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GUI Windows Technology

Replacing Windows 8's Missing Start Menu 396

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-me-something dept.
jfruh writes "The Start Button, which has offered Windows users quick access to important programs, folders, and configuration options since 1995 and has looked more or less the same for all that time, has been re-engineered beyond recognition for Windows 8, replaced by a Start Screen of colorful Metro tiles that greets the user upon startup. One big problem: once you enter Desktop mode to access non-Metro apps, you lose easy access to all the stuff you expect from the Start Button. This has given rise to something of a cottage industry for Start Button replacements, with multiple replacement utilities available even before Windows 8 officially arrives."
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Replacing Windows 8's Missing Start Menu

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  • how about (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:43AM (#41584371)

    replacing the missing Windows 8 with Windows 7 instead and just like, carry on with life?

    • Re:how about (Score:5, Insightful)

      by scottbomb (1290580) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:51AM (#41584475) Journal

      Exactly. Windows 7 is still very new and works wonderfully. I was happy with Windows 95 until 2001 when I finally got XP. Windows XP worked well until I replaced it with Windows 7 in 2010. There is nothing Windows 8 offers that make me want it. I'll pass.

      • Re:how about (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 2fuf (993808) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:32AM (#41584993)

        Windows editions are like vintage wine or Star Trek movies: they are alternating good or crap.

        Win 98 with all updates was great, Win ME sucked big time, Win XP is legendary, Win Vista is a mess, Win 7 is superb.

        Sooo, I'll be sticking with 7 until Windows 9 :-)

        • by Tim Ward (514198) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:41AM (#41585113) Homepage

          are alternating good or crap

          And Pink Floyd albums.

        • Windows 2000 and XP were both okay.

          I'm sticking with not using Windows any more.

        • Re:how about (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Smartcowboy (679871) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:00AM (#41585345)

          You don't recall correctly

          Windows 3.1 was not so bad but buggy
          Windows 95 was semi-good. got better with osr2
          Windows 98 was a big step backward. It got better only with SE
          Windows ME was uter crap. Actually I skipped this version because I used Win2k at the time.

          Windows 2000 was great. Probably the best Windows OS of all time.
          Windows XP sucked at first. It was basicaly a slower version of Windows 200 with a Teletubbies interface. It only got better with the various service packs.
          Windows Vista was as shitty as ME.
          Windows 7 is actualy Vista, but working.

          All in all, in the last 20 years, Microsoft released a total of only two good os: Win2k and Win7. A far cry from alternating between good and crap.

          • Correction:

            After Windows 2000, I switched to a MSDNAA version of Windows 2003 server for my personal computer and find it as good as Win2k and far better than XP. So I should say that MS released a total of two good consumer os.

            Now I'm a OS X user and not looking back. If someday I switch to something else, it will be Linux or FreeBSD.

          • by HAKdragon (193605)

            Vista wasn't really that bad post-SP1.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I don't understand why so many people consider Windows 2000 "the best OS of all time." Windows 2000 was so wildly insecure that it was responsible for the several of the worst virus/worm outbreaks of all time.

            • by toddestan (632714)

              I consider Windows 2000 to be the best release of Windows in the sense that at the time it was released, it was easily Microsoft's biggest step forward. Windows 2000 was a big improvement over NT4, but more importantly it was the first of the NT line that was able and ready to replace the 9x line for most people. That's what was huge about it.

      • Re:how about (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tarlus (1000874) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:55AM (#41585297)

        On top of that, Windows 7 will be supported until 2019, or later if Microsoft chooses to extend its life like they did with XP. That is plenty of time for us to sit aside while Windows 8 is refined for greater usability, or flops and is redeemed by an apologetic Windows 9.

      • Re:how about (Score:5, Insightful)

        by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday October 08, 2012 @11:35AM (#41586721)

        To be fair, Windows 8 under the bonnet is pretty damn good. Boot times, responsiveness, file copying, the task manager are significantly better on windows 8 than 7.

        It's just such a crying shame they saddled it with that godawful metro interface riddled throughout. I've been running it now on at least one pc since the original developer preview, but I've now got the RTM only on my gaming rig - metro is just so embedded (I see you haven't got a default app for that filetype - let's go look for a metro one on the windows app store! Ugh.) I still find it stupidly annoying, even after months and months. I *can* use it now, but I really don't want to.

        Even if you wedge in a start menu replacement, there's still fragments of metro left over, and it's just irritating, and more so the longer you use it. Such a shame; the rest of windows 8 is a real performance improvement over 7, and they finally fixed bulk file copying to actually *work*. There's no way I could roll it out to the end-users on the work network though. I'd get lynched.

    • by ls671 (1122017)

      Nope, what it is in realty is give a chance for startups to develop the missing functionality. Introduce missing functionality if needed. Watch them, buy them if interesting. It is much cheaper than to develop in-house and this has been going on for decades. Remember trumpet winsock? It could have been developed in-house at a greater cost. Yeah, I know Microsoft dreamt of their own internet back then but still, the root principle applies; do your R&D at other expenses as far as possible. I have to admit

      • by r1348 (2567295)

        Except they really didn't have to spend a dime on R&D for something that they developed in freakin' 1995.

        • by ls671 (1122017)

          Who knows, by removing said functionality, you may have a chance to buy up a startup that just re-invented the start menu in the most ultimate way and profit. Do you get the root principle now ?

      • Re:how about (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:46AM (#41585181) Journal

        You know? The funniest argument I ever heard against Linux back in the day was that you had all these wildly different desktops (GNOME, KDE, WM, XFCE, Fluxbox, etc...) and that Windows was supposedly superior because Joe Sixpack had a consistent desktop experience - Windows was Windows no matter where you went, etc.

        I wonder where those people are now, who were making that argument back in 1998... ?

        • by ls671 (1122017)

          Linux is great because we apply the root principle without profit concerns. Well, most of the time anyway.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:44AM (#41584381)

    You can still buy computers with Win 7

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:49AM (#41584451)
      For now. When Win 8 is available, will OEMs force it as the only choice or make consumers pay more for Win 7. Enterprises usually have separate licensing with MS and probably will not upgrade unless there is a need.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:45AM (#41584397)

    You might hate it, but you're gonna look really stupid if you don't know how to use Windows 8.

    • by flirno (945854) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:51AM (#41584477)

      No more than stupid than when people skipped Vista. In other words, no.

      You might hate it, but you're gonna look really stupid if you don't know how to use Windows 8.

      • by Big Hairy Ian (1155547) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:01AM (#41584577)
        Some of us have clients who use Vista so we don't really have a choice :(
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Half my family ended up with it. 'Hey I bought this new computer and...'

        You know what they *STILL* are using it. They do not care. Telling them otherwise is not going to make them suddenly drop 50-100 bucks on a new OS (remember all their stuff is windows and they know how to use it). Or even 'hey lets switch you out to...' is not going to fly unless I want to be 24/7 tech support for it. And that is a no also. Or 'hey lets buy a new computer' when the one they have still works...

        For vista do these th

    • doubtful, considering that most businesses wont move to 8 for at least a couple years, and theres a very good chance theyll skip if altogether and thats the only place where i would NEED to use windows 8. in the consumer world, within a few minutes of sitting down at a win8 computer, ill be able to figure out where everything i really need is at (and most likely how to switch to the non-metro mode, but considering that i avoid using other peoples computers where i can it probably wont ever be an issue. an
      • by ls671 (1122017)

        Businesses have started to skip releases after XP. Some servers are still running win2k.

        You are right then. As a side note, there will be a big market when they finally decide to upgrade. By the way win2k is still supported by Microsoft for corporate customers.

    • by ledow (319597) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:33AM (#41585001) Homepage

      Actually, as a tech guy, I rarely have to use the desktop installs I roll out except for internal testing. That's the user's job.

      And although we can all USE the new interfaces, they are diabolical to some of us to use every day for every program you run. Most users barely run a program or two each session. I have twenty open now and I'm winding down for the end of the day (I work in schools).

      I've lost count of how many times I've had to say to someone "I don't know, I never use that program, I'll find out". I might install it, support it, maintain it, debug it, deploy it, patch it and get it running on machines it's never supposed to. But I probably don't USE that program in my daily life very much at all (e.g. the finance programs, school reporting programs, etc.). That's for the users, for whom I can answer any problem if absolutely necessary (even if it means struggling against UI's and even personal user options that I hate) and can source external training for if need be.

      But the fact is that in my daily life, the new UI costs me time compared to the 20+ critical systems set up to use a much more basic and consistent UI than that Metro junk that DOESN'T try to tell me how I should work.

      God, I can't even use some people's desktop layouts or wallpapers they are so horrendous. It doesn't mean I don't support them and/or that I must use them myself on the servers and my own machines.

      I have yet to ever "learn" to use an OS before it's been out for a year or so. Hell, I've deployed and supported Windows 7 machines for years - and still my first personal machine with it on was this September. What *I* use has absolutely no correlation to what my *users* use, which has absolutely no correlation to what I support (which is much vaster in scope and more in-depth than any of them will ever touch - in comparison, a tricky way to start programs is the least of my problems, but one that's easily solvable when it does crop up by deploying Classic Shell, for instance).

      The new Windows 8 install we have planned for next summer? Guess what's loaded on it, and we haven't even seen the full OS out in circulation yet.

    • by jbonomi (1839286)
      There's nothing to learn. You might have to poke at it for 5 minutes before you're comfortable. I think this is not as big a deal as a lot of people think.
    • by na1led (1030470)
      That's true. Even if your work doesn't use Windows 8, some idiot user is going to install Windows 8 on their laptop, and they will come to you for support when something doesn't work right. Whether we like it or not, we have to be familiar with any OS we may have to provide support for. At my work, we mostly use Windows 7, but a few bring their Macs to work, and ask me to support their issues, I have no choice but to learn Macs because of this.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You might hate it, but you're gonna look really stupid if you don't know how to use Windows 8.

      You might hate the truth, but you're really stupid if you're familiar with computing and yet you can't figure out how to work on a new operating system within a few minutes.

  • My Stadegy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:46AM (#41584423)

    Stop Bitching and complaining about every change in technology and get use to the the Damn thing.

    I remember all the bitching and moaning about the Start Button when it was created. And now is is some God Sent UI that you can't live without.

    If you get get Windows 8. you will figure it out shortly and you are back to normal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For some reason, techies always seem to be the ones bitching the loudest about changes in technology - a field that exists only because of change. The funny thing is, it's just an endless cycle. They'll bitch about change N+1, but when it's time for change N+2, they'll bitch about how N+1 is the greatest thing since sliced bread and taking N+1 away is horrible. Then when N+3 comes, suddenly N+2 is fantastic, and N+3 is sheer idiocy. And so it goes.

      Come back in 20 years, and it'll be the same.

      • by phlinn (819946)
        Nah... it's just that we only like every other change. N is good, N+1 is just horrible, N+2 is good and fixes all the horrible things in N+1. This may only hold for windows versions... :p
      • Actually, the rule is people will fall under one of two major categories:
        loop_start:
        When change N+1 comes, they will:
        A) complain about how change N+1 breaks from change N, but will upgrade/use change N+1 because they are "forced to" by IT/parents/peers/contracts/compatibility with "others" and then go to loop_start
        B) refuse to upgrade/use change N+1 because of either mass hysteria because it doesn't work for a very vocal 1% of the target market even though it doesn't affect them or most users can't afford t

    • Re:My Stadegy. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EzInKy (115248) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:57AM (#41584529)

      How does hiding the "Start" button qualify as advancing technology? Isn't the motivation behind this related more to hiding what is behind the curtain than it is to exposing what is behind the curtain?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The start button is not hidden; it's just not visible. Microsoft tells you exactly where to find it the first time you log in. The charms bar is an integral component to the Windows 8 UI, and it's very easy to access. Not only that, there are at least 5 distinct keyboard and mouse shortcuts for accessing the start menu (windows key, ctrl+escape, win+C enter, click lower left corner, charms menu).
    • Re:My Stadegy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:59AM (#41584557)
      Wrong. Windows 7 was the product of 20 years of refinements in user interface design. Throwing it all out and starting over is ridiculous. It's an obvious ploy to force people to upgrade what is a perfectly functional piece of software already. Frankly, MS must do this if it wants to stay in business. The revenue stream is only there if they can force people to keep shelling out money.
      This time, it might not work. I'll stick with my windows 7 for now, and probably some flavor of Linux down the road (unless required to use Windows 8 for work).
      • Re:My Stadegy. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:08AM (#41585461)

        Throwing it all out and starting over is ridiculous.

        They didn't throw out all of Windows 7, just the start menu. I use Windows 8, and spend about 99% of my time on the desktop. As Windows 8 is almost a superset of Windows 7, Windows 8 can be used in exactly the same way as you used Windows 7..... that's pretty much what this article is all about. If you use Windows 8 like I do, you don't notice the difference until you restart the computer, or open the task manager, or copy a file, or connect a second monitor.... where you see some of the other tangible improvements of Windows 8.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      I've never liked the start menu. I never liked the whole concept of a bunch of shortcuts all in a single location that almost all point to a bunch of programs in a single location. Wouldn't it be simpler and more direct to just list the programs and doing the organization at the program level? Making a start screen do the exact same thing does nothing to fix that flaw, and really brings it back to the windows 3 interface. The "cool" thing about Windows 95 was that they managed to stick progman into a single

    • I remember all the bitching and moaning about the Start Button when it was created. And now is is some God Sent UI that you can't live without.

      Well, taking away one's ability to log out from the "classic" interface may have more to do with it than any special love for the UI.

      I don't work on Windows normally, but I've had to test some remote stuff for our students. I couldn't believe how annoying it now is to just LOG OFF from the classic interface - bring up the little pop-up slider on the right side (assuming it will actually come up, and assuming you already know it's there because there's no visual cue to let you know "hey there's this hidden p

    • by rroman (2627559)
      I don't agree. Microsoft changes the way the UI appears too often even if there is no reason to change it. Another example of this would be MS office. The UI changes with every version even though the old style UI, that is used in LibreOffice is good. If users were happy with the old interface, I don't think there is need to force the users to stop using it.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I remember all the bitching and moaning about the Start Button when it was created. And now is is some God Sent UI that you can't live without.

      it's true that there's a certain segment of people who resist change for resistance's sake. These are the people who kept using windows explorer as program explorer after we got a start menu. it's also true that the start menu was a big step forward in ease of use. Unfortunately, it's not clear that the !Metro interface is another one.

    • by Tarlus (1000874)

      If people didn't bemoan things like this then we would still be stuck with Vista.

  • Why not Microsoft ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gtirloni (1531285) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:47AM (#41584427)
    If many people can quickly create something that looks like a decent Win7 start menu, why can't Microsoft just do the obvious: leave the start button there? Or at least offer the option to re-enable it. It doesn't seem like a major support burden for them, does it?
    • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:54AM (#41584499)

      If you keep it, people will keep on using it. Windows 8 Goal is to get Laptop and PC manufacturers develop more tablets and touch enabled devices. If you kept the start bar, PC makers will keep on making normal PC's and slowly die away with other OS's like Android and iOS taking over.

      • by somersault (912633) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:10AM (#41584695) Homepage Journal

        Trying to force a tablet UI on a general purpose machine like a laptop or desktop is just as bad as trying to use a desktop OS on a tablet. Microsoft are pretty much ensuring that no matter what you try to use Windows 8 on, you get the worst of both worlds..

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          Microsoft are pretty much ensuring that no matter what you try to use Windows on, you get the worst of both worlds..

          FTFY... This has been said since at least the very early 90s.

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:56AM (#41584519) Homepage
      Because they've decided to push people toward Metro (or whatever they're calling it now). Probably so that they can try to horn themselves into the tablet market, as well as pushing people to using their own app store.
      • Would that be the idea behind it? Publish through the MS app store or have your application consigned to some invisible app purgatory. Or is it possible to distribute Metro apps outside of the MS app store?
    • by tgd (2822)

      If many people can quickly create something that looks like a decent Win7 start menu, why can't Microsoft just do the obvious: leave the start button there? Or at least offer the option to re-enable it. It doesn't seem like a major support burden for them, does it?

      It is there. Click in the corner where the start button used to be, and the start screen comes up. Hit the windows key, and the start screen comes up. Click an icon on that screen, just like in Windows 7, and it launches. Start typing, it starts searching just like Windows 7.

      The only change is that to see "All Programs" you need to right click now, instead of clicking on the "All Programs" pop-out.

      There's no real issue here, other than Slashdot wanting to stir the pot for ad revenue, and people spouting off

    • If third parties give you the option of decent free start menu replacement, why do you care whether Microsoft produces a first party version?
  • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:01AM (#41584581)
    Another question has yet to be answered: in Windows 8, is the BSOD [wikipedia.org] still Blue? I mean, losing the emblematic Start button is one thing, but if the BSOD disappears as well, users will be really disoriented...
    • by jmauro (32523)

      Yes, but it lost all the technical codes that would allow someone to debug why the error occurred (and prevent it from erroring in the future). Now it is just a simile face and a message that you're computer isn't working right now.

    • Dude, read till the end that wikipedia page that you linked to. There's even a smiley in 8.
      • by ifrag (984323)

        Dude, read till the end that wikipedia page that you linked to. There's even a smiley in 8.

        Wow... I'm sure that's going to help calm people down, now that they know the computer is sad about being crashed (actually a frowning face, it's not happy about it at least). Although if it was a :) that'd be even more hilarious.

    • by ledow (319597)

      Quite funny - it took me only three weeks to BSOD brand-new, recent, fully-patched installs of Windows 7 and Windows 8 RTM's without installing a single unsigned driver, a single dodgy app, doing anything vaguely stupid (i.e. trashing random memory using a C compiler or whatever).

      Once, it crashed because I right-clicked on a CD ROM drive. That was it. I performed no other action, nothing else unusual was running.

      The fact is that the BSOD should be as rare as a kernel panic in all non-hardware failures. I

      • by David_Hart (1184661) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:00AM (#41585347)

        Believe it or not, BSODs can occur due to bad hardware/firmware, not just drivers. While you may have installed industry standard apps and signed drivers, did you also verify that the firmware of your CD-ROM, BIOS, etc. were up to date? Also, bad memory modules, incorrect timing settings, and over-clocking can cause BSODs. I'm assuming that you were not overclocking at the time, so it sounds like your CD ROM drive may need a firmware update.

        The point is that BSODs are not random occurrences, there is usually an underlying cause.

  • The GNOME developers did the same thing with GNOME Shell (GNOME 3). With Windows 8, I was hardly able to do anything, and it took forever to figure out how to use it, nevermind trying to actually get back to the Start Screen. Immediate -1. GNOME Shell? It's different, but if it wasn't for the single "Activities" button, I probably would have been doing the same thing. Additionally, a list of favorite applications (such as you'd have in a dock, which is visually similar to GNOME Shell's "Dash" feature)
  • I tried, I really did, to use Win8 on the desktop both without Start Menu replacement and with one. I absolutely could not stand what felt like an unnecessary extra step between switching back and forth. I don't care if it works on a small touch screen, it doesn't work on my desktop, get rid of the extra step AND give me a Start Menu. - HEX
  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:24AM (#41584851)

    And that is really, to get rid of "legacy" apps entirely. I think Microsoft is pretty tired of having third parties (hence, the reason for the surface) and OEMs give their hard work a bad name. So what they are doing is introducing a new API (Windows RT) that requires "certification" (Minecraft didn't want to do this for whatever reason to "stick it" to Windows 8), which means that they require that if you have an app in Windows 8, it uninstalls *completely* and *cleanly*, among other performance indicators and things like that.

    Microsoft is trying to retake its OS, under threat of the web, Apple, Google, etc. Windows 8, far from popular belief on this site, is actually a really good OS -- better in many ways, than Windows 7 is. It's faster (by a LOT), it's smooth, and its extensibility and APIs are still very good. The experience between "Metro" and the "Desktop" however, is extremely jarring. While I've written (and been modded up!) in the past about how bad the transition between the desktop and metro are, and how much better they "could have" done things, looking at a variety of information since then and forming a new opinion leads me only to think that they don't WANT it to be better. They want it to be jarring. They want you to start hating desktop apps and going to their store so you can get crap-ware free apps, that uninstall FAST and CLEAN, that don't bog down your computer, and have the additional benefit of getting a cheap piece of hardware to put it into like a Dell/HP/etc rather than paying two times the price for an Apple product.

    Whether this is a good strategy or not, remains to be seen. Microsoft uses a LOT of data and telemetry to make its decisions in terms of UI design, API improvements, usability, etc. As much as I'd like to say that Windows 8 is just a boneheaded move, the performance of the OS is just too damn good to think that. And I know us here on Slashdot will revile the new UI and its use (though honestly, the loss of the start menu was no big loss for me as I adjusted to the new way in about 3 seconds). There are things that definitely need improvement even in the metro UI, but I feel we'll get that with a few patches.

    The bottom line is that Microsoft is tired of having an unfriendly "BSOD" image, and they want to take steps to nix that, even if it means alienating a whole bunch of developers. I think they feel that their platform is still better on the whole than OSX (and I'd tend to agree here), and developers will still flock. By Windows 9, you won't see any more desktop apps being released... and that's the plan MS is heading for.

    Just a warning before you flame me though, I'm not ENDORSING this idea, I'm simply stating that this is where I think MS is going.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      to get rid of "legacy" apps entirely

      No. They want a new legacy, same as the old legacy.

    • by djmurdoch (306849)

      They want it to be jarring.

      That's pretty believable. They did that back in the 90s with the "DOS box" terminal window: they changed the default colours that DOS actually used, to make them more saturated and jarring. (I forget if this was Win 3.1 or Win 95.)

      Who would want to keep using one of those old DOS apps with the ugly colours, when you could move to Windows?

    • And that is really, to get rid of "legacy" apps entirely. I think Microsoft is pretty tired of having third parties (hence, the reason for the surface) and OEMs give their hard work a bad name. So what they are doing is introducing a new API (Windows RT) that requires "certification"

      Utter bollox. The only reason MS is doing all this, is because they want a share of every sale of every software made for Windows, through their appstore. They don't, like they never did, give a flying supersonic shit about "third parties and OEMs give their hard work a bad name".

  • by NewWorldDan (899800) <dan@gen-tracker.com> on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:27AM (#41584901) Homepage Journal

    The start menu is still there. You just don't see the icon in the task bar. All the functionality of it is still there. The first level is for commonly used programs. It's a nice clean layout that's easy to customize. From there, you can call up the 'All Programs' section. That's not organized quite so well, but it works.

    There's no compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 8, but unlike Vista, there's no reason to actively avoid it.

  • by multi io (640409) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:48AM (#41585201)

    Replacing Windows 8's Missing Start Menu

    How do you replace something that's not there? Wouldn't you be *adding* it instead?

  • My view. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vistapwns (1103935) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:52AM (#41585249)

    Most of you will hate this, so fair warning.

    I love Windows 8. Let me tell you why. The start menu is supposed to be an efficient program launcher. Ok, so to launch programs with the start menu, you have to click the start button, click "all programs", click your app folder, then click the application to start it. That's 4 clicks. To start a program in Windows 8, I click the start screen area, then click the application, that's two clicks. That's a quantifiable efficiency gain. People have argued against this by referring to pinning apps to the task bar and desk top and the start menu pinned item lists.

    First, Windows 8 has the task bar and desk top, so it doesn't make sense to argue with those, if they're so good, use them in Windows 8 instead of the start screen. Two, I like the desktop and task bar clear of every thing, I never liked pinning items to the task bar because it makes it less efficient to determine what's running, I like to glance at the task bar and know everything there is running, where as in the past I have at times, in a rush, mistakenly thought something pinned was running and something running was pinned, which caused problems. The Desktop is a workspace that ideally should be clear of short cuts, as a user will do things like unzip folders there, and create many temp work files there, that need to be moved or deleted, which short cuts will get in the way of, and accidently removed. The start menu's pinned item list can only contain a few items (5 or so), so while they can be launched in two clicks you are severely limited in numbers vs. the start screen which can launch 40-60 apps in two clicks. What I like to do is unpin everything except my main apps/games, and a few metro apps I use, then group them and name the groups (minus button in the lower right.) A small action that makes things much better than the default.

    Visual recognition of large distinct icons is a much nicer way to launch programs, rather than reading folder names where often a folder name is not related to the name of the app you are trying to launch, if you have many apps it can be difficult to remember which app is in which folder causing quite a bit of digging.

    With the start screen, in addition to saving clicks versus the start menu, and being easier to find the program, you can have live tiles that give you a lot of useful information. I have an email counter, several news sites, calendar, upcoming events, and other things one click away. So why not stick with gadgets and other widgets and system tray notifications you are probably asking at this point? Well, several. Security, stability, and Power. Metro apps are run in a strict sandbox, they install and uninstall in isolated, clean fashion, so no installation or uninstallation of a metro app can corrupt the system, user data, or other metro apps, and they have strict requirements such that they can not use any CPU when not being used by the user, and very minimum system resource usage for notifications.
    Contrast this with some desktop apps I was running before to accomplish these tasks, my email program was using about .5% cpu at all times, randomly accessed the disk, and increased DPC Latency, and it was a relatively well behaved email tray notifier as I tried a few others. A small amount, but it adds up for many such items. And programs like that that you (or the average user) gets from the web, have free reign over your user account, even if you don't run as admin (and you almost always have to give them admin at least once to install), they can still steal any user account data and credentials from your browser. Metro apps, being tightly sandboxed, can't read or touch any other data in the user account. I find this to be pretty important, and imagine a huge boon to productivity if users get a lot of their system/productivity utilities from metro apps instead of downloading random programs on the web, where the security risk is much higher.

    Windows 8 has a lot of performance increases in it, like for real time audio

    • Re:My view. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iggymanz (596061) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:08AM (#41585465)

      nonsense, you can have all your favorite programs listed as soon as you click "start"

      the fact is microsoft has once again done "UI churning", making pointless changes just to "have something different". Like their insipid "ribbon", these changes only impede productivity and alienate the installed user base while adding nothing of value.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The start menu is supposed to be an efficient program launcher. Ok, so to launch programs with the start menu, you have to click the start button, click "all programs", click your app folder, then click the application to start it. That's 4 clicks. To start a program in Windows 8, I click the start screen area, then click the application, that's two clicks. That's a quantifiable efficiency gain. People have argued against this by referring to pinning apps to the task bar and desk top and the start menu pinned item lists.

      Yes, that's right. Pinning completely solves this problem. When I launch an app it rarely takes me more than two clicks, and if it does, I generally use the keyboard, and press the win key, then type a couple letters and find what I need in the list. Probably 99/100 times I launch an app it takes me no more than two clicks, and at least 1/10 times it takes only one click. So, this is total nonsense.

      The Desktop is a workspace that ideally should be clear of short cuts

      Says who? I want to be able to create shortcuts anywhere. Many people keep stuff on their actual desk, like a

  • I was forced into Windows 7 both at home and work. Yes, the Windows 8 not-a-start-menu is dumb, but the Windows 7 start menu is dumb too. Just get classic shell and get on with it. (Well, classic shell, a better file manager, a better search window, a better taskbar... all things that were necessary for Windows 7, too.)

  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Monday October 08, 2012 @09:53AM (#41585267) Journal

    Lot's of people kept using Program Manager anyway because they didn't like it. I wonder how many people still do now?

  • by PPH (736903) on Monday October 08, 2012 @10:59AM (#41586219)

    They could port MWM [wikipedia.org]to Windows. Then you'd have a root menu, configurable with all of your desktop apps, utilities and whatnot. No Start button needed.

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