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Update promises to "really [start] to improve things for mouse and keyboard users", will also add back windows

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) the world's largest operation system maker for traditional PCs is feeling the pressure after slow sales of Windows 8 and its late-2013 update, Windows 8.1, missed and Microsoft faced loss of marketshare to mobile devices (e.g. tablets) and market newcomers (like Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Linux-based Chrome OS).

I. Confirmed: Windows 8.1 Update 1 Will Bring Mouse and Keyboard Repairs

Today at the 2014 Mobile World Convention (2014 MWC) Microsoft teased at an unnamed upcoming update which is likely due out sometime in April.  Microsofts announcement basically confirm that the leaked build we saw early in February was real.

Like Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Update 1 (the rumored name of the upcoming release) is aimed at fixing some of Windows 8's flaws.

Where as Windows 8.1 addressed the disconnect between the desktop and Modern UI (Metro), whilst tossing power users some minor concessions (e.g. a Start Button (sort of) and boot-to-desktop), the new release is primarily target a specific group -- users who are interacting with their computer via a mouse or non-touchscreen pointing device.

mouse and keyboard
Microsoft's Windows 8 and 8.1 felt like a step backwards for casual mouse and keyboard PC users. [Image Source: GigCoin]

This group compises the majority of Microsoft's users, but inexplicably Microsoft decided to produce an operating system (with Windows 8) that performed very poorly for this majority, in order to try to significantly improve the hardware support for its minority touchscreen userbase.

With Windows 8.1 Update 1, Microsoft will add hideable Windows Frames that will allow users to quickly arrange or close Modern UI (Metro) apps.  In other words, Microsoft is adding windows back to Windows' new UI.

There's also a search button and power button that will hover above the Modern UI Start Menu (Metro), making it much faster to get to these vital functions..

Windows 8.1 update
The Windows 8.1 Metro homescreen now includes search and shutdown buttons, similar to the old Start Menu, which it essentially is an unwrapped version of. [Image Source: The Verge]

The updates are also expected to include an improved settings menu in the Start Menu UI, the ability to right click to interact with Modern UI (Metro) apps, and the ability to mouse over taskbar items in Desktop Mode and get previews.

II. Microsoft on Keyboard Support: We Dun Goofed

Joe Belfiore, a Microsoft manager whose responsibilities recently expanded from Windows Phone to alll Windows devices -- including tablets and PCs -- talked around the issue in his blog writing:

With Windows 8, there’s no doubt that we made a big bet and took a first step toward that future. We bet on touch and on mobility in a big way, and included a fresh take on what a touch-based interface could be for customers. We believe deeply in this direction and the future will continue to build on Windows 8.

We are committed to making Windows the best place for our partners to build great devices. Today that means different screen sizes, input methods, connectivity needs, and usage scenarios. Above all, we want that experience to feel natural for our customers. We want it to be familiar and tailored to the device. We want your stuff to be there no matter where you are, ready for whatever you need, and we want it to run beautifully on hardware made by partners around the world.

With Windows 8, there's no doubt that we made a big bet and took a first step toward that future.  We bet on touch and on mobility in a big way, and included a fresh take on what a touch-based interface could be for customers. We believe deeply in this direction and the future will continue to build on Windows 8.

We shipped Windows 8.1 in under a year in response to customer and partner feedback, and we’ll continue to refine and improve Windows to deliver a productive and delightful experience for all users on all devices. And, you’ll see us continue on a more rapid release cadence where we deliver ongoing value to all your Windows devices.


Over the next few months, we’ll continue to deliver innovation and progression with an update to Windows 8.1, coming this spring1. We’re especially excited about several things I want to preview with you here.

We are making improvements to the user interface that will naturally bridge touch and desktop, especially for our mouse and keyboard users. We have a number of targeted UI improvements that keep our highly satisfying touch experience intact, but that make the UI more familiar and more convenient for users with mouse/keyboard1. Don’t worry, we still LOVE and BELIEVE IN touch… but you’ll like how much more smooth and convenient these changes make mouse and keyboard use!


1 (Emphasis his.)
 

Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Products

At his keynote at MWC he was more direct, effectively admitting his company erred in snubbing the mouse+keyboard using majority.  He comments::

Some of those touch affordances weren’t really tuned as well as we could do for those mouse and keyboard users.  We found people weren’t aware of where they should look in the UI. Those are the things we’ve really started to improve for this update coming this spring.

Full details of the update will be announced at Microsoft's April 2-4 2014 BUILD conference.

Microsoft also announced some upcoming Windows OEM changes, including lower licensing prices and relaxed hardware spec requirements.  Likely realizing it might lose low-end users with the termination of Windows XP sales in April, Microsoft has announced it will now only require 1 GB of DRAM and 16 GB of hard drive or NAND storage to install Windows 8.1 on 64-bit chips. 
DRAM
Microsoft is slimming Windows 8.1 to take up less space and use less DRAM to squeeze it onto devices with only 1 GB of DRAM and 16 GB of storage. [Image Source: Skatter]

Currently 20 GB of storage space and 2 GB of DRAM are required for a 64-bit Windows 8.1 install, while the the spec for Windows 8.1 32-bit edition are 16 GB and 1 GB.  In order to support devices with only 16 GB of total storage, Microsoft likely would need to slimi the size of its install to at most 10-12 GB.

To do this Microsoft will likely need to seriously prune the recovery part of the installation.  Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center currently occupies around 20 GB, meaning it wouldn't even fit on a a device with 16 GB of storage.  Some have suggested Microsoft needs to do quite the opposite -- raise its spec.

Microsoft also announced details of its upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 release, including nine new Windows Phonemakers.

Source: MWC 2014



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Really? Nice..
By majorpain on 2/23/2014 6:16:48 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe i will finally look into Win 8 with other eyes. Can't say i am unhappy with Win 7, but Win 8 sure has its pros compared to 7. Hope this comes out soon.




RE: Really? Nice..
By jomat on 2/23/14, Rating: 0
RE: Really? Nice..
By DiscoWade on 2/23/2014 7:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
My problem with Office 2013 is the hard-on-the-eyes two-color scheme and THE ALL CAPITAL MENUS ON THE RIBBON. Returning Aero is an absolute must to Windows and Office.


RE: Really? Nice..
By Nyanyanya on 2/24/2014 4:17:09 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed. I'm not moving past w7 without Aero back.


RE: Really? Nice..
By jjlj on 2/24/2014 9:49:25 AM , Rating: 2
At the very least I would like to have the ability to control the color scheme and fonts in windows. It's absolutely painful to read text on a 1080p HDTV. I have a htpc and can hardly use it to browse the internet or do anything except watch tv and videos. With a thin black font and white or light background for most things I find text blurry and hard to read. Adjusting the DPI helps some but I can't go past 150% otherwise windows get ridiculously big. 150% wouldn't be so bad if I could control the color scheme.

You can sort of control the color scheme using one of the high contrast themes but then the ribbon gets all screwed up. I could care less about transparent title bars... I just want a readable font and easy on the eyes color scheme.


RE: Really? Nice..
By spamreader1 on 2/24/2014 10:49:08 AM , Rating: 3
Wouldn't it be nice to bring Aero back in say Windows 8 R2?


RE: Really? Nice..
By mmc4587 on 2/26/2014 2:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft is so proud that it only took 1 year to get from Win8 to Win8.1 ...when they just went back to Win8rc.

And as for Win8.2, if the Metro & Desktop environments are still sandboxed from each other, I will not use it. ...too much content ends up lost in metro space.
.
..
...
I sometimes wonder why the company I work for uses such stupid programming practices. Like pushing more and more layers upon layers and layers of abstractions (using a cluster *!* of different programming languages and intermediate files that never-the-less all have the same *!* extension) so that we can accommodate 25 years of overlapping/conflicting database dictionaries (half of which are not even used any-more and the other half of which were supposed 'quick temporary' fixes that became legacy) instead of moving towards a standardized format.
...and then I look at the Windows OS and think "ahh, ok... I guess BassAckwards is the standard format."


RE: Really? Nice..
By Samus on 2/24/2014 10:30:24 PM , Rating: 2
Ok guys...

If you want Aero back in Windows 8/8.1:

http://www.iobit.com/iobitstartmenu8.php

If you want to change the ribbon\theme color to be darker in Office 2013:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/of...

You guys act like Microsoft doesn't give you options. Their whole business is built on giving consumer power tools and vast options. If people don't want options, they can get an i-device with 1 button.


RE: Really? Nice..
By arunkj78 on 2/28/2014 2:56:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You guys act like Microsoft doesn't give you options.


Well, the options did not come from Microsoft. If there was a setting in the control panel to turn off the metro interface, I'd agree with you, but there is no such option.

But that's another matter. The truth is that just fked up interface. I mean what were they thinking? The thing I hate most is the context switch that happens when you click the start button. Whatever you were seeing or reading before just vanishes from the screen and you are presented with a screen that simply doesn't offer you anything. Finding an app is difficult, nothing is categorized by default, search doesn't really help... the list goes on. I am not kidding when I say search doesn't really help. If I put in the CD that came with my canon DSLR and install all the apps in it, there is no quick way in the metro interface to find all the newly installed apps. Searching for say "canon" doesn't help because it doesn't show me apps like 'EOS Utility' or 'Image Browser' as they don't have "canon" in their names. They all are installed under "canon" folder but it doesn't show up in search. Power button is difficult to find. I say they fked up.


RE: Really? Nice..
By Nexing on 3/2/2014 6:02:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
By arunkj78 I mean what were they thinking?

No wonder.
This is not some unexpected mistake or a pure miscalculation from their part. This is part of an ongoing strategy to carry the herds into their increasingly closed ecosystem.
As Apple does, they don't really want you to control where and how your programs are installed. They dont even want you to own your software. Instead, they aim to rent it to you.
They are so blinded by Office 365 relative success, that the new administration wants to control eveything from the cloud while you own and do your monthly payments. They already want to charge us for our software media players and are setting the stage for the future apps that connect us with the intelligent house, car, office, etc.
This is the real reason Microsoft is "affording" all the lost W8 revenue so far. They are betting on a walled future for us, that has been painted as futuristic (touchscreens, Xbox, kinect, integrated, Cloud, etc) but it actually is a regression in terms of less flexibility, loss of diversity, and less hybrid customized systems.
///In sum, less choice and more dependence in Microsoft than it would had been the case if we kept the trend they were up to W7.


RE: Really? Nice..
By Flunk on 2/23/2014 9:57:24 PM , Rating: 4
I like Windows 8's hugely improved boot times. I'm seeing 12 seconds on my desktop and even less on my laptop which has a uEFI fastboot thing that's so fast it practically doesn't seem to take any time to boot.

Otherwise it's slightly more efficient on the desktop because it's not running the old Windows GDI interface as a backup anymore but nothing big to write home about.

Overall Windows 8 isn't much different than Windows 7 for me but I never actually used the Start Menu anyway, I used to just use the search box for everything and Windows 8.1 still has a search box.


RE: Really? Nice..
By SAN-Man on 2/24/2014 6:40:28 AM , Rating: 1
Blech.

My Windows 7 box with an SSD boots in about the same amount of time (I timed it once at 11 seconds with a cheap ass SSD). The longest time is the POST and this is not Microsoft's fault.

Improvement not found.


RE: Really? Nice..
By BPB on 2/24/2014 9:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
I have a friend who had a hard time changing the BIOS in his Windows 8.1 setup. The system gets into Windows so fast he had a hard time getting into the BIOS. He said it takes less than 6 seconds for his system to be fully booted. That's fast, very fast. He's got a high end i7 and an expensive ASUS motherboard (forget which one) with fast memory and a very nice Intel SSD.


RE: Really? Nice..
By Piiman on 3/8/2014 3:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
Big whoop! So he save 10 seconds on boot up once a day,what in hell will he do with all that extra time? Take a coffee break? If this is the best feature they have in win 8 I submit it is a failure big time.


RE: Really? Nice..
By Chaser on 2/26/2014 12:54:34 AM , Rating: 2
I have a Samsung 840 PRO and I see a noticeable improvement over Windows 7's boot times.

To each their own.


RE: Really? Nice..
By kleinma on 2/25/2014 4:21:11 PM , Rating: 2
unified file copy dialog with pause option is huge for me in Windows 8, as I move lots of data around. Niche feature maybe, but I hate not having it when I am on a Win7 box.


RE: Really? Nice..
By ResStellarum on 2/26/2014 7:11:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I like Windows 8's hugely improved boot times. I'm seeing 12 seconds on my desktop and even less on my laptop which has a uEFI fastboot thing that's so fast it practically doesn't seem to take any time to boot.

I get a 4 second boot from GRUB to a fully working Arch Linux XFCE desktop.

Often when you see the Windows desktop it still isn't usable - it loads before it's fully ready in order to give the impression that it's faster than it is.


RE: Really? Nice..
By Piiman on 3/8/2014 3:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
BINGO we have a winner!


We bet on touch and on mobility in a big way...
By MScrip on 2/23/2014 5:45:28 PM , Rating: 5
quote:

With Windows 8, there’s no doubt that we made a big bet and took a first step toward that future. We bet on touch and on mobility in a big way, and included a fresh take on what a touch-based interface could be for customers. We believe deeply in this direction and the future will continue to build on Windows 8.

Looking towards the FUTURE is always a nice thing.

However... there are tons of PCs out in the world TODAY that don't have touchscreens. And that probably won't ever have touchscreens.

I'm talking about enterprise and business. They're not looking for the next big thing. They have stuff to do using the same ol' applications they've always used. They're not looking for a touch and mobile optimized experience. They've got work to do.

It's weird because Microsoft makes most of their money from software in enterprise and business. Those corporate customers rarely upgrade their computers anyway. Did Microsoft get some faulty information that millions of enterprise machines now had touchscreens? Or that they have ditched all their corporate desktop PCs and switched to tablets?

Consumers are more than happy to use a tablet. But enterprise customers are not.

I know what Microsoft was trying to do... make one version of Windows for both types of customer. But it appears that Microsoft's bet on touch and mobility wasn't received as well as they would have hoped.




By datdamonfoo on 2/24/2014 11:42:57 AM , Rating: 2
First, you don't need a touchscreen to use Windows 8.
And you may be mistaken about businesses and touchscreens. The business I work for (a top 50 company in the Fortune 500 list) is now rolling out touchscreen Windows 8 laptops to its employees to replace our Windows XP hardware. And there are a ton of iPads running around in this company; I would love to see them all replaced by actual work tablets (i.e. Surface Pros, or even just Surfaces). I think the more people actually use Windows 8 instead of just listening to clearly anti-MS, pro-Apple tech sites and bloggers, the more Windows 8 will gain traction in both the consumer and business world.


By Bateluer on 2/25/2014 7:22:58 AM , Rating: 1
Windows 8 without a touch screen is pretty much broken out of the box, requiring install of something like Classic Shell to restore a start menu and disable the charms bar, to actually use.

Even with a touch screen, its still better to install the 3rd part utilities to give it a usable UI.

There'll be a few businesses that move to W8, certainly, but most only recently upgraded from XP systems. They aren't going to upgrade again to an OS thats less functional that what they have, and certainly not one that actively tries to piss the user off. Even Microsoft seems to be finally getting it, and has begun pushing Windows 9.

Heh, oddly enough, the things they're saying about Windows 9 were the same things they said about Windows 8, it'll revitalize PC sales! Unlike 8 . . . which just accelerated the decline in sales. With 20% of notebooks sold last quarter running ChromeOS and the popularity of MacBooks, now is not the time for Microsoft to deliver broken Windows releases. It hurts their marketshare, and hurts the sales OEMs that depend on those sales, forcing them to turn to ChromeOS devices because those are selling.


By chripuck on 2/25/2014 10:22:31 AM , Rating: 2
You clearly don't know much about enterprise IT management. Active Directory with Group Policy would allow you to instantly change all relevant settings on every Windows 8 device on your domain, including installing add ins like Classic Shell (which you don't need to be useful, I'm using 8.1 and I LOVE the fullscreen start menu, which is what it is.)

I'm not saying it's perfect, I'm not saying Windows 7 doesn't do some things better, and I'm not saying Microsoft should leave it alone, but stop acting like it's unusable as that's clearly overly dramatic hyperbole. It works fine, period.


By chmilz on 2/25/2014 8:18:10 PM , Rating: 3
I never expected them to nail it first try, but this nobody can say Win8 isn't starting to take shape. Even in its somewhat hack-job state, it's still far ahead of anything anyone else is doing, at least publicly.


Sweet.
By retrospooty on 2/23/2014 5:05:24 PM , Rating: 1
At least MS can admit mistakes and correct them. You have to give them a bit of credit for that.

Good to have "Windows" back!




RE: Sweet.
By jomat on 2/23/2014 6:41:30 PM , Rating: 1
It is good to have windows back; but all that waiting at bootup? At times over a minute and even more. In comparison, windows 8.1 is much better. I don't have to wait at all.


RE: Sweet.
By retrospooty on 2/23/14, Rating: 0
RE: Sweet.
By w8gaming on 2/24/2014 3:12:02 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing a SSD would not solve. Windows 7 boots up in a few seconds while run from a SSD.


RE: Sweet.
By BRB29 on 2/24/2014 7:01:40 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry but I had a Samsung 830 on Win7 but still couldn't get it to boot in seconds. A cold boot still takes over 10 seconds.

Win8 boots faster but the interface sucks until recently.

Of course, no one will notice an 8 sec boot from an 12 sec boot. The silly Metro UI pissed me off way more than the improved boot time can ever compensate.


RE: Sweet.
By Piiman on 3/8/2014 3:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
"Sorry but I had a Samsung 830 on Win7 but still couldn't get it to boot in seconds. A cold boot still takes over 10 seconds."

OH MY GOD! 10 seconds!! What is the world coming to?
BTW the first 5 seconds is probably BIOS posting. Not much MS can do there.


RE: Sweet.
By coburn_c on 2/25/2014 12:50:26 AM , Rating: 2
Using Windows 7 on an SSD is annoying. Windows 8 actually recognizes and configures itself for an SSD.


RE: Sweet.
By Piiman on 3/8/2014 3:56:58 PM , Rating: 2
So does Win 7.


Um...
By Flunk on 2/23/2014 9:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
When you say
quote:
The Windows 8.1 Metro homescreen
I think you mean Start Screen, that's what that's called. It's in no way a surprise that the Start Screen functions similarly to the Start Menu. That has always been the intent.




RE: Um...
By MScrip on 2/23/2014 10:27:43 PM , Rating: 5
quote:

I think you mean Start Screen, that's what that's called. It's in no way a surprise that the Start Screen functions similarly to the Start Menu. That has always been the intent.

Yes... the Metro Start Screen functions similarly to the old Start Menu.

But it doesn't end there.

The Start Screen also represents a separate operating environment with its own set of apps and app store.

If you're on the desktop and you open a JPG image... it will open in some Metro photo viewer... taking over the entire screen. That's confusing to some people.

I know people who get a new Windows 8 laptop... and they are lost because they don't know why certain things are happening. "What is this? How do I get out of this?" are common questions I hear. It's just not what they're used to.

Why are there two versions of Internet Explorer? One on Metro and one on the desktop? It's little things like that which are confusing.

Most people barely understand computers anyway... but Windows has worked pretty much the same for a long time.

But then they buy a computer with Windows 8... and they're greeted by a new UI with its own set of programs in addition to the familiar desktop. Some things open in a Metro app... while other things open in a traditional desktop program.

Most people don't have a problem with the Start Screen as a method of opening their apps. Like you said... it does the same thing as the old Start Menu.

Where people do have a problem is now this new Start Screen has its own set of apps that they're not used to.

Like the article said... Microsoft is betting on touch... but I don't think people are ready for that yet.

There are a billion PCs out in the world... but how many of them have touch screens?

Sure... you can use the Metro Start Screens and its apps without touch. But it's clear that Microsoft thought that touch would be the next big thing.

It's not yet... and who knows if it will ever be.


RE: Um...
By datdamonfoo on 2/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: Um...
By Piiman on 3/8/2014 4:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
"While this does happen, in the few minutes it takes to learn how to do something, they then never ask again "How do I do this?" All it takes is being shown once how to do something and then they're on their merry way."

You don't actually work with people like this do you? Believe me those 70year old grandma and grandpa don't pick things up that fast and in many cases nether do their younger offspring.

Show once and they remember is a dream.


Really?
By Jacerie on 2/24/2014 12:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's also a search button ... that will hover above the Modern UI making it much faster to get to these vital functions.


As opposed to just typing what you want to search for? It's quite sad that people need a button for something that is automatic.




RE: Really?
By p05esto on 2/26/2014 10:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, I'm not going to TYPE words when I can just click an icon or menu. Are you kidding me? Let's make users type in what they want to launch.... yea, good plan Sherlock.


RE: Really?
By martin5000 on 3/3/2014 3:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
You've misunderstood, and given your twatty attitude I can't be bothered to explain why.


NSA backdoors...
By croc on 2/23/2014 9:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
I just want to be able to ask MS engineer staff two questions: One, does any MS product have a built in back door to anyone, but especially the NSA? Two, how are you going to be able to guarantee your users - cloud-based or not - that their data will be safe from snooping by the NSA or any other group?

Perhaps DT might ask those questions for me, seeing as how they are actually there.




RE: NSA backdoors...
By MaulBall789 on 2/24/2014 9:36:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
One, does any MS product have a built in back door to anyone, but especially the NSA?

Yes. All of them.

quote:
Two, how are you going to be able to guarantee your users - cloud-based or not - that their data will be safe from snooping by the NSA or any other group?

We can't. For those that require iron clad guarantees we will lie through our teeth, like we always have. This answer is the same for any company that makes anything that connects to a network, not just MS.

If I've learned anything over the last 40 years it's that if you plug something into a wall outlet of any kind with which you are sent a monthly bill to an address that can in any way be traced to you, your private life is compromised and every secret that you have ever shared with someone else over a network is accessible, with variable degrees of difficulty. To assume otherwise is to be willfully ignorant. Welcome to the reality in which we live.


By BifurcatedBoat on 2/24/2014 6:16:29 PM , Rating: 2
What we want is a no-compromises desktop computer operating system with optimal mouse & keyboard interaction.

If you are unable or unwilling to deliver, it will cause some short-term pain, but we'll adapt and move on, and you'll be replaced as the primary desktop computer OS vendor. You can bet on that.




By chripuck on 2/25/2014 10:25:43 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, by who, Apple? Maybe in the private sector, if they drop their hardware prices, in Corporate America? Not a chance.


laughable
By Argon18 on 2/26/2014 5:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
How embarrassing, Microsoft doing so much backpedaling to un-fcuk their flagship product. With ChromeOS showing record sales, AAA game titles being ported to Linux like Metro Last Light, and with mainstream consoles like the PS4 running FreeBSD (not to mention Ouya which runs Linux), Microsoft's days are numbered. Game Developers are finally waking up to the open source OS's as AAA title targets. The Office/Exchange monopoly is all Microsoft has left. Adios greedy Redmond gorilla!




RE: laughable
By Piiman on 3/8/2014 4:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
If i had a nickle for every time I've heard this.

AAA titles will ALWAYS use DX FIRST and having a year old title being ported is hardly a sign of MS's demise


Mt Dad moved on to Apple
By jbeech on 3/1/2014 12:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
At 82, my Dad's not exactly on the cutting edge. Yet he was so frustrated with his new HP laptop (Windows 8.1), he asked if I could install Windows XP. Explaining XP drivers were unlikely to work but I could probably get Windows 7 working, he grudgingly agreed.

However, a couple hours later he called saying not to bother. Why? Two things. First, he was angry because Microsoft had disrespected his investment in learning their system (starting from back in 1993). Second, knowing Windows 7 was still somewhat different from Windows XP, e.g. he still had to relearn a lot of things again, he'd decided to make a clean break. He was calling from the Apple store (he'd gotten an iPhone a couple years ago) where he was waiting for them to bring him his new MacBook Pro. He just wanted to share the news.

Meanwhile, I read articles like this (where Microsoft employees relate how they're still committed to the touch interface) and realize my Dad's right. Microsoft hasn't learned anything. As my Dad explained, he steers his old Harley with the same handlebars he'd learned to use on an Indian motorcycle shortly after WWII. His Cirrus (an airplane) uses a joystick similar to F-86 fighters during the war over Korea. And his Cadillac uses a steering wheel like the Model T with which he'd leaned to drive. Each features an unchanging interface best suited for what each does - yet they are all transportation.

He continued, "Only Microsoft has the hubris to unify the world with one interface, then throw away everything I've learned and tell me to start over." He reminded me of using Lotus 1,2,3 and Wordstar before Windows (each with their own idea of an interface, e.g. no shared similarities). Anyway, while he remains perplexed over how Microsoft could drop the ball, he wasn't going to stick around and after 20 years, he had moved on.

Anyway, when I mentioned reading Microsoft was thinking of lowering the price of Windows 8.1, he laughingly said, "That turkey won't fly even if it's free." Me? I'm thinking my old man may be onto something.




RE: Mt Dad moved on to Apple
By Piiman on 3/8/2014 4:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
"He was calling from the Apple store (he'd gotten an iPhone a couple years ago) where he was waiting for them to bring him his new MacBook Pro. He just wanted to share the news.
"

But doesn't he still have to learn something new? Not only that but how he has to learn EVERYTHING again. Seems he took a step backwards to me.


Let's just wait and see
By bug77 on 2/23/2014 5:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
As long as Windows keeps feeling like two OSes lumped together, I'll remain skeptical.
There's also the matter of Metro looking like a UI from the 80s, because it's restricted to whatever a mobile GPU can do, even when running on dedicated $200+ video cards. Hell, even on-chip GPUs for desktop PCs chew OpenGL/Direct3D for breakfast these days.




I mostly like Windows 8
By GatoRat on 2/23/2014 7:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
I was quite skeptical of the Start screen, but once I started using Windows 8 at work, I actually grew to like it once I had it set up how I liked. Pressing the Windows key and selecting a tile is faster than going through a start menu.

I do miss Aero--the metro window frames are truly ugly--and most metro apps are hideous, though I have alternatives for most, so it doesn't much matter.




keep it up
By laststop311 on 2/24/2014 2:38:28 AM , Rating: 2
previous versions should of been called beta. I feel like microsoft rushed windows 8 for the desktop pc to market because their phones desperately needed windows 8 now and I don't think MS wanted to keep mobile and desktop on different generations so they forced on us this half baked dozens of missing features ofc all the touch and mobile features were done as the main reason for windows 8 was phone os. They are just now starting to wrap up the desktop portion. You're welcome for all the secret beta testing u put us through. This is why ur sales profit on an overall downturn




Don't repair it...
By Zak on 2/24/2014 11:41:01 AM , Rating: 2
Don't repair it... just put Windows 7 GUI back on it and add an option to toggle between that and the Modern GUI and it'll solve all the problems.




By wallijonn on 2/25/2014 5:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We are making improvements to the user interface that will naturally bridge touch and desktop, especially for our mouse and keyboard users. We have a number of targeted UI improvements that keep our highly satisfying touch experience intact, but that make the UI more familiar and more convenient for users with mouse/keyboard1. Don’t worry, we still LOVE and BELIEVE IN touch… but you’ll like how much more smooth and convenient these changes make mouse and keyboard use!


Desktop users typically do not want to replace their perfectly good working non-touch monitors with touch sensitive ones (figure about $200 to $600 apiece), nor do they want to take their fingers off the keyboard and mouse to touch the touch-sensitive monitor, nor to have to clean the monitor screen every day.

For the keyboard and mouse crowd, the vast majority of users, their experience can likely be augmented by a Dragon Speak type app, using a microphone and a Google Glass type device that can interface with the GUI icons. The user can simply say "Open Control Panel," for instance, instead of going to the Metro GUI screen and start typing "C-o-n-t". Baring that back lit, software fully configurable keyboard layout on a touch screen keyboard/mouse would be nice. The only problem then is that one may then have to avert their gaze to look at the screen keyboard since there is no tactile response. Some sort of transparent GUI on-screen overlay would need to be used. But there is no way that someone who rests their arms on the desk and their fingers on a keyboard will want to move their arms up and forward to use a touch screen monitor. Ergo, desktop users have little need for touch screen monitors.




News for 2015
By overlandpark4me on 2/27/2014 2:53:56 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft releases windows 8 SP7 : Codenamed windows 7




One word - Consistency.
By PCMerlin on 2/27/2014 12:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking from a technical support perspective, anyone that says "all you have to do is show a user once how to do something new and you're set" has obviously never worked in Tech Support.

The one thing that I have found consistently among every OS upgrade that I've been involved with (and I've done them all, including from DOS to DOS + Windows 3.1) is that there is a fairly large group of people who just don't like change...period.

It doesn't matter that they had to go through 10 steps to do something before and that now it only takes 2. To them, that's 2 new steps that they need to learn as opposed to doing it the way that they are familiar with already. And don't tell me how much easier it will be once they learn because the reality of it all comes down to the fact that the computer they have at home still does it the "old" way, so yes, they are having to learn two different ways to do the exact same thing.

Now there are going to be three different versions of Windows 8 floating around, so that when we do eventually get around to upgrading machines to 8.x, we will run into the issue where those that already have Win 8 on their home machines will be asking "Why is this different?"

And Microsoft wonders why there are so many people still using Windows XP... at least when Microsoft released XP they were smart enough to put in the option to make it "look" like Win95/98.




By Lerianis on 3/1/2014 5:48:58 PM , Rating: 2
And I am quite happy with the design of the OS. Hell, I was happy with the design with Windows 8.0 and did not really see any 'changes' that I wanted to implement (I still have my computer booting to the full-screen Start Menu).

I honestly think that various people are 'unhappy' because they do not like change. Like it or not, ALL computers are going to have touchscreens very soon, even laptops.




By MadAd on 3/23/2014 12:09:19 PM , Rating: 2
It hasnt always been so but Linux is one of a selection of OS posing a serious threat to Microsoft in the near future and in my mind Microsoft should be focussing on packaging the OS as a code core and working on tool to provide us with as much of a customisable GUI as they can humanly provide.

If you want a touch interface, load it, if you want a desktop, load it. If you want a sidebar, add it, dont like the MS way, edit it. If you are non technical, download a third party WGUI - give people the tools and they will make many, this is the future if Microsoft want to stay in the business.

For years now developers made choices for us with their flavour of UI, its been an iterative nightmare of one forced way over another, even in Win7 there are small GUI niggles which confounds logic as to why we cant just add or manage them ourselves.

Someone needs to get hold of these Microsoft managers and bonk their heads together to make them realise how fast Linux will take their pot of gold away once gaming engines fully develop on the platform, something which is finally happening, and if they dont present us with the altar of customisable workflow in the next generation or two then their desktop reign will be at an end.




By lol123 on 2/23/2014 8:00:48 PM , Rating: 1
One word for you about this OS: Unfixable. Microsoft are routing from their own product - Windows 8 is internally referred to as the "new Vista", they are rushing to get Windows 9 out - now rumored for a late 2014 release and not early 2015 as previously reported - and new Windows boss Terry Myerson apparently axed all of the old Sinofsky lieutenants in the Windows division after he and Ballmer got thrown out of the company over the disaster they have caused with Windows 8. Consumers should stay far away from this company for a while to come as they get their act together - their lame attempts to patch their existing, broken garbage product notwithstanding.




Mouse AND keyboard users?
By The Von Matrices on 2/23/14, Rating: -1
RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 5:16:42 PM , Rating: 3
While you and I had no problem finding these options, it is obvious that people did. Making it easier is never bad. The sheer number of people thinking that the Modern UI is not usable with a mouse shows that some people always need something to click on.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/14, Rating: 0
RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By atechfan on 2/23/2014 6:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say without a mouse, I said with a mouse, since people keep saying it isn't usable with mouse and keyboard. But, assuming some wierd usage scenario where you had neither touch nor mouse, hotkeys work.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By chizow on 2/23/2014 5:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think mouse and keyboard is a perfectly fine reference given power users in the past could use a combination of the mouse *AND* keyboard to get around and do what they wanted, quickly. With Windows 8/.1 most of the functionality of the mouse was frustratingly taken away, or hidden behind the requirement to have to use a number of keyboard shortcuts first just to get to the mouse-enabled menus you wanted to get to.

In any case, the return of the title menu and the ability to drag, minimize, and close Metro Apps or use them only from the desktop/taskbar will be a huge relief. The single biggest gripe I have had with the Metro apps like the various site readers or browsers (which are gorgeous btw) is that they simply do not close uniformly. MS says to swipe down from the top with mouse or finger to close stuff, but it is inconsistent at best and downright broken at worst.

The next step will be getting rid of the full-screen requirement of Metro UI. It is like running Windows from behind a curtain, make it half screen like the old start menu and it's fine. People can use it or not as they like, but just having to pull away that curtain = frustration.

Overall though I do like 8.1, this new update should make it a much more viable desktop OS until Windows 9 fully corrects the mistakes of 8/8.1 for desktop users.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By amanojaku on 2/23/2014 5:30:07 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Can we stop using the term that this fixes the interface for "mouse and keyboard users?
It is rare, though possible, to use the mouse without the keyboard, and vice versa. However, the majority of people use them together most of the time, hence the term "mouse and keyboard users". The mouse is used to navigate and obtain output, while the keyboard is used to provide input. The alternative is the touch display, which combines all three.
quote:
Is a fourth option really necessary?
More options are fine, as long as they don't add a performance penalty and/or reduce user interface efficiency. For example:
quote:
I thought the whole complaint of the "power users" was that the interface was inconsistent with the same options being replicated in multiple places.
No, the complaint is that the new interface is inefficient. Few people want to start Windows and see a Start Screen. We want a clean desktop devoid of icons, and a Task Bar/Dock/whatever it's called with user-selected programs. The Start Screen should be an app like any other, launched when the user choose to do so. It brings back bad memories of desktops cluttered with junk. And if that wasn't enough, the Start Screen has less features than the Start Menu. You only get one level of nesting, it doesn't support drag-and-drop, you can't reorganize anything...


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By Nutzo on 2/23/2014 6:27:22 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
No, the complaint is that the new interface is inefficient. Few people want to start Windows and see a Start Screen. We want a clean desktop devoid of icons, and a Task Bar/Dock/whatever it's called with user-selected programs. The Start Screen should be an app like any other, launched when the user choose to do so. It brings back bad memories of desktops cluttered with junk. And if that wasn't enough, the Start Screen has less features than the Start Menu. You only get one level of nesting, it doesn't support drag-and-drop, you can't reorganize anything...


Exactly.
Microsoft still doesn't get it. I have way too many apps for a simple flat start menu. I HATE the metro start screen so much that I've ended up cluttering the desktop on my windows 2012 servers with all of the apps I use on a regular basis.

Looks like another miss, and another reason to stick with Windows 7


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By Fritzr on 2/25/2014 6:04:19 AM , Rating: 2
Create a folder.
Name it for your Start category.
Assign a tile to it.
You now have a nested menu.

Maybe the pretty tiles are missing from your submenu (try large thumbnails)
But you have the capability of nesting menus.

Hopefully the next iteration will make this a native option with pretty tiles in the nested menus.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By bodar on 2/27/2014 3:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
This is the problem I have with Win 8.X. We shouldn't have to make all these custom tweaks for a UI that isn't hot garbage. I like Android for that fact that I *can* tweak the daylights out of it, but it also looks and works pretty well in stock form. That's the fundamental difference vs Metro and the MS devs should be ashamed of it.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By sgestwicki on 2/28/2014 2:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
yWhy don't you use the search feature instead? While you are in the start screen you can just start typing the name of the program you want and it pops right up.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By TheJian on 2/23/2014 6:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
Some of us actually USE our desktops. A clean one is useless space to me ;) Granted most of the time I get to my apps/docs from the start menu or task bar, but I still go to the desktop for some stuff (via the little arrows in taskbar - desktop toolbar, not actually going to DESKTOP in most cases for stuff I don't have pinned etc). If you have an empty desktop what is it for in your opinion?

My mother had NOTHING on most of here end tables, stands, coffee table etc. I never get much of an answer when I ask "why do you buy these then if not for setting something on them?" LOL. I'm not for messy houses, but I buy a table, desk etc to USE it, not to look at it. IF it isn't functional in some way, I have no use for it in my house ;) My (anal retentive) mother thinks all of these things are just to LOOK at. Opinions vary I guess ;) I hope they get win9 right, as win8/8.1 already has a bad rap and won't evade that rap for most people as most won't ever know about fixes (it's all win8 to them). Are they going to do a massive ad campaign saying "windows 8.2 now fixing all the win8 crap you hated! More like Win7 today!"? Without massive TV commercials you won't change many people's opinion and even then I think it's a lost cause.

Get Win9 out ASAP and remove any TOUCH crap from at least one version that is thoroughly aimed at Mouse/Keyboard again. Vista/ME proves once opinions are formed it's tough to shake them off. Make sure win9 has LESS CLICKS than Win8 to get to stuff, or get stuff done. If you can't match or beat win7 clicks to get to ANYTHING, scrap it and make a new one. This literally should be the test for all new MSFT OS's. If you add even a SINGLE click to get something done, you've failed IMHO. Even win7 added clicks over XP. Perhaps I should say if you can't beat XP you've failed. Quit hiding crap or make a check box for PRO users who want to see everything.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By amanojaku on 2/23/2014 7:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
You're free to use your desktop however you want. The majority of people, however, prefer to have an uncluttered desktop. This includes people whose desktops are covered in application and document icons. They express the desire to clean up the mess, but lack the time, patience, or skill to do so.

A desktop is meant to be used by running applications with open windows. Whether it's one full-screen window at a time, or multiple windows sharing the desktop space (tiled, overlapped, etc...) Using your table analogy, a clean desktop is the same as taking everything off the table top and putting them into drawers. When you need something (want to run a program), you open the drawer (navigate through a directory structure) and take it out (launch the program). Application and folder icons are not coffee table books, vases, and other tabletop accessories. No one wants to look at them, even when they're displaying dynamic content.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By The Von Matrices on 2/23/2014 7:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with icons on the desktop is not clutter but rather that they are incompatible with multitasking.

In order to access icons on the desktop, you have to minimize everything. Fortunately, you can do that with Windows+D. But once you open the new program you want with a desktop shortcut, then Windows doesn't let you restore your previous open windows with one action. You have to click each icon on the taskbar to show it again. The Start screen/menu is a workaround to this issue since it doesn't minimize programs.

To use your table metaphor, you have to clear everything from the table to get to something you want at the bottom of the pile then put everything back on the table afterwards. It wastes time. The start menu is like having a filing cabinet next to you from which you can select the next thing you want without clearing and resetting the table.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By Murloc on 2/24/2014 7:38:34 AM , Rating: 1
This.

I use the desktop for files and the start menu for programs (since I can just type the name in, while for documents I need to browse folders since I don't remember all files), but when I have many windows open I just click the explorer icon in the quick launch bar and browse from there.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By Argon18 on 2/26/2014 5:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
"The problem with icons on the desktop is not clutter but rather that they are incompatible with multitasking.

In order to access icons on the desktop, you have to minimize everything. "


Funny, Unix/Linux solved this problem years (decades?) ago with virtual desktops. Since at least the mid 1990's, I've had 4 or more virtual desktop screens on my one physical monitor. Nowadays, they're even rendered as the sides of a 3D cube, very cool stuff. When will Microsoft get with the times? Never I suspect.


RE: Mouse AND keyboard users?
By sgestwicki on 2/28/2014 2:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
Just use the "WinKey + m" shortcut instead. You can then hit "WinKey + Shift + m" to bring it back.


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