Print 42 comment(s) - last by PitViper007.. on Apr 8 at 9:28 AM

Start Menu will be bundled into upcoming Windows build, possible Windows 8.2

Back when Windows 8.1 was the stuff of rumors, we wrote that Microsoft might be looking to implement a Modern UI (aka Metro) styled Start Menu similar to Windows 7's, but with a flatter look.  Some readers pointed out that depending on how you read the rumor pieces, Microsoft was instead talking about repurposing the start button for an entirely different functionality -- just dumping the users in the Modern UI mode whenever they pressed the button on the Desktop.
I wrote at the time:

I was hopeful based on the language of both reports that it will instead be a Live Tiles pop-up menu (which is possible given that the Mary Jo Foley report which you site -- and which I link to in the article -- is relatively older). But maybe not.

Hopefully Microsoft is listening though and indeed goes that route.

People want a Start Menu ON the Desktop, not to be yanked out of the Desktop when they click a button.

Indeed, the readers were right -- the Start Button didn't bring up a Metrofied menu, instead it dumped you in the full blown Modern UI, disrupting your Desktop Mode experience.  The reaction to the new Start Button we heard ranged from indifference to annoyance.  Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) hadn't gotten it.  Users didn't want a token button that dumped you into the Modern UI.  They wanted an actual menu to use in Desktop Mode.

new Start Button

Not everyone agreed that a Metrofied Start Menu on the Desktop (which would unify the look, but add more Metro which you might hate) was a good thing (I personally felt it did).  But virtually no one wanted the Start Button Microsoft gave us with Windows 8.1.  It just wasn't the Start Button we were looking for.

That was the baffling thing about the Steve Ballmer era at Microsoft.  At times the company appeared friendly and open to feedback, at other times it seemed to refuse to listen, or worse yet misheard everyone putting forth solutions that pleased virtually no one.

But the good news is that there's a new man at the helm of Microsoft (Satya Nadella) and lo and behold part of his plan to fix Windows 8 is to actually listen and bring back an actual menu that pops up in Desktop mode, when you click the Windows button.

The feature was previewed by Terry Myerson and Microsoft's BUILD conference.

Windows 8.2 Start Menu
[Image Source: Redmond Pie]

To me this is a good thing as the menu works as it always has in Windows and offers more utility than a mere mode-switcher.  And while it won't please everyone, the change has drawn cautious praise.  Redmond Pie's Ben Reid writes:

As you can see from the accompanying screenshot, it’s obvious that elements of Windows 7 and Windows 8 have been combined to create something of a middle-ground. The functionality and general construction of the UI points the desktop that Microsoft has been pushing since the nineties, but in retaining a place for the tiles as well, users aren’t completely left behind from changes being made in line with the touch-based future of digital hardware.

The only thing unknown at this point is when the Metrofied Start Menu will roll out.  Rumor has it that it may be released with the upcoming Windows 8.2 release, which is expected to be free and also add better mouse and keyboard support for traditional desktop and laptop users.

Source: Redmond Pie

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What will makes it beter...
By superPC on 4/3/2014 7:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
Is if the windowed modern UI style apps in desktop can be dragged to the edges (left or right) and returning it to left or right snap we have for modern UI apps right now.

In other news, has anyone read this?

RE: What will makes it beter...
By KoolAidMan1 on 4/3/2014 8:09:29 PM , Rating: 3
I think that's the plan. I have no interest in Metro apps but at least they're bringing the rest of the OS closer to how Win7 was.

RE: What will makes it beter...
By coburn_c on 4/3/14, Rating: -1
RE: What will makes it beter...
By zerocks on 4/3/2014 9:15:25 PM , Rating: 4
Well I know that I for one am simply enthralled by the prospect of being able to do TWO things on the same screen at one time! Woo.
Welcome to the future, population: MetroUI users (4)

RE: What will makes it beter...
By coburn_c on 4/3/14, Rating: -1
RE: What will makes it beter...
By Lonyo on 4/4/14, Rating: -1
RE: What will makes it beter...
By Griffinhart on 4/4/2014 9:54:46 AM , Rating: 5
Side by side is good for some uses, terrible for others. Spread sheets, for example. Metro UI also has NO multi monitor support currently. And of course, it is limited to just two visible applications.

I can think of several examples where MetroUI has no chance of being useful. At work, I constantly have more than two apps open and visible across three screens.

When I play MMO's (EQ2 mostly) I use three screens. The game in the primary (windows but maximized) The left screen has a few game utilities running, (Parse info, Voice Chat, etc) and the right screen often has a web browser open or a movie from Amazon or Netflix running.

The Metro UI just isn't useful enough when compared to the desktop environment.

For my Tablet (Surface Pro) It's great. It's always been the desktop user that has had the problem with the Metro UI. It just makes no sense to use it on a desktop PC

RE: What will makes it beter...
By Krinosy on 4/4/2014 4:55:11 PM , Rating: 3
As much as I use Windows 8 on my desktop, I never really used Metro apps on it for that reason. Installed ModernMix on it recently (which makes Metro apps just another windowed program) and I've found that they're entirely usable, with a nice aesthetic to boot.

Once MS officially rolls this out to Windows 8(.2) in general I can see the demarcations between 'desktop programs' and 'Metro apps' going away.

RE: What will makes it beter...
By p05esto on 4/3/2014 9:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
Your comment is pointless and you need to leave DailyTech NOW. We don't fear change you bafoon, we fear stupid interfaces and productivity wasting crap getting in our way. Snapping apps is horrid, full screen anything is disgusting, Meto in general should die right now, we need a menu to navigate me 50 installed applications and dozens of functions.

Go away you child with your fear of change mantra. I've heard it and I disagree with it completely. I like good change, HATE stupid change. Most change is for the worse if you have not looked around you.

RE: What will makes it beter...
By coburn_c on 4/3/14, Rating: -1
RE: What will makes it beter...
By inighthawki on 4/3/2014 9:23:19 PM , Rating: 2
I sincerely hope not. If I'm in the desktop, I want to stay there. The default behavior here *must* be to use the traditional aero snap, or this will be bad. There is no way I will ever use that feature if snapping it to the side suddenly destroys half my monitors usable space. The idea is nice, but definitely needs a different mechanism to perform this action.

In other news, has anyone read this?

Looks interesting (thanks for the link), but is there anything in particular you're calling out about it? Or are you just wondering if people have read it. It seems very off topic, so it's unclear what you're going for.

RE: What will makes it beter...
By coburn_c on 4/3/14, Rating: -1
RE: What will makes it beter...
By inighthawki on 4/3/2014 10:09:04 PM , Rating: 5
Are you serious, do you realize how stupid YOU sound? You sound like you've never even used the desktop before.

Metro snap:
You immediately lose the entire chunk of screen realestate. No desktop application can occlude it (which means maximized application no longer can take the full screen and occlude it on focus), and you lose a sizable chunk of the taskbar (which is incredibly valuable for people who do not use the condensed 'always combine, hide labels' icon mode). It's permanently lost screenspace until you unsnap or close the app.


Aero snap:
A lightweight 'half maximize' mode where any app can occlude it, and the application does not conceal or restrict the taskbar. Fullscreen applications can still take the fullscreen and overlay when focused.

So explain to me how those aren't enormously different?

RE: What will makes it beter...
By coburn_c on 4/3/14, Rating: -1
RE: What will makes it beter...
By inighthawki on 4/4/2014 12:44:27 AM , Rating: 5
No I never said you shouldn't be able to, I stated that the standard behavior should not be changed to do it differently for metro apps. There is a defined behavior on the desktop, which shouldn't change. There should be another way to do it.

You're the exact reason why power users hate Windows 8. Instead of adding a new way to do things and keeping the old, you're telling everyone that what you like better should be the only way to do it because you're one of few people who like it better. Instead I'm offering "don't do it that way by default, do it correctly and add choice" and you're saying that that's bad and we should abandon other ways of doing it.


By puter_geek_00 on 4/4/2014 2:04:00 PM , Rating: 2
RE: What will makes it beter...
By superPC on 4/3/2014 9:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I forgot to write what I want to called out in that pdf file. Sorry about that.

It shows that sales of components for PC in particular GPU, continues to rise even after sales of complete system (desktop or laptop) slides. It also shows processing power ultra high end gaming PC compared to all consoles from the past 20 years.

By inighthawki on 4/3/2014 10:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
Oh nice, sounds interesting. I'll take a look later tonight. Thanks.

RE: What will makes it beter...
By toast70 on 4/4/2014 8:20:53 AM , Rating: 3
I can totally see this based on my own usage. I have a i7-920 which is now almost 6 years old. I am on my 3rd GPU and really could probably do one more before the CPU is too outdated.

They clamor how PC sales have declined, but seem to fail to understand one of the basic reasons. CPU speed no longer makes dramatic increases every year. That 3-4 year old PC is still plenty fast enough. Why spend money on a ~5% IPC increase.

If they started giving me a valid reason to upgrade yearly like I used too, I would start doing it again, until then they will see people use the same CPU through 3 cycles of GPUs


By PitViper007 on 4/8/2014 9:28:44 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like me Toast. 3rd GPU here as well on an i7 920, and I really don't feel the need to upgrade the CPU anytime soon. I built this rig back in late 2009 and it still runs everything I throw at it with ease.

RE: What will makes it beter...
By retrospooty on 4/3/2014 9:30:47 PM , Rating: 3
I really like it. Hopefully its fully configurabe. Nicely done MS. A great combo of the two.

RE: What will makes it beter...
By Spuke on 4/3/2014 10:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
I was not interested in this update at all but that looks pretty good to me.

It'll probably work
By Motoman on 4/4/2014 10:07:42 AM , Rating: 2
...granted that there's an "All Programs" link there at the bottom of the window. I think there is.

People will still hate it because they don't even want to *see* the tiles - but at least their computers will be usable again.

I've personally become kind of attached to Pokki. I like the way it gives you the ability to create your own arrangements of favorite programs by icon. Although I wish they'd done a better job with the "All Programs" part. Just doesn't seem as smooth and easy to use as Win7/Vista/XP.

If MS could do their thing on the left, and the Pokki thing on the right, they might really have something compelling.

RE: It'll probably work
By atechfan on 4/4/2014 4:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
The tiles are only there if you pin them there. Otherwise, the Start menu will look and behave like the one in Win 7.

RE: It'll probably work
By Motoman on 4/4/2014 5:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
Ah. Well if that is the case, this might just take care of everybody.

Only took them...what, 3 years? [rolleyes]

By p05esto on 4/3/2014 9:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
I really hope the task bar/menu can be moved to the top like WIn7. I hate the bottom menu, so counterintuitive. All other menus are at the top, why not have the MAIN menu at the top too? I never understood people who leave it at the bottom and have to move their mouse from top to bottom constantly.

I also can't believe Win8 still doesn't have a decent menu tool to get to apps... what do people currently do??? I threw Win8 in the trash as soon as I tried it... I may never leave Win7, lol.

RE: dsgfds
By Imaginer on 4/3/2014 11:12:20 PM , Rating: 2
It already can right now in Windows 8, via right clicking the taskbar under properties.

I still have the taskbar on the bottom on my pure desktop class PCs, but on my Surface Pro 2, I find it better on top, because the time is not obscured by my hand while using the pen (or potential hits of the taskbar if I am sloppy with my pen and hand).

By Imaginer on 4/3/2014 11:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
But, I will still stick with the full screen Start Screen on all of my Windows 8.1 PCs.

One thing I would like though, with either the Start Screen AND Start Menu, is the return of the recently used documents or the up and immediate showing of the group of recent/frequently used programs.

This could be implemented in the Start Screen by enabling showing of a special tile group or listing group, and already is there like it has been with previous Start menus.

By FITCamaro on 4/4/2014 9:02:07 AM , Rating: 2
I really like the proposed screenshot. I love the design of the metro UI. It just isn't as great for a keyboard and mouse.

Microsoft, do what is pictured there and I think people will be satisfied.

Very excited about this
By CaedenV on 4/4/2014 10:34:38 AM , Rating: 2
While I never understood people's need to go get pitchforks and storm the MS castle over Metro, I am glad to see this coming to the desktop. When I am at home relaxing I typically have a movie/show playing, a web browser open (to my favorite tech sites of course), I may also have a few progress bars that I am trying to keep an eye on, and a game of some sort open. Opening a metro app that wants to take up at least 50% of the screen to work properly in this type of environment is simply a deal breaker, so I never ever use any of them.

Now that said, running a Hulu or Netflix app in a window is much more appealing to me than running it in browser most of the time. Plus there are games in metro (Spartan Assault and others) which I would much prefer to play windowed while watching a show in the background. If they follow through with this then I will certainly make more use of the win8 store and modern apps.

Another thing which would be nice would be finally merging control panel and PC Settings. I generally like the layout of PC Settings better (though it could use a few improvements here and there), and it would be great to have all settings in that type of a menu... but in a window on the desktop.

Lastly, I am curious about their layout. My initial thought on a metroized start menu would be to have a phone-style up-and-down scrolling metro menu front and center, and then bring back the standard links on the right hand side for things like "Documents" "Pictures" "My Computer" "Control Panel" etc. Then have a swipe left gesture (or button) to get to the "All Programs" listing, which would list just like WP, but maybe have sorting options such as 'date installed', 'most used' and such.
The point of the start menu for the mouse is having the most amount of stuff in a relatively confined space... having the tiled part of the start menu trail off to the right forever kind of defeats that purpose.

Might have to eat my words
By Ammohunt on 4/4/2014 12:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
This looks promising looks like they have finally fixed it by mixing new with old like they have done in the past and should have done out of the gate. Microsoft now needs to couple with the release of 8.2 a steep discount offer for upgrade or full versions(i buy OEM copies when i can) like half off? $50? Which would be the only incentive for me to replace 4 perfectly fine copies of Windows 7 that i run.

By flyingpants1 on 4/4/2014 7:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
So it's Windows 7?

By sTechie on 4/7/2014 8:53:08 AM , Rating: 2
The current Metro look and feel in Windows 8.1 (with latest Update) is far better. This one looks like we are getting back to same old traditional feel of Windows. Especially Metro apps in a separate window doesn't look good.

Done with Microsoft
By SAN-Man on 4/4/14, Rating: -1
RE: Done with Microsoft
By Ahnilated on 4/4/2014 10:14:44 AM , Rating: 2
Linux Mint with Cinnamon is nice but I wouldn't call it great. I am currently using it and it has far too many bugs causing it to crash the desktop. I am used to my Gentoo setup and in a year I may have crashed the desktop 2 times.

RE: Done with Microsoft
By Ammohunt on 4/4/2014 12:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
But it only took you what 3 days to install/build your gentoo desktop? Don't get me wrong i love gentoo and use it for server duty but to compare source compiled to binary distribution is just wagging your epeen. I use Fedora at work with gnome 3.0 and its solid,stable,fast and installs in minutes.

RE: Done with Microsoft
By SAN-Man on 4/4/14, Rating: -1
RE: Done with Microsoft
By nikon133 on 4/5/2014 1:09:29 AM , Rating: 2
How are things at Apple?

RE: Done with Microsoft
By SAN-Man on 4/7/2014 9:12:41 AM , Rating: 2
I don't own a single Apple product, thanks for asking - and never will.

By NellyFromMA on 4/4/2014 12:55:18 PM , Rating: 3
Did writing this post help you relieve your tension? By all means, stop using MS. I'm sure no one will notice,

By Donkey2008 on 4/6/2014 3:21:31 AM , Rating: 2
2002 called, they want their Linux rant back. Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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