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Microsoft Reveals More Windows 8 Details 538

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the eighth-try-is-a-charm dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft has released the first full details of Windows 8, with an all-or-nothing approach to touchscreen technology. All versions of Windows 8 — whether used on a touchscreen device or not — will use the operating system's new Metro interface, which was first developed for Windows Phone 7 devices. The advent of Windows 8 sees Microsoft introduce a new style of application, dubbed Metro Style apps, and its own app store. The company also claims to have boosted Windows 8 performance with fast boot/shutdown times, a new Task Manager and the option to refresh a PC with a clean install of the OS with apps and settings left intact."
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Microsoft Reveals More Windows 8 Details

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  • by nman64 (912054) * on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @01:55PM (#37389428) Homepage

    ...as if millions of PC users suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      Its Windows with out windows...
      I see this as the rise of Linux on the Desktop, and the fact that Microsoft has decided the Desktop is no longer relevant.

      After looking at this, it could be a serious competition to Apple iOS and Android. As they can make off the shelf Tablets and you have all your windows software ready to run on it. It could be a rebirth of Microsoft. Or it could backfire, Being that it is sacrificing its desktop share, for the tablet, where Android and iOS may have a sufficient market sha

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fnj (64210)

        Actually Gnome has ALSO decided the desktop is no longer relevant. Fortunately KDE and Xfce have not yet taken leave of their senses.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dog-Cow (21281)

        MS did not decide that the desktop is no longer relevant. Apple did. MS, is as usual, following Apple's lead. (Witness Mission Control in Lion.)

      • by ByOhTek (1181381)

        Actually, if you've seen the previous informational releases, you can still run the standard windows UI fairly easily. It just isn't necessary.

        Honestly, I like this. I'll stick with the classic UI, because I like the functionality, but I know a lot of people who would much rather have the newer, simpler UI.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I see this as the rise of Linux on the Desktop

        This again? Ha!

        the fact that Microsoft has decided the Desktop is no longer relevant.

        I suggest people actually watch the keynote before running off at the mouth with uninformed comments. You can switch between the new "metro" interface and the standard desktop interface. Metro is an alternative to the desktop interface, it doesn't replace it. One is geared toward tablet like devices, the other toward desktop, but you have the choice to use either interface on either form factor. You can switch between the two seamlessly, and it appears to work surprisingly well.

        I n

        • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:52PM (#37390296)

          Metro is an alternative to the desktop interface, it doesn't replace it.

          When the OS boots up into a crappy phone interface which only gives you the option to switch to the desktop interface, and when the desktop start menu apparently switches you back to the crappy phone interface, that's a pretty damn good sign that Microsoft are abandoning the desktop.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by JRowe47 (2459214)
            When they're demoing the mobile interface, but then reveal that you can switch to a real desktop mode, they've gone a step farther than any other mobile OS has so far. I can't tell you how sick I am of Android not having easy task management or windowing. Assuming they maintain their API (which they will) and release an appropriate toolchain (which they will, with free tools too) then recompiling windows programs to target mobile devices will now be possible. Whereas in iOS or Android, almost everything ha
      • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:53PM (#37390324) Journal

        If Ubuntu can finish its LSD trip in time for the Windows 8 release and go back to being a solid desktop distro, this could be the best thing for desktop Linux since Vista.

        • 1991: Haha, Microsoft is moving to a GUI to dumb down their OS. Unix and its command line is going to destroy Windows!

          2011: Haha, Microsoft is offering a touch GUI to dumb down their OS. Linux and its windows are going to destroy Windows!

      • Have you seen the early reviews [thisismynext.com] for the Windows 8 tablets? The fact that there is a fan and exhaust port blows my mind. They need to be launching with tablet hardware significantly better than the iPad. The iPad specs for weight, durability, and battery life should be the minimum for what they are willing to launch with.

  • by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @01:57PM (#37389458)

    which should be the next good version, and if MS keeps to their historic release schedule, we should see sometime in 2014 to 2015. Not that long to wait really, since I'm sure Windows 7, which I find to be excellent, will tide me over while I wait.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Flyerman (1728812)

      Please, both with this version and 9, wait until it's actually out.

      They're both equally likely to be terrible.

    • by Arlet (29997)

      The problem is when your computer breaks during this interval, and the only new ones for sale come with Windows 8 pre-installed.

      That happened to me with Vista.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Even after Windows 7 went on sale it was possible to get a new PC with WindowsXP, if you couldn't figure out how, slashdot is not meant for you.

        • It's even easier than that (assuming you're talking about installing the OS yourself).

          I used to work at a software dev company that didn't officially support windows7 or any 64-bit version of windows really (They eventually managed to patch up their crappy software to work with win7 at least, although they still don't support 64-bit OSes last I checked). Because of this, they still recommended XP to everybody who called in asking what to purchase. Our standard response was "Call up dell, ask them to put XP

      • You don't have OS install discs for your OS of choice squirreled away somewhere? I thought every slashdotter did...

      • That's why you build your own and keep your OS disks.
  • Nope! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @01:58PM (#37389468)

    There's not a fucking chance I'm using that shitty windows phone interface.

    • Your still on DOS right? Or you have been using Linux for the past few decades...

      If you still use windows.
      You will at some point will need to make a choice and use outdated apps or upgrade to a new OS.

      If you take too long you will be the Old Man who doesn't know how to use the new stuff...

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Is there something wrong with the old man who doesn't use the new stuff? Is the new stuff actually better or merely new? Are the old apps inferior or merely old? If you think old stuff is awful then stop using them but don't bash your elders over it. And why are you using an ancient technology like slashdot anyway (I hope you're not using an archaic computer designed many months ago and are only using hip new tablets or phones to post).

    • Re:Nope! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Aggrajag (716041) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:32PM (#37390040)
      First thing I've always done with Windows is to enable current incarnation of the classic theme.
    • by Yunzil (181064)

      Really? because of all the smartphone interfaces I've tried, I like the Windows phone interface best.

      But my experience is limited to playing with the phones in the AT&T store and the Android phone one of my co-workers has.

  • Seems like the Windows/Star Trek "every other release" rule is still in play. This user interface will be horrible on the business desktop for people who actually want to get real work done. I wonder how many businesses will avoid Windows 8 and wait for 9 to come out?

    • by 0racle (667029)
      Those users will simply run the classic Windows 7 Desktop app, and probably find a way to automatically run that on login.

      9 will probably do the same thing, if not make it harder to run the Windows 7 Desktop.
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        and probably find a way to automatically run that on login.

        Which will be done the same way it is now, by changing a registry key. from metro.exe back to explorer.exe

    • by alen (225700)

      most business users have a few apps. MS office and a few corporate apps. business users are also the first ones to whine about desktop icons and shortcuts. this is a pretty good solution.

    • by RatBastard (949)

      My employer hasn't even moved to Window 7 yet.

    • Considering that many businesses are still on XP, I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see a lot of them hold on to XP until 9 comes out.

  • by drolli (522659)

    that there is a button to completely turn off metro and switch back to win2k-style menus (yes, i am doing that usually).

    • by Flyerman (1728812)

      "When you click on the Windows Desktop tile, you’re thrown back into the familiar Windows 7 desktop, with the Taskbar running along the bottom and the not-so-touch-friendly desktop icons of old."

      Obviously I can't speak for 2000 Start Menus, but I can't see it being impossible.

    • There is a button to go to the desktop, but I doubt they will let you turn off the Metro UI completely. Microsoft is essentially using windows 8 to force their way into the mobile market. If every user is suddenly familiar with the windows phone UI, and all of their applications suddenly work seamlessly with their desktop and the windows phone OS, then maybe that windows phone starts to look that much better.

      It is actually a rather brilliant move (not that I endorse it in any way) by Microsoft to leverage

  • Dear Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:03PM (#37389542)

    My Desktop PC is NOT a smartphone with a 22 inch screen

    Please dont treat it like one

    • Yes it is. Or at least it will be soon, whether you like it or not. Microsoft, Apple, Ubuntu and Gnome all say so.

      You'll just have to hope that KDE don't give in to this trend of phone/tablet interfaces on PCs.

  • Translation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poofmeisterp (650750) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:05PM (#37389586) Journal

    Quote from link: "Every screen needs to be touch. A monitor without touch feels dead."

    Response: Like everything developed by every company that wants to have mass market sales, it's humorous to NOT hear "It's what we've noticed as something very popular with other types of [technology] that eats up peoples' time and develops even further interest in buying. Mystery and slow revelation with additional hidden secrets is the key to fast up-front sales. We'll jump on the bandwagon, but it's something completely different from the norm! Buy it and you'll find out how!"

    Honesty is too painful to just throw out there, I guess. :)

    Not troll material or flamebait at all - It's just something I see constantly and I find it humorous. I may love Windows 8, I may hate it. Don't know until I use it.

    • by ryanov (193048)

      Yeah, because fingerprints all over my desktop screen full time is what I want/need.

      • by bryan1945 (301828)

        I use my tongue. Makes me feel tingly.

  • This version can actually mean the year of Linux on the desktop.

    If Windows XP had not lasted so long, or 7 had not come so soon, Ubuntu would have a non insignificant marketshare as of now

    Having the same interface from 4 inch to 40 inch screens --- I really dont see how they can make something that scales SO well, will wait and watch, but I have serious doubts regarding the success

    • p>Having the same interface from 4 inch to 40 inch screens --- I really dont see how they can make something that scales SO well, will wait and watch, but I have serious doubts regarding the success

      Isn't this what Ubuntu was trying to achieve with Unity and Gnome with Gnome Shell? The smartphone/tablet market is the one that's growing right now, so everyone's chasing those dollars.

      (Incidentally, I happen to like Gnome Shell and it seems to work well with large desktops and multiple monitors, so it seems like the goal is achievable.)

    • by Junta (36770)

      If Windows XP had not lasted so long

      Windows XP lasted (past tense may not be accurate, but oh well) as long as they needed it to. It's not like XP suddenly will 'stop working' no matter what MS wants. So a hypothetical MS OS flop just means they fix it for 9 and the world largely pretends 8 doesn't exist and MS will roll with that so long as it prevents other desktop OSes.

      • By lasted I meant security patches and driver support.
        Even 1-2 year old laptops seem to have Windows XP driver support.
        Though I agree that its more of a decision on the Laptop manufacturer than Microsoft, but the market support is there.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Sigh, still with this shit?

      Vista didn't fuck up bad enough to make it 'The Year of the Linux Desktop', nothing is going to.

      Until Linux gets some polish it will continue to be nothing but a sock puppet for political fanatics like Stallman and self serving 'developers' who can't be bothered with finishing features they start.

      • by Microlith (54737)

        No. Linux will never make inroads due to the immense legacy of software that requires Windows to run. Microsoft achieved their goal of a desktop that is completely unable to escape it.

        You, however, are just a hateful shit.

  • Metro is the default UI, but you can switch back to Aero Glass/Aero/Classic by tapping the Windows key on your keyboard. Metro isn't mandatory or forced on you on the desktop.

  • Essentially, they are following what Opera, Chrome, Unity, Android, and iOS have been doing for how long? And this is big news?
  • FTFA:

    Microsoft insists that the touch-oriented interface is suitable for any device, regardless of whether it has a touchscreen or not. "We envision an OS that scales from small form-factor, keyboardless tablets, all the way up to servers," said Windows president Steven Sinofsky, at a special press preview of the new operating system.

    What's more, the company believes that every device should have a touchcreen. "The UI is the same UI, whether you use a mouse, keyboard or touch," said Jensen Harris, director of program management for the Windows Experience. "Every screen needs to be touch. A monitor without touch feels dead."

    I, for one, don't want a server with this "Metro" interface and a touchscreen. I look forward to Windows 9, once Windows 8 is out of beta.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      'User Interface Designers' are clueless about what users actually want; news at eleven.

    • by Pop69 (700500)
      You've been able to get this since 2k8 Server with a server core install.

      I'm not above a little Microsoft bashing but you should at least do some basic research before you start trolling about haveing to use the GUI
    • by mlts (1038732) *

      This "Metro" Interface reminds me of the old IBM PS/1 machines back in the early 1990s. It had four huge buttons that you clicked on, usually you clicked the one that booted to DOS and went from there. This interface was a flop.

      Will MS screw up with this UI. Iffish, and time will tell. MS has been decent with new UIs, especially Windows 95 which pretty much set the standard for what people expect on a machine. Before that, it was clicking on a program manager, NeXT dock, or having your applications in

  • My first reaction is highly negative, but digging into it further, it doesn't look that bad. It'll bring up an icon display, you click 'explorer', and you're back at the standard mouse/keyboard windows UI. So my response is tempered to just slightly negative, in that there'll be one extra step during bootup.

    I'm sure it will be able to be configured to go straight into Explorer, and that's what everybody who runs 8 on a desktop will do.
  • Let me get this straight.

    I only looked at the first link but the first thing that jumped out at me was:

    The advent of Windows 8 sees Microsoft introduce a new style of application, dubbed Metro Style apps, and its own app Store. The Metro Style apps are run in full-screen mode, with no Windows taskbar or other menu items getting in the way.

    "Every single pixel of your beautiful screen is for your app," said Harris. "You're just immersed in the content."

    Ok, so there's two big things here. An App Store [apple.com] and a way to run applications in some sort of full-screen interface [apple.com].

    Hmm. I wonder where I've heard these ideas before.

    • Furthermore, from the article:

      Microsoft will sell both the new Metro apps and conventional desktop software via its own App Store. Indeed, that will be the only way you can get hold of Metro Style apps.

      Given what Microsoft already requires for Xbox Live Indie Games and Windows Phone 7, it'll probably be yet another $99 per year certificate for a developer to renew each year.

    • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:18PM (#37389842) Homepage Journal

      Hmm. I wonder where I've heard these ideas before.

      You heard of the app store first probably with some Linux distribution in the 1990s. You heard of full screen mode before you ever heard of any alternative, with nearly every post-dumbterm but pre-windowed platform (e.g. MS-DOS, C64, etc) since fullscreen was all they had.

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        You miss his point entirely - his point was not that Apple invented those concepts by any stretch of the imagination (hell, Classic and OS X were about as *far* from fullscreen as you could be in an OS), but that they released a new version of OS X very recently with those two features as key selling points.

        Very coincidental, I think?

        Either way it's a bit of a no brainer - it's Apple's attempt to streamline desktop computing to make it easy enough for anyone to use and there are a lot more users who want th

    • And more important (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:20PM (#37389866)

      Why the fuck would we want that on a desktop? Part of what makes a desktop system so useful is having multiple things open that you can switch between, position around, and so on. Right now I have my browser up on top of my primary window, but my e-mail client hiding behind it. I can see when new mail comes in. On my secondary monitor is the interface for our digital security system so I can watch over the cameras. There are a few other things loaded and running, but the windows are occluded at the moment. I don't want to be "immersed" in any of this shit. The ability to have multiple things going is why I like my desktop, it's why I have 4 cores, 8GB of memory and north of 4 million pixels of total display.

      I do not get this obsession with trying to make computers work like phones. No, bad idea. When I heard of what they were doing with Lion I said "What a horrible idea." Now MS is doing the same? What the fuck? How about you give me a phone interface on a phone and a computer interface on a computer?

      • by jimicus (737525)

        I do not get this obsession with trying to make computers work like phones. No, bad idea. When I heard of what they were doing with Lion I said "What a horrible idea." Now MS is doing the same? What the fuck?

        Must confess I'm using Lion myself and I'm not particularly convinced. Fullscreen works well when the app designer has thought about how their application will function in fullscreen. (Safari is OK, NeoOffice in its infinite wisdom thinks that when I say fullscreen, I mean "so full I can't easily change any formatting without switching out of fullscreen mode"). There's a number of other glitches that I won't go into or we'll be here all evening.

        In terms of MS doing the same, that's easily explained. The one

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        It's very simple - not everyone (in fact, I'd imagine that the vast majority of computer users) are like us, which is why the "Full Screen Richness" is optional. On Lion a full screen app doesn't have to be run that way.

        They have some tweaking to do (scrollbars really need their arrows back), but they have added an interface that makes the computer easier to use for dedicated tasks, and a way to easily get to them and swap between them.

        You're not forced to use it that way, but the option is there because no

    • Apple didn't come up with the idea of a centralized repository of software to choose from with a single market browser application. They just came up with the idea of charging money for it.

    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:24PM (#37389924)
      They are indeed mimicking Apple. And making the same mistakes, in my opinion.

      "Every single pixel of your beautiful screen is for your app," said Harris. "You're just immersed in the content."

      As I said [slashdot.org] when OS X Lion was released, I think this push towards full-screen apps is a move backwards. Yes, having the app fill the screen makes a lot of sense for smartphones and tablets, where screen/interface space is limited and you're typically focusing on a single task at a time. But on a desktop?

      The whole point of a multi-purpose desktop computer is to be able to do a myriad of things, and more importantly to combine all the various resources/applications together in powerful ways. I want to be able to have a web-page reference document open while I code something, or copy-and-paste something from a spreadsheet into a text document. I want to be able to cross-compare multiple graphs/images/whatever at the same time. To do all this, I need to be able to tile, stack, and move windows on my screen. Endless alt-tabbing just doesn't cut it.

      With desktop monitors getting bigger and bigger, fullscreen apps just don't make sense. Even maximized apps don't make sense: your mouse has to travel ridiculously far to get from content to controls if you make your app fullscreen on a 30-inch monitor. (There are of course times when you want a single app fullscreen; e.g. photo editing on a large monitor gives you a much better view of the content.) One of the main advantages of modern large monitors is the ability to have multiple apps open at once, without them blocking each other or being ridiculously constrained. Why are we throwing away these advantages?

      I'm fully aware of the cognitive science research on multi-tasking (specifically, that people are bad at it and that focusing on a single task for a longer period of time has big advantages). What I'm questioning is whether any non-trivial task can really be accomplished using a single application. We should be optimizing our user interfaces to maximize the efficiency and focus on tasks and workflows: not boxing ourselves into stripped-down full-screen apps.

      • by guruevi (827432)

        I agree that for some desktop applications (like web browsing) it's useless. However for some other applications like content creation (movie or photo editing) or consuming (video playback, video chat with presentations) it is nicer to have a full screen available as in your random video game so you're not distracted by your e-mail counter or other random things that happen.

        As you said, multitasking is hard and it's sometimes nicer to even work on a document or e-mail and simply have some type of solid, dar

      • I want to be able to have a web-page reference document open while I code something, or copy-and-paste something from a spreadsheet into a text document. I want to be able to cross-compare multiple graphs/images/whatever at the same time. To do all this, I need to be able to tile, stack, and move windows on my screen. Endless alt-tabbing just doesn't cut it.

        Note that Win8, unlike iOS or Android, actually lets you run Metro apps side by side. You do it by using the swipe-from-left-edge gesture, but instead of releasing the finger, you keep it down and drag the app thumbnail onto the edge.

        It's somewhat limited in that you can only handle two of them that way, and you always have one smaller window docked alongside one bigger one. On the other hand, the apps are expected to be aware of this mode, and adapt their UI to the situation when they're docked as "small w

      • by Mr Bubble (14652)

        Why does it have to be either or? People get so worried that everything is changing. It has been one way for ages and now there are other ways. I agree that it is cool, useful and necessary to have your apps all on screen and available, but there are definitely times when it is nice to have the option to work full screen - video editing, for example - something where you are engrossed in one thing and you don't want or need to see the clutter of the desktop and the other windows.

      • by Waccoon (1186667) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @03:03AM (#37395544)

        I think this push towards full-screen apps is a move backwards.

        Only for us who know better. Unfortunately, we are not the target market, anymore. All I see all day at work is people swishing their middle fingers around on their smartphones, and they seem to love all this stuff.

        From Firefox to Unity to Aero to Chrome to Ribbon to iAnything, everything released within the last 6 years has driven me nuts. I'm really trying to give this stuff a chance, but I just hate everything I come across. It was the obscure error messages and badly designed menus that confused people, not the taskbars, status bars, and maximize gadgets.

        What really frightens me is that the Linux community is heading in this direction, too. WTF?

  • by Vrallis (33290) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:09PM (#37389660) Homepage

    Just think about it... Microsoft has probably made the biggest improvement to their software in two decades... You can now reboot far faster than ever before! Just think about the time saved per week for your average Windows user!

  • If it really does work across Intel, ARM, tablet and desktop as seamlessly as the demos show, then I'm sold. I like the low memory usage on older systems and Metro will be a barrel of laughs. Downloading the public developer code when it goes live today (http://www.cmswire.com/cms/enterprise-20/microsofts-build-conference-windows-8-blowout-bldwin-012681.php)
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      From what I've read on that page, only HTML+CSS+Javascript apps will be compatible with both x86 and ARM.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        From what I've read on that page, only HTML+CSS+Javascript apps will be compatible with both x86 and ARM.

        Isn't this what we used to call 'a web page'?

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:17PM (#37389804)

    Can we refer to Windows 8 users as Metrosexuals?

  • So to make the most of the default new interface I would have to find some way of making my 32" HD monitor a touchscreen ?

    Did big touch screens suddenly become cheap when I wasn't looking or is this just a way to push tech for monitor manufacturers seeing as 3d TV isn't working sales as well as they thought ?
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @02:21PM (#37389886) Homepage Journal

    They say we'll be able to make "Metro" applications with HTML, CSS and Javascript. Does that mean we won't even need Windows to make Windows Apps?

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