Windows Start Menu Discussion


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libertas83

Its not just the star menu on Windows 8 thats the issue.

Metro is just wrong for a non-touchscreen desktop.

99% of people are going to be using it non-touchscreen

My desktop OS needs to be functional as its primary concern, not pretty with ridiculous tiles that center around social media which is the ar$e end of the internet

How is the Desktop functional in of itself? You have a background, hopefully no icons on the desktop, a start menu, and a taskbar. Outside of that, the desktop has no function. Each of those functions are all present in the new Start Screen.

All of the start menu functionality is in the Start Screen (except the never-should-be-used Power button). The taskbar has a replacement in the top left corner to show you apps running. However, I would agree it's more limited than the traditional taskbar and that is only complaint I have, though, I understand why it's not there.

And this crap about the fact that it's for touch and a mouse/keyboard doesn't work is complete b.s. Why is a list of tiles across a screen any less useful for a mouse? What objective reason does anyone have that it's less useful for a mouse in comparison to the start menu. Let me break down the mouse function here:

1.) Start Menu in Windows 9x - XP had a fly out menu. That menu was hard to use with a mouse and even harder on trackpads. Most users, do not organize this menu at all. How many had friends and parents with the long list of apps that you had to scroll through or had 2 panes of the menu that you had to read through? That usually would take up the whole screen.

2.) Organizing elements across the screen to click on has been around forever! Look at Windows 7 and IE9. I have "thumbnail tiles" that go across the screen that are almost the size of the Start Screen tiles. Wow....so hard to click on something so big... Also, in IE9, the new tab window has...what is that...tiles! That go across the screen.

Now I love the way Zune does it and that is really how the Start Screen should be. It presents tiles laid out horizontally. As I move the mouse across tiles, it will move the tiles across smoothly so that I do not have to scroll or anything. So if they did not do that in Windows 8, that is disappointing. Either way, there is nothing in a full-screen app/start-screen that prevents a mouse from being useful. We move across the screen with mice all the time. Just because its bigger and allows better touch interaction doesn't mean you lose mouse interaction at all.

There are places for Metro, and there are places not for it. My non-touch based desktop computer falls into the latter category.

Personally, I can't see why Microsoft didn't give people the choice to use Metro or Classic. XP has such a [classic] choice. So does Vista. What caused Microsoft to suddenly force Metro on Windows 8 users? I won't understand that decision, and personally I think it's a bad move. Today's world should be about freedom and choice. Not the opposite. Yes, Windows 7 is an option. Yes, classic start menu hacks are an option. But they're not exactly freedom of choice...

The choice doesn't exist because it's no longer the same Windows! This is not a skin to Windows like the other themes were. This is a new shell. Explorer.exe is legacy shell which contains the traditional desktop we all love. Metro is a new shell that replaces Explorer.exe completely.

This is not like any upgrade from Windows 9x - 7. This is like the change from DOS/Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. The biggest difference is that in Windows 95, you had a stripped down CMD window that had some basic DOS functionality but couldn't run all DOS apps/games. You had to "Exit to DOS" and leave Windows 95 entirely to run those programs. Now it is so smooth of a transition between Metro and Explorer that no one even notices how radical a change this is. Desktop is now an app that you "exit" to when you click it which then switches you to Explorer. That way, you don't ever leave Windows at all and seamlessy switch in and out quickly.

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x-byte

Excellent written.

MS have to design their OS for the future. We are heading into a touch future. Does that mean mouse/keyboard will be replaced. Not at all. Tablets will replace most laptops, because they work as a hybrid. The desktop PC will still be strong for years to come.

For this to work well we need a unified solution. The Metro UI and the new start screen is the beginning. Why should we have different experienes on all our devices? Our tablets, phones and PCs need to work and behave alike.

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Jygoro

Great read, thanks. I agree the Start Screen is a step forward in lots of ways.

One of them was not mentioned and is the Start Screen is also a great task switcher. Never thought of that possibility until I saw my father using the Win key for everything. He opens the mail app, clicks on a website link thus it opens IE10 app, and it returns to the mail app in the most easy way ever: Win key and click again on mail tile. It doesn't matter if it was already open, it just shows him what he wanted, his mail. It also doesn't matter he left IE10 running, it doesn't uses CPU.

He always had problem to understand the taskbar way and Win7 taskbar with those confusing thumbnails and aero-peek didn't help him at all.

Now he is happy with the Start Screen and the Win key. :)

In my experience I love the named groups (although I'm missing setups installers with the option "create a new group at Start Screen" at the end), everything is more clean like that. Also loved the day I connected my laptop to the 1080p LCD TV. Never it was so easy to run a program from the couch with a wireless mouse. Those bigs tiles had a lot of sense in that situation.

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Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

The ability to "pin" programs on the start menu existed on Windows 95. You could right-click a program on the all programs menu and add it (pin) it to the start menu.

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theyarecomingforyou
Has anyone seen banding on individual non metro app tiles?

Yes! Do you by any chance have a monitor with 10-bit colour (typically S-IPS panels)?

I find the colour banding to be incredibly irritating and it's especially bad when launching Metro apps, as I get a sort of banding-flickering during the animation. At first I thought it was a fault with my monitor but creating the same gradient in a drawing application displays fine. My guess is that Microsoft is using 8-bit gradients, so it wouldn't be an issue on regular displays but would be noticeable on 10-bit displays.

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MikeChipshop

Great piece of writing sir!

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neo1911

Yes! Do you by any chance have a monitor with 10-bit colour (typically S-IPS panels)?

I find the colour banding to be incredibly irritating and it's especially bad when launching Metro apps, as I get a sort of banding-flickering during the animation. At first I thought it was a fault with my monitor but creating the same gradient in a drawing application displays fine. My guess is that Microsoft is using 8-bit gradients, so it wouldn't be an issue on regular displays but would be noticeable on 10-bit displays.

I don't know really. I have 22" Samsung LED Monitor capable of 1080p.

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Dot Matrix

The ability to "pin" programs on the start menu existed on Windows 95. You could right-click a program on the all programs menu and add it (pin) it to the start menu.

Crap, I think you're right. However, app pinning wasn't really something anyone did until the new Start Menu was released with XP. Monitors back then never really had grand resolutions to allow it like is available today.

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+warwagon

Great Read. Although I do think your "Windows 8 Logo" avatar make you look a tad bias on your opinion of Windows 8..

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KevinN206

Exactly

c04b81db3f114b86f43573c6a4e41.png

I'm still not installing Windows 8. I love the desktop enhancements, but I can't deal with the intrusive Start Screen. (And I'm still trying to understand what Metro apps bring to the table that a simple HTML5 website can't give me) I have no need for a fullscreen Weather App, no need for a limited Mail client, no need for a fullscreen Stocks app, etc.

I'm nos buying/drinking this kool-aid

And yet all the one that I know (not very computer literate) have a hell hole of a "all programs" menu. Why? Because they install all sorts of crap in it but never organize. Why? Because the old start menu isn't very intuitive at all on how to organize the start, how to create a new folder, and how to move a new folder. The new metro screen solves this problem for the average person. And of course, you don't have to deal with the UAC prompt if the item happens to be in the "All Users" folder.
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Tangmeister

Has anyone seen banding on individual non metro app tiles? Microsoft cannot even do something right.

GW4gl.png

Well, have you noticed that Microsoft Office 2010 came long before Windows 8's guidelines?

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rfirth

Well, have you noticed that Microsoft Office 2010 came long before Windows 8's guidelines?

That doesn't really matter, though. The tiles are standard tiles for desktop apps, with the logo and name of the program on the tile. The background of the tile looks like an 8-bit color gradient.

None of this matters, though, because Microsoft re-did desktop app tiles in post-RP builds. Take a look at the MS Surface demo and you will see that this probably no longer applies.

Desktop app tiles now have the logo centered and large, with the name of the program in smaller letters across the bottom. This makes desktop app tiles look more like the metro app tiles, so they don't stick out as much. It looks much nicer.

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TsarNikky

Making one User Interface for two entirely separate marketplaces--business and consumer was a bad decision. Made worse, when no choice was given during installation--Metro UI vs Desktop. Now, the choice is Metro UI or stick with Windows-7.

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Noir Angel

Why is there so much insistence on giving extra front page notability to these heavily biased opinion pieces. It seems Neowin is aiming at pushing people towards a "swallow Microsoft's changes because it's Microsoft" dictum more and more.

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rfirth

Why is there so much insistence on giving extra front page notability to these heavily biased opinion pieces. It seems Neowin is aiming at pushing people towards a "swallow Microsoft's changes because it's Microsoft" dictum more and more.

I don't think so. They love posting articles about Stardock hating on Windows 8. There is also the recent "The great Windows 8 Debate with Robert Scoble".

It seems more like they post a couple anti-Windows 8 articles, then a few pro-Windows 8 articles. The individual articles aren't unbiased, but overall it balances out.

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Stoffel

Why is there so much insistence on giving extra front page notability to these heavily biased opinion pieces. It seems Neowin is aiming at pushing people towards a "swallow Microsoft's changes because it's Microsoft" dictum more and more.

Why not?

Everybody knows that the writer of the post likes Win8. He starts out by saying this is his view and opinion on the problem with the Start menu and how he finds the Start screen better. Nothing more, nothing less.

It's a well written post and he clearly explains all his opinions.

The people at Neowin must have thought the same and put it on the front page.

Nice one Dot Matrix

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chrisj1968

see, this is what I don't understand from people like you.

if the start screen is the only thing you don't like why not just install one of the start menu replacers and be done with it? many of them (ok, just 2 right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if that number rises) are starting to allow logging in straight to the desktop bypassing the start screen all together, so I don't see what the problem is, especially if you like all the other improvements.

Since I'm no win8 geek, what does metro offer me really? new look? I have no desire to learn a new interface all over anyway.

I'll wait for what lies after win8, unless of course there's such backlash that, someone edits win8's desktop to have a start menu again somehow. seems like if it isn't broken, don't fix it as my DI in basic training taught me. how many elderly people or un-geekified people will be lost to this massive change?

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Brandon H

Since I'm no win8 geek, what does metro offer me really? new look? I have no desire to learn a new interface all over anyway.

I'll wait for what lies after win8, unless of course there's such backlash that, someone edits win8's desktop to have a start menu again somehow. seems like if it isn't broken, don't fix it as my DI in basic training taught me. how many elderly people or un-geekified people will be lost to this massive change?

that's what i'm saying though, there are ALREADY plenty of programs that give you the start menu back, a few of which allow you to bypass the start screen entirely

also, the RTM version will include a tutorial of some sort, this has been confirmed

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chrisj1968

that's what i'm saying though, there are ALREADY plenty of programs that give you the start menu back, a few of which allow you to bypass the start screen entirely

also, the RTM version will include a tutorial of some sort, this has been confirmed

can i ask as a lamer, why they even designed the metro screen? seems confusing to me and cluttered as I'm a neat freak. anyway. if i can get my start menu. then all good

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rfirth

can i ask as a lamer, why they even designed the metro screen? seems confusing to me and cluttered as I'm a neat freak. anyway. if i can get my start menu. then all good

If you're a neat freak, the start screen is perfect for you. You can organize it to your heart's content.

There is nothing really confusing about it. It's just a screen where you can pin apps and organize them into groups however you like it.

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farmeunit

For me it's never been the Start menu/screen issue. It's the transition between Metro and desktop when I use mainly desktop apps and use several at the same time. I want a consistent workspace. I love the interface for a tablet. It sucks on a desktop for my needs.

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Dot Matrix

I want a consistent workspace.

Which is why AERO is going away...

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farmeunit

What's not consistent about Aero?

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Subhadip

For me it's never been the Start menu/screen issue. It's the transition between Metro and desktop when I use mainly desktop apps and use several at the same time. I want a consistent workspace. I love the interface for a tablet. It sucks on a desktop for my needs.

Which is why the Desktop is not just intact, but much enhanced over Windows 7. Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft has stated time and again that the Desktop has its place and for many usage scenarios - particularly complex productivity - it is still a better solution than Metro. If Metro doesn't suit your needs, don't use it. It is all about choice.

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