back to article Metro breakdown! Windows 8 UI is little gain for lots of pain

The public preview of Windows 8 has won "rave reviews" according to the Daily Mail, the newspaper that claims to reflect Middle England and is proudly conservative in every sense of the word. The Mail, it'll have you know, is a feisty opponent of "change for the sake of it". So not only do I fear that somebody has spiked the …


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  1. AndrueC Silver badge

    The 'we know best' crowd have been in charge at Microsoft for several years now. It started - for me - with sub-pixel addressing. It has become gradually harder and harder to avoid it. I've posted to blogs, forums and even spoken to a couple of guys in Reading. I've explained that it makes me feel nauseous but nothing has ever changed. They just keep insisting that it's wonderful technology and completely failing to address my complaint.

    Fail, Microsoft.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: sub-pixel addressing

      Have you considered rehashing you complaint in terms of its impact on users with less than 20:20 vision? Then you could speak to a lawyer (Microsoft listens to them) about a possible case with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Re: sub-pixel addressing

        Very well, I'll meet your anecdata and raise with an "I don't see why a legal approach would work any better. I have myopia and strong astigmatism and am perfectly fine with Windows 7's fonts."

        People who are having issues with this may form such a tiny minority that Microsoft simply doesn't feel the need to worry about losing their custom. There's a limit to how far you can go to accommodate edge cases before the money you're spending becomes greater than the likely benefit.

        Besides, if even computer display resolutions increase to "retina"-style levels—which appears to be a distinct possibility over the next year or so—this becomes a moot point anyway.

        1. Allan George Dyer

          Have you checked the typical retina?

          "if even computer display resolutions increase to "retina"-style levels—which appears to be a distinct possibility over the next year or so"

          So, we're going to get computer displays which:

          i) Have almost all the colour and resolution concentrated in one area

          ii) The rest is washed-out and blocky, but good at fast motion and fine grayscales

          iii) There's a big hole, about the size of the full moon, off to the side of the detailed bit

          Don't worry, your brain will fill-in the details!

          Yep, I will need those goggles!

    2. Neil 7

      If you mean sub-pixel (font) rendering, aka ClearType, you do know you can turn it off, right?

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Not always you can't. IE9 forces sub-pixel rendering on as does Office 2007 unless you know about the undocumented registry setting 'RespectSystemFontSetting'. Dunno about Office 2010 but I think I read that that setting no longer worked.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have similarly complained to Apple about their UI looking like it was produced by Fisher-Price and is U G L Y! Nothing happened, FAIL, APPLE!

      1. ArmanX

        But the upsides are great...

        Like Fisher-Price, it's designed for diapered users with drool problems!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I like the WFT? area. A great feature.

    I've played with Win 8 for a couple of days in a VM and the Metro interface looks very nice but it's a half-arsed implementation. Lift up Win 8's skirt and it's a pair of old Win 7 knickers underneath. With holes in.

    If you want to see an interface that is both slick and fast just have a look at KDE on openSUSE.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: WTF?

      Yep agree with that entirely and as MS has just extended consumer W7 support to the same as commercial then there is absolutely no reason to upgrade (cough) to W8. W7 is the next XP.

      As for openSUSE chuck in compiz 0.8.8 ( c++ version is crap and buggy for kde and kwin is still not as slick) add glx-dock and you have a great desktop UI.

      1. Spearchucker Jones

        Re: WTF?

        WTF indeed. The whole of El Reg has morphed itself into Barry Shitpeas.

        It's opinion. The article, and the comments. That's awesome. Here's mine: I've been using it since the developer preview was released, and I love all of it.

        Shit changes. If you *must* use it, you'll make your life easier by accepting it. If you don't have to use it, use something else.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WTF?

          Agreed. Apple shoves it's terrible UI down people's throats all the time and people bless it as "innovation". But how dare Microsoft do that! There are always going to be some problems with a beta and I doubt all of the things pointed out in the article will go out with the official release, but from what I understood the main gripe is the UI. I haven't used Windows 8 yet, but since I'm not totally stupid I doubt it will take me more than a few minutes to get used to. And it should be a breeze for people that are even smarter than "not totally stupid"!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: WTF?

            "Apple shoves it's terrible UI down people's throats all the time and people bless it as "innovation". But how dare Microsoft do that! "

            Different market and inappropriate unless the aim is to make Windows non-ubiquitous.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: WTF?

            The difference is... Apple's UI is not "terrible" in fact I'd go as far to say that it's probably as good as it gets for usability and simplicity across all the operating systems. I've seen many expert and novice users alike take to OS X without any training or difficulty. The same cannot be said for the hodge-podge of mess that is Windows. Their is no consistency of user experience in Windows. Each new UI fad seems to just badly wrap up the previous generations dialogues and windows, this has been happening from as far back as windows 3 and shows no sign of stopping any time soon.

            I'd just like to say that I use Windows 7, OS X and Linux on a daily basis and I'm well aware of their relative limits and benefits. I don't think any of them are perfect but in the absence of perfection I'll settle for "least surprising" and this is certainly OS X

            1. DJ Smiley

              Re: WTF?

              Want to eject that CD? Drag it to the recycle bin.

              Yes..... thats unsupprising ¬_¬.

              1. Thomas 4
                IT Angle


                Yeah, very funny, now where's the real screenshots from WIn 8?

              2. John 62


                As soon as you start dragging a removable volume (CD/USB storage/.dmg) the trash can (not recycle bin!) turns into an eject button.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WTF?

          Interesting perspective, but what you're therefore saying is, if a company changes something, then don't criticise it.

          Microsoft still has some amazing techies, but it's been taken over by marketing types who have somehow convinced senior management that the solution to Apple is to copy everything.

          It's a case of, Techie suggests something, and marketing type responds with "An up arrow? An up arrow to navigate a hierarchical structure? I've given powerpoint presentations for ten years, and I've never used it. Why would anyone want an up arrow.?"

          It's like the techies have given up, because people with IQs a hundred points below them, have got the management's ear as to what's useful. The company should be split in two, and the engineers can do the linq, SQL, language and tool development, and the marketing types can sit in meetings discussing colours over a line or two, with the business analysts.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        Well..... at least with Ubuntu 12.04, you can easily change the desktop if you don't like Unity.

        1. Chika

          Re: WTF?

          Yes, but then there's a big difference between Ubuntu (or any Linux or Unix distro; remember, Linux is not Ubuntu) and Windows.

          Linux effectively represents an underlying system onto which you put the GUI of your choice, assuming that you want one. I prefer KDE3, but the list goes on, each with their own fans.

          With Windows, however, you are stuck with whatever the Beast says you are to have as they insist that the GUI and the system core are the same thing. You can't rip the GUI off and replace it with something else - well, you possibly could, but I doubt that Microsoft would be very happy about that and good luck getting any support!

          To be honest, and aside from a couple of niggles regarding Microsoft's almost obsessive concern with security (though after Linus Torvalds' recent paddy about openSUSE's security setup, I suppose I should be a bit careful about this), I don't mind W7 too much, though as with Vista, I am still unimpressed with the memory and disc footprint when compared with XP and W2K. That will probably give you an idea about my thoughts on W8 so far.

          What it comes to is that Microsoft are redesigning the front end purely to accommodate the latest fad. This is probably because the previous fad, the netbook, caught them with the pants down, but I'm still not convinced that it has a future. I could be wrong, but the idea of the operating systems that Microsoft bought in were to run general purpose machines, and the touch pad isn't one of those. The obsession over touch and cloud may eventually be their downfall, in fact, since the whole point of the OS moves away from the general purpose system (the standard PC, the monitor, the mouse, the keyboard and such), unless they do something specifically to improve that part of their coverage, there will be a sizeable market that will eventually decide that enough is enough and start looking elsewhere for their services, whether that be Linux, Apple or whatever.

          After all, Microsoft ignored their users when they released Vista and Windows ME. Look where that got them!

        2. fzz

          Re: WTF?

          Linux is about choice (BSD too, to be fair). Windows is about lock-in, and choice is inconsistent with that goal.

    2. LarsG


      Embarrassing as that ugly girl your mates caught you kissing.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF?

      Whilst i dont really agree with your KDE Comment and im reluctant to pass judgment over the UI for another couple of weeks, i do see where your coming from.

      Ive said this before and ill say it again, with WP7, it took me a good couple of weeks to stop thinking old and adapt to metro but now ive got the hang of it, its a god send, everything else seems so archaic.

      Now im going to force myself to use Win8 for a lengthy period of time to see if its the same, after all, not all changes are bad and some times the ones you dont think are great turn out to be amazing. To be clear im on a desktop here and a tablet else where.

      Since we all seem to have to hate it without getting down voted ill say this, i dunno yet, and id strongly suggest people really give it ago and not just a couple of hours, my first impressions are that it seems a too dumbed down on my desktop, but perhaps thats because im not using all the shortcuts an what not yet, my tablet on the other hand is playing like a Super sized Windows Phone an its working well, im really impressed so far.

      Anyhow, after some forced testing on myself ill make a judgment, id like to think that at least some of the folk on here are mature enough to see things similar without slating it after a couple of hours tinkering.

    4. Bob Vistakin
      Thumb Up

      Windows 8 Consumer Preview is great!

      Microsoft - please, please, please launch this exactly as it is now. Don't change a thing. Don't listen to the moaners - we all know users don't really know what they really want until you tell them. Put more marketing into it than you did Vista. Make it simple for users, i.e. ensure they can't go back. Hurry up end-of-lifeing XP and 7 too - clearly they are history now and users will rush to upgrade their hardware once they see the marvels you've come up with this time.

      Do this and all the recent uncertainty surrounding your future will be cleared up once and for all!

      1. cloudberry

        Re: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is great!

        "Do this and all the recent uncertainty surrounding your future will be cleared up once and for all!"

        Well, that's one way of putting it....

        1. Roger Heathcote 1

          Re: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is great!

          LOL Indeed! Here's to the last version of Windows!

        2. Al Jones

          Re: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is great!


    5. Paul 135

      KDE FTW!!!

      I agree - KDE is coded so intelligently to allow user interfaces to be very customisable and adaptable to meet many needs. It avoids all the nonsense that Windows 8, GNOME Shell and Unity bring, precisely because the Plasma Desktop means you can essentially make KDE look and work like any of Windows XP, Windows 7, GNOME Shell, Mac OS, Unity, and if you are a masochist in the future then likely Windows 8 too. However, I believe KDE's default to be best, and its default taskbar config IMO works better than Windows 7's taskbar - wastes less space and allows quick access to programs without placing large distracting icons all over the place.

      I have also been trying OpenSUSE on USB and the direction Microsoft are moving are seriously making me considering switching across to it as my main OS.

      1. Greg J Preece

        Re: KDE FTW!!!

        Couldn't agree more. KDE might not be (by default) the prettiest or slickest UI in the world, and people looking at a fresh install might just think "Windows clone", but to me it's a well established system with a great app suite, and every single corner of it just bristles with config options.

        How big do you want your panel? Should it be translucent? What should it contain, and do you need more than one? What widgets do you want on which screen at what size with what options? Do you want to ditch the whole thing and just have an icon-based launcher on the desktop? Should this window be solo, part of a group, sit on top, or drop its surround altogether?

        If you're the kind of person who wants things to work your way, KDE is brilliant. It doesn't take long to config, as pretty much everything is GUI controlled, and once it's kitted out, everything you need is exactly where you want it. Been using it for years, and having played with GNOME/Unity from time to time, I can't see myself going back. (That is, on a desktop. Tried Ubuntu TV at the MWC and it looks fantastic.)

      2. Chika
        Thumb Up

        Re: KDE FTW!!!

        I suppose that depends on what you want to use it for, but I've been using openSUSE for quite a few years now and I've seldom regretted it.

      3. DJ Smiley

        Re: KDE FTW!!!

        You belief that its the best is the exact same belief that the designers at microsoft have. They too believe they know best. Don't hate them for doing what comes naturally.

        I prefer xfce :)

    6. KakersUK

      Re: WTF?

      I think the best comment I heard was on a video, where an IT technician's desktop had been replaced by one running Windows 8.

      "Don't they do a version for professionals? Come on guys, give me back a real PC"

    7. einsteineo
      Thumb Up


      how about using windows 8 on a 3d hdtv with kinect!

    8. Bob Vistakin

      Re: WTF?

      The WTF? area is even more sensible on WP7, because as microsofts extensive research into usability has shown, on a small screen like a mobile phone, every pixel counts. So its best to waste a full quarter of it with a great big black column, and then be forced to cut off words half way because there's no space to fit them all in. On the home screen. Before you even run anything. Then feature this prominently in all the ads, and wonder why the sales figures are what Android would dismiss as the floor noise level.

  3. Steve Coburn

    I really hate Metro

    In particular hiding the tiles. When you install a program all the short cuts it would have created in the start menu (help files, un-installer, link to vendor's website) all appear as tiles on the Metro screen. To hide you have to select the tile, right click, which produces a menu bar at the bottom of the screen. You then move down to the menu bar and select hide. This has to be repeated for every tile. Far too much unnecessary cursor movement, especially with a laptop touch pad. Context menus work well.

    If Metro, as presented in the W8 CPE, is how it is going to work in the release edition, then I don't see myself ever upgrading. I'd rather stay with Windows 7.

    1. Fil82

      Re: I really hate Metro

      You can select multiple tiles at once, just right-click on each one you want to unpin and then unpin them all at once. And i'm pretty certain all the tiles appearing on the Start Screen is down to how software creators have decided to add items to the start menu by creating a folder and then also dumping all the items into the list that you find when you first click on Start in Win 7.

      1. Adam T

        Re: I really hate Metro

        Where's the right mouse button on a tablet again?

        1. Beritknight

          Re: I really hate Metro

          "Where's the right mouse button on a tablet again?"

          You just drag each icon down slightly and then release it. You can select multiple icons on a table just as quickly as you could with a mouse and Ctrl-click on a Win7 PC.

          It's one of those features that wasn't there in the Dev Preview and has been greatly improved in the Consumer Preview.

    2. awt

      Re: I really hate Metro

      You could probably take a MASSIVE leap of logic and right-click multiple instances... and hey! whaddya know. that works! Jesus, think before you complain. Do you also pen half a letter to the manufacturer of your shoes, before you realise that you're not trapped, and if you were to undo the laces... hey! you're free.

  4. Darryl
    Thumb Down

    If you can't turn it off,

    then I'll be sticking with Win7. What's the use of having multiple large monitors if all they show is a handful of tiles? I can see instances of carpal tunnel syndrome spiking as people are forced to move their mouse cursor back and forth across vast distances just to select something.

    It looks great on a phone. Leave it there.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: If you can't turn it off,

      Correction: If Microsoft don't provide a way to turn it off, others will, and the worst of those other methods will become the industry standard way to configure Win8. (Gresham's Law as applied to software.)

      Now go and read several years of Raymond Chen's blog and think about the possible consequences of /that/. --> Windows 9 will need to be backwards compatible with "somebody else's hack around the Windows 8 UI".

      1. Mark 65

        Re: If you can't turn it off,

        To follow up on Ken's statement - enterprises are where Windows gets the most use/backing/lock-in and I cannot see them for the life of me standing for the productivity draining shite that is Metro on a desktop. Ergo they will be the ones pioneering the hack that will become standard and need to be backwards compatible with.

        Even then I still cannot see them wanting 8 though. After the Vista debacle most just went from XP to 7 and I see them going from 7 to 9 or 10 depending on how soon they come about. Seems like MS follow a tick-tock process of usable-shite variations.

      2. fzz

        Re: If you can't turn it off,

        There are registry keys under HKCU and HKLM which has been around since Windows 95 which allow users to choose different Windows shells. This raises the question whether those keys are still effective, meaning whether Metro will honor it, or whether Metro is unavoidable. If Metro can't be bypassed in this way, then it may take ugly hacks to disable it, and only MSFT would be to blame for that.

        After 20+ years Windows users have a reasonable expectation of customizing much of Windows including the program launching UI. Maybe phone, tablet and game console users don't have that expectation, but there's too much PC history/inertia for MSFT to expect all users meekly to fall into line.

        1. admiraljkb

          Re: If you can't turn it off,


          I've already done this to run KDE as the default GUI environment for Win8 as a proof of concept since I might have to do this later for continuity purposes. There are a couple of small things to get ironed out on the KDE side, but if I were doing a Corporate IT rollout of Win8 (for its other benefits), I'd be deploying that Win8 image with KDE Desktop on top of it in order to minimize disruption and keep compatibility. It also nicely paves the way later to switch out the underlying OS on the corp desktop with even less disruption. :)

          Desktop GUI /= to Operating System. This holds true for Windows/Mac(BSD)/Linux/BSD.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you can't turn it off,

      thats actually a very good negative point, one of very few that i can agree with at this stage until i play a bit longer with it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you can't turn it off......

      …….the administrator will when configuring your "work" desktop when you log in.

      Maybe metro is aimed more at the consumer (and ever growing tablet market), and enterprise will be able to tinker in the exact same way they do now!

      Though MS has got to get this right or dreaded iOS lovingly created by Fisher-Price, may take a larger slice and we'll all be doomed!

  5. BernardBrezlow


    Just choose Ubuntu Classic from the login menu,

    Oh, wait

    1. Kyoraki

      Re: Easy

      Ubuntu Classic disappeared with the switch to Gnome 3 in 11.10 I'm afraid. Replaced instead with 'Unity 2D', it's far less polished, Metacity based brother.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Easy

        1) Select XFCE from the login menu

        2) Pretend Gnome 3 and Unity never existed

        3) Get some actual work done

  6. Gordon 10


    I assumed there would be completely separate shells, with maybe a shared bit of common design language where the metro ui is also useful for the desktop and something like an uber-CSS that reskins and changes the ui of shared touch enabled apps like office.

    This sounds like a frankinsteins monster.

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: Urg

      Dunno who frankinstein is, related to frankincense maybe?

      'No, it's pronounced Fronkensteen!'

      1. Chika

        Re: Urg

        Actually, I was watching that the other night. The monster = W8, the monster after the prof rebalances his brain would be... W9?!?

        btw, ElReg, teh new format for these pages really sucks! All the threading is broken.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I overheard a guy on the train the other night

    who'd installed the Preview into a VM to tinker with. Word got out and he soon had a crowd around his desk wanting to see the shiny.

    Not a one of them could work out how to get to or from the Desktop without prompting, let alone switch between apps...

    1. Chris 3

      Re: I overheard a guy on the train the other night

      It's alright for him - I installed it oin Virtual Box on my Mac to have a play - I couldn't actually ever work out how to shut it down - presumably I need a Windows key, mousing to the bottom left didn't bring up a start-button equivalent - is it meant to?) In the end I had to issue a shutdown through VB.

      1. SteveK

        Re: I overheard a guy on the train the other night

        The Windows key will indeed work - not sure about in Virtual Box on a Mac though, does it map the Apple key to do the same? As for clicking in the bottom left, with a few tries I can usually get it but you have to be pretty pixel perfect which is harder in a windowed VM as too far and you're out into the window borders so real hardware might work better. Occasionally though it just doesn't do it. Click a few other things, run some other apps and try again in a minute or two.

        That does then pop up a little button which hovers a few pixels back towards the screen but don't be tempted to move the mouse onto it or you'll move off the hot-spot and the 'button' will disappear just as you get there. I spent several minutes going back and forth before I cottoned onto their little game.

        I think this also only works when not on the Metro screen, as all it does anyway is take you out of whatever app you were in, and back to the Metro screen. No shutdown option there anyway (why would you want to turn off a tablet anyway, just put it to sleep - at least, that seems to be the impression I got). If you can find the user screen (it might be top-right on the Metro screen?) you can logout and get back to the login screen. From there there is an option (bottom right?) where you can shut down (new since the developer release?). I did once get to a slideout screen from the Metro interface that did give me some settings including a way to shut down but can't remember how I found it.

        I've been struggling to find where to change the temperature units in the weather app so that it shows C rather than F. I did it once by accident but have lost it again now so if anyone has any ideas on that one, let me know.

        I should try it on some real hardware too rather than just in a VM. I want to see whether it makes all the full-screen apps take up the entire surface of multiple monitors, thus preventing me from viewing several documents simultaneously.

        I guess though that Microsoft really cannot win. Don't change things and be criticised for churning out the same stuff again. Make things easier and neater and be criticised for clearly copying Apple. Change things dramatically and be criticised for that too.

      2. Greg J Preece

        Re: I overheard a guy on the train the other night

        The Windows key on a Mac is the cloverleaf/command/whatevertheballsyoucallit button to the left of the spacebar.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I overheard a guy on the train the other night

      How does one get a seat with a desk on the train?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: I overheard a guy on the train the other night

        I get a seat with a table every time I go to London. Table / desk - same difference.

      2. Magnus_Pym

        Re: I overheard a guy on the train the other night

        In order to get a seat with a table it is necessary find an unoccupied seat that was booked from an earlier station. These are the seats that are automatically booked with season tickets even though the users have no intention of traveling every day. The closer your station is to London the more difficult this becomes.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: I overheard a guy on the train the other night

      "Not a one of them could work out how to get to or from the Desktop without prompting, let alone switch between apps..."

      And *thousands* of training providers scream "yes" as they know their going to be fully booked next year.

      Job done.

      1. kissingthecarpet

        Re: I overheard a guy on the train the other night

        Great point ,but "they're" not their.

        Now back to annexing Eorpean states....

  8. Peter Murphy

    It looks like Windows 8 has caught Shuttleworth disease...

    ... named after Mark Shuttleworth. Desiring to get Ubuntu into the mobile market (as widely reckoned), he not only introduced a new UI, but forced it onto users, many of whom seem to be indifferent or hate it. Similarly, Microsoft has its own UI for mobiles, Metro, and for some reason thinks that mandating it for its new OS is a goer. It doesn't look like it, going by the screenshots.

    Forrtunately for consumers, upgrades aren't compulsory. I still use Ubuntu 10.04, because GNOME 2 works for me; while my wife uses Windows 7. Hopefully the firms will come to their senses in the interim.

    I had my own WTF moment with this sentence:

    "Bear in mind that Microsoft specifies a minimum screen width of 1366 pixels for Windows 8."

    Isn't 1024 x 768 good enough for them?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Isn't 1024 x 768 good enough for them?

      Apparently not, and neither is 1280x960. This is odd, because elsewhere in the article our author makes the very pertinent point that *upgrades*, not OEM installations, are where the money is. If MS wanted a version of Windows to put on new machines, they've wasted their time. They already have that. The only *business* reason to develop (at great expense) a new version of Windows is so that you can sell upgrades. (Think of it as selling the same product twice.)

      But ... by ruling out all the machines with 1280 resolution or less, they've just ruled themselves out of a large chunk of that upgrade market.

      And whilst we are on the subject, have another look at that "what Microsoft want you to see" image of the Metro Start screen. It's clear even from *that* screenshot that the new Start menu doesn't fit on a single screen anymore. If even Microsoft's marketing department can't afford the hardware upgrades that are necessary, ghod help the rest of us.

      1. Herbert Meyer

        Re: Isn't 1024 x 768 good enough for them?

        Who cares ? I have had develper's preview running on a 1024x600 netbook with a touch screen since last fall, using strictly the desktop interface. It's still there, if you know where to look. The start menu may be gone from the lower left, but all the start menu shortcuts are in the usual place in the file system. Same for control panel. Just put some desktop shortcuts to 'em, and F microsoft.

        1. M Gale

          I'd rather F Microsoft...

 not giving them money.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It looks like Windows 8 has caught Shuttleworth disease...

      Well… In the Linux world, you can completely change your environment at will.

      Not happy with (dis)Unity? apt-get install kubuntu-desktop or apt-get install xubuntu-desktop. Job done. That's how it is on Ubuntu.

      Other distributions similarly can be changed at will. I presently use KDE on Gentoo, but a quick log-out, tweak my .xinitrc, then startx, and I'm in FVWM, which is one window manager I still have a soft spot for after some 16 years of using Linux. I'm considering what other desktops are out there, awesome is one I might try later.

      The good news is that this is a platform that I can choose the desktop that suits *me* and *my* device (presently, a 2008-model MacBook). I think Microsoft is pushing the one-size-fits-all mantra way too far now. They have been for years, but this has taken it even further.

      As for screen size; I remember when designing web pages, the standards were to assume 800×600 pixel resolution, and a 28.8kbps PSTN modem — if your site couldn't be viewed without too much waiting or side-scroll on such a set-up, it needed a re-design.

      1. admiraljkb

        Re: It looks like Windows 8 has caught Shuttleworth disease...

        @Stuart Longland

        "Well… In the Linux world, you can completely change your environment at will."

        And you still can in Windows as well. The OS and GUI are still separate, regardless of what MS marketing would like people to think. :) I used to run alternate shells on Win3.x since Program Manager was crap. :) With Win95 that requirement went away, as Win95 looked pretty much like the alternate GUI shells (like Norton Desktop, etc)

        I've been running KDE on top of Win8. It runs *OK*, and the apps run and everything, but there is no system tray currently, which limits its usefulness currently. That's a relatively small fix though. If it works, I could easily see corporations deploying Win8 with KDE as the GUI in order to maintain UI compatibility with previous versions of Windows.

        Here's the FAQ for doing it:

        Here's the systray bug:

    3. Miek

      Re: It looks like Windows 8 has caught Shuttleworth disease...

      Maybe they are expecting phenomenal increases in phone screen resolution.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Metro and Unity,

      Hand in hand, disappearing into the sunset. That would be a great thing to see.

      But wait... they o have a place: Tablets for Todlers!

  9. Nya

    Well said Andrew!

    It's a blended together mess of different interfaces and completely different control systems. It's a complete and utter disaster waiting to happen. MS may of thought Vista was bad for them, if they release this than it'll make Vista look like a minor "oops".

    Metro itself isn't bad, it's just that it shouldn't be forced on users unless it's on a tablet....then fine, make it the only option and remove the classical desktop as it makes perfect sense than. But as it stands its an utter failure.

    The other concern at the moment has to be Office. We've all heard the rumours it's also been hit with the Metro sledge hammer, probably pretty much confirmed how MS are busy hiding any sign of it currently.

    This all seems like MS is deliberately trying to destroy itself by chasing a new market and destroying the immense market it already has. It's nuts!

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Well said Andrew!

      But Microsoft are pretty confident your next laptop or pc will ship with Win8 whether you want it or not. Unless pigs suddenly sprout wings they'll be right, especially with Shuttleworth crippling the most visible Linux alternative with the same madness.

      If Apple could bring themselves to sell cheap pcs and laptops they could wipe out Win8 before the insane dumbing down inevitably gets reverted. But they wont.

      1. vagabondo

        Re: Well said Andrew! (Paul Shirley)

        I misread

        "Microsoft are pretty confident your next laptop or pc will ship with Win8"


        "Microsoft are pretty confident your next laptop or pc will ship with Wine"

        Which might not be a bad idea!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agreed on Apple

        Or even if they sold their OS for non-Apple hardware they'd start to hurt microsoft's monopoly. Especially if they could get it pre-installed on a PC with the windows taxes already in place. The option to even sell the OS to run as a VM is out there now. Unfortunately, I don't see it happening. They don't need it. Just look at the company's stock value. They'd have to deal with drivers for everything an end user might use. In the end, if they took any of those routes, it'd tarnish the official Apple hardware. And microsoft will continue to squander their monopoly leaving room for Apple and Linux to eat at it's share. Vista did this, and it's looking like Win8 will do it as well.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Agreed on Apple

          "The option to even sell the OS to run as a VM is out there now."

          An interesting thought, since a VM would be about as clean an environment as Apple's own hardware and therefore wouldn't result in the pain of a million drivers for broken hardware.

      3. stucs201

        Re: Microsoft are pretty confident your next laptop or pc will ship with Win8

        In my case they're wrong. My next PC will arrive in a multitude of separate boxes containing my exact choice of components, which I'll then assemble and install whatever OS I feel like at the time. I'm pretty sure it won't be Windows 8.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Just a thought, but...

      Do you think it's a grand publicity stunt?

      To make sure everyone hears about Metro. And runs around for a year thinking it's really the future of Windows.

      And at the last minute the product team go, "Oh yeah, it's a widget layer like Dashboard after all."

      I'd be tempted to do so myself if I was Microsoft, and had a good mobile UI that nobody was interested in.

      1. flying_walrus

        Re: Just a thought, but...

        It's "new coke", you mean. Around just long enough to

        1. Scare people Into buying huge stockpiles of "old coke"

        2. And then consume all of said stockpiles,

        3 so that "coke classic" could be released, and no one had any "old coke" to compare it to and realize that it was different

        The problem with MS's business plan here is that people who are happy with win XP or 7 will have no reason to upgrade to "windows classic" when it ships. In fact, i anticipate that the only party who will benefit here will be the sons and daughters of Linus... Imagine how quickly people will snatch up a copy of Ubuntu with fvwm configured to look like Win 95/xp. (assuming wine is properly installed)

      2. admiraljkb

        Re: Just a thought, but...

        @Andrew Orlowski

        Publicity stunt? Interesting thought. Metro == New Coke? Reinvigorate the desktop Windows brand while simultaneously getting the word out about a cool new mobile GUI? Neat trick if it works, and if that was planned. :)

        Its a risky stunt, since right now there is already a alternative shell that corps could deploy (KDE) and that could be the gateway drug to later drop the windows licensing for the workstations that don't specifically need Windows.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Just a thought, but...

          Time to bite. I think that's the third KDE reference I've seen in the last five minutes. I'd just like to point out that the FAQ for the desktop in question has "Is it stable?" as one of the questions and "No." as the answer. Even Wine feels able to give itself a better write-up and corps aren't rushing to deploy that.

          1. admiraljkb

            Re: Just a thought, but...

            @Ken Hagan - Yes, I know the FAQ says it isn't stable, although that part of the FAQ was written when it sure wasn't stable and hasn't been updated. :) I keep messing around with KDE/Win periodically, and it is improving FAST. 4.8 is doing fine now on Win7 for running KDE/QT applications, and it wasn't last year.

            As someone who's used KDE on Win8, the only thing noticeably missing was the systray, and the apps all worked. Other than the missing systray, KDE was more stable than Metro on Win8. If KDE finishes the KDE/Windows effort prior to Win8's release, then it could be THE standard corporate UI for Win8. Otherwise, Win8 won't likely be adopted in the corp space.

    3. Sampler

      Re: Well said Andrew!

      "unless it's on a tablet....then fine, make it the only option and remove the classical desktop" How about No.

      I've been tinkering with this most of the morning on my tablet but a little over two and half hours in I've rebooted to Win7 because it's simple easier and quicker to do everything I want and need to do - even with Win7 apparently horrible for touch UI that I've never had a problem with.

    4. Sweaty Hambeast

      Re: Well said Andrew!

      "This all seems like MS is deliberately trying to destroy itself by chasing a new market and destroying the immense market it already has. It's nuts!"

      No, it's Christmas come early!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    If only Gates were around...

    Your article is a bit flawed. Because by default you do /not/ get to see all those system programs in Metro, these are hidden by default. Only if you opt-in to have them displayed do they show up. Please don't start mixing up the facts. Do note: I'm talking about the customer preview, so the latest release.

    Also: compmgmt.msc is still there in Win8, this also shows you all your hardware components. So its not as if this has suddenly been moved into Metro. What has changed is that "My computer" has become much harder to access (otherwise you could have more easily right clicked, then selected "properties" and found the hardware devices). But the hardware management location hasn't changed. It can still be accessed from the control panel as well.

    What has changed though is consistency. At first I didn't want apps to be able and access my location settings, so right after installation I had this turned off. I found my way into the Metro "control panel" only to discover that I couldn't change this setting from there. "Go to control panel and use the "Location manager"". Eventually I discovered that it was sitting under the "Hardware" item. Why the split up? Why didn't they tell me to go to the "hardware section" instead of mentioning an option which could have been located in /any/ of those sections (well, apart from accessibility I suppose, but I did go through the rest and of course first totally overlooking this in 'hardware').

    When it comes to first new releases then MS is losing their grip. Windows phone 1st release? It didn't even support tasks (todo schedules)! This feature has become very trivial for (small) businesses, but not available on the first Windows phone release (it has been added in the Mango update!). That is poor. I learned that people eventually resorted to /purchase/ schedule apps from the store because they couldn't miss out on not having their tasks with them as they were accustomed to on their previous phone.

    Speculating here but I somehow get more and more convinced that Gates wouldn't have let this monstrosity being enforced upon the market. Not saying he was perfect, /far/ from it, but Ballmer is a business guy who has very little feeling for tech. As such it wouldn't surprise me /one bit/ if this had all been calculated:

    "The number of people staying on Windows 7 will mean a cut in revenue but they might warm up to the idea when Win9 comes out. So when Win9 comes out these will upgrade eventually as well (maybe we can raise prices by then or disable upgrading fee's). The loss of revenue in the mean time will be compensated by not having to support several different platforms but only 1 main core. And eventually this will turn into a profit because we can now also cut back on development costs for trivial accesoires apps (clock, notepad, calculator) because those will be supplied by Metro developers who even pay us to have them released!"

    Welcome to the future!

    1. SteveK

      Re: If only Gates were around...

      "Because by default you do /not/ get to see all those system programs in Metro, these are hidden by default. Only if you opt-in to have them displayed do they show up. Please don't start mixing up the facts"

      Agreed, you can choose to show the system programs, but that's not just these - turning that option on gives you icons for notepad, command prompt and the various tools usually found in the system tools folder.

      It does look as though this option has been turned on as well given things like Services and the ODBC one, but the other icons shown in that screenshot are for apps (putty, Adobe reader, iSCSI initiator etc). All other icons for apps in the usual start->programs menu do all get dumped on the metro screen as a big cluster of ugly icons with no folder hierarchy to organise them.

      Obviously this will get better as application developers start producing things with W8 in mind as I'm sure there'll be some options in MSI files to suppress the various unwanted icons. (or to ensure that big tiles are dumped into view to promote and link to their websites)


  11. Turtle

    Talkin' 'bout De-g-g-g-generation

    Although I have not tried Windows 8, judging by the article, it will most likely serve as proof that the most difficult thing to design is a useful UI. The Vista and WIn 7 UI's were so bad, as far as I am concerned, that I am still using XP. To be fair, however, my major complaints were not addressed in the article (bizarre desktop clicking behavior, unusable Windows Explorer, unusable search function, etc.)

    But again to be fair, nearly every app I use has undergone what their developers would call "evolution" but what I consider "degeneration": oversimplification and abandoning of important UI elements, eccentric window designs, concealment of essential icons, fields, and functions. And all this seems to be done for the sake of the mere appearance of the app, and is being done, quite happily as far as the developers are concerned, at the expense of usability.

    If my "user experience" ends up frozen in, let's say, 2006, well that's just how it goes. I use a very expensive piece of software as my main app, and it has also been stricken with "interface degeneration". I realize that its latest iteration, like this latest iteration of Windows, is more powerful than what I am currently using, but I refuse to cope with the jagged edges, or having some coder's incompetence thrust in my face every time that I look at my monitor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Talkin' 'bout De-g-g-g-generation

      Ah - so everyone is out of step except our Johnny, then?

  12. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Try using it with remote desktop or VM

    In particular, with a desktop size that is slightly smaller than the monitor you are using, so that the remote machine appears in a window, rather than being full-screen. This is not an unreasonable configuration, since it lets you access the host system as well.

    The Windows 8 UI depends on the fact that it is easy to drag the mouse to the corners of the desktop, so only the exact corner pixel is actually sensitive. Try hitting *that* now that the sensitive pixel is in the corner of a window, rather than the screen.

    1. multipharious

      Re: Try using it with remote desktop or VM

      Or VirtualBox via Remote Desktop. Aside from the mouse not being recognized and having to click twice or use tab to change fields, it is a bad way to test. And a poor test methodology because it influences your impression when you encounter frustration that is caused by the VM software combined with the lower fidelity shit connection.

      I am just going to go buy something to test it properly. Something with a touch screen, because I am seriously not convinced with the mouse so far...but not testing a native installation is not fair. And of my three phones (iPhone, Android, and WP7) I like using my WP7 the most. So my expectations were high. And I tested on VM and realized what was wrong when I started getting a bit pissy about how the test drive.

      Is everyone testing on VMs and then making these comments? Really? Is that the way it is going to be rolled out in your org? No.

      1. admiraljkb

        Re: Try using it with remote desktop or VM

        " Is everyone testing on VMs and then making these comments? Really? Is that the way it is going to be rolled out in your org?"

        Yes. Nearly everyone is testing in VM's and its a valid test case as it allows QUICK testing on basic virtual hardware without anything crazy/proprietary thrown in. That's the EASY test case. If it passes the VM testcases for basic functionality, then it moves onto physical hardware for further testing. If it fails the VM testcase (which is an EASY one to pass, sure was for Win7 which beat XP hands down in a VM environment) then how do I know if its worth my time to continue testing?

        Folks don't keep a lot of hardware around anymore. Years of recession means LEAN business and more is virtualized. I know in the last position I was under a LOT of pressure to get rid of EVERYTHING that wasn't being used to get it off the books. And yes it is going to "virtually" roll out in the org 2-4 years from now (or more, XP is just now being replaced by Win7, many times using VMWare VDI ala PCoIP). Desktop computing is shifting to the internal cloud, and that shift has already begun. By the time Win8 rolls out in the corp space, it will be standard. A side benefit is better security for one thing. No desktops, and the no more sensitive data on laptops, they have to connect to the corp network to get to their work desktop.

        Where the VM test isn't valid would be for the home use test case where games are involved.

  13. Robinson
    Thumb Down

    Played with it yesterday

    I played with it yesterday and I think on the whole it's unspeakably completely and utterly awful in too many ways to list.

    It might be a good slate or smartphone OS, but it's not for the desktop.

    1. Chris 244

      Re: Played with it yesterday

      MS has forced users of the Xbox360 to use this Metro interface for a while now. It doesn't even work that well on a console. Force it on the deskop and you have the OS equivalent of a bad console-to-PC game port of a bad console game.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Played with it yesterday

        Yeah the 360 is now a nightmare to use with a controller or the DVD media remote. Just doesnt work. So slow too.

        A big step backwards. The UI just doesnt let you move around the mass of (let's be honest here) junk that takes up most of the features of the 360 setup.

        MS meeds to junk a lot of the so called features and streamline it big time.

        I cant imagine a lot of folks using the Zune movies now so thats one item that can go.

  14. jai

    aww heck

    so our office never moved to Vista, and we're still a long way away from moving to win7, so from the looks of this, we'll just stay using XP until either the company goes out of business or us users die of old age....

    1. N2

      Re: aww heck

      Nothing fundamentally wrong with that, XP & '2000 are perfectly adequate and worked very well for the company whos network & infrastructure I managed for the last 8 or so years.

      After all most business models havnt really changed, they buy or make stuff, sell it at a profit then run the gauntlet of the tax man & companies house who do their very best to shaft small businesses.

      Dicking around with fanciful operating systems, neither wins more orders or satisfies customers when some courier dosn't deliver their order so change just isnt on the agenda.

      1. multipharious

        Re: aww heck

        staying on XP increases your vulnerability to known exploits. While you may fault Microsoft for a lot of things, the changes they keep making to stay one step ahead mean that the criminals focus on known exploits. Why should the criminals learn the new stuff? Plenty of victims in the pool...running IE6 and XP.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Corporare fail

    Installed this yesterday, it lasted 20mins - right after we realised the reg hack to put the start menu back no longer works!

    Great for phones & tablets it is, but where 90% of their sales are, laptops and desktops, in particular those sat on a corporate desk, it's a major fail & I can't see it ever being rolled out in this environment as it is.

    Maybe Microsoft was just testing the water with this preview & will quickly go stick at least a GP setting to enable 'classic Windows'. They need to.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Here Is The Permanent Windows Fix,p.png

    Gorgeous, ain't it ?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here Is The Permanent Windows Fix

      I dunno, that icon beside the "Applications" menu looks fugly to me.

      A tad dated now, but I prefer this:

  17. mediaphile

    Problems with Metro do not mean Metro is bad

    This article does a great job of addressing the problems that the Metro UI has... but it never quite makes an argument for getting rid of Metro altogether.

    Windows 8 is going to be the first version of a UI that's likely to carry on for years, especially as touch-based systems become the standard. So while Metro may be not quite there yet, that does not mean it's not a step in the right direction. They just need to fix the various problems, make better usage of screen real estate, and Metro will be fine.

    Besides, Metro is basically just a replacement for the start menu. It's really not that big of a deal.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Problems with Metro do not mean Metro is bad

      You're saying like W95, this is a paradigm shift? Corporate users won't have upgraded by the time W9 is released anyway, so in a way MS can afford to have a "missed generation" on the desktop market, I feel.

    2. Chad H.

      Re: Problems with Metro do not mean Metro is bad

      Why on a PC do I only have 2 window size choices - full and half? I thought that was fixes in Windows 2.

      Why on a PC is a supposedly better start menu less efficient at using space?

      If its not that big of a deal, let MS admit defeat and make it optional.

      1. admiraljkb

        Re: Problems with Metro do not mean Metro is bad

        A lot of the people that remember Win2 are retired now, or are too young to remember it well. I'm nearly in the latter category myself as my memories of Win2 are fuzzy, but using Metro I'm reminded of the olden days. I agree that this is a throwback/retro interface to 1986/87. Kinda like fashion I suppose. Wait long enough, it'll come back. :)

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Windows 2

          Or deleted to make more room on the hard drive.

          Yes I found it over 20 years ago on a work PC.

    3. Paul Shirley

      Re: as touch-based systems become the standard

      Touch control works really well for media consumption, often better than keyboard+mouse and the physical advantages of the form factor far outweigh the infrequent annoyance of virtual keyboards.

      Most of the consumer purchased PCs and laptops are bought to consume media (that includes browsing the Internet) with negligible content creation. Updating your FB wall or answering email isn't exactly demanding. No wonder laptop sales are moving to pads, it's a better consumption device. Touch or gesture based systems will become standard for media consumption and Metro is just late to the party.

      For anyone creating content (AKA working) touchscreens are between sub-optimal and completely fscking useless, depending on the task. And that's the point here, to satisfy the bulk of the consuming market Microsoft has screwed over those of us trying to *work* on our machines.

      And BTW: Andrew has made it very clear he loves Metro on his WP7 phone, of course he's not going to say dump Metro. I personally find it fugly as hell and more about Microsoft's branding than any good design principle.

      1. Mark 65

        Re: as touch-based systems become the standard

        Paul, I'd argue that MS are fucking over all users. Who these days doesn't have a digital camera of some kind? You can't store all those photos on a tablet, they just don't have the space. Cloud? Whatever. So I would repeat the age old argument that tablets are additional purchases not replacement ones and that those customers will likely have a laptop or desktop as well. They will therefore be pissed all over by this stupid change.

        Tablets are popular due to battery life, instant on and the fact you can surf/play whilst having your arse welded to the couch. I don't believe they can become the "standard" (i.e. the owner does not need possess a single other computer in addition) due to them being useless at most creation/storage tasks. Said tasks may not be the majority of your use but they are still necessary.

  18. Allicorn

    Skipping Vista-2 and waiting for XP-3 before I upgrade.

    1. admiraljkb

      Meh, Win7 was fine. The underlying Vista was badly unoptimized and poorly designed as they went back and picked up where NT3.51 left off for driver model. The big issue was that the hardware that was Vista certified wasn't anywhere NEAR compatible with Vista's bloated Aero. Had that debate with my MS Rep well prior to Vista's release, and when pressed, he finally relented about how well Vista *could* perform on the cheap hardware given the Ring3 display drivers combined with the Aero interface.

      My recommendation at that point (which wasn't followed obviously) was to introduce Aero on top of the NT4 based XP, or keep the standard Cairo interface while reverting back to the NT3.51 driver model. Just do Baby steps while waiting for hardware to catch up like MS used to do (shorter upgrade cycles with smaller deltas). And that's part of the reason Metro is such a mess. It requires a paradigm shift both on hardware and user training that doesn't appear like its going to happen anytime soon. Companies are still retraining for and deploying Win7. No budgets for anything else anytime soon.

  19. The Axe
    Thumb Up

    Every other one

    Like Star Trek films, every other Windows release is crap. Vista was crap, but Win7 good. This means that Win8/Metro will be crap. #oddevenlaw

    1. mrweekender
      Thumb Down

      Re: Every other one

      Er, no... Like all of the Star Trek films, all of the versions of Windows were/are shit - except the last one.

  20. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Remember when Shakespeare said "First, kill the lawyers"?

    Maybe he meant UI designers, because this makes Ubuntu Unity & Gnome Shell look well thought out!

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Remember when Shakespeare said "First, kill the lawyers"?

      What did you expect. The writing was on the wall as soon as Steve Sinofsky was moved (fresh from his success with the Office 2007 ribbon) to lead the Windows division.

      Presumably he was explicitly *asked* to re-invent the UI. He has done this. Presumably Gates and Balmer are happy. (I dunno, presumably Mr Gates still has *some* say in any proposed total re-invention of his company's flagship product.)

  21. Mark Wilson

    Over to Linux for me

    After playing on Win 8 for a couple of very painful days, I ripped it off my system and installed the Ubuntu 11.10 and it is great, the new interface is far better than Metro on a laptop - no not perfect but it isn't bad. Couple of minor issues to overcome, one might be overcome with Wine, not sure about the other as it has to do with running multiple monitors and a piece of software I use which is available under Linux but doesn't like multiple monitors.

    If only they had allowed non touch users to leave it in classic mode.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Over to Linux for me

      So because the new version you don't have to buy isn't to your taste, you somehow figure the obvious choice is not to simply stay with W7 which you already have, but make an even more drastic change?

    2. Robinson

      Re: Over to Linux for me

      Why is it that whenever there's a story about Windows, all of the Linux bores come out to tell us how wonderful Linux is? One of the things that makes Linux so unspeakably awful is the "community" of Linux users, who are constantly wittering on about it.

      1. John Bailey

        Re: Over to Linux for me

        Just returning the favour.

        Why do all the Windows bores come out of the woodwork when ever there is a minuscule hiccup or niggle with Linux?

        Could it be to gloat when the other guy is down?

        If so.. Why do you get all the fun? I mean.. It isn't our fault you have no options like we do..

        1. multipharious

          Re: Over to Linux for me

          Windows bores and Linux bores sound similar to me. When Windows 7 was in RC and I was saying how much I liked it all I heard was XP was just fine and Vista was crap so Windows 7 must be crap. Turned out to not be crap. I gloat now about my positive reviews.

          btw Ubuntu is installed, and I use it too. Why do folks have to be such freaky football fans about their OS? It is simply a tool in the box. Use what you want, but you better know it all.

      2. Martin Owens

        Re: Over to Linux for me

        I don't think open sorcerers are ever going to stop telling you that you're weird for using Microsoft software.

        It just looks odd, like your computer has been plugged into... the Twilight Zone!

  22. Boris Borison

    You can turn metro off

    Edit this key: edit this key to disable metro and get the normal desktop UI

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer :: RPEnabled = 0

    To be fair to microsoft this is a pre release version and I wouldn't expect the option to be so hidden in the future

    Disclaimer: This info is 2nd hand info and I haven't tried it.

    I haven't downloaded Win8, and I don't expect to acquire it until I want to run something that requires it.

    1. Alphonse

      Re: You can turn metro off

      Sadly this is for the developer preview only - it has been removed from the consumer preview. I don't know if anyone has figured out a way to get a Win7 style interface back yet.

    2. hplasm

      Re: You can turn metro off

      The trouble with Windows is it seems you can't do much without messing about in the command line...


  23. Robot

    How long will Windows 7 remain available?

    Thanks to the author for the excellent article, and to the posters for some flashes of insight.

    My question is: How long will Windows 7 remain available, not just as a boxed edition, but as an OEM-installed system? I will grab a high-end Windows 7 laptop just before Windows 7 gets phased out (by then it will be Windows 7 SP2, nice and stable).

    And can you "downgrade" to Windows 7 after the phaseout?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: How long will Windows 7 remain available?

      You could buy XP for ages, so it will depend on how much fuss everyone kicks up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long will Windows 7 remain available?

        > You could buy XP for ages

        From what I hear, in China you still can and for only around $5.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Downgrading

      I imagine downgrade rights will be granted. If they weren't, a clever clogs could argue that Microsoft were refusing to accept their money (*), and therefore Microsoft's *loss* on an unauthorised install of the older version was $0. Since copyright is a civil, not criminal matter, MS can only expect a court to consider losses, rather than the perceived naughtiness of the act.

      (* Since there certainly are machines out there that will run XP but not, say, Vista, Microsoft cannot claim that the latter is an equivalent offering. Also, even where technically feasible, the marginal cost to a large company of upgrading just a few users to the new system would be horrendously large and MS would be open to the charge that they were exploiting their monopoly in the desktop OS market, effectively gouging customers.)

      Of course, MS might *want* to spend the next few years in court losing another anti-trust battle. It doesn't seem to have hurt them in the past.

  24. Brent Longborough

    Dunno yet - it's still installing...

    in a Virtual Box. There's just a pic of a fish blowing bubbles, two hours now. So far, underwhelmed. More later...

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Dunno yet - it's still installing...

      Two hours? What's your underlying hardware? It took around 20 minutes on my Q6700 with 8GB on XP x64.

      Paris, underlying hardware.

      1. Steve 114
        Thumb Up

        Re: Dunno yet - it's still installing...

        About an hour on my old x64 Toshiba laptop. Only one bluescreen 'DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION', solved with a reboot and then 7 updates listed (one Tos-specific). Password- and start- screens are ridiculous, but desktop once found is redolent of Win7, with cosmetic plusses and minuses. I'll stick with XP.

    2. multipharious

      Re: Dunno yet - it's still installing...

      Dude. Have you thought that it might just be a problem with VirtualBox? I had problems with VirtualBox on one machine, and finally got it to work on a newer laptop with a Core i7. I still cannot get the VirtualBox Tools installed so the overall virtual experience with a mouse and poor video resolution basically sucks. A friend of mine also called into question the VirtualBox ATAPI adapter, versus an IDE. And don't forget that VirtualBox abstracts the processor (32bit installs but I have 64 bit systems.)

      I have decided to stop my tests on VirtualBox pending RC and a bit of time. I also want to understand the touchscreen + mouse. If I hate it, at least I can say why. Right now, all I can say is that Oracle VirtualBox sucks dogs bollocks for testing this OS...and you ought to have figured that out by now.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Another problem for sysadmins...

    I was looking at Win8 to verify my previous statements and well... Remote desktop connection anyone ?

    By default this is a Metro app. So total suckage when it comes to usability; simply because in many cases you /need/ to be able and look at your own screen. For example; not all programs allow you to use the clipboard (copy/paste) to enter serial numbers.

    What I usually do is keep the remote session in one end of the screen and my OneNote window (where I store all this info) on the other. So now I can easily type it over.

    In Windows 8 this has become MUCH easier (/sarcasm off). After you started the remote desktop app. you need to enter the name and credentials and such and then you're in. So far, so good. Now to get back to OneNote. err.... Yes; alt-tab or go back to the Metro screen and fire up the desktop. Happy alt-tab switching between desktop & remote desktop !

    To make things even more easy (less confusing perhaps?) Windows 8 has also removed the jumplists. Example: In the "inferior" Windows 7 the remote desktop app. sits on the list of my most used apps. One click and I can connect. Better yet: a mere hoover and I have my 2 Win2k3 servers pinned at the top and I can immediately connect with some recently used customer servers.

    This has become MUCH better in Windows 8. Because now the confusing jumplists are gone, and it gives us a simple "recently used" list. Of course only /after/ you started the application, why would you know up front where you'd want to connect to ?

    TIP: "mstsc.exe". This is the previous remote desktop app and it still exists in Win8. So instead of searching for "remote desktop" search for "mstsc" and fire that up. Now you end up on the desktop with the normal rdp client application.

  26. Thought About IT


    Having installed and played around with the preview yesterday, I was left feeling that it's a real struggle to use on a desktop PC. Apart from running the tiled apps, nothing is intuitive, and I still haven't found how to shut it down. No doubt that's explained in the documentation, but any GUI that can't be used without RTFM is a failure.

  27. Dare to Think
    IT Angle

    Looks lika a brushed up Win 3.1 UI

    Now what - a cluttered icon graveyard is not bad UI design, it's a modern feature? And you have to pay for that pain? I for sure wont be queuing around the block in freezing rain for that. Pass that Ubuntu CD, at least Unity is free.

  28. AndyMulhearn

    Gave it a spin last night

    I agree pretty much completely with the write up and comments. I built a VM using the latest version last night. Installation was completely painless and then I met metro and it all went downhill from there. There are little tiles with words on them which on a tablet would be single click to activate but here there double click.

    So I doubt click on IE and browse a bit. And then spend the next five minutes trying to work out how to get back to the desktop to do something else. And fail miserably so in the bin it went.

    OK so this is going to get some people's goat but the way Apple have introduced some of the themes from iOS into Lion has been completely the reverse. Fullscreen is there if you want to use it, and I do, and the gestures are fine and enough like iOS that you learn them once. But I don't like launchpad, so I don't use it. And I don't need to, the old ways of working are still where you expect them.

    Someone needs to give the guys at redmond a shake or this could be another Vista/Windows ME...

  29. jubtastic1

    Hate to do this

    But it's just a preview, still riddled with fairly obvious bugs and halfassedness, I expect a lot of these grievances will get ironed out before release.

    Or maybe not, never can tell with MS, but I can't fault them for trying something new and visually interesting, as a Mac fanboy since '91 this is the first time I've seen anything from MS that I'm actually looking forward to playing with, rather than dreading having to use.

    Here's hoping they get it right.

  30. elsonroa

    Thanks for that Mr Orlowski. I decided to check out the Mail website to see the original source, and now my eyes are hurting. It's just a vast wall of randomly selected content squeezed into little square boxes with no sane way of navigating your way around it. No wonder they rate the new Metro UI so highly.

  31. PhilipN Silver badge

    Cultural Revolution

    Hey don't knock the value of re-education.

    I got it from the horse's mouth, confirmed by dispassionate observers, that for most intellectuals out picking potatoes surrounded by intrigued peasant girls, it wasn't re-education - it was Sex Edication.

    Cheers (to the lucky sods).

  32. Richard Boyce

    Screen width

    One of the biggest improvements to the user interface that most people can make is to rotate their screen 90 degrees. Unless you're using large video images, you're probably much better off with a tall screen than with a wide screen. Most people who discover this and use a quality display will be loath to use a monitor that can't be rotated.

    I'm typing this on a large 24" monitor, rotated to 1200x1920. It's great. But now "Microsoft specifies a minimum screen width of 1366 pixels for Windows 8." My large monitor thus becomes officially too small for Windows unless I rotate it back to landscape mode.

    This is the sort of thoughtlessness that brought us Vista.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Screen width

      As was already pointed out, 1366 isn't the minimum width (search the comments)

    2. Wibble

      Re: Screen width

      Oh the irony... Have you tried buying a 1920x1200 monitor? The idiot screen manufacturers want us to all use the 1920x1080 letterbox. A quick search of a coupld of hardware sites shows about 30 monitors using 1920 width, but of them only three use 1200 height.

      Bloody fashionistas. Don't they ever do any real work?

      Btw W8 (ohh, that's wait!) will be pretty crap on a projector running the standard XGA 1024x768.

      Microsoft have eloped with the fairies.

  33. Tzael

    Upgrading is optional

    There's always Windows 7, upgrading isn't essential. If a computer doesn't have touch screen capabilities then why upgrade it to an OS that has an interface driven by touch screen interaction?

    The very latest is not always the greatest, it all depends what it's intended to be used for. Windows 8 caters very well to Microsoft's attempt to get into the tablet and smart phone markets, but for desktop systems and existing laptops it's probably best to stick to an OS designed for that generation of hardware.

    1. Charles 9

      Until the Metro apps start coming in...

      Now, Office probably got the OK to stay desktop because it was already in development, but how much longer do you think Microsoft will continue "traditional" development to continue unhindered? Perhaps at some point there will be a push to go Metro, and then we'll REALLY see some fireworks, since for many it'll become a "rock and a hard place" problem. And if it happens to be a business-critical app that doesn't run anywhere else, well...

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Until the Metro apps start coming in...

        You could have made the same argument about managed code (.NET) ten years ago, but apart from the VB crowd who were bulldozed into it, .NET and Silverlight were never terribly popular outside MS.

  34. tin 2

    The 'we know best' crowd have been in charge at Microsoft for several years now.

    Indeed. Starting with the ribbon and windows 7, although it was creeping in even at XP. Menus? You can't have them, things that look like menus but are buttons - have some of that. Where's the print option? sorry we hid it under the "everything else" button. Start menu where all your programs are there in one view in the order you knew they were yesterday? Not any more. Quicklaunch? no you don't need that either. Programs on the taskbar in the order you opened them? no chance.

    These things that have gone missing were all put in because at the time they were a good idea. Why is it then a good idea to remove them and - critically - not put an option back in to restore them? All win 7 (and win 8 by the looks of this article) need is a "GUI works like XP" option surely? Winners all round, those that like new stuff get metro, those that just want to get on with stuff but on a newer (better?) OS get something that works and looks like XP.

    Actually what am I talking about? MS have been doing this for years, like mashing every single function of your PC down into one button in the very bottom left of your screen, while leaving the entire rest of the screen estate to a glorified file manager. Oh and disabling ctrl-alt-delete for the purposes it was meant.

    1. DryBones

      Re: The 'we know best' crowd have been in charge at Microsoft for several years now.

      FYI, the process manager is at Ctrl-Shift-Esc now.

  35. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Nice GUI, but how do you get any work done?

    Used to be that you booted the computer up, logged in and started work ... looks like those days are long behind us now.

    Thanks for the first decent review of METRO that I've seen.

  36. Mark 49

    Have a look at the server

    Yes, Metro is also forced on to the Windows 8 Server. Now there's a real WTF !!!!

    Who is going to be running Server on a touch screen tablet ? On normal PC hardware it's incredibly difficult to find out where all the server management tools are.

    Apparently, this is part of a push by Microsoft to deprecate the use of the desktop on the server altogether and force everyone to use PowerShell.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Have a look at the server

      I haven't yet installed Server, but i had feared this. I also notice that in TechNet, Hyper-V Server 8 is available for download, and I almost cringe thinking about what's happening there.

      Paris, cringing...

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Have a look at the server

      Are you kidding me?

      I was thinking, hey, at least the server version won't have Metro. Maybe I can just turn on a few of the desktop features, turn off some of the server features, and use the server version as a desktop without Metro.

      Because not a second did I think they would put Metro on a server.

      You've outdone yourself this time, Microsoft.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      I owe you an apology (not that I said anything bad or something) because well... At first I didn't really believe what you said; then I looked it up this evening. This is (IMO) ridiculous... (not my video mind you).

      In 1:20 and 2:40 you can clearly see the "improved" design. I don't get this at. all. I mean; us sysadmins don't need a "hand guided" start menu because we /know/ that we can tweak and configure it. Commonly speaking, but us sysadmins usually don't have a start menu the size of the mount Everest.

      This is bad IMO. Because now we no longer have any option to group certain tools together. Instead of groups /everything/ will now be thrown onto this big heap called Metro and we'll just have to try and sort it out.

      Oh this is going to be SO much easier when a rookie takes over for a day... "Yes, you'll find the admin tools for the rdp control in the 3rd section of tiles. No; that's the 3rd section, you know; there's a little space between them. What's that? No; its not a named section, MS decided to remove all that because it was confusing. Just remember; the third group of tiles".

      So back to creating desktop clutter then...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @mark

        i like the idea of metro/desktop combo on desktops but your concern over desktop clutter i agree with, theres a work around over here

        but im going to keep at this for a bit longer incase ive missed something.

        Im thinking that metro should stick to what it does best and thats provide a snap shot of live tiles + fancy "apps" leaving real work to be done on desktop, this makes sense and would be easy for everyone to get the hang of.

        For example, Turn on your PC, bam, snap shot of anything you think thats important, > desktop / metro apps for some work > quick flick and you can review all your important tiles in one go > another flick an back to work.

        Seems pretty efficient if you ask me, but as you say, the groupings / start menu is concerning

  37. Dani Eder

    Make it a feature, not a requirement

    I agree with the general trend of the comments - make the Metro UI an option you can turn off, and us desktop users with multiple monitors will not have to mouse all over the place to get simple tasks done.

    By the way, I have yet to see a demo of Windows 8 with two or more monitors, how does it handle that situation?

    1. Alphonse

      Re: Make it a feature, not a requirement

      From the screenshots I've seen, the primary monitor gets Metro, houses the Start window etc. The other monitors have a desktop. This can apparently cause problems when hunting the 'hot pixels' to open the various Metro menus at the corners of the primary screen.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Count me out.

    There is no way I will be touching anything with MetroUI. it's a smartphoneUI, so it's totally useless on a desktop PC, and I wouldn't touch Xbox or Windows Phone or a Arm On Windows tablet with a bargepole for other reasons...

    Metro-free zone here.

    Looks like WIndows7 is the end of the road for me.

  39. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Airplane mode

    on a desktop OS? Thats.. useful I guess. Especially if it spins all your fans up to 150% and lights the afterburners. I think Nvidia may have pre-empted this feature.

    Seems strange that the OS can't detect what it's installed on and optimise for desktop, tablet or mobile gizmo. I'm sure WGA8 will know though.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Airplane mode

      WRT to "airplane" mode, that seems to be a bit backward looking anyway since airlines are now beginning to allow the use of mobile device in "aeroplanes" anyway. Apart from the fact that it's probably an incredibly small minority of mobile users who even actually fly.

      I can easily imagine some users switching to "airplane" mode thinking that it will give their WiFi/3G/4G connection more power. Planes fly high, so you need more power to connect, right?

  40. clarkec
    Thumb Down

    This is the only decent article I've read on Win8

    Everywhere from fan blogs to large tech sites everyone is openly masturbating over Win8 & Metro

    It's awfully inappropriate for every day computer use. If it was optional, it might be a nice addition & provide integration to the tablet & phone interface and of course all the Apps that could bring, but with it constantly coming between you & what you need to do and in such a badly organised fashion it's woeful. I certainly won't be upgrading from Win7, but if for some reason I wanted a change, then I'd have to look at another OS unless drastic changes are made before release.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      What great methodology - work through all the reviews until you find the one that agrees with your personal opinion, and then tout it as "the only useful/correct review". Exactly the same approach is used in climate change arguments.

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton

        Holy shit, I think I will use your reply to coin something along the lines of Godwin's Law. We've already seen climate skeptics decried as Holocaust Deniers (close enough, in my estimation, to the Law.) To apply Climate Skepticism and Denialism against selective review of articles which support one's opinion on Windows seems like a wonderfully new approach. Although, this does seem like the way research tends to work.

        Well, unless you're a Linux or Mac fanboi and all you do is cite articles which talk about how wonderful said OS is versus Windoze. Or Amiga versus Mac, or Commodore 64 versus Nintendo (anybody remember those arguments?) or punch cards versus...

        Paris, the longer a discussion continues, the more likely it is to not center around her.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          You forgot the oldest, active debate...

          vi vs. emacs.

          Mines the armor plate with the thermal reactive coating.

          1. Wibble

            Re: You forgot the oldest, active debate...

            I trust that's vi as in 'vee' 'eye', not 'vie'

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: You forgot the oldest, active debate...

              vi has been my goto[1] text editor for around 35 years.

              That said, ed is the standard text editor, and don't you forget it!

              [1] Don't even think about it ...

  41. Maris

    Looks like Linux's big break on desktop is coming

    Not Ubuntu, of course, but Mint. Ironically it preserves the Windows 95 UI design ideas best.

    Microsoft just isn't the same anymore since Bill has gone on to other challenges; they're now trying to compete with Apple on their turf (consumer entertainment devices) instead of using their core strength at the desktop.

    I quite agree with most of the article, except one thing: the quality of the Metro interface. Obviously some effort has been put in the execution, but the design with its yuck monotonous colours, wasted screen space and lack of visual cues is not that great; and it doesn't allow for much customization.

    No wonder it isn't that popular on the phones either.

    1. Paul 135

      Re: Looks like Linux's big break on desktop is coming

      nah, not Mint. Mint is still too focused on the equally dumbed down GNOME.

      I can see OpenSUSE KDE taking over. KDE 4 was initially rejected by Linux fans for being incomplete and buggy, but it really has improved vastly in recent releases. So much so that I think people should give KDE a second look.

  42. Quckypants
    Thumb Up

    Ain't so bad

    I've been using the preview for a couple of days and don't find it hard to stay in the desktop experience at all.

    I have my regular apps pinned to the taskbar and when I need to use the (now missing) start button I click/winkey into the Metro desktop and start typing. It's the same procedure. Same time to find apps/settings.

    It's the same, what's the fuss?

    When I want to get a 'head's up' on the social side of my life I hit the winkey and get tiles as if I were glancing at my phone.

    Works pretty well for me however the slidebar in the Metro desktop shouldn't exist, you should just drag the background. Also, poking about in the corners with a mouse if a bit fiddly.

    It seems that Microsoft are make a big bet on dual purpose devices (ie a tablet you dock into a larger monitor with keyboard & mouse). Makes sense to me as I imagine iPads will go this way once Office is released on them.

    1. multipharious

      Re: Ain't so bad

      are you using it in a VM as well? Man. This OS is going to get shit on because all the tests are on crappy VMs.

      I had to pull myself away from my VM tests when I began to notice how much was wrong with the experience. Now that is not to say that I am going to love Win8, but I am going to give it a fair shake on real hardware.

  43. David 164

    Obviously it a customer preview, hopefully the first of several Microsoft will do, so there will be some improvements.

    I have not had the chance to use it yet. But I will say corporate IT people are some of the most conservative guys on the planet, more conservative than the Daily Mail and its readers.

    It will take several months or even a year or two before we see applications taking advantage of Metro features.

    I look forward to seeing how this evolves over time.

  44. unklehomered
    Thumb Up

    unusable nonsense...

    This article is exactly what I wanted to say yesterday after 45 minutes of Metro in a VM, but unfortunatley it just came out as a growl/whimper, some swearing and forced killing of the machine... Why hide everything? why make it unusable? what's so very wrong with a list of choices? Why could i not make anything go away?

    When I installed it, for 3 minutes it was just a picture of a fish. Had that been all it did it would have been better.

    I wish MS would look to linux and see different UIs can serve different people with different hardware better so everyone wins... But i've drifted into the realms of fantasy there haven't I...

  45. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Metro, the new Vista

    Ask any 1st line helldesk worker and you just know that Metro is going to be a huge fail and/or a huge cost to large corporate type orgs.

    Some of my work includes visiting universities. If there's any changes in builds, desktop layout, or even a change in the "look" of an icon (usually over the summer break) and the academics, the people who are there to teach the "brightest of the bright" are the first ones on the phone wanting to know how to start Office because the icon is a different colour now.

    Most of the large orgs I visit are still on WinXP. Some are changing to Win7 now, but only after forcing it to look as much like XP as possible.

    Metro seems to be some sort of evolution of Active Desktop. Unfortunately very few, if any, orgs use Active Desktop anyway. They don't like it and don't want it. That means being forced to use a "bigger and better" active desktop is to an evolutionary step for them. In an expensive (in terms of re-training) evolutionary leap.

    As others have said, users want to switch on and start work. They don't want to be sliding paes of icons all over the place to get to something which is normally one or two clicks away.

    My old Windows phone had a "start" menu. one touch, scan down a list of words, select programme. It broke. Boss sent me a "new" one. Now I have the same list of programmes but they are big icons scattered across a double height area which has to be dragged up/down while a learn which icon/image relates to each program. It's harder to see the text below each large icon. When a programme is added or upgraded, I have to learn a new icon/image. It's almost as if the designers assume the user can' read. This fascination with icons is actually slowing down many people simply because what the designer thinks is an obvious pictorial representation of a word or function is not necessarily the same as any one particular user.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metro, the new Vista

      I think comparing Windows 8 to Windows Vista is an insult to Windows Vista.

      First of all, I'm using Windows Vista on my home pc which was assembled by yours truly back in 2008. After SP2, updates and patches it runs perfectly fine.

      You can view Windows Vista as a bastard child of Windows XP and Windows 7, or Windows 7 being a paid service pack for Windows Vista.

      Windows 8, on the other hand... it seems that Redmond is absolutely besotted to the point of fanaticism with the Metro UI. Microsoft is betting the farm on it, even if it means alienating the enterprise and desktop users (did you see the dumbed down smiley BSOD of Windows 8? Good luck when doing troubleshooting).

      Maybe Microsoft wants 'one UI to rule them all'. Maybe Microsoft wants some of iPads' business. Maybe it hopes Metro in Windows 8 will make consumers want to buy Windows phones (not going to happen).

      Or maybe Steve Ballmer has turned barking mad. Honestly, sometimes I just can't tell if he's sane.

      The situation is most perplexing.

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Arctic fox

    A more unashamed example of click-bait would be hard to find.

    ..............see title.

  48. tkioz


    The odds of me using this on my desktop are slim to none. It's bloody horrible, I'm sure it works great on tablets and smart phones... but as a desktop OS? get bent, everything is too big, too in your face, menus and icons for me should be hidden out of sight and out of my bloody way.

    Windows 7 was a great leap forward... Windows 8 just seems to be a huge fail.

    1. Morri

      Re: ...

      Behind the big dollop of lipstick it's a very nice O/S, everything is swift and improved upon Win 7. With the beta's kept thinking well this is just to get the tablet developers some me time, but no they have really chucked the lovely desktop out with the bath water.

  49. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Re "we know best"

    Steve Jobs thought he knew best. On his insistence that Office for OSX retains menus (not that $&*ing Ribbon), and his decision not to jump on the 16:9 screen ratio bandwagon, I have to agree with him. If Office was the only suite I used (and CAD does seem to be going all cloudy) then I would strongly consider getting my first ever Mac, for these reasons.

    Still, from what I have read, it wouldn't appear to be a huge technical difficulty for MS to relegate Metro to be just an optional extra for use in specific situations- y'know, like Windows Media Centre UI being good for use with a Infra-Red Remote Control, as opposed to a mouse and keyboard.

    What was the name of that Vista feature that didn't take off, the one which put widgets on a small secondary display? Metro might be good for that...

    ( )

    Very happy with Win7- not perfect, but really doesn't get in the way of doing work. Good job MS, good job.

  50. Adam Leite

    Windows 8 UI

    You said it right: Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista and 7 had a lot of space on the desktop for improvements. So let the users improve it the way THEY like. Why do I now have to navigate through pages and pages of squares, looking and feeling so childish, until I get to my program if I can just look at an alphabetized list? This is my problem with smartphones, but they do much less than a computer. I use my computer for everything and my phone to make calls and for GPS. MS cannot impose (a la Office 2007 and 2010) a new look that displeases the users. Yeah, it is cute, but not practical. At least give us the opportunity to change to a look that we like.

  51. Astrodude

    There is still no intuitive, easy-to-use desktop OS.

    It seems that nobody knows how to make an intuitive, easy-to-use desktop OS yet. Both Mac OS and Windows are relics from the past. They both haven't changed much from the 90's GUI design and they're both rather inefficient and cumbersome to use at their core. I'm not a huge fan of Google's overly simplified and minimalistic approach, but it seems that Chrome OS and the next Android is a step in the right direction. I think that for the most part, OS should be "hidden" to the users, and the majority of the inner-workings of the OS should be completely "automated". Most people don't even know what a file system is, so I think that desktop OSs are still incredibly complicated and unintuitive to use for the majority of the users.

    1. aThingOrTwo

      Re: There is still no intuitive, easy-to-use desktop OS.

      “for the most part, OS should be "hidden" to the users, and the majority of the inner-workings of the OS should be completely "automated". Most people don't even know what a file system”

      These are core philosophies behind iOS, not Android. You are giving credit to the wrong thing.

      Do tell what the various Linux vendors and the community done to help us towards an intuitive, easy-to-use desktop. Because from where I am sitting they pretty much copy whatever Apple and Microsoft do.

  52. Michael Vasey

    It really is horrible on a large monitor. Full-screen web-browsing on a 24" monitor is for people who like having either huge columns of empty space or endless lines that are horrible to read. it's also pretty much mandatory for Metro IE.

    Multiple monitors is fun, too. Metro on primary. Desktop on secondary. That really is a beauty of a kludge. You can't, of course, have Metro apps on both screens to get around the ridiculous restrictions on window management. No more viewing two apps side by side for you unless that tiny little sliver at the side is enough or you drop back to the desktop - in which case why bother with Windows 8?

    I had a right old hassle connecting the mail client to my gmail, too, after I got my password wrong the first time. Is there an option to create a new account in the account pane? Is there hell! You have to wave your mouse around until the charms bar appears and then select settings to create a new account. Very intuitive. I haven't got a clue how to make it poll for updates either. I seem to have to manually sync my mail.

    So, yeah. Metro is a horrible, intrusive, clunky start menu replacement on the desktop unless you enjoy having your PC turned into a glorified mobile phone.

  53. Matthew 25

    A shame really

    I have a Windows Phone and think the interface is pretty good. On the desktop though, with a non-touch device its pretty awful. I installed the CP in a separate partition to give Windows 8 a spin and hate it. I can't do anything, I can't find anything and it works in such a horrible way that I just can't be bothered to re-learn how to use my computer to do all the things I don't need to think how to do now.

    All these UI changes are daft to me. The current set-up used by Windows (tm) is pretty much a De-facto standard. it may not be the best way of doing things but it the one most people know and are comfortable with. People don't need to think to use it because they have used it so much. If it takes them too much thought and time to do something they just did before they will go back to doing it the old way. Enforcing Metro on the desktop is like Ford deciding that a joystick is a better way of controlling a car. It may or may not be better but for most people the change over would be just too much trouble.

  54. RetroTom

    Off to Linux...

    This was forced on the 360, no good there, tremendous waste of screen space, gimmicky and full of ads and not much fun to navigate.

    I've tried it on the desktop and if anything it's even worse. Couldn't quite believe my eyes.

    Unity at least is optional, I can download a distro without it and know it will be supported in the future. By comparison sticking with Windows 7 only grants you so much mileage, and the path away from a traditional desktop has been chosen.

    My main reason for having a Windows desktop was games, but I haven't purchased a game for a long time thanks to the utter garbage DRM systems a lot of new games come with and in that time I've come to realise I'm not actually running anything which requires Windows anymore. The drive for everything to be web applications accessible on multiple platforms has made the choice of desktop OS almost irrelevant beyond the core interface / file management functionality, something which W8 gets very wrong by making it more awkward than ever for power users.

    What compelling reasons remain to stick with Windows next time I switch OS? I've never used anything else but I no longer see the point, even the familiarity aspect has been stripped out with these changes. Not trolling here, genuine question.

    1. kissingthecarpet

      Re: Off to Linux...

      It was the same for me. I realised I was just never booting Windows. Now I use Debian Wheezy(testing) at home . My view is why use a derivative when you can use the original. As a plus, WINE has improved hugely & can cope with many Win apps & there's always VirtualBox for example if you're unexpectedly forced into using Windows, which is a very rare, if not non-existent event for me now.

      I'd like to make the point here that an anti-Linux business argument you hear is "There's no support if things go wrong". MS will do nothing unless paid anyway.If it goes wrong they're not liable.

      The licence money one has saved by not using MS can go on a proper Linux support contract, where the best will work with you to fix bugs & tailor code to your needs as well as give you first-class support. (I work in an MS shop so nothing to gain from this statement)

  55. ph0b0s


    The complains about the Windows 8 preview maybe put down by some, as resistance to change. Certainly for myself this is not the case. I like change, or more accurately progress. I am happy for Microsoft to shake up the GUI in Windows in new releases. It's why I brought Vista early on, as despite the bugs the Aero interface with task bar thumbnail previews was progress. It made the experience to me more streamlined. That is what progress means to me.

    After playing with the Windows 8 preview I have come to the conclusion that the changes are not progress. In fact for mouse and keyboard users the new setup is a step backwards. I now have to make extra clicks or wait longer to be able to do the things I normally do in Windows 7. This to me is not progress and therefore it is legitimate to be critical.

    Don't get me wrong Metro seems like an interface with lots of potential, but on touch devices (as others have already said). With a mouse and keyboard, what's the opposite of streamlined?

    It is a shame they cannot find a GUI that works in a streamlined way with both touch, mouse and keyboard.

    The final issue for this version is that apart from Metro if you have a touch device, I see no killer reason to upgrade. At least Vista had Aero and DirectX 10 for gamers. What has Win 8 got apart from an interface most of the current install base are not interested in because they use mouse and keyboard.

    Also you may say, 'well Microsoft are being clever becuase they know mouse and keyboard is on the way out and touch will be the prefered input method'. I have to disagree. I have used touch devices and always find the exprience better with mouse and keyboard. Touch is great for mobile while you are on the go, but as soon as you are not on the go, nothing beats the mouse and keyboard for input accuracy and speed. This control method is going nowhere and Microsoft devalue it, at their peril.

  56. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. hplasm

      Re: And here come the OSX and Linux users...

      Missionaries?Don't flatter yourself. Nobody is interested in Windows castoffs, not even fanboys.

    2. Martin Owens

      Re: And here come the OSX and Linux users...


  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    spot on... now try the classical developer test with Metro.... run Windows 8 on a VM and then remote desktop to the machine running the VM. Just like an admin to a virtualized office environment. It doesn't work, all the supposedly nice draggy droppy poppy interface can't cope with a low bandwidth link. No emergency key presses will get you out, you have to be able to drag the right panel out which appears incompatible with RDP+VM type environments.

  58. johnwerneken

    My solutions

    1. Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



    In Dev Preview it totally kills metro in consumer preview only partly

    2. vistart - restores traditional (pre-win7) start button

    3. if you can figure out how to "swipe" with a mouse (no click, movr clockwise circular at around and beyond top right corner of screen) the damn charms (the Win8 version) still pop up so you loose nada. Altho the pre win 7 access to things like devcice manager, devices and printers does differ from win7 it works a hell of a lot better than the metro version although using "charms" you cvan still use the win8 version.

    1. Flubb
      Thumb Up

      Re: My solutions

      If this works then you're a hero!

  59. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Once upon a time there was DOS.

    It made the computer work so that you could do stuff.

    Then, after a few false starts they gave us Win 3.1 - which made it easier to find the programmes youy needed to do the stuff.

    Then there was Windows 95, which made it easier to make the stuff work.

    And a few upgrades of that to give it a polish and we had Windows 7.

    Sadly, by that point Microsoft had a new idea. They wanted to stop us needing the Techie Wizard when things didn't work. But sadly they couldn't figure out a way to let us make changes without it upsetting their little OSes.

    And anyway, they thought that they knew what we wanted better than we did ourselves. So they decised that they'd stop us using our machine the way we wanted to and force us to use them the way we ought to.

    First they invented Ribbons. Ribbons were just like the menus we were used to using, Only now we couldn't hide away all the bits we never used.

    And then they thought, "Everyone these days uses Smartphones. Let's make everyone work as if they were on a Smartphone. That will make them all happy".

    So they invented a new way of working that was just like a Smartphone. And to make it sound even more like it was something you read on a train they called it "Metro".

    1. Wibble

      I suppose the next "upgrade" will be to ditch the qwerty keyboard for a numerical keypad.

  60. MikeHuk

    Oh no not another Vista!

    You would think that Microsoft would have learnt the lesson from Vista. Listen to the users! Unless there is an option to switch off Metro I will not be upgrading from Win 7, personally I dislike the UI of the win phone system even though I am told it works quite well. Surely it would be sensible to have an install version for non-touch systems which would bypass Metro and have a Win 7 type desktop.

  61. Ramon Zarat

    Uber fail of epic proportion

    I tried Metro in a VM. After only 20 minutes, I swear, I was about to take my own life.

    To say I was in complete shock don't quite cut it. This is the most counter intuitive, badly thought out and irritating piece of software junk I've ever seen. The level of frustration Metro induces is such, it had to be designed with that goal in mind. No one could be stupid enough to regurgitate this abomination with the sincere hope they are doing humanity a favor, right?

    I'm 41, started with a Commodore Vic20 and practically owned every kind of computers you can think of since then. In all those years, the vast majority of new OS that came after the old one were a welcome evolution, even if there was some drawbacks. Metro is sending us back to the dark ages faster than you can say "it suck balls". BTW, this is the urban dictionary definition of sucking balls:

    "An expression used when things are shitty to the extent that the situation is analogous to the displeasure a heterosexual male would feel if he were to suckle upon the testicles of another man."

    It's disturbing to realize how amazingly disconnected from reality Microsoft folks have become. I would also add that anyone who say, in forum like this one, that Metro is a good thing on a desktop computer, is either gravely mentally disturbed, or more probably an obvious undercover Microsoft agent trying its best to do some impossible damage control. Either Microsoft wakeup in a hurry and give us back a decent desktop interface, or Windows 8 will go down in the history books as the most embarrassing and dysfunctional OS ever created.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uber fail of epic proportion

      Agreed. I couldn't stand using it for more than about half an hour. Just the fact that I couldn't pop up the Start menu and bash a few keystrokes to find EXACTLY what I wanted in seconds really annoyed me.

      This sort of cumbersome GUI just cannot fly in a working office environment. I don't know how I'm supposed to get any work done in an OS with a tablet interface. Is it really so hard to give people the option to turn it off?

      At this rate, Windows will end up being my games-running OS, and I'll have to spend the majority of time in Linux just to keep my sanity while working.

      1. Rangoric

        Re: Uber fail of epic proportion

        Um, hit the WinKey, start typing. Hit the lower left corner start typing. Don't worry, I won't compare you to clueless users that can't take the color of an icon changing ;)

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Uber fail of epic proportion

          My keyboard may or may not have a WinKey, but I've never used it and my muscle memory (which is largely how I use a computer since I prefer to concentrate on my work) hasn't the foggiest idea what you're talking about.

          Yeah, I could learn, and re-learn every few years or so, but along with about 90% of the human race I just don't see why I should have to. It wasn't broke till they fixed it.

      2. DavidRa

        Re: Uber fail of epic proportion

        You said: "I couldn't stand using it for more than about half an hour. Just the fact that I couldn't pop up the Start menu and bash a few keystrokes to find EXACTLY what I wanted in seconds really annoyed me."

        And with this you're just trolling. If you hit the start button, or the windows key, then type, do you know what happens? You get search, just like Win7. And it searches all the programs, settings and documents, just like Win7 - except they're now separated into Apps, Settings and Files groups.

        Oh ... wait a minute. That's just like Win7.

  62. the-it-slayer

    Even for me, a techie wizard...

    ...the damn OS doesn't present one core issue very well.

    When you introduce a new UI, you either make it so simple that even a monkey can navigate it or you provide hint points on first install to help the user (how simpleton or techie they are).

    It took me almost an hour to work out that the Windows key was uses to switch back to Metro! So frustrating. There are a million other things I can't stand either. How on earth will this work for the business sector? Surely they'll be a business edition but will Metro be optional? I hope so!

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Me Too

    Well, I have played with both Windows 8 client and server now.

    Client - It is a Frankensteinian mashup on non-tablet systems - and they have to know it. There are many smart people at Microsoft that have to look at the current state and say something like, " What in the hell are we doing?" Some look at the business from all angles and they know the support burden from this thing is going to be HUGE ! In an era where their PC sales and margins are shrinking, they create a product that will accelerate that shrinkage. Unless they charge for relieving the pain they are creating. Too much good competition to pull off that business model I'm afraid. They will listen to these initial rants from this trial balloon and go do some serious re-consideration of their approach. It clearly sucks on a desktop machine.

    Server - I kind of like it so far. The cosmetic changes are something that should have been done years ago and, in some areas, things are easier to manage and there are some nice new features. However, from a cosmetic perspective, in a lot of cases, this is simply lipstick on a very old pig. I swear some of the icons are from the 90's. Don't they spend ANY money on making them more modern? Changing the color scheme and borders of an ancient MMC isn't innovation Microsoft. Just think, teams had to sit around and think up ways to make an ancient MMC look like something new ... and that is the best these brilliant minds could do? And I'm confident there were a lot of bright people and tons of meetings and many attempts at exactly how they were going to line the lips of the individual piglets. Hey, instead of "charms", they can call them "piglets". Still kind of like Server 8 even though after having worked with Nimbula and Joyent, I don't see how this is a "Cloud OS".

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And there's also worse underneath

    For example Metro apps don't multitask. They're put to sleep when they go in background (there are ways to make them do somework, but not true multitasking), That's while your average desktop/notebooks has more and more cores. It is supposed to save power, but if my desktop doesn't use batteries why they should stop?

    I guess the MS idea is to have the same app code working from phones to desktops, but of course it also means desltop apps get the same "power" of phone apps. I really do not expect my Canon EOS 5D to work like my phone camera, but that's what MS thinks now. Guess the guys working on metro should be given a copy of Windows 1.0, maybe they'll understand they took Windows back to those days, just with more colors.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: And there's also worse underneath

      I also wanted to add, for the first time I think in history...

      Apple 1 - 0 Microsoft

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Metro apps don't multitask

      Really? You mean MS are seriously pushing a platform that has all the multi-tasking abilities of DOS and TSRs? Even Windows 3.0 was better than that.

  65. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Hey people MS have an "ecology" to support

    Of trainers, marketers, hardware suppliers and re-sellers.

    Their business model pretty much *demands* they break the *whole* UI every few years

    And a regular set of incompatible changes to the Office file formats helps as well.

    I some time wonder if companies *really* factored in the whole cost of these (and the *regularity* of them) if they might consider dumping MS wholesale and setting up 1 PC with Office scripted to load any files in a queue coming into the company to spit them out in ODF format.

    The thing I can't get is that having spent *years* learning how to do proper multi-tasking rather than switching MS is going back to the put-it-to-sleep model. Is there *any* choice in this?

    1. Chemist

      Re: Hey people MS have an "ecology" to support

      And people wonder about others 'banging on' about Macs and Linux.

      Microsoft can do almost what they want and little can be done about it. Competition is the only thing that they fear and that will make them produce what people want.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Redmond Knows Best - like it or lump it

    The "Redmond knows best" brigade appraently insist on changing User Interfaces, to whatever _single_ design is in vogue at the moment (or, for MS, was in vogue recently).

    1. Why won't MS make these new UIs _additional_ options, rather than replacments?

    2. Do they ever consider the costs in retraining, lost productivity, etc. that result from their totalitarian imposition of new UIs on users?

    The Office 2007 Ribbon, now in W8, still has many experienced Office users at their wits end trying to find the command that they know is there but in a place that has been decided for them by Redmond. Worse still, most of these UIs are no longer configurable to suit individual users' needs - once again, Redmond knows best and all users must have the same UI, regardless of their differing needs.

  67. justanotheruser

    It's several steps back

    I'm sorry but the new UI is just terrible. I went in willing to give it a shot (which I'm sure some of the zealots won't believe) but nothing is intuitive. I stumbled around and had to force several shutdowns before find how to switch apps or even worse how to safely power it down. The likes of OS X may seem prehistoric but I went from being a windows user to slipping into the likes of both OS X and Ubuntu with a few minor blips to do with more advanced stuff. I don't feel like I have a clue what I'm doing with Metro.

    On top of that most of the Metro apps require signing into a Windows Live account. I don't do that crap on my day to day OSes and I'm not about to start now.

    Snow Leopard user here as I wasn't exactly enamoured with Lion.

    It could have been something really interesting but instead it's just a mess. I fail to see how new users are meant to simply pick it up (something I did with iOS as an example). Maybe it works better with a touch interface but don't make it a desktop OS then.

  68. RAMChYLD

    Metro meltdown

    I've actually taken the plunge and dropped this on a rig unfortunate enough to be chosen for the test subject (because the last OpenSUSE Factory update rendered it unbootable).

    Biggest mistake I've made so far.

    Not only does certain more stubborn drivers refuse to install (I'm looking at you, HP, VIA and Creative!), the darn thing is just so broken that calling this a beta is an overstatement. For example, Firefox is extremely unstable with hardware acceleration on (and I am using the NVidia drivers as suggested by Nvidia themselves).

    We're not talking about that tho, we're talking about how broken Metro is.

    Ah, yes. Metro. It's so broken that some things just doesn't make sense. For example, if I choose to use a touchscreen, since I do have a nice Acer multitouch display around (one that was reviewed on El Reg two years ago no less), how do i call out the Metro UI from the desktop? Is there a gesture I can use? Tapping the bottom-left corner of the screen does nothing. Same goes for quitting a metro app- apparently the only way to initiate a quit is to reach for the keyboard and hit Alt-F4.

    Also, how many people actually went out and buy a touchscreen like I did?

    MS needs to take Win8 back to the drawing board. Certain places are impossible to use with a touchscreen, and certain places are impossible to use without. Heck, it seems that the best way to use Win8 is by good ol' keyboard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Metro meltdown

      Have you even bothered to look at the demos of the Metro UI to see how this stuff works? To get back to the Start Screen from the desktop on a touch screen, you simply swipe in from the right edge of the screen and then tap the Start button.

      To close a Metro app just swipe down from the top of the screen to the bottom, you'll see it thumbnail and then disappear off the bottom of the screen.

  69. kissingthecarpet

    I'm sure someones already said this

    but it just looks like the Applications view on Gnome 3(except worse). Of course if I don't lke it, as a Debian user I can choose between many window managers & UI's. I'm sure you can do the same with Win8.... Oh sorry, you can't.

    Small business users are going to love this....not

  70. Hnelson

    I've played with vista when it came out. I didn't like it. Slow loads, memory hog, constant busy icon. Windows 7 was a bit better. But again, memory hog. In all of this, I noticed that windows is degrading over time to "joe moron" mode. Things that were granular in windows 2K and XP now have become simple icons with basic on/off or yes/no features under vista and 7. Are users getting dumber as the years pass?

  71. Marco van de Voort
    Thumb Up

    Great article

    Great article. An island in an ocean of media insanity.

    Seems that the media (and Microsoft) are still writing for a time when 80% of the people still had to get acqainted with computers.

  72. Matt 53


    I think all would be well if everything was more consistent.

    There's 3 main bits of Windows 8 as far as I'm concerned;


    Start (metro home)

    Apps <-- this needs to be easier to find and access

    Have a universal toggle button to switch between modes, keep notifications on screen in the same place all the time (battery, wifi, battery etc) and keep common / open apps in a bar on the screen all the time - regardless of the mode (similar to task bar). Certainly don't hide everything - keep some stuff on the screen and make it consistent.

    Unfortunately I think I've just described iOS or MacOS. And I'm not even an Apple fanboi.

  73. zanshin

    There's still time to change, but I'll be passing on this as it stands

    This review hits home for me. It's not how Metro looks, and it's not just that it's different. If this review is accurate, what I dislike is that it takes more motion/clicking/typing to do the same things. I can deal with that, here and there, but as a standard approach to the interface? No thanks.

    I'm not a "typical" computer user. I do lots of different things with my PCs, I frequently tinker with settings, and I like the things I do often to be simple, readily accessible and happen with minimal fuss. So far, the Metro approach looks set to fail me unless I'm checking Facebook or the like. Making basic things simpler is good. Making everything else more complicated at the same time is not so good.

    Sadly, I see this sort of direction as an outgrowth of the buzz that suggests that smartphones and tablets are going the death of personal computing using full-on computers. That view seems to be creating a rush to "dumb down" *all* interfaces (not just at MS) to those appropriate to such devices. The issue is that those devices are oriented very strongly at content consumption. There are things about making content consumption simpler which are well and good - after all, that's how *most* people will do, and we certainly do consume things on PCs as well. But somewhere, someone needs to be building the content that those smartphones and tablets consume. Making the OS interfaces for such people be a pain in the derriere isn't a very compelling way to get them to produce goods for your OS or app store.

    In his opinion pieces, Matt Asay likes to say how developers are the new king makers. It might be wise for folks like MS to build a castle the kingmakers will actually like to visit, lest they plant their kings somewhere else.

  74. steeplejack

    It shouldn't be a Desktop OS, that's what's wrong.

    Microsoft are cheapskates. Windows 8 is a cellphone gui, and possibly (though not necessarily) suitable even for touch pad computing. For the desktop, its totally inappropriate. If they wanted a better Windows they should have written the very best they could do FOR THE DESKTOP. I hope they come unstuck over this, because they're taking the P out of the customers by trying to fob us off with rubbish!

  75. Tom Westheimer

    Thanks for a sane review

    I was downloading the preview and then I read your article and I realized the echo chamber was in action and cancelled it. That kind if interface for a PC is a step in the wrong direction for sure. I do hope they will strip out the fluff and call it Windows 7.5?

  76. Tony Paulazzo

    Bad bad bad bad bad...

  77. nimatra


    For sure there are problems with new Metro UI as there is with every single software out there. But I have a suggestion for you, before writing an article about such a huge software try to see if there a way to do the stuff you are compaining about.

    I think you were despratly looking for some issues to complain about. The unwanted tiles? just remove them if you don't use them, were you using every icon on the start menu before?

    You don't like the new way to switch between apps? fine use Alt+Tab, if you've watched the consumer preview conference you'd know that the new one is designed for tablets and navigating with thumbs. There's no bluetooth? That's because your laptop is not designed for windows 8 ask the OEM for drivers. Could you install windows 7 on a 2002 laptop without needing new drivers?

    I don't think that I need to continue.

    1. Whitespace

      Re: Really?

      "Could you install windows 7 on a 2002 laptop without needing new drivers?"

      I'm typing this on a 2004 notebook and you are right - I would not and could not even attempt to install anything more recent than Windows XP. The drivers just don't exist, and even if they did I'm sure it would perform like treacle.

      Oh wait. I installed Fedora 8 on it years ago and it has upgraded seamlessly through the versions to the current Fedora 16. Only hiccup was when I had to add another 256 MB ram to its original 512 MB to perform the latest update. I still don't feel any need or desire to replace it.

      My older notebook (2002 - retired early as it was just too unreliable under windows 2000) is currently in a customer's premises running Arch Linux and monitoring their network and Windows server hardware, sending me email alerts when anything unusual happens, as well as a couple of emails per day to let me know that both it and its internet connection are still alive. This notebook - almost unusable with the vendor's own Windows drivers - was last restarted 71 days ago when all power was down for electrical work. Oh yes - in 2002 the vendor was - and has remained to this day - one of the top five PC vendors by market share.

  78. Old Handle

    You forgot to disable comments.

    Or did you feel like it was safe on this one since most people would agree with you for once?

  79. jake Silver badge

    @Andrew ...

    I'm surprised that you enabled comments on this one.

    Personally, I ditched Redmond entirely a little over two years ago. I have seen zero negative affects on my day-to-day "computer experience" (whatever that means). I don't do much with Cupertino anymore, either. There are better options, most[1] of which are FOSS.

    [1] I'm not a FOSS fanboi, I have quite a few eComStation installations in my active customer base.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheer insanity

    Apple are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

    As for the aethetics, the Metro GUI looks like it was designed by a 2-year old finger painter.

    It hardly screaams sophistication.

  81. Dimitri

    I want to like Windows 8, I really do. I'm a big windows fan, and would love to run the same OS on all my devices, PC's, laptops and especially tablets (but with a different UI obviously). But right now I agree with the people who say Win 7 will be the new XP and Win 8 the new Vista.

    For me, the problem is not just the new UI, but the half baked overall product strategy.

    We have an x86 version which uses the touch interface as default, despite the fact there is hardly any touch hardware in the market with the x86 architecture. So the "desktop version" is using the tablet UI which doesn't add much value (maybe it takes a bit away - full screen apps are useless on high res monitors). But at least we have the Legacy Desktop and the vast windows software ecosystem.

    So basically this is traditional windows with some (perhaps needless) complexity on top. Limited incentive to upgrade.

    Then there's windows on ARM which will run on the hardware that supports the Touch UI and let it shine, but it will not support any of the legacy applications, even recompiled - they must be rewritten as Metro apps, with all that entails. I think it's safe to say less than 5% of windows programs will be rewritten (of course new apps will come out).

    So this is the new Tablet Windows but without the ecosystem it needs (heck without any ecosystem yet) to compete with iOS and Android. Hardly any incentive to buy!

    Basically there's just one dream scenario for windows 8 which is: "Transformer type" x86 laptops with detachable touch screens that can run metro in tablet mode and desktop in "dock mode" (mouse & keyboard). Let's not forget these also need to have the performance of a core i5 with 4GB RAM (to make running windows apps productive) BUT combined with decent weight and amazing battery life by x86 standards.

    You can expect these machines to hit the shelves in 2014. Maybe.

    Until then, This is not the "single OS for every platform" that MS said they were aiming for.

    It's two OS's that have an innovative UI but in practical terms offer the worst value for every platform they run on.

    Seriously, the product strategy guy should be fired. Now.

  82. davidm123

    Paul Thurrott ... Windows Super Site

    It's interesting that Paul Thurrott on his "Windows Super Site" is talking like it's a great thing.

    It's interesting because you get to see what a fool he is. Even something this awful, and he loves it.

    A lot of the other mainstream media sources too. But you look at the comments in a forum like this, and it's obvious that Windows 8 is going to either change radically before its actual release, or be a total flop.

    In the weeks and months ahead, Paul Thurrott, and people like him, will have to start backpedaling, and at least acknowledge that others "aren't as ready for change" as they are. Or whatever lame excuse they can come up with acknowledge the fact that people hate it, even if they were too stupid to see that from square one.

    To his credit, this "Andrew Orlowski" will always be able to take credit for simply saying the obvious truth.

    1. Wibble

      Re: Paul Thurrott ... Windows Super Site

      He gets paid to attract people to his blog. W8 a minute... the fanbois are swarming like flies round...

      It's truly amazing to see how he thinks it's Gr8 despite the obvious problems which are so nicely highlighted here. Praise be for El Reg!

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Paul Thurrott ... Windows Super Site

      It's actually quite tragic to read.

      Most of it simply telling you how to basic stuff you used to be able to easily, and workarounds for the awkwardness of Metro, all whilst praising it.

  83. phr0g
    Thumb Up

    Actually, I quite like it.

    I was disorientated at first, but I'm loving it. Installed on my G73 laptop. No touchscreen. Got all my shortcuts sorted, Learned a few hotkeys.

    Finding apps is just as easy. It's not like I ever actually scrolled down the list of "all programs anyway"...I simply type a few letters...exactly the same as you can now do on the metro desktop, it brings up search and a list of matches.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Metro - it's all so big...

    ... I feel like I've been trapped inside the large print section of the library.

  85. schui1024

    windows 8 still has the full desktop. you dont have to use metro ui

    I've been using the developer preview since its release, and am now running the customer preview.

    Don't like the metro ui much as I prefer the classic win style desktop, and there is a way to disable metro.

    There's a reg change to disable it, which a google search will find, else there's this app which does it for you.

    With this done its a great os, but it seems to be an upgrade of windows 7. It does boot much faster, and tbh I prefer to run this over windows 7.

  86. Anonymous Coward

    initial impressions

    i have to say, some of the FUD thats going around about how bad this is it quite amazing, some of the issues that have been reported are just not there unless you actively go out of your way to make it like that. which is a little odd way of doing things if you ask me.

    So far ive not had any issues on a desktop with old and new programs, there are a lot of metro app issues that need sorted out but hopefully that will come with development.

    As it stands, is it useable? absolutely providing you take in to account a couple of things, i dont like the lack of start button in desktop mode, and for the life of me i cant see why they couldnt enable that start menu on desktop, it is after all decades of development on previous versions, Im still finding it hard getting around the OS but that should come with time. They have taken the People Hub from Windows phone and made a right mess out of it, but again, ive passed that feedback back and how it can be improved so hopefully if others do the same rather than uninstall it after 10 min and give nothing back, this may get fixed.

    I honestly cant see anything that makes it unusable, but lack of start menu and thus desktop clutter will get to me on desktop mode.There are also some driver issues which isnt really Microsofts fault

    You can customize the tiles quite well, but i want people groups like in WP7.

    Music, pics and vids all integrated very well, tried a few apps on the app store which installed without issue and they look pretty funky. My programs from Win 7 have all installed without any issues at all. Which isnt supprising given that windows IS STILL THERE!

    The only thing that i can see is definitely going to piss some folk off is the lack of start menu in desktop mode, everything else is all there and better / quicker than before! you dont need to leave desktop if you dont want too and metro is there if you need it for a snap shot of your live tiles.

    Im going to hazard a guess that many of the folk complaining about this havent used it, or removed it before they gave it a chance.

    One thing i will say is that this is going to create a lot of training issues in the workplace, it is all there but its not always easy to work it out when you first start, this i can see being a big issue

    So there you have it, several small issues and 2 big ones.

    If it had media centre on it id continue to use it everyday but alas it doesnt so that isnt an option but i shall continue to use this as much as possible because i think thats the only way to get used to it, and once again, IF its like WP7, once i do get the hang of it i will probably end up liking it

    use the feedback option folks, dont just moan about it, actually contribute something and be the beta tester that you ASKED to be :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: initial impressions

      ah the downvotes begin, care to say what it is you dont agree with? i actually thought i was being very fair with that review, or perhaps it just doesnt fit with your "idea" of what Win 8 is.

      If i have you all wrong an you actually disagree with one of my negative points then please enlighten me, ive heard that pinning to the task bar in destop can help a bit and using of the uber quick search box thats still there can help take my mind of the start menu but ive yet adapt to that way yet.

      Lets have a poll! how many of us who are moaning are still trying the beta that we asked for and still providing MS with feedback? if your not then why did you bother getting it in the first place?

      1. Wibble

        Re: initial impressions

        I'll rise.

        I installed the preview to see what it was like and get some experience with Metro as I've never seen it before (like I've never seen a Windows phone in the flesh). I was hoping above hope that Microsoft would have learned from Apple's Lion experience and done something really special.

        Alas no. It's a complete mess that's targeted at tablets regardless of whether or not you have a tablet. They've abjectly ignored the normal desktop, etc. etc. All the reasons outlined in the rest of this forum.

        The good news it's a preview, so hopefully there's enough time for Microsoft to turn off the Metro and return the start menu to where most people will expect to find it.

        Unfortunately the bad news is Microsoft is belligerent in the extreme and from past experience won't listen to their customers as their arrogance shines through. Ribbon? Internet bastard Explorer? Vista? Of course it really doesn't matter to Microsoft as they'll charge their fanbois twice, just like they did with Vista and the 'upgrade' to VII.

        Personally I'd like to see some real competition for Apple. Alas it ain't coming from Microsoft, hence Apple's stock prices are going through the roof.

        Whether or not you give a damn about this post, time will tell who's right.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: initial impressions

      Uhm, Win8 CP /has/ the media centre onboard. It opens in the desktop app. and has a few differences from the one on Win7.

  87. einsteineo
    Thumb Up


    in the beginning change is a pain but it has to change and i think it has changed for the better only. how about using windows 8 on tv with kinect!

  88. Flubb

    The Horror!

    It already looked like a disaster in the MS blogs and promos touting it, but what you have shown us is completely shocking and an utter disaster. Your analysis is very well reasoned and appropriate, although you didn't refer to the idiotic cultist terminology that involves using normal English words such as "Charms", in wonderfully original and unprecedented ways. Let's hope your condemnation helps to wake up someone with an intact brain in Redmond, assuming there is still one left.

  89. David Simpson 1

    I like the idea of live metro tiles on the desktop but after playing with both releases I feel this is going to be a disaster, usability has plummeted and without a switch to return to classic start menu, the majority of users will be returning new machines or pre-ordering them with Windows 7.

    Windows 8 is looking like the new Vista - And if the rumours are true about Google creating a desktop mode for Android 5.0 Jellybean (by killing and blending Chrome OS) then Microsoft are going to be in real trouble.

  90. Mark_W

    Even Apple

    who are notorious for their control freakery allow you to turn off the crap you don't like on Lion - such as unnatural scrolling et. al.

    And normally so do Microsoft - you could even set Windows 7 so it looked like an old XP installation. However, it seems that in W8 they're forcing you to stay in the Metro UI without tinkering under the hood to find an obscure registry entry.

    It really is a recipe for disaster for Microsoft. They *really* need to put a very obvious way to turn off the Metro UI and make it look like a start menu (i.e. make it optional rather than imposing it onto the unwary user) otherwise I know most corporates just won't roll it out - the retraining costs for W7 is bad enough - this will be way too much of a change and a step too far for most large corporates to stomach. (Hell - that's why most of us are still on XP!)

    In a time when corporate IT training budgets are lower than the budget for tea bags, it's something that will just be sidelined.

    It could even be a serious blessing in disguise for Apple, as it will sadly give the serial IT-Dept bothering wannabe Mac Adopters more ammunition to justify the shiny shiny Macbook Air they so crave.

  91. Rberns

    Let sleeping Apps lie?

    Apss don't have a natural way of being shut down. Right click produces no response and there are no close buttons. Apparently Microsoft feels that the apps should simply be left sleeping.

    With all their files locked ...

    And then what about apps that have a limited number of concurrent logins?

    I guess Win8 isn't destined for the business market. I just cannot see any corporate, even Microsoft, rolling this out as it stands.

    I probably should have guessed that when I saw metro. Imagine a someone capturing a 200 page document from a touch screen, or running Development Studio via a touch screen.

  92. airbrush

    Gnome isn't available by default any more, just install it and itis magically appears in the login menu.

  93. aThingOrTwo


    Do those people crave a shiny shiny MacBook Air because it is shiny, or because it allows them to get their work done faster and easier?

    If it is the later - then what is wrong with giving the people what they want?

  94. Sil

    Metro should be optional

    I couldn't agree more with the article.

    I love Metro on my WP7.5 HTC.

    It doesn't work on the desktop of working users. Microsoft hasn't proved at all that Metro is better than classic desktop and indeed as the article shows it seems quite inadequate.

    Either MS develops use-cases that truly benefit from Metro or please let us deactivate Metro or use it in a surf-the-web-eat-potato-chips-profile.

    Metro as a gimmick on Windows to help sell WinPhones is ok but there's a limit to inconvenience.

  95. Gary F
    Thumb Down

    It's sh*t. It's Vista all over again!

    I hate the new UI. Why do I need the entire screen to turn into a jumbled wall of tiles?

    Why can't I press the Windows key and start typing the name of the app or executable and then press enter to run it? Give me the Win7 Start menu any day.

    The UI is massively disappointing and unproductive for power users. This is another Vista in the making. I pay anually for Windows licenses and there's no way I'll be "upgrading" any of my machines.

    1. phr0g

      Re: It's sh*t. It's Vista all over again!

      You can. When you press the start corner, it displays metro. Just start typing as you used to. It comes up with the apps that begin with what you've typed just like in the old days, only in a full screen interface rather than one arbitrarily small corner of the screen.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I wanted a "My First Computer" UI

    ... I would buy Leaprog. That is all.

  97. Lamb0

    It's sh*t. It's Vista all over again!

    Yup, it's change for the sake of change, (and vendor lock-in). WinMe3 is on it's way! (Many of Win7's best "improvements" were Vista "features" disabled.) Some of the nuts and bolts have been improved - but... meh. The server side file system has another layer of features bolted on, defragging is STILL required, etc..., more useless Window dressing, (Under Dressing this time - though it's early), - unless all you really want is a tablet, or a phone with near absolute vendor lock-in, (and fees), and enough substantive changes to require MAJOR rewrites by Win9.

    Even my 81 year old Mother prefers something stable and easy to use like Debian/KDE based MEPIS. I couldn't drag her back to Windows - and won't bother to try!

  98. StooMonster

    Metro UI, why? It's the money money money

    Why is Metro UI forced in Win8? For a similar reason it is the new interface on Xbox 360.

    On 360 it's all about the advertising, and an additional revenue stream from all those Xbox gamers' eyeballs. It's the money.

    On Win8 Metro programs can only be purchased from Microsoft's app store, and Microsoft take 30% of price. This doesn't affect "desktop" programs (yet), but certainly does affect tablets that are Metro only and those users who will buy things like 'Cut the Rope'. Again, it's the money.

    I am amazed that El Reg readers aren't more vocal about Metro apps only being available from Microsoft's store.

  99. davidm123
    Thumb Down

    the new logo too

    Actually, while we're at it, I've suddenly realized that I hate the new Windows logo too.

    The old one, like the old UI, was fine. Maybe even "great".

    The new one would be good for a company just starting out, and could only afford one for $5.

    What is going on there in Redmond ? Is there something in the water over there ?

  100. TeeCee Gold badge

    So true.....

    I spent half a day this weekend trying this POS.

    First problem. It's come up with a 4:3 1024x768 resolution in the VM I put it in and won't let me change it to any widescreen resolutions. Bit of a bitch that, seeing as the UI is quite obviously built for 16:9 and is a total dog in 4:3.

    Second problem. How the fuck are you supposed to find anything? To call Metro "Byzantine" would credit the Byzantines with levels of unneccessary complexity they never posessed. Simple in presentation, but if you want to get at anything underneath it's like the whole O/S is screaming "Fuck Off" at you while you attempt to navigate it.

    So you can get the standard desktop up, so far so good. Unfortunately it lacks a start menu. Well done MS! You have successfully taken the "one legged man in an arse-kicking contest" concept and made it into a UI!

    How can the same company that was responsible for the intuitive miracle of Se7en produce this?

    Look MS. I'm not bothered by your app store, I don't give a rat's arse about Facebum or Tw@tter and you can stick Windows Live where the sun shineth not. In the light of that, please explain what the fucking point of the new desktop is?

    I'll persist with it, but I remember when Se7en was at the same stage it actually did produce the odd "Wow" when I tried it. Best 8 has managed so far is 30 seconds between "WTF?"s.....

  101. Techs UK
    Thumb Up

    don't worry

    Me and my non IT friends who have played with and seen this are very impressed.

    Maybe the critics should take a step back from what they're used to. All feedback is useful though, if expressed in a helpful and constructive, rather than 'WTF' way. Pretty much demonstrates the emotional reaction of someone, rather than an objective one.

    Go for it Microsoft - innovate. We like it.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: don't worry

      Shame you'll only be one of a very few with view like this. Impressed? Tell us how rather than lecturing the IT eilte (and not so elite sometimes) on not to react with any emotion.

      For many non-IT groups, they'll see this as a WTF because it has many features that go WTF. It'll be a nightmare trying to teach a non-IT person why their Office app doesn't run in the Metro landscape and visa-versa. Most have only got the concept of the start button after 15 years. Do we all really need to start again in such a crude way?

      This is Windows 7 with a coat of flowers, pettles and sugar candy stuck on the wall. It seems like Ballmer has forgotten about the user experience Windows will lose once Windows 8 eventually cruels out from underneath the dark stone it's coming from.

      This is why I'll be sticking with Mac OS X for the next however many years. Quick, functional, simple because I don't want to have to battle my everyday Windows nightmares in my personal space.

    2. MIc

      Re: don't worry

      That type of logical approach won't fly around here (here being planet earth). People love to say things that makes themselves feel good. And nothing feels better than throwing a fitt on the interwebz.

    3. Chad H.

      Re: don't worry

      Yo Techs, I've got an innovation for you. Triangle wheels for your car. They're going to look amazing, you mind if I put them on now?

  102. Greg J Preece

    Minimum width of 1366 pixels? So how come after installation (before driver installs) it runs at 1024x768?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Probably because there's a difference between "minimum width to actually see all the text that the UI designer put there" and "minimum width supported by the display driver". Setup programs don't usually push the envelope on hardware requirements, so you might well get through the installation process before hitting a problem.

  103. Harmless
    Thumb Up

    "Classic Shell" may save the day

    Looks like most people will be loading Classic Shell (Free, Open Source) to run Win 8 properly...

    "Does Classic Shell support Windows 8?

    Classic Shell doesn't officially support Windows 8, because Windows 8 is not yet released (as of January 2012). That said, version 3.3.0 of Classic Shell makes an effort to play nice with the developer preview of Windows 8 and IE10. Some features have been updated to work well, while others that are no longer necessary or possible have been disabled. Once a more finalized version of Windows 8 is available (like the upcoming beta in February), Classic Shell will be updated to better support it."

  104. Anonymous Coward 15

    sudo apt-get install xubuntu-{desktop,restricted-extras}

  105. This post has been deleted by its author

  106. Shagger

    Marketing Defeats Usability

    There's no technical reason why the start button can't be optional - in fact it would probably be easier to retain the start button functionality in parallel to the start screen. It's all just marketing.

    The compulsory Metro interface, especially its substitution of the Start menu, is just to get us all familiar with Metro. It's irritating and far less convenient than the Start button, but it means most computer users will become used to the Metro "look and feel", as well as its branding.

    So then we'll find WinPhones and WinTabs quite familiar looking. The Metro interface itself is great, but largely unknown. So this exercise is to advertise it to the millions of new Windows 8 users coming up, so that the phones and tabs will sell.

    They reason that it's worth pissing off power users if they can expand Windows sales at the lower end.

  107. druck Silver badge


    If forcing Metro on the desktop is like Mao’s Cultural Revolution, does that make Window's 8 on ARM like Pol Pot's Year Zero?

  108. scotvl

    After trying this out over the weekend I fear that MS has pushed asside all of its power users in favor of the Ipad rush thats been going on the last couple of years. So I gave Linux Mint 11 a try on a usb live drive, i must say its a lot easier on the eyes then windows 8 to an old power user like me.

  109. mark jacobs

    Win 8 looks really bad but ...

    Win 7 is a real pain compared with Win XP. Win 7 stutters, sleeps at the drop of a pin, and is always "delayed" in terms of response. XP is my favourite!

    1. phr0g

      Re: Win 8 looks really bad but ...

      What are you running W7 on? A ZX81?

  110. airbrush


    It'll look good on display in pc world though.

  111. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Count me out on Metro

    I don't like Metro.

    I really don't like MSFT's 'We know what is best for you' attitude.

    Good thing my company has an option to run Mac as my standard PC. I will be switching the next time I am due for a hardware refresh.

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: Count me out on Metro

      You don't like Microsoft's "We know best" attitide, but you are switching to Apple, the company that epitomises that attitude? I could understand switching because Metro is crap and OSX is a far better UI than Metro, but switching to the kings of control freakery because Microsoft are getting too controlling? Are you off your meds?

    2. TerraCo

      Re: Count me out on Metro

      Wait... what?

      You prefer Apple and you think Microsoft has a 'We know what's best for you' attitude?

      I can't think of anything that's locked down more than Apple software. MS has more than one way to skin its cats. Don't like Metro UI? Click the desktop button!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Count me out on Metro

        You two are both right, both the major players think "we know what is best".

        Even Canonical think they "know what is best".

        At least there's Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, among others... and if you're really keen, Linux From Scratch. Or perhaps one of the BSDs? Your computer, your choice.

  112. This post has been deleted by its author

  113. This post has been deleted by its author

  114. Graham Wilson

    Create IT's 'Nobel' Prize! -- A Message to the Mega-Rich who want fame and a true place in history.

    Some smart Mega-Rich could buy instant fame and a true place in history by offering an excellent prize ($100k-1M or more) to anyone--individual, group, whoever--for a well-engineered, free-to-all "Fix-Windows" patch that would change the Windows-8 UI and 'fix' Windows to whatever version the user desired.

    Also, it'd offer options to upgrade older UIs with modern enhancements w/o affecting their style. Thus, Windows 2000, XP UI etc. would run on a Win-8 core. Voilà, a Windows upgrade without being the slave of MS's marketing whims.

    Go 'viral' would be an understatement, it'd force Microsoft to move from marketing "innovations" to real engineering innovation. A service to the world!

    Might start a trend too. Want a fix or a feature MS omitted/dropped--Win-FS for instance? Each year IT's 'Nobel' could be awarded for the best non-MS Windows innovation.

    Conditions: All MS employees, former and current, excluded!


    1. Charles 9

      I'll go you one better.

      Offer $1M or more to do the same thing, only on a Linux distro while at the same time offering the ability to run most windows programs out of the box (cutting out the most common excuse not to switch--my program doesn't run on Linux). Offer a bonus (say another $1M) if that list of workables includes the latest games at their highest settings (this is one of the holdouts right now--DX11 games). This would REALLY hit Microsoft hard since with this there would be no practical reason to pay for their OS--ANY of their OS's--again.

      1. Graham Wilson

        @ Charles9 -- Re: I'll go you one better.

        Exactly, then users would have full control.

        All we have to is publicize the idea and hope for a philanthropist!


  115. Euripides Pants

    The Circle of Strife

    The Metro UI will drive Windows users to Ubuntu.

    The Unity UI will drive Ubuntu users to Windows.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: The Circle of Strife

      Until the defectors find Xubuntu, Mint, or some other more-traditional distro and settle back down...

  116. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Up

    For once I fully agree with..., Mr Orlowski.

    Metro UI is a joke at best and should be OPTIONAL, regardless of what the clueless fat bald fart and his ilks in the bubble like Sinofsky et al think.

    I'm saying this since the first preview (last Fall): it's another Vista-sized royal disaster in the making.

    TL,DR: any disappearance of our Start Menu will result in total rejection, nobody will adopt it in enterprise circles (which means the loss of the majority of Windows sales.)

  117. einsteineo
    Thumb Up


    how about using windows 8 on a 3d hdtv with kinect!

    i posted this comment a few days back but couldn't see it here even today. is this some sort of campaign?

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    God I hate you Andy...

    But the articles you allow us to comment on... well, they almost redeem you!

    1. kissingthecarpet
      Thumb Up

      Re: God I hate you Andy...

      If people start agreeing with Mr. O wholesale then MS are *really* in deep shit

  119. einsteineo


    i wonder if you people like any OS that has ever been made.

    1. Furbian

      Re: WTF?

      Yes I loved GEM on the Atari ST, Workbench 3 on the Amiga, Windows 95, XP and 7.

      Hated, Win 3.11, OS/2, Vista, and now Windows 8 (maybe -Metro it will be OK).

      There are others, but these are ones I can rattle off in a minute.

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows releases are a bit like Star Trek movies

    Every other one is okay.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Windows releases are a bit like Star Trek movies

      What a startling and original statement.

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Worst looking design in the history of MS. Too bad rounding those corners would add so much to the cost that they have to leave the sharp, putrid looking edges.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      But rounded corners have been patented by Apple :-)

  122. Andy Watt

    I thought you could turn Metro off?

    I've seen a couple of youtubers posting about how a registry hack turns it back into Windows 7, if you're that bothered and love to dig around (the KDE thread weaving through this forum is an example) then just hack Win8 and stop using Metro... presuming that hack will still work, that is.

    There seems to be a general slash and burn attitude from MS regarding legacy support - I applaud their attempts to make their company forward-facing, without having the frankly ludicrous s burden of supporting everything windows flavoured since the year dot, but they may be going a little too fast, if what I read on Reg is anythnig to go by.

    On the plus side, that means loads of people might abandon windows altogether, which would be excellent. I still regard it as the biggest patched, hacked-together shitbag of an OS, largely thanks to the piecemeal approach Microsoft have had over the years to its design. IMHO, mind.

  123. Mark Stronge
    Thumb Up

    I installed it on my netbook, I did require to install a separate intel graphics driver so that I could up my resolution so that the metro apps work, but now all is ok.

    1280x960 is the recommended minimum resolution, but the metro apps will run at lower, just not netbook low :-)

    I have found the new start menu great. Very quick to get new emails, as Gmail account is linked and Gcalendar and contacts are linked too so all running well.

    I would think over the next month or two that we will see alot of new "Metro" compatible programs appearing so that integration with the Live tiles works better than the "what you actually see" view from the article.

    I love the speed of startup, hibernate, and everything is nice and fluid, closing metro apps is cool, just drag from the top down. The wide interface is actually quicker to use than scrolling through the old start menu list and you can customise the tiles so that your favourites are listed first which I have found speeds up me using the PC, rather than what is suggested by this article. Big metro app integration over the next few months is going to transform the start menu into something that is really "teeming with life" much like the advantages of the widgets and homescreen design of Android.

    Big thumbs up from me.

    1. Furbian

      "closing metro apps is cool, just drag from the top down. "

      Wow, like clicking on a red button marked 'X' in the top right corner was really quiet unintuitive, harder to do, and oh such a waste of time...

  124. stim
    Thumb Down

    not really fair...

    To whoever wrote the article: it's not really fair to quote that "You see your iSCSI Initiator, your ODBC Data Sources and all your uninstallers" etc, as the only reason you can see them on your machine is that you have turned on the "show admin" tools in the "metro start settings" - this is obviously purely so you can write drivel like this! Which poweruser is going to want to run admin tools from Metro?! Certainly no 'consumers' will either...

    if you want admin tools you can run them from the desktop, win+r, or right click the start icon and control panel... a much better way and of course doesn't put them in the metro interface.

    Sort it out!

  125. TerraCo

    Still a Beta

    I don't know if the author realises that this is still in Beta phase. He also completely glossed over the fact that there's a "Desktop" button which takes the user to the classic desktop.

    Open My Computer in the classic desktop and in the ribbon is the button for Control Panel. Everything is the same as it used to be. All you grandpa's can stop shaking your canes and telling the kids to get off the lawn because they really havent changed it that much.

  126. John 62

    full-screen Metro: No real change for many

    The big change most users will see will be the start screen and the removal of the task bar. Many people will only notice that their new apps look nice and big and bold. Why? because very many users only run full-screen windows.

  127. SpaMster

    Have they even confirmed that the metro interface wont be an opt out service yet? The writer of this article just seems like he's trying to take a dig at microsoft

  128. lauri_hoefs

    Come on...

    Is the author really complaining about an added optional feature which is not even finished and fully polished yet. Pretty much every point the author makes is close being ignorant. Like that you can actually minimize the Metro UI with a single mouse click...

    This is an early preview release, and I think it should be quite obvious you shouldn't expect it to work like an RTM version. The author should know that, but chooses to completely ignore that too.

    1. Furbian

      You can't trun Metro off...

      The author's only mistake appears to be not explicitly stating that in the previous build one could turn off Metro, and use the Start button again, that has now been removed.

      Logical that the removal was deliberate to force people to use Metro (I won't, it's obtrusive), and is meant to stay.

      Unless it's a clever ploy, i.e. "remove start button, and force the use of Metro, let's see how the lab rats behave, oh most of them hate Metro, we'll put the option of having the start button back, phew"

  129. jason 7

    Feedback from folks I've shown it to so far....

    These are normal XP/Windows 7 users -

    "Thats stupid!"

    "How do I..?"

    "Where is..?

    "Oh Christ!"

    "Why is that....?"

    "I give up!"

    "Okay okay I'll buy that Windows 7 PC!"

    "I'm buying a Mac next time if this is what it's like!"

    Glowing I'm sure you'll agree.

  130. JohnMoser


    If they can only break the underlying OS, they can call it the PostME. Does Metro have talking paperclips?

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