back to article Microsoft Research adds interactivity to Windows 8 Live Tiles

Microsoft Research has revealed, and then hidden, a new design for Windows 8. The three videos were posted late last week on a Microsoft Research web site (404 here if you really want it) and were pulled within hours. But not before WindowsBlogItalia was able to hoover them up into YouTube. The first video, below, shows Live …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. frank ly


    It's as if the 'tile' becomes a small 'window', in which an application runs and you can have more than one of them on the screen at the same time. It's a paradigm shift!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing

      Yeah! It's like it used to be in previous versions up to Windows 7. That's a hell of a paradigm shift.

      1. Richard 81

        Re: Amazing


    2. Stephen Channell

      still fundamentally flawed

      When a tile on a large desktop screen is as big as a full screen app on a little device, it doesn't take a Phd to work out that a tile should/could offer the full app in part of the window.. But stupid "charms" prevent it.

      the demo did not show left/right scrolling,because (without focus) it can't distinguish between scrolling the app and scrolling the "start" screen.. And they cant use the edge of the screen for start scroll because that is hard-coded to "charms".

      gesture interface might make sense if/when we all have kinetic (xbox) controls, but for now it is as intuitive as Ctrl-Alt-Del without the onscreen prompt or the start button.. Epic epic fail

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing

      Reminds me of the Harry Enfield's Notting Hill antiques dealer who owns the shop called "Modern Wank" where wealthy gullible idiots buy old recycled crap at extortionate prices.

      1. pirithous

        Re: Amazing

        "Reminds me of the Harry Enfield's Notting Hill antiques dealer who owns the shop called "Modern Wank" where wealthy gullible idiots buy old recycled crap at extortionate prices."

        Sounds like buying Apple products.

    4. pirithous

      Re: Amazing

      No matter how much lipstick MS slathers on the pig, I and others think live tiles are stupid, useless, and annoying. I will never use Windows 8.1, an OS with a known back door in it where MS can remove anything right off your PC if they don't want you to have something. Don't believe me? Look it up.

  2. Jordan Davenport

    What better way to hype a product than a "leak"?

    These videos do look like better ways to deal with the "Modern" desktop on a touch interface, but basically, they've just re-invented desktop widgets. That said, I hate the Live Tiles in the first place since they seem to be designed to aggravate ADHD.


    I hate Live tiles

    Seriously, when will M$ take a clue that I do not want Metro, and I do not want Live tiles, especially those that pull data from the net? My telco will have a field day and gleefully pile up data charges with this since those tiles will be counting towards my ridiculous 3GB wireless data quota (in case you're thinking of asking me to switch telcos, tough- all the telcos charge the same quota at similar rates).

    Btw, in case you're wondering, I don't use Widgets in Win7 either for the same reason.

    (my third issue with Win8 is that XBox Live isn't available in Malaysia which renders any Win8 machine sold here unable to be used for gaming, but that's for another time).

    1. Jordan Davenport

      Re: I hate Live tiles

      Well, I hate the Live Tiles too (see above), but to be fair, you can toggle a setting in the control panel somewhere to change it so that Windows 8 knows you're on a metered connection and to cut out the unnecessary chatter. That's something that would be nice in any other OS that wasn't designed for mobile devices first and foremost as well. I've only seen that feature on Android otherwise, though I'm not that familiar with iOS's features. That said, the only things that seem to respect that setting in Windows 8 are "Modern" apps.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: I hate Live tiles

      I really like the live tiles, but if you don't want them to be live, you can turn off the live part. It is a setting on the start screen. Just right click on the icon and select the option to deactivate live tile (not sure what it is in English, my Windows is German).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hate Live tiles

      I do not want Metro

      How can you be so arrogant? There is someone who does, somewhere in the world.. and when Microsoft finds that person, you wont be so cocky!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hate Live tiles

      I have the opposite problem. I love the live tiles and think it is a good idea, but I want that interface on Linux instead of Windows...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hate Live tiles

      A lot of people still don't get one of the major benefits of live tiles. Sure, displaying a bit of data from an app alongside bits of data from lots of other apps can be useful, but people are right - that's nothing that widgets haven't been doing for years on Android, OSX, older versions of Windows etc. What is different though is that a live tile is a different entry point into an application. This is a bit more obvious on WinPhone 8.x than it is on Windows 8.x to be fair, but as some examples:

      Facebook recently came out with a Messenger app. Whoopie. For ages I've been able to pin Facebook Messages as a shortcut live tile to my phone start screen. Takes me straight there, and gives me updates on messages as they arrive as well.

      I've got two Weave news reader tiles pinned to my start screen, one for all news and one for technology news. I get separate updates on both and I can jump straight into the appropriate section of the app from both.

      I've got a few tiles from the People app for individuals I'm interested in. Again, I get individual updates on what they're posting or messaging, and I can click on the tile and go straight in to see more detailed info on that person including contact links.

      I've got a few tiles from my stocks and shares app pinned to my start screen, one to show what the overall market is doing, one for my personal portfolio and occasionally one for particular stocks I'm interested in. Again, I get individual updates for each, and again I can go straight into the app at the right point to see that data.

      Hate that stuff by all means. Pretty useful for me!

  4. poopypants

    Some nice ideas

    Let's hope they bother to test them thoroughly before introducing them.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Some nice ideas @poopypants

      Yes, let's hope they do. Let's hope all the other OS manufacturers fix their shit too.

      Other people can google for "<random OS> problem" also.

      1. poopypants

        @Sandtitz Re: Some nice ideas @poopypants

        I only mentioned that problem because I have experienced it personally. I have two PCs, both with Windows. The one with Windows 8.1 has USB problems, and the one with Windows 8 won't let me access the store - so I can't "upgrade" to 8.1. (I'm not the only one ). I do not have Linux installed on any desktop machines (although I'm sure it is embedded in several other devices, none of which have given me any trouble).

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: @Sandtitz Some nice ideas @poopypants again

          Sorry to hear about your problems.

          My 8.1 doesn't have USB/keyboard/mouse problems and neither have I witnessed such problems in other computers either. Perhaps the problem lies within specific hardware/drivers?

          Try upgrading your Win8 with these instructions. Perhaps the 8.1 update will fix your borked Store too?

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: @Sandtitz Some nice ideas @poopypants again

            How to upgrade to 8.1 when store are broke?

            1. Sandtitz Silver badge

              Re: @Sandtitz Some nice ideas @poopypants again @Trevor

              The link I gave has a link to a Microsoft page where one can download the 8.1 ISO and upgrade 8.0 with it.

              I have done 8.0 -> 8.1 update with that ISO (USB stick actually, nimbler), as well as clean OEM installations of 8.1.


              1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: @Sandtitz Some nice ideas @poopypants again @Trevor

                Let me me more clear, given that my usage of lolcats-like meme grammar didn't spell it out clearly enough for you:

                How is the average user - you know, the mindless consumer to whom Windows 8 was targeted - supposed to update if the store download is borked? Blah-blah-blah something .iso is to them what someone saying "you just [in comprehensible static] CV joint [Charlie Brown adults] the googenplexit" when telling me how "easy" it is to fix my car.

                1. Sandtitz Silver badge

                  Re: @Sandtitz Some nice ideas @poopypants again @Trevor

                  "my usage of lolcats-like meme grammar didn't spell it out clearly"

                  Oh, I thought you had a stroke or something. Speak l33t next time, I'm not familiar with your lolicon mutterings... :-)

                  "How is the average user...supposed to update if the store download is borked?"

                  Oh that...I don't know. How does an average user fix any other borked OS?

                  I gave a 'HTH' answer to poopypants. I'm not living in la-la land and expect your dad and his granny to have any knowledge of computers, but I expect El Reg forum users to at least know what .iso file is and does.


                  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                    Re: @Sandtitz Some nice ideas @poopypants again @Trevor

                    Nope. I expect El Reg forum users to know better than to use Windows 8. :P

                    And with that, happy easter!

  5. Chairo

    Microsoft is still busy

    polishing their turd. When will they finally understand, that alienating your customers is generally a bad idea? (that is a rhetoric question)

    Adding features that compare well against IOS and Android is kind of laughable for a desktop OS. Doesn't anybody at Microsoft understand, that their grand vision for the future is a bad joke, at best?

  6. big_D Silver badge

    Everyone I know, who has upgraded, has no problems with Windows 8. For many it is the first time "Windows makes sense" to them. The App Store means that for some it is the first time they've ever managed to install software on a PC on their own.

    And none so far have a touch screen PC.

    1. M Gale


      Out of the people I know who've tried it, roughly 50% can't stand the thing, and the other 50% are "meh".

      Most of these people are not computer scientists, but strangely have little difficulty in the "insert disk and keep clicking next" method of installing software that's been around since Windows 95 (at least in Windows land).

      If "insert disk and keep clicking next" is taxing your intelligence, I have to wonder if you're inserting the disk into the disk drive, or into your mouth to examine the flavour?

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Anecdotes.

        Disk? We haven't used discs for about half a decade!

        For people who use a computer for a couple of hours a week, knowing to search for a program and then how to download it and install it can be very daunting. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, it has become easier, the user is presented with a central list of available apps and they just need to click on the install button. THAT makes a huge difference for people who don't understand software.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Anecdotes.

          Funny, there are plenty of ways to build an App Store that enhances the install experience without giving Microsoft a means to remotely control your computer, remove applications without warning or delete your data.

          A great example would be Ninite Pro. The Ninite One installer is basically an App Store that installs free software and it works like a goddamned champ. It can even push those applications out to every PC on the network, update every PC on the network and more.

          And yes, my dear old "Aunt Tilly" does use it, despite never having learned what the right mouse button was for, or how to use a USB key. So take your "on message" bullshit and GTFO.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do YOU think?

    I think Microsoft should have the courage to push this as the intended path. If they're going to take up the whole screen with what is otherwise a glorified and dumbed-down Start menu, they might as well make it useful.

  8. Mikel

    Active Desktop

    They did this before in the IE4 era - Windows 95 Active Desktop. It didn't work out.

    They did it again in Vista and 7 with Windows Desktop Gadgets

    I guess they'll keep trying until they finally invent Athena Widgets from 1983.

  9. Lodmot347

    This is actually pretty awesome!

    If Microsoft implemented this idea, then I'll be even MORE excited about the new start menu. I'd totally love to be able to access my music controls right from the start menu.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the videos disappeared because currently there will be patent issues? It all seems a bit too widget like - which I assume someone has the patent to?

  11. PaulR79


    It's like they've created some sort of incredible interactive area on the screen, a sort of widget. I really don't know how they come up with these amazing ideas for expanding on basic icons. Truly we're living in a golden age!

    They removed the gadgets / widgets from Windows 7 just to reintroduce them in a much more cumbersome way? Going backwards while moving forwards. That's the Microsoft way!

    1. Tim 11

      Re: Amazing!

      Pah - stop being so negative. If something _can_ be changed, it _should_ be changed - that's the new Microsoft paradigm

  12. Shaha Alam

    maybe it's just me...

    ...but that is one heck of an ugly UI.

    i mean, just look at that green calculator!

  13. Zot

    I will never buy Windows 8

    You guys have convinced me. I'm talking to you, Microsoft.

  14. pirithous

    Dear Microsoft

    Get a fucking clue. The Zune failed 100%, and that had a similar ugly and useless BS tile interface. The only people who appeared to like it were the paid shills who reviewed it. The whole tile thing that you're foisting on your shrinking customer base just shows how dumb you people truly are, and how out of touch with your customers you are.

    Your OS's UI is complete shit on both a tablet and a desktop, and Windows 3.1 looks better than the repugnant crap that people with no eye for any type of art buy. Not only that, but you are locking down your OS in a feudalistic and totalitarian manner (let's not forget the included back door and SpyDrive integration) which is driving developers away. What you are doing is killing off your OS, not helping it. What a bunch of fools.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh god.. I almost forgot about Zune. What a catastrophic "me-too" flop.

    You know, Windows used to be a great platform to develop with. Perhaps not the most technically advanced... but they did something right (I can't put my finger on it, though). Now they seem to be slowly imploding, collapsing from their own weight. They have many fingers in different pies, trying not to compete with each other. Instead of doing a few things well, they do many things crap.

    They're performing so many re-shuffles, re-imagining, and flops it's hard to commit to anything they churn out, any more.

    I'm not anti-MS... far from it. I've done a lot of work with them in the past - and things aren't what they used to be. It was once the case of "go with MS, unless there's a very good reason not to". Now, it's completely the opposite! Only the trapped (or misinformed) continue with it.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like