back to article Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

Microsoft this week promised to increase desktop users’ productivity by bringing resizeable overlapping windows to Windows™ – a feature notably missing today. A spokesman also expressed hope that Mr Gorbachev’s new policy of “perestroika” would continue, bringing real benefits to Soviet citizens. Wait, what? Actually, we made …

  1. LDS Silver badge

    Mobile roadmap... and the mobile devices?

    Or the windows will open directly from the cloud? <G>

  2. LDS Silver badge

    Also adding the "ability to reset a PIN remotely"

    An NSA/FBI/GHCQ friendly feature?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Also adding the "ability to reset a PIN remotely"

      An NSA/FBI/GHCQ friendly corporation.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Don't have access to my e-mail when I click on tips & corrections so it gets posted

    The watch isn't unlocked by the host machine, the host machine is unlocked by the watch. It only works if the Mac has ac wifi.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Overlapping windows

    Sadnad to developers

    "Guys, you know all that code you commented out a couple of years ago? Well we need it back in NOW"

    Sigh.

    Don't MS ever learn?

    I guess the people who said that Windows 10 is really Windows 1.0 in disguise were not far wrong.

    As for the other features esp remote PIN setting, has EL Reg asked MS for who asked for this (Apart from the obvious suspects naturally)

    How long before there is a registry hack that stops this from happening?

    Place your bets please.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "as EL Reg asked MS for who asked for this"

      It looks it wasn't nor the FBI nor the NSA. They were not able yet to find a criminal using a Windows Phone...

    2. Grifter

      Re: Overlapping windows

      That sounds a bit harsh. I've been using a keyboard-driven tiling window manager since mid 00's (ion) and I could never go back to handling window management manually anymore. But I can see why some people wouldn't take to it, tiling/floating is definitely subjective - but why don't they just add a setting to set the root window into floating if that's your choice? Or add another workspace which has the floating property, while you keep the tiling property on the root? There are occasional programs that just don't want to co-operate in a tiled/fullscreen environment, and a floating workspace is perfect for that.

      It seems like a missed opportunity to impose your will for either one or the other, but then again, microsoft's imposing will is why I left that world behind years ago ;)

    3. BobChip
      Happy

      Don't MS ever learn?

      Rhetorical question, I assume? It is abundantly clear that they don't.

      It's fascinating to watch from the standpoint of an external observer, a bit like watching a macabre game show where you know bad things are going to happen, but you really can't foresee what's coming next.

      Seriously glad I'm an observer, not a participant.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Don't MS ever learn?

        Don't or can't?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overlapping windows

      "I guess the people who said that Windows 10 is really Windows 1.0 in disguise were not far wrong."

      Ahh. Windows 1.0 except that it can't handle decimals.

    5. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Overlapping windows

      "Don't MS ever learn?"

      Sure, after about 2 decades.

      Remember some of the things MS brought over from Unix and proclaimed they were some novel innovation at the time? In rough cronological order:

      - Pre-emptive multitasking rather than co-operative

      - Remote GUI access

      - Multiple simultanious users

      - A useful command line (powershell)

      - Remote ssh login to the command line... oh wait, they still haven't done that. No doubt when they do it'll be trumpeted to the sky by the droids.

    6. Dale 3

      Re: Overlapping windows

      "Guys, you know all that code you commented out a couple of years ago? Well we need it back in NOW"

      Indeed, although I doubt they will be uncommenting all of it, just some now, some in the next release, and so on. They're finding it hard to get people to upgrade desktop Windows now because people can't see the need. Better make sure they don't end up in the same position on mobile, by drip feeding the improvements.

  5. James 51

    If you could run ordinary windows apps even on full screen I'd have a 950xl. As it is, I'll see what continuum is like in two years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you could run ordinary windows apps even on full screen I'd have a 950xl. As it is, I'll see what continuum is like in two years.

      It'll be possible within two years to put almost as powerful processors into mobiles for what you want to do. I hope you enjoy the experience. By the way you'll be the only one doing this as no other sane person wants to carry around umpteen different power packs and recharge them all every day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "By the way you'll be the only one doing this as no other sane person wants to carry around umpteen different power packs and recharge them all every day."

        If you're plugged into a desktop monitor around a third of the power consumption of the phone goes away. And recent generations are keeping around the same battery size (3AH) while run time slowly improves. I think two years is a little too soon, but China and India are driving the phone as the replacement for the traditional PC, and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens. No, not for graphics professionals/game designers/VR/other relatively low usage cases, but for the very large number of users who really don't need much.

  6. Novex
    Joke

    DEV: "I've got an idea! Let's allow users to plug their phones into a big screen like a desktop can, to allow them to do desktop like stuff!"

    CORP: "Er, okay. But can we make sure they can't actually do desktop like stuff, because we don't want them to be able to hide our adverts and stuff?"

    DEV: "Really? Okay, so how's about we let them plug the phone into the big screen, but only show one window?"

    CORP: "Will it have adverts?"

    DEV: "Er, it can do..."

    CORP: "Deal!"

  7. Dwarf Silver badge

    Hold on to your hats

    Wow, left field thinking. Does this go down as innovation ?

    Keep going MS - you're gradually getting back to Windows 7 and machines that can do what people need.

    Hint : Getting rid of the anemic window colours, putting in proper start menus removing the slurping and remembering that its not your computer, but ours would be good things to look at next

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Erm ..

    I am not using Continuum but plain Windows 10 and numerous windows are not resizeable.

    e.g.:Try copying some files over existing files.

    You get a dialog in the middle showing all your files.

    Well, all the files that fit int a tiny non-resizable window.

    And meanwhile, the OS has Long File Path support, but File Explorer does not !

    Do they need to hire some developers, FFS ?

    1. Nolveys

      Re: Erm ..

      And meanwhile, the OS has Long File Path support, but File Explorer does not !

      It's dismal winapi that doesn't support long paths. File exploder (and everything else) is based on winapi.

      Luckily there's the subst command, great for accessing long-pathed files that somehow come to be as well as making crudely-named and undeletable files on cow-orkers desktops.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Erm ..

        No, you can write applications that support Long File Paths. I did.

        It is just that File Explorer is not one of them.

        I guess it's because Microsoft does not have enough Windows developers :-/

  9. oldcoder

    Windows is only for the young and naive... born after 1990.

    This way Microsoft gets to treat Windows the same way the User Friendly comic is - Just recycle the old designs after 20 years and hope nobody notices.

    Design from the mid 80s... now the New Hot Thing.

    1. Alan Bourke

      "Windows is only for the young and naive"

      And people who need to use actual real software to run their businesses and so forth.

      1. oldcoder

        Re: "Windows is only for the young and naive"

        Depends on the games you are playing....

        Real software does run businesses and so forth on Linux.

        Things like movie production houses. Guitar shops. Search engines. Cloud services.

        Anytime people want real security... instead of the multi-billion dollar losses that keep happening with Windows...

      2. boltar Silver badge

        Re: "Windows is only for the young and naive"

        "And people who need to use actual real software to run their businesses and so forth."

        You mean like the London Stock Exchange who's back end systems are almost entirely Linux based? I guess they somehow get away with running all that useless phoney software.

    2. tin 2

      "Windows is only for the young and naive"

      The most bang on right thing I've read on here in a long time.

  10. Mikel

    Revisionism

    Apple ultimately prevailed in their suit, over the look of the trashcan icon. And then the suit was settled with a secret pact that continues to this day.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do the overlapped visible windows without focus get updated? IIRC desktops had to wait for Windows 3 on the 386 cpus for that functionality.

    1. tin 2

      Unless said desktop was an Amiga. (or a Mac I'd guess but I dunno).

  12. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Joke

    Proximity detection

    > Microsoft calls its version “Proximity Connection”

    Please type this confirmation code on the keyboard: 0123 9876

    Congratulations, you have been detected as within arms length of the keyboard.

  13. Colin Brett
    WTF?

    "Redstone 2." Isn't that the thing used to make electrical doohickeys in Minecraft? Maybe we should tell Mojang ... Oh. Wait

  14. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Productivity

    Not talking about Windows Mobile but I'd be happy to get back the desktop look and feel of the time around W2k. For Windows and especially MS Office. No, it wasn't perfect - far from it. But it was far better than the 365 crap I'm dealing with now.

    I wonder if they (not only Microsoft, the problem spreads much further) ever heard of usability. Or maybe they even run a usability lab but have a different understanding of its concept (along the line of how to maximise the number of mouse clicks and time to locate a basic function).

    1. Updraft102

      Re: Productivity

      "Or maybe they even run a usability lab but have a different understanding of its concept (along the line of how to maximise the number of mouse clicks and time to locate a basic function)."

      They came up with an answer: hamburger menus.

      There was never a need for them on mouse-driven PCs with reasonably sized displays, but with touch devices with smaller screens, they're something of a necessary evil. Unfortunately, in this era of "mobile first," even desktops get them... not because they need them, but because mobiles do, and we wouldn't want to have different UIs on different machines with different usage paradigms, different input methods, and different display sizes, would we?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    I suppose...

    This is Microsoft's way to keep a steady revenue going: once you reach a point where you basically provide everything people need and want then you simply drop features for no apparent reason and then promise to think about possibly re-adding them somewhere "soon".

    In the mean time, I know it gets old, my Windows 7 presents me with plenty of resizeable, movable and closeable windows :)

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I suppose...

      "In the mean time, I know it gets old, my Windows 7 presents me with plenty of resizeable, movable and closeable windows"

      What, your Windows Phone 7 MOBILE OS had resizeable, movable windows?

      Do tell us more!

    2. Hans 1

      Re: I suppose...

      >In the mean time, I know it gets old, my Windows 7 presents me with plenty of resizeable, movable and closeable windows :)

      "plenty", yes, far from all, though .. msconfig is one of the fsckers that bothers me a lot, there are MANY, MANY more ... and then you have these windows where you cannot select and copy text ... when they display error messages, you go f'ing nuts ... you will notice that that is practically standard behavior in 10 for anything TKFAMIYUUYRFVBJBSDWIRUOPOKDSKDNSJKD or whatever it is called this week....

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I suppose... @Hans 1

        "plenty", yes, far from all, though .. msconfig is one of the fsckers that bothers me a lot, there are MANY, MANY more

        Oh shove it. Linux Mint has plenty of (modal) windows which can't be resized. So clean up your own nest first before your daily M$ hate messages.

  16. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

    George Santayana

    That's all I have to say about that.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: George Santayana

      Only the dead have seen the end of Windows?

  17. Mage Silver badge

    Simple solution.

    Scrap continuum and MS phone support altogether. It's a dying / dead market for MS. The desktop Windows has been crippled since win 8.x by this silly idea of one Windows for all devices. Just as stupid as making Win CE on 320 x 240 screens be a minuscule stylus pecked Win 9x GUI.

    If a phone has enough "grunt" to dock to a desktop LCD panel, then the dock needs to solve the problem, or just leave it as it is. Anything else is going to be too much overhead for the phone or to crippling for a desktop. Perhaps you just want the phone storage to be on the dock/workstations file system and have a resizeable extra window on the desktop that is the phone screen, with keyboard / touch / mouse routed to phone when that's the active window.

    Anyway, the MS concept is doomed to alienate Desktop users or cripple performance of the phone.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "many of the designs Apple claimed to have invented weren’t actually invented by Apple, but by Xerox and others"

    NO, NO I'm not having that Apple invented everything I'll have you know. Lucky they don't try and pull this stunt anymore........

  19. Chika
    Trollface

    Hmm... 1988, eh? I remember RISC OS coming out and I don't recall it ever having a problem with overlapping windows. Or Arthur for that matter...

  20. TVU

    Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

    "But Microsoft had outwitted Apple in the original contract for Windows 1.0, taking elements out of copyright protection, and the case ultimately failed because many of the designs Apple claimed to have invented weren’t actually invented by Apple, but by Xerox and others."

    ^ This. The real groundwork on graphical user interfaces took places at Rank Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center in California and basically both Apple and Microsoft copied their ideas.

    On the wider aspect, I wish there was advance consumer testing of GUIs (and subsequent listening by the corporations!) and then we might never had Windows 8 & 10, iOS 7 and Unity in the form that we currently know them.

    1. Updraft102

      Re: Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

      " I wish there was advance consumer testing of GUIs (and subsequent listening by the corporations!)"

      There was, once. That's what brought us to Windows 95. Microsoft used it as a selling point... all of the hours of usability and ergonomics testing, supposedly the most ambitious project of that type ever attempted at that point.

      The UI they designed as a result of all of that testing has stood the test of time. Someone who learned to use Windows on 7 would have no trouble figuring out how to use a vintage Windows 95 box, if that became necessary.

      So, naturally, MS decided that it had to go. (?)

      Newer doesn't always mean better, and older doesn't have to mean outdated. Sometimes an older idea works because they got it right back then, and further "innovation" isn't necessary or desirable. When something works, go innovate somewhere else; you're sure to find some area that needs it if you look.

      1. Hans 1
        Happy

        Re: Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

        >Newer doesn't always mean better, and older doesn't have to mean outdated. Sometimes an older idea works because they got it right back then, and further "innovation" isn't necessary or desirable.

        Especially when you go eating vertical screen real-estate (ribbons, anybody ?) when everybody, or almost, has wide-screen displays ... brain-dead, no ifs, buts or maybes ... brain-dead!

        Apple has not really changed their main menu since ... forever ... see, they like it ;-) ... yes, you have search, it is a separate box, works perfectly ... why is everybody else doing this start menu search BS ????????

        Why do I still have these silly tiles everywhere ?

        1. they are ugly

        2. they eat screen real-estate

        They are Microsoft for a reason™!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Re: Newer is not better...

        How ridiculous. I'll have you know you will all soon be throwing out your old fashion round wheels, for new snazzy square ones!

        (For actual new wheels, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omni_wheel )

    2. billat29
      Headmaster

      Re: Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

      Pedant Alert!

      It was Xerox PARC. Rank Xerox was a joint venture between Xerox Corp and the Rank Organisation which had the rights to manufacture and sell Xerox products in EMEA (and some times, Australasia).

      But yes, they invented all this stuff. Some of us were using this in the early 80's while the rest of you were still tapping into green / orange screens.

      er.. or hadn't been born yet....

    3. MD Rackham

      Re: Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

      Obligatory pedant comment pointing out that neither Smalltalk on the Alto nor Star Office featured overlapping windows. They were both tiled systems.

      But the Apple visitors to PARC thought they'd seen overlapping windows so that's what they implemented, and did a rather clever job of it.

      (Around the same time the AT&T Blit did have overlapping windows, but I've never heard any claim that anyone from Apple saw a Blit. And I no longer recall the exact timing of who released first. Needless to say the Blit didn't go very far.)

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Our Windows windows will be resizable, soooon, vows Microsoft

        Obligatory pedant comment pointing out that neither Smalltalk on the Alto nor Star Office featured overlapping windows. They were both tiled systems.

        But the Apple visitors to PARC thought they'd seen overlapping windows so that's what they implemented, and did a rather clever job of it.

        I suspect this is one those things many people will miss, back then polygon clipping was both leading edge graphics research and cpu intensive - particularly given cpu speeds back then were typically measured in single digit Mhz's...

        So the simplest way to implement 'windows' was simply write to those cells in the framebuffer you were interested in and let the monitor continue to display the surrounding older data. Switching application, the paused hidden application simply updated the cells it was using, overwriting their previous contents.

        So Apple was able to see the intent of the earlier research and apply cutting edge graphics algorithms to make it real.

  21. TheOtherHobbes

    Meanwhile Elon Musk is wondering how to put people on Mars.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      RE: Meanwhile Elon Musk is wondering how to put people on Mars.

      Already thinking of signing up for it. $200,000 for a one-way ticket and never, ever again having to experience Windows, iOS, OSX or even Adobe CC nagware. Cheap at the price.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "never, ever again having to experience Windows"

        Are you sure about what OS the SpaceX vehicles are running?

        1. oldcoder

          Re: "never, ever again having to experience Windows"

          Runs linux...

          http://lwn.net/Articles/540368/

    2. Kristian Walsh

      "Meanwhile Elon Musk is wondering how to put people on Mars."

      ... yes, but just the people who say bad things about his products.

  22. ADRM

    Windows 10 Nightmare

    Ah there it is my Windows 98 SE CD. Looks better than Windows 10.

    All the mobile BS does not belong in a desktop OS period / full stop. When will Microslop come to their collective Borg senses and release a Windows 7 style interface. It is what the users want as over 50% are still on 7. So who bets 7 gets an extension to end of life until 2025?

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 Nightmare

      I'm using Classic Shell to get rid of the sloppy UI on Win8 and upwards.

      However it is not a silver bullet as there are some apps that insists on using the full screen.

      I also said the same thing - mobile devices and desktops/laptops are NOT equal, what will work for the one will NOT work for the other.

      Most people will still prefer traditional input methods (mouse+keyboard), others will use VR headsets, others will fondle their devices and so on... Lumping them all together and forcing them to use one UI and the such is bound to piss off a lot of users.

  23. All names Taken
    Facepalm

    Que?

    Didn't they well , you know, ... , that sort of thing was done by secretaries, personal assistants and deputies.

    Now computers do it only the big gaffer can get someone in the office to make an internal/external phone call with intro and then pass the call on to big gaffer? No?

  24. tfewster

    "Another click dials [your tax attorney] on your modem"

    Why the modem? Do you dislike him enough to continually annoy and deafen him?

    1. Kristian Walsh

      Re: "Another click dials [your tax attorney] on your modem"

      There was a function called a "speakerphone-modem", which allowed you to use the modem as a dialler, for calls you'd carry out over the speaker*. For exec types (the kind of people who'd be given, or buy, personal computers in the mid-1980s) using the PC as an electronic phonebook like this was probably more useful than any other the other application software on it.

  25. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Sloppysoft™

    Maybe I expected something different from this article, but Sloppysofts™ Fixed width CMD output no matter what width settings you set, or the fixed sized tiny windows wih tons of text you have to hover mouse over for the complete text to appear momentarily, then disapears again, so you have to move the mouse slightly to reinitiate the bubble text to apear again, or the error messages where sometimes CTRL+C will copy the text sometimes on some windows, but not consistent enough to work every time.

    Its almost as if their "built from the ground up, QA'd by the NSA for back doors" Sloppysoft™ Windows is basically layers of cake mix added to already existing layers of cake mix and is basically a huge mess.

    Who knew

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS Project also has some quirks.

    Excel allows two different executables, in two separate windows, each one with its own toolbars, each one with several spreadsheets open under it.

    MS Project doesn't.

  27. Christian Berger

    I never quite understand Windows users and their window management

    Disclaimer: I'm generalizing here, obviously.

    I mean it seems like they have a fetish for "full screen". For example there's a 1990-ish software called "Praxident". It's a typical piece of software from that time. It has lots of "fixed size" forms, forms you couldn't make bigger or smaller to show more or less content. Sure that's bad idea, but at least once you have more than 640x480 you can have multiple windows... Well that's not what the designers intended. Instead of allowing you to use the leftover space more efficiently, they had a setting where you would select your screen resolution. Based on that setting the forms would be _scaled_ so they'd simply take up more screen space. They weren't even smart enough to do that based on the current window size... and Windows users are perfectly contempt with that. For some reason Windows users just want to always have maximized windows.

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