back to article Win 8 haters are just scared of change, say MS bosses

Microsoft has tweaked the Windows 8 interface following feedback from last month's developer preview. The company will let you customize the start screen in a move that'll likely favour the Metro UI-version of Windows 8 that Microsoft is targeting at fondleslabs, if we've parsed a lengthy blog post here correctly. The lengthy …


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  1. AndrueC Silver badge

    Cool. Program Manager for 21st century :D

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well, not totally correct

    this Win8 hater hates Win8 because it's Windows

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why not just release one big BSoD?

  4. banjomike

    That Apps screen is ugly ...

    ... probably the ugliest Windows screen EVER.

    Of course people react to changes. Good AND bad.

    Modern computers are vastly powerful and can do almost anything that we want. So why are Microsoft and others dumbing down their products to the level of an uninterested child with an attention deficit problem. I don't mind Windows having the option to do everything automatically and quietly (anyone remember Windows BOB?) but please let those of who want to see the nuts and bolts actually be able use the damnded things!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "why are Microsoft and others dumbing down their products to the level of an uninterested child with an attention deficit problem"

      Blame the "i" generation. iPhone and iPad users who love it because it "just works".

      I'm with you. I'd prefer to see users who know what is happening and have some understanding of what they are doing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mutually Exclusive?

        This doesn't really follow does it.

        "Just works" doesn't in any way mean that people don't know what they're doing, just that they don't need to spend hours tinkering to get anywhere.

        Next you'll be telling me that having to endlessly mess with the vertical hold on your TV set or having to spend every third weekend greasing endless grease nipples on your car and servicing it every 3000 miles were halcyon days.

        Get with the programme guys, progress in a commercial OS should be a one way street easier//faster/cheaper or whatever. "requiring more technical knowledge" doesn't really make the cut does it?.

        If you want to wrestle and don't mind the loss of productivity, I'd point you towards a Linux Desktop. You'll be happier there I promise. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC 19:21

          I disagree. Some tech knowledge should be a requirement. You don't have to know how to build a car to be able to drive one, say a lot of users- those users, however, still have to know the rules of the road and pass a driving test.

      2. Tim Hale 1

        Well done!

        First comment to make an irrelevant connection to Apple!

        How about, I blame the UI designers trying to shoehorn a touch-based paradigm onto an controller- based hardware? Which, since this is all about Apple, apparently, is precisely what Apple have said they aren't going to do because it doesn't work!

        When you say you prefer users who know what's happening, I take that to mean this is something you aspire to yourself one day?

        The Metro UI for desktops and laptops is a daft idea. Saying that people fear change and don't know what's good for them is, to say the least, unwise and short sighted.

        1. Daniel B.


          Apple made the "clusterfuck of icons in the background" popular, hence Microsoft copying the UI over. But true, it is more of a case of passing off the touch interface into non-touch devices.

          But wait, Apple is *also* doing that in Lion: reverse scrolling.


        2. robin thakur 1

          No way

          I would say that this would work fine for apps designed for this interface. In terms of using legacy apps, this will be absolutely the worst idea. General users really do not need to know the difference between a CPU, RAM and GPU, and should be snadboxed so that they cannot break the system they are working in. This is why tablets and phones have replaced the pc for a great many people out there and users are clamouring to use iPad's and the like at work instead of their pc's (I see this every day and the ITP has been changed to allow personal iPads and iPhones on the network specifically hereand at the last company I worked for)

      3. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        Thumb Up

        Why can't they compromise?

        Give an easy interface to get people moving quickly, then if you want to, hold ALT or flip a setting in the control panel and display all the gizmos for getting to the real meat more quickly.

        The one thing that put me right off Vista and it's offspring was this bloody annoying need to hide anything that might frighten the users! Alright I have dealt with my fair share of users who cannot help but click everything in sight, piss up the box and need the profile flushing out but ensuring you have to jump through 7 screens to change the IP is just absolutely absurd.

        Design is not just about look and feel, it's also about usability, which software manufacturers seem to forget these days.

    2. Gil Grissum


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It looks exactly like the desktop full of crap that I've being trying to avoid all these years. I bloody hate it when programs spray shit all over the place when's so rude. If that's Microsoft's sales pitch then I can't say I'm impressed so far.

      1. jcipale


        Which is why I hate that infuriating gnome WM. I really could care less about all the crap visible on my 'Desktop'. Which is why I stick with either ICEWM or Motif/FVWM

  5. stucs201

    Sounds just like...

    ...Windows 3's Program Manager.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Program Manager

      Co-incidentally, PM was designed to be usable on sub-VGA resolution displays on 12" monitors. Perhaps this is what passes for "targetting devices" over at Microsoft.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But without

      a lot of the flexibility to arrange your icons and groups. MS-DOS Executive, maybe.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: ms-dos executive

        It always amused me that part of Windows was named after dos :)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, I hate the changes because they just aren't good. I don't like Unity, because the changes aren't good. I liked 7, because the changes were decent, XP and 2K also passed the test. I tend to early adopt Operating Systems, and have done so with every MS OS that's worth it... so far I'm not sure about Windows 8. There are things to like, Copy Dialogues, and things to really dislike, like Metro, and Ribbon in Explorer

    Why do I want a full screen worth of applications, when I can type two to three letters and find any application I need from the Start Menu?

    Please don't condescend me by saying that I don't know what's good for me, because I know how I use my computer better than a suit does.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Well, I've moved to Unity, and get on fine - very little difference in usage performance once you get used to it. Couple of problems I have I think are being sorted in the next release, so they are taking on criticism..

      1. Kevin Bailey

        I agree

        After moving through Unix, Apple ][,..bit of a gap... dosshell, Win3.11, CDE, 95, 98, iceWM, Win2K, Win XP (yuck), KDE, Gnome (which has been great), I've not got Unity on one laptop after an upgrade.

        And I'm really impressed with it - better use of widescreen monitors, fast, easy to get at apps, remembers the common apps used etc.

        How can that previous poster say he doesn't like unity - and say he likes windows current way of starting apps by type the first few letter in a box - it's what Unity does.

        This Windows interface as presented looks to me like Win311 and that they've run out of ideas.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Whilst I appreciate Unity is a work in progress, they shouldn't have made it a default option in it's half arsed state. I'm still looking to move away from Ubuntu, to either Linuxmint or Debian in the longer term. I find Unity a bit too OSX for my liking though, not a fan of the sidebar, or, at least from what I remember, a distinct refusal (like OSX) to properly full screen something, though... I'm prepared to be wrong on that one.

        If I was afraid of change MS, like I mentioned in my initial post, why would I be using the new style Windows Start Menus each time, in fact I applaud the Win 7 ones, I find XP a little bit alien now. Still, I heard there was a way to disable Metro, and maybe I can hide the fugly ribbon

      3. The Fuzzy Wotnot

        @James Hughes 1

        "once you get used to it"

        Yeah but I don't want to have to get used to something. I've spent years working out a way that works most efficiently for me and my way of working. Some developer/graphic designer decides that's not "fancy" enough and I have to spend ages tweaking and installing plugins to get back to where I was.

        "OK, so don't upgrade then!", I hear people cry, but I want the underlying bug fixes and important performance improvements, why should I have to sacrifice my way of working to get them?

        Design is about usability, not just the look and feel.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      And on top of that...

      "No, I hate the changes because they just aren't good."

      And on top of that the disable or choice option seems to have been ruled out by Microsoft.

      I'll (generally) tolerate any old crap Microsoft wants to put into Windows if I can avoid it or ignore it, but when I'm forced to have to confront it or use it I feel I'm perfectly entitled to complain about it and say they've got it wrong.

      It seems Microsoft's response is "tough shit" and that it's me who's wrong not them, and would rather spend time telling me that than addressing my concerns. Fine; I won't upgrade then. Another lost sale and it's not even launched yet.

      1. Originone

        I like titles

        "I'll (generally) tolerate any old crap Microsoft wants to put into Windows if I can avoid it or ignore it,..."

        Having looked at the developer preview it is possible to hide the metro interface altogether leaving you with just the changes to the windows 7 desktop interface to deal with. I suspect this will happen in almost every enterprise/business deployment of Windows 8 in the world.

        "It seems Microsoft's response is "tough shit" and that it's me who's wrong not them, and would rather spend time telling me that than addressing my concerns. Fine; I won't upgrade then. Another lost sale and it's not even launched yet."

        Microsoft isn't saying "tough shit", truth is they're completely indifferent to your disgust. They're also indifferent to your threat's to not pay for it. As far as Microsoft is concerned people don't pay for Windows. OEM's pay for windows, Enterprises pay for windows, but the number of people who pay for Windows is so close to zero for them as to be indistinguishable. And you can be assured that OEM's and Enterprises will pay for Windows 8 regardless of its interface.

        Microsoft have an idealogical goal with windows 8 and that is to create an OS that can be as comfortable on a tablet as it is on a PC. And getting onto tablets will be worth much more to them than any loss of tech elitists they incur on the PC.

        1. Kevin Johnston


          "And you can be assured that OEM's and Enterprises will pay for Windows 8 regardless of its interface"

          Seem to recall that didn't happen when Vista came along as the Corporate world didn't see any benefit from moving away from Xp. There has been a gradual move to Win7 but MS should have BIG banners in every reminding themselves of the takeup rate for Vista, sometimes your reliable cash-cow says NO.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Uptake and licenses are different things

            Enterprises still paid for Vista in most cases. Either via either OEM licenses on purchased hardware, which was then reimaged with XP, or via Software Assurance on their client licenses. Of course, the risk for MS with the latter is that when SA comes up for renewal, enterprises may not see the value if they skipped the last upgrade anyway. But besides keeping the SA racket going, Microsoft's main financial interest in having people upgrade is not so much upgrade payments as it is cutting costs by reducing support requirements for the old versions.

          2. Originone

            ""And you can be assured that OEM's and Enterprises will pay for Windows 8 regardless of its interface"

            Seem to recall that didn't happen when Vista came along as the Corporate world didn't see any benefit from moving away from Xp."

            The corporate world may not have moved to Vista for the most part (my employer is only now considering the move from XP to 7), but that doesn't mean they didn't pay for it. every time a new HP or Dell pc was deployed with a Vindows Vista licensce key stuck on it the business paid the OEM who then paid Microsoft for that license. Even if the business then downgraded to XP.

  7. John F***ing Stepp

    Screen looks a bit as if. . .

    I took five or six random colored (coloured) paintballs; loaded them into my wristrockett slingshot and fired them at an albino mime.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      It also looks like the sort of screen that in all recent versions of Windows would have provoked the wrath of the Desktop Clean-up Wizard. They can't have it both ways. Either every previous UI from MS was rubbish, or this one is. (Yes, that's probably an inclusive OR.)

  8. ByeLaw101

    It used to be easy, we had Linux haters, Apple haters and MS haters, now we have Linux haters, Apple haters, MS Vista haters, MS Office Ribbon haters, and MS Windows 8 haters.

    I can't handle this! Too much... ;)

    1. mittfh


      Don't forget in the Linux world, whereas previously you had two major desktop camps: KDE (who hated GNOME) and GNOME (who hated KDE), you've now got GNOME 3 and Unity to provoke ire from people who were perfectly happy with GNOME 2.

      It would be interesting to know if the "market share" (a bit of a strange concept with free software!) of Xfce and LXDE is increasing as a response...

      1. Nigel 11

        Two Tribes ...

        One can group these UIs into two. What I regard as "classic" window managers that make good use of a 1920x1200 screen or multiple screens, and (to be kind) "tablet" window managers that work better on a device that fits in your pocket. Unfortunately, fans of the latter seem hell-bent on forcing the tablet interface on those of us with a big monitor (or in some cases, two or even four of them).

        "Classic": Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7, Gnome 2, XFCE. The Linux ones have workspaces, which makes them N times better in my book (N = number of workspaces you use).

        "Tablet": Windows 8 (judged from above), iPhone, iPad (OK, these two *are* tablets!), Gnome 3, Unity.

        I've missed out the various versions of KDE and Macintosh UI on purpose, they seem to straddle the divide somewhat (I don't much like either, but I'd take them if the only other choice was "tablet").

        In the Linux World Red Hat Enterprise 6 still uses Gnome 2, so that's another five years minimum of support for it. Centos and Scientific Linux are free-beer clones. I'll be very surprised if a Gnome-2 fork doesm't emerge soon, that can be installed as yet another alternative window manager on Fedora and Ubuntu, leading to peace between the "classic" and "tablet" fans in the Linux world.

      2. Miek

        I am definitely considering XFCE, but as long as Gnome 2 is usable I'll be using it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobody likes change?

    Microsoft said that's why users won't move to iOS/Linux...

    Now M$ changing the interface that's so familiar, it's a different story :-D

  10. Laurent_Z
    Thumb Down

    "just scared of change, "

    Yep, that I am...

    Ever since I saw what happened after I upgraded my old and trusty 3.11 for Workgroups, ever since I had to let go of MS Word 2.0, I have been afraid to discover WHAT NEW STUPID HOOPS I'LL HAVE TO JUMP THRU TO ACHIEVE THE SAME THING AS YESTERDAY.

    And no, I didn't reach 40 yet. And don't get me started on ribbon menus and Windows Me....

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: new stupid hoops

      I think the assumption is that the limiting factor on your productivity is the clunky old computer running what, at the time, was described as the best UI ever. Therefore, you will rejoice at the opportunity to learn a whole new way of getting your work done.

      For the 99% of the population who use a computer because they have to, rather than because they have no friends, this assumption is completely bogus. However, it does seem to be the driving force behind every UI revamp we've seen since the 1980s. (I'll classify Win95 as merely a case of MS catching up with the rest of the industry. Everyone else had arrived at a document-based desktop metaphor before then.)

      1. robin thakur 1


        I pity MS battling to stay relevent here in the face of declining sales and influence on both business and consumer habits. People increasingly want environments where programs don't crash and which they can't break simply by deleting a system file. In short, they want iPads and iPhones, because they see themselves doing exactly what they used to do, be it email or browsing the web. The huge explosion of Apps is a reaction to £400 Office suites and £60 console games which are too complex for the majority of people to use, and whose system requirements are difficult to gauge against the Dell Studio POS you bought 2 years ago. Sadly, as goo as this might be when it eventually gets released, Business will laugh at the idea of rolling it out and consumers will be reminded of the bad old days of XP and Vista and BSOD and constant security threats.

  11. Piloti

    I know where I've seen this before.....

    Gnome 3 and Unity on Ubuntu.

    Actually, I quite like it, but I am using Unity [toying with Gnome....].



    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Are you allowed to talk about toying with gnomes, in polite company?

      1. Steve X

        Toying with Gnomes

        It's OK, no-one could mistake an El Reg comment forum for polite company...

  12. Portia

    Windows 3 was the first thing I though too :-(

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Errr.... What is it about Microsoft and the wholesale destruction of the concept of hierachial naming systems? I have my current Start menu set up as Start->Tools/Graphics/Internet/Disk&File/Office/Misc with appropriate programs within approproriate subdirectories. Why is it that MS panders to and encourages this "dump everything in one huge pile" crap?

    1. Tom 7

      Why "dump everything in one huge pile"?

      because then MS can sell you search engines, database stores, new and better offices software upgrades to do the job you feel somewhere in your heart computing should have achieved by now.

      If you could organise your data you wouldn’t need them - or half your staff and PC's.

      And then the IT dept would have to shrink too so they're not going to advise you to learn to drive your data - we're all in this con together.

      Now go and find an obscure font, define an obscure meaning for it and write a document explaining it and forward it to everyone in your company so they can "dump everything in one huge pile" and we can get on with crying into our pints when we remember how promising it all looked 30 years ago and look forward to our long training weeks away learning where the greatest software minds in the world have hidden the only 3 useful menu commands we ever use.

      1. Armando 123

        "the only 3 useful menu commands we ever use"

        Copy, paste, and cut?

        1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

          Undo!, Undo! & Restore backup!

    2. Bob Boblowski

      RE: hierachial naming systems

      >> Errr.... What is it about Microsoft and the wholesale destruction of the concept of hierachial naming systems? I have my current Start menu set up as Start->Tools/Graphics/Internet/Disk&File/Office/Misc with appropriate programs within approproriate subdirectories. Why is it that MS panders to and encourages this "dump everything in one huge pile" crap? <<

      The demise of hierarchical models for the organization of documents or applications is one of the more interesting questions when it comes to this whole new bunch of 'tablet optimized' OS's. I think it deserves more attention.

      Personally I'd go crazy without some hierarchical ordering system for just about anything I need to find back, but in my experience for a lot of users this explicit kind of hierarchy is surprisingly difficult to manage.

      Implicitly of course they use hierarchical systems all the time, they just call it something else, like 'grouping' or 'projects'. And it even gets worse if they need to manage this hierarchical ordering themselves, such as for their documents in folders.

      For the average user the world is flat: if you can't see what you're looking for, it's not there. So they just spread everything out (we would call it 'spatial') and spent a lot of time looking for what they need. But that's ok, or perhaps even preferred, because that's how it works on their desk as well.

      That this spatial model does not scale well beyond a dozen or so applications or documents, in their opinion does not prove that this spatial model might be too simple, it just proves for them that the search functions is crap or that they need new better hardware.

      I never understood why computers should try to simulate my physical real-world desk with all it's limitations.

      1. robin thakur 1

        a bit dated

        Ever heard of meta tagging and Search engines? This is the real reason why hierarchical storage of data is going the way of the Dodo. SInce we installed SharePoint, whilst there is a hierarchy, we can better find things using search and the aforementioned tagging, and people are all forced to organise themselves the way the organisation wants them to rather than in their own weird ways. This is definitely progress from people burying critical info in their my documents or in email IMO. As far Win8, I'll be waiting for SP2 aka Windows 9 before I look at it.

  14. Kevin 6

    "The personalization of the Start screen is one of the features that we want to make great," Dukhon wrote.

    wonder if that means we can set it back to the classic start menu as used in 2000(and which XP, and vista had the option of), and the server editions which was lacking in 7 is my biggest gripe(but oddly was in the beta...).

    Currently have 7 set as close as possible to look, and function like 2000 without installing those start menu replacements(which I find lacked the settings, and crashed a lot)

    Not all change is bad but change just for the sake of change that doesn't improve a damn thing isn't good in my books.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm glad i'm not the only one stuck on the classic start menu.

      I certainly noticed it was absent from 7. Are we luddites then?

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        No, we are not Luddites

        We just have better things to do with our lives than to stroke Steven Sinofsky hyperinflated, paternalistic ego.

      2. Blitterbug

        Not exactly luddites but close...

        ...I jest of course, I too was a fervent 'classic menu' lover mainly because of its cascading menus. I used to bung XP into 'classic' mode on every PC I commissioned, and when I bought a Vista rig as my main machine, I really hated being forced to use the new style start menu.

        After a while I came to love the very fast get-at-a-bility of damn near all the functions you need, all just a click away - printers, control panel, docs, pics, Run etc (the default start menu settings do need a tweak though to get it just right). I still dislike the tiny scrollable area that installed progs appear in, but somehow the 'classic' menu looks well dated to me now!

        1. wibbilus maximus


          erm.... Vista has the option for the classic start menu, it's Windows 7 that doesn't

    2. Shaun 1

      My biggest problem with start menus of Vista and 7

      Is the stupid search box, so I can't press Windows, U to bring up the shutdown box

    3. JP19

      Classic Shell

      I find Classic Shell ( to be rock solid and function exactly as I would expect.

      Installing it was the best thing I did to Win 7.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        30 seconds ...

        From reading your post to installing ...

        /doffs cap

  15. BitDr

    People react to change, good and bad.

    <sarcasm> Well there's a suprise, perfectly accurate yet totally useless information from Microsoft. </sarcasm>

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    im not resistant to change, but there are two considerations to make, firstly everything has a place, Metro on the phone works, on a tablet will work, on a desktop... im not so sure but ill hold judgement until its out, from my early tests i find the mouse clumsy to use metro

    the second thing to consider is not the UI at all, thats just a shell, its the ability for power users to do what they want with their own computer. From the preview it appears to be much the same under the UI which is good, however if that were to change and i lose the ability to do whatever i want with my data then that wouldnt be so good. Sky drive, absolutely, its great, but again im a power user and i want to do whatever i want with it.

    Sadly Of course, powerusers are a minority and wouldnt be the reason for major change, everyday average joe who knows no better would probably like the "less is more" model that Apple has pulled off so well and i completely understand why

    As i said, Win 8 on a tablet will work, and ill like it, i just didnt find the UI as good or as usful moving the mouse about on a desktop, perhaps thats just practice, maybe im getting old, but one things for sure, Win 8 is coming and unless they pull a longhorn we'd better get used to it.

    1. Armando 123

      "firstly everything has a place, Metro on the phone works, on a tablet will work, on a desktop... im not so sure but ill hold judgement until its out, from my early tests i find the mouse clumsy to use metro"

      Well said. This is one place where Apple did well, the gestures in iOS could be incorporated where sensible for touchpads on laptops and their new touch-oriented "mouse". It's a "right tool for the job" approach. I don't know that MS has ever really gotten this with their interface, and making a big smoosh of Metro and desktop, without the thinking through that Apple did, probably won't work.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Change for the sake of change is just different.

    The windows team needs to understand that people who want a Mac-like experience already buy Macs.

    1. CaptainHook

      Touch Screen, not Mac

      I think this is more about preparing for the rise of touch screens as the primary means of interacting with a computer, they are trying to find a common UI which will work across all their products without keyboard shortcuts or being able to use a mouse to point with a very high degree of precision.

      Whether it works or not will depend on whether tablets become the primary computer for people in the future or whether people will always have a PC/Laptop type of device.

      1. Marco van de Voort

        Touchscreen tablets

        ... and it will depend even more on the fact if those tablets will run Windows. That's not a done deal yet.

        I don't see the PCs with touch screens (or normal laptops for that matter) in the shops, and Dell and HP are not offering them for businesses either.

        1. Steve Gill

          That's odd - I see all-in-one touchscreen PCs in the shops often and I've seen quite a few business touch screen models recently.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Yeah, but that's only because there is a critical strike of buzzwords that they can sell... what, a touch screen cloud-centric device? I'LL TAKE 50!!!

      2. Toastan Buttar

        Touch screens

        Great for "content consumption". A friggin' nightmare when it comes to ergonomics. I learnt this stuff in the '80s. Why is it suddenly irrelevant now? A mouse, keyboard, windowed app setup is almost perfect in the office environment, from an ergonomics POV.

        (Satisfied iTouch user).

  18. Dr. Ellen

    Change? Here's my two cents worth.

    Of <i>course</i> I hate change. When I was forced to upgrade to Windows 7, it broke a bunch of my applications, and even the ones that still work can behave peculiarly. I don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for a new version of Office or Photoshop. The Microsoft Works that came with Windows 7 would be fine if I could set it to automatically save in Office format, but you have to tell it to do so each time.

    Microsoft is trying to force me to buy their new stuff. Instead, they are forcing me into the world of Open Office and GIMP.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      You say it like's it a bad thing! As if admitting defeat and having to start using FOSS is somehow an admission to failure.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah - Scared of Change.

    Like I get called because I still hate, with a deep purple intensity, even after 2 years of use, that steaming pile of dog shit that masquerades as the Office 2007 luser interface..

    1. hodma727

      Change, Office 2007 ribbons

      Microsoft have shown they are very good at shooting themselves in the foot - we have licenses for MS Office at work and yet most people have given up on it and shifted to Libreoffice or Openoffice (depends on how computer literate they are and which they happen to have heard of).

      I suspect Metro will end up like Windows Vista and me, as a mostly despised and avoided waste of Microsoft developers time.

  20. Dr. Ellen

    Change? Here's my two cents worth.

    Of *course* I hate change. When I was forced to upgrade to Windows 7, it broke a bunch of my applications, and even the ones that still work can behave peculiarly. I don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for a new version of Office or Photoshop. The Microsoft Works that came with Windows 7 would be fine if I could set it to automatically save in Office format, but you have to tell it to do so each time.

    Microsoft is trying to force me to buy their new stuff. Instead, they are forcing me into the world of Open Office and GIMP.

    1. Citizen Kaned

      if you think....

      you can use gimp then you obviously arent a proper ps user. it cant do 10% of what PS does. have you actually tried it? terrible!

      maybe if all you do is basic stuff but anything other than noddy editing its useless

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Totally agree with you,

        GIMP can do the rest of 90% from what PS does and all this at very interesting price and at the same time leaving me the choice of the platform where I can run it.

        For those needing the extra 10% functionality, I would say PS is the way to go so why are you so upset ?

      2. mittfh

        GIMP vs PhotoShop

        While GIMP will probably never be able to do the full range of things a pricey package like Photoshop can do, chances are it can do almost anything the average home user would want of it. Besides which, you don't have to search far to find collections of plugins to add more Photoshop-like features to it.

        Sure, it has a quirky interface and development is very slow (although 16-bit editing, better window management and such like are planned for 2.8), but when it is free (in both senses of the word), it's worth a try, especially if you can't justify spending hundreds of pounds on Adobe's creation.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Proper" potatoshop user?

        Would that be like the "professional" photographer who proudly showed me the results of her course on photoshop: glitter effects, heart-shaped frames and using filters?

        I've yet to see any professional photo editing work in tattyshop that I couldn't achieve in GIMP. Admittedly it would take me longer without the stuff PS does for you. But if having to spend a bit more time is the price for free, cross-platform software, I'm sold.

      4. Marshalltown

        What PS does

        Since you only really need about 10% of what PS does . . .

      5. Spanners Silver badge

        I take it that

        you have spent little time with Gimp then?

        You may never have needed to. If you have invested lots of time learning to use something, why should you spend nearly as much again in learning a product that does the same job?

        It is good to know that you either have plenty spare cash or that your employer does.

        As for the 10% - you are correct. It cannot do 10% of what Photoshop can do. In the right hands however, it can do 90% of what PS can do. In those same hands, it can also do a number of things PS can't.

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Posers droning on about stuff they pirate

          > why should you spend nearly as much again in learning a product that does the same job?

          I can think of about 600 good reasons.

          Photoshop is not cheap. Unless you are a real graphics pro (and not just some lame wannabe), then it's probably an absurd waste of money. A photographer that toys with PS doesn't really count.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Two options, either use Photoshop Elements which suits most people's photo needs or you get a relative in your house, who's still a student, to get you a full copy of the Adobe PS via educational discount for a stupidly low price!

    2. Gav

      Use of Force

      I'm wondering how this "forcing me to buy their new stuff" works. Do they come around your house with guns, or do they kidnapped your children? Maybe it's more subtle, blackmail?

      If not, I am at a loss to how they force you to buy anything.

      1. Steven Roper

        Re: Use of force

        No, Gav, they don't come around your house with guns. What they do is they force all OEMs to stop selling PCs with their old stuff, on pain of losing their supplier discounts. So for those of us who wanted to remain on, say, Windows XP, there came a time when you could no longer buy a new computer with Windows XP.

        So yes, we did have a choice. Continue working on old, failing hardware (that was deliberately designed to fail so as to FORCE people to buy new stuff after a few years), bite the bullet and allow ourselves to be FORCED to downgrade to Windows 7, or give up on computers entirely and go join the Aboriginals in the outback. Which, considering the way computing seems to be going, is starting to seem like an ever more inviting idea.

        So no, Gav, they don't use guns to force us to change because they don't need them. They just use their market control and politics instead.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: we did have a choice

          "So for those of us who wanted to remain on, say, Windows XP, there came a time when you could no longer buy a new computer with Windows XP."

          So we bought a shiny new box, put a hypervisor on it, and re-installed our old XP in a VM. We get the benefits of the new hardware and XP thinks it is running on a 10-year old machine. (Well, we're not quite there yet, but for a lot of applications we're quite close. The main fly in the ointment is that "the old XP" is often an OEM licence tied to an old box.)

      2. Miek

        No Gun Required

        They make your computing experience awkward and suggest that you upgrade to rectify those problems. Thus, if everyone is using MS Office 2007 and you have Office XP; you need to upgrade.

  21. The BigYin

    Please explain

    Win8 is a touch interface.

    Good ergonomics (as in, eye-sight saving!) mean that a screen should be beyond arms-length away.

    How the FUCK do I touch a screen without having to lean forward constantly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      A few hours...

      ...on "The Rack" should take care of that in no time.

      I do so miss the Spanish Inquisition.

    2. Miek

      Perhaps ...

      Microsoft had those whose knuckles drag along the floor in mind when they were developing it.

  22. a cynic writes...

    Designers and bloody icons...

    What is it with designers recently and screens littered with icons?

    At least with Ubuntu on my home machine I don't have to use Unity. I use LXDE instead - with my most used applications on menu which appears when I right click anywhere on the desktop.

    You don't suppose that this is a sinister plot to get everyone moved onto Windows 7 whilst the option is still available?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: sinister plot

      No way. Those who aren't already on Win7 are the ones who stuck with XP. They aren't gonna jump for this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Those who aren't already on Win7 are the ones who stuck with XP. They aren't gonna jump for this."

        XP goes out of extended support April 8th 2014. At that time, business users will either have moved to Win8 (or another OS altogether) or be faced with sending Microsoft truckloads upon truckloads of money to continue receiving XP security updates and support.

        Personal users may of course elect not to upgrade, but with the XP security model being what it is, it could become a challenge to maintain a usable XP machine after security patches stop. All it takes is one published attack. In fact, I predict a spike in botnets, spam &c. for summer 2014.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          A lot can happen in two and a half years. One thing that might happen is that someone throws together a canned "Linux desktop with XP in a (seamless) VM". Everyone gets to run their Windows-only apps inside a firewalled VM and perform their internet-facing activities in an OS that is considerably less vulnerable to attack than any version of Windows yet produced.

          That's probably *already* a more flexible and secure option for people with professional IT staff to help set it up. As long as MS continue to puke up bloated eye candy instead of lean OSes, the incentive will be there for someone to put the pieces together.

    2. spiderwebby

      "What is it with designers recently and screens littered with icons?"


      If MS where to kick the salesmen out of the UI design department and start employing engineers, I bet we'd end up with something closer to the win98 interface.

      god I feel old..

  23. Travis Hayler


    Deja vu...

    Don't worry, you'll get over it just like the rest of the population will, because your just you and you are no one.

  24. Cave Dweller


    Maybe I'm getting old, but what is wrong with "Programs" or "Applications".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It should also have a fucking apostrophe in it?

  25. Sam.Green

    There's good change and bad change

    If Windows 8 (or 7 for that matter) actually had some features that were useful to me, instead of a pile of settings that needed to be changed to get my old stuff to work, I'd be less negative.

    Instead, I'm avoiding both like the plague here. Move to cloud systems like!

  26. Dazed and Confused

    Does someone not understand the whole bloody idea of a a windowed UI?

    What the *&^% is the point of filling the whole screen with icons for the apps installed on my PC?

    the screen is where I want to display what I'm doing at the moment. I don't want to have to iconize everything so I can see this.

    On a phone screen there isn't enough space to be surfing several web pages, have my email, have 3 or 4 system consoles up, and half a dozen other things things I'm doing. So the screen becomes a bit a single current task oriented. Doing this with a full size monitor is turning the clock back the early 80s.

    I'm not scared of change.

    I just want things to change only when someone has a better bloody idea.

    Change because I want to sell you something different, so it needs to be different is not something I'm interested in.

    I'm only too happy to believe that there is a better way to organise a desktop experience, but this doesn't look to be it.

    1. smacky

      Clean Screen

      I have zero icons on screen, everthing is in a 2x height bar with quick launches & shortcuts

    2. smacky

      Clean Screen

      I have Zero icons on my screen space, I pull the main bar to double width and load it up with Quick launch and shortcuts. I just want my screen clear for the stuff I'm working on.

  27. Andy Farley
    Thumb Down

    I want a computer

    to be ready to do what I ask it to do. Not to be busy updating a bazzillion twinkling sub-screens. "Your realplayer update is ready", "56 computers discovered on your network.", "You have 17 unread messages"

    SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. Do what I ask you to do, not what others want to tell me, you tool.

    Shame really, I really like W7.

  28. adnim

    Fashionable changes

    "Redmond's developers have rather gently suggested that some of those objecting to changes in the Start Screen in Windows 8 are just reacting to change, no matter whether it's good or bad."

    Yes there are some people who object to change just because it is different, this has always been the case and there were probably objectors to sliced bread when that was first sold.

    I think in the case of Microsoft Operating systems people get used to working a a certain way, they become quick and adept in manipulating familiar environments. A few years later they have become so used to the personally customised windows experience that they have on their PC that they use it on autopilot.

    Then another MS OS is released and all the switches and buttons have been moved somewhere else in an effort to make things easier for the user and to attempt to be fashionable. The developers not realising whilst developing these features that for most users an interface change is not wanted.

    Windows 8 is little more than Windows 7 with a few more html/xhtml parsing libraries in a new frock, and could have been easily released as an add on for Windows 7 for a few quid. It could present the user with the option to have the way they do things changed and all the buttons and switches moving or hiding after it had been installed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bread you say ..

      People fussy about bread still go for unsliced and people who aren't are comfortable with CBP loaves.

      "Then another MS OS is released and all the switches and buttons have been moved somewhere else in an effort to make things easier for the user"

      No, I thnk they have been moved in an attempt to persuade the user they are getting their money's worth.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The other thing about sliced bread is they didn't stop selling non sliced bread either.

        The only thing you might get is the occasional toaster compatibility error

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft doesn't get it

    They have a point that some people don't want change. So my first reaction would then be; so why enforce it upon them? If MS believes in this Metro stuff, fine. Just allow us to chose for ourselves what we want to use.

    Cynical: Is it possible that if you take away Metro then Win8 will end up basically the same as Win7?

    While I do think MS is correct with their studies and their charts they're not addressing the real problem by introducing Metro. IMO this all a ruse; they claim to make things easier for the users while in fact they're making things easier for themselves (one interface on all devices).

    Worst part is that they're ignoring the /cause/ of the problems with the start menu. There are issues, I have to agree there.I too see users which have a start menu which is the size of the mount Everest due to installing lots of different programs (and not every program does a clean un-install either).

    Those are IMO the users which fall into this MS research. The ones which cannot find anything in the menu itself anymore and so resort to searches and the likes. Can you blame 'm? Say you need an editor yet all you see in the start menu are names of 9 different companies. Searching is quicker than opening all of those folders one by one.

    But how does Metro change things? What is to stop vendors from creating their own unique "Vendor tile" which (perhaps) leads to their own group? The way I see it users now risk having to scroll even MORE (but this time horizontally instead of vertically). Because a menu entry in the start menu is hardly as big as a tile in the Metro screen.

    IMO Microsoft is "fixing" things while totally ignoring the cause of the initial problem itself.

  30. darksoul

    I liked Windows 8 when it was called Gnome Shell. Actually, I lied. I never liked Gnome Shell either.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Me-too Microsoft

    Microsoft suits must be thinking:

    iPad popular (well at least with some folks)

    iPad has touch-screen interface

    Therefore if next version of Windows has similar (unintuitive) interface it will be popular.

    Don't think so. All you have to do is think of how the millions of computers in the world are actually used, especially in offices, and this idea should have been comsigned the dustbin. Do Microsoft ever meet with real users?

  32. darksoul

    I liked Windows 8 when it was called Gnome Shell.

    Actually, I lied, I never liked Windows 8 or Gnome Shell.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "why are Microsoft and others dumbing down their products to the level of an uninterested child with an attention deficit problem"

    Blame the "i" generation. iPhone and iPad users who love it because it "just works".

    I'm with you. I'd prefer to see users who know what is happening and have some understanding of what they are doing.

  34. Dana W

    And now for something completely different!

    I work hard every day to try to get people to switch to Mac or Linux, and the biggest roadblock I have is people who will not change because they "Know how Windows works" of course they really don't, but that after years of habit they know where to find the right buttons at least, and they see that as the same thing.

    The biggest advantage Microsoft has in keeping users in the home market is familiarity. People will put up with just about anything so they don't have to learn something new. Now they will have to learn something new whether they like it or not. With Windows other eccentricities, this is going to do more to get people to seriously consider alternatives than any amount of proselytizing ever could.

    Windows 8 is a great thing. A Great thing for Mac AND LInux.

  35. Zmodem

    stick to XP, and remove the skins and themes, and have the 98 desktop look, then you can get down and develope some developer stuff without the smell of cheese nor a breaze to nancy out your state of mind

  36. DrXym

    Is it change

    Windows hasn't really targeted tablets properly (pen computing is not the same thing) before now, so why are people complaining about change? What are they even comparing to?

    I realise that some of the look and feel changes may also affect Windows 8 in desktop mode but I don't really get why people would be opposed to that either. It's not like the Windows has been frozen. Every iteration has introduced new functionality and changes to the user experience. If Windows adopts a flatter l&f, or grows a tiled UI then it's not the end of the world. The classic desktop will be sitting there somewhere.

    So I tend to agree with MS on this. They're not going to alienate the users of the 500 million+ desktop PC that could be expected to run Windows 8 over its lifetime.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      'Cos they think this Metro thing has a future on the desktop

      And it doesn't.

      Metro probably is a decent interface for a tablet or a phone: A light-use, touch interface device that's doing a single task at a time.

      However, on a desktop computer, nearly all users are actually running at least two or three applications simultaneously - most often email client, IM client and 'proper work' like a document or image editor.

      They want to be able to quickly see what those several applications are doing, and will HATE AND DESPISE YOU if you hide their work from them.

      That means easily putting user-selected things side-by-side, and having a taskbar with notifications etc available.

      These are things that they got right in Win7 - ITaskbarList3 is very good.

      Dear Microsoft:

      Putting Metro onto the desktop is a fundamentally stupid concept. Keep it for touch interfaces where it belongs.

      Remember how you tried to force a Start menu onto touch interfaces? That never worked, and pushed people onto iPhone, Symbian and other more usable touch interfaces.

      If you push Metro onto the desktop, you will be killing your desktop market in favour of the tablet market.

      Finally, back to basics:

      Touchscreens and pointing device interfaces are fundamentally different and *require* different user interfaces.

      What are the four easiest pixels to hit with a pointing device? The corners of the screen.

      Those same four pixels are quite literally *impossible* to hit on a touchscreen!

      1. TheItCat

        You're wrong.

        They got the taskbar thing perfect in Windows 95 once the QuickLaunch bar was introduced. Windows 7's "launchy-active-confusatron" of a taskbar was a massive leap downhill and this new Metro even on the desktop push is just going to annoy users even further.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge


          I see your point on the 'merging' of QuickLaunch and Taskbar.

          It does make it difficult to have several copies of a given application open at once, which is particularly annoying for the likes of Windows Explorer.

          - To be fair, it does reduce the number of support calls I get for "I opened fifty copies of a thing and now my computer is slow".

          I do however like the "progress and notifications" features of the Win7 taskbar.

          It is very nice to be able to have a program in the background that is doing something long and boring, with a small indicator on the taskbar saying "It's 50% done, 70% done, 90%, All Done" without it going blinky-crazy, popping anything up or otherwise being distracting and annoying.

      2. DrXym

        Listen to yourself

        Some of the responses on this discussion border on the paranoid and ridiculous. Microsoft knows which side their bread is buttered on. They'll offer a way for desktop installations to run in "classic" mode or something which marginalizes how metro works. Enterprises will demand nothing less. It might still mean the start menu changes a bit but it always changes from one release to next so I really don't see what the problem is.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Read the Microsoft blog, and try some current Microsoft desktop products.

          The Office 2010 interface has a an attitude which could be summarised as "The menus are more important than anything the user might currently be doing".

          MS clearly want to expand that attitude to the operating system itself - when the "Start Screen" is activated EVERYTHING VANISHES.

          Sorry, but that is ****ing stupid.

          An inexperienced user will think "Woah, everything just vanished. Where did that thing I was working on go? OMG! I've lost everything! Phone IT support!"

          An experienced user will think "****ing stupid menu. Now I have to move the mouse halfway across the desk to click the thing I wanted."

          A stressed or distracted user will think "What did I open this for? I can't see the things I had before, what were they? Do I already have one of those?"

          There are *fundamental* differences between light and all-day use, touchscreen and pointing device, small screen and large screen, single application and multi-application. They require different kinds of user interface!

          Even suggesting that people should use a "Light-use, touchscreen, single application, small-screen" interface when they are actually working in an "all-day, mouse, multi-application, multiple large screens" environment is foolish.

          Forcing such an interface onto them is fundamentally stupid.

  37. El Presidente

    I'm not scared of change

    I wasn't scared to change to a new fangled GUI and I wasn't scared to leave System 7.

    I wasn't scared to configure Win98 to behave visually as much like System 7 as possible, as I did with Win2K and XP and now Win 7.

    Taskbar at the top, auto hide, 26" display giving me enough quick launch icons to launch whatever.

    Once an application is open the desktop environment is largely irrelevant.

  38. Greg J Preece

    Step 1: Release developer preview for feedback.

    Step 2: Complain that you didn't get the feedback you wanted.

    Step 3: ???

    Step 4: Profit!

    Seriously, we don't like it because you're trying to have a touch interface and a desktop interface *at the same time*, and it doesn't bloody work.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    for the love of god please someone make a new windows shell that isn't fucking hideous. I'll pay for it.

    Thing I don't get is there are some really snazzy interfaces in games and applications (onlive and hard reset spring to mind sure they arn't fully fleshed out os's but still it's a starting point, also the interface in Gundam 00 looked nice, even though that was the best thing in the anime) so why is it the real world Desktop OS folks can't do the same -.-

    Tablets / Smartphones are not Desktop PC's and wont work with similar interfaces.

    1. Zippy the Pinhead

      @ AC 16:14

      It's a freeware app called Classic Shell...

  40. A. Lewis
    Thumb Down

    My prediction.

    I reckon the 'star trek' rule will come to apply to windows versions. That is; every (in this case) odd-numered sequel will be rubbish.

    Win2K was good, then there was the OS-who-must-not-be-named, WinME. XP, as we know, bounced back and was great. Then came Vista, rightly-maligned. Windows 7 turned out to be alright, so following the pattern W8 will surely be a steaming pile of... code.

    1. Armando 123

      There is something in what you say, but a couple points. First, I don't think most people would call any version of Windows "great", unless most people are MCSEs or whatever they've renamed that useless certification to. Some are enough to be getting on with. 2K was good, particularly for its time, but when XP came out a LOT of people didn't see the point, and it was considered just a face-saving stopgap until Longhorn (*snicker*) could actually ship. Eventually people moved to XP, mostly because drivers became available and old machines were replaced with ones that shipped with XP and nothing else. Heck, even when XP finally shipped it was considered way behind the OS X of the time by a lot of people who weren't exactly Apple fans. I think people just got used to XP.

      Vista was a dead dog (with apologies to dog lovers), and people hadn't gotten used to it before 7 came out. 7 is ... okay at best and still far behind OS X's Leopard/Snow Leopard, let alone Lion. Now MS seems to be attempting the iOS/OS X fusion that Apple has pulled off ... not perfectly, but surprisingly well if you think about what you'd have to do.

      The thing is, Apple is like Louis Armstrong: they've learned what to leave out. MS doesn't know this.

  41. Peter Johnstone
    Thumb Up

    I hate Windows 8 and am not afraid of change...

    ...which is why I'm switching to Mac.

  42. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    And the real message is ...

    Upgrade to Win 7 before it's too late!

  43. Undergrid

    Define "new product"

    If your producing a product which many people are going to end up using anyway, whether they like it or not (because lets face it they are a monopoly and most new PC's sold at retail come with the latest and "greatest" Windows), ignoring people requests for a choice is very bad form.

    Considering the old start menu is still there and can be returned with a registry hack, just how difficult is it to give people choice between the two?

    Their claim that its "perhaps not the best way to have a dialog leading to a new product" is all well and good, but its really not a new product and its an important one. Forcing a fundamental change on how you interact with it isn't going to do gown well, easily or quietly.

  44. BernieC


    I don't want to sound pedantic and I don't usually resort to swearing but, If they're going to ignore the feedback, why the fuck ask in the first place?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strange way to sollict customer feedback

    Tell us what you think and if it is not what not want we to hear we'll tell you that you are wrong and don't be afraid - because we never are wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like Government to me.

      Or a monopoly.

      Same thing really, I suppose.

  46. Smudge@mcr

    The future: No choice at all.

    MS are forcing hardware makers to use a new BIOS called UEFI which has signed keys, thus only allowing Windows to boot on the next generation of PC.

    So it dosen't matter what anyone on this forum thinks about Win8. In the future there will be only Windows.

    Booting Linux will be 'insecure' and the hardware will not ALLOW it.

    Thus creating a total Microsoft monopoly on the PC.

    So moan all you want about Win 8, MS dosen't care, soon you will have no other option.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Apps Screen, which shows all apps installed on your Windows 8 PC"

    Like the desktop from every version of Windows from 1995? Or in separate windows for different categories like 3.1?

    I'm waiting for the moment they decide to go for a simple interface where you just type what you want and it loads it for you. Then when you've finished it falls right back to waiting for you to tell it to do something else. You could call it a Command Line, and it'd be the simplest, most perfect interface a computer has ever had.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    People no longer read, they eye scan grids of icons... powerusers have already lost that battle.

    I guess MS and Apple and even people like Canonical to a lesser extent are all moving in the same direction. I guess it's really the smartphones and tablets that are driving the development of desktop oses. And I'm sure they're all preparing for touchscreens on desktops. Power users have lost the UI battle in the closed source world. It's time to retreat otherwise you'll be pissed for the rest of your life because they're not going back... it's the era of computing for dummies now, thanks to Steve. Those people don't read the name of "applications" - soon most people outside the graphic business won't even know what Photoshop stands for etc.... they scan grids of categorized icons and combine visual cues with categories and installed base and match it with their need for a specific "task". It's that simple. I want to "talk", I want to "mail", I want to "chat" etc and how many people are using that app and do my friends have it on their app grid. Soon app icons will become placeholders for varying software contents i.e. varying set of functions i.e. for example you'll have "Word" there and it will remain there forever and the features in it will change as the dev push it to your device or desktop.

    It's just clear that the less access you have to the innards of the OS, then the more uniform the "experience" will be... and that's helpful for support purposes and many other things... tinkering will be left to the server universe where trained (certified) people need it.

    It's time to wake up from your dream of controlling your OS. You never did because it was all closed source anyway. Like having your start menu or not changes anything lolll. You guys are just old. It's time to make Linux happen the way you want it...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I can't understand why the command line nostalgia lovers won't go for Linux... it's their wet dream come true, with auto-complete, grep, output piping, fancy colors and all! You really have to be disconnected from this world to think this is happening with the commercial products where they have to unify the touch keyboardless smartphone world and extend it to the dying desktop base. Because the desktop is dying, really and they only way they can bring money back to the desktop is by extending the money making smartphone paradigm there... most likely make your desktop some terminal server for your phone etc.

      I mean, if you have a text document, an mp3 file, a jpeg, it's pretty obvious what you want, which is either view/play it or edit it... so if you have nothing installed the context menu brings you to the "App store" or whatever which will list the most popular app for that, and it shows you also that 50% of your FB friends have it so you install it... then the app icon becomes a placeholder for functions AND related content, and who cares where it sits on the hardrive... cloud... whatever... only people interested in IT read about apps capabilities and comparisons, those people just go with the flow... why be so adamant about it? The days where windows users thought of themselves as power users is just over. Anyways why would those software manufacturers take so much your opinions into account as power users are ready to pay less for their product as they have to knowledge to get the good versions of their products from all over the place. Just as the guy who has a smartphone allots a budget when he buys the phone for some apps, so will the new type of desktop user. Simpler apps with "by function' or "subscription based" or "by use" based payment, all linked to a predictable payment system i.e your cell phone bill.

      It's just happening. I don't agree with it but MS is just right in this case. If you're a power user then just go power use Linux.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Power users have lost the UI battle in the closed source world."

      Worse; Not just the closed source world. Although I'm using Win7 since a few months I used to stick with Linux and KDE (Ubuntu LTS 8). Several Linux distro's have a hard time with MS Virtual PC but Debian runs like a charm and so I'm able to keep up with current developments.

      I looked at the new KDE and I see the same bizar shitty GUI changes. Take for example Konsole; I used to have that open almost the whole day; irssi running on the first tab and the moment I needed more I simply clicked on the button in the lower left corner and then could select the kind of shell I wanted to open. From regular sh / bash to ksh (I always kept that installed) right to one running mc or even a root shell (the 'Sun classic' yellow background).

      That functionality is gone. I can now only use "new tab" or "new window" from the file menu (or the keyboard combo) but no more selections possible.

      Oh, but I hear a KDE guru in the distance telling me that this functionality /isn't/ gone. After all; they now support profiles more extensively. So I can make stuff any way I want to and then simply select the profile which can run a specific command, setup the color scheme and all is right with the GUI again.

      Translated: Instead of getting a ready to use Konsole which has all installed shells available with the click of a mouse I now get to spend a few hours to manually re-invent the wheel myself before I'm back in a situation which somewhat resembles that which I had with Konsole on KDE 3.

      Something more GUI related; One of KDE's key features (IMO) is its system settings screen. This rocks; /one/ place where you can find /everything/ with regards to your desktop environment. From the way the mouse looks, to the color theme being used right to display and multimedia settings.

      And so here I was trying to change my wallpaper. I open system settings, noticed the changed looks (it used to be a menu at the left and all options displayed at the right. Now its one big screen with sections and icons). But no worries.. "Look and feel" section; 'Appearance': Style, colors, icons, fonts, Window behavior / decoration but nothing similar to wallpapers.

      Ah, what a dumbass I am... I don't need "Appearance", I should be looking at 'Desktop'. Duh, stupid me... or.... wha? "desktop effects, multiple desktops (here it used to be!), screen edges, screen saver, launch feedback and workspace". Not even to be found in workspace! You can only select widgets there.

      Long story shorter: this option is gone from the system settings. To change the background of your desktop you need to right-click on the desktop itself and use the "Desktop activity settings" option. There you'll find the option to change the wallpaper.

      Of course /only/ for the currently active virtual desktop. If you want to change the wallpaper for all virtual desktops you'll just have to select every one of them, right click on the desktop and select this option after which you can select the wallpaper.

      So not only did they completely change the location of this setting, they /also/ made it extremely more difficult to use.

      Gee, doesn't this remind you of something? It almost feels as if I was staring at the new Windows categorized control panel. And while I can still quickly start a separate section of the control panel (add/remove programs? "Start -> Run -> appwiz.cpl") this doesn't seem to be possible with KDE.

      Closed source issue only? Unfortunately I have to disagree.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        So it's ironic that while MS is trying to cater to the Apple fanboys or the smartphone OS paradigm in general, well KDE seems to try to cater to the windows users lolllll. Maybe if they both succeed, then more power to Linux - it may just not be the same you were used to lolll!! I no longer have really strong opinions about these things to be honest, as I know now most of the stuff I know will be undone by Steve's legacy and all that smartphone business, and it's going to be a much greater shock in my opinion than the shift between command based to GUI. In the meantime I focus on using a browser until it all comes down to something really new... i.e. Lion/W8+touchscreens.

        "Think different" they said lollll

        1. Anonymous Coward

          My final take on this...

          It used to be I was very emotional about UI. It's just I find you have to pick your battles somewhat. Getting a hold of the real changes in this world is such a more important challenge to me than tackling any OS change could ever be. Those MS jokes and the big brother rhetoric against them is getting so old and tired too. Apple gets all the glory now yet MS has done a lot. Apple and Google and FB represent a greater threat to privacy and creativity than MS ever was - one could also look at Sony's latest nightmare. In any case we give our personal info to almost everyone all the time and in my experience people who are afraid to register their software just don't own a legit license to it. The solution to privacy issues has nothing to do with tech so much as it has to do with regulation and legislation. Finally Linux has yet to show itself off in the desktop segment. But all that stuff is just beside the point of the UI changes that are coming. The argument of control... but after all what is there to control on a windows box?? services, defrag? unchecking automatic updates for closed source OS what lolll. If you want to be a sysadmin then make a job out of it and stop pretending you're one on a desktop. Or show some humility and improve your skills in a Linux environment maybe. I have time for neither.

          I don't know what the big fuss is about in relation to the W8 UI changes in the end. If it takes a few hours for some hardcore windows users to adjust to a new desktop and paradigm then so be it as after all an OS is not made with them in mind really - just run a server if you're not satisfied with what the desktop is offering. Yet if the evolution of the OS is a step in the direction of allowing for computer illiterate or children or anyone to touch swipe across pages of apps on the desktop, or doodle with paint using hands, or use Traktor pro on a netbook touchscreen, or if a ribbon tiles are big enough to be manipulated with fingers etc, in summary if all that leads to natural interfaces, then it's all worth it in the end I think. What, you think you want to use your fingers on a traditional start menu with 8pts fonts?? The windows OS is mature in the sense that it's old fashioned and is being sidetracked yet they have all that wonderful WPF tech etc and they're giving a shot to mobile devices again and they have a strong corporate base etc. It's only normal they try to innovate for new audiences and connect the dots, as hotmail is slowly going down, they no longer have the ultimate browser and they can't compete with FB etc. on the social front. Workstations are for professionals and the regular folks need something new and what they invest in software on their mobile in one year maybe more than what you guys have invested in your entire life in software for your desktop... so MS will listen to them and they're just right in doing so. Steps toward natural interfaces + what works in the smartphone market. Maybe there's a general trend towards oversimplification of the UI for all OSes but if it's resilient, why make it complicated and bloated? I mean you can still custom paint your box and such if that's so important lolll

  49. Kubla Cant
    Thumb Down


    What's wrong with disliking change in a user interface? A UI that doesn't change much is mature. A development team that yearns to change such a UI is immature.

    Even supposing that a redesigned UI improves efficiency, you have to ask whether the improvement will ever pay for the time wasted and mistakes made as a result of the change.

    We can now extend the old joke: if Microsoft made cars, you'd kill yourself when you bought a new car because they'd decided to move all the pedals around and replace the steering wheel with a touch screen. The car is an example of a mature UI - although the designers of in-car computers are doing their best to change that.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem is ...

    Ms don't know which way to turn.

    Leave things as they are and the linux desktop (excl. Unity) can already do it.

    Change things and people who want their OS to be damn near invisible and not actually think for them can't handle it.

    The best thing about the Mac OS isn't the shiny .. it's that I am never more than a click away from a terminal.

    Think. The "allegedly" most friendly OS is never more than a click away from a cli.

    With this and web based apps. You are broken MS.

    I've just started work for a fully w7'd up company. And it's a pastel coloured fucking nightmare.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've seen this UI before. The users seemed to learn it very quickly. They touched the big coloured squares and were rewarded with a piece of banana.

  52. JDX Gold badge

    they are forcing me into the world of Open Office and GIMP

    You poor, poor person. I wouldn't wish that on my enemies.

  53. Eduard Coli


    Change is needed but not in the UI so much as the file system.

    Would someone at M$ please just switch to some license of EXT or even btrfs?

  54. Len Goddard
    Thumb Down


    I've been using effectively the same windows interface since Win2000 (or maybe NT4, I can't really remember what that looked like). There are only a limited number of things I need to do with the interface and provided it doesn't change I can do those without thinking about it. I don't believe I will live long enough for any "productivity improvement" to give me back the time I would have to waste learning new interfaces. Currently on Win7 I use the "classic shell" application which does a fair job of giving me a familiar interface (although I'm still not terribly happy with the new version of Windows Explorer).

    If I want to do something unusual, new or one off I drop back into the Unix command line which is the first thing I install on any windows box.

    TBH, most of my productive work is done on linux but there are a few apps I have to have windows for. Even there I've had to move to Xubuntu because the creeping crud of phone interfaces has infected Ubuntu ... ahhh, well, I'm in good company, Linus Torvalds did much the same thing to avoid Gnome 3.

  55. Mikel

    Stick to your guns, Microsoft

    Clearly you know best. These whiners wouldn't know a good UI if it bit their fingers off. Tell the users what they're going to get, and they'll come around to being raving fanatics just like they always have.


    1. Anonymous Coward


      Just like 'we' did with Vista? ;-)

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why I hate it

    Look, it's simple. Microsoft (along with many other corporations) have been harvesting so much data from us, and abusing that knowledge in such a way that it has a direct impact on our lives. They also like to ram changes that THEY insist we need down our throats, even if we don't want them.

    The only way to avoid it is to be able to customize the hell out of the Operating system, and dumber operating systems like Windows 7 and then 8 are less and less customizable.

    I am still using XP, because I know how to turn off all the stupid auto updates, and security crap which is really about Microsoft security, not mine or yours. My primary system in Linux, and I use the XP system for games only.

    I don't mind paying, but I have never, and will never register any operating system, because who I am is none of their business.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The "power" of anonymity is an illusion...

      I used to think like that but then I realized that my government, telco, cellphone operator, Visa, Paypal, Ebay, Airmiles, public library, gaming account, FB, G+, newspaper, magazines, dry cleaner, travel agent and everyone know who I am. Registering my OS with MS is the least of those lollll. They all know who you are!!! Let's face it - it's that type of a world.

  57. wsm


    Something MS never seems to think about, but it's what pleases everyone: the ability to make your own choice. Providing clear choices for interface and layout would be the best operating system choice.

  58. Nights_are_Long

    Will I be getting windows 8? No... Will I learn how to support it? Possibly depends if I need to... What I will continue to use at home and when I can professionally? OSX and FreeBSD and the odd Linux distro.

    Do I think it's a massive mistake for MS to go down this road? YES.

  59. oldtaku Silver badge

    It's just history

    I justifiably fear major changes in anything from Microsoft because the first time they do anything new they generally completely cock it up.

    After that, the third version is often great! (Aborted Vista -> Vista -> Win7) If they don't cancel the product first, which is unlikely here.

  60. ceebee

    and what will happen ...

    If the new Start menu/screen thingy is unworkable ... and judging by the screen shots it is pretty much the case... users (including your truly) will continue to do what we always have done with desktop OSes... add icons for commonly used programs and documents to the desktop and ignore the Start Menu completely.

    (Even with Windows 3.x Program Manager, users created program groups with the most used programs readily accessible and hid the rest).

    The XP start menu was the first attempt to deal with the huge Start menu lists caused by programs adding increasing numbers of entries to the menu... most of my users ignored it ...until forced to use it with Windows7.

    The original spatial model, pioneered by that well known fruit company remains, for many (most?) users, the most comfortable, logical and useful paradigm.

  61. json

    reminds me of carol king's song..

    "And it's too late, baby, now it's too late

    Though we really did try to make it

    Something inside has died

    And I can't hide and I just can't fake it..."

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having tired of abusing end users ...

    for that lack of appreciation of the great works that Microsoft bestows upon them, they now take to further abusing developers, as if the statements around the future development of silverlight at the finalisation of HTML5 wasn't enough. Balmer really has suffused the organisation with his detailed technical knowledge and bonhomie ....

  63. Killraven

    Personalize this...

    "The personalization of the Start screen is one of the features that we want to make great," Dukhon wrote.

    I don't really consider having my >Start>All Programs button(s) puke absolutely everything onto my desktop "personalization".

  64. Mips


    When the Microsoft rep says "one of the features that we want to make great" my defences automatically go to full on. Face it, it is never going to be great, that is just hubris. If it is just better I would be happy but knowing Microsoft sequence of failure/success W8 is probably going to be a pig so acceptable would also be "great".

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Touch on the desktop is a health and safety risk.

    We shouldn't be using it frequently for the same reason we don't generally use lightpens. (It's called gorilla arm.) The ergonomics of the desktop are vastly different to mobile devices.

  66. This post has been deleted by its author

  67. filo

    Change, change, change

    I think this comment on the Building Windows 8 blog sums things up perfectly


    11 Oct 2011 2:10 PM


    I'm blown away by this post. Haven't read it yet, but "it certainly looks like a lot of words".

  68. Zmodem

    the new start up menu thingy is probaly just an expansion of active desktop and for touch screen consoles and terminals in public offices etc, and make life easier for the less knowledgeable of the world when it comes to using a PC, and can be disabled or script kiddied and removed in safe mode

  69. Matthew 17

    I blame the Cloud

    software is moving to 'the cloud' where everything is sent over the wire, this way you can use any system whether it's a desktop or tablet and have the same content and 'experience'.

    Wouldn't surprise me if we eventually see the end of 3rd party manufactured PC's & components, they'll be either Apple or MS branded devices.

    for the 99.9% of people who use computers this will be preferable as they'll never have to learn how they work.

    For the rest of us, it'll be rubbish.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what you get

    This is what you get when you have nabobs defending something they stole from someone who stole it from someone else. The redmond management needs to get over their Crapple envy and stick with what works.

    News flash re-doing the desktop to look like your phone is NOT a good idea, it is a step backwards.

  71. John70


    At the moment I don't see any reason to create any business applications in Metro style.

    Most companies will just lock out Metro and keep Windows classic desktop for their applications.

    Metro apps "suspend" when they are no longer in focus.

    This seems like a backward step especially when you are using a multitasking OS.

    The rules are if the application takes more than 15 seconds to load, it is killed off.

    When your application is notified it's going to by suspended you have 5 seconds to save any work. If you do not save the work in time, you lose the data.

    So far these times are fixed and not configurable.

  72. Zippy the Pinhead

    Hey Microsoft here's a great way to unclutter and group your programs

    At least if you are using a keyboard and mouse on a traditional computer

    Move the mouse to oh.. I don't know say the lower left hand corner of the screen and click on... Start and then move the mouse up to Programs and then select which program you want to launch.. you know like Windows 4, 2000, and XP did!

    It's called the classic start menu! MS you keep saying your customers are afraid of change... I say when you found something that works then you stick with it.. especially when you are doing tech support and the person on the other end thinks that just because they are using Office 2007 they believe they are using Windows 7.

  73. Anteaus

    Not scared of change...

    Just sick and tired of change being forced on us by coders with new 'wonder ideas' who mostly don't even know what the word 'ergonomics' means.

    Y'know those supermarkets which move all the shelves around about once a week? So every time you go in you have to search the entire store for one or two items. Theory seems to be that if people have to search instead of going straight to the product, they buy other things they don't actually need while they're searching. Practice is that after one or two lengthy, aggravating searches, customers vote with their feet and find another store which doesn't do that.

    With IT, you have the added issue that each paradigm change brings with it a fresh crop of bugs. Thus the more frequent the changes, the less likely it is that we'll ever see a reliable IT platform. The NT/2000/XP product line got where it did because it was a logical progression of development instead of a series of paradigm shifts, and remained in the market long enough for it to become a mature product.

    Unfortunately, in some respects Linux seems to be following suit these days. KDE4 has been compared with Vista for its bugginess, and the extent of pointless change from a system which previously worked OK.

    HTML5 is another product in this category, where new technologies could be an advantage but are offset by the problems caused by needless, pointless changes to code that has worked perfectly well for decades.

    Personally if I'm going to upgrade, I want the upgrade to give me something which improves on what I had before, not just YET another willy-nilly paradigm change and fresh crop of bugs.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Absolutely pointless for desktop so far

    Does anyone have the inclination to spend time organising my programs into groups? Windows 7 / Vista added a useful improvement where you can press the start button and start typing the name of my program and hit enter which was so much quicker than navigating a menu with a pointer or arrows.

    This new program manager change smells of touch, which is so very fondle-slab, desktops are generally productivity machines where touch is probably the most inconvenient thing you can do to it... I personally would go back to the command line if I could remember all of the commands and if I didn't have to do graphics as well...

    Getting rid of the clutter is good, when your doing something you want to see as much of it as possible and have no distractions... So getting rid of that screen space wasted on menus and ribbons and irrelevant icons when you don't need to see them... Until obviously you need to use something from them and cannot remember the keyboard shortcut... Kinda drawing from when you watch a movie and the play controls disappear if you don't touch the mouse...

    What would also be better is if without manual intervention my computer would learn from my usage what programs I am likely to use when and have it all ready for me...

    'It's Tuesday evening and I can see from your calendar that you have a deadline due tomorrow... However, your wife calendar currently shows her out at a pilates class... Loading grumble...'

    Windows 8 is not selling me on its features, except perhaps the window management system I briefly saw demoed... Not enough of a feature to warrant the hundreds of pounds it would cost though...

  75. markl66

    touch on desktop = fail

    I agree with Steve Jobs, touch on vertical does not work. As a programmer of 20 years experience and having suffered two bouts of RSI, one thing I know is really bad ergonomically - working with arms raised. It's not comfortable and will damage people. The mouse and keyboard work fine. At home/office I use Windows XP/7 (games), Ubuntu/Mac (work), Android (phone), iOS(iPod). Horizontal on the desktop is bad too = neck problems.

  76. Medium Dave

    I'm not scared of change...

    ...I am, however, concerned that the industrial-grade stupid will leak out of the monitor and infect my brain.

    I'm not touching that steaming pile with a bargepole.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Agreed (no joke here!).

      Still, about that goo leaking out of your monitor and affecting your brains; that's why us /real/ geeks wear tinfoil heads these days :-)

  77. Gearhead


    Dear Mr. Balmer,

    I am all for change when it is for the better.

    Opening up windoz would be a change for the better. I could fix it when it goes belly up like I do Linux.

    Now who is afraid of change?

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