of programs that the Start menu did.

umm... If you view "All Programs" from the Start Screen right click, it lists your apps in separate sections just like the old start menu. The pinned tiles on the main screen are meant for the apps that are live or you need quick access to, everything else in in organized sections on the All Programs section or just start typing the program name and it instantly shows. Geez.

That's what works for you.. I happen to prefer the Start screen over the Start menu... However I would like to add folders rather then just groups.. there are a lot of Admin things I want access too.

Like someone said, he just arranged the icons and such as he would like them to be. That's all. What he likes some people won't.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Like someone said, he just arranged the icons

Indeed. That was kind of the point of the exercise. To reveal or adapt (existing) buttons that are currently hidden to increase discoverability, reduce the need for gestures or button clicks and remind the user of possible UI actions. Nothing groundbreaking. An almost trivial change indeed.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Like someone said, he just arranged the icons and such as he would like them to be. That's all. What he likes some people won't.

What about windows 8 letting the users customize their experience ? We have one Apple it's more than enough we don't need a second one. Sadly Windows 8 from a business perspective looks like a product made by Apple. It's shoveled down youir throat.

CSharp. said,

Indeed. That was kind of the point of the exercise. To reveal or adapt (existing) buttons that are currently hidden to increase discoverability, reduce the need for gestures or button clicks and remind the user of possible UI actions. Nothing groundbreaking. An almost trivial change indeed.

but that's why it's so frustrating, it would of taken Microsoft engineers 2 minutes to add a simple function that allows a user to boot to desktop if they choose...