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New build removes Start Menu code

It's been called the worst hack job to happen to Windows business users since Windows ME by some; others say it's a huge leap forward for Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and super-intuitive to use.

We're talking about Windows 8, the new Windows operating system from Microsoft that's launching in October and bringing with it the new Metro user interface which Microsoft first developed on its web sites and mobile devices.

The second mass consumption test build, the "Release Preview" is now live, replacing the previous "Consumer Preview".  

You can get it here.

Beware, you can no longer hack your Windows build with third party apps to restore the Start Button and Start Menu in the desktop.  This is because Microsoft purposefully removed the legacy code that drove these features, which lay dormant and non-visible in the Consumer Preview build.

More changes are still in store.  While Microsoft is planning to retain a desktop it's reportedly planning to strip away the icon styles of the Aero UI and the Aero glass look, replacing it with a new desktop with more Metro-like square icons.  While the core aspects of the Windows desktop (other than the start menu) are expected to retained, items like Windows Explorer are expected to be overhauled with Ribbons and Metro-like touches.

Microsoft has a tall task when it comes to Windows 8, following the fastest-selling operating system in history, Windows 7.

Sources: Microsoft [download], [press release]

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By xthetenth on 6/5/2012 10:57:32 AM , Rating: 2
You're right, fisher-price interfaces have no place on computers. That's why to this day I haven't used win XP or higher, all those glossy interfaces are just eye candy that distract from Real Work. Quick and easy search right after tapping the windows key? Just a misdirection to hide that they're taking away the best way to find programs, a three deep nested list of 12 pt tall text names with visually indistinguishable icons. I mean really, how can hitting the win key, hitting three or so keys and tapping enter compare to mousing to the corner and finding and mousing through three or more tiny text elements for speed? Don't even get me started on pinning items to the start menu/screen (the damage was done with Vista, don't pretend the Vista/7 start menu and the 8 start screen aren't conceptually identical, with pinned items and search supplanting My Programs.)

Don't even get me started on the colors they've added. Bright colors that can be distinguished at a glance on large tiles that can be sorted into columns of two are clearly inferior to both the tiny grey homogeneity of My Programs and the semi-indistinguishable glob of pixel art on the desktop.

I mean really, all the mouse movements and number of key presses has dramatically shrunk, but I'm a power user and that means comparing my laboriously memorized combinations of key presses unique to my install and current programs on the computer to my first try using something new because I never knew how to reason about the most efficient way to do things. It also means that color of any sort is anathema because how dare my operating system make a mockery of my bland and uninteresting life.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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