back to article Relaxed Windows 8 rules hint at smaller slabs to come

Microsoft has quietly changed its OEM certification guidelines for Windows 8 to allow devices with lower screen resolutions, a move that could mean smaller Windows tablets are on the way. ZDNet's Ed Bott was first to spot the rule change made earlier this month, which lowers the minimum screen size for a device bearing the …


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  1. Shane Kent

    It's an f-n alpha OS people....

    Windows 8 or should we call it Tiles 0.7, soon to be Tiles 0.8 and maybe 0.9, or who knows maybe Tiles 0.2, but it sure as hell ain't Tiles 1.0

    So we can resize tiles now and they are allowing for lower resolution, enough said.

    Walk Ballmer, it could only get better!

    1. Gordon Fecyk
      Thumb Down

      1024x768 was a minimum for MS Store apps since launch

      This rule change was for OEMs, not for the OS, PCs upgraded with it, or for applications using the new UI.

      I hit the vertical limit when trying to find a resolution to record my Windows 8 Safeguarding series; At 1280x720 the UI would run, but apps designed for it would not, telling me the res was too low. Desktop was still OK. 1280x768 worked though, as did the oddball 1262x768 I ended up filming the series in.

      Say what you want about the UI but don't say it's in alpha. The OS still hasn't crashed on me and it works as they designed it. Maybe not how you would design it. Of course, I don't run it on garbage hardware.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: It's an f-n alpha OS people....

      I'd agree that Windows 8 is a bit shite on a mouse / keyboard PC but it's quite stable and works. On a tablet it would work pretty well indeed.

      1. Vimes

        Re: It's an f-n alpha OS people.... @DrXym

        Am I the only one to remember the first versions of Windows CE where Microsoft tried to fit a start button onto to it's palmpilot wannabe handhelds? Back then MS was trying to cram a desktop UI on a portable device (example:

        Now it feels like they're trying the reverse: trying to force a UI better suited to mobile devices onto the users of a desktop OS. They're probably going to find that they'll end up having just as much success with this as they did with previous efforts.

        Perhaps it has occurred to some people that the reason why the likes of the ipad is so popular is that Apple understood that a different type of device needs a different way of working and it has an OS aimed purely at tablet users?

    3. tempemeaty

      Re: It's an f-n alpha OS people....

      Yup, it's a very premature release. Now they attempt to get it up to beta at our expense but because it's in the wild this retarded test stage alpha kids level interface will be something they can't back away from. Windows is over, stick a fork in it it's done. Perhaps China will re-invent a marketable PC OS the 3rd party software companies will find agreeable with their needs and ability to support. I hope so at least, the US PC makers don't have what it takes to come up with an alternative OS on their own.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: It's an f-n alpha OS people....

        Win 95: Windows is done

        Win 98: Windows is done

        Win ME: Windows is done

        Win XP: Windows is done

        Win XPSP2: Windows is done

        Win Vista: Windows is done

        Win 7: Windows is done etc...

        Yes, Windows has more competition now (sort of) but to say they are done because of a weird release is just plain silly. When (if) Windows finally goes away it will be a long time from now.

        1. asdf

          Re: It's an f-n alpha OS people....

          >When (if) Windows finally goes away it will be a long time from now.

          Funny people were saying the same thing about DEC in the early 1990s and Wang in the mid 1980s. It didn't take all that long.

  2. h3

    All I really would like is to be able to use a single metro app on one monitor and use the other completely as normal. (i.e go to start screen on main monitor don't drop the second back to the desktop).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Shane Kent

    That f'n alpha os is already better than the previous os. If you quit your whining and used it for longer than either 5 minutes or at all you would realize that.

    Try putting win 8 on a 4-5 year old laptop then compare it to win 7 on the same hw and you will see the difference.

    Keep trolling with your 2 first names too!!! B'ch

    1. Danny 14
      Thumb Down

      Re: @Shane Kent

      I have tried. With w7 I clicked start then programs then the app. With w8 I scrolled, scrolled then some intellihelp popped up when my trackpad hovered over some metro app. After dismissing and scrolling some more I accidentally touched the side which made some nuts bar appear. Dismissed that screen which made my apps tiles reset so I scrolled more. It took me longer to find the app in my now huge mess of tiles than it did to start my w7 laptop from cold.

      W8 is shit on non touchscreen trackpad laptop.

      1. hungee

        Re: @Shane Kent - danny 14

        Dumbest thing I have heard yet... Try this genius... Press start button, type in first letters of program/app name, press enter.

        Then once you are done, hand in your nerd credentials at the desk. I mean seriously, you are talking about an OS that children are able able to use.

        1. Vimes

          Re: @Shane Kent - danny 14

          Typing the start of the program still means more key presses than the mouse clicks that would be involved with the old system. It's inherently less efficient than the old start button.

          First impressions are mostly negative. Visually there aren't actually that many differences between 7 and 8. Things popping up when you don't want them to is the most annoying 'feature'. One example: I've lost count of the times that another of these things pop up when in reality I wanted to select the first icon in the task bar when in desktop mode.

          The biggest problem I have with Microsoft at the moment is the way in which they don't seem to pay attention to what the users actually want. Take Office 2013 for example: they changed the encryption used when protecting or unprotecting sheets in Excel. I have to deal with large workbooks. With the old system it took ~1 minute to unprotect all of them. With the new system it takes more than 15. Microsoft's response to the inevitable howling from users? 'Live with it'. In most cases - my own included - the protection is only meant to stop users from doing stupid things rather than offer any real protection against brute force attacks, and it's surprising that Microsoft didn't bother taking this into account.

          You talk about children being able to use this OS, but if you want to be taken seriously I would personally suggest that you stop talking like a spoilt 12 year old with too much time on their hands and only a rudimentary understanding of grammar.

        2. ISP

          Re: @Shane Kent - danny 14

          "you are talking about an OS that children are able able to use."

          That certainly explains the Fisher Price look and feel...

        3. asdf

          Re: @Shane Kent - danny 14

          >type in first letters of program/app name, press enter.

          Wow so back to the command line for efficiency eh? Don't get me wrong the command line is great but I thought that was the whole reason Windows existed was to make it unnecessary.

        4. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: @Shane Kent - danny 14

          Type the program's name?

          What is this, a command-line shell?

          Why have a GUI if you can't bloody use it?

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: @Shane Kent

      Why are all these MS shills so shy? Most of 'em hide behind AC...

  4. Herby

    Just more things... have people dance around and attach magnetic keyboards to.

    Isn't that what they are for anyway?

  5. Dazed and Confused


    Previously, the lowest such devices could go was 1366-by-768, which has become the standard resolution for consumer PC laptops with screens in the 13.3-to-15.6 inch range.

    whereas the standard resolution for a phone screen is rapidly heading in the direction of 1920x1080, the laughingly call "Full HD" spec. And they wonder why the laptop business is on its uppers.

    1. Vimes

      Re: Pixels

      To be fair most people probably couldn't afford the one off cost of buying a top of the range handset SIM free, which is why so many people rely on contracts. They're heavily subsidised and the real price of the handset remains effectively hidden (and the move from 12 to 24 month contracts is probably down in part to the ever increasing cost of the devices to the network - people pay more but they just don't realise it).

      Laptops for the most part don't have the same options when it comes to purchasing.

  6. dannymot

    You could change the restrictions so that it would run on my calculator. I still wouldn't install that pile of shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Seeing as my calculator is an HP 15C clone on my smartphone -- which has a 1920x1080 resolution display -- Win 8 *would* run on my calculator. But I agree: what's the point?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    please could we all agree

    Any comments that say 'its shit' are obviously from someone whose opinion on anything is worthless so worthy of downvote whatever the topic.

    1. tirk

      Re: please could we all agree

      The problem is there are many, many previously happy MS users who are faced with a sub-optimal (at best) forced replacement for a working OS, fed up with being told by AC's that Win8 is perfect in every way, when the sales figures and their own experience suggests these AC's may be figments of MS's marketing department.

      So a bit of frustration is understandable IMO, in the absence of any evidence whatsoever that MS are actually listening to their customers.

    2. M Gale

      Re: please could we all agree

      As I have said many times, mostly to AC people who have nothing but ad hominem to reason with, absolutely nobody is complaining about faster, smoother or less bloated (even though Win8 is a horribly bloated monster).

      Everybody is complaining about the UI. Yes I have used it. Yes, I have it. I have it in a VM jail where it belongs. Yes, it is complete, total and unadulterated shit. It swaps what used to be a perfectly working UI with some shit mobile phone shell that ends up as a crapton of information overload and bouncy, garish animations everywhere.

      In fact even under the hood, the idea that the OS knows better than I do as to what programs should be given a few seconds to save their shit and exit before being terminated, is a shit idea. The idea that I shouldn't know what programs are running or not, is shit. This belongs in mobile phones, not a honking great desktop PC or even a reasonably pokey laptop.

      Have you ever tried running Windows 8 in seamless mode in Virtualbox? Try it. Really, try it and be amazed at the utter shitness. Watch as TIFKAM refuses to display itself unless you have some desktop windows up, and then only the parts of TIFKAM that cover the desktop windows are shown. No other OS is this shit in a Virtualbox-based envorinment, and other VMs use awful kludgey hacks to get around that issue too, so don't try telling me that it's all VBox's fault.

      By all means, provide TIFKAM as a way of running your Windows Phone apps on the desktop (for both people that have Windows Phones). But for fuck's sake, get that horrible abomination the fuck off of my desktop by default.

      It. Is. Shit.

      There. Please disregard me if you like, AC. It doesn't make 2 + 2 = 5, no matter how much you wish to believe otherwise.

      1. El Andy

        Re: please could we all agree

        @M Gale: If you've only ever used Windows 8 in a VM, you've really not used it at all. It's undoubtedly frustrating when sat in a window where the mouse can go beyond the "edge" of the screen, where 3D acceleration support is patchy at best and where responsiveness is typically poor, but on real hardware the difference is night and day.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: please could we all agree

          > If you've only ever used Windows 8 in a VM, you've really not used it at all.

          It's 2013. Fucking get with the program, guys.

          1. M Gale

            Re: please could we all agree

            It's 2013. Fucking get with the program, guys.

            Took the words right out of my mouth. A modern OS should expect to be a guest. Or a host. Or both! Seamless mode has now been around for sodding years.

            I shouldn't need to buy Windows Datacenter [sic] Edition and be raped for several thousand pounds per two CPU sockets to do this reliably.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: please could we all agree

            I actually DO run Windows 8 on my main machine. Someone knocked my laptop over and destroyed it, and I was forced to replace it. My new machine came with Windows 8, and with the area I live my option was either that or order one and wait. I didn't have the option of waiting.

            With that being said, I *am* used to Windows 8, and I have to agree that it's simply horrible. It doesn't work properly at all, and it's completely unreliable as a desktop machine. Thankfully I know my keyboard commands, because using your mouse causes it to randomly close programs or swap between applications because it "thinks" you clicked and dragged. It's also a NIGHTMARE for a gamer.

            My family is not technically savvy at all, so I'll be keeping them on XP and Windows 7 (what they're on now) as long as possible, at which time I may try and find a Linux shell that behaves like a "regular" desktop for them. Before you harp, they're close to retirement and don't have jobs that require computer use at all, so they can barely use what they have and have never used a smartphone. They should not be forced to learn a whole new way of computing just to check email.

      2. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        @ M Gale

        While venting can be therapeutic, the first thing your rant did was make me smile, shake my head and think one thing....

        'A bad worker blames his tools'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ GitMeMyShootinIrons

          Your statement, which I've heard many times, makes me wonder what your age is. Have you never run across a tool, this case a piece of software, that was not fit for purpose? Win 8 may be able to function wonderfully on phones or tablets or desktops but there is such an outcry from the populace about its inability to function wonderfully on phones and tablets and desktops perhaps someone up the management chain a Microsoft should take notice.

          That's just a suggestion to Microsoft. I don't expect them to act on that suggestion as many more qualified people than I have already made it and it appears to fall on deaf ears.

        2. M Gale

          Re: @ M Gale

          "'A bad worker blames his tools'

          I have another copypasted phrase for you, only this one has a little more thought put into it:

          Don't shit on my cupcake and tell me it's frosting.

        3. Wensleydale Cheese

          Re: @ M Gale


          'A bad worker blames his tools'

          You never saw my father's toolbox. It was full of rounded screwdrivers.

          I swore to myself that when I grew up I would invest in good quality tools, and I did so.

          Ask any craftsman or mechanic what tools they buy, how much they cost and how much time they take looking after them for your answer.

        4. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: @ M Gale

          'A bad worker blames his tools'

          And that's why brain surgeons use chopsticks.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: please could we all agree

        I agree

  8. Homer 1


    Ballmer, the problem is not the size of the tablet, it's the crap that's running on it.

  9. Mikel

    This was just what they needed!

    A lower rez screen to compete with the $50 Android tablets in Shenzhen. Great thinking. Go get 'em guys!

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: This was just what they needed!

      Will that be $49.99 for the license and the remainder on the hardware budget...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    I am not saying W8 is bad BUT............

    ...I notice that they are so desperate to up sales figures that the latest ad only tells you one thing...


    WinXP user until AT LEAST Win11

    1. IT Drone

      Re: I am not saying W8 is bad BUT............

      And a recent high street retailer newspaper ad tried to calm us luddites by saying that the familiar desktop is *just one click away*. (But failed to mention that once you are in the desktop the Windows key takes you back to kiddy-tiles mode because that is where you should be doing all your real work of course.)

  11. Palladium

    The PC industry now is filled so much conflicts of interest that it is almost amazing it hasn't crumbled yet.

    1. MS still wants their license fees from their OEMs for an OS that nobody wants.

    2. Intel wants $600 ultrabooks/tablets from OEMs but still wants their $200+ per chip.

    3. OEMs are sick of Wintel pushing the majority of costs to them and are now heavily shifting focus to ARM devices.

  12. Gil Grissum


    Is this insanity driven by Balmer or is some other MBA at Microsoft responsible for this nonsense. Affluent customers don't want Windows 8 Tablets. If they did, they'd be selling in higher quantities instead of being crushed by the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, and especially, the iPad mini. The OEM's weren't jumping for joy to develop and sell Windows 8 Tablet's in the 10" size and don't be too shocked if they aren't rushing to market with 7" Windows 8 Tablets either. Someone should be fired at Microsoft for the ridiculous Windows 8 Hip Hop dance Tablet commercials, which are more about some director, choreographer, and dancers showing their performance skills than what Windows 8 Tablets are capable of. Hence tepid public response.

    1. Rberns

      Re: DAFT

      Sinofsky has already left. Unfortunately they don't have a replacement.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Only two mentions of Windows

    Only two mentions of Windows and no mentions of Microsoft on todays register ...

  14. GBE

    "Playing catch-up" is pretty generous...

    Saying that MS is playing catch-up with Android, iPad mini seems like a pretty generous metaphore. I'd have said something like "MS still steaming full speed in circles as Android and iOS sail away over the horizon."

  15. Fuzz

    total stupidity

    There's no need for lower resolutions. The only reason for having a low resolution device is to make it cheap so unless we are going to see RT tablets for £150 or less, this is a pointless exercise. OEMs should be encouraged to use higher resolutions for their devices and Microsoft should be working on making sure that windows can scale to higher resolutions when it's running in its desktop mode.

    Then this support needs to be carried over to all the different methods for accessing Windows. If I'm using Windows in a remote desktop or VDI environment I want it to look at the size of my screen and calculate the scaling required for where I am so that I can move from my two 24" screens on my desktop to my 1920x1080 10" laptop without finding that everything becomes microscopic. Higher resolutions should make stuff clearer not smaller.

  16. Daniel B.

    Windows 8

    It has one true place in my office: the trash bin.

    There's no way in hell I'm buying anything with the Fabulous Fred interface.

  17. Philip Lewis

    Is windows8 the first non-486 compatible windows

    What is the NX instruction and why is it so necessary?

    A P4EE 3.4Ghz machine runs win7 quite nicely, and if win8 has improved the quality/speed of the underlying core OS then it should run win8 fine too.

    Sadly, this super duper instruction is necessary, so Gallatin chips and before are out of the game.

    Have MS ever done this before?

    Why now?

  18. Plainclothes Man

    Am I the only one...

    ...who hardly ever uses the Start menu in Windows 7?

    All of the applications I use frequently are pinned to the taskbar; most days the only time I click start is to shut the machine down.

    I only noticed this quite recently, but I guess it has been the case (at least for me) for a while.

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