back to article Next Windows 8 version can ditch bits of Metro

The Interface Formerly Known as Metro (TIFKAM) is Windows 8's most controversial feature. Those using the OS with a touchscreen-equipped device generally report it's a decent touchy OS. Users of conventional PCs aren't always as happy: your correspondent personally knows one such user who has rigged his PC so he only needs to …

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  1. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

    Wow - I thought Apple had monopolized the reality distortion field.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

      Apple have pretty much lost the plot since Jobs snuffed it last Year.

      The only difference between now and, the first time he left Apple; Are all those iThingies that Jobs signed off on.

      I imagine that Apple will follow Microsoft into obscurity in due course.

      It can't have already downed on some People out their that the newest iThingy isn't much more on an improvement over their last iThingy. But, like you say it helps to have a Reality Distortion Field Generator....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

        Just like how the newest Galaxy S isn't much of an improvement over the last Galaxy S?

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

          Actually the first Galaxy S the GT-I9000 has a:

          4" 480x800 Super AMOLED Display

          Single Core 1Ghz ARM Cortex A8

          512MB RAM

          and a PowerVR 540 GPU

          Galaxy SII GT-I9100

          4.3" 480x800 Super AMOLED Display

          Dual Core 1.2Ghz Cortex A9 CPU

          1GB RAM

          Mali 400P GPU

          Galaxy SIII GT-9300

          4.8" 720x1280 Super AMOLED Display

          Quad Core 1.4 Cortex A9

          1GB RAM

          Mail 400P GPU

          Seems like a nice progressive set of updates to me, and none of them could be confused for an older / newer model either unlike some iPhones that almost always look alike.

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        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

          Given how there are enough freaks out there that have a sh-- fit when I pocket my Phone inside my Shirt Pocket. I somehow can't envision a time where those Sheeple will actually want to ware a Phone around their Wrists.

          Then again being able to shrink a GSM Phone down to that size to begin with would be impressive. and would get a bit more respect outta me. I used to love Apple way back in the iPod era. But Jobs' control freakery + the endless litigation have made me largely loath and, despise Apple.

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        1. Elmer Phud
          Stop

          Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

          Fail!

          If you are going to criticise on grammar, there is a perfectly good icon to use*.

          The El-Reg team work tirelessly for at least five minutes a day to ensure we can just click to slag-off others.

          Non-use of icons will be logged and could result in staff cutbacks due to lack of usage of icons supplied.

          *It even says 'Pedantic grammar nazi alert' ffs!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

          "@Michael Habel

          Please either go back to school or at least seriously read a book on grammar. Your post was painful to read."

          Typical Mo!

        3. hplasm
          Headmaster

          Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

          "...at least seriously read a book..."

          Isn't that splitting an infinitive?

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

            There is no infinitive there to be split. Perhaps you, too, need to "seriously read a book" on grammar before reaching for that particular icon.

            On the other hand, the most horrendous abuse of English was in the original article where it talked about the "vocabulary" of gestures in Windows 8. Where's a vomit icon when you need one?

            1. garden-snail
              Go

              Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

              'There is no infinitive there to be split. Perhaps you, too, need to "seriously read a book" on grammar...'

              Now there's a split infinitive!

          2. Gav
            Headmaster

            Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

            Not a split infinitive, but the "seriously" is misplaced in such a way that it confuses what was meant. . As quoted the one who should at least read a book on grammar, should do so "seriously". However, what was meant is that the person urging them to read a book is being serious. i.e.

            "seriously, at least read a book on grammar"

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    2. hplasm
      Devil

      Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

      Apple generate a Reality Distortion field.

      Microsoft just use a really big hammer.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

      >>Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

      How is disabling some W8 features making it like W7? They aren't putting the start-button back, just disabling features to stop people being able to run up applications.

      1. druck Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Making Windows 8 look like Windows 7 isn't a climbdown?

        Once you do make Windows 8 look like Windows 7 by installing a Start Menu replacement (such as Classic Shell) and banishing TIKFAM apps, then it's actually not bad. Pretty quick and with a nicer Task Manager and and File Manager progress windows than 7. My Vivobook has a touch screen, but I only ever use it for filling out web forms, as its easier to touch lots of tick boxes, no real use for anything on the desktop when you have a large multi-gesture trackpad.

  2. Ross K
    Thumb Down

    Metro redundant on embedded?

    On any embedded windows install I've come across, the point-of-sale or ATM software IS the user interface.

    No point putting Metro on there if no fucker is going to see/use it.

    1. Spearchucker Jones
      Holmes

      Re: Metro redundant on embedded?

      The value is in the dev tools, i.e. WinRT. Windows 8 store apps, or whatever you're supposed to call them now, happen to run in the Metro UI (or whatever that's called these days).

      1. Ross K
        Windows

        Re: Metro redundant on embedded?

        Windows 8 store apps, or whatever you're supposed to call them now, happen to run in the Metro UI (or whatever that's called these days).

        Er, no. I think you're missing the point of embedded here.

        As numerous people, including myself, have already stated: Windows Embedded/WEPOS/XPe (or whatever you want to call it) is used in situations like POS or cashpoints.

        In fact the last time I read a WIndows Embedded licence it required you to boot straight into the "app"/user experience/frontend (or whatever you want to call it) :)

        In short, WIndows Embedded isn't meant to be used like your PC at home... You're going to be running bespoke software, not something off an app store.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows Embedded?

    In 2013... WHY? Just let that abomination die already.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Windows Embedded?

      What else is there? Genuine question. I know there will be various nix derivatives, but this was mostly warp's stomping ground and embedded has taken up a lot of the slack as warp declined.

      There is a need for this type of o/s, industrial / pos / atms etcbut is there a market for ms embedded, ms think so.

      1. big_D Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Windows Embedded?

        We use mainly Linux for our embedded devices, booting from LTSP (remote boot). But SAP customers need Internet Explorer, so we also have Windows Embedded versions of our terminals.

        Generally, the terminals boot straight into a single application and they run that one application all day long - E.g. veterenary inspection of passing pig carcasses, booking salmonella samples into the system, classification and cool house targeting, among other tasks.

        The user doesn't need a keyboard, mouse or even a web browser for such applications, they just punch the relevant buttons all day long. If the switched to read an RSS feed, the complete production line would stop, until returned to the application and respond to the next input.

        The same goes for warehousing etc. Here, the user is in one application all day long, no other choices, no desktop available. The terminal has one job (or a small selection of jobs) that it needs to do and it doesn't let the user do anything else.

        Computers aren't just used on the desktop, in an office. ;-)

        BTW, in the Edeka stores (Germany), the POS terminals all have a smiling TUX on the login screen.

  4. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Odd - only suspending those?

    In earlier Embedded it was normal to kill the shell entirely and replace it with your own, so merely suspending bits of the Win8 shell seems an odd way of describing it.

    In almost every use of Win Embedded, the whole point is to kill every aspect of a "normal" Windows UI and replace it with the specialised UI for the particular use.

    - If you can still see that it's Windows after the boot screen, you probably didn't do it right.

    That said, manufacturers are only now moving to Win 7 Embedded, so usage of Win 8 is a few years away.

    Unless they pull the rug out from under us by stopping licensing of new Win7 Embedded machines, in which case it'll scare everybody onto Linux.

    1. Ross K
      WTF?

      Re: Odd - only suspending those?

      ...which case it'll scare everybody onto Linux.

      I can't see Micros rewriting their POS software (or NCR rewriting POS software) for a totally different OS.

      Linux isn't the answer to everything...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: POS Rewrite

        You do know NCR has a POS system based on Linux already, right? 2 seconds of Google told me that.

        I've also seen a POS system using Linux in a real supermarket. Can't remember the vendor, but it was a proper POS company's system (not, for example, a DIY thing the store created).

        Regardless, my understanding is there are major changes required to switch to "new UI" anyway. If the devs have to re-learn how to do things anyway, why not switch over to a less retarded OS now?

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Linux is however guaranteed to be available

        No matter which Linux you pick, in ten years time you will definitely still be able to legally deploy that specific version.

        That's the issue - right now companies are only just starting to use Win7 embedded in released products.

        It takes a year or two to build and test the new system on a new underlying OS, so if you lose the ability to licence it only five years after it first became available, you might only get three years of shipping units before you have to switch to a new underlying OS.

        Which takes you two years, so you end up continually re-writing just the OS layers,with only one year in the middle for actual new features etc.

        Not sustainable, thus a short lifetime of Embedded licensing is a sure-fire way to kill all sales of it, forever.

        As other posters have pointed out, several Embedded systems are already on Linux - and with modern toolkits like Qt, transitioning between WinXP and Linux is much easier than it used to be. It's not "tick the box", and probably won't ever be - but much easier than before.

        It's also rather nice how easy a Linux is to lock down - after all, an always full screen application doesn't actually need a window manager...

        Linux actually has the low-power embedded market almost completely sewn up - check what your smart TV or STB (router etc) runs!

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Odd - only suspending those?

      "If you can still see that it's Windows after the boot screen, you probably didn't do it right."

      Metro looks nothing like Windows. Does that mean Windows 8 is *already* the embedded version?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A thread just for Eadon to play in...

    Go!

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  6. Silverburn
    Coat

    TIFKAM

    Why do I always read that as TIT CAM?

    The classic, suspiciously-stained trenchcoat please.

    1. ShadowedOne
      Happy

      Re: TIFKAM

      Wishful thinking?

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    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Embedded bloat

      Windows Embedded is generally a cut down, or cut downable version. The "extra" bits are the tools that allow you to easily generate a standard image and roll that out to your devices, plus being able to lock down the desktop, so that the desktop / shell isn't shown, or only specific applications are available, make the disk read only or session write only (upon shutdown or restart, all data written to disk during the session, including changes to registry settings will be nuked and it restarts with default build).

    2. big_D Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Embedded bloat

      Ba, no edit...

      We use W7E on single core Atom based terminals with 1GB RAM, we also use an LTSP Linux.

      I think it is more El Reg taking a sore point among Windows users (TIFKAM, which is like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it) and using that as the headline, in order to get clicks. I would assume that Windows 8 Embedded will have the same flexibility as previous versions, otherwise manufacturers will be looking for an alternative platform.

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Embedded bloat

      Eadon - you do realise that windows and Linux aren't the only things out there?

      I'm sure there are many embedded systems you've never heard of - indeed, don't forget that the internet and it's associated routers etc. were around before linux or microsoft.

      It seems you can never bash MS without pimping Linux. You are like a religious zealot - You aren't just saying "Your religion is rubbish" you are also saying "mine is the only true religion"

      EADON AND HIS CAPS-FINISH FAIL!

  8. JDX Gold badge

    I like the Kinect bit

    That could be kinda cool on an embedded system if it works well.

  9. Avatar of They
    Linux

    The headline sounded better than it was.

    Please Microsoft, just admit windows 8 is an epic FAIL, move on and bring us windows 9.

    The same background tasks and security updates but lose the TIFKAM.

    Or have a big option at the front that says do you want Metro, clicking 'NO' removes all the stupid dual UI rubbish and gives you the normal windows 7 interface. Ideally gets rid of horrible square feelings to every software iteration as well.

    But I use linux, because it works, however I wouldn't have to help friends and family with 8 if you admit it sooner rather than later.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: The headline sounded better than it was.

      Why would you think they're not already working on W9?

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  11. Corborg

    No climb down

    Considering the interface is also in the excellent Server 2012 it would be crazy to go back on it now.

    They will just replace the mouse cursor with a hand, like in Surgeon Simulator 2013 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2XkTIYhQC8)

    1. Wibble
      Boffin

      How to get rid of TIKFAM

      http://classicshell.sourceforge.net

      Et voila! The damnable start screen disappears in a flash!

  12. 1Rafayal
    Windows

    I dont actually mind Windows 8 or TIFKAM.

    Granted, I have a start menu installed and the whole thing boots into the desktop each time I switch on my laptop.

    The corner things take a little to get used to, the one on the right is pretty useful once you get the hang of it, the ones on the left are cool once you know they are there.

    When you are using TIFKAM, you can scroll through it pretty quickly on a non-touch machine with the mouse wheel, over the last week I have been gradually coming to the understanding that TIFKAM is just like a massive start menu.

    But, with that said, I dont really care if it is there or not.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My answer to TIFKAM is to run Server 2012 as my desktop OS.. All the new interface stuff, but minus metro.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Server 2012 uses Metro.

    2. Richard Plinston

      > My answer to TIFKAM is to run Server 2012

      MS will love you for that. If everyone did then MS revenue would triple overnight. Forget the $15 upgrade to Win8, pay the $882.00 for standard edition server.

  14. Refugee from Windows
    Meh

    If it's ARMless it'll be dead in the water

    Not much of a mention of what the processor support is here. I suppose if they leave ARM out they will find a lot of the Embedded guys (and gals) brushing it aside and using another platform such as Android. Seriously thinking that possibly M$ has lost the will to live.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "........and another who returned a new PC to the shop it came from because TIFKAM was so confusing."

    This retard should be banned from owning a PC for life!

    Most people are complete retards anyway, so the story is hardly surprising. There is nothing difficult about using metro.

    1. M Gale

      There is nothing difficult about using metro.

      Asides the massive information overload once you install more than a few applications, of course.

      Asides trying to find out which TIFKAM apps are running and which ones aren't. Oh, yeah I forgot, Metro magically manages that by deciding for you what stays in memory and what has a few seconds to save its shit before being rather unceremoniously terminated regardless of your wishes. Because that's completely failproof.

      Yeesh. I know I can be a sarky bastard at times, but the snark is so thick here you could cut it with a knife. Not that Microsoft Window doesn't deserve it.

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    3. Jaymax
      Megaphone

      "There is nothing difficult about using metro."

      When Win7 rolled, or equivalently when office went all 'ribbons', I can remember walking up to a shop floor machine at having a nice little tutu about, having a look at options and settings etc etc no problem.

      I've only once so far had a play with Win8 in a store, and I'd read a LOT more about how to drive it than I had for earlier releases.

      I think within about 20 seconds I walked away in disgust. I'm quite positive that with a bit of a play I could have gotten used to METRO-style operation, but there was nothing INTUITIVE about it.

      There may indeed me 'nothing difficult' but I want my UI to be HELPFUL, not just 'NOT DIFFICULT'.

      PS: Full-screen-only apps; what the f&(* is that doing to help me.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love my new win 8 machine with Metro. It does everything I want it to, quickly and easily.

    No training required. Just switch on and away you go.

    Anyone elses comment is just bullshit from retarded Mos.

    Love it or hate it, windows is still the most widely distributed OS, best support, easiest to use, most well known OS. So stop complaining like a girl and get on with your (lack of) life.

    1. M Gale

      Not often I accuse someone of being a shill, but there are an awful lot of ACs with a nasty dismissive attitude toward anybody who fails to love the new bullshit, and a completely brainwashed attitude toward Microsoft. They don't even try to say how I'm wrong.. just throw insults out like "it's easy, you're retarded, stop complaining, get a life" and all the rest.

      I guess Metro really is doubleplusgood.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      "I love my new win 8 machine with Metro. It does everything I want it to, quickly and easily."

      You obviously don't want to do much.

    3. Jason Hall

      "I love my new win 8 machine with Metro. It does everything I want it to, quickly and easily."

      Good for you. Other opinions vary.

      "No training required. Just switch on and away you go."

      So you somehow understood how to use it without any training? That's amazing. ESP or something?

      For you or I there isn't much of a learning curve, but for some people it's a huge difference.

      "Anyone elses comment is just bullshit from retarded Mos."

      Nice. Remind me to punch you in the face if I see you walking down the street. Oh yeah, sorry, that wasn't nice either. See we can both be dicks.

      "Love it or hate it, windows is still the most widely distributed OS, best support, easiest to use, most well known OS. "

      Ah... that old chestnut. Just because it's the most widely distributed doesn't mean it's the best.

      "So stop complaining like a girl and get on with your (lack of) life."

      Sexist attitude too? Double-nice.

  17. Tom Jasper

    <Windows Key> + D

    First thing to do after entering password on boot. Every time.

    Just waiting for the key sequence to become irrelevant or for TIFKAM to evolve into something more useful than a launcher for commonly used desktop applications (which is it's only purpose in my world).

    Hope they don't consider abandoning the <move mouse to right hand side of screen> though.

    Just saying.

  18. Miek
    Linux

    "What then to make of the fact that the next release of Windows 8 will make it possible to remove some aspects of TIFKAM from the user interface?" - Wait for Windows 9 and see if Microsoft back down in order to get their OS onto business computers which they currently are not able to do with Windows 8.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      What's fascinating about that is...

      That they already knew Windows 8 would be a non-starter in the Enterprise - they MUST have done. So whatever Microsoft's strategy for the future is, don't count on a backdown over TIFKAM in Windows 9. The Office team effectively ignored TIFKAM, and I suspect that means they assume most Enterprise PCs will still be running Windows 7 until 2020, have made sure Office will still be palatable to the Enterprise, then hedged their bets on tablets, phablets and phones in the consumer market.

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        1. 1Rafayal

          Re: What's fascinating about that is...- TIFKAM is an ad.

          Or, more likely, to try and force a standard interface on to users of MS driven tablets, phones and computers.

          I would imagine the likes of Google and Apple are looking quite carefully at this, trying to figure out how to make it work for them. Albeit in a slightly more subtle way.

          If either can standardise the interface between phones, tablets and desktops and get the consumer world to love it, then they will be on to a complete winner...

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            1. 1Rafayal

              Re: What's fascinating about that is...- TIFKAM is an ad.

              I dont know how you can make such a dismissive statement..

              Chrome has a very good app launcher built into it that comprises of tiles/icons/whatever.

              I would imagine that Google, Apple and Microsoft would be very interested in designing a UI that is the same across all devices. When one of them gets it right, they will be on to a winner.

              It would make using your phone/tablet/desktop a trivial task. Users would know how to navigate around any device for a given OS manufacturer without having to think about it.

              Just because it hasnt taken off with TIFKAM doesnt mean that others wont try.

              Unity springs to mind

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                1. 1Rafayal

                  Re: What's fascinating about that is...- TIFKAM is an ad.

                  I am confused, you are stating that current touch screen devices are not accurate?

                  If this were the case, how is it that there are so many android and iOS apps that require very accurate swipes etc on screen? For instance, Sketch Book Mobile.

                  I think one rather good example of how a touch screen interface can work well with both a keyboard and a finger is Android. I use these devices regularly with my Android tablet, I have no problems navigating by finger or by mouse.

                  I would be interested to know how many other people use Android in the same way.

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  19. Jaymax
    Happy

    All 'proper' new Windows apps will only run full screen, meanwhile

    Samsung are building in this nifty feature into their Android tablets that make it easy to run two separate 'full screen' apps side by side, to enable greater productivity, like moving data between apps, or taking notes etc...

    It seems to me that these companies have diametrically opposed views of what is good for us users.

    Which is why I'm buying me a Galaxy Note 8.0 the first chance I get, and waiting for MS to get a clue before next upgrading my desktop OS.

    1. 1Rafayal

      Re: All 'proper' new Windows apps will only run full screen, meanwhile

      well, heres a thing I just found out you can do on Windows 8.

      You can actually have two apps open and running on the screen at the same time. For instance, I have Chrome open now on the desktop and the Windows 8 Hotmail app running, I can see both on the same screen at once.

      If I open another Windows 8 app, then the Hotmail app stays open and the new app opens up.

      There is this expander bar, if I drag it over to the right then Chrome stays open all the time and the hotmail app will make way for what ever.

      Now, I am no Windows evangelist, I guess you could say I am agnostic when it comes to things like this, its a fairly cool feature - I dont think it is one I am going to use often (although having my email open all the time like this is fairly useful).

      I also dont see how TIFKAM can be used in the enterprise either. Your typical user at work can just about get around the desktop and I dont see how TIFKAM can aid productivity at work either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All 'proper' new Windows apps will only run full screen, meanwhile

        What? Two apps on screen at once? A cool feature?

        Fuckme - that's advanced. Two apps on sreen at once? Really?

        Blimey!

  20. daveeff
    Thumb Up

    wes

    I use wes7 on "the family" laptop, boots in a couple of seconds and if anyone installs any crap I just turn it off and on and it's all gone away (only the admin can unlock the disk for write).

    I keep a memory card in for storing data but very little is actually stored - it's mostly surfing with open office on hand to open web-mail attachments.

  21. h3

    Microsoft's proper embedded system is still CE. (Actually supports non x86).

    Replace explorer.exe with your application seems to be the limit of the other ones and removing services.

    It isn't the same. (People still use CE for stuff).

    1. Tim Bates

      Re: People still use CE for stuff

      Yep... In fact I'm just knocking together a quick CE based IP webcam server type device.

      OK, it's an old Windows Mobile 6 phone, so it's the version of CE with the crap interface. But it's still CE under the covers.

      I always wished I could have the traditional start menu and desktop on all my Windows Mobile based phones. Pity they made it all the same the wrong way around.

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