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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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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.

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