Windows 8 to get some desktop UI changes

Of all the things that have been talked about and written about for Windows 8, none have been more discussed than its new Metro user interface and its touch screen centric design. Many have complained that it is too much of a change from previous versions of Windows. Today, in a new and massive post on the Windows 8 blog, Microsoft goes over the decisions it has made for the Windows 8 user interface.

Written by Jensen Harris, the Director of Program Management for the Windows 8 User Experience team, the blog first goes over all of the user interfaces for the previous versions of Windows, starting from from Windows 1 in 1985, which was made to be interacted with mainly by a keyboard (the PC mouse was just an option).

Windows 3.0/3.1 was next in 1990, which introduced the Program Manager and File Manager interfaces. Windows 95, launched in 1995, brought us the now familiar Start button, the taskbar, the Explorer and the desktop which remain even now in Windows 7. Windows XP, launched in 2001, brought some refinements to those features, including the Start menu.

Windows Vista, in 2007, gave use the controversial Aero "glass" art style. Finally, Windows 7 in 2009 gave us even more changes to the Start button and other aspects of the OS.

Harris said that for Windows 8, Microsoft had a number of goals in terms of supporting new features, including being able to have a PC or other Windows 8 product be connected to the Internet all the time. Having content not just on the PC itself but also stored on cloud servers was another feature goal, as was supporting the rise of PC portability. Finally, Microsoft wanted to emphasize the person that would be using a Windows 8 device, rather than the files.

The blog goes over some of the other aspects of Windows 8, much of which has been written about before. That includes giving Windows 8 devices a long battery life, the use of Live Tiles and of course the Windows 8 touch interface with the Metro UI.

Even though Windows 8 has the Metro touch interface, the regular desktop will still be around, and Harris says it is just as important to Microsoft to support such an interface for Windows 8. He states:

It is pretty straightforward. The desktop is there to run the millions of existing, powerful, familiar Windows programs that are designed for mouse and keyboard. Office. Visual Studio. Adobe Photoshop. AutoCAD. Lightroom. This software is widely-used, feature-rich, and powers the bulk of the work people do on the PC today. Bringing it forward (along with the metaphors such as manual discrete window sizing and overlapping placement) is a huge benefit when compared to tablets without these features or programs. It is an explicit design goal of Windows 8 to bring this software forward, run it better than in any previous version of Windows, and to provide the best environment possible for these products as they evolve into the future as well.

Harris said that Microsoft will be making some changes to the desktop UI for Windows 8, which will include having some of the Metro look put into the UI. However, he added that not everything will be transferred. He said:

While much of the Metro style UI uses white text on a colorful saturated background, the desktop in Windows 8 will continue to use black text on light-colored chrome, as in Windows 7. This choice was made to help preserve maximum compatibility with existing programs.

The desktop windows will still look "light and airy", according to Harris. The team also wanted it to look much like Windows 7. Harris said:

We made a conscious effort to relate the visual appearance of the Windows 8 desktop to the visual appearance of the familiar Windows 7 desktop. This helps people who want to predominantly use the desktop feel comfortable and immediately at home in the new environment.

The blog also goes over much of the other small changes that will be made to the desktop UI in Windows 8. Harris said:

We applied the principles of “clean and crisp” when updating window and taskbar chrome. Gone are the glass and reflections. We squared off the edges of windows and the taskbar. We removed all the glows and gradients found on buttons within the chrome. We made the appearance of windows crisper by removing unnecessary shadows and transparency. The default window chrome is white, creating an airy and premium look. The taskbar continues to blend into the desktop wallpaper, but appears less complicated overall.

To complete the story, we updated the appearance of most common controls, such as buttons, check boxes, sliders, and the Ribbon. We squared off the rounded edges, cleaned away gradients, and flattened the control backgrounds to align with our chrome changes. We also tweaked the colors to make them feel more modern and neutral.

Harris added that some of these changes to the desktop will be seen in the upcoming Release Preview version of Windows 8, which is scheduled to launch in the first week of June. However, the rest of the changes to the desktop UI won't be seen until the final version of Windows 8 is launched later in 2012.

Harris ends the blog by saying that he and the team know that the large changes in the Metro user interface for Windows 8 have generated a lot of debate, some for and some against. He added:

The full picture of the Windows 8 experience will only emerge when new hardware from our partners becomes available, and when the Store opens up for all developers to start submitting their new apps. At the same time, there's no doubt that all the features of Windows 8 are compelling on today's hardware designed for Windows 7—with or without touch. Since we designed Windows 8 to work great for laptops and desktops, it will work naturally for your Windows 7 hardware. Think of past versions of Windows that worked on existing hardware but were even better with new hardware. That's our approach with Windows 8.

Images via Microsoft

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any possibility of adding officially start menu?
i thought windows 8 was aimed at both PCs and tablets and would let you choose between Metro UI and normal PC UI

Might they eventually remove the desktop altogether in future windows versions? Legacy programs could open in special environments that act as the desktop but without the taskbar and icons... just a box that displays your program. I hope file manager eventually gets ported to metro.

The biggest impression I got from the entire blog article I read was this:

1. People don't know how to customize Windows, and they don't want to, they just want to post crap on Facebook and Twitter and check email and surf the web, so we're removing all that annoying stuff that lets you make the computer yours. This way, you can just sit back on your couch and consume. This is already evident in the CP in the fact that you can no longer change any fonts (title bars, dialog boxes, icon text, etc.). It's unlikely this functionality will be plugged back in with the RP.

2. You folks who use your computer for something other than posting updates of your idiot life on these social networking sites are going to find it a little more wonky to navigate and get around, because we've decided your computer (PC or Laptop) is just a device, and sadly it doesn't have a touch screen like all computers are going to have in the next 10 years. So, if you're bothered by the giant tablet start screen, suck it up and take a flying leap. We're not really designing much of anything for you anymore. Hey, but doesn't it look light and airy and premium?! What the heck is a 'premium' look?

How does Microsoft increasing the amount of customisability amount to them "removing all that annoying stuff that lets you make the computer yours"? They've added more options for selecting your wallpaper, especially on multi-monitor setups; built the Metro start screen around personalisation (background patterns, colour, tile layout, etc); included multi-monitor support for the taskbar, along with various layout methods; stored preferences in the cloud to more easily migrate them between computers, etc.

It's clear that you have an issue with Windows 8. However, while some options have been removed many much more useful ones have been added. How many people change the fonts for the Windows interface? Not many. How many will change the background pattern and rearrange tiles in Metro? A lot more, if not most people.

I said that was the impression I got from the article. Then I just noted one thing I couldn't do anymore with Windows 8, and it seems to confirm my suspicions. And please, don't use the argument that 'very few people change their fonts, so you don't get to anymore.' What kind of reasoning is that? My goodness, how could they even know how many people change the UI fonts in Windows. So why remove it? It just seems to me that they're making Windows 8 more like OS X, with only a few options for customizing your PC.

It just feels like an OS designed primarily for 15 year old girls who just use it to surf the web and update their social website statuses and look at pictures.

As much as I like Windows 8, the trend towards a "flatter" UI baffles me. I would have thought more of a 3D design and snazzy window effects would be the wave of the future.

funnythat windows 8 has more in common with windows 1 with all that solid color trend they have going for now. sad sad sad.

Since the forum posts are being read by the designers of Windows 8 I thought I might post a few things that I would really like to see in Windows 8.

* File Menu Back Button - Instead of drop menus have the file menu options disappear and the drop down menu options slide in from the right and have a back button to return to the original file menu options.
* File Explorer Tabs
* Removing The Empty Space On The Task Bar (Program Icons On One Side, Status Icons On The Other As Well As Making The Task Bar Retractable)
* Moveable Windows Menus (Icon, Program title, File Menu Options - All On One Bar)
* Metro Optional (I Know. I Know. Half The People Using Say "Yes," Half Say "No.")
* Better File Renaming (Particularly Proper Casing and Multi-File Renaming)
* A Separate File Folder For Windows Icon Graphics That Make Windows Easily Customizable (Explorer Icons and Window Frame, Desk Top Icons, Device Icons)


Some Of These Internet Browser Options Could Be Amended For The File Explorer.

SRL

Well I like when they make changes as long as I can revert back to an old familiar format if needed. I like options. I do love the ribbon in Office and would be nice to have in Explorer.

TRC said,
Install Windows 95, change color scheme to solid white.

Yeah, because windows 95 was built upon the secure NT kernel and has built in antivirus/malware and autocorrect. It also has storage spaces, built in iso mounting, etc.

Guide on how to get over Metro (for full haters):

1) Unpin every metro app you see listed. Please listen, you'll be urged to click them if you leave them there.

2) Download Start8 so you can have a Start orb and the ability to shutdown/logoff/etc. easier. Furthermore, clicking the start screen won't take you off the screen.

3) Follow this guide to put you back on the Desktop directly: http://www.howtogeek.com/10834...op-skip-metro-in-windows-8/

4) If you are really unsatisfied about this, then get Classic Shell, and install it.

If not, then:
5) Wait for Release Preview.

Article said

Even though Windows 8 has the Metro touch interface, the regular desktop will still be around,

False. "Metro" is a layer over the desktop.

Mike Frett said,
May as well go back to DOS.

Well the way they're treating the keyboard as primary input device it'll be pretty much the same.

They continue down that path. Instead of just disabling transparency and letting users have a CHOICE and leave it as an OPTION, they chose to REMOVE it. Wonder what will happen to the gorgeous Aero glossy progress bars? Maybe MS will be foolish enough to even change them to flat fugly Metro-green.

Edited by UXGaurav, May 19 2012, 1:00pm :

xpclient said,
They continue down that path. Instead of just disabling transparency and letting users have a CHOICE and leave it as an OPTION, they chose to REMOVE it. Wonder what will happen to the gorgeous Aero glossy progress bars? Maybe MS will be foolish enough to even change them to flat fugly Metro-green.

" The default window chrome is white..." (via B8)

So while the default window chrome might be white, I doesn't mean you can't change it. Why the hell would they introduce Aero Auto Colorization (I think that's what it's called) if they plan on completely getting rid of Aero? It will most likely be an option, just like you had the option to use the "Classic" UI in Windows 7.

Sszecret said,

" The default window chrome is white..." (via B8)

So while the default window chrome might be white, I doesn't mean you can't change it. Why the hell would they introduce Aero Auto Colorization (I think that's what it's called) if they plan on completely getting rid of Aero? It will most likely be an option, just like you had the option to use the "Classic" UI in Windows 7.

They have removed the transparencies, gloss, gradients, anything shiny and made it all flat and bland. Plus they have removed the advanced appearance customization settings dialog. You can change the color but it will be a flat color as that screenshot shows.

btw:
if your using windows 8, open explorer and and have the image in the background..
the new one looks better...

and this is only rc.

Pretty cool,
why some of you kids keep complaing about it?.

if they said they would leave areo on in windows 8 you would still be complaing saying a new os needs a new bar update.

grow up

Micro$oft sucks switch to OS X and install windows if you need it for games, So Apple can make more money

including being able to have a PC or other Windows 8 product be connected to the Internet all the time.

... Because you can't have a computer connected all the time on the Internet in Windows 7 or Windows XP, right? /sarcasm

I think its really interesting how a lot of ppl on here think MS just make this stuff up without talking to anyone. They have done so many surveys and tests with yes business users and serious PC users with win8 and this is the product of all those surveys and all those tests, maybe all the complainers here are not business users and are not serious pc users.

korupt_one said,
They have done so many surveys and tests with yes business users and serious PC users with win8 and this is the product of all those surveys and all those tests, maybe all the complainers here are not business users and are not serious pc users.

No. The vast majority of those statistics are from people who run Windows "as is" and never make changes beyond the desktop wallpaper.

And yet these are the very people who won't understand why they have to click into INVISIBLE areas to do what they used to do to use their computer day in and day out.

Professionals like us here will always be able to hack the OS to our own needs.

And some of us professionals have been telling MS since last year that they Windows 8 is mixing GUI metaphors to the detriment of legacy desktop users at home and at work.

Not because we can't make it work, but because we know there are hundreds of millions of techno-illiterates out there who just won't understand.

excalpius said,

No. The vast majority of those statistics are from people who run Windows "as is" and never make changes beyond the desktop wallpaper.

And yet these are the very people who won't understand why they have to click into INVISIBLE areas to do what they used to do to use their computer day in and day out.

Professionals like us here will always be able to hack the OS to our own needs.

And some of us professionals have been telling MS since last year that they Windows 8 is mixing GUI metaphors to the detriment of legacy desktop users at home and at work.

Not because we can't make it work, but because we know there are hundreds of millions of techno-illiterates out there who just won't understand.

In case Windows 8 tanks like Windows Vista... I hope some heads roll in the company so that more sensible people take up the mantle.

With their current direction, they are saying that what they did with windows 7 was all wrong even though it is a big hit.

psreloaded said,

In case Windows 8 tanks like Windows Vista... I hope some heads roll in the company so that more sensible people take up the mantle.

With their current direction, they are saying that what they did with windows 7 was all wrong even though it is a big hit.

Agreed 100%.

Ultimately, I predict Windows 8 (on the desktop) will tank worse than Vista.

Vista was a minor adjustment for users, more geared towards the hardware investment required for some. And users bought it en masse and got over it relatively quickly.

Windows 8 is NOT a minor adjustment. In fact, the majority of the users will look at the screen, click on a program, play with it a minute, and then try to find a way to get back to the start menu, or close the program, or run something else...and they will be LOST.

That frustration will lead many to just return it rather than call IT, tech support, their family member, or a friend.

I recommend that everyone who is not techno-literate (like we all are) skip Windows 8 on desktop computers if they can avoid it.

Note to Microsoft: if the desktop will look like this than that's fine. It's actually not that bad. But please do night owls a favour and tune it to a more ergonomic light shade of grey or off-white. All plain white is brutal at night. (that's assuming people don't know about F.lux)

Denis W said,
Note to Microsoft: if the desktop will look like this than that's fine. It's actually not that bad. But please do night owls a favour and tune it to a more ergonomic light shade of grey or off-white. All plain white is brutal at night. (that's assuming people don't know about F.lux)

i was just wondering if all that white we're seeing will be customizable. i.e. if i set the chrome to be navy blue, will all the toolbars and ribbons change to suit?

if they allow users to specify colours for the foreground and background windows, i'd be super happy. really. i've been missing this feature since Vista Beta 1.

deadonthefloor said,
Anyone this might be a deal struck between Microsoft and Stardock to make Windows skinnable again?

Eh, Windows has always been skinnable and Stardock didn't have any trouble updating Windowblinds to run on Windows 7. This isn't some conspiracy.

Ugh. I HATE the direction of Windows 8. Yet I love C# and developing with Visual Studio. Back in the Vista days, I made fun of the people who were stuck in the past. It looks like it's my turn now.

I'm finding the fact that every time Microsoft drops something that was in Windows 7 results in so many coming forward saying it sucked anyway to be quite peculiar. Really, Aero sucked, transparency sucks? Really, you're all using the basic color scheme, high contrast even. To each his own, but considering Windows 7 is great, I find this phoenomenon peculiar. I'm just sayin ... now the boring ugly Windows icons are cook, bland washed out flat boring color schemes are cool. OK.

Something I noticed...

Some people were complaining that the image of the new desktop disappeared from the MSDN post. It appears that it did, and a new one was reuploaded. Look at the screenshot on the MSDN post, and the one in the Neowin post. Notice the switch? The program in the background had a small blue icon with an 'O' and a little envelope sticking out. This may be a stretch, but that could be Outlook's new icon which they accidentally posted. The windows open haven't changed, but the taskbar buttons have.

Imani said,
Something I noticed...

Some people were complaining that the image of the new desktop disappeared from the MSDN post. It appears that it did, and a new one was reuploaded. Look at the screenshot on the MSDN post, and the one in the Neowin post. Notice the switch? The program in the background had a small blue icon with an 'O' and a little envelope sticking out. This may be a stretch, but that could be Outlook's new icon which they accidentally posted. The windows open haven't changed, but the taskbar buttons have.

http://stocklogos.com/topic/new-microsoft-windows-8-identity

"Scher and her team created a complete system based on the idea of perspective. The designers completed motion studies to demonstrate the transformation of the flag shape into a window shape, to show that they weren't that far apart and would be an easy and elegant transition for the brand. (Marks that fit into this perspective have been created for other Microsoft brands and programs, but have not yet been implemented.)"

This is a clone of the original Pentagram press release / blurb -> http://new.pentagram.com/2012/02/new-work-microsoft/

... from which the sentence above has been removed!

Can't say I like this logo/icon, but then I don't like the 2010 one either so at least it's not any worse, I guess.

Imani said,
Something I noticed...

Some people were complaining that the image of the new desktop disappeared from the MSDN post. It appears that it did, and a new one was reuploaded. Look at the screenshot on the MSDN post, and the one in the Neowin post. Notice the switch? The program in the background had a small blue icon with an 'O' and a little envelope sticking out. This may be a stretch, but that could be Outlook's new icon which they accidentally posted. The windows open haven't changed, but the taskbar buttons have.


Nicely spotted, I think you might be right! I quite like the logo too.

Why are people still whinging about the lack of Start button/menu by default in Windows 8?!?
I don't like it much either, but I don't go on internet forums to constantly bitch about it.
TBH, I did bitch about it for the first couple of weeks, but I got over it.

My primary PC is multi-boot with Windows 8 CP, Windows 7 and Windows XP Pro. I've been
mainly using Windows 8 CP since early March. I use a 3rd party add-on to bring back the
old Start button/menu, but the new Metro Start Screen option is still there, so I have the
best of both worlds. I see no particular reason for me to disable Metro on my system.

Perhaps when Metro Start is more matured and has a much wider range of decent apps
available for it, I'll use it more often. Yes, it might work/look better on tablets and other
mobile touchscreen devices, and not be fullly suitable for standard desktop PC's, and
yes, it would be nice if it was an option during the setup, but that isn't happening.

Those of you still bitching about it, please just get over it. Stick with Windows 7 or XP,
they're both still very good OSes in their own ways, even if one is on its way out.

...but you get on the internet forums and complain about others complaining?

The irony is thick here.

I'm really glad you got over the changes made to Windows 8. I applaud you. I also really proud of you. But, not everyone is like you. Sorry. If people don't want to get over it, they don't have to. If they disagree with something, they are free to voice their opinions. That's what the comments and message board are there for. Also, there's no need for labeling people who disagree with you a whiner. Childish much?

My thoughts on Windows 8 almost mirror your own. Metro is great on tablets and such, and I especially love it on Windows Phone 7, but I have no need for it on a desktop. My biggest beef with Windows 8 is that there is no option to revert back to the current paradigm.

Whenever Microsoft changed the UI before (which I've embraced), they gave people the option to revert back to the way it was for the people who didn't like it. That's the thing I've always liked about Microsoft. "Here's the new stuff, and here's how to get the old stuff back if you don't like it." No need for third party apps.

Finally, people are going to complain no matter what. If you think it's bad now, wait for Windows 8 to hit retail.

This is great for low-end systems - gradients, curved edges and whatnot are more intensive to render than basic distinct shapes

Its funny how the issues expressed about building Windows for mouse input back in the 80's are the about same ones expressed now for touch with 8. There really is nothing new under the sun.

It's interesting that they are removing the glass and transparency. I never liked it, I thought it was distracting and messy.

Windows 8 will be just like Vista guaranteed! if not worse. However, they will pull it off with Windows 9 and do better as they have with Windows 7. If Windows 8 does better than XP or Windows 7, I will eat my own words and buy Windows 8 right way! until then all you fan boy..shush!

oliver182 said,

mm why? you can click where the button used to be...


I multitask. If I press the Start button on my keyboard, I don't want a huge display covering all my apps thank you...

You have nothing to say to that.

It is a glaring problem in their design.

oliver182 said,

mm why? you can click where the button used to be...

And if you click there what happens? you get metro, ugly and pointless.

Order_66 said,

And if you click there what happens? you get metro, ugly and pointless.


The complaint is "there is no start button"... the solution is "you've forgotten that there are now two start buttons"... you're talking about a different, pointless argument.

King Mustard said,
I multitask. If I press the Start button on my keyboard, I don't want a huge display covering all my apps thank you...

You're confusing two separate issues. You're complaining about the Metro start screen, whereas your original post talked about wanting the actual button back.

The start button itself is irrelevant, as you still use it as if it were there. Metro is an entirely different matter.

Well, Windows 7 will remain on my PC's until they die, I just don't see the value on a desktop computer and even a traditional laptop. I will likely buy a new Windows RT convertible, but my existing setups can do without this upgrade.

I like Aero, and will stick with Windows 7 as long as I can. It's excellent. However, removing Aero will save a ton of money for VDI environments with RemoteFX. The GPU requirements to deliver full Aero experience to remote sessions with RemoteFX add up quickly. With the basically basic color scheme and no transparency, this is a non-issue. But RemoteFX and Aero were/are pretty dang cool.

MorganX said,
I like Aero, and will stick with Windows 7 as long as I can. It's excellent. However, removing Aero will save a ton of money for VDI environments with RemoteFX. The GPU requirements to deliver full Aero experience to remote sessions with RemoteFX add up quickly. With the basically basic color scheme and no transparency, this is a non-issue. But RemoteFX and Aero were/are pretty dang cool.

Remotely rendering Aero was handled by Desktop Composition at the client-end with RDP 7.1, as far as I recall. If I'm right, it'd make little difference was was being rendered.

The frequent full-screen transitions of the StartScreen, and the hot corners (which seem to have been improved) still seem very remote-desktop unfriendly.

I've yet to remote-desktop connect one Win8 PC to another - how is it?

We're not really doing much with Windows 8. Trying to get Windows 7 deployed 100% and going to go VDI w/Hyper-V. Full Aero virtualizes effects at server. Currently Quadro's and FirePro's will do it. Going with HP AIO Linux Think PC/Monitors. Users don't know the difference.

Shouldn't be a problem with the new basic scheme Windows 8 is employing. Without the GPUs RemoteFX works and is acceptable in low volume, but basic color scheme recommended without GPUs.

Mugwump00 said,

Remotely rendering Aero was handled by Desktop Composition at the client-end with RDP 7.1, as far as I recall. If I'm right, it'd make little difference was was being rendered.

The frequent full-screen transitions of the StartScreen, and the hot corners (which seem to have been improved) still seem very remote-desktop unfriendly.

I've yet to remote-desktop connect one Win8 PC to another - how is it?

So glad to see Aero finally gone. ****ing hated mixed transparency on windows, I've had desktop composition off for years now and I'm getting tired of the occasional glitches. Hurray!

This remove Aero completely since that is ugly... and come up with some other better style and color for it... I don't care for aero.

david said,
I love change. People will adapt. It's human nature. Get over it.

Change is great if it's for the better but in the case of win8 it isn't looking too good.

Order_66 said,

Change is great if it's for the better but in the case of win8 it isn't looking too good.

Precisely. Windows 8 is the first major step backwards in GUI productivity in the past 30 years.

It remembers me sony and its ps3: First they have retro compatibility and they removed it in later models, then it has 4 usb ports and they reduced it to two.... and all of this because apparently they were "not very much used capabilities" seems to me like ms is trying to go cheap with their OS.

List to migrate to windows 8:
1.- Recover Start Menu
2.- Get rid of metro
3.- Recover Transparencies

Arceles said,
It remembers me sony and its ps3: First they have retro compatibility and they removed it in later models, then it has 4 usb ports and they reduced it to two.... and all of this because apparently they were "not very much used capabilities" seems to me like ms is trying to go cheap with their OS.


List to migrate to windows 8:
1.- Recover Start Menu
2.- Get rid of metro
3.- Recover Transparencies

like Windows 7 ?

oliver182 said,

like Windows 7 ?


Yeah pretty much, that list is only if I ever had the need to use windows 8, will remain on it.

Arceles said,
It remembers me sony and its ps3: First they have retro compatibility and they removed it in later models, then it has 4 usb ports and they reduced it to two.... and all of this because apparently they were "not very much used capabilities" seems to me like ms is trying to go cheap with their OS.

List to migrate to windows 8:
1.- Recover Start Menu
2.- Get rid of metro
3.- Recover Transparencies

Same here. Doubtful, that Microsoft will listen to their enterprise and serious PC users; as they seem to be totally dedicated to servicing smartphone and tablet users.

TsarNikky said,

Same here. Doubtful, that Microsoft will listen to their enterprise and serious PC users; as they seem to be totally dedicated to servicing smartphone and tablet users.

Incorrect. You are lumping in the VENDORS with the USERS here. Vendors are committed to touch for phones and tablets and they want people to buy them. And for those devices, Windows 8 is competitive.

But USERS work at major corporations and use desktop computers at home. And they have no need of an OS where the major controls are invisible and therefore not intuitive with a mouse.

Windows 8 is going to be a huge corporate "pass" (because of IT confused user support issues). They will stay on Windows 7 after migrating to Windows 7 from Windows XP and that is REALLY bad news for Microsoft's bottom line unless consumers buy a ton of touch devices.

"Gone are the glass and reflections. We squared off the edges of windows and the taskbar. We removed all the glows and gradients found on buttons within the chrome. We made the appearance of windows crisper by removing unnecessary shadows and transparency. The default window chrome is white, creating an airy and premium look."

So I guess the goal is to make each version of Windows much uglier than the previous one? I mean, Vista wasn't good looking, but it looks beautiful compared to this abomination that MS just made to the Windows 8 desktop. For the first time in decades, I will not upgrade to the next version of Windows.

Larry the Lobster said,
The more I see of Metro and Windows 8, the less I like it. UGH.

Usability it looks like dumbed down garbage. Design wise it's an ugly primitive mess going back to the beginning of windows which makes even XP's Luna blue UI look professional and usable next to.

It's almost like they don't even give a crap anymore.

Larry the Lobster said,
The more I see of Metro and Windows 8, the less I like it. UGH.

Same sadly, and i liked Windows Me and Vista. Windows 8 / Metro really is a love or hate thing, it annoys me that i dont like it as its here to stay sadly.

Larry the Lobster said,
The more I see of Metro and Windows 8, the less I like it. UGH.

Then stop "seeing" it and try "using" it. It's really a step ahead in productivity. The only thing they will need to work on if they haven't already is the transition from desktop to the start menu.

Enron said,

Then stop "seeing" it and try "using" it. It's really a step ahead in productivity.

No, no it is not. It takes more clicks to accomplish the same tasks. And there are some things that are now MUCH faster to do via keyboard TYPING than with mousing, which is a huge step BACKWARDS in GUI design.


Enron said,

The only thing they will need to work on if they haven't already is the transition from desktop to the start menu.

You mean, the ENTIRE workflow for Microsoft's 95% market share of end users at home or at work?!

Yeah...working on that AFTER a force-fed release into the entire channel this Christmas is definitely the way to go...

/sarcasm

Enron said,

It's really a step ahead in productivity.

No, I'm sorry it isn't. When you can no longer access a quick menu for things like Control Panel items (like with the present Start menu), or when you've removed the brilliant Jumplists on the Start menu so you can quickly get to pinned documents, spreadsheets, etc from the Start menu (and please don't say 'Well just pin them to the taskbar now'). That is not more productive. It takes more steps to do stuff, it's less productive.

Enron said,

It's really a step ahead in productivity.

No, I'm sorry it isn't. When you can no longer access a quick menu for things like Control Panel items (like with the present Start menu), or when you've removed the brilliant Jumplists on the Start menu so you can quickly get to pinned documents, spreadsheets, etc from the Start menu (and please don't say 'Well just pin them to the taskbar now'). That is not more productive. It takes more steps to do stuff, it's less productive.

I still refuse to use it since it still lacks any correlation that mouse is still majority used input device and not fingers or stylus.

Did they ever do a survey that even tries to find out how many people use keyboard shortcuts ? probably not since that's now their main input on non-touch input devices.

So in the end doesn't matter. Stick to Windows 7/OS X, operating systems designed for computers. I hope this entire fiasco stings them in the ass badly.

Digitalx said,
I still refuse to use it since it still lacks any correlation that mouse is still majority used input device and not fingers or stylus.

Did they ever do a survey that even tries to find out how many people use keyboard shortcuts ? probably not since that's now their main input on non-touch input devices.

So in the end doesn't matter. Stick to Windows 7/OS X, operating systems designed for computers. I hope this entire fiasco stings them in the ass badly.

Microsoft have some of the deepest metrics about how people use Windows. I am guessing they are just looking at the future, and seeing the growth charts of touch based usage, and extrapolating.

As the blog post shows, they did the same with the Mouse, and that paid off.

mdtaUK said,

Microsoft have some of the deepest metrics about how people use Windows. I am guessing they are just looking at the future, and seeing the growth charts of touch based usage, and extrapolating.

As the blog post shows, they did the same with the Mouse, and that paid off.

Ridiculous. Xerox had shown the mouse was the future YEARS before Windows and Mac's OS.

And the "metrics" on touch DO NOT apply on the desktop. Nobody reaches across their desk to touch their monitor. It's uncomfortable and counter-intuitive.

Extrapolating tablet/phone use to desktop users is asinine.

excalpius said,

Ridiculous. Xerox had shown the mouse was the future YEARS before Windows and Mac's OS.

And the "metrics" on touch DO NOT apply on the desktop. Nobody reaches across their desk to touch their monitor. It's uncomfortable and counter-intuitive.

Extrapolating tablet/phone use to desktop users is asinine.

Totally agree. I was part of a trial using a touch screen monitor at my desktop with some new software designed to make some of our internals work faster. Touch screens work best when they are really close to you, but you end up messing up your eyes with extended use. If you move the monitor back to a point where we had less headaches and eye problems, the monitor then sat at a point that was too far away to comfortably reach for extended periods of time. We then ended up trading off eye problems for shoulder pains.

I don't believe they truly have metrics btw. We still haven't had any clients express any interest whatsoever in Win8 after letting them play with laptops running WIN8 with the software they use also installed. The average Joe at the companies we work for is just totally frustrated by learning how to use Win8, and ends up absolutely hating it.

Right or wrong, first impressions make everything just like it is said that many wrong hiring decisions are made within minutes of someone walking through the door instead of thoroughly vetting potential candidates. This is why we've been trying to let our clients use the laptops for at a least a week. However, they end up so frustrated we doubt they are giving it much of a chance at all.

Call me a hater if you want, but I'm just passing on what I'm dealing with.

Looks like Windows 7 will be the last version of Windows I run then ... Ubuntu and OSX will probably be it for me going forward. What is the point of removing shadows and transparency? I really like Windows 7 ... but Windows 8 is a joke!

sabrex said,
Looks like Windows 7 will be the last version of Windows I run then ... Ubuntu and OSX will probably be it for me going forward. What is the point of removing shadows and transparency? I really like Windows 7 ... but Windows 8 is a joke!

Ubuntu and OSX are opaque too...

sabrex said,
Looks like Windows 7 will be the last version of Windows I run then ... Ubuntu and OSX will probably be it for me going forward. What is the point of removing shadows and transparency? I really like Windows 7 ... but Windows 8 is a joke!

They said they removed unnessary shadows. If you look carefully at the screenshot of the desktop, you'll noticed the focused window still has a shadow. Doesn't help that the screenshot is such a low resolution.

sabrex said,
What is the point of removing shadows and transparency?

To reduce the "jarring" effect that some users reported when transitioning between Metro and desktop.
This will make it feel more natural and fluid to switch UI experiences.

deadonthefloor said,

To reduce the "jarring" effect that some users reported when transitioning between Metro and desktop.
This will make it feel more natural and fluid to switch UI experiences.

And yet, the problem is actually with Metro (designed for tablets and phones) on the desktop, not the desktop...

This moron parade of market speak is why many of us have known that Microsoft has been screwing up with Windows 8 since last summer...

I wouldn't be so sure that the ability is gone, only that they've made the transparent elements of the default theme opaque. Personally, I think it looks very nice. However, we'll have to wait till the uxtheme is cracked again and people start making custom skins before we really find out if it's no longer possible. Even if it isn't, I'm sure Stardock will update Windowblinds to work with it (which to me isn't an ideal solution because it always seems slighly buggy, but for most people it'll probably be fine).

djdanster said,
no transparency is a deal breaker and a stupid UI decision.

I feel like I'm in the twilight zone or something... since when was transparency ever lauded as a great UI decision? I've adapted quite well to it over the years, but it was never a great choice for usability. I, for one, am very happy they are trying to give the OS a more unified feel with Metro.

Gondorff said,

I feel like I'm in the twilight zone or something... since when was transparency ever lauded as a great UI decision? I've adapted quite well to it over the years, but it was never a great choice for usability. I, for one, am very happy they are trying to give the OS a more unified feel with Metro.

Because IMO it gives the UI a cleaner feel. The image of the metro desktop just makes me feel like i'm in the pre-95 era...

Calum said,

I despise the transparency and glass.

Meanwhile, my entire OS is glass and transparency.

Windows used to be about CHOICE, which is fine for people like you and me. 8)

But Metro's bad GUI on the desktop decisions are being crammed down people's throats without the option to disable/re-enable them.

This has never happened with Windows before, except for the loss of the UP button. And guess what? Five years later, the UP button is back.

MS is going to lose desktop market share (in exchange for tablet/phone market share) because of this lack of legacy flexibility and the sad thing is they could have had it all.

djdanster said,
no transparency is a deal breaker and a stupid UI decision.

It looks like there will be some slight transparency in the task bar -- look at the program icon that is currently open and see how the wallpaper has a darker blue that the task bar also shows next to that program.

djdanster said,

Because IMO it gives the UI a cleaner feel. The image of the metro desktop just makes me feel like i'm in the pre-95 era...

Blank white is possibly the cleanest UI you will have.

LOVE THE WHITE!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FINALLY!!

im getting ONE FOR SURE NOW.. this is one thing I wanted from them.

Also.. now only the Icons need a refresh.. and all is done

Zain Adeel said,
LOVE THE WHITE!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FINALLY!!

im getting ONE FOR SURE NOW.. this is one thing I wanted from them.

Also.. now only the Icons need a refresh.. and all is done

Yep, Metro icons would make it more consistent and yet still familiar. Nice.

Zain Adeel said,
LOVE THE WHITE!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FINALLY!!

im getting ONE FOR SURE NOW.. this is one thing I wanted from them.

Also.. now only the Icons need a refresh.. and all is done

My thoughts exactly. Those glossy icons look ugly.

I don't really care anymore, I'll never buy it. I mean it's really great for tablets and phones but I have a desktop and that's just a horrible design for a desktop OS. Windows 7 obviously isn't going anywhere for a very long time and I'm perfectly satisfied with it.

TRC said,
I don't really care anymore, I'll never buy it. I mean it's really great for tablets and phones but I have a desktop and that's just a horrible design for a desktop OS. Windows 7 obviously isn't going anywhere for a very long time and I'm perfectly satisfied with it.

http://i.imgur.com/mog0q.gif

TRC said,
I don't really care anymore, I'll never buy it. I mean it's really great for tablets and phones but I have a desktop and that's just a horrible design for a desktop OS. Windows 7 obviously isn't going anywhere for a very long time and I'm perfectly satisfied with it.

If you read the article you would know:
1) People did not intuitively know about "double-clicking before Windows 95.
2) People complained about the lack of Program Manager in Windows 95
3) People complained about HAVING the Start Menu in WIndows 98
4) People complained about the "preschool" look of Windows XP.
5) People complained about the Start Menu changing in Windows Vista.
6) People complained about the lack of pop-overs in the Start Menu in Windows 7.

Moral of the story? People will always complain about everything. But as long as your computer doesn't run any slower and actually provides benefits to a large number of users, people will adapt and change.

dagamer34 said,

If you read the article you would know:
1) People did not intuitively know about "double-clicking before Windows 95.
2) People complained about the lack of Program Manager in Windows 95
3) People complained about HAVING the Start Menu in WIndows 98
4) People complained about the "preschool" look of Windows XP.
5) People complained about the Start Menu changing in Windows Vista.
6) People complained about the lack of pop-overs in the Start Menu in Windows 7.

Moral of the story? People will always complain about everything. But as long as your computer doesn't run any slower and actually provides benefits to a large number of users, people will adapt and change.

Amen..

dagamer34 said,

If you read the article you would know:
1) People did not intuitively know about "double-clicking before Windows 95.
2) People complained about the lack of Program Manager in Windows 95
3) People complained about HAVING the Start Menu in WIndows 98
4) People complained about the "preschool" look of Windows XP.
5) People complained about the Start Menu changing in Windows Vista.
6) People complained about the lack of pop-overs in the Start Menu in Windows 7.

Moral of the story? People will always complain about everything. But as long as your computer doesn't run any slower and actually provides benefits to a large number of users, people will adapt and change.

Except in this case MS is adding something to a desktop operating system that regular users simply don't need and is in the way.

And why would people complain about the start menu in 98 when it was also in 95?

Order_66 said,

Except in this case MS is adding something to a desktop operating system that regular users simply don't need and is in the way.

And why would people complain about the start menu in 98 when it was also in 95?

It's not in the way. It doesn't make things take any more time or any harder.

Order_66 said,

Except in this case MS is adding something to a desktop operating system that regular users simply don't need and is in the way.

And why would people complain about the start menu in 98 when it was also in 95?

And your basing that fact on not needing it on what? The entire population? Sorry brother. You don't speak For myself and many others.

Order_66 said,

Except in this case MS is adding something to a desktop operating system that regular users simply don't need and is in the way.

And why would people complain about the start menu in 98 when it was also in 95?


Actually, "adding something that regular users simply don't need" is generally the complaint made about every major OS change.

The enhanced Start Menu had a whole camp of sandyvaggers (some threads may still exist in Neowin's own forums) who griped that they were cramming too much into the menu which just made it more complicated and harder to do the tasks that were so much simpler with the 'classic' Start Menu.

Even the noble 'alternatives' face the same criticisms, with Gnome and KDE regularly hammered with criticisms over UX changes that make no sense other than simply being change for change's sake. Adding salt to the wound was that this grand 'open' OS community was met with the brick wall of designers essentially saying "This is what we're doing. We're not telling you why. We don't care. Deal with it."

It's reality. Many people have gotten so cozy in their habits to remember that technology is largely experimental and things go through jerky changes.

If nothing else, I think we've found the solution for any political party that starts to lose numbers. Much like some conservatives appeal to people who delude themselves into a false memory of a 'golden age' decades ago, just find some way to appeal to this class of techies who delude themselves into a false memory of a golden age of computing in the 90s.

TRC said,
I don't really care anymore, I'll never buy it. I mean it's really great for tablets and phones but I have a desktop and that's just a horrible design for a desktop OS. Windows 7 obviously isn't going anywhere for a very long time and I'm perfectly satisfied with it.

Agreed.

dagamer34 said,

If you read the article you would know:
1) People did not intuitively know about "double-clicking before Windows 95.
2) People complained about the lack of Program Manager in Windows 95
3) People complained about HAVING the Start Menu in WIndows 98
4) People complained about the "preschool" look of Windows XP.
5) People complained about the Start Menu changing in Windows Vista.
6) People complained about the lack of pop-overs in the Start Menu in Windows 7.

Moral of the story? People will always complain about everything. But as long as your computer doesn't run any slower and actually provides benefits to a large number of users, people will adapt and change.

But do the benefits outweigh the cons for the Start Screen? I use my computer to view lots of videos, but with the Start Screen getting in the way, I'd have to pause my video if I want to run an app side by side (if I don't want to miss anything). At least with the Start Menu the way it is now I can at least watch most of my video or Aero Snap it to one side while my Start Menu runs on another.

The thing is, with many of the previous changes in Windows, there hasn't been much of a tradeoff vs improvements. This time, the change is far too polarising.

dagamer34 said,

If you read the article you would know:
1) People did not intuitively know about "double-clicking before Windows 95.
2) People complained about the lack of Program Manager in Windows 95
3) People complained about HAVING the Start Menu in WIndows 98
4) People complained about the "preschool" look of Windows XP.
5) People complained about the Start Menu changing in Windows Vista.
6) People complained about the lack of pop-overs in the Start Menu in Windows 7.

Moral of the story? People will always complain about everything. But as long as your computer doesn't run any slower and actually provides benefits to a large number of users, people will adapt and change.

Except that these were all MINOR complaints by a very SMALL number of people and the core functionality of the GUI was unaffected.

This is NOT the case with the force-fed Windows 8 Metro invisible gadgets "GUI" on the desktop. The negative outcry is massive and from many of the top players with skin in the game.

Now that I think of it, Microsoft has a proper trackrecord of doing awful things with the Start menu.

In Win95/98 it was a mess that you had to arrange and manage to get to your programs easily if you didn't have desktop/quicklaunch shortcuts for them.

In Vista they made it easier to launch programs by using search, but at the same time made the tree view even more awkward to use.

Win7 made the start menu mostly obsolete for anything but search and pinning programs you use from time to time but not every day (as a contrast to your most used programs residing on the taskbar). Still messy if you don't know the program name and need to use the tree.

Win8 made the start menu terrible to use on high res displays. It requires a lot of mousing around a 2560x1600 screen just to click on a tile because the start menu always spans the full screen. Meanwhile you can't read any program you had open at the same time.

Not that other operating systems do it any better. OSX's Launchpad is just as bad as the Win8 start menu for exactly the same reasons and more. On OSX I have resorted to pinning a stack of the Applications folder to my dock and this pops up a grid view of all my apps that takes at most a quarter of screen estate, with the ability to browse subfolders for less used ones. I think it works reasonably well but is hardly ideal.

Maybe we just need a whole new concept for starting programs, hmm?

_aLfa_ said,
@LaXu
1) CMD+Space
2) Type 2 or 3 letters of the application you want to open
3) Carriage Return

GUI means GRAPHIC user interface. This isn't the 1980's anymore and users should not have to step backwards just to compensate for OS "upgrade" productivity mistakes.

Glad they got rid of all those gradients, you needed at least a Quad-SLI setup, 8 cores and 32GB of ram to render them.

They should just hurry up and dump Metro and the Desktop and just make Windows boot to Facebook because that's the only reason why computers exist.

At least, that's what Sinofsky told me my opinion was.

Enron said,
what are you talking about? My computer boots into Excel.

Please report to your nearest Microsoft certified service-centre for reprogramming.

Athernar said,
Glad they got rid of all those gradients, you needed at least a Quad-SLI setup, 8 cores and 32GB of ram to render them.
What on earth is your theme?
sarcasm is heavy here, just like your quote for specs

Athernar said,
Glad they got rid of all those gradients, you needed at least a Quad-SLI setup, 8 cores and 32GB of ram to render them.

Huh??? "All the gradients" ran just fine on my puny celeron D with 2GB of ram and a puny Geforce FX 5200..

"Harris said that Microsoft will be making some changes to the desktop UI for Windows 8, which will include having some of the Metro look put into the UI"
---
Just when I think they can't screw the desktop up any more...

knighthawk said,
"Harris said that Microsoft will be making some changes to the desktop UI for Windows 8, which will include having some of the Metro look put into the UI"
---
Just when I think they can't screw the desktop up any more...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. They just made it better, IMO.

eilegz said,
no start menu in desktop mode? sigh microsoft

WinKey, Click Tile. This is the equivalent of WinKey, Click Icon in 7 and before.
WinKey, Type, Hit Enter. This is the same.

Panda X said,

WinKey, Click Tile. This is the equivalent of WinKey, Click Icon in 7 and before.
WinKey, Type, Hit Enter. This is the same.


Yup. Only problem (and that was in consumer preview so it might have changed) was how you had to right-click to a menu with the show all apps option, and that was the only option in the menu. Showing all apps really should be an icon in the bottom left of the start screen or something.

Panda X said,

WinKey, Click Tile. This is the equivalent of WinKey, Click Icon in 7 and before.
WinKey, Type, Hit Enter. This is the same.


Wrong, it is different in the way it separates search categories.

Panda X said,

WinKey, Click Tile. This is the equivalent of WinKey, Click Icon in 7 and before.
WinKey, Type, Hit Enter. This is the same.


But, there are no context menus in the Metro environment. So WinKey, type, (ability to right-click the results) in 7. Search results are very crippled on the Start screen compared to the Start menu.

Leonick said,
Yup. Only problem (and that was in consumer preview so it might have changed) was how you had to right-click to a menu with the show all apps option, and that was the only option in the menu. Showing all apps really should be an icon in the bottom left of the start screen or something.

If you are on the desktop, use the charmbar > search, it will goes to "all apps" directly.

TCLN Ryster said,
"Gone are the glass and reflections."

So it's official then, no more glass/transparency in Windows 8?

I really hope so, I always found it annoying and messy looking when you could see through toolbars.

Orange Battery said,

I really hope so, I always found it annoying and messy looking when you could see through toolbars.

Why didn't you just turn it off? Transparency was always optional, a few clicks to get a look very similar to the last screenshot above. I hope there's a way to reenable it in W8.

TCLN Ryster said,
"Gone are the glass and reflections."

So it's official then, no more glass/transparency in Windows 8?

Best case scenario - the colour settings like in Windows 7 were tweaked to no transparency and max brightness. I can't see Microsoft coding in a neat new feature - dynamic colour changing with the background - and limiting it to the taskbar only.

Though what would be really neat is if the colour settings affected the hot-tracking shade for system controls. I'd take that if white-only titlebars is the compromise.

Orange Battery said,

I really hope so, I always found it annoying and messy looking when you could see through toolbars.


Fck this. I can't believe this sht. You can disable it, you know? Why not leave it for others to use it.... Guess this will call another UX Theme patch...

Jose_49 said,

Fck this. I can't believe this sht. You can disable it, you know? Why not leave it for others to use it.... Guess this will call another UX Theme patch...

Screw my other post. I've seen that they have not dispatched the transparency. Sigh* For what I care, I've been using the Aero Lite look since its starts so screw myself.

dagamer34 said,

Glass transparency wastes battery life though.

My desktop was never on battery power and I liked the transperancy. Same with my laptop when it was docked. Give me the choice for the 'bling', I preferred it.

dagamer34 said,

Glass transparency wastes battery life though.


But Aero graphics acceleration is still running in Windows 8, even though they made the interface about as ugly as non-Aero Vista/7.

I was never much of a fan of Aero glass, mainly because it reduces the legibility of the title bar. However, the screenshot above looks a bit too bland, though it's hard to tell from such a small screenshot. I'm assuming it will look a bit better with some added colour.

Microsoft needed to make some noticeable changes to the desktop to distinguish Windows 8 from Vista and Win7. Removing the faux-3D effects is a good start but I still think this is more tinkering than a genuine improvement.

david said,
I love glass transparency. =(

No transparency forced on by default will help those on weak Intel integrated chips (in the case of laptops, first-gen Core iX and backwards). I've noticed a slight performance boost with glass off on my laptop, especially when hooked up to an external monitor.

That said, glass in Windows 7 is nice. Alas, 'tis a fad.

oliver182 said,

And stresses the CPU in non-hardware accelerated PC's

You have to have one hell of a sh*ty computer to not have Aero work. I have a netbook running 7HPE very snippy.