back to article Microsoft talks up devices, Windows 8.1 at developer shindig

Everything is beautiful at Microsoft's Build developer conference this year. Beautiful, gorgeous, delightful, beautiful, absolutely beautiful. These days, Redmond's mouthpieces seem to stammer out the word "beautiful" about as often as most speakers say "uh." But beyond all the disingenuous awe and self-congratulation, …

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  1. MysteryGuy
    Unhappy

    Win 8-Still a bad idea...

    I think that the whole premise of Windows 8 is still a bad plan for users: That is deprecate the Desktop, try to force everyone into a one size fits all UI best suited to light-weight activities on a phone, and make everyone buy Apps. only from the MS Store where they take their cut.

    They won't give us a real start menu because it might let people more easily linger outside of tile-land (since TIFKAM is the only place they think you should really be...)

    1. Matt_payne666

      Re: Win 8-Still a bad idea...

      I do not miss the old start menu... and my start screen is not littered with metro apps, its mostly shortcuts for classic software - most of which will never be 'metro-ised' and a few modern apps... all in all, its a nice, organised location for accessing commonly used software and what used to be win7 widgets...

      its much easier to find shortcuts than traversing a tree full of stuff, not to mention a lot more elegant...

      even the loss of the start menu is not a problem, diving into the bottom left corner is faster than clicking a button shaped hotspot... apart from when remoting onto a 2012/win8 machine in full screen!

      1. NewAccount

        Re: Win 8-Still a bad idea...

        "even the loss of the start menu is not a problem, diving into the bottom left corner is faster than clicking a button shaped hotspot... apart from when remoting onto a 2012/win8 machine in full screen!"

        Or pressing the Windows key?

        Divers', clickers', mouse-caressers' and glass-slab-fondlers' MMV.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Win 8-Still a bad idea...

      Strange, I just installed a bunch of XP and Win7 programs on a Win8 box. All worked nicely on the desktop. No need to buy apps, not forced in any way to buy them.

      Modern is just a different start menu. Mine has exactly 5 "apps" on the privat box (Mail, Messenger, Contacts, Weather, Kindle) the rest are shortcuts for Applications. On Win7 those cluttered the taskbar/desktop and where hidden behind open windows

      But I guess you are just the replacement Eadon so Troll on

  2. Asok Asus
    Holmes

    No restored Start Menu means Microsoft is lying though their teeth about listening to their customers. The restored Start Button is yet just another way to force the user back to the execrable and hated Metro UI, meaning Microsoft has pretty much just spit in the faces of their users and has indicated that it no longer has any real interest in remaining in the business of making products its customers want. The outrage that will be engendered by such a slimy move will make the anger triggered by the original Start Menu removal look trivial.

    1. Paul 129
      Devil

      Re: Asok

      "Microsoft has pretty much just spit in the faces of their users and has indicated that it no longer has any real interest in remaining in the business of making products its customers want. "

      Umm,... hate to tell you this, but once you understand that Microsoft is about the money 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Some of their rather unfortunate behavoiur makes sense.

      M$ spitting in your face since... ummm DOS (maybe before, but i'm only aware of those products and later).

      1. eulampios

        Re: Asok

        It would a pretty nice logo for them: "Microsoft - spitting in your face since the dawn of ... DOS!"

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      @Asok Asus

      Dude, relax. It's a UI. Get that mad about stuff that matters. 320000 sub-Saharan children are blind.

      Anyway, for everyone else, Ballmer's right about rapid iteration, that's good, but they need to do it for the phone as well. WP8 is ace, but needs more updates to drive home the advantage of iOS is stalling a little bit.

      1. Mr Spock

        @Robert Grant

        > 320000 sub-Saharan children are blind.

        Don't tell Ballmer - he'll start marketing at them.

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: @Robert Grant

          Windows 8 - so easy to use even blind sub-Saharan children prefer Linux.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: @Asok Asus

        In response to your Post I'd like to respond back in the words of the Immortal Bard....

        "I don't know them, I've never met them. They only exist in words I think I hear." (or in your case see)...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The thing is that they're not lying through their teeth. The level of research and development and consultancy with users that MS put into changing UIs is incredible, they monitor the use of thousands upon thousands of Windows users and do direct research with hundreds of people. That a few shouty people on the internet then say that "This is all shit, they never asked me" doesn't change that fact.

      Why is is always the self professed IT experts who complain the most about having to change how they use a UI? The people who you would think should find it the easiest to change?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "they monitor the use of thousands upon thousands of Windows users"

        they monitor the use of all Windows users - fixed

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The level of research and development and consultancy with users that MS put into changing UIs is incredible"

        Must be the reason it's selling so well

        1. JDX Gold badge

          If Ms listened to their customers we'd never have got XP, and we'd probably have never got 95. People resist and resent change most of the time... touch-screen mobiles were resisted too. Asking what customers want and building it leads to design-by-committee and the Homer Simpson Car.

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

            Asking what customers want and building it leads to design-by-committee and the Homer Simpson Car.

            Or the Ford Edsel, to give the more real-world example on which Homer's was based.

            All perfectly true and quite potentially disasterous. But doing the exact opposite, telling your customers what they want and ignoring how they respond to it is equally risky, as MS have found out.

            Proper market research and beta-testing/previewing should of course avoid either extreme case. Unfortunately for them (and us) that doesn't seem to be what's happened this time.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I'm not suggesting everyhting is a-ok with win8, but: The thing is that proper market research is exactly what happened, then it was released to beta testers, who howled, but this is the nature of many of the sort of people who beta test - just look at any IT forum, if a company has the temerity to change something. MS have the market research and the usability studies, but the howls of the techies who don't like something are much amplified by the Internet.

              I've had several non-tech people profess to me that Win8 is a turkey, and I've asked if they've used it, the answer is always "No, but that's what everyone on the Internet is saying." I've even seen people here, so desperate to hate Win8 that they make embarrassingly naive comments which are factually wrong as anyone with a few hours experience on the OS would know.

              1. t20racerman
                Mushroom

                "I've had several non-tech people profess to me that Win8 is a turkey, and I've asked if they've used it, the answer is always "No, but that's what everyone on the Internet is saying."

                The thing you are forgetting is that it us IT techies who get repeated phone calls, problems to fix, hassle etc when customers/friends/family buy some IT that they haven't a clue how to work. I for one tell EVERYONE who asks me, not to touch Windows 8 with a barge pole. The reason is simple - I'll be the stupid idiot having to do all the retraining so that people can use their PC again! If you are a techie and love Win8, then that is great and you can do all the fixes yourself that make it useable. However, if you are in the position where you know how much grief you personally are going to get from Win 8 users, you can only advise - please don't buy that.

                I'm not in IT support as a full-time job, so can tell the many, many people who ask me about it that I for one will NOT give any help, advice or fixes to a Windows 8 machine they buy. If they want one - then set it up and/or fix it yourself. I wouldn't touch people's Vista machines for the same reasons - its not my job to fix microsoft's f*** ups. (Happy to work on Win XP, 7, Mac or Linux)

                For those working in IT support, with hundreds of IT illiterate people to support - what would you do about advising Windows 8 or not to company bosses? Simple really - get out that long bargepole......

          2. mmeier

            Well, I could have done without 95 and all the other Dos-Extenders. The Win-NT line OTOH including XP (If you killed the candy) is a fine OS

            1. Pookietoo

              Re: The Win-NT line OTOH

              We know you desperately want us to forget Vista, but we won't.

              1. mmeier

                Re: The Win-NT line OTOH

                Never used Vista so I can not comment from personal experience. Know two persons who did "late" in the life cycle of Vista and on new hardware. The found the UAC "naggy" but otherwise it worked.

          3. Daniel B.
            Boffin

            If Ms listened to their customers we'd never have got XP, and we'd probably have never got 95.

            Win95 was the first one to actually do a decent ripoff of the System 7 UI. Most customers back then were grateful for this, as it uncluttered the screen compared to 3.1's Program Manager. (Incidentally, Metro looks like a return to that clutter with the Start screen!)

            XP worked fine, deactivating the Luna UI could be done as well though I never saw the point of doing so. It didn't interfere with the UI, unlike TIFKAM.

            touch-screen mobiles were resisted too.

            You talk like this is something of the past. It isn't, some of us still resist touchscreen smartphones.

            MS did the research, most of the feedback was "get rid of this toy thing" so they discarded it and pushed it on anyway. They even went for the nuclear option, killing the ability of deactivating Metro in the RC version...

      3. Paul Shirley

        "they monitor the use of thousands upon thousands of Windows users"

        Measuring a minority does not justify everything you want to do to that minority.

        Does not take away that minorities rights to comment.

        Never magically makes a bad change good.

        Win8 withdrew or damaged features to support Microsofts market planning, not for users benefit. The plan isn't even working so everyone loses.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Let me fix that for you...

    "Rapid release cadence is absolutely fundamental to what we're doing"

    I beg to differ. It has become fundamental for you because of what you're doing. And what Microsoft is currently doing is releasing products over their entire range which their customers would rather avoid best as they can. And it's getting out of hand I think.

    This isn't about people disliking certain changes any more, in my opinion Microsoft is alienating themselves from their own customer base, even their own fans, and it's becoming dangerous I think. Visual Studio 2012? Most developers prefer not to upgrade but to stick with 2010 because of the better interface, and given that VS2010 supports .NET 4.0 as well you can also easily it together with modern Windows versions. Of course 2012 becomes a requirement when developing for Windows 8, but who's going to do that? New developers, like myself, will have no choice but to buy this version because 2010 is no longer available, or they need to grab an MSDN subscription. I know some people did just that solely for grabbing 2010 and took the extra's (software licenses) as a bonus. But it was 2010 they were after.

    Xbox One anyone? I'm a PS3 user and although I prefer the environment you won't find me trashing the Xbox. In this case there was also no need what so ever, because Microsoft's own Xbox fans were doing that themselves after the news of all the Xbox One tie ins (no second hand games, constant internet connection, etc.). Sure; Microsoft reversed some of those decisions, but the initial act remains. And the damage has been done; because all console users know that if you buy a gaming console then chances are high that its functionality will change over the years.

    And what does Microsoft do? Instead of realizing what is going on they're going to release more products over a shorter time period. And I don't think it's hard to guess what their motivations are: more money. They're going to need it if no one is buying their stuff any more.

    But honestly: instead of creating more products, why not start with creating better products instead? You know: products which people would actually want to use? Because if even your fans are rallying and openly state that they'll just skip and avoid certain versions, even on your own fora, then something is very wrong here.

    Don't go for quantity; try going for quality instead!

    I honestly think this is a very dangerous development for Microsoft. Make one product which people don't want and you can calculate the risks involved. Start mass production of that stuff and you may very well head for a big financial impact.

    Even so, I do hope I'll be proven wrong. But I have a bad feeling about all this.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
      Happy

      Re: Let me fix that for you...

      Reminds me of a comment by Rich Hall:

      "Good things come to those who wait, shit shows up instantly"

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Let me fix that for you...

      I think for that to happen a certain Mr. Ballmer would need to checkout first.

      I for One can not understand why hes still in charge of Microsoft...

  4. AnoNymousGerbil
    Mushroom

    Argh, more microsoft lies.

    Pisses me off to no end whole windows 8 and microsoft "listening their customers" crap. It's obvious they are not doing that when start button takes one back to tile garbage.

    What I'd like to do is to damn go head to head with that bonehead ballmer, tell him several things that are not very polite or politically correct, then promptly beat 13 kinda shit outta him with a chair or few, and then boot him inna fork till he screams like castrates in the x-mas album.

    I'm sick'n'tired of this microsoft bullshit where they try shoehorn us their crap, esp. tile view junk on desktop.

    On phone it works, I know, I have windows phone.

    On table it probably works, I havent gotten yet to test windows tablets.

    On desktop it's pain between the dorsal mounds. When I use desktop, I'm always running several software and browser windows same time with IMs etc. so whole tiled garbage is totally useless for me. And more microsoft try to push that crap, more passionately I will hate it and them.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Argh, more microsoft lies.

      If you do not need Modern - then simply do not use it.

      Currently open here (T731 convertible, docked to two 21inch Samsungs):

      Firefox(twice)

      Explorer

      OneNote

      Word

      Eclipse

      Outlook

      Works like a charm.

      1. Daniel B.
        FAIL

        Re: Argh, more microsoft lies.

        If you do not need Modern - then simply do not use it.

        Except running anything requires using the Start Screen, which is Modern.

        1. mmeier

          Re: Argh, more microsoft lies.

          So? Just a start menu replacement. But if you like "splitting hairs" I rephrase:

          "If you do not like Modern Apps - then simply do not use them"

  5. Robert E A Harvey

    Listening to who?

    They had a pre-release period of up to a year during which testers and pundits were telling them TIFKAM was broken: they didn't listen then. The system builders wanted to install start-menu (not button) patches and it was forbidden, instead of listened to. After the launch they were told it was wrong, and went on the offensive about education & practice.

    The only people they have been listening to are their own sales force sying 'we can't shift this carp - do something'.

  6. GregC
    FAIL

    Listening? Really?

    I'll keep this short. Well, ish.

    For as much as I want Windows at all, which isn't that much these days, 7 is fine. 8 is broken.

    I only need Windows at work, and when I'm there I need to work. Not fight with shit that gets in my way. In the interests of not having to deal with crap tomorrow note the following:

    Yes, I have used Win8 during the preview phases

    Yes, I have worked out how to use it

    No, it's not an improvement on 7. Incremental improvements in startup time and a better copy dialog are not enough to make up for destroying context every time I press the windows key/click on the ALL NEW Start button.

    Now, that's all fine - MS owe me nothing, and I owe them nothing too. Newsflash though - I am perfectly capable of giving them no money, and not using their shiny OS. I can go to pcspecialist and get a machine with Win7 (by default no less...) or no OS at all. Win8, with or without a .1, is a sack of shit.

    tl:dr. Call me Luddite if you will. I'll just use something that works for me, and it ain't Win8

  7. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
    Coat

    Download ISO. Install ISO. Patch. How do I log in this stupid store again? Curse loudly. Bang head against desk. Plead. Finally find upgrade method.

    Now, if it doesn't blow up during install, let's see if this actually makes Windows 8 as useful for my scenarios as Windows 7 is.

    Mine's the one with the bullet to bite on.

    1. nwlad
      WTF?

      or go to the preview.microsoft.com website and click on download .....doh!

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Or you could realise that isn't available to Canadians yet (or wasn't last I checked) and stop being a smart ass. That would require you to think 2 feet in front of your face, however, and I suspect that may be incompatible with your wetware.

        D'oh!

  8. Ron Christian
    Thumb Down

    Ok, time to go back to 7

    I bought Win8 when they were offering that special deal at a very low price. Loaded it on a Win7 laptop with a touch screen (since Win7 doesn't really know what to do with a touch interface). It sucked. From what I'm reading 8.1 does not fix the basic issues with the UI. So I'm thinking I'll restore Win7 from the recovery partition and then give the laptop away. I've got other laptops, and it'd bug me that this one has a useless touch screen.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Ok, time to go back to 7

      Or spend $5 on Start 8. When I get a new laptop I'm likely to be stuck with Windows 8. Assuming 8.1 doesn't break Start 8, I'll certainly invest in it.

      1. Jonathan 29

        Re: Ok, time to go back to 7

        Start 8 unfortunately doesn't disable TIFKAM completely though does it. It loads and lurks there waiting to appear at an unfortunate moment like a turd that just won't flush.

        Also Stardock are getting greedy. I predict it won't be long before your version of Start 8 expires and they will ask you via helpful pop ups to upgrade or more likely subscribe every time you log in. I had to uninstall Fences because it got annoying.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Ok, time to go back to 7

        Again WHATS WITH YOU PEOPLE AND START8?!

        Why the Hell should I have to purchase a Third-Party Fix, that may or may not be broken by the time 8.1 hits.

        For something that Microsoft shouldn't have ever broken EVER?!

        Not that I care but, I'd rather chuck on another $125.00(USD), and get a proper OS like Windows 7.

        Then again I could just use Mint Linux (Which I currently am.), and pocket that $125.00(USD) instead!

  9. ajexpbp

    Why do you talk up Windows 8.1? its absolutely not available to UK users! Why bother.

    1. Getriebe
      Devil

      errr... because the event is in America, run by Americans for Americans - you should have listened to Ms Jones in double Geog instead of trying to look up her skirt.

    2. nwlad

      The update is being released regionally and will be available in the UK from what I found out, in the next day or so at most

  10. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down

    Really??

    I'll pass on the preview. I'll wait for the final. Maybe by then, Microsoft will get a clue and put the full functionality of the start button back. To do anything less is to be clueless about what customers want. Businesses aren't going to deploy Windows 8 if 8.1 doesn't bring the full start button functionality back. They'll deploy Windows 7 and call it a day. If they do become interested in RT or Surface Tablets, they'll be used sparingly, at best. Windows 8 isn't winning much love out in the wild. Balmer has got to go. Screw up after screw up and he gets to keep his job? Anyone else in any other firm, would be gone long before now. Vista would've done him in.

  11. RISC OS
    Unhappy

    I like windows 8...

    I happy with these changes... I think what stopped windows 8 from taking off is a disconnection with the real world... not everyone lives in a mansion in silicon valle or has more than 1 computer... people had to chose between a laptop that did everything or a tablet with a touch screen that can't do much more than a phone. If people only have one the space/need for one computer they aren't going to buy a windows 8 slab.

    MS need to start living in the real world and see that most people earn less before tax in the whole life time than most MS employees pay in tax each month. I saw MS idea for a new games console with hugh speakers placed a round a room... sorry balmer but most people don't live in a pad with enough spare rooms to make one of them just for gaming... same with computers most people don't have several... children don't have touch screens in their bedrooms so that they can talk with their 80 year old rich grandparents over skype... and going outside with my laptop to start dancing to click click click noise it makes is a sure way to end up in traction... and the need to buy a new laptop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I like windows 8...

      if you like Windows 8, then either.

      1/ You have a laptop with a touchscreen AND you only use your laptop for media consumption.

      2/ Errm.....

      For everyone else, they are bettwe with Windows 7, Linux Mint or even Unbuntu Unity!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I like windows 8...

        Windows 8 works perfectly well without touch anything, I don't know where this "It needs touch" meme comes from. It works much better with touch than previous versions of Windows, but it in no way needs touch.

        1. Daniel B.
          Trollface

          Re: I dislike windows 8...

          Windows 8 works perfectly well without touch anything, I don't know where this "It needs touch" meme comes from.

          Gartner. MS has done the impossible: they proved a Gartner prediction correct.

          And no, if MS were to scrap Modern, Win8 would probably start making inroads as expected, instead of sinking the PC market faster.

    2. mmeier

      Re: I like windows 8...

      Actually the "only one computer needed" concept IS one of the benefits of Win8.

      A tablet pc with a good dock (Dell, Lenovo, some Samsungs), a convertible (Samsung, Sony, Lenovo) or even something as simple as a tablet pc with USB3 and a USB-dock (MS, Samsung) is both a tablet AND a desktop. Core-i Units like the Helix or the Vaio Duo13 can easily replace most desktops with "heavy duty gaming" being the only exception and are good tablets as well. And the lighter, cheaper Atoms, even the current generation, can replace the "write letter, surf, check email" PCs easily and can run rings around ARM based units.

      Even if you still have "more than one" computer the fact that you have one set of programs, one set of UI on all devices is a benefit.

  12. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Wow!

    Almost universal condemnation of what MS is doing and without Eadon to rough up the edges.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow!

      Some people are just never happy - I'm fairly certain Microsoft could announce tomorrow that they are bringing back the old start menu and scrapping the new UI and I'd still come on here to find "I'm sticking with Windows 7 until they change X" and "Microsoft are doomed as a company because Y".

      For me the interesting part is the ability to resize and show more than 2 apps at a time - Windows is the only one of the big 3 tablet operating systems that offers true side-by-side multitasking baked into the OS (as opposed to Android which requires 3rd party apps), which is a fairly big feature for tablet / oversized smartphone users.

      1. Aoyagi Aichou

        Re: Wow!

        For me the interesting part is the ability to resize and show more than 2 apps at a time.

        Wow. That is interesting for modern users? Isn't that what Windows was originally about? You know, having several windows you can work with at the same time?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    The rot has firmly set inn

    Before anything, i am a MS man, always have been, Owned/used every incarnation of windows.

    So why am i now feeling like windows 7 is the last version of windows i will use (on my own gear).

    Why am i looking at my Xbox360 and thinking why would i "up"grade. I have a PS3, been sat their 2 years, been on for about 10 hours.

    I bought office 2013 from my employer, i paid 9 quid for it. Installed it, uninstalled it, went back to office 2003.

    Messenger, killed then replaced with the travesty that is skype. Hotmail, killed, replaced with the utterly hopeless outlook.com.

    However, all is NOT lost. M$ clearly havent lost the abilty to totally disregard their fan base/users/customers and piss them off to the Nth degree.

    I actually started researching linux Mint? last night...

    Me!! Linux!!!!

    I use that icon not to display my loyalty, but to highlight the fact i might, in fact, have been a pissed up idiot...

    1. Richard 22
      Go

      Re: The rot has firmly set inn

      "I actually started researching linux Mint? last night..."

      Give it a try. Find a USB stick, download an iso from www.linuxmint.com (I'd suggest the Cinnamon image). Go to www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ and use their tool to make a live (bootable) USB stick from the iso. Stick it in your machine and boot from it, and give it a play. Check the hardware works (wireless etc). If you're happy, hit the install button - it can partition your drive for dual boot, and it will even carry over any wireless networks you've set up in the live environment to the full install.

      I have Linux Mint 14 and Windows 8 on my laptop. I boot into Win8 about once a month - although it's more pleasant with start8, I still much prefer Linux Mint.

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: The rot has firmly set inn

        Mint/Mate 15 is on my second machine at work, and will shortly be on my main machine at home. I've been running Ubuntu for ages, but their Unity interface ha driven me to Mint and Mate (Gnome 2). I run a copy of XP under VirtualBox at home, for those gadgets (cameras, cellphones, iThings and GPS) which require a Windows program to configure them.

        I find Linux meets my needs at home, and except for the Microsoft network environment at work (Outlook/Exchange, shared drives, printer servers, etc with MS's network login protocol) I could use it here, as well.

    2. jb99

      Re: The rot has firmly set inn

      This sounds like I could have written it.

      I hate windows 8 and the "metro" interface. This is NOT dislike of change, it's dislike of THIS change.

      Between windows 8, "metro apps", replacing messenger with skype, progrssively worse versions of office every year, visual studio 2012 being less usable than 2010, their complete failure to implement c++11 in visual studio they seem to have completely lost the plot.

      Their latest xbox fiasco seems to sum it up entirely. They implemented lots of things that were entirely for their benefit and when potential customers didn't like it, treated it as if they just needed to educate the people and not say oops we messed up.

      I too switched to linux mint for many things a month or two ago, the only reason I boot windows now is for a small number of games (and at work because I have to but even there it's only to remote to a linux machine now)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The rot has firmly set inn

      Been there, like Watership Down, read the book, seen the film, eaten the cast.

      Bought 5 tablets all running Android.

      Sticking with Windows 7 until I retire. Windows 8 is an abortion, and this place, and everywhere else is full of Microsoft Shills, IMO.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge
        Go

        Re: The rot has firmly set inn

        Oh how so very VERY true!!

  14. Semaj
    Thumb Up

    Maybe

    I use Windows 8 on a small laptop (with low screen res) and on my media PC. I have a Windows 7 work PC and home Desktop and an old XP machine too for some games.

    I actually sent a long and detailed document of my findings around the shortcomings of 8 to Microsoft and oddly enough, these new features actually pretty much cover my major gripes.

    Yeah we all know TIFKAM is a culture shock but in all honesty I don't mind it (I don't really like it and having the choice of a menu would be nice but there were worse issues IMO). The thing that bothered me most was the "invisible action areas" that you had to hover around to do anything with (very hard with multiple monitors / RDP). The start button fixes this.

    My other major gripe was the res restriction (I have to do the display scale hack on my laptop to run the calendar etc). So if they are being honest about app scaling being put in then that's pretty good. Same goes for more than 2 at once.

    And search all instead of just my apps would be nice too (that way it's EXACTLY the same as 7).

    Tentative thumbs up from me - as long as it's not all lies. I think I'll stick it on the laptop when the ISO comes out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe

      I have Win8 running on a three monitor system, I initially found the hitting the start corner or the charms corner a bit of a problem. In order to get round this, I did a right-click -> screen resolution and changed the monitors on the left and right of the main monitor to be slightly higher up than the centre monitor, this means that if you swipe the mouse to the down and left or down and right, it lodges in the corners, making finding the correct area easy.

      1. Semaj

        Re: Maybe

        Good tip but having them arranged differently to how they are on the desk would do my head in ;)

        Mostly I just use the windows key.

        Oh I did forget another annoyance though - the charms bar often seems to appear when I try to scroll full screened windows - very annoying.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe

          It's not really that different, you only need to raise each monitor a _tiny_ amount in their positioning, in practice you don't actually notice it, unless you're trying to get from the very top of the left or right to the top of the other, which sometimes makes it catch where the middle monitor is.

  15. Salts
    IT Angle

    Question for you enterprise chaps

    I understand enterprise roll outs are long term, the question is for those in the enterprise.

    Do you tend to miss a release in your planning stages?

    eg NT - xp - win 7

    Really am interested in the answer

    1. Nigel 11
      Meh

      Re: Question for you enterprise chaps

      It's more a matter of conservatism and long planning stages, resulting in Microsoft "lemons" being squeezed out (sorry) before any deployment happens. IT is there to support the business. Disasters happen when the tail is allowed to wag the dog.

      Most enterprises avoided Vista altogether because they were happy with XP for the forseeable future, and their techies were able to say "don't go there" before any serious commitments were made.

      Many enterprises are still migrating XP to Windows 7. Many would prefer that XP remained viable forever, but Microsoft have hit the XP kill switch. There's no reason that Microsoft couldn't have incrementally improved XP, including replacing its kernel, without inflicting a painful migration. Or have given us proper migration tools for going from XP to 7. So that was perhaps the first sign of the rot setting in at Microsoft.

      The posts above should give you a pretty good idea of what enterprise techies are telling their bosses about Windows 8. Soon, we'll be reading about what happens to the bosses and companies who override their techies because they prefer to believe Ballmer's promises. It'll be interesting. I wonder if it'll take down a bank? (Kidding - I hope). Most companies will wait and watch for now. It's been a good strategy in the past.

      IMO "Windows 9" will be the last chance saloon for Microsoft. If they EOL Windows 7 without providing a Windows that enterprises are happy with, the decision will be taken that if there's got to be a really painful migration, then why should it involve Microsoft at all? Until then there is still time for Microsoft to fix things.

      Sooner or later if Microsoft carry on the way they are at present, a big company with deep pockets and a long-term plan will decide to challenge Microsoft with a Linux-based Enterprise Desktop and some heavyweight migrate-from-Microsoft support. A company like IBM or Samsung or possibly a company from outside IT altogether. (Anyone remember what Nokia did before entering the mobile phone business? )

      Years ago I watched as Digital Equipment self-destructed because of managerial greed, incompetence, and hubris. Now I feel that Microsoft is treading the same path to corporate oblivion.

      1. Getriebe

        Re: Question for you enterprise chaps

        @Nigel11 - I agree with most of what you hav eput, but I would rub out Samsung on the agent of change. IBM, yes. Do not forget people who make the big decsions in enterprise are as old as me and we remember IBM through rose tinted spectacles.

        The XP thing has made a difference and thus my previous post is a bit wrong. Big companies are looking because of it. But when they upgrade it wil be within the context of a big global systems change.

        But jumping ship to a LINUX based solution - before I am part of that I want to know there is a big joined up global support network my company can hook into to back to back our efforts. And I couldbe wrong, but I don't see one.

        Also with people like E***n about its so easy for me to point out how immature the Linux world is

        Personally I wish we could all use AIX and tablets

        1. Andyb@B5
          Happy

          Re: Question for you enterprise chaps

          Well I for one would be interested in a power 7+ tablet

          always wanted a command line tablet :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Question for you enterprise chaps

            The problem with Power is that they're not designed for low power operation, that's one of the reasons that Apple dropped them in the end.

    2. Getriebe
      Devil

      Re: Question for you enterprise chaps

      I work in GLOBAL enterprise - capitals to show just how important I am

      I work with approx 100 major companies a lot household names and under me (under a couple of layers of sub managers who want to impress me so I can abuse them readily - I digress) we have about 4,000 servers +/- 1,000 - I do not really care.

      The customers will adopt whatever they need balanced against the costs of roll out. Licensing cost are never considered - they are small and pathetic - its the cost of change (in an IT way) and repointing their workers.

      The change usually comes about because of other things than OS. OS is such a small consideration in the whole consideration that the people I talk to are like me - we do not fucking care.

      Usually a change comes about because something like they have taken over another big company, or the number of small companies they have taken over has created a mess, or, what usually happens to me, is they are changing their ERP software (upgrade or a new one).

      So whatever causes the change starts of a ripple which then causes manay many changes - and often its a desktop OS change. believe me that decision is made in a top level meeting in about 5 minutes. You guys have to make it work - ha ha ha ha

      The aim is to get end to end improvements in the business process, the corporate compliance, integrations to vendors and suppliers. This is the stuff I talk about

      Linux version and its UI - you gotta be kidding me - no one cares and if I brought up with some guy who is running a few beeelllion of turnover - I would not be long for this world

      That do as a view?

    3. Peter Simpson 1
      IT Angle

      Re: Question for you enterprise chaps

      Ours do. 100 person design company with four IT bods and a mix of Apple/MS gear. The networking is primarily MS, and we're pretty much Win7 at this point. It was XP before that. No real impetus to go to Win8 and I don't believe I ever saw a Vista machine.

      // not in IT, but work with them enough to know how they think -- good folks, all of them

  16. nwlad
    Happy

    Windows 8 in the Enterprise world...

    I work with many enterprise customers, both commercial and local Govt.

    Most have already moved from windows XP to Windows 7 but many are also starting to make use of Windows 8 on touch based devices. the reason - they can use the same mgmt. infrastructure that they have for Windows 7 for windows 8 - so simpler to manage. iPads are used extensively in some customers but they have had to tie them down using a variety of applications to ensure security that in some cases they are almost unusable or very limited in what the end user is allowed to do. They can run the same applications on W8 as W7 ( ok in the desktop) but in day to day operation, I'm not hearing many complaints and very little about the "lack of" a start button - in the real world I work in ( customers with 5k-100K end users) this isn't a big issue. The issue is , will it run my business app not where is the start button. Whether you like it or not, most companies use Microsoft Office and the fact you can run two versions of office side by side on W8 means the migration is made easier for the end user as well.

    Bottom line is , the start button or lack of it isn't that big an issue for most people I have spoken with over the last year - Everyone seems to have forgotten how awful XP was when it first came out and now I still read some people saying they are going to stick with it ....

    that's my two penn'orth worth anyway

    1. mmeier

      Re: Windows 8 in the Enterprise world...

      Same here, convertibles or "dockable tablets" are in limited use mostly for external/mobile workers that go to the customer. Win7 and 8 (both work on Stylus-based tablet pc just fine) in use depending on what customer IT prefers.

      One customer has used tablet pc, mostly Fujitsu, since Win XP for the outdoor engineers taking reports etc. - pen worked better than keyboard there. They are currently phasing in Q702 with Win8.

  17. chiller

    Nice pic Steve

    Yet more proof that you'll be hard pushed to find a close up still of Steve Ballmer where he does not look a complete twat.

  18. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Name calling

    "Should we call that a PC? Should we call it a tablet?"

    Fundamentally there's a problem - we shouldn't care what we call the damn thing. We just want something that we can use to achieve our tasks, be they email, web surfing, social media, watching tv/movies or work.

    Just give us the tools to do that, and an overall operating system that lets us use those tools without getting in the way...

  19. Wanda Lust

    One more thing...

    I like Windows 8: how's that for an admission.

    I've never been an advocate for Microsoft products before, but, for me Windows 8 works & I don't need a Start Menu. I've been running W8 on a tablet form factor for more than a year, not exclusively but enough, and for the last month or so it's now my main desktop docked into a 24“ display, keyboard & Wacom tablet. For me it works, the short cuts are way more intuitive and readily accessed without leaving the keyboard. I probably do have to qualify that with a hatred of the computer mouse, hence my favour for shortcuts.

    1MT: what really does need fixing is software updates: the Windows 8 Store app updates are fine, the OS updates still take too long but individual, legacy, Windows application updates are just a monstrous sinkhole of time and energy.

    So, enough already about the poxy start menu. Like or not, change has to pass.

  20. JDX Gold badge

    Seems decent to me

    Start button - meh, but it's for the real novice users who are floored by not knowing about the Windows key and do EVERYTHING using the mouse (trust me, many people are not aware of ANY keyboard shortcuts).

    Updates to Start Screen... useful but I don't hate it anyway, a full-screen menu at the one time you cannot, by definition, multitask, is fine to me.

    Flexibility for Metro apps - sounds good though I'll wait to try it.

    Boot to desktop - nice.

    IE11 - I'm impressed they finally supported WebGL because now everyone does. Though presumably it will not be coming to IE10/Win7, or does anyone know differently that IE11 will work on Win7?

    1. Getriebe

      Re: Seems decent to me

      IE11 comes to 7 in a few weeks

  21. 3wsparky

    Microsoft's great idea's

    Did they mention if you need to connect it to the internet to access your local documents?

    Just asking

  22. BrentRBrian

    INNOVATION

    They killed off all the Windows version ported to other architectures and climbed in bed with Intel. 25 years later, Intel's chips are more bloated than the Windows OS. Heat and battery life make Intel a "don't bother" in the mobile world ... and ARM takes over.

    So, it is now an INNOVATION to go back 25 years and port Windows to other architectures ?

    RUBBISH.

    Think of where we would be if Windows ran on everything the way LINUX has? We would have CPU's that were cutting edge and efficient coming out of INTEL and 25 years of INNOVATION brought on by true competition in the hardware arena.

    The only reason MOBILE is exploding is because there was an OS ported to run on ARM chips ... the same kernel and OS that runs on everything from IBM Big Iron to Raspberry PI.

    We didn't get that CHIP from INTEL and we didn't get the OS from MICROSOFT.

    Playing CATCH UP is not INNOVATION.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: INNOVATION

      Is this Eadon and his backup ID?

    2. mmeier

      Re: INNOVATION

      Tell me Eadon<<<BrentRBrain:

      Who makes the Atom? You know the CPU that runs rings around ARM in fair competitions AND still runs 10+ hours in a 10'' tablet PC (Dell, Lenovo)?

      Last I looked the unit had "Intel" stamped on it...

      1. Daniel B.
        FAIL

        Re: INNOVATION

        Who makes the Atom? You know the CPU that runs rings around ARM in fair competitions AND still runs 10+ hours in a 10'' tablet PC (Dell, Lenovo)?

        ... in a competition where the fine tuning and specs used has not been disclosed, and probably has been skewed to Intel's favor?

        1. mmeier

          Re: INNOVATION

          Actually the other way round in the (in)famous Java Script Benchmarks.

  23. Aoyagi Aichou
    Thumb Down

    How is this even possible?

    After so many fails, they still try to force things on people? Touch, Bing, "apps", other crap... It seems to me that Microsoft has lost a bet somewhere and now has to make a complete fool out of itself.

  24. Chika
    Mushroom

    Fool me once...

    I was looking forward to finding out what Windows 8.1 or Bloo or whatever would amount to. The whole event, however, leaves me feeling that Microsoft have done the absolute minimum required to satisfy the complaints that have been levelled at them since Windows 8 came out. It seems to me that they have really lost touch with their customers, or at the very least they are too keen to rake in the cash. Possibly both.

    For example, I have also been following the situation with the XBox "One" (a stupid name considering that it is in fact the THIRD XBox console) and their attempt to lock users into a DRM system that assumes everyone to be a criminal only to reverse most of the unpopular features the moment Sony chime in with their own take on the "Next Gen" console. Some people thought that this was the power of complaining, but it was far more likely to be that Microsoft have a far more tenuous hold on the gaming community, something that translated in this case into poor sales which they do not want. With Windows, they have a much firmer hold on the OEM market and so forth, so they can afford to ignore our complaints, at least for now.

    And so we come back to the Windows 8 debacle where we see the cynical ploy of putting a "Start" icon on the toolbar but refusing still to put the functionality back that was lost the moment they killed the original button, and they put in a switch to allow users to go to the desktop on login. Well whoopee! That is really "listening", now isn't it? What they have patently failed to realise is that this is only skimming the surface (sic!) of the matter. The overall message is "we still know what's best for you, but we'll put in a little bit of sweetening to stop you deserting us altogether".

    My message goes like this: If I want a glorified tablet/smartphone OS running my desktop computer, I'd have asked for it. I didn't, so stop trying to kid me that this is some sort of upgrade path.

  25. Nelbert Noggins

    I use windows 8 and like it. Yeah I know let the down voting begin.

    How many people here complaining about the lack of start button and the interface have actually used it on anything, and then used it for more than 2 minutes to satisfy their own prejudice that Win 8 is bad.

    I had to boot my win 7 machine the other day and it took a few minutes to readjust and was a weird mix of familiarity and 'this looks old/wrong'. The whole program menu structure took much longer to navigate and the big round button in the corner looks out of place.

    I find myself using Win 8 differently in difference situations:

    At work I hardly ever use the touchscreen, but the pen is useful for drawing network diagrams, and mousing to the corners or alt+tab to switch apps takes little thinking.

    At home I predominantly use the touchscreen on my Asus 200, but then it's mainly games I play on it, Civ 5 and Great Big War Game. Both touch enabled and both easier with touch than mouse or keyboard.

  26. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    They've lost focus.

    Microsoft is a company that made its fortunes on the desktop. Not servers, not tablets, not phones. They can "rapid iterate" their operating system as much as they want, but the bottom line is that Windows 8.1 is still an operating system optimized for touch. They're alienating their core user base, and that's going to cost them.

    Even the applications are starting to alienate desktop users. I installed a copy of the latest Visio on my Win7 VM and saw pieces of the user interface "sliding" all over the place. Dammit Microsoft, I am using a desktop computer with a keyboard, mouse, and *upright* monitor (three of them, actually). UPRIGHT MONITORS ARE NOT GOING AWAY! And they're not going to be "touch enabled" anytime soon, that is an ergonomic nightmare!

  27. kendolondon

    This is what you call listening?

    Oh dear, Microsoft just don't get it sometimes. Well done for restoring the Start button - just a shame that they didn't attach it too the 'legacy' start menu!

    I have a major problem with the current start screen and, by extension, the 'new' start button. I'm a developer. Many development tools install dozens of shortcuts. My old start menu displayed these in a nice useable tree view. My new start menu displays them in a flattened list where it's impossible to find anything. This is not progress!

    Why oh why oh why oh why can't they just provide the OPTION for a legacy start menu? That's all I want - a choice! The makers of Start8 and a dozen other start menu replacement apps must be laughing all the way to the bank over this.

  28. RcR

    Rapid release

    Hey Uncle Fester, where's the fookin link? What's all that BS about rapid release if you don't release? Morons.

    1. Nick L
      Go

      Re: Rapid release

      http://preview.windows.com

      There - not too difficult, was it?

  29. Lallabalalla
    Trollface

    All about money

    Yeah, that really sucks. Microsoft would be SO much more successful if they went broke and closed down.

    Oh, wait.

  30. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Customers who have Windows 8 on touch systems are much happier than other Windows 8 customers"

    That'd be because non-touch users have a GUI doesn't work with the input methods available to non-touch users. In fact, it doesn't only not work, it actively works against you.

    1. mmeier

      Re: "Customers who have Windows 8 on touch systems are much happier than other Windows 8 customers"

      I suggest you check your unit - somebody has sold you an OS that claims to be Win8 (most likely some FossTard-stuff) but clearly is not. Win8 works just fine without touch or pen.

      1. Daniel B.
        Trollface

        Re: "Customers who have Windows 8 on touch systems are much happier than other Windows 8 customers"

        I suggest you check your bank account, the MS payment should be around six figures by now.

        1. mmeier

          Re: "Customers who have Windows 8 on touch systems are much happier than other Windows 8 customers"

          Ah, the "final Fosstard defence - accussing someone of working for MS".

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: "Customers who have Windows 8 on touch systems are much happier than other Windows 8 customers"

        It does if you expect huge blocks of colour and icons to randomly fly in from the sides or your desktop to disappear to be replaced by something else because your OS deigns to map movements on the trackpad to relatively change the mouse pointer's position (okay till now) and, at the same time, as absolute gestures as they would be used on the touch screen, if you had a touch screen.

        So if you slide your finger in from the right-hand-side of the trackpad to the centre you move the mouse pointer left and get the Charms bar too.

        It's utter crap. Windows 8 cannot be objectively considered by any measure to be interpreting the input correctly and "work[ing] just fine."

  31. Curly
    Windows

    Question about Win8 preview loading by retailers

    I'd appreciate opinion as to whether retailers will offer computers with the Win8 preview loaded?

  32. Peter Simpson 1
    Happy

    New work lappie came with Win7

    Now, tell me again why I *need* Windows 8?

    Windows 7 seems to me to be pretty much the same as XP, in terms of what it does for me. Except for the fact that the "show desktop" button is now on the far right and HyperTerminal is nowhere to be found (thankfully, it can be copied from an XP system), it does everything I need it to, pretty much the way XP did.

    My point here, is that, aside from annoying UI changes, there doesn't seem to be any reason I need to "upgrade". Except, of course, to improve Microsoft's bottom line? And, of course, the joy of trying to rearrange the UIs (OS andOutlook) to something I can actually use...

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