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Start Button, boot to desktop, tile tweaking, tutorials, and many other changes look to win back customers

It's a time of turbulence for Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the world's largest PC operating system maker.  Amidst many struggles, Microsoft's ebullient leader Steve Ballmer announced that he will be stepping down during the next year, a somewhat unintended departure that his critics have long been clamoring for.

I. Ballmer's Bane Revisited

While Windows Vista may be Mr. Ballmer's greatest disappointment, the driving force behind his departure was arguably Windows 8.

Windows 8 started off a promising concept, but fell victim to a myriad of flaws and shortcomings, which have led to the biggest percentage drop in PC sales ever.  One major issue was the scope of the redesign -- Microsoft dropped a very new and different interface on consumers with the graphically rich "Modern UI" (aka Metro) homepage and a slew of new multi-touch gestures.  Where other similarly complex OSs such as Android include a built-in tutorial that helps teach users how to use the new UI, Windows 8 had no such tutorial.  As a result many customers wrote Windows 8 off quickly, "downgrading" to Windows 7.

Other critical flaws in Windows 8 include Microsoft's inability to enforce its intended touchscreen requirement -- a critical pillar of the optimal Windows 8 consumer experience -- and Microsoft's unwillingness to listen to customers who wanted a backup traditional Start Button/Start Menu when in Desktop Mode.

Even as Mr. Ballmer prepares his exit, his company is aiming to fix some of its Windows 8 misses with Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 RTmThe Start Button hovers in Windows 8.1 allowing a fast return to the Desktop Mode.  New users are now greeted with tutorials to help them learn the foreign interface in more of a friendly fashion. [Image Source: CNET]

Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT hit Release to Manufacturing (RTM) on Wednesday.  The OS will be released consumers on Oct. 18 as a free update for all Windows 8 users.

II. Windows 8.1 Aims to Turn Around Windows 8 Flop

The RTM build should pack a near complete feature set -- include the aforementioned missing tutorials and Start Button.  While not the Start Button that some consumers were hoping for, the new Start Button hovers familiarly in the lower left-hand corner, allowing you to quickly flip into and out of the Modern UI -- essentially an unrolled Start Menu -- with a click.  Windows 8.1 also restores the ability to boot to desktop -- rather than the Modern UI Homepage.

It also integrates numerous other improvements, including unified themes; new Modern UI core apps; the ability to unpin, group move, and resize tiles at will; and an improved Windows Store.

Windows 8.1 Preview
Microsoft has taken a gamble by putting the people behind Windows 8 and its mobile twin Windows Phone 8 in key positions of leadership, during the recent executive shakeup.  This is a clear testimony to the fact that while Mr. Ballmer may be being shuffled out the door, Microsoft's Board of Directors believes the company was headed in the right direction with Windows 8 and merely failed on the delivery.

Windows 7, Microsoft's greatest sales success, was born out of the ashes of the poorly received Windows Vista.  Likewise Microsoft is looking to hone the sooty carbon of Windows 8 into a diamond with Windows 8.1.  Windows 8.1 RTM is the last major milestone in that pre-release refinement process.

Source: Microsoft

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By superstition on 8/27/2013 10:12:48 PM , Rating: 4

I really hoped that Microsoft would come to its senses and jettison that nasty start screen altogether. But, no.

RE: ugh
By superstition on 8/27/2013 10:14:56 PM , Rating: 4
Office 2013 looks bad, too.

The new UI trend at Microsoft just stinks, frankly. I miss the days of Windows 95 -- when Windows didn't horrify me with its unnecessary design flourishes that are poor attempts at minimalism.

RE: ugh
By Motoman on 8/27/2013 10:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
Office 2013 looks like WordPerfect the Windows 3.11 era.

Not kidding.

RE: ugh
By vhx on 8/28/2013 1:00:30 AM , Rating: 4
From an IT business perspective it's an abomination.

No offline installer? Sure, I love having to download 2+ gig installers for each of our work stations.

Having to register the serial number to a dummy account live account? Just the feature people said was lacking.

RE: ugh
By althaz on 8/28/2013 2:53:11 AM , Rating: 2
There is an offline installer (that's how I installed it on my machine at work). At least try to know what you are talking about.

No idea what you are talking about with regards to serial number registration, that's not something you have to do with the enterprise version (which is what I use at work).

RE: ugh
By themaster08 on 8/28/2013 3:36:01 AM , Rating: 2
Regarding the serial number registration, it is required to register your serial number with a Microsoft Account for all other versions.

Many of our clients have bought Office 2013 Home and Business as this suits their needs, however we have had to create a dummy Microsoft account for each of our clients, and assign their licenses with their Microsoft Account.

A problem arises when you have more than one license assigned to the same Microsoft account. It is impossible to distinguish between the two when you go to your account to download the software, and when you have 5 or 6 licenses assigned to the same Microsoft account, it can become a real issue.

This issue persists even if you use the offline installer. It asks you to log into your Microsoft Account, and even though you've entered your license key, it gives you the same list of indistinguishable licenses to choose from.

You can't even add a note in to distinguish between these. It doesn't show the license key or even part of it. It's a complete mess.

RE: ugh
By crimson117 on 8/28/2013 11:18:34 AM , Rating: 3
Office 2013 Home and Business as this suits their needs
It is impossible to distinguish between the two when you go to your account to download the software, and when you have 5 or 6 licenses assigned to the same Microsoft account, it can become a real issue.

Sounds like it doesn't suit their needs after all. Why are you suggesting the "Home and Business" version of office to your clients when it has so many problems? Were there even worse problems with Office 365?

RE: ugh
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/28/2013 12:00:45 PM , Rating: 2
With the exception of Outlook, I have dumped MS office in favor of Libre office. Does everything I want MSOffice to do without the forced butt-ugly 'metro' theme.

Now if Libreoffice can come out with an outlook work-alike I would dump that too.

RE: ugh
By wifiwolf on 8/28/2013 2:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
you tried thunderbird?

RE: ugh
By Silver2k7 on 8/29/2013 6:50:32 AM , Rating: 2
Thinking of trying Corel office or Word Perfect :)

RE: ugh
By damianrobertjones on 8/28/2013 8:18:17 AM , Rating: 1
??? Get the iso

RE: ugh
By Florinator on 8/28/2013 11:26:18 AM , Rating: 2
What gets me though is that everyone is crying for innovation in the tech industry. And yet, when innovation happens, people cry for their old stuff back...

RE: ugh
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/28/2013 11:57:49 AM , Rating: 3
There is innovation, then there is stupidity.

I didn't see a lot of folks crying for their Windows 2000 back when XP came out. Didn't see a lot of people crying for their Vista back when Windows 7 came out.

I do see a lot of people crying for their Windows 7 back when Windows 8 came out as evidenced by Microsoft's profits and the turfing of some of the senior people key to that release.

Ballmer can say he is 'retiring' all he wants, but the fact is that it is not his idea to retire at this time.

RE: ugh
By retrospooty on 8/28/2013 12:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
"I didn't see a lot of folks crying for their Windows 2000 back when XP came out. Didn't see a lot of people crying for their Vista back when Windows 7 came out. I do see a lot of people crying for their Windows 7 back when Windows 8 came out as evidenced by Microsoft's profits and the turfing of some of the senior people key to that release."

Exactly... MS needs to release products with the same attitude they released 7 with. It seemed like they finally got it with 7, it was universally loved by nerds, IT pro's, normal people, practically everyone.

What do they do to follow it up? Throw that whole "give the customer exactly what they want" attitude out the window.

RE: ugh
By Silver2k7 on 8/29/2013 6:52:13 AM , Rating: 2
Win2000 wasn't bad used it instead of Millennium Edition.

RE: ugh
By Totally on 8/28/2013 7:15:43 PM , Rating: 3
Only when Microsoft does it, if the Modern UI was a product of Apple or some Linux distro ppl would be singing a different tune.

RE: ugh
By superstition on 8/30/2013 2:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
Some people would be. There are ideologues for all companies and platforms.

RE: ugh
By Breakfast Susej on 9/1/2013 10:59:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yet when unity came out people hated it, and made it clear. So much so that it lead to Mint becoming the top linux distro over ubuntu. And all Mint is, is Ubuntu with a classic style UI.

People will reject goofy changes despite the platform.

RE: ugh
By wallijonn on 8/29/2013 4:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
Open IE in W8. Can you even see the scroll bar? On W7/XP it's in blue. Making it gray and making it blend in with the background is advancement?

Same thing with MSO - the back ground is two dimensional - black, white, gray, purplish. Scroll bar is at least a little better than IE, but only because it is longer.

Go to metro. Open up a .PDF file. Get a list of the .PDFs. Click one and try to delete it. It can't be done. Why? Because the second you click it the file gets opened in the Preview pane. Change the file association so that Preview doesn't open and you can now delete the file.

Yes, MSO has some nice functionality - like being able to send a notice through Lync and being notified when a Lync user is contacting you, but the MSO Ribbon still stinks, no matter what app it is used on.

Those of us who use Nero to burn CDs/DVDs/ISOs will quickly learn to scorn the built in burner. If you don't chose the right option when a blank disc is inserted you will probably end up going through gyrations in figuring out how to burn a disc.

IE, upon startup, doesn't always restore the last session. And most of the time it won't allow you the option to restoe the last session since it is grayed out. So now I have to wait 30 seconds after I close IE before I can shut down my machine, in the hope that it will open correctly the next time I launch it. In W7 and XP IE works fine. Is that advancement?

Open up Reader again. Go looking for a file. You'll be hitting the "Go up" radio button a lot. Is that advancement? How is that faster than going through the explorer, where the drives and folders are on the left and the files are on the right and I can quickly scan the right pane and scroll quickly. That may be okay if one assumes that documents are only saved in the user's default locations but useless when one spans different directories, different hard discs, different CD/DVDs, different server hard disks or user containers.

That's not advancement. It's devolution, just as having to remember DOS type commands in the Metro screen.

Say you want to install a new printer, a new scanner, a new Wireless Access Point. Do you input "Printer," into a blank area of the Metro screen? "Sca" should get you to "Windows Fax and Scan". "Wir" will not get you to "Network and Sharing Centre". Don't bother typing in "NET". So basically you have to go to the Control Panel by typing in "Cont" (fewer letters will get you more choices, so "Co" will get you started. If you have to get to the Control Panel from the desktop then it makes sense to be able to go directly to the Control Panel from the desktop. A mouse is easier with scrolling menu items.

Basically I tell everyone to install "Classic Shell" and then throw install WinAero skin. It takes me a few minutes to teach them how to configure it so that it works easiest.

Going to flat icons is not an advancement when one already is pleased with 3D icons. The Metro flat tiles aren't attractive. Apple is supposedly thinking of doing the same. Guess there's not enough graphical power to draw 3D icons, or doing so takes up too much memory.

For me, IE not restoring the last open session is a killer. Having to wait until the spinning arrow stops before I can shut down is a killer. That is not innovation. 2D icons with 2D colours in 2D apps. is not innovation. It's an eye strain. Removing functions from a menu, then having to get to the Ribbon Customization so that you get them back is not innovation, not when it will take a few clicks (once you know how (hit the FILE menu button)) to be able to get to where you want. Over time many of us have become acquainted with how the Ribbon functions. Now go and try to burn a DVD... It's not really that intuitive.

Innovation for innovation's sake is not innovation. Innovation must serve a purpose. It should make it easier to complete a task. Not the other way around.

RE: ugh
By YearOfTheDingo on 8/28/2013 5:14:28 AM , Rating: 2
Metro is like Gwyneth Paltrow: it looks great in a slim package, but hideous when made ten times bigger.

RE: ugh
By damianrobertjones on 8/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: ugh
By n0b0dykn0ws on 8/28/2013 9:22:24 AM , Rating: 5
That's funny, because one of the few things that Windows 8.1 proposes to fix is the application tiles.

With Windows 8 my applications are just smeared all over the 'Modern UI' screen.

That's not ugly?

RE: ugh
By crispbp04 on 8/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: ugh
By Reclaimer77 on 8/28/2013 2:27:41 PM , Rating: 3
Totally NOT nitpicking...

RE: ugh
By Chaser on 8/28/2013 7:18:16 PM , Rating: 2
And with that insightful brilliance the world can now embrace Windows 8. "I.T. guys" your prophet has arrived.

It's a miracle! Windows 8 just works now! Hallelujah!

RE: ugh
By retrospooty on 8/29/2013 7:26:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, thank you... I do find that W8 works much better now that I use the term modern UI and not Metro. I am getting more respect at work too. Life is renewed.

RE: ugh
By Moishe on 8/30/2013 2:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
"random" shortcuts? Since when?

My desktop is totally useless since I put exactly what I want, where I want on it.

If they wanted to move more towards tiles, they could have just made the desktop icons capable of being "live" and different sizes and shapes.

RE: ugh
By johnsmith9875 on 9/4/2013 1:19:07 PM , Rating: 2
I find live tiles to be distracting and it makes them difficult to figure out what they exactly are. I have always wondered too if people with epilepsy could be set off by a desktop thats constantly flickering with live tiles.
Its the 2013 equivalent of blinking HTML text.

RE: ugh
By Da W on 8/28/2013 9:34:08 AM , Rating: 3
You don't have to buy it. You can stick with windows 7 for the next 7 years.

Stop buying cheap google tablets and microsoft won't feel the need to change so drasticly.

RE: ugh
By ZorkZork on 8/28/2013 10:04:42 AM , Rating: 3
I think I will do something much more simple: I'll give up on Microsoft instead - I suspect a lot of people will do the same - instead of this crazy mix of stuff that is Windows 8 then people will go for the real Android stuff. At least it is made for tablets/phones and Google Play is not a walled garden like the Windows Store.

Sticking with Windows 7 is not an option - everybody knows that once a new version of Windows is out, then the old one will get minimal support.

RE: ugh
By Da W on 8/28/2013 1:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
People worked with windows XP for 13 years you clearly have no clue of what your talking about.
It shows, thinking you can do serious stuff with a google tablet.

How can you dump microsoft products to move to android (or linux) when your complain is that Windows 8 should be more like Windows 7 cause windows 7 was perfect?????????????

RE: ugh
By ZorkZork on 8/29/2013 2:37:36 AM , Rating: 2
And how much support did XP get in the end? Security fixes only.

And while I like Windows as an OS then the UI sucks so much that I prefer the various Linux incarnations. Obviously there is a learning curve but the Linux UI is generally as good as Windows 7.

And when I want a tablet I choose one with an OS made for tablets with loads of apps and with freedom for app developers to create what they like.

Windows 8 is a very nice OS - only major problem is the look and feel of new Metro crap and its attempt to force us to the Windows Store.

RE: ugh
By Silver2k7 on 8/29/2013 6:56:55 AM , Rating: 2
For photoediting software the only viable option to Windows where *most* probably not all my software would work is Mac OS.

But Windows 7 is working fine, until Win9 or something better comes along.

RE: ugh
By Moishe on 8/30/2013 2:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 will be fully supported for a long time. MS has never failed in that sense, so your comment there is plain wrong.

The trick is to sit out the current windows and wait for the company to learn their errors and make one that you want. I did that with Vista and it worked great. XP was by no mean harder to use or worse than Vista. Win 7 was a great upgrade. I'll gladly wait another few years until Windows 2015+ comes out and MS has figured out how to get it right.

If you want to give up on MS, x86, and the ecosystem, that's obviously your prerogative, but it's also your pain.

I can't believe you're comparing some cheap google tablet to Windows. The differences in performance, capability, and ecosystem are quite large.

RE: ugh
By Argon18 on 8/28/2013 10:52:54 AM , Rating: 1
When the "cheap" Android tablet is better than anything from Redmond, why should folks stop buying them? The fact is, iOS and Android have won the tablet war. Microsoft, with their clunky me-too copycat product is the loser here.

RE: ugh
By kmmatney on 8/28/2013 7:01:45 PM , Rating: 2
Visual Studio 2012 also look UGLY! The sad thing is, Visual studio 2013 isn't looking any better, although they finally did add back a VS 2010 "theme".

RE: ugh
By inighthawki on 8/29/2013 11:10:08 AM , Rating: 2
VS 2012 update 2 or 3 (forget which) also adds the blue theme, just fyi.

Attention Microsoft
By SAN-Man on 8/27/2013 9:06:38 PM , Rating: 1
You must think we're morons.

We don't LIKE or WANT Metro. We want the task bar. We want the start button with Windows 7 functionality.

What do we want out of Windows 8? The under the hood optimizations. That's about it. It should work and function like Windows 7.


I have already switched my work PC to Linux Mint earlier this year. My personal laptop and personal desktop still use Windows 7 Enterprise and I have ZERO plans to change this. If I do change it, it will be to Linux Mint 15.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By Bubbacub on 8/28/2013 6:10:32 AM , Rating: 2
mint ftw

RE: Attention Microsoft
By damianrobertjones on 8/28/2013 8:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
...Because that would be easier? Let's install a new OS, find drivers, pith around for ages, try to get everything working, find the applications we use or alternatives AND learn a new UI (Not bad though)

or just get used to the Modern UI or stay with Windows 7

RE: Attention Microsoft
By retrospooty on 8/28/2013 10:14:10 AM , Rating: 3
That does sound like alot of effort. Staying with Win7 is a great option.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By Argon18 on 8/28/13, Rating: 0
RE: Attention Microsoft
By Breakfast Susej on 8/28/2013 11:34:33 AM , Rating: 2
Let's be fair. I am a linux user as well, and while "most" of the time the kernel has drivers for everything, when it doesn't you're waiting for a new kernel for your stuff to work, or hoping there's a driver you can build a module from.

Often if you buy brand new hardware you are going to be out of luck for a while.

I built a system I had to put an old dlink nic in to get network support because there was no kernel support or drivers in existence for the onboard nic. The same system works fine now with a newer kernel. But again, to the typical windows user, building a kernel module or updating the kernel is a very alien concept to someone used to downloading a driver installer package.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By Moishe on 8/30/2013 2:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
Riiiight. Linux "just works" for simple, common things that most people do. Want to be a power user or do something a little different? Nope. It doesn't just work.

People, even techies, want to just turn a computer on and use it.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By SAN-Man on 8/28/2013 4:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, Mint isn't like that. It's a seamless install and desktop experience with very few driver issues, about what you would find with Windows.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By Reclaimer77 on 8/28/2013 7:54:35 AM , Rating: 5
8.1 is essentially a big FU from Microsoft.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By retrospooty on 8/28/2013 8:30:03 AM , Rating: 5
LOL... So true.

MS - "You want the start button back? Fine, we'll give you the start button back and make it so it brings you right back to the irritating inefficient interface that makes you want the start button back."

Nice... Way to totally miss the point.

New leadership... You had better get it for Windows 9.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By OoklaTheMok on 8/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: Attention Microsoft
By retrospooty on 8/28/2013 11:46:57 AM , Rating: 4
Dont assume I dont know. I have the dev of 8.1 preview on a spare laptop and have used 8 since it's dev preview... Using Windows installing building repairing PC's since the early Win 3.1 days. I do it professionally and personally on the side and have more experience in my little finger than most people will ever have.

I actually use 8 and am typing from it right now. I use classic shell to get my decent 7 like functionality back and it works great... The issue isn't the minority nerds like us that visit tech sites like this, its the "millions and millions of dumbfounded dipshits" that cant get it to work they way they need it to that are the issue.

MS really screwed the pooch here. Surely you can see that.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By Breakfast Susej on 8/28/2013 11:57:48 AM , Rating: 2
You're so down to earth and humble too.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By retrospooty on 8/28/2013 12:10:36 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, I was responding to this ignorant comment "If you had any clue regarding what you are talking about" so I wanted to point out exactly how ignorant it was. ;)

RE: Attention Microsoft
By damianrobertjones on 8/28/13, Rating: -1
RE: Attention Microsoft
By ZorkZork on 8/28/2013 10:07:18 AM , Rating: 2
You cannot ignore the new UI. It keeps popping up here and there even after you thought you had disabled it everywhere.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By inighthawki on 8/28/2013 11:18:27 AM , Rating: 2
As much as I normally agree with the common standing on metro, this is a lie. Ive been using windows 8 for over a year now and I haven't seen metro in almost that entire time.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By crimson117 on 8/28/2013 11:21:43 AM , Rating: 2
You never tried to open a picture?

RE: Attention Microsoft
By inighthawki on 8/28/2013 11:29:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, and then you click the popup in the top right of the screen and select the desktop photo viewer and you never see it again.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By ZorkZork on 8/28/2013 12:15:43 PM , Rating: 2
Every time you need to connect to a new WiFi network Metro shows its ugly face. And more ...

RE: Attention Microsoft
By inighthawki on 8/28/2013 12:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
I assumed when you said metro you were referring to the fullscreen apps. If that's the case I suppose you have an argument, but tbh those flyout menus are one of the few things I really like about Win8's interface.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By Moishe on 8/30/2013 2:23:48 PM , Rating: 2
The charms is one of the really good ideas. It's really the full-screen apps and their steps backward that is so annoying to most.

RE: Attention Microsoft
By kmmatney on 8/28/2013 7:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
I'm the same - however it took a lot of work to get rid of all the Metro/ModernUI crap, with several registry tweaks. I still haven't completely figured out how to get rid of the charms bar, but it is a lot less intrusive after a few registry edits. What I would have really liked was an option to completely remove everything ModernUI related. I'm really not liking the continued lack of choice Microsoft is giving us, and it's getting worse every release. Forced full screen Apps with no close button for the desktop? Really?

RE: Attention Microsoft
By Piiman on 9/14/2013 2:25:13 PM , Rating: 2
" Ive been using windows 8 for over a year now and I haven't seen metro in almost that entire time. "


RE: Attention Microsoft
By johnsmith9875 on 9/4/2013 1:21:05 PM , Rating: 2
Server 2012 disables the tiles UI in the registry so while it is possible, its not easy.

Every version of Windows has been complained about
By jingle10 on 8/27/2013 11:28:54 PM , Rating: 2
'Windows 8 started off a promising concept, but fell victim to a myriad of flaws and shortcomings, which have led to the biggest percentage drop in PC sales ever'

that's the dumbest statement I have read in ages. The decrease in PC sales has little to do with Win8 and everything to do with a consumer shift to Tablets. The fact the PC market is already saturated doesn't help.

We can whinge and complain about the new interface but people want Tablets. I can't even imagine how painful it would be to be out on the go with a tablet struggling with trying to use a desktop centric OS.

By tnicks on 8/27/2013 11:55:58 PM , Rating: 3
Stop trying to make sense around here. You're absolutely right though, the amount of traffic that comes into most sites these days is heavily mobile oriented. Even as a developer, I was surprised by the numbers we've seen in our analytics. Windows had to change, people will adopt more and more mobile MS production and the desktop will become second nature to them. I really think we're looking at growing pains of an OS so engrained in culture that any computing paradigm shift would inevitably lead to resistance when it had to adapt. Jobs was praised for bold moves, which is a mindset MS must embrace, else it will fade into irrelevancy.

By Nagorak on 8/28/2013 4:48:37 AM , Rating: 2
It's simply not true that Windows had to change. It works perfectly fine for computers. The truth is they didn't have to go all in one way or the other. They could have had different UIs focused on different mediums.

There's a reason Apple didn't just put OSX on an iPhone or iPad. The needs of mobile devices, namely the fact that carrying a mouse around with you would be incredibly inconvenient, are simply different from a desktop machine.

MS screwed up by trying to force everything into the same UI. It would be perfectly fine having the touch UI as an option on a desktop or laptop, but it should only be an option. I have a hard time believing touch screens will ever end up making sense on a desktop machine. The mouse is simply a superior control mechanism most of the time. Touchscreen is great when you can't have a normal mouse, when you can it's pointless.

By johnsmith9875 on 9/4/2013 1:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
I remember when Microsoft was trying to put a desktop interface on a PDA. It was sure fun trying to drag little icons with the stylus, or select from tiny little menus.

They really don't understand products, or simply don't care.

By Nagorak on 8/28/2013 4:43:37 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 certainly has not helped anything though. The problem is exactly that it's a tablet/phone UI. Win8 is great to use on a mobile device, and has some value on a laptop. The problem is a touch centric-UI sucks for a desktop. Reaching over to touch your monitor from 3 feet away is ridiculous when it offers no advantage compared to using a mouse, which we've been using for going on 3 decades.

By ZorkZork on 8/28/2013 10:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
Even if you do all of that the Metro UI still sucks on a desktop or a large laptop. On a small 11" ultrabook it looks okay and on a tablet it looks nice (yes, I actually wrote that). Problem is, I DON'T WANT A TABLET OS on my desktop PC or laptop.

By Monkey's Uncle on 8/28/2013 11:15:27 AM , Rating: 1
Y'know, I didn't see a lot of complaints about Windows 7 or Windows XP.

However the complaints level of Windows 8 overshadows the complaints I have seen for Windows Vista or even Windows ME. There's a lot of hate there.

But I have to look at your statements here and put in the following:

Most people I know that have bought a PC or laptop with Win8 are either asking the manufacturer to install windows 7, are asking ME to install windows 7 for them or asking me how to fix Win 8 to get rid of that ugly (their words) metro start screen. They do not want to see it and want their Aero desktop theme. I help them as I can.

You are pointing to tablets selling more than PCs/Laptops, but I really don't see Windows-based tablets flying off the shelves. All I see really selling are Apple and Android tablets selling.

Why not this uber OS Windows 8, Hmm? Last I heard Microsoft Surface tablets haven't been selling all that well - not nearly to the level of iPads or Any Android tablet.

I don't see the decline in PC sales linked to crappy OEM windows 8 installations. When Vista was out there, laptop makers simply let you substitute Windows XP as an option. Today most Laptop/PC makers will provide you with an option to install Win 7 instead. I note also that I can still go out and buy OEM copies of Windows 7 today.

By retrospooty on 8/28/2013 12:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
" Last I heard Microsoft Surface tablets haven't been selling all that well "

Not selling well? MS lost 900 million dollars on Surface.

[Dr Evil] 9.... HUNDRED... MILLION!

Ya, great idea.

By jingle10 on 8/29/2013 8:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
I still think a lot of the hate is unjustified based on the number of people I have had tell me it is rubbish because someone else said it was. They have never tried it! Then you get those that try it for a second and don't like it because its not familiar and that's it.

In my experience, I too hated it initially but I stuck with it and with familiarity I wouldn't go back.

We have rolled out to a substantial user base and the result has been the same. No one liked it, but after a few months learning the ins and outs its now the opposite. The couple that had said the iPad was quicker and easier for a specific process discovered that in actual fact what they were trying to do was a single step in Windows 8 and 3 steps on the iPad.

They all now have a single device which is docked as a computer as needed and as a tablet the rest of the time. And two devices and two data plans for every user is a thing of the past.

Where is Microsoft's Edward Snowden?
By bryanbrun on 8/28/2013 1:25:28 AM , Rating: 4

This post is a public plea for someone within Microsoft to come forward with documentation on the rationale behind the recent apparent loss of all reason and common sense by the company.

Please, please come forward now!

The actions of this company make no sense to us. We are bewildered by the illogically behavior of Microsoft's direction.

Everyone knows that to ruin the useability of Windows by the utter donkey skit that is the Metro Interface makes no sense. There must be some greater reason behind these mysterious decisions that Microsoft has recently under taken.

So give us an internal memo or two! There must have been voices of intelligence within Microsoft who argued against the self-destructive path that it has recently undertaken.

Let us know why Microsoft is committing public suicide.

RE: Where is Microsoft's Edward Snowden?
By damianrobertjones on 8/28/13, Rating: 0
By retrospooty on 8/28/2013 9:05:51 AM , Rating: 2
"The actions of this company make no sense to us. We are bewildered by the illogically behavior of Microsoft's direction."

He can speak for me and millions like me. WTF is MS thinking?

By kmmatney on 8/28/2013 7:21:22 PM , Rating: 2
He speaks for me...and about 10 other people I work with.

By stimp on 8/28/2013 9:35:56 AM , Rating: 3
It's all about money. They wanted some of the mobile phone and tablet money. In order to do that, they needed developers to develop apps for their mobile phone and tablet app store. With the failure of webOS, developers would have not even bothered writing apps for a struggling new mobile OS.
Enter the modern UI programmers during the "closed door meetings.
Modern UI team, "If you use our modern UI on desktops app developers will be forced to create apps for our smartphones and tablets."
Steve Balmer said "brilliant, but shouldn't we let users have backwards compatibility like is in every version of windows to date."
"No modern UI programmers said, if we give them choices, no one will want to use this hideous, gawdy start screen."
Balmer, "works for me, meeting over. I need to check on my golden parachute."

Let Windows be Windows
By YearOfTheDingo on 8/28/2013 4:51:49 AM , Rating: 3
I love my Windows phone and have given thought to buying a Surface tablet (waiting for price to fall). But I just can't stand using Windows 8. It's the wrong interface for the situation. A multi-window GUI is just so much superior when you have a mouse and keyboard. Unless Microsoft fully restores it I'm sticking with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future.

Why can't people at Microsoft understand that they can have multiple great products? Why does every innovation have to get tossed into Windows? If I were the new CEO at Microsoft, the first thing I would do is come up with a new name for the software platform, so that Windows only refers to the product itself--an OS for personal computer. That clears up thinking within the company and the messaging to the public. The mobile phone and ARM tablet OS should get its own brand: Surface. The OS for Intel tablet would be Windows + Surface.

RE: Let Windows be Windows
By inighthawki on 8/28/2013 11:24:03 AM , Rating: 3
Windows 8 still has a desktop, and thus 'multi-window gui'. Not sure what exactly you are getting at...

RE: Let Windows be Windows
By YearOfTheDingo on 8/29/2013 12:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
But one is liable to be suddenly yanked out of that environment. The OS is Windows. Every app ought to sit in a window that I can move around. I don't like apps take hijack my whole screen.

RE: Let Windows be Windows
By Moishe on 8/30/2013 2:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
I had a Surface RT for about 9 months... It's really a good device. I know that's hard to believe, but the Modern UI interface in Windows 8 is great for tablets. It needs some tweaks, but it works well and is intuitive.

But for the desktop? BAD IDEA.

I think that's where MS failed. mobile OS and desktop OS can and should have different input and output devices, and that's why they should be separate at least in the presentation layer.

By SeeManRun on 8/27/2013 7:44:25 PM , Rating: 1
If they do the $39 again they will have a hit. If they want to sell for $120 or whatever the regular Windows 8 price is, I can see disappointment on the horizon.

RE: Price
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/27/2013 7:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
It'll be a free upgrade to those that bought the $39 Windows 8 upgrades. Of you didn't get Windows 8, I am assuming you will have to go either buy Win 8 first then get the free upgrade or pay full price for 8.1.

I doubt they will provide a $39 Win7->8.1 upgrade, but I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time Microsoft made a liar out of me.

RE: Price
By SeeManRun on 8/28/2013 12:32:49 AM , Rating: 2
Well, that is going to be a problem then. The reason it was $39 was because it sucked, and they dropped the price to drive adoption. Since they didn't get any adoption, perhaps they think this OS will stand on its own merits. The only issue with that is that people know they could have had it for $39 but it is now $120, and they will resist buying it because of the knowledge it was once 33% the price you are paying now, and must not be worth $120.

Not sure what the psychological term is called, but I am sure there is one.

RE: Price
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/29/2013 8:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
It's the "I'm not stupid" syndrome and it is pretty common when dealing with Microsoft.

At $120+ I can guarantee that full Windows 8.1 licenses will not be selling very well - just like $120 Windows 8 licenses aren't selling very well today.

Another Stupid Mick Quote
By Arsynic on 8/28/2013 8:54:39 AM , Rating: 2
While Windows Vista may be Mr. Ballmer's greatest disappointment, the driving force behind his departure was arguably Windows 8.

You have ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF that this is the case. It's all baseless speculation.

RE: Another Stupid Mick Quote
By stimp on 8/28/2013 9:44:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, his greatest disappointment is the stock price is going down.

By Monkey's Uncle on 8/28/2013 11:25:40 AM , Rating: 2
Gee, I wonder why that happened?

Graphically rich?
By bryanbrun on 8/28/2013 12:46:33 AM , Rating: 3
"Microsoft dropped a very new and different interface on consumers with the graphically rich "Modern UI" (aka Metro) homepage".

I have heard the god awful abomination that is Metro described as a lot of different things, but "graphically rich" was not one of them.

My desktop isn't running an 1ghz Arm chip, so why has the lowest common denomination of simple block primary colors been forced upon me?

RE: Graphically rich?
By damianrobertjones on 8/28/2013 8:23:31 AM , Rating: 2
No-one is forcing it on you. You DO have options.

By whodi4prez on 8/27/2013 7:45:38 PM , Rating: 3
I don't understand their Marketing and Q/A personnel. Generally when a company wants to fix a mistake, they listen to the users' complaints.

I currently have Windows 8 installed on a desktop and a laptop and do not use the Metro Interface. I would not use the Metro Interface even if I had a touch screen equipped machine and have no desire to upgrade to touch for this type of machine.

Metro apps take forever to load.
It does not make sense to not have a taskbar.
I want to easily see what is happening on my computer and what is open. I want the ability to resize windows or easily use my Windows Key + arrow to split the window on my screen.

I'm sure Metro UI is great for tablets (besides there are still very few applications).

Make a user experience for Tablets and one for PC's and allow the Metro UI apps to continue to work on PC's.

That includes a Taskbar and Startmenu. Hell, allow me to run the Metro UI in a Window from the Desktop.

Stardock, the windows 8 saviors ?
By max_payne on 8/27/2013 11:06:32 PM , Rating: 3
Actually there is at least one company which is smiling all the way to the bank, it's Stardock. They are making a killing with their apps to restore the windows 7 looks/functions to windows 8. They even have all those apps ready for 8.1. I don't understand why MS hasn't bought them already. They can learn from them how windows 8 should have been from the start.

Btw whodi4prez, you can already run Modern UI apps in windows with there "Modern Mix" application.

Start Menu's Time to Die - Win 8 Misses
By jardows on 8/28/2013 12:39:57 PM , Rating: 1
I laugh at all the people demanding their start button. In 1995, people were screaming about how idiotic this "start button" thing was. It is horribly inefficient, and each release of Windows has made it even more cumbersome and difficult to use. Open Source variants (KDE and GNOME) are even worse. The Start button has just become what people are used to. It is time for it to die and a better UI take its place.

Windows 8 just wasn't the right replacement for the start button. I'll give 8.1 a try, maybe it will work better. Hopefully someone will actually innovate something that works good!

By johnsmith9875 on 9/4/2013 1:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
The Start button was a great innovation. Before that Windows users had to dig through windows to find the proper icon to click on, and made shortcuts and use 3rd party products to add toolbars and fast launchers.

Now Microsoft is taking it away.

Microsoft, are you not paying attention to Apple? Apple hasn't significanly changed the OS functionality since 1984. Finder is still in the same place, the top bar still works the same way in 2013 as it did in 1984. Microsoft's operating systems have had dramatically different UI's, forcing re-learning every few years by users to do the exact same thing.

By Nagorak on 8/28/2013 4:26:53 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft made a huge mistake by trying to force Metro on everyone. The simple fact is Metro makes sense on a tablet or phone, it's only borderline useful on a laptop, and makes absolutely no sense on a desktop machine. A normal person sits at least 2 or 3 feet from their monitor on a desktop, and reaching over to touch the screen from that distance is totally inconvenient, especially when you can do the same thing with the mouse with no difficulty.

Where touch screens make sense is when having a mouse is inconvenient, thus a tablet or phone, and sometimes when dealing with a subpar substitute like a trackpad on a laptop.

The Start Menu should have been an option that you could select, and if it was all of the complaints would have gone away! I'd even go so far as to say that on a desktop machine the start menu should be the default UI selection as well, but at least having it as an option would be a start.

By mgilbert on 8/28/2013 8:44:15 AM , Rating: 2
The core problem with Windows 8 and Office 2013 is that Microsoft is trying to make them work on phones, tablets, and desktops. Any time you try to cover that many bases, you wind up missing all of them. The "Modern UI" is stupid for a desktop, and the only reason Aero is gone, and 2013 has been flattened is so that both look OK and work on phones and tablets. I don't have, nor do I want, a phone or tablet, and I don't want my programs dumbed down do they'll work on phones and tablets. There needs to be two versions of Windows 8, and two versions of Office 2013 - one for phones and tablets, and one for real computers.

By ZorkZork on 8/28/2013 9:57:43 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with Windows 8 is not just the lack of a start button. The problems are many:

- Lack of an efficient start-menu, the whole full screen stuff takes up way too much space. The fact that it hides what I'm doing sucks. And it requires way too much mouse movement.

- The "Metro" look-and-feel may look nice on a phone, but on my laptop or desktop is looks like something a 6 year old made. Every time one of the Metro dialogs pops up, I hate the fact that the amount of information is so limited. E.g. I hate the new wireless connection pop-up menu/list/dialog/whatever.

- I dislike the Windows store where Microsoft attempts to channel software through their store and take a cut from it. While this may work for Apple (even though I don't like it), it breaks with everything a PC is.

- I truly hate that you are never more than a few keyclicks away from an "in-app" purchase in the store. I did pay for Windows - I don't want ads for software popping up during my normal use.

Metro has NEVER been a good idea
By sluze on 8/28/2013 9:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
It is insane to me that the people behind the metro interface are failing upwards so fast. THE PHONES DON'T SELL!!! Shouldn't that tell you something?!? I read it and hear it all the time, 'Metro is great for phones and tablets' oh really, so why aren't these phones and tablets flying off the shelves? Windows RT is all but dead - something MS can't come to grips with given the cash they piled into it - the Windows Phone is a complete disaster (MS makes more off crazy licensing fees on android phones then it does on ACTUALLY selling their own).

Lets also remember that the 'start screen' is actually a rethinking of the desktop and the 'all applications' is the new 'start menu' - not that it would help them sell Win8 any better; the people spoke when Windows Phone 7 didn't sell, and again when Windows Phone 8 didn't sell and again when Windows RT didn't sell and again when Windows 8 didn't sell...what do they all have in common Metro.

Not complaining about the UI on Windows Phones/Tablets does not a successful UI make - people can't quite put their finger on what they don't like but they know they don't like it; that is a UI issue not a performance issue.

Pull your head out of your ass Microsoft!

By R-Type on 8/28/2013 11:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
Personally I didn't like Windows 3. It was just too different from the previous version. Now I am looking forward to all of the advancements coming in Windows 3.1. Microsoft has done it right. Windows 3.1 will be the operating system that finally everyone uses.

By p05esto on 8/28/2013 3:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
I tried Win8 again the other day and hate it as much as the first time. It's so impossibly hard to use. For power users you have to literally use a freaking keyword search to find important things and tools. That's just INSANE! Search is for idiots who don't know any better, search sucks. I like organization and order, a clear path to a particular setting or application. Everything in Win8 is hidden away and covered over by nasty lipstick, it's dumbed down. Vista/Win7 are bad enough and I have to spend an hour making the OS more power user friendly. Win8 is just a mess, a horrible UI... and don't even get me started on why there's no one-click access to ALL my apps. I need a damn cascading menu of organized apps. I've got dozens of apps I use all the time, no way in hell I'm going to click back to some full screen of choices to open FTP or VLC or VStudio or whatthehellever I want. Shoot me please!!!! Balmer sucks, bring in a die-hard and bring computing back.

it is a good project
By mehcin on 9/2/2013 2:32:56 PM , Rating: 2
my friend's step-sister makes $86/hour on the internet. She has been fired from work for 9 months but last month her income was $18675 just working on the internet for a few hours. you can check here

By johnsmith9875 on 9/4/2013 1:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
But it least it has a friend on the way out, Nokia. Say Nokia a few times now, because in 6 months you will never be saying that word again, ever.

Microsoft is gambling the farm on Windows 8 and the interface
Windows 8
Server 2012
Sharepoint 2013
Office 2013
Visual Studio 2012

It all has the ugly blue and white minimalist interface, what a disaster.

How long before Microsoft destroys SQL Server? So far SQL 2012 is untouched but its in the crosshairs.

Time to move on beyond 95 guys
By tnicks on 8/27/13, Rating: -1
By max_payne on 8/27/2013 11:31:05 PM , Rating: 2
Steve ? Steve Ballmer, is that you under that new nickname ?

RE: Time to move on beyond 95 guys
By ihateu3 on 8/28/2013 12:08:01 AM , Rating: 2
I guess the flop of Windows 8 must have been only targeted towards computer gurus and not included any of these "average users" you speak of that so desire this...

RE: Time to move on beyond 95 guys
By The0ne on 8/28/2013 1:29:29 AM , Rating: 2
Don't underestimate the average consumers' wants and needs. You see that first Metro screenshot? People will go out of their way to NOT use the GIANT square labeled "Desktop" or Press the Windows Key even if their life depended on it. They want the SMALL start button so live with it.

As for using the search function as you do well, that pushing the limits to DOS days and God forbid pushing consumers to the Linux world. Yikes, we wouldn't want that would we. Consumers want to hunt through the regular start menu. Consumers want to litter the desktop full of icons, mostly useless sht. The option of having virtual desktops, using the quickbar and just plain house cleaning is too much to ask for.

You sir are out of your league here. As for me, I prefer the days of DOS and 3.11 Screw all these innovations and improvements.

By pandemonium on 8/28/2013 1:43:32 AM , Rating: 1
The problem is within the established communities of PC users. We like advances and optimizations for what's already in use. Change the landscape in any major way and we're going to cry bloody murder.

I won't agree to Windows 8 being the next "bold move" that needs to happen. But I will agree to the fact a change will eventually happen, and the idea behind the layout for tiling is sound; with the merging tablet, smartphones, and PC markets. Microsoft simply pushed the format too quickly and got a lot of backlash.

I prefer my PC to remain as it is, and won't upgrade anytime soon. But you guys need to stop bashing change and those that are accepting of it just because you don't like it due to your small little quibbles. You're a poor label for the geek community and I'm ashamed to be called one with all that hate.

RE: Time to move on beyond 95 guys
By ie5x on 8/28/2013 6:48:12 AM , Rating: 1
So much so, that I put it on my HTPC, which it's perfect for

The only part I can agree with. I put it up on my Zbox Nano for fast boot. But I despise the Metro UI and configured the system to boot directly into XBMC goodness. Just couldn't justify the fugly tiles on anything other than a tablet.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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