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Some flaws exist, but new menu overall should please most everyday users

It appears that Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) effort to bring back the Start Menu in revived form are nearing fruition.  A leaked shot of a Windows machine running Windows "Build 9788" surfaced late last week by a user with the screenname "DUF" in the forums section of the site My Digital Life.
 
While the build carries the title "Windows 8.1 Pro" (the currently available release), this does not appear to undermine the authenticity, according to sources.  Neowin reports:
 
One item about the image that was throwing off users previously is that is says Win 8.1 Pro in the bottom corner. We have spoken to a source close to Microsoft who says that this image appears to be legitimate, and that these builds inside of Microsoft still use this branding, so this is not a big deal.
 
The decision to drop the Start Menu was one of the biggest sources of customer frustration with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.  After much hemming and hawing, Microsoft finally admitted it goofed and announced at this year's BUILD conference that it would be bringing the iconic menu back.

Windows 9 Start Menu
Windows 9's new "Start Menu" [Image Source: "DUF"/MyDigitalLife Forums]

In its current form, the "new" Start Menu features two panes.  The left pane will include pinned apps, as well as commonly used apps or hubs.  The right will feature a compacted version of your Metro Start screen, with core hubs Microsoft considers important.  If you click the "All Apps" option, reportedly this hub will transform to a list of apps, similar to Windows Phone's scrollable alphabetic listing.
 
One major change is the lack of a folder-based system for accessing apps in the start menu.  This may irk some power users, however, it seems that typically users own use one key executable per major app anyways, and generally giving them that executable faster is probably the most efficient option.
 
On the flip side, the decision to include Metro (Modern UI) style hubs in the left pane leads to some redundancy in the left and right panes as we can see in the screenshot.  Microsoft might want to exclude core hubs that already appear on the right from appearing twice.
 
The current rumor is that Microsoft will release the new Start Menu with Windows "Threshold" (Windows 9?) sometime early next year -- possibly in April.

Sources: MyDigitalLife Forums, via Neowin



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RE: >.<
By BRB29 on 7/14/2014 1:47:58 PM , Rating: 0
lol I just want to write to MS

Dear Microsoft,

I just want organization in my Start Menu. These random customizable stupid tiles are annoying and only appeal to tablet non-power users. In fact, I find it a little disorienting on win8 phones because of a bunch of tiles of varying sizes fitting on my screen.

While it's cool how it works, I find it a complete waste of time to have to customize everything on my phone/tablet/computer. It's just juvenile. The rest of us in this world wants something that automatically organize itself right with the ability to customize . Throwing icons on my start menu like the haphazard Metro UI is no different than just reducing Metro to one part of my screen.

Give us the classic and the new UI(for the kids). You don't need to do more work because you've already done it and it was perfect.

3D


RE: >.<
By Reclaimer77 on 7/14/14, Rating: 0
RE: >.<
By Spuke on 7/14/14, Rating: 0
RE: >.<
By stm1185 on 7/14/14, Rating: 0
RE: >.<
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/14/2014 3:39:49 PM , Rating: 5
Downside? How many programs are installed on your computer? I have over 300 on mine. Downside? I do NOT want a list of all the program entries on my system given to me in a huge flat list!!

I don't run Windows 8. I don't run Windows 8.1. Why? Because some asshat at Microsoft had a brainfart and assumed I would want to see all my damn programs in a big-ass flat list that I HAVE TO SCROLL THROUGH EVERY FRIGGING TIME I WANT TO FIND SOMETHING IN IT!

Morons.


RE: >.<
By Spuke on 7/14/2014 8:49:27 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I do NOT want a list of all the program entries on my system given to me in a huge flat list!!
Neither do I. That's not a good idea either. I'm still interested in how they handle this. Not sure why I got the rate down though.


RE: >.<
By inighthawki on 7/14/2014 9:23:42 PM , Rating: 3
Can someone actually provide a link to the source that actually states that this will be a flat list? As far as I can tell from the sources, this leak is nothing more than a screenshot (one that can be very easily faked, btw) and I haven't seen anywhere other than this article that states that the folder hierarchy won't be present. I'd like to see a source confirming this. Otherwise you guys are just jumping up and down like raging monkeys over nothing more than a random person's speculation turned rumor.


RE: >.<
By Motoman on 7/14/2014 3:41:23 PM , Rating: 2
...one huge list with hundreds, if not thousands, of links on it, sorted purely alphabetically, sounds better to you than a list of a handful of folders, grouped by application type or vendor or some other logical value?

Please do not procreate. It's absolutely maddening that there can be people this stupid...who manage to continue to exist somehow, rather than Darwin-Awarding themselves into oblivion.


RE: >.<
By GreenEnvt on 7/14/2014 3:48:37 PM , Rating: 5
Well one off the top of my head, is that many companies don't have their program folder or more problematic their application titles named as you'd expect.

One example from at work, we use a file syncing tool called "Egnyte", the app is called "Egnyte personal cloud"

On Win7, you goto start, programs, egyte, and can see your choices.
On Win8/8.1 you click start, and then type egnyte, but nothing comes up. Odd, so you click the down arrow to look, but nothing related to egnyte. Eventually after asking Google for help or looking at icons you realize Egnyte labelled their app "Start personal cloud" with no mention of their name. Nice.

Now this could be fixed going forward if companies label their stuff better, but there are many tens of thousands of apps out there already with similar issues.


RE: >.<
By bodar on 7/14/2014 7:37:01 PM , Rating: 2
The point is that it would have been trivial to allow a power user to create their own organization structure, but that was apparently too frickin' hard. Start Search is great (and my primary method for launching apps) but Microsoft's one-size fits all philosophy is what got people pissed in the first place.

Hey MS: Give people what they want and don't just half-ass it because you can't stand being wrong. Interfaces can be both simple and powerful.


RE: >.<
By Spuke on 7/14/2014 9:09:51 PM , Rating: 3
Disagree, people aren't using Win8 because they can't figure out the UI. EVERY single non-nerd user I encounter thinks the desktop is gone. They think the start menu IS the desktop! Once I tell them it's still there and show them how to get there, desktop button or update 1 install, they're sort of ok with it. I say sort of because they still can't find anything without the start menu, generally. I say generally because there are still quite a few users that don't understand the start menu still. If it's not on the desktop, it doesn't exist (I couldn't tell you how many people STILL don't get this).

The biggest whiners I mean complainers are techies. Generally, they can't stand it. What's interesting is I've run into quite a few nerds that think the start menu is the desktop too (only those that haven't used Win8 though).


RE: >.<
By w8gaming on 7/14/2014 10:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
For some users with very limited software that they use daily, such a change is not an issue. But in a typical business environment, many officer workers typically have to access lots of software to get work done. Commonly the related software is grouped together in a folder for easier organization.


RE: >.<
By cknobman on 7/14/2014 2:34:47 PM , Rating: 3
There is organization just different than what you are used to.

Unlike Android on Windows you can make each app launcher/shortcut different sizes according to how much space you need it to take and if you want it to give you real time information right there on the home screen.

As for apps infinitely scrolling Windows has something cool called a jump list. This is used all over the OS and allows you to "jump" quickly to the area you want. For example in the app selection list the jump list is the alphabet. Click on a letter of the alphabet to "jump" to that section of the app list and see the app you want without scrolling. Its very easy and intuitive. Best part is you dont have to spend a bunch of time mixing/matching/sorting the apps specifically to get the view you want.

Not saying its better or worse, but its different and its effective.


RE: >.<
By Reclaimer77 on 7/14/2014 2:42:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Unlike Android on Windows you can make each app launcher/shortcut different sizes according to how much space you need it to take and if you want it to give you real time information right there on the home screen.


How is that different than a Widget? Which can also be resized in Android. Android also supports icon resizing too. What do you mean "unlike Android"?

quote:
As for apps infinitely scrolling Windows has something cool called a jump list. This is used all over the OS and allows you to "jump" quickly to the area you want. For example in the app selection list the jump list is the alphabet. Click on a letter of the alphabet to "jump" to that section of the app list and see the app you want without scrolling


How is that more efficient than going into the Android app tray, which is alphabetical, and opening the app from there?

And if you're leaving the home screen to go to the app selection list anyway, to do something that could/should be done from the home screen, you've totally missed my point.

That just adds another step that wouldn't be a necessity if the base UI wasn't such a seemingly disorganized mess.


RE: >.<
By nikon133 on 7/14/2014 5:14:12 PM , Rating: 3
Difference is really in the eye of beholder. I love geometric order that tiles provide. I wasn't inspired to use Widgets nor Gadgets, either on Android or Windows Vista/7 desktops. On WP8.1 (and, to a lesser degree, on W8.1) everything relevant is tiled to provide me with preview without opening app (calendar, mail, txt, phone...). In addition, it is my opinion that tiles use space better. Looking at my friends' S3 (comparable screen size to my 920), noone has equal number of widgets with same amount of info available on single screen.

As of app list, I cannot recall if Android lets you jump to specific letter - I believe you have to scroll through the whole list if you want to reach apps that start with W or Z. Might look minor, but makes a lot of difference - again, much as I am concerned.


RE: >.<
By themaster08 on 7/14/2014 2:38:55 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I really just cannot understand how people can claim to like, or even prefer, the Windows Phone UI.
Of course you can't, because you're unable to fathom that not everyone has the same opinion or taste as you. It's as though you think others "claim" to like the Windows Phone UI simply out of spite for Android.

Some people like Windows Phone. Get over it.


RE: >.<
By Reclaimer77 on 7/14/14, Rating: -1
RE: >.<
By FITCamaro on 7/14/2014 3:01:02 PM , Rating: 4
That's your opinion. I personally really like Windows Phone's UI.


RE: >.<
By themaster08 on 7/14/2014 3:07:47 PM , Rating: 3
Reclaimer has no comprehension of the difference between fact and opinion. He thinks his opinions are fact. He is unable to fathom how others can like something that he doesn't like.

He's closed minded and there's absolutely no reasoning.


RE: >.<
By Reclaimer77 on 7/14/14, Rating: -1
RE: >.<
By themaster08 on 7/14/2014 3:17:57 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Windows Phone's UI design is a radical departure, and that's great. But sorry, it's not an "opinion" to suggest a desktop folder/based UI is more efficient and organized than an infinitely scrolling UI with things placed on it randomly.
Are you talking about Windows 8 or Windows Phone here, because your comments seem be switching between the two?

Furthermore, things aren't placed "randomly". Tiles can be moved around, resized, and removed from the screen. You don't have to pin every single app to the Start screen. What is so disorganised about that?


RE: >.<
By Chaser on 7/14/2014 10:43:25 PM , Rating: 3
dog·mat·ic adjective \do?g-'ma-tik, däg-\
: expressing personal opinions or beliefs as if they are certainly correct and cannot be doubted.


RE: >.<
By name99 on 7/14/2014 4:06:06 PM , Rating: 1
"Some people like Windows Phone. Get over it."

Yes. 2% of the population, I think is the most recent number.


RE: >.<
By nikon133 on 7/14/2014 5:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
That would have some weight if all three mobile OSes were released together... but they weren't.

Android had 2% at some point, compared to heavy hitters at the time - Symbian, BB and iOS, and look at all of them now.

Current WP market share is not that much about how many people like it (or would like it), but about how many people were exposed to it and how many are willing to leave their current platforms and go through data migration and finding all the apps they already have and use just for the sake of changing platform; realistically, any of 3 platforms can satisfy needs of huge majority of users anyway.


RE: >.<
By Reclaimer77 on 7/14/14, Rating: -1
RE: >.<
By nikon133 on 7/15/2014 12:23:13 AM , Rating: 3
It was a bit easier for Android to grow - it didn't compete against Android, only iOS... and others were already facing extinction.

I'm not saying that WP is following Android's runaway success... but I do believe that it is good platform, and I think it still has good chance to make it. Not Windows Desktop (or even Android) scale of "make it", but enough to be relevant for developers and users alike. Maybe even squeeze iOS out of No.2 place at some point.


RE: >.<
By naris on 7/14/2014 2:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I cannot fathom how the software giant who brought the UI graphical interface to everyone, can now have the worst PC and mobile interface on the market!


But, Xerox doesn't have a mobile interface.


RE: >.<
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/14/2014 3:43:02 PM , Rating: 3
Xerox didn't need a mobile interface.

Neither does my Destop PC.

My desktop PC is not a phone or a tablet.
I don't use it like either of those. I use it like a desktop PC same as I have for the last 30+ years.

I don't want my desktop working or looking like a phone or tablet.


RE: >.<
By bodar on 7/14/2014 9:43:44 PM , Rating: 3
I think you missed his joke.

quote:
In 1973, Xerox PARC developed the Alto personal computer. It had a bitmapped screen, and was the first computer to demonstrate the desktop metaphor and graphical user interface (GUI).


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_graphi...


RE: >.<
By bodar on 7/14/2014 9:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, reply fail. This should be reply to the Monkey's Uncle post.


RE: >.<
By nikon133 on 7/14/2014 4:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
You'd have to use system for a few days, or weeks, to understand it. Not necessarily to like it, but it would give you some useful insights. I did use iOS and Android for a significant time before moving to WP, and I do prefer WP.

Start screen is just a collection of favourites; it is not supposed to be pages and pages long, IMHO. Only apps most frequently used. My start screen is around 2 screens tall, so it's easy to flick it up and down.

Everything else is on alphabetical list, which you get when you scroll right from Start screen. It is one list of all apps but organized by alphabet, and it is very easy to jump to desired letter without scrolling through whole list; all you need to know is the name of app you want to run.

Basically, letters in alphabet are acting as folders (in a way that you can "open" specific letter without scrolling through all the letters before that one). Rest is down to preference, sorting apps by name or by purpose. Coming from Windows Desktop background, I'm used to sort programs and folders by name anyway, so there's that. I did category (folder) sorting on iOS and Android, but often would come across apps that are not strictly into one category. Unless I used them often - and some of them I did not - I would be looking through a few folders to find. Alphabet sorting does not give you freedom, but as long as you know app's name, you know exactly where it is.

Works for me.

"Real" folders were promised for incoming WP8.1 GDR1, by the way. Best of both worlds? If executed right. We'll see.


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