Microsoft: Start button was 'warm blanket' taken from Windows 8

Microsoft made a decision to take away both the Start menu and button from the desktop of Windows 8 in 2012. That move proved to be highly unpopular, so the Start button returned in Windows 8.1, and Microsoft will launch a new version of the Start menu in a future version of the operating system.

In an interview with CNET, Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager lead on Windows, said that when the team was first developing Windows 8, there was lengthy internal debate about whether or not the desktop Start button would be included.  He said: "It's not like someone sits there and says, 'There will be no start button.' It's a long discussion. A very, very long discussion."

Ultimately, the decision to ditch the Start button was one that many, perhaps most, of the people who used Windows 8 felt was a mistake. Sareen compared the feeling to that of a "warm blanket" that is suddenly taken away from a person. He added, "There are some times when you have to take a bet, and there are times when you have to adjust what you're doing."

That is exactly what Microsoft did with the release of Windows 8.1 one year after Windows 8's launch, and again with Windows 8.1 Update coming just six months after that. Sareen says that quick response will continue for future Windows updates, stating, "You better believe that we are faster and faster responding to feedback than before." The big question is will those updates will come fast enough to energize sales of Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets.

Source: CNET | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Apple announces WWDC 2014 for June 2, tickets to be sold via lottery

Next Story

Development continues on Windows Phone 8.1; final build expected April 14th

161 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The stupid Start Menu is *not* the "Desktop interface", Macs don't have it and never have and the desktop interface was basically born there. In fact the Start Menu is a major detriment for the desktop interface. It takes away from the desktop interface.

I'm never using that stupid Start Menu again. Screw it.

When win8 was launched , I read MS said there is no plan B as it was all metro and metro crap lovers were beating their chest that give some chance to metro and it will be best thing after sliced bread. Now fast forward 2 years and this metro fad went in to drain.

"Desktop" interface is not a warm blanket but a bulletproof vest.

And no, it is not about a lousy button. Silly MS that doesn't know the difference between the start menu and the start button.

Yes, MS it was indeed warm blanket taken of but it was not the user who lost but your company lost billions in sales revenue and bad image for your company. The only looser in win 8 fiasco has been you only.

Making everything full screen on a Desktop is the biggest stupidity EVER, there is no bigger stupidity than that, it is not Windows anymore it is !#@!#@#@%

I really, really wanted to know where the stupidity is coming from, and today it is crystal clear!

Full screen apps are perfect for phones and tablets, but not desktops, like the ocean is perfect for fish, not the land.

john.smith_2084 said,
Making everything full screen on a Desktop is the biggest stupidity EVER, there is no bigger stupidity than that, it is not Windows anymore it is !#@!#@#@%

I really, really wanted to know where the stupidity is coming from, and today it is crystal clear!

Full screen apps are perfect for phones and tablets, but not desktops, like the ocean is perfect for fish, not the land.

Good news then, you can snap the apps. Have you tried that yet? Fullscreen apps are great for reducing on screen clutter.

Dot Matrix said,

Good news then, you can snap the apps. Have you tried that yet? Fullscreen apps are great for reducing on screen clutter.

Snapping is pretty terrible on a big screen.

Good thing they're going to allow modern apps to run windowed with update 2. I NEVER use modern apps on my desktop with a 30" screen other than Netflix. Now I might actually use them with windowed mode.

They work fine on my 12.5" tablet but are pretty stupid on my 30" desktop.

I liked the start SCREEN though. Fits more shortcuts than the start menu did.

mrp04 said,

Snapping is pretty terrible on a big screen.

Good thing they're going to allow modern apps to run windowed with update 2. I NEVER use modern apps on my desktop with a 30" screen other than Netflix. Now I might actually use them with windowed mode.

They work fine on my 12.5" tablet but are pretty stupid on my 30" desktop.

I liked the start SCREEN though. Fits more shortcuts than the start menu did.

Snapping works great on my 22 inch screen. Not sure why it would be any different on a 30.

Dot Matrix said,

Snapping works great on my 22 inch screen. Not sure why it would be any different on a 30.

Because it just sucks. Apps must extend all the way from top to bottom. Want to open 3 programs at once? Well now you have three small slivers on your screen. Sometimes on my desktop I'll have a program on the left half of the screen and one in the top right and one in the bottom right. Can't do that in modern.

Switching between programs is also terribly inefficient. My taskbar has 23 items on it right now. That would just be horrid in modern UI. How do you effectively switching between that many windows? You can't.

In Modern you have to move to the left corner and then to the center of the screen, grab the item that you want and then drag it to where you want it. On the desktop you can just simply click the window in the taskbar and it's back to where you had it. 1 click vs swipe to corner then center, click and drag, and then drop.

mrp04 said,

Because it just sucks. Apps must extend all the way from top to bottom. Want to open 3 programs at once? Well now you have three small slivers on your screen. Sometimes on my desktop I'll have a program on the left half of the screen and one in the top right and one in the bottom right. Can't do that in modern.

Switching between programs is also terribly inefficient. My taskbar has 23 items on it right now. That would just be horrid in modern UI. How do you effectively switching between that many windows? You can't.

In Modern you have to move to the left corner and then to the center of the screen, grab the item that you want and then drag it to where you want it. On the desktop you can just simply click the window in the taskbar and it's back to where you had it. 1 click vs swipe to corner then center, click and drag, and then drop.

How the heck do you have 23 items open? I have NEVER seen a user with that many things open at a time. Not even developers.

Dot Matrix said,
How the heck do you have 23 items open? I have NEVER seen a user with that many things open at a time. Not even developers.

Really? 23 isn't even that many...

Dot Matrix said,

How the heck do you have 23 items open? I have NEVER seen a user with that many things open at a time. Not even developers.


Then you haven't worked where I've worked, with users having so many windows open at once it's a miracle they even know what they're doing. Three CATIA windows, two Unigraphics Windows, multiple emails (each in their own window), a half dozen spreadsheets, and more...

Then they complain about how slow their machines are running, and why can't we do anything about it... and the suggestion that they close programs they're not using gets you a nasty look and a few choice words that can't be published.

john.smith_2084 said,
Making everything full screen on a Desktop is the biggest stupidity EVER, there is no bigger stupidity than that, it is not Windows anymore it is !#@!#@#@%

Windows 8 Modern UI : "now without window". genius!. /s

Tal Greywolf said,

Then you haven't worked where I've worked, with users having so many windows open at once it's a miracle they even know what they're doing. Three CATIA windows, two Unigraphics Windows, multiple emails (each in their own window), a half dozen spreadsheets, and more...

Then they complain about how slow their machines are running, and why can't we do anything about it... and the suggestion that they close programs they're not using gets you a nasty look and a few choice words that can't be published.

I've seen people who work like that. 20 spreadsheets, 30 Word docs, 15 IE windows, and the slowness is a problem with the computer. Or negligence on my part since I haven't done routine maintenance. Of course, for that the user would have to relinquish the system for half an hour . . .

DConnell said,

I've seen people who work like that. 20 spreadsheets, 30 Word docs, 15 IE windows, and the slowness is a problem with the computer. Or negligence on my part since I haven't done routine maintenance. Of course, for that the user would have to relinquish the system for half an hour . . .


Been there, done that, got the tentacle hickeys to show for it.

Finally someone at Microsoft has some sense. There's nothing stopping them developing Metro, but just don't ram it down the throats of everyone (desktop users) in order to push your mobile agenda.

And at the same time, don't ram an outdated design down the throats of everyone who chooses to use traditional high-power stationary machines. (Don't make us use the desktop UI & menu by default)

Not every user needs the Start Menu, or is clinging to the desktop metaphor. When/if Metro apps become more robust, I'd have no problem never using the desktop again.

It's the programs that matter to me, not their operating enviroment. I don't care about keeping the desktop, apart from the programs that only exist for it.

I'm a tower system and laptop user. Desktop (UI), not so much, except for the stuff that there isn't a Modern equivalent yet. To me the desktop is a necessary element for the programs, not a requirement in itself.

It's not a given that someone who likes a full-size computer necessarily prefers the desktop UI. That's why I've stopped referring to transitional machines as "desktops" - I haven't had a computer actually on my desk since the 90s.

simplezz said,
..... just don't ram it down the throats of everyone (desktop users) in order to push your mobile agenda.

After seeing Modern Office, I don't ever want to go back to the desktop, even on my desktop form factors.

My point exactly. Stationary PC and desktop UI are not inextricably joined. There are other ways of using a computer and other UIs that are just as effective.

simplezz said,
Finally someone at Microsoft has some sense. There's nothing stopping them developing Metro, but just don't ram it down the throats of everyone (desktop users) in order to push your mobile agenda.

What else are you going to use going forward? I highly doubt there will be very many developers left coding for Win32 now that Microsoft has unified their platforms.

Dot Matrix said,

What else are you going to use going forward? I highly doubt there will be very many developers left coding for Win32 now that Microsoft has unified their platforms.

Programs for getting actual work done will remain Win32. You often want high density UIs with many controls just 1 click away. That's hard to do in modern apps.

But windowed modern apps will make them a lot more useful and get more people to develop them. Previously you had to choose Win32 or modern and they can't easily be used at the same time. You could snap the desktop but I hated doing that, it resizes my windowed things. Blegh. Now with the ability to run modern apps in a window there won't be much reason not to make the app a modern app if it doesn't need a high density UI since you'll then be able to effectively use it on either a tablet or a desktop.

Dot Matrix said,

Office disagrees...

They're not discontinuing office on desktop, they're just making modern versions. Those are useful for tablets. But when you want to use a large screen with a desktop or a docked tablet the windows version is a lot better. Switching between programs, copy and paste, drag and drop, and much more isn't possible in Modern.

Maybe with the capability to run modern apps in a window this will change. Hopefully they also allow drag and drop functionality on windowed modern apps. Then it will change from being a totally different interface that runs in the same OS to just another way of creating an app that scales better across screen sizes.

mrp04 said,

Switching between programs, copy and paste, drag and drop, and much more isn't possible in Modern.

... Of course it is! I can drag and drop in Mail, as well as copy and paste into various Modern applications daily! Where are you getting that you can't do this? In fact, here's evidence: http://imgur.com/YCJi1gl

Edited by Dot Matrix, Apr 4 2014, 1:53am :

mrp04 said,

They're not discontinuing office on desktop, they're just making modern versions. Those are useful for tablets. But when you want to use a large screen with a desktop or a docked tablet the windows version is a lot better. Switching between programs, copy and paste, drag and drop, and much more isn't possible in Modern.

Maybe with the capability to run modern apps in a window this will change. Hopefully they also allow drag and drop functionality on windowed modern apps. Then it will change from being a totally different interface that runs in the same OS to just another way of creating an app that scales better across screen sizes.

To add to my above comment, you can also drag and drop tiles on the start screen.

What seems to be happening then is that they keep debating everything for a very long time then making totally wrong and moronic usability decisions. No wonder windows has just got worse and worse recently. They need to find people who aren't like this, and who can make good sound decisions that result in usability improvement not decisions that have to be reversed because they were just plain bad moves.

It's a pity because MS was a great innovator once, but not anymore.

Robert Wade said,
Sheesh, bunch of children.

So people provide feedback about a product, and they're called children? Riiiight.

Robert Wade said,
...more like a SECURITY blanket like the one Linus carries around. Sheesh, bunch of children.

It is not our guilt that MS decided to sell a Windows with a Fisher Price interface.

Robert Wade said,
...more like a SECURITY blanket like the one Linus carries around. Sheesh, bunch of children.

More like a bunch of professional people who have work to do and can't deal with UI changes that make no sense in their environment.

Been using windows since the early 90's and with Win95 till today I always hated the Start menu and never barely used it. It was much more efficient to bookmark shortcuts to your taskbar or before that feature was enabled keep your most used shortcuts in a folder on your desktop.

The start menu was always just a dynamic mess of tree'd crap so I never understood why people were so attached to it. I much prefer the metro start screen to the crappy old start menu.

I have to admit that opening programs got slower for me moving from windows 3.1 to windows 95 because of all of the folders you had to click through, but then again I didn't have the number of programs on win3.1 that I did on win95+. That program was mostly alleviated with IE4/Win98 quick launch and later being able to easily pin icons to the start menu.

Though when they changed the start menu from folding out on over flow to scrolling, it annoyed the hell out of me.

Whats interesting is the fact that Microsoft is pretty much treating the first release of their OS's like Windows 8 as a beta. Sure we have the actual Beta's, but those that use those are power users, which are not the general consumer.

wv@gt said,
Whats interesting is the fact that Microsoft is pretty much treating the first release of their OS's like Windows 8 as a beta. Sure we have the actual Beta's, but those that use those are power users, which are not the general consumer.
XBox One effect? :p

He is wrong again. The Windows Shell team doesn't really get good usability any more. The Start screen's design is not optimal for non-touch devices even if it somewhat works with mouse/keyboard. Size of elements can be much smaller like it was in the menu. Merging touch+keyboard/mouse UIs requires design compromises on both sides. Calling something that is more efficient as a warm blanket means they haven't really understood what the problem was but are still including the Start menu option regardless.

This is exactly the problem. They tried to make one interface for keyboard/mouse and touch which meant compromises on both sides. This is what sucks.

UXGaurav said,
He is wrong again. The Windows Shell team doesn't really get good usability any more. The Start screen's design is not optimal for non-touch devices even if it somewhat works with mouse/keyboard. Size of elements can be much smaller like it was in the menu. Merging touch+keyboard/mouse UIs requires design compromises on both sides. Calling something that is more efficient as a warm blanket means they haven't really understood what the problem was but are still including the Start menu option regardless.

You can make the tile smaller. However, too small elements become an annoyance, I don't care for. I want to be able to see the stuff on my screens, not squint for them.

How are larger targets for your cursor not optimal? You can make the case that they don't have to be that large, but how does the icon being larger somehow make the mouse less effective with it?

Surely having a larger target would make using the mouse easier? Especially mice that need to be cleaned and don't always move as precisely as you would like.

DConnell said,
Surely having a larger target would make using the mouse easier? Especially mice that need to be cleaned and don't always move as precisely as you would like.

How long has it been since a mouse needed cleaning? Maybe they need to change their mouse pad out too since it is getting worn out.

RangerLG said,

How long has it been since a mouse needed cleaning? Maybe they need to change their mouse pad out too since it is getting worn out.

You'd be quite surprised. I know quite a few people who still deploy them as to prevent theft. You want to steal, fine, here's a crappy, put-of-date mouse that you can have.

Surely we aren't seriously debating that Windows' UI has to depend on a vanishingly small percentage of users deliberately using old mice to prevent theft! :o

DConnell said,
How are larger targets for your cursor not optimal? You can make the case that they don't have to be that large, but how does the icon being larger somehow make the mouse less effective with it?

Surely having a larger target would make using the mouse easier? Especially mice that need to be cleaned and don't always move as precisely as you would like.

Larger targets for cursor make no difference for users who have attained mouse dexterity. Also larger icons means less icons fit on the screen which means more scrolling. Less scrolling required=better for mouse users. Got it? For example, in the XP style flyout menu, I can accomodate 132 icons at my resolution vs Start screen's 52 in its App View.

That makes about as much sense as the assertion that the Start Screen tiles are somehow too big to click on effectively . . .

Dot Matrix said,

You can make the tile smaller. However, too small elements become an annoyance, I don't care for. I want to be able to see the stuff on my screens, not squint for them.

Yes but at the smaller tile size, the text disappears and you need to hover over the tile and wait for the tooltip to recognize it. At smaller sizes in the menu, text was always visible next to it. Some people rely on text entirely to recognize items, not icons. :)

The scrolling takes less effort and movement than click-click-clicking through the submenus. Less effort required = more efficient = better for mouse users.

I can find anything I need on the screen in a fraction of the time it took on the menu. Rolling the scroll wheel a bit is a small price to pay for more productivity.

UXGaurav said,

Yes but at the smaller tile size, the text disappears and you need to hover over the tile and wait for the tooltip to recognize it. At smaller sizes in the menu, text was always visible next to it. Some people rely on text entirely to recognize items, not icons. :)

Well, when you're swimming in a sea of vanilla folders, you needed that text. Now that that sea has been dissolved, you don't need the text anymore.

DConnell said,
The scrolling takes less effort and movement than click-click-clicking through the submenus. Less effort required = more efficient = better for mouse users.

I can find anything I need on the screen in a fraction of the time it took on the menu. Rolling the scroll wheel a bit is a small price to pay for more productivity.

You don't have to click-click-click for your most frequently used programs in the menu at all. They're right there when you open the menu. And unlike the Apps View, the MFU list is free of junk shortcuts like ReadMe, Uninstall etc. On laptops which are the most common device with the mouse pointer today, the touchpads are crappy for reliable and precise scrolling. Scrolling with the bottom scrollbar is not convenient, in fact in Update 1, the Taskbar suddenly pops up if the pointer touches the bottom edge.

Dot Matrix said,

Well, when you're swimming in a sea of vanilla folders, you needed that text. Now that that sea has been dissolved, you don't need the text anymore.

Folders or direct shortcuts, text is easier to identify icons than just plain icons. For the same reason, the Apps View of the Start screen is more efficient than the Tiled view, but unfortunately, you can't drag and drop items in apps View, and junk shortcuts like Uninstall, Readme show due to the removal of folders. In Tiles View, Medium is the only usable size at which the text shows.

UXGaurav said,

Larger targets for cursor make no difference for users who have attained mouse dexterity. Also larger icons means less icons fit on the screen which means more scrolling. Less scrolling required=better for mouse users. Got it? For example, in the XP style flyout menu, I can accomodate 132 icons at my resolution vs Start screen's 52 in its App View.

It's all the old people whining about the change that haven't achieved mouse dexterity. They should like the bigger targets.

UXGaurav said,

Folders or direct shortcuts, text is easier to identify icons than just plain icons. For the same reason, the Apps View of the Start screen is more efficient than the Tiled view, but unfortunately, you can't drag and drop items in apps View, and junk shortcuts like Uninstall, Readme show due to the removal of folders. In Tiles View, Medium is the only usable size at which the text shows.

Apps view in the start screen is terrible.

mrp04 said,
It's all the old people whining about the change that haven't achieved mouse dexterity. They should like the bigger targets.
They certainly do from what I've seen, but many on the other hand claim they're the same ones who apparently cannot understand the Start Screen for some reason. Don't know how that's possible unless they're completely senile.

UXGaurav said,

You don't have to click-click-click for your most frequently used programs in the menu at all. They're right there when you open the menu. And unlike the Apps View, the MFU list is free of junk shortcuts like ReadMe, Uninstall etc. On laptops which are the most common device with the mouse pointer today, the touchpads are crappy for reliable and precise scrolling. Scrolling with the bottom scrollbar is not convenient, in fact in Update 1, the Taskbar suddenly pops up if the pointer touches the bottom edge.

That's assuming the program you need is among the half-dozen or so that will easily be pinned to the Menu, or the 10 that shows up in the MFU list (on my system at work it's 10 anyway).

On the Screen you can have your favorites pinned front and center, and the rest categorized in neat groups based on function, frequency of use, color, or whatever else makes sense to you. Plus the Screen can hold a lot more than the Menu pins or MFP list, even on a small display. And if the program you want isn't on the Screen to start, it's just a twitch of your scroll wheel finger to bring it into view.

And the Start Screen, at least in 8.1, is also free of junk, in fact, it's free by default of anything you don't want on it. It's clutter-free unless you clutter it up.

Some users really like the start screen while others hate it. Sounds like Microsoft was about as divided as the rest of the internet. I'm liking the new implementation of the start button. It looks like a much better blend of desktop and metro. This should make it much easier for users to switch between desktops and tablets with OneDrive to make the experience more seamless. Sucks that Microsoft had to go through all that just to get to where they are now, but at least they were ballsy enough to try.

"Warm blanket" or not, there comes a point where you have to move on. We're not all Linus Van Pelt. At some point the security blanket needs to go, It just seems that MS yanked it away too fast.

Note that there is a difference between "warm blanket" and "security blanket". A "warm blanket" is actually doing something useful and making you comfortable.

DConnell said,
At some point the security blanket needs to go, It just seems that MS yanked it away too fast.
Agree. Taking the analogy further they needed to slowly prod their users and then wait for them to "grow up" before discarding their once-favorite but now worn out and bedraggled blanket. :) Of course how long they need to wait is always going to be up for debate.

Rather than waiting, MS should have started the process years ago. This change is long overdue. The same basic tired design should never have been kept for 20 years.

DConnell said,
Rather than waiting, MS should have started the process years ago. This change is long overdue. The same basic tired design should never have been kept for 20 years.

Yes, round tires have worked for over 100 years, let's move on to square ones.

/s

IMO it's more like we had hexagonal tires, and people are resisting the switch to round ones. The hex tires worked ok for 20 years, why should we try these new round ones?

DConnell said,
Rather than waiting, MS should have started the process years ago.
That's assuming they could have come up with this years ago, plus they'd have thought why upset the apple-cart unnecessarily when it's still bringing in the dough? The decline in PC sales is what finally pushed them to react.

Maybe they wouldn't have come up with Modern, but a little more experimentation would have been a good idea, if only to prevent the now-firmly entrenched idea that Windows must never ever change. Ever.

Besides, who knows what we'd have now if Microsoft hadn't gotten lazy with UI design? Maybe something better than either Menu or Screen . . . But we'll never know because MS chose to just keep slapping fresh paint on the same makeshift shack.

I get what you're saying, but your approach has significant drawbacks too. One of course being how often do they experiment to prevent "UI burn-in" :), and second being how successful would they have even been if they'd kept changing their UI drastically? Most users and even more so enterprises would abhor such frequent changes (even if for the better), and minor changes they'd been doing anyway (except probably only in two cases i.e. Win95 and Win8).

DConnell said,
Even still, you can't stay bundled up on the couch forever, no matter how warm the blanket is.

Maybe not, but I can take that warm blanket with me to keep me warm wherever I go.

RockmanNeo said,
MS has learned that people don't like change (and a sudden one at that).
But progress is what people like.

People like changes, but good ones ;)

RockmanNeo said,
MS has learned that people don't like change (and a sudden one at that).
But progress is what people like.

The weird thing is, the change of removing the start menu isn't what the critics actually hated. They just used it as a target for their larger discomfort at feeling like the desktop paradigm was going away.

That's why critics always launched into extensive narratives about how keyboard+mouse was all anyone needed, why touch apps can never ever be as productive as keyboard+mouse apps no matter what developments come along in the future, why metro was "still okay for tablets", and so on.

They don't care about the start menu. They care about fighting off the invasion of the touch-enabled UI into their cozy clicky-button world.

A similar thing happened on smartphones when physical buttons were more and more taken away in favor of putting everything into software touch commands.

But the reality is, if the desktop never ever changes and merges a little with a more modern paradigm, then it'll fall by the wayside and die as far as the consumer market is concerned. Yeah, workstations will continue to exist, but who the hell will care? They'll just be bought by employers for their employees to use. No new technology will happen there.

All you ever have to do to know what direction consumer computing is headed in is ask yourself "Where are advances actually happening right now?" There have been absolutely zero advancements in desktop computing in years, shy of boring speed increases/size decreases. Nothing genuinely new. No new devices, no new sensors, no nothing.

It's a matter of leaving well enough alone. I don't know about you, but I find no productive hindrances on my desktop - at work or play. If you're going to try to improve something that's working fine and in the process make is less intuitive - you've failed. We don't have to change things for the sake of changing them - especially when they work just fine.

They changed from the wrong direction. They approached it from the touch interface side when hardly anybody is using a touch screen Windows device. They should have made it keyboard and mouse focused with a gradual shift to touch interfaces. They did exactly what most people would not want.

GarakObama said,
They changed from the wrong direction. They approached it from the touch interface side when hardly anybody is using a touch screen Windows device.
They probably felt just the touch interface would drive the adoption of touch screen Windows devices. Given so many of their users have bought touch screen devices from their competitors they must have thought they'd see similar uptake, ignoring the fact that they were late to market which further lead to a yawning gap in app availability (definitely much better now though).

Gradual shift from Start Menu to Screen is fine (by having the choice and then taking it away in Win9 or 10) but not too sure about the theory when it comes to moving people from KB+mouse to a touch interface. How exactly do you gradually shift desktop users to a touch screen device and then introduce more touch support in the OS, or introduce touch support for desktop users who have no use for it in the hope that it will make them buy a touch screen device? They should have made even more radical changes, but from the beginning have tailored the UI to the device or current configuration. That way people would have experienced the best UI no matter what their preferred input scenario was.

GarakObama said,
They changed from the wrong direction. They approached it from the touch interface side when hardly anybody is using a touch screen Windows device. They should have made it keyboard and mouse focused with a gradual shift to touch interfaces. They did exactly what most people would not want.

No, Microsoft is not prepared to concede the touch screen market to Apple, which is essentially what you're advocating. Believe it or not, tablets are making a huge play in the computing space, and if Microsoft didn't put in a serious entry into this space, they simply wouldn't be a player at all.

People can moan about the loss of the start menu all they want (I personally agree the removal of the button wasn't the best idea), but Windows 7 on a tablet is just rubbish and would only serve to push more people into the iPad and away from Microsoft's ecosystem.

Your thought that it should be keyboard and mouse focused highlights ignorance more than anything, because it is highly keyboard and mouse focused. Keyboard+Mouse doesn't just drop off as soon as you leave the desktop, it works just as well in Metro too.

Microsoft has effectively two battles they have to fight, there's the touch-friendly battle to capture the sales of consumers who want tablets, and there's the "cool factor". Apple produces a product which is perceived by the public to be what a tablet is, and to Microsoft that's a massive loss. You've got to remember, when people think PC they think Windows; when people think tablet they think iPad. That's not something Microsoft can afford to let stick, because it then translates into other product categories and eventually an erosion of their product base.

Microsoft's fusion approach is IMO the best way to do it, because it provides the benefits of both worlds in one device, rather than the split companion model of the competition. The trick is to provide it in a way that allows both styles to coexist happily on the same device.

It's a new way of thinking that is having teething issues, but they're working to address these properly to make the product a no compromises product that all customers can enjoy, which is what makes Windows so powerful.

Unfortunately, the removal of the start button and upgrade of the start menu only served to fuel the fires of ignorant masses who weren't prepared to accept anyone else's view but their own, and well, we know the rest.

Change is often a painful thing, but you need to do it to open new doors and new opportunities for growth. To continue on their merry way to satisfy the whining of some people would only lead them to a path of obsolescence in a changing world. Remember, this isn't the first time Microsoft's made big changes that upset loud-mouthed people. Almost every version of Windows has introduced changes that people decried would be disastrous and waah waah, but given time they started to appreciate the changes and accept them. The difference is this time, some people aren't prepared to give any ground, for better or worse.

'' The big question is will those updates will come fast enough to energize sales of Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets ''

For tablets the modern UI is great. Microsoft has to be very careful that they dont hurt the experience for tablet users as they 'fix' Windows 8 for desktop users. I do think it should be possible to make the UI adaptable to various platforms. It should also be possible to integrate the desktop in the new experience for those that want it.

However I'm unsure about the current direction they're taking it. I mean they add one of the charms to the taskbar (start button), they throw a search charm on the startscreen yet the rest of the charms are still in the touch friendtly, but mouse-unfriendly, hidden location. Why not add all charms to the taskbar? They're already adding all apps to the tasbar. They could make it in such a way that none of those gestures are needed when you're using a mouse. And at the same time they keep the experience consistent across input. I mean you still have the charms and appswitcher, they're just brought onscreen by taskbar. Instead they fracture the UI by smearing some charms all over the UI and keeping some touch only. Makes no sense!

The tablet UI won't change, think this was mentioned somewhere. Regarding the mixed message I think a more refined approach will have to wait for Win9. These are just (relatively) quick fixes to dampen the biggest points of criticism.

Romero said,
The tablet UI won't change, think this was mentioned somewhere. Regarding the mixed message I think a more refined approach will have to wait for Win9. These are just (relatively) quick fixes to dampen the biggest points of criticism.

I hope you're right. Although the Windows team hasn't convinced me. They did say the touch UI would remain the same with regards to update 1. When they showed the 'road map' and the startmenu they never said what the impact would be for touch users.

Ronnet said,
When they showed the 'road map' and the startmenu they never said what the impact would be for touch users.
If this is optional (and I hope for their sake it is), then the impact on touch users should be nil because they can continue using the existing UI. The Start Screen and Metro UI does indeed work well for touch and I don't think there's much debate about this point.

[quote=Ronnet saidHowever I'm unsure about the current direction they're taking it. I mean they add one of the charms to the taskbar (start button), they throw a search charm on the startscreen yet the rest of the charms are still in the touch friendtly, but mouse-unfriendly, hidden location. Why not add all charms to the taskbar?[/quote]

One could argue that you should learn to use the keyboard shortcuts to make them more friendly. WinKey+C makes the charms much more mouse friendly, and it doesn't clutter the taskbar with context-sensitive actions. When you look at the taskbar, it's not at all the right place to put charms, because it's an app launcher and a notification centre; charms don't really fit into the design of the taskbar.

The fact that the removal of the Start button/Menu from its familiar location was a calculated decision made after lengthy internal dialogue/debate makes the decision even worse. This wasn't a flippant decision to screw up, it was thought out.

Why is that surprising? That it was very hotly debated is a given and even now there are employees who passionately support either side of the coin. Clearly one group got the upper hand and upper management's nod to go ahead, and now the other one's having its say.

Romero said,
Why is that surprising? That it was very hotly debated is a given and even now there are employees who passionately support either side of the coin. Clearly one group got the upper hand and upper management's nod to go ahead, and now the other one's having its say.

I think I was clear on why it's surprising. They debated about this and it still managed to pass clearance. Why? The fact that they're backtracking shows that some people who are making these asinine decisions need to be removed from their positions. Obviously, not enough thought went into the usability of this change. It would be nice to hear the arguments they had (assuming they had any at all - despite the claim to the contrary).

srprimeaux said,
They debated about this and it still managed to pass clearance. Why?
Not hard to understand. The majority and/or more powerful group passionately felt this new UI paradigm was a step forward and thought everyone would feel the same, if not immediately then after some initial use. In hindsight a narrow view and a serious over-estimation of how adaptable their users are (not to mention their belief in how superior their new approach actually was).

srprimeaux said,
The fact that they're backtracking shows that some people who are making these asinine decisions need to be removed from their positions. Obviously, no enough thought went into the usability of this change. It would be nice to hear the arguments they had (assuming they had any at all - despite the claim to the contrary).
The big guns have been removed or sidelined which is what's resulted in this revised approach, combined with pragmatism about how best they can address criticism with minimum effort and thus maximize profit. The pro-change arguments have been made endlessly in the comments and forum threads and are the same as those made by the proponents inside the company. Anyway, regardless of reason this choice (when it becomes available) ought to satisfy most users in both camps (although of course complainers will always find something new to moan about).

Romero said,
Not hard to understand. The majority or more powerful group passionately felt this new UI paradigm was a step forward and thought everyone would feel the same, if not immediately then after some initial use. In hindsight a narrow view and a serious over-estimation of how adaptable their users are (not to mention their belief in how superior their new approach actually was).

And therein lies the problem, Romero. The majority or more powerful group isn't the only audience using Microsoft Windows. To make decisions based on the passion of a limited group that will affect every user out there is not a very wise business decision. If these are the people still making decisions at Microsoft, no effective change is going to happen.

Romero said,
The big guns have been removed or sidelined which is what's resulted in this revised approach, combined with pragmatism about how best they can maximize profit. The pro-change arguments have been made endlessly in the comments and forum threads and are the same as those made by the proponents inside the company.

Is there evidence of their removal? Or is this just a change to bring in revenue?

srprimeaux said,
The majority or more powerful group isn't the only audience using Microsoft Windows. To make decisions based on the passion of a limited group that will affect every user out there is not a very wise business decision.
I agree. Even if technically one makes the case that the new UI was 100% better and more efficient in all use cases, ultimately doesn't it always come down to "the customer is king", even if the customer is a moron? (Not that I'm saying the latter in this case, mind you!)

srprimeaux said,
Is there evidence of their removal? Or is this just a change to bring in revenue?
Bit of both I think. There has been news of a steady exodus of "Sinofsky's people", but that doesn't mean all supporters of the idea have been banished. Also the new UI does have definite merit on touch-enabled devices but equally some desktop users seem to like it a lot too which is why the choice makes perfect sense and should (so they hope) bring in more users and boost profits.

Romero said,
I agree. Even if technically one makes the case that the new UI was 100% better and more efficient in all use cases, ultimately doesn't it always come down to "the customer is king", even if the customer is a moron? (Not that I'm saying the latter in this case, mind you!)

I think when it comes down to making changes to an Operating System that a mass of people use on a daily basis, more thought needs to be taken into account and numerous trials should be performed. I'm not talking about interior trials among employees, but user-based trials from all sorts of demographics from their user-base. Then and only then should ideas be brought to the forefront and decisions placed on the table.

Romero said,
Bit of both I think. There has been news of a steady exodus of "Sinofsky's people", but that doesn't mean all supporters of the idea have been banished. Also the new UI does have definite merit on touch-enabled devices but equally some desktop users seem to like it a lot too which is why the choice makes perfect sense and should (so they hope) bring in more users and boost profits.

I've seen the news recently about that. I truly hope that internal changes are indeed taking place. That would be nice. I personally think they should banish any and all touch-based UI's and context menus from the desktop. I don't see their purpose. If they want to make improvements to the desktop, I'm sure they can do some type of user-based petition on changes that they'd like to see that would make their lives easier. Keep the touch-based UI for touch-based devices (odd, I know). Sure, some people like it but a lot of people don't.

While I'm not exactly in favor of touch, I'm not extremely antagonistic to the point that I think it should be banished - simply because there are too many scenarios there it makes sense - even over keyboards and mice. Such an extremist view makes you no better than an absolutist - the sort of folks that insist on only one way of doing things. Also (at least in the United States) there is the matter of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - how do you make Windows (as an OS, mind you) usable for those that re physically unable to use keyboards and/or mice?

srprimeaux said,
I'm not talking about interior trials among employees, but user-based trials from all sorts of demographics from their user-base.
They do perform extensive user testing but I'm not sure what feedback they got. Certainly there were loud complaints from users from very early on as the builds leaked. According to reports Sinofsky ignored these but even if he did he couldn't have done it single-handedly with no support.

srprimeaux said,
I personally think they should banish any and all touch-based UI's and context menus from the desktop. I don't see their purpose.
I think it's a bit more nuanced than that. As long as Metro doesn't take over and the USP of x86 Windows tablets is the desktop and the decades-old library of desktop apps, they do need touch support of some sort on the desktop side too. But it should be completely hardware based and after auto-detection should be suppressed if no touch hardware is available. That would be best, don't you think, rather than complete banishment in all situations? Moreover if someone does want to use the Start Screen/Metro apps without touch or the Start Menu/desktop apps with it, why deny them the choice and lead to a whole new round of whining, this time from the other camp? :)

Edited by Romero, Apr 3 2014, 7:29pm :

Romero said,
I think it's a bit more nuanced than that. As long as Metro doesn't take over and the USP of x86 Windows tablets is the desktop and the decades-old library of desktop apps, they do need touch support of some sort on the desktop side too. But it should be completely hardware based and after auto-detection should be suppressed if no touch hardware is available. That would be best, don't you think, rather than complete banishment in all situations? Moreover if someone does want to use the Start Screen/Metro apps without touch or the Start Menu/desktop apps with it, why deny them the choice and lead to a whole new round of whining, this time from the other camp? :)

I don't see a sea of people asking for touch-based input on their desktop OS. If such items are needed, perhaps MS can design specific packages of the OS designed for those who need them instead of forcing them on people. I should never have to see a metro-designed application since I don't have a touch-enabled device. Yet I'm forced to alter settings so when I click to view picture or wish to listen to a song, it shows up in a desktop application instead of a huge ass metro touch-based interface.

I've rewritten this comment several times, but can't quite get it right. So here's the bullet points of what I'm thinking:

- R&D probably victim of "Survivorship Bias".

- probably used more windows users ("How can we make windows better?"), and neglected ex-windows users ("Why did you leave/how can we win you back?")
- Initial rationale for using more windows users than non-windows users:
a. Retain existing users, improve windows for them
b. Get additional feedback from non-windows users to get more users.

- If so, conclusion made from R&D biased towards "what existing users want", not "what made people leave/avoid windows"

- Microsoft went "all in" with Windows 8
- "Improved" windows based on existing users' feedback.
- But these users were already windows users.
- Windows may not be pretty (to them), but they stuck with it anyway.
- Does not address issues that made NON windows users avoid/leave windows

- No option to disable new changes
- Becomes new deal-breakers for existing users.
- Backlash from existing users by slow/not upgrading
- fail to capture new/non-windows users

- Survivorship Bias sounds too stupid of a mistake to make, but happens.
- During the war, real human lives were at stake, yet survivorship bias still crept in (see Abraham Wald)

Completely hypothetical and pure conjecture. Simply what I think happened.

srprimeaux said,
I don't see a sea of people asking for touch-based input on their desktop OS.
Already mentioned at least one class of people who'd use the desktop side with touch - x86 tablet owners. Small or not they do exist (I am one) and shouldn't be ignored because the number will grow.

srprimeaux said,
If such items are needed, perhaps MS can design specific packages of the OS designed for those who need them instead of forcing them on people.
No, completely different SKUs with and without Metro are not the answer IMO. Like I said, all the OS needs to do is make available controls on the basis of current input hardware in use. Using the desktop with KB+mouse on large screen? No touch and hidden controls. Using desktop on small tablet? Touch and charms etc. This way everyone's satisfied and those who do want Metro on their desktops have access to it, whereas those who don't can ignore it or uninstall all Metro apps and use the Start Menu.

srprimeaux said,
I should never have to see a metro-designed application since I don't have a touch-enabled device. Yet I'm forced to alter settings so when I click to view picture or wish to listen to a song, it shows up in a desktop application instead of a huge ass metro touch-based interface.
Some people do use those apps even on a desktop with large screen. Again the solution is the same as above - provide defaults based on hardware detection or current hardware configuration (in case of convertibles/hybrids) and make it easy to change defaults as required.

Romero said,

Some people do use those apps even on a desktop with large screen. Again the solution is the same as above - provide defaults based on hardware detection or current hardware configuration (in case of convertibles/hybrids) and make it easy to change defaults as required.

Nah, context-based. It open the file within the environment you're currently in, and only switch to the other side if the only compatible program for the file is on the other side.

I don't want to necessarily have all desktop defaults just because I like a tower machine, but I do want to stay in Modern if I'm in Modern, and the desktop if I'm in the desktop.

It's wrong to assume that everyone who uses a stationary PC must prefer the desktop UI for everything as well.

DConnell said,
Nah, context-based. It open the file within the environment you're currently in, and only switch to the other side if the only compatible program for the file is on the other side.
Good idea, I like it.

I never said the average non-disabled person, did I? And you are STILL assuming that ModernUI is a touch-only UI. What ModernUI is is a user interface in which ALL forms of interaction - yes, including touch - are treated equally. Touch IS supported more than was the case with Windows 7 - that is not being disputed by anyone. However, keyboard-centric users aren't treated as second-class citizens anymore, either (which has been the case since the introduction OF the Start menu with Windows 9x). I'm not a touch-screen user - and I've certainly made that plain enough. However, I'm not pointing-device-centered, either. (I've made no bones where that comes from, either - I came to PCs from mainframes, and back prior to Windows.) That is the REAL issue the pointing-device-centered don't understand - there are more Windows users besides them and touch-screen users (which are up compared to Windows 7 simply due to the increased presence of touch-screen hardware - in screen sizes measured in inches and even feet).

So you enjoy being inconsistent. I do not. If I'm using a non-touch device, don't give me a touch-based interface. I enjoy consistency.

The Start screen isn't going away... At least as far as I can tell. You'll still have full access to it. Think of this new Start menu as a stopgap for those who just want their most-used apps list and some Metro tiles.

benjimoola said,
Start screen was better...

That's subject to interpretation though. It might be better for you, but others disagree.

Finally we get the best of both worlds, which is what basically everyone wanted from day one. (Y)

Thereby confirming his point - one that I tried to make way back with the Developer Preview. As much as folks want to accuse Microsoft of being bland and boring, too many of the users of their products - and especially Windows users - would not have Windows any other way. (Basically, "Back in your cage!")

PGHammer said,
too many of the users of their products - and especially Windows users - would not have Windows any other way.

That's probably true.

I would say that's one of the very things that makes them an enterprise favorite - safe and (mostly) predictable and stable.

PGHammer said,
Thereby confirming his point - one that I tried to make way back with the Developer Preview. As much as folks want to accuse Microsoft of being bland and boring, too many of the users of their products - and especially Windows users - would not have Windows any other way. (Basically, "Back in your cage!")

I don't think that's accurate at all. Microsoft made an operating system designed for tablets and tried to force it upon desktop users. Many of the changes hindered usability rather than improving it and the entire experience was very disjointed. The desktop-orientated changes that Microsoft made, like the new Task Manager, multi-monitor improvements and file copy dialogues, were well received.

Microsoft tried to create a unified interface across all its platforms and failed.

Nobody has been able to create a unified multimodal interface, because it's not plausible. Instead, you have different interfaces for different OS modes. However, there are still a large number of computer users that only want ONE mode. I have called Windows the single largest bastion of modal absolutism in all of computing - in what way does the events of Windows 8 through 8.1 update 1 disprove any of it? The hardware that RUNS Windows has been gradually going multimodal since prior to Windows XP - however, how folks actually run Windows itself has lagged, and I have reason to think that part of that lag is deliberate.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft tried to create a unified interface across all its platforms and failed.

You're obviously not following the BUILD conference.
The unified interface is even more pervasive than before.

PGHammer said,
Safe, mostly stable - and full of "meh" - which is also why Windows as an OS has been roundly and rightly criticized.
Which OS hasn't? Anyway we're discussing Windows here and most of us at least are criticizing it because we like it, so let's not get into that whole other nonsensical war over "my OS of choice is better than yours", shall we?

deadonthefloor said,
You're obviously not following the BUILD conference.
The unified interface is even more pervasive than before.

Bringing back the Start Menu and allowing Metro apps to run in windows on the desktop is about as non-unified as you can get.

Depends how you look at it. The more cynical would say they still hate it but will do whatever it takes to boost sales even more.

Romero said,
Depends how you look at it. The more cynical would say they still hate it but will do whatever it takes to boost sales even more.

I find it hard to believe companies hate things that boost sales.

stevan said,

I find it hard to believe companies hate things that boost sales.


you know Linux people always comes with silly excuses.

if they don't do something about peoples rant, they are called bad company, if they fix stuff people complain about, they are doing it to boost sales.

Romero said,
Depends how you look at it. The more cynical would say they still hate it but will do whatever it takes to boost sales even more.

So apparently there is something wrong with giving consumers what they want according to you?

stevan said,
I find it hard to believe companies hate things that boost sales.
I should have been more specific; by "they" I meant (some) employees and not the company as a whole. Whatever external image they might choose to project internally there's always healthy debate and dissent. Believe it or not there are still people inside who're very much opposed to the return of the Start Menu, but they're not the majority or in power now and of course the company will do whatever's required to boost sales.

benjimoola said,
if they fix stuff people complain about, they are doing it to boost sales
No idea why you're bringing Linux into this. Their decision to provide a Start Menu option is great for users but let's not pretend they're doing this out of the goodness of their hearts because they love their users so very much. They're a for profit company and whatever be the Win8 adoption figures clearly they see this as giving them a chance of boosting it even more by bringing all those Start Screen haters and reluctant enterprises into the fold. Anyway the reason doesn't matter to users who only care about the end result.

Edited by Romero, Apr 3 2014, 5:26pm :

Mr Nom Nom's said,
So apparently there is something wrong with giving consumers what they want according to you?
When did I ever say that it's "wrong"? I'm talking only about the profit motive behind such a move as opposed to them having supposedly "come to their senses". If they truly cared about users so much shouldn't they have done this much earlier, or going by complaints from even before release never even have gone down this path? By the time the Start Menu returns it'll be two whole years of people complaining 24x7 about it. So you tell me, do you honestly think they're doing this because they love their users or because they see the criticism (however unjustified it might be) as having had a negative effect on sales? (BTW, before someone tosses the 200mn figure at me which I don't think is false, even those saying it's done very well cannot argue the fact that it would have done even better if the classic Start Menu had been a choice right from the beginning.)

Edited by Romero, Apr 3 2014, 6:46pm :

Romero said,
When did I ever say that it's "wrong"? I'm talking about the profit motive behind such a move as opposed to them having supposedly "come to their senses". If they truly cared about users so much shouldn't they have done this much earlier, or going by complaints from even before release never even have gone down this path? By the time the Start Menu returns it'll be two whole years of people complaining 24x7 about it. So you tell me, do you honestly think they're doing this because they love their users or because they see the criticism (however unjustified it might be) as having had a negative effect on sales? (BTW, before someone tosses the 200mn figure at me which I don't think is false, even those saying it's done very well cannot argue the fact that it would have done even better if the classic Start Menu had been a choice right from the beginning.)

They're a business, their focus is making money so I don't think anyone is under the illusion that Microsoft did it out of altruism. End of the day customers voted and Microsoft felt the sharp end of the stick.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
They're a business, their focus is making money so I don't think anyone is under the illusion that Microsoft did it out of altruism. End of the day customers voted and Microsoft felt the sharp end of the stick.
Yes, the reason for their action is obvious (not to everyone apparently, see benjimoola's comment above) but that's exactly what one would expect from them in a quest to boost profits. Of course they might well have done better had they not got into this mess in the first place, but better late than never I suppose.

Yup, now that they've finally made the decision to offer it as a choice again they have to talk it up, do some public mea culpas and so on.

The Start Button never left. In fact, more were added to Windows 8. There were more ways in Windows 8 to access Start, than available in Windows 7.

None which were any good. Who wants to hover on the left corner to wait for it to pop up, or click on an invisible space at the very corner of the screen? Who wants to wait for a charm bar to pop up so that you can click on the button? Not all systems have a windows key on their keyboard either.

All of which were fine. Nobody had to 'wait' for anything, you could always click immediately. And computers without a windows key on the keyboard are few and far between.

I deal with users every day, all getting windows 8 and hating it for the single fact that it didn't have a start button or start menu.

You don't put square tires on a car, round ones did the job, people want round tires.

To say that 90% of the population aren't nerds and are stupid because they can't get used to it is elitist and stupid.

It was a bad decision, and microsoft is now listening to customers.

Lets move forward

Still, a visual target doesn't hurt, regardless of the input method used. I actually use the button more on my Surface than my full computers.

shockz said,
None which were any good. Who wants to hover on the left corner to wait for it to pop up, or click on an invisible space at the very corner of the screen? Who wants to wait for a charm bar to pop up so that you can click on the button? Not all systems have a windows key on their keyboard either.

Wait for the Start popup? Just move your mouse to the bottom left and click, nothing different than what I do now with Win8.1 or back in Win7.
And for the charms bar: You don't have to wait either. Move to the bottom right and then a little upwards and it appears instantly.

MikeChipshop said,
Don't be so rude. What he is saying is true, it never really left.

Fine, it never left. Since MS brought it back, I could hardly care less whether you thought it ever left or not. That's yesterday's discussion, let's look forward.

MikeChipshop said,

Don't be so rude. What he is saying is true, it never really left.

Hence the big deal when they brought it back? What?

InfiniteLuke said,

Wait for the Start popup? Just move your mouse to the bottom left and click, nothing different than what I do now with Win8.1 or back in Win7.

The problem was, users weren't seeing the button. They didn't know that clicking an invisible corner of their screen would bring it up. 8.1 fixed that when they put it back. I knew that, and if they took the time to poke around they would too, but lets be honest, from all the youtube videos people took of the parents trying to use it 8 and failing, it was painfully obvious that there was a problem.

Dot Matrix said,
The Start Button never left. In fact, more were added to Windows 8.

Actually, it did leave - it was replaced by the invisible Start Corner. That's not to say it was functionally different but it's disingenuous to claim it "never left". As for the other ways to access it, you're talking about the Charm Bar which is a major source of criticism on the desktop. The less mentioned about the Charm Bar the better.

If you want to get straight out literal about it, the start button was removed, the functionality was left, and the feature options did increase, but the literal visible start button was not there in Windows 8 RTM.

theyarecomingforyou said,

Actually, it did leave - it was replaced by the invisible Start Corner. That's not to say it was functionally different but it's disingenuous to claim it "never left". As for the other ways to access it, you're talking about the Charm Bar which is a major source of criticism on the desktop. The less mentioned about the Charm Bar the better.

I'm happy to go with this explanation :p

shockz said,
None which were any good. Who wants to hover on the left corner to wait for it to pop up, or click on an invisible space at the very corner of the screen? Who wants to wait for a charm bar to pop up so that you can click on the button? Not all systems have a windows key on their keyboard either.
You read my mind. Good post!

Except of course his post is wrong... you don't have to wait for anything. If you dive your mouse into the left screen corners, you can click immediately prior to any UI popping up. In fact, the delay before the UI pops up has been increased in Windows 8.1 Update 1 coming next week, so that the UI doesn't confuse you if you weren't going for it and triggered it accidentally. And of course, these days, keyboards without a windows key are few and far between (and you can buy keyboards with windows keys for as little as five bucks).

shockz said,
None which were any good. Who wants to hover on the left corner to wait for it to pop up, or click on an invisible space at the very corner of the screen? Who wants to wait for a charm bar to pop up so that you can click on the button? Not all systems have a windows key on their keyboard either.

Tons of people. Want to hit the start button? Do you precisely mouse over to the image and click or do you just move your mouse bottom left quickly and click? What about X for a maximized window? It's much faster to just swish your mouse in that direction and click.

pmbAustin said,
Except of course his post is wrong... you don't have to wait for anything. If you dive your mouse into the left screen corners, you can click immediately prior to any UI popping up. In fact, the delay before the UI pops up has been increased in Windows 8.1 Update 1 coming next week, so that the UI doesn't confuse you if you weren't going for it and triggered it accidentally. And of course, these days, keyboards without a windows key are few and far between (and you can buy keyboards with windows keys for as little as five bucks).

All of what you said takes extra time. Diving your mouse into a corner to load and then mouse up to the start button a charm bar is a waste of time. You're not getting the fact that average users aren't going to click on something they never see.

Well, good think nobody has to do that then! Just slam your mouse to the lower-left corner and click. THAT is the start button. No mouse user is ever going to use the start button on the charms bar. It's utterly silly to use that as an example of inefficiency. In fact, hitting start in Win8 is a lot faster than targeting the not-quite-in-the-corner button on Win7 and earlier. And you never have to wait. Slam-and-click. Boom. Done.

I really feel you and others like you are TRYING and GRASPING to invent ways Win8 is less efficient when it's just not true.

There's a guy on the Microsoft answers forum who is the master of that. Any change, no matter how small, results in an incalculable loss of productivity . . .

pmbAustin said,
Well, good think nobody has to do that then! Just slam your mouse to the lower-left corner and click. THAT is the start button. No mouse user is ever going to use the start button on the charms bar. It's utterly silly to use that as an example of inefficiency. In fact, hitting start in Win8 is a lot faster than targeting the not-quite-in-the-corner button on Win7 and earlier. And you never have to wait. Slam-and-click. Boom. Done.

I really feel you and others like you are TRYING and GRASPING to invent ways Win8 is less efficient when it's just not true.

If they don't see it, they won't click it. Simple as that. Why do you think Microsoft put the start button back in.............

The start button IS in. We're talking about Windows 8.1 here.

Besides, only a complete noob sitting down without ANY training or help will have no clue about the corners (even the OS points them out to you). My elderly tech-phobic parents managed to "get" and use Windows 8.0 of all things, after only about a half hour of sitting down with them and showing them how it worked.

So most of this belly-aching is of the "I DON'T WANT TO LEARN ANYTHING NEW AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME" variety, and it's really getting tedious and old.

Nothing is "intuitive". If you took someone from 1983 and sat them down in front of OS X and asked them to do things, they'd be just as lost. Yes, WIndows 8 breaks out of a 20 year old mold and asks you to learn something knew. So what? Quit whining! Sheesh. Unless you never ever want anything to change ever.

pmbAustin said,
The start button IS in. We're talking about Windows 8.1 here.

No, we weren't, as clearly indicated by every post I made. I don't know what you're going on about, but I've been chatting about 8.0 the entire time.

Why are you chatting about something that is old and irrelevant now? Who cares? We're talking about 8.1 ... everyone is talking about 8.1 ... and now 8.1 Update 1.

Stop living in the past. Sheesh.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Actually, it did leave - it was replaced by the invisible Start Corner. That's not to say it was functionally different ...
But wasn't the Start Corner functionally different? The Win+X menu wasn't accessible via touch and we had to wait for the Start Button to return to be able to access it without a keyboard or mouse.