Microsoft killed the start button because it wasn't used

Windows 8 brings many new features to the table but one thing the platform will remove, is the traditional start button. If you had been wondering why Microsoft made this controversial decision to remove button, we finally have some insight and the news comes from TechEd Europe.

PCpro was able to ask Microsoft this question and their response was that the button was no longer being used to the same frequency as previous versions of Windows. Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft, said that "We’d seen the trend in Windows 7" that users were no longer using the start button but instead pinning applications to the task bar:

When we evolved the taskbar we saw awesome adoption of pinning [applications] on the taskbar. We are seeing people pin like crazy. And so we saw the Start menu usage dramatically dropping, and that gave us an option. We’re saying 'look, Start menu usage is dropping, what can we do about it? What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?

The evidence that Microsoft gathered stated that keyboard shortcuts and pinning items to the taskbar was reducing the functional utility of the traditional start button. By switching to the Metro start screen, you unlock an entire new set of experiences and avenues to display relevant information. 

While many may object to this trend, data does not lie. If this is what Microsoft was seeing on their end via the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program, then maybe they were right. But the question is, do you still use the start button or did keyboard shortcuts and pinning items reduce your usage as Microsoft suggests? 

Source: PCPro

Thanks for the tip Gregg!

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I use the start menu in XP a lot. I go into my documents and settings - all users - start menu - programs and create folders in the start menu for stuff like utilities, burn&play, security, graphics, internet, games and audio&video. Then I can either drag and drop the appropriate installations into their respective folder or tell the install where to go (I also make the same folders on my desktop for the desktop icons) that keeps my start menu small. That said, what happens when you go to install an older program that wants to put a link in the start menu but there is none in Win8? Does that mean a ton of programs you already own and use will not install? I know some ask if you want a start menu link but not all of them.

To be honest, I have to agree with Microsoft's data. Even on Windows XP, I rarely used the Start menu because my things were posted on the desktop. I didn't even use the Start menu much on Windows 98 or Windows 95. Not because I didn't like it, but because I prefered different methods.

In Windows 7, I actually do have my most-used programs pinned to my taskbar. I only use the Start menu to access my not-often-used programs.

Of course, I like being able to hit the Start key on my keyboard and start typing to search, but I'm happy that I can do the same in Windows 8.

I'll definitely be able to survive without the Start button on Windows 8. Of course, I do understand why people don't like it gone, but there are ways to bring it back.

Now I just need to find a replacement for Windows Media Player so I can play DVDs...

Remember when Apple removed the floppy? Remember when Apple recently removed the optical drive? Yeah...Microsoft removed the BUTTON, big deal. At least they retained the functionality. When Apple removed the hardware, you were just screwed until the alternative came out (CD version of the floppy program, USB version of the optical program).

In Windows 7, I find crap I rarely access by hitting START > TYPE STUFF > click on resutls. I DO THE SAME IN WINDOWS 8. Nice thing about Win8's start screen? I CAN UNPIN ALL THE CRAP I DON'T USE FROM IT! I can't "hide crap I don't use" on Win7's start menu. Pinning most used to the top isn't the same. Win8's start screen can be an organized clutter, if you wish to call it that. If you never unpin stuff, sure, it can be a disaster. But really, just launch start and START TYPING. It is more efficient unless you happen to be the fastest scroller on the planet or something.

reimondx said,
Classic Shell 3.5.0 For Windows 7 may be the answer. See above post.

Funny, not buying Windows 8 was my answer.

I still use the [Start] button and keyboard shortcuts and pinning items did NOT reduce my usage as Microsoft suggests. Poo on Microsoft.

Blah blah blah blah blah... MS wants to sell win8 cells/tablets -> those cells & most of the tablets won't run Windows apps -> solution = a well stocked app store, which coincidentally makes MS more $. Ah, but how do you populate said app store with all these apps, particularly when there's a chance win8 cells/tablets could fail? Solution = convince dev's that Windows itself will support Metro apps from now into the infinite future. Um, how do you do that? Eliminate the Start Menu & give them no choice.

Otherwise MS would have left or made the Start Menu an option, the same way they're doing with Media Center. The Only reason to take it away is to force feed Metro, & the only reason for that is as above, the App Store.

With larger and larger hard drives I've found that it's easier to install more programs on your system than in prior years. While you can pin a few to the task bar you'd quickly run out of space and the desktop becomes cluttered with shortcuts to programs and folders.

Metro may be a solution to the problem for many users who only install a small number of programs but I'm dreading the switch from Windows 7 since I literally have over a hundred programs installed (including games, graphics programs, multiple office suites and browsers...)

The start menu was actually more customizable in past versions of Windows where you could create separate folders (Applications, Utilities, Multimedia, etc.) and drop shortcuts directly into those folders - now I do the same thing with Stardock's Fences Pro on the desktop itself. I create separate fences for each type of application and consolidate them there.

Most programs will have to be rewritten into Metro versions and with the desktop portion of Windows 8 reduced to a secondary environment and the start menu less viable than before I think it's going to be more difficult for me to configure the new system to my liking.

I'm so happy they're finally ridding of this outdated Start Menu from the early 90's!!!!
I hated that thing it was always so poorly organized and programs never used it properly and dumped useless icons in it.

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
I'm so happy they're finally ridding of this outdated Start Menu from the early 90's!!!!
I hated that thing it was always so poorly organized and programs never used it properly and dumped useless icons in it.

Because organizing your start menu is so hard. Let me guess you're one of those people who just leave all the shortcuts and folders that program installers make instead of moving your program shortcuts into five or six appropriate folders and deleting the other crap.

Microsoft is eliminating the need for any organization of the start menu. Reorganizing it is a band-aid fix. Fix the problem at its source and rid of it
Thanks for making it personal by the way. Because when you did you made yourself look like a fool because you're completely wrong - I don't do any of that.
I use a dock.

I use one thing pinned to the task bar all the rest are pinned to the start menu So I really just don't like the look of metro I couldn't give two hoots if it was an easier way to do stuff I just don't like how it looks ... an OS should be smart enough to adapt to it's user not force its user to adapt to it

Dumbest excuse I've heard in a long time. Sure the important programs go down there. I prefer the Vista one though. But I use the start button maybe 5-10 times a day compared to the icons along the bottom. They just remind me what I have.

For all the people complaining about the data Microsoft used, do you know that the "Building Windows 8" blog did a detailed article about the drop-off in usage of the start menu, how people used it etc.?
It is very interesting, and goes into detail about how far people have to move to hit an icon etc., and has graphs detailing the telemetric data.

I agree whit the people saying "opt in to the customer improvement programme or shut up"!

Finally, I like Metro. In Windows 7 I rarely went into the Start menu - I just used to hit the start key and type. Same on Windows 8, except it eliminates a step in the process.

TrickyDickie said,
For all the people complaining about the data Microsoft used, do you know that the "Building Windows 8" blog did a detailed article about the drop-off in usage of the start menu, how people used it etc.?
It is very interesting, and goes into detail about how far people have to move to hit an icon etc., and has graphs detailing the telemetric data.

I agree whit the people saying "opt in to the customer improvement programme or shut up"!

Finally, I like Metro. In Windows 7 I rarely went into the Start menu - I just used to hit the start key and type. Same on Windows 8, except it eliminates a step in the process.

Windows 8 is still just fine if it's on a tablet. but not a laptop or desktop.

I haven't used the Start menu since they put it into windows 95. Making custom taskbars was always far more efficient.

Also every serious gamer I know has either ripped the start menu button off of their keyboard or has software that blocks it.

In fact microsoft has been putting options into the driver package for microsoft keyboards to disable the start menu button for 5 years.

When XP came out it was a popular mod to re-skin windows to kill the start menu along with the entire interface.

NastySasquatch said,

Also every serious gamer I know has either ripped the start menu button off of their keyboard or has software that blocks it.

Haha. Imagine if the start screen pops up... fuq?

"We'd seen the trend in Windows 7"that users were no longer using the start button but instead pinning applications to the task bar:- this claim is lame! i use the start button/ start menu regularly. where did they get this? i'd like to see what they are looking at.

i say we have a poll on this.

3rd impact said,
"We'd seen the trend in Windows 7"that users were no longer using the start button but instead pinning applications to the task bar:- this claim is lame! i use the start button/ start menu regularly. where did they get this? i'd like to see what they are looking at.

i say we have a poll on this.


Agreed.
This weekend's flaming poll thread XD

3rd impact said,
"We'd seen the trend in Windows 7"that users were no longer using the start button but instead pinning applications to the task bar:- this claim is lame! i use the start button/ start menu regularly. where did they get this? i'd like to see what they are looking at.

i say we have a poll on this.

No offense, but I don't think what anyone feels/thinks matters to MS... There's a bunch of stuff in Windows XP/Vista/7 that's rarely if ever used by the majority of users, but most of it's still there. MS is offering *justification* for why they can get away with no Start Menu, trying to pass it off as the reason it's dropped.

Remember Vista UAC? Remember the less intrusive win7 beta version, & how it got modded further for the RTM because of user complaints? With all the complaints about the missing Start Menu you read, more than I ever saw re: the win7 beta UAC, user concern Is Not something MS cares about when it comes to win8 not having a Start Menu.

sometime you never know what kind of app you will use and might curious to quickly find out the app that you didn't use recently, and what happen? you quickly click the start button and type the name and instantly click on it. That's what the start button is really useful.

Your mind might suddenly think of some app you want to use that didn't pin on the taskbar and that's where the start button with search feature built-in is immensely useful. Like some user say in windows 8 the search feature completely take over your screen which is annoying when you want to seek something quickly.

Windows 8 doesn't even provide much customization on the metro and as a default for the desktop. Isn't it crazy?

Honestly, I'm surprised this is an article. It popped up over on The Verge, too. Probably elsewhere. This isn't news, at all. This exact reasoning was explained very clearly on the Building Windows 8 blog months ago. Possibly last year, even. Says a lot about the memory span of the tech blog community--when it comes to outrage, we'll forget what made us angry a month ago if it means we can be angry all over again today!

Anyone can sit around and come up with edge cases and bizarre scenarios where they never pin anything and always use the start menu to access everything. People are very good at disagreeing with statistics (see: Mac users being shown more expensive travel options based purely on metrics) for the sake of having something to herp derp about.

I personally pin apps to my task bar and access them from there almost every single day, and I've been doing it since Windows 7 started training me to work that way. This actually causes me to wonder how much of the 'outrage' is from Windows 7 users and how much is from the people still on XP.

Of the outrage from Windows 7 users, do they really expect anyone to believe that it's a realistic MAINSTREAM usage scenario to navigate the Start Menu to get to everything? It has always been the clumsiest system of organizing program shortcuts, for as long as program groups have been littered with six links to documentation for every one link to an executable. That alone is a major driving force behind the keyboard niche that's been using Start Menu search since Vista--a functionality I've shunned as a problem solving a problem (typing the name of what you're trying to run is just as clumsy as clicking four levels into a menu).

People run around complaining that typography is a terrible direction for UI (in criticisms of Metro) and that icons and graphical representations are a more user-friendly paradigm, but demand an archaic program menu dominated by text instead of a taskbar that can fit as many icons as your mobile home screen without taking up the same percentage of real estate.

When it comes down to it, the only conclusion I can make is that very few people actually have an informed, intelligent opinion on user experience, and instead the loudest voices on the internet are just seniors-at-heart griping about being forced to confront their habits. When face-to-face with change, they decide to be right first, and then construct whatever argument they can piece together to defend the conclusion they've already come to. It's this behavior that is turning technology into politics, and that's a shame.

Joshie said,
... This isn't news, at all. This exact reasoning was explained very clearly on the Building Windows 8 blog months ago... When it comes down to it, the only conclusion I can make is that very few people actually have an informed, intelligent opinion on user experience, and instead the loudest voices on the internet are just seniors-at-heart griping about being forced to confront their habits. When face-to-face with change, they decide to be right first, and then construct whatever argument they can piece together to defend the conclusion they've already come to. It's this behavior that is turning technology into politics, and that's a shame.

I disagree strongly with the ageist comment -- otherwise I think your argument, while basically sound, is irrelevant, falling in line with what Microsoft marketing wants people to think, because they're afraid in this case that the truth will indeed hurt.

Consumers buy the products they want -- not necessarily the products they need, not necessarily the products that do the best job. Look around you & the world is filled with examples, from clothing to cars to foods to appliances & on & on. Sellers make money by giving consumers what they want to buy, manufacturers make the products sellers want to sell & so on. Unless you're in a country where the gov controls what's on store shelves, sellers & manufacturers who consistently break that rule go out of biz. To openly flaunt breaking that rule, to bring out a product people tell you they don't want is almost unprecedented. That's exactly what MS is trying to do. And instead of coming up with a reason, they're passing out Kool-Aid dosed with the reason they think they can get away with it.

Maybe they can get away with it -- for many no Start Menu isn't a total deal breaker -- but why try in the 1st place? The world is full of junk products -- Windows & Windows' Apps have their fare share of junk included -- so why not leave the Start Menu be & collect more money? It doesn't make sense, it's not the way people are used to companies that want their money behaving, so they get more upset than usual, are more vocal than usual.

It wouldn't matter *if* win8 was/is a better product without the Start Menu -- that's what a Lot of people want. It doesn't matter if Metro is the future -- for many people & purposes it's not that well suited to using a mouse, & their monitor sits too far away at their desk to use a touch screen. If MS could show these folks how with win8 they'd be better off that might fix things, silence their complaining, but to date it has not. If I tell you how someone else looks great with bright orange hair, a dark blue shirt, & green/purple striped tights are you going to rush out & buy that outfit? When MS tell complaining users that other people don't use the Start Menu, it's the same thing... you don't care that I like that outfit -- they don't care who dosen't use the Start Menu.

mikiem said,

I disagree strongly with the ageist comment -- otherwise I think your argument, while basically sound, is irrelevant, falling in line with what Microsoft marketing wants people to think, because they're afraid in this case that the truth will indeed hurt.

Consumers buy the products they want -- not necessarily the products they need, not necessarily the products that do the best job. Look around you & the world is filled with examples, from clothing to cars to foods to appliances & on & on. Sellers make money by giving consumers what they want to buy, manufacturers make the products sellers want to sell & so on. Unless you're in a country where the gov controls what's on store shelves, sellers & manufacturers who consistently break that rule go out of biz. To openly flaunt breaking that rule, to bring out a product people tell you they don't want is almost unprecedented. That's exactly what MS is trying to do. And instead of coming up with a reason, they're passing out Kool-Aid dosed with the reason they think they can get away with it.

Maybe they can get away with it -- for many no Start Menu isn't a total deal breaker -- but why try in the 1st place? The world is full of junk products -- Windows & Windows' Apps have their fare share of junk included -- so why not leave the Start Menu be & collect more money? It doesn't make sense, it's not the way people are used to companies that want their money behaving, so they get more upset than usual, are more vocal than usual.

It wouldn't matter *if* win8 was/is a better product without the Start Menu -- that's what a Lot of people want. It doesn't matter if Metro is the future -- for many people & purposes it's not that well suited to using a mouse, & their monitor sits too far away at their desk to use a touch screen. If MS could show these folks how with win8 they'd be better off that might fix things, silence their complaining, but to date it has not. If I tell you how someone else looks great with bright orange hair, a dark blue shirt, & green/purple striped tights are you going to rush out & buy that outfit? When MS tell complaining users that other people don't use the Start Menu, it's the same thing... you don't care that I like that outfit -- they don't care who dosen't use the Start Menu.


You make a point about people thinking they know better about what they want, but your claim of unprecedented consumer behavior is provably false.

There's a big lesson from Steve Jobs himself, about the psychology of sales. It isn't about making what people want--sure, that's a 'safe' market, but it doesn't boom or drive innovation. People only want what they've heard of, what they know exists. The trick to moving the market, to innovating, to building NEW markets is making people believe they want something when they never actually did in the first place.

It isn't about changing minds. It's about making people feel like they made up their minds themselves, when in reality the marketing did it for them. Unprecedented? Millions and millions of people didn't WANT what the iPhone was before it was first built. There was no existing product category from which Apple could "respond to" a growing consumer desire for a 3.5" web browser with zero support for plugins--and a PROMISE that they would never come--or a phone incapable of picture messages (talk about taking away something the market WAS demanding--loudly).

We can blame the reality distortion field, but that's a cop out and ignores the reality of marketing that took place. People only ever think they know what they want. The market is unbalanced and unfairly affected by vocal minorities with more pull than they deserve. Consumers segregate themselves voluntarily and happily into niches of ideals and image, screaming and begging to be pandered to by anyone who can figure out which sales pitch turns them on the most. It touches everybody--even the people who criticize 'consumerism' are just as eager to be pandered and sold to. They're just waiting for the right pitch.

Seriously Microsoft,
who wants to pin 20+ Apps to the Taskbar or have them spread all over your Desktop ?
I'll like it clean and simple and don't want to get bombarded with all my Stuff when I log in ...

Clearly, my company didn't seem to have been included. We use to keep the desktop uncluttered, as we have many unsophisticated users and part-time users. We are a firm believer of KISS philosophy. But, it is moot, as we will be staying with Windows-7. Those few employees who want to use their personal devices having Windows-8 will just have to accept the corporate decision.

TsarNikky said,
Clearly, my company didn't seem to have been included. We use to keep the desktop uncluttered, as we have many unsophisticated users and part-time users. We are a firm believer of KISS philosophy. But, it is moot, as we will be staying with Windows-7. Those few employees who want to use their personal devices having Windows-8 will just have to accept the corporate decision.

Umm nothing changed in Windows 8.... you still press the start key to launch a program. Your desktop will remain uncluttered, and so will your taskbar.

I could care less about start button too but what i don't understand is a paradigm shift between desktop and Metro screen. Since Customer Preview release i am trying to understand reasons for it and still didn't come up with good answer. Button removal was an outcome of MS attempt to blend in two interfaces in some way which also required removal of Aero inteface and making Desktop flat looking. In work environment i use Start Menu so often that without it work would be impossible and with Metro screen i am gonna waste time daily due causing losing focus and concentration. What am I trying to say. In windows 7 i am looking at the code and at the same time i want to start something by invoking start menu and searching for it. While i am doing that i am still looking at code and thinking about the problem there. Now with Metro Screen suddenly i get this screen in front of my eyes which visually has nothing to do where i was before and that brief moment causes my thoughts to break.

Edited by Luka Radunovic, Jun 28 2012, 6:58pm :

windows 8, with metro and without the start button.
windows 9, without metro and with the start button back.

ArmedMonkey said,
I don't use the start BUTTON. I use the start menu though, mostly for searching.

+1

Most of the time when I need to launch a program, I press start key, type the name of program and press enter, much faster than finding it in start menu. Besides that, sometimes I open Documents/ Music folder from start menu.

WTF are they smoking?! I hate pining programs to the bar because it clutters everything up. Not to mention if I put every app and game I use down there I would need a 3 foot wide monitor to hold them all.

necrosis said,
...Not to mention if I put every app and game I use down there I would need a 3 foot wide monitor to hold them all.

Or a Retina display of about 11"

WTH? Every time I run Windows I make use of the start button. It's critical to the Windows desktop paradigm.

I don't know where Microsoft gets its metrics from, but they are dead wrong.

simplezz said,
WTH? Every time I run Windows I make use of the start button. It's critical to the Windows desktop paradigm.

I don't know where Microsoft gets its metrics from, but they are dead wrong.

It's critical? Maybe to get to something the first time but if you have to constantly use it then you're not a very efficient user. Start>navigate to icon/folder>select folder/icon>run application vs taskbar or desktop shortcut? Seriously, pin things to your screen for quick access and leave the rest of the crap off.

When I was a technician, going out to customer's homes, A lot shortcut their programs to the desktop, so they don't use the start menu very often.

hagjohn said,
When I was a technician, going out to customer's homes, A lot shortcut their programs to the desktop, so they don't use the start menu very often.

And how do they get shortcuts on the desktop in the first place?

simplezz said,

And how do they get shortcuts on the desktop in the first place?


Haha failed attempt:

Clicking like maniacs "next" button on installations (They usually give you the option to put a shortcut on the desktop and very little disable it)

simplezz said,

And how do they get shortcuts on the desktop in the first place?

Your average users won't be using the desktop anymore. They'll be using Metro, and the Start Screen will be their "desktop"

simplezz said,

And how do they get shortcuts on the desktop in the first place?

Most, if not all, programs adds them automatically.

All these people telling you how to use your desktop... This article is full of terrible comments and people who's opinions are so far up their butt, they can't even comprehend anyone thinking differently.

If people want to express their discontent for what Microsoft is saying, they're very much allowed to.

i guess we'll find out pretty soon. I know new PC buyers will be force fed down the throat, but lets see how many users decide to upgrade from 7 (or lower) to 8.

People not using keyboard shortcuts my a$$....

avidracer said,
I know new PC buyers will be force fed down the throat

Yeah but if enough of them return their computers because of the new UI then Microsoft will be forced to reinstate the start button

The antipathy towards 8/2012 from enterprises that would otherwise be looking to upgrade its estate of XP, VDI's, Terminal Servers and Citrix will surely prompt MS to re-appraise their force-feeding approach, I hope.

Metro/StartScreen full-screen transitions are simply incompatible with server-based/remote-access computing. I'm amazed the cult-of-mobile has overlooked that. Windows 2008's full-screen "terminate hanging process at logoff" dialogue makes a awful experience for Citrix/TS users.

I really like Surface Pro as a concept, but I hope they are considering a functional successor to Windows 7/2008 for the Enterprise. Stagnation ahead if they don't.

The start menu works for people, its not like it consumes resources. As a company you don't get rid of something that so many people use - its not like there was an amazing alternative.

It was a poor decision and should have been rejected by the people above these stupid designers. Im going to get Windows 8 and i will have to adapt but its just annoying. We need more competition, Id love to see MS take stupid bold moves like these if we could jump ship easily.

Orange Battery said,
As a company you don't get rid of something that so many people use

You obviously didn't read the article. Not many people use the Start button anymore.

I ersonally pin all my MOSt used apps to the taskbar or I have an sortcut on desktop. I rarely used the start button other than to launch an app Idon't use often. Which is rare. I typically don't install apps I don't use often, but I have a few that serve a specific purpse, but Ididnt make shortcuts.

To me, the new Metro UI is a giant start button. You can make all yourapps, metro icons and launch them. What do u need the start button for? Nothing. Just a bunch a complaining saps.

This seems rather silly to me. Perhaps it was being used less for people with only a few programs, but power users in particular surely were still using the Start Button plenty...

I just don't buy this. You can't direct all of your design decisions around what an average user with only a few apps does. You need to keep the power users in mind as well.

M_Lyons10 said,
This seems rather silly to me. Perhaps it was being used less for people with only a few programs, but power users in particular surely were still using the Start Button plenty...

I just don't buy this. You can't direct all of your design decisions around what an average user with only a few apps does. You need to keep the power users in mind as well.

You realize nothing at all changed in Win8 and you still use the Start Screen to launch all your programs you don't have pinned, right?

The trouble is that Microsoft replaced the Start button with something that is a button in all but name. You still move your mouse to the bottom-left corner and click. As such, it was an unnecessary change. It really doesn't make any difference to me, though it could certainly cause some confusion amongst less technical users.

My biggest problem isn't the removal of the Start button - it's the addition of the hot-corners. If Microsoft had simply kept the taskbar visible at all times and had Metro apps appear there, while keeping the Start button and adding shut-down options to the Start screen then it wouldn't have needed the hot-corners at all. It would also have improved multi-tasking, which is one of the weakest elements of Metro (especially with mouse and keyboard).

Rudy said,
I love pinning apps.... Too bad my work disabled it I don't understand why they would do that...

My work uses apps that are done in java with batch file wrappers and they don't pin either.
Also, old Lotus notes won't pin due to not using Native Win32 libraries.

I would guess MSFT has a slightly more accurate insight in how the vast majority of users work in the Windows environment when compared to a handful of users (relative) in here.

And tbh I do not get the argument at all. The start screen is basically a huge, fully customizable start menu with way more flexibility and options that the start menu ever had.

Having set it up I have everything I need for everyday use two clicks away. How easy do you want it..

The fact is us power users represent the demographic that Microsoft is getting this "little start button use" from due to us opting into the Consumer Improvement Program and leveraging the PIN TO TASKBAR function. In reality, this is not the case for the majority of the layman users I deal with in the tech support industry. The legacy windows user is use to buttons and the whole 'hidden menu until you hover over the corner' activator is NOT intuitive for this demographic. Its going to be a mess of support calls....

For me, I mostly used the start button's instant search feature as quick access to burred settings control panel menus. The new start screen's instant search does not expose all of the same options and that's what I personally will have a gripe with.

I NEVER pin (I "Use small icons" and "Never combine" taskbar buttons - so basically, the classic Taskbar) and I always use the Start menu!

What are Microsoft smoking? Sure, Start menu use may have decreased when Windows 7 and its pinning came along - but that doesn't mean no one uses the Start menu any more!

Microsoft has to design its products for the average consumer. Only a tiny minority of users use their computer like you. Since Win7 I rarely use the Start Menu and rely heavily on the 5-10 apps that I pin to the taskbar. This is what the user metrics have revealed to be the case for the average user. It is therefore perfectly reasonable for Microsoft to focus on that.

IMO, the Start Menu wasn't fit for purpose, especially for large displays. Since Vista it has had a width of around 250 pixels, which is just ridiculous when modern displays can be 1600 pixels wide. You cannot seriously tell me that using a tiny fraction of the screen makes for the best user experience and is the quickest way to find apps. Not only that but when browsing All Programs you constantly have to click to expand folders, with text that is often so wide that it doesn't all fit in.

You can moan all you want about Metro Start but you cannot argue that the Start Menu was a better way to launch applications, especially not when pinned taskbar apps dramatically speed up the launch of the most commonly used apps.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft has to design its products for the average consumer. Only a tiny minority of users use their computer like you. Since Win7 I rarely use the Start Menu and rely heavily on the 5-10 apps that I pin to the taskbar. This is what the user metrics have revealed to be the case for the average user. It is therefore perfectly reasonable for Microsoft to focus on that.

IMO, the Start Menu wasn't fit for purpose, especially for large displays. Since Vista it has had a width of around 250 pixels, which is just ridiculous when modern displays can be 1600 pixels wide. You cannot seriously tell me that using a tiny fraction of the screen makes for the best user experience and is the quickest way to find apps. Not only that but when browsing All Programs you constantly have to click to expand folders, with text that is often so wide that it doesn't all fit in.

You can moan all you want about Metro Start but you cannot argue that the Start Menu was a better way to launch applications, especially not when pinned taskbar apps dramatically speed up the launch of the most commonly used apps.


I understand they need to cater for the masses but it wouldn't be difficult to keep the Start menu in for those that want to keep using it!

Also, there are two huge issues I have with pinned icons. 1) You can't see how many programs/windows/folders etc. you have open at once and 2) I like text labels and not only icons.

Actually, come to think of it, 3) why have a Taskbar that goes from one side of the screen to the other, when it is only going to contain 3-10 pinned icons. What a waste of Taskbar space.

People don't use the start button? What total BS!

I use the start menu all the time... admittedly I use it less for launching *some* applications, but you can't pin ALL your applications to the start menu, and I certainly don't pin things like control panel items, etc. Overall the start menu is still an important and useful part of my computing life.

They've replaced the relatively unobtrusive start menu with this big flashy and distracting multi layered full screen application that flashes animations at me and totally distracts me. Also, I find it much harder to find and launch things from the new 'start screen'.

In Windows 7 : When I need to launch something, I hit the start key, I get a small unobtrusive menu, I start typing, I see my item I want and then I hit 'enter'.

In Windows 8 : When I need to launch something, I hit the start key, the entire screen changes completely, all of my open applications disappear into the background, along with my trail of thought, I am bombarded with a screen of tiles with animations flashing everywhere, trying to steal my attention, then I start typing, and the screen changes AGAIN! and then I have to scroll down to my desired option and hit 'enter' (or if I want a file or control panel applet I need to hit tab, then the down key a couple of times, then I need to hit the left key, then I need to press down a few times, and then press enter).

Microsoft didn't make this change because no one uses the start menu... I'll never believe that fact... either this article has taken Microsoft WAY out of context (which I hope is true) or Microsoft is talking a total load of bull**** !

Jelly2003 said,
People don't use the start button? What total BS!

I use the start menu all the time... admittedly I use it less for launching *some* applications, but you can't pin ALL your applications to the start menu, and I certainly don't pin things like control panel items, etc. Overall the start menu is still an important and useful part of my computing life.

They've replaced the relatively unobtrusive start menu with this big flashy and distracting multi layered full screen application that flashes animations at me and totally distracts me. Also, I find it much harder to find and launch things from the new 'start screen'.

In Windows 7 : When I need to launch something, I hit the start key, I get a small unobtrusive menu, I start typing, I see my item I want and then I hit 'enter'.

In Windows 8 : When I need to launch something, I hit the start key, the entire screen changes completely, all of my open applications disappear into the background, along with my trail of thought, I am bombarded with a screen of tiles with animations flashing everywhere, trying to steal my attention, then I start typing, and the screen changes AGAIN! and then I have to scroll down to my desired option and hit 'enter' (or if I want a file or control panel applet I need to hit tab, then the down key a couple of times, then I need to hit the left key, then I need to press down a few times, and then press enter).

Microsoft didn't make this change because no one uses the start menu... I'll never believe that fact... either this article has taken Microsoft WAY out of context (which I hope is true) or Microsoft is talking a total load of bull**** !

This!

Jelly2003 said,
the entire screen changes completely, all of my open applications disappear into the background, along with my trail of thought, I am bombarded with a screen of tiles with animations flashing everywhere, trying to steal my attention

Are you a dog? Cause seriously, you're like my dog when he sees a rabit run across the screen, except the rabbit is the Start Screen in your case.

andrewbares said,

Are you a dog? Cause seriously, you're like my dog when he sees a rabit run across the screen, except the rabbit is the Start Screen in your case.


Woof woof!
/me pants!

I hated pinning (among all the other needless changes..) when I tried Windows 7.

Still an old classic dog here, which is why I still use Vista, and have no plans to change unless a newer version of Windows has some serious gaming related performance improvements.

I doubt Microsoft really knows what they're talking about anymore.

So the future mainstream is going to be touch?
Maybe in the future sci-fi movies will feature hardcore hackers with mouse and keyboards

I do use the start button/menu to search and shutdown, restart mainly.
Looking back, I do realize that I haven't been going into the 'Programs' menu as often since the 95, 98, XP era.
The pinning really made a change my usage pattern.

Perhaps MetroUI can bring about change as well.
But I still feel negative towards it on a PC.
Windows 8 should be named Tiles 8

I don't believe that is true at all. the issue is that SEARCH in windows 8 is overly intrusive and poorly implemented. It searches too much irrelevant stuff and it will often flood you with a sea of matches which is impossible to filter or visualize.

the idea is nice, but the implementation is poor...just like so many other MSFT UX ideas

The more I hear about Windows 8, the more I'm convinced that in 10 years time I will be like those people who are vehemently sticking to XP now. I'll be picketing the MS lawn demanding that they release W7 SP12 or whatever.

Unless of course everything converts to cheap large touch screen devices. I can understand how W8 might work well in a fully touch environment. Which I don't have, and can't afford with anything currently on the market.

Slugsie said,
The more I hear about Windows 8, the more I'm convinced that in 10 years time I will be like those people who are vehemently sticking to XP now. I'll be picketing the MS lawn demanding that they release W7 SP12 or whatever.

Unless of course everything converts to cheap large touch screen devices. I can understand how W8 might work well in a fully touch environment. Which I don't have, and can't afford with anything currently on the market.

Yep, that's the problem, Microsoft have changed the Windows platform from a creative platform to a consumption platform.

They'd be better off following Apple's route in having their PC based 'creative' OS and also their tablet based 'consumption' OS as two separate operating systems.

Jelly2003 said,

Yep, that's the problem, Microsoft have changed the Windows platform from a creative platform to a consumption platform.

Uh, what? How? Have you even used Windows 8?

They should kill the desktop too, I don't find any use in it while using Windows 8. Think about it, you can launch every program from the start screen... pretty much "DO" everything from there... no more task bar too. Just eliminate that whole environment.

Legacy programs, when launched FROM the start screen, would simply open a temporary environment that displays your program, and CLOSE automatically after the program is exited... Multiple programs? They'll all either open in the same environment or their own (Microsoft's call on that one.. maybe the same due to resources) I see no reason to swap over to the desktop to open a program... when the shortcut is already there as you've booted up. I kinda hoped they would have made a metro file explorer by now, maybe next time.. unless there is one that i've overlooked?

Terrible idea. The desktop is still there for power users, so that we can have more than 2 windows open at a time while developing software, editing videos, etc.

For your average user, they won't see the desktop nearly ever, since all their apps and everything they need will be in Metro (email, web browser, Facebook, etc).

The Start button actually still exists, it just 10X10 pixels and invisible in the bottom left corner. So they didn't remove the Start button, they just made it almost impossible to find. The Start Menu on the other hand, was actually killed and replaced with Metro.

I only speak for myself, but I rarely use the start button anyway. All my main programs/games are either on the desktop or on the taskbar. The only time I use the start button is to get the run command or go into the control panel. I've been using win8 when the public version, and don't even feel obvious the menu button gone.

Microsoft's slogan 2000(?)-2011: "Your potential. Our passion."
Microsoft's slogan 2011-present: "Be What's Next."

The Start Menu has always been ****. It quickly became a chore to manage in Win95 to XP, in Vista and newer it just became redundant because the search field was actually rather useful. At the same time in Vista & 7 it was cluttered. I found myself simply pinning most used programs to task bar and occasionally used software to the start menu and maybe using the recent programs automatic list from time to time. Everything else in the start menu went mostly unused.

Where MS went wrong is the same thing where Apple went wrong with the Launchpad - a fullscreen app list just doesn't work well on large, high res screens. It's just annoying to use.

You have to love statistics. Depending on your view; a reduction in usage of the start menu shows that microsofts efforts to enhance an age old interface has been successful.. Ie people pin to the task bar. I do it myself. The problem is that a reduction in use of the start menu does not indicate none-usage, and more importantly, statistically, it does not show the importance of weighting. For example, I install application x, it appears on the start menu and I then decide its importance to me; I may pin it to the task bar or I may change its position in the start menu, I may only use it once a month, but to me i know where it is when I want it. This does not indicate that I don't need this functionality, it simply states that I am more efficient in my working methodology. If Microsoft published the usage stats we could make more sense of it, but while this is hidden they can use it any way they want. There are lies, damn lies and statistics!

This is the same boneheaded train of thought that got them to abandon Media Center. "Nobody uses the Start Button anymore"? Really? You can't be serious. It defines Windows; it has been the key to getting our work done since Windows 95! So what is the "Windows Key" supposed to invoke now? The Command Prompt or Run box? I really, really want what Microsoft is smoking, because I'd be so high I'd fly myself to work.

bjoswald said,
"Nobody uses the Start Button anymore"? Really? You can't be serious. It defines Windows; it has been the key to getting our work done since Windows 95! So what is the "Windows Key" supposed to invoke now? The Command Prompt or Run box?

You don't make any sense. First, the start button is still there. There are in fact two of them in Windows 8, and one on your keyboard. And there is still a start button in the bottom left of you screen, just as always - they just removed the visual clutter. And what should it invoke? The start screen, of course. I'm not certain why you couldn't figure that out on your own.

bjoswald said,
This is the same boneheaded train of thought that got them to abandon Media Center. "Nobody uses the Start Button anymore"? Really? You can't be serious. It defines Windows; it has been the key to getting our work done since Windows 95! So what is the "Windows Key" supposed to invoke now? The Command Prompt or Run box? I really, really want what Microsoft is smoking, because I'd be so high I'd fly myself to work.

They didn't say nobody. The said: Start menu use is dropping because people are just pinning or trowing all their s**t on the desktop.

If few cared, this wouldn't have been controversial, and Microsoft wouldn't have felt a need to comment on the issue.

But they do.

Why do I smell BS?

That's gotta be the stupidest answer of the year! Ever since the start menu integrated the awesome search feature (Vista and 7), it's being used a lot more than before.

xankazo said,
Ever since the start menu integrated the awesome search feature (Vista and 7), it's being used a lot more than before.

I suspect Microsoft has a little more evidence on this than you do.

Regardless, clicking the bottom-left or pressing the Windows key, both allow you to type and search. I'm not sure of the problem.

It should be noted that many of the "experienced" users are the ones complaining about the change for logical reasons. And those people probably don't use the CEIP. I know I don't.

They should allow the Start Menu to be enabled for us "power users" who still want to use it.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
They should allow the Start Menu to be enabled for us "power users" who still want to use it.

"Power users" typically know you can replace it. They're catering to the majority of their users, who usually are the type that want to keep it simple.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
As posted here recently, Microsoft is trying to prevent that from happening by completely stripping any remains of the Start Menu code.

Replacing it, not re-enabling the old one.

Riggers said,
Two words : Cop Out!

cop out of what? there's no conspiracy here. their statistics PROVE that less and less people are using it. Time to move on

Well, let's see... I am glad that Microsoft is not making cars.

As then, the data would tell them that the passanger doors are used much less than the driver door. I expect then they'd make cars with only the driver door as other were "barely used". Never mind that the utility of having different doors really helps the usability when you need them.

I tried out the Windows 8 RP, and strongly felt that it was missing. I completely disagree with the new Metro Start menu design on a desktop computer - that is why I am sticking with Windows XP and 7 for now. Engineers don't want Metro - all these fancy effects get in the way of productivity. Apple made the same mistake with Mission Control. The first thing I do in Windows is enable the Classic theme, and turn off ALL effects (under Performance Options) - I see a big increase in productivity by doing this - try it for a day or two - you'll be surprised - windows minimizing and maximizing instantly will be the first thing you notice. The people who designed Windows 95 to XP UIs are a genius - they developed perfect UI design.

68k said,
I tried out the Windows 8 RP, and strongly felt that it was missing. I completely disagree with the new Metro Start menu design on a desktop computer - that is why I am sticking with Windows XP and 7 for now. Engineers don't want Metro - all these fancy effects get in the way of productivity. Apple made the same mistake with Mission Control. The first thing I do in Windows is enable the Classic theme, and turn off ALL effects (under Performance Options) - I see a big increase in productivity by doing this - try it for a day or two - you'll be surprised - windows minimizing and maximizing instantly will be the first thing you notice. The people who designed Windows 95 to XP UIs are a genius - they developed perfect UI design.

You know by doing that, you're actually decreasing the performance of your computer? Aero Glass increases performance. But keep on living ignorant.

68k said,
I tried out the Windows 8 RP, and strongly felt that it was missing. I completely disagree with the new Metro Start menu design on a desktop computer - that is why I am sticking with Windows XP and 7 for now. Engineers don't want Metro - all these fancy effects get in the way of productivity. Apple made the same mistake with Mission Control. The first thing I do in Windows is enable the Classic theme, and turn off ALL effects (under Performance Options) - I see a big increase in productivity by doing this - try it for a day or two - you'll be surprised - windows minimizing and maximizing instantly will be the first thing you notice. The people who designed Windows 95 to XP UIs are a genius - they developed perfect UI design.

Expanding on what AndrewBares said, Aero glass utilizes the GPU instead of the CPU to render the GUI. The "performance" increases you are seeing are nothing real. However, in Windows 8, it doesn't matter what GUI you're running, since there is no more "classic" option, it runs off the GPU regardless.

Speaking for myself, MS is 100% right. Anything I am going to use with any regularity gets pinned to the taskbar. I hate navigating through the start menu to launch stuff. I love the Windows 8 start screen personally, especially on devices like my TV's where I use it for a media center.

patseguin said,
Speaking for myself, MS is 100% right. Anything I am going to use with any regularity gets pinned to the taskbar. I hate navigating through the start menu to launch stuff. I love the Windows 8 start screen personally, especially on devices like my TV's where I use it for a media center.

And what about the stuff you don't use regularly? Start menu is still useful for the 1001 programs that are used but not very often.

Martin5000 said,
And what about the stuff you don't use regularly? Start menu is still useful for the 1001 programs that are used but not very often.

They're still there... works similar to 7's start menu. You got your pinned stuff up front, and then you can go digging through the list for everything else. The pinned stuff is just a lot bigger and shows more information beyond 7's jumplists.

I can't find a strong word that would not sound bad for them, therefore I say: ********

Edited by Eric, Jun 28 2012, 3:22pm :

Arceles said,
I can't find a strong word that would not sound bad for them, therefore I say: ********

Ha, too strong words for a forum like this? my country would scare any people from yours then

So they felt the need to screw over everybody that does use the start menu...
Nice resolution, MS... At least put an option in there to let people turn it back to how it was.
Obviously the "Microsoft knows best" credo isn't going over too well.

Astra.Xtreme said,
So they felt the need to screw over everybody that does use the start menu...
Nice resolution, MS... At least put an option in there to let people turn it back to how it was.
Obviously the "Microsoft knows best" credo isn't going over too well.

The start menu is still there (they even made it better), they only removed the button.

PmRd said,

The start menu is still there (they even made it better), they only removed the button.

Except that the button is still there, twice... lower left corner on mouse over. and right side charm bar..

oliver182 said,

Except that the button is still there, twice... lower left corner on mouse over. and right side charm bar..

I am fully aware of that I was talking about the classic well known start orb.

I mainly use the "start menu" for accessing the shortcuts such as "My Computer", "Downloads" ,my favorites applications and I use the search functionality when I want to lunch an executable that is not in my favorites.

I don't use the "All Programs" at all and I disable "last used documents".

I did not use Windows 8 yet (except early leaked version) but I hope it will be still easy to lunch favorites applications.

Didn't think about this until just now, but they're right. I pin my common items. In reality, I don't use that start menu for much. Of course, I don't have a problem with the Windows 8 start screen either

I guess I helped in the "Start Button Killing", because I was in winpanel, and my win7 is still sending datas. LOL.

FaiKee said,
I guess I helped in the "Start Button Killing", because I was in winpanel, and my win7 is still sending datas. LOL.

I'm also in winpanel since 2005. They're lying. I use Start hundred times a day.

xpclient said,

I'm also in winpanel since 2005. They're lying. I use Start hundred times a day.

Then my user data wiped out your user data because I used the start button less than a hundred times ever since win7RC, LOL.

Dot Matrix said,

My brother has a touch screen all in one.

My friend bought one, I installed Windows 8 on it and he just loves it.

Jarrichvdv said,

No one wants to use a touch-screen PC. The experience SUCKS.

Only real mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are good for touch.

I just got back from a trip where I took my touch enabled notebook along with. Aside from turning heads, it was fun to use, and did not hinder me in anyway. Glad to know I'm "no one" too.

xpclient said,
No one uses touchscreen PCs yet.

Maybe "no one" does yet, but that's how it's heading so we must prepare for it.
...and rid of the ugly text-based start-menu while we're at it

PmRd said,

My friend bought one, I installed Windows 8 on it and he just loves it.


He thinks it's cool. And it is. It's a cool experience, but not good for everyday use.

I still use the start menu on Windows 7. I have several of my most often used programs pinned to the taskbar, and I open other programs from either the recently opened programs on the start menu or using the start menu search. However, I'm pleased that the start menu has been removed as I much prefer Metro.

The Start Menu needed to evolve anyway. It had outlived it's usefulness by at least two releases. Plus with the advent of touch, we needed something a little more touch friendly than a list of 16x16 icons.

Like I say often.. What a bunch of cry-babies. All of your complaints are stupid because the start menu is still there with all it's functionally, if you are too stubborn to use a new, improved UI then why don't you stick to Windows 7 and stop crying it's getting old and stupid

To be fair, this article ASKED people to share their opinion about the removal of the button.

"But the question is, do you still use the start button..."

It's not like they came here and ranted without any prompt.

andrewbares said,
To be fair, this article ASKED people to share their opinion about the removal of the button.

"But the question is, do you still use the start button..."

It's not like they came here and ranted without any prompt.

Yeah the thing is that it was never actually removed

I think the only reason for removing the start button is because Mac OS don't have one. That's another step closer to Apple's interface. The only difference is that apple's applications are mutch more simpler to pin and find and finally does that means i have to eplore program files always i want to create a shortcut for a program that creates only start menu links??

cecobald said,
I think the only reason for removing the start button is because Mac OS don't have one. That's another step closer to Apple's interface. The only difference is that apple's applications are mutch more simpler to pin and find and finally does that means i have to eplore program files always i want to create a shortcut for a program that creates only start menu links??

omg.

just omg

Well I haven't used Win8 yet and don't intend to do so because that os is a lame excuse for Microsoft to get into the tablet market. Same old storyof going on the steps of other companies. And don't ask me lame questions when you don't get my point.

ahhell said,
Have you even used Win7 or Win8 before?
How much easier can it be to pin apps???????

cecobald said,
I think the only reason for removing the start button is because Mac OS don't have one. That's another step closer to Apple's interface. The only difference is that apple's applications are mutch more simpler to pin and find and finally does that means i have to eplore program files always i want to create a shortcut for a program that creates only start menu links??

I feel dumber for reading this.

cecobald said,
Well I haven't used Win8 yet and don't intend to do so because that os is a lame excuse for Microsoft to get into the tablet market. Same old storyof going on the steps of other companies. And don't ask me lame questions when you don't get my point.

LOL. I like you can pass judgement on something without having ever used it. Good show, mate.
As for "getting your point", what is your point other than "OMG AppleZ iz the bestest!!11!)?

Depicus said,
Yes during the winter I don't use my legs as much but I wouldn't chop them off

I bet there are people in the world who would chop their legs off if Apple told them to.

Mike Depo said,
I don't know why people are crying about that.. the start button is still there, only visible on mouse over..

There are in fact TWO start buttons in Windows 8, and a third one on your keyboard.

I have a lot of programs pinned in the start menu, I use it a lot unlike they say. I also use the task bar for most used apps. But I really wanted them to keep the Start menu, so I will stay with windows 7 for a while.

Confuser said,
I have a lot of programs pinned in the start menu, I use it a lot unlike they say. I also use the task bar for most used apps. But I really wanted them to keep the Start menu, so I will stay with windows 7 for a while.

Same here, I keep a minimalist desktop and, a few icons in the system tray for the most-used applications. The rest of them get launched from the Start Menu. Remember, the KISS method.

Confuser said,
I have a lot of programs pinned in the start menu, I use it a lot unlike they say. I also use the task bar for most used apps. But I really wanted them to keep the Start menu, so I will stay with windows 7 for a while.

So nothing at all has changed in Win8 for you then.

You can still pin items in the start screen, you can still launch programs from it, etc.

I wonder how many people disabled Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program. Also, people still use Start Menu since you can only pin certain number of things. I have lot of things pin but i still use Start Menu frequently. I believe Microsoft did wrong research here.

I use the start button. I ****ing hate making my taskbar a mess with heaps of pinned programs.

I have Winamp, Explorer and Skype. I wish I could **** Skype off too.

Nashy said,
I use the start button. I ****ing hate making my taskbar a mess with heaps of pinned programs.

I have Winamp, Explorer and Skype. I wish I could **** Skype off too.

Why? That's wasted space then.

Dot Matrix said,

Why? That's wasted space then.

It's a task bar like it's been in all the previous versions with a start menu. That's what I use it for. To see what I have open.

Nashy said,
I use the start button. I ****ing hate making my taskbar a mess with heaps of pinned programs.

Same here


Why? That's wasted space then.

No because the space is used when multiple apps are open. I also disable the combining/remove labels because its silly to have to hover then select the one you want when you have multiple browser windows open for example. labels = straight to the one you want.

exotoxic said,

No because the space is used when multiple apps are open. I also disable the combining/remove labels because its silly to have to hover then select the one you want when you have multiple browser windows open for example. labels = straight to the one you want.

It's the same thing as having them pinned, and it eliminates the amount of clicks to open those apps.

Dot Matrix said,

It's the same thing as having them pinned, and it eliminates the amount of clicks to open those apps.

You're 100% right, as usual. Your way is the best way, everyone else is doing it wrong.

Nashy said,

You're 100% right, as usual. Your way is the best way, everyone else is doing it wrong.

I'm just saying, you have all that space on the taskbar, why not utilize it?

Dot Matrix said,

I'm just saying, you have all that space on the taskbar, why not utilize it?

I do. When my programs are open. You'll have to forgive the tone I put off. I don't like previous posts of yours that assume your way is how we should operate. You know, like you thinking Metro is the bees knees, and not listening to ANY other argument that doesn't agree with yours. I kind of saw this argument as heading the same way.

Nashy said,

I do. When my programs are open. You'll have to forgive the tone I put off. I don't like previous posts of yours that assume your way is how we should operate. You know, like you thinking Metro is the bees knees, and not listening to ANY other argument that doesn't agree with yours. I kind of saw this argument as heading the same way.


When you pin an application to the task bar, it uses the same amount of space when it's started as when it's not started. So for applications you have open all the time (for me that's my browser, Visual Studio, DreamWeaver, Spotify etc.) it is in fact no waste at all to pin it.

Still no excuse for forcing new users to use "metro", they should at the very least give an option to bypass that hideous thing.

Order_66 said,
Still no excuse for forcing new users to use "metro", they should at the very least give an option to bypass that hideous thing.

The StartScreen is easily bypassed for most tasks involving non-RT software - it just involves re-learning how to use the Run box (which has been around since Windows 3.x). Pinning to the Taskbar is still an option, as has been the case since (surprisingly) Vista. I don't bypass the StartScreen because it's "hideous"; I bypass it for the same reason I bypass the Start menu in pre-8 Windows - clutter.

I can believe that people weren't using the start menu as much as expected, but I don't believe it's because people loved pinning things to the task bar. In my experience it's because people just dump their **** all over the desktop like they always have. At least with the start screen there's now an entire screen for things to just be dumped onto, but unfortunately I suspect the desktop will still be covered in ****.

I use it all the time, I find its the quickest way to access my user folder, computer, network locations, control panel and put the pc to sleep when not in use. Not to mention search for applications I don't use as frequently.

ahhell said,
That's what jump lists and shortcuts are for. Geez.

Geez, if only it works as good and didn't want to pin everything to the task bar.

ahhell said,
That's what jump lists and shortcuts are for. Geez.

As in a **** load of icons on the desktop? That is funny mate, very funny, no "Geez" about it.

I used a very structured start menu, that was way more efficient than the new start screen, for the many applications that I like to use, but I guess as a "power user" I am in the minority.

I think it is true to say that the majority of users only use very few apps, so a couple of icons on the desktop doesn't matter, or they fill the entire desktop with icons.

Either way, these ****tards have ruined it for the rest of us.

I see why they have made it all or nothing with the new start screen, to avoid confusing the same idiots, but Windows has always been known for giving us multiple ways of doing stuff, so for the love of God, put the code back, and let us power users enable it, MS. M'Kay?

After reading this i actually thought back over the past few months an wondered how often I really used the start menu. And it's not much.

However, it's an iconic feature in windows that I wish would just stay, as I occasionally use it to quickly access programs and search.

Andrew Lyle said,
After reading this i actually thought back over the past few months an wondered how often I really used the start menu. And it's not much.

However, it's an iconic feature in windows that I wish would just stay, as I occasionally use it to quickly access programs and search.


Keeping "iconic" features just because they're iconic could hinder progress. It would have hindered the progress of Microsoft's Metro vision if they'd kept the Start Menu in place of the Start Screen, and with a Start Button on every phone and keyboard, there really isn't need for an ugly button plonked on the end of the Taskbar (or anywhere else), in my opinion.

Calum said,

Keeping "iconic" features just because they're iconic could hinder progress. It would have hindered the progress of Microsoft's Metro vision if they'd kept the Start Menu in place of the Start Screen, and with a Start Button on every phone and keyboard, there really isn't need for an ugly button plonked on the end of the Taskbar (or anywhere else), in my opinion.

And forcing users to use new features because they're new could p*** them off or drive them away. Why come up with a solution that pleases nobody. It's not as if removing the start code has made Windows 8 significantly more lean and fast so why not leave it there? That way you give users choice. When it came to the superbar they gave users a way to restore Windows 7 to the way previous versions taskbar worked. Most people adapted to the change because it was a good change. If the same were true of Metro people would be adapting to it, and not complaining en masse.

Javik said,

And forcing users to use new features because they're new could p*** them off or drive them away.

The only ones ****ed off here are so-called "power users". Why? I have no clue, but nothing lasts forever, "power users" of all people should know that. They should also know that the 9x paradigm wasn't sustainable in today's era of computing. Look at what happened when Microsoft and its partners released Windows 7 tablets. They failed.

Dot Matrix said,

The only ones ****ed off here are so-called "power users". Why? I have no clue, but nothing lasts forever, "power users" of all people should know that. They should also know that the 9x paradigm wasn't sustainable in today's era of computing. Look at what happened when Microsoft and its partners released Windows 7 tablets. They failed.

HUH?!?!?

I have a client list neck deep full of people who can't stand Win8 who in no way can be described as Power Users.

Power users are not the only people who are lost without the Start button, dislike Metro, and find the whole Win8 experience totally confusing.

Condere said,

HUH?!?!?

I have a client list neck deep full of people who can't stand Win8 who in no way can be described as Power Users.

Power users are not the only people who are lost without the Start button, dislike Metro, and find the whole Win8 experience totally confusing.

I know of no legitimate (Those YouTube videos don't count) user who is upset at these changes other than power users. Every "Joe User" I have given my notebook to has either shrugged off the changes, and kept on going, or has turned down some or all of them, but kept on going. I did have a friend who enjoyed what the Start Screen brought, especially once they saw the live tiles in action, but I have yet to have a legitimate "angry" user.

The problem is (for the common folk) it's what most people "know" about Windows. They have always been told (when starting most tasks:) "First, Click Start...." OK most people are familiar with that. Will the Windows 8 Metro interface be easier for people to use once they get used to it? Perhaps. It will be interesting to see how well it works out, especially in a business environment.

This is not a valid way to go about it. While I completely agree that I have not used Start Menu that much, I'm a pro user. Most pro users will pin stuff to taskbar and organize their own workflow not to mention that pro users will most likely opt-in to Customer Experience Improvement program too because they understand what it is.

Start Menu was heaven for grandpas and grandmas because it was a very logical and simple way for them to find apps and stuff. Most of them don't know even know how to pin stuff or even properly use the context sensitive stuff on taskbar and popups.

I still don't understand how Microsoft could have made such a ugly combination of tablet and desktop OS and took away the most important things that made Windows approachable.

Boz said,
This is not a valid way to go about it. While I completely agree that I have not used Start Menu that much, I'm a pro user. Most pro users will pin stuff to taskbar and organize their own workflow not to mention that pro users will most likely opt-in to Customer Experience Improvement program too because they understand what it is.

Start Menu was heaven for grandpas and grandmas because it was a very logical and simple way for them to find apps and stuff. Most of them don't know even know how to pin stuff or even properly use the context sensitive stuff on taskbar and popups.

I still don't understand how Microsoft could have made such a ugly combination of tablet and desktop OS and took away the most important things that made Windows approachable.

If you're a "pro user", you almost certainly are also one of those that installs software suites via the "kitchen sink" method - install EVERYTHING. (Helpdesk folks are guilty of the same "sin" - and I admit to being just as "guilty".) Such installs are, in fact, the single biggest source of Start menu (and now StartScreen) clutter. It's why I went out of my way to *avoid* the Start menu in XP and later, and now Windows 8's own StartScreen - the clutter factor.

And to the poster below that refers to "iconic features" (though he admits that he doesn't use this particular feature), you're basically admitting that said feature is "comfort food" for you. Back away from the "mac and cheese".

Same, between the pinned icons, jump lists, and just hitting the Windows key and typing a few characters I rarely actually look at the thing anymore. The new version actually provides some info without having to run the various programs first, convenient.. although I can see it possibly being a bit confusing for those two or three people who have never seen Windows before.

Wasn't used? Who were they asking? The Start Bar search is the best thing Microsoft have implemented in a long time in my opinion, and guess what you have to click to get there.

The people who didn't disable MCEIP, which is to say apparently no one I know since everyone disabled it by default.

Interesting question here is; if it keeps tracks of things like how many people press the start button, what else do it send over?

Daedroth said,
Wasn't used? Who were they asking? The Start Bar search is the best thing Microsoft have implemented in a long time in my opinion, and guess what you have to click to get there.

Totally agree. That's the #1 thing I tell people who are new to Windows 7. Start-Search is your friend. Use it. I live by it, I hardly ever click anymore and the Windows key logos on my keyboards are worn off!

Daedroth said,
Wasn't used? Who were they asking? The Start Bar search is the best thing Microsoft have implemented in a long time in my opinion, and guess what you have to click to get there.

Yes, that search is the thing I use most but I am a keyboard person and mostly just press the "Windows" key on my keyboard and start typing. I am suspecting that this Experience Whatever tool treats "clicks on the Start Button" metric separately from the "how many times the Start Menu is opened" metric

Miuku. said,
The people who didn't disable MCEIP, which is to say apparently no one I know since everyone disabled it by default.

Interesting question here is; if it keeps tracks of things like how many people press the start button, what else do it send over?

I think it sends about half as much as Steam does, it mostly just sends clicks and usuage dat to MS. Where as Steam sends all installed progarm data to Steam.

The MCEIP is disabled by default in Windows 7. You have to seek it out and turn it on, and it's not something you're ever going to see during the day to day use of the OS. It's for this reason that I believe their data is very unindicative of the average user.

Daedroth said,
Wasn't used? Who were they asking? The Start Bar search is the best thing Microsoft have implemented in a long time in my opinion, and guess what you have to click to get there.

You can still click at the bottom left edge to get to the Metro start screen, which you can immediately start typing to perform a search. For a keyboard person, this doesn't change at all, just press the "Windows" button on the keyboard and start typing immediately.

But how often do you do "click start button" and search? You use your keyboard if you're going to use the search functionality, I'm guessing their usage shows that too. Which is the exact same usage as currently exists.

Daedroth said,
Wasn't used? Who were they asking? The Start Bar search is the best thing Microsoft have implemented in a long time in my opinion, and guess what you have to click to get there.

The "start bar" is not the same as the "start button." The article discusses the latter. I use the "start menu" all the time, but I never click on the "start button." I use the key on the keyboard.

IronChef75 said,
The MCEIP is disabled by default in Windows 7. You have to seek it out and turn it on, and it's not something you're ever going to see during the day to day use of the OS. It's for this reason that I believe their data is very unindicative of the average user.

MCEIP isn't the only way they collect user data. The Windows 7 superbar came to be by them looking at users (actually bringing them in to a lab and video taping it etc) and how they would start apps in a specific order and saw that they tried to click on the vista tab previews to go to apps and thus we get what we have in Win7.

Focus groups and other means are done all the time by MS, the "telemetry data " they talk about is not just one source.

jwmcpeak said,

The "start bar" is not the same as the "start button." The article discusses the latter. I use the "start menu" all the time, but I never click on the "start button." I use the key on the keyboard.

Yeah, I'm not sure why people are too stupid (or willfully ignorant, or just simply trolling) to figure out the difference between the start menu and the start button. The start button was removed. The start menu was replaced.

GP007 said,
MCEIP isn't the only way they collect user data. The Windows 7 superbar came to be by them looking at users (actually bringing them in to a lab and video taping it etc) and how they would start apps in a specific order and saw that they tried to click on the vista tab previews to go to apps and thus we get what we have in Win7.

Focus groups and other means are done all the time by MS, the "telemetry data " they talk about is not just one source.

Correct. Also, I am one of the individuals providing my experience data happily.

rfirth said,

Yeah, I'm not sure why people are too stupid (or willfully ignorant, or just simply trolling) to figure out the difference between the start menu and the start button. The start button was removed. The start menu was replaced.


Not all of us have the time to try out Windows 8, so I'm unfamiliar with it. I made the comment under impressions that are clearly wrong. I admit that. No need to be a dick about it.

yjwong said,

You can still click at the bottom left edge to get to the Metro start screen, which you can immediately start typing to perform a search. For a keyboard person, this doesn't change at all, just press the "Windows" button on the keyboard and start typing immediately.

And just how is the average computer user supposed to know there are invisible control points all over the screen?

The desktop version of Windows 8 should have the option to NOT autohide these control bars, because people will be looking for some way to actually use their computer the way they've been trained since childhood.

We're techies. We'll get it. But 95% of those out there still use icons on the desktop to launch everything and when they are missing something, they hunt for the Start button to find it.

Windows 8 is going to freak them out.

Yep. At work I pinned my three most used programs (Outlook, Virtualbox, Remote Desktop) to the start bar, and office stuff to the desktop and I found I didn't use the start menu as much.

cybertimber2008 said,
Yep. At work I pinned my three most used programs (Outlook, Virtualbox, Remote Desktop) to the start bar, and office stuff to the desktop and I found I didn't use the start menu as much.

Dead on. Whether we admit it or not, the Start menu (especially if you're what I call a *kitchen sink* installer - installing every possible feature of a software suite, such as Office or Visual Studio) gets cluttered really fast. And that has been true as long as the Start menu has *existed* - in other words, back to Windows 9x/NT4. Between Quick Launch (XP), Taskbar pinning (7), and the Superbar (Vista), alternatives to the Start menu have abounded. Windows 8 keeps all three alternatives. To the folks complaining about StartScreen clutter, consider this - if the StartScreen were, in fact, replaced with the Start menu, instead you'd have Start menu clutter.

PGHammer said,

Dead on. Whether we admit it or not, the Start menu (especially if you're what I call a *kitchen sink* installer - installing every possible feature of a software suite, such as Office or Visual Studio) gets cluttered really fast. And that has been true as long as the Start menu has *existed* - in other words, back to Windows 9x/NT4. Between Quick Launch (XP), Taskbar pinning (7), and the Superbar (Vista), alternatives to the Start menu have abounded. Windows 8 keeps all three alternatives. To the folks complaining about StartScreen clutter, consider this - if the StartScreen were, in fact, replaced with the Start menu, instead you'd have Start menu clutter.

PGHammer, the Superbar came with Windows 7, not Windows Vista.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
People who get "clutter" just don't know to right-click the Start Menu All Programs and click "Sort".

What do you mean? It was already organized alphabetically? How would that sort it?

The problem was that you had to scroll and scroll and scroll and open subfolders.

rfirth said,

What do you mean? It was already organized alphabetically? How would that sort it?

The problem was that you had to scroll and scroll and scroll and open subfolders.

You know you can actually organize stuff into folders if you want right ?

With me, the Stat Screen is WAY too big for what I want 90% of the time.. I open the start menu to access a calculator, or notepad, stuff like that.. when I do, I can still see my screen, see a video on youtube, see irc, see whatever I'm doing.. it takes me a second, cause the app is pinned to the top of the start menu.. It's quick and efficent. The Start Screen is neither..

Now I don't HATE the Start Screen.. it's amazing on my tablet. But on my desktop and laptop I find it gets in the way more than it doesn't.

Ryoken said,
You know you can actually organize stuff into folders if you want right ?

With me, the Stat Screen is WAY too big for what I want 90% of the time.. I open the start menu to access a calculator, or notepad, stuff like that.. when I do, I can still see my screen, see a video on youtube, see irc, see whatever I'm doing.. it takes me a second, cause the app is pinned to the top of the start menu.. It's quick and efficent. The Start Screen is neither..

Now I don't HATE the Start Screen.. it's amazing on my tablet. But on my desktop and laptop I find it gets in the way more than it doesn't.

People keep going on and on about how they can still see things behind the start screen. SO WHAT? You pressed the start button to open something quickly. That means your full attention is there. It is only open for a few seconds.

How is the start screen slower? It's just as fast if not FASTER. It takes up the whole screen because that's GOOD for the Start Screen to do. It can show more information all at once. Not only that, but everything is much larger and even easier to hit with a MOUSE AND touch. This all makes it so you can open and launch what you want even faster than the small start menu in the corner.

cybertimber2008 said,
Yep. At work I pinned my three most used programs (Outlook, Virtualbox, Remote Desktop) to the start bar, and office stuff to the desktop and I found I didn't use the start menu as much.

That good to hear for some people. The sad part is that I used to the search function in Windows 7 Startmenu.

Seriously Microsoft? Noone uses the start button anymore?? what the HELL are you smoking???? The metro start screen is NOT reviving the star menu, its turning it into a garbled full screen mess that is very unorganized and a visual disaster for people who install a lot of programs.

I would have much more respect if they just came out with it and said they wanted to unify Desktop and tablet interface. Also copying android and iOS.

zeroomegazx said,
Seriously Microsoft? Noone uses the start button anymore?? what the HELL are you smoking???? The metro start screen is NOT reviving the star menu, its turning it into a garbled full screen mess that is very unorganized and a visual disaster for people who install a lot of programs.

I would have much more respect if they just came out with it and said they wanted to unify Desktop and tablet interface. Also copying android and iOS.


Dunno you, but my Win7 start menu is cluttered too - the "All Programs" sub menu is a total mess (I blame the couple of IDEs and SDKs I've got installed).

zeroomegazx said,
Seriously Microsoft? Noone uses the start button anymore?? what the HELL are you smoking????

Perhaps you have some stats of your own that prove them wrong?

Edited by Eric, Jun 28 2012, 3:19pm :

[quote=jakem1 said,]
And do you have any stating that they are right?
Do you really think that the "Customer Experience Improvement Program" truly represent what average user does?
I joined that program as I am sure a of of people here did but just solely because we come here to read news about computing make all of us not "average" user.
Said that I am one of those people who used not so often the start menu but still I am skeptical about this data.

zeroomegazx said,
Seriously Microsoft? Noone uses the start button anymore?? what the HELL are you smoking???? The metro start screen is NOT reviving the star menu, its turning it into a garbled full screen mess that is very unorganized and a visual disaster for people who install a lot of programs.

I would have much more respect if they just came out with it and said they wanted to unify Desktop and tablet interface. Also copying android and iOS.

I dunno about you but since installing Windows 7 and pinning the apps I use every day to my taskbar my use and need for the start menu has dropped dramatically. The only time I use it is when I hit winkey and type some app name and even that is a few times a week at best.

zeroomegazx said,
Seriously Microsoft? Noone uses the start button anymore?? what the HELL are you smoking???? The metro start screen is NOT reviving the star menu, its turning it into a garbled full screen mess that is very unorganized and a visual disaster for people who install a lot of programs.

I would have much more respect if they just came out with it and said they wanted to unify Desktop and tablet interface. Also copying android and iOS.


Ok. I stopped myself for a moment and thought: why did they do this?
Then the reason popped up in my mind: It's the only way for metro to work.

If you have a metro app on the left screen and the desktop on the right, do you know how uncomfortable it will be to click the orb? It won't be on an edge anymore...

Think about it...

georgevella said,

Dunno you, but my Win7 start menu is cluttered too - the "All Programs" sub menu is a total mess (I blame the couple of IDEs and SDKs I've got installed).

The Win 7 start menu doesn't forcibly slap itself into my face every time I start my computer

GP007 said,

I dunno about you but since installing Windows 7 and pinning the apps I use every day to my taskbar my use and need for the start menu has dropped dramatically. The only time I use it is when I hit winkey and type some app name and even that is a few times a week at best.

My usage has dropped some as well, I pin some very much used programs to my taskbar but you cant pin too many or you start getting levels of taskbar in use after you open some non pinned programs.

The Metro Tiles are fine, but when you start adding start menu stuff to it it look like a non power users desktop covered in icons. Its very hard to find things visually in that mess. The start menu/metro screen should be easy on the eyes no matter how many programs you have installed. I thought the Win 7 Menu did this well. It kept in neat and small. Metro just makes your screen looks like someone loaded all your shortcuts in a sawed off and shot your screen with them.

GP007 said,

I dunno about you but since installing Windows 7 and pinning the apps I use every day to my taskbar my use and need for the start menu has dropped dramatically. The only time I use it is when I hit winkey and type some app name and even that is a few times a week at best.

This is exactly the same experience I had. I've pinned my most used apps so I rarely use the start button. I'm starting to think a lot of people never use that option when its makes launching apps so much faster!

[quote=Fritzly said,]

First of all I didn't claim that the statistics are wrong so it's not up to me to prove anything.

Secondly, Microsoft have absolutely no reason to fudge the figures so unless you can come up with some statistics that support your claim that Microsoft's figures aren't representative your assumptions are meaningless.

GP007 said,
my use and need for the start menu has dropped dramatically.

Using it less doesn't mean it not usefull and need to disappear.

10 years from now, all those claiming for the death of XP, will be claiming for the death of Win 7 and everybody will be hanging on to it. I guess, they call that the circle of life.

Captain555 said,

Using it less doesn't mean it not usefull and need to disappear.

10 years from now, all those claiming for the death of XP, will be claiming for the death of Win 7 and everybody will be hanging on to it. I guess, they call that the circle of life.

Well, it hasn't really disappeared it's just been replaced. If you can get used to using the new thing then ok but if you never really used the start menu much because you pinned apps then the change is less of an issue for you.

I can live with the start screen because I don't have to always go back to it 30 times a day or something. I have 16 items pinned to my taskbar in win7 and I'm on a 22" screen, I also have a few more apps open like Outlook but minimized to the systray. There are only a few apps I don't have pinned or hidden in the tray that I'll probably use once a week or even less. For those, for me, having the start screen come up for a bit while I open them isn't such a big deal.

jakem1 said

Secondly, Microsoft have absolutely no reason to fudge the figures so unless you can come up with some statistics that support your claim that Microsoft's figures aren't representative your assumptions are meaningless.

You're very naive aren't you.

Javik said,

The Win 7 start menu doesn't forcibly slap itself into my face every time I start my computer

Neither does the Start Screen.

[quote=jakem1 said,]

So if I want to support my point of view I do not need to present statistics in a way that will back it up? I do not know if you are familiar with "Statistics magic" but it is well known that is quite easy to present them to support a statement or, using the same data, present them to indicate the opposite.
Finally the same fact that the source of the data is the"Customer Experience Improvement Program" prove how they are not indicative at of what a real, average user do.

georgevella said,

Dunno you, but my Win7 start menu is cluttered too - the "All Programs" sub menu is a total mess (I blame the couple of IDEs and SDKs I've got installed).

True, but for me when I increased the number of "recent apps" to like 20, the start menu became much more useful.

Dot Matrix said,

Neither does the Start Screen.


Unless you do a workaround, the first thing you'll find when booting up is this big guy.

Jose_49 said,
Unless you do a workaround, the first thing you'll find when booting up is this big guy.

Actually makes sense in a way.. typically the first thing you'd be doing on a desktop system is launching a program, not admiring the desktop wallpaper.

zeroomegazx said,
Seriously Microsoft? Noone uses the start button anymore?? what the HELL are you smoking???? The metro start screen is NOT reviving the star menu, its turning it into a garbled full screen mess that is very unorganized and a visual disaster for people who install a lot of programs.

I would have much more respect if they just came out with it and said they wanted to unify Desktop and tablet interface. Also copying android and iOS.

As an IT pro I use the Run dialog box and Powershell more than I do the start menu. Still, it's painfully obvious to anyone paying attention that they are looking for a more cohesive user experience with their tiles on Windows Phone, Xbox 360, and Windows 8 with Metro. They are finally playing catch up, and finally accomplishing their dream of tablets that are usable. They tried in the XP days and failed pretty hard. You'll say they are copying Android/Apple, but they aren't: They've had tablets before either of them (except for Apple's early prototypes).

Javik said,

The Win 7 start menu doesn't forcibly slap itself into my face every time I start my computer

Copy the Desktop.lnk shortcut to the startup folder. Problem solved.

Max Norris said,

Actually makes sense in a way.. typically the first thing you'd be doing on a desktop system is launching a program, not admiring the desktop wallpaper.

But... but....

[quote=Fritzly said,]

Precisely! The people who really use the hell out of Windows don't click the "yes" button on the improvement program.

The people who leave that checked don't use the Start button because they are STILL using icons on the desktop to launch everything!

No wonder their approach is so skewed...

JAB Creations said,
Once again Microsoft knows all, isn't copying some fad Apple device and is completely infallible.

Here is my "old and outdated" start menu in XP that I use probably dozens of times a day... note quick launch.
http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/5338/xpstartmenu.png

Yup... I can see how thats more productive then having programs pinned to the task bar... on the Metro start screen. I mean of course it's easier going Start, All Programs, Games.... then just selecting the damned thing from the task bar.

JAB, I've seen you on here commenting on Windows articles all the time... always talking up XP. To each there own I guess but that start menu is not user friendly.

Lamp Post said,

What reason would Microsoft have to fudge the figures?

Because the internal blowback against the GUI mistakes of Windows 8 on the desktop is finally reaching the ears of Ballmer and others?

Lamp Post said,

What reason would Microsoft have to fudge the figures?

If you honestly have to ask such a question, you're probably just as naive.

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

zeroomegazx said,

My usage has dropped some as well, I pin some very much used programs to my taskbar but you cant pin too many or you start getting levels of taskbar in use after you open some non pinned programs.

The Metro Tiles are fine, but when you start adding start menu stuff to it it look like a non power users desktop covered in icons. Its very hard to find things visually in that mess. The start menu/metro screen should be easy on the eyes no matter how many programs you have installed. I thought the Win 7 Menu did this well. It kept in neat and small. Metro just makes your screen looks like someone loaded all your shortcuts in a sawed off and shot your screen with them.

that's why when you hit a key stroke on metro, u get search results