Interview: Stardock CEO Brad Wardell talks about Start8

The release last week of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been an interesting one for Microsoft. Users are trying to figure out the Metro interface as well as the desktop UI. One thing that users have missed is the familiar Start menu in the desktop environment. While there are third party hacks that can create an approximation of the Start menu, developer Stardock decided to create a free Windows 8 app, Start8, that puts in a Start menu for the Windows 8 desktop screen.

We got a chance to ask Stardock CEO Brad Wardell some questions about Start8, how he feels about Windows 8 in general, whether or not Stardock will make more Windows 8 apps and products, and more.

First, you have been vocal on your own personal blog site that while you think Windows 8 is great, the Metro interface is not. What is it specifically about the Metro UI that you don't care for?

It's a lot of different things. There are two big things in particular: First, Windows 8 is trying to jam two completely different user experiences into the same OS and make the user jump between them arbitrarily. Second, the Metro UI is not well suited to enabling users to organize their "stuff". PC users tend to have a lot of programs installed and the Metro UI tends to make it very hard to differentiate what is and isn't important. You can pin things to always be available visible but that's about it. There is no "folder" concept in Metro to organize your things.

Do you think Steven Sinofsky and the Microsoft team will be making any major changes to the Metro interface before the final commercial version of Windows 8 is released?

I am confident they are. Mr. Sinofsky is one of the best software engineers in history. What concerns me is how things even got to where they are in the Consumer Preview. The user experience is objectively terrible. I saw a prominent journalist say that it "only" takes 4 steps to shut down the machine, what was the big deal? The big deal is that a lot of basic things are now multiple steps. I use a PC to get work done, not to battle with the OS interface.

Microsoft has chosen to not offer the traditional Start menu for the desktop UI of Windows 8. Is this a bad idea or should users simply try a new way of looking at accessing their Windows 8 apps?

I'm not married to the Start menu. If someone comes up with a new, better way to get to their stuff, then I'm all for it. What's a bad idea is making getting to your stuff a disjointed experience that involves extra steps and is inconsistent.

How hard was it to develop Start8?

It took us about a day to make the prototype. It's really just a test app to see if we could, if we had to, bring Metro onto the desktop if necessary. I think most Windows 8 testers think there's a lot to like about Metro, they just don't like being jerked out of the desktop. If we can let users stay in one environment with one consistent usage paradigm then the migration to Windows 8 would go a lot smoother. Ideally, Microsoft will do this. Users shouldn't have to install third party stuff to make Windows work.

So far what has been the response to Start8 since it launched in terms of both downloads and comments from users?

It's pretty polarized. You have the people who, I think, sincerely believe that people just need to "get used" to Metro and think something like Start8 is just a crutch for people not willing to adapt. And then you have the people, people like me, who don't have a problem with Metro but just want to use their PC to get work done and want to reduce the hoops one has to jump through to get that work done.

Does Stardock plan to put in any improvements and new features to Windows 8?

It depends on the final version. My fear is that if Microsoft doesn't address the problems we have now that people will stay on Windows 7. I've seen Microsoft advocates on forums say that people who don't have touch or have large displays or multiple monitors should just stay on 7. That's terrible advice. There's a lot of really good technology in Windows 8 that will bring the computing experience forward. It would be tragic to get held back simply because the shell it's packaged in is problematic.

Will Stardock offer up any other free Windows 8 apps during its pre-release period?

Yea, we already have a bunch of stuff we're playing around with such as having Metro apps in a window on the desktop, Tile "Groups" in Metro, lots of customization stuff. But we'll hold off until we see if Microsoft is going to fix these things themselves.

Stardock has certainly made most of its money by selling Windows applications such as Object Desktop. When the final version of Windows 8 is released will Stardock launch its own paid Windows apps and if so what can you tell us about them?

The path we've taken in the past few years has been to release a lot of our software for free that addresses what most users want and then offer a version that had additional features. That's how programs like Fences and Tiles work which are very popular. So I think you'll see more of that in the future.

Will Stardock be using the Windows Store to sell these apps or will it come up with its own way of selling the apps to customers?

It depends on the requirements Microsoft puts in place. Our games probably will be. But most of our non-game software works by extending the Windows experience which I'm not sure what Microsoft's policy will be.

Will the company release any apps that will be made strictly for the Metro touch interface?

Almost certainly. Metro on the tablet is a a very good experience. It's compelling. WinRT is compelling. And the use of HTML 5 makes it a lot easier for us to justify developing things for it.

Will Stardock release any apps for Windows 8 running on ARM-based hardware?

Same as above.

Finally, this is perhaps the single biggest change in Windows from Microsoft since at least Windows 95, if not ever. Do you ultimately think this will be a successful launch for Microsoft?

It depends on what they do with the feedback on the Preview. If they don't address the fundamental usability issues they've introduced to people who expect to use Windows as a PC desktop OS, then I think they're in for some serious trouble.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
 

Whatever your opinion on Windows 8 is, you can check out a lengthy discussion for and against here, or check out other topics on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview here.

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Jesus christ, are people only going to be happy when we can hook our brains up to our computers and do everything via thought processes.

MS wont change anything from CP to RTM. Knowing how they operate CP is what we will be getting UI wised. In their minds they are done. If really a lot of people starts complaining and i have feeling that MS is hearing them, they might decide to give us option to disable Metro and that will be shown in Release Candidate.

Edited by techguy77, Mar 8 2012, 6:59pm :

techguy77 said,
MS wont change anything from CP to RTM. Knowing how they operate CP is what we will be getting UI wised. In their minds they are done. If really a lot of people starts complaining and i have feeling that MS is hearing them, they might decide to give us option to disable Metro and that will be shown in Release Candidate.

not a chance

Windows 8 is like my stardock/ [insert customizable software] here OS.
I can't find another way to put it, but until I do. All I have to say is; if Apple can do it, so can M$. Apple is bringing its mobile OS to the desktop, why can't M$; people will like it and people want it. Not everyone might but hey, we deal with it.

warwagon said,
See now that is how the start menu should have been redesigned. I would use that.

That setup makes the start screen even harder to use It wasn't design to be constrained to a small space, and it shows.

Shadrack said,
It looks like MS is getting quite a bit of Windows 8 feedback. I hope they are listening to the desktop users.

It is funny how thing works. If this is Apple, You are stuck with this because that is has to be. If Microsoft does it, every is blown out of proportion.

By the way, above comment is not an attack to Apple fans out there.

Taking the leaf from his comments, I think Microsoft should be allowed to take the approach which they think consistant with their ideas and if people need crutches then there are hundreds of vendors who can pull such applications. Therefore, i dont think so there is any such issues for saying the whole concept is bad.
Apple has given this concept to the world now that pull the user experience and if people care about something allow enough hooks that third party vendors would join in to fill the gaps. Therefore, i find it so strange the vocal group who is keep saying we wont need this or that. Well User experience are built upon user journeys and adding one or two things into it usually distract the whole experience.
I think logically if this group has issues, they need to come to challenge the user journeys of microsofts and then they can ask for change. for example, we know that user these tend to just close the lid or like more of stand by mode rather then traditional users who switches of the machine. I know this will be a mentality shift for those guys but do we really need to shut down the machine these days? hence that request does not fit into the profile of windows8.

FWIW of course, I think Brad's pretty sharp, & really strongly agree with what I read as a wait & see approach... I can see all sorts of great reasons for MS going Metro, but I also think Metro's totally unsuitable in a great variety of situations or uses. Microsoft's made more than clear that win8's targeted at both new & existing hardware/devices -- don't know how many times I've read that if your system runs win7 you can likely run win8 -- so they want to entice folks to upgrade. I can't imagine them excluding a [very?] large portion of that potential market by forcing Metro on everyone everywhere. The problem as Brad puts it, is: "... making getting to your stuff a disjointed experience that involves extra steps and is inconsistent." How do you marry Metro with the XP/Vista/7 experience, & stay away from the whole unwanted stepchild thing? If Microsoft has figured out the answer, they're not sharing it with us, the humble masses just yet.

A while back there was an article on Neowin saying that MS had extended the shut down date of the win8 dev prev... *If* the vanishing of the start menu is a temporary thing, that might well make good sense. And from some perspectives, forcing Metro at this point, in the current Preview, could make good sense too -- a lot of folks are very resistant to change until &/or unless forced, so in the past MS has had to endlessly promote features they hoped Windows users would eventually get around to exploring... in the past several potentially great new Windows' features/improvements have been ignored to near [or certain] death.

At any rate I'd expect the start menu to return, at least in one or more SKUs. I also expect to see win8 installs focusing on Metro. If I'm at least partly correct, it's the new stuff, Metro, that needs the extra testing, tweaking, & promo, and the current preview would seem to certainly fit in that scenario.

The way I look at Windows 8
- Productivity (Desktop) with Entertainment, including checking email check and browsing(Metro)
- iPad features (Metro) with Power Computing at my disposal (Desktop)
- Long range plan of Windows, power computing with Metro designed apps w/ out the desktop, and tweak the interface as needed when everything goes Metro

RommelS said,
The way I look at Windows 8
- Productivity (Desktop) with Entertainment, including checking email check and browsing(Metro)
- iPad features (Metro) with Power Computing at my disposal (Desktop)
- Long range plan of Windows, power computing with Metro designed apps w/ out the desktop, and tweak the interface as needed when everything goes Metro

I like your analogy/comparison...

I might change the Metro to iPad comparison if ever pushed for a more technical comparison, as the iPad UI is more like Windows 7 desktop today than Metro.

Metro is far more than just a Tablet UI, it is new way of thinking and computer interaction on more than a tablet level, which is why people that get stuck on the Tablet to Metro relationship are cheating themselves.

Take Care...

is no "folder" concept in Metro to organize your things.

Wow, this is said like it is a bad thing.

I think someone needs to go take a CIS class from around 1991 to realize why the 'lack' of folder is a GOOD thing and the direction the world was 'trying' to move 20 years ago.

Also the whole organize and find programs ramblings, really? So digging through 'Word Menus' that pre-date the GUI is better than using a newer GUI metaphor for applications?

Seriously, is it really easier for people to click on Start and click through several menus than it it is to hit start can type "word" to find and launch Microsoft Word?

Why were people 'cheering' for WinFS concepts, and yet hate all the UI aspects that made it work well? It would be like buying a Corvette, then hooking a rope to the steering wheel so you can make it work more like your horse.

The whole idea about a database FS/Storage is the removal of 'folders' and the removal of 'nesting' and the removal of menus. It is also about 'search' and finding data and Applications instantly without having to look for them. Whether you click and start type the name, or use speed recognition and say, Open Word.

Wow, 1989 called, they want Brad to come back to computing that he understands.

thenetavenger said,

I think someone needs to go take a CIS class from around 1991 to realize why the 'lack' of folder is a GOOD thing and the direction the world was 'trying' to move 20 years ago....

What makes design difficult is people are all individuals, each with their own perceptions, each with their own ways of doing things. It's not the [overly] simplistic some people are smart & others dumb, but the different ways their minds work. In this things digital are not at all different from the "analog" world.

In a nutshell, some folks organize, some don't, & most of us fall somewhere in between. You might like typing "Word", while someone else prefers clicking a shortcut or pressing a couple of hot keys. You might like searching, while others figure why search for something when/where they know exactly where it is. In the analog world some people just have all their tools dumped in a tool box, while others use a toolbox with drawers, & some go beyond that with tray organizers for every wrench & socket. One of the reasons I think the TV show with Mr. Monk was so popular is that I think there's a little OCD in all of us -- those with more (rather than less) will simply not give up organizing our stuff, whether we're talking our files or our sock drawer.

mikiem said,

What makes design difficult is people are all individuals, each with their own perceptions, each with their own ways of doing things. It's not the [overly] simplistic some people are smart & others dumb, but the different ways their minds work. In this things digital are not at all different from the "analog" world.

In a nutshell, some folks organize, some don't, & most of us fall somewhere in between. You might like typing "Word", while someone else prefers clicking a shortcut or pressing a couple of hot keys. You might like searching, while others figure why search for something when/where they know exactly where it is. In the analog world some people just have all their tools dumped in a tool box, while others use a toolbox with drawers, & some go beyond that with tray organizers for every wrench & socket. One of the reasons I think the TV show with Mr. Monk was so popular is that I think there's a little OCD in all of us -- those with more (rather than less) will simply not give up organizing our stuff, whether we're talking our files or our sock drawer.

It is about a shift in thinking, that is hard for people, especially people that have mastered an older method, and want to be the master moving forward.

I remember people up to the XP Days still asking for Win 3.1 File Manager features and functionality, when it was no longer necessary with the release of Win95/NT 4.0.

The whole docucentric and objectcentric models that Microsoft has pushed people to get use to using, still do not have the understanding or success they should.

It isn't about making things 'harder' or more 'restrictive', these types of changes are about moving people forward to making things FAR easier for them if they take a moment to 'grasp' the base concept of new ways.

I watch good IT people work with Windows today like it was DOS or Windows 3.1, and ignore all the things that would save them hours of work in a few day timespan.

When Win95 was released, it was 'hard' to get people to stop opening Word first, and opening the document from inside Word, and move them to opening the Word Document and let the OS figure out what created it and open it for them. (Be their smart assistant by just using file types.)

This continues today with a lot of good ideas, and it is painful to watch people avoid change, especially when it is 'smart' change that are some of the ideal models of understanding and usability theory.

If 100,000 people are given a task, and less than .01% do it faster using the 'OLD' method, then the OLD method is not as good. People assume Microsoft doesn't do this type of testing, and yet they do, and spend millions each year finding the 'best' ways to do things that are possible on today's computer that do not slow things down and offer information and results faster.

Putting things in folders still has USE, hence why the Desktop and Folder hierarchy still exists. However, there are a growing number of users that never 'got' folders or directories, and they can function better in a world where this concept is removed and instead is something the OS is doing for them automatically.

As the OS gets more intelligent, even the most brilliant power users will have no need for hierarchy or folders and that 'way' of thinking to organize things in the current contexts they use.

*With Win95, just getting users to STOP saving their documents in the Excel and Word Program folders was hard, and people didn't like the change, and if you research articles written in 1994/1995 about Win95's desktop, you will find the world complained as much or more than they are about Metro.

They are both arguments based on fear and ignorance, these are NOT reasonable arguments based on science, facts understanding or even usability research with models that work within the field of human psychology.

Metro sucks, Metro is ugly, Metro doesn't work well on desktop, Metro is bad because Joe and me think so are not facts and are based in pure fear and ignorance.

If people don't' want to use it, don't. If they do, spend a few moments to see how and why it works the way it does, and then is when the Magic happens and they start using their computers and devices in ways they never imagined and find they are getting more out of it instead of doing things that the computer can do for them.

For those of you with single monitors this is now a good reason to go dual. With dual monitors you can sit one up as the start screen and the other as an application screen. Just a thought.

And, yes I have two monitors; actually three...

Pam14160 said,
For those of you with single monitors this is now a good reason to go dual. With dual monitors you can sit one up as the start screen and the other as an application screen. Just a thought.

And, yes I have two monitors; actually three...

Not disagreeing really, I think running more than one monitor makes sense when/if you get some benefit from it, e.g. you get greater immersion gaming, or you need to view several active windows simultaneously. OTOH having multiple monitors is obviously an impractical distraction if/when you've got blank screens just sitting there while you focus on your primary screen -- I mean most folks don't watch 2 or more TVs each tuned to a different channel. If you otherwise have no need for a 2nd monitor, why should win8 force you to use one?

At the end of the day the best OS is the one that you don't notice -- we use a PC/laptop etc. to run apps/games, not the OS, which is more a necessary evil that we use so we can run our games/apps. Metro BTW is a great example of the OS getting out of the way, borrowing heavily from the way people use handhelds -- it's just not optimal [at least yet] for the heavier duty stuff PCs/laptops can be used for.

mikiem said,

Not disagreeing really, I think running more than one monitor makes sense when/if you get some benefit from it, e.g. you get greater immersion gaming, or you need to view several active windows simultaneously. OTOH having multiple monitors is obviously an impractical distraction if/when you've got blank screens just sitting there while you focus on your primary screen -- I mean most folks don't watch 2 or more TVs each tuned to a different channel. If you

You don't WATCH two monitors at the same time, you WORK with two+ monitors at the same time.

If you use your machine or anything else beside having 4 windows opened (1 browser, 2 chats, 1 word...) then multi monitors aren't for you. But once you start using several windows, it does come in hand A LOT. I'm not talking about games, I'm even talking about from a work environment. I would die to have dual monitors at work, I've used 2 for over 10 years, just can't go back

Come on!!Its 2012 and we are still talking about shutting down the computer. 99% of the time there is just no need to shut down the computer. I don't even remember when was the last time i shut down my laptop.
I expect bunch of complains. W8 is going against over 15 years of muscle memory. People will move on. No going back now. Live with it or move on to Mac or Ubuntu.

Rohit Harshvardhan said,
Come on!!Its 2012 and we are still talking about shutting down the computer. 99% of the time there is just no need to shut down the computer. I don't even remember when was the last time i shut down my laptop.
I expect bunch of complains. W8 is going against over 15 years of muscle memory. People will move on. No going back now. Live with it or move on to Mac or Ubuntu.

come on

it is not much to ask for such minor enhancement , which would add up to the experiences

would expect they would get added by Win8 RC

Rohit Harshvardhan said,
Come on!!Its 2012 and we are still talking about shutting down the computer. 99% of the time there is just no need to shut down the computer. I don't even remember when was the last time i shut down my laptop.
Some people don't like to waste electricity and turn off their computers? You obviously aren't old enough to know that electricity costs money and should not be wasted.

Rohit Harshvardhan said,
Come on!!Its 2012 and we are still talking about shutting down the computer. 99% of the time there is just no need to shut down the computer. I don't even remember when was the last time i shut down my laptop.
I expect bunch of complains. W8 is going against over 15 years of muscle memory. People will move on. No going back now. Live with it or move on to Mac or Ubuntu.

Running 6 Core overclocked to 4.6Ghz with Crossfire Setup needs to get shutdown.

darkpuma said,
Some people don't like to waste electricity and turn off their computers? You obviously aren't old enough to know that electricity costs money and should not be wasted.

No, our computers shut themselves down automatically, using a powerless hibernate or low power sleep state.

In these modes, at the most expensive US kw rate, it would take a year to cost a few pennies.

People that 'shutdown' are 'stuck' in a mindset of computing from 20 years ago.

Even if you don't want to have your computer 'automatically' manage its power and put itself in a no/low power state, then at the very least instead of hitting 'shutdown', select Hibernate.

It is right there, it is easy and you can even set the power button on your computer to do hibernate instead of shutdown.

With the stability of Windows 7, where most users never see even an application crash after months of use, there is no need to 'restart' or 'refresh' the computer, which is why people were in the habit of doing a shutdown or restart on a daily basis. (This stopped being relevant or needed when Windows moved from the monolithic x86 based kernel in Win9x and to Window XP as the consumer OS with the NT kernel.)

So it isn't about wasting electricity, it is about fighting 'ignorance' of people that think a 'shutdown' is necessary. Unless your computer 'restarts' via the update cycle, there is NO reason to be doing a Shutdown.

*Disclaimer... (OS X and Linux are 'better' about stability, but they have very 'real' reasons to do daily restarts to keep the state of the OS running well. Although I would argue even then, once a week restart would be plenty.


On our laptops/notebooks/tablets/desktops we close the lid to sleep which also flips into hibernate after a set amount of inactivity, which consumes NO POWER.

We have our power buttons set to 'hibernate' so that it turns off the computer, but doesn't 'shut down' the OS, which is handy when getting on a plane and we need the device OFF, but don't want to lose our place in our Applications and don't want to have to wait through a 'boot' when we turn it back on.

Hibernate saves a ton of time as well. On a notebook, it can take 30-60seconds to boot into Windows, and resuming from hibernate it takes 5 to 15 seconds. (Resuming from Sleep, which is low power, is INSTANT on most computers.)

So I'll ask you, why are you 'wasting' your time, losing your work or having to close your work to do a shutdown, and also 'wasting' energy, as a full boot consumes more POWER than a resume from Hibernate.

I'm not picking on you, but it is time for the general public to be educated and share this with others.


(The power saving technology, even in Windows XP and especially in Windows 7 is seamless and works perfectly. When 'review' sites were comparing the 'boot times' of XP, Vista, Windows 7 over the years to Linux, OS X, etc...

Microsoft honestly thought that this was insane, and would eventually go away, as people found they no longer had to 'boot' or 'reboot' except when getting updates that need it.

It didn't go away, and the lack of education is the problem.

Because it didn't go away, and OS X was touting their 'fast boot' that they lifted from Microsoft Research, it has literally FORCED Microsoft to provide a feature in Windows 8 that is worthless 99.999999% of the time to 99.99999% of the people, but something reviewers and self appointed geeks give credibility, the boot time.

So Windows 8 now has 'quick boot' that is just a 'fake' variation of doing a resume from hibernate, but logging the user off at a clean boot point. It is worthless, but the reviews and geeks will talk about how IMPRESSIVE Windows 8 is for doing something that people should hardly ever have to do. (With Updates, maybe 12-15 times a year.)


As for power... Windows Servers can even enter low power states, and instantly wake up and or scale up as they are needed. In large farms as load goes down, servers put themselves to sleep and awake as the load need increases...
-Yet people in their homes are still leaving their computers on 24hrs a day or shutting them off and having to 'boot' them when they turn back on. Why?

I dont mind start8 at all but there is always room for improvements. I enjoy being to see my desktop while working. I can see why people are bother with switching to the metro screen, because something as searching for an app such as "cmd" than back to the desktop where that app will open. Doing something as searching for a little program should not take your focus off your current window. Just my opinion thats all.

freak180 said,
okay?

He mentioned that because many people have erroneously claimed that Windows 8 is not usable on a desktop PC with a hardware keyboard and mouse, including people on the comments of this article.

what a load of crap! btw its 3 steps to shutdown your PC from 2 and this is not a finished product Alt+f4 = 1 step. Why should we listen to a guy who thinks a dock is better than the start menu and task bar and how does reducing the size startscreen help his case. More like promo for his crapware. Can 't believe he thinks having metro apps on windows is any different from full screen apps. Obviously MS is definitely going to improve win8. Am happy they took this direction and it can only get better from now on. Besides shutting down the PC are they any other features that hinder productivity.Pretty obvious that this 'non-adopters' haven't tried using the metro screen.Look up the MWC keynote and look for the part where they demo win8 on a laptop

Huh?

I'm not making a huge deal about shutting down the PC, but it's more than three steps in Windows 8 CP.

How I shut down in Windows 7.
Windows Key > Click Shut down.

Windows 8 CP
Activate Charm Bar (Windows Key + C) > Click Settings > Click Power > Click Shut Down.

I don't know all the ins and outs of Windows 8 CP yet, but I'm pretty sure that there's more than one way to skin a cat.

omgben said,

Activate Charm Bar (Windows Key + C) > Click Settings > Click Power > Click Shut Down.

You can Win + i too if you want, takes you directly to settings.

so shutting down win8 is your only complaint and only reason to shun win 8?
"Windows 8 CP
Activate Charm Bar (Windows Key + C) > Click Settings > Click Power > Click Shut Down."
If you put it like that then we can say this about win7
Point mouse to start button > click start button > Click shutdown.
Keep in mind that this an unfinished product, this build is probably months old.

mr lefleur said,
... he thinks having metro apps on windows is any different from full screen apps.

It's very different. Scaling, controls, switching, System tray, visible UI elements.

It would seem that people just cannot get it into their heads that the Alt+f4 still exist.

Just click on the empty screen then Alt+f4 then shut down. Come on folks is it really that hard, or are you just looking for a reason to complain. This method has been out there since at least 95 and 3.xx.

Also, you can sit your computer's on/off switch to be used to either shutdown the computer or put it to sleep. Come guys you are techs, please think.

~Johnny said,

You can Win + i too if you want, takes you directly to settings.

People don't know shortcuts, not even Ctrl + c is well known. Avoid shortcuts as an example.

techguy77 said,

People don't know shortcuts, not even Ctrl + c is well known. Avoid shortcuts as an example.

He was the one using shortcuts, I was shortening it for him. Although, Alt + F4 is quicker if you're on an empty desktop

I think people fail to realized that Windows 8 is both for productivity and entertainment.

For instance, when I update my website, I don't even bother with Metro since all the application that I use are non-metro apps, and I stick with the desktop. By the way, you can pin the apps that you use all the time in the taskbar within the desktop.

Now for fun, that is when I go to Metro. In fact, I downloaded Sketchbook, Flixters, Dictionary.com from Marketplace, and IT IS NOT HARD TO SWITCH between Metro Apps.

I think the majority is trying to find a way to switch between Metro and traditional apps. It doesn't work that way. Eventually, productivity software will transition to Metro, and it happens, that is when the new Metro interface will be tested.

By the way, if some of you are old enough to remember, Windows 3.1 starts with Program Manager, and it really didn't have a desktop, but people got their work done. In addition, I don't see a start button in Mac, and they're not complaining.

RommelS said,
I think people fail to realized that Windows 8 is both for productivity and entertainment.

Now for fun, that is when I go to Metro. In fact, I downloaded Sketchbook, Flixters, Dictionary.com from Marketplace, and IT IS NOT HARD TO SWITCH between Metro Apps.

I think the majority is trying to find a way to switch between Metro and traditional apps. It doesn't work that way. Eventually, productivity software will transition to Metro, and it happens, that is when the new Metro interface will be tested.

By the way, if some of you are old enough to remember, Windows 3.1 starts with Program Manager, and it really didn't have a desktop, but people got their work done. In addition, I don't see a start button in Mac, and they're not complaining.

The mandatory full-screen-ness of Metro apps, especially on a big (e.g. 27" 2560x1440) monitor, is the big part that feels unnatural.

Yes games run full-screen, but who wouldn't want a completely immersive game? For simpler, less engrossing apps, I want all that other marginal info back on-screen.

Windows 3.x had windows. Separated, overlapping, cascaded, tiled... what you didn't with them wasn't restrcited.

Therefore, Metro to me isn't a desktop...

Edited by Mugwump00, Mar 8 2012, 3:52pm :

Mugwump00 said,

Therefore, Metro to me isn't a desktop...

First of all, Metro is NOT a desktop. Metro has a dynamic APP launcher. If you have been using Windows 8 like I have, then you should know that if you're in Desktop mode, you will rarely go into Metro.

As I mentioned in my previous comment, you have the option to pin your frequently used applications on the taskbar, just like Windows 7, and if you are in your desktop in Windows 8, you CAN and STILL HAVE Windows 7 desktop feature.

Edited by RommelS, Mar 8 2012, 3:44pm :

Mugwump00 said,

The mandatory full-screen-ness of Metro apps, especially on a big (e.g. 27" 2560x1440) monitor, is the big part that feels unnatural.

Yes games run full-screen, but who wouldn't want a completely immersive game? For simpler, less engrossing apps, I want all that other marginal info back on-screen.

Windows 3.x had windows. Separated, overlapping, cascaded, tiled... what you didn't with them wasn't restrcited.

Therefore, Metro to me isn't a desktop...

The fullscreen of Metro Apps isn't mandatory though... You can side pin them along other Apps running on the screen, and watch a video while working in another App for example.

The concept is 'simplicity' in managing and navigating 'Windows'. This is where Metro is leading people.

Overlapping Windows provides a tremendous amount of flexibility, but only in a controlled environment where the user has 'pixel' precision in resizing and moving the Windows.

If you are using a finger, do you really want to have to try resizing a Window?

So enter Metro, where the precision is NOT necessary, and users can 'flip through' windows, navigate windows and even swipe and drop and close and move Windows without a second thought or having to 'place them' on the screen.

The reason this is good for desktop users is computers can now do this for YOU.

The computer can now figure out what you want to do, and where to place the contents of the Window and draw 3D content independently because the OS manages GPU threads.

The OS/Computer also now has the power to 'define' a dynamic UI for Apps, so that when a Metro App is pinned on the side, it changes how it looks and works, elegantly and the OS manages this and helps the App do it. This would have taken a bit more computing than the world had 20 years ago when were 'unmanaged' overlapping Windows. As the Window placement was easy, the App displaying differently and working differently was not easy and there wasn't even an Application Platform model for something like this.

So Metro is 'easier' and designed to remove complexity, but it is NOT JUST For Tablet or Touch users.

Why? Well 98% of users currently run all their Applications Maximixed. I don't and you probably don't, but 98% of the world does. So they are already using everything in 'full screen/maximized' and are confused by moving Windows Around.

This also makes 98% of the world less functional on the traditional desktop than they will be on Metro, as they will adapt to pinning/sliding an App alongside their current App and start 'multi-tasking' even more via Metro than they EVER would have done with the regular desktop.

Since you can run side Apps next to the Desktop itself, it will give people like you and me more functionality, as we can be doing our 50 things on the desktop and moving Windows and also have our video running on the side and not have to worry about what we are doing obscuring the video or getting in the way.

This is how/why it is simple, but truly more functional for ALL users than people realize.

Edited by thenetavenger, Mar 8 2012, 4:37pm :

thenetavenger said,

The fullscreen of Metro Apps isn't mandatory though... You can side pin them along other Apps running on the screen, and watch a video while working in another App for example.

The concept is 'simplicity' in managing and navigating 'Windows'. This is where Metro is leading people.

Overlapping Windows provides a tremendous amount of flexibility, but only in a controlled environment where the user has 'pixel' precision in resizing and moving the Windows.

If you are using a finger, do you really want to have to try resizing a Window?

So enter Metro, where the precision is NOT necessary, and users can 'flip through' windows, navigate windows and even swipe and drop and close and move Windows without a second thought or having to 'place them' on the screen.

The reason this is good for desktop users is computers can now do this for YOU.

The computer can now figure out what you want to do, and where to place the contents of the Window and draw 3D content independently because the OS manages GPU threads.

The OS/Computer also now has the power to 'define' a dynamic UI for Apps, so that when a Metro App is pinned on the side, it changes how it looks and works, elegantly and the OS manages this and helps the App do it. This would have taken a bit more computing than the world had 20 years ago when were 'unmanaged' overlapping Windows. As the Window placement was easy, the App displaying differently and working differently was not easy and there wasn't even an Application Platform model for something like this.

So Metro is 'easier' and designed to remove complexity, but it is NOT JUST For Tablet or Touch users.

Why? Well 98% of users currently run all their Applications Maximixed. I don't and you probably don't, but 98% of the world does. So they are already using everything in 'full screen/maximized' and are confused by moving Windows Around.

This also makes 98% of the world less functional on the traditional desktop than they will be on Metro, as they will adapt to pinning/sliding an App alongside their current App and start 'multi-tasking' even more via Metro than they EVER would have done with the regular desktop.

Since you can run side Apps next to the Desktop itself, it will give people like you and me more functionality, as we can be doing our 50 things on the desktop and moving Windows and also have our video running on the side and not have to worry about what we are doing obscuring the video or getting in the way.

This is how/why it is simple, but truly more functional for ALL users than people realize.


Best explanation of how to use Windows 8 properly I have seen so far. Once it hits RTM it's going to be even better. As for the large monitors most people have multiple monitors instead of one large one hence the keeping things maximized. And with multiple monitors apparently the start screen only opens on the main one not all of them, and I believe you can have different metro apps on different screens.

FalseAgent said,
Stardock CEO talks about Windows 8

For real...all these pundits barely made usable shells and they think they can do a better GUI than Microsoft.

I want to see the look of their faces when Windows 8 transform to the next Windows 7...

Ace said,
There's absolutely no reason for Apple to want to do this.

Where there is profit, there is reason. Apple's product strategy is widely understood, but if there was no money in an enhanced desktop experience, no Stardock (etc.) product would have ever sold, nor would Microsoft upgrade licenses.

It's a small market potential, relatively, but it's not diminishing. MS's idea of radical desktop innovation seems to be hard to relate to for many PC users. My beef is that they've broken the "windows" metaphor like nothing since Quaterdeck's DeskQview.

Hardware compatibility analysers aren't rocket-science, and now that Mr. Jobs is gone...

Mugwump00 said,
The temptation for Apple to evaluate doing an OSX release with a very qualified HCL must be huge...

Won't happen any time soon.
Trust me.

I'm willing to bet money on it.

GS:mac

Well, still using the CP, but the more I use it the more I ignore Metro. It doesn't make any sense on a desktop PC, it just doesn't. When OSX Mountain Lion goes retail, I'll will turn my PC into a Hackintosh once again

Dannydeman said,
Well, still using the CP, but the more I use it the more I ignore Metro. It doesn't make any sense on a desktop PC, it just doesn't. When OSX Mountain Lion goes retail, I'll will turn my PC into a Hackintosh once again

I use Metro on my desktop PC and I like it very much so far. There aren't many Metro apps so far, but I have been trying the app previews like the Mail and Music apps. And the Metro UI seems great for purposes like checking your email, playing songs, watching videos etc. Of course there are many applications I use that do not fit into the Metro UI, for example tools like Visual Studio.

So I use a bit of both - snap the Music app to the right-side of the screen and have stuff like Visual Studio on the rest of the space. And I think the start screen works great for swapping between applications - if you sort the tiles there into groups it's much easier to quickly find what you're looking for than using the old start menu. If you don't want to cover the whole screen with the start screen, there is always the possibility to use the Charm Bar search which only covers a little portion of the screen.

And ALT+F4 still is the fastest way to shut down the computer, just like in previous versions of Windows.

This said, I see a lot of issues with it. So far I haven't been able to label the groups on my start screen. Metro apps open website links in the Metro browser. It would be nice to be able to snap more metro apps to the screen at once instead of the current limit of two at once.

With a little tweaking, Metro has great potential even on desktop PCs IMO.

Lamp Post said,
So far I haven't been able to label the groups on my start screen.
Took me a while to figure this out, you have to zoom out to see the overview of your tiles (tiny zoom out button in the bottom right of the start screen) then you can right click your groups to name them.

Lamp Post said,

Metro apps open website links in the Metro browser.

There is a setting you can change in the metro browser to switch the default to the desktop browser when opening links from other programs.

Dannydeman said,
Well, still using the CP, but the more I use it the more I ignore Metro. It doesn't make any sense on a desktop PC, it just doesn't. When OSX Mountain Lion goes retail, I'll will turn my PC into a Hackintosh once again

It doesn't to you. Don't state something as fact when it's merely personal opinion. There are many that disagree with you.

TCLN Ryster said,

It doesn't to you. Don't state something as fact when it's merely personal opinion. There are many that disagree with you.

Just as there are many who agree with him. So who's right?

Good interview, and I agree because it's also what I've been saying: Windows 8 is great for tablets and touch devices, but not for the desktop.

Neobond said,
Good interview, and I agree because it's also what I've been saying: Windows 8 is great for tablets and touch devices, but not for the desktop.

Yes, I just wish the nones willing to compromise or adapt workflow for the worse would stop moaning about the ones giving constructive criticism to MS.

Neobond said,
Good interview, and I agree because it's also what I've been saying: Windows 8 is great for tablets and touch devices, but not for the desktop.

Some people said the same thing about the Ribbon but it has worked out well. I think MS knows people are getting older and our eyesights are failing us

I don't think so, the ribbon is hidden by default, which makes a huge difference in Windows Explorer. Not sure what I think about having to take more steps to actually use it though.

It just seems Microsoft is forgetting about streamlining tasks and going back to the Windows 95 era of having to talk multiple steps to get anything done

Neobond said,
Good interview, and I agree because it's also what I've been saying: Windows 8 is great for tablets and touch devices, but not for the desktop.

Frankly, the only gripe I've got with the Win8 CP is that you can't show small tabs in IE Metro (the way desktop browsers do it). That completely ruins my browsing experience.
The rest is mostly stuff you have to get used to. A lot of people say that Win8 is not easy to use - well let me tell you, previous versions of Windows and other OS aren't easy to use either. You have to understand the concept of windows, files, file types, the task bar/dock/whatever, etc. The main difference: we're used to it.

stevember said,

Yes, I just wish the nones willing to compromise or adapt workflow for the worse would stop moaning about the ones giving constructive criticism to MS.

You have to be kidding right???
So because I like the direction MS is going with Metro, I'm wrong and should stop moaning.

This is what's messed up with a lot of people here. Just because you feel MS is going the wrong direction it must be fact and everybody who says otherwise is just wrong.
Try to adapt for a change

Neobond said,
Good interview, and I agree because it's also what I've been saying: Windows 8 is great for tablets and touch devices, but not for the desktop.

I personally like it better for keyboard/mouse, aka desktop over touch devices thus far, but that may be due to my touch technologies being from Win7 launch era.

Aethec said,
Frankly, the only gripe I've got with the Win8 CP ...

Is that people who embed youtube content do so with the flash container, not HTML5

That completely ruins my browsing experience.

dotf said,
Is that people who embed youtube content do so with the flash container, not HTML5

That completely ruins my browsing experience.


Doesn't YouTube give you an iframe? It should play in HTML5...

Neobond said,
I don't think so, the ribbon is hidden by default, which makes a huge difference in Windows Explorer. Not sure what I think about having to take more steps to actually use it though.

It just seems Microsoft is forgetting about streamlining tasks and going back to the Windows 95 era of having to talk multiple steps to get anything done

I was talking about the Office products

"having Metro apps in a window on the desktop" - My favourite idea. I'm not sure about Start8 currently, but this chap talks a lot sense.

I don't see the win for Windows 8 on "large displays or multi-monitors". 8 seems more awkward there too.

Apps like ViStart or Start8 have used the Windows orb. The question is:will Microsoft go after them with copyright/trademark issues and ask them to use their own logo for the Start button?

xpclient said,
Apps like ViStart or Start8 have used the Windows orb. The question is:will Microsoft go after them with copyright/trademark issues and ask them to use their own logo for the Start button?

Seeing as they have used the Microsoft Logo on a number of their other products for well over 10 years, I doubt they would start now.

JustinN said,

Seeing as they have used the Microsoft Logo on a number of their other products for well over 10 years, I doubt they would start now.

Maybe those apps call the orb icon from within the OS's own libraries?

Edited by xendrome, Mar 8 2012, 3:09pm :

xendrome said,

Maybe those apps call the orb icon from within the OS's own libraries?

Might do, because its already been confirmed that the start menu is still intact within Windows 8 files.

Edited by xendrome, Mar 8 2012, 3:16pm :

xendrome said,

Maybe those apps call the orb icon from within the OS's on libraries?

Orbs are in app resources folder, Vistart and Start8 have own folder with all app parts.
BTW> In Windows 8 explorer.exe orbs was removed, all what You can find there similar to Windows 7 explorer.exe is User Picture frame...

xpclient said,
Apps like ViStart or Start8 have used the Windows orb. The question is:will Microsoft go after them with copyright/trademark issues and ask them to use their own logo for the Start button?

I really don't think so......Stardock (quote me if I am wrong) I believe worked closely with Microsoft for WindowBlinds for Windows 7....and Microsoft supported it since it promoted the fact that Windows is customizable.

JustinN said,

Seeing as they have used the Microsoft Logo on a number of their other products for well over 10 years, I doubt they would start now.

Can you tell which apps have they used the unmodified Windows logo in for years?

Couldn't agree more with the multiple steps issue...was wondering the same thing some days back....keeping the windows productive is the single biggest challenge Microsoft has right now with Windows 8!

Mohitster said,
Couldn't agree more with the multiple steps issue...was wondering the same thing some days back....keeping the windows productive is the single biggest challenge Microsoft has right now with Windows 8!

While some things have different routes to them, I don't understand his example of shutting down. He tried to say "four steps" in a way that sounded like it was a huge increase, but it really isn't. You're either clicking start on the taskbar, clicking the shut down control, and choosing to shut down (Windows 7 and prior), or clicking Settings on the charm bar, clicking the Power control, and choosing to shut down (Windows 8). Same number of clicks. If you like keyboard shortcuts, it's even simpler.

There are better examples to pick from if he's going to gripe about steps, but complaining about shutting down makes him sound disingenuous.

Joshie said,

While some things have different routes to them, I don't understand his example of shutting down. He tried to say "four steps" in a way that sounded like it was a huge increase, but it really isn't. You're either clicking start on the taskbar, clicking the shut down control, and choosing to shut down (Windows 7 and prior), or clicking Settings on the charm bar, clicking the Power control, and choosing to shut down (Windows 8). Same number of clicks. If you like keyboard shortcuts, it's even simpler.

There are better examples to pick from if he's going to gripe about steps, but complaining about shutting down makes him sound disingenuous.


Having spoken to Brad personally, I still don't get what he's talking about. Yes, the initial presentation is jarring. But once you learn it Win8 is fantastic, interface and all.

As for shutdown, complaining about something I do AFTER I get everything else done just seems pointless. It's practically the only area where I think the complainers have a point though.

Joshie said,
You're either clicking start on the taskbar, clicking the shut down control, and choosing to shut down (Windows 7 and prior), or clicking Settings on the charm bar, clicking the Power control, and choosing to shut down (Windows 8). Same number of clicks.

In windows 7 its normally only two steps, click taskbar, hit shutdown. (Although this is based on the premise you have selected shut-down as your default option).v Granted, its still only 1 extra click, but i have to say the 1 extra click (that xp for example also requires) is noticeable once you've got use to windows 7.

Bag said,

In windows 7 its normally only two steps, click taskbar, hit shutdown. (Although this is based on the premise you have selected shut-down as your default option).v Granted, its still only 1 extra click, but i have to say the 1 extra click (that xp for example also requires) is noticeable once you've got use to windows 7.

on my desktop computer it has been a single click since the nineties, namely the audible click my power button makes when I press it . Laptop -> close the lid, done

TheLegendOfMart said,
Legends.

Not so much.

That whole first answer of anti-8 rhetoric just doesn't make sense.

Firstly, they're not trying to "jam" anything together. Windows 8 is NOT just an upgraded version of Windows 7 with a new skin put on top of it, it's an entirely new platform. It's a metro platform first and foremost. The classic desktop is there purely as a backwards compatibility environment to allow you to run legacy non-metro apps, that's all. This is why the UI there is limited. You may not like it, but that's the truth. If you don't like metro and don't want to run metro apps, then it would be illogical for you to purchase that platform. If enough people don't buy it, Microsoft will be sure to take action to release a non-metro new version of Windows.

Secondly, Brad said: "There is no "folder" concept in Metro to organize your things.".... But there is. I have all my metro tiles arranged into groups/sections, each with a title. It works quite well thank you.

I do like Start8 though. I just wish you could unbind it from the windows key on your keyboard. I still want that to launch metro, while having the clickable option to bring up the apps list/search when I am on the desktop. Classic desktop use will diminish over time, but until the metro app ecosystem has evolved Start8 will be useful for me.

Edited by Ryster, Mar 8 2012, 11:22pm :

TCLN Ryster said,

Not so much.

That whole first answer of anti-8 rhetoric just doesn't make sense.

Firstly, they're not trying to "jam" anything together. Windows 8 is NOT just an upgraded version of Windows 7 with a new skin put on top of it, it's an entirely new platform. It's a metro platform first and foremost. The classic desktop is there purely as a backwards compatibility environment to allow you to run legacy non-metro apps, that's all. This is why the UI there is limited. You may not like it, but that's the truth. If you don't like metro and don't want to run metro apps, then it would be illogical for you to purchase that platform. If enough people don't buy it, Microsoft will be sure to take action to release a non-metro new version of Windows.

Secondly, Brad said: "There is no "folder" concept in Metro to organize your things.".... But there is. I have all my metro tiles arranged into groups/sections, each with a title. It works quite well thank you.

I do like Start8 though. I just wish you could unbind it from the windows key on your keyboard. I still want that to launch metro, while having the clickable option to bring up the apps list/search when I am on the desktop. Classic desktop use will diminish over time, but until the metro app ecosystem has evolved Start8 will be useful for me.


No one cares, I'm bored of being told I'm wrong and that I just don't get Windows 8 and that I should just shut up and put up with it or stick with Windows 7.

This way I can use windows 8.

TheLegendOfMart said,

No one cares, I'm bored of being told I'm wrong and that I just don't get Windows 8 and that I should just shut up and put up with it or stick with Windows 7.

This way I can use windows 8.

And I'm bored of the self-entitled ones who think Microsoft "owe" them something. Windows 8 is different, it's not just a minor upgrade to 7. Deal with it.

TCLN Ryster said,

And I'm bored of the self-entitled ones who think Microsoft "owe" them something. Windows 8 is different, it's not just a minor upgrade to 7. Deal with it.


This is exactly the kind of attitude I'm p****d off at.

I know Microsoft doesn't owe me anything, I'm not trying to deprive you of Metro in Windows 8, I don't like Metro and am looking for ways to make Windows 8 usable FOR ME PERSONALLY.

If you don't like the fact that I want to make Windows 8 act like Windows 7 you should just f****** deal with it.

Edited by TheLegendOfMart, Mar 9 2012, 10:43am :

TheLegendOfMart said,

This is exactly the kind of attitude I'm p****d off at.

I know Microsoft doesn't owe me anything, I'm not trying to deprive you of Metro in Windows 8, I don't like Metro and am looking for ways to make Windows 8 usable FOR ME PERSONALLY.

If you don't like the fact that I want to make Windows 8 act like Windows 7 you should just f****** deal with it.

Unnecessary cussing aside, that's the point though and allow me to repeat myself here... Windows 8 is a Metro OS first and foremost. It is NOT just a simple evolution of Windows 7. This is a simple truth. The classic desktop is there purely for backwards compatibility with non-metro apps. This is why the UI there is limited.

Does Metro have some issues and usability concerns, yes.. I concede that. Some things need improvement. But Windows 8 is not a classic desktop OS like Windows 7 was. If all you want is a classic desktop OS, then Windows 8 isn't for you. By all means hack it to death with extra apps, and registry bodges to try to turn it into what you want it to be, I'll "deal with it". But don't fill up the forum complaining that it's not something it was never designed to be.