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Windows 9 will be a major overhaul of the Windows 8 user interface, as change list continues to expand

Even as the public awaits Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 2, an even more anticipated release -- the Windows 9 "Threshold" Preview Release -- looms on the horizon.  With Microsoft reportedly targeting an April 2015 commercial launch, a public Preview Release in the Sept.-Oct. Window seems likely.
I. Virtual Desktops
Meanwhile, new reports from NeowinZDNetThe Verge, and WinBeta offer new details about a couple of major changes both to the feature set and UI of Windows 9.
First up, Brad Sams of Neowin is reporting that new builds of Windows 9 currently being tested by Microsoft engineers include a button that allows you to select from multiple workspaces (desktops).  These so-called "virtual desktops" are a feature that's long been found in most modern Unix-like operating systems including popular Linux distributions and OS X.
Microsoft's implementation is close to that of Canonical, Ltd.'s Ubuntu, according to Neowin.  As one would expect, power users will be able to switch between virtual desktops more quickly using keyboard shortcuts.  The feature was first hinted at in February by Microsoft UI designer Jacob Miller.

Windows 7 3D multi-desktop
A third party Windows 7 multi-desktop (virtual desktop) app [Image Source:Informatique-Live]

It's worth noting that Windows actually has featured the ability to extend into virtual desktop since at least Windows 7.  However, this capability was previously not built-in and required the use of third-party apps, most of which were somewhat clunky and unpolished, albeit well intentioned.  Most users have been unaware of the existence of these options.
II. A Lack of Charm
The second and slightly less clear rumor involves changes to the "Charms" menu/overlay.
In its current form in Windows 8/8.1, the menu hovers on the right-hand side of your screen.  The Charms menu currently provides general functionality -- e.g. a Start Button to return you to the beginning of the Metro (Modern UI) Start Menu and some fast shortcuts to common system functions (search settings).  When you're running apps the Charms menu takes on a supporting role.
Apps commit to "Contracts" with the Charms menu, allowing for functionality like "Share" (where data is sent to other compatible registered apps, e.g. a camera app sending data to a Flickr app), "Search" (where content in the app is searched appropriately), and "Settings" (which reveals device specific settings).

Charms menus
Charms are one of the most-loathed Windows 8/8.1 features.

On tablets Charms are a bit of learning curve, but ultimately a good thing.  They're relatively easy to access on a touch-screen and provide quick, intuitive access to important functionality.  But for traditional PCs they're one of the Windows 8/8.1 UI's biggest remaining annoyances, as they require a very delicate mouse over/hover in the corner/edge of the screen in order to coax them out of hiding.
III. The Replacements
Windows 9 solves this problem by reportedly ditching the Charms menu bar in its current form altogether in Desktop mode.  The status of the Modern UI (Metro) Start Screen's Charms menu is also up in the air, although not definitively scrapped.  WinBeta, who first reported on the shift, wrote:
Before we begin, we must stress that we're talking about the Charms for the desktop only. We haven't heard too much about the Charms bar for tablets, however we believe the way they are accessed won't be changing from its current form.
But ZDNet's Microsoft-insider Mary Jo Foley claims:
WinBeta suggested that Microsoft might eliminate the Charms Bar for desktop users, not tablet users. But my sources say the Charms Bar will be going away completely for all desktop, laptop and tablet users with Threshold.
According to WinBeta, one idea being considered by Microsoft is to scrap the Charm idea altogether.  Under this plan apps would have to return to individually implementing settings, in-app search, etc. perhaps with the help of a new API.

Windows 9
A new UI element next to the minimize button in the Windows frame provide access to app search and settings, replacing the Charms. [Image Source: WinBeta]

But the site adds that it may not be possible to do that, as such a move would likely break backwards compatibility with Windows 8/8.1 apps that rely on the feature.  Instead, WinBeta reports that Microsoft is leaning towards a fourth window frame button to go in the top right-hand corner of windows, next to the minimize button.
Clicking this new frame button would activate a dropdown with search and settings options.  Share could also be added to this menu, but according to Mary Jo Foley's sources Microsoft prefers to pulling it out and allowing developers to add it either via an API or via yet another window frame button.  The Start Button is largely redundant so both reports indicate it will simply go away.
III. Public Preview Coming This Fall
The Verge claims to have yet a third independent confirmation of Charms changes.  Its account echoes the ZDNet report closely.  It raises a worthwhile point, though, in that Microsoft not only was urged to make this change to help mouse and keyboard users who struggled with this UI element, it was also forced to by the addition of floating Modern UI apps in Desktop Mode.
The presence of floating apps made the Charms menu much more confusing as you might have two apps floating side by side and select Charms only to mistakenly enter the other app's settings (if you clicked it on the way to select the Charms menu).  By adding frame buttons, Microsoft essentially adds a mini Charms-like option set to every window Modern UI app, a necessity.

Windows Start Menu
Floating Modern UI apps in Windows 9 made adding Charms-like functionality to the window frame a neccesity. [Image Source: Redmond Pie]

Adding fuel to the rumors fire about a Public Preview within the next couple months, Mary Jo Foley also writes:

I've heard from my sources that Microsoft is hoping to deliver a public preview of Threshold some time in the fall of 2014. 

In other words, even if you aren't a Microsoft employee or MSDN subscriber, you may still get a chance to take the new Windows 9 Modern UI Desktop Start Menu, windowed Desktop Modern UI apps, the Charms stand-in window frame buttons, and more for a spin shortly.

Sources: Neowin, WinBeta, ZDNet, The Verge

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Still no Aero
By DiscoWade on 8/7/2014 2:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
My biggest gripe with Windows 8 is how it looks. My eyes have a hard time with it. Windows 7 is easy on my eyes, even with Aero disabled. I have learned to live with Metro; I don't like it but I can live with it if I must. The color and design of Windows 8 I cannot. Granted, I have sensitive eyes, which is why I cannot watch 3D movies. But still, why can't the UI be as pretty as Windows 7? Actually, why can't it be as pretty as Windows 95? If Windows 9 does not improve on the look of the UI then I will probably stay with Windows 7.

I am going to try the beta 9 when available and beg Microsoft to put Aero back.

RE: Still no Aero
By JasonMick on 8/7/2014 2:31:43 PM , Rating: 1
My biggest gripe with Windows 8 is how it looks. My eyes have a hard time with it.
Try dimming your screen, I'd suggest.

(No, seriously, try it!)

The reason for the eye strain is the brightness and contrast of the sharp windows frame. By lowering the color intensity you bring the palette of even the Modern UI frames and the desktop wallpaper closer together limiting both contrast and intensity, two of the primary causes of eyestrain.

There's a number of smartphone extensions and browser apps that rely on precisely this trick to put things in a "theater mode" or "night reading" mode.

There probably will be third party apps that will Aero-ify the frames of the new Modern UI apps as well, I'd almost guarantee you, but I think it'll end up looking a lotter uglier and is a lot of work when a simple shift in your monitor brightness would solve the problem.

RE: Still no Aero
By Banana Bandit on 8/7/2014 2:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yep - Windowblinds is one. I would not run windows 8.x without it. It isn't perfect, but it is better than nothing if you can't use Win7 for whatever reason.

RE: Still no Aero
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/14, Rating: -1
RE: Still no Aero
By inighthawki on 8/7/2014 2:50:32 PM , Rating: 3
My problem with metro is the very obvious design towards touch, even in a non-touch environment. Everythign is too big, too flat, has too much padding, and either too much or no contrast at all. Metro is like playing with a toy compared to the desktop.

I have no doubt the mtro environment is capable of some pretty awesome programs. They just look and feel like a joke.

RE: Still no Aero
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/2014 3:32:56 PM , Rating: 3

The Metro start menu experience is too jarring. There was a psychology paper suggesting people tend to forget things more when they move into another room, the switch in context breaks the line of thought. Similarly, the start menu screen is so different that people keep wondering what they were doing prior to the jarring experience.

The best thing they ever could have done is make Metro a window, NOT full screen. I just hate it's taking this long to do it.

RE: Still no Aero
By retrospooty on 8/8/2014 8:02:27 AM , Rating: 2
"The best thing they ever could have done is make Metro a window, NOT full screen."

Yup... Anything forcing itself to be full screen is massive fail. That is why we have thee huge monitors, to have multiple "windows" open. I can live with the colors, I can live with the tiles, but I absolutely will not have anything full screen on my PC that cannot be minimized, or windowed. So irritating.

RE: Still no Aero
By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/2014 8:52:06 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly if I were Microsoft I would enact a concrete iron-clad 10 Commandments of Windows . Things that they should absolutely NEVER do to Windows. Ever EVER. Do it and you're FIRED.

Making things like Metro full screen forced would definitely be on that list. Seriously you just CANNOT do that to desktop users. Wtf!!

RE: Still no Aero
By retrospooty on 8/8/2014 8:59:23 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it still amazes me that they did it. I just cant comprehend a group of experienced product engineers sitting around the conf. room table deciding to go ahead with that plan and not at least make it an option. Mind boggling.

RE: Still no Aero
By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/2014 10:30:25 AM , Rating: 1
Oh I guarantee you the actual software engineers didn't cook it up. Hell they probably voiced concerns about it. I think this is what happened lol..


Balmer: "Look at all the money Apple is making from freaking iToons and their mobile App Store!! (snorts line of coke) Why can't we do that? Get on it!"

Yes-Man: "Well sir...uhhh nobody is really buying Windows Phones or making apps for it, sooooo-"

Balmer: "Fu*k Windows Phone! We have a goddamn MONOPOLY with Windows!! (huffing air can) Monetize the SH*T out of that!!!"

RE: Still no Aero
By retrospooty on 8/8/2014 10:55:27 AM , Rating: 2
Whoever cooked it up and/or pushed it through, the idea that forcing it on desktop users would somehow be beneficial to customers, the platform, or MS as a company was just ridiculous.

Win8/8.1 adoption rates are absolutely horrendous and actually FELL last month. "How's that workin' out for ya?"

RE: Still no Aero
By Flunk on 8/11/2014 10:23:42 AM , Rating: 4
They DID fire Sinofsky, who was in charge of overseeing the new interface. Balmer was forced into retirement. You can criticize Microsoft about a lot of things but failing to punish people for Windows 8's interface issues isn't one of them.

RE: Still no Aero
By Reclaimer77 on 8/11/2014 12:20:57 PM , Rating: 1
That wasn't really my point. Yeah it's great that the two idiots responsible for this are gone, but meanwhile the consumer is still saddled with it.

It would have been better to just not have happened in the first place.

Also they were only forced out/fired because Windows 8 has been a financial disaster. NOT because it was the wrong thing to do.

RE: Still no Aero
By ritualm on 8/17/2014 4:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly if I were Microsoft I would enact a concrete iron-clad 10 Commandments of Windows . Things that they should absolutely NEVER do to Windows. Ever EVER. Do it and you're FIRED.

Won't matter.

Rules are made to be broken. 10 Commandments? What a chock full of bullcrap.

It's a good thing you're not the CEO of any major company out there. You'd have run the damn thing into the ground with all these silly comeuppance.

RE: Still no Aero
By Sonicmerlin on 8/7/2014 10:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's pretty ugly on the phone too. It was fashionable when they had that white space in WP 7... But now it's just cluttered.

RE: Still no Aero
By Zak on 8/7/2014 3:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is bad UI design, not brightness. I have the same issue with Windows 8. At the same brightness it hurts my eyes (and my brain).

RE: Still no Aero
By BaronMatrix on 8/7/2014 6:41:37 PM , Rating: 2
Why would MS take a SUPER USEFUL feature... Try finding window edges on Win 8 when they overlap...

That's why I uninstalled it... You can't go from rounded alpha-blended windows with a USEFUL shadow to a crayon colored square window that seems more at home on Win 98...

RE: Still no Aero
By inighthawki on 8/7/2014 6:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
The rounded corners and translucency had nothing to do with being able to identify the edges. The problem is the visual style.

The first issue, as you mentioned, is there is almost no drop shadow.
The second issue is, Windows 7 has high contrast window borders. It was one pixel of dark, and one pixel of light on both the inner and outer edges of the window. This made it clearly discernable on any surface, light or dark. Windows 8, on the other hand, has only one pixel of a slightly darker shader of the window color. This means it was nearly invisible with dark themes, especially on other dark surfaces. (Don't get me started on the title bar text and corner buttons).

The worst part, however, was the inactive window color. My god, could they have chosen a worse shade of light gray (with a nearly non-existent trim around the edge) for the windows? They all blend together like a blob. Worst UI decision ever - I have no clue how this idea got approved.

RE: Still no Aero
By tastyratz on 8/11/2014 7:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
"f.lux" is the best thing to happen to night windows-ing since sliced bread (if you could use sliced bread on your computer).
Even better than dimming alone

RE: Still no Aero
By GatoRat on 8/8/2014 11:46:29 AM , Rating: 2
I agree.

I was skeptical of Windows 8, but quickly adjusted and find that I, gasp, actually prefer the start screen. However, I really miss Aero--the blocky windows are just ugly.

LOL - Marketing "Floating Modern UI apps"
By retrospooty on 8/7/2014 1:17:48 PM , Rating: 3
I like the hybrid start menu and I like not being forced into using full screen for metro apps... but the "Floating Modern UI apps" cracks me up... Floating? You mean "Windows" dont you?

Anyhow, great they are fixing it.

RE: LOL - Marketing "Floating Modern UI apps"
By MScrip on 8/7/2014 1:37:03 PM , Rating: 2

Aren't Metro apps in floating windows just called... apps?

The only thing different is we'll be able to buy these "floating" apps in the Windows Store.

I don't know how we survived all these years buying Windows programs from the web. :)

By Banana Bandit on 8/7/2014 2:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
You mean they weren't supposed to sell me my copy of Office 2010 on the web? Oh dear - somebody at MS goofed up.

By MScrip on 8/7/2014 5:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
You must have missed my snarky smiley :)

Of course you're allowed to buy anything you want from the web... that will likely never change.

But if you want to buy apps from the Windows Store... they can only be Metro apps.

Soon those Metro apps will be able to run in a "floating" window. So you will, in a sense, be able to buy "windowed" apps from the Windows Store.

By JasonMick on 8/7/2014 2:20:15 PM , Rating: 3
I like the hybrid start menu and I like not being forced into using full screen for metro apps... but the "Floating Modern UI apps" cracks me up... Floating? You mean "Windows" dont you?
For the most part I agree with your assessment, but Modern UI apps have access to certain APIs (the Charms based search and settings) that took them away from being a traditional legacy windowed app.

I agree they've slowly returned to being traditional Windows apps, starting with the ability in Windows 8.1 to run multiple apps on one divided screen in the Modern UI (similar to Windows 7's ability to lock apps to a specific screen edge with the WINDOWS + ARROW KEY).

With Windows 9 it will be a traditional Windows app... ALMOST. But it will still have frame buttons (specifically the in-app settings and search). Also in recent builds they do not appear to have any semblance of Aero and I presume they won't.

Traditional desktop apps will have a graphically distinct look with Aero and a simpler Windows frame. So there will now be two distinct kinds of Windows... the legacy/Aero look (which sort of follows the skeuomorphic design principle -- think iOS 4) where and the new Modern UI look (based on the Swiss Style, similar to iOS 7 and Android 'L').

The "floating" bit I think could certainly be construed in a negative light to be some sort of obfuscation or buzzword generation, but I think it's more straightforward than that.

In skeuomorphic Windows, aka Aero, the Window is partly transparent and the parts that are colored are typically shaded in subtler lower hex colors, hence it blends in into the desktop and looks flatter, as if it's a piece of paper lying on a desk.

With the upcoming Swiss Style (aka Modern UI, Metro, etc.) windows, they are solid shaded on the frame and use higher hex (read: brighter) color values for the frame colors. Hence the windows graphically "pop" more and they indeed appear to be "floating" above your desk.

Hence the floating language I think is more about the design look, not so much an attempt to disguise Microsoft's return to more traditional Windowed overlay styles.

RE: LOL - Marketing "Floating Modern UI apps"
By inighthawki on 8/7/2014 2:40:40 PM , Rating: 3
A window that is not pinned or docked is referred to as a floating window - i.e. is positionable on the screen. It's just terminology :)

RE: LOL - Marketing "Floating Modern UI apps"
By retrospooty on 8/7/2014 3:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
I know, I am just laughing at the marketing twist on it... It's the same way we have always had it before we broke it in a colossal blunder.

By robinthakur on 8/8/2014 6:11:10 AM , Rating: 2
What's funny here? There's certainly nothing new with Microsoft introducing floaters with their operating systems. Windows 8 for example was one bit floater, in the sense of course that you had one fullscreen app at a time. I don't know why Microsoft decided to follow Apple's lead in most regards but disregard something as important as different OS's for tablets and desktop. Why the simple concept of profiles for different setups which turn aspects of the UI on and off has taken so long to implement is beyond me.

Changing to a new API and cutting loose the previous developments is what MS has done repeateadly in recent years, it's not too surprising.

RE: LOL - Marketing "Floating Modern UI apps"
By glowingghoul on 8/7/2014 2:45:16 PM , Rating: 2
That's pretty impressive considering Linux didn't exist until 1991.

By retrospooty on 8/7/2014 6:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
You make even less sense when not droning on about how great Apple is.

By inperfectdarkness on 8/7/2014 6:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
I better get a coupon to upgrade for $20. I didn't ask to get this PC pre-installed with windows 9 beta....just like I didn't ask to have my previous PC pre-installed with windows 7 beta (aka vista).

Finally promising Windows
By techxx on 8/7/2014 2:12:44 PM , Rating: 1
Been itching for an upgrade from Windows 7 and it seems Windows 9 will be it!

By Banana Bandit on 8/7/2014 2:40:49 PM , Rating: 2
I'm waiting to see what exactly they deliver before I commit to a permanent OS change from Win 7. I have learned time & time again not to get my hopes up with MS. Most of the time they just don't deliver on the hype.

RE: Finally promising Windows
By BaronMatrix on 8/7/2014 6:44:47 PM , Rating: 2

Its USEFUL not pretty... I woudl lose overlapped windows all the time... I have three HUGE monitors and a gaming GPU...

NOT worried about battery life...

I guess the Vista class action made them gun shy...

RE: Finally promising Windows
By KiwiTT on 8/8/2014 3:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
Not me ... I had Windows VISTA Home Premium on my i7 920 and it was very fast, but I knew Windows 7 will be out soon. When it came out I bought Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. I see no need to downgrade from Ultimate to Professional.

Charms Bar
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/2014 1:19:21 PM , Rating: 1
Needs to die. We simply have no need for hidden UI elements on the desktop. They aren't intuitive or easier to use either, as there's no visual clue a "Charms Menu" is even available.

Plus just why? We don't have limited screenspace like a phone or tablet. There's just no reason to have major parts of the UI hidden unless you perform a delicate and sometimes awkward maneuver with the mouse.

That's just my opinion and it's just limited to the Charms Bar.

RE: Charms Bar
By zero2dash on 8/7/2014 2:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
The other major annoying thing about the bloody Charms bar is that they hide app preferences (such as the Store) under the Charms bar as well, separate from the system preferences that you find under the Charms bar while in Explorer.

Such a clusterfk of an OS. Forget the whole "skip one version of Windows" nonsense; at least ME and Vista [on the 'skip' list] didn't stray too far from what people already knew about Windows for (nearly) the last 20 years. They were both messes in their own rights, but at least the familiarity was there for the most part.

8 is just a complete and unnecessary overhaul, for no practical reason other than to treat everyone who has it as a test subject.

Crappy WIndows Chrome
By BaronMatrix on 8/7/2014 6:37:16 PM , Rating: 1
I'd like to see someone take the pic of the RED window and compare it to an Aero window in Win7...

I believe it will be clear why I say NO AERO, NO DEAL...

RE: Crappy WIndows Chrome
By lexluthermiester on 8/15/2014 1:29:38 AM , Rating: 2

Totally with you there!

By hans030390 on 8/8/2014 5:08:59 AM , Rating: 3
What is this garbage? "But for traditional PCs they're one of the Windows 8/8.1 UI's biggest remaining annoyances, as they require a very delicate mouse over/hover in the corner/edge of the screen in order to coax them out of hiding."

Delicate my ass! You literally throw your mouse into either of the right corners on the screen with the delicacy of a drunk rhino charging at full speed and then pull your mouse in a loose up or down fashion, depending on which corner you approach from. BOOM, charms menu.

Quick, get me some vodka and a camera so I can give you all some Windows UI tutorials!

I agree that there are many legitimate debates to be had about Win8's UI, especially in a KB/M environment, but this is just mindless bullsh*t you're spewing! And, yet, so many people eat this up and spin it off like gospel.

(My one concession is that these whole corner business becomes VERY tricky in a windowed RDP session. THAT is stupid, and shame on you, Server 2012!)

Vertual Desktop ?
By Taurus229 on 8/7/2014 5:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
If Microsoft wants to bring back the old, then bring back something useful, an updated (faster) Windows 7 !

By damianrobertjones on 8/8/2014 4:49:33 AM , Rating: 2
" Windows actually has featured the ability to extend into virtual desktop since at least Windows 7"

I'm pretty sure that I first encountered Virtual Desktops waaayyyy back in the XP days.

Virtual Desktops Finally!
By TheDoc9 on 8/8/2014 10:43:06 AM , Rating: 2
This is the single biggest thing for me that osx has had over windows for the better part of a decade. I hope it's a good implementation, this feature alone would be worth an upgrade.

Dear MS
By lexluthermiester on 8/15/2014 1:23:20 AM , Rating: 2
On behalf of all desktop Windows users everywhere;

If Windows 9 is ANYTHING like the pathetic mess that Windows 8[8.1] is, I'll pass. And that's not to say that I'll think about it and after contemplation change my mind later. It means I'll pass completely.

You NEED to go back to Windows 7[arguably your best OS] and retool from there. The "look and feel" of 7 is part of what made it so great. The Aero desktop, the more functional and sleek start menu, the ease of access to nearly every admin and system function. Bring back all of the user customizations and options from XP, lose all of the pastel[ugly], hard to use squareishness, add in all of the back-end improvements of 8/8.1[core scheduling, multi-monitor and hardware management], loose the touchcentric interface non-sense[we don't have or want touch screens for our desktops/notebooks], loose the live-tiles and loose all the cloud crap and you'll have a genuine success. If not, people[and entire nations] are just going stick with XP and 7, giving you the finger/Eff U in the process.

MS Bob[for Windows 3.1] was a great idea ahead of it's time[required TONS of system resources], Windows 95 was a great solution to some problems, but had it's issues. Windows 98 hit the nail on the head with all the right fixes to the problems 95 introduced. Windows Me was a glitchy attempt to blend the 9x environment with the NT[and worked well with the unstable parts disabled], Windows XP[Easily your greatest achievement] took all of the right things users wanted and blend them together for a great OS most loved[after it's wrinkles were worked out by SP2]. Windows Vista was another series of good ideas poorly implemented and by SP2 worked well[and the way it was intended to work]. Windows 7 is another one of your shining achievements, getting right nearly everything users wanted. The hammer of Windows 8 however didn't hit anywhere near the nail. It is a cobbled mess of bad ideas poorly implemented. It's UI is ugly, cumbersome, difficult and spirit breakingly annoying. It's only positive is that all of the ugly and difficult features are responsive and snappy[big yay there...]. With 8.1 you brought back the start button without the beloved menu function that was the feature everyone REALLY wanted back[Was that your UI designers way of saying "up yours" to the general public? Not a good way to win people over]. Fixing 8 won't work. It's NOT repairable. Put it in the trash heap, along with Windows Phone and RT, where they all belong.

Yours truly,
A Windows SEVEN user.

PS, I and a great many others have boycotted all version of Windows 8 and will add Windows 9 to the boycott if you don't listen and get it right. How's THAT for an "Up yours"?

Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By Argon18 on 8/7/14, Rating: -1
RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By Dug on 8/7/2014 2:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
Everything old is new again.
Just like terminals and roaming profiles.

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By JasonMick on 8/7/2014 2:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
Let me get this straight. Microsoft is touting a new "Virtual Desktop" feature? Really? This is something Linux and UNIX have had since the 1980's. The eighties! This was cutting edge when E.T. was in movie theaters, the Falklands War was on the news, and DeLorean car ads were on TV. Microsoft is just now getting this capability in 2015? Good grief that is some crufty garbage coming out of Redmond these days. You couldn't pay me to run Windows.

Apple touted iOS 7's new flattened look as "innovative", "fresh", and "new". Never mind it echoed Microsoft's Ribbon/Metro/Modern UI style trend which had been in Windows since at least 2007.

And both companies' look is derivative of the Swiss Style which dates all the way back to advertising in the 1960s and 1970s.

iOS 8 is "innovating" with WiFi calling. Last I checked, Android had enjoyed that for a good year and a half or so now.

So wait, what great crime is Microsoft committing by adding a feature from other platforms and advertising it?

Steve Jobs would be proud. As he said:
Picasso had a saying - 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.

(Please save me the excuses of how the quote was taken out of context because it really wasn't. He was just speaking the truth. UI design -- like any art -- is very derivative and evolutionary, just like life itself. No one starts from scratch.)

By inighthawki on 8/7/2014 2:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
Don't bother with him. If you don't already know, Argon18 has a long logn history of bashing Microsoft for the dumbest of things. He is a super hardcore Unix fanboy who hates Windows with a passion, and uses every opportunity he can - even those stretchign the limits of the imagination - to criticize it.

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By Banana Bandit on 8/7/2014 2:27:15 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, I have virtual desktops on My windows 7 courtesy of my AMD Catalyst video driver.

This really isn't something new even in the Windows world (hell, I even had it on OS2).

By Banana Bandit on 8/7/2014 2:33:55 PM , Rating: 2
--- no edit --- :/

Sorry - catalyst doesn't provide that VirtuaWin does

Supports everything from Windows 9x right up thru Win 7

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By JasonMick on 8/7/2014 2:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, I have virtual desktops on My windows 7 courtesy of my AMD Catalyst video driver.

This really isn't something new even in the Windows world (hell, I even had it on OS2).
True, I mention in the piece that power users have enjoyed this via third party options for a long time now. Still, it will be nice to FINALLY get it on Windows laptops and tablets that generally didn't come with a high end graphics card that offered this solution by default and which struggled with non-hardware accelerated solutions.

Also in terms of the official op's claim that Microsoft was calling this some great advance, it hasn't even officially announced tis feature yet! I think virtually every reporter (including myself) mentioned that other OSes (and even Windows in unofficial form) have long had this! So what's he carrying on about? It's nice to have it built in, but it seems like he's putting words in Microsoft's mouth that their PR team and engineering staff never said.

By Solandri on 8/7/2014 3:17:15 PM , Rating: 4
I mention in the piece that power users have enjoyed this via third party options for a long time now.

Virtual desktops been standard in Unix GUIs for as long as I've used them (early 1990s).

I heard Microsoft considered and rejected them in earlier versions of Windows because they thought it'd be too confusing for non-tech users. One moment you're mousing around, suddenly everything on your desktop disappears and your background pic changes while providing no clue as to what just happened.

That what happens when someone hits the thumb buttons on my Win 7 laptop with Dexpot. And based on the reaction I see from people using my laptop, I grudgingly have to agree. The masses are not ready for it. I've even quit trying to explain what it is to them, and just tell them to hit the thumb buttons until they get the initial desktop back. The smart ones figure it out for themselves. The rest are beyond help.

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By lyeoh on 8/10/2014 2:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's still quite disappointing actually- there's so much Microsoft could do to improve the Desktop UI. Examples here:

By the way, I've proposed the "phone/tech support interface" stuff elsewhere but strangely can't find those posts easily with Google etc even though at least one copy still exists. e.g.
specific post:
(I had to manually search)

Search engines seem to be getting worse nowadays. Or sites are making themselves unsearchable?

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By inighthawki on 8/7/2014 2:45:33 PM , Rating: 4
You're right, they are late to the game. Obviously the best course of action is: They shouldn't have done it.

But seriously, are you mentally stable? Do you know how software works? Microsoft is not claiming this is new and fresh and innovative. They are just finally adding a feature that they think will improve their OS.

Don't you ever get tired of finding lame, random, and often just very poor excuses to bash Windows? Like seriously, we get it, you don't like Windows. Just... shut up already? You're like Tony with Apple, except it's even more annoying because instead of mindlessly praising something you're just spewing garbage all the time.

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By Argon18 on 8/7/14, Rating: -1
RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By weskurtz0081 on 8/7/2014 2:59:40 PM , Rating: 3
Get a girlfriend (or boyfriend)... or maybe your just so miserable that you can't hang on to one?

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By inighthawki on 8/7/2014 3:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
Don't make the same mistake I did - don't feed the troll.

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/2014 3:39:10 PM , Rating: 2
His post is like a flashback to the late 90's, early 2000's.

Sooo like twenty years later, still waiting for the Linux revolution are we?

And sure, focus on the one thing Windows doesn't have. Let's ignore the gigantic list of things Linux CAN'T do...

Linux is STILL not ready for prime time on the desktop. The only version of Linux that's ever been worth a sh*t is Android.

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By thesaxophonist on 8/7/2014 4:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
The only version of Linux that's ever been worth a sh*t is Android.
There are a lot of datacenters that would like to have a word with you.

By Cerin218 on 8/7/2014 6:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
Is a data center consumer/end user prime time?

Would you recommend Linux to your family and friends? If so, which version? Would you be prepared to support them? I still remember one of my favorite Linux adventures attempting to get wireless to work on a Dell D630. It was quite fun playing with an NDIS wrapper. Yet Windows found the driver and installed it in about to minutes. Linux is for enthusiast and technical people. Not dad and grandma. How many Linux laptops did Dell sell just to have them returned. Some of you want to argue with your computer to get it to work the rest of us just want to use it, not futz with it. I have to laugh every time I see someone post they are mad at Microsoft for doing something they did and will be switching to Linux forever. No you won't. Windows works. It's everywhere, and a 4 year old can use it. You get it for data centers where it is set up by competent people that know how to utilize it. It will NEVER replace windows, or even seriously compete with windows. You've all been saying it will for 30 years now. But it doesn't. And it won't. Deal with it.

By Nekrik on 8/7/2014 3:30:23 PM , Rating: 4
To be fair, he does seem like a bit of a Linux zealot, so you can't really blame him, most of them seem like they're still pissed they completely fucked OpenSSL up and had to admit that the 'we have a bunch of devs reviewing, fixing, and submitting code' approach may not really be a very good one. Plus, how embarrassing to be bailed out by the very companies they've bitched and moaned about for the last 20 years, that had to have been a bitter slice of humble pie.

By kleinma on 8/7/2014 4:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
So when Linux/UNIX implements something that Microsoft already does, they aren't allowed to say it is a new feature of their OS? I mean I know you are a troll, but can't you at least find good things to troll on?

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By TakinYourPoints on 8/7/2014 6:48:17 PM , Rating: 3
Um, so? There have been virtual desktops in OS X for a decade, OS/2 and BeOS had it in the 90s, and the frigging Amiga had it in the 80s.

This doesn't mean that Windows shouldn't have it just because they're late. I'm thrilled that Windows will finally get such a useful feature. Virtual desktops is one of many reasons why OS X is such a great laptop OS. This will be huge for Windows laptops and tablets.

I actually like Windows 8.1, I'm currently using it on two machines, but it looks like MS is really going to hit it out of the park with Win 9. Can't wait.

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By Don Tonino on 8/8/2014 3:50:47 AM , Rating: 2
I've never used virtual desktops, what have I missed out? How are they put to best use?

RE: Virtual Desktops? Is this a Joke?
By krutouuu on 8/8/2014 5:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine you're working on a coding project. You have Visual Studio, help files, documentation, folders, etc open.

You decide to take a break and surf the web. You want all of those windows to disappear. BUT, you want to be able to come back to them at a later time.

Think of virtual desktops as an organization tool, kind of like how folders are used to organize files. Everything in its place.

By GatoRat on 8/8/2014 11:52:12 AM , Rating: 2
Or, just open another tab in your browser.

I've never seen the point of virtual desktops.

By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/2014 3:40:16 PM , Rating: 1
Wow good point.

If only Windows had a way to keep everything you were working on open, but gave you a slick and easy way to switch between them?

I'm going to suggest to Microsoft they add this functionality with a Alt+Tab hotkey!

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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