Interview: Stardock's CEO gives an update on Start8

Editors note: Please read our disclaimer on Neowin's relationship to Stardock in our forums.

Windows 8's Metro interface lacks the traditional Start button and menu we have seen in the past several Windows operating systems. A lot of people felt it was a mistake for Microsoft to abandon this setup. Among them was Stardock CEO Brad Wardell. In March, Stardock released Start8, a free app for Windows 8 that added a version of the Start button and menu to the Metro UI.

There hasn't been an update for Start8 since March but in a new interview, Wardell tells us to expect a small update later in July, along with a major new version coming for the launch of Windows 8 this fall. He also gives us an interesting response when we asked him about Microsoft's recent statement on why they decided to get rid of the Start button, along with other topics.

First, can you tell us about how many downloads of Start8 have you had since you released the first version?

The interest in the betas of Start8 has been phenomenal. I think it demonstrates that a lot of people -- and I'd argue most people -- expect their Windows desktop to have a concise and effective way to get to their stuff. The Start button and its corresponding menu is the result of decades of refinement in usability. The removal of it in Windows 8 is baffling to me. Normally, user experience shifts occur to due underlying technological changes. DOS to Windows, for example, occurred because the underlying technology allowed us to transition to an environment that was both easier to use and more productive. By contrast, the Windows 8 desktop is clearly a step back -- they removed functionality in an effort to appeal to a different demographic -- content consumers.

A Microsoft rep recently said they decided to do away with the Start button for Windows 8 due to Windows 7 users not using the button any more in favor of pinning applications to the task bar. Do you feel this is a good enough explanation for their reasoning?

My answer to that is: Shenanigans.

You have said in the past that while you like Windows 8 as a whole, in your opinion the Metro interface doesn't work well with PCs. Have you seen any improvements since the Release Preview version of Windows 8?

No. Microsoft has essentially decided to focus Windows 8 around content consumers instead of producers. I've seen people argue that only power users are unhappy with the Windows 8 user experience. But really, it's anyone who is trying to produce something with a personal computer that is going to find their productivity diminished.

You have not made any updates to Start8 since March. When can we expect the next update?

We have an update due this month which will allow the computer to boot directly into the desktop. Our main effort has been on the release version which is due out this Fall that is designed to allow users to use Windows 8 as a pure desktop experience OS.

Why have you decided to wait until the launch of Windows 8 to release a major new version of Start8?

We've been holding back on new features because we didn't want to deal with the case where a feature gets broken by a beta update to Windows 8. It would just cause us unnecessary support issues. We are also not certain how Microsoft will, from a political point of view, feel about some of the things we're doing and would not want them to make changes that would make it harder to do some of the things we're doing.

How much interest have you received from PC makers about adding the Start8 feature to their Windows 8 PCs?

Several of the major PC OEMs have already contacted us about pre-loading Start8 during the 2013 cycle. Essentially, they're going to wait and see what the reaction to the Metro / Desktop hybrid experience in Windows 8.

Will anyone still be able to download and/or purchase the final version of Start8 when it is officially launched?

Oh yea. Start8 is going to be freeware still for non-commercial use.

What other plans does Stardock have for Windows 8-based products?

We have a number of WinRT (Metro) projects in development that are catered more to the mobile space. We're pretty excited about Windows 8 based phones and tablets. A lot of our desktop-related development will focus on making sure PC users are able to use Windows 8 as a high powered workstation OS. Windows 8 really is significantly better than Windows 7 in most respects. The big problem with Windows 8 is the design -- the decision to treat the desktop as some sort of legacy box. Most Windows users will continue to be using it on a desktop PC (or laptop). I love my tablets and phone but there is a time and place for each different environment. Trying to create a one-size-fits-all solution is a mistake. Our job will be to make sure that users can use their device as best suits their personalized needs.

Do you see Stardock releasing any Metro-style applications or games for Windows 8 specifically for tablets?

Definitely. We're liking what we see in WinRT. I love my iPad, for example. But I'd be pretty irritated if MacOS suddenly forced iOS as my desktop OS. Looking at an app designed for a 10 inch screen on a 28 inch monitor is a kind of torture.

We would like to thank Brad for his time.

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I purchased Stardock Fences when it was released - they had so many features advertised as coming soon.

Its been a couple of years now with no update. I guess they got bored once the money had come in.

Orange Battery said,
I purchased Stardock Fences when it was released - they had so many features advertised as coming soon.

Its been a couple of years now with no update. I guess they got bored once the money had come in.


That was one of the only apps that I liked from Stardock and then they completely failed to bring any new features. But that just reminded me why I do not buy Stardock products most of them like Start8 are absolutely useless and just a money grab that will not have any useful updates.

subcld: You are aware that the menu Start8 shows IS the Metro start menu? It just makes it smaller and avoids the full screen switch which is distracting.

i tried it and removed it after 5 minutes metro start screen way advanced than this
anyway its about more choices if someone wants it then its ok but im not going to install it in any pc

I've gotten used to not having a start button, but in terms of productivity, I still feel like having to go back to metro to access programs is a step back (I don't want to pin every single program I use to the start bar - too clustered and there are far too many anyway).

Chica Ami said,
Windows 8, without Metro, start screen and ribbon UI for the explorer, it's just another Windows 7. =D

What about 95,98,2000,xp,vista and 7?...

Chica Ami said,
Windows 8, without Metro, start screen and ribbon UI for the explorer, it's just another Windows 7. =D

Indeed, without those things Windows 8 becomes something which can be replicate with a few freeware apps on Windows 7 (slight performance boost aside).

But anyway I respect people who like Windows 8. I respect their need for a flashy, multicolor, full-screen launcher... to launch Angry Birds and other useless apps a simple website can replace

Seriously... who needs a Netflix app? Or a IMDb app?... The website isn't enough?

myxomatosis said,
.....

And I also respect those who are fighting to ensure their path to obsolescence.

Seriously who need an IT pro who thinks the past made the best most secure fastest operating systems out there.

For all the kids from here who wander why several of us want to use Windows 8 with Start8 and not plain vanilla Windows 8, here's a few reasons:
1. we like the speed of Windows 8, the new explorer features, the new task manager, so we'd like to use Windows 8 instead of 7
2. we don't like / don't need Metro so a way do bypass the new start screen and bring back the start menu is good for us

Add 1+2 and if you do the math you'll get that for us, Windows 8 + Start8 might be a winner.

Before bashing us for not "adapting" to new trends, be aware that many of us are content producers, programmers etc., who do more that checking a Hotmail account and browsing two sites a month using a dumbed down, sandoxed IE. We don't need toys, but real tools. For us, on the PC side, the metro start screen has no use.

Edited by Dot Catrix, Jul 3 2012, 8:22pm :

Mortis said,
.....

Sometimes I wonder.
Hardly ever wander, known to meander occasionally.

There will come a time when you will need metro, even if you don't like it. Then, it may even grow on you.

SirPeterPan said,
You talk like you represent some "special class". Guess what, you don't.

Metro and Start Screen work fine for content producers as well.

well you can't know that because Windows 8 is not done yet

It makes me laugh the way people are deriding Stardock for daring to give those of us that don't want to just swallow Microsoft's crap an extra option. That's the problem with tech forums these days, too many product cheerleaders and not enough informed users.

I say good on Stardock. They're working to give those of us that have problems with Windows 8 as it is an extra option, and they're releasing it as freeware. And you know what's GREAT about freedom of choice? If you don't like it you don't have to install it. Magic, huh?!

Javik said,
It makes me laugh the way people are deriding Stardock for daring to give those of us that don't want to just swallow Microsoft's crap an extra option. That's the problem with tech forums these days, too many product cheerleaders and not enough informed users.

I say good on Stardock. They're working to give those of us that have problems with Windows 8 as it is an extra option, and they're releasing it as freeware. And you know what's GREAT about freedom of choice? If you don't like it you don't have to install it. Magic, huh?!

You don't understand... They drink the Microsoft kool-aid, and YOU MUST too If you want something else, you're an idiot. And never forget that they know BETTER than you what is good for you...

TCLN Ryster said,
Don't like it? Don't buy it. Simple.

Amen; there's a ton of different ways you can customize the OS, just because one person likes or hates it doesn't mean everybody is obligated to agree. This kool-aid bullsh't is exactly that... unless you just now discovered Windows for the first time you'd know you can change it up if you wanted to. That said, personally this sort of thing isn't for me but it's an interesting alternative to the others.

TCLN Ryster said,
Don't like it? Don't buy it. Simple.

Yeah. Nobody should EVER customise their OS. They should just leave it exactly how it comes to the box. I mean we all know that users are never right, we must just swallow whatever these companies throw at us and never dare to customise it to fit our own needs.

If you ever work in a company's PR department, remind me never to buy a single product that they produce.

Javik said,
If you don't like it you don't have to install it. Magic, huh?!

We've been saying that to WIN8 h8rs forever now, yet you keep posting.

In all seriousness though, if I buy a PC that the OEM has somehow screwed up, I'll be looking to turn it into a signature series PC asap.

TCLN Ryster said,
Don't like it? Don't buy it. Simple.

I like the speed. I like the idea. I like the resource usage. I don't like the process of changing between Metro and desktop for every different application I need to run.

If it doesn't work right, don't put it in the product at all. Make it all Metro or nothing. It's silly the way they have it now. They obviously changed the Start Menu midstream, or wouldn't have been there to begin with, so why remove it from use now. Just wait until the next version when more apps are Metro?

Couldn't agree more.
Making severe and drastic changes and expecting your customers
to follow along with no option to transition is insane.
And all the cheer leaders are brutaly ignorant. Saying crap like
"if you don't like it then don't install it" etc

A lot of are us are going to enjoy saying i told you so to the douches holding the pom pom's

abysal said,
Bah Windows 8 is for clickers. You know who you are.

Just as pointless comments are for trolls and haters. You know who you are.

I believe its a question of time till people get used...

I remember going from windows 3.11 to windows 95, I hate the start menu... I would put folders with shortcuts to the apps in my desktop and arrange them as if it was windows 3.11... a few months later I started seeing the advantages of the new start menu and started using it properly... going from Windows 2000 to XP the same I would tend to enable the classic menu on windows XP for a couple of months till I see and get used to the advantages of the revamped new version...

now is a big transition from the start menu to the start screen, but I think its a question of time till we found the advantages and get used to it... i have been using W8 since the CP Release and found a way of customizing my start screen so that is doesn't get as much in the way.... the only thing that I don't like is the apps not being windowed... for a power user the window model is a major thing regards productivity. We can argue that we can pin the apps to a small part of the screen, but again it looks like it doesn't belong there its weird and takes away from the workspace... I hope that for the final release the recreate the apps mail/calendar/music/reader etc... so that they have a desktop mode... I know that u can use other apps to do that, but since those are integrated they should just work in both worlds and be interconnected...

i wish this wont be as buggy as other stardock software. They are very good, but buggy enough to uninstall immediately.

Really?

Here is a revelation...
The Start Menu in Windows 8 is just a full screen variation of the existing Start Menu.

Why people do not get this?

It is kind of scary, especially when it is someone like Brad, that literally makes a product that DEMONSTRATES this better than Microsoft's marketing does.

The same features, just full screen, really...


The Start Menu in Vista was controversial, people hated it, turned it off, didn't use the Search, and continued to dig through MENUS instead of the newer UI concepts.

This changed in Windows 7, with some people finally getting that they only need to type a few letter of their Application to find it, and stopped digging through the antiquated MENU UI concept.

In Windows 7 the Start Menu can't be onscreen at the same time as anything else, so it being one size versus full screen is irrelevant in the argument against the Windows 8 Start Menu.

The Win8 Start Menu does the same thing, it has a list of all Applications, has Pinned Applications, has Universal Search, the only change is that it now has 'live' information for the pinned applications and is the gateway to the new Apps if people want to use them.


Go look up a product called Start++ - it was a popular program in the Vista days, Microsoft had considered the concept back then to HAVE LIVE INFORMATION ON THE START MENU.


Wow... This has just gotten to the point of painful and is intellectually dishonest or unaware at best.

thenetavenger said,

The Start Menu in Vista was controversial, people hated it, turned it off, didn't use the Search, and continued to dig through MENUS instead of the newer UI concepts.

This changed in Windows 7, with some people finally getting that they only need to type a few letter of their Application to find it, and stopped digging through the antiquated MENU UI concept.

In Windows 7 the Start Menu can't be onscreen at the same time as anything else, so it being one size versus full screen is irrelevant in the argument against the Windows 8 Start Menu.

The Win8 Start Menu does the same thing, it has a list of all Applications, has Pinned Applications, has Universal Search, the only change is that it now has 'live' information for the pinned applications and is the gateway to the new Apps if people want to use them.


QFT

It's not the matter of the Start Screen for me. It's jumping between Metro and the desktop for multi-tasking a lot. I use a lot of different apps everyday, and I can guarantee that most of them won't go Metro any time soon, because of the environment and industry (Education).

I hate having to back and forth to use everything. I would just have preferred a choice, and there is really no TECHNICAL reason not to included the Start Menu. I mean it was there is the preview. It's not like they couldn't have left that code in.

If everything was fluid, I would have no problem, but you can't really operate two different interfaces effectively at the same time.


We have an update due this month which will allow the computer to boot directly into the desktop. Our main effort has been on the release version which is due out this Fall that is designed to allow users to use Windows 8 as a pure desktop experience OS.

I'd definitely use Windows 8 if I can boot directly to the desktop and get my start button back.


Several of the major PC OEMs have already contacted us about pre-loading Start8 during the 2013 cycle. Essentially, they're going to wait and see what the reaction to the Metro / Desktop hybrid experience in Windows 8.

Windows 8 might not be a total loss after all then. I don't think Microsoft will like it though.

Metro apps btw are not consumption-only. They're kids-only. You know, the ones you find playing games and doing nothing else.

ahhell said,
Grow up and quit trolling.

Agreed. There are a few metro apps out there that demonstrate the power of the metro platform and what it can do. But we've yet to see many because, well there aren't many apps yet.

Just ignore xpclient though, his hate of 8 (or just, H8 ?) is well documented.

xpclient said,

Grow up and quit fanboyism. It won't make Windows 8 succeed.

You say that Metro is for "kids-only" and tell others to grow up? Give me a break.

xpclient said,

Grow up and quit fanboyism. It won't make Windows 8 succeed.

That fact that you insist on calling anybody who likes a product a "fanboy" proves that it is YOU who needs to grow up.

If a regular grown up doesn't like something, they don't buy it. They don't go trolling to everybody who'll listen.

Btw, what exactly is the opposite of a "fanboy"? A "hateboy"? I know which I prefer to be.

TCLN Ryster said,

Agreed. There are a few metro apps out there that demonstrate the power of the metro platform and what it can do. But we've yet to see many because, well there aren't many apps yet.

Just ignore xpclient though, his hate of 8 (or just, H8 ?) is well documented.

Especially since I've pointed out one WinRT app that has actually saved money, if not possibly some lives *already* - AccuWeather's WinRT app. Unlike any of the alternatives (WinRT or Win32) you don't launch it unless you want to instantly check current conditions; severe weather alert *toast* pop-up on your desktop. (This same sort of notification isn't exclusive to WinRT, either.)

TCLN Ryster said,

That fact that you insist on calling anybody who likes a product a "fanboy" proves that it is YOU who needs to grow up.

If a regular grown up doesn't like something, they don't buy it. They don't go trolling to everybody who'll listen.

Btw, what exactly is the opposite of a "fanboy"? A "hateboy"? I know which I prefer to be.

On the contrary, the fact that any one who doesn't like a product is called a troll at Fanboy Center aka Neowin means all of the fanboys are preventing others from making any other type of comments other than "I love Windows 8". Crap product is crap, it won't help no matter how much people try to show it as great.

This CEO knows his stuff and I <3 him for it.

Still, nothing is going to change my decision to avoid Windows 8 unless Microsoft decides to have some exclusivity BS that affects things I do. I mean, I'm still on Vista because I can't stand a lot of the changes made in 7 and have yet to find a way to revert them to the way they are in Vista. Same applied to Firefox 12.. except that I managed to get the general usability of it like 3.6 again, so I can tolerate using it.

DAOWAce said,
This CEO knows his stuff and I <3 him for it.

Still, nothing is going to change my decision to avoid Windows 8 unless Microsoft decides to have some exclusivity BS that affects things I do. I mean, I'm still on Vista because I can't stand a lot of the changes made in 7 and have yet to find a way to revert them to the way they are in Vista. Same applied to Firefox 12.. except that I managed to get the general usability of it like 3.6 again, so I can tolerate using it.

What changes in W7 you don't like that aren't there in Vista? I may be able to help because of the Ph.D I did from XP to W7 migration.

DAOWAce said,
This CEO knows his stuff and I <3 him for it.

Still, nothing is going to change my decision to avoid Windows 8 unless Microsoft decides to have some exclusivity BS that affects things I do. I mean, I'm still on Vista because I can't stand a lot of the changes made in 7 and have yet to find a way to revert them to the way they are in Vista. Same applied to Firefox 12.. except that I managed to get the general usability of it like 3.6 again, so I can tolerate using it.


You prefer Vista to W7? Your opinions on W8 therefore are kind of moot

DAOWAce said,
This CEO knows his stuff and I <3 him for it.

Still, nothing is going to change my decision to avoid Windows 8 unless Microsoft decides to have some exclusivity BS that affects things I do. I mean, I'm still on Vista because I can't stand a lot of the changes made in 7 and have yet to find a way to revert them to the way they are in Vista. Same applied to Firefox 12.. except that I managed to get the general usability of it like 3.6 again, so I can tolerate using it.

rofl. I can't believe you prefer vista.

I love the start screen as it is an evolution in the way to access your information and programs.
I have had a look at Start8 and all it is a half of what Microsoft gives you through the start screen. and it is a mess as it is the full list of applications you have on your system, so it is just as bad as using the old start menu. and it copies the apps search screen.
if you want to launch a program (using start menu) while on the desktop but don't have it pinned, all you do is hit winkey then start typing the program and the programs list comes up with programs. instead of being squashed in a small box in the corner of the screen it uses the full screen which means if you have a few programs you can see easily the one you need and click on it or if its first in the list press enter. to launch word = winkey 'w' 'o' enter about 3 secs.
as far as the features go :
start8 : Enables quick access and searching of your installed applications
** already quick , press winkey and start typing
start8 : Adds Run... option via right-click menu
** already there right click in corner and power user menu comes up or winkey+r
start8 : Adds Shutdown... option via right-click menu
** granted not there , but if you have no apps running on desktop , ALT+F4 brings up shutdown/reboot etc
start8 : Choose a custom Start button image
** takes up space on task bar

in my opinion windows 8 has improved the speed of accessing programs and information I use a combination of start screen and programs pinned to the task bar, since this allows me to access previous documents opened/pinned with them programs (just like win7).
Sorry ive had a bit of a long post, but I wanted to draw a comparison between the two methods.
It is worth exploring how the start screen works and watching it demoed on the Keynotes from build 2011 ,etc. as it is a ver powerful tool, much more than a way to access your programs.

You realize that most of the stuff you mentioned has to do with keyboard shortcuts. VERY few of the "general users" that I know, know anything about keyboard shortcuts. Heck, most of them don't know how to pin things. They know to click on All Programs and find the program they want.

I totally agree with how much easier it is supposed to be, but the MAJORITY of people, want to click on things, and have things in order to find them.

Most of them don't use their phones to their full potential, for that matter, but you expect them to utilize all the "Live" tiles?

I could go on and on, but I'm sure you could, also.

Yes, Microsoft pulled the start button because millions of users were *really* using it. I am not a huge fan of the new UI, but MS doesn't make decisions lighthandedly when it comes to Windows. It's based on a LOT of user data.

Personally though, I have to think that MS is trying to appeal to the consumers more now than ever, and the way they are doing that is unifying the OSes with a single look and feel that works across everything; Xbox, Windows, Office, Live Services, Phone, and Tablet. While a lot of us may not like it, I think consumers that get next generation (ie, touch enabled) PCs will really like it a lot. Time will tell, of course. I am going for it despite the UI, because the performance improvements are worth it to me.

Shyatic said,
Yes, Microsoft pulled the start button because millions of users were *really* using it. I am not a huge fan of the new UI, but MS doesn't make decisions lighthandedly when it comes to Windows. It's based on a LOT of user data.

Personally though, I have to think that MS is trying to appeal to the consumers more now than ever, and the way they are doing that is unifying the OSes with a single look and feel that works across everything; Xbox, Windows, Office, Live Services, Phone, and Tablet. While a lot of us may not like it, I think consumers that get next generation (ie, touch enabled) PCs will really like it a lot. Time will tell, of course. I am going for it despite the UI, because the performance improvements are worth it to me.

I'm an IT Pro, and quite frankly I agree it's Shenanigans. Whenever I go to someone's desk, and I ask them to recreate a problem for me, they either navigate to the program they want via the Start button and menu, or click on a desktop icon. For Windows 7 users, I rarely ever see anyone use a pinned Taskbar icon and when I do it's because I put it there for them and taught them to click on it.

Condere said,

I'm an IT Pro, and quite frankly I agree it's Shenanigans. Whenever I go to someone's desk, and I ask them to recreate a problem for me, they either navigate to the program they want via the Start button and menu, or click on a desktop icon. For Windows 7 users, I rarely ever see anyone use a pinned Taskbar icon and when I do it's because I put it there for them and taught them to click on it.

I'm sorry, but that's Shenanigans too. Unless you dealing with users with the intellectual power of a walrus, then most of them know how to pin icons to the taskbar by now. Those that don't have desktop shortcuts. Hardly ever do I see somebody navigating the overly complex "All Programs" view of the start menu. Also any IT department worth their salaries will be pinning business apps automatically when PCs are delivered, or at least adding shortcuts to the desktop. Browsing the start menu just doesn't happen, and Microsoft know that from their telemetry. Hence the reason why it's gone.

That said, I don't think the new system is perfect, far from it. I dont like how it auto-pins every icon that would have gone into the folders in the start menu previously to the start screen. Granted, this will improve when apps are written with Windows 8 in mind (only added a single shortcut if they detect Windows 8 for example). I also don't like how the power functions like reboot and shutdown are hidden away in a settings menu. They really need to be exposed a bit more.

But as I said about, all of it's faults (and which first generation of a new platform doesn't have faults? iOS, Windows 95, etc) can easily be lived with and adapted to, while reaping the many other benefits it has. Vastly superior task manager, startup speed, quick access to power user tools (Win+X), etc.

Condere said,

I'm an IT Pro, and quite frankly I agree it's Shenanigans. Whenever I go to someone's desk, and I ask them to recreate a problem for me, they either navigate to the program they want via the Start button and menu, or click on a desktop icon. For Windows 7 users, I rarely ever see anyone use a pinned Taskbar icon and when I do it's because I put it there for them and taught them to click on it.

This is more about Live Pinned Apps and people either 'search' for Apps, or like you said, click on them on the Desktop or the Taskbar or are pinned to the Start Menu.

So you are confirming what Microsoft is saying. The old MENU concept is no longer needed and people stick the icons on the desktop, taskbar, start menu or search for them. All of these are accomplished with the new Start Menu.

The new Start is just a BIGGER version of the existing Start Menu, the functionality is remarkably the same but with more new features like Live information.

TCLN Ryster said,

I'm sorry, but that's Shenanigans too. Unless you dealing with users with the intellectual power of a walrus, then most of them know how to pin icons to the taskbar by now. Those that don't have desktop shortcuts. Hardly ever do I see somebody navigating the overly complex "All Programs" view of the start menu. Also any IT department worth their salaries will be pinning business apps automatically when PCs are delivered, or at least adding shortcuts to the desktop. Browsing the start menu just doesn't happen, and Microsoft know that from their telemetry. Hence the reason why it's gone.

That said, I don't think the new system is perfect, far from it. I dont like how it auto-pins every icon that would have gone into the folders in the start menu previously to the start screen. Granted, this will improve when apps are written with Windows 8 in mind (only added a single shortcut if they detect Windows 8 for example). I also don't like how the power functions like reboot and shutdown are hidden away in a settings menu. They really need to be exposed a bit more.

But as I said about, all of it's faults (and which first generation of a new platform doesn't have faults? iOS, Windows 95, etc) can easily be lived with and adapted to, while reaping the many other benefits it has. Vastly superior task manager, startup speed, quick access to power user tools (Win+X), etc.

Do you even read?!?

I said I pinned things.

I can't pin everything nor guess every program that a user will decide or need to use 2 years after I setup a computer.

AND YES

most people are dumber than a box a rocks. Get used to it. Hence IT Help Desk terms such as Id10t.


Condere said,
most people are dumber than a box a rocks. Get used to it. Hence IT Help Desk terms such as Id10t.

And tech people have no desire to change the competency level of the user base, instead make jokes of them behind their backs.
This is the dichotomy that forced the introduction of the Windows Runtime and Metro Style apps in the first place.

Yet, real 'IT' people do not see how Metro+Windows Runtime will make their lives simpler simply by introducing a couple of simplified concepts to allow 'real users', or the Id10Ts as you call them, productive without your help.

I am absolutely sick of anyone with technical competence who cannot grasp that Windows 8 is will allow those without knowledge of the windows subsystems to get just as much out of the system as you can today.

Shyatic said,
I think consumers that get next generation (ie, touch enabled) PCs will really like it a lot..

how many people are going to want to switch to something like a mall kiosk ?

Why the hell would i want a touch screen on my pc ? ..not interested.
I have one on my pmp and i HATE it and ant buttons back
and i'm not the only one either.. plenty of people complaining over at Sansa's forum about the retard touch screen crap

Sadly this little fad is here to stay and makes sense for iPads etc
but some people want a desktop or laptop for productivity.
i couldn't imagine trying to deal with touch screen crap while
coding in Visual Studio lol


No. Microsoft has essentially decided to focus Windows 8 around content consumers instead of producers. I've seen people argue that only power users are unhappy with the Windows 8 user experience. But really, it's anyone who is trying to produce something with a personal computer that is going to find their productivity diminished.

My answer to that is: Shenanigans.

rfirth said,

My answer to that is: Shenanigans.

The word b0llocks also springs to mind It takes what, less than a second to load the desktop after you've logged in? I have Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and pretty much everything else I use pinned to the taskbar, just like I did in Windows 7. How the fudge is my productivity diminished?

rfirth said,

My answer to that is: Shenanigans.


My thoughts exactly. How will anyone production be diminished by the lack of a start button? The start menu is there to open apps and a few locations like the computer, control panel and user folders.
The start screen still does all this and even fits more apps visible without having to go in to "All Programs" which gets real messy after a while unless you maintain it (I do wish the startscreen had a All Programs button that wasn't hidden in a context menu though), the two ways to open the start menu are also still around, click in the bottom left (unless your taskbar has been moved) and the windows key on the keyboard, there is even an additional way to open it in the charm bar now.

Further any serious user won't even use much more of the start menu than hitting the windows key, typing the first couple letters of what they want and pressing enter, a feature which besides the UI shown on your screen (which just shown you more of what you are actually doing those few seconds) is completely unchanged.

I guess Start8 is nice for people who can not deal with changes, but saying that the changes to the start button and menu in Windows 8 will diminish anyone's productivity is absurd...

My friend installed it because he did not like the new start screen and later uninstalled it because he realised it was stupid.

PmRd said,
My friend installed it because he did not like the new start screen and later uninstalled it because he realised it was stupid.

Exactly. The only problem solved is that the Start Screen is not full screen, which means it can display even less information and be even less friendly for touch. If you didn't like the Start Screen, you won't like Start8, and you probably won't like Windows 8. So really this product is a solution to a nonexistent problem.

billyea said,

Exactly. The only problem solved is that the Start Screen is not full screen, which means it can display even less information and be even less friendly for touch. If you didn't like the Start Screen, you won't like Start8, and you probably won't like Windows 8. So really this product is a solution to a nonexistent problem.

Yeah but some people like to see what they were doing while they are doing something else or else they would be so lost and confused.

billyea said,

Exactly. The only problem solved is that the Start Screen is not full screen, which means it can display even less information and be even less friendly for touch. If you didn't like the Start Screen, you won't like Start8, and you probably won't like Windows 8. So really this product is a solution to a nonexistent problem.

I LOVE when people know better than myself what is a problem for me

myxomatosis said,

I LOVE when people know better than myself what is a problem for me

Good for you to realise that maybe now you can begin working on changing your attitude because the future will bring you many "problems".

billyea said,

Exactly. The only problem solved is that the Start Screen is not full screen, which means it can display even less information and be even less friendly for touch. If you didn't like the Start Screen, you won't like Start8, and you probably won't like Windows 8. So really this product is a solution to a nonexistent problem.

The problem it solves it for real multi-taskers that use a lot of apps all the time. I don't fell like going to the desktop, then back to Metro, then back to the desktop, then back to Metro, etc..

farmeunit said,

The problem it solves it for real multi-taskers that use a lot of apps all the time. I don't fell like going to the desktop, then back to Metro, then back to the desktop, then back to Metro, etc..

*Real* multitaskers.

What's a *real* multitasker, huh?

I live on the desktop - I don't go the StartScreen for *anything* except MAYBE to launce a quick WinRT app/game without a desktop shortcut - in what way is that different from Windows 7 users going to the Start menu?

My most critical (to me) WinRT app is AccuWeather.com, which I don't need to launch - it will toast-up alert (severe weather of any sort for a defined region) right on my desktop. (Facebook Messenger - which, by the way, is NOT a WinRT app - behaves similarly, as does the Yahoo Mail notifier included with the current Yahoo Messenger.) Most *real* multitaskers don't run many (or any) WinRT applications due to the screen-resolution issue; it's not that they can't do the job. I've stuck with Adobe Reader and the Win32 version of the Kindle software for that reason. In short, it's not the StartScreen, but app limitations of WinRT.

billyea said,

Exactly. The only problem solved is that the Start Screen is not full screen, which means it can display even less information and be even less friendly for touch. If you didn't like the Start Screen, you won't like Start8, and you probably won't like Windows 8. So really this product is a solution to a nonexistent problem.

But you do realize that touch matters to what 0.01 percent of people right now? People will be looking for familiarity when they upgrade to Windows 8 and I see no harm in giving them some. Sooner or later they will get the grasp of new start screen and may be then they will ditch it (if they feel like it). This app is a boon till then!

And personally, the whole start screen overtaking my screen real estate when I just want to open a notepad, is the worst of the distractions any search system can provide. So, I see no harm in looking for alternatives.

Hurrah! My everyday work (don't ask) usually involves working on a document in MSWord, while considering and occasionally cut/pasting from any or all of (i) Outlook, (ii) other MSword docs, (iii) one or more pdf docs, and/or (iv) internet pages. And there are a number of other "helper" apps in my start menu that I open regularly but don't leave open so as to avoid clutter. I doubt if I am unusual in this.

WIndows 7 works for me. Windows 8 seems determined to obstruct me. Why?
I very much hope Start8 will help.

Mohitster said,
I am actually looking forward to it!

And a little birdie tells me that it will be the most popular product of Stardock ever!

ya and the fact the pc oem have contacted stardock is pretty cool
seems like things may not be so bad after all.
Kinda like when people realised Vista was kinda crappy
and people preffered to have xp.. oem's brought back xp

Dot Matrix said,
Wah, wah, wah. No one is forcing you to use Metro apps, and they are by no means consumption only.

Tell me an app that is not office or instagram related that is actually going to metro? I gladly switch when labview/matlab/all PLC suites switch to it.

Arceles said,

Tell me an app that is not office or instagram related that is actually going to metro? I gladly switch when labview/matlab/all PLC suites switch to it.

Really? Even when Adobe and others are talking about Metro, and Google shoved Chrome into a Metro wrapper, you still think people don't care or want to create Metro Apps?

Wow...

Arceles said,

.....

Dynamics CRM
Dynamics AX
Lync will integrate with messaging.
...
There are many enterprise applications that would benefit from a Metro redesign considering most today are html/Script heavy monsters that spend half of the execution time just trying to emulate the desktop look and feel their customers were familiar with during the transition from client-server to N-Tier architectures,

thenetavenger said,

Really? Even when Adobe and others are talking about Metro, and Google shoved Chrome into a Metro wrapper, you still think people don't care or want to create Metro Apps?

Wow...

Really? And you think that'll happen overnight? What about Flash dying? How long has that taken so far, and it still hasn't happened.?

Dot Matrix said,
Wah, wah, wah. No one is forcing you to use Metro apps, and they are by no means consumption only.

yup and no one is forcing you to use the start menu add-on
so whats your point ?

Thanks Stardock. This is the only reason which I'm using Windows 8. I hate when the whole metro start screen takes up the whole screen.

I'm glad they're working on "Launch directly to the desktop when boot" option. That will be the killer feature for me .

By any chance, I hope that they are working on launching metro apps on Windows rather than complete full screen crap.

Jose_49 said,
Thanks Stardock. This is the only reason which I'm using Windows 8. I hate when the whole metro start screen takes up the whole screen.

I'm glad they're working on "Launch directly to the desktop when boot" option. That will be the killer feature for me .

By any chance, I hope that they are working on launching metro apps on Windows rather than complete full screen crap.

Why have you downloaded and installed a Metro OS if you don't like Metro? Illogical.

Jose_49 said,
Thanks Stardock. This is the only reason which I'm using Windows 8. I hate when the whole metro start screen takes up the whole screen.

I'm glad they're working on "Launch directly to the desktop when boot" option. That will be the killer feature for me .

By any chance, I hope that they are working on launching metro apps on Windows rather than complete full screen crap.

Of course, because you like to have the Start Menu in Windows 7 only take up 1/4 of the screen and leave it open all the time, right? Oh wait it doesn't stay open, so the size of the Start Menu is irrelevant...

TCLN Ryster said,

Why have you downloaded and installed a Metro OS if you don't like Metro? Illogical.


It was stated on the article.
1) Windows 8 brings too many under the hood improvements: It's blazing fast.
Obviously, it won't make miracles, but at least I haven't needed to defrag after 2 months of heavy PC use.

2) The Start Screen seems to me counterproductive in some way: full screen will shift your focus on what you are doing (unless you have good control of concentration, something that I don't possess). I would like something that does not move my focus and forget the idea I'm working on.

3) Metro apps upscale, which is a huge let down for big screen users. Each time I open a metro app on full screen I only think: All this resolution for nothing. So this problem would be solved if Metro apps were allowed to run in windows.
4) Very bad Multitasking: Metro is still on its childhood feet. You can't properly heavy multitask. It's very tedious to go through the border just to select the metro apps or Winkey + Tab. If they were in windows, I could snap them on the left, or on the right; have 4 of them opened at the same time.
And, let's not forget the maximum limit of 9 apps (at least for me with 1080p res.) you can have running.
In my case, staying on the desktop is the only way out, and this app just let me accomplish this and much more.

TCLN Ryster said,

Why have you downloaded and installed a Metro OS if you don't like Metro?


He downloaded a Windows OS from Microsoft. You know, the one most people have been using for years quite happily?

TCLN Ryster said,

Why have you downloaded and installed a Metro OS if you don't like Metro? Illogical.

because its not.
you logic is flawed.
Windows 8 'IS' Windows 7 with enhancements with METRO garbage tacked on
obviously if you suppress the metro crap what you have left is something similar
to what would be an improved version of windows 7.
so uhhh yeah perfectly logical too me

Jose_49 said,
Thanks Stardock. This is the only reason which I'm using Windows 8. I hate when the whole metro start screen takes up the whole screen.

I'm glad they're working on "Launch directly to the desktop when boot" option. That will be the killer feature for me .

By any chance, I hope that they are working on launching metro apps on Windows rather than complete full screen crap.

Killer Feature! Are you ****ting me? It saves you ONE click to go to the desktop after boot.

This is just getting sad.

Jarrichvdv said,

Killer Feature! Are you ****ting me? It saves you ONE click to go to the desktop after boot.

This is just getting sad.


The desktop will not load completely if it's not called.

kabix said,
Get True Launch Bar free and all your start menu problems are gone. Even better than the start menu.

Thanks, but no.

kabix said,
Get True Launch Bar free and all your start menu problems are gone. Even better than the start menu.

thanks for the tip i may try windows 8 after all

kabix said,
Get True Launch Bar free and all your start menu problems are gone. Even better than the start menu.

No problems here. Quit the advertising.

So they hate Metro but then turn around and say they will release apps for Win8? So when they have their software preinstalled by OEM's and the OS booting direct to desktop (which I say is BS, cant see MS granting a licence to any OEM that is going to do that) how are those users going to get to those wonderful apps?

Might as well just stick to your ipad, mate. Or better still come up with your own OS so you can design everything to your liking.

First, I can't see OEMs preinstalling this. AFAIK no OEM has ever packaged a computer with a Stardock app except for one exception; I think AlienWare once sold XP gaming systems with a form of Windowblinds on it, but I'm not even sure about this. Second, they're not saying they hate metro, they're saying that it lowers productivity on desktop computers and they want to somewhat reverse Microsoft's design decision to treat the desktop as just another app. Third, Start8 simply adds a start button that brings up a windowed version of the start screen when you click it instead of taking up the whole screen (or you can opt for it to go full screen as usual, which is then just giving you a familiar button to click to do so), so you will still have full and easy access to metro apps.

One thing I'm curious about, however, is right now if you open a metro app with Start8 and then close it, it returns you to the (full screen) start screen. I would like to see it take you back to the desktop, instead, if you select the option to boot directly to the desktop.

efjay said,
So they hate Metro but then turn around and say they will release apps for Win8? So when they have their software preinstalled by OEM's and the OS booting direct to desktop (which I say is BS, cant see MS granting a licence to any OEM that is going to do that) how are those users going to get to those wonderful apps?

I think Stardock asked the OEMs, which replied with the traditional "we're going to consider doing that". Stardock took it as a "they're seriously considering it" when in fact it's a nice way to say no.

Darrian said,
First, I can't see OEMs preinstalling this. ...

I can certainly see the possibility of it happening. I wouldn't bet money on it, however 9 months from now;

if there are (hypothetical number) 100,000 PCs running Windows 8,
AND
Start 8 has been downloaded 35,000 times
AND
other similar apps that recreate the Start button have download numbers that indicate that most Windows 8 PC users have at least downloaded and tried them
THEN
I could forsee at least one OEM to start including it.

Darrian said,
First, I can't see OEMs preinstalling this. AFAIK no OEM has ever packaged a computer with a Stardock app except for one exception; I think AlienWare once sold XP gaming systems with a form of Windowblinds on it, but I'm not even sure about this. .

I just had to reply to this.

Large OEMS like Dell, HP and Alienware have shipped a variety of software from Stardock including software like MyColors, Fences and the Dell Dock application. The machines in question have run XP, Vista and Windows 7.

As an example : http://www.delldock.com/

Jmixmaster said,
How about this: you adjust to the new Start screen or don't use Windows 8.

Yeah this stupid app is just making the new start menu less useful.

Jmixmaster said,
How about this: you adjust to the new Start screen or don't use Windows 8.

Indeed. Brad lost any and all credibility when he petulantly answered a question with the word "shenanigans" without any kind of qualifying statement or explanation why he though Microsoft's statement was nonsense.

Microsoft's own telemetry has said (and this is either true, or they flat out lied to the customers, which is probably unlikely) that most people don't use the Start Menu for anything other than launching apps using either pinned items, or the search box (and shutting down, which I agree should be more exposed in Windows 8). both functions which are taken over by the taskbar and Start screen.

There are no useful metro apps yet, so by definition I am sat at the desktop all the time, rarely going into Metro. Everything I use is either pinned, or I just hit the start key on the keyboard, type a few letters and press enter. Just like I did on Windows 7. Proving that it is no harder to operate the desktop on Windows 8 than it was on Windows 7, and with the Win+X key combo bringing all the power user tools to my fingertips (it even looks like an old style Windows 95 menu for all you luddites out there), why would I need the start menu back? It would just be bloat on my taskbar.

Brad and his Neowin back pocket dwelling staff are just upset that one of Stardock's core products, Object Desktop/Windows Blinds/etc will be rendered obsolete if people do indeed adapt to Windows 8. Pay no attention.

Edited by Ryster, Jul 3 2012, 6:25pm :

Jmixmaster said,
How about this: you adjust to the new Start screen or don't use Windows 8.

Exactly! Like it or not, these changes in Windows are inevitable. I guarantee that if they are going to keep pushing the Start Screen and Apps, they are going to disable this program anyway.

TCLN Ryster said,

(and this is either true, or they flat out lied to the customers, which is probably unlikely)

Remember their claim, that WP7 won't be in update hell like Android? That's what I'd call a flat out lie...

MFH said,

Remember their claim, that WP7 won't be in update hell like Android? That's what I'd call a flat out lie...

And it's not

MFH said,

Remember their claim, that WP7 won't be in update hell like Android? That's what I'd call a flat out lie...

I guess WP7.8 (you know, the version with all the bits of WP8 that can run on WP7 level hardware) is something I just imagined then.

Jmixmaster said,
How about this: you adjust to the new Start screen or don't use Windows 8.

God forbid people use their computers how they want to! /s

TCLN Ryster said,

Indeed. Brad lost any and all credibility when he petulantly answered a question with the word "shenanigans" without any kind of qualifying statement or explanation why he though Microsoft's statement was nonsense.

Microsoft's own telemetry has said (and this is either true, or they flat out lied to the customers, which is probably unlikely) that most people don't use the Start Menu for anything other than launching apps using either pinned items, or the search box (and shutting down, which I agree should be more exposed in Windows 8). both functions which are taken over by the taskbar and Start screen.

There are no useful metro apps yet, so by definition I am sat at the desktop all the time, rarely going into Metro. Everything I use is either pinned, or I just hit the start key on the keyboard, type a few letters and press enter. Just like I did on Windows 7. Proving that it is no harder to operate the desktop on Windows 8 than it was on Windows 7, and with the Win+X key combo bringing all the power user tools to my fingertips (it even looks like an old style Windows 95 menu for all you luddites out there), why would I need the start menu back? It would just be bloat on my taskbar.

Brad and his Neowin back pocket dwelling staff are just upset that one of Stardock's core products, Object Desktop/Windows Blinds/etc will be rendered obsolete if people do indeed adapt to Windows 8. Pay no attention.

Strangely enough, I suggested that Brad adapt an *existing* Stardock product (Fences, to be precise) to an issue that is tacklable with Windows 8 that hasn't been with Windows 7 - Start menu/StartScreen clutter. Nobody - among all the third-party developers - has even taken a look at the issue of the cluttered Start menu in Windows 7 and earlier; instead, they did like Chief Justice Roberts did (with the ACA decision) and demurred - saying that it's for users to solve. Now that the Start menu has been replaced by the StartScreen, Fences is, in fact, ideally positioned to deal with the clutter issue. Try tackling *that*, Brad; that way you'll actually gain *more* users as opposed to those that insist on hanging on to the Start menu or some semblance of it.

Jmixmaster said,
How about this: you adjust to the new Start screen or don't use Windows 8.

or how about you mind your own business ?
Is there some reason why you start button haters can't let people have the addon ?

You fanboys blow me the hell away with retarded rhetoric WOW !
Ever heard "Then don't install it and quit bitching" ? (Windows 8)
well guess what fanboys..
"Then don't install it and quit bitching"
..works both ways kids

Jmixmaster said,
How about this: you adjust to the new Start screen or don't use Windows 8.

Why can't those that want to keep a start menu, but still want the other benefits of Windows 8 could have their cake and eat it too?

I'm personally not fussed about what MS did with the start screen, whether or not it will be a good step forward still remains to be seen, but when did customizing one's desktop become a BAD thing?

Majesticmerc said,

but when did customizing one's desktop become a BAD thing?

Check out AndreaBorman's posts in the forum you will understand.

Milan - said,
good old frogboy, tell him he should never have stopped doing those poweruser.tv podcasts 6 years ago

those at one time was must hear podcasts, sad when they ended

XerXis said,
one word: meh


Exactly what I thought of your comment.


I'm glad to see people trying to save the sinking ship known as Microsoft, it was in better hands under Gates (not perfect though better). Microsoft is pretty much becoming the next Rambus, alive pretty much by patent trolling. Which is a shame because when Microsoft has actually done some excellent work in the past when they stayed away from politics. Now none of their own products are sacred, it's just a multi-hundred-billion dollar corporation chasing fads for goodness sakes.

JAB Creations said,


Exactly what I thought of your comment.


I'm glad to see people trying to save the sinking ship known as Microsoft, it was in better hands under Gates (not perfect though better). Microsoft is pretty much becoming the next Rambus, alive pretty much by patent trolling. Which is a shame because when Microsoft has actually done some excellent work in the past when they stayed away from politics. Now none of their own products are sacred, it's just a multi-hundred-billion dollar corporation chasing fads for goodness sakes.

What? Did you hit your head really hard or what? Either you are posting from an alternate universe or you just like to post stupid bull****

PmRd said,

What? Did you hit your head really hard or what? Either you are posting from an alternate universe or you just like to post stupid bull****

I vote for the latter option.

JAB Creations said,


Exactly what I thought of your comment.


I'm glad to see people trying to save the sinking ship known as Microsoft, it was in better hands under Gates (not perfect though better). Microsoft is pretty much becoming the next Rambus, alive pretty much by patent trolling. Which is a shame because when Microsoft has actually done some excellent work in the past when they stayed away from politics. Now none of their own products are sacred, it's just a multi-hundred-billion dollar corporation chasing fads for goodness sakes.

LOL

Ya, the company that 80% of the technology in the computer or device you just typed that crap on is a worthless patent troll.

Seriously, go look up anything from SoC reference designs to GPUs to CPU designs and on and on to CUDA to OpenCL to user shader languages to even compiler technologies and language advancement. You will find Microsoft is a key part of just about anything you touch.

JAB Creations said,


Exactly what I thought of your comment.


I'm glad to see people trying to save the sinking ship known as Microsoft, it was in better hands under Gates (not perfect though better). Microsoft is pretty much becoming the next Rambus, alive pretty much by patent trolling. Which is a shame because when Microsoft has actually done some excellent work in the past when they stayed away from politics. Now none of their own products are sacred, it's just a multi-hundred-billion dollar corporation chasing fads for goodness sakes.

What an ID10T lol