back to article Windows 11: What we like and don't like about Microsoft's operating system so far

In its publicity for Windows 11, Microsoft has focused on the "simplified design and user experience" of the operating system along with a few headline features: a centered Start menu that looks more like a dock from other OSes, Android apps in the Microsoft Store, Teams Chat in the taskbar, Widgets, and more. Android software …

  1. MrMerrymaker

    Meh

    Seems too simplified for its own good

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "taskbar corner overflow"

      Description like this means now graphic designers are in full control of the UI. They don't strive for usability, they strive for the "looks fashionable".

      Here the oversimplified look, rounded corners, hard-to-recognize controls, removal of useful features wherever they don't fit the "look".

      Dumbing down a native OS is also useful to make lame web applications running from a cloud look better, though...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      As long as OpenShell or Start10 can fix the Windows 11 GUI, I don't care even on PC's I have that can run it. All this "GUI 7 ribbon simplification, rounded corners, etc" says to me is Microsoft is vastly overstaffed with people who don't have anything worthwhile to do.

      The main issue with moving to Windows 11 is that about half the "fleet" I have to deal with are perfectly good PC's (i7-3770 @ 3.9GHz, 32GB RAM, GeForce GTX 760 graphics, 2TB Samsung SSD's, Bitlocker) with lots of years of life left in them that don't have TPM chips, and I have no intention of replacing them anytime soon.

      I doubt I am the only one with this issue.

      1. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        You need a copy of LTSC 2019, support until 2029.

        Better still, the "final" copy of Windows 10, Server 2022, which will surely be supported until 2032.

    3. pip25
      Thumb Down

      Re: Meh

      Every time I see the word "simplified" in a changelog, I twitch with discomfort. More often than not, it's a misguided attempt to make the software easier to use by removing features. Windows 11's case seems no different, unfortunately.

      1. sipke

        Re: Meh

        Not only removing features... but also "hiding" features behind convoluted procedures which previously were launched by couple of clicks. Most graphic designers I've worked with have no conception of how power users and IT pros work, nor do they care... as long as their new GUI appears fashionable and cool to other designers.

        1. -v(o.o)v-

          Re: Meh

          And this cancer is permeating the whole industry. Decades of experience in making UI *useful* is thrown away in an attempt to look trendy.

          It is disgusting and it has to stop. The journalists and other people with an audience should be making a stand to stop this madness.

    4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      Seems too simplified for its own good

      If only. But an OS is sort of meant to be simple. Back in the good'ol days, it'd come on a few floppies and run in 640K of memory. Now, Windows occupies around 4GB, and I doubt Win11 is any leaner.

      But that's where hiding 'power user' tools gets a tad annoying. So first thing a lot of tech people do whenever there's a new MS OS is figure out how to tune it to stop all the irrelevant cruft from running and wasting resources. Hopefully by the time Win11 goes mass-market, that'll be done.

      But oh for a 'lean' version that takes <1GB. Oh for that lean version to also have a better & honest windows update system. Across the millions of Windows installs, millions of people have probably looked at the screen that tells them 'Updating, 100% complete', and wondering why if it's complete, they're still waiting. Or why they're waiting for the cleanup to complete. Or just why they're waiting at all, and the update process can't run quietly in the background.

      Graphic designers rounding the corners of an increasingly bloated turd still leave us with a turd.

  2. toxicdragon

    Im convinced there will be a lawsuit from apple coming very shortly, that looks so much like apples OS design.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      They tried that in the '80s into the '90s. Apple lost.

      Now modern courts are much more receptive to that sort of nonsense, but the old case set a clear precedence.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >Apple lost.

        But then Gates invested massively in Apple, MS and Apple came to a licencing arrangement...

        I suspect MS still pays Apple significant amounts for technology reuse.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          One of the reasons Apple as a company didn't die in the '90s when it was seriously floundering was because Steve Jobs decided to partner with Microsoft rather than continue to oppose them. There were boos from the audience when he announced it, but it arguably saved the company. Before then, your average office PC made an Apple computer look like a dated beige box from the 1980s, with incompatible hardware. Remember SCSI interfaces that had the exact same connectors as parallel ports? I've seen at least one instance of a Macintosh (as they then were) being bricked by plugging a parallel-port version of a Zip drive into the SCSI port.

          They then went the way of the computer as consumer electronics, with the "boiled sweet" iMac which arguably significantly changed their customer base.

      2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        Boffin

        90's

        The Apple suit against was entirely a Steve Jobs Ego driven suit & had it been successful, simply would have been Apple shooting itself in the foot.

        I was working in SV at the time with a lot of friends working at high levels at both Apple as well as Xerox PARC. Xerox sat back and watched it play out in the courts on Apple's dime, as they knew that if Apple won their case that the Windows GUI "copied" the Lisa/Mac GUI and it was protected IP, that would have made themselves mincemeat as Xerox would have then gone after Apple for the Lisa/Mac GUI "copying" the Xerox Dynabook/Alto GUI based on Apple establishing the legal precedent & it was already quite public that the Lisa/Mac GUI came about after (and whose development was motivated by) Jobs saw a demo of the Dynabook/Alto GUI on a visit to Xerox PARC. Since Apple lost, no point in Xerox going after Apple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 90's

          Given that Jobs gave Xerox shares in Apple in order to license the Xerox PARC ideas, this seems unlikely.

          1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: 90's

            And you'd have been wrong. Very very wrong.

    2. Alan Bourke

      Apple?

      Sue for taking someone else's idea? What, in the Pot Kettle Black court ?

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Bells and broken whistle

    I am amazed that 10's start menu still cannot find some installed apps when you search for them. I don't know how they managed to screw that one up.

    It seems like Windows 11 is just a Windows 10 with a malware add-on.

    I read a couple of reviews and watched some walkthrough videos, and I don't know why would anyone want to install it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bells and broken whistle

      To be fair, it's barely a beta, probably closer to an alpha build. I wouldn't put much stock in it.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        > To be fair, it's barely a beta, probably closer to an alpha build.

        Considering it's due for release this year with OEM systems availability for purchase this year, I sure hope it's way more than an alpha build. Realistically it's late-beta (beta 2 or 3) at least with release less than 5 months away.

      2. Andy A
        Thumb Down

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        Virtually all the useful bits have been trialled in the Insider builds over the last year.

        Then the marketing droids crippled it with the horribly crippled start menu replacement.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Bells and broken whistle

          This "insider build" thing intrigues me.

          To what extent are their wishes, feelings, use cases, preferences and expectations of an OS the same as those of a harassed school teacher, an architects clerk, a bank official, a GP, a chef, a......well for want of a better phrase - real people?

          My supposition is that people who use "insider builds" are enthusiasts and techies. And the only reason for getting their opinion would be to run a mile in the opposite direction.

          1. Updraft102

            Re: Bells and broken whistle

            Enthusiasts and techies after anyone who dared criticize anything had been purged from their party forums that mostly consisted of references to cat ninjas and taco hats. They removed everyone but the yes-men, and then they claimed that their ideas had been vetted by those same sycophants, in a display of circular logic.

          2. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: Bells and broken whistle

            To what extent are their wishes, feelings, use cases, preferences and expectations of an OS the same as those of a harassed school teacher, an architects clerk, a bank official, a GP, a chef, a......well for want of a better phrase - real people?

            My supposition is that people who use "insider builds" are enthusiasts and techies. And the only reason for getting their opinion would be to run a mile in the opposite direction.

            Anyone can join the insider build program. It's not restricted to techies and enthusiasts. There's no IT exam you have to sit before they allow you to join.

            If you are one of those aforementioned harassed school teachers or bank officials or any other profession, you are welcome to sign up to the insider program to have your voice heard in those earlier stages. In fact, that is the whole point of the insider program. The Windows Insider Program

            What is the Windows Insider Program?

            The Windows Insider Program is a community of millions of Windows' biggest fans who get to be the first to see what's next. Windows Insiders run previews of the platform, called Windows Insider Preview Builds, then give feedback and engage directly with our engineers to help shape the future of Windows.

            Register for free to join the program and our community of millions of Windows Insiders today.

            If you don't choose to take up the mechanisms provided to enable your voice to be heard, how's that Microsoft's fault?

            I'm not a MS fanboy, I'm not in the insider program, I begrudgingly upgraded to Windows 8/10 when windows 7 became unsustainable for my use case (games, DX12), and I have no plans of upgrading to windows 11 for at least the next 2 years, if not longer, and I cheered on the anti-trust trial of the 90's against them. But fair's fair, they provide a mechanism for you to provide feedback and participate, if you don't paticipate, how can you blame them?

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Bells and broken whistle

              Anyone can join the insider build program. It's not restricted to techies and enthusiasts. There's no IT exam you have to sit before they allow you to join.

              Sorry, but that is disingenuous to the point of incomprehension.

              By definition, any one who chooses to sign up to that insider thing is not an ordinary user. It's practically a definition of "enthusiast" .

              If you weren't an enthusiast why would you do it? The probability of anyone not a techie or an enthusiast choosing to sign up to something like that is vanishingly low, at best. It's irrelevant that they could, it's whether they would.

              You * could* mortgage your home and buy a racehorse - you'd have to be very enthusiastic about horse racing to consider actually doing it though.

              1. eldakka Silver badge

                Re: Bells and broken whistle

                If you weren't an enthusiast why would you do it?

                Maybe because you are complaining about them not taking your views, your work practices, your needs into account in the design of windows, thus you should signup to the mechanism they have put in place to solicit those views?

                If you don't provide your views, how the hell are they going to know what they are? Mind reading? Magic?

                How about you participate in providing your feedback instead of whining that they aren't taking account of your views that you aren't sharing with them?

                You * could* mortgage your home and buy a racehorse - you'd have to be very enthusiastic about horse racing to consider actually doing it though.

                You could. And if you just sat there complaing about not being able to win any horse races because you don't own a horse to put in the races, and you've taken absolutely zero steps - beyong complaining about it - to obtain a racehorse, I'd submit the opinion that you have nothing to complain about because you haven't done what's necessary (mortgaged your house if that's the only way you could do it) to get said racehorse.

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                  Re: Bells and broken whistle

                  Well, for a starter, because I don't have the freedom to do so. Even though ( I'm on El Reg after all) I am a tech enthusiast I don't have a spare machine to tinker with. I do need to use the PC for actually doing stuff.*

                  And that's a further barrier to ordinary people joining. It's also irrelevant. What's required is listening to ordinary users and finding out what they want in an OS and how they use theirs, rather than either relying of focus groups, who are often self-selecting, or as seems most often the case, MS deciding a direction and trying to herd us all that way.

                  *(I admit I've wondered whether I could try it in a VM).

    2. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: Bells and broken whistle

      They screwed up with the very fact that you have to search for them.

      Windows 95 style menus were crisper and faster to navigate. Even for newbies. Now they don't even know what they have installed because it is just a mess.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        I am pretty sure I started using search, because I couldn't find some of installed apps in the list. I also often can't find apps that are on the list... oh well.

      2. bernmeister
        Holmes

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        You are right, I just recently fired up my old XP system looking for some documents. I was quite surprised how quick and easy it was to use compared to Win10.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Bells and broken whistle

          It's interesting to play with all the old Windows operating systems for a while to get a feeling how our working environment has shifted over the years. Back in the days of Windows 1 you could just spend a day walking up Yr Wyddfa and loving the views, now we're told that sitting in the back seat of a Tesla as it zooms up Snowdon is better and that Edmund Hillary could have trained himself via an app (the icon indicates this is a technical historical joke - LOL).

      3. Teiwaz

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        Windows 95 style menus were crisper and faster to navigate.

        I recall using Windows prior to the millenium where the menu could open and the verbose unsorted application menu covered almost the entire screen.

    3. Plest Bronze badge
      Happy

      Re: Bells and broken whistle

      "It seems like Windows 11 is just a Windows 10 with a malware add-on."

      let me fix that...

      "It seems like Windows 11 is just malware."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bells and broken whistle

      The whole architecture of having "apps" that are not listed the same way as "programs" is just stupid. It just underscores the fact that Mircosoft is overloaded with "GUI Designers" who don't actually use Windows to do any real work beyond "GUI Design".

      1. LDS Silver badge

        don't actually use Windows to do any real work beyond "GUI Design"

        I bet they do that GUI design on some Apple device as well...

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: don't actually use Windows to do any real work beyond "GUI Design"

          ... and they are kind of shite at making a design usable, too.

          I don't want pretty pretty pictures for my OS, I want to get the apps I use running and for the the OS to stay out of my way and make it easy for me to fiddle with the knobs and not move them when I'm not looking.

          ::is still bitter about splitting the network controls into 'child-like and not useful except for ONE THING that it frankly sucks as (wifi management) and still has the rest of it in the XP zone of Network Settings in the 'legacy' control panel::

      2. Dazed and Confused

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        It just underscores the fact that Mircosoft is overloaded with "GUI Designers" who don't actually use Windows to do any real work beyond "GUI Design".

        Like they do with their own applications. They obviously have scores of GUI designers working on the likes of Word who sit around giving each other awards for the things but have clearly never had to use it to produce a document. Programmers not be experts in the field they are writing software for is probably understandable, but they also seem to have taken to sticking their fingers in their ears and singing "La La La, I can't hear you" every time an actual user tries to give any feedback.

    5. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Bells and broken whistle

      Windows 8 did the same thing. You could literally see the item in the start menu, type the name, and it wouldn't show up. I cannot believe it still happens today in 10, but it does.

      Since Windows 8 search has been broken as hell. Yet install Classic Shell/OpenShell, and the problem is instantly solved.

      1. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        Searching for documents is insane too - try and find all documents created or modified in the last week without knowing the text commands to achieve it.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Bells and broken whistle

      And WHY?, GOD, Oh WHY?, do *THEY* keep calling *THAT* "interface"... **MODERN** ???

      (my forehead is now PERMANENTLY BRUISED from banging it into the same spot over and over and over and over and over...)

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        :boombastic bangb

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Bells and broken whistle

        > And WHY?, GOD, Oh WHY?, do *THEY* keep calling *THAT* "interface"... **MODERN** ???

        It's modern like modern art is.

        That is, it's a pile of twisted, rusting metal gathered from the dumpster and welded together randomly, with some buckets of paint thrown at it, some kids allowed to run their hands through the wet paint, and then some dogs allowed to defecate on it, before it's put in display the nearest public space after the local council paid a few million dollars for it as a roosting place for pigeons.

    7. aqk
      Linux

      Re: Bells and broken whistle

      But then, aren't you the guy that sneered "I'LL NEVER give up my Windows-XP for this overpriced Win-7!! ...Windows-8 and its Lucky Charms? T's an abomination compared with me Apple!"

      "Oh! It doesn't matter anyhow. We shall all be using Linux by 2016!"

      Yes... M$ and evil Bill Gates will surely soon die! C'mon, Reggie-folks! Bring on the downvotes! I expect at least 50 by next week! ;)

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

    And nothing of value was lost.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

      You're wrong - as said in the article Windows 8 had an excellent touch UI. Just it made no sense as the only UI for an OS designed for desktops too.

      On a Surface in tablet mode Windows 8 is really nice and comfortable to use. And some well designed application as Mail as well.

      But when in desktop mode it should have switched back automatically to something far more alike Windows 7, and allow "apps" inside a floating window.

      I never understood why MS can't deliver an OS with two "personalities" - one when in tablet mode, one when in desktop mode - instead of trying to create a Frankenstein UI aiming at working in both modes, it is not possible to design a UI good in both modes. Probably it's because designers are in charge. They stubbornly look for an holy grail of design - and they'll never find it.

      1. Ozan

        Re: Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

        You made me miss my windows tablet. Ihad asus transformer and it was just right. Of course Intel atom cpu was not up to par at all but useful as a tablet more than any ipad.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

        The narrative at the time (of Win 8) was all about a unified design. i.e your desktop, tablet, touch device and phone should all look the same. Not just the same in concept and colour schemes, the same with a blithe inability to comprehend that different function requires different form. Sort of like Honda saying that their cars, motorbikes and lawnmowers should all be the same design- with 3 wheels, air bags and a set of cutting blades on the front.

      3. Updraft102

        Re: Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

        A tablet looks superficially similar to the lid/display panel on a laptop, and a phone looks like a smaller tablet (these days with a ridiculous aspect ratio on the smaller one), so they dreamed of One UI To Rule Them All. It's been the holy grail of fools ever since. MS went all in on it, and for some reason kept pursuing it even after they gave up their phone ambitions... Ubuntu seemed to recognize the folly of it and tossed Unity (the desktop, not the game engine) aside, but then they re-adopted GNOME 3, which was just as bad, if not worse.

        Firefox, of course, had its UI made all bloaty on PCs because "touch is the future" or something, even though most people on the PC platform don't use touch (and those that buy touch PCs soon learn that the ergonomics on non-handheld touch devices are a nightmare). They added miles of padding on everything and vindictively removed the "compact" UI mode, only to add it back in, hidden behind a pref, and with the completely unnecessary (not supported) message, just to let those "few" people who don't want to deal with the UI compromises of touchscreen devices (on non-touch devices) where they stand.

        Touchscreens are a scourge when it comes to good UI design, and on phones in particular. They're not the more modern, superior replacement for a mouse or dedicated touchpad... they're nothing more than inferior kludges to make handhelds somewhat useful when neither a discrete keyboard nor pointing device is practical given the form factor. There's no question that for typing more than a 140 character message, an actual hardware keyboard is the only way to go, but the part too many people miss is that if you are using one of those, a touchscreen is just a bad match. It takes too long to move the hand from the keyboard to the screen, requiring a weight shift and suspending the arm in the air, which is tiring and uncomfortable, not to mention that it negates the informative reactivity of the mouse pointer when it is pointing at a given UI element, and the precision that a 2-stage point and click provides. There's no need for gigantic oversized UI elements when you aren't going to be clumsily stabbing at them with big, fat fingers that cover the view of the element being tapped just before the actual tap event.

        Good UI design is something of a lost art. Windows 95 was a quantum leap above Windows 3.x in its usability because MS put a great deal of effort into testing how people actually use GUIs. Not whether people thought the GUI was beautiful, but whether it was useful. The focus wasn't on aesthetics, but ease of use. Now we're infected with the "designers" who just got done wrecking the usability of nearly every web site in the world, and they want to spread their "beautiful" UIs that are actually quite ugly even further.

        1. ROC

          Re: Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

          One of most pertinent descriptions of touch vs keyboard/mouse UI's that I have ever read!

          Would be interested in your assessment of Windows Phone 8.1 UI that I miss more and more with each new version of Android.

    2. FraK
      Unhappy

      Re: Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

      I'll miss tablet mode.

      We've been using tablet mode for devices which only need to run a couple of apps to simplify the experience for our users.

      Multi app kiosk mode is supposedly designed for this use case, but the amount of effort required to get rid of random "Your administrator has blocked this application" error messages far outweighed the creation of a custom start menu and forcing tablet mode instead.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Sounds like they are purging all the crap they added with Windows 8

      they're not purging ALL of the crap... THAT! 2D! FLATTY! McFLATFACE! FLATSO! FLATASS! "interface" is STILL THERE...

  5. Annihilator Silver badge

    If they can finally fix the bombsite that is the settings app and the control panel within Windows 10, I'd probably accept their redesign. Doesn't look likely based on this preview though.. particularly with the backup nonsense.

    I'm fully expecting them to make it worse and introduce a third way (maybe a "Preferences Widget"), while keeping the Windows 10 Settings App along with Windows 7's Control Panel.

    1. Andy A
      Mushroom

      The last few Windows 10 Insider builds had anything vaguely "technical", such as Control Panel, Admin Tools, Command Prompt etc., stuffed inside a new container called Tools.

      Of course, opening Control Panel from there showed you, bizarrely, Tools, which contains Control Panel....

      <stack overflow error>

    2. Updraft102

      Control Panel was for mouse UIs. Settings is for touchscreens.

      I don't use a touchscreen, so everything should be in Control Panel. Whether Settings is complete or not, I do not care, but I know Control Panel no longer is. They're getting rid of the "good" UI that is suitable for the mode in which it is used in favor of the "bad" UI that is based on some input modality that 99% of people do not and will not use.

      Which, of course, is why I realized that Windows 10 was a strange game, where the only winning move was not to play.

  6. sanwin

    Not happy at the position of the taskbar being fixed. Vertical on the RHS is my preference.. Only on one monitor too.

    1. secondtimeuser

      Annoying here too as someone who has always had it at the top, though it seems a registry change allows moving it to the top (for now?)

      https://winaero.com/how-to-move-taskbar-in-windows-11-change-taskbar-location/

      1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Meh

        I would prefer to use the top also, but apparently that (un)real estate is reserved for paying customers... ie Office and other programs keep all their menus up there, and it would clash something horrible if they had to coexist.

  7. cornetman Silver badge

    One of the reasons that I have a fondness for "old Windows" is that they had a consistent style guide for applications that made accessing things like menus and the like predictable and intuitive, and they stuck to it.

    Ever since at least Windows 8, it always seemed like the kicked consistency in the nuts and decided that they would tack on any old fashionable fad and do it badly and only partially such that what we have ended up with some kinds of Frankenstein's monster of a UI which makes me want to cry every time that I have to use it.

    At least with Classic shell, we can, in some small way, strap on something that makes Windows usable. I really don't understand why Microsoft just cannot get their act together in this regard.

    1. mjflory

      Classic Shell

      Of course, after an upgrade Windows 10 started telling me that Classic Shell had been disabled because... I forget why, because it would blow up my computer or something similar.

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Re: Classic Shell

        Classic Shell does that to recalibrate itself. Now that it's discontinued Open-Shell seems to be doing a good job of continuing the good fight.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Why can't they? Becasue UX design is utter, utter shit these days and that's current fashion.

      Make the user controls stupid, ugly, non-intutive and opaque are the current design rules for everything.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        don't forget light blue on bright white, so we can get EYE STRAIN while seeking THICK ENOUGH GLASSES to actually SEE IT...

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        My favorite example of this is replacing checkboxes, which had a clear, intuitive indicator of their state, with sliding buttons. Whoever came up with that control should be ostracized from all human society.

        1. quartzz

          settings menu's seemed to be 2 or 3 columns (grey background, white box), which was fine. chrome and firefox now seem to have a single setting on each row. which to me wastes a lot of horizontal screen space, and the colour scheme is light grey on white. which sort of sux. maybe you're not meant to change the settings

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Versions of Windows up to Windows 7 at least had some level of skeuomorphism in their design guides. Buttons looked like buttons! UI elements were distinguishable from each other by clear borders. Everything since then has been a regression.

      And for what? The W10 UI is the laggiest and glitchiest thing I've ever used.

      1. Geoffrey W

        Re "skeuomorphism"

        Hmmm, a skeuomorph is a representation in one medium of something that exists in another medium; In this usage a digital representation of something in the real world. Devices with flat interfaces exist in the world so does it not follow that flat interfaces have become skeuomorphs of themselves? Microsoft weren't the first with flatness so aren't they just creating new skeuomorphs that mimic other interfaces which they are copying and which exist in the world? I think so...

        1. Geoffrey W

          <SULK>No one likes my little whimsy? You boring bunch of boring bores.</SULK>

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            I suspect you ran afoul of Poe's Law there. For any idiotic UI design, there's always someone who'll defend it; your post resembled such a defense too closely.

        2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          TRANSLATION NOTE: people seem nowadays to say "skeuomorphism" when they're actually talking about "affordance".

          Skeuomorphism is an affordance, but so is a button which is 3D-embossed, octagonal, and back-shaded red with "STOP" written on it, and so is a title-bar which is darker and striped when acquiring Focus but plain and ordinary when Background, and so is putting a big dark border around the default button in a dialog box, and so is pulsing a menu item when it is chosen, and ... etc etc.

          More or less: can you see that Action is possible and can you correctly guess What that action is? And do you get useful feedback that Something has happened? And ... etc.

          For nearly 20yrs now there has been an accelerating trend to eliminate affordances.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "skeuomorphism"

        It's not really needed - you can design an abstract UI with clear meanings for its controls, and make them easily identifiable and highly usable. But it has to be designed with usability in mind, not as if it was going to be framed on a wall at MOMA. The problem is what looks good on a Photoshop prototype may be an usability nightmare.

        We have to blame the web to have brought in IT too many artsy people - these are the results.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "skeuomorphism"

          > you can design an abstract UI with clear meanings for its controls

          Yes you can, however, skeuomorphism (used wisely) allow you to more easily tap into users pre-existing knowledge.

          >We have to blame the web to have brought in IT too many artsy people

          No the problem is that too many artsy people are in positions of power. The entire TIFKAM fiasco could have been avoided if someone with some commonsense had slapped down the design school idiots.

          1. Geoffrey W

            Re: "skeuomorphism"

            RE: "tap into users pre-existing knowledge."

            There's an entire generation who for their entire lives have known these modern styles of UX and that is their pre-existing knowledge. There's a pretty good chance that these young uns don't see very many objects with real buttons, so flat is what they know. I'm not really defending these "Flatty McFlatso" - as some one in our vicinity would say - UXs, nor am I attacking them; I honestly don't care. Things change, as do peoples experience. Just as long as they don't start doing black text on a dark background, or vice versa, then I don't care; As I said, things change. We either change with them or stay behind grumbling about how it were better in our day. Somethings really were better in the past; and if they were really good they will come round again if we wait long enough and be discovered as new. Keep cool, dude, it's a fight you'll never win!

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: "skeuomorphism"

              > Things change, as do peoples experience.

              Yes, however, I think the issue is the amount of change.

              If we look back at the icons MS have used for Office, we see both change and consistency:

              Word: Blue icon with an 'W'

              Excel: Green icon with an 'X'

              etc.

              So someone who had used say the pre-Office versions would stand a fighting chance of correctly identifying them on a Win10 system.

              However, there are other applications where consistency hasn't been maintained. From memory both Apple and Google have been more pro-active in replacing skeuomorphic icons with abstract patterns and colours, than MS. A particular example (on Android) is the camera icon, on my phone it is almost just blue circle on a white background, whilst I can see that it is intended to be a camera len with the camera body stripped away, it is too similar to some other circle icons (that aren't cameras).

          2. Updraft102

            Re: "skeuomorphism"

            Humans have been dealing with 3d objects in space for as long as there have been humans. We're hardwired to do so. Having UI elements that look like 3d objects in space just enough to invoke that bit of our minds, in effect, applies hardware acceleration to GUI usage. The skeuomorphs don't have to take it to the ridiculous degree that some software did in the 90s, with pretend leather-bound volumes with dog-eared paper pages. It just takes a bit to make it obvious which elements are important or interactive without having to mouse over them to find out (or even worse, tap them on a touchscreen and see if what happened was what you wanted).

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: "skeuomorphism"

          2D FLATSO is about as "artsy" as something drawn on an ETCH-A-SKETCH

          These modern day "Picasso wannabe" types trying to be "artsy"... ~shudder~

          /me imagines a Cartman popup, similar to Clippie, all 2D FLATASS like the rest of the interface, saying "Screw you guys I'm going home".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "skeuomorphism"

            Gosh! Your reactionaryism is consistent, if very little else. Truly awesome to behold! I think I love you!

      3. Andy A

        What pass for User Interface Designers these days all seem to have ADHD.

        Something that people recognise? BAD! Change it! Change it AGAIN!!

        Need to tailor some settings? We can't have it neatly placed on a menu, because DAS MENU IST VERBOTEN! Have a little picture of a cogwheel? TOO SIMPLE! Hide it behind three very small horizontal bars! NO! Better still, have the horizontal bars exactly one pixel long!

        Take the humble vertical scrollbar. It started out with sensible meaning. The contrasting bit showed roughly where in the document you were currently looking. Then they made that indicator change size to show what proportion of the whole was in view - fine unless you had a thousand-page document, where the indicator could be less than a pixel tall.

        Then came the "make them less intrusive" brigade. Remove the contrast! Make them auto-hide!

        The Win11 start menu has hit a new low. The "scroll bar" consists of two little circles, almost the same colour as their background, one slightly smaller than the other.

        1. Trixr

          I have got ADHD. Don't blame this bs on us.

          I personally want a reasonable amount of consistency so I don't spend time hunting around for something for hours, give up, start reading El Reg....

      4. Andy A
        Flame

        <And for what? The W10 UI is the laggiest and glitchiest thing I've ever used.>

        A few months back, my Humax PVR received an unasked-for over-the-air update to its UI.

        Besides hiding the only thing I use it for - time-shifted recordings - it introduced a horrible lack of responsiveness.

        While the actions while playing a recording are just as before, button presses in its menu system (including power-on!) now take a MINIMUM of ten seconds before there is any response indicated on screen.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Coat

          I wonder how much of the "New Windows" was written in Node.js ...

    4. RLWatkins

      "old WIndows"

      Old Windows conformed to a set of GUI guidelines called Common User Access, which has been under development since Xerox first invented the GUI, back in the early 1970s.

      I'm a big fan of CUA, because a CUA-compliant GUI makes it immediately obvious how to operate the shell and any CUA-compliant software which it might run.

      KDE, for example, is still CUA-compliant. My mom, a Windows user, and 79 at the time, sat down in front of a KDE laptop and was able to just start doing what she needed to do with no confusion and no wasted time.

      I'm not a big fan of "modernization" which entails eliminating UI cues and making the UI more cryptic. The worst example I can think of was the Win8 "feature" that you open the "start panel" by moving the mouse cursor to one corner of the screen.

      I'll refrain from listing the hundred-odd other problems of the "modern, aesthetic UI". None of this new stuff is, as an old math teacher of mine once said, "intuitively obvious".

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: "old WIndows"

        The worst example I can think of was the Win8 "feature" that you open the "start panel" by moving the mouse cursor to one corner of the screen.

        They basically copied that from macOS. That's how it still is today.

        In some ways it's actually quite good. According to Fitt's Law, the edges of the screen are infinitely deep in one axis, and the corners infinitely deep in two axes. Throw your mouse towards the corner and no matter how fast you're going, you'll hit it.

        Of course, on a touch screen it's a paddling pool of stale fish wank, but that's another story. :)

        1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

          Re: "old WIndows"

          The difference being that on MacOS you can go in and customise what the "hot corners" actually do. I turned them all off except for moving the mouse to the top right locks the mac straight away.

          I use that a lot, and I started having gone to the kitchen to make a coffee and coming back to a cat sitting on my keyboard and a document full of several thousand occurrences of the letter "u".

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "old WIndows"

          >In some ways it's actually quite good.

          The concept was good, just poorly and inconsistently executed.

          Having previously used applications such as ArtRage which make use of off-screen menu's, but include a1~2 pixel visual indicator on the screen that "something is hidden here", I could see the merit. However, for these menu's MS decided not to leave a visual cue, the user had to know there was something there. This was inconsistent with the behaviour of the taskbar when auto-hide is enabled.

          The issue with W8 was that the design school idiots merely wanted to shock, they didn't have the Steve Job's attention to detail and tenacity to deliver a complete and consistent user experience. Given where W10 is now and what we are seeing with W11, MS still have a long way to go.

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: "old WIndows"

            8's 'pixel box' for the start menu was also stupidly small and difficult to hit with anything, which was infuriating on remote desktop connections to server 2012 machines, which were based on 8's codebase. 8.1 and 2012 R2 were MUCH better about it, putting a button back into that corner that you could at least aim at with a mouse and not have to spend several seconds trying to poke that tiny area.

        3. captain veg Silver badge

          Re:stale fish wank

          It's also a pondful of pongy piscine poo-poo if you've got Windows running in a VM (the only sane way to run Windows) and not in full-screen mode. Same for remote desktop.

          -A.

      2. ForthIsNotDead

        Re: "old WIndows"

        "I'm not a big fan of "modernization" which entails eliminating UI cues and making the UI more cryptic."

        Have an up-vote. If a GUI requires me to puzzle-solve in order to use it, then it's not a good GUI.

        I honestly think MS hit the GUI sweet-spot back in the days of Win2000 and XP. Win2000 in particular was beautifully intuitive to use from a GUI perspective. A button looked like a button, and went inwards when you clicked it. Options were grouped together within frames. The newer flat look is a step backwards in my opinion.

        I'm generally very happy with the Linux Cinnamon (on Linux Mint) GUI design which is very comfortable and 100% intuitive to use for probably 90% of things. Some of the more dusty areas of the OS (settings) could do with a bit of work - there's still some puzzle solving involved - e.g. the Firewall GUI - but for most things it's very good indeed.

        In Microsoft's case, I think they could do better if they just effing stopped moving things around. I don't know how many times they have re-designed the control panel over the years. Try navigating to ODBC settings to set up database DSNs. You can guarantee that wherever it is, it won't be there on the next edition!

        Just stop mucking around with it!

        1. Updraft102

          Re: "old WIndows"

          Win 2k remains the high water mark for Microsoft GUIs in my book. It took the good ideas from Windows 95 and moved them forward. After that, MS began to diverge from that paradigm, and while they kept some of it, they threw a lot of the good stuff away. Today, a large number of people agree with you about the inherent goodness of the Win2k GUI, and when I set up my Linux devices today, they are very much like that. I use KDE Plasma, and the "Start" menu (in MS parlance) I chose is the one with the cascading submenus. It's very much the same paradigm, with the File, Edit... menubar present in the windows and the Quick Launch bar in the panel ("Taskbar"), then the small-icon, captioned running tasks, then the notification icons, then the clock. The main menu button ("Start") is in the lower left corner, as it should be.

          I know a lot of my fellow Linux users love to say MS and Windows have always been crap and have never done anything well, but I don't agree with that. MS has done some things well (just not so much since "cloud guy" Nadella has been CEO), and now the UI the laptop I am using to write this looks more like my favorite Windows version than actual Windows. Like the old saying goes... I didn't leave Windows... Windows left me.

      3. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: "old WIndows"

        In fact that whole barking mad Win 8 idea that important controls called "charms" should be concealed around the desktop, and would only appear when you didn't want them seems to indicate a company removed from reality.

        1. Updraft102

          Re: "old WIndows"

          First thing I did in Win 8.1 was to install Metro Killer (then Classic Shell, then Old New Explorer, then 7+ Taskbar Tweaker, then my custom theme and the hack to get it to work). Nothing Metro would run, including the charms. I used the Intel Proset software for handling wireless connections, and the Toshiba stack for bluetooth. MSC snapins could handle new user management, and that was all I was ever not able to do with Control Panel. MS had only just begun to gut it back in those days, so it was still mostly intact.

    5. martinusher Silver badge

      Back in the old, old, days Windows development tools came with a copy of IBM's Common User Access standards booklet. This CUA was a very carefully thought out set of standards for graphical user interfaces. If you can find a copy then I'd read through it because it will explain why UIs have got steadily more and more awful in recent years. Its also a demonstration of programmer psychology -- the UI is a visible and malleable software component so its an obvious target for programmers to tinker with, its just full of wheels dying to be reinvented (and its a lot more rewarding to fiddle with the screen than deal with system or task issues).

      Shell (and scripting) seem to be going through the same processes. We've had powerful tools for decades but in order for them to be modern they have to be reinvented and improved, invariably by adding proprietary twists that make them unique to Microsoft.

      1. Dagg
        Facepalm

        the UI is a visible and malleable software component so its an obvious target for programmers to tinker with

        Er.. no the biggest issue I had was the bloody BAs wanting to make it look "better", "nicer" etc. Little things like we want these colours, And I had to reply ok want about the poor buggers who are colour blind.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          .. and actual blind users with screen readers.

          Anyone remember the theme "hot dog" from windows 3.1? It was a theme of reds and yellows that was almost guaranteed to make your eyes bleed from your skull like a nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark. There's no easy way to bring that all the way forward*. (and TBH, windows 7 hid a lot of the knobs for that, which are absent entirely on windows 10, although I'm pretty sure the control itself is lurking about...)

          One of my biggest gripe with Office 2016 and newer is the mono-tone nature of the buttons (and with the O326 apps, the utter flatness of the even more simplified ribbon and lack of color customization (and themes- Why I can't I have fluffy bunnies in my app backgrounds for office?? I WANT MY FLULFFY BUNNIES, DAMMIT!)

          (and also to be honest, it should STAY in the dark past, it was a horrible theme.)

          1. Updraft102

            The GDI themes from Vista and 7 were fully customizable as far as color. The new "Aero" composited themes were only somewhat customizable. With Win 8, the GDI themes went away, other than high contrast themes (which are horrible). They removed hardware acceleration from the GDI themes when Vista came along, so the tearing is just terrible (whereas I had never noticed it in XP or prior).

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      VERY well said!

      I'd go for an XP or Windows 7 style interface ANY day compared to "that thing".

    7. AmyInNH

      "I really don't understand why Microsoft just cannot get their act together in this regard."

      As near as I can tell, they have two problems.

      - Constant reorg of the UI to generate sales. "New", sells upgrades, training, etc.

      - Constant restaffing with new grads. Microsoft was a pioneer in offloading their highly skilled for the deferential ultra-cheap foreign visa'd new grad.

      Decades back, they had some remarkable sharp cookies - and apparently Microsoft resented their demand for better pay.

  8. MikeLivingstone

    Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

    Powershell is by far the best thing to come from Microsoft!

    The Ubuntu Terminal is also very useful!!

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

      Dear God, No! If it became a typey OS I'd never have time to sleep for people ringing to ask "Why won't my mouse work?, or Where's notepad? or Where's Facebook gone??? what's this keyboard thing it says I have to use? I tried holding it like a phone but my thumbs aren't long enough to reach all the keys!!!"

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

      You forgot the /s tag.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

      Oh no, please don't even say that.

      Powershell:

      get-agreementstatus /false | convert-touseful /source-command get-agreementstatus | send-to /site theregister.com /user "MikeLivingstone"

      delete-memory /force

    4. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

      Not everybody makes a living just modifying a few config file each day, and rebooting some daemons.

      There's a reason why Apple is Apple - and it's not just because the Apple II command line...

    5. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Devil

      Re: Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

      If PowerShell is the best thing ever to come from Microsoft we're really in trouble.

      Personally I'd ban PowerShell and fire its designers, but I know a lot of people will criticise me for my leniency in allowing them and their families to live.

      1. Trixr

        Re: Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

        Give me 50000x Powershell over VB scripting. Never got to grips with that, Powershell actually makes sense.

        Yes, the command syntax is clunky, but it's reasonably consistent. It's a scripting, not programming language - if you want do your programming, fine, do one of the languages that sits on top of .Net.

        For me, having had Perl scripting experience back in the day, I found it pretty simple transferring most of that to PS. Now you may commence hosing me about Perl.

    6. Plest Bronze badge

      Re: Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

      Whoa that's a lot of hate for PowerShell!

      Considering the next best thing is DOS command line where even formatting a date and storing it to a string var is a 10 line nightmare OR coding up a .Net app that will need 7.4GB of supporting libraries just to take a string off a pipe in a command, PoSH ain't that bad. Hell if you got to have the .Net libs installed might as well use them for something useful rather than wasting them on VB!

      I don't agree with punting PoSH out to Linux, Unix has it's own shell, venerable and the root of what powershell was designed from, have your PoSH but leave Linux out of it MS.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "OR coding up a .Net app that will need 7.4GB of supporting libraries"

        You know every powershell app is actually a .NET app, with all the disadvantages without any UI advantage?

    7. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Can't they just drop the GUI and boot to powershell

      Um, you want the Core edition of the Server OS for that.

      literally, it boots into a blank GUI screen and a powershell window.

  9. Lorribot Silver badge

    How long will we have to wait for Windows 12? You know thw next decent release.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Windows 12?

      I think you're being a bit optimistic there - it will probably be more like Windows 38.5 before it starts becoming remotely usable again!

  10. Jason Hindle Silver badge

    Application Launcher…

    “ Out of the box, the Windows 10 Start panel is an annoyance, but with a bit of effort can be made into a useful application launcher”

    It’s been a while since I’ve frequently used the application launcher on Windows or Mac. I just use Spotlight (or Windows) search.

    I read elsewhere that Windows Timeline is no more. Now that’s a disappointment - it really sets Windows task view apart from Mac Mission Control.

  11. Geoffrey W

    I was under the impression that Windows 10 was going to be the last windows, and then we would have rolling updates for ever? Was I wrong or has the world changed again? I wish it would leave me alone. I need a nap.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Anyone who trusts Microsoft is always going to be wrong.

      Consider it a lesson learned.

    2. JDPower666

      You were wrong, the last version thing was never an official line.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Then how come an official Microsoft person (Jerry Nixon) said it at an official Microsoft event (Ignite) before the official launch of Windows 10 (May 2015) and and later on an official Microsoft spokesperson put out a statement backing him up.

        I know the answer - marketing changed their mind. But it was the official line before marketing changed their mind.

        1. mark l 2 Silver badge

          I don't think it was marketing that changed their mind, probably the decision was based on new Windows version = more money for Microsoft.

          Apart from the Android app integration (which you can replicate with Bluestacks on Windows 10 if you wanted) I really don't see anything new in Windows 11 other than an UI change, which no one was asking for.

          1. js6898

            there is one change - you can no longer have a local account.

            that I think is the whole reason for the release

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              They've being boiling the frog on that for a while. In the early versions of Windows 10 the local account option was stuck in the corner of the setup screen. Later on it got buried a bit more. In the latest versions you have to unplug the Ethernet cable/turn off WiFi which nobody would ever do unless they knew that it gave you the local account option.

            2. FIA Silver badge

              there is one change - you can no longer have a local account.

              You can, as least with the version I have here.

              Setup for personal use -> Sign In Options -> Offline Account

              (This is with a fresh install of 11).

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                It's the Home version which doesn't allow local accounts.

                1. Geoffrey W

                  Haven't tried this, as no Win11 machine, but...

                  During installation when it asks for your MS email account name type something silly such as "1@1.com"

                  Type in a silly password such as "qwerty" and click "Sign In"

                  When it says nope, try the password again.

                  Keep clicking "Sign In" until you eventually get to a. "OOPS Something went wrong" message and it locks the account which doesn't exist anyway. DO NOT USE A REAL ACCOUNT ADDRESS.

                  Then you get to create a local account!

                  As I say I haven't tried it but been told it works. It's a bit of a faff, like disconnecting the network was in W10, but not too bad...IF IT WORKS! Which I give no guarantee for and Microsoft still has time to block this faff too.

                  I'd be interested to know if this really works.

            3. ROC

              Nuts! I always start off setting up a new Windows installation with a local aystem manager account while the network connection is disabled. Then any user Id is added as a non-privileged account. Oh well - those are little retirement projects when I get bored with my preferred Linux projects.

              I can probably fend off dementia longer if I foreswear Win 11...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I wish it would leave me alone. "

      Stockholm Syndrome? I made my own path staying with W7 and Linux Mint.

  12. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Snap Navigator

    They've finally added the functionality of Winsplit Revolution!

    1. thondwe

      Re: Snap Navigator

      Yep - I use the MS PowerToys for SNAPing but the Windows 11 seems an improvement - dividing the arrangement "on the fly" rather than fixed via an editor.

      SNAP Essential with a big (widescreen) monitors!

  13. Auntie Dickspray
    Mushroom

    Wasting the Time and Money of Every User

    More horrid, time-wasting crap from M$-Monopoly.

    Anyone forking the discontinued Classic Shell?

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: Wasting the Time and Money of Every User - Classic Shell

      Classic Shell has been forked as Open Shell. Open Shell is basically the same as Classic Shell- the original developer of Classic Shell got tired of supporting it and the Open Shell was forked from it with his blessing.

  14. Mike Lewis

    CPU Requirements

    I'm confused about the CPU requirements as it ran fine in a VirtualBox VM using one core of a 2nd generation Pentium.

    The UI is something I can get used to without grumbling too much. My main concerns are (1) will I have another battle to prevent its trying to install itself on my mum's antique laptop and (2) will Microsoft drop its "ready or not, here I come" approach to installing buggy updates.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: CPU Requirements

      Nothing is being enforced yet. I'm told that it's not supported on win Surface pro 5, but it works fine. I'll just have to go back to Win 10 when 11 is released.

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: CPU Requirements

      The CPU requirements aren't "requirements", it would more accurately be read as "validated CPUs". That is, MS has run windows 11 on those CPUs and positively confirmed that it works to some acceptable (to them) standard, and thus 'warrants' that it will run on those CPUs (assuming other requirements, RAM for example, are met).

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: CPU Requirements

        > The CPU requirements aren't "requirements", ...

        Correcting my own post due to new information.

        Take with a grain of salt.

        Apparently, as some posters on some forums - but no reputable news articles so far - have stated, the production Windows 11 release will use x86 instructions that are only available on newer generation CPUs. All Intel gen 8 and newer and zen 1+ (i.e. Ryzen 2000+ desktop CPUs, except maybe the laptop/APU ones which are Zen 1) and newer series have these instructions. Some Intel 7th gen have them, and some don't, which is why MS says an 8th gen Atom can run Win11 whereas a 7th gen i7 might not, because it lacks the new instructions.

    3. Lil Endian
      Thumb Down

      Re: CPU Requirements

      "(2) will Microsoft drop its "ready or not, here I come" approach to installing buggy updates."

      I'm currently in my 36th hour of trying to unbork my mum's W10 21H1(?) update.

      I. Am. Not. Happy.

    4. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: CPU Requirements - easy way to prevent Windows 11

      As Windows 11 requires Secure Boot to install, an easy way to stop it from installing is to go into the BIOS and disable Secure Boot. This has no effect on existing Windows 10 systems so it is a simple fix.

    5. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: CPU Requirements

      > one core of a 2nd generation Pentium.

      Pentium II only had one core. Mind you, that was also true of the Pentium IV that I first ran VirtualBox on, and that went tolerably well despite the lack of any kind of hardware virtualisation support. I also remember running Windows XP inside a VirtualBox VM on an XP host, which had done that Microsoft thing of slowing to an inexplicable crawl due to nothing more than the passage of time. The virtualised instance ran just fine, much better than the copy running on bare hardware. Pentium M, that one.

      -A.

  15. streaky

    Power Users

    Pretty clear Microsoft hates us. This is about all. I have many complaints - the biggest is the new taskbar; Microsoft have spent a lot of effort over the last decade or so making it harder and harder and harder to switch between tasks, now it's all but impossible - the more wider monitors are a thing (I have a super-ultrawide myself) the more Microsoft go out of their way to pretend everybody uses a portrait monitor and nothing else.

    7+ Taskbar Tweaker used to resolve these problems and make Windows 10 usable, now it can't because they've reengineered how it works. If you only use a single browser window and that's your day - great, but you might as well just have a chromebook. I have a lot of horizontal real estate, let me use it please, Microsoft.

    The snaps thing, yes, again, super ultrawide, super useful. A lot of third party apps including one of MS' powertoys let you do this kind of stuff before but nice to have it in there - but you see how this conflicts with what they've done with the taskbar? They pretend everybody is using 4:9 monitors with the task bar, but yet include stuff that's useful for those of us with 32:9 monitors. Very bizzare.

    The good news is that the wsl2-wsgl stuff works extremely well so maybe we can dump the shell entirely and just use gnome, kde, xfce or whatever. Could be an option worth exploring.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Power Users

      "The good news is that the wsl2-wsgl stuff works extremely well so maybe we can dump the shell entirely and just use gnome, kde, xfce or whatever. Could be an option worth exploring."

      xfce4 with the Chicago 95 theme pack packaged up as an easily installed 'shell' - with menu entries for MS Office and all might prove quite popular with users?

      See icon... or is it?

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Power Users

        Ok, this I gotta see.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. diguz

      Re: Power Users

      the most irritating thing is that i quite liked the old control panel, i knew where everything was and how to edit any setting. Now since windows 8 things are split between control panel and the settings app, and obviously you have to use both.

      Like a couple days ago, when i had to change language in a colleague's laptop, first download the language pack in settings, then go to control panel>region>administrative settings and change the UI, then go and change the date/time formatting, it's a mess! if it was all in the control panel like win7.

      Rant over...

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Power Users

        If we think about it, the place where the settings are grouped is the control panel. If you change its name it's still the same object - but with an new name. If you change its layout it's the same thing, but with a new layout. If you keep the old layout and name but take out some of the contents and put them in a version with a new layout and name they're still the same thing - but now split into two for no good reason. If eventually you move the remainder of the content to the new design and dump the old one, what you have remains what it always was. It's still the bloody control panel. The function, a place where adjustment to settings can be found, is the same as it always was.

        There has been no substantive change other than in name and layout.

        The underlying reality is that Microsoft are unable to distinguish between substantive change and superficial change.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's the "Disable All Telemetry" button?

    Wake me up when someone finds it.

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Where's the "Disable All Telemetry" button?

      It is called the power off switch.!!!

  17. Lil Endian

    MS = Modern Motor Services

    It seems obvious to me that M$ follows the modern motor services model.

    With modern vehicles (post 90s, maybe later) the "SOHO" mechanic is out of luck. Diags need specialised and expensive equipment. Engines are sealed to prevent access to the non-certified.

    With M$ they change so much each iteration that it's not worth learning for SOHO. It pushes the revenue stream to those going for MCSE etc (or whatever they're pushing now).

    Fair enough, M$ are a for-profit organisation.

    Fair enough, they've tried to make an OS that "just works" for the lay person. Except is doesn't, because OSs are a tad more complicated than combustion engines.

    So, change everything useful every iteration. Hide and rename tools and offer five tools to do one job, each job needing a combination of tools. Then charge engineers for training and certification.

  18. Winkypop Silver badge

    plus ça change Version 11

    Here we go again…

  19. LenG

    Remove a few things - the useful ones.

    Oh, goody. I can get the start button back in the left hand corner. Unfortunately I can't put the task bar up the side of the screen where I like it (with the start bar at the top). On an ultrawide monitor I have horizontal space to spare but vertical is at a premium. Has anyone tested classic shell on this abberation?

    As for file manager improvements, it is another piece of software I have basically abandoned. The multicommander two panel arrangement suits me far better. Bulk rename is a good addition as well.

    I suspect the holdouts using win 10 for the forseeable future will outnumber the WinXP enthusiasts significantly.

  20. TheSkunkyMonk

    The last Microsoft OS I liked was Win2k, I put up with XP for a longtime, skipped windows 7 and absolutely hated every minute with the marketing research tool that is Windows10. My Operating system should not require more and more resources with each new version, thats not improvement! Anyway nearly now 100% linux apart from my gaming desktop. Stuff runs faster, I even get a much better delay on my audio workstation now without expensive licenses. Gimp is awesome and beats a monthly photoshop subscription and once you get used to the interface Blender is a joy! Still not quite Autodesk but it once again beats all the crap that comes with it and the insane subscriptions. The Rentier movements can go do one, and if my OS is going to make my Personal Computer a research tool for big corps, well then it aint a Personal Computer anymore.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      My favourite was also W2k, but win7 is tolerable (just harder to find useful settings).

      Recently had a friend with a cheap win10 laptop that ran out of space, tried to use windows option to reset/wipe itself to recover space and it needed another 5GB (which was already not there) to do so! Utterly fscking useless!

      Also now a Linux users near 100% but sadly the muppets behind Gnome have just the same stupid UI-monkeying habits. Must be some sort of brain rot in programmers these days.

    2. Updraft102

      I use Linux on my gaming machine too. If a given title won't work in WINE/Proton, I can live with that... there are more than enough that work perfectly to eat up every minute of free time I have. Every thing I have really wanted to play has worked perfectly. I had that PC set up as dual boot from the moment I bought it (it's a laptop), but I finally gave Windows 10 the boot a few months ago and reclaimed the space for Linux. Can't say I miss Windows at all.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "You do not have to upgrade to Windows 11

    so, what happened to the end of history, as apparently Windows 10 was supposed to be "the" last os, only updated continuously, forever and ever?

    ...

    ah, that was already x years ago, so no longer valid for ever and ever. So, fforward 5 years and we're going to waffle about Windows 12, or is there going to be another, sudden, change of plan?

  22. Wincerind

    I suspect that as long as Classic/Open Shell can be installed most of us will be happy.

  23. TonyJ Silver badge

    A start button that moves...

    ...is just fucking beyond annoying!

    I've taken it for a quick spin in a VM (and on the RPI 400 for laughs).

    Mostly it's very "meh" but one thing that I know will absolutely drive users up the wall is the moving start button (or whatever MS will rename it this time round).

    You get all the icons in the centre of the taskbar by default.

    Open any other application and it shunts the start button to the left slightly. Open another and it moves again.

    I've seen users who get confused if an icon on their desktop moves by an inch in any direction so I can see this being an issue. Plus muscle memory etc.

    On my taskbar, right-click gives a single option only. I am incredibly used to right-clicking there to launch a task manager.

    I haven't really dug much more but purely on the early light touch I've had, it's shaping up to be the next Vista.

  24. Andy3

    What's wrong with Ctl-Alt-Del? That's always been my way into Task Manager.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Horses for courses.

      There are times when ctrl + alt + del is the only way to get into it, for sure, but most times a quick right-click on the taskbar is quicker.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Or Ctrl-Shift-Esc? Very useful.

        1. Andy A

          Ctrl-Shift-Esc has worked ever since Dave Plummer got his code into the build. It took me 6 months before I found any other method of launching it. It's a one-handed operation for most people too.

          It works every time unless you have a windowed VM or remote desktop, when the chances of it being intercepted by the local OS seem to be about 50-50.

      2. FIA Silver badge

        but most times a quick right-click on the taskbar is quicker.

        Right click on the start button still works.

  25. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    System requirements?

    The IT titan already sparked a backlash by stating that 7th-generation Intel Core processors will not be sufficient to run the new Windows

    That would be bad. One of the more impressive things about Win 10 was that it actually reduced the system requirements compared to 7 & 8. I upgraded a seriously sluggish 10-y-o laptop (some sort of i5? 430M) to Win 10 and an SSD and now it bounces around like the lambs in the field outside. Won't be impressed if upgrade is unavailable on newer machines, like my 3-y-o i5-6300HQ which is 6th gen and zips along with Win 10.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: System requirements?

      To be fair that spring-lamb bounciness would've been more down to the SSD than Win 10 itself.

  26. batfink Silver badge

    I'm mystified

    Why is this being presented as a new version?

    I've done a bit of digging to see whether there are any useful changes under the hood, which might justify the whole-number version increment. The only useful thing I can find is the DirectStorage stuff really, The TPM excitement kind of infers maybe there are security improvements, but if so, they're not telling us anything about them. The rest just seems to be cosmetic.

    So if there are no actual OS changes, why the new version number? Why would anyone pay for this instead of just continuing to use W10? (Yes I know it's free for the moment...) Why would W10 support be ending if W11 is the same OS with a different skin?

    I think I'll just put up with having old-fashioned left-hand-side start menu (tbf it's Start8) and square corners on my gaming machine a while yet.

    1. js6898

      Re: I'm mystified

      i can tell you exactly why

      MS would not dare to mandate no local accounts in W10 there would be too big a backlash

      W11 well no.problem - noone seems to have noticed

    2. Fred Daggy

      Re: I'm mystified

      "The TPM excitement kind of infers maybe there are security improvements, but if so, they're not telling us anything about them."

      No, they're not telling us, because the improvements are not for us. They are for Microsoft's benefit. They are going to slowly turn the screws two ways:

      1 - No sideloading code. It will be all through the store or a management application such as Intune. If you want to install a cracked bluray player to rip your collection, then this is not the OS for you. Or scratching your pet itch with local code. Also, paying for every application you install with MS taking a cut. (See, they have learnt from Apple!)

      2 - No tinkering with the bootloaders, so no alternative OS, nor even bypassing restrictions for 1, above.

      It might not happen with W11, but the groundwork is being set out right now. Watch for W12 shortly and full walled-garden experience.

      (I like my apple devices, but I am aware I am renting the device from therm, with a single payment every 2, 3 or 4 years, basically, as long as I can keep the hardware going. But I also like to tinker and that's why i have linux on various boxen, where I own the freedom)

  27. Palmpete

    Right click to open Task Manager hasn't disappeared. It has just moved from taskbar to start menu.

  28. Geoffrey W

    And since I'm collecting downvotes - I notice in the article that the ribbon has gone from windows explorer! Hoorah! I also notice in the same article the first expression of nostalgia for said ribbon, and how it was better than what they have now! Give it a generation and old farts will be droning on about how nobody appreciated the ribbon; they didn't know when they had it good. (Myself, I'm actually glad the ribbon is gone. Can't wait to see what they come up with next, whatever the next big thing is it will probably originate with Apple, so keep an eye on MacOS.)

  29. sabroni Silver badge

    Ctrl Shift Escape

    takes you straight to task manager, has since 7. Does that not work on 11?

  30. Alan Bourke

    I bet you still can't

    have any other colour than yellow for Explorer folder icons. Looks *great* in Dark Mode ....

  31. js6898

    Windows 11

    I have no idea if I will 'like' Windows 11 or not - I expect there will be bits I like and bits I hate.

    However, what I **do*** know is that Windows 11 will be the first release since - well I suppose since it was invented - that mandates that you have to sign in with a Microsoft account to use it.

    It doesn't take much foresight to see where this is leading...

  32. redwine

    since Win95

    The only real advancement since win95 is the search facility ... win8 or thereabouts.

  33. Nifty Silver badge

    "Microsoft will not dare to introduce changes that might break application compatibility with Windows 10". Erm, what about hardware?

  34. trevorde Silver badge

    Finally!

    2021 will be the year of the Linux desktop!

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: Finally!

      But which one?

  35. Miss Config
    Thumb Down

    Windows 11 Installs CLOUD Office

    ( Make no apology for repeating what I said on the thread about

    Office Not Frightening The Horses. )

    Windows 11 installs a Cloud version of Office

    overriding any version of Office already on the machine.

    At least it is easy to recover Windows 10 and re-install Office 2016

  36. bob.minion

    Task manager shortcut

    I'm surprised you use the right-click menu to access the Task manager. You know you can use CTRL+SHIFT+ESC right?

    Apart from the start menu changes, any taskbar changes? Can we still pin apps to the taskbar and arrange the order?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The ethos of MS: “We don’t care if you get work done or not.”

    The ethos of MS: “We don’t care if you get work done or not.”

    Who among us would arbitrarily change a menu system on a client’s application; a menu they’ve become accustomed to?

    Not me.

    One can see this kind of behavior throughout the history and product line.

    The senseless abandonment of VB6.

    The dysfunctional silliness of Win8.

    MS Access getting harder to use on each new version.

    I could write a book -

    It’s a reason I fled from Windows, C# and VBA programming into Linux, PHP and MYSQL. It’s a reason I’ve seen them in the course of 36 years of work go from essentially being the industry to now, being, thankfully, a much smaller player.

    The best way to get work done with an MS product? Don’t use it.

  38. MrDamage

    Meh

    Thanks to Steam, Proton and Lutris, there isn't even a need to have Windows for gaming anymore. If the SteamDeck takes off, more and more devs might start coding their stuff to be OS neutral, or Linux friendly, making Windows even less of a requirement.

  39. KimJongDeux

    File Explorer. Oh I wish. If I could select "Details" view and then see details. Like, for each folder, lie the number of docs and their total megabytery. You know, useful stuff. Presently there is "file count" as a column header, which doesn't count files, and "properties" for each folder. Just life the mid 1990s.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      That's OK. the folder properties doesn't always tell the truth about the number of files and folders it contains, especially if what I suspect is true and the code that does the counting follows shortcuts in it's attempt to count the contents inside those folders as part of it. makes for a giant pain to compare folders without a dedicated third party app, and even then that won't walk a Previous version folder easily...

  40. Mike Green 1

    I can see my role as Dad tech support expanding.

    Why do they do this? Hide everything or move it around, so I have to spend 3 months teaching my dad how to do things on his laptop again? Because they're wan***s. Not interested in anyone else's pleasure but their own.

  41. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

    Only one question...

    ...in two parts.

    I really only have one question: Can all telemetry be disabled? Can it be does easily and obviously?

    1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Only one question...

      I use (on my only Win 10 rig) OOShutup10 to disable all the telemetry at the moment.

      It's a 'portable' piece of software not requiring installation.

      I have no doubt that either it will be updated to continue that trend with Win 11 or another, similar piece of software will come along to take over the job.

      As for part two of your question, it currently displays a list of options and you simply chose which you wish to run or not run.

      Check it out here (no affiliation, simply a long time user):

      https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could MS just ...

    stop fucking around with notepad fonts, the start menu and fix the nonsense called "registry" and put a proper virtual file system instead, like Linux ?

  43. TechHeadToo

    "but with a bit of effort can be made into a useful application launcher,"

    That says it all for me.

    I don't expect an OS to need effort to make it useful. I expect to turn the PC on, and start doing whatever I came to do. Windows long ago lost its way. I hate to use the A-word, but I have 20 year old machines with a desktop recognisably the same, with the same options, same descriptions, as those on this PC. Under the desk I have a similarly competent OS from IBM - the newer ones are glitzier, the icons fresher, but the essential of being able to do useful stuff without needing to spend a week tuning and re-learning is the same.

    The pile of dead Windows PC's goes all the way back to XP - one or two applications only run on something quaint.

    But then, I'll never get to be a billionaire holding views about making it easy (and secure)

  44. JWLong Bronze badge

    Start Button

    And yet the one thing that M$ hasn't changed/fixed is that you have to click the Start Button to shutdown.

    The best thing you can do to Windows is shut it down.

    No Sarcasm intended.

  45. Geoffrey W

    Windows 11 Local account

    I posted this elsewhere in this thread but figured it may not be very visible there, and may be useful to someone...so...

    Haven't tried this, as no Win11 machine, but...

    During installation when it asks for your MS email account name type something silly such as "1@1.com"

    Type in a silly password such as "qwerty" and click "Sign In"

    When it says nope, try the password again.

    Keep clicking "Sign In" until you eventually get to a. "OOPS Something went wrong" message and it locks the account which doesn't exist anyway. DO NOT USE A REAL ACCOUNT ADDRESS.

    Then you get to create a local account!

    As I say I haven't tried it but been told it works. It's a bit of a faff, like disconnecting the network was in W10, but not too bad...IF IT WORKS! Which I give no guarantee for and Microsoft still has time to block this faff too.

    I'd be interested to know if this really does work.

    1. Zolko Bronze badge
      Boffin

      Re: Windows 11 Local account

      I'd be interested to know if this really does work.

      My Mum just bought a new Windows computer, with Win10, and it was impossible to create a purely local account, it kept asking for a Microsof (or Skype ?!?! WTF ?) account. So we did create such an account, and when the computer was finished setting up, created a new, local, administrative account, and deleted the first one. So now, the computer is set-up without any Microsof account linked to it (minus the possibilities that Microsoft has kept some hidden shadow files somewhere)

      So while don't know for sure whether your procedure works in Win11, a workaround might be to really create an MS-account with a throw-away email, and then do what you suggest. Worked in Win10, let's see in Win11.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 11 Local account

        How cute if you. Of course MS kept track of your account.

  46. Rogue Jedi

    7th generatin intel core processors will not be powerful enough

    so the 8th generation Intel Core processors were launched in October 2017, meaning many computers sold in 2018 will still be running 7th gen intel core processors, and therefore not be powerful enough for the new Windows 11.

    A few years back I was working tech support for several local schools, the average age of the computers in use was 5, with most being replaced at 9 years old, it seems a bit silly having computers more than double the age of some students, but that was the case at some primary schools, I guess Microsoft can forget about most schools adopting Windows 11 (unless through BYOD) before Windows 12 is released.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: 7th generatin intel core processors will not be powerful enough

      It seems silly to me that an operating system , not the software that the computer uses it to run, but the OS that runs the software needs to have a more modern spec CPU than the software itself.

      And if I'm not making my views clear enough. An OS is there to make programmes run on computers. Computers do not exist to run OSs they exist to run programmes. Within reason an OS needs to be able to run on the PCs people use. So stuff it. If at some point Win10 ceases to be viable on my big 4th gen i7 PC it'll be my excuse to get the family on 'nux.

  47. adfh

    Hands off my taskbar osition!

    I put my taskbar down the left of my 1200p primary display, and this works well for my workflow.. providing a sample of the window titles without me having to do a heap of hovering to discover windows and subwindows etc.

    I don't run a touchscreen device, and I don't want a Mac.. quit locking the UI down!

  48. sipke

    I fired up a Server 2008 R2 machine the other day. I was thrilled when I saw the old Start menu. Simple, fast, easy to use. And not one single "live tile" anywhere to be found. Question: Does anybody, even the casual home user, like live tiles? They're one of the most annoying GUI items ever foisted on an OS, IMHO.

  49. The Central Scrutinizer

    "Android software support aside, these are relatively superficial features, and Microsoft will not dare to introduce changes that might break application compatibility with Windows 10. "

    Err, you're writing about Microsoft, yeah?

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