back to article Windows 8: Sugar coating on Microsoft's hard-to-swallow tablet

How do you bring legacy-encrusted Windows into the mobile era? Microsoft's solution is to take all that baggage and place it into a compartment labeled desktop, while reinventing the Windows user interface in a second compartment called Metro. Metro is primary, and conceptually the old desktop is now an app in the Metro Start …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3rd attempt?

    I recall Windows 3.1 on a touchscreen device.

    The Program Manager was reminiscent of Metro.

    In fact, Microsoft Bob and Packard Bell Navigator are probably more reminiscent of Metro.

  2. Fuzz

    desktop apps on touchscreen

    Microsoft need to take a look at how the Citrix client works. I find that works pretty well on my xoom, it displays the mouse pointer and uses the whole screen as a mouse pad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: desktop apps on touchscreen

      Or Spashtop streaming on the Ipad.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well the answer to how do Microsoft get into the mobile world is simple they do what Apple did they build a seperate os and interface focused on touch/tablets/phones/etc and they leave their desktop OS to do what desktop OS's do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They did…

      They called it "Windows CE" and a more phone/PDA-centric version called "Windows Mobile"… both flopped.

      1. Gordon 10

        Re: They did…

        They didnt flop. MS neglected them, then in the case of Win Mob were criminally slow in updating it with touch, so threw the baby out with the bath water.

        CE is in all sorts of things to this day.

        WinMob was as good as non-touch symbian.

        Unfortuntely M$ have a distressing tendency to re-invent the wheel every few years - especially in the in the non-core windows space and make everyone including themselves have to re-code everything.

        If MS actually stuck with a single set of paradigms for a decent span they would save everyone effort.

        1. Charles Manning

          ... And CE is a flop

          I did quite a bit of WinCE OS-level work over the years from CE1 to CE6 (device drivers, file systems, etc etc) with a few different customers.

          CE got quite a bit of traction because companies hoped they could redeploy their dime-a-dozen Windows application programmers into mobile space. That sometimes worked.

          However many of those companies are now looking for an exit path onto a different OS because MS is not painting a clear enough WinCE roadmap for the future.

          The old WinCE paradigms are obsolete and are not the way forward. Applications using a max of 32 Mbytes of memory, single CPU,... just not the sort of thing that has legs. Further, Microsoft stopped supporting various CPU architectures and are doing that again. That makes it really hard for anyone to have confidence that they can make CE products.

          Linux is feasting on this carcase.

          1. Blitterbug

            @ Mr Manning

            ...and you are rage-fuelled because? CE filled a purpose, for its time. I'm not claiming it is somehow still relevant. Indeed, it manifestly is not. How can it be after all this time and progress with modern architectures?

            But it wasn't a 'flop'. Vinyl wasn't a 'flop', nor even MiniDisc with its much shorter lifetime. They all had a time during which they flourished.

            A flop is something that nobody wants or needs, and fails to sell. That's it. To claim otherwise is disengenuous, so I'm moderately surprised by this post. It was a fun platform to code for, as well - the dev tools were quite nice. Vis Stud 6 was solid, though the CE emulation was a wee bit shonky (so one dumped the app to hardware every so often to check - no biggie), yet you seem so... angry. And bitter. Toward a platform you successfully worked on for years!

            Ah, well... downvote away. Doesn't change anything!

      2. Blitterbug

        CE 'flopped'?

        Not completely. It lasted approx. 10 years, and saw wide deployment across many key vertical markets. Yours truly worked with it for many years, writing C++ apptoids for the utility industry, who - along with POS businesses - by and large found it worked very nicely.

  4. corrodedmonkee

    Why the fuck does everything have to be referred to as an app these days!!!!

    1. Beaver6813

      Because apps are hip and cool, just like Microsoft...

    2. mraak

      Because it's short for computer application. I guess one could also use prog.

    3. Blank Reg


      All those extra letters in "application" are a waste of electrons :)

    4. crowley

      Because 'appz' needed sanitising from the old piracy days? (appz, warez, toolz, gamez, etc)

      Anyway, thank gods (the coders) for FOSS apps which can also do without the 'z'.

      This latest MS toy seems to have the production values of a dog chewed and vomited book released as a new novel - ok, more polish, but it's still the same basic functionality respun as though it's a new product. I believe there's myriad DirectFB / libSDL based frameworks out there just as capable, but without the necessity of a 'fix my PC' button for the underlying crud.

      Any idea why the move from a normal flexible interface towards an infokiosk?

      Are we so obsessed that every last monkey will be capable to use a GUI, that we'll head to one with four big dribble-proof coloured buttons, like the 'Playschool' windows, for headbutting to get email or whatever?

      1. Adam T
        Thumb Up

        "Any idea why the move from a normal flexible interface towards an infokiosk?"

        I am so glad someone else said that, because that's exactly what comes to my mind whenever I see Metro, either in action or in screenshots.

        Not saying it's bad, it just looks like it's been designed to sell stuff. Which, apparently, it is. Good job then!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Bob for the new decade.

    I won't be touching anything that's lumbered with the shit MetroUI.

    That means no Windows Phone, no XBox360, no Windows 8.

    No loss there then....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Bob for the new decade.

      Good. Now shut up about it.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Dave's Jubblies

      Re: Microsoft Bob for the new decade.

      Barry, no one else could have put it better than you yourself...

      Even if you didn't realise it....

      'I won't be touching anything that's lumbered with the shit MetroUI.

      No loss there then....'

  6. hitmouse

    Probably just continuing on the use that began in the 90s...

  7. Wanda Lust

    No applications

    I'll be installing this over weekend but watched the intro video where a gushing product mgr demonstrated the "task mgr" applet and few system utils. Without applications/apps/whatever that are written for Metro this'll be a dead duck.

    Apart from demonstrating what Metro looks like I can't understand why a user really should want to open the task mgr.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge


    If they've b0rken the desktop to include Metro, then that's a massive mistake IMHO.

    I can't see world + dog (and expecially the corporates) putting touch screens everywhere to make the ruddy thing work and from the sound of it, you're a bit cattle-trucked without one. To many "to get to here you swipe....." etc in that review for my blood.

    I reckon "default to traditional desktop" is a "must have" item, unless MS are aiming to make 2013 the actual year of Desktop Linux (as opposed to any other "years of Desktop Linux" you may have noticed mentioned).

    If they're smart, they'll fix this in Consumer Preview #2. If they're not quite that smart, it'll be in RTM. If they're dumb it'll be in SP1. If they're suicidally stupid it'll turn up in Win 9, shortly after Win 8 gets its "avoid like Vista" tag and they get to run the Red Queen's Race again......

    1. Lockwood

      Re: Oops!

      "to get to here you swipe" sound a lot relevant for talking about new stuff than "to get to here you swipe, or click this button or press these keys"

    2. Arrrggghh-otron

      Re: Oops!

      Yeah, this really does feel like they have stuck a nice enough tablet/touch screen interface on top of Win7. But when you are in the proper desktop the missing start button just seems weird.

      There are some nice features, but it just feels like two different things mashed together...

      I'm running it on Virtual Box and can't for the life of me figure out how to shut it down (other than from within virtual box itself) so I can mess with the network 'hardware'. The nice type to search feature isn't helping. I'm sure its as obvious as 'wiggle the mouse up and down and then swipe from one corner to the other' type of thing but it's eluding me right now.

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Re: Oops!

        Found the power button... top or bottom right of screen, settings, power!

        I had resolved to shutting the thing down via powershell when I found it.

        1. Mako

          Re: Oops!

          Same here - it took me a few minutes to find it, and even then it was by accident. I was about to resort to "shutdown -s -t:1".

          I'm assuming it's because it's geared more towards tablets and phones, which typically spend their lives switched on and locked/in standby, (or switched off with a hardware power button).

          Seems to me another example - as the article seemingly suggests - that "one size fits all" is a difficult thing to get right, and may not even be possible to get right at all.

          1. blondie101

            Re: Oops!

            I'm a powershell noob, but " shutdown -s -t:1" reminds me of old times, now I just enter "poweroff" ;-)

          2. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Oops!

            Ahh, that's how they make it "easy to use".

            Can't have people using advanced features like turning the computer off.

  9. Alan Bourke

    Great for tablets and phones

    Seriously - if anyone in Redmond thinks the corporate world, which does A LOT OF TYPING, will ever embrace touchscreens for the workaday desktops, they are seriously bananas.

    1. Shell

      Re: Great for tablets and phones

      Using OSX with an Apple Trackpad works well, even in a development environment. Swiping between full-screen apps is very nice, and feels natural. Not so well with the Windows 8 VM I set-up last night. COuldn't get anything like swiping to work, and what mouse gestures there are feel horribly counter-intuitive.

  10. Yet Another Commentard

    No touchscreen, very painful learning curve

    I think the big problem is that it is designed around touch, which does not translate brilliantly to mouse. I’m playing with it at the moment, and there is an issue with multiple screens. I like the way I can direct the taskbar buttons to the screen the application is running on, but finding the corner of your “main” screen when there is another next to it is incredibly fiddly. If they insist on this method, it would be better to allow the “hot corners” to be moved to the extreme right or left screen. Unless, that’s simply an option I have yet to find. Oh, and turning it off/restarting is an unnecessary faff. Office must be better integrated, so Outlook as be the “mail app” and “calendar app” showing data through to a locked screen. For all I know Office 15 may do that. As for the lack of a “start” button, after an hour or two of annoyance, I don’t miss it I have a “windows” button on my keyboard. The problem is – that’s an hour or two too long for most users. That way lies another Vista.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: No touchscreen, very painful learning curve

      Why on earth can't it just detect its display hardware and default appropriately? Touchscreen hardware, default to touch interface. Non-touch screen plus keyboard, default to desktop mode. (I'd suggest a what-do-you-want screen if it finds touch-screen with a connected keyboard, or non-touch-screen without a keyboard).

      And put a visible start button back in the Desktop mode before it's too late and gets damned like Vista. Invisible buttons go with invisible clothes, and we all know about the Emperor's new clothes.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    "fast and fluid"

    So the usage case for metro on windows stays the same as for metro on WP7 - never mind if it is fugly and garish, never mind if it has any functionality or any decent apps as long as it is "fast and fluid"?

    Well, this is shaping even more as good news for KDE and for Android.

    1. Turtle_Fan

      Re: "fast and fluid"

      The only way there will EVER be any good news for KDE and its ilk is when they start supporting AD and gaming as well as a myriad other gadgets that have drivers for windows only.

      Till then they will remain a fringe faction loved for its eccentricities by the few people that use it.

      1. Pisnaz

        Re: "fast and fluid"

        Of course with KDE being ported to windows as a shell replacement it can bring the KDE look to windows and replace the evil metro. Once that is the norm at work and people try to replicate it at home it can have cross bleed bonuses for Linux in general as they see the shiny they know and then see it can be gotten for next to nothing to replace the mess of metro and such on a new laptop or desktop.

        1. Turtle_Fan

          Re: "fast and fluid"

          So basically what you're saying is that the good news for KDE is that it runs under windows? No doubt about it. KDE rocks. However, I can't see any cross bleed benefits for GNU-Linux OS's until some fundamental things get supported on the platform. No gaming, no AD, no iTunes (before you shoot me, I don't use it but almost everyone in the office does) and no drivers for many popular peripherals then it won't gain traction. If I were Shuttleworth, instead of fornicating all over the shell and UI, I'd just focus on wine as being the best and most viable shortcut to at least run what the masses are used to running. Finally apologies but the mobile version I use now does not somehow use carriage return.

  12. Beelzebub's Granny

    Use of screen space

    I don't understand why Microsoft keep doing this. Look at the last image in the review, of the Xbox live games screen. The sign in text has "achievemen..." rather than "achievements". There's enough space there to put the full sentence.

    And on the same screen, off to the right is 20+pixels used up by showing you what's on a different 'page' or screen. WHY? They do this on the Windows Phone as well. Why buy a phone with that screen size if you only use 90% of it, and leave 10% for something else that you aren't looking at?

    Sorry, pet peeve with Microsoft at the moment.

    Oh, Windows 8 Metro - dire.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Use of screen space

      It's because Microsoft employees don't have books at home.

      I suppose John Waters' maxim can hardly be relevant here though, as they don't breed the same way as human beings.

      1. Forestman

        Re: Use of screen space

        I'm pretty sure no one at MS knows who John Waters is, (but I bet Bill does), and few there get much sex, anyways. They're all geeks, remember?

        Hey Register. You need a Flamingo icon. Penguins just don't fly.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Re: Use of screen space

        I thought IE looked a bit odd. I think it's cause the Navigation and address bar is huge. The sort of thing you would see on a mobile with a tiny screen... doesn't make much sense on a big monitor.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Use of screen space

      why, because it brings forward the ability to swipe sideways, its not always apparent what is side ways swipable, but with the extended title bars it makes it so stupidly simple to understand id have thought even the most stupid people could pick it up with little to no understanding of what its for

      look, ive not used this version of windows yet, it should be downloaded by the time i get back tonight so i cant comment too much about all this. But what i can tell you is this, when i moved to WP7 i found it very odd to start with, and after using it for a few weeks everything feels so natural, when i use other phones now it all seems backwards and less efficient, what im saying is, people need to give it a chance, use this preview for a few weeks, work with it, learn it and understand it and if you dont like it still, then bin it, but if its anything like my experience with WP7, once i pick it up, ill still be using it by the time RTM is out

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Use of screen space


        They've got these great things called full stops now. They help break paragraphs up into sentences. Word is it makes them read less like a saliva-drenched stream of consciousness.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Use of screen space @ Madra

          yeah, congratulations on becoming an pedantic arse, the human mind is able to understand some of the most extreme perversions of our language and yet you have a problem with full stops.

          Oops, you have my apologies, i had forgotten that this is after all a Microsoft story, kind of explains a lot.

          1. btone

            Re: Use of screen space @ Madra

            i had forgotten that this is after all a Microsoft story

            so had I, did u 2?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Use of screen space @ Madra

              That doesnt make any sense, that or my point flew over you.

              as for someone telling me to try it? lol

              Oh dear, folks, you are aware that its a beta and you did sign up to test it? thats why a lot of the feedback options cant be turned off, because your supposed to test it and you know, give them feedback, which is usually done by actually using it over a period of time. Their not handing out free joy rides on a new OS, this is all for a purpose.

              and finally, your wonderful 10K gaming rig? good for you, you want a medal? i could make you a wee certificate if youd rather. But i dont understand what that has to do with this in the slightest.

      2. btone

        Re: Use of screen space

        'what im saying is, people need to give it a chance, use this preview for a few weeks, work with it, learn it and understand it'

        why? cos Ballmer or you tell me to? kindly p.o. and play with your pissapps and leave me to my 10K gaming rig...

        1. davidm123

          Re: Use of screen space

          "use this preview for a few weeks" ??? A few days, maybe. Maybe even 5 days, but a few weeks ?

          Why ??? If Ballmer was too arrogant to understand that I would still hate it after a few days, then I certainly am not going to give that jerk much more of my time.

          With Bill Gates he probably worked well. Gates provided the common sense, and Ballmer was the arrogant jerk that demanded the best. The unbearable boss that got results.

          But without Gates, Ballmer is free to reveal what a total buffoon he is. There's nobody around to show him the right direction.

          Look at this... last year the smart people that could bail out, they did:

          January 2011, that was probably around the time that this mess started to come into focus, for people working there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Use of screen space

            David, i agree with everything your saying, and dispite the bombing of downvotes im getting ive not actually ever said that Win 8 is any good.

            But i am going to try it, and im going to put it through its paces, an do my best with it because this is a large scale beta test that i signed up for.

            I wouldnt have bothered going to the hassle doing all this, twice, if i was just looking for things to slag off.

            It may well turn out to be poor, and i have already mentioned a few things that concern me, but im still going to keep trying it and provide as much feedback as i can. If we all did this from within Win 8 then perhaps MS "might" listen, rather than people just going off on one on various forums.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Use of screen space

      I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem. The few WP7 phones I have played with I really like except for the weird running off of the page "feature" you mention. It really annoys me, I can't figure it out either.

      My plan is to avoid Windows 8, I figure I will like Metro (aside from the half cut off next page thing) but I'd rather it allow for a complete Windows 7 desktop and Metro. Combining them will mostly likely annoy me to death. I really like Windows 7 UI, while I know it can be improved from what I have heard Metro seems to causing issues. My only thought is this is like the UAC in Vista where they are trying to force people on to Metro, but it seems a bit of a blunder to me.

      Why do all the companies (Canical, Gnome, MS, Apple) seem to think we want touch screen UI's everywhere? I think KDE have gotten it right with a different desktop depending on the environment it is running on.

  13. magnetik

    Re: Use of screen space

    Agreed, it just looks dumb and continues Microsoft's tradition of trying, but failing miserably, with interface aesthetics.

  14. David Simpson 1

    It's utter balls, and not the doggy kind....

    With rumours abound that when Google launch Jellybean they will kill Chrome OS and roll it into Android as "desktop mode". Microsoft are digging their own grave with Windows 8.

    I've been playing with it for 2 days now, and I usually love new tech that changes the game but on a desktop with dual monitors this stinks, over complicated beyond belief, for instance how do you find the control panel while on the desktop > with great difficulty, even shutting down is a massive chore.

    8 is the new Vista, long live 7 until Android or Ubuntu gives us something better.

    1. Arrrggghh-otron

      Re: It's utter balls, and not the doggy kind....

      I was going to suggest just typing 'Control' to find control panel but that only works from the Metro part of the UI. You can bring up the right hand menu and then click search but that just throws you back to the metro search.

      It feels really disjointed...

      1. Wibble

        Re: It's utter balls, and not the doggy kind....

        <winkey>R still works.

        It's horrible on a non-tablet device. I'm really disappointed with Apple^H^H^H Microsoft for their belligerent attempt to fit a square peg in a round hole. Everything is not a tablet and tablets aren't the answer to all problems.

    2. Sailfish

      Re: It's utter balls, and not the doggy kind....

      It's available (along with other revered Start menu items) but with typical Microsoft UI/UX intuitive ingenuity and flair, you need to enable the Desktop toolbar on the taskbar.

      This WTF! feature brought to you by the capricious gods atop Redmondus.

  15. Scott Broukell

    Can I be the first to say ....

    Windows ate my computer :-(

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Wonderful tablet..

    Shame about the desktop...

    Its simple and I think the author worded it quite well; would I be interested in tablets and such then I'd be cheering because within that context I can honestly see Windows having the advantage, especially in an environment where there are already several Windows machines.

    But on the desktop... that's a whole different beast. I get the feeling that MS bets on tablets and touchscreens overtaking the desktop, but quite frankly I don't see that happening anytime soon. Think about it; resting your arms on your chair, typing on the keyboard and all you need to do is move your hand a little to get to your mouse (or trackball in my case). vs. having to move your hand towards your screen and touch, click and swipe stuff. How long are you going to last doing that the whole day? Another issue; isn't that screen of yours getting dirty and more difficult to read this way ?

    But most of all; the main reason why I don't get it is that MS should already have known that full screen is not the right way for the office. Did you know that Internet Explorer has a 'Kiosk' mode for quite some time now? Simply use the '-k' commandline parameter while starting and you see what I mean; fullscreen explorer (easiest way to try is opening up cmd.exe and going to \program files\internet explorer\. From there start "iexplorer.exe -k").

    Its fun to play with, but unusable because you miss out on so much important information (the clock for one thing). This is supported from IE7 iirc (only tried it on 8 & 9 myself).

    So why would a whole suite of fullscreen apps be any different ?

    1. Miek

      Re: Wonderful tablet..

      "Did you know that Internet Explorer has a 'Kiosk' mode for quite some time now? Simply use the '-k' commandline parameter while starting and you see what I mean; fullscreen explorer (easiest way to try is opening up cmd.exe and going to \program files\internet explorer\. From there start "iexplorer.exe -k")."

      Uh, no. The easiest way is to press F11 (works with FF and Chrome too).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wonderful tablet..

        Simply type 'del /F /Q iexplore.exe'

      2. Anonymous Coward


        Actually you cannot compare the two. Because F11 gives you a choice, after you went full screen you can always go back to windowed mode. 'Kiosk mode' otoh doesn't give you this freedom. SO basically it behaves quite a bit like Metro in that respect; you start fullscreen you stay fullscreen and you end fullscreen.

        Gee, I wonder why it never became a success....

        1. Gerry Doyle 1

          'Kiosk mode ... doesn't give you this freedom.'

          The clue is in the name.

    2. Gerry Doyle 1

      Did you not know...

      That Internet Explorer has always had a 'kiosk' mode and that the easiest way to try it is to press F11?

  17. Youvegottobe Joking

    So yeah, a tablet OS called windows, that does not have any windows

    They may have to reconsider calling this windows 8. A tablet OS through and through should not be called the same name (but a lower version) as something that is definitely NOT a tablet OS.

    Even if you do manage to default to the desktop. There is no start button (windows key brings up the crap UI) so do you have to put a shortcut for everything on your desktop? No, you must use that crap primary colours "3 year old child designed this" UI.

    So lets say you splash out and get a tablet to put this tablet OS on. Typing speed will be an order of magnitude slower, not good for business. Goodbye all the most popular games (thinking skyrim rather than angry birds here) so goodbye teenagers.

    So who is this aimed at again? Cant see the itards dropping their precioussssss for this turd

    1. Arrrggghh-otron

      Re: So yeah, a tablet OS called windows, that does not have any windows

      Perhaps Windows 8 'with' Metro 1 would be better - where metro is launched as an application much as how you launch Media Centre now...

    2. Tim Hale 1
      Thumb Down

      Re: So yeah, a tablet OS called windows, that does not have any windows

      I was with you up until 'itards'.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: So yeah, a tablet OS called windows, that does not have any windows

      iTards... I like the term!

  18. The Axe

    Everyother one

    So Vista was crap, Win7 is OK. Win8 will be crap. Will wait till Win9 is out before switching away from my current Windows 7 setup.

    As a desktop user there is no way I going to mess up my screen with dirty fingerprints that means cleaning the screen every half hour.

    And as a touch typist why am I going to move my hands from the keyboard to the screen when I already hate having to move it to the mouse. There is a reason why a desktop computer is called a desktop and not a slate/tab/pad whatever. Because it's on a desk and attached to a keyboard.

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: Everyother one

      Maybe it's like odd-numbered Star Trek movies.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Everyother one

        More likely MS are trying to imitate Linux releases, but have failed to pick up on the fact that the odd numbers are just betas.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everyother one

      or more likely your wearing rose tinted glasses and see paterns where there are none.

      the common tick tock goes like this down the 9x tree morphing to NT in later editions

      Bad - Good

      Vista - Win 7

      ME - XP

      95 - 98

      So everyone assumes Win 8 will be bad and Win 9 will be perfect

      Ok, so lets blow this myth apart

      98 was a steaming pile of turd until 98SE, it was a glorified 95 with more or less propper USB support

      ME was crap as we can all agree, but XP was little better until the second SP everyone seems to forget this little gem but until XP SP2 there was compatibility issues, security issues, driver issues, the list went on, no one remember the worm that automatically shut your system down that went global in a few days because XP wasnt infact perfect!

      Vista was a bit dog eared to start with but by the time SP2 came out its actually very good, comparible to Win 7 with less features, the issue for vista was that SP2 came out too close too Win 7 so its largely been ignored. I think 7 is probably the only Windows version i have used that has come out more or less perfect out of the box, probably because it used Vista as its base platform!

      So please people, lets stop this tick tock nonsense, it will be what it is, and if you must use the apparent history of windows then also use the fact that by the time it hits SP2 it will be fine (excluding ME that is!)

      1. FIA Silver badge

        Re: Everyother one

        "I think 7 is probably the only Windows version i have used that has come out more or less perfect out of the box"

        Windows 2000.

        it's pretty much downhill from there until 7 appeared.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Everyother one


          id left that one out because it was more along the NT tree and by an large, SBU or larger user base, but yeah, at the time id agree that was also decent working OS, not sure id say the same for home users but definitely in the work place.

      2. kevin biswas

        Re: Everyother one

        Nah, that doesnt quite work as ME was *not* NT based. ME was a kind of Win 98 third edition, the last dying gasp of the DOS based Old Technology. XP was an enhancement (if you will) from win 2000 and the older NT-based systems.

        As I see it, In the Old Technology lineup

        3.11: Fair for its time. I suppose.

        95: Remarkably good considering how revolutionaty and bleeding edge it was.

        98 1st edition: Bloody Awful. Second worst windows ever.

        98: 2nd edition: Fair, tending towards pretty good but not *quite* getting there.

        ME: Fair, tending towards poor.

        No DOS based OS was ever that good (Including DOS itself) so i can't quite call even 98SE good. And yup, I never actually *hated* ME like I hated 981E and Vista SP0.

        So in the New Technology Lineup

        NT3: Never even seen it.

        NT4: Never actually used it in earnest.

        Win 2K Very Good (I dont recall the granular differences between the SP versions).

        XP SP0 Good

        XP SP1 Good

        XP SP2 Good

        XP SP3 Very Good

        Vista SP0 Appaling beyong measure.

        Vista SP1 Poor

        Vista SP2 Fair (barely)

        Windows 7 SP1 Excellent

        Windows 7 SP2 Excellent

        Windows 8 Consumer Preview (on a tablet) Good

        Windows 8 Consumer Preview (on a desktop) LOL, wut ?

      3. Tim Hale 1

        Re: Everyother one

        You forgot about 2000. ME<>2000.

    3. nexsphil

      Re: Everyother one

      Win7 IS Vista. It's classic human bilge at work when everyone unifies under the voice "it's shit!" then again unifies under "this is great" when the fucking things are virtually identical. Solomon Asch would be laughing his ass off.

    4. Gerry Doyle 1

      Odd numbered releases were always the ones

      Compare DOS 3 and 5 to 4 and 6 - twas ever so.

  19. nematoad

    A bold leap?

    Look, either the devs. at Microsoft, Gnome and Canonical know something we don't, and on that I have my doubts. Or, they are all jumping onto a bandwagon that they know is there but have no real idea where it's heading.

    The form factor of the day is currently the tablet, whether it will take over from the desktop/laptop is uncertain. One thing I am sure of is that if MS, Gnome and Canonical get this wrong they are in dire trouble and have just handed Apple a real advantage.

    Me, I'll just stick with XFCE and wait till all the dust settles.

    1. FIA Silver badge

      Re: A bold leap?

      "The form factor of the day is currently the tablet, whether it will take over from the desktop/laptop is uncertain."

      It won't.

      It'll augment it, and in some areas supplant it, but for the kind of general purpose computing most people use desktops for there's not really a viable replacement.

      And nor should there be. Desktop computers have their place, just because technology has allowed the same power and flexibility in smaller form factor devices doesn't negate that.

      It does amaze me that MS seem obsessed with creating a (apparently quite nice) tablet OS at the expense of the market they currently dominate.

      I mean desktop as an app?? It's a paradigm ffs, a paradigm onto which your applications should be laid.

  20. MJI Silver badge

    As a developer

    That looks painfull.

    Can't see it being of any use when you are coding.

    Metro - if you need new applications to use it, why get it if you can get the applications for IOS or Android?

    Systems for order entry and production management - again need a keyboard, we had enough issues getting our users away from DOS applications.

    Sign in to Xbox Live - on a PC - that is a gaming network for consoles, don't want or need, I can always install Steam for gaming if a home PC. And if required for web sites - log in like you do with other logins. Or will you have to join to get your updates?

    I can see Win8 getting ignored completely by the corporate world.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Herby

    When will Intel announce

    the bigger faster more core CPU necessary to make this all work?

    Hopefully before the launch if all goes well.

    Welcome to feature bloat!

    1. dogged

      Re: When will Intel announce

      it runs really well on minimal Win7 hardware but hey, good FUD.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: it runs really well on minimal Win7 hardware

        It ran like a snail here. Metro apps took minutes to load, when they worked at all. The timer on solitare couldn't even run properly. Desktop window manager was using 20%-40% of the CPU instead of <5% with Win7. It took 30s to create a new folder in explorer istead of 2s. And this is a machine that's less than 3 years old and runs great on Win7. The only thing remotely fast about it was the boot time and that wasn't much different than Win7 either. And all this while running on bare hardware; no VM to create issues.

        Utter crap; the WORST Windows release I have ever seen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When will Intel announce

      running it on a 6 year old DELL Optiplex 745, core 2 duo 2.13Ghz 2Gb Ram runs really well, took less than 15 mins to install

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: When will Intel announce

      Having just ghosted my installation, I see that it is actually 25% smaller than my ghost of a clean Win7 installation and less than half the size of my clean Vista installation. (OK, the latter is probably an oxymoron.) I haven't done performance tests, but it feels comparable to Win7 (which means snappier than Vista).

      Aside from the annoying absence of a Start button (which causes me to click on the Internet Explorer icon instead, several times per minute, before realising that I now have to click in a right-hand corner, start "searching" and use the search suggestions as a programs menu instead), it isn't very different.

      I wouldn't want to have paid any money for it though. That missing Start menu is quite catastrophic for anyone whose computer use is now part of "muscle memory".

      1. kevin biswas

        Re: When will Intel announce

        Meh. Someone will come up with a 10 meg bit of freeware which sorts it out if MS insist on not giving a 'classic' UI option.

  23. Allicorn

    Version numbers are getting a tad high. I propose we call this one "Vista 2" (and hopefully call the next one "XP 3")

  24. Tim Jenkins

    "even a full reset might not lose much data"

    Um; not exactly feeling a warm glow of security here. Last time I checked, 'might not' and 'lose much' aren't really great phrases to hear in the context of data integrity. Trying to blur the distinction between Metro and 'real' applications on the one hand (to sell more tablets), while relying on users to know if 'their stuff' is local or cloudy, would seem to be a little risky. I can just hear my father-in-law telling me he's 'refreshed' his PC, and it's working much better, but he can't seem to find his Office files...

    1. kevin biswas

      Re: "even a full reset might not lose much data"

      Yeah. System Restore and System Recovery and that thing with the Recovery Partition all sound much the same, dont they.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Current Touch Screen Computers

    I have a scattering of clients who have bought current touch screens running Windows 7. And there is a noticeable common point with them all - they don't bother touching the screens after just a few weeks ownership. It is too awkward for what they are doing.

    When you layout the desk, you put the monitor a sensible distance away from you so you can clearly read the text on it without having your nose on the monitor. There needs to be space to put the keyboard on the desk. This then makes it an uncomfortable stretch to keep poking the screen all the time. Shoulder and back muscle problems then occur.

    Of course, all these screens are nice and shiny - ideal for all the fingerprints and streaks.

    I have one client with eczema who can't touch her screen due to the chemicals she has to use on her hands. (You should see how quickly she can dissolve the letters from a keyboard!!)

    And most of the people who I look after spend more time typing than anything else at the computer. Word, Email, Facebook. Touch screens are only going to make sense if you have rock solid voice recognition built in to replace that keyboard. Which will never happen in a shared office...

    I can see the point of touch on a home PC which is being used for organising photos and surfing the web. But a business machine - where someone is supposed to be working and creating? Someone at Microsoft seems to have forgotten who its core market is.

    1. mrweekender

      Re: Current Touch Screen Computers

      Yep they're chasing shadows.

      I keep seeing references to Apple in this comment list about how they're doing the same thing but if you actually look at what's being moved over into Mountain Lion it's all stuff that can be used and is, more importantly relevant. For example: Tasks, iMessage, Notification Centre, Twitter, Airplay (massive that one), integrated sharing - and that's just the preview. Honestly what can you say about Metro that makes you think wow I can really use that, it's really going to save me loads of time? Fuck all.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finding Something...Anything

    #David Simpson 1 "for instance how do you find the control panel while on the desktop" - hmmm maybe tap the Windows Key and start to type "Control" (it get's it after C & o - so three key presses). Unsurprisingly this works for absolutely anything and everything.

    I'm obviously not as smart as the majority of posters - it seems to be lightening quick, runs every application I have tried, has a lot of new but plenty of comforting old.....this is on a standard laptop, mouse and keyboard.

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Finding Something...Anything

      Thanks for the review of Ubuntu 12.04, you have convinced me to use it :P

  27. Gerry Doyle 1

    Desktop is 'now an app'?

    Wasn't it always?

    1. Michael 36
      Thumb Up

      Re: Desktop is 'now an app'?


      That is all.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Tiles™

    They should keep Microsoft Windows™ for traditional desktop computers, and rebrand the Metro UI as Microsoft Tiles™ for touch screen tablets and phones.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Microsoft Tiles™

      Doors? You get to things behind doors... It might make more sense.

  29. Phoenix50
    IT Angle

    Microsoft's Response

    Having used it in both Developer and now Consumer Preview versions more recently, the over-riding opnion seems to be that the "Metro" part has been done very well (unless you simply don't like Metro at all) and that the Desktop is, well, a slightly better Win7 Desktop - but that the two don't seem to fit nicely next to each other.

    The question I therefore have to everyone, is how would you have done it differently? Would you have created a new Windows sub-set of the Desktop - pure Metro (or whatever) and marketed it as a different product entirely? Or done it some other way?

    Because if you look at the industry Microsoft are competing within, and take into account the direction Apple and Google are going with their O/S's; I can't possily see how they could have done this *any other way* - they HAD to respond to Apple and Google - they MUST respond to them, with a product created to cater to all "formats" - be they Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Mobile.

    Change or die?

    1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox

      Re: Microsoft's Response

      Simple, really - allow a setting for default mode, Metro or Desktop. Maybe even try to default the mode based on hardware detection, but for crying out loud, allow the user to change the setting to suit their device and usage!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft's Response

      I would have had it be two separate shells, either you boot in to the desktop or your boot in Metro. Unlike Windows Media Centre which was an application on top of the desktop I would have both be a complete GUI layer. I would also place an option so the user can choose the interface they want. The default would have been Metro to help push Metro.

      I would have had both GUI's use common code base but not depend on each other, I haven't used Windows 8 yet but trying to merge a desktop and touch interface sounds stupid. I will try to get this consumer preview to see if I should bother getting Windows 8

      I have been using KDE recently (to learn more about Linux) and KDE has a Touch, Netbook and Desktop interface, each one is designed slightly differently and so it works well on all of them. Since you are using the same tools just on a different layout it's easyish to find your way around on all of them as well.

    3. davidm123

      Re: Microsoft's Response

      I wouldn't know what the answer to your question is. What a company should do, when it has fallen behind its competitors. As Microsoft has done on the mobile platforms, against Apple and Google (Android).

      But remember the new formula for Coca-Cola ? The Coca-Cola Corporation was afraid, because Pepsi was gaining market share, more and more. So, in fear, they made a serious change.

      The point being, when fear is what drives a company, they often make mistakes.

      In fact, I guess that I can answer your question. They should have two systems. Separate. In the mobile market, they should do their best, even if they are behind in the game. And they shouldn't risk anything on the desktop platform. This trick that they are trying use, of using their desktop dominance to catch up with their competitors on the mobile platforms, it will cost them more than it gains them.

  30. riparian zone

    missed tricks and unity copycats?

    Seems to me that the whole thing echoes of the groans that many have/had with the Umbongo unity interface - I won't use it myself, but its great for many end users.

    Why is there no touch screen device connected to the machine to facilitate a metro interface for media and stuff, then we have working desktops for people who make documents and other stuff..touch screens can only be good hung on a wall or small programmable hand-helds that aren't phones too...the transition from office to mainstream consumer is not quite on track here.

  31. Tim Parker

    New desktop things

    "There are a few things, including a new copy dialog with rich graphical progress reporting"

    Nice to see Microsoft continuing to work hard in such an important area, that they have traditionally done so well in...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: New desktop things

      Caught my eye as well. What is it with Windows and this obsession of copying files around? Or is it just something that laymen love doing because... erm, it's one of the few things they can do?

      1. Tim Parker

        Re: New desktop things lieu of a decent maths library, we used to use the time remaining estimates as a random number generator....

  32. johnwerneken

    three things

    1. there is a reg hack to kill metro, you don't see it unless you ask to. ever.

    2. wtf is swipe, i can not do gestures in rl or in a computer, they don't mean a thing to me even if the gesture in question has just broken my nose.

    3. quick boot? damn thing takes ten minutes here, win7 less than 2

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: two things

      There may have been a reg hack once, but the "RPEnabled" registry value that I found people talking about on the web doesn't work for me. Perhaps it was just for the Developer Preview and it is now gone.

      My machine boots Win8 no less quickly than Win7.

    2. Tom 35

      Re: three things

      2. wtf is swipe

      Swiper, no swiping!

  33. Kubla Cant

    Desktops? Why bother?

    I'm guessing that Microsoft has downgraded the desktop market in general, and the corporate desktop in particular.

    Home desktop users only upgrade their operating system when they buy a new computer. Sales in this area are all cheap OEM licenses and volume is limited to sales of new machines. As the race between software bloat and hardware capability seems to have been won by hardware, the number of sales in this area isn't going to expand. One possible exception is the "laptop for the kids" market, but this may well take a big hit from tablet sales.

    The corporate market is probably even more saturated. Most companies have all the PCs they need, and have limited interest in hardware upgrades for the desktop. A vast proportion of them are running XP. Nobody wants to upgrade Windows because it's a lot of cost and risk for very little benefit.

    The tablet market is a different matter altogether. The hardware is varied, the race between software and resources is back on, and there are several operating systems to choose from. In some ways it's like the PC market 20 years ago. The operating systems are a bit immature, and tablets are more vulnerable to damage than desktop machines. All of which means that the next decade will see lots of replacement sales. In the consumer market, a laptop has usually been an alternative to a desktop, but a tablet is sufficiently different for people to want both (or sufficiently limited for them to need both).

    That's where the money is.

    1. davidm123

      Re: Desktops? Why bother?

      People learn the interface during their workday, and they come home to play on the same system that they know. If Microsoft decides to "downgraded the desktop market in general, and the corporate desktop in particular", people will start to know new systems, like Linux or Apple, during their workday.

      The success of Windows in corporations, it's the root of their success at home.

  34. Techs UK
    Thumb Up

    Just the kick everyone needs

    This is great - I do like metro, it is nice and responsive, and natural.

    The screen space used well on my 2009 laptop.

    No touchscreen, and yes i did have to pause to think and read the screen when i wasn't sure. just move the cursor to a corner if you're not sure, or tap near an edge - you'll get used to it.

    People are so used to Windows, it'll be good to wake us up! I know the windows explorer application (aka 'the desktop') is safe - i'm sure people will be ok. in my large company, once users are in their application/s they're happy anyway.

    I like the cloud integration/skydrive/hubs my data is starting to come together, easier to find and move between machines.

    Thumbs up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just the kick everyone needs

      perfectly valid points and opinions which i agree with, but prepare to be downvoted.

      I think El Reg should just stop doing MS stories because people seemt to lose all raional thought on this site when someone mentions them. Its kind of embarrassing and males me wonder about the quality of the people here

      1. aThingOrTwo

        Re: Just the kick everyone needs

        The comments far too often fall into the negative, cynical or "things were better in my day" camp. Unfortunately those views are consistent with the tone of some the opinion pieces on the site.

        As such I feel a lot of the comments miss the wood for the trees. There are a lot of exciting, interesting changes happening right now and Microsoft are making some very important and significant contributions.

        You are not alone in being embarrassed by the quality of some of the comments. It's exactly the same with Apple stories as well. Rationality and considered debate goes out the window.

  35. Shell

    Missed a trick

    WIndows 8 really misses the point of 'touch'. It's supposed to be natural, intuitive. I shouldn't need to 'figure out' how to move between windows, how to get around running apps. After playing for a few hours last night I still dont really understand what happens when you drag windows to the top of the screen, or how the new split screen works. When Apple introduced swiping between full-screen apps and the new 'mission control' into OSX it felt 'natural'. I didn't have to think about it because it was similar to 'real life'. I'm disappointed. There's a lot of nice stuff in the tiled Metro UI, I like the way it looks, but in actual use it is so badly broken it feels poorly thought out, very much incomplete.

    What I'd love to see is the full-screen / gesture based functionality of OSX Lion + Metro's tiles.

  36. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Desktops? Why bother?

    The desktop (and particularly the corporate one) is where Microsoft have an entrenched position, owing to the near-impossiblity of emulating Windows. They *may* be taking the view that their monopoly there is impregnable and so it is OK to produce a version of Windows that totally sucks because everyone will still have to buy it anyway. They *may* therefore be pouring development effort into trying to produce a device OS that can challenge the incumbents there.


    But even if they are, it is still surely an odd point of view to say that your product for the device market *must be* the same as your product for the desktop market. It would be like a truck manufacturer deciding to enter the family car market and consequently abandoning its existing line of juggernauts in favour of a new line of Really Big Estate Cars.

    (Sorry, I couldn't resist putting in an utterly crap car analogy there. I feel it has to be done every so often. If someone can stick in a Hitler reference, I think we're done.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Desktops? Why bother?

      You make some good points.

      "They *may* be taking the view that their monopoly there is impregnable and so it is OK to produce a version of Windows that totally sucks because everyone will still have to buy it anyway."

      Windows ME and Windows Vista, though there was some backlash around those, they were mostly ignored (98 -> XP / NT -> 2000) , and indeed MS own history was rewritten such that they don't exist!

      "It would be like a truck manufacturer deciding to enter the family car market and consequently abandoning its existing line of juggernauts in favour of a new line of Really Big Estate Cars."

      If that is where the money is, stranger things have happened.

      Nissan abandoned the Really Big saloon/hatch/estate market to build juggernauts like the Qashqow and the Morono, sister company Renault have recently done the same.

  37. Nick Ryan Silver badge


    Unintuitive - that pretty much sums it up so far.

    Aside from it being ugly as sin - yes, I know that some do love it, but design wise I find that it's just foul and akin to a kids v-tech interface. Ugly colour scheme, meaningless icons and an overriding mindset of jumbled and cluttered all the while with lots of empty space. Good use of space is critical to good design, but somehow they've even managed to get this bit wrong.

    As for usability, that fails spectacularly. "Mystery meat" navigation is pathetic - a user shouldn't "know" (somehow or other) that do perform a certain function they should move a mouse to an arbitrary corner of an interface (a real bitch when running in a windowed VM and likewise remote desktop) or having to poke a finger on a blank but specific point on a screen is just as retarded.

    The only way I've found so far to close most of the friggin' applications that I've opened so far has been to use Alt-F4 otherwise the damn things just linger there until you kill the system, which is far easier said than done as previously posters have already noted. Didn't spot this as I just suspended the VM.

    At least Internet Explorer 10 makes a better stab at supporting HTML5 than IE 10 however two different versions with two different ways of operating them on one computer is just adding mindless confusion to the already messy experience.

    Currently I'm far from taken with the entire experience but will continue pressing on as it's easy to dislike change for the sake of it and there's likely to be some good points in there somewhere.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unintuitive

      A couple times I noticed if you grabbed part of the metro UI and moved it around you could do weird things with it. Like have two programs side by side (though the small one didn't seem to do anything). When I grabbed the top of the window and pulled down a ways and let go, the app disappeared. That seems to be their new way of closing metro apps.

      No, it's not intuitive; but I think they expect people to try weird crap and share stories with friends. Not the best way to learn something, but it's common in the real world.

  38. Furbian

    My 2 pence... Microsoft

    X box 360 - Good (because of Halo, Live and Kinect), NXE used to look nice now it's flat and not so nice.

    Windows Phones, seen at shops and demo stands, but no one I know has one, or wants one, iOS and Android wanna be, no good.

    Metro, maybe good on tablets, but a multiple iPad household like mine ain't switching any time soon, or ever.

    Metro on Desktop, I've installed it, and it's shockingly bad, killing of start menu and replacement with giant tiles (they look huge on my 28" monitor), awful. My 'road map', Windows 7 and then what comes after Windows 8, if it's any good. If 'forced' off Windows 7, it's Linux (but not Ubuntu with that awful Unity thing) or Mac time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My 2 pence... Microsoft

      "it's Linux (but not Ubuntu with that awful Unity thing) or Mac time."

      Funnily enough, I recently installed Ubuntu on a spare HD partition for a laugh.

      Absolutely horrendous.

      It does not show a Grub bootloader by default, the splash screen just flickers the monitor on and off (in fact you think the computer has died until it gets to the desktop), the desktop itself has removed all usable menus for a handful of big tiles, the "off" link is in a fairly obscure place in the top right menu, and when I selected the "more apps" tile (on a fresh install mind!) it suggested I might like the Pr0nview app. Thats Ubuntu out the window for installs on family-friendly PCs.

      Installed the 8 CP, reminded me of an Xbox skin for Microsoft Bob, a fisher price interface hiding the real desktop.

      OSs are getting worse.

      As for Mac, OSX is going to have an iOS interface and app store by default soon enough....

  39. Arrrggghh-otron

    Do any of the apps work?

    Are the apps listed in Metro supposed to do anything or are they just place holders? So far the only metro app that actually does anything is IE. The rest load up a coloured screen with an icon (and don't do much else) or demand I sign into Microsoft.

    This feels like a 'you must login with your facebook or google account type scenario.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do any of the apps work?

      The solitare app worked for me; aside from being impossibly slow. The music app looked like it worked, but since it only plays music in your library and the library can't contain folders from removable drives (i.e. SD cards), I didn't have any music to actually try it with.

      The others I clicked on either did nothing or just disappeared after a couple mins.

  40. Markus Wallett

    A Ford Focus in disguise

    Firefox works on Win8 running flash video, and all in a VirtualBox too. I get the impression that I'm just running a modified version of Windows 7 under Metro, which will only be suited to tablets.

  41. ph0b0s

    Need Start Menu back. Not much reason to upgrade

    Once some enterprising person / company brings out a Start Menu replacement for Windows 8, so you don't have to go near the charms, or the Metro start menu, things will be fine. Just not much of an upgrade over Win 7 unless you want the Metro interface, which most mouse and keyboard users won't.

    I know a lot are predicting problems with this release due to the dislike of the Metro interface, but that is a side issue. The main problem is for most users not interested in touch there is no killer features that will make them want to upgrade (as far as I am aware). This is what Microsoft should be most worried about. They are going to have the same problem getting people off Windows 7 as they did with getting them off XP.

    *Written from the Metro version of I.E....

    1. Ocular Sinister

      Re: Need Start Menu back. Not much reason to upgrade

      If it is anything like the things to 'fix' the ribbon bar back to a normal menu, it won't be free. So I can pay $$$$ for Windows $ for a thing to fix the ribbon bar, $ to fix the start menu, $ to fix whatever else is broken/weird/shit ...and then the whole thing will be wobbly as fuck 'cos of the all the low level hacks.

      Or I could just not bother.

      1. ph0b0s

        Re: Need Start Menu back. Not much reason to upgrade

        Yes, I fear most will not bother. There will be people saying that we are only complaining becuase we don't like change. For me they could not be more wrong. I love change, or more accurately progress. I have no problem with the Start Menu going, if it is being replaced with something better. The Metro Start screen and Charms area is not progress. If anything to get to various things it now takes more clickes than before. I am disapointed that even if you are going to spend all your time in 'desktop' mode, Microsoft still tries to force Metro down your throat.

        I have been looking around at articles that give 10 reasons you should upgrade. They have really had to scrape the barrel to give reasons why you should upgrade. I love upgrades. I was one of the few to buy Vista when it came out because I liked the Aero gui and things like the thumbnails previews, etc. For all the bugs it was progress. Windows 8 does not feel like progress....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Need Start Menu back. Not much reason to upgrade

      If you can get 16 bit apps to work on 8, does Calmira work?

      Provides a start menu to Windows 3.1.

      Or perhaps the NT 3.5.1 "Newshell" might be more bittable.

  42. Gil Grissum

    Microsoft had better be sensible about the price of Windows 8 Tablets because no one is going to rush out and buy one at an iPad price, or higher. They didn't sell many Tablets in the past because they were over priced. I'm not suggesting they make them cheap, just reasonably priced.

    1. Ocular Sinister

      Judging by past performance, the cost of Windows 8, at least initially, will be negative - and potentially substantially negative: "We will give you £200 per tablet you sell with Windows 8, plus 500K towards development costs".

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Computing for 2 year-olds

    While I am sure that metro may be fine on a tablet, on a desktop it just looks absolutely ridiculous. Couple that with the propensity for all apps running full-screen, and you have a staggeringly useless interface.

    I'm told that it works even more horribly with multiple monitors.

    The Professional version had better come with the Desktop as the default interface otherwise I may have finally found the Windows innovation that will drive me off the platform for ever. Apple are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

    1. aThingOrTwo

      Re: Computing for 2 year-olds

      You can look at it two ways:

      [1] It's a computer so simple a 2 year old can use it – boring.

      [2] It's a computer so simple a 2 year old can use it – that's great, it makes computing accessible to a far larger audience than was possible before.

      And Apple haven't been doing too badly with a tablet that children of 2 years old (or younger) can pick up and use.

  44. Robinson
    Thumb Down


    I've been playing with 8 today and even when you go to desktop there's still some metro shite mincing around in the background. There's no start menu for example and you have to move your mouse pointer to one of the screen corners to get anything interesting to pop-up (huh?!).

    As for Metro itself, I imagine having 30 seconds of fun re-organising my tiles and making them look pretty but honestly, this is not a desktop GUI experience so why the **** Microsoft are insisting on pushing it out as an all-in-one solution is something I have absolutely no idea about.

    It's a massive fail for desktop compared to 7 which I happen to think is fantastic in general. So in conclusion this is the new Vista. I'll be waiting for Windows 9, where like Clippy, Metro will be asked politely to bugger off.

  45. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Hard to swallow?

    If its running Windows, its a suppository, not a tablet.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Hard to swallow?

      New virtual keyboard here please!

  46. fishman

    Ribbon in IE

    Surprised no one has commented about the ribbon interface in IE. Most of the people I know don't care for the ribbon interface in Word, and prefer older versions because of it.

  47. Someone Else Silver badge

    I dunno...

    Even desktop users have to use the Metro Start menu, a curious design decision that may be explained by a desire to ensure that nobody can ignore Metro completely.

    I can think of one way to ignore Metro completely...don't install Windows 8.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I dunno...

      based on a good bash at the developers preview and my running of the consumer one on a duplicate dev rig I have here. I'm bailing on it unless some big changes happen in the run up to release.

      No loving from the corporate I work for either. The guy who buys the thousands of licenses said he's rather go through the pain to retrain staff to ubuntu and libre office if he has to, at least he wont have to pay for the licenses. That wont happen of course, but since we're only now talking about going from XP (and in some cases Windows 2000) to a customised / citrix Windows 7 we wont be seeing 8 on the corporate desktop as we didnt see vista.

  48. Jop


    Having tried it, it feels like they took windows 7 and just added big buttons to make it look and work on on tablets. Metro is mostly pointless for use on a desktop and just adds an extra step to get started for most users.

    Yeah it has a few other bells and whistles which will be useful, but why break the interface in the process, simply to appeal to tablet and possibly phone users.

  49. Howard Hanek

    Does Anyone Remember HAL?

    No, not the HAL from Arthur Clarke's 2001 series but the overlay developed in the 80's in the pre-Windows dark ages? Metro reminds of that and the concept will not fly nor resurrect itself like the Phoenix. Another layer upon a faulty foundation never works out.

  50. theastrodragon

    Its an even-numbered Microsoft OS, did you really expect something other than a steaming pile of poo?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well i can confirm one thing

    I work in a big corporate (not telling which one but I shout I'm in IT! whenever anyone asks do I work there).

    We're still on XP slowly migrating to a god-awful mutilated version of 7 (being delayed by the hundreds of nightmare-child ie6 only creations that befall an organisation like this).

    Having run the dev' and now consumer preview on a spare box (outside of work, we don't get that kind of access at work - even as devs) there is no way, absolutely no way in a hundred years this is getting near the corporate system. If, big if, theres a "professional" build that turns off the star trek wannabe metro mess and reinstates a start option then maybe in 10 years (no, not kidding) it may make an appearance if not I imagine Microsoft will be happy to keep extending the XP/7 support license rather than lose the tens of thousands of seats license companies like this negotiate.

    Even outside of work, having tried to do some basic development (web/php/python and mysql / sql server via remote desktop / VNC) I couldnt stomach the metro bar as an interface. That machine is now blatted and may be receiving microsofts new server offering for a test shortly.

    Microsoft really needs to decide if it wants to keep developers and workers or just wants the tablet crew. A reminder that the workers dont get the toys, that goes to the execs and they all have company bought ipads!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: well i can confirm one thing

      Preface: I'm not trying to defend Microsoft here, really.

      However, where I work, I often have to visit people that have been using the same XP machine for the last 5-7 years. (We are moving to Win7, one new machine at a time.) I'll click on their Start button to run a program and discover that ALL the programs in the list have been minimized and the only thing left is the down arrow I have to click to show the ull list. Evidentally, there are a huge number of people out there that haven't even figured out what the start menu is. They're still using Windows like it's 3.11 and only clicking on the icons on the desktop. None of these people are goin to be substantially affected by the new UI. They'll just click the desktop tile in the start menu first thing in the morning and continue along as usual the rest of the day.

      All of which is unfortunate, since apparently, MS would rather cater to them than the power users that inform many of the decisions in large organizations.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: well i can confirm one thing

        aww dont be an AC, thats possibly one of one a few rational well thought out comments in this whole thread!

      2. Pisnaz

        Re: well i can confirm one thing

        I have to agree with both points to a degree. I have seen the same also, you get outlook used maybe word and excel but that tends to be about it for the "average" office worker in some areas. Then you get into the extra fun stuff that will mean they run out of tiles or with old programs that just drop a mess into the tiles. Once you get past the first few tiles being filled it becomes a hunt and the users will balk. Just imagine the calls the first time their "desktop" being metro changes back to desktop mode to run a older application.

        While I agree for those who use a minimal spread of applications it probably will be no problem, as they tend to be the same who never power off a machine, or worry too much as long as they have what they need handy. It is those self same that will flood you with calls as soon as that changes. Then you now are flooded with calls from those people you barely hear from who are savvy use a load of applications and are mildly savvy in the current windows experience. It becomes an IT hell when you have to field calls galore about interface changes cause the company refuses to listen to you and give training, or the users just let the training go in one ear and out the other knowing IT is a call away.

        Granted when we see Windows 8 in the corporate environment it may of morphed so much as to not be recognized from today, but if it does roll out anything as it currently is it is going to be a nightmare.

  52. Iceman

    Don't touch my screen, dummy!

    There is a reason why I don't want your paws on my display: because I would rather not have to clean it.

  53. Mikel

    Windows in the cloud

    Ah, sigh. I have to wait for this to launch. The anticipation is killing me. I've been to Costco though, and got enough popcorn for all of us.

  54. Hector244
    Thumb Down

    Win8 as I can see the performance and explorer changes are great :) The fist questoin is how to turn the metro start screen off !! Tiles are just ugly, can't get used to them. It's a complication not simplification of the UI.

    I have Windows Phone 7.5. If it won't be a employer's property I wouldn't choose one for my self. The UI is just ugly. It's perfectly resopnsive but... ugly.

  55. benisbell

    Metro sucks for everyday things

    I agree that Metro is ok for touch, but for normal desktop work if sucks. I am trying the preview now and I received an important email and wanted to print it. There is nothing indicating that you are sending 1 email to a device and nothing says Print. But when I went into the device charm, printing from the email app was not an option. The same is true for the various news apps and the cookbook app. Also, when using the desktop like on Windows 7, I can see the time and date at a glance but on Metro I have to swipe or click to bring up the Charm bar with is a bit distracting just to see the time and date. Android's Honeycomb even has this done right. Do they think people will be so immersed in the content that they will not care what time it is? I also do not like the assumption that people are so savvy now that they do not need visual cues (like the Start button). This is the same crap that makes the Blackberry Playbook so difficult (and we all see how well it is doing). Wake up Microsoft. Stop forcing Metro on everyone.

  56. ukdeluded

    Is this a showstopper?!

    While we've all been busy debating pretty or ugly and so on, I've spotted something which for me might be a showstopper for me …

    I set up two users on a Windows 8 machine. On user (A) I go to the app store, update the apps installed and buy some new ones, let's say one day Photoshop for £100 as a scenario. User (B) logs in and finds that none of the apps have updated, and on the same machine they have to re-buy and re-download Photoshop!

    Try it - you're no longer buying an app for your computer, you're buying an app for your specific user on that specific PC …

    Anyone else think this is a con?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this a showstopper?!

      I'm not sure. I think the current licensing model is a con when most people have multiple devices.

      I generally am the only power user for most of the apps on my machines, I would actually like to be able to buy an app once and have it available on my PC, laptop, netbook, tablet (if they produce an ARM version) and even my work machines (if work related or I was freelance).

      Currently that would require multiple licences even though it is only me who wants to use it.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metro UI

    Having played with Win8 CP over the weekend, it would appear that the Metro UI is gearing up for Kinect control to some degree; Fluid, single digit or two digit control (pinch to zoom), unlike iOS with its 4-finger swipes, lending itself quite nicely to being used by waving your arms about a la Minority Report. IIRC there were reports of laptops being developed with Kinect sensors in them too.

    That's not to say that people will be preparing their business reports on the train by waving around, but possibly useful for presentations where there is no mouse, slides are navigated by moving your hand, or for video walls. Or home televisions being used as a media centre.

    So MS seem to have prepared an OS that has the possibility of being navigated by mouse and keyboard, by touch and possibly by Kinect.

    Just my $0.02

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: Metro UI

      I can see the logic here, but imagine yourself with your Windows 8 kinect-enabled laptop sitting in Costa. Wouldn't you look like a tit swiping to navigate and whatever else you have to?

      Actually, you can imagine the girl sitting next to you watching and then you swipe your hand so far to the right, it knocks her skinny latte all over her. Charming.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metro! Metro! Metro! Windows! Windows! Windows!

    Uncle Ballmer forgot to take his medicine.

    Windows 8 will be such a flop, that I'll almost feel sorry for Microsoft.


    This will be such a colossal FUBAR that Windows Me, Windows Vista, Kin, Zune, BOB all pale in comparison. 2012 is the year when Microsoft officially jumps the shark.

    With one single product, Microsoft has:

    1) Alienated corporate enterprise customers.

    2) Alienated consumer desktop users.

    3) Destroyed the familiar Windows desktop UI by lusting after some iPad (and maybe Kindle) market share.

    If unifying the desktop and portable touch device UI were such a great thing, Apple would have done it long ago, merging iOS and OSX. There is a good reason why they were kept separate.

    1. Robinson

      Re: Metro! Metro! Metro! Windows! Windows! Windows!

      "If unifying the desktop and portable touch device UI were such a great thing, Apple would have done it long ago, merging iOS and OSX. There is a good reason why they were kept separate."

      This is an excellent point.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get rid of that Metro shit!

    Now, if Microsoft retained some of the familiarity of the Windows desktop UI: Start button etc. and implemented the Metro UI as a SKIN or THEME (like Aero in Win Vista or Win 7), then maybe the final Windows 8 product can be somewhat salvaged.

    But I doubt it'll happen. Microsoft/Ballmer/Belfiore thinks that Metro is the best thing to happen to Windows, and you could see those annoying Metro-ish tiles in the background screen during Microsoft's CES keynote.

  60. zen1

    I dunno

    Maybe I'm just old school, but the touch tablet concept is still a novelty, until the cloud service providers can prove that nobody is able to crawl my data. I mean there is absolutely no way in hell I would PAY to store files with all of my personal details "in the cloud". If I were a large corporate entity, who might indirectly compete with MS, Google or Apple, there's no way I'd let my employees bring any of that crap into the office and use it for real work.

    What about government departments? Mark my words, you'll get some minister/secretary or some elected idiot, who gets that "oooo shiney" look in his/her face, loads gigs of citizen data into the cloud, only to have it become available to the masses because of some xss spoof.

    Perfect the SSD so it doesn't self destruct and allow me the choice to control the destiny of my data, and then I'll be impressed. Until then, that crap won't be anything more than a novelty.

  61. Will 20

    So, I finally got my email working on the Windows 8 CP, and it looks like Fisher Price "My First Email"

    I don't get the whole thing. I'm doing this and that and the other with the trackpad, not really knowing what I'm doing, and sometime the laptop does what I want. I like to think that I'm not so much "using the laptop" as "taming it"

    Will I be installing it on a production PC? No. This is a tablet only OS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Will 20

      actually i agree, trackpads are really tricky with this, ive kinda got the hang of mouse an keyboard now and its no slower or faster than Win 7 but the trackpad is still dodgy, i dont think it was designed for such fluid user input,

      With regard to email, i think the intention isnt to replace your email client of choice, its designed in a similar way to your phone, to give you a snap shot of whats there, yeah you can read things but thats about it.

      Im still not saying its great, but i think i have the idea squared away, use desktop for everything, then flick back to metro for a snap shot of all your important stuff in one go then back to desktop to continue work. using it like this i find really efficient, or at least i would if i had a start button back!

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Cheers MS...

    It was a pleasure knowing you. Xubuntu is free and does what I want...

  63. parityerror

    Can't wait.

    Window 9 is going to be awesome!

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