back to article Windows 8.1 Start button SPOTTED in the wild

Leaked screenshots of a prerelease build of Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8.1 update reveal that the rumors are true and the Start button really is coming back – though perhaps not in the way users of previous versions of Windows might like. Screenshot of Windows 8.1 showing new Start button Thar she blows! That little …


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  1. hplasm

    This seems rather half-arsed

    and I don't think it will satisfy the requirements of the masses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This seems rather half-arsed

      Oh, that's understated wonderfully. Congratulations sir.

      I can sort of admire the way that Microsoft promises to listen to customer demand and then blatantly ignores what the customers actually want. In a kind of spectator way it's fun to watch the resultant train wreck since i'm not on Win8.

      I'm not deploying Win8 until I can do it without my users demanding my severed head on a plate though, so no Win8 for us until they this gets fixed.

      1. Dana W

        Re: This seems rather half-arsed

        The train wreck is even more fun if you aren't on Windows at all.

        1. breakfast Silver badge

          Re: This seems rather half-arsed

          I am no longer on Windows at all as a direct consequence of having installed Windows 8 on my laptop. Linux finally became easier to use for day to day computing.

        2. Splodger

          Re: This seems rather half-arsed

          FWIW, my current non-touchy screen lappy (which arrived with Win 8 installed) will be my last Windows device (if I can possibly help it).

          Heroic fail from MS on this - how could they have possibly ballsed the "fix" up so much.

          MS can keep the bloody useless Metro thing, swipes, charms, their accursed full screen "apps", the fact they call everything "apps" rather than programs, their MS accounts, online store, shit wi-fi handling and only-works-if-you're-online "help" system.

          Time to man up and find out what this linux thing is all about...

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: This seems rather half-arsed

      The problem MS have is: can they actually put the start button back without the third-party start button/menu vendors crying foul and potentially having their complaint upheld by the EU?

      1. The lone lurker

        Re: This seems rather half-arsed @ roland6

        Certainly they can, if it was provided in a similar way to the third party offerings. They could provide it as a download from a support website or possibly as an optional update. Perhaps a 'start menu' choice screen to preempt the EU bureaucrats?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This seems rather half-arsed

        > The problem MS have is: can they actually put the start button back without the third-party start button/menu vendors crying foul and potentially having their complaint upheld by the EU?

        The real question is "Can they ctually put the start button back with the menu and not have everyone ask why they would want it rather then Windows 8?"

        Especially seeing as though the populous are not crying out for Metro apps?

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: This seems rather half-arsed

          So it's obviously too much to ask that the users actually get what they want, rather than what Microsoft tell us that we want? So it's now two strikes and still not right, and we all know what happens on three strikes...

      3. Paul Shirley


        "can they actually put the start button back without the third-party start button/menu vendors crying foul"

        Does this half-arsed mockery *block* 3rd party replacements... call me cynical but I won't be even slightly surprised if this hijacks that bit of screen and deliberately breaks 3rd party replacements, at least till they hack around it.

        So MS partially correct the misuse of invisible UI elements but it's just window dressing, not real change and certainly not what users are screaming for. How not surprised do I look?

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: @Roland6

          So MS partially correct the misuse of invisible UI elements but it's just window dressing, not real change and certainly not what users are screaming for. How not surprised do I look?

          Precisely, it's not the lack of start menu that's the problem. The full screen start menu isn't the worst thing in the world, if done right and with enough flexibility and so the damn thing doesn't look like a useless screen full of incomprehensible icons, which I suppose they're starting to fix. It's the idiotic invisible "you need to know to thumb here" mentality in the entire UI that's the most pressing problem. The second most serious problem I'm not sure is either the context switching between Metro (whatever) and desktop environments and the differences between the applications that are in them, or the fact that half the interface is only properly usable with a touch screen which is utterly useless for desktop systems, barely useful for laptops and only properly useful for tablets.

          Subjectively I find the entire Metro UI, the capitals everywhere, the irritating lack of a way to easily find functionality and the bland icons of nothing much very ugly. But that's my opinion, some people like it.

      4. AceRimmer

        Re: This seems rather half-arsed

        The third party start menu applications work by activating hidden/deactivated features of the the Windows GUI.

        Given that I think it would be difficult for them to complain about much

        1. Paul Shirley

          @AceRimmer - how do you use non-existent code?

          "The third party start menu applications work by activating hidden/deactivated features of the the Windows GUI."

          Please tell us how they invoke Start Menu code that Microsoft deleted from Win8 a week before RTM? It's simply not there to be used. They also tried deleting some of the OS hooks replacements use but that just wasted days of dev time working around the sabotage.

          Why did they remove it so completely? Because people kept turning it back on all the way through the Win8 test period! A sane company would see that and conclude disabling it was a mistake. MS physically excised the option and it's rumoured Sinofsky ordered engineers to delete the history from revision control so it can't be brought back - insanity.

          Microsoft are trying to use their desktop monopoly control to promote other products but when did it start making sense to piss off users trapped by the monopoly? Degrading my desktop will not endear me to WP8 or any incarnation of Metro on other devices.

        2. maxwelltofininity

          Re: This seems rather half-arsed

          That little loophole will be surely closed in 8.1. No more 3rd party apps to embarrass Microsoft. It's their way or the highway....

      5. austerusz
        Thumb Down

        Re: This seems rather half-arsed

        Probably not without them crying foul, but I doubt the EU would uphold the complaint in this case. The start button is just a button as Microsoft has it, even though they've created an entirely separate application to replicate those functions.

        However, seeing that the new button doesn't really do what the public has asked, I doubt they're in any danger whatsoever. At most, they'll have to provide a new icon.

    3. Daniel B.
      Thumb Down

      They pulled another Apple.

      Apple went on and handled Antennagate by saying "oh, death grip happens with all phones" and swiped away the real problem: touching the gap would short the antennas and kill signal reception, which was an iPhone4-only issue.

      MS goes "oh, you want your Start Button back? There it goes!" while swiping away the real complaint: "I want my Start MENU back!" coupled with "how do I disable this baby toy UI?"

      Hopefully, users will hold on and *not* buy in on Win8 even after these "changes".

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This seems rather half-arsed

      If they change it massively they get accused of messing up big time. Better to gradually nudge it in the right direction.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: This seems rather half-arsed

        Customers complained they can't find how to launch apps. MS add a start button. THe way apps are laid out is not the issue and in fact for "your granny" a single screen of apps is arguably better than delving through pop-up menus which close if you move the mouse a bit hastily.

        There is also nothing really wrong with a full-screen start menu because you cannot multitask while the start-menu is open anyway.

        I had zero problems using the W8 start screen, it's simply people complaining about change and deliberately finding things difficult (Reg Users anyway).

        1. Not That Andrew

          @JDX Re You seem rather half-arsed

          But your granny isn't going to get a single screen of programs on the Start Screen unless you uninstall all the crapware that ships with Windows 8. It's more like 3 or 4 screens that scroll sideways in a manner counter-intuitive to the way she has been using GUI's since her first BBC Micro.

        2. Tom 13

          @JDX: You're trying too hard

          That menu screen looks like crap. I'm a guy with almost no sense of aesthetics and that screen offends me. If Jobs were still alive we'd see a repeat of his Mac and PC guy commercials, and PC guy would be wearing it on his shirt.

          Best menu was probably their 9x system, but they can't ever let anything be a best of. So they try to improve it and break it instead.

        3. Robert Helpmann??

          Re: This seems rather half-arsed

          THe way apps are laid out is not the issue and in fact for "your granny" a single screen of apps is arguably better than delving through pop-up menus...

          Yes, but what about those of us who want to do more than open a browser, an e-mail client, and a chat session? All that clutter is crap! It should not amaze me that MS is taking a leaf from Apple's playbook and shutting down flexibility and customizability (if that is even a word), but not even the free advertising this move is generating is worth the pushback it has caused.

          I will not be buying into this "upgrade" myself, but I will almost certainly have to support it. No matter how bad it is, it will not be (I hope) worth changing careers over.

        4. JimC

          Re: for your granny

          But my mother knows how to use the pop-up menus. She really doesn't want to have to learn a completely different means of operating the damn system, she just wants it to work the same way it always did, but carrying on with the old kt is starting to get completely unsustainable.

    5. austerusz

      Re: This seems rather half-arsed

      Understatement of the century.

      I hope at least they'll have the decency to allow a way to make it disappear (as the author said) in the final version.

      In the meantime, I'm sticking to Pokki which does the job wonderfully, since I only use Win8 in desktop mode (and it's pretty good in that way too).

      So ... yeah ... much ado about nothing, really.

    6. Stephen Channell

      half-arsed.. no full arsed!

      If you have (as I do) a large touch screen monitor, without a "windows button", putting back the start menu is not an enhancement, it is a bug-fix, pure and simple. For touch-screens with a border (i.e. not edge to edge glass), the charm-bar doesn't work either.. so they need to add the "charms" to the start-screen... and for large 23'+ screens, the start-screen needs to come-up at the side, like the spilt screen mode... which is err.. just like the old start-menu.

      No, they'll only learn when Oracle/Google come out with a start-screen that launches Java/Android apps in preference to TIFKAM apps.. then they'll be forced to follow.

      Show an arse to customers, and they might just kick it.

    7. Prowler

      Re: This seems rather half-arsed ( you are a very kind person! )

      ... but it is actually Microsoft delivering the biggest FU in the history of FU's ever delivered to her customers.

      And even that is understating it. Ray Charles can see the problems in Windows 8 yet Ballmer and his team of overpaid under-achievers cannot.

      For over two years since the first leaked builds tech bloggers have been warning them about this MetroTard walled-garden approach. For over one year since the CP when they pulled the Start Menu we have been overwhelmingly swamping them with comments about this FUBAR fantasy. Sinofsky and his blog were overrun by painstakingly detailed comments and he ignored them and even deleted them.

      I'm trying to remember a similar example of corporate suicide and the closest thing I can recall is after IBM lost the i386 war to Compaq and then immediately turned inward, with the same siege mentality that Microsoft now displays, and the result was the relatively locked-down PS/2 with MCA and steep licensing which set the entire 3rd party clone industry against them. They completely gave up 6 or 7 years later, selling off the division and bailing from microcomputers.

      Ironically, this incident with IBM is what empowered Microsoft to monopolize the OS and become the billion dollar company they now are. You would think that Microsoft might remember those years starting in the late 1980's, but apparently Steve Ballmer was too busy partying to take notes.

      Ah well, maybe this latest Microsoft screw-up will finally wake up the sheeple. Microsoft are copying to the letter the Apple walled-garden approach. The first steps are in killing the x86 operating system and with it all the independent developers that create, sell and even give-away their software outside of Microsoft's blessing. Their version of an app-centric iOS, with a Microsoft Store and approved apps by approved developers may be called Metro but is better known by all of us as pOS.

    8. earplugs

      Re: This seems rather half-arsed

      Why doesn't Ballmer bugger off ?

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This seems rather half-arsed

      Putting a Windows button on the screen . Since only Windows keyboards would have ridiculous combinations like alt-F4, Windows-C and other bullshit. What century is this?

  2. mickey mouse the fith

    Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

    Please Microsoft, just put the sodding thing back properly. I dont want a bloody link to that horrid start screen, I want a start button like the win 7 one, as does everyone else.

    Stop half arsing it and do it properly....please.

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

      Microsoft still doesn't get it. It IS NOT THE START BUTTON THAT WE WANT! It is the original START MENU! I could care less for the button itself, it is convenient for the mouse but honestly I use the start menu button on the keyboard about as often I push it with a mouse. I want to simple, concise, and easy-to-use menu found in Windows 7. Until you deliver that, it shows you still don't get it.

      When you must run ads to say how easy and better your new design is then it ain't easy or better. If something was easy, people will not need to be told how easy it is because they will figure it out naturally. If something was better people would not complain about it so loudly. So Microsoft, take your head out of the sand, take your fingers out of your ears, and start listening to your customers. Because obviously you still don't get it when you put a start button in but not the start menu people associate with the start button.

      And I want my Aero back.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

        They're listening...but you have to understand what they're hearing.

        There is some serious Millennial Marketdroid ego on the line here. The fools that forced this down the collective user community's throat (which are the same wanks that foisted the gawd-awful Ribbon on us) have bet their asses on this interface, and they are not going to admit defeat. The higher-ups are feeling the heat from the community, and forcing them to backtrack, but these are marketing people, folks, and they are always right, even when they are dead wrong. (Just ask 'em!)

        So this is about as much of a concession you're gonna get, until they are physically removed from the company. Which, of course, isn't gonna happen for at least this development cycle; look how this will be presented to the higher-ups: "See? We put back the damn Start button, already. Now get off our asses...we have the Windows 9 UI to fuck up...uh...develop and test...yeah, user test...that's the ticket!...yeah....

        1. Wallyb132

          Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

          "So this is about as much of a concession you're gonna get, until they are physically removed from the company."

          Ummm, he was removed from the company, a few months ago, his name is Steven Sinofsky... he was shown the exit in November last year....

          1. Tom 13

            Re: Ummm, he was removed from the company,

            Nope, he was just the scapegoat. If all the people responsible for it had been removed, they wouldn't have tried this full arsed joke as the fix.

        2. Just Saying 132

          Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

          Amen! Preach it brother!

          Get rid of the damned tiles, get rid of the damned ribbons, and put the menus back where God intended them to be.

      2. slooth

        Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

        Why not go back to Windows 7, or even Vista (gag)

      3. Goat Jam

        "I could care less"

        So it's not all bad then . . . .

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

        "I could care less for the button itself"

        This implies you care about the button itself to some degree, given that you are in a position to care less about it. I think you meant you COULDN'T care less (implying you don't care about the button at all, therefore being unable to care any less about it).

        (Sorry, but necessary)

        1. Fihart

          "I could care less for the button itself"

          There is no "correct" way to express this thought.

          Brit English; "I couldn't care less"

          Yank English; "I could care less ?"

          Both are equally clear, in context.

          1. Maharg

            Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

            Yank English?

            We invented the language; the least they could do is use it.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: least they could do is use it.

              We do. And fixed it up in places where you lot had broken.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Piro Silver badge

            Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

            Incorrect. Your "yank" example is simply incorrect.

            It's not even correct in the context of American English. It's simply a retarded saying that has spread by people who barely have two brain cells to rub together. If you thought about it for, say, 3 seconds, you'd realise how nonsensical it is.

          3. Spanners Silver badge

            Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

            @Fihart let me try and explain

            "I could not care less" means that there is no circumstance where something could be less relevant.

            "I could care less" means that there is some way that could reduce my feelings about the matter.

            This is not a Brit/US thing. It is not even a concept for pedants. Neither phrase is wrong. They just have very different (opposite in fact) meanings.

            Consider it in French (Courtesy of Google Translate)

            I could not care less - Je m'en moque.

            I could care less - Je m'en fous.

            The two phrases are different

          4. Kubla Cant

            Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

            Both are equally clear, in context.

            Perhaps, but one makes sense and the other doesn't.

            Brit English; "I couldn't care less" is comparable to "It could not be better", in other words, "It is very good, as good as can be"

            Yank English; "I could care less" is comparable to "It could be better", which is usually taken to mean "It is bad or mediocre",

            1. Christopher Blackmore
              Big Brother

              Re: "I could care less for the button itself"


              I could not care less means I care as little as it is possible to care, which clearly is NOT AT ALL.

            2. Kubla Cant

              Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

              I'm puzzled by the voting pattern on the "could/couldn't care less" issue. There are six postings specifically about this phrase. Four in favour of "couldn't" received 2, 16, 22 and 16 upvotes. One in favour of "could" received 35 downvotes.

              My posting in favour of "couldn't" got 6 downvotes. Time, the great healer, will eventually soothe my pain. But I am, as I said, puzzled. Was my explanation unclear?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

                You got the downvotes because you wrote :

                Brit English; "I couldn't care less" is comparable to "It could not be better", in other words, "It is very good, as good as can be"

                Which is the exact opposite of the meaning of the phrase. It means...well, exactly what it says! I could not care less about it - the thing in question is of no consequence to me, it is worthless and beneath my notice.

                See David Mitchell for a clear explanation :

                Also there is no such thing as Brit English - there is English, and then there is American English, Australian English etc.

          5. Fihart

            Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

            Hell, what's the matter with you guys ?

            "I could care less ?" -- is simply an ironic inversion of "could I care less ?".

            The meaning is entirely clear -- and it's in the same tradition as "I really care......NOT!"

            More witty and colourful than the rather flat English "I couldn't care less" .

            Did I mention that I'm a writer.

            21 Downvotes and counting.

            1. nuked

              Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

              "More witty and colourful than the rather flat English "I couldn't care less" "

              I think you misspelt 'confusing and pointless'

            2. Gav

              Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

              ""I could care less ?" -- is simply an ironic inversion of "could I care less ?"."

              Interesting point, but irrelevant. "I could care less" in this context is not posed as a rhetorical question. The speaker is not asking if they could care less (the implied answer being "No"). They are stating that they could care less, which can only leave the listener inferring that they must care some. Isn't it amazing what the difference a single question mark and reordering of the words can make?

              Grammar : it's important if you want to be understood.

          6. Wade Burchette

            Re: "I could care less for the button itself"

            Obviously I do care about the start button enough to comment on it. My point is the start button is not as important as what happens when you press the start button. If I can get to the good start menu without a button I will be just as happy. What I want is the menu, not the button. What Microsoft continues to do is to say "you are stupid and we know what is best for you". You don't piss off your customers.

            As an aside, please do not call me a yankee. Because I was born and raised in the southeastern US, it is offensive to call me a yankee. It would be like me calling someone from Scotland "British". I do not have an issue with people from the New England states. But they are the yankees, not me.

            1. Spanners Silver badge

              It would be like me calling someone from Scotland "British".

              I was born in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. My mothers family comes from Fife north of there. My father came from Orkney which almost as far as you can go and still be in the same country.

              I have worn British Army uniform (a Scottish unit), My allegiance was not to Scotland (or England) it was to HM the Queen of the whole United Kingdom. Of course I am British!

              Do not let the rubbish we hear from the SNP mislead you. Scotland may be united in its dislike of the UK being controlled from a reclaimed swamp (London) in the remote south of Britain but splitting the country up into ever smaller bits to help political adventurers is not universally seen as a good idea!

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

        The original start menu doesn't work well with tablets. You seem to be forgetting this is their tablet OS as well.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: You seem to be forgetting this is their tablet OS as well.

          No we're not. That was their biggest crap idea and the one that needs fixed even more than the missing menu list.

          Maybe, maybe they can have a common core base for both operating systems. But the two have distinctly different user interface needs, so they need different GUIs. Even Jobs wasn't this boneheaded and he was a dictatorial bastage. Sometimes brilliant, but a still a bastage.

        2. Pat 4

          Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

          It's not a tablet OS "as well"... it's a tablet OS... PERIOD.

      6. John 62

        Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

        Aero Glass was stupid nonsense. So was Luna. Windows Classic is what you want, and although I haven't used it, Edge UI looks pretty similar to Classic.

        The Window Vista/7 Start menu was also crap, forcing everything into a small window. Windows XP did it best: pin common stuff to the first stage of the start menu, use flyouts for other stuff. The reason Windows Vista/7's start button was useful was because it presented the built in search to you so you could hit the Windows key and start typing without losing context. You can hit the windows key and start typing in 8, but that brings up the start screen nonsense, which makes you lose context.

        I'm still stuck on Windows XP at work and we have to use the Windows 2000 start menu, we're not allowed to use the XP-style one, so I've got a workaround: I PATHify all the apps I use regularly (Chrome even does this itself!) so I can just hit Windows+R and start applications with a few keystrokes, like a command line, but better.

      7. Gav

        How much less could you care?

        Excellent rant spoilt by use of "could care less", which means the exact opposite of what you think it means.

        Yes, I know, grammar nazi..pedant.. etc.. etc. But thoughtless use of the language offends me.

        1. Stevie

          Re: How much less could you care?

          [Gav] It's called "elliptical speech" dear boy. Do try and maintain a stiff upper lip in front of the Americans.

    2. MIc

      Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

      "everyone else" that's the problem with hyperbole. I don't want it back. Not even in the slightest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

        ""everyone else" that's the problem with hyperbole. I don't want it back. Not even in the slightest."

        I was thinking the same thing. I don't miss snaking my mouse cursor through cascading menus one bit, or having to go back to the beginning when the cursor goes outside the menu area.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

          "I don't miss snaking my mouse cursor through cascading menus one bit, or having to go back to the beginning when the cursor goes outside the menu area."

          Well, that's a fair point but only one that suggests that the people who wrote the menu system are not very good programmers, not that there's anything wrong with the idea of the menu as such.

        2. dan_in _ohio

          Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

          That's wonderful! Are you using it for a business or are you an individual that uses Facebook and Angry Bird "apps" all day? I, use it for actual "work" & I have a large variety of users to support and I can do without the calls of "I can't find (name your own program of choice). This abortion was designed for home users, not for businesses. I'll keep on using Classic Shell.

          BTW, I actually like server 2012 and Windows 8. I just hate the new user interfarce. Whose idea was it to put it in Server 2012 anyway? Have to go to Metro (yeah whatever) then click something that goes right back to the desktop to run. There are NO apps for servers (and I won't have any on mine).

        3. Alan_Peery

          Snaking problems -- use pin to taskbar/start menu, recently used set to 20

          If you're going through the cascading menus very often, you're not using the full set of features. Change the "recent programs" and "recent files" both to 20 (or 15 on a low res screen), pin some apps to the task bar, some to the start menu.

          The use for cascading menus is to list *all* the software on your machine, so you don't have to go an wander around c:, d:, and q: looking to see what's there...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

        That may be your case, but for the vast majority of people that isn't the case. I can tell you that of the people I know who were early adopters of Windows 7, myself included, no one has gone 8. NO ONE. And we are the geeks. We are the hard core users. I've been using Windows since v1.2, using every version of Windows except ME. Microsoft is shooting themselves in the face. Only a complete idiot drops a 17 year old UI overnight.

    3. John Sanders

      Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

      Don't you all see, Microsoft is just acting like a responsible company for the first time rather than a Monopolist and it is protecting this new market niche called "start menu" replacement programs like Start8 and the like.

    4. Keith 72

      Re: Aaaargh, why dont they listen?

      Do you actually use Win8 I wonder? I get the feeling you don't, otherwise you'd probably have come around to the fact that it's really not an issue.

    5. The_Regulator

      @mickey mouse (the name says it all really)

      Why do you need a start menu, please answer with some sort of intelligence vs just saying what you want without any justification for it.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge



  4. kevin biswas

    Too little, too late.

    The fact that SP2 ironed out most of the worst bugs of Vista was not enough to save it from oblivion, and I doubt these little changes will not be enough to save Windows 8 from the dustbin of history either. Word is out amoungst the public that 8 is a lemon, and that won't be changed easily. Which is almost a shame because if it wasn't for Microsoft's stubbon pig headededness over such trivial issues it could easily have been a sucess. Although it is not as fast and stable as 7 is is *nowhere near* as buggy and unfinished as Vista SP0 was. Personally I quite like the ribbonised explorer. I find the (mostly minor) performance and application compatibility issues more annoying than the lack of a start menu. The absolute BEST thing about 7 is the combo search/run box and it is a shame that the win 8 equivalent is nowhere near as tidy.

  5. Dale Vile, Freeform Dynamics

    Out of the box

    We have been using Windows 8 for many months. I have never had a problem with getting a new desktop user going if I spend 5 mins setting the desktop up for them. If you clear off all the metro stuff from the start menu and add the tiles relating to the desktop apps they use (in a logical order), then give them a quick navigation lesson, they hit the ground running and the lack of start button really is not an issue.

    This is fine for a small team like us, but that desk side startup process will not scale if you have lots of users.

    The biggest problem with Windows 8 IMO is the out-of-the-box experience that assumes your priority is to get going in the new world of full screen metro apps, when the actual priority for most users (in a biz context) is to get up and running with their familiar (and typically essential) desktop apps.

    So, what Microsoft needs to get right is not the features per se, but the default settings and default contents/layout of the start screen. It's the out-of-the-box experience that should be the priority for 8.1.

    1. kevin biswas

      Re: Out of the box

      Yeah. Fuillscreen apps are utterly retarded on desktop computers.

    2. John P
      Thumb Up

      Re: Out of the box

      I purchased WIndows 8 for home not long after it came out and have had it at work for a few months now.

      If you ignore all the TIFKAM stuff, it really is just a big Start Menu! That's it, no big deal.

      This plus the fact that search actually works now and finds what I want, this makes it faster for certain things than the old Start Menu.

      The interesting thing is that most techie people, when I have told them I have Windows 8, have gone ugh and ask if I've lost my mind, its a horrible OS, complete FAIL - basically Eadon's entire repertoire. Then I ask if they have actually used it and the response ranges from No to "I fired it up in a VM for 2 minutes, didn't like it, turned off".

      If you've tried it and you can't stand it, fair enough and at least you gave it a try. But I wonder how many of the loudest Win8 haters could honestly say they'd tried it...

      It looks a lot different, but really it isn't. While 8.1 does represent somewhat of a turnaround for Microsoft - personally I'd rather they changed things based on user feedback than carried on regardless - here's hoping it appeases some people; personally the transition to Windows 8 hasn't hurt me at all and I honestly see no need to go rushing back to a Start button when the Windows key does exactly what I want and my hand is already there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Out of the box

        Ok, I'll bite. I have been using Win8 for a couple of months now on my work laptop, state of the art HP EliteBook. Apart from the wi-fi crapping out requiring me to get-netadapter|restart-netadapter, it's not been so bad. It it rather good, as long as you judge it in the Windows tradition.


        I use Start8. This means, for me I have a classical Windows environment. To me, the start screen doesn't offer any advantages. The programs I use the most are pinned, the ones I don't live in the start menu. I have no need for full-screen apps just to look up the weather or anything else. In fact, the only app I downloaded from the store is to read ePub books with.

        So yes. People who say Win 8 sucks because fuck you, that's why, are obviously influenced by the bad rap it has been getting. OTOH if so many people are clamouring for a return to normalcy, why not cater to them? Honestly, I've never seen a company try so hard not to do what their customers want. At least it'll be all over for Microsoft in five years, as no one is likely to buy one of their tablets unless they were a fanboi before, and the money in the 'classic' computer market will be drying up...

        1. Philip Lewis

          Re: Out of the box

          I would be completely happy with Win8 under the hood and the Win7 UI.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Out of the box

          >Honestly, I've never seen a company try so hard not to do what their customers want.


        3. Mark 110
          Thumb Up

          Re: Out of the box

          Have had it on my desktop since launch. It works. Mostly zippier than Win7 and once you get used to what they have done and have pinned your most used programmes to the taskbar then its fine. But thats the problem - the "once i got used to it" - bit. It really should be a little more intuitive on the desktop.

          Bringing the start button back is a start. I would also suggest a "Destop/NonTouch Installation" which automatically boots to the desktop instead of the homepage (yes I know its only one click to get there but its one too many) and loses the Metro apps (have tried using these and they are a pain in a non-touch world).

          The Home screen is (without the Metro Apps) much quicker than the old Start Menu. i just use the search function and what I want pops up as soon as I start typing. All that ridiculous searching through menus for something rarely used and in a folder named after the publisher when I can only remember the name of the tool is now gone. Wonderful improvement. Making the look and feel of the Home screen much the same as the desktop will help too.

        4. An(other) Droid
          Thumb Down

          Re: Out of the box

          Do you really think that I will throw 800 dollars (average cost for a decently spec-ed laptop) to "try out" what everyone else + dog has labelled as complete fail?

          No sir, with my limited resources, I'd rather sit out this one. And if it does not get any better in the subsequent releases, then Mac OS or one of the Linux distros it will be.

      2. Philip Lewis

        Re: Out of the box

        I tried it. Awful.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Out of the box

        I'll bite. My son upgraded from win 7 to 8 and ended up dual-booting into Ubuntu after about a year of instability. Funnily enough it wasn't the metro UI that killed it for him, it was the slowdown.

        Web browsers run like molasses. Chrome in particular could never decide if it wanted to run in Metro mode or Desktop mode but in any case ran like a dog no matter what we tried. IE was just as bad.

        The memory management is...not completely ironed out. In Win 8 when you flip between apps the old app is put on ice and its memory freed up (a la Ctrl-Z/kill -STOP in *nix). But what we found was that the old apps would quietly slurp up memory until you really had run out of juice, whereupon everything ground to a halt. It was 1975 and System III UNIX all over again as far as I was concerned.

        The task manager still (STILL!) doesn't tell you the truth. Or rather, by the time it does, it's too late. You log in, watch the hourglass, see your disk light futzing around, and you have no way to tell what is the cause because by the time you can get Task Manager to tell you anything the disk I/O has gone away. Why Windows still has this problem in 2013 I have no idea.

        He liked the metro UI, and I thought it was OK. I find the new start button a dubious benefit. It reminds me of those incompetent people who spray files all over their desktop screen instead of using real folders and then wonder why it takes ten minutes to log in.

        I'm going to be watching closely to see how often he needs to boot back into Windows.

      4. Steven Roper

        @John P re trying windows 8 before damning it

        If I told you that the next version of the OS you'd be using had a C64-style command-line-only interface with no mouse support, no icons, maximum resolution 320 x 200 and only 16 preset colours on screen, you wouldn't need to try it to know that it doesn't do what you want. You know the specs required to accomplish the tasks you need to do and how you want to do them, and you know that a Commodore 64 doesn't have the specs required.

        Now, my specs are that much of the work I do involves having multiple applications open at once, spread across multiple monitors, and with some applications working in the background while I get on with something else. For example, I might have Cinema 4D rendering a 3D image in the background while downloading a texture pack from the Web in Firefox at the same time as I'm post-processing a rendered image in Photoshop.

        So when I read articles about how Windows 8 only supports full-screen apps and that apps that aren't at the front are put into a "suspended mode", that tells me that Windows 8 doesn't do what I want. It tells me that if I switch Cinema 4D to the back to do something else while it renders, the rendering stops. It tells me that when Firefox is switched to the back downloading stops. It tells me that multitasking is no longer available.

        When I read reviews stating that the new TIFKAM interface is going to be a walled garden where only Microsoft-approved apps can be installed, that tells me I can no longer use open-source apps like Celestia or Notepad++ unless the developers of those apps get approval from Microsoft, which probably costs money they can't afford. It tells me I no longer have the choice of what software to install.

        When I read blogs about how Windows 8 requires you to sign in to an online account, or, if you don't, constantly nags you to do so, and I see Microsoft publishing usage metrics that could only be obtained by the most intrusive and invasive monitoring of peoples' computer usage, that tells me that Microsoft can potentially monitor and reach into everything I do on my computer, whether I want them to or not. It tells me my computer is no longer my own property.

        So when I read all of these things, I don't need to use it to know that it doesn't do what I want or need. Now I know that you can get past the TIFKAM to the desktop and it should work with multitasking and no need to sign in etc, but it is very clear that the desktop is a legacy mode designed to wean people off to the new restrictive paradigms, and it's likely that Windows 9 or 10 will ultimately be TIFKAM-only. I do not want to be "weaned". I do not want to lose the multitasking functionality and privacy I've grown to use and enjoy. So I do not want to even start down that path, because when you give them an inch they take a mile. I do not need to use Windows 8 to know that I do not want to use it.

        As the old saying goes, a wise man learns from his neighbours' mistakes, a fool but by his own.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @John P re trying windows 8 before damning it

          What you've read is not strictly true.

          Windows8 operates fine without having to log into an account, you just lose some of the online sync'd functionality such as the app store and people's hub. Also data mining is widespread, EA do it, Valve do it, Apple does it, Google's entire business is built on doing it, previous versions of Windows did it (its those analytics which showed a decline in Smart Menu usage and led to its removal).

          On the non-Win8 RT you can install software outside of the app store, it just installs as a desktop programme not a Metro app. You can even get non-Microsoft approved apps on the Marketplace, it just gives you a warning its not been security checked by Microsoft and gives a link to the software's website.

          Regarding multitasking not all tasks are suspended, you can start a download in IE10, go to a different app and the download will continue, you can upload items to your Skydrive account via the Metro app go to a different app and it continues on in the background. The suspending of apps also only applies to metro apps, anything running on the desktop is not suspended. I do quite a bit of video editing as well as media converting which I have to do on the desktop as there are no metro apps for Sony Vegas Pro 11, Alysoft AnyDVD or RipBot. Converting a ripped Blu-Ray to MKV takes my system about three hours per movie, I batch them up, come away from the desktop and they are converting in the background with no mistakes.

          You can also have two metro apps side by side but the main app takes up 80% of the screen while the secondary app takes the remaining 20% so its only really useful for previewing.

          1. Alan_Peery
            Thumb Up

            Re: @John P re trying windows 8 before damning it

            Why the downvotes? Everything he has said here is correct.

            Yes, Metro GUI multi-tasking sucks, but it does work as described. And if I recall correctly, you can do that Metro GUI half-trick on main screen, and do real windows GUI multi-tasking on your other screens.

        2. Another Justin

          Re: @John P re trying windows 8 before damning it

          > So when I read articles about how Windows 8 only supports full-screen apps

          I'm using Firefox and Visual Studio alongside each other on Windows 8 right now. Those articles are probably talking about Windows RT which is not a desktop operating system.

          > When I read blogs about how Windows 8 requires you to sign in to an online account, or, if you don't, constantly nags you to do so

          Again, I'm not signed into a Microsoft linked count and I've only been nagged about it the once.

          > When I read reviews stating that the new TIFKAM interface is going to be a walled garden where only Microsoft-approved apps can be installed

          This is just about the only thing you've read which is almost true - installing non Microsoft-approvd apps is intended only for Enterprise customers and developers and is a bit of a pain for everyone else.

          > If I told you that the next version of the OS you'd be using had a C64-style command-line-only interface with no mouse support, no icons...

          Then I'd probably think you are either lying, or don't have a clue what you are on about, or both - I don't believe everything that gets said on the internet and neither should you.

        3. reno79

          Re: @John P re trying windows 8 before damning it

          There's a lot wrong with that post.

          I regularly use dual monitors with my Windows 8 laptop (sometimes three, but it's not quite powerful enough for heavy usage, but that's specs, not software). I have on several occassions had:

          Netflix app snapped on far left (Usually playing Red Dwarf or Black Books or something else suitable) with Chrome in "metro" mode next to it on one monitor; then on monitor two I've had the desktop open with as many apps as I'd like to use and a Metro Twitter app snapped to the right. All of them updating in realtime or in the case of Netflix, continually running. Suspending of apps ONLY happens if the coder says it should.

          I can also happily hit the windows key on my keyboard, type the first letter or two of a non-metro app that I want to launch and there it is. Which is EXACTLY how Win7 operated just in a tiny menu. Really if you cannot grasp the new method then you're just looking for reasons to not like it.

          I'm not saying it is perfect, but then neither in Windows 7 (if it was there would be no other operating systems anymore)

      5. Andrew Ed

        Re: Out of the box

        The PVR machine I built sitting next to my lounge TV multiboots:-

        2 x Windows 7 (64bit and 32 bit)

        1 x Windows 8 (64)

        1x Mageia 2(64)

        1 x Fedora 17 (64)

        1 x Windows XP(32)

        1 x Android ICS x86

        My wife and 4 yr old grandson use only win 7 (64), my wife can't stand win 8 even with classic shell installed.

        TV cards x 3 all workout the box on all bar Windows 8 which took 2 days to sort out and Android which they don't work at all.

        I use Mageia and Win 7 the most. The kids when visiting use XP or Windows 7 (64)

        I've spent time using Win 8 and still don't like it. I've tried Gnome 3 on Linux, I don't like it,I use LXDE. The family would rather re-boot and choose a different OS than use Metro or Gnome 3. They will use LXDE and only reboot if they need to for a particular program.

        Strange how they all prefer things that look vaguely similar/familiar. Very few people like big sudden changes. Some don't like any change, some in small icrements. Win 8 Metro and Linux Gnome 3 for the majority is too big a change too quickly. However as per the lyrics of an old Doors song, Variety is the spice of life, that's what the Judge (Microsoft or developers) is gonna tell my wife. The trouble is when the wife/kids or indeed anyone doesn't agree with what the Judge's decree is best for them.

        My boss thinks I should buy a new car simply because it is old (14 years), however, his new car has broken down more often,depreciates more quickly and he will be paying for it for another 4 years. Mine is paid for, reliable(193000 miles on original clutch) doesn't have any further to depreciate, holds the whole family when needed and does exactly what is needed of of it. Why change something that still does it's job well?

        If the requirements change consider changing your tools an OS is simply a tool to let you do what you want. No change in requirements then no need to change the tools.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: Out of the box

        I tried it, random lock ups with my SSD Raid OS Drive

        After half a day or so digging around, for reasons, Microsoft tried to blame my choice of hardware

        Windows 7 works fine

      7. Tom 13

        Re: fair enough and at least you gave it a try.

        Got it. You're with the 'even though the last three guys died after drinking that water, you need to too; just to be sure it is poison' crowd. Me? I'm with the learn from the mistakes others make crowd.

      8. Alan_Peery

        Just a big Start menu -- without functionality

        No grouping by shipping vendor.

        All icons at the top level.

        This may not be a problem for you, but I have 34 folders for applications on my *work* laptop, plus 15 top level icons, with an unknown number of separate applications listed under those folders. This is far too many icons to search through effectively.

        It may work at first, but the experience will progressively degrade as you install more software.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Out of the box

      >It's the out-of-the-box experience that should be the priority for 8.1.

      I think we'll find that the biz context out-of-the-box experience will most probably be included in later release, probably Win9, given that in 2012 MS were suggesting businesses, having just upgraded to 7, would skip the win8 release...

      The irritation is that if MS were being truly a hard nosed commercial operation, they would of done an XP SE release (hence chargeable) that was effectively XP-SP4 plus all the functionality that they could of put in XP but decided for commercial reasons to include in Vista and Win7.

    4. jason 7

      Re: Out of the box

      IT 'experts' talking about how unusable or difficult they find using Windows 8 = Bunch of tards trying to hump a doorknob!

    5. Lorin Thwaits

      Re: Out of the box

      If Microsoft is no longer hoping for their operating system to be used by professionals, then I guess they could coddle along this sorry excuse of an interface. Otherwise they had better get busy teaching people PowerShell or something so that the entirety of the feature set is exposed.

      Metro is a complete waste of time for anyone wishing to get real work done.

  6. Len Goddard

    How to please nobody

    What an achievement. They've actually found a way of making it worse by appearing to give back the start button then making it do something NOBODY asked for.

    Classic Shell forever!!

  7. The Axe


    Looks like I'll be sticking with start8 even when Win8.1 comes out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Start8

      Unless they've made some tweaks preventing such programs from running... Wouldn't surprise me, but I use Start8 as well, and without all the Notro cruft, it's actually surprisingly good. Well. You know, for Windows....

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Start8

      "Looks like I'll be sticking with start8 even when Win8.1 comes out."

      Im my case at lease that would be:

      "Looks like I'll be sticking with win7 even when Win8.1 comes out."

  8. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Well done, you missed the point

    It was never just about the icon - though removing it was fundamentally stupid.

    It's the "MS needs the entire screen" attitude, first seen in Office 2007.

    No, starting an application does not require the full screen, except when the screen is very small or far away - phone/tablet and TV.

    Neither of those apply in a desktop situation.

    Who's taking the fall for you this time, Ballmer?

    1. Lusty

      Re: Well done, you missed the point

      No, starting an application may not need the full screen but if you think that's all the Start menu does you are in desperate need of training to update your Windows 95 skills. The start menu is mostly about search. If you understood that you'd love the changes.

      1. Not That Andrew

        @Lusty Re: Well done, you missed the point as well

        Since when has search required the whole screen?

    2. Parax

      Re: Well done, you missed the point

      @Richard 12


      Using any kind of fullscreen interface makes Multi-tasking impossible. I often have 3 to four apps open at a time, sometimes I may have Video or TV playing whilst I am researching and writing. Now a simple click to launch another program blocks out everything on screen, it's utterly stupid, and very poorly conceived, by a bunch of amateurs with no user experience.

      @Lusty I'm sure you have misunderstood somewhere. the new start-menu thing is full screen and not a partial popup like the old start-menu. ( win95 - win7 ) changing that damages usability. I understand that the old start-menu was fine for 'search' but the new style is still terrible. 'love the changes' is the last thing that's going to happen.

      1. FlamingCanuck

        Re: Well done, you missed the point

        @parax - Then pin the fucking app to the fucking task bar and launch it from there you fucking idiot. You know just like you didn't apparently do in W7. there is more than one way to do it in windows. Turn your fucking brain on for once.

        The more I read El Reg comments on Win 8 the more I despair of the level of inteligence and thinking shown along with the general level of competence with respect to computing and IT in general.

        Win 8 is not a particularly great upgrade to windows 7- hell if it wasn't for the stupidly cheap deal on when I put the new system together earlier this year i'd have gone with 7 again, but seriously people, some of the comments here are at the "Linux sucks because you need to recompile the kernel to getdrivers to work" level of retardedness.

      2. Lusty

        Re: Well done, you missed the point

        "Using any kind of fullscreen interface makes Multi-tasking impossible."

        So tell me, oh great and wise Parax, what are you able to achieve in Windows 7 while you're using your Start menu? The search and launch screen is larger in Windows 8 in order to not waste space better used for results. Try it some time and you may realise what an ass hat you're being about Windows 8.

  9. mastodon't

    Fisher price did a sidegrade

    and failed again.

    Here's hoping the 'every other is one is good' dictum still holds

    When's 9 out?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fisher price did a sidegrade

      Yes but most annoyingly I need to break my hardware cycle, I'm stuck on upgrading hardware for every other O/S unfortunately the wrong ones.. argh!

      I find myself a vista user, due a hardware upgrade. have pity.

  10. K. Adams

    Since when did Microsoft start taking design cues...

    ... from the Gnome Shell folks?

    Could be a bit of Ubuntu's Unity Dash UI in there, too.

    FWIW, I'll stick with 7 on the Windows side, and Cinnamon or GNOME Classic/Fallback (top and bottom app/widget bars) on the GNU/Linux side...

    1. Nigel 11
      Thumb Up

      Re: Since when did Microsoft start taking design cues...

      Nice to see a mention of Cinnamon.

      When the Gnome folks messed up with "3", the open-source community bitched about it a lot and then got on with doing what Microsoft are signally failing to do. One lot wrote a user-friendly environment to run on top of the new Graphics libraries (Cinnamon). The other lot rescued the old interface, warts and all (Mate). And of course, KDE, Gnome 2, XFCE, and dozens of others never actually got taken away.

      I tried KDE, Mate and Cinnamon, decided I liked Cinnamon most, made "yum install Cinnamon" a standard part of my set-up repertoire, and stopped bitching.

      Microsoft's "start button" is no Cinnamon. It's a fig-leaf with very serious caterpillar damage.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    problem is

    The lack of start button is only one of many usability problems

  12. BongoBoy

    Oh dear

    They do seem to hate their users don't they.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its still a Bummer, Balmer.

    That's all

  14. Godwhacker

    Straight to "all apps"?

    This is what part of my 'all apps' screen looks like:

    Perhaps it'll all be fine, but I'm not going to put any bets on it

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Straight to "all apps"?

      Tell me it's a mock-up. If it isn't then it needs to be printed on an A1-sized plastic board and Balmer needs to be hit round the head with it until he gets it.

    2. reno79

      Re: Straight to "all apps"?

      Mine looks absolutely nothing like that. You have language packs listed as apps which prompts me to think you have a problem somewhere along the line.

  15. Khaptain Silver badge

    Give us the damned choice

    They started by ramming TIFKAM down our throats.

    Now they would gently like to nudge it donw our throats.

    Why not simply give us the choice, TIFKAM OR the Start Menu ( aka W7 Start menu).The half arsed approach never works.

  16. WylieCoyoteUK

    Problem is that the start screen replaces the start menu.

    It's just a kludgy shortcut to making a new UI

    The substitute start menus I have seen disable TIFKAM.

    So it looks like bringing the menu back back means that TIFKAM won't work unless they actually code it separately.

    (I could be wrong, not seen all of them)

    As mentioned above, word on the street is that Win8 is a pile of doodoo, and Joe public will be hard to convince otherwise.

    Chromebooks are apparently selling well, however.

    1. Alan Newbury

      Actually, Start8 from Stardock can be configured to have TIFKAM as a menu option, so yes, it does work with it . You can also add TIFKAM applications to the start menu - you click it, it runs full screen and when you close it you return to the desktop. Best of all worlds really.

      1. Not That Andrew

        And Classic Shell doesn't disable TIFKAM by default either, although it can be set to hide all TIFKAM except the login screen. And you can also run TIFKAM programs from the Classic Shell start menu. So I don't know where the OP got his ideas from

  17. MIc

    More speculation

    More FUD from the reg on a product not yet released....

    1. Stuart Elliott

      Re: More speculation

      Let me guess, your surname is Rosoft...

      I use Windows 8 with Start8, both in the office and at home, and genuinely like it, BECAUSE it's how I want it, not how some marketing droid who wants us to keep our noses in the Windows App Store trough wants me to use my computer.

      It's hardly FUD when it is being shown by someone WITH the product, especially given the amount of negative feedback the original Windows 8 beta users gave TIFKAM, yet to see it still rammed down their throat come release time.

  18. Nathan 13

    In other words

    Windows 8.whatever is still shit

  19. MIc

    What is missing

    Can someone explain to me what the old start menu did that the new one doesn't do? I want to run an app I hit the start button and type the first few letters and hit enter.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: What is missing

      >I want to run an app I hit the start button and type the first few letters and hit enter.

      Those app's (ie. the one's you can remember the names of) should be pinned to your taskbar.

      However, when I want to play a game say, I would like to see a list of possible games rather than play guess the filename of an installed game.

      Also it is only having used Thinkpad/Lenovo laptops for a while that I know that their backup application is called "Rescue and Recovery"; however, I knew from my very early explorations on that all Thinkpad/Lenovo applications were listed under the "ThinkVantage" tab on the menu and so was able to find it again with relatively little effort. The standard Win8 interface offers no such support - as I pointed out in a comment on another article, it wasn't until I had installed Classic Shell (and hence was able to easily browse/scan a menu) that I discovered that HP had included a Win8 getting started guide as part of their standard install suite.

      1. reno79

        Re: What is missing

        You're not playing guess the filename, you're typing the name of the game:

        SimCity: "sim..." and there it is

        Knights Of The Old Republic: "kni" and there it is, or even "rep" and there it is.

        It's not hard, in fact it's the same as windows 7 in functionality just with a different visual look.

        1. Ben Tasker

          Re: What is missing

          But that's precisely what he said he didn't want to do. He wants to hover over a folder called 'Games' and see a list of all the games that are currently installed.

          What he's saying is: If you're looking for Knights of the Republic then old and new are probably equal. If you're in the mood to play something but not quite sure what, then the new menu is largely useless as there doesn't seem to be an equally easy way to list all installed games

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: What is missing

      "Can someone explain to me what the old start menu did that the new one doesn't do?"

      Sure can.

      (1) Can the new start screen get to system restore just by typing "system restore"?

      (2) Can the new start screen get to Programs and Features (where you can remove programs) just by typing "uninstall" and not having to click on a submenu?

      (3) Can the new start screen let you see what other programs are currently open and not minimized?

      Those are some of my 3 of my biggest gripes with the start screen. One of my biggest gripes is how difficult it is to find system restore and when I have found it, on some computers it is turned of by default. Not good.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: What is missing

        Finding settings in Windows 8 is even harder then older versions of Windows.

        When you search the Microsoft site to find out how you get crap like this... (looking for change font size)

        "Open Screen Resolution by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Display in the search box, tapping or clicking Settings, and then tapping or clicking Display."


        They tell you to search, often a word that you would never guess, or remember. Searching for the actual setting gives you nothing.

        If you want to run your not-metro pong app it's great, but if you want to actually do something it's crap.

      2. El Andy

        Re: What is missing

        @Wade burchette:

        1+2, yes - they've removed the distinction between applications/settings in the 8.1 Start search so you'll get appropriate results.

        3. Not really sure what you mean there, "minimized" is a concept that only applies to desktop applications. Metro style applications are always running, at least conceptually, even though they only really get CPU time when they are in the foreground (and occasionly for specific types of background processing) . You can see this if you log into a Windows 8 machine with a LiveID and somebody sends you a Messenger message for example, the app will notify you even though you never "started" it. When you let go of the idea you need to be concerned with what is or isn't "running" at any one time, Windows 8's interface makes a lot more sense.

  20. MIc

    Bunch of nancies

    The more I dig into this win 7 vs. win 8 issue and what "benefit" is missing from the new menu the more I think it's a bunch of pansies calling for Waambulance. The old win 7 menu is a cramped POS.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Bunch of nancies

      Did that MS paycheck arrive on the mail yet?

      1. MIc

        Re: Bunch of nancies

        I even used the troll icon.

        1. M Gale

          Re: Bunch of nancies

          I even used the troll icon.

          Quite so.

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Bunch of nancies

      Ahh. But it's a POS that most people recognise and understand.

      Oh, by the way. Using the window key and the first few letters does not present you a menu of what's installed in the way that the old start menu did.

    3. Stuart Elliott

      Re: Bunch of nancies

      Wow, I've just been back and read your previous posts, you REALLY are a Microsoft shill aren't you...

      Either that, or you're as blinkered as Eadon is.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Bunch of nancies

        Actually he might be one of the dozen or so people here that have actually used Windows 8 rather than just following the herd in largely ill-informed or just downright pointless outrage.

        All I'm seeing is a lot of people that aren't as good with tech as they think they are.

        If someone can't configure Windows 8 in just a few minutes to their liking (unless of course they have some bizarre custom setup that no OS would please 100%) then really they should find another profession.

        And don't give me all that "Oh you shouldn't need to configure an OS to work" crud as we all tweak and configure our OS to our liking when we install it. I doubt very few here just install and go without installing any further apps/software/GUI tweaks.

        Really guys, the fact that Windows 8 doesn't have a largely useless Start Menu anymore isn't worth the fury. Especially when it takes all of 30 seconds to put one back for free.

        Maybe aim it at something more important?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bunch of nancies

          Okay, I'm a Win8 user and I take umbridge with what you've just posted. While the learning curve is not as steep as people make out there is a learning curve and no tutorial. I had to do an internet serach just to find the power option. I'll repeat that, I had to search the internet to find out how to switch my PC off.

          Its second nature now but that learning curve should not be there and acting like anyone who gets stuck isn't an IT bod is a bit discorteous.

          I like Windows 8 but there is a lot that needs improving and most of that does not seem to be in Windows 8.1 and until its there I can't recommend people to try Windows 8. Those improvements are metro icons for My Computer and the Control Panel on the Start Screen as default. Make the right charm bar always on while on the Metro screen and Desktop screen. Allow the creation of folders on the Start Screen and display the date/time, internet connection and power options in the unused space at the top of the Start Screen. Basically MS needs to stop hiding things from the Start Screen.

          1. jason 7

            @ MattEvanC3 Re: Bunch of nancies

            "Its second nature now but that learning curve should not be there and acting like anyone who gets stuck isn't an IT bod is a bit discourteous."

            Yes it may have been however, when I see post after post on TECH forums from 'TECH people' saying -

            "It took me three weeks to work out how to shut it down!"

            "I cant stop the Metro Apps appearing!"

            "I cant use it! It's impossible without a Start Button!"

            And many more non issues that are quite simply sorted or adjusted then you have to wonder -

            1. Have they actually used it?

            2. They work in IT but can't handle a simple challenge/find a fix?

            3. They didn't think to use Goggle to find out how?

            4. Have they no ability to learn a new way of working? Often in work and life we have to learn new stuff we don't like necessarily but we manage and get on with it.

            You can see my point surely? It does all look very suspicious, so forgive me and a few others here when we call 'bullsh*t!' on occasion.

            These issues should be so very very trivial for virtually everyone here but instead folks are making out it's impossible to work out and just give up.

            Do they do this at work when their boss asks for something new? I'd hope not.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. jason 7

                Re: @ MattEvanC3 Bunch of nancies

                Well enjoy next April then!

            2. Moeluk

              Re: @ MattEvanC3 Bunch of nancies

              Seriously do you realise what you sound like.....

              I'm 3 weeks in to actually giving Windows 8, a proper workout to test suitability moving forward. (And to shut up our guy in charge of tech)

              Everything is taking longer...than it ever did in Win 7...and it's all very good with people saying "oh you only have to reset all the default file associations" DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY FILE TYPES there are that you use without even REALISING IT....

              If i've got to set them up on every single persons machine across the business it will drive me nuts. All for no reason.

              I've got one person thats the official company test user and is working out in the field with it every day, after a little over a month, she's just about hitting the 'wanting to dropkick her laptop out of the window stage', I thought i'd fixed her wifi issues...but it turns out that you have to change your power management settings to prevent it from disconnecting the wifi every 30 minutes! I mean who in the name of christ thought that would be a GOOD IDEA....

              If people send a link from sharepoint, it now has to fire up IE before asking you what you want to do with it, open it or download it (not an issue with win 7...Word just fires up straights away and loads it up)

              It's just a complete mess, and I really don't want to deploy the point that i will probably circumvent the tech directors orders and buy Win 7 machines, instead of Win 8 for as long as i possibly can..even if it risks getting me fired.

              The sooner this whole embarassment disappears the better!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @ MattEvanC3 Bunch of nancies

                That Wifi "issue" also exists in Windows7. The power saving defaults are a nightmare on both. I lost weeks trying to do overnight batch converts that kept failing in Windows 7 until I figured out Windows 7 was switching my HDDs off as a default power saving tool. Then there was the issue of 3rd party Blu-Ray playing software like PowerDVD not being recognised as an exception to the power saving defaults so the monitor was being switched off 30 minutes into a movie.

                All those problems you are describing aren't unique to Windows 8.

                1. Moeluk

                  Re: @ MattEvanC3 Bunch of nancies

                  Yet...oddly out of the 6 Lenovo laptops, all of the same spec...this issue has ONLY cropped up in 8....

                  What say you to that sir?

                  1. jason 7

                    Re: @ MattEvanC3 Bunch of nancies

                    And there I was pointing out that folks cant quickly sort out what are mostly cosmetic UI changes.

                    Yes sure there are some changes deeper under the hood that might cause some folks issues, that's happened many times over the many versions. That's a pain sure but it happens.

                    Yet most of the stuff moaned about over and over on these topics is pretty simple cosmetics.

                    Essentially 80% of what folks are complaining about in Windows 8 is largely trivial and easily changed.

          2. Lusty

            Re: Bunch of nancies

            "While the learning curve is not as steep as people make out there is a learning curve and no tutorial."

            No tutorial apart from the VIDEO at first logon which shows you everything that has changed? Oh, you closed that because you knew better?

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Bunch of nancies @Jason 7 11:23

          Re: Bunch of nancies

          >And don't give me all that "Oh you shouldn't need to configure an OS to work" crud as we all tweak and configure our OS to our liking when we install it. I doubt very few here just install and go without installing any further apps/software/GUI tweaks.

          It may be a surprise that for practically all previous MS desktop deployments, many enterprises did roll out the full as-is out-of-the-box-experience to the end users and only really used group policy etc. to set up security settings (limited user permissions) and domain access details. Remember in the corporate world, add-ins (such as Classic Shell) are another thing to be integrated and maintained and to go wrong when MS release an update, hence need a business case to get included, as although the software may be free the creation and maintenance of a reference build isn't.

    4. stucs201

      Re: Bunch of nancies

      Actually even though I hate TIFKAM I have to agree the Win 7 start menu was cramped compared to the XP and earlier versions. I always assumed cramming the start menu into the corner on Win 7 was in preparation for the smaller screen of tablets, but since they introduced TIFKAM for that I have no idea why they got rid of the proper cascading XP style menu.

    5. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Bunch of nancies

      It is fair to say that the scrolling all programs menu in Vista/7 is a backward step as far as usability is concerned. Fortunately Classic Shell fixed that years ago.

    6. MIc

      Re: Bunch of nancies



    7. Nigel 11

      Re: Bunch of nancies

      Try configuring a PC for a university, or even a school. Large numbers of different programs. Students in each department and/or year use a different small subset of them. A menu is a perfect way to organise them. 1000+ tiles is random (or even defined) order isn't.

      I'd be perfectly happy if those stupid tiles were a new option that an experienced sysadmin could turn OFF. But no, Microsoft insists on ramming them down everyone's throat. And that's only a small part of what's wrong with the Win 8 UI. It also insists on going full-screen at every opportunity. What I want to do is have several windows open on my nice large 1920x1080 screen, and switch between them with one mouse-click. That's WHY I have a large monitor (and they're cheap and flat these days, so it's no great expense - some of my colleagues have TWO).

      If they don't fix it by the time Windows 7 is EOLed, I'll say goodbye to Microsoft even if I have to find a new job to do so. For now I'll just say no to 8. They've still got a while for the penny to drop, though it's looking a lot as if the board is going to have to eject Ballmer while there's still time to save the company. I've seen other big companies go down the plug-hole, because the boss's ego was too big to make the U turn that the customers were demanding.

  21. Boyd Crow

    Just to generate print in the media?

    So, Microsoft has leaked a photo showing a "start button" that neither looks nor acts likes a Start button and media GOES WILD!

    Nobody at a desktop wants ANY animated, Crayolur-inspired tiles, animated or otherwise, distracting them from their actual work. Give me a nice, clean primarily-text-based interface and I will show you someone who is getting things done, rather than watching things do.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Just to generate print in the media?

      "Give me a nice, clean primarily-text-based interface and I will show you someone who is getting things done, rather than watching things do."

      Are you asking for a return to the highly functional and 'clean' Win3 UI by any chance?

      Interestingly, I suspect that the vast majority of Enterprise applications (eg. ERP, CRM etc.) will continue to have UI's that are based on Win2000 classic shell (which isn't too far off the Win3 UI), because as you rightly point out they purpose is to help get work done and not to look 'modern', 'cool' or any of the other words MS use in their adverts...

    2. NogginTheNog

      Re: Just to generate print in the media?

      "Give me a nice, clean primarily-text-based interface and I will show you someone who is getting things done, rather than watching things do"

      Well said that man! I'm guessing you don't use an iPhone or iPad much then?!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It still amazes me how many luddites there are in the technology sector...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      You're saying that because the luddites are afraid that the new productive user-friendly start screen will put a great number of people out of work whereas the old start menu was a chore to use which had people peering at their screen and labouring at their keyboards and mice. Or was that the other way round, I forget...

    2. Steven Roper

      So by that argument, if I don't want to steer my car via a sidewise slider or reach down the back of the driver's seat to change gear, I'm a luddite? I have some news for you sunshine... Newer is not always Better.

    3. Dr_N

      "Luddites" is a bit hard...

      People just don't like to be taken out of their comfort zone.

      (No matter how bad it may be in there to start with.)

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Confort zone

        No, that's not how it is.

        While one is learning to use one's tools, one has to think about the tools, and one's productivity is low. When one has mastered them, one doesn't really think about them at all. They are just a part of one's environment, while one thinks about the actual useful work that one is accomplishing.

        It's the difference between learning to ride a bicycle (if you can remember that far back) and riding one. You don't think about how to move the handlebars or when and how to change gears, you think about where you want to be and about what the other road users are up to. You can even day-dream, and you won't fall off, though failing to keep your mind on the other road-users can be fatal for other reasons.

        Windows was wired into me back in the days of Windows 98. Thinking back, DecWindows and he AIX UI weren't so hugely different. (What? say the youngsters. Windows pre-Microsoft). XP SP3 was probably the best UI, with Gnome 2 a close second. Windows 7 was a tolerable irritation, like learning to drive a new car that you didn't actually want but couldn't refuse. Windows 8 is not a tolerable change (and neither was Gnome 3, but the open-source community rapidly fixed that stupidity, whereas Microsoft are very hard of hearing and have a monopoly on the source code).

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Confort zone

          >It's the difference between learning to ride a bicycle (if you can remember that far back) and riding one.

          For the adventurous who wish to reconnect with the learning to ride experience I can recommend getting a unicycle; I suggest that moving to Windows 8 from any previous window's environment is similar - yes keep with it and you'll get used to it so that you don't accidentally let the mouse get too close to the screen edges or swip your finger too quickly across the touchpad and so switch app's etc. etc. - but for everyday use it's less hassle to stick with a bicycle.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Will wait for 9 then.

  24. Ascy

    Install Launchy

    Looks very similar to my Windows 8 start menu icon (courtesy of Classic Shell), except mine is grey (changes to lime-ish green on mouse over) and without the skew. Oh, and it opens a proper start menu. Microsoft you bunch of to$$ers, just realize that your new launcher is crap and abandon it. It might be alright for launching your first application, but once you're working on something, why do you want to be slapped in the face with the concentration busting, attention grabbing, full screen (even hiding the task bar) application launcher page?

    Sod the start menu though, I use Launchy (from 99% of the time - it's amazing and free (though I like the thing so much I even donated). What you should have done is paid the Launchy dev(s) a load of money to include it in Windows 8 (don't bother trying to copy it, you'd only mess it up). Set to use the black glass skin, it's the pinnacle of unobtrusive functional design.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just install Windows Classic Shell and be done with it

    don't expect anyone at Microsoft to ever admit that Windows 8 is a pointless pile of suck.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Just install Windows Classic Shell and be done with it

      "don't expect anyone at Microsoft to ever admit that Windows 8 is a pointless pile of suck."

      Haven't paid much attention to the past then, have you?

      MS always crows about how bad their last version of *whatever* is , just as soon as they announce a new release.

      And then... tell you how the new release is going to bring you "same great experience" you had with the previous release. It seems that their marketeers can't even pay attention to what they're writing from one paragraph to the next.

  26. Don Jefe

    That's Done It Then

    If the marketing cockblisters at MS really think this is satisfying the issue they've plainly gone mad. I'd rather have them drive their original 'vision' through than this half a hand job. I suppose I'll move over to the odd side and try Linux again.

  27. Antoinette Lacroix

    In a perfect world

    (as MS sees it) everyone uses Windows, owns a WinPhone / Surface and is drooling over the unified UI. I think they still see a chance that this could happen. Might take some time, though.

  28. Levente Szileszky

    Well then Windows 8 is DEAD, period. That's it, you arrogant, clueless, angry bald...

    ...chair-trowing beancounter monkey and your ilks.

    Hahaha, cannot wait to see when they will get this thing AGAIN BLOWING UP IN THEIR STUPID, ARROGANT FACE - it will be the best Summer spectacle, for sure...

    ...and then I will just lay back and watch as shareholders will slowly start organizing for the removal of this incompetent fat clown called Ballmer.

    And for the end here's a reminder - the obligatory Vanity Fair link to the greatest article about MSTF & Ballmer from last August:

    "How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer And Corporate America's Most Spectacular Decline"

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Well then Windows 8 is DEAD, period. That's it, you arrogant, clueless, angry bald...

      Thanks for the link, it really does show why Windows will never be "cool".

      Apart form some corporate users, no-one will be using Windows in a few years time.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jesus Wept!

    'Furthermore, Thurrott said, Windows 8.1 users will be able to apply the same wallpaper to their Start Screens as appears on their desktops'

    And this is what they call progress?

    1. Andrew Ed

      Re: Jesus Wept!

      My Amiga 500 plus could do that or have every window different background image, only 20 plus years ago! Not only that but a single DD floppy could hold a working Workbench if powerpacked and it was hard work to fill a 40MB hard drive even with applications. Infact a 340MB one held Amiga OS and two lots of Dos and Windows for the PC cards installed.

      OK Applications have more functions and things look slicker nowadays, but I couldn't fill even a small modern hard drive with all my games plus PD collections plus Aminet CD's altogether in one place. How much space do you really need for an operating system before you even install anything else.

      I installed XP to an EEE 2G surf for the older daughter to use when she can't get on line any other way at her own house. After stripping out the help files and other never to be used programs it left approximately 450MB out of 2GB. That is of course with the Windows swap file disabled. basically it has a browser, antivirus and a firewall and that's it.

  30. The Real Tony Smith

    I'm Sick Of This

    I've never seen so many articles and comments about a user interface!!!!!!

    If you don't like the standard UI for Windows 8 then just change it! Install KDE, Cinnamon, LXDE, Xfce or one of a dozen others.

    If it's the window manager that's a problem then just change it. Kwin, Metacity, Fluxbox. They all have their pros and cons but there must be one you like and get comfortable with.

    It's not very bloody difficult!

    ............... Ummm, you can do this with Windows can't you??????

    1. Jan Hargreaves

      Re: I'm Sick Of This

      Er yes you can. It's a program called StarDock

      1. Mystic Megabyte

        Re: I'm Sick Of This

        >>Er yes you can. It's a program called StarDock

        So as usual you have to pay for third party apps to make the OS productive..

        It's Linux for me from now on.

        1. El Andy

          Re: I'm Sick Of This

          It's possible to run KDE on Windows (and possibly other Linux desktops). Nobody does because it's really quite shit.

          1. Nigel 11

            Re: I'm Sick Of This

            It's possible to run KDE on Windows (and possibly other Linux desktops).

            Reference please! It can't be any more shit than those tiles!

            1. El Andy

              Re: I'm Sick Of This

              It takes a fair bit of effort, you need Cygwin or services for Unix and an x-server and a fair old bit of hackery to get things to compile properly. There used to be a guide somewhere on t'interwebs, although I've no idea if it's still around or how up to date it is. It's fair to say it doesn't integrate terribly well, since it obviously doesn't look in the "right" places for things like Start menu shortcuts (and has to deal with all the kludgyness of Cygwin too)

  31. Paul 135

    Need to do more to remove "Metro" from desktop

    Many of us desktop users don't want to see the useless and intrusive "charms" (hate that name a little more every time I say it) bar ever when using the right corners. This needs either a complete overhaul or removal.

    Seeing only "Metro" apps when moving our mouse to the top-left is also useless. How about doing something more useful, such as how KDE has an "Exposé" like overview of desktop windows too.

  32. GregC

    Just another voice..

    saying no. It's not the button. Until I have a launcher/start menu that isn't a) fullscreen & b) full of tiles then I'll continue not buying it.

    While you're at it feel free to bin the ribbon too. Ta very much :)

    Oh wait, this is MS. Off to pastures new then...

  33. Nordrick Framelhammer

    This is more Micro$oft FUD

    However, in thius case FUD means Fucked Up Drek.

    They just don't get it. They scrwed up the Office 2007/2010 wiuth that ribbopn bullshit. now they are screwqing up and alreadt shitty interface. It will be interesting what happens when the cross between Uncle Fester and a dememted chimp leaves the top spot.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. ScottK

    The start screen can't be managed

    The main issue I have with the start screen is that it can't be managed. I would like to deploy Windows 2012 RDS servers since some of the improvements in RDP/RemoteFX are great. However the UI makes this a non starter. I need to be able to give different users different sets of apps. With the Startmenu it was easy to redirect it and use permissions to control what apps users see. This doesn't work with the start screen.The only solution I have seen so far is to mess around with the all users appsfolder.itemdata-ms file, but this still only allows you to customise the initial set of apps everyone gets, not a different set of apps for different users. If we were just given the choice of classic/modern interfaces businesses would start deploying it. As it is, all the management practises and group policy settings we have honed over the last decade have gone out the window.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: The start screen can't be managed

      I did not know that.

      Weird how the more I learn about TIFKAM, the crazier it gets.

      So it genuinely isn't as bad as I first thought - it's much worse!

    2. MIc
      Thumb Up

      Re: The start screen can't be managed

      First legit IT criticism of win 8 I have seen from the The Reg crowd.

  35. Chairo

    The solution of it all!

    This is sooo retro - a single screen interface, just like back in DOS. Next would be probably a Polaroid colour theme - oh wait, they already implemented this. And on the other hand we have this shocking multiple coloured tiles - this reminds me of something...

    OK, I guess I finally found the target group for Win8(.1) - It's Hipsters! This fits so well, it cannot be just by chance!

    Just like a fixie bike - colourful, simple, inconvenient to use, but once you get the hang of it, it will do the job.

    But how on earth could Redmond concentrate on Hipsters as target group? Did they analyse Apple's most dedicate user group and design specifically for them?

    Questions over questions...

  36. crisis

    Well that's just stupid isn't it.

    The biggest thing wrong with metro is it takes focus away from the desktop. Actually I would say this the only issue with metro.

    This does not resolve that issue. How are you meant to multitask with that restriction ?

    Look, just leave metro for people who are on tablets. Give back business the start menu

  37. Paul 135

    I also think the start screen needs to get rid of that big "Desktop" for desktop machines and have a way of exiting more like the KDE widget dashboard (with the latter you can exit with an explicit "close" button at the top or by clicking in any translucent area between the widgets).

    And why did they remove gadgets/widgets from the desktop? At least put the live tiles there if you are using the "All apps" start screen.

    And why is that unintuitive swipe-to-unlock log-in screen even there for non-touch users.

    Really, all this needs to happen by default on an install when you don't have a touch screen.

    ... actually f*** that, it's all such a mess that I'm better off transitioning to the more logical world of KDE.

  38. Asok Asus

    Microsoft Death Wish: Pretend to Listen to Customer Feedback, But Really Don't

    No restored Start Menu = Microsoft is lying about listening to their customers. If the restored Start Button just takes a user back to Metro, Microsoft has pretty much just spit in the face of their users and has indicated that it no longer has any real interest in remaining in business, because the outrage that will be engendered by such a move will make the anger triggered by the original Start Menu removal look trivial.

    People are waiting to see if 8.1 shows Microsoft is listening or not. If not, then the current stall out in PC sales will be nothing compared to after a non-responsive 8.1 is released.

    Given what's coming down the pike with 8.1 and Xbox One, Steve Ballmer seems absolutely determined to kill Microsoft.

  39. Twits R 4 Twats

    Easy way to get your start menu back in Win8

    Create a a new task bar "toolbar" that points to the Start menu Folder.

    Yes, the traditional start menu profile folders are is still there. I recommend to move the shortcuts from all personal Start menus to the Public one to have all in one place.

    Almost as good as the real thing, works fine for me.

    (without the right click menu and additional options, but those you get through the "Power User Menu" in the lower left corner)


    "Reactionary Sucker"


  40. darklordsid

    It seems all cool programmer in MS become too rich and lazy by the end of the '90s - early 2000s to have the company still release a product capable of selling like hot cake. All what I see after XP is: "let's pretend we (re)invented the wheel!".

    7 was a lucky exception, as it went for the always good kiss way "keep it simple stup*", but it was the only one.

  41. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Get over it

    Nobody actually uses Windows 8 anyway.

  42. The Unexpected Bill

    Waking up from the slumber... post another comment.

    I've read all the fury surrounding Windows 8 from both sides while being content to sit on the sidelines. After all, I'd skipped Windows Vista and 7 for the most part. I was initially appalled by the idea of a full screen Start "menu", so why subject myself to it?

    I answered my own question upon picking up a cheap computer bundle, one cheap enough to make Windows 8 worth looking into. Worst case scenario I could run Linux, BSD or something along those lines.

    Windows 8 does a few things right. On hardware that's really nothing to write home about, it's quite zippy. It gets right through the whole out of box thing quickly as well (at least my example did). Even so, plenty is still wrong enough that I'd find it hard to use on a daily basis. Explorer windows are still crippled (menus in the wrong place, no useful toolbars), IE9 (or is it 10 in Win8?) has inherited the "every browser thinks it's Google Chrome" disease and the various freebie apps like Paint and Wordpad are still infested with those bloody ribbons. Not long after the initial power up, the machine dropped into a STOP error. It's not happened again, so I don't know what to make of that.

    I gave the Start screen (what I'd consider) a reasonable chance despite my initial bias against it, learned how to configure it, and really tried to use it. I'd even go so far as to say it's great for tablet computers. The first major miscue is that there's no obvious button on which to click when you're sitting at the "classic" desktop. You're just supposed to know that moving the mouse to the extreme lower left and clicking will bring it up. What a load of FAIL.

    I don't care at all about Metro apps. I've gone into a few out of curiosity, but they're not something I could see myself really using. In fact, I excised all but the "Bing News" tile from my Start screen.

    What really burns me, the one thing I cannot forgive above all else, is the blatant waste of screen space. It is bad enough that the Start screen has to take up the whole of your screen and worse that the tiles representing applications are FAR bigger than they'd ever need to be for many people. I am one of those people who likes to put as much information on a given screen as will reasonably comfortably fit, and the Start screen isn't any way of doing that.

    I tried. I really did. And in the end, after looking at a few different options, I went for Classic Shell. So far I haven't looked back.

    1. Fading
      Thumb Up

      Re: Waking up from the slumber...

      Have an upvote for mentioning classic shell. I installed win8 on my spare machine knowing sometime down the road some of my family will need help with a "new PC" - so a little knowledge of the latest MS OS is a necessary thing (don't want to spend more time with family than I have to). I will be carrying classic shell on a USB stick along with all the other usual tools (ccleaner, defraggler, malwarebytes, boot-able AV software: atm kapersky) just to improve the MS experience the next time I need to visit.....

      As to the 8.1 faux start menu - guess we'll have to wait for 8.2 then.

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous machines

    That pic is of Windows 8 with Start8, a third party menu replacement.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Are they stupid or something?

    *sighs* Are the people at Microsoft retards or something? No one gives a flying crap about the button. Its the ability to fit all your programs in an aprox 800 x 200 window vs say 1920 x 1080 24" screen you need to mouse over. I have 60+ apps organized into subfolders. Navigation is simple and clean. 8 is NOT. Fine MS. Since 8 came out I've been dabbling more and more into Linux. I'll keep 7 and continue to learn Linux. Congrats on throwing your userbase under the bus.

  46. Evil Turnip

    No, I'm not a dinosaur really

    The problem is not, as Microsoft hints, that dumb users cannot adapt to the future. Rather, it is that Windows 8 is a dumbed-down version of Windows for single-threaded people, who need to interact with a computer by touching the screen.

    I have a really big screen. Why do they think that I'd want to use the whole screen for a single application? Surely the whole point of a windowing system is that you can view many resizeable windows simultaneously. That is why people started using windows in the first place. In that respect Windows 8 is a big step backwards.

    There is a lot of talk about the days of PCs and notebooks being numbered. Windows 8 is Microsoft's contribution to this phenomenon. Of course, an other contribution to this is the price of systems which seem to have rocketed. Who could want to replace a £200 netbook which runs reasonably fast under Ubuntu with a £600 ultrabook running Windows 8 ?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC buying slump and zero 'Comfy Chairs' at retailers...

    Reg covered the collapse of the PC market yesterday, but I know at some point a family member or friend will ask for my help going window-shopping to test-drive a new PC. I know it'll be a PC because its what they know, they have work apps to run, or want Office. They may buy off Amazon in the end it'll depend. Either way, I must educate myself on Win 8.1 to make sure I understand any usability issues for them. I won't be buying Win8 or downloading an evaluation, that's a bridge too far for me.

    I wish retail outfits such as Curry's / PC World / Dixons / Target / Wallmart whatever, would allow you to test drive a computer in comfort, while sitting on a 'comfy chair' (Montry Python comes to mind). Instead all the laptops are security chained to a dirty uncomfortable chemistry-class like bench, where people are all packed together on a busy holiday weekend. Is anyone surprised ultrabooks aren't selling...

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: PC buying slump and zero 'Comfy Chairs' at retailers...

      Just tell them to buy one running Windows 7, because if they get "8" they'll hate it and you won't be able to do anything to help them.

      If they're hard of hearing you get to say "told you so" and remind them that you said you couldn't help.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PC buying slump and zero 'Comfy Chairs' at retailers...

        Agree. But I wonder how easy is it to get Win7 anymore especially at mainstream retailers...?

  48. rdkempt

    Windows 8.1 Isn't Fixing Anything

    This isn't Windows 8 hate, but I have to admit, Windows 8.1 Isn't Fixing Anything:

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They really do seem to have lemming syndrome ...

    The occasional gross misfire seems to be part of Microsoft's lifestyle. But since they have shown the wit to discard other failures, why do they feel they have to continue to inflict the start screen on their core user base?

    The new start screen may be fine for utterly naive users. But for those of us with large collections of apps, it's enormously aggravating. Hierarchical navigation (aka the old start menu) is a must.

  50. grammarpolice

    Half way

    The Start Menu is mostly good for 2 things: (1) to launch applications, and (2) to log out, reboot, or shut down the computer. If the Start Button jumps immediately to All Apps, it solves the first problem. Show me where in the new interface the new user (former Windows user) is supposed to discover how to log out.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Half way

      I ended up Googling "how to shut down win 8" on my first day with a Win 8 box because it was impossible to find the shutdown option. Classic Shell all the way.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Half way

        Well you seem to have done far better than some of the readers here. Well Done!

        Seems from reading some of their posts that the idea of using Google to find out was beyond them.

        Also things like installing Classic Start, setting your Default Apps to the Desktop ones, how to use Search all eluded them too.

        Oh and deciding to look away when the little training video comes on at first boot to tell you the where to find shutdown...or just press the power button...

        I keep seeing all these posts about how folks keep totally ballsing up what is quite a simple situation.

        My Windows 8 boots straight to the Desktop and that's where I stay. I never see the Start Screen or any of the Metro apps all day. Took me a few minute to configure, that's all.

        No Fuss No Rage.

      2. FlamingCanuck

        Re: Half way

        Seriously you couldn't turn off your PC? How did you turn it on?

      3. The Unexpected Bill

        Re: Half way

        I forgot about that! When the need first arose, I was kind of broadsided by "where DID they put the shutdown option anyway"? I wasted a little time ticking through the Start screen and logging out before finally asking SysInternals Process Explorer to do the job. Never mind that doing so was like using a big truck to move a single sheet of paper, it worked.

        The next thing I found was a snarky article from another publication (not to be named here, but I'm sure you can find it if you believe that a Start button won't fix Windows 8'sproblems) that said "just push the power button". Whatever. That whole thing just reeked of snark and stupid. While that'll work and may be a legal move under Windows 8, I was of the impression that earlier versions of Windows performed the most orderly shutdown they could before power was shut off, if you did this. So I didn't do that.

        The fact that someone has to search the web to find this doesn't just mean it is that person's fault. This is thoughtless, feckless UI design at its very worst (or is that best?) ...

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what happens when you put a fat, sweaty, tyrannical moron in charge..

    ...developers, developers, developers!

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is about what I expected

    What's an APP? Is that another word for a crappy little-nearly useless program that you'd download on your cellphone? Why on EARTH would I want a crappy little program on my computer for anything but a game? I want programs, not "apps". I want useful menus, actual options, intuitively designed programs, not puzzles to waste my time instead of getting shit done! I actually want menus that are labeled with these things called "words". Why on earth would I want to learn a new set of symbology for each "app" when for years programs have used any one of the thousands of perfectly good human languages that used to cover this planet? Just use the native language for each country in making computer programs. Enough with the bullshit. These marketing and product design morons really have to get fired. I don't know how these twerps got as far up the ladder as they did, but these guys have GOT to go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is about what I expected

      I always though the point of such things was for mobile phones to 1) save bandwidth, 2) provide a more simple interface to (generally websites) on mobile technology, particularly where mobile browsers didn't render sites very well. Why we need such nonsense on a desktop with a full web browser, most likely a fast unlimited internet connection and a large monitor makes no sense. Why do people need a program (I hate the 'app' term), to access twatter or faecesbollock whatnot on the desktop, when they have a full web browser?

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find it funny that people love the start menu so much.

    It's pretty awful. Finding an app on most tablets or phones is a far nicer experience, not because they are touch-screen but because they are less cluttered (assuming you don't go app crazy).

    One of the main flaws in the windows start system is that it is full with all the uninstall icons, and help icons and random links to websites in there that install packages like to add, hence it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable - except by search. Unfortunately they never resolved this with the 8 start screen - which causes the situation to be even worse...

    Comparatively take any tablet and you just get the icons to launch the app, uninstall is done else where, and who ever launched a help file or web link from the start menu anyhow?

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable

      That's when you take five minutes to tidy the Start Menu, surely?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable

        Spend 5 minutes working around the design flaw that's been there for the past 18 years you mean?

        I wonder what software would look like if every decision was like that....

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable

          It's not a design flaw. It's an easily user-configurable option. It's also perfectly usable, if non-optimal, straight out of the box, because it's self-documenting. A program can't read your mind about where to insert itself, so it puts itself under its manufacturer's name and leaves it up to you to move or copy its entry to your place of choice. (Some programs do ask; more should). It also remembers the things you use most often and offers them to you at the top level (which is probably why most people never bother re-organising it).

          If there's any problem, it's remembering how to change language, if the usual user of the PC is Finnish, or Arabic, or Chinese. But that's a general problem not specific to the start menu. Would have been so much more useful if there was a button (called Babelfish? ) on the keyboard, instead of a Windows button.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: it rapidly fills to a point of becoming unnavigable

            Well call it what you want but its cluttered on most peoples machines, as they have better things to do than move icons around. This is perhaps why Android tablets or IPads don't have home button replacements that mimic the start menu - with uninstall icons and help shortcuts inside folders for each manufacturer.

            On the language thing to be fair there is an option of a language icon next to the clock if I recall. In fact if that icon still exists then it require less clicks to change language than open Microsoft Word?!

  54. Jonathan 29

    getting better

    I can't see may positive comments here so I will add one. I have a Windows 8 license, but I found too many bugs to justify using it yet. I appreciate they are listening and will definitely try 8.1 when it comes out providing it is free.

    I know I am odd, but one of the things I would like to see is the ability to stay in the TIFKAM mode. If you start a desktop app and close it , it will stay in desktop mode which is fine, but to use it as an HTPC it would be useful to stay on the blocky tiles which are good for navigating from the sofa.

  55. NickB2

    New "Start Button" = "Show Desktop"?

    The activity shown by the screenshots look just like what happens when I click the "Show Desktop" icon on my desktop PC (background icons/shortcuts visible, all applications minimised, etc). If I could set my W8 wallpaper (as apparently proposed in 8.1) to be the same as my desktop it would look very similar to what happens now on my pre-W8 PC - so what's changed?

    I use the keyboard as little as possible, only typing when actually entering data - I use the mouse to launch applications & navigate files, so my first port of call for applications is the quick launch section of the task bar. If I need to get to files, or applications not quick launched, I have a shortcut to either the commonly used directory, or application on the desktop (either usefully to the side of my screen, with applications NOT full screen, or quickly available on Show Desktop if under a window). If not there (or I need to access a system function), I navigate by the Start Menu - Programs - or Settings (I do use Classic mode - I much prefer the Win2K interface).

    I see no benefit from the TIFKAM interface to my way of working with multiple applications open and not only accessible, but also visible - I find a partially visible window more efficient than one minimised or on some list - but I do admit that I do not have lots (i.e. > 10) of windows open at one time.

  56. Nigel 11

    What if there are 1000+ apps installed?

    We're a university. Our computers have abnormally large numbers of prograpms installed, because they are shared by students from many different departments, each of which needs a few different programs to the crowd.

    A heirarchical menu is the perfect way to organise these. 1000+ tiles is not. This isn't the return of the start menu, it's a sop thrown in our faces. I wonder if it'll mollify enough people for Microsoft to get its misguided (or evil?) way with us?

  57. izntmac

    Classic Shell to the Rescue

    Hopefully the developers of Classic Shell and other third party utilities will fix this. The old Start Menu I am sure will be able to be brought back. Microsoft may think they know better but users know what they want and what works for them. It would be nice to have a choice of a TIFKAM interface or Classic. Or it would be even better to customize it within WIndows!

  58. Mer Ner
    IT Angle

    Where's The Eadon Angle?

    Am I the only person who wants to read Eadon's point of view on the matter? For the hilarity that is.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Where's The Eadon Angle?

      Eadon ( hasn't made any posts since Friday 24th May. Maybe he's burst a blood vessel or been kidnapped?

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: Where's The Eadon Angle?

        They disappeared it.

        My money says that its currently somewhere on the Olympic peninsula being re-educated or beaten with a chair by a bald "monkey dancing" fat man if he fails to comply.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win7 start menu bread crumbs still present in Win8

    There's still start menu code present in Win8 explorer.exe

    Because it's shared with jump list code, it wasn't removed totally. Several shell interfaces were deprecated and removed alongside with some start menu code.

    StartIsBack dev reimplemented the missing parts of the original Win7 start menu code still present in Win8, as well as the start button, win key code and other things. How hacky is it? It's not hackorama-all-over, just two private functions hijacked in explorer.exe

    Q: Will Microsoft remove start menu code and break StartIsBack?

    A: No, it's almost impossible since it's tied with jump list code and requires rearchitecting explorer.exe code, which they won't do until next Windows version.

  60. Wrong ended schtick

    And once they release 8.11...

    With a start menu as well as a start screen, then the order will really start rolling in?

    I don't think it will make much difference, (except to the support call volumes going to each bleeding partner- "where's my start menu" " how do I launch word?" Lol

  61. tempemeaty

    This confirms it, Gates and Baller intend to kill the PC industry

    So the Gates and Ballmer software circus has decided to use a start button to shove TIFKAM down our throats even harder with a giant Microsoft sized middle finger raised to all PC makers and PC users. Actions speak louder than words...

  62. Trevor 3

    The reason why I hate it is because when I'm reading a document on how to fix a server, and as I'm reading I hit the windows key, type the name of the program I need and hit enter WHILE I AM STILL TRYING TO READ THE DOCUMENT I get a giant fucking menu in the way.

    Even if I have to look at my keyboard to type the name of the command (not very often), having my whole screen flash in the corner of my eye is a real distraction.

    That's simply it from my point of view. The rest is just an OS. A means to an end, but not an end in itself.

  63. Graham Jordan

    utorrent and imgburn

    Wow. Whoever took that screenshot didn't even try to disguise their pirating habits.

  64. butigy

    windows 8.1 Classic Shell style

    Microsoft, if you're reading, please download Classic Shell for Windows 8, configure it so you get a Windows 7 style start button and menu, and so that the start screen is bypassed completely.

    Welcome to Windows 8.1 - or how I think it should be.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a lot of people here complaining that Windows 8 isn't *exactly* the same as Windows 7. Does this not strike anyone as odd? If you want Windows 7, stay with it, it's not like Microsoft is saying "Upgrade or else". Windows 7 is, and will still be, supported for a long time. You all just sound like whining for the sake of it.

    Oh, and if you've bought a computer with Windows 8 pre-installed and cannot figure out how to downgrade to 7, then you really are on the wrong site.

    1. butigy

      I think you are missing the point. I have just bought a new computer, it should 'just work' without time consuming config hassle or licensing issues inherent in sourcing different OS versions.

      I can (and did) happily install another OS (Ubuntu) but prefer to use is in a VM while keeping Windows as the primary OS - for now anyway. Is this somehow 'wrong'?

      1. Pookietoo

        Re: Is this somehow 'wrong'?

        Yes - you should be running a Windows VM on a Linux host.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not What is Wanted..

    The REAL problem with the full screen start page is the context switching it creates. Having a full-screen start page hides everything you were working on and what you have open, it takes focus AWAY from your work, and is a clusterf//k of massive proportions.

    Putting a button there to invoke the start screen doesn't make it any better. It needs to go away, for good, and never be seen again for normal desktop use.

    But Microsoft won't do that even if it's what people are crying out for because they are hell bent on TIFKAM becoming their new cash cow via the store and eventually the only interface Windows has at all.

  67. Sk0rpiu5


    This looks suspiciously like the Stardock Start8 App to many rumours flying around about this u-turn, this could be a red herring:

  68. Duncan 4

    windows 7 user

    I've been holding off upgrading to windows 8 for a while now, have it on a tablet and it's perfect for that but for my pc where I work rather than surf and play I've kept to windows 7 for a number of reasons, looking at this sneak peak MS have probably done just about enough for me to make the move. It's not everything I would have wanted but possibly I need a push from time to time to move with the times, defo not ready to give up the start button just yet, my career has been built around that think like so many others I'm sure. i'd give this 5/10 its satisfactory for me to upgrade to. BTW I'm a big believer in live tiles and the metro interface it rocks on tablets and on phones but not the desktop or at least not yet!

  69. ElsieEffsee

    Its always been this simple.

    Do you have a touch screen? Then up yours, Metro it is.

    Do you (like 99% of PC users) have a normal screen? Then go to desktop, here is a proper start button so you don't feel lost.

    If only Balmer and Co had done this life would have been much better.

  70. Combustable Lemon

    I'm actually sad..

    ...that they have buckled and actually put it back in at all if i am honest. I don't miss it, i'm probably in the minority since i use shortcuts for everything but i was actually glad to see the back of the start menu in it's old form. If you all love it so much go back to windows 7 (with it's start button and it being a perfectly fine OS) and keep using that. I don't understand why you would bother to whine on here that windows 8 isn't how you want it, well that's unfortunate... Do you suddenly have to stop using 7 because of it? That's what i thought.

  71. Aebleskiver

    Windows 7 is the new XP

    I'm planning to keep using Windows 7 until it EOLs with no more patches, and in the meantime slowly transition to Linux...

  72. Big Van Vader


    A start button without a start menu..................facepalm

    So glad I switched to Linux years ago.

    This is just in MS's normal good os, bad os cycle......

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And for Server 2012?

    You try clicking on the start icon in a Virtual Machine Console. Its next to impossible.

    1. Murray-Mint

      Re: And for Server 2012?

      This. When you're using RDP to a Server 2012 machine and you want to use the start screen, having to pixel hunt for the bottom left corner of the screen to trigger it is annoying. I hate the concept on a desktop OS, but on the server OS where the default MS RDP client doesn't pass through pressing the Start Button on your keyboard? It's just awkward.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: And for Server 2012?

        I'm happy that I'm not the only on suffering here.

  74. Mr. Peterson

    return of the traditional Start Menu = W8.2

  75. TRT Silver badge

    A little bit of sick...

    just came up into my mouth.

  76. MIc

    There is a difference...

    between being hard to learn and not being as good as win 7.

    Win 8 is hard to learn.

    It is also better than Win7.

    The same way Photoshop is better than Paint.

    1. Cipher

      Re: There is a difference...

      Thing is many people can never master Photoshop and Paint is all they need. Win 8 attempts to make a desktop into a smartphone and people want the desktop. Microsoft is bowing to weak sales and will be bringing back features... (Don't count the OEM licenses sold but still on shelves unsold. Win 8 on the street is weak...)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is a difference...

      the problem is that Win8 is Paint (simple clown program) to the Photoshop (full-featured software for Getting Stuff Done) of 7.

  77. Fat Northerner

    click start get metro.

    But the whole point was to boot to windows and completely remove metro.

    Why doesn't Microsoft sack all these useless currants?

  78. Gil Grissum

    Start8 works fine for me

    If all Windows 8.1 is about is a half assed effort on the Start button and it really doesn't do what the start button should, then I'll just stick with Start8. That gives me a Start button and Windows 7 style program menu, so I can avoid the Metro UI entirely. Maybe Microsoft will change their minds and give a full start button in the final. If so, I'll see how that pans out with others and then consider adopting it, if it's free. If it's not, I won't be buying it.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Start Menu, no Windows

    Is MS that stupid, no Start Menu, no windows. What better incentive for moving over to Linux. They only had to make it an option, and keep everyone happy, but once again, they are forcing people to use something they don't want.

  80. Nathan 13

    I am Mr under average

    But I feel like I could make better decisions than the Microsoft board these days LOL

  81. Anonymous Coward

    I care not!

    Windows is an 'application' that I occasionally run on Linux. They can do as they please.

  82. Lost in Cyberspace

    Step in the right direction

    That's nearly all the Windows 8 problems fixed. Now let people toggle easy between start, all apps and desktop. Make metro apps multitask with desktop apps. Done.

  83. Curly

    Some things stay the same

    Could someone please explain why, on both sides of the Atlantic, supporters respond to what often are very detailed Win8 criticisms in almost the exact same manner? ... i.e. by saying the critic...

    - Has never tried Win8.

    - Is a Luddite.

    - Is technically incompetent.

    - Should stop whining about the start menu

    - Is a moron. (Brits are generally too polite to use this)...

    I've tried to remain neutral in the Win8 "wars", but when I see this happen in comment section after comment section on both sides of the pond, I find it hard not to conclude they're working from the same Microsoft "talking points". Very seldom do I see criticisms countered on a point by point basis, as one might expect.

    I also don't understand the British press' apparent willingness to believe, on the basis of precious little evidence, that Microsoft has "seen the light", and is about to do a Win8 U-turn. I believe I read the same interviews, and I just don't see what supports that conclusion..


    A Yank




    1. Jonathan 29

      Re: Some things stay the same

      I went to a party not so long ago with someone whose company is making a very large amount of money 'managing the online reputation' of a certain tech company. Sadly this stuff is very prevalent now and makes it very hard to believe anyone.

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