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Beloved icon of Windows history appears to be in the rear view for good

For those upset about the lack of a start button in Windows 8, prepare yourself for another disappointment -- "Windows Blue", an upcoming short-cycle successor to Windows 8, is not expected to bring the feature back.

The source of this supposed leak is CNBeta, a site with close insider ties at Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which gained respect by accurately leaking a number of early Windows 8 details.

Other info from the site includes suggests that Microsoft will further flatten the UI on the desktop (think the Metro/Windows 8 UI style), the taskbar/desktop will get tweaks, the price will be low (or free), and the new kernel version number will be v6.3 (corroborated by other independent reports).  The final remnants of the Aero UI, which was a staple of Windows Vista and Windows 7 is also being bid adieu, like the Start button before it.

Windows 7 Start Button
The start button went the way of the Dodo with Windows 8. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

Neowin reports that a summer launch of Windows Blue is expected.  And its contacts close to Microsoft hint that the name will be some sort of riff on Windows 8, not Windows 9, as some suspected.

(For the record you can get a Start Menu-like menu by moving your mouse to the lower left corner of the screen and right-clicking.  Voilà, magic!)

Sources: CNBeta, NeoWin

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RE: Free market
By Motoman on 12/28/2012 12:18:15 PM , Rating: 5
They changed the UI once before... People were angry, but adapted.

No they haven't...not really. The UI is essentially the same as it's been since Win95 - just a few tweaks here and there, but effectively the same thing. The reason being that the Start menu is the optimal form. The tile thing is a massive step in the wrong direction.

They changed the Office UI... People were angry, but adapted.

That one got shoved down people's throats because of corporate MS Office contracts. At the software companies I've worked at since then, pretty much everyone admits that the Fisher-Price-sized toolbars called "ribbons" do nothing but make it harder to find the functions you want to use by showing fewer of them at any given time. It's just physics. Bigger buttons means fewer of them on the screen. But...people have to use them because they have no choice.

The same may ultimately become true with the tiled OS interface...but all MS is doing if they continue with it is to irritate people more and more. Which, if it continues, will drive people (and maybe companies) away from MS to other, more user-friendly and productive platforms and products.

RE: Free market
By acer905 on 12/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: Free market
By Griffinhart on 12/28/2012 1:35:38 PM , Rating: 5
Thats the point. Pre-Win95 the UI was entirely different, and it worked well. Then they changed it, and people were angry.

This isn't actually true. While Windows 3.1 was entirely different, Win95 was clearly an improvement and was enthusiastically embraced by both consumers and businesses. I know in the company I was working at during its release it brought massive advanages for us.

This was also a time when Norton Desktop for Windows was getting more and more popular. For those not familiar, it modified Win 3.1 to give it a windows 95 style desktop minus a task bar.

RE: Free market
By Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer on 12/28/2012 2:50:52 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, it's been a while, but I seem to remember Windows 95 being an improvement over 3.1, myself.

RE: Free market
By Labotomizer on 12/29/2012 9:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
It's easy to let 18 years cloud your memories because it's hard to imagine thinking 3.1 was better than 9x. But there were numerous people who swore they would never leave DOS. Those people didn't like 3.1 either. Eventually they adapted.

People hated Windows XP at launch more than the backlash for Windows 8, and there were more problems with XP than you could count. Security, stability were both trash. Again, 10+ years does funny things to people's memories. Everyone I knew swore they would stay with 98 if they played games, 2000 if they were business related. Or 98. But we see how that worked out.

I'm not saying I agree with MS, but I also don't think the lack of a start button is a big deal. Again, 7 year old daughter has had 0 issues finding her way around Windows 8, without my help. That speaks volumes. I know it's hard to break old habits, but there are some advantages. Especially as we move forward with more devices. I do like that I change my background and lock screen at work, it's updated at home. I sync photos from phone and it instantly shows up on 3 Win 8 devices I have. All traditional computers and a laptop. And the laptop supports multi-touch on the trackpad, so it works great with Win 8.

RE: Free market
By piroroadkill on 12/30/2012 6:22:08 AM , Rating: 3
One thing that is useful to note about the Windows 3.11 transition to Windows 95, is that the original 95 release actually would ASK YOU what UI you wanted, and if you chose 3.11 style, it would start progman.exe in place of explorer.exe.

Even if you wanted Windows 95 style, you could still start progman and go back to using literally the same old UI you had been used to.

I think Program Manager was included even in XP, but removed at some point during a service pack update, maybe it was SP2.

Point is, Microsoft used to be about choice. Now they've decided choice is the enemy of a slick walled garden, and they'd be right. But it represents a new and very recent shift in ideology, and is in no way comparable to old UI tweaks of the past.

RE: Free market
By BifurcatedBoat on 1/3/2013 3:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I never had a problem with upgrading an OS until now. Vista annoyed me greatly when I first installed it until I disabled UAC, but even in that case, it was worth it to get access to more than 3.5GB of RAM.

They made meaningful improvements with each release. Now, they take a step backward for the sake of tablets and phones. You can't tell me it's not a step backward. There is no way, in a world that didn't have tablets and smartphones, that we would have ended up with this kind of interface for desktop PC use.

RE: Free market
By AskTheChief on 12/28/2012 3:18:18 PM , Rating: 1
I agree completely. I've read so many articles where people are "Power Users" yet they think it is OK. Bull!

Try turning off UAC in Win 8 compared to Win 7
In Win 7 go to start run and type UAC.
The same applies with Launching RDP, Command prompt, Anytime upgrade, browsing directories, and the list goes on. I want my start menu back, I can organize it the way I want and shutdown in 2 clicks.

I would have rated Motoman up, but I wanted to comment on his post. I loved it, especially "pretty much everyone admits that the Fisher-Price-sized toolbars called "ribbons" do nothing but make it harder to find the functions you want to use by showing fewer of them at any given time."

You hit it on the head. Hey Microsoft, get a clue... everything is going widescreen, so my 8.5 X 11 doc is getting shorter because of the widescreen format being shoved down our throats. And then you take away even more vertical space by using the top for the silly ribbon that you cannot move to the side. I could live with the ribbon if you put it on the side, other wise give me a nice simple file menu bar like in 2003, or GIVE me the choice to pick which one I want to use.

This moving crap around that MS is doing is really tempting me to look elsewhere.

Back to the Win 8 roast. Shutting down is a few extra steps and getting to admin tools requires placing all the admin tools on the metro desktop or a lot of digging through the metro and hovering to wait for the search to show up. OK, now how about shutting down some of the apps that you open. When the app is mogul, you have to use the Windows key to get out of it, then move to the top left and hover until you see the mini window appear then right click and close. This kind of behavior encourages us to leave apps open all the time. What happened to the X in the top right hand corner? How is this faster and better? A little clue here... it is not, it is 3 or 4 steps in the wrong direction.

And guess what, I'm one of the guys all my family and friends ask for advice from before they buy anything new.

So my advise to friends for Windows 8 for a tablet is pretty good from all the sites I normally read. My personal experience with Windows 8 on the desktop is not so hot. I am really disappointed and I am telling people to stick with Windows 7 or wait for MS to either patch Windows 8 to make it as good as 7 or wait for the next OS.

RE: Free market
By Motoman on 12/28/2012 3:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
Rule of thumb: Anyone who declares themselves to be a "power user" isn't.

RE: Free market
By damianrobertjones on 12/28/12, Rating: 0
RE: Free market
By B3an on 12/28/2012 4:06:09 PM , Rating: 3
Try turning off UAC in Win 8 compared to Win 7 In Win 7 go to start run and type UAC. The same applies with Launching RDP, Command prompt, Anytime upgrade, browsing directories, and the list goes on. I want my start menu back, I can organize it the way I want and shutdown in 2 clicks.

Access Command Prompt on 8:

Right click in the bottom left corner of the screen > Command Prompt. TWO CLICKS! Quicker than Win 7!
Or Press WinKey + X > Command Prompt.
Or Start Screen > type "CMD" ... same thing as Win 7!

You can even use the new Ribbon in File Explorer to open Command Prompt in the directory you're in:
File > Command Prompt.

UAC on Win 8:

Start Screen > Type "UAC" > settings > and it's there.
Or again, right click in bottom left corner > Control Panel > type "UAC"

Remote Desktop:

Start Screen > type "remote" press Enter.

Browsing directories on 8:

Click on File Explorer. Its pinned to the taskbar. ONE CLICK!!

People like are simply THICK. Absolute idiots. I hope people like continue to post this **** so i can continue to point out how stupid and CLEARLY WRONG you are.

If you took 5 MINUTES to learn new stuff you'll see that this is all just as fast or sometimes quicker.

RE: Free market
By nikon133 on 12/28/2012 5:12:16 PM , Rating: 3
This. And previous post, too.

Thank you for posting, sirs, so I don't have to.

I have upgraded my work PC to 8 in early September, and my home laptop recently. I have almost completely stopped using tablet since, as my laptop (with SSD) boots in around 15 seconds (10 of which is pre-boot part) so now, for acceptable wait, I get full functionality without thinking about battery drain in sleep mode.

Right-click on lower right corner has all admin tools nicely grouped, including command prompt and command prompt (admin), task manager, device manager, control panel. Brilliant. I'd recommend everyone not aware of it to try.

Yes old school demands system shut-down to be initiated from the GUI, but at this moment of time, I am shutting (or putting to sleep) my tablet, smartphone, digital camera by pressing power button... so I'm finding it natural to do the same with my laptop. Alternatively, CTRL+ALT+DEL brings screen with power options exposed in lower right corner.

My laptop is ThinkPad T410, so no touch screen. However, I've updated all drivers to Win 8 drivers (where available) and laptop's touchpad has got some swiping functionality (swipe from right for charms etc) and it works fine.

I think majority of most vocal opponents to Win 8 haven't really tried to used it. Maybe haven't even played with it for more than 60 seconds, literally. Give it an open-minded go, guys. It is good.

RE: Free market
By Motoman on 12/28/2012 5:36:34 PM , Rating: 4

You might want to talk to Newegg - which just send me an email with this in it, selling Windows 7 described thusly:

If you still haven't experienced the defining UI experience that is Windows 7, now is the time to try it out yourself. Windows 7 is frequently touted by users as the smoothest, most user-friendly Windows operating system thus far. Experience timeless Windows standards like the all-encompassing Window's Search, Taskbar, full 64-bit support and now with enhanced responsiveness, less drag on memory, faster sleeps and resumes, as well as a much wider range of customization options to make YOUR Windows look and feel uniquely your own.

And the tagline:
Windows 7 - Definitively User-Intuitive

Not even Newegg wants to push Windows 8!

You trolls are all so lost it's not even funny. Win8 is a trainwreck on anything but a touchscreen device.s Search, Taskbar, full 64-bit support and now with enhanced responsiveness, less drag on memory, faster sleeps and resumes, as well as a much wider range of customization options to make YOUR Windows look and feel uniquely your own.

RE: Free market
By Motoman on 12/28/12, Rating: -1
RE: Free market
By nikon133 on 12/28/2012 10:06:28 PM , Rating: 1
Well, fools are always first to laugh at things they don't really comprehend.

Newegg, Best Buy, BuyMore and likes are hardly my preferred source of reliable info about anything. Firstly, they are more often than not clueless. Secondly, they will advertise what they have in stock (and trying to get rid off). I have developed strange habit to believe reviews here at Anandtech a bit more.

Appleinsider is also keen of making fun of Windows 8, but then again they were keen on trying to make fun on every other Windows previously.

All that being said... I'm not saying Windows 7 has suddenly turned sour. It is as good as it ever was, and my gaming desktop still runs Win 7 Ultimate. I don't hate it because 8 is out, I like it as much as I ever have - it's only that I like 8 a bit more.

Regarding your need to laugh at people with different opinion. That's really sad, mate. Your life must be very sad if you cannot find better things to make you laugh.

RE: Free market
By Motoman on 12/29/2012 9:29:12 AM , Rating: 5
Stupid should hurt. And the simple fact is that putting a tablet OS on a desktop/laptop is a stupid idea.

What's foolish is just believing that everything "new" is automatically better than everything "old."

Go invent a square tire and see how that works for you...mate. I'll be here...laughing at you.

RE: Free market
By wordsworm on 12/29/12, Rating: -1
RE: Free market
By nikon133 on 12/31/2012 2:51:23 AM , Rating: 2
I have no doubts you will be sitting here and laughing either way, mate.

Happy New Year from NZ, everyone.

RE: Free market
By Donkey2008 on 12/29/2012 3:43:12 AM , Rating: 5
At my location we have hundreds of T410, T420, T430, W500, W510 and W520 laptops. We installed Win8 Enterprise for 3 dozen users and the response was so negative that every single one of those users wanted Win7 back.

When informed that their systems would integrate with new Microsoft surface tablets, the most common answers were "what is Surface?" followed by "Will it integrate with the iPad?".

Sorry all of you fanbois, but Microsoft failed at both the overall design of Windows 8 and marketing Windows 8 to the masses. They can force it on OEMs to sell it, but it will do nothing but drive more customers to keep Windows 7 or even defect to Mac or Linux.

RE: Free market
By TakinYourPoints on 12/30/2012 5:51:10 AM , Rating: 2
Valve hedging their bets with porting Steam and their games to Linux was prescient, and other big companies like Blizzard are now also considering it as a hedge.

Games are literally the only thing I have Windows for right now. My work desktop runs OS X, my phone and tablet run iOS, and my Kindle runs whatever custom Linux install my Kindle runs. If Microsoft keeps screwing up and some Linux desktop catches up with Windows 7 while game developers continue pushing to make Linux work (and right now Source games run better on Linux than they do Windows 7), then what's to say that a few more people won't change over?

At best Microsoft will be keeping their Windows 7 customers, and that's money I gave them way back in 2009.

Interesting thing: right now the number of Windows 8 installs on Steam's statistics page is lower than the number of Windows Vista installs. I know its only been a few weeks, but oof.

RE: Free market
By thecolorblue on 12/28/2012 8:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
will the Microsoft $hills get lost already... nobody but you guys want the piece of crap known formerly as Metro.

RE: Free market
By AskTheChief on 12/28/2012 10:17:01 PM , Rating: 3
Ah but you are forgetting your first click in the metro to get you to the desktop. Yes, you can do some of those tasks that way if you move the mouse quickly into the corner and hope the menu pops up, verses it being there and you can click and go.

Command prompt is available, remote is not RDP it is called by typing mstsc, UAC is not available via the run line either. However; if you go to the control panel you can enter it into the search and pull it up.

But again I am frustrated by how buggy it is to access that menu, move to it too fast or too slow and it won't pop up.

OK, browsing directories, yes the folder is on the task bar at the bottom just like Window 7 (Did you forget?), but it is only good for one window, so its not so good when you have multiple paths to search through and you may need to compare directories. But you could put a short cut to my computer on the desktop and access it that way, but then I'm adding more to my desktop

OK how do you close a window, with your mouse once it is mogul?
ALT F4 works fine, but I typically close with the mouse. Oh lets do it the new improved way. Go to the top of the screen and drag it down, and if you don't drag it far enough you won't close it. Yeah, this is not better than good ole click on the X.

Oh and lets multitask. I want to have weather open and sized to a small window. Not going to happen. Some apps just can't be re-sized. This looks like MS is going for tablet mode and not considering the desktop. Where have I seen this before on the desktop. Hmmm ... Windows 1.0 maybe?

OK, now lets power down, to do this we must exit the desktop to metro, hover to bring up the charms, click settings, click power, click shut down.

So window key, hover, click, click, and then click to power down. Nice, well played.

Not a thing you said could be done faster in Windows 8 because you have to get a menu to pop up via a hover, move to the corner wrong and the menu won't pop, once you do get it to pop you can then right click verses click and go.

RE: Free market
By Piiman on 12/29/2012 11:35:18 AM , Rating: 2
I like how they act like being able to run 2 whole apps is great. Yeah one app in a 3 inch strip and the other taking up the rest of the screen AMAZING!!!

RE: Free market
By damianrobertjones on 12/28/2012 3:38:52 PM , Rating: 2
Then DAMN WELL modify the ribbon to feature the tools that YOU need.

RE: Free market
By Motoman on 12/28/2012 3:45:49 PM , Rating: 2
Can I modify it to use icons a quarter of the size they are now, which is all they need to be? Can I modify them to allow multiple such things to be open on the UI at the same time?

No? Well then...guess it's still a POS.

RE: Free market
By InsGadget on 12/29/2012 2:52:25 AM , Rating: 2
Which, if it continues, will drive people (and maybe companies) away from MS to other, more user-friendly and productive platforms and products.

Ok, go. Find this panacea of awesome software that always makes you happy.

RE: Free market
By Donkey2008 on 12/29/2012 3:54:18 AM , Rating: 3
His point is that the classic Windows GUI works fine and there was no need to radically change it to suit the needs of tablet users. Microsoft could have first concentrated on making a good tablet OS, then integrating it with Windows over time. Instead, they chose to do everything at once. We get a half-baked tablet OS attached to a half-baked desktop OS.

By the way, I do not remember Apple having to make one OS for every device they sell. They were smart enough to see that tablet and desktop users are two different types of users. Then again, Apple is the richest company on earth, so what the hell do they know about giving customers what they want.

RE: Free market
By crispbp04 on 12/29/12, Rating: -1
RE: Free market
By Motoman on 12/29/2012 2:24:16 PM , Rating: 5
You're entitled to your opinion. Just remember that you're wrong.

The tiles are a nightmare on a real computer. Infinitely less useful than a normal desktop, whatever widgets you want, and a Start menu. Unless, like yourself, you only use Facebook and Hotmail. In which case...enjoy your Fisher-Price "komputer."

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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