Microsoft is betting big on Windows 8 'Consumer Preview'

Today, Microsoft announced that the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 will be available on February 29. We candidly suggested that they use the tag line “something this great only comes once in four years” but we shall see if that sticks.

What is significant about this announcement is that Microsoft is forgoing the beta tag and slapping the word consumer on the platform, a bold move. Why is it so bold? When you label something as beta (ahem Google), it gives you an out, you can shrug your shoulders and say, “well it’s beta, what do you expect” but with the pre-release of Windows 8 being called the Consumer Preview, Microsoft is pushing that aside. Does this mean that they think it’s a rock solid build being pushed in to consumer hands, honestly, it may, otherwise why would Microsoft risk the Windows 8 branding on this preview and not hide behind a beta tag.

The big risk is if Windows 8 Consumer Preview flops out the door with constant crashing, half-working features, and drags down the image of Windows 8 before it even launches. We all know about the Vista flop as those betas were nothing but terrible and when the final release rolled around, Vista was already written off by the public.

Microsoft is well aware that it is changing the way you navigate Windows, it was by design (obviously). As such, there will be some screams of horror, editorials written that are without substance (and those with substance), but Microsoft is not a new pony to the race, it has been around the block a few times.

With the Consumer Preview branding, Microsoft is saying that they are ready for you to take a look at their hard work. They are inviting the consumer, the less than technical user, the type of person that may be confused at first without a start orb, to dip their toes in the Metro water. 

It’s a bold step for the company as it seems Microsoft has had a bit of swagger in its step the past few months.  The company has a new found confidence, a willingness to be bold (not that be bold) and stick its head in to new waters and once again forge a path built around Metro. It’s time to grab your paddle and get ready for the Consumer Preview, Microsoft is betting big on the platform which means it better be pretty damn good.

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I've installed the Windows 8 Developer Preview. The gigantic blocks are painful to look at and have no rhyme or reason for their layout. I have 40 apps that I use REGULARLY and 15 more that I switch among every hour. If I had to scroll through all those blocks to find them, I'd go nuts. not to mention finding files. So the 1st thing I did was blow it away and go to the "desktop". The small icons on my desktop and taskbar are superior for workflow - something MS seems to have forgotten about. The Metro design doesn't seem to have a good GUI for multi-tasking (in the human sense).

DocDJ said,
I've installed the Windows 8 Developer Preview. The gigantic blocks are painful to look at and have no rhyme or reason for their layout. I have 40 apps that I use REGULARLY and 15 more that I switch among every hour. If I had to scroll through all those blocks to find them, I'd go nuts. not to mention finding files. So the 1st thing I did was blow it away and go to the "desktop". The small icons on my desktop and taskbar are superior for workflow - something MS seems to have forgotten about. The Metro design doesn't seem to have a good GUI for multi-tasking (in the human sense).

I agree, not very good to have to go to desktop in order to start programs when you could do it from a start button, your pc's not a smart phone or tablet, so why make it this way.

Windows 7 = excited
Windows 8 = snooze
Windows 9 = excited?

So far I'm not particular exited about Windows 8 like I was when Windows 7 was emerging.

- I don't like that tag line at all. Basically all their OS releases are near 4 yrs apart anyway. I think some allegory to making a hug leap ahead would be more fitting

- I don't necessarily agree that "beta" means "broken" while "preview" means "ready". A preview should carry the same connotation of being only a preview

It's more a case of "the product is finalized except for the last bit of polishing left" which is why it is called Consumer Preview in the first place. Very sad but the days of true betas are gone because Microsoft is incapable of locating and identifying true quality beta testers would who give them solid design and bug feedback. Everyone has his opinion on how the OS should be built so they just decide it for us and throw a bone to "test it". Nothing fundamental is going to change in the product, it's only a tweak here and there that's left to make now. Raymond Chen mentioned it last year clearly: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/gg675933.aspx They blame the internet for changing what used to be true beta testing but IMHO they are to blame to lack of identifying and locating quality beta testers.

xpclient said,
...because Microsoft is incapable of locating and identifying true quality beta testers would who give them solid design and bug feedback....

Sorry but that's nonsense. Microsoft had a well established and excellent group of testers in the Tech Beta program (of which I was a member) which they abandoned. They essentially dropped the Tech Beta program after Windows 7. They also dropped the Tech Beta program manager from Microsoft too, Wendy Stidmon.

Not because our feedback was of poor quality either. There were MANY bugs/design flaws/feature requests reported by the testers repeatedly that Microsoft chose to ignore (closed as "By Design" or "Not Reproducible", etc). Such as the desktop refresh bug in Windows 7 that still exists today in SP1.

Having proper beta tests lost priority at Microsoft once Sinofsky took over the Windows division.

TCLN Ryster said,

Sorry but that's nonsense. Microsoft had a well established and excellent group of testers in the Tech Beta program (of which I was a member) which they abandoned. They essentially dropped the Tech Beta program after Windows 7. They also dropped the Tech Beta program manager from Microsoft too, Wendy Stidmon.

Not because our feedback was of poor quality either. There were MANY bugs/design flaws/feature requests reported by the testers repeatedly that Microsoft chose to ignore (closed as "By Design" or "Not Reproducible", etc). Such as the desktop refresh bug in Windows 7 that still exists today in SP1.

Having proper beta tests lost priority at Microsoft once Sinofsky took over the Windows division.

I could not have expressed it any better; you are 100% right: Sinosfky first killed "real" Beta testing for Office than, as soon as he got control of Windows, did the same there.
Maybe "constructive criticisms" does not help inflating end of year bonuses as well as "telemetry"........

TCLN Ryster said,

Sorry but that's nonsense. Microsoft had a well established and excellent group of testers in the Tech Beta program (of which I was a member) which they abandoned. They essentially dropped the Tech Beta program after Windows 7. They also dropped the Tech Beta program manager from Microsoft too, Wendy Stidmon.

Not because our feedback was of poor quality either. There were MANY bugs/design flaws/feature requests reported by the testers repeatedly that Microsoft chose to ignore (closed as "By Design" or "Not Reproducible", etc). Such as the desktop refresh bug in Windows 7 that still exists today in SP1.

Having proper beta tests lost priority at Microsoft once Sinofsky took over the Windows division.

I was talking about what happened with Vista and the link I posted also talks about the Windows Vista betas. Despite an elaborate beta program, Vista upon release turned out to be a work-in-progress, a half done buggy product. From which MS concluded that Vista beta testers had failed them and turned Sinofsky-style with Windows 7. I am saying what Ballmer said in 2009, and Vista itself proved that the company was incapable of spotting quality testers. By the time of Windows 7, things had already changed and the "Tech Beta" was just a formality. I didn't say there weren't quality beta testers, I said Microsoft can't differentiate or prioritize what to fix and what to address by locating good feedback from what's on Joe average's wish list.

dumber and dumber. people are actually getting excited to beta-test for big corporation for free these days.

Albert said,
dumber and dumber. people are actually getting excited to beta-test for big corporation for free these days.

Yeah, because getting our hands on something new and cool is absolutely meaningless to us. The ONLY reason we download it is to provide feedback to Microsoft. /sarcasm

Albert said,
dumber and dumber. people are actually getting excited to beta-test for big corporation for free these days.

dumber and dumber. Big corporations are actually giving away their software for free (for at least a year) these days.

burnblue said,

dumber and dumber. Big corporations are actually giving away their software for free (for at least a year) these days.

I would hardly call it giving away for "free". Most people who will download the beta already have a Windows license of some sort

Is there any suggestion that by offering it as a Consumer Preview that selected OEMs may be allowed to sell it with new hardware? A bit like the go-live licenses they offer with things like .net?

spc1972 said,
Is there any suggestion that by offering it as a Consumer Preview that selected OEMs may be allowed to sell it with new hardware? A bit like the go-live licenses they offer with things like .net?

Not a chance.

I don't like the Metro start menu on the desktop and I don't like the ribbon on the explorer. The ribbon especially annoys me anytime on any OS version when it take up part of the title bar, what is that about? it seems to break design rules when an extra tab is in the title bar of a window.

derekaw said,
I don't like the Metro start menu on the desktop and I don't like the ribbon on the explorer. The ribbon especially annoys me anytime on any OS version when it take up part of the title bar, what is that about? it seems to break design rules when an extra tab is in the title bar of a window.

Yes all Mac applications use the 30 year old drop down menu paradigm. Heaven forbid Microsoft try to innovate on UX.

smoledman said,

Yes all Mac applications use the 30 year old drop down menu paradigm. Heaven forbid Microsoft try to innovate on UX.

Defensive and unhelpful regarding my points, thanks.

derekaw said,
I don't like the Metro start menu on the desktop and I don't like the ribbon on the explorer. The ribbon especially annoys me anytime on any OS version when it take up part of the title bar, what is that about? it seems to break design rules when an extra tab is in the title bar of a window.

Then use the up arrow on the window to hide the explorer. I hate hearing people gripe about something so easy to change since your gripe has been specifically been designed out of relevance.

derekaw said,

Defensive and unhelpful regarding my points, thanks.

Because your post was the same regurgitated nonsense that people post without engaging rational thought (or trying it, or actually reading that it's collapsible).
Design rules? How about the rule that says that functionality shouldn't be hidden in right click menus or mysterious shortcuts? For a lot of people explorer in 7 is hard work - and even for power users some of us will appreciate having a simple obvious button to click to to day to day operations. I'll make my mind up by actively using the thing - and that's only possible in the CP release because it'll be more or less feature complete versus the DP which wasn't meant for such an evaluation.

dangel said,
Design rules? ...

I too was wondering what "rules" he was referring to. There are UI guidelines, but the last time I checked they were written by Microsoft themselves so that Windows apps complied with the general design of Windows. I'm fairly sure Microsoft can evolve their own "rules" if they wish.

derekaw said,
I don't like the Metro start menu on the desktop and I don't like the ribbon on the explorer. The ribbon especially annoys me anytime on any OS version when it take up part of the title bar, what is that about? it seems to break design rules when an extra tab is in the title bar of a window.

Start screen replaces the start menu. It's a single point to which you jump to applications. Also, you do not ever have to leave the desktop if you so desire. You know that right? Also, you can minimize the ribbon. To each their own but I suggest a thorough tryout before writing it off.

The consumer preview will need an even greater library of third party Metro apps than what have been announced thus far to be a success.

Hopefully there will be near feature complete help with access to video tutorials.

If Microsoft really believe this to be a consumer preview, they will include this.

What would be amazing would be if they provided ARM builds for those of us with devices just waiting to be flashed.
Just a pipe dream I suppose.

dotf said,
The consumer preview will need an even greater library of third party Metro apps than what have been announced thus far to be a success.

Hopefully there will be near feature complete help with access to video tutorials.

If Microsoft really believe this to be a consumer preview, they will include this.

What would be amazing would be if they provided ARM builds for those of us with devices just waiting to be flashed.
Just a pipe dream I suppose.

u wont get an arm build because they all have different chipsets and such, hence why ms wanted to lock the os down to specific tablets to begin with

It may have been bold but Microsoft really hit hard with Windows 7, maybe even harder than they expected. In my experience since windows 7 went retail i have been happy to recommend windows 7 to all of my customers. So maybe Microsoft is thinking that they can afford to throw windows 8 out a lil early with a few crashes here and there and its not a big deal, or loss to them.

I may be wrong about this but i know i would probably do the same that balmer did if the above is realistic.

3dfxman said,
It may have been bold but Microsoft really hit hard with Windows 7, maybe even harder than they expected. In my experience since windows 7 went retail i have been happy to recommend windows 7 to all of my customers. So maybe Microsoft is thinking that they can afford to throw windows 8 out a lil early with a few crashes here and there and its not a big deal, or loss to them.

I may be wrong about this but i know i would probably do the same that balmer did if the above is realistic.

Windows 7 failed hard not grabbing 80% market share (like xp did) after 3 years, with XP still ruling Windows OS. With Windows 8 out, Windows 7 will shrink to Vista's size.

alexalex said,

Windows 7 failed hard not grabbing 80% market share (like xp did) after 3 years, with XP still ruling Windows OS. With Windows 8 out, Windows 7 will shrink to Vista's size.

Win7 failed hard? ROFL

alexalex said,

Windows 7 failed hard not grabbing 80% market share (like xp did) after 3 years, with XP still ruling Windows OS. With Windows 8 out, Windows 7 will shrink to Vista's size.

You do like to troll don`t you? If you think 7 will shrik to Vista`s size you really are deluded!

alexalex said,

Windows 7 failed hard not grabbing 80% market share (like xp did) after 3 years, with XP still ruling Windows OS. With Windows 8 out, Windows 7 will shrink to Vista's size.


Dislike

alexalex said,

Windows 7 failed hard not grabbing 80% market share (like xp did) after 3 years, with XP still ruling Windows OS. With Windows 8 out, Windows 7 will shrink to Vista's size.

So if you don't get to 80% you fail hard?
Mac OS X failed really really really REALLY hard not even grabbing 10% market share then I guess. (that's what you really don't like to hear )
And Windows 7 has passed Windows XP since a long time already.

alexalex said,

Windows 7 failed hard not grabbing 80% market share (like xp did) after 3 years, with XP still ruling Windows OS. With Windows 8 out, Windows 7 will shrink to Vista's size.

don't think so!
windows 8 is going to be full of bloat like the interface, more crap to fill your hard drive, most people arn't bothered about flashy desktops as its hardly seen when your gaming or working, all that extra stuff should only be installed, if you choose to install it, seems like waste of resources, much like all them icons you pin to desktop & programs that start with windows which slows boot up of pc and eats up memory.
some will go back to win7 for simplicity and start button & others won't upgrade till 7 is obselete.
i still prefer xp-x64 and use it on main pc

Edited by Stef2u, Feb 11 2012, 6:36pm :

Cøi said,

So if you don't get to 80% you fail hard?
Mac OS X failed really really really REALLY hard not even grabbing 10% market share then I guess. (that's what you really don't like to hear )
And Windows 7 has passed Windows XP since a long time already.

lol....mac's are in a niche market they don't even have a 10% share of the market so it was hardly unlikely that Mac OS X didn't sell 10% market share, & as for Win7 overtaking Xp, it never happened, company's are only just upgrading to win7 as a lot of their pc/laptops ran XP-x86 and others won't upgrade till mid 2014 when Xp-X64 is no longer supported.

dbam987 said,
My VM is ready! Seriously though it should work nicely out of the gates.

The big issue with the Consumer Preview (and the Developer Preview) hasn't been application compatability all that much - but the reboot of the menu system. The menu is vastly simplified - which has the techies screaming. The Start menu (with all the clutter it contained) has been culled of all the post-XP additions. Instead, there is a separate StartScreen - which contains every application, app, and shortcut to such you have - Metro and non. ("Kitchen-sink" installers that spend a lot of time on the StartScreen that used to spend lots of time in Windows 7's Start menu - can you say "busted"?) The one phrase I have been hearing - repeatedly - from the anti-Metro crowd is that it's *too simple*.

Isn't that (and hasn't that been) precisely the reason Android is going like gangbusters in the low-end smartphone/tablet/slate-device crowd? Why iOS is deliberately limited on Apple's various iDevices?

Android and iOS are a wake-up call that Microsoft has long needed. Exaggerated complexity (even on the desktop) is a non-starter - instead, simplicity rules.

I have been dual-booting 7 and the WDP since it became available (and I've since added the current alpha of Ubuntu 12.04 to the mix - creating a true triple - thank Ghu for two hard drives, one of which is 931GB of formatted capacity) and the issues I've had are not about application or hardware compatibility - all my hardware, including my old XP-era HDTV tuner, is still properly detected and supported (despite the lack of WMC in the DP). All the applications I've run in 7 work just as well in the DP - if not better. And that;s on traditional hardware with Metro.

The issues I have had are basic quibbles and nitpicks - that I have ALSO had with the same application and Windows 7. In other words, common quibbles - not WDP-specific quibbles.

Why is everyone all of a sudden making such a big deal over the idea of a "consumer preview"? Microsoft did exactly the same thing for Vista and 7 as well. It was called the "customer preview program", which is essentially the same damned thing.

Microsoft had a "beta" of Windows 98 that was released called the Windows 98 Customer Preview. I know because I still have the CD-ROM. My point though is that Microsoft has definitely used the term Customer Preview instead of "beta" in the past even if it hasn't been officially used for a "beta" release in a while.

roadwarrior said,
Why is everyone all of a sudden making such a big deal over the idea of a "consumer preview"? Microsoft did exactly the same thing for Vista and 7 as well. It was called the "customer preview program", which is essentially the same damned thing.

Cause doing so generates clicks, other then that it's just more repetitive filler for the front page.

YAH!!! NO START MENU!! WOOT! Now I can load Mac OS Lion Transformation pack on Windows 8 and use metro along with it!!

I wonder how my mom's gonna like this though. "NO START MENU? WHERE IS MICROSOFT WORD? Help me..."

Im gonna post her reaction on youtube when it comes out.

onionjuice said,
YAH!!! NO START MENU!! WOOT! Now I can load Mac OS Lion Transformation pack on Windows 8 and use metro along with it!!

I wonder how my mom's gonna like this though. "NO START MENU? WHERE IS MICROSOFT WORD? Help me..."

Im gonna post her reaction on youtube when it comes out.


If your mom can't locate the 2 inch by 2 inch tile with "Microsoft Word" written on it that'll starting her in the face from the start screen, then I suggest you remove her PC and send it back to the store

onionjuice said,
YAH!!! NO START MENU!! WOOT! Now I can load Mac OS Lion Transformation pack on Windows 8 and use metro along with it!!

I wonder how my mom's gonna like this though. "NO START MENU? WHERE IS MICROSOFT WORD? Help me..."

Im gonna post her reaction on youtube when it comes out.

You know, I told my mom about it and she said "no start menu?" and I asked her "mom, how many times do you ACTUALLY click the start button?" and replied "hmm, now that you mention it..." Yeah, not a lot.

Like anyone else with common sense you make shortcuts to things you use a lot.

TCLN Ryster said,

If your mom can't locate the 2 inch by 2 inch tile with "Microsoft Word" written on it that'll starting her in the face from the start screen, then I suggest you remove her PC and send it back to the store

Yah just assume everyone's like you.

laserfloyd said,

You know, I told my mom about it and she said "no start menu?" and I asked her "mom, how many times do you ACTUALLY click the start button?" and replied "hmm, now that you mention it..." Yeah, not a lot.

Like anyone else with common sense you make shortcuts to things you use a lot.

Not exactly. I prefer navigating using the keybpard so i

onionjuice said,

Yah just assume everyone's like you.


Yes, because I am uniquely qualified to notice a big square tile with "Microsoft Word" and the Word icon on it. It's completely invisible to everybody else.

TCLN Ryster said,

Yes, because I am uniquely qualified to notice a big square tile with "Microsoft Word" and the Word icon on it. It's completely invisible to everybody else.

And since my dad's a chemist, It would be stupid of everyone else not to know the periodic table by heart. Obviously you're not considerate of other people. Keep your useless suggestion to yourself.

Yeah dude it is... what if Windows 8 is the new Vista? We had to wait almost three years to get Win 7.

PS: Vista ran pretty well for me on various nice hardware, but it should be obvious that Win 7 really noticably more optimized and what Vista should have been.

Anyways in a few weeks we'll find out if really "Windows 7 is basically a subset of Windows 8". It sounds like that may be false.

smooth3006 said,
The topic headline should read..."balmers a$$ is on the line"

Lol. Although he wasn't kicked out when Vista flopped was he? It's more likely that it would be Sinofsky that goes in that eventuality.

A consumer preview is the same as a beta. It's a preview - pre-view, AKA "here's a look at what is to come". The "Developer Preview" was aimed towards developers, this is aimed towards regular people (consumers). It just sounds friendlier than "beta" to the average joe.

WOW whata load of Crap ( Brad) the part about Windows 8 floping on the consumer preview and crashing all the time What is wrong with you what a way to be positive and it has been stated by many users of the months and months old developer Preview that that version is rock solid .

yes very negative dude

(The big risk is if Windows 8 Consumer Preview flops out the door with constant crashing, half-working features, and drags down the image of Windows 8 before it even launches.)

I think you misinterpreted that, it's saying 'if' that happens, not that it will. In the entire article I'm saying MS must be very confident of the build (to be) if they remove the beta tag...which is a good thing.

bdsams said,
I think you misinterpreted that, it's saying 'if' that happens, not that it will. In the entire article I'm saying MS must be very confident of the build (to be) if they remove the beta tag...which is a good thing.

Some might argue that the term "Preview" gives them just as much of a "get out" clause as "Beta"

name change, big deal. although yeah, with 'beta' people tend to disregard every little design 'problem' because it's beta. Beta should justify instability/bugs, but not design flaws. People used the "its beta" on vista beta 2, yet the thing was "feature-locked" and the RTM didnt change that.

Consumer Preview, Beta same thing. I think it will be rather interesting to see and hear public opinion about it. I suggest to go to youtube, because sure there will a lot of funny videos about it.

techguy77 said,
Consumer Preview, Beta same thing. I think it will be rather interesting to see and hear public opinion about it. I suggest to go to youtube, because sure there will a lot of funny videos about it.

Youtube will eventually have some good, sometimes funny clips. As of right now, it's hard to find a good informative video describing all the features in a way that consumers would keep interest just to watch the video. I've tried showing it off. They see the tiles and say things like "that's cool" or "different but cool". Then they lost interest and stop watching. We need some videos that would capture their attention and keep them watching. You're right that the CP & Beta are the same thing. They can even get away with saying it's just a preview when/if things go wrong. I can't wait to get it running to bring around on a tablet so people can really see what it's gonna do.

lawl? The developer preview (a build prior to even M3) runs like a breeze, i dont think beta would be crashy...
But yeah , the new features r lil risky

bogas04 said,
lawl? The developer preview (a build prior to even M3) runs like a breeze, i dont think beta would be crashy...
But yeah , the new features r lil risky

I had lots of trouble with the on screen keyboard with the developer preview. It was also less than perfectly stable on my HP 2740p tablet. I'm really excited for this preview, though!

The idea is miraculous. I can't wait. But at the same time, I can't help myself thinking that the start interface was designed by the same guys over at fisher price. Too many big chunky colored squares everywhere. Everything else seems a great idea tho.

Mouettus said,
The idea is miraculous. I can't wait. But at the same time, I can't help myself thinking that the start interface was designed by the same guys over at fisher price. Too many big chunky colored squares everywhere. Everything else seems a great idea tho.


i think windows 8 should have 2 different UIs:

1. the metro style for devices with touchscreen (which RELY on touchscreen)
2. classic start menu for devices with mouse (which RELY on mouse)


i am yet to see if this new interface is any useful.. or its just a pathetic attempt to show off some guy's "productivity"

Mouettus said,
I can't help myself thinking that the start interface was designed by the same guys over at fisher price. ... Everything else seems a great idea tho.

The same was said when XP launched.

Have you even tried the Developer Preview? It's free to download. If you have been paying attention or even just read Paul Thurrott's blog you'd know that the "classic start menu" (aka, tired old meme for stodgy old farts who can't conceive of using something modern) is still there, but it runs as an "app", for lack of an easier description. So, you can still run legacy programs -- at least for a couple of years -- until Metro-style versions become available. Personally, I can't wait to get rid of any vestiges of the old desktop.

Saex_Conroy said,


i think windows 8 should have 2 different UIs:

1. the metro style for devices with touchscreen (which RELY on touchscreen)
2. classic start menu for devices with mouse (which RELY on mouse)


i am yet to see if this new interface is any useful.. or its just a pathetic attempt to show off some guy's "productivity"

Everyone is missing the paramount fact that you aren't forced to only use one way to navigate. You will be able to use a pointing device and a touch interface and kinect and voice. When you take something like the asus transformer convertible type device and have the option of the mouse and KB or to just say a command it will greatly expand the experience of using your PC. This will be about convergence of every current piece of magical tech out there. Everyone should be excited to at least finally see if MS is going to evolve the PC to the next paradigm or just keep being the company they have the rep for being. I'm excited simply because if nothing else they are wringing every ounce of performance and efficiency out of the kernel. Not once have I heard anyone say that Win8 wasn't significantly faster than Win7, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and install the consumer preview.

ScubaDog said,
the "classic start menu" (aka, tired old meme for stodgy old farts who can't conceive of using something modern)

I'm tired of seeing all these opinions claiming that everyone who is concerned about the usability of the new Metro UI is "afraid of change".
I should post a screenshot of my desktop while I'm super busy at work some time. I'm extremely unconvinced that metro has any way of offering the flexibility I need to keep track of two copies of Visual Studio, several browser windows, a Word document, many explorer windows, several copies of notepad, etc. etc.
On top of all of that, I really don't want a massive fullscreen thing swooshing in from the side just so I can start another program e.g. calculator. That would be irritating as hell.
Hence, I sincerely hope I can get the Start Menu back in Windows 8. And I am not a "stodgy old fart".

Matt Sharpe said,

I'm tired of seeing all these opinions claiming that everyone who is concerned about the usability of the new Metro UI is "afraid of change".
I should post a screenshot of my desktop while I'm super busy at work some time. I'm extremely unconvinced that metro has any way of offering the flexibility I need to keep track of two copies of Visual Studio, several browser windows, a Word document, many explorer windows, several copies of notepad, etc. etc.
On top of all of that, I really don't want a massive fullscreen thing swooshing in from the side just so I can start another program e.g. calculator. That would be irritating as hell.
Hence, I sincerely hope I can get the Start Menu back in Windows 8. And I am not a "stodgy old fart".

how would any of that change in windows 8 compared to windows 7. You still have the same superbar and visual studio will still be the same application, as will office and explorer

Saex_Conroy said,

1. the metro style for devices with touchscreen (which RELY on touchscreen)

Not sure what you're smoking, but Metro doesn't "RELY" on touchscreen. I am able to navigate it and launch apps from it perfectly well with a mouse on the Dev Preview, and this is said to be dramatically improved in later builds.

Matt Sharpe said,
...snip...

Just to echo what XerXis said, non of what you describe will be much different in Windows 8. Click on your tiles for these "classic" programs and they launch on the classic desktop. Also, any programs you use regularly will be pinned to the classic taskbar, so if you really do have an absolute hate of the Start Screen, you'll hardly ever see it if you don't want to.

Matt Sharpe said,

I'm tired of seeing all these opinions claiming that everyone who is concerned about the usability of the new Metro UI is "afraid of change".
I should post a screenshot of my desktop while I'm super busy at work some time. I'm extremely unconvinced that metro has any way of offering the flexibility I need to keep track of two copies of Visual Studio, several browser windows, a Word document, many explorer windows, several copies of notepad, etc. etc.
On top of all of that, I really don't want a massive fullscreen thing swooshing in from the side just so I can start another program e.g. calculator. That would be irritating as hell.
Hence, I sincerely hope I can get the Start Menu back in Windows 8. And I am not a "stodgy old fart".

You know you never have to leave the desktop, right? You're way over-thinking it. If you run so many applications at once, here's what you do:

Pin them all to your desktop either directly on it or as a quick launch
Launch all of your applications (since they're native to desktop they only run in desktop)
ALT TAB for quick switching and/or just click taskbar for standard switching

That's about it...

You'll only need to go into the start screen for various settings or metro apps. Why is it so hard to grasp that?

I run Photoshop, Dreamweaver, CuteFTP, Notepad and a couple of browsers at all times. Win8 doesn't inhibit my productivity as I do not sit here and regularly click "Start" all day long. I think I might click it... twice in the average day? I have everything else as a shortcut because it's 100% more efficient.

Give it a chance before you write it off.

techguy77 said,
I like Neowin editors haha you guys really throw a bone at us to argue over this

I loved Neowin over the last week or so, so much news about Microsoft, Nokia and WP7.

I visited it much more than I should have. It's like my favorite site now.