Review

Member Analysis: Why the Start Menu needed to go

The Start Menu was introduced all the way back in Windows 95 (“Chicago”), nearly 17 years ago. Back then, things were different. When you bought a PC, it was more than likely a desktop model, complete with a clunker of a monitor, mouse and keyboard. However, if you were lucky enough to afford a laptop, it too, was huge and clunky. You didn’t move much with it, it was heavy, awkward to use, and 802.11 WiFi was just a gleam in someone’s eye, so it too, most likely spent much time sitting on a desk.

Also, back then the Internet was a different place. Home users spent no more than one or two hours at most connected, before disconnecting and enjoying the rest of their day. There was no Twitter, Facebook, or Google for that matter, and to connect, you had to dial in over a 56k modem (fun stuff). Windows 95, just like its predecessor, Windows 3.1, was also mouse intensive. There were very few keyboard shortcuts and the Start Button on the keyboard didn’t exist yet.

Back then, there were no touch screens, Kinects, remotes, voice control, controllers, nothing. The mouse was the only game in town, and even by then it took years to catch on. Since this was also the rise of the home computer, Microsoft needed a way for users to easily find what they are looking for, thus the Start Menu was born. Flash forward to Windows 98, 2000, and the Start Menu carried on strong, basically unchanged until XP, however even though XP introduced the “enhanced” Menu, it still has the same layout it had all those years ago, but by this point, I feel it’s become a mess of epic proportions. It’s that building downtown, which despite repairs, has still managed to decay. Let’s take a look:

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

On one side, you have either your most recently or commonly used apps, or your static, pinned apps, and the toggle to trigger your “All Programs” view. On the other, you have a slim selection of system locations and services to choose from, and on the bottom, your machine’s power options.

The “All Programs” list is a carry-over from the original Start Menu in Windows 95, while the ability to pin apps is not. Pinning has made selecting my most used apps hassle free, but what happens when I need to access that one oddity that I don’t have pinned? Sure I could search for it, but some of you here have claimed it takes “too much effort” to search for it, or you don’t know the name of it to begin with. That means you’re left to browse for it. It’s not a common occurrence anymore, but it does happen.

However, “All Programs” hasn’t really received any TLC since the 90’s. Upon further inspection, it appears to be a mismatched conglomeration of folders, apps, and system widgets that God only knows go where. This isn’t something your ordinary user needs or really should have to dig through to get to where they want to be.

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Neowin member Dot Matrix is the author of this article, which was partially reposted from our forums.

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124 Comments

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Windows Nashville said,
I want Win 7 start menu. Until then, Win 8 can go to hell.

I'm fine with Windows 8. But I'm still using Windows 7 with classic shell, until more games and apps supports and doesn't move metro icons when I have large resolution TV, then I will conceder of upgrading it or even buying it.

@Javik
Yeah it sure seems that way as far back as I can remember (too many years to count)

Obviously i hate a lot of changes with windows 8 so..
If some major changes are made I WILL back peddle my opinions.
I simply don't like being force fed things I don't like.
And I've made the following point already around here but I'll say it again..
Many of the people who trash on people using Windows XP right now
and bark "UPGRADE IDIOT"
Are the same people telling us Windows 8 start menu haters "Don't upgrade then.."
Gimme a break already lol
I almost choke with laughter at the bloody hypocrisy that goes on around here !
Before it was "Well It's not done yet.." then final changes were confirmed
and the same ol' cheerleaders just switch gear and keep on plowing on (in vain)

I really wonder if these major changes especialy the start menu related change
is such an improvement and advancement then answer me this,
Why on earth did they take this long
to pull the Start Menu rug out from under our feet ?

I know it would take a lot of work to unify the input methods etc
(which isn't peoples main complaints) but how hard could it be to make
a tile based system like used elsewhere already and implement it ?
So I can't see how people could say well "it wasn't done yet cause it's hard to do"

I love the way that obviously biased opinion pieces seem more and more to be construed as News on Neowin these days

I am Not PCyr said,
can somebody make a new story called..
Member Analysis: Why the Start Menu needed to STAY ????

It's not favorable to Microsoft sales, so Neowin won't put it on the front page you know.

I look forward to this story being updated when it is Official that Win8 is failure.
Then what are you going to say when Microsoft makes you look like an idiot ?
More excuses I'm sure..
Anyone paying attention has seen microsoft flip flop on things like this topic
and its a matter of time i think (and many others)

Bottom line is you can't claim the things you claim and still have such a massive
amount of people hating the start menu UI / metro crap. Doesn't add up sorry

Bad so called news article for many reasons.. flame bait for one, and biased to say the least lol
Oh and that picture of the start menu is pretty unfair. Could you pick a worse example ?

This issue isn't going away.. This was a new level of stupidity by Microsoft
and they will suffer the consequences.

Windows 8 is retarded garbage and I think the people that like most of the new features are morons and the kind of people that typicaly get on my nerves.
Put it this way, before windows 8 was designed have YOU ever sat in front of
someones computer and been disgusted how they have the operating system setup ?
I sure as hell have.. like those people that keep a desktop full of icons, i bet any of those people will LOVE Win8 lol
So the point is configuration that is the big problem, its not that they changed things
its they are deciding for millions of people what they want and that is bad business.

Also i see many neowin members get mouthy and agresive about this topic
with their fanboi routine but Microsoft is not in a position to talk to their customers like that.
Let's see MS say "Well Don't install it then.."
or "You can't know it sucks 'cause its not done yet"
You don't look at your existing customers and say crap like i see here all the time
Microsoft better start back peddling soon if they knew what's good for them

Nah. Win8 won't fail. Vista failed due to the OS being more advanced than the hardware.

And "normal consumer people" won't purchase 8 if they don't buy a new machine, which will be OEM flavored.

I am Not PCyr said,
I look forward to this story being updated when it is Official that Win8 is failure.
Then what are you going to say when Microsoft makes you look like an idiot ?
More excuses I'm sure..
Anyone paying attention has seen microsoft flip flop on things like this topic
and its a matter of time i think (and many others)

Bottom line is you can't claim the things you claim and still have such a massive
amount of people hating the start menu UI / metro crap. Doesn't add up sorry

Bad so called news article for many reasons.. flame bait for one, and biased to say the least lol
Oh and that picture of the start menu is pretty unfair. Could you pick a worse example ?

This issue isn't going away.. This was a new level of stupidity by Microsoft
and they will suffer the consequences.

Windows 8 is retarded garbage and I think the people that like most of the new features are morons and the kind of people that typicaly get on my nerves.
Put it this way, before windows 8 was designed have YOU ever sat in front of
someones computer and been disgusted how they have the operating system setup ?
I sure as hell have.. like those people that keep a desktop full of icons, i bet any of those people will LOVE Win8 lol
So the point is configuration that is the big problem, its not that they changed things
its they are deciding for millions of people what they want and that is bad business.

Also i see many neowin members get mouthy and agresive about this topic
with their fanboi routine but Microsoft is not in a position to talk to their customers like that.
Let's see MS say "Well Don't install it then.."
or "You can't know it sucks 'cause its not done yet"
You don't look at your existing customers and say crap like i see here all the time
Microsoft better start back peddling soon if they knew what's good for them


Windows 8 isn't going to fail. The only ones saying it will are the people who can't accept the changes. Once the Surface tablet, and Windows 8 specific machines go on sale, Windows 8 will sell.

I still don't understand. why they didn't give customer choice to choose Metro or Original windows as their primary boot landing option?? At least They Could Put Metro UI as a non-removable icon on desktop ( perhaps bigger than other icons ) instead of replacing the entire start menu to prove their point. why they removed start menu that many users including me was primarily using??

S3P€hR said,
I still don't understand. why they didn't give customer choice to choose Metro or Original windows as their primary boot landing option?? At least They Could Put Metro UI as a non-removable icon on desktop ( perhaps bigger than other icons ) instead of replacing the entire start menu to prove their point. why they removed start menu that many users including me was primarily using??

Microsoft arrogance. History has not and will not be kind to companies who have been or are arrogant. The trail is littered with the wreckage of either totally failed companies or those who have become severely wounded and scarred forever.

Because it hardly got used? Once you get accustomed to metro (takes about half an hour) then you forget what you were mad about in the first place.

damn you Neowin you couldn't just post the whole article in the same page then you have the nerve to complain about a UI. Nice article Dot Matrix, really enjoyed it and please get out of my head

It is apparent that the study group did not include the hundreds of thousands of office settings whereby relatively unsophisticated users need to use a few select applications (both MS and proprietary) to do their work. The major ones are placed in the task bar or as icons on the desktop. Those less referenced are available via the Start Menu. All is simple, uncluttered, and it works. Now, through the very dubious improvement of Windows-8 that all goes away, and users are insulted with the Metro UI. Thus, Windows-7 will be around for a very long time in the business arena. Will MS learn from its mistakes?

All these comments about huge mouse movements - has nobody found the mouse wheel or tried pressing CTRL whilst using it? I can cover acres of space in no time if need be..

dangel said,
All these comments about huge mouse movements - has nobody found the mouse wheel or tried pressing CTRL whilst using it? I can cover acres of space in no time if need be..

So you want to change users behavior that they've been used to for .. what.. 20 years?
Since when did we suddenly need to mouse-wheel or "ctrl" just to point and left click on what we needed?
Sorry, that's a backwards step...

Raa said,

So you want to change users behavior that they've been used to for .. what.. 20 years?
Since when did we suddenly need to mouse-wheel or "ctrl" just to point and left click on what we needed?
Sorry, that's a backwards step...

Christ, I'd never suggest people should learn something new. I mean, the sheer terror..

The full-screen everything (apart from a sidebar) ******** of metro does not work on a desktop. It doesn't work in OSX (does on things like the Air but not on a 27" iMac) and it doesn't work on a PC. Especially with a mouse.

Septimus said,
The full-screen everything (apart from a sidebar) ******** of metro does not work on a desktop. It doesn't work in OSX (does on things like the Air but not on a 27" iMac) and it doesn't work on a PC. Especially with a mouse.

Not for you, does for me.

I have no problems with the start screen, I actually rather like the design and live tiles. However, over the course of using Windows 8 at home and work for the last couple months, I've noticed that I am barely ever in the start screen. Most, if not all my programs are desktop based and I only really ever enter the start screen to type a search and hit enter.

The ironic thing I find is that the reason for the start menu's removal was that it was found that very few people even open it anymore. I find myself rarely opening the Metro screen, so we kinda replaced one thing that nobody opens with another.

Xilo said,
Until start menu comes back, I'm sticking to Windows 7.

Or use a start menu replacement programme... your choice to lose out on all the improvements because your to stubborn to either accept change or customise using 3rd parties.

I tried to add a shortcut to the desktop and realize that there was no simple way to do this. There are many other annoying things about Windows 8 so I can't call that progress.

Deihmos said,
I tried to add a shortcut to the desktop and realize that there was no simple way to do this. There are many other annoying things about Windows 8 so I can't call that progress.

So because you find some of it annoying that means there has been no progress?
I do understand what you are saying but people seem to forget that absolutely everything is available to Windows 8 users via third parties if they really want it. It's been that way all along.

If you want a start menu, install a start menu programme.

Essentially the core Windows OS has done what has needed to do for a bloody long time and that's drop the bloat and slim down.

The Start Screen is just a full screen Start Menu - gives you much more space to work with vs just focusing in on 1/8th of the screen in the bottom left corner. It's impossible to use both the start menu and desktop on the same side.. so why not make it bigger (full screen) and put more usability into it?? Plus you can touch it now!

sexypepperoni said,
This is the worst mistake Microsoft has ever done since Windows 8... oh wait, this is just part of that abortion of operating system.

So what other bit don't you like?

sexypepperoni said,

No, I meant all of Metro.

So where does Metro affect you when you're in the desktop working as normal? Wait, it doesn't! So in essence, you mean the start screen.

Hell with the exception of the start screen i can go through my whole working day (as a web developer/designer) without ever seeing what people consider 'Metro'.
I only ever drop to the start screen if i need to start an unpinned programme (rarely) or if i want to quickly check my live tiles, which i personally find much smoother and less intrusive than desktop widgets or full task bar programmes. I'm currently looking at writing a Metro IRC App that'll dock nicely to the side of the screen so i can still moderate our channel without disrupting my workflow.

Where as we do disagree, the old adage does apply that i'll defend your right to disagree

I still don't get what Microsoft is thinking with Windows 8. Things that were quick and simple are now complicated and require more steps. That makes no sense to me.

xpclient said,
Oh the excuses people come up with for justifying and trying to spin every change MS makes as positive.

The irony of your username

xpclient said,
Oh the excuses people come up with for justifying and trying to spin every change MS makes as positive.

Nah...we should be happy if they keep releasing XP as "XP the Day after Tomorrow Edition"

I tend to launch almost everything with http://www.launchy.net Launchy, but also use the Windows button and start typing on Windows 7. And no, I don't even look at the start menu at all while doing that. I am usually still concentrated at the task at hand so appreciate that the current Start Menu doesn't fill the whole screen. It's a disruption to workflow having the 'Start Menu' take up the entire screen to do something you don't even need to look at anyway to get what you need.

I have been using Windows 8 now for about 3 months and I look back at the Windows vista/7 one and hahahhaha, wow. that sucks big time. even when searching you get limited files unless you click search more, but oh then it takes forever and a big fuss,etc,etc.

people wanted the start button because they tough its cool

I still miss search showing everything without having to click another category tab. Kinda annoying to hit "settings" then enter, when windows 7 I could just hit enter.

LightEco said,
I still miss search showing everything without having to click another category tab. Kinda annoying to hit "settings" then enter, when windows 7 I could just hit enter.

windows key (keyboard) -> type whatever -> down arrow -> enter

What I don't see is how a server need a touch interface. Ok, metro could ve ok on tablets, perhaps ok on desktops ( if you buy a touch monitor ), but servers ???? They don't need even monitors. Mostly are accesed by remote.
Hopefully, Classic Shell exists...

eiffel_g said,
What I don't see is how a server need a touch interface. Ok, metro could ve ok on tablets, perhaps ok on desktops ( if you buy a touch monitor ), but servers ???? They don't need even monitors. Mostly are accesed by remote.
Hopefully, Classic Shell exists...

have you even tried 2012? you start in desktop mode, at least with the release preview. (maybe it changes for RTM? doubt it tho) and metro is there, but so far i've barely had the need to even use it at all.
And windows wants to install CLI only by default. GUI is somewhat deprecated, even shows you in the install screen

eiffel_g said,
What I don't see is how a server need a touch interface. Ok, metro could ve ok on tablets, perhaps ok on desktops ( if you buy a touch monitor ), but servers ???? They don't need even monitors. Mostly are accesed by remote.
Hopefully, Classic Shell exists...

It's called remote administration via a tablet, and something which has been supported since Server 2008. However, with Server 2012, you can do remote administration via *any* tablet - even one lacking a keyboard by default (not just iPads, which are popular for remote server admin, but Android tablets docked or not, such as the ASUS Eee Transformer Prime). The CLI default is the default due to *headless* servers (such as racked servers) - with a headless server, *all* administration is done remotely. It's been a big driver for Windows Power Shell, in fact (another feature that came over to Windows 8 client from Windows Server - in this case, 2012, though it's been supported by client versions of Windows since XP Service Pack 2); over ninety percent of the *canned scriptlet* base for WPS is for servers.

And a no-GUI install is the default with Server 2008 and later (including R2) today (again, due to headless servers and remote-admin capabilities designed in the OS) - a GUI is optional there as well. (Basically, so NOT news.)

The StartScreen in Server 2012 is, in fact, better for tablet-based remote administration for non-technical server admins or virtual servers.

"Also, back then the Internet was a different place. Home users spent no more than one or two hours at most connected, before disconnecting and enjoying the rest of their day. There was no Twitter, Facebook, or Google for that matter"

You are talking about it as if this was bad somehow.

"Back then, there were no touch screens, Kinects, remotes, voice control, controllers, nothing"

We lived in caves! No touch screens and remotes? Ever heard of TV and ATMs?

So you know, they are are talking about 1995. Creative's *Soundblaster software suite for Win 95 had voice control by the way. Actually they even had a win 3.1 version in **1993. I love it how today's hipsters make it out as if we were literally eating dog sh*t just a decade and a half ago.

Their treatise is called "Why the Start Menu needed to go".. do you know anyone without disabilities, who uses voice control, remotes, kinect, and "controllers" (what "controllers"?) for Windows PCs/laptops?

"no remotes"

Dead wrong again. TV tuners often had remotes in the mid 90s, and many times you were also able to control the Windows GUI through such a remote.

They were also stand-alone ***remotes available, just for the Win GUI alone. Similar products for Win 3.1 were also available (i.e. before 1995).

Damn hipsters, why is no one shooting them already?

* http://www.trademarkia.com/cre...e-voiceassist-74414454.html
** http://business.highbeam.com/4...-1G1-14630029/creative-edge
*** http://translate.google.com/tr...84JimBg&ved=0CGYQ7gEwBA

Edited by Anti-Kool Aid, Jul 13 2012, 11:05am :

You've completely misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented this article.

The author was talking about 'normal' PC use ~20 years ago. TVs and ATMs had remotes/touch screens, but they weren't available to the general public in cheap and easy-to-use devices.

'Normal' computing has changed a huge amount since 1995, and the kinds of applications, services, use patterns, hardware, interfaces, etc. have all changed in huge ways that couldn't have been predicted back then.

The article explains why the author and Microsoft feel that things need to change in Windows to keep up with changes in how people use computers (and now tablets and phones).

brooswain said,
You've completely misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented this article.

The author was talking about 'normal' PC use ~20 years ago. TVs and ATMs had remotes/touch screens, but they weren't available to the general public in cheap and easy-to-use devices.

20 years? I thought we're talking about 1995. And as I showed, remotes and voice control were available for the general public. And oh please, "normal PC use"?

If that's what is this about, then the arguments doesn't make sense. How many laptop and PC users use remotes and voice control? Let alone touch? As if it's a common occurrence for a laptop user to smudge the screen, let alone for a bankster on his work PC. Oh, please!

brooswain said,
'Normal' computing has changed a huge amount since 1995, and the kinds of applications, services, use patterns, hardware, interfaces, etc. have all changed in huge ways that couldn't have been predicted back then.

Pure crap! Here's a vision for the tablet in the sixties:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo

And by the 90s the vision was old hat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBEtPQDQNcI

Let's not forget the Newton and the XP tablet PCs from TEN YEARS AGO, boy, Gates babbled about tablets since over twenty years.

Today's crap has been predicted since the fall of the dinosaurs (playing Angry Bird's on a portable screen isn't that wowie). As I said, people didn't live in caves just 15 years ago.

Anti-Kool Aid said,

20 years? I thought we're talking about 1995. And as I showed, remotes and voice control were available for the general public. And oh please, "normal PC use"?

If that's what is this about, then the arguments doesn't make sense. How many laptop and PC users use remotes and voice control? Let alone touch? As if it's a common occurrence for a laptop user to smudge the screen, let alone for a bankster on his work PC. Oh, please!

Pure crap! Here's a vision for the tablet in the sixties:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo

And by the 90s the vision was old hat:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBEtPQDQNcI

Let's not forget the Newton and the XP tablet PCs from TEN YEARS AGO, boy, Gates babbled about tablets since over twenty years.

Today's crap has been predicted since the fall of the dinosaurs (playing Angry Bird's on a portable screen isn't that wowie). As I said, people didn't live in caves just 15 years ago.

Remotes were around, but they weren't in use with the home PC until the XP era.

Gees I never used the start menu, program I regularly launched were pinned to the taskbar and it was easier and more efficient to find things in the actual file directory anyway.

Start menu always sucked

The start menu was always ****. By the time it hit Vista they had mostly replaced it with the search bar but held it so that people will be able to find stuff that they can't name easily. Unfortunately at that point they didn't rethink how it should work so it was still ****, just with more stuff tacked on it.

With Win8 they simply replaced it with another ****ty UI. One that is simply awful on high res displays (lots of mouse movement needed to click things on a fullscreen 2560x1600 start menu) and that's why it's just as awful as Apple's Launchpad in OSX. Start 8 is a much better take on it but obviously doesn't work as a tablet front page.

Originally the Start menu simply stems from the totally ridiculous way programs are handled in Windows, requiring a hierarchical menu for parts of the program. OSX has a single .app container where the whole program and its assets are contained that can be moved around without breaking anything. Windows has two directories (for 32- and 64-bit versions), each with all the assets in plain view (something the user never needs), the installation folder hardcoded in registry and then a bunch of shortcuts to hide all this. Shortcuts that will break any time a program is uninstalled and it doesn't take the shortcut with it or if the software is moved to a different drive. I really hope MS eventually gets rid of that ****, but most likely won't happen due to the infuriating way they hang onto 10 year old legacy crap no matter what.

LaXu said,

With Win8 they simply replaced it with another ****ty UI. One that is simply awful on high res displays (lots of mouse movement needed to click things on a fullscreen 2560x1600 start menu) and that's why it's just as awful as Apple's Launchpad in OSX. Start 8 is a much better take on it but obviously doesn't work as a tablet front page.

Huge amounts of mouse movent isn't nessesary even on the Win7 Menu, the scroll wheel on the mouse can bring the tiles to you, without much effort.

OK, I approve the fact that revolution is needed, but what happened with Windows 8's UI ain't right. The metro layout is OK, but it could be better - the stat screen can be a mixture between the Win7 start menu and the new Win8 start screen, that would be the best. And making the desktop a secondary thing... that was really stupid. When I had Win8 installed, I would use the desktop more than the html5 ****.

Saex_Conroy said,
OK, I approve the fact that revolution is needed, but what happened with Windows 8's UI ain't right. The metro layout is OK, but it could be better - the stat screen can be a mixture between the Win7 start menu and the new Win8 start screen, that would be the best. And making the desktop a secondary thing... that was really stupid. When I had Win8 installed, I would use the desktop more than the html5 ****.

desktop a secundairy thing? if it isnt WinRT... its not secundairy, its primary... Metro really feels like an addon, i barely see the start screen and when I do, im usually out of there withing a second or 2. Same as start screen

and the BS about people loving to see multiple windows and crap on their desktop.. no matter how much is open, you can only focus on 1 window/thing at a time!
and better make that attentionspan as little as possible, so your fast away from any menu and on to your program/app or whatever.
Win7 start search thing becomes slow as a brick after a while, the all programs folder cluttered like its my trashcan, and i cannot nearly pin enough programs to the start menu for it to be actually effective for usage.

All these problems are fixed in Win8 with the new start menudesktop combination called start screen.

68k said,
Start menu items taking up too much vertical space? Then switch to small icons - problem solved.

That wouldn't make them touch friendly.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
"Don't reinvent the wheel."

I prefer using the classic Start menu over the Metro Start interface, on desktops and laptops. Metro Start should only be enabled by default on tablets.

The Windows XP Start menu was best - "All Programs" worked properly.

The "Start" menu was a major step forward in UI design. When Windows 95 came out, it made Microsoft a generation ahead (of Apple) in UI design. Apple still has not caught up (try switching between many windows using the Dock).

Window 8: all fine as long as you can bypass Metro and boot directly to the desktop interface, and use Start8/Classic Shell to re-enable the Start menu.

Windows 8 is sure going to confuse a lot of people! Risky move Microsoft.

68k said,
(try switching between many windows using the Dock).

Its already been "fixed" since 10.7 i think - with Mission Control but yes, it was terrible to switch between them with Dock.

I'm serious!
I like it how you could see ALL the "All Programs" items in one menu that pans out across the screen, in XP (and earlier). In Vista onwards, you had to scroll through the menu. (Then again, it's not hard to do!)

In regards to Mission Control, I wish you could turn off all the animations. I still don't think it's the answer to the problem. In Windows, I can switch instantly without noticing. In Mac OS X, Mission Control seems like an extra step to the process - not the best from a productivity point of view.

68k said,
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
"Don't reinvent the wheel."

I prefer using the classic Start menu over the Metro Start interface, on desktops and laptops. Metro Start should only be enabled by default on tablets.

The Windows XP Start menu was best - "All Programs" worked properly.

The "Start" menu was a major step forward in UI design. When Windows 95 came out, it made Microsoft a generation ahead (of Apple) in UI design. Apple still has not caught up (try switching between many windows using the Dock).

Window 8: all fine as long as you can bypass Metro and boot directly to the desktop interface, and use Start8/Classic Shell to re-enable the Start menu.

Windows 8 is sure going to confuse a lot of people! Risky move Microsoft.

Yes; it is risky. However, it's a move that needed to be made, for multiple reasons.

In fact, I can give you a justification from the keyboard-and-mouse user's POV (as that is exactly how I run Windows 8 RP today - on my desktop as only OS).

When you have the Start menu open (in Windows 7 and earlier) does it, or does it not, cover part of the desktop? Even if what you're looking for shows up right away (a most-frequently-used application) part of the desktop still gets covered. That means you have to allow for that part of the desktop not always being usable. The situation gets worse the deeper you have to drill into the Start menu for what you are looking for - what if it's the sixth application/shortcut in the twelfth program group? (That figure is common for home users - for business users, especially in enterprises, the number of such groups is far higher - let alone the application count.) Due to a lack of zoom - and that it shares space with the desktop - such an overstuffed Start menu gets extremely unwieldy. That is the case today - and is also the reason for jumplists, the Superbar, and Taskbar pinning (and even such XP-era features such as Tasktray Launch, which a lot of us take for granted). The Start menu paradigm is broken, and has been broken for years, if not over a decade - and the Windows user base has been rather Pharonic about it. Just because we've come up with workarounds to deal with it doesn't make it any less broke. (And I'm saying this as a keyboard-and-mouse user that owns no touch devices whatever and *hates* virtual keyboards - all of them.)

There were really two options for dealing with overstuffed Start menus pre-8 (prune or use the workarounds - some of which I mentioned earlier); however, even those don't deal with the loss of usable desktop space when you have the Start menu open.

Windows 8's Start Screen gives the Start menu a space all its own. It doesn't overlap with the desktop, and due to zoom in/zoom out, it can hold as many programs and groups as you have need for. Have two (or more) displays? Reserve one for the Start Screen, and have your desktop (and applications) in the other (or another).

PGHammer said,

Yes; it is risky. However, it's a move that needed to be made, for multiple reasons.

In fact, I can give you a justification from the keyboard-and-mouse user's POV (as that is exactly how I run Windows 8 RP today - on my desktop as only OS).

When you have the Start menu open (in Windows 7 and earlier) does it, or does it not, cover part of the desktop? Even if what you're looking for shows up right away (a most-frequently-used application) part of the desktop still gets covered. That means you have to allow for that part of the desktop not always being usable. The situation gets worse the deeper you have to drill into the Start menu for what you are looking for - what if it's the sixth application/shortcut in the twelfth program group? (That figure is common for home users - for business users, especially in enterprises, the number of such groups is far higher - let alone the application count.) Due to a lack of zoom - and that it shares space with the desktop - such an overstuffed Start menu gets extremely unwieldy. That is the case today - and is also the reason for jumplists, the Superbar, and Taskbar pinning (and even such XP-era features such as Tasktray Launch, which a lot of us take for granted). The Start menu paradigm is broken, and has been broken for years, if not over a decade - and the Windows user base has been rather Pharonic about it. Just because we've come up with workarounds to deal with it doesn't make it any less broke. (And I'm saying this as a keyboard-and-mouse user that owns no touch devices whatever and *hates* virtual keyboards - all of them.)

There were really two options for dealing with overstuffed Start menus pre-8 (prune or use the workarounds - some of which I mentioned earlier); however, even those don't deal with the loss of usable desktop space when you have the Start menu open.

Windows 8's Start Screen gives the Start menu a space all its own. It doesn't overlap with the desktop, and due to zoom in/zoom out, it can hold as many programs and groups as you have need for. Have two (or more) displays? Reserve one for the Start Screen, and have your desktop (and applications) in the other (or another).

This is what I was trying to display. App pinning in the Start Menu is a killer feature, and one I use exclusively on Windows 7, however, the rest of the menu itself, especially once you drill down into the "All Programs" list, is messy, clunky, and in need of an overhaul, which is exaclty what the Start Screen Dashboard sets out to do.

Shaun said,
It didn't "need" to go, They wanted it gone so they could push towards the touch market.

Correct. More pandering to the touch screen market.

Recent apps, all apps, key folders, key controls, cohesive search of all media, quick-lists of recent content per apps (Jumplists), pending update notifications, all in about a discrete 20th of my workspace...

love it!

Sometimes I wonder who Metro advocates are trying to convince, others or themselves. There was nothing wrong with the way the start menu worked. No one that I knew ever moaned about it. Hell up until the Windows 8 buzz started, I never read any complaints on the net, either. Metro Start is just a Start menu, turned into a billboard that now has the potential to span multiple screens with some updating, live icons. Whether or not that is an improvement largely depends on the environment it runs on.

Edited by AR556, Jul 13 2012, 9:08am :

you will find most people dont even know how to use the start menu, people get so lots when clicking "all programs".
with that said, the same people are going to have trouble using the start screen but i think in the long run the start screen will work out better for everyone.

AR556 said,
Metro Start is just a Start menu, turned into a billboard that now has the potential to span multiple screens with some updating, live icons.

Actually its more like a desktop that someone has filled up with icons. Trouble is you can only fit 20 of the new large, animated, Metro icons on the desktop.

So now you've lost the start button to find them, and got stuck with a toy desktop designed for small smartphone screens.

AR556 said,
Sometimes I wonder who Metro advocates are trying to convince, others or themselves. There was nothing wrong with the way the start menu worked. No one that I knew ever moaned about it. Hell up until the Windows 8 buzz started, I never read any complaints on the net, either. Metro Start is just a Start menu, turned into a billboard that now has the potential to span multiple screens with some updating, live icons. Whether or not that is an improvement largely depends on the environment it runs on.

Wasn't trying to convince anyone of anything, I just really wanted to dive into the Start Menu to see what users are fighting to save. It's been years since I really pushed into the Start Menu.

dvb2000 said,

Actually its more like a desktop that someone has filled up with icons. Trouble is you can only fit 20 of the new large, animated, Metro icons on the desktop.

So now you've lost the start button to find them, and got stuck with a toy desktop designed for small smartphone screens.


20? i have about 50 on my start screen, and about 10 double tiles, plus allot of empty space(like 30% of the space because i orderned them awfully ). and im not on a HUGE resolution. 1980x1080 or something.

And the thing is, Metro is basically startmenu + desktop combined into 1.
Ah well, haters be hating, ill be rolling on now.

AR556 said,
Sometimes I wonder who Metro advocates are trying to convince, others or themselves. There was nothing wrong with the way the start menu worked. No one that I knew ever moaned about it. Hell up until the Windows 8 buzz started, I never read any complaints on the net, either. Metro Start is just a Start menu, turned into a billboard that now has the potential to span multiple screens with some updating, live icons. Whether or not that is an improvement largely depends on the environment it runs on.

Actually, the biggest problem with the Start Menu is that if you have a lot of programs (or worse, program *groups*), it can overlap a significant portion of the desktop (because it shares space with the desktop). By separating the two (along with zoom in/zoom out) you will never have to worry about the desktop being covered by an overstuffed Start menu - no matter how many kitchen-sink installs you do.

PGHammer said,

Actually, the biggest problem with the Start Menu is that if you have a lot of programs (or worse, program *groups*), it can overlap a significant portion of the desktop (because it shares space with the desktop). By separating the two (along with zoom in/zoom out) you will never have to worry about the desktop being covered by an overstuffed Start menu - no matter how many kitchen-sink installs you do.

yet, as of windows Vista, the start menu never covered more then its own size... cascadeing menus where dead... so no significat portion of desktop overlap anymore

dvb2000 said,

Actually its more like a desktop that someone has filled up with icons. Trouble is you can only fit 20 of the new large, animated, Metro icons on the desktop.

So now you've lost the start button to find them, and got stuck with a toy desktop designed for small smartphone screens.

On a wide screen monitor, it looks like a billboard.

dafin0 said,
you will find most people dont even know how to use the start menu, people get so lots when clicking "all programs".
with that said, the same people are going to have trouble using the start screen but i think in the long run the start screen will work out better for everyone.

I run into ignorant PC users daily and all of them grasp the start menu just fine.

Dot Matrix said,

Wasn't trying to convince anyone of anything

That explains your hundreds of shrill, histronic posts on the MS Beta board telling everyone how backwards and stupid they are compared to you. You were simply expressing your humble opinion about Metro. We had you all wrong, dude.

People have hard time coping with changes, even more if it's as big as this one. It's been seen from changes to webpage layouts such as Facebook or Twitter but most people either cope with it or find an alternative. I for one find its a good thing for microsoft, you can't stick to one layout for the rest of the business life even more if you are trying to intergrate Xbox, WP and much more into one ecosystem.

Miuku. said,
I found a better solution years ago; dump Windows everywhere.

Couldn't be happier.


Riiiiight. For what, Linux? Sure, we'd all be compiling the driver source for xxx piece of hardware that doesn't have support in xxxx build of Linux. Yeah, that's way better.

Miuku. said,
I found a better solution years ago; dump Windows everywhere.

Couldn't be happier.

I found an even better solution. I bought a MBA, and installed Windows 7/8 and Ubuntu on Parallels.

Then, depending on what I need to do, I can pick the best operating system/toolset for the job. All in a portable package that weighs less than 3 lbs.

Miuku. said,
I found a better solution years ago; dump Windows everywhere.

Couldn't be happier.

Exactly what I did a few years ago.

Lovin it'

Sonne said,

Exactly what I did a few years ago.

Lovin it'

If it were not because games and most of the enginnering programs are on Windows I would have already switched to ubuntu, that interface looks way more nice than windows 8 (and it's touch friendly)

Arceles said,

If it were not because games and most of the enginnering programs are on Windows I would have already switched to ubuntu, that interface looks way more nice than windows 8 (and it's touch friendly)

Thats about when I switched, when I stopped gaming. That was the last thing tying me to Windows...I still game casually on my MacBook, I'm just not as interested in gaming as I once was.

It was the best decision I ever made...the only time I ever use Windows now is when I am helping someone to fix it lol

I love the start menu in 7. I wouldn't change it, its super easy to customize, I don't know what kind of people have issues with search, I only usually type 2-3 characters and the program I want is already there, way quicker. It even works if I 'kind of' know the name of the program I use. I have my most used apps pinned, I basically never need to do any work to find programs that I need to use.

phate said,
I love the start menu in 7. I wouldn't change it, its super easy to customize, I don't know what kind of people have issues with search, I only usually type 2-3 characters and the program I want is already there, way quicker. It even works if I 'kind of' know the name of the program I use. I have my most used apps pinned, I basically never need to do any work to find programs that I need to use.

then you should have no issues with the start screen

Shadowzz said,

then you should have no issues with the start screen

I totally agree with phate, that's how I use the Start menu. I do have issues with the start screen because it takes up the entire damn screen!

ScottDaMan said,

I totally agree with phate, that's how I use the Start menu. I do have issues with the start screen because it takes up the entire damn screen!

but you can only pay attention to 1 thing at once. Shouldnt be a big hassle.
And if you have a multi-monitor setup... it shouldnt be an hassle at all.

Shadowzz said,

but you can only pay attention to 1 thing at once. Shouldnt be a big hassle.
And if you have a multi-monitor setup... it shouldnt be an hassle at all.

For me, the hassle is that instead of paying attention to 1 small part of the screen (start menu results), I have to pay attention to 1 huge screen of results. I don't know about you, but my eyes can't see everything at once on a 24" monitor. Which makes it slower for me to actually FIND(see) the result that I want. Besides, the background color options isn't exactly kind on my eyes.

And with Win 7, if I WANT a larger result screen, I just click "See more results".

letmesee said,

For me, the hassle is that instead of paying attention to 1 small part of the screen (start menu results), I have to pay attention to 1 huge screen of results. I don't know about you, but my eyes can't see everything at once on a 24" monitor. Which makes it slower for me to actually FIND(see) the result that I want. Besides, the background color options isn't exactly kind on my eyes.

And with Win 7, if I WANT a larger result screen, I just click "See more results".


fair enough, im on 21inch not to bad there tho. but i was aiming at the 'winkey+type+enterkey' to start an application, this shouldnt be much more of an issue/difference with Win8 over Win7 I guess.
But for large result searches, one can imagine showing all installed crap on Win8 is kinda a forrest of tiles with titles.

Shadowzz said,

then you should have no issues with the start screen

Except it covers the whole screen and hiding data while attempting to open said program. That's really my only beef with it.

Personally, I find Win8... only ok. Have it on machine with multiple monitors, single monitor, laptop (Parallels), and a tablet (from pdc).

However, some things in Win8 just gets on my nerves.

Eg, the All Apps button is on the bottom RIGHT of the Apps bar, while the Start button hot corner is on the bottom LEFT. Do that often enough in a day with a huge screen, and my wrist starts hurting (Thank god for pinning to TaskBar)

Do that with a laptop's track pad, and I find myself swiping away left, left, right, right, compared to Win7, where the Start button and All Programs are relatively close to each other.

Also, since Metro styled apps' App bar can be on the top/bottom/both, swiping up from the bottom may show a Bottom app bar, or a Top app bar, or Both, or None. Not an issue really, but it has a disassociated feel to it. (when I swipe up from the bottom of the screen, I expect something to popup from the BOTTOM, not the top)

Another thing: install Visual Studio, and I end up with 10-15 dead tile icons, which I have to manually unpin. Do it with a codec pack like KLite, and I'm looking at 20 dead tile icons. (I also dislike the alignment/margins of the icons and text, but that's personal taste)

Pin a bunch of live tiles on the start screen, and it feels like I'm staring at a 1990's web site full of animated advertisements. It may look cool at first, but after using it for several hours a day, my mind ends up ignoring all the animation ALONG WITH any useful notifications.

Doesn't help that many apps use very colourful tiles. By the end of the day, whenever I switch to the Start screen, it takes my eyes up to a second for the splotches of colours to focus into readable tiles

I also have a complaint about closing Metro apps. Click and drag the app to the bottom of the screen? I have 24" monitors, and I find it a chore (painful wrist). I pity those who need to do it with Perceptive Pixel's 82" screen. (note: you can bring up the side pane of running apps, right click on the app and close it. But I don't think you can do that for the active app)

It took less time for me to get used to Windows 7's SuperBar and Desktop Peek, than Windows 8's Metro-fied Start Screen. But other than that, I'm loving everything else about Windows 8.

If Microsoft sells a version of Windows 8 with the old Start button (and the option to disable WinRT/Metro), I'll gladly pay a premium for it.

AmazingRando said,

Except it covers the whole screen and hiding data while attempting to open said program. That's really my only beef with it.


Get a second monitor? it will only cover 1 monitor tho.
I havent used Win8 on a single monitor setup yet, and i usually use my 2nd screen for monitoring and skype/irc.
With the addition of that multi-monitor powerbar, With metro open on 1 and desktop on the other, its similar to having 2 seperate OS's running on 1 system =p

Shadowzz said,

fair enough, im on 21inch not to bad there tho. but i was aiming at the 'winkey+type+enterkey' to start an application, this shouldnt be much more of an issue/difference with Win8 over Win7 I guess.
But for large result searches, one can imagine showing all installed crap on Win8 is kinda a forrest of tiles with titles.

I use Win8 daily. It is simple to set your start screen up to find things quickly. I have my apps grouped by "people", "utilities", "games", etc... It becomes easier to find things quickly. Also after pinning to task bar and desktop short cuts why would you jump back and forth from desktop to metro? Even if you do then the upper left corner has opened apps so you can see where you want to switch while continuing to work. Then when you have a monitor capable it lets you have two apps side by side.

letmesee said,
Besides, the background color options isn't exactly kind on my eyes.
Greay, blue, red, brown, green, pink, purple, black... there's gotta be a color you can use. If not, you're just being too picky.

Vice said,
It needed to go because Microsoft wants a piece of the iPad pie. Nothing more nothing less.

thanks for that in depth analysis there....

duddit2 said,

thanks for that in depth analysis there....

Sometimes things are just how they look on the surface. See what I did there?

Because they didnt have any conception for next OS, so they decided that Media Center mixed with Zune player UI on the top of operating system will be fine, along with marketing slogan called "post pc era", "touch everything" - even if you dont need/dont have anything touchable. Metro UI should be provided as extra content durning installation or extra feature for those who really need it.

Vice said,
It needed to go because Microsoft wants a piece of the iPad pie. Nothing more nothing less.

On the face of it, it's hard to see why else they changed it. I will reserve judgement till I've forced myself into using Windows 8 for a while (I won't lie... I'm not in a hurry) but the Start Menu allowed you to remain on the desktop, watching what was going on, whilst being able to launch common apps, settings screens, and so forth. Having to come away from what you're doing to load stuff does feel like a bit of a step back.

For example, I don't want to switch to a different screen to look at widgets and gadgets - I want them in my eyeline whilst i'm working..

Vice said,
It needed to go because Microsoft wants a piece of the iPad pie. Nothing more nothing less.

you do know the plans for such an unified OS thats runs the same on different platforms and systems, feels the same, looks the same. Are plans that started way back in the 80s and 90s already?
That Metro is the result of more then 20 years of research in how people use their computers?

no it has to go because they want to compete with the iPad offcourse... geesh bro. theres a world beyond the view distance of your nose.

Shadowzz said,

you do know the plans for such an unified OS thats runs the same on different platforms and systems, feels the same, looks the same. Are plans that started way back in the 80s and 90s already?
That Metro is the result of more then 20 years of research in how people use their computers?

no it has to go because they want to compete with the iPad offcourse... geesh bro. theres a world beyond the view distance of your nose.

No offence to you but please, that is just a load of rubbish.

Vice said,
It needed to go because Microsoft wants a piece of the iPad pie. Nothing more nothing less.

Amen

And the old desktop is only treated as a fullscreen app, and a fullscreen app cannot have its own startbutton. That would be a double function. But than again we have two separate ui's running at the same time.

The author is writing towards justifying metro start. All the hassle (and more) he tributes to the star button apply to the metro start screen

Vice said,

No offence to you but please, that is just a load of rubbish.


Nope, I know the company EMC was working on this idea back in the early 90s already to have a unified design and platform across a variety of products, and it wasn't alone. MS itself researched PC usage since freaking MS-DOS.
and guess what, yes, 1990 was 22 years ago.
Don't call out on BS if you have no clue what your babbling about.
I was quite young back then, but my dad worked at EMC for many years. (I wonder if it is still in existence, googling still gives me a result) I still have the EMC anti stress foam globe and stress foam mouses

Edited by ShadowMajestic, Jul 13 2012, 11:18am :

Shadowzz gimme a break, Microsoft's own chief strategy officer came out saying he thought the iPad is probably just a fad. When it became more and more likely not to be the case the forces scrambled en masse to come up with an answer. For me it's very simple: If Windows 8, the version we see today, was worked on and thought about for many years there's simply no way in hell we would have ended up with a product this unpolished. Everything about it just screams rush job. If that's not the case I'm having even less respect for the Windows team.

Edited by .Neo, Jul 13 2012, 11:37am :

Shadowzz said,

Nope, I know the company EMC was working on this idea back in the early 90s already to have a unified design and platform across a variety of products, and it wasn't alone. MS itself researched PC usage since freaking MS-DOS.
and guess what, yes, 1990 was 22 years ago.
Don't call out on BS if you have no clue what your babbling about.
I was quite young back then, but my dad worked at EMC for many years. (I wonder if it is still in existence, googling still gives me a result) I still have the EMC anti stress foam globe and stress foam mouses

First of all, EMC is not Microsoft. So bringing that up is irrelevant in this situation. Secondly, Microsoft like all software companies always have their user interfaces continually being worked on. Each time you add a new feature and you want it to be accessible to your users you are going to need to adjust the UI to accommodate it.

But don't just say Metro is the product of 20 years of research because that's just a load of rubbish. The research they've been doing on interfaces has always been driven by the keyboard and mouse. Their biggest innovation to input devices was their foray in to Tablets. And they got it wrong, why? The pen. No one wanted a pen they wanted to use their fingers. It is obvious to people actually well informed on interface design (which btw I do for a living every day) that they didn't get it and Apple did get it.

Microsoft is and always has been a reactionary foe to other companies. They weren't first with an operating system they wren't first with a pocket computer they weren't first with an internet browser they weren't first with a phone they weren't first with a music player they weren't first with a gaming console. They don't create new categories of device they simply react to when other companies bring such devices to market.

And Metro is simply their latest reaction to the new kid on the block: The iPad

I tell you what, had the iPhone not been good we wouldn't have Windows Phone. They would have released Windows Mobile 7 just like they intended. But the iPhone sold like hot cakes and they realised if they wanted to take on the iPhone they needed to change strategy. They dropped the pen input method, they put an Application Store on the phone itself, they radically altered the user interface.

And now this with Metro on the PC is round two and this time they are going after the iPad.

Shadowzz, EMC still does exist, they focus on storage and massive database appliances now... big ticket items...

.Neo, yeah Metro is not the result of 20+years of research, it was an idea by a team that thought it would be good for Media center for a unified TV interface based on what interactive TV was like... which slowly merged into the windows UI through XBOX's TV UI then into the windows phone then back to xbox and now to windows 8... basically it is a TV interface twisted to be a touch UI design style

.Neo said,
Shadowzz gimme a break, Microsoft's own chief strategy officer came out saying he thought the iPad is probably just a fad. When it became more and more likely not to be the case the forces scrambled en masse to come up with an answer. For me it's very simple: If Windows 8, the version we see today, was worked on and thought about for many years there's simply no way in hell we would have ended up with a product this unpolished. Everything about it just screams rush job. If that's not the case I'm having even less respect for the Windows team.

oh he said the iPad was just a fad. then this whole Windows 8 ecosystem must be made just because of the iPad!!! wow man, really? and even 2 likes?

unpolished? you do realise all this development stood still for many years on the actual NT line and commercial software from MS due to something, i dont know... called the anti-trust issues they had?

I really wonder what screams rush job, there has been an article here on neowin i think (as its 1 of the 2 tech news sites i regulary visit) where MS itself explained Metro was developed for many years of research (not just a few, it was surely 10+ years) on how the consumer/bussiness uses the computer? (plus the neowin search doesnt go beyond page 1 for me). yes the first sight of metro was where, 2009-2010ish? with WP7, but does that mean it isnt based on many years of research, and the uniformity of a AIO ecoystem is made just because of the ipad... you really believe that? ah well, carry on

they created a whole new ecosystem basically. A whole new programming language to match it. A whole new 'law' of design to match it. They've done so incredibly much work since the anti trust vanished. It would be a very huge list of details.
And within 1 version, they actually made the 'desktop' windows to a mutli-windows, desktop, tablet, phone, console....

Ye, really poor and rubbishy done.

Dont forget, Win7 was already pretty long in development when the anti-trust BS stopped.

The vision what is happening today, is over 20 years old. But ah well. I'm to lazy to google it all for you people. But keep spreading fud and BS all around based on hot air.

Metro could have been in development for a some years, the question is for what product and in within what time frame. Beyond that I see you spewing out a lot of claims but without the means to back anything up with. Your dad working at EMC while you were a kid bares no relevance to Microsoft.

.Neo said,
Metro could have been in development for a some years, the question is for what product and in within what time frame. Beyond that I see you spewing out a lot of claims but without the means to back anything up with. Your dad working at EMC while you were a kid bares no relevance to Microsoft.

Yeah, EMC doesnt come from the time it was working together with both IBM and MS in early years at all. Must've been a hoax then.
And I was using it as an example that these kind of environments that MS is currently building with Windows 8, have been around for hell of allot longer then just the last 3-5 years. And this development towards 1 giant ecosystem with uniformity has been going on for well over a decade. Not only at MS, not only at EMC. This is not something new. And I do know MS was working on this already in the 90s. My source is either neowin.net or tweakers.nl, where the first has a non-working search (and not willing to boot up palemoon, ironware or opera to see if it would work there, for someone who thinks Metro/Win8 is made cause of an iPad) and the latter is a dutch website, which wont be any good to you, and I'm not going to translate it either.

ah well, i have more relevance then you, you basically claim that the whole Windows 8 ecosystem is developed 'just' because of the iPad.

It all took me some getting used to, but concidering this 'development' has been in the works for 2 decades now, noone ever dared actually pushing it through. MS is the only one and first one, who is betting a huge chunk of their company for this new 'world', new revolution in computing technologies by pushing it into their whole product line. However it wont fail, so not that of a huge bet

Believe/think what you want. Go hate on Windows for its Metro and Win8 ecosystem. I actually don't care, and neither does MS, just wanted to share my view/info/knowledge on this matter.
Have a good day sir

Edited by ShadowMajestic, Jul 13 2012, 1:57pm :

duddit2 said,

thanks for that in depth analysis there....

It's a comment, not an article. And he's right. Nobody's being fooled here. This is all about forcing a phone/tablet interface on desktop users in the hope they'll buy a Microsoft mobile device instead of an Apple one.

Vice said,

Their biggest innovation to input devices was their foray in to Tablets. And they got it wrong, why? The pen. No one wanted a pen they wanted to use their fingers. It is obvious to people actually well informed on interface design (which btw I do for a living every day) that they didn't get it and Apple did get it.

The Windows Tablet that was released in the early 90s didn't fail due to pen input. It failed due to the fact it was released too far ahead of its time. Let me explain:

Tech at that time didn't have the ability to make laptops as thin as today.

No Internet on the go available for everyone - only a few cell carrier only has Internet device, but they were slow and too expensive at that time. No public Wi-Fi either.

The tablet was more designed for corporates rather than consumers.

Internet was not as cool as today (facebook, twitter, wikipedia, etc), and that is where current tablet thrives in addition to its apps.

RommelS said,

The Windows Tablet that was released in the early 90s didn't fail due to pen input. It failed due to the fact it was released too far ahead of its time. Let me explain:

Tech at that time didn't have the ability to make laptops as thin as today.

No Internet on the go available for everyone - only a few cell carrier only has Internet device, but they were slow and too expensive at that time. No public Wi-Fi either.

The tablet was more designed for corporates rather than consumers.

Internet was not as cool as today (facebook, twitter, wikipedia, etc), and that is where current tablet thrives in addition to its apps.

Actually I was talking about their foray in to tablets in the early 2000's - Specifically 2003-2005. We had capacitive touch technology as it was used in Laptop trackpads and the form factors could have been slimmer. Not iPad slim whilst still using Intel Pentium M's but they had options.

And I agree it was ahead of its time, but at the same time Apple did a slim ARM based touch screen tablet 3 years before Microsoft. Why didn't Microsoft try again? Too gun shy?

Vice said,

Actually I was talking about their foray in to tablets in the early 2000's - Specifically 2003-2005. We had capacitive touch technology as it was used in Laptop trackpads and the form factors could have been slimmer. Not iPad slim whilst still using Intel Pentium M's but they had options.

And I agree it was ahead of its time, but at the same time Apple did a slim ARM based touch screen tablet 3 years before Microsoft. Why didn't Microsoft try again? Too gun shy?

I think it may have something to do with the organization structure of Microsoft. For some reason I see Microsoft being a very "design by committee" type place to work, so if something at some point wasn't very successful (such as the tablets around 2003), there is more resistance against trying things again.

Shadowzz said,

you do know the plans for such an unified OS thats runs the same on different platforms and systems, feels the same, looks the same. Are plans that started way back in the 80s and 90s already?
That Metro is the result of more then 20 years of research in how people use their computers?

no it has to go because they want to compete with the iPad offcourse... geesh bro. theres a world beyond the view distance of your nose.

Ah yes, because that's what everyone needs. A tablet/smartphone OS running on their desktop.

So maybe Apple should do away with OSX and just load up iOS on every computer they make. Seems like a brilliant idea also.

This is complete crap. Just because the general population are a bunch of sheep that need everything to be done for them and seem to be becoming less and less intelligent. That means those of us that like control and adaptability with our devices must suffer?

Vice said,

Actually I was talking about their foray in to tablets in the early 2000's - Specifically 2003-2005. We had capacitive touch technology as it was used in Laptop trackpads and the form factors could have been slimmer. Not iPad slim whilst still using Intel Pentium M's but they had options.

And I agree it was ahead of its time, but at the same time Apple did a slim ARM based touch screen tablet 3 years before Microsoft. Why didn't Microsoft try again? Too gun shy?

And I am talking about the same thing. I was the SME of Windows Tablet for the company I worked for during that time.

Again touch / pen input devices at that just wasn't too popular. As I have said it was ahead of its time.

As for MS didn't try at that time, the touch and pen input is still part of Windows until now. In fact, Thinkpad X series has a tablet model, but as I have explained, it is more for corporate / business driven rather than consumers.


KCRic said,
Ah yes, because that's what everyone needs. A tablet/smartphone OS running on their desktop.

So maybe Apple should do away with OSX and just load up iOS on every computer they make. Seems like a brilliant idea also.

This is complete crap. Just because the general population are a bunch of sheep that need everything to be done for them and seem to be becoming less and less intelligent. That means those of us that like control and adaptability with our devices must suffer?


Its a smartphone/tablet OS? wow, Windows 8 going to be WinCE? thats totally new to me, thought its a new WinNT version. Damn I was so wrong!!
What control is missing? I have exactly the same control over my OS with Windows 8 as with Windows 7 (no i cannot disable start menu and enable start screen in Windows 7, same as i cannot enable a start menu and disable start screen in Windows 8... Altho in a way your right, Win2012 is very, very limited with personalization )
What adaptability? I surely thought Windows 8 was going to be available on more then x86 but also ARM... isnt this adaptability? or my view wrong again, they narrowing down the devices you can run 1 and the same OS on?

Who's the sheep here, prejudged hatred to something new, OMG CHANGE!! NO ITS EVIL!

KCRic said,
Ah yes, because that's what everyone needs. A tablet/smartphone OS running on their desktop.

So maybe Apple should do away with OSX and just load up iOS on every computer they make. Seems like a brilliant idea also.

This is complete crap. Just because the general population are a bunch of sheep that need everything to be done for them and seem to be becoming less and less intelligent. That means those of us that like control and adaptability with our devices must suffer?

It's the other way... load OSX on iPad... wouldn't that be great?

still had to comment, not at work now and i totally seem to've missed this comment.

Vice said,

First of all, EMC is not Microsoft. So bringing that up is irrelevant in this situation. Secondly, Microsoft like all software companies always have their user interfaces continually being worked on. Each time you add a new feature and you want it to be accessible to your users you are going to need to adjust the UI to accommodate it.


EMC is not microsoft? really, well i just meant it as an example that it wasnt only MS working on it, and the only other company i could think off that was working with uniformity on a big ecosystem of a variety of platforms.

But don't just say Metro is the product of 20 years of research because that's just a load of rubbish. The research they've been doing on interfaces has always been driven by the keyboard and mouse. Their biggest innovation to input devices was their foray in to Tablets. And they got it wrong, why? The pen. No one wanted a pen they wanted to use their fingers. It is obvious to people actually well informed on interface design (which btw I do for a living every day) that they didn't get it and Apple did get it.

Did you read what i said, I said Metro was the result of 20 years of desktop usage research, i didnt claim Metro per sé was in development for 20 years.
Research driven by mouse/keyboard? really. It stagnated, the desktop has changed very little in usage since the first frigging Windows! Except that multiple menus merged into 1 with 95, XP and Vista. But its not a major difference in usage. Since the early 90s MS was developing with touch input (or a way towards it) Because back then they where already right, the vast majority of technology usage was going to be touch. And since recent years, it actually is. We, diehard computer desktop users with mouse and keyboard, are a dying breed.


Microsoft is and always has been a reactionary foe to other companies. They weren't first with an operating system they wren't first with a pocket computer they weren't first with an internet browser they weren't first with a phone they weren't first with a music player they weren't first with a gaming console. They don't create new categories of device they simply react to when other companies bring such devices to market.

Reactionary? really? Ofcourse they werent first, an OS was already 50+years old by the time MS-DOS came along (their first OS was also not even created by MS)
They where the first however, that brought a PC into people's homes(yes original apple is older, but it wasnt as popular was MS-DOS and Windows (starting to get massive usage with 3 tho )
They dont create new catagories? How about the old Surface Tables?
Kinect?
and trully a gazilion other technologies. I cant be assed to find a comprehensive list, but seriously. Go look up what Microsoft did, it isnt just OS and Office.
However, they usually have better implementations of technology compared to competitors.

And Metro is simply their latest reaction to the new kid on the block: The iPad

Really? Metro development started with the Zune, which was a reply to the iPod, not the iPad.

I tell you what, had the iPhone not been good we wouldn't have Windows Phone. They would have released Windows Mobile 7 just like they intended. But the iPhone sold like hot cakes and they realised if they wanted to take on the iPhone they needed to change strategy. They dropped the pen input method, they put an Application Store on the phone itself, they radically altered the user interface.

Good? The OS is optimized for its devices and it still runs horrid if you upgrade to newer versions. 3GS for example, is slow as a brick, and for power it needs a nuclear reactor to last a work day on average usage. Besides, at release of iPhone1 it was mainly its design and almost full touchscreen only that was refreshing. As the general population was on Nokia's, moterola's and Siemens phones with keypads. Application store, didnt Nokia have similar way before the iPhone?
We also already had Windows Mobile (which i personally loved, be it slow as a brick)

And now this with Metro on the PC is round two and this time they are going after the iPad.
yeah because they really have to compete with iPads for desktops, phones and xbox. Oh wait only their tablet part right? I forgot that was their core bussiness.

Edited by ShadowMajestic, Jul 13 2012, 5:32pm :

Shadowzz said,

Who's the sheep here, prejudged hatred to something new, OMG CHANGE!! NO ITS EVIL!

I'd say the sheep are those that assert that different / new = better just because it's new or different.

"Power-users" are complaining that the lack of a Start menu reduces their productivity. However, if they were truly "powerusers" to begin with, then they haven't been using the Start menu in the first place! Pin it to the taskbar or win + type. It honestly IS NOT that difficult.