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Microsoft Windows GUI Operating Systems Software Upgrades

First Looks At Windows 8.1, Complete With 'Start' Button 800

Posted by timothy
from the briar-patch-deliveries-incorporated dept.
Ars Technica has taken a look at Microsoft's newly released preview of Windows 8.1. As widely rumored, the point release features a clamored-for concession to Windows users who rankled at the loss of Windows' Start button in the taskbar. In addition to various tweaks to 8's search capabilities and icon presentation, says the article, "Some of Windows 8's obvious limitations are being lifted. In 8.1, Metro apps can be run on multiple monitors simultaneously. On any single monitor, more than two applications can be run simultaneously. Instead of Windows 8's fixed split, where one application gets 320 pixels and the other application gets the rest, the division between apps will be variable. It'll also be possible to have multiple windows from a single app so that, for example, two browser windows can be opened side-by-side." Similar reports on these changes at Wired, Engadget, and SlashCloud.
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First Looks At Windows 8.1, Complete With 'Start' Button

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  • Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:11AM (#43860249)

    What most of us wanted back was the Start menu, not just the Start button. Microsoft still doesn't get it: We don't want to see or interact with Metro, at all. Ever. It has no place on the desktop.

    • by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:12AM (#43860259) Homepage

      What I really want on Windows is a Stop button.

      • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:36AM (#43860545)

        BTW, is power off button still somewhere in Metro sidebar and its settings (well, since they didn't provide real start menu...)? How can that be considered ergonomic?

      • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Informative)

        by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:38AM (#43860581) Homepage Journal

        What I really want on Windows is a Stop button.

        Given how well hidden the "power" menu and logout button are in Windows 8, that might actually not be a bad idea...

        (To restart your computer, open the Charms Bar, go to Settings, and then hit the Power menu to reveal the Restart and Shutdown options. To log out, something you used to do from the same menu you shutdown and rebooted from, instead you open the Start menu, and click on your user name to open a menu you'd never guess existed.)

        • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Informative)

          by ultrasawblade (2105922) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:42AM (#43860643)

          I'm testing Windows 8 for a company that is likely going to be wise enough to skip it. But I keep using it just to maintain familiarity with it.

          Anyway, to sleep or shutdown, I've found it's easiest to just hit ctrl-alt-del and use the power button from there. It's what I've been telling people to do as well.

          Of course, my old Windows key + R, "shutdown -r -t 0" habit is well entrenched and used a lot too, from rebooting machines over RDP.

          • You're use of command line is strangely reminiscent of Unix. The very thing Windows was supposed to be better at, because one didn't have to know the command line to do common tasks. I guess nobody shuts computers down any more.

            • by IANAAC (692242)

              ... I guess nobody shuts computers down any more.

              Probably right. Nobody I know shuts their systems down. I certainly don't shut down my Linux systems unless I have to (although I restart Gnome - or outright kill it - regularly). It's a low power laptop, though, using less than 60W. I suppose if it were a huge desktop machine eating up 500W of power, I'd shut it down when not in use.

            • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:33AM (#43861357)
              Shutting down via command line when using RDP is the fastest method; otherwise you get into fights with the UI (and some versions of Windows don't give you a GUI option to reboot if logged in via RDP):
              Are you sure you want to reboot?
              Yes.
              There are other people logged in.
              I said Yes! That "other person" is my non-admin account!
              Please state the reason for the reboot:
              Operating System reconfiguration.
              Application Foo not responding to close request. Shutdown canceled.
              #$^*@!

              shutdown /r /t 0 /f just reboots immediately, no stupid questions asked
          • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Informative)

            by omnichad (1198475) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:35AM (#43861377) Homepage

            Try Win+I. That brings up a power option on the right.

        • Re:Not good enough (Score:4, Informative)

          by GregC63 (1564363) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:05AM (#43860943)

          ALT-F4 from the desktop gives you the power off/log off menu as well.

        • I installed classic shell. Now I have all the benefits of Windows 8 (eg, faster internals, hyper-v, multi language display/input) and the start menu back. power off, restart, logout are all there.

      • if you create a batch file with
        shutdown /s /t 0
        as the contents you can even give it a nifty Stopsign icon

        please be aware [color=red][style=blinking]THIS WILL BE AN IMMEDIATE SHUTDOWN NO WARNING[/color][/style]

        if you want a warning set /t to say 30

        full details at http://pcsupport.about.com/od/commandlinereference/p/shutdown-command.htm [about.com]

    • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:21AM (#43860363) Journal

      ...don't use any Metro apps. You're not forced to, apart from some initial app-pinning perhaps. Apart from that you can happily live in Windows 8, enjoy the extra speed and UI enhancements and never see metro again. Happy days!

      • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:27AM (#43860425)

        Except that this new "Start" menu takes you into the Metro start screen.

        Staying out of Metro would be a lot easier if Microsoft gave us back the ACTUAL start menu.

        • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:33AM (#43860513) Journal

          2 options: if you're a heavy start-menu user for some reason, there's plenty of OSS packages to revive the old menu. Like really, in less than 60 seconds you can have it back. Second option; pin programs to the start bar or desktop. Neither one is a big deal and against this small downside (for some) you have smaller memory footprint & a faster OS on almost all metrics. I find it incredible that self-confessed geeks have such an issue with this very small speed-bump that actually benefits many others who use it.

          • by Windowser (191974) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:42AM (#43860647)
            third option : move to a better/faster/more secure OS : OSX or Linux.

            I find it incredible that a self-confessed geek is having an issue with people pointing at Microsoft's HUGE mistake.

            Why is it so hard for them to NOT FORCE US into their Metro crap ?
            • by DoctorBit (891714) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:01AM (#43860899)
              Because if users aren't forced to use Metro, then developers won't have to develop Metro apps, and then Microsoft won't have many apps available for download to their unpopular Windows Phone. Microsoft is trying to use its desktop OS monopoly to muscle into the relatively new phone market.
              • by Luckyo (1726890) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:16AM (#43861109)

                The problem is that this is obviously not working. At all. And as that strategy unravels, they have to start handling the fallout from throwing their desktop OS under the bus to save the phone one.

                Hence, these moves. They want to see how much of a lifeline from desktop to metro they can keep going before people start rejecting their metro on desktop.

              • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @12:05PM (#43862539) Homepage Journal
                The problem with Windows these days is that everything they change about has an immediately obvious reason as to why the change will benefit Microsoft (or at least they hope it will) and often has little or no benefit to the customer. Metro? It serves no purpose other than to try to create a market of apps from which MS can skim 30% off the top like Apple. Metro also allows MS to do less work because it can be used across different platforms, despite only being (ostensibly) appropriate for a small fraction of them. Microsoft has always tried to work towards the goal of one gargantuan monolithic OS that runs on all hardware, despite the fact that that has never been a good design strategy and probably never will be. Apple never fell into this trap and Linux succeeds by being a rock-solid incredibly flexible _kernel_ but not foisting a massive and bloated application layer on everything from a phone to a supercomputer. I can appreciate that Microsoft wants to maintain their revenue while having to do as little work as possible, but that seems to be the only thing criterion driving any of their designs any more. The business of propping up the monopoly they created in the 80s and early 90s is running out of steam. Some day, they might realize it.
            • Why is it so hard for them to NOT FORCE US into their Metro crap ?

              I think Microsoft really bet the farm on the Surface. With tablets outselling PCs, they think it's the future. This crap is part of the gamble.

              See, they had been advocating the "tablet PC" since the XP days, with no success. Suddenly the iPad was huge, and they think: "We were right all along, people want tablets. We just have to push for ours harder." Well, fine. But their idea is that putting the same interface everywhere will get people to go for whatever system with which they are familiar. Gee, then why was no one interested when they did those awful tablets with XP?

              The system itself was the problem, twice: as they just put a full desktop OS on a portable, not a slim one like Palm or Newton, the hardware had to be a full notebook PC with some touch junk tacked on. So it was expensive, heavy, and ran hot. Now, the Surface remains expensive, but it is light and runs cool enough, right? But the other problem was the fact that XP's interface was not adequate for tablets. So this time they are smart enough create this new interface, purportedly good for tablets. Meaning it is no longer adequate for the desktop. And they put it there anyway. Same mistake, only backwards.

              And how did that familiarity thing work? Well, they changed everything, so nobody was familiar with Windows 8 anyway!

              Apple knew better: different devices need different interfaces.

          • by ausrob (864993) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:58AM (#43860853)
            Really? You find it incredible that self-confessed geeks would have a problem with being forced by a Microsoft design decision into losing what some people seem to consider to be fairly core usability functionality, which has existed harmoniously for over 15 years?

            It's beside the point that OSS solutions exist - it's the principal of the matter. What's so hard to understand that people might not like having changes like this forced upon them? Some people may prefer not having to using third party code to restore this functionality, while others may not be able to apply OSS options because they lack the ability to update their standard operating environment (e.g. corporations, government workstations etc).

            One of the major points of difference between Microsoft operating systems and others is that in most cases power users have the ability to heavily customize the Windows operating system (and other Microsoft products) without necessarily having to resort to third party code. What's so difficult to understand about that?
          • by GReaToaK_2000 (217386) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:14AM (#43861081)

            Here's the thing.
            Metro UI sucks just as much as the window system Ubuntu and many other linux distributions have 'glommed' onto. It's all Mac like and I personally don't like it.

            I preferred the windows 7 design. Oh and the whole "it's (win8) smaller and faster" is crap! I finally got windows 7 installed on my hp 2000 notebook and that was tough because hp didn't want me to do it, but they finally "allowed my downgrade". Now my notebook is fast and awesome!

            I like my windowed layout. I have my applications laid out a certain way when coding and I hate the way Metro UI fights you at every step of the way to do this. They want to force you to have one app visible at a time. They started this on Linux with Gnome3, which is why it sucks so much. I can't stand the layout there either.

            The only way I even remotely get what I want (in the linux realm) is to use CentOS. Not even fedora is good anymore.

            I don't know who came up with it or why but it sucks.

            • Metro UI sucks just as much as the window system Ubuntu and many other linux distributions have 'glommed' onto. It's all Mac like and I personally don't like it. [...] The only way I even remotely get what I want (in the linux realm) is to use CentOS.

              My solution to the Un(usabil)ity that Ubuntu 11.10 forced on me was to switch to Xfce. In Ubuntu, it's as easy as connecting to the Internet and running sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop.

          • by linebackn (131821)

            there's plenty of OSS packages to revive the old menu. Like really, in less than 60 seconds you can have it back.

            Which is great for a few personal machines that are under your control, but when you have to deal with larger numbers of machines, or machines that are not under your control, installing third party software or making significant changes to system options is not feasible. In fact, you can easily get in to big trouble for doing so.

            A proper "start" menu is something a large number of people need an

        • In the time it took you to think up, type and submit the above post, you could have installed any of a dozen excellent start menu replacements (most are free). You can choose everything from Win 7 Start menu clones to entirely new and innovative designs with lots of options. Most of them include an option to boot directly to the desktop.

      • ...don't use any Metro apps. You're not forced to, apart from some initial app-pinning perhaps. Apart from that you can happily live in Windows 8, enjoy the extra speed and UI enhancements and never see metro again. Happy days!

        While I think it's idiotic that we have to do this, he's right. I set up my laptop in this manner and it's not really that bad. The ability to arrange my icons (to proper desktop apps) in the start screen is actually nice and it does feel markedly faster.

        My only real complaints since getting it set up are:
        1. I still have to stop and think to remember how to restart the thing.
        2. Changing settings can be a nightmare since many things point you to the metro config apps instead of a proper control panel, et

    • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Informative)

      by Striikerr (798526) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:22AM (#43860379)

      Agreed. My company refuses to switch to Window 8. I suspect that Windows 7 will be the new Windows XP for years to come (if you need to run Windows in your environment, it will be Windows 7). The issue with Microsoft is that they went about this wrong. They forced significant changes upon users where changes were not really warranted. This is particularly a big issue in companies where users are accustomed to working on the same style of desktop etc. These are people that complain when an icon is moved on their desktop or get confused with minor changes to applications so a full UI overhaul in the corporate space was truly a bad idea and one which will cost Microsoft dearly in the years ahead. Giving options to use their new interface components is a better approach (one which Apple has taken with their desktop OS via the Launchpad which brings up pages of icons representing applications to launch, identical to their IOS devices). I understand that Microsoft sees the writing on the wall and that mobile devices and operating systems is the future source of revenue, but dumping these changes so suddenly upon the masses was a bad decision.

      I've never been a fan of seeing the significant UI changes made each time a new version of Windows is released. I have worked on Windows servers for years and really hated the changes introduced with Server 2008. I still need to figure out where certain functions are when I have to work on a Windows server (I spend much more time on Linux servers now). I've heard similar complaints from friends who work in IT as well.

      • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

        by grantspassalan (2531078) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:50AM (#43860761)

        What does Windows 8 do for any user without a touchscreen that Windows 7 won't? As a matter of fact, much of what normal users do can also be done on XP. The way people interact with mobile touchscreen devices is fundamentally different than on an ordinary desktop or laptop computer. Apparently, Apple has understood this, but Microsoft has not yet figured it out. A Swiss Army knife might be fine for camping, but has no place in any kitchen especially one of a restaurant.

      • "I understand that Microsoft sees the writing on the wall and that mobile devices and operating systems is the future source of revenue, but dumping these changes so suddenly upon the masses was a bad decision."

        Suddenly has nothing to do with it. People didn't want these changes at all.

        While it may be true that mobile will be the future of most computing, Microsoft and other OS vendors (I'm looking at you Apple, and Ubuntu while we're at it) NEED to understand these things:

        (1) The desktop isn't going away anytime soon. Especially for power-users like developers, who -- like it or not -- are the OS makers' bread and butter. The OS is only as good as what it will run... and how well. Recent "dumbing down" of

      • by TheLink (130905)

        With all those billions of dollars and thousands of smart people why couldn't Microsoft have actually helped us with something like this:
        http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/29001/ [ubuntu.com]

        Or this:
        https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/156693 [launchpad.net]

        Instead they come up with Metro...

    • Metro should be able to run in a window on the desktop

    • Re:Not good enough (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:52AM (#43860777)

      That's actually a minor point for me. I don't really care if the Start Menu takes up 1/4, 1/2, or the whole screen. What I hated most, they addressed:
      1. The way I launch apps and control panels is to hit the Windows key and then start typing the name. Win 8 broke this (except for apps). Now it works again!
      2. You had to hunt all over the place to find settings. Some were in the "charms", some in the control panels. Now they have (almost?) everything in the charms.

      I did not see whether they address the Metro apps just quitting by themselves when in the background, so I guess I will still just avoid running Metro apps. I would also like to shrink the size of the individual app buttons. Classic Shell is of course still an option. I still don't like all of the magic corners and gestures, but I've mostly learned those. Besides, if Windows was easy they'd be Apple - I'm very accustomed to struggling with MS products at first, it's a great custom that harkens back to the wonderful days of .ini files.

      • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Junta (36770) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:10AM (#43861027)

        I did not see whether they address the Metro apps just quitting by themselves when in the background

        I'd be exceptionally surprised if they change this. That was an intentional design goal with a lot of effort in it. It's infuriating as it is bringing over one of the worst aspects of android and ios, piss poor multitasking. The thinking being that 'task management' is scary and if an app developer goes through some hoops, they should be able to restore state if killed. In practice, developers are too lazy to properly handle that use case and a task switch away and back might get you back where you were or it might start the application over without any persisted state depending on the effort of the developer and hard to predict decisions by the platform whether to suspend it or kill it.

        The major goal, of course, to automatically guess what the user would want and 'save' them from having to close apps when memory is in short supply. The 'SIGSTOP' in background is annoying enough, but is marginally more defensible in the name of saving power.

    • by westlake (615356)

      What most of us wanted back was the Start menu, not just the Start button.

      Not here.

      The Start menu quickly becomes cramped, unreadable and unmanageable. I have left it behind and I am not going back.

    • Metro interface on Windows server 2012.
  • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:14AM (#43860279) Journal

    Give users the option to use your terrible Metro interface or have a standard Start menu. What's so hard about that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:16AM (#43860303)

    Wow, windows side-by-side! Adjustable, even! Soon they'll come up with dragable frames around each app. Plus, they added a Start menu. I can't contain my joy at this innovation.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:20AM (#43860343) Homepage

    Metro apps can be run on multiple monitors simultaneously. On any single monitor, more than two applications can be run simultaneously. Instead of Windows 8's fixed split, where one application gets 320 pixels and the other application gets the rest, the division between apps will be variable. It'll also be possible to have multiple windows from a single app so that, for example, two browser windows can be opened side-by-side.

    I haven't seen Windows 8 yet, but if this is what they've built, I'm not surprised people have been avoiding it.

    Wow, more than two applications running on any single monitor, welcome to X Windows from 30 years ago.

    Was the interface really that broken?? This doesn't even sound like it's a usable environment.

    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Informative)

      by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:28AM (#43860435)

      Was the interface really that broken?? This doesn't even sound like it's a usable environment.

      The Metro interface is basically a mediocre clone of the iOS/Android interface. It's OK for tablets and smartphones, but an absurd joke on the desktop.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:32AM (#43860489)

      Those are only for Metro apps. I've been using Win8 at home for a while, and frankly it feels just like 7 now. My main use for the start menu on 7 was to open it and start typing the name of the app that I wanted. The Start screen in 8 functions the same way, only I hit the Windows key on my keyboard instead, which is faster anyway. Methinks the start screen is just a highly visible rallying point for people to whine about Windows.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:34AM (#43860515)

      How can they even call that "Windows"?

      At least take out the plural. "Microsoft Window 8"

    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Informative)

      by socrplayr813 (1372733) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:40AM (#43860609)

      That's referring to the 'Metro' touch screen style apps. Desktop apps still work the same as they always did.

      Basically, yes, it's broken, but more because it's harder to get to the old config screens and such that you're used to. Once you're set up, it's not that different.

      • by bobbied (2522392)

        It's *not* the same in many cases. Double click to open something and you are likely to be dropped in to a single screen metro app by default. Everything they do is pushing you to the metro "One screen, One app" interface which is NUTS... I am accustom to running multiple windows on multiple displays, the IDE running a compile over there, a word document that has the software requirements, Outlook showing me the latest E-mail from the boss and a browser window open to some technical documentation I'm ref

  • by jbernardo (1014507) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:21AM (#43860359)

    So, Microsoft brings back the start button but forgets the start menu. Looks like something done just to shut up the complaints, instead of listening to their users and delivering what they really wanted. Of course, they can't be seen backtracking and admitting that TIFKAM is as much of a success in the desktop as it is on smartphones...

    To that, we have all the extensive integration with bing and skydrive which could/should be considered another abuse of a monopoly position. Personally, both of the services are worthless to me, but if could replace them with Google, and dropbox/copy/google drive, like I can do in android, then it might be useful. In fact, an Android style approach might get Microsoft out of monopoly abuse...

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      To that, we have all the extensive integration with bing and skydrive which could/should be considered another abuse of a monopoly position.

      I doubt most of Microsoft's corporate customers are thrilled with the idea of "cloud" garbage which they don't control being built into the OS by default. Hopefully the SkyDrive crap can at least be turned off through group policy.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:23AM (#43860381) Journal

    I can never quite shake the dissonance associated with the fact that the OS called 'Windows' has always had fairly shit window management and now seems hellbent on making it worse(Gosh, why wouldn't a UI designed for 10' or smaller touch-tablets be a bad idea on a dual-head desktop? I sure can't think of any reasons...)

    • 4", 10", 21" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:33AM (#43860511) Homepage Journal
      Part of the problem is that tablet makers have taken a UI designed for 4" phones and shoved it onto 10" tablets. Why can't most tablets run two or three phone apps side by side?
    • I suspect it's not dissonance as much as stubbornness. I think the master plan has been to get all their Windows desktop users to use Metro by force so that they'll be familiar with it when they buy tablets and smartphones. With the latest revolt, they are not retreating but falling back to a second position.
    • by splutty (43475)

      You have a 10' tablet? WOW!

      How do you work with that, some sort of full body contact thing? Twister based?

      Or more along the lines of Dance Dance Revolution?

      I can see it now: Man I'm tired, I've been entering stuff in Excel 2018 all day, my legs hurt!

      (Sorry, I couldn't resist ;)

  • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:23AM (#43860385)
    That's a relief. To shutdown, users had to " Mouse to Top right > Settings > Shutdown ". Soon they'll be back to "click Start" to "Shutdown" - and whatever you think of that, that's even more intuitive and consistent that the "new" metro style...
    • by Cassini2 (956052)

      From a design review: "I don't like pressing Start to stop things. There should be two buttons: Start and Stop. Where would you get the idea that pressing Start to Stop was a good idea? (looks at down computer) Oh, from Windows, ..."

      Non-obvious stop functions are a bad idea, and this becomes very obvious when dealing with expensive and dangerous machinery. Many safety standard bans require obvious stop buttons. Critical functions should be obvious and easy. When the stop button is non-obvious, it p

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:37AM (#43860553)

    Why bother upgrading?

    • Because win 7 will wont last for ever and glass touch screens are not a good replacement for mouse and keyboard in many office job types of work.

  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:39AM (#43860597)

    People are going to hate me, but I kind of dig Windows 8.

    Part of this may be due to having a touch-pad input device and a 27" monitor @1440 resolution.

    Don't get me wrong... I think it's BEYOND stupid how they've hidden the "Shutdown / Restart" functionality. And I think they should make Metro and the new start menu optional because some people were obviously going to not like it (for valid reasons). Kind of like how Glass was optional in Windows. And there are a lot of down-sides in general.

    But I like the new start menu. Since Windows XP/7/whatever I've like the condensed start menu with my commonly used apps with the option to expand out to the full list. Click once for the condensed list, twice for the full list, or search for what you want. Which is exactly what Win 8 does, only the lists take up the full screen and searching is one more click than before.

    Obviously there are a bunch of down-sides: low info density, highly GPU intensive, etc. But I like it. I think the new UI is different, which is good. We've been using the same interface since Win95.

    Meanwhile, on the desktop side, I like the various changes they made to the desk-top aspects. The ribbon on Explorer, though some of my friends hate it. The new Task Manager. etc.

    Ultimately, you can't really fault someone for "liking" something. Some people like Britney Spears, some people hate her music.

    But I'm sure either way, this post will get modded down to oblivion.

    • by linebackn (131821) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:34AM (#43861367)

      I think the new UI is different, which is good. We've been using the same interface since Win95.

      Changing things for the sake of change is not good. I see you are still speaking English? Why don't you start using that "new" Esperanto instead? If you don't, then you are doing things the oooooooolllllld way.

      The Windows 95/NT 4 user interface, was - unlike Windows 8's - well researched, very solid, and very usable. Most of its "flaws" came from application developers not using it right (such as cluttered Windows 3.1 style program groups in the Start menu)

  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:48AM (#43860725) Homepage Journal

    "We also added the ability to take pictures with the built-in camera right from the Lock screen without having to log in."

    This is a XboxOne feature, the video and microphone will always be on so it can greet you when you walk into a room or able
    to take voice commands. The privacy issues should be obvious for a company like Microsoft.
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-05-24/news/ct-met-kass-0524-20130524_1_drone-attacks-xbox-one-jeff-henshaw [chicagotribune.com]

  • by Necron69 (35644) <jscott.farrow@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:49AM (#43860731)

    It's like 1991 all over again. Do I have to install Trumpet WinSOCK to connect to my ISP?

    Seriously, it feels like Microsoft has forgotten why they called the damn OS 'Windows' in the first place.

    At work, we just finally upgraded to Windows 7 a few months ago. Microsoft still has plenty of time to fix more things before IT even considers Win8.

    - Necron69

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @09:49AM (#43860745)
    "In Windows 8.1, the Search charm will provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources (the web, apps, files, SkyDrive, actions you can take) to provide the best “answer” for your query."

    So Windows Vista had a passive indexer that killed your hard drive speed and didn't include system settings like "screen saver" as results. Windows 7 indexed locations in realtime and included system settings and was absolutely flawless. Windows 8 split it into 3 vague categories so you have to click multiple times to find what you're looking for and the prompt you start typing in is actually far off the screen completely to the right. You have to just know it's there. 8.1 arrives and now we get a possibly re-combined search but then you get web results from a search engine that nobody wants to use. Yay! I know when I'm looking for my resume, I definitely want to sort through a billion bullshit Bing web results about resumes before finding my resume.doc file. What a pathetic attempt to force people to use a garbage service. I hope Europe sues their asses off. This alone is going to force me to keep boycotting Windows 8 and 8.1 at my computer repair and sales store.
  • by houbou (1097327) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:01AM (#43860887) Journal
    My Windows 7 is configured to look pretty much like Windows 98.

    I disable of all these shadows, nice borders, etc. Why?

    Because it's not necessary and takes away from your PC's resources.

    In Performance Options all I keep are Smooth Edges of screen fonts and Smooth scroll list boxes. The rest is just fluff.

    I even disable all the desktop backgrounds.

    And Windows 8 or 8.1 should offer the same capabilities.

    The use of a PC isn't and shouldn't be the same experience as that of a mobile device.

    And it's not like I don't have resources I have an Alienware with 16 GB of RAM.

    But I work with my PC and I use it extensively and I would rather have more performance on my PhotoShop or NetBeans.

    I don't use a PC because I want to have fun, I use it for productivity.

    And IF I do want to have fun, it's not the bloody OS that is going to amuse me, but the games I can play on it.

    So even for the same of games, a lean and optimized installation and configuration of Windows is always best.
  • by Zarhan (415465) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:12AM (#43861063)

    We've just been handed out workstations with Windows 8 in them. My productivity has plummeted. Lots of really small things.

    Start menu isn't one of them, not really. Classic Shell is available and works most of the time. However, there are lots of small snags, that individually wouldn't matter, but since they are *all* present I'm really avoiding the use of the new WS at all costs.

    1) The desktop interface doesn't allow for proper, colored themes. I've been able to patch things somewhat with UXPatcher from http://www.syssel.net/hoefs/software_uxtheme.php?lang=en [syssel.net] and an appropriate theme from Deviantart, but I still think it's ugly. I cannot customize colors anymore, the title bar text is ALWAYS black.
    2) Title bar text is centered. I know that it's centered on e.g. Mac OSX, but it's not been centered in Windows since Win 3.1. I have lost lots of working hours simply because I've alt-tabbed, and my typical quick glance at the top left of window doesn't give me confirmation that I'm at the correct window causes problems. At least, it takes time for me to move my face to center of each title bar. At worst, it leads to lost work - I've already once started to configure wrong server.
    3) Application associations are to Metro apps by default.When clicking a file on the desktop, why the hell does Windows think I want to launch a Metro app?
    4) At some point I somehow managed to launch the Finances application. Suddendly my screen is full of stock tickers. I don't know how to close it. Alt+f4 doesn't work. Esc doesn't work. Finally, Win+D seemed to work. I still don't know why that app started.
    5) Most of the desktop effects that seemed to work fine in Win7 doesn't work with my RDP client from Linux machine (krdc). Sometimes I can't even see the pointer (taking cursor shadows off seem to help)
    6) It's slow. Reboot seems to take like 5 minutes.

    I'm not particularly worried though. On the desktop, Windows 7 will stay prevalent for ages.

    However, on the server side, Windows Server 2012 has similar problems in it's UI (well, no Metro, but...)

  • by Gordo_1 (256312) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:26AM (#43861269)

    Anyone remember that phone? That's the one where Blackberry (RIM) decided to get in on the touchscreen craze by building a phone that tried to bridge the gap for users who preferred physical keyboards. In response to physical keyboard users who clamored for tactile feedback, they made the whole screen click when you pressed hard enough.

    At the time, I thought to myself, "no, you idiots, an entire screen that clicks doesn't provide the same tactile feedback as individually raised keys that click under your fingers. What were you guys thinking when you came up with this partial solution to the wrong problem?"

    This time around, I'm thinking to myself (and the Slashdot community), "no, you idiots, adding a start icon to the desktop so that users can get to Metro doesn't address the underlying problem that Metro is not appropriate on non-touchscreen desktop PCs. What were you guys thinking when you came up with this partial solution to the wrong problem?"

  • by drolli (522659) on Thursday May 30, 2013 @10:27AM (#43861279) Journal

    Windows 7 was a real step forward. A true sucesssor to XP. BTW. XP is still a perfectly fine OS. It runs fine with less than 2GB of HD and 256MB of ram (in a VM) and just works. Unless something forces me to use windows 8, i will switch to WIndows 7 when the XP support runs out an hope that 8 will be a lesson on what customers want in the same way Vista (shuffle features in the users back which are *just not ready*) or Windows 2000 (too little, too late) was.

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