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Change may be less extreme than some expected, but may leave some unhappy campers

You don't put desktop in the corner.

That sentiment is at the heart of much of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) faithful’s increasing frustration with Windows 8.  Loyal Windows blogger Paul Thurrott went as far as to compare it to the much loathed Windows ME ("Millennium Edition").  Others have been more charitable, praising its strong touch support.  And manufacturers seem to be on board with Microsoft's message, at least, showing of a slew of hybrid notebooks and tablets [1][2][3].

When word leaked that Microsoft had snipped out the code that allowed the Start Menu to be re-enabled on the desktop via third-party hacks, many commenters flipped out and let their rage be known.  They weren't much happier when they heard that the Aero UI theme found in Windows Vista and Windows 7 desktops would be replaced by a Metro UI alternative.  (The current publicly available Release Preview retains the Aero UI theme.)

So how bad (or good) is the new Metro desktop makeover? Judge for yourself from these screenshots from WinUnleaked.

Windows 8 Metro Desktop

Windows 8 Metro UI Windows 8 Metro Desktop Windows 8 Metro Desktop Windows 8 Metro Desktop

Windows 8 Metro Desktop
(Click any image to enlarge) [Images Source: WindowsUnleaked]

While there's no real reason to doubt the authenticity of these shots, bear in mind that the leaked OS is a pre-RTM (release to manufacturing/marketing) build.  Even the poster "canouna" warns, "Please keep in mind this is not the FINAL theme."

Some people have already (for better or worse) drawn comparisons between the Metro theme and the Windows XP Water Color theme:

XP Water Color
 [Image Source: "The Rock"/WindowsUnleaked]

Of course, the bad news is that Microsoft appears to be locking the Desktop to Metro UI, though there's faint hope that it might leave in legacy code allowing transparency to be re-enabled.  Desktop Windows Manager (DWM) is still running on the test builds, but there's no telling if it will contain the Aero code any more.  Microsoft has stated before that Aero wastes battery life and consumes extra processing power versus the cleaner Metro UI, so that may be justification in Microsoft's mind for the switch.

As far as further changes to the desktop, the top two rumors are that Microsoft may complete the Metro makeover with new Metro-styled icons.  A second rumor is that the Office-esque "Ribbon" will be added to more of the menus, as this was the case in certain early builds.

So what do you think?  Is the Metro desktop in its current form a stud or a dud?

Source: WindowsUnleaked



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By fleshconsumed on 6/14/2012 1:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
Don't really care for Aero. All that transparency is just plain annoying because it makes it so much more difficult to see which one of your windows is the active one. For all of my Windows 7 installations I still use Aero, as opposed to Basic Theme, however, I set window color to be as solidly untransparently blue as possible. And even that doesn't really help as much as you'd expect because for some reason different microsoft applications right now use different "inactive" colors, which makes it so much more fun to hunt for active window. If Win8 can bring it all back under control with a unified "windows theme" that will actually have consistent colors across all applications, I would welcome that change in a heartbeat.

My biggest gripe about Win8 is the lack of start button on the desktop though. Sure, you can have a third party replacement for the start button, but not to include it in the default distribution is the stupidest decision MS has made in a while when it comes to desktop OS. Without start button on the desktop there are only 3 ways to launch a program from desktop: 1) pin it to the taskbar, 2) create a shortcut on the desktop, or 3) start explorer, manually browse to the folder and launch executable. Pinning most used programs to taskbar will solve most of the problems, but if for some reason you don't have a shortcut handy, you have to go back to the metro UI, and start your program from there. It's really backward when you have to switch to Metro UI just to launch a program on your desktop, really backward, and I'm really surprised no one inside Microsoft has stopped and paused to think about it.

I tried Win8 on a tablet, it's a fine OS for tablet. Not so much for desktop (I have one installed on a virtual machine), it's just a pain to use without start menu.




By B3an on 6/14/2012 3:10:24 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Without start button on the desktop there are only 3 ways to launch a program from desktop: 1) pin it to the taskbar, 2) create a shortcut on the desktop, or 3) start explorer, manually browse to the folder and launch executable.


...or just bring up Metro. It's called the Start Screen for a reason.

The Metro UI is vastly superior to the old dated Start Menu for launching apps. It's also more customisable and scales with screen res.

When i want to lauch an app i just hit Win key and start typing the first 2 or 3 letters of the apps name and Metro will automatically start searching and displays results. Just like the Start Menu did, however Metro will show up to 150 results with large easy to recognise icons. The Start Menu only ever shows 20 items at most and does not scale with screen res. With Metro, the higher your resolution the more results displayed.

All your installed software will have icons on the Metro Start Screen anyway... so just.. you know, click on it?!

This is what you usually have to do on Win 7/Vista to launch an app:
Start Menu > All Programs > scroll down through the tiny list box > possibly expand a folder and scroll more > click on app to launch.

On Win 8 the same task is:
Start Screen (Metro) > click on app icon. Done!


By twhittet on 6/14/2012 7:34:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
All your installed software will have icons on the Metro Start Screen anyway... so just.. you know, click on it?!


So i have EVERYTHING in the stupid Metro Start screen? So if I want a calculator - it has a Icon there. And RDP. And GPO admin. And 20 games. And I'm calling BS on your part, or Microsoft is turning the Metro "Start Screen" into 500 little tiles instead of an ORGANIZED Start MENU.
*waves BS flag*

So I want to open calculator. And I don't happen to have a Metro icon, or maybe I even deleted it because they're ugly and I didn't want 1000 icons. I don't have it pinned. What do I do? I don't just....you know....click on it!? cuz it's not freaking there! It's nowhere.

I can hit Start and start typing. Sure - if I want to switch to a keyboard. But that goes against the whole point of...you know..just clicking it?! What kind of touch interface is this where you have to use a keyboard all the time? If I had a menu, I wouldn't have to switch back and forth between a mouse and keyboard every 10 seconds.

I could...you know...just click on it!? Oh wait..I can't.


By PrezWeezy on 6/14/2012 9:10:52 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Microsoft is turning the Metro "Start Screen" into 500 little tiles instead of an ORGANIZED Start MENU.


Apparently you haven't used it yet. But the first "Start Screen" that comes up is your customized set of icons you use all the time. They are "pinned" on the first screen. If you want to see everything that is installed you can do that too. It is in a list view with the icons organized under headers just like folders in the Win7 start menu. It is a little more cluttered, admittedly, when you look at all apps. That said I have never, since it launched in March, used it. I use the icons on the first screen that I've setup the way I want, or I use the search. The "all apps" view is there and can be used, but I haven't found need for it. It actually works really well. Instead of multiple clicks to get to a program (I know I used to have up to about 6 drilling down into menus) I now have two. It works really well.


By twhittet on 6/15/2012 2:13:08 AM , Rating: 3
No, I AM using it, that's the problem. Hasn't been close to intuitive for me - so good luck for a typical user.

Admittedly I did find calculator under the Apps screen.
- The Apps screen is a mess. I have like 3 programs installed so far on this pc and I already have to scroll a whole page over (lots of wrist action vs small movements). It will be much worse once programs are actually installed. Organized like crap. Running higher res may help. It will still be 500 stupid tiles!
- How the hell does a person get there? I finally googled it. Because nothing is intuitive. You can get to it by right clicking at the bottom of the Metro UI. If you right click in the middle, you have to scroll all the way over to the left corner. Once again, horrible on a mouse.

So to find a calculator with just a mouse, I have to go to a completely different screen (hiding any work I was in the middle of - like maybe some numbers I wanted to put in a damn calculator!) and sort through a jumbled set of icons/tiles. Awesome.

Why don't they just call this what it is - Windows tablet edition.


By CaedenV on 6/15/2012 5:30:48 PM , Rating: 1
Um... the apps menu is alphabetically organized, what exactly is confusing about that?
Also it has icons next to each name, so you don't even need to be able to read to find the calculator. Also, if you are on the start screen you can just start typing 'cal...' and by the 3rd letter you can hit 'enter' to open the program, or right click on it and pin it to the start screen or superbar and NEVER have that problem again.

I'll be the first to admit that there is a learning curve (especially moving from version to version as things have changed slightly), but once you get use to the new workflow it is quite nice. And it is just as drastic a change as it was moving form dos to win3.1, or 3.1 to '95, but without 1/2 the headaches I had moving between those platforms because most of the good old keyboard shortcuts still behave the same in spite of the GUI changes.


By augiem on 6/15/2012 10:13:10 PM , Rating: 3
I'll never understand why so many people think lumping everything together in one giant grab bag is superior. I guess because people have forgotten how to think or are senile and don't want to put forth the effort to learn anything. All the smart phones were this way in the beginning until some GENIUS at Apple with, what, iOS version 3 or 4, got the idea to add... *drum roll* FOLDERS (WHOA what an idea) to the app page. MS is guilty in various degrees of this in the past with MyDocuments and now Windows 7 phone (What?! a 1-app column of every prog installed on the phone? brilliant!) Apple is taking it even further with changes to OSX Lion Finder where they encourage users to just go to the giant grab bag for all their pics, videos, docs, etc and not remember where they put things.

Why is every version of the start menu superior in every way to ScrollBar 8's new gimmick? O R G A N I Z A T I O N . I am a power user, I admit it, but I just did a quick catalog of my start menu and I have ... 935 items in my start menu all neatly organized under 6 main categories and further subcategorized below that. I know some people love the Win Vista/7 type-to-find thing, but I don't at all because some programs I use infrequently and don't even remember the proper name, but I know they're organized under Utilitiess\Security\etc. They stay neatly tucked away, not in my face all the time like in Metro. I don't always go for the start menu either. My most commonly used programs are run with hotkeys, quick launch, RocketDock, or a Favorites folder on the start menu. I like having my options.


By JediJeb on 6/15/2012 5:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
I just a lot of legacy programs, some still 16 bit that can not be replaced easily, will those install to the Metro UI screen or where will they end up? Our IT department is always trying to push us to the newest OS available to make their lives easier, but most of our equipment has not had new versions of software written in years. I would hate to tell our IT guys they need to find us $100k for each computer they want to upgrade because we would need to replace the expensive equipment attached to it. Well maybe I would like to tell them that to keep them quiet on making changes so often.


By johnsmith9875 on 6/29/2012 10:36:35 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like my LG800 phone interface, and I hate my LG800 phone.


By Wolfpup on 6/15/2012 3:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the Start menu makes WAY more sense than this Metro thing does for a normal desktop. Sure, for touch Metro may make sense, but it's inefficient for normal PC usage.

Right now, most of us probably have a handful of programs we almost always use pinned to the task bar, and then from there lesser used stuff on the start menu.

Well Win 8 you're having to drop to a different screen to launch lesser used programs...and then the Start menu of course hides even LESSER used programs better still. Win 8 appears to give you quick access to your programs you'd already have pinned, but much clunkier and slower access to everything else. I'm TRULY amazed they'd do this.

Heck, even if they wanted to make the Start menu more Metro LIKE, I can see that, so long as it's not actually switching to a seperate screen.

Also...presumably they're not REALLY getting rid of Aero right? Sounds like they're just getting rid of transparencies for some reason? I like them, but so long as it's still actually using hardware acceleration...

I am actually kind of excited to see whether Windows 8 on an x86 tablet really can give you everything an iPad does...except with more power and it's a real PC. If it can do that and give similar-ish battery life, iPad SHOULD be dead. Now it's Apple, and they can sell absurd products to millions, but still...


By Belard on 6/15/2012 8:44:32 AM , Rating: 3
NO, its not. Metro is crap... and worse yet, MS wants to rape us with Metro, why are they fighting to hard to force people to use it. Hint: don't.

The VIEW ALL APPs (not everything is an APP), is another click and YOU cannot organize it, you cannot rename jack with Metro. I know, MS made it extra difficult with vista/Win7 to rename and move folders in the Start menu, but I like to rename "Microsoft Office 2010 Word" down to "Word"... with Metro, the long-ass name will be whatever stupid name the printer company names it... and worse yet, some companies will install 3 stupid folders for their printer driver, rather than a single one.

Metro is a mess for the desktop... its fine for the phone / tablet... but for a full blown CREATION device, no.

I understand the concept, its a "Start scren", okay, they the whole system should default to the desktop, no?

What about the extra step in logging on? With Windows 7, just start typing in your password... no clicking, no swiping.

PS: I thought was I saw in the preview was their updated GUI for desktop... what they have here is pure crap.


By hemmy on 6/15/2012 10:40:27 AM , Rating: 2
If you are complaining about productivity why are you not using the search functionality to launch your programs? Give my Windows 8 and I will beat you using W7 any day of the week if you actually use the start menu. Regardless of whether you use search or not, launching a program from "All Programs/Apps" is NOT any more clicks than W7. It takes 1 extra click to get to the All Apps view, but fewer clicks to actually launch an app than it does in W7, which you must dig into the folders.

That brings me into the next bit of delusion in your post - your complaint about companies not using a consistent start menu organization hierarchy is actually something W8 IMPROVES on over W7. This is because you no longer have to dig deep into folder after folder trying to find the shortcut to launch the app, it is right there, organized by folder by not hidden away IN the folder.

And complaining about the lock screen? lol. You can dismiss the lock screen when you start typing. No clicking or swiping required.

You can absolutely be just as productive in W8, and none of the things you listed do at all justify your "Windows 8 is crap" conclusion. Sadly, just like pretty much everyone who hates W8 you don't actually know why you hate it, you just hate it.


By Gondor on 6/15/2012 12:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
With an application running it surely takes even more clicks just to get to that silly list ?

With start menu you simply open the menu and launch whatever you want, you don't have to move your hand from mouse to keyboard and back.


By CaedenV on 6/15/2012 5:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
If using the mouse just go into the bottom left corner where the start menu use to be;
Lo and behold! a start screen button appears! Just like the good old start button, then scroll to the application that you want and launch it. Really, it is better than the old defunct start menu.
Lets not forget that you can also still set up hot keys in win8, and pin programs, and have desktop shortcuts, and very easily organize the start screen to just about anyone's liking, and it brings together news, weather, programs, websites, RSS feeds, photos, facebook/twitter updates, etc. all in a single medium (play/pause/next options on the tile for the player would be nice though...). I may not like the tile aesthetic, but to say that it is worse in any way to the start menu is nuts. And if you don't want all that crap on your start screen? Just right click or swipe down on what you don't want, and then remove it. Personally I love it now that I have gotten use to it.


By JediJeb on 6/15/2012 5:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't been able to use W8 yet so I was wondering if I can use it they way I do XP now. I put my three or four programs up, stacking the windows so I can easily click the edge of each one as I need it, and leave a small amount of desktop showing around the borders of those windows where my most used program icons sit. I can open and close everything I need without using the start menu and I can easily jump from one to the other with no hassles at all. I heard that with the Metro UI everything goes full screen, or has that changed? I would hate to be minimizing and maximizing everything back and fourth all day, that would just waste a lot of my time.


By Belard on 6/16/2012 2:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
If you want access to four programs, windows 7 pin to task bar works fine. Better than XP's quick launch. You can cover your whole desktop with windows and have access to what u use he most.

Win8 desktop is pretty much the same as 7/xp. It's just going to be ugly and have a full screen start menu that you can't customize much.


By Belard on 6/16/2012 2:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
If you want access to four programs, windows 7 pin to task bar works fine. Better than XP's quick launch. You can cover your whole desktop with windows and have access to what u use he most.

Win8 desktop is pretty much the same as 7/xp. It's just going to be ugly and have a full screen start menu that you can't customize much


By Belard on 6/16/2012 12:25:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
start menu organization hierarchy is actually something W8 IMPROVES on over W7. This is because you no longer have to dig deep into folder after folder trying to find the shortcut to launch the app, it is right there, organized by folder by not hidden away IN the folder.

A menu structure that YOU cannot edit, rename, re-organize to something YOU may want.

My Menu structure is *mine*, its clean. I have all my games in "games" I have all my serious apps in "Work", I have my handy programs in "Tools"(Zip, screenshot, image viewer), I have system settings/tools under "Maintence", I have rarely used crap under "Rare Use". MS makes it a bit of a bitch under Win7, but not impossible. With Windows 8, its Icons, not a list view.

So WTF does Metro Want? Touch screen, keyboard or mouse? Start typing your app or your file... what about my Jump List, that was HANDY!

Why do I need a whole fracking screen to launch a program? Okay, I have my icons on the desktop, then WTF do I need Metro for? Why does it have full-screen apps that runs on its interface, but not on the desktop? What if I want to run a metro app along side MS-Word 2010? Oh wait, can't do that because MS Word 2010 doesn't run under-metro and that metro-app doesn't on the desktop. Does copy & paste work? The Windows key doesn't always go back and forth between desktop and metro.

A skilled team can simplify without making a program useless... Windows8 has noting that makes using metro dealing with.

quote:
you listed do at all justify your "Windows 8 is crap" conclusion. Sadly, just like pretty much everyone who hates W8 you don't actually know why you hate it, you just hate it.

The things I listed *DO* justify that windows 8 metro *IS CRAP* Maybe Windows8 is what starts the destruction of the Earth in 2012... who knows. If we live to see 2013, you'll see the shit-storm that win8 will cause.

You willing to wager on it? After Win8 releases, just be on the look out for "Belardo". You can either laugh at me or curse me then. :P

I know why I hate it. I booted up Win8 with a positive and open mind. I have an operational Win8 PC I can boot up at any time. Trust me, I've helped MS sell copies of Windows7... and I've easily taken away at least 40 sales of Win8 in 10 days since I first tried out Win8. And *I* do suggest and recommend anyone try it out for themselves.

I don't need to put words in people's mouths. After 10~30mins of playing with Win8, many said "this is the dumbest shit". Even when in the first 5-10 mins, they are going "cool", "that's neat".

Sorry Hemmy, its nice that you like Win8... there is always somebody who likes crap or whatever. Thinking back to the mid-late 1980s when people would choose a $5000 POS MS-DOS PC over a $1500 Amiga which (A) had a GUI, (B) a lot cheaper than a PC or a MAC (C) had true multi-tasking that MS wouldn't have until 1995 for the general user base. (D) MS-DOS's itself *IS and WAS* always a sub-standard DOS since it was farted out of Microsoft's door.

I am fairly open-minded, but in the real world - most people are not... if THEY were, most people would have left Windows years ago for Linux.


By Lugaidster on 6/16/2012 6:58:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am fairly open-minded, but in the real world - most people are not... if THEY were, most people would have left Windows years ago for Linux .


Hah, cool story brah. Come back to me when Linux works out of the box with current hardware (GPUs) and has feature and performance parity on them.

Besides, with the mess that is Gnome 3, Unity and KDE 4 (albeit, the latter is shaping up a bit) and the fragmentation, it's not much better than Windows. Only benefit it has is security, and dumb people will always make sure to mess it up.


By Belard on 6/16/2012 3:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
So what part of "open minded" did you not understand?

- GPUs dont matter much anymore. Far more games on consoles.
- browser is the most used program in the world, the OS doesn't matter as much... Hence I'm typing this on my iPad, cause I don't feel like turning on my desktop.
- yeah, Linux is a mess that way. There is no pure standard, never will be. Considering that MS has changed their GUI 6 times in 12 years to apple's OSX which has been the same says something.
- linuxmint worked pretty good on my test box. It's configured like a windows system with a docs, pic, music, etc folders. It's more usable than Metro without someone trying to sell you crap.

Hey, I play a few games, use photoshop and a few other pc only programs. If I didn't need or want to se those, I wouldn't need ms at ALL. Hell, I run office 2003 on my win7 because it does what I need.


By T2k on 6/15/2012 10:47:28 AM , Rating: 1
This is the type of retarded BS you stupid MS shills are hated for all over the internet - you drink enough MS Kool-Aid to believe Metro is more advanced than a Start Menu, that's a statement of being a complete retard by itself.

Stupid lowlife lying shills with no clue about anything, just STFU, please.


By retrospooty on 6/15/2012 11:54:23 AM , Rating: 2
"This is the type of retarded BS you stupid MS shills are hated for all over the internet - you drink enough MS Kool-Aid to believe Metro is more advanced than a Start Menu"

I don't like Metro either, but what a complete asinine post you have made. Seriously dood, anger management.


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