back to article Has Microsoft finally killed off Windows 8 Start button?

Microsoft is reportedly killing the Start button in Windows, a staple of Redmond's PC operating system since the landmark Windows 95. Purported screen shots of Windows 8 Consumer Preview are reported to show a Super Bar that extends across the full bottom of the screen minus the Start button orb. In place of the orb is a "hot …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Start button

    works fine for techies and others who understand the system but will it work for the masses?

    Time will tell....

    1. ArmanX

      I bet it'll go over about as well as the ribbon

      Ok, maybe not that badly. It's hard for anything to go over that badly and still sell.

      1. Nigel 11
        Flame

        Invisible start button?

        But it's got a "hot corner" that works like a start button? How does this differ from a start button, apart from you have to know it's there because you can't see it?

        Maybe you don't have to click it either? Oh great, so there's a corner of the screen that you have to be careful to avoid with the mouse because all sorts of annoying or even dangerous things happen if you don't.

        Then someone will work out how to paint it with an icon, give it an option to require a click to un-mask the stuff underneath, and they'll call it an app and sell it to you.

    2. Fembot
      Coffee/keyboard

      Unfortunately

      Nothing ever works for the masses. We're doomed to hear things like "Where's my win-dirs button!?" and "I liked my XP's better!" Change one small thing and all hell WILL break loose.

      1. admiraljkb
        Facepalm

        @Fembot

        > Nothing ever works for the masses. We're doomed to hear things like "Where's my win-dirs button!?" and "I liked my XP's better!" Change one small thing and all hell WILL break loose.

        You got that right. I hear that crap all the time when ANY little thing changes, or big thing as well. Going from Win95-Win2000 to WinXP, XP to Vista/7, Windows to Ubuntu, etc... That's one of the things that has held "other" OS's up was looking a little different. But if the consumer is too confused, you could slap anything on there with the explanation "oh they all do that now, and this one looks more like your old XP." Risky strategy on MS's part.

    3. Chika
      Facepalm

      Time will tell...

      Only if they can find the right button to set the clock!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    - Improved search

    I'd rather be able to *know* where my stuff is, in some sort of structure.

    - more room for all your programs

    While replacing icons with (larger) tiles.

    - tiles that are alive with activity

    Bells and whistles.

    - richer customization

    So we can transfer less knowledge from the use of one machine to another.

    1. Chika

      > - Improved search

      > I'd rather be able to *know* where my stuff is, in some sort of structure.

      You mean like doing away with that antiquated drive letter thing in favour of a proper structure? Gets my vote!

      > - richer customization

      > So we can transfer less knowledge from the use of one machine to another.

      So we can further confuse the ordinary luser. In other words, relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights!

  3. Lee Dowling

    Microsoft Design Meeting:

    "I know, let's replace the iconic and well-understood, most important part of the desktop that's always visible in the bottom-left hand corner with a mysterious, undocumented, hidden area that's still just as critical but only appears when people know or guess to hover over nothing in the same place as the previous method used to be."

    In other words: Let's screw the desktop user until they complain, then put it back, and pretend we listened to them (while secretly having distracted them from all the other new problems we introduced to make people less productive on Windows 8 than on Windows 95 so they have to buy more computers and licenses to get the same amount of work done).

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Given how they seem determined to foist pixel sub-addressing on us regardless of your complaints it seems about par for the course. Hopefully the lack of a Start button at least won't make me feel nauseous.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe there will be a big animated "CLICK HERE TO BEGIN!" arrow jerking itself spasmodically at the corner, like I seem to remember Windows 95 having?

    3. fiddley
      Thumb Down

      Groundhog Day

      Yawn. You lot come out the woodwork every time Microsoft moves a pixel to denounce it as the worst thing ever to befall mankind. Yet looking at the two screenshots in Sinfosky's linked blog post shows Windows 95 Start vs Win 7 Start and it's the vast increases over time in functionality, usability and usefulness mean the two, although clearly related, are two completely different species. It's Ardipithecus Ramidus Vs Homo Sapiens. Their design descisions have been spot on the vast majority of the time! Like most stubborn IT archaea, I bet you hate the ribbon as well?

      1. Law

        RE: Groundhog Day

        I was sort of with you up until you mentioned ribbon in a positive light... I've now come to my senses...

        People like what they like... most people don't like drastic change, especially in software they use (or forced to use) daily.

        For me it seems to flip-flop between like and hate.

        Like Windows 7... hated Vista...

        Liked XP (ignoring the blue skin), hated Win ME...

        Lliked 98, hated 95

        So I'm expecting to hate Windows 8... be it metro, lack of start menu, or more ribbon using, but we will see.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @law

          folk seem to have rose tinted glasses on when it comes to XP, lets not forget that the OS was not that good at all until SP2, Vista kept the negativity against it all the way, but the reality is that after SP2 it was actually very good, all be it a tad late and on the tail end of Win 7 launching

          98 was a gloryfied 95 and it wasnt until 98SE that it got its act together

          all im saying is, there hasnt been a single OS release in Microsofts (recent) History where they didnt need to change it after it was released to make it "good" with the possible exception of Windows 7

          So looking at it that way, there is no tick tock nature of MS releases other than those made up by ourselves with a slight bias, lets perhaps put our sensible mature hats on and wait until the damn thing is released and functional in front of our eyes before slating it.

          1. Nigel 11

            UI not OS

            This thread is about the UI not about the OS. The XP UI remains pretty much the same as the 2000 UI and not so very different from the NT4 UI. In my book that's no bad thing - it's become second nature over the years, so I can think about what I'm using the computer *for* rather than having to think about *how* to use it. There may well be a host of incremental improvements that I don't recall, which again is how it should be. None were big enough to annoy me!

            And now they've thrown all that away and given us "7" which is gratuitously different. And now they are planning to make 8 gratuitously different squared, so I won't even have a chance to make friends with "7" (which I am starting to think isn't actually all bad if you've got enough Gbytes of RAM and a modern graphics chip).

            Yes, XP the OS was pretty dodgy in the early days, and maybe the 7 kernel is better than XP. It's just extremely annoying that Microsoft links changing the kernel to forcing a new UI down our throats!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              indeed Nigel

              but thats the point, are they?

              we dont know, default setup is one thing changable is another and we dont know whats going on

  4. G R Goslin

    Odd

    That's odd! It sounds just like the launcher on my KDE setup. I'm sure it's been there for years. Are they going to add right click on any open area to get the opportunity to close the thing down?

    1. Roger Greenwood

      If they want to use ideas from linux . . .

      . . a great improvement would be multiple desktops.

      <CTRL><ALT><Right Arrow> tabs me around.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Roger

        It's in the Reskit and has been since NT4.

        1. Jani-Matti Hätinen
          WTF?

          > It's in the Reskit and has been since NT4.

          You call that PoS a comparable virtual desktop implementation? What are you smoking and where can I get that stuff?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I was utterly outstanded the other day, after plugging in a second monitor to my Windows 7 box, to discover it still doesn't support a taskbar per screen (or with it, the ability to filter applications running on each screen to their task list). Seriously, Microsoft?

        1. Rob Quinn
          Thumb Up

          Yeah it is a bit stupid they haven't sorted this out yet, I use a program called Ultramon to get this affect, does the programs on screen filter for the tool bars and has some other good features, 30 day trial but you can just uninstall-reinstall to get another 30 days.

      3. Chika
        Devil

        I'd love to do this at work, just to piss the lusers that insist on double screens off!

  5. TRT Silver badge
    FAIL

    Isn't that how it used to work in Windows 11? And given that Apple has just created that screw up that is the Launch Centre...

    At least make it an option, though. And how will old installers cope?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      11? I'm sure I typed 3.1.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Trollface

        Been playing with DeLoreans again?

        v11. Gawd - that's a bit depressing :(

        1. 404
          Trollface

          Probably has his own hoverboard too... u jelly?

          :)

      2. admiraljkb
        Happy

        11!

        @TRT - Hey I was thinking maybe your OS went to 11. Hehe

    2. jai

      launch centre?

      that's a 3rd party iOS app isn't it? nothing to do with Apple

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Oh, that silly full screen thing with all the icons in OSX Lion. I've avoided it myself.

        1. jai

          Ah, you mean launchpad. I like it myself, on the small macbook air screen, it's easier to find apps than scrolling up and down the list that the Application folder on the dock puts up. But on my desktop, it's always easier to find the app I want in the /Applications/ folder. Or you could use Spotlight to find the app you want and launch it i guess.

          So I guess my point is, on OS X, the Launchpad is just one of the many options you have, and people use whichever they prefer or suits best at the time.

          However, I fear with Windows, MS will decide that this new start screen is the only way to go, and that'll annoy everyone, regardless of whether they like the new system or not.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Launchpad

            That's the baby, yes.

            But no-one's tackled my question yet of just what will old installers that try to create start menu short cuts do?

            And... Where will they put the most important button? That's the Shutdown button. And, for that matter, the button that's essential for Windows... Restart.

            1. Spearchucker Jones

              They show up as tiles.

              One installers just create a tile in the Metro start page. Tiles can be grouped (although a bit non-intuitively, at least in the developer preview). Tap/click a tile, Metro switches to the desktop and the app launches.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Installers for programs written for Windows 8. What about legacy software?

                1. Spearchucker Jones

                  Both work exactly the same way.

                  Native Metro apps have live tiles that contain information, like a custom image, the temperature or similar. Legacy tiles just contain the file name and icon.

                  1. TRT Silver badge

                    Ah, right. OK. So there is the possibility of restoring the old style, because the appropriate folders will still be there?

                    1. Law
                      Happy

                      Not looked at the Win 8 beta myself (if it's even out yet) but I'm assuming they'll make it fairly seamless to the average user switching from legacy installers/applications to new metro-enabled ones.

                      Nobody really notices if a 32bit program is installed on a Windows 7 x64 machine or not, they hide the fact they've placed it in a Program Files x86 folder rather than the the traditional program files dir. They hide the fact the registry keys for these applications also get stored in the wow6432 tree too, and loads of other tweaks to get that application working on a 64bit machine.

                      Sure there are usually a few teething issues switching to new things, but worse case I'm sure they will mix a static tile or icon list and just use the current icon packs or something - I'd expect them to do that as a minimum.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Thank god I use Linux ...

    ... where Gnome and KDE would never dream of radically updating the GUIs to make them less usable , sorry , I mean more cool and funky.

    Seriously , what is it with GUI designers, can't they just leave well alone? All a GUI needs to do is provide a consistent interface to contain and launch applications, nothing more. We've got that so leave the look and feel alone! Until proper 3D displays come along there is no reason for any radicle overhaul other than to give designers and coders something to do.

    1. CaptainHook

      It's all about providing a consistent interface across multiple devices, they want people who pick up a mobile to be able to instinctively use it based on their experience with a desktop and vice versa.

      It's all bollox of course because not only are the form factors different, the thing each class of device is used for is different as well, negating the need for the same interface everywhere.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      UI designers

      Unfortunately most seem to forget the part about "User" and the fact that UI design encompasses usability as well as shiny things.

    3. Martin Silver badge
      FAIL

      Linux and GUIs??

      "...Gnome and KDE would never dream of radically updating the GUIs to make them less usable..."

      Ask anyone who switched from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3.

      Come to that, ask anyone who has recently abandoned Ubuntu due to the execration that is Unity.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        FAIL

        @Martin

        I think you missed the invisible sarcasm tags on the original post.....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Has already happened in Linux

      umm, I hate to point this out but... gnome3/unity?

      "Gnome and KDE would never dream of radically updating the GUIs to make them less usable".

      This has actually happened rather recently, its why so many users have dropped gnome 3 and have piakced up distros that use gnome2 (i.e. linux mint etc...)

      1. Chika
        Linux

        Ah, but there's a difference here. On quite a few distros, you can decide what you want in front depending on what you select.

        I still use KDE 3.5.10 on openSUSE even though they push KDE 4 (until the latest version, 12.1, they seemed to actively dissuade all users from loading 3.5 because they thought that KDE 4 was a mature enough product), an option open to other distros too. The same thing applies to GNOME.

        It's another reason why I often point out that Linux is not the sum of a single distro or package, an advantage that Windows is unlikely to embrace this far down the line.

    5. DrXym Silver badge

      Er wut?

      "... where Gnome and KDE would never dream of radically updating the GUIs to make them less usable , sorry , I mean more cool and funky."

      The changes between GNOME 2 and 3 are far more radical than anything Microsoft has ever attempted. I suspect even if Windows 8 gets tiles or other stuff that most of it can be disabled or dialled back to leave a fairly traditional looking desktop. With GNOME 3 the only way you get anything remotely approaching GNOME 2 is to run it in compatibility mode and even that is for the chop once improved software rendering appears for Mesa.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        @DrXym

        Gawd almighty , does sarcasm have to been signposted in neon around here for some people??

        Yes I know Gnome 3 sucks , so does KDE 4, that was rather my point.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Let 'yum install LXDE*' be your friend.

          or XFCE or many others.

        2. admiraljkb
          Joke

          @boltar

          Huh? Sar-Chasm? That's near the Grand Canyon isn't it? :) (sorry couldn't resist after all that)

          PS - KDE after 4.7 finally got its crap together and works fine, and with 4.8 its brilliant, but it was touch and go for years after 4.0 came out.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Microsoft lost the plot along time back.

    That horrible MetroUI that's like it's been teleported from 1990.

    The Vista task bar pinning where you can't work out if it's an open application or a pinned one....

    Bob.....

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Pinned task bar

      VERY confusing, I click on them to shut them down but then they start up.

      Do not exist on my PC luckily

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Barry

      Are you blinded by your hatred of MS to the extent that you can't see the glowing square around applications that are running and the plain icon of those which aren't?

      If you're going to troll anti MS on every article about them, at least make it accurate.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        To be fair, the glowing square is not always obvious - depends on the colour scheme in use and especially whether or not Aero is enabled. Also when you have a few items open it can be hard to tell what's going on - for example applications either side of the one in question can make the one in the middle look active to the casual glance.

        1. Tom 260

          As an alternative, I use small icons and show the programme name (stacking multiple instances and hiding names only when there's no room), makes it much more obvious whether an application is open or not.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        "Blind Hatred"

        "Glowing square"? Do you people even read the nonsense you post? What kind of normal person is going to to find that distinctive enough. It's a little too subtle even for those of us prone to aspbergers. It's a braindead approach when Apple does it and it's no less brain dead when Microsoft tries to clone it (poorly).

        1. Richard 81
          Facepalm

          Oh I don't know...

          ...someone with eyes maybe?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pinning

      Was one of the biggest improvements from Vista/7 in my opinion - combined with the ability to order your taskbar icons. I used to bitch about XP that after explorer crashed, the taskbar icons would all shuffle order on recovery and I struggled to find the applications I commonly used (which I always grouped on the left). I've always hated the desktop as a metaphor for starting stuff. The start-menu was a weak metaphor as well. But a taskbar where all the commonly used apps are permanently on it has worked brilliantly for me. The best thing with Windows though is that you have the choice of which one you use. I hope they don't remove that choice in Windows 8 - that would be a significant regression in my book.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "But a taskbar where all the commonly used apps are permanently on it has worked brilliantly for me. "

        I HATE IT! Why change what worked well for the majority?

    4. csumpi
      Devil

      Win7 taskbar and start menu rocks

      I use xmonad with dmenu on linux. I love xmonad because it allows me to switch between full screen applications quickly. (Mod4+1 = shell, Mod4+2 = browser etc.)

      I always wanted a similar setup under windows. Recently I made a stunning discovery: after rebooting from linux, I accidentally hit Mod4+1 (win button +1) to open a shell, and windows opened the first program that was pinned to my task bar. It works similar to my xmonad workspaces! In fact I can easily move around the pinned icons, so now I have win+1 for git shell, win+2 for chrome, win+3 for visual studio...

      Why did I not know about this for all those years!

      Try it!

      In fact, I can hit the win key, start typing the name of a program and can easily launch it. Just like dmenu. I can even find documents, email, whatnot the same way.

      All these power features in a user friendly interface, that even my lawyer wife can use.

      I wonder what other awesomeness MS added that I don't know about.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "That horrible MetroUI that's like it's been teleported from 1990"

      WOW, can I have some of those drugs your taking? They seem to be very strong!

      When, in the 90's, were live tiles used?

  8. MJI Silver badge

    Are Microsoft trying to kill themselves?

    Bring in all this confusion and I am sure people will start looking elsewhere.

    Ribbon Menu - means I will not update MS Office at home, at work I TRY to avoid it, got shareware alternatives for Paint (WHY!!!!) and what ever the outlook express replacement is called.

    I have decided I will be investigating alternatives as I do not like the direction they are going.

    1. Chris Miller

      Free help

      Right click on the ribbon; select 'Minimize the Ribbon'; ribbon gone.

      If you're desperate to have the old menu structure back, numerous freeware programs are available.

      HTH

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Numerous Freeware

        Yes and this is pushing me to get them.

        When I use a package occasionally, I want to be able to find an option, not be presented with a blank page and lots of little pictures.

        Have I got time to relearn a package I have used for years? No, got more important things to do.

        Every version of Windows has had some productivity removal, with XP the file dialog not remembering ever you want detail view, Vista - existing, Win 7 having to strip back all the fluff to get a working PC. I remember Win98 OSR2 fondly, and even WFW

        1. Matthew 3

          relearning...

          The ribbon took some getting used to for me but I stuck with it and I'm now I'm not just used to it: I actually like the way it's quicker to get to certain options. But the fact that it needed a learning curve showed that it wasn't the great leap forward that dramatic changes can be.

          Innovation means change, some of which will be perfect and some will be dire. The UI designers have to somehow try and keep everyone happy - and run the risk that nobody will be. I also loved Win98 OSR2 - in its day - but I'm hugely grateful that, say, an iPad or an Android phone doesn't rely on the Win98 way of doing everything. The thing about great design is that it's intuitive. If a task feels clunky to undertake or is hard to learn then, frankly, that feature's a dud. As a manufacturer Apple have had far more successes at this but there are still minor interface elements where the polish isn't quite there. In their case change hasn't been a bad thing because, whether you're eight months old seeing one for the first time or a wizened techie with years of IT experience, an iPad is intuitive first time.

          If we all just stuck with what we were most familiar with then I'd still be using Wordperfect 5.1 and trying to optimise DOS memory usage. I'm hugely grateful that word processing no longer involves pissing about with obscure function key combinations and a separate view to actually see how things'll look on paper. Sure, I miss some features but to see change as 'productivity removal' isn't a positive way to look at things. It's actually what keeps me in a job.

          1. MJI Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Matthew 3

            Time to learn hmm. Now do I spend it learning the interface for something I use once a week or so, or do I use it to increase my knowleage of development tools?

            I am busy, I have more important things to do than work out how to do basic tasks in a Windows application, I have used Windows since WFW, got on well with 98 OSR2, XP apart from the serious file manager bug (2 real whole works days I have calculated changing from sideways scrolling to detailed, taking off type - I KNOW WHAT TYPE, and sorting by date.)

            Quite simply if I have the odd day to learn something, I am going to do something usefull, like moving our system to use a data dictionary, or develope some stored procedures, why should I waste my time learning what the not very pretty picture means, when I will forget it next time I use the application.

            I UNDERSTAND the File Edit system.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        The ribbon is worse when 'hidden'

        For some reason in that mode it pops up hiding everything in the top of your document.

        Thus you can't see the thing you're changing.

        It's true that menus do that, but only for a section rather than full screen width, and toolbars do not!

        The ribbon is also always at the top, at a time when widescreen monitors were rapidly becoming the only ones you can buy.

        So, while a change in UI might have been excusable, the ribbon is not.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Dumb move if you ask me...

    With this move I think Microsoft is going to alienate a /lot/ of users, more than they might realize. Giving desktop users (so people using a mouse or trackball) an environment which was optimized for touch enabled devices is not in their best interest.

    My main problems with Win8 (from the looks of it) as missing Aero (when in Metro you can no longer see icons which give you a status update on current operations) and the start menu. For example I've also grown fond of jumplists...

    For example; I click start.. wait a sec.. Do I go to the 'virtual pc' to optimize its disk, do I click the 'Downloads' link to check up on that zipfile or shall I update my Word document ? Ok; green bar not fully full on both virtual PC (shutdown process) nor Seamonkey (yes, it fully supports Aero!). SO Word it is.

    From what I've heard and read so far; Metro doesn't do this. Sure, we get 'some' desktop-like application but the moment you click start again you will no longer see what's going on.

    Its going to be ironic IMO. MS is currently presenting their Windows phone with speed tests ("I can get a picture quicker on facebook, I can quicker get navigation directions from here, I can quicker lookup someone in a picture, etc, etc.). So basically; a guy claims he can perform certain tasks faster with his winphone than you on your own phone.

    I wonder what will happen if we put Win7 & Win8 on the desktop to that test. As mentioned above; accessing your programs can be 2 clicks and a few inch drag away. In Metro you'll need that same drag amount to even get to the first tile!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ShellLuser

      Metro UI does support active tiles which tell you what they're doing. Having said that - it's not Metro or nothing, it's Metro or classic (well, slightly updated) Windows UI. If you want to use Metro apps, you have to use Metro, but otherwise and especially if you're on a desktop, you'll be running Windows UI 90% of the time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC

        You'll run classic right until that moment when you hit start again, which is my main complaint.

        I mean; even if you are 90% on the desktop, why do they need to take you completely away from said desktop only to end up firing up an application which puts you right back ?

        Even if all you want to do is to look and fire an application you're faced with Metro, there is no way around it.

        Well, apart from putting your desktop & taskbar full of icons I suppose, but that doesn't really sound appealing to me. I tend to keep those 'space gobblers' to an absolute minimum.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Zebulebu
      FAIL

      Having used it for months now...

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/fail_32.png

      ...I can confirm that Windows 8 is by far the worst-designed, least intuitive interface ever put on a desktop. And I'm including ME in that.

      On a tablet - meh, it might work OK, but as a desktop UI it is utterly horrendous. They can't possibly be serious about expecting it to work in the corporate world - it will be avoided like the plague. Maybe they've been looking on with envy at how crApple manages to tell it's customers exactly what to do, and have them masochistically enjoy it at the same time - and are going to try and 'force' adoption in the workplace - which would make the Vista fiasco look tame.

      Looks to me like they've changed their mind again and are going to end up diverging into consumer/corporate markets with two distinctly separate offerings. Massive, massive fail on their part if that's the case - the best thing MS ever did was execute 9x and bring everything under NT/2K - XP is the most stable O/S I've ever used, and I still use it at home as there are things about Win7 that irk me.

      I wish they'd just stop fucking around with things. Every O\S they release looks more and more like it was designed as a Toys-R-Us in-store display unit.

      1. Spearchucker Jones

        @Zebulebu

        Have to agree. Windows 8 on anything other than a tablet is an epic-fail-level-horrible experience. On a tablet it's awesome. In fact I find it so awesome on a tablet that it's making Windows 7 feel inadequate. Spending more time on my tablet than on my desktop. Weird. But cool.

      2. Levente Szileszky
        Stop

        RE: Having used it for months

        FULLY AGREED.

        I tried few times, really-really hard but it's just f'n IMPOSSIBLE to like, period. It's one thing that t is so effin' ugly that even a mother wouldn't hug it but it's LITERALLY EFFIN' IMPOSSIBLE TO WQORK WITH IT.

        Yes, I understand that MOST MS decision-makers DO NOT WORK AT ALL but a lot of us - you know, people who pay for Windows et al which covers your paychecks - ACTUALLY WORK.

        NBow that's pretty much impossible with this utter PoS called WIndows 8/Metro.

      3. Peter Johnstone

        Re: Having used it for months now...

        I agree, utterly horrendous but I figured that out in about ten minutes, then decided then that I would be switching to Mac OS.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Conrad Longmore
      FAIL

      Don't be so certain..

      Don't be so certain.. when I first got Office 2007 I spent ages hunting for the setting that gave me my pull-down menus back. Of course, it wasn't there because as well all know Microsoft is just a couple of guys in a garage and I guess they didn't have time to code it..

      1. Semaj
        Flame

        So you spent "ages" looking on how to go back to the old way rather than just attempting to use the new way? If you were so terrified of change then why did you even upgrade?

        Every time I've heard someone complaining about the ribbon, the option they were looking for is so much easier to find than it used to be in the menus (usually it's on Home). In fact there have been several of occasions when I've heard people saying how great all these new features are when actually they are old features that were previously impossible to find in the horrible menu system.

        That said, I am not a fan of how 8 is looking at the moment because with no start menu, surely there'll be no search box, which is one of the best vista / 7 features IMO. If that's coming back (or being made even better) though then I'm all for it.

  11. mittfh

    Start screen?

    It sounds as though instead of a Start Menu that can occupy up to 1/4 of your screen when the orb is pressed, instead the bottom left hand corner will be a "hot zone", so simply moving your mouse / pointer to that corner (without clicking) will launch something that will take over your entire screen.

    Ugh.

    Did they take a look at GNOME 3 / Unity and think "That's a cool idea!"?

    Why are so many UI designers narrow-mindedly concentrating their UI design efforts purely on the tablet market? People have been predicting the demise of the desktop PC for years (decades?) and it hasn't came about, at least partially because the platform (while static) is far more customisable (for both OEMs and power users) than a tablet - including the easy ability to upgrade bits as they become obsolete thus extending the life of the device, rather than having to scrap it and buy an entirely new one when it reaches obsolescence (or in the case of a certain fruity company, when a slightly better model is released in a year or two's time). What works well on a tablet PC where, despite the screen potentially having a high resolution, you're likely to be using comparatively large and imprecise pointing device (fingers), won't necessarily work well on a desktop PC, where you're using a mouse whose pointer doesn't obscure a significant portion of the screen, has a much greater degree of control, and can manipulate desktop objects small enough to be buried under a finger. One size does NOT fit all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      @mittfh

      "People have been predicting the demise of the desktop PC for years (decades?) and it hasn't came about, at least partially because the platform (while static) is far more customisable (for both OEMs and power users) than a tablet"

      That's why we now get Windows 8. If this doesn't kill the desktop and make people scream for touch enabled input then nothing will!

      Just too bad that MS hasn't considered the other alternative: people staying on Win7 (maybe even XP) and/or trying to find other alternatives to do their work.

      The things look now I'm pretty confident that I won't be upgrading any time soon.

  12. Colin Millar
    Pirate

    Oh noes - not "Improved search" again

    Every time the say these words it gets harder to find anything

    1. DJ 2
      Thumb Down

      First thing I ever do when using a company machine.

      Turn off the indexed searching.

    2. Chika
      Paris Hilton

      Why is it that the ongoing saga of the Control Panel come to mind here? Consider that this has been a staple since Windows 95 but, since Windows XP, they keep trying to change it into some sort of obscure category based monstrosity that many users change back to a classic view a la W2K whenever they find it. Even Windows 7 has this. Goodness knows what 8 will do!

      There's nothing new under the Oracle...

  13. mark 63 Silver badge

    no start button?

    without it , I wouldnt know where to start!

  14. Richard Wharram

    No problem.

    I'll just install XFCE over the top.

    What? Why? Oh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Windows

      Well, I know your jesting but when MS' Virtual PC will remain embedded as it is now in Win7 then such a scenario wouldn't surprise me at all.

      SO; people start Win8, click on the start icon to start a virtual Windows XP (full screen) and then continue to work with that.

      Its already being done on a smaller scale; for example people who hate Windows Live mail and who want to keep Outlook Express. Some simply use Win7's "XP mode" to start the OE version within it.

  15. Nya
    Stop

    It's a "preview release" not a beta!

    What's with the press jumping the gun here? we haven't seen what MS are planning with the "classic" desktop yet. We have seen lots of ribbon changes with the folders and task manager, but nothing front end yet. We all can clearly see MS is up to something, but what it is we will no doubt have to wait till we get to see it in beta.

    Look at what we've had so far, multiple "preview" editions. People keep calling these beta's but they aren't, they are just what they say in the name "previews". Did IE9's preview demo the gui? no it didn't did any of the other MS previews demo anything much than a couple of things they want to show off at that time. No they didn't.

    We can all criticise it when we finally get to see whatever it is MS is up to. But until we do see it, why all the scaremongering? As for me, hope they don't get rid of it, as it's pretty much the corner stone of the OS for the last 17 years. But guess we can but wait and see.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: jumping the gun

      Experience shows that once MS actually start calling something "beta", it is feature frozen and if you want any changes then its tough tit.

      If your intentions are simply to have a good (pointless) whine then by all means wait for the beta. If you are actually hoping that MS might listen to your feedback and change tack, *now* is the time to speak up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        beta = final?

        i seem to remember Longhorn being in beta, right before it was scraped, gutted, ripped apart, stuck back together again and laminated in to something that was mostly Vista.

        Not saying your wrong but generally, until something hits the Public preview program, its pointles talking about it because it can change with drastic differences. even up to RC2 small changes are made, infact calling them RC is a bit cheeky given that MS had no intention of RTM'ing them its more like another test phase where things change

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The chopstick. Plain simple and always works.

    The knife. Been with us since our ancestors need to slice and dice. Continues to allow school-kids to attack each other and get stopped and searched by Plod, a classic.

    The bicycle. Still relatively new ( Carry On Caeser aside! ) but a fairly simple machine to operate with some practice, still pretty much the same as it was then it first appeared.

    The START button, available on shed-loads of hardware devices all over the planet, simple to understand does what it says. Anyone speaking any language can understand ON/OFF or the more common line half inside a circle icon.

    Start button used on the O/S with the highest install base on the planet, people know what it does, simple, elegant, functional and a classic. KDE, Gnome classics both use a similar sort of icon to get users up an running and help advanced ones find the installed app "kickers".

    Why do they need to screw with a classic?

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    Not necessarily a bad idea

    Assuming it can be reinstated then it's not a bad idea to hide it by default. A couple of things have to be possible though 1) Touch devices can't easily thumb into a corner and some kind of "thumb into corner" gesture is likely to be annoying so something else has to happen there 2) Some people with multi screen setups may not have a corner to mouse into. So assuming these issues are resolved then I don't see a big deal.

  18. the-it-slayer
    Pint

    Mac inspiration anyone?

    I think Windows recognises the START button is a horrid staple on their OS now. Although, I disagree. Organise the apps by explicit type, make the GUI nicer with the bold icons rather than in the horrible threaded system that's made it difficult to navigate. Why alienate millions of Windows users by introducing a new way of starting applications with no thought or a cross-over alternative? Same with Office 2003 to Office 2007 introducing the ribbon bar. Yes, it made it easier; but confused a hell of alot of users!

    Seems like the M$ devs have studied the Mac OS X system and said, "what could we do? what could we do?" Lets splice off our OS symbol! Bad, bad.

    Beer time for M$.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, right...

    So we're all supposed to hate the start button now are we?

    Because MS are changing it? uh-huh.

    1. Refugee from Windows
      Stop

      Ooops

      <ctrl> <alt> <t>

      shutdown -h now

      do I have to learn anything else???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Err

        <win key>+R

        shutdown /s

        What's your point?

  20. DJ 2
    Trollface

    And the cycle continues

    Win95 good

    win98 bad

    Win98se good

    WinMe bad

    WinXP good

    Vista bad

    Win 7 Good

    Win 8 ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      I got a vision!

      You hit the nail on the head...

      The maya's must have been right after all... This cycle of doom will continue until Windows 2012 which will be the end for all of us!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Andy Farley
    Thumb Up

    "Start screen"

    That sounds OK. Back to file manager days maybe. As long as it sticks with managed-by-window instead of manage-by-app I'll be happy.

  22. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    Microsoft

    After 17 years, they've finally questioned the logic of clicking "Start" to turn off your computer.

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Makes perfect sense..

      if you think of shutting down a PC as a procedure. Windows does actually follow a procedure when you shut down the OS. Basically because it needs to do quite a lot before it's safe to turn the pc off.. Things like asking applications nicely to close, then checking if they have and offering to force close the others. Also ensuring any open files are closed, and any data cached is written to disk. Not to mention closing any network connections and I've ignored the possibility of a logout script that could do a whole load of stuff.

      So, looked at like that, it is quite logical that you click "Start" to initiate the procedure.

      Trouble is, most people don't think of it like that..

      1. Nigel 11

        They fixed that ages ago

        If you don't know about starting a shutdown, you do know about the on/off button on the front of the box. Once it became a soft button rather than a power switch the problem was solved. Briefly press the button, and Windows (or Linux) shuts down cleanly.

  23. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    WTF?

    "hot corner"?

    So, just like the system menu on every top-level window and all the old (2003) keyboard shortcuts in Office 2007, the UI you need to do the job is *still* there if you just shut your eyes and do the action, but it will be hidden from any new users because "it looks ugly".

    WTF is it with user interface designers?

  24. Cam 2
    Meh

    Sounds like Gnome Shell, I like it, a vocal minority hate it. I'm sure on a new version of Windows there will be plenty more to complain about, and probably shareware extensions to put back some kind of start button for luddites / button fetishists.

    1. Goat Jam
      Holmes

      "a vocal minority"

      O'rly?

      You've taken a poll have you?

      Or are you just one of the gnome devs with your fingers in your ears?

      lalalalala I can't hear you!

      1. Nigel 11
        Holmes

        minority?

        One of that alleged minority is Linus.

        However, in the Linux world you can pick and choose between many desktop UIs. My grouse about Gnome 3 is not that it sucks. Rather, that they developed a radically diffrerent UI without forking the source, so that if you have Gnome 3 installed on your system you can't also install or use Gnome 2.

        Anyway, for now XFCE will have to do, or the Scientific Linux 6 distro (which will be sticking with Gnome 2 for many years to come). Then there's Cinnamon, which looks promising (a classic UI running atop the Gnome 3 libraries). This is what Gnome devs should have done in the first place, and only then started playing around with tablet-style UIs layered on the same library, as optional alternatives to the classic UI.

  25. RiceballOne

    Le Sigh

    It just screams 'Bad Idea Jeans' to me. Ever notice how a big corporation will cloak a bad idea bureaucratic Orwellian newspeak? It's so New-Coke-ian, Matt Frewer should launch it as Windows Network 23. Well at least they didn't do this while Jobs was alive...the laughter alone would have killed the man.

    I don't know, I suppose it could work. Heck, make it an installation option perhaps?

  26. John 172
    WTF?

    Grumpy Old Men

    Blimey, there are a lot of grumpy old men posting comments today. Did you cause such an uproar when the DOS prompt was replaced with the GUI or when the start button was introduced in the first place? Progress is necessary from time to time...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      @John

      Nice words but then the big question becomes what you consider to be progress ?

      If by progress you mean better looks yet lesser functionality then by all means. Most people here aren't grumpy. In fact, they might care more for Windows than you may realize.

      Most people don't use Windows for fun but to get some work done. And if things start to look as if those tasks will get even more tedious on the new version then is it really so hard to imagine that some people will start to complain ?

      Quite frankly; us grumpy people have been here before youngster ;-) This is very comparable with Windows 95 / 98. Microsoft missed the boat to the Internet /big time/ just like they've been ignoring touch enabled devices so far.

      And just like is happening now they also started to jump into the Internet face first, without any regard what so ever when it came to functionality. Internet and connectivity was key. So they turned the desktop into an "Active desktop" by default. Meaning that it could display webpage snippets ("active contents") and keep that updated.

      Of course; the first versions (iirc this was 95, but could be 98 as well) had one side effect; placing program icons on the desktop would no longer work. Yes; that made "grumpy people" call out as well to ask MS WTF they had been smoking.

      Result should be obvious; even in Win7 you can still place icons on the desktop.

      Microsoft has an history where they focus on features and gizmo's and lose perspective when it comes to friendliness (or plain out usability).

      THAT is why some people may seem very annoyed. "Been there, done that, when are they ever going to learn?".

    2. Chika
      Happy

      Progress? The trouble is that changes marketed as "progress" seldom turn out that way. Consider that the "DOS prompt" as you quaintly put it was never completely eradicated. Even on the most recent Windows versions, try as they might to hide it, it can still be brought back and, more to the point, it still has its uses.

      I'm likely to agree that the "Start" button was an improvement over the Program Manager of the prior versions of Windows, if only because it reduced some of the clutter, but it was hardly "progress".

      Mind you, if you want to talk about Grumpy Old Men, consider the opposite of progress - it's congress! There ya go!

  27. Iain Leadley

    Why don't they

    make windows 8 run as fast as windows 95 does on a modern PC.

    Who cares about the user interface, I would just like to be able to move the mouse pointer around the screen without needing 88GB ram and god knows how many octo cored CPUs running at 99GHz.

    1. Def Silver badge
      Unhappy

      This is why they don't

      I was once told by a fairly high up Microsoft employee that Microsoft have certain agreements in place with hardware manufacturers that guarantee that new versions of Microsoft products will require faster processors, more memory, more hard drive space than their predecessors.

      The reason for this, of course, is that sales and upgrades of new software versions will, in turn, drive sales of new hardware. How many new PCs would be sold next year if a machine bought in 2000 was still capable of running Windows 8?

      You only have to look at the drive to get everything .Netified (which will help with the push towards ARM support, admittedly) and the fact that the quality of code produced by the compiler in Visual C++ gets worse and worse with each and every iteration.

      Not saying I agree with this, obviously, but that's how it is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Def

        What a load of conspiracy theorist nonsense, which ignores the fact that 7 runs happily on hardware that will run XP and Vista and 8 will also.

        Versions of Windows historically needed more hardware resources because hardware resources were scarce for what needed to be done and expensive. This is to be factored with a bit of sloppy programming just using those resources, without optimisation or questioning if they needed to be used.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          @AC

          Actually there's more to that story than you're sharing.

          Yes, Win7 runs happily on such hardware, question here is "how?". MS always shows Win7 with Aero features enabled, because that's the 'Windows 7 experience' (note that I wholeheartedly agree with that).

          However, because that was portrait as such people expected just that on their older PC's. Because "Win7 could run on older hardware". End of the story is that eventually even Microsoft agreed that they may have been a little too optimistic and would change their advertisement accordingly; because Win7 doesn't always run as expected on older hardware (put differently; sometimes there's not enough juice for Aero and such).

          Your argument would apply with Windows Vista vs. Windows 7. But when looking at XP its a fact that Win7 is more resource hungry.

        2. Def Silver badge

          Re: "What a load of conspiracy theorist nonsense"

          When I installed Windows 2000, it was on a fairly low end spec computer (for its time). That machine had a 9GB hard drive which sufficed for its entire life time (as my main desktop PC for just about 10 years) until I finally upgraded to a newer machine with Windows 7. Windows 7 wont even install on a 9GB hard drive.

          The Windows 7 directory on its own on this machine is currently using 30GB of space. Now, I will freely admit that Windows 7 is capable of a lot of things that Windows 2000 was not capable of. But ~28GB worth of extra "functionality"? That's enough data to fill six DVDs. What is this functionality that requires so much extra space?

          Oh, and if you ask me, programmers were less sloppy, and optimised more when resources were scarcer. Not the other way around.

          1. Nigel 11

            Illegal if true

            This "secret agreement" would be highly and expensively illegal if true, so it almost certainly isn't. Also I suspect the main driving force behind faster CPUs etc. isn't MS OSes. It's games, and the people who'll spend hundreds of quid to get an extra couple of fps out of their game of choice (or is that addiction? )

            Anyway, people who use computers for serious work, like scientists, have a lot to thank the gamers for!

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        "the fact that the quality of code produced by the compiler in Visual C++ gets worse and worse with each and every iteration"

        Perhaps you are using the wrong compiler. My experience is the complete opposite. Not saying you're wrong, obviously, but that's how it is.

        Oh, and I think you'll find that the drive to get everything netified peaked at around 2005. By 2008, Visual C++ was focussed almost exclusively on native code and the managed C++ folks were complaining about being left high and dry, a bit like the Silverlight crowd felt last year.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
          Joke

          Re: a bit like the Silverlight crowd felt last year

          and the Metro crowd next year.

  28. sabroni Silver badge

    Microsoft said:

    Windows users were only using the Start Button to access the items most commonly used on their desktops

    Presumably they have metrics to back this up. If so then the removal of the start button won't be a massive problem for most users, providing they can easily get to the desktop instead.

    OTOH, I do fear change...

  29. Anonymous Cowherder
    Stop

    Progress, innit marvellous.

    Please put it back!

    Just think of the poor lambs on every helpdesk, "Click the start button, oh, win8, not there, ok, just hover the mouse of the hot corner in the bottom left." "Hot corner? Hot corner!" Says Joanne in accounts, "I haven't got a hot corner, I just need to launch another copy of Excel to get the costings..."

    This is going to have a pound shilling and pence impact on business.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Darn changes!

    Oh dear,

    Why do they always have to change everything?

    Anyone would think that Microsoft would have a multi-million pound budget to test these things out and make sure a lot of people are happy before releasing the product! Doh!

    Bloody new fangled operating systems, I'll be sticking to Windows 3.1, who needs more than 256KB of RAM? Speed? Eh? I'll take my time thanks very much!

    Technological evolution?! Pah! I'll stick to the same old same old thanks very much!

  31. zb
    Joke

    With no start button ...

    how will you turn it off?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      You use either voice control or the new Kinect controller...

      Either you yell "shut the f* down" and presto; Win8 will shut itself down. With Kinect support you can even program key gestures. So for example, give it the finger and watch the OS cleanly shut itself down.

      No need for confusion and it even relieves you of some stress at the same time!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Turn off

      Flick switch on wall?

  32. JDX Gold badge

    "Seriously , what is it with GUI designers, can't they just leave well alone?"

    What a great sentiment. We'd never have got the start button in the first place with that attitude. Maybe we wouldn't have even got SVGA GUIs in the first place - text-mode GUI is "good enough".

  33. Get the puck outa here
    WTF?

    Windows 8

    I installed the trial version.

    I marvelled at the pastel Post It notes on the screen and the lack of the (misnamed) START button.

    The only thing worse than pastel Post It notes on the screen is a bunch of "live" Post It notes on the screen and the fans running to cool down the CPU even when I'm doing nothing.

    I used the new improved 12 step process to shut down and then I wiped the partition.

    1. Ocular Sinister
      Alert

      You installed the trial version...

      ...and you didn't use a VM? Brave... very brave.

  34. MyHeadIsSpinning

    So what?

    I like Office 2010, the ribbon interface and the file options are much easier to use and convenient for me as a user than the ribbon etc in Office 2007: and better for me than the drop down menus of 2003.

    So they're changing a button? Making it less visible would seem counter-productive to me, but I'll give it a go.

  35. The Original Steve

    Usual hate MS posts are here...

    ... Start Menu can be back as it was via a GPO

    Tiles in the new Start Screen are active and show the status of an app

    If you press the Start key on the keyboard the inputs work as before. E.g WinKey + <search string of app or file>

    So no extra key presses or mouse interaction.

    Looks interesting and logical. Unsure why people are so up in arms about it - going from 3.1 to 95 was a much bigger deal. Didn't do MS much harm as a result...

  36. Chika
    Happy

    Microsoft Bob says...

    Ruff!

  37. Singlewhip
    FAIL

    Eliminated? or Made Obese?

    Eliminating the start button, he sez, let them use a "whole screen" for what it used to do.

  38. Tom 13
    Unhappy

    Oh Gawd!

    So MS has come up with a solution that will have us begging them to bring the Start Button back.

  39. Far Canal
    Thumb Down

    M$ has definitely gone downhill since Bill left and I'm not entirely sure it was uphill before that.

  40. Levente Szileszky
    FAIL

    If this uber-clueless nonsense ends up to be the last word then they've just lost 100+ upgrades...

    ...I can personally guarantee that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oooh

      A hundred upgrades? I bet the volume-licensing department are quaking in their boots.

      Or you could calm down a bit and see how this pans out before condemning it.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    "...items most commonly used on their desktops"

    My desktop is completely empty (it's used to move windows around...), so I get the impression I'm not going to like this. After ribbon I really don't trust them with "improvements" with menus.

  42. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Up

    "How To Disable The Metro UI In Windows 8?"

    Here we go:

    "If you've spent some time with Windows 8, you probably noticed that while exiting the Metro UI a classic Windows 7 interface expects you. The only big difference stands in the Start button, which now has the role of getting the Metro interface back. Using our steps we will bring back the classic Start button, "permanently" disabling its current purpose. At any time you can change the value of the register and bring back the new view, by following the same steps. Here is what you need to do:

    1. First, press the Start + R buttons, to open the Run menu.

    2. In the Run window, type "regedit" and hit Enter.

    3. Now scroll on the top of the list and double click on "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE". This will expand the folder.

    4. Do the same for "SOFTWARE ".

    5. In the list, search for "Microsoft" and open it.

    6. Now using the same procedure, navigate to Windows->CurrentVersion->Explorer and some registry entries will appear in the right side of the screen.

    7. Click on the one called "RPenabled" and change its value from "1" to "0".

    This will make the Metro UI vanish and the classic Windows 7 interface will appear as shown below. To revert the changes modify the value back to 1.

    Read more: http://www.itproportal.com/2011/11/03/how-disable-metro-ui-windows-8/#ixzz1ljtIc5Ao

  43. T J
    FAIL

    So they've finally left Xerox behind?

    No, they've just killed off Windows is all, nobody wants 8 and 7 isnt much of an achievement either.

  44. Ron Christian
    Meh

    Hot corner

    > Clicking on this hot corner in the desktop or the tablet-friendly Metro mode will provide "a consistent way to access the Windows desktop and Start Screen in Windows 8".

    So the start button is not displayed, but clicking a mouse in the same corner that the start button used to reside will expose the menu. Got it. Nothing to see here.

    ...although I can imagine that the vanishing few who have not had experience with Windows post 3.11 might be a tad confused.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      So there is a Start button, you just cannot see it

      How exactly is that better?

      That is almost as undiscoverable as it is possible to be!

      - Why would a user blindly click on an empty space?

      I think the only thing to top that is the 1-pixel gap between Start and the edge of the screen in Win95, a truly massive victory for the graphic artist over usability.

  45. TheOtherHobbbes

    Oh, sorry

    I thought you said *Smart* button.

    And there I was, thinking MS had had that removed decades ago.

  46. Paul Leighton
    Coffee/keyboard

    Hopefully configurable?

    I have 3 screen's with the Start Menu still in the middle screen. So I hope this "hot corner" doesnt literally have to be the corner of my desktop? Hopefully configurable or even optional....

  47. grumpy ray
    Windows

    Oh great, another botch up

    The great office ribbon fiasco, Vista, and now the start button. Can Microsoft add to its growing list of monumental blunders with this revamp? You betcha!

    The boffins at MS have now added so much rectal capacity to their products that any new addition/application/press release is almost certain to be full of it.

  48. RAMChYLD
    Boffin

    Prior art

    Gnome 3 dropped their equivalent of the start button, instead opting for the same "hover over corner for a second to get start menu" thing. Unity followed suit.

    About half of the techies facing the change didn't like it and threw Gnome3 out for XFCE.

    I wonder if the removal of the start button in Win8 will result in the resurrection of alternative shell apps like litestep and WindowBlinds...

    Also, am I the only one to think the "hover in the corner for a second" thing will cause serious issues with some full screen games?

    1. Ocular Sinister
      Thumb Up

      KDE...

      All I can say is thank god for KDE, sticking to the recognisable paradigm... I note that Plasma Desktop runs after a fashion on XP. I've not tried 6, 7 or 8 but with a bit of effort it could be made to work...

      1. admiraljkb
        Go

        KDE Indeed

        It will likely be one of the top desktop environments on Windows8 as folks try to find something to replace Metro with. There wasn't a 64bit build the last I checked, although I might want to get involved there and see about helping some on the porting.

        The OS and Desktop Environment really are two different things, and always have been. Remember running Norton Desktop (along with a slew of others) on top of Win3.1 to escape the abysmal Program Manager? In the various Linux Distros, its easier to switch back and forth to your hearts content, but with Windows(NT) and Mac(BSD) people seem to have forgotten that the UI is just eyecandy on top of the OS.

  49. JeffyPooh
    FAIL

    Difficult to believe it's 2012...

    There could be a dialog window (as opposed to hacking the Registry) where user could choose if they'd like a stupid Start button or not, what shape, what colour, etc.

    The fact that they're even discussing this is a great disappointment. How about giving the users more complete control over ALL software updates? How about providing some network presets optimized for dial-up users, satellite users, expensive-bits users, etc. How about making the hibernate file match the actual used memory (as opposed to always 4GB)? How about figuring out how to boot up faster?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      They have done a lot of work on booting faster.

      Vista went to sleep by default, to flatten the battery in your laptop faster!

      Joking aside, Windows 7 does appear to start up fairly quick compared to previous, and is immediately usable, as opposed to the XP 'now wait until ready' behaviour.

      Plus they did some clever pre-fetch stuff, esp. for SSDs.

      There is a lot of useful stuff under the bonnet, unfortunately the GUI re-designers seem to snatch defeat from the very jaws of victory on a regular basis.

      One wonders what hardware and applications these GUI designers are using on a daily basis, as it rarely seems to match common reality.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is a Hot Spot not?

    The start button / menu is iconic to Windows. While it can always be modified and improved removing it completely is Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot. It's what people relate to Windows, so replacing it with a hot spot is crazy. Even if they removed the word start and just had the Windows flag it'd be better than clicking wildly at fresh air....

    It sounds like this Desktop interface inside Windows 8 is going to be so bad that they are esentially going to force you into using Metro. It's all well and good posting long winded registry tweaks to bring the menu back, but try telling that to an ordinary user who doesn't know anything other than checking emails, facebook and clicking links they shouldn't

    I like the idea of metro on a phone / tablet, but on a decent sized screen it's going to fail. I just want a grid of icons of programs that I use regularly that I can launch as and when I want. I don't want garish colours of giant active tiles that are using resources when I have no particular need for more than 3 or 4 applications at any one time.

  51. geekclick
    Meh

    Must be the only person in the entire universe

    Who likes the ribbon UI!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nah...

      It's just that people who like things tend not to shout about it on Internet forums...

  52. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    There's other problems here

    Many users will transition from XP directly to Windows 8 when MS finally convince people that older versions of IE are insecure, and they nagware that is Automatic Update starts shouting that there are no more fixes even to SP3.

    So what some commenters here are seeing as incremental change XP->Vista->7->8 will appear like a big-bang.

    I personally cannot abide any interface where I have to drill down to what I regard as the root window in order to open something new. I want and need something that gets out of my way when I am not using it, but can be called up when I do. I tend to set autohide on any/all UIs that I use, and run with several overlapping windows on multiple virtual desktops obscuring any 'tiles' or desktop icons. This is one of the main reasons I don't like Unity and probably won't like Windows 8 if this article is correct.

    Looks like I am condemned to be a technical dinosaur, at least as far as mainstream UIs.

  53. Qu Dawei
    FAIL

    Other areas

    I would much rather they changed things to do with the base language used in the UI.

    For instance, I am British, still not knowing much about Chinese writing, but forced to but a Chinese MS machine (for work purposes) when my old machine fell over irretrievably. I could (a) only buy one with the Basic home windows 7 version, and (b) found out that this cannot have the language for the OS changed without paying extra for Windows Ultimate edition. Because MS in its wisdom have changed the order of options in its menus, don't even have the same shortcut letters, and so on, I have been reduced to being a rank newbie at using the computer.

    This is compounded by much software giving you no choice about interface language for them: they use the settings they find for the entire Operating System, and, in a catch-22 situation, you usually can only find the option for altering this (if it is available at all) by first being able to read the options in the language you do not wish to be used in the first place!

    Linux allows you to alter these things easily and freely. I guess, MS will never turn down an opportunity to charge money wherever they can, choosing to call them something like "optional extra features" or some such rubbish.

    They would do well to address these kinds of issues than mucking around with a Start button that is usually used to Stop the computer.

  54. John 62
    Boffin

    Start Menu customisation in Win95!

    Start Menu customisation was available from Win95. it just took a bit more effort than clicking the "pin to start menu" item in the context menu.

    protip for all users stuck on XP: put shortcuts to your frequently used programs in one of the folders in the PATH, or edit the PATH to include them, then you can start them by hitting WIN_KEY+R and then typing the shortcut name. The nice thing about Chrome is that it does this automatically for you :) It's almost like using Windows 7 (or OS X post Tiger (or Vista))

  55. Cave Dweller
    Boffin

    Maybe I'm too cool

    I'll admit, I'm something of a keyboard shortcut wizard. My Start button is mounted to the keyboard, and has worked in every Windows version. It even does more things in 7 (I love Win+Arrow Keys). No biggie for me if the little blue button has retired.

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