back to article Redpilled Microsoft does away with flashing icons on taskbar as Windows 11 hits Beta

Microsoft has added Windows 11 to the Beta channel of its Insider preview scheme and issued a new build which replaces flashing taskbar icons - indicating attention is required - with what it calls a "red pill." There are three Insider channels: Dev for the latest builds, Beta for builds tied to a specific upcoming release, …

  1. FIA Silver badge

    [wsl simple install] ability is not only in Windows 11, but also backported to Windows 10 via an update.

    But will they backport WSLg too? Currently running the dev 11 as it's not available on anything else yet, but turns out is really quite useful.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      I wonder if Microsoft paid a penny to authors of some of open source projects they lifted for WSLg like FreeRDP... probably not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They only need to obey the software license. In any case, isn't RDP a Microsoft protocol?

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Yes, this is a loophole that big corporations use to obtain free labour and avoid paying tax.

          1. FIA Silver badge

            They push their changes back to FreeRDP (which they don't have to, it's Apache licenced). That seems to be fairly within the spirit of open source to me? (As they do for their changes to Weston, and all the other bits that comprise WSLg).

            Following a licence is not a loophole.

            Tax avoidance is not related to licencing and is not always bad, (most of us do it after all; ever taken out an ISA?) The trick to stop egregious tax avoidance is unfortunatly co-ordinated global co-operation between governments. Ah well.... :D

            (Aside: Also, if I read the Apache licence correctly, doesn't clause 3 now mean the FreeRDP project is basically protected from patent claims by MS???)

  2. elkster88

    " ... make finding what you need easier."

    > Microsoft said that "we've also rejuvenated Settings to keep pages from feeling overwhelming and make finding what you need easier." This was done with a "consistent navigation system," which sounds good, but also with "progressive disclosure, which allows advanced settings to remain hidden until you want to look at them."


    How about just leaving the fucking menus and control panels alone for a change, and making everything work better under the hood?

    The constant drive to move things around and change the user interface in Windows, simply for the sake of change, is infuriating.

    It's akin to moving the letters around on a keyboard to make them easier to hit (yes, I know, Dvorak, etc.). Millions upon millions of us have spent literally decades finding the obscure places Microsoft put the various Windows controls, only to find with each new version, they hide/move them to new and difficult to find places.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

      And you have to remember which £$king control panel to use to complete the task you want to complete.

    2. Bodestone

      Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

      I've played about with the new settings in 11 quite a bit and while the updated navigation was strange at first I quickly got used to it.

      I have also not needed to resort to the old control panel or settings popups except once when the toggle was not working in the new one for RDP (and I hear a few others) and it was fixed in the dev release after it was reported.

      Overall I approve of most of the UI cleanup though am very behind some of the requested chanhes such as not combining the calendar and notifications, adding an option to remove the reccomended section from start (and search until typing begins though that is much less intrusive), re-adding the option to never cobine taskbar items and make them smaller, increasing taskbar height for portrait display modes.

      I'm even getting used to only being able to right click the start menu for task manager as there are so many other useful items there.

      1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

        Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

        You're from Microsoft?

        1. Bodestone

          Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

          If you are referring to me then no.

          Just someone who is prepared to give something time before jumping in with "Argh, it's all different, therefore terrible"

          Windows has been accumulating crud context items since '95. The approach to strip it completely down and then listen to insider screams as to what needs to be put back or changed seems quite sensible to me.

          I certainly hope that more of the UI change feedback is addressed before final but on the whole it is a UI I could get used to and find easier, once I did, to navigate than 10 with a hell of a lot less clutter.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

        "I've played about with the new settings in 11 quite a bit and while the updated navigation was strange at first I quickly got used to it."

        I think that's the complaint: with each new version of Windows you have to play about with the new settings quite a bit, you find it all strange, and then you get used to it.

    3. fireflies

      Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

      They didn't even wait for Windows 11 to make changes like this.

      Microsoft Edge recently decided to relocate the downloads from the bottom bar (ala google chrome) to the near top right (ala firefox), with a "click elsewhere and you'll lose it" vanishing trick that makes it that much more difficult trying to direct someone to find the thing they downloaded.

      "Do you see something at the bottom of the window that says open file or run? Okay, how about near the top right? Do you see an arrow pointing down at the top right? Have you clicked on the download? Okay let's try finding file explorer... [...] do you see downloads on the left? okay how about "This PC"...

      1. Rich 2 Silver badge

        Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

        I had to Google how to save a html page from edge yesterday - FFS!! It’s buried in a menu. Why it can’t live in the context menu like it has done for the last 30 years is beyond me

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

          Did it work when you loaded it? Most modern websites are just not saveable.

        2. FIA Silver badge

          Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

          The 3rd option for me is 'Save as', which seems to do it?

    4. Robert Grant

      Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

      If you used Unix you'd be so bored with the consistency, though!

    5. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

      How about just leaving the fucking menus and control panels alone for a change, and making everything work better under the hood?

      The constant drive to move things around and change the user interface in Windows, simply for the sake of change, is infuriating.

      ...ever since "The Ribbon", this has bothered me as well. Microsoft seems to have been in this mode for the last 10 years, at least. My Linux system is more stable than Windows (something I could not have said 10 years ago).

      And, after a very unpleasant multi-user editing session on a shared document, I can testify that there's much to do under the hood before shared documents affect productivity in a positive way.

    6. Plest Silver badge

      Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

      Don't you get it?

      There's a f**king huge market in re-training to be chased! MS training courses on the "new Windows" at £2500/head that companies will shell out for their IT support staff. All those CEOs of official training companies authorised by MS.

      New software...PARTY! Now what colour do you want your new Porsche?

    7. Sampler

      Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

      I installed it tonight on a seven year old mobile workstation, which surprised me it would accept the older gear after hearing the stories, even if it was top of the line for the time.

      I'd only gone to the left corner three times to hit start before I decided to hunt through the menu's and found there's an option to center (default) or left align the taskbar, so now it's back in the right (left) place.

      Hopefully that option stays in to the final version.

      Some weird bugs, most notably when the pop-up for admin actions comes through the options are to "remember me" (left side, greyed) or "C" (right side, default selected, highlighted blue).

      "C" cancel's the action, "remember me" allows the application that was requesting admin privileges to continue (such as installing an app).

      But I mean, final versions are bug ridden, I'm surprised the beta's actually run at all to be honest.

      -posted from the aforementioned Windows 11 machine.

      1. FIA Silver badge

        Re: " ... make finding what you need easier."

        I installed it tonight on a seven year old mobile workstation, which surprised me it would accept the older gear after hearing the stories, even if it was top of the line for the time.

        I have a fresh install of Win 10 running in a VM with 512MB. I wouldn't want to use it for much, but it does work. I was pleasently suprised tbh. (It's just a fresh install, with the memory turned down after reboot).

  3. nematoad Silver badge


    The outcome was the discovery that people want to access their document, website or streaming content and then for Windows "to get out of the way."

    Well, I'll be blowed.

    How long has Windows been around? Thirty years or so if my memory serves me correctly, and they have just "discovered" that people want to do work with their PCs and want the OS to get out of the way!

    What the bloody hell have they been thinking the OS was for? It's a tool, a means to an end and not the be all and end all.

    Still better late than never, I suppose.

    Luke 15:7

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Finally.

      This is not a discovery, this is just the new batch of developers not having older mentors around to slap them behind the head when they try to make their code the center of attention.

      Microsoft : you're making an Operating System. Get that dictionary definition and engrave it on all your walls.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Finally.

      Windows 1.0 was released almost 36 years ago. 29 years since Windows 3.1 was released which was the first version that most people used. The computers at school had Windows 2 on them.

    3. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Finally.

      Personal computers as a pre-built consumer product are about 40 years old. Some of us actually owned a computer back then. The Rejects of Redmond conveniently forgets that some of us have owned a computer from before MS-DOS existed. We have a pretty good idea of how an OS should work and Bloatware as a Disservice is not it.

      First, keep the interface clean. Second keep the location of menu items logically consistent. Third group items that belong together together. Fourth drop the addons like Cortana that many will not use from deep integration into the OS; they should be easily removed. Firth pay attention to human anatomy and how the device the OS resides on will be used, touch screens on many devices is stupid and always will be stupid. The OS should make using the computer relatively easy to use and should have UI consistency from release to release.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finally.

        Sort of agree...the easiest way to achieve all this is make the OS customisable so the user can adjust it as they see fit rather than trying a one size fits all approach...this in my opinion is one of the reasons Windows sucks.

        What you have highlighted is your preferences...which is absolutely fine...but not appropriate for everyone.

        The reason a lot of people like Linux has nothing to do with the way the various DE's display things or how the various GUI's are laid's the customisation that draws them...pick a DE that is pretty close to what you want, then customise it to be exactly what you want.

        The Microsoft trying to please everyone approach, leads to the mess that is the Windows UI.

        I think the next logical step for Microsoft is to release a version of Windows in parallel with the mainline version of Windows that cuts out a lot of the backward compatibility from say Windows XP backwards.

        I know that one of Microsoft's major selling points is the extreme backward compatibility, but it's becoming a bit of a cage that they can't escape. There are a lot of users that still require that scanner from 1996 to still work on their system...but there are also a lot of users who don't.

        If they start reigning in the backwards compatibility with Medieval arrow launchers and stone age axes they will have more freedom to branch out into different platforms and we may ultimately get a decent competitor to the M1 based Apple kit.

        I'm not a big fan of Apple kit, but what they have done with the M1 chipset is's just a shame it's wrapped in an old fashioned aluminium box that is glued shut with a shitty keyboard.

        Microsoft needs to explore this path with more gusto if it wishes to stay relevant. I'm aware that they have tried the ARM route in the past but it was marred with compatibility issues etc because people expected their ARM builds to work with x86 drivers and so on...which to those of us that work in this sector, is obviously not going to work...but for the punter on the street, it's not so obvious. Therefore gradually phasing out this ancient backward compatibility will make it far more straight forward to ease these punters into a different architecture and possibly make it less of a cliffedge.

        I'm a Linux guy myself and I'm finding myself looking at the M1 Macs and anticipating ARM based Linux machines in the future (sure, they're technically here now, but not really for desktop use). I'm certainly not looking at x86 with any degree of excitement or hope for the future.

        x86 is fast becoming a dead meme and Microsoft clinging on to it and appeasing the legacy crowd isn't going to continue serving them for long. Circling back a bit, faffing around with the UI isn't going to serve them well either...both these tentacles need to be cut off before they go septic and kill them.

        1. a_yank_lurker

          Re: Finally.

          OSes are mature products and most of the require updates are for new protocols (USB whatever) and hardware support. Many of the 'features' in Bloatware 10 were fine to include if they could be easily removed by the user. But they were fairly tightly linked into the OS itself. My other complaints are more about needlessly 'modernizing' the UI and organization. It's a pain to find something you rarely use because the Rejects decided to move somewhere else than where it was in the previous releases.

  4. sharpwolverine

    They used paper to choose the layout of the Start Menu?

    What in the fuck?

    Were these Windows Users they interview also in Pre-K?

    Don't see how this reduces clutter. All the new Start Menu has done is increased it, since I have to pin a lot more to the task bar since it isn't as easy to access apps any longer.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Can you still hit the Windows Key and type the first few letters of the program you want to run?

      1. sanwin

        If you can I still won't use it!

        Click/Double-click an icon - much quicker and no need for the keyboard.

        1. Captain Scarlet

          Although I use both, Windows + R and a few characters where autocomplete fills in the rest in Run for me is always quicker than using mouse

      2. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

        Like a CUI?

    2. sharpwolverine

      Another thing. Why don't we get details about these so called studies?

      How many people were asked? What were their qualifications? (My 10 years in the business should have a lot more weight than my mother's who pretty much uses her computer to search the internet for arts and craft patterns) What did these piece of paper look like? How much time was given? What if there was a feature not on a piece of paper? Were they allowed to add it?

      The more and more I think about it, the more it sounds like bullshit. The new Start Menu looks like they had an Android launcher sitting around not being used and some suit saw it and said make a new Windows version around that. That is why there is an 11.

      They need to stop trying to be Apple. They need to stop trying to Linux as well. Be the boring app people. Embrace it.

      1. Illogic

        "They need to stop trying to Linux as well."

        Ironic they're boasting about wSL. The few times I've messed with Linux I was never in short supply of varying desktop environments to suite my need.

        I've never understood Microsoft's thing about people messing with their interface. Pre-win10 I would always patch uxtheme.dll for custom themes.

        They really are making this a tough sell. I don't know if free is cheap enough when you're killing my work flow and taking a feature I like away.

    3. MrReynolds2U

      How about asking a few questions when you first boot up or log on as a new user?

      What will you be using this computer for (tick any that apply):

      - social media

      - browsing the Internet

      - photography

      - programming

      - managing your company IT systems


      and then make useful tools visible for that user. The same way some IDEs do.

      That way I can easily access what I need in 1-2 clicks rather than 6 just because Joe Bloggs doesn't need to access "Mail 32 bit" from control panel but I do.

      1. quxinot

        Huh, you're describing the Debian installer.

        Honestly rather than shoving changes down the pipe, shove options instead. Do you want the ancient Win2k start menu, the 7 menu, 8's fullscreen version, or this new thing that we've been building that we think you'll like?

        It really shouldn't be that difficult to just provide options and customization. And it'd solve the overwhelming majority of the interface complaints.

        (It would not solve the 'I do not want Cortana and I'd like to not install it in the first place' complaints, but those complaints are I suspect less common than the complaints about the UI adventures.)

    4. Dave559

      Paper prototyping

      "They used paper to choose the layout of the Start Menu?"

      Paper prototyping is a well-known and commonly used way to quickly draft up mockups, and is actually quite a sensible part of a design process. You can basically note the items that you think your interface will need on sticky notes and shuffle them around (or add or remove things) until you get the layout that seems to work best.

      (Whether they achieved that result in this particular case might be another question…)

  5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "Windows users were given slips of paper"

    In other news:-

    Microsoft are beta testing a system whereby emails are sent by sticking a stamp on an envelope containing the message and posting in a nearby pillar box.

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "The subtle flashing eventually stops"

    I think it is colloquially referred to as the Death Rattle.

    Another E-word to add to the MS lexicon.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    This is complete crap

    So when I'm concentrating on things, Skype can flash the taskbar icon and I'll still miss it for a bit.

    This sort of useless trivial crap is going to not be seen at all. There's going to be a lot of people who'll be hearing "nope, didn't see your IM"

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: This is complete crap

      You can configure Skype to beep at you if you think it is extra-important.

      But, does anyone actually use Skype anymore?

      1. sanwin

        Re: This is complete crap

        Does anybody work with sounds on?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is complete crap

          Only on a new system, and only until I remember to turn them off. (Which is usually two and a half seconds after hearing the first beep.)

          1. Bodestone

            Re: This is complete crap

            Agree completely. Turning windows sounds off is one of the first things I do on all new installs (as well as autoplay).

            It always amused me that MS named their search engine after the sound Windows makes when it is unable to complete the action you just tried.

        2. Snake Silver badge

          Re: Does anybody work with sounds on?

          Of course we do. Actually, I wish my main program would beep MORE than it does when it decides to do something that I despise it for (turn off my numlock and then ignore my inputs, to name just one of many bugs). At least it wouldn't waste my time as much as it did because I'd be aware of its screwups.

          1. fireflies

            Re: Does anybody work with sounds on?

            Beeping would be less annoying than the windows 10 notification popups:

            "You have a new email"

            "okay, now go away"

            "oh you also have another new email"

            "great but I'm trying to click on something in the bottom right corner"

            "another email yay!"

            or when it decides to forego sensibility entirely "here's a notification. You can't close it as we didn't include the X for some reason. It will go away eventually, perhaps..."

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Does anybody work with sounds on?

              Maybe use an email program that allows you to turn notifications off? The fact that they appear at all has nothing to do with Windows.

              1. AMBxx Silver badge

                Re: Does anybody work with sounds on?

                Or just click the 'Focus Assist' button.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is complete crap

      Indeed. I see in teams screen share sessions, the presenters teams icon and a number inside a red circle for unread messages. It becomes a less useful tool for communication and some people just ignore new messages these days (get a faster response sending them an email). I think partly this is due to the "social medialization" of being able to react to comments which of course unless you turn it off, generates another attempt to grab your attention.

      Perhaps the setup of these apps should include options like

      a) I am working / concentrating - Do Not Disturb by any means.

      b) Normal - just update the unread count, no need for attention grabbing and I'll get to it later

      c) I am in work shyster / want to be distracted mode - feel free to interrupt me at any time with flashing screens and blaring horns (or any other prompting that I have setup for this purpose)

  8. NicX


    It's about time. Tired of running registry hacks on every win10 build to disable that annoying shite.

  9. Adrian 4


    This is just bikeshedding. Too many managers with no clue having to have their say.

    These sort of tweaks should be user options, not concreted into the OS.

    What do I care, though ? I use W7 and XP for legacy stuff, and have had no need for W10. W11 is even less interesting.

  10. David 132 Silver badge

    Nicely played on the screenshot there, Tim

    The red pill (and pink background) replaces flashing icons.

    Very subtle.

    I'm running the dev build on a laptop here, and I have spent a lot of time saying "WOT?" to myself, generally followed by "...the hell?" / "...are they playing at?" / "...maniac decided that putting the start menu a random distance along the taskbar was a good idea?"

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Nicely played on the screenshot there, Tim

      The next stage will be to rename it as "Launchpad" and have it present a full-screen grid of icons.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Nicely played on the screenshot there, Tim

        Ooh, you cynic.

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: putting the start menu a random distance along the taskbar

      It's called feature creep.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: putting the start menu a random distance along the taskbar

        Who you calling a creep?

  11. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

    I rather like it

    I just installed the beta on my underpowered Dell XPS, and it runs great despite the warning that the hardware is technically unsupported. I like having the Start menu, etc. in the middle of the taskbar instead of off to the side as it reduces mouse movement (the travel distance is a lot shorter to the middle of the screen vs. the far left corner). It also seems like there's been work towards making all the UI elements consistent, which is nice. That said, I dislike that Microsoft has decided to cram a bunch of useless crap onto the Start Menu (e.g. the Twitter app, which I would not install at gunpoint), and I share the complaint that the Start Menu should be organized in some logical fashion. Hopefully someone will see some sense on that point.

    My prediction: the haters are gonna hate, like they always do, and the rest of the user base will quickly adapt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I rather like it

      It's far faster to hit the bottom left corner though. You can throw your mouse at it and no matter how fast you're travelling you'll hit the corner. When something is positioned at an indeterminate point you have to slow down as you approach to hit it accurately. Doubly so when that point moves according to how many applications you have open - and heaven forbid something pops up while you're trying to click on the start button and pushes it aside. Being on the edge of the screen is faster than being in the middle, but still slower than being in the corner.

      1. fireflies

        Re: I rather like it

        Not to mention trying to assist new users who don't know their start button from their power button, and can't see most things on the screen because they ignore the technical looking things through unconscious selective blindness.

        When it's difficult enough trying to get someone to find and left click (or worse yet, right click) on the start button or the "four squares in the bottom left corner", which you hope beyond all hopes hasn't been repositioned to another side of the screen before promptly forgetting that if someone gives you directions to find the thing you moved, you should inform them that you moved it), having it positioned at an indeterminate location somewhere at the bottom of the screen will only make things much more difficult to support.

        Does Microsoft know that the following conversations actually exist in reality:

        "The bottom of the screen ... no below that ... no, the very bottom..."

        Inconsistent positioning of important functions will confuse the novices who expect things to be the same, always.

    2. sharpwolverine

      Re: I rather like it

      Do you not see it as a problem that you need to adapt to a change? That there is no recourse given, or any adequately explained reason as to why?

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

        Re: I rather like it

        "Do you not see it as a problem that you need to adapt to a change?"

        I enjoy the novelty of learning a new system. Besides, if you don't like change, you'll enjoy irrelevance even less.

        1. Mike Green 1

          Re: I rather like it

          Speaks the guy who isn't sick to death of trying to give tech support to a father who can't even find each letter of his password on a keyboard in under 10 seconds.

          1. Bodestone

            Re: I rather like it

            I recon my Dad would cope better with the Win11 native start menu that the Win10 one. Me too. On 10 I use OpenShell to bring it back to a Win7 style menu. On 11 it's like having a quick launch bar as a start menu. Just a pinned list of the programs you use most.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: I rather like it

              On 11 it's like having a quick launch bar as a start menu. Just a pinned list of the programs you use most.

              That's exactly what the tiles of 10's start menu are, with the additional benefit of being able to customise their size and position, and group programs into different categories.

        2. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: I rather like it

          "I enjoy the novelty of learning a new system."

          Ah! more of a hobbyist than a worker then.

          See the thing is for most people a PC is a tool. One that they need to use to get things done and not as an object of interest in itself. If the OS puts up obstacles in the way of getting your job done then something's wrong.

          Sure, most people here are interested in the ins and outs of operating system, GUIs, networking, application programming and so on, but they are not representative of the general population of users. So saying that rearranging the GUI is of no consequence and that people should enjoy what may be a jarring experience is short-sighted and wrong.

        3. sharpwolverine

          Re: I rather like it

          How fucking boring is your life that learning a new UI paradigm is worth it just to have something to do.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I rather like it

            There's several classes of people who might fall under that

            Those who have to support it.

            Those who are looking to learn from the design.

            Those who have an extremely curious demeanor.

            Those who enjoy learning for it's own sake.

            How unconscionably insecure are you that you have to insult somebody simply because you're incapable of understanding the reasoning behind their answer?

      2. Bodestone

        Re: I rather like it

        If change is so terrible, why don't we go back to punch cards and incandescant light readouts.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I rather like it

          I'm in. It worked pretty well, and lusers didn't disturb those of us who actually used the machine for something worthwhile.

  12. Lorribot

    Two things to make windows simpler....

    ......start again from scratch and remove all the legacy rubish. Remove all the non OS stuff like News, Xbox anything (thats is on the servers) and 3d anything.

  13. J. Cook Silver badge

    .. Have they fixed the not-a-bug where moving a folder on a mapped network drive OR UNC path results in a multi-minute wait whilst the OS trolls the entire tree under that folder first? (granted, I'm pretty sure their test area doesn't have a folder with 30,000+ files and over 9000 folders in it taking up nearly 90 GB of space...)

    I can spawn a command prompt, manually map the unc path, move the folder, un-map the drive letter and be on my way before the UI is even half-way finished doing whatever the hell it's doing.

    (I am also curious as to what it's doing and WHY- if anything, it might make me shut up about it...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I believe its being helpful and finding an estimated time to move the files even though if you are using a remotely new version of Windows as the file server it will be done server side and not client side. So its doing a vista file transfer, the calculation taking longer than the actual move.

      1. fireflies

        Sounds much like the situation where dragging a file around file explorer results in a "gosh no, I just moved the file over the printer's SD card reader en-route to the folder I was going to drop it into..." and the whole thing freezes for a minute while it's trying to read a card that's not present... just because the mouse passes over mid-drag doesn't mean you need to do something.

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Or the equally amusing way your PC tower suddenly whacks you in the knee as it ejects the CD/DVD/BD tray because you had the temerity to allow an icon to brush past the drive entry on its way from A to B...

  14. martinusher Silver badge

    Have they any clue what an Operating System is?

    I've read a lot of breathless, exciting, stuff about Windows 11. Mostly about how the GUI has been tweaked. Nothing at all about internals -- filesystems, users and resources. So I'd guess its going to be yet another dog's breakfast.

    WSL just seems to be a way of taking down Cygwin, to get users to distribute Linux-y Windows applications on WSL (which will, curiosuly enough, not be native Linux applications and they won't work on other distros). (For people who don't know this -- a lot of important development platforms that are distributed as Windows versions are really Cygwin. Windows is not able to handle complex development toolsets unless its for Windows platform targets.)

    Fortunately, these days I'm out of the corporate "Use Windows" treadmill. Have fun, everyone.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Have they any clue what an Operating System is?

      But... but... the Precious!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have they any clue what an Operating System is?

      I'd have thought if you care about filesystems, users and resources you'd be using Linux (or at least Windows Server 2019). Windows 10/11 are for consumers, and "power users" who know how to find the control panel...

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: Have they any clue what an Operating System is?

        ...and us poor slobs who were provided a PC by our employers, and need to run a bunch of "Windows only" software for our jobs.

        Linux at home. Windows, sadly, for work.

  15. codemonkey

    Oh the lush irony

    When Windows makes Linux's Year of the Desktop a reality :D

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    blue pill

    Announces the order for Viagra has been dispatched and is on it's way

  17. Werner Heisenberg

    Don't get TOO far out of the way

    One thing I'd quite like to know about is when my battery is about to die.

    On earlier versions of Windows, there would be plenty of warning. Too much, in fact - front-and-center dialogs that I'd hit 30%, then 15%, then 10%... If I ran out, it wasn't for lack of warning.

    Win10? Not so much. Unless I choose to look bottom-right, the first thing I know about it is my laptop going into hibernation. Yes, there's an icon, and it has a tiny (4px?) "critical" overlay when things get really tight. But unless you choose to look, you never see it.

    Perhaps there's a setting somewhere in the abomination that is Settings? I've looked, and not found.

    1. Martin-R

      Re: Don't get TOO far out of the way

      There's a warning? You get hibernate? First I know about the power lead having been knocked out an hour ago is the machine just stops :-(

      1. keith_w

        Re: Don't get TOO far out of the way

        My machine announces, via notifications, that it is going into power saving mode and dims the display. What did you mess up to stop this from happening?

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Don't get TOO far out of the way

      FWIW, I wrote a trivial applet a while ago that allows you to choose actions - notification message, run a specified script/EXE, sleep/shutdown, play sound - at specific battery remaining %ages. I'm happy to share the C# source if you want it.

  18. fireflies

    For the want of a competent search function...

    "The mitigation here is search..."

    It's only a mitigation if the search actually provides a consistent response.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: For the want of a competent search function...


      I never, ever, under any circumstances want my launcher thingy to search the Internet.

      So kill that with fire. If I wanted to search the Internet then I would have opened my Internet thing and searched in there.

  19. ecofeco Silver badge

    Oh nice!

    Tiny AND flat pastel colored!

    That's sooo helpful! /s

    WTAF is wrong with interface designers these days? Just... WTF?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looking at you Signal

      They've just done exactly the same with the contacts list, moved from strong coloured roundels with white initials to pastel roundels, with pastel initials, WTaF!?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take the Penguin Pill


  21. Thought About IT

    Obsoleting hardware

    What is it about these new UI tweaks that render my Surface Book (and many other Windows computers) obsolete? And yes, it does have TPM 2.0.

    1. jParnell

      Re: Obsoleting hardware

      Absolutely nothing. It's the security tweaks that require modern hardware.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Progressive Disclosure

    a.k.a "wtf did they put x option now?" and "ffs stop moving things!"

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    White Space

    I'd like Microsoft to stop adding so much white space in programs. I dream of the day when I can have Word and Outlook open next to each other on the same monitor without the Windows overlapping and still showing all the information at a legible size.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: White Space

      Especially in my f*cking Inbox! The amount of effort I have to go through with every new UI to get a basic "From" "Subject" "Date" entry on a single line, without a blank line worth of space between messages is unreasonable. And don't bother clicking on "Help".

      Thankfully, whilst Microsoft's Help is useless, there's The Internet and Google.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Red Pilled

    Does it keep popping up links to deranged conspiracy vids on YouTube and suggest you to "do some research" ?

  25. NerryTutkins

    not eating your own dog food

    "Windows users were given slips of paper to represent different operating system features and asked to arrange them in a way that they felt worked best," Microsoft said.

    Rather amusing that Microsoft, one of the world's largest software companies that is very much oriented towards easy-to-use productivity and collaboration tools conducts this exercise with pieces of paper.

    But aside from that, this kind of market research is asking for trouble. This is the kind of thing that led to New Coke. You can ask people what they want in isolation, find the answers are quite different to what they have at the moment and determine they want change. But they don't want change. They are making logical judgments based on the options you give them, which may make perfect sense. But in reality, they're familiar with what they have, and perfectly happy with it. In software in particular, these kinds of sweeping changes are completely unnecessary. Introduce new options by all means, but let people decide if they want to use those, or stick to what is familiar. Windows 8 was a debacle, not because it provided new ways to access programs, etc., but because it forced that on users by taking away the things they were used to, fundamental things, like the start button, and not even giving a simple option to go back to a classic interface. It would be trivial to provide that option, various start menu replacements did exactly that. But Microsoft opted not to do that, because it saw bigger strategic benefit in forcing its mobile/tablet interface on people. I hope they don't make the same mistake here, but it seems they will. Quite a few people are used to Windows 10 now, some things like live tiles are going to disappear, and so yet again, they will alienate a bunch of people.

  26. Ross 12


    Why the hell don't they have a slider for 'user advancedness' or whatever you want to call it, with 'beginner/casual user' at one end and 'enthusiast/power user' at the other end and 'intermediate user' in the middle.

    Then all aspects of the Windows interface can configure themselves around it. I.e. presenting simpler sub-sets of options, doing more hand-holding, etc depending on the setting. Allow applications to also access the setting.

  27. Captain Scarlet

    Combined Taskbar buttons

    Wait does this mean I won't have the option to not combine anything, as I can't stand combined buttons in my taskbar, I have deskspace for two rows and thats how I've had it since Windows 2k

  28. ChrisC Silver badge

    "In our install, we did not see much flashing at all when Outlook tried to interrupt, just a fetching pink background and a small red line under its icon."

    As someone with a lifetime subscription to Colour Vision Deficiencies: Protanomaly Edition, that's one of the most user-hostile UI changes I've seen MS make, and considering how much the low contrast whitespace infested "it's fine for touch-enabled systems, so WGAF about luddites still using old fashioned shit like keyboards and mice" W10 UI continues to piss me off every time I'm forced to use it, this is saying something.

    And no, I don't accept that I could just switch on one of the colour themes MS will have so graciously provided for those of us with less than perfect vision, because (at least based on my experience of those options in W10) whilst they do provide better contrast, they do so at the significant expense of making the UI look (and I'm still not sure *how* MS managed to pull this off) even less agreeable to be sat in front of all day than it already did.

    Oh for the days when the Windows UI could be genuinely customised to the nth degree by the individual user without the need to install third party hacks that break each time MS rolls out an update (and which some users won't be able to install in the first place due to security policies etc), so that insane default colour choices like this could quickly be tweaked into oblivion without the need to go all-in on using a "CVD-friendly" theme which, in some respects, is no more friendly than the default theme...

  29. PK

    MS Doublespeak?

    The outcome was the discovery that people want ... then for Windows "to get out of the way."

    So we've decided to force Teams into Windows itself so that you can't get it out of the way ... ever ....

  30. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    "An article called "Inside the new look and feel" explains some of the research that led to things like the redesigned (and neutered) Start menu."

    Shouldn't that just be a picture of a Mac while a couple of Microsoft boffins scribble down notes on a piece of paper?

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