Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 12:10 UTC
Windows The Verge confirms an earlier story by Mary Jo Foley. "Microsoft is preparing to revive the traditional Start button it killed with Windows 8. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed to The Verge that Windows 8.1 will include the return of the Start button. We understand that the button will act as a method to simply access the Start Screen, and will not include the traditional Start Menu. The button is said to look near-identical to the existing Windows flag used in the Charm bar."
Order by: Score:
Ummm ...
by WorknMan on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 12:23 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

The Verge hasn't CONFIRMED anything. The Verge is spreading rumors by siting 'sources familiar with Microsoft's plans', and you are helping facilitate this with your misleading article title.

http://www.osnews.com/story/26930/X_to_release_Y_competitor

Hence, the title of this article should read:

RUMOR: Windows 8.1 set to bring back the Start button

Reply Score: 2

RE: Ummm ...
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 12:32 UTC in reply to "Ummm ..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Tom Warren is incredibly trustworthy. If you've been doing this work for as long as I have, you'd know.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Ummm ...
by Luminair on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Ummm ..."
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

does that mean it's not a rumor?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Ummm ...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ummm ..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Oh come on, sometimes the criticism is warranted but this is actually a well sourced rumor with a lot of different people backing it up. MJF, Paul Thurrot, and Tom Warren have excellent track records when it comes to Windows leaks.

Hell, usually if MJF says it, it will happen in exactly that way. I've never seen a more connected person to Microsoft.

Its pretty much a given at this point. Thom didn't exactly pull this figure from a blog.

Besides, it says "The Verge confirms" not "OSNews confirms". I have faith in the intellectual ability of users here to be able to apply a grain of salt where they deem necessary, especially when Thom is forthcoming about it being an external link.

Rumors are still news, and if TW, MJF, and PT have got it wrong, then it is a terrible lack of judgement and lack of good journalism on their part. That's on them, not Thom.

You have all the appropriate caveats.

Edited 2013-04-22 19:46 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Ummm ...
by Kochise on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 14:52 UTC in reply to "Ummm ..."
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Beware, you're going over the... verge !

Kochise

Reply Score: 3

RE: Ummm ...
by Deviate_X on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:33 UTC in reply to "Ummm ..."
Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

The Verge hasn't CONFIRMED anything. The Verge is spreading rumors by siting 'sources familiar with Microsoft's plans', ...
RUMOR: Windows 8.1 set to bring back the Start button


Ok well, Mary J Foley pretty much verified this last week.

It was the wrong strategy to completely remove the start button without giving people a fallback option. All previous versions of windows gave people the ability to fallback to previous UI designs. Why should Win8 be different!

Reply Score: 4

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 12:24 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

It's not really bringing back the Start button. It's placing a button that links to the Start screen and make it look like the traditional one.

That's not really much or any improvement over the hot corner or hitting the Windows key.

Reply Score: 11

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by avgalen on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 13:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

You are entirely correct. It is amazing how much "newsvalue" a "boot to desktop" and "startbutton" can gather.

Most people boot their machine ones per day at most and clicking the desktop icon takes literally 1 click. The startbutton is just a button on the same place as the start hotcorner is now and is completely useless for everyone that has a windows key on his keyboard.

Let's face it, these 2 changes are only made by Microsoft to make the techpress shut up about "the problems with Windows 8"

If you want to boot to the desktop and get the startmenu (not just a button) back, there are plenty of tools for that, even free ones like this one: http://ninite.com/classicstart/

I have personally used Windows 8 for over a year now and by simply adding the icons of my most used programs to the taskbar, like I did in Windows 7, I only go to the startscreen when I want to and then I actually like it. For me, Windows 8 is just a better Windows 7 and it includes apps that I can use if I want to, iso-mounting, many more codecs, hyperv, the ToGo-version that runs from a USB, settings that sync with my login and so many other improvements on the desktop that I love. All this "boot to desktop and startmenu whining" is such a non-issue for everyday use and still hearing about it after a whole year and now hearing newsitem after newsitem about these "8.1 fixes" is so useless.

When will somebody post anything interesting about Windows 8.1, like "did they improve the Windows Runtime", "Are apps for Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 compatible", or "Are new Windows 8 features more discoverable"

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Yes, pinning your favorite apps on to the taskbar negates the need of a Start menu for the most part and the Start menu is not too bad.

What I dislike is the disconnect between the Start menu/Metro stuff and the classic desktop and everything that runs there.

The Start menu can look nice and be informative, but let's say you start Outlook 2013 you are taken to the classic desktop and you can't see the Start menu. Unless you go back, but then you don't see Outlook.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by phoenix on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Please don't call the Windows 8 Start Screen the "start menu". It's not a menu in any sense of the word; it's a jumbled mess that takes up the entire screen.

Trying to call it "the start menu" does nothing but create confusion. Especially if Microsoft brings back the actual Start Menu.

They are two separate views, and need two separate names:
- Metro: Start Screen
- Desktop: Start Menu

Reply Score: 9

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I won't do it again.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

So far the word is that the Windows Runtime includes support for more peripherals. Deeper USB, Bluetooth, Kiosk, and Point of Sale APIs are baked into the platform now.

As for WP8.1 and Windows 8.1 parity, I think we'll see more movement in the general direction but nothing completely earth shattering. More APIs will be in sync, but I don't imagine them moving off of the Silverlight stack in Windows Phone until at least WP9.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by avgalen on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Where did you hear about those changes in the Windows Runtime?

Do you have any source for this "more parity, but not parity yet" between W8.1 and WP8.1? It is unfortunately also what I think is going to happen but I haven't read anything about this from a reliable source. I still can't believe that these 2 platforms now share a kernel but can't run the same apps, while "infinite application compatibility" has always been the strong point of Windows. It would just help them so much to get developers on board.

All these complaints about the startscreen would automatically go away if there were actually lots of interesting apps so people would have a reason to use "Modern" instead of "Desktop"

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 17:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

http://www.neowin.net/news/windows-81-api-reveals-extended-point-of...

I know there has to be more I just haven't had the time to run Windows.winmd through an IL decompiler yet.

The parity with WP8.1 and Win8.1 is just my intuition based on where they went with WP8.

I'm similarly disappointed but it would've been a huge haul to port the brand new Windows.UI.Xaml stack to Windows Phone 8 at the same at as Windows 8. I don't think the teams worked in concert to that extent yet. Maybe now they do, but certainly back then things had to be on a hectic schedule which explains why the WP8 SDK took so long to come out.

I think we'll see common sense things like non-PCL HttpClient, some more WinRT APIs like Windows.Storage and some work around the margins like WebAuthenticationBroker and other key scenarios.

I don't expect to be running on top of native WinRT XAML for WP8.1 though, that is too many platform shifts in a small period of time. Porting WP8 apps to the new WinRT XAML stack would prove non trivial.

I mean maybe they could get part of the way there with PCL and Type Forwarding but I dont' know if they'll go down that path.

I also would value integration of the two Dev Centers which are similar but separate. It should just be one experience.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by avgalen on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Thanks for that link. I love reading OSNews, but I got sad when a site that is all about Operating Systems focusses purely on a button and that "it looks near-identical to blablabla" instead of digging into what the OS is actually about.

I don't know why Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 weren't more synchronised in their development. I am sure they will get synchronised and that we will eventually have 1 development target and 1 appstore, but just like you I don't think 8.1 will bring that already.

Let's hope for articles with more meat and less whining in the future

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Alfman on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:14 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

MOS6510,

Hmm, it wouldn't let me vote you up.

I thought they might have finally given users the option to disable the annoying (IMHO) jump between desktop and metro modes. If so, I'd have been ready to buy a windows 8 copy to upgrade a windows machine still running xp. I really don't want to hand them any money as long as they're so adamant about ignoring what customers want.

Damn it MS, just give users back the choice already.

Edited 2013-04-22 15:23 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I hope you weren't pressured in to voting me up!

If Microsoft made Windows 8 boot in to classic and gave it back the Start button AND offered the Metro bit, which I think of as a tablet emulator, they'd have a great Windows.

Windows 7 was/is great and Windows 8 is even faster.

But right now it feels like Windows 8 is two unfinished operating systems meshed in to a single one. The Metro side is missing stuff, the classic desktop side is missing stuff (although not as much).

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by MOS6510
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:20 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Obviously, you're speaking from your own personal experience which is cool and everything. But a lot of what you are describing is non obvious to someone sitting down with it for the first time. Its not as familiar as win 7 was. I think someone would do just as good of a job figuring it out as they would with gnome3 or unity.

Eh, I think it lets people know that the hot corner is there. I've seen non techy people get stuck in the desktop on win 8, not sure how to get back to the "block screen". No, they haven't been aware of the windows key that's been there since '95.

I don't understand why they didn't do that in the first place. Maybe having it there will just make people miss win 7's start menu all the more? At least it looks different than the win 7 start button so it gives them a clue its different in function.

Edited 2013-04-22 15:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I should think everybody should know by now about the hot corners.

It's hard to imagine people buying Windows 8 and not being able discover it either by themselves or with help AND then upgrading to Windows 8.1.

I just don't think Metro adds anything, yet. It's nice to have a tablet emulator included in Windows, but Microsoft should know there would be at least a very long transition period from classic stuff to more modern Metro.

If Metro means, clean, mean and lacking options I think classic desktop applications will be with us for a long time. Even Office 2013 isn't Metro and after trying it it seems like Office 2010 with a slight Metro facelift.

I and many people think it's easy to fix Windows 8: boot to classic, Start menu, done. Have a boot in to Metro as an option, why not.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 17:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

It's hard to imagine people buying Windows 8 and not being able discover it either by themselves or with help AND then upgrading to Windows 8.1.


Yeah, that might be unlikely, but I was thinking more of the people trying it for the first time and getting frustrated by it. I think they would have better luck if there was a start button. I was watching tv with a non tech friend, and they literately shouted at the tv when some ad described windows 8 as "easy to use".

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 18:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

One of my favorite lines: It's easy when you know how.

Windows 8 isn't difficult, but going from Windows 95 all the way to Windows 7 is almost zero learning curve. If you're a Windows 95 guru, frozen in time and revived many years later and shown Windows 7 you can operate it.

With Windows 8 there is more to figure out, mainly due to the Metro screen, which may probably prove very difficult for the less talented among us.

When I asked a co-worker what version of Windows she had at home she replied it was all strange so I knew it was Windows 8.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by lucas_maximus on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I had to explain to one of the guys in the office how quite a few features in Windows 7 worked, after he got an upgraded machine.

A lot of people didn't like the XP start menu, when it came out.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by judgen on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

I still used classic start menu when forced to run windows, in kde i use classic style as well, in awesome wm it is afaik the only option and finally in my main WM (AmiWM) it is a text based menu defined in .amiwmrc. Great stuff and "one click launches" is in my way of computing faster (for me atleast) than two clicks+search as is the prefered "new way" in windows.
I guess the new way can be faster if the menu is an disorganized mess, but i really try to keep my items tidy.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 22:19 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Agreed. Windows 8 isn't difficult, its just different.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510
by phoenix on Tue 23rd Apr 2013 17:21 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by MOS6510"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Forget "the least talented" users; most of our IT dept (granted, we're heavy Linux users) couldn't get to the friggin' login screen for 5-10 minutes! Ok, so this was with all the preview versions, which didn't include any of promised tutorial/first-run prompts. But when seasoned pros can't even get past the hidden "click-and-drag upwards in order to view the actual login screen" lockscreen, there's something wrong with the product.

And who puts a "lockscreen" on a desktop OS?

Only a single person (out of 14) in the IT dept has kept Windows 8 on their system, and they have it hacked up with a bunch of "give me the desktop experience; kill Metro" utils. The rest of us use XP or 7 when we need to access Windows.

Microsoft used to be really good at providing easy migration paths: Windows 95 included Program Manager; Windows 2000 borrowed the interface from Windows 98; Windows XP included Classic theme; Windows 7 allows you to turn off Aero.

Then, they throw Windows 8 at the masses, and completely remove or hide as much of the old system as possible. And they wonder why people aren't flocking to it in droves?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Tue 23rd Apr 2013 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Ah, the lock screen. This is the Windows 8 feature that truly defeated my legendary skill of figuring things out without a manual.

It had me staring at the screen for some time wondering why people claimed Windows 8 PCs booted so quick and mine didn't.

I do wonder why some people claim some kind of unlock technique is needed as I just hit a (mouse) button.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by contextfree on Tue 23rd Apr 2013 03:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
contextfree Member since:
2009-06-01

They didn't do it because the button couldn't be there outside the desktop (because not showing any system chrome was a goal for the new immersive apps) so putting it on the desktop made it less consistent and actually harder to learn (because rather than learning to click the corner, people would learn "click the button if it's there only it's not there some of the time")

Reply Score: 2

Missing the point
by Morgul on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:06 UTC
Morgul
Member since:
2005-07-06

"We understand that the button will act as a method to simply access the Start Screen, and will not include the traditional Start Menu."

Assuming this actually happens, Microsoft has missed the point again. While I find the mysterious hot corner to be a source of initial confusion, moving my mouse where years of muscle memory have taught me to move it got me past that particular hurdle pretty painlessly. The problem isn't the lack of visual indicators.

The problem is the Start Screen.

To put the finest point on it that I can, the Start Screen's visual metaphor fails. It assumes that all applications are created equal; something that simply is not true. Unlike mobile devices (or pretty much anything with a Palm lineage, like all modern smart phones, tablets, etc.), when I install an application, there's a good chance I've installed multiple executables, several of which I will only use once, maybe twice. (External configuration applications and uninstallers are good examples.) I don't want, or need immediate access to them, so hiding them under a folder (as done in the traditional Start Menu) makes perfect sense. Having them show up on the Start Screen (which has been my experience) is not what the user wants.

Desktop applications assume a hierarchical representation. Mobile applications do not. The Start Menu had a functional visual metaphor for showing both hierarchical and flat applications (The 'pinned applications' list). The Start Screen does not.

I guess, the final nail in the Start Screen's coffin is the fact that it's design is awkward (at best) for keyboard/mouse navigation, it takes up your entire screen (The Start Menu had a much higher information density, and worked great in the 1/2 x 1/5th rectangle allotted it.), and it's visually jarring.

No, Microsoft, it's not that your users miss having a button. Rather, it's that your users miss not having to struggle to find their applications. That's the whole problem with Windows 8, desktop users hate the Start Screen. Fix that, and you fix Windows 8.

Heck, I think a Metro-ized Start Menu could be really cool looking, as well as functional. Especially if on hybrid laptops, it expanded into the full start screen when switch to tablet mode. That'd be neat, and have some novelty...

Or, flip everything on it's head, and use something like Alfred on OS X( http://www.alfredapp.com/ ). Give us a floating search bar in the middle of the screen, in both the desktop and in Metro. Allow type to search, but also give a button to expand a traditional 'All Programs' style menu. It changes up the paradigm, and gives both tablet and desktop users something that works well.

I don't know. There's thousands of solutions to the 'Windows 8 Problem'. Microsoft, stop pretending it's not there, and fix it.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Missing the point
by MOS6510 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 15:57 UTC in reply to "Missing the point"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

You can hide apps on the Start screen, but the problem that while this is your choice you don't have this choice regarding the classic desktop where everything is hidden (because of the missing Start menu button).

If I want Excel on the classic desktop, as it is a classic desktop app, I need to start it from Metro, then I'm taken to the classic desktop where I can pin it to the task bar and use that next time as a launcher.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Missing the point
by avgalen on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Missing the point"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Rightclick on an icon in the startscreen: unpin from start. Now it is hidden. But you can still start it the way you start it in Windows 7: Press the winkey and type a few letters, or rightclick somewhere and choose All apps.

Applications are hidden by default on Windows 7 and don't appear until you open the startmenu. Applications are showing by default on Windows 8. How can anyone claim that Windows 7 makes it easier to find applications?

And to add an application to the taskbar doesn't require you to open it first. Just rightclick and "pin to taskbar". Yes, that is right, the startscreen actually has options for making the desktop work nicely.

The problem with Windows 8 is that the intro video just shows you 5 times how to open the charms bar in a flash 1.0 level animation. If they would have provided a 1 minute video of "this is how Windows 8 works differently from previous Windows versions" that really would have solved most complaints. Luckily such a video is provided by most OEM's but techpeople never watch those

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Missing the point
by tylerdurden on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 18:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Missing the point"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

The fact that it requires a video, in the XXI century after a couple decades of graphical desktops, to grasp basic functionality points towards windows 8 having some serious usability problems...

I can understand Microsoft's approach though trying to unify the desktop and the tablet/phone spaces. From a development/cost perspective.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Missing the point
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Missing the point"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

The fact that it requires a video, in the XXI century after a couple decades of graphical desktops, to grasp basic functionality points towards windows 8 having some serious usability problems...


I think a little can be done to make this better. On high resolution monitors the Task switcher along the side should always be visible.

In addition, on non touch devices the Charms Bar should be brought up by the Start Button. This is how it was in earlier builds, I don't know why they changed it.

Check this screen shot out: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-s-bQXWAlqpM/TogWHTL5YQI/AAAAAAAAACc/dPgHo...

And what do you think? Coupled with the idea I had above for an always visible Task switcher. Or at the very least make it pop up with Alt+Tab and unify them both.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Missing the point
by tylerdurden on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 20:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Missing the point"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Perhaps the problem may be that the metro design team assumed that "simpler" and "intuitive" were synonym, when that is not the case, at all. So even through I have had no significant issue working under Windows 8, because I use desktop apps mainly, there are a lot of corners in the metro experience where simplicity and usability seem to come at odds with each other.

Which is why all the improvements I have heard so far, regarding Windows 8, revolve around the concept of REVEALING information to the user. Which makes perfect sense, because the first thing one experiences after using windows 8 for the first time is "disorientation." Not because the user is overwhelmed with information, but for the opposite reason: the user is underwhelmed with information regarding what the system can do.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Missing the point
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:16 UTC in reply to "Missing the point"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


The problem is the Start Screen.

To put the finest point on it that I can, the Start Screen's visual metaphor fails. It assumes that all applications are created equal; something that simply is not true. Unlike mobile devices (or pretty much anything with a Palm lineage, like all modern smart phones, tablets, etc.), when I install an application, there's a good chance I've installed multiple executables, several of which I will only use once, maybe twice. (External configuration applications and uninstallers are good examples.) I don't want, or need immediate access to them, so hiding them under a folder (as done in the traditional Start Menu) makes perfect sense. Having them show up on the Start Screen (which has been my experience) is not what the user wants.


Your right about this. Desktop applications showing up on the start screen by default IMO is the wrong decision. They should be able to be pinned if the user so chooses, but otherwise the Start Menu starts to clog up pretty badly.

Windows Store apps are forbidden from making more than one tile prior to the initial app launch, and subsequent tile creation requires explicit user consent through the UI.


Desktop applications assume a hierarchical representation. Mobile applications do not. The Start Menu had a functional visual metaphor for showing both hierarchical and flat applications (The 'pinned applications' list). The Start Screen does not.


I'm not quite sure what you mean here, but I can't imagine this is a great cause of confusion more than it is an exercise in pedantry.


I guess, the final nail in the Start Screen's coffin is the fact that it's design is awkward (at best) for keyboard/mouse navigation, it takes up your entire screen (The Start Menu had a much higher information density, and worked great in the 1/2 x 1/5th rectangle allotted it.), and it's visually jarring.


I've been using it on my laptop and I don't find it terrible, but the laptop I have had rather decent trackpad drivers which made swipping across the trackpad seamless.

That said, Windows Blue alleviates this a good deal by having the Search Charm not completely overlay the screen so its closer to traditional search on the Desktop using Windows 7.


No, Microsoft, it's not that your users miss having a button. Rather, it's that your users miss not having to struggle to find their applications.


I think all of the ways users traditionally found software is fundamentally the same. You can still go installer searching online and have an installer pin an icon to your taskbar, desktop, or start screen. Its completely the same.

Search works the same, sure at the moment its a full screen overlay, but honestly it doesn't kill anyone an the searching is much richer because you can actually search content within apps contextually.


That's the whole problem with Windows 8, desktop users hate the Start Screen. Fix that, and you fix Windows 8.


I don't think this is true, maybe some hate it, but certainly not all or anything near all. Instead of ripping out the start screen like some (maybe not you) suggest, its makes more sense to just refine Metro and fix its problem areas if there are any.

I think the changes in Blue show that Microsoft is doubling down on the Start Screen and Metro, not the opposite.

Reply Score: 2

Even if they do...
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 16:47 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

...who cares? What Microsoft desperately tries to take away once, they will surely try to take away again. It's clear already that their own wishes are deemed more important than their users/customers in the end.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Even if they do...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 17:17 UTC in reply to "Even if they do..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Their motivation for removing it in the first place was driven purely by customer feedback through CEIP. The Building 8 blog clearly outlined their rationale and backed it up with statistics they've gathered from customers using Windows.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Even if they do...
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 17:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Even if they do..."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

If that's the case, then their "statistics" must have been gathered purely in-house by people who are getting paid by Microsoft's marketing division...

Clearly, now that Windows 8 is out in the wild, the "true" statistics are out.

Say, was it customers who wanted Metro to be foisted upon everyone too? I doubt it. Microsoft had the option to make both of these an option--but instead they decided to try to enforce them, against their resisting customers' wishes. As if removing a core part of Windows since 1995 was such a brilliant, infallable idea that would never be challenged!

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Even if they do...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 18:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Even if they do..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

If that's the case, then their "statistics" must have been gathered purely in-house by people who are getting paid by Microsoft's marketing division...


The CEIP is a feedback mechanism built into Windows. It is not an in house statistic or done by Microsoft's marketing division. I'm unsure where you got this from.

I find it curious that you choose not to even address the relevant stats, not to challenge them on any basis other than some unsupported astro turfing claim which is characteristic of your lack of objectivity to the subject matter.


Clearly, now that Windows 8 is out in the wild, the "true" statistics are out.


What do you mean? Windows 8 has sold tens of millions of copies, and will continue to do so. Are you suggesting that Windows 8 isn't selling? I wasn't aware that serious people were making this claim.

This is whats most annoying, that people like you feel that they're entitled to their own facts. Do you have any idea what the scale of the Windows install base is?

Any way you slice it, Windows 8 has sold millions and millions of copies. App developers can and are becoming rich on the Windows Store.


Say, was it customers who wanted Metro to be foisted upon everyone too? I doubt it. Microsoft had the option to make both of these an option--but instead they decided to try to enforce them, against their resisting customers' wishes.


Metro is an option. If you don't like it you can just open the Desktop tile and run your classic apps. I don't understand how this is not choice.

A lack of choice would be removing the Desktop from Windows 8 completely.

Then, when Microsoft does a little to appease the annoying "power" (term used loosely here) users, people like you still manage to find a way to complain. Microsoft is damned if they do, damned if they don't.

The meme that Windows 8 isnt selling, or even more hilarious, that Windows 8 isnt selling because you cant access the start menu is so rooted in fantasy that it s almost astonishing.

There are no data points to back up this FUD. None. What so ever. People are not ditching Windows, the PC is decline for a variety of reasons that are a hell of a lot more complex than any theory you put forth.


As if removing a core part of Windows since 1995 was such a brilliant, infallable idea that would never be challenged!


What exactly has been removed from Windows? The start menu that everyone HATED when Vista/7 came out? You people are unreal.

The same people who now miss the start menu dearly and hold it up as an example of why Windows 8 is a failure are the same people who called it a piece of shit in prior releases.

This isn't about a genuine concern over a lack of a start menu, this is a missing feature than you can use as a stick to hit Microsoft with. Its so disingenuous.

Edited 2013-04-22 18:59 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Even if they do...
by WereCatf on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Even if they do..."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I find it curious that you choose not to even address the relevant stats, not to challenge them on any basis other than some unsupported astro turfing claim which is characteristic of your lack of objectivity to the subject matter.


Well, let me say something: Microsoft only gathered statistics on how often and when the Start-button was clicked, but not the reason for this. The most likely reason for someone clicking the button was to find one or another item there that's used rarely and therefore makes little sense to have visible at all times.

The problem? With the Start - screen you get either everything visible or you have to resort to search and, well, you may not always know how the item you're looking for is actually titled. The hierarchical menu of the old Start - menu made it easy to hide the items you didn't need often, but still if you needed something it was easy enough to check all the hierarchies available -- ie. Start-menu folders -- and dig in there to find the items in question you're looking for.

To give something of a more concrete example of what I mean would be e.g. a situation where you wish to adjust the settings of your USB-soundcard, but you can't remember what the utilities are named as or even how many different tools and utilities there are. So, you pop Start-menu open, open the full list of the items and look for the familiar name -- in my case, Creative -- and look under that.

Basically, Start-menu makes it easier to find stuff when you don't know what to search for. Search only works if your search query works.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Even if they do...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Even if they do..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

First let me say I appreciate you taking the time to actually address their rationale.



Well, let me say something: Microsoft only gathered statistics on how often and when the Start-button was clicked, but not the reason for this. The most likely reason for someone clicking the button was to find one or another item there that's used rarely and therefore makes little sense to have visible at all times.


Sure. I think we can agree that the primary use of the Start Menu is to discover applications not frequently used.


The problem? With the Start - screen you get either everything visible or you have to resort to search and, well, you may not always know how the item you're looking for is actually titled. The hierarchical menu of the old Start - menu made it easy to hide the items you didn't need often, but still if you needed something it was easy enough to check all the hierarchies available -- ie. Start-menu folders -- and dig in there to find the items in question you're looking for.


I think I understand this point a little better now, thanks. I personally don't find this to be an issue, but I can see why some would find it to be a visual annoyance.

The good news is that in Windows Blue the search pane shows the results inline without showing an entirely new screen.

Here's the link with the information w.r.t the Search Charm changes: http://www.neowin.net/news/windows-81-9374-shows-search-charm-wont-...

The hierarchical issue is alleviated in Windows Blue by allowing apps to be sorted alphabetically, by most frequent use, or by category.

Its not a 1:1 replacement I understand, but its a bit better than the situation today. Maybe it will work better for you an others.

In addition, the category view is already present in Windows 8. I'll go into it more below.


To give something of a more concrete example of what I mean would be e.g. a situation where you wish to adjust the settings of your USB-soundcard, but you can't remember what the utilities are named as or even how many different tools and utilities there are. So, you pop Start-menu open, open the full list of the items and look for the familiar name -- in my case, Creative -- and look under that.


Gotcha. I hear you 100% and understand this use case now. Next time you use Windows 8, try to trigger the semantic zoom on the "All Apps" page. (On Touch you Pinch to Zoom or by hitting the little "minus" button at the bottom right corner where the scrollbars are) and you'll get an overview of all the categories.

If you tap on the category it automatically jumps to that section in the list.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Even if they do...
by WereCatf on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:42 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Even if they do..."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

or by hitting the little "minus" button at the bottom right corner where the scrollbars are) and you'll get an overview of all the categories.


Sounds cumbersome with having to make silly, large movements with the mouse and having to hit small items with it, then making more large movements just to get the mouse to the same area it was before -- inefficient design.

As an aside, everything I mentioned in the previous comment apply to Ubuntu's Unity, too: it tries too hard to hide everything and make you rely on search to the point of making it hideously tedious to find what you need if you don't know what to search for. I've never personally liked Unity and I feel the Start-screen is too similar in all the wrong ways.

Anecdotal evidence is obviously just anecdotal evidence, but I find it that Average Joes and Janes don't know what to search for unless you have told them it before-hand or trained them specifically in how computer-based search is used efficiently, whereas just giving an easily-accessible list is much easier to comprehend.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Even if they do...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Even if they do..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Yeah, semantic zoom discoverability is something I've struggled with in my own apps. My own analytics show that on non-Touch devices users don't even think to trigger semantic zoom.

I'm hoping that after Windows 8 has had some time in the market my customers get more accustomed to the UI paradigms introduced. The two biggest issues I have is Search Charm and Semantic Zoom (both on non-Touch, on Touch a majority of my people ~80% activate semantic zoom by day 2)

You can also use Ctrl+ and Ctrl- to activate and deactivate semantic zoom.

Its not perfect and I hope they work to make it better in Blue, but it is there if you need it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Even if they do...
by Alfman on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Even if they do..."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Nelson,

"Their motivation for removing it in the first place was driven purely by customer feedback through CEIP. The Building 8 blog clearly outlined their rationale and backed it up with statistics they've gathered from customers using Windows."

So they say, I sure didn't buy that excuse the first time round...if anything customers were screaming for the choice to set it back ever since the previews came out. The thing that's especially annoying though is that MS could fix all of these issues without causing any fuss for those who actually like the default windows desktop/metro integration as is. Windows 8 would be a better OS for it.

MS are shooting themselves in the foot with customers who don't like metro, but it's clearly a deliberate part of a longer term strategy to phase customers off the desktop and into their metro app store. I wonder how many lost sales they consider acceptable in pursuit of this strategy. If they could maintain their monopoly and convert a majority of consumers to metro apps over time, it would put them in a position to levy fees on billions of dollars from 3rd party software sales.

Edited 2013-04-22 19:42 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Even if they do...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 19:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Even if they do..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

No. It isn't so they say. That's exactly how it is, backed up by figures, charts, and thousand word posts.

You can argue WHY the customers provided feed back and argue that Microsoft's usage interpretation was wrong,but trying to say that the usage isn't legitimate feed back is wrong.

What's even more dubious is the claim that Microsoft is losing a statistically relevant amount of sales over a missing Start Menu. I really don't think Windows 7 would've lifted the PC market more than Windows 8 did, and in fact, without the Surface RT and Surface Pro running Windows 8, Microsoft's revenue would've seen a shortfall the size of the PC market's shortfall.

It didn't because they made up for OEM sales with pure hardware sales of a touch based tablet. In other words, Windows 8 helped save Microsoft from what would've been a disastrous quarter for them.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2013/04/20/microsoft-surface...

The Surface has made Microsoft $200 million dollars alone. The Pro alone contributed 4% of their revenue.

These arent $199 Nexus devices with razor thin margins, they're $1000 ultrabooks with touch screens. That Microsoft sells directly.

Now this might seem like a bit of an aside, but my point in all this is that Microsoft is starting to transition and cater to a new type of user with Windows 8.

Maybe traditional Desktop users wont' like it as much, but there's evidence that its an increasingly shrinking segment -- with ultra portables like the Surface set to see an explosion of growth in that sector.

If Microsoft can do something to grow Surface sales in a semi significant manner, they could start to seriously transition themselves into a Devices and Services company.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Even if they do...
by Alfman on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 20:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Even if they do..."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Nelson,

"No. It isn't so they say. That's exactly how it is, backed up by figures, charts, and thousand word posts."

They were obviously looking for data to show their case rather than looking at what customers wanted. Even if there was a shadow of a doubt in the past, in hindsight it's pretty obvious to everyone else that their research was naive, flawed, even deceptive in suggesting that consumers wanted windows 8 to work how it does.


"It didn't because they made up for OEM sales with pure hardware sales of a touch based tablet. In other words, Windows 8 helped save Microsoft from what would've been a disastrous quarter for them."

Microsoft could still haved shipped metro, the difference would be that consumers wouldn't be bounced into it every time they want to launch an app. By any reasonable account, it would be better to give users a choice. Are you suggesting that NOT giving users a choice saved MS from a more disastrous quarter?


"The Surface has made Microsoft $200 million dollars alone."

Ok, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the windows 8 desktop.


"Now this might seem like a bit of an aside, but my point in all this is that Microsoft is starting to transition and cater to a new type of user with Windows 8."

It's still not an excuse for removing the configuration options for the old type of user. Making metro optional wouldn't interfere with new users who wanted to use it.


"Maybe traditional Desktop users wont' like it as much, but there's evidence that its an increasingly shrinking segment -- with ultra portables like the Surface set to see an explosion of growth in that sector."

Your acting as though microsoft had no choice but to make windows 8 bounce clumsily between metro and the desktop, but that's silly. It would be so easy to fix, but they don't because they have an ulterior motive that overrides user feedback.


"If Microsoft can do something to grow Surface sales in a semi significant manner, they could start to seriously transition themselves into a Devices and Services company."

I agree that's their goal, but I still think it sucks that they are willing to throw the opinions of so many desktop users into the wind.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Even if they do...
by Nelson on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 20:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Even if they do..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


They were obviously looking for data to show their case rather than looking at what customers wanted. Even if there was a shadow of a doubt in the past, in hindsight it's pretty obvious to everyone else that their research was naive, flawed, even deceptive in suggesting that consumers wanted windows 8 to work how it does.


I just don't buy this. To me, loud complaining around online tech circles does not mean that a majority, or even a significant amount of customers want the start menu back. The start button is arguable, but the Start Menu's functionality is superseded by the Start Screen.


Microsoft could still haved shipped metro, the difference would be that consumers wouldn't be bounced into it every time they want to launch an app. By any reasonable account, it would be better to give users a choice. Are you suggesting that NOT giving users a choice saved MS from a more disastrous quarter?


No, I'm suggesting that Microsof't ability to pivot Windows for different form factors saved them. It flies in the face of a lot of the "Consumers reject Windows 8" noise that's been made. Its just not true.

Could Microsoft have done things to make the transition smoother? Yes, and Ive said this before. You should be able to pin apps to the Taskbar, for example. 50/50 snap was also sorely needed.

Windows Blue removes the need to go to the Start Screen to launch apps, because the Search Charm shows r esults in line. Hopefully this ends some of the criticism that power users have been hurling towards Windows 8.


Ok, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the windows 8 desktop.


I think it says something about the new Microsoft and the type of consumer they target. They're pivoting to a different core demographic, and they just so happen to be catering to them more than others now.

The future of Windows is inescapably tied to Metro, the Windows Runtime, and the Start Screen.


It's still not an excuse for removing the configuration options for the old type of user. Making metro optional wouldn't interfere with new users who wanted to use it.


Yes it would, by making the ecosystem comparatively weaker for people who wouldnt care either way. Power users care. They care about their start menu, their photoshop, their AutoCAD. I get it.

But normal users? They don't care if its a taskbar or a Start Screen. In fact, I've seen first hand accounts of people enjoying Windows 8 after I gave them a quick introduction. The people I've seen like the fact that they don't have to fish around the internet for software. Its all right there.

Microsoft needs eyeballs on the Windows Store, and this is how they do it. Its working for them pretty well, with a number of developers making great money off of the Windows Store, seeing downloads in the hundreds of thousands to a million range. I myself just cracked 100k since December.

Boot to Desktop is something I'm not really in favor of. It just masks the larger issue, which is that the Start Screen and the Desktop need to move closer together. If there was more seamless interactions between the two, I think it'd make a larger number of people happy.

Some of this is happening with Blue from whats been leaked. Microsoft seems to be working to reduce the amount of times you need to even go to the Desktop both by beefing up WinRT and the Metro environment, and by fleshing out things like the Metro Control Panel and making a Metro File Manager.


Your acting as though microsoft had no choice but to make windows 8 bounce clumsily between metro and the desktop, but that's silly. It would be so easy to fix, but they don't because they have an ulterior motive that overrides user feedback.


No. Leaked builds of Windows showed they're acting on feedback and improving Metro in ways that reduce the need to jump back and forth between environments.


I agree that's their goal, but I still think it sucks that they are willing to throw the opinions of so many desktop users into the wind.


I still haven't s een "so many desktop users" quantified anywhere or backed up by data to show the extent that people are rejecting Windows 8.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Even if they do...
by Alfman on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 22:12 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Even if they do..."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Nelson,

"No. Leaked builds of Windows showed they're acting on feedback and improving Metro in ways that reduce the need to jump back and forth between environments."

The solution is dead obvious to everyone else: make metro optional! This is _exactly_ what we've been asking for from the start, and it still rings true. It would make the windows 8 desktop a perfect upgrade from the windows 7 desktop.



"Microsoft needs eyeballs on the Windows Store, and this is how they do it."

Yes I know, their agenda is at odds with making windows 8 better for desktop users.

Edited 2013-04-22 22:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Even if they do...
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 22nd Apr 2013 22:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Even if they do..."
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I think their methodology was deeply flawed. They made that decision based on how people used windows when the start button was there . They didn't go back and see what happened when they removed it. Somethings we have just for decoration, even if they at one point had a real function.

Reply Score: 3