Print 37 comment(s) - last by cfaalm.. on Apr 19 at 5:06 PM

Microsoft gets back to its desktop roots

The upcoming Windows 8.1 (code-named "Windows Blue") is rumored to be preparing to win back critics of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTMetro user interface by reportedly allowing them to skip Metro and boot directly to desktop.

The new option was first spotted as a registry entry dubbed "CanSuppressStartScreen" in a leaked build.  That build lacked a UI element to enable the user to trivially disable Metro, but reportedly such an option will be added to the control panel.

Reportedly hot corner functionality for access to Charms or the (Metro) Start Screen will remain active, even if you set it to boot to desktop, so those on the fence can always still poke around in Metro when they get the urge.  By default, Windows 8.1 will reportedly boot to the Metro Start Screen unless a user tells it otherwise.

And ZDNet's chief Windows expert Mary Jo Foley says her sources indicate a Start Button may be making comeback to the desktop, contradicting previous rumors that it would stay dead:

Perhaps Microsoft is caving to the criticism?

Windows 7 Start Button
The start button may return in Windows 8.1.
Windows 8 has been a bit of letdown for Microsoft after the record-shattering success of Windows 7.  Fans blasted Microsoft from over-innovating saying it should have stuck with the same "old-fashioned" desktop model that had long drew it derision and mocking from Apple, Inc. (AAPL) users.

So far Microsoft's license shipments to OEMs have been decent, but Windows 8 has struggled in end-sales.  Worse, some customers are opting for a downgrade, much like they did with Windows Vista.  Microsoft has also struggled on the profit front with the new OS.

The struggles have triggered a leadership change, with the departure of Windows President Steven Sinofsky.  They also prompted Microsoft to switch to a shorter cycle of OS releases, similar to Apple.  The first result of that shift will be seen in Windows 8.1's release this fall.

Source: My Digital Life Forum

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Mixed Feelings
By crispbp04 on 4/16/2013 2:31:05 PM , Rating: -1
I'm okay with them bringing back a button to launch the start screen for people who are too dumb to click in the corner or use the start button on the keyboard like most adept users, but if they bring back the start menu it will be a sad day for progression. I've yet to hear a valid argument of using a cramped menu over a full screen for launching applications. The point of people using the start menu is to launch an application. At this point what value is added by seeing anything else other than stuff related to launching? The only valid complaint is that there is one extra click to differentiate between free text searches for files, settings, and applications (which will also be fixed in 8.1), but the value added far exceeds this

RE: Mixed Feelings
By ProtonBadger on 4/16/2013 3:21:10 PM , Rating: 5
Some people prefer a different mode of operation than you, that doesn't make them dumb. It is possible to respect people with different opinions or preferences you know, especially with someting this subjective. it just requires a certain level of maturity to realize this.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By Da W on 4/17/2013 8:48:46 AM , Rating: 2
It is possible to respect people with different opinions or preferences you know

NOT on the internet.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By kmmatney on 4/16/2013 3:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
The valid argument is that I don't want things I rarely use taking up screen space, but I like to know where I can easily find them. I can also launch Visual Studio and directly load up the project I want to work on. Another example would be accessing help files for my development software and controls. I don't use them very often, but I like to be able to easily find them.

Even if they do bring it back, I like the third party Start menu's better, so I hope you can still disable it and use your own.

I also like having my 5 top most-used programs in the Start menu short list. I'd like the list to go to 10 programs, but I can't see a way to do that yet with classics shell.

Going to the corners of the screen sucks on a 24" LCD, and in my case the hovering of the mouse is flaky, and it takes several tries. I just gave up on it after seeing how flaky the whole process was on my computer.

Although I always use the Start button + E to bring up windows explorer, I never use the Start button to bring up the start menu, since I usually need to use the mouse to click on the program I want, and usually I drill down one more menu item to actually start up the program to load up the project or file I want to work on. There is no way to do that without a start menu.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By crispbp04 on 4/16/13, Rating: -1
RE: Mixed Feelings
By inighthawki on 4/16/2013 5:58:07 PM , Rating: 3
Your paragraph leads me to believe that you don't understand the concept of pinning to the taskbar yet. This is why I feel Win7->Win8 is easier for people than WinXP->Win8

For me, the first thing I do after installing Win7/8 is set the taskbar to small icons, never combine. I have a hard time using the taskbar effectively while doing a lot of tasks in grouped icon mode. This means a lot of extra horizontal space is taken up by text, which means pinning a ton of stuff to the taskbar is not always a reasonable option.

I pin all my most used applications such as windows media player, firefox, visual studio, etc. Pinning much more than that just won't work very well.

That said, though, I personally like the Win8 start screen. I find it an effective use of screen realestate to pin all the apps I would otherwise commonly use but don't want taking up space, such as an email client, Skype, steam, etc. But I also don't feel like the start menu was inherently worse at doing so, just different. It was one dimensional and you couldn't categorize anything, but that doesn't mean it didn't work for everyone. Some people only ever use like 5 programs anyway, so a small list of 5 items could be plenty, and a full-screen grid layout of tiles might be unnecessary.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By 91TTZ on 4/16/2013 4:45:22 PM , Rating: 4
I'm okay with them bringing back a button to launch the start screen for people who are too dumb to click in the corner or use the start button on the keyboard like most adept users, but if they bring back the start menu it will be a sad day for progression.

How is additional choice a bad thing? People like myself want the Start Button. It's not that I couldn't learn how to use the new method; in fact I learned two things: 1) I learned the new method and I learned that the new method isn't as efficient as the old method when using a mouse/keyboard.

I think that you're confusing "progression" with "change". Sure, they changed it, but most consumers don't find it to be progress.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By crispbp04 on 4/16/13, Rating: 0
RE: Mixed Feelings
By croc on 4/17/2013 12:25:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'd imagine that a lot of people would be rather upset if GM or Ford decided to move the shift lever up to the roof. It is just as easy to use, right? So what's the problem?

Change for change's sake is not often a good option. You are correct in that MS developed the start button / menu over a 18 year (or so) period. You might say that it evolved. And the users evolved with it. Then MS decided it was all well and good to 'disrupt' their desktop users, drag them kicking and screaming into the tablet world of the future. It seems that they somehow forgot to actually ask their user base if they minded. Now, after the fact, they have found out that indeed their user base DOES mind. They REALLY mind. Just like the user base minded when it came to how Vista utilized memory.

The real user base, the base that MS cannot afford to piss off, is the business users. I see a looooonnngg support timeline ahead for Win 7.

Vista wasn't so bad, was it? Enjoy.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By Motoman on 4/16/2013 6:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
You've heard lots of valid arguments. You just choose to ignore them.

We've heard your arguments, and demonstrated that they are lacking. You choose to ignore that.

You can continue to ignore whatever you want. The irrefutable fact of the matter is that Win8 is absolutely sinking the PC market - that's how bad it is.

If MS admits their mistake and puts a real desktop and Start button back, it will of course be a major first...MS, like all such companies, hates to admit they're wrong. But they'll instantly make Win8 a valid choice as an operating system for the vast majority of users out there who are either incapable or disinterested in finding and installing a 3rd party app like Start8 to fix the gaping head wound that MS shipped Win8 with.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By stevend on 4/17/2013 3:14:11 AM , Rating: 2
What arguments, so far the only one I've heard so far that deserves any listening to is that you don't get a choice.

I remember now why I didn't revert to XP after switching to Vista. The option to hit the start button, type a few letters and hit enter to start your program was the only thing that I really missed when trying to switch back to XP. After getting used to typing to get what I want in a few seconds going back to searching through the tree till I foud what I was looking for felt like trying to plow a concrete field.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By Da W on 4/17/2013 8:58:14 AM , Rating: 2
They made a mistake, it's getting corrected. What will trolls complain abut now?

The goal was to force people to use Windows Runtime (metro interface and apps) so it would be worthwhile for developper to storm the market with metro apps. In a way it worked, there are a lot of cool apps after only 6 months.

They should try to merge the start screen and the desktop though. I would see keeing the taskbar in metro (or make it like a dock), keeping the desktop background in metro and have multiple start screen pages to hide the apps you don't use enough on another page.That's what i used the start menu for: keeping things clean. Also run metro apps in windows desktop. You can do most of that with 3rd party apps, so it's doable.

RE: Mixed Feelings
By Motoman on 4/17/2013 10:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
They made a mistake, it's getting corrected. What will trolls complain abut now?

Trolls will always find something to complain about. For myself, I'll probably still chuckle about the sheer stupidity MS just demonstrated, but after a while will forget about it. The vast majority of people will too...Windows/PC sales will come back to normal and in all likelihood the Metrosexual UI will become the next Microsoft Bob. Just an oddball footnote in the history of software that ultimately flamed out and went away.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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