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GUI Windows Technology

Aero Glass UI No More On Windows 8 426

New submitter closer2it writes with news of interface changes in Windows 8. From the article: "Microsoft has revealed that it has made some big changes to its desktop UI for Windows 8, which includes moving away from Aero Glass — the UI first introduced with Vista. According to the company, this means visual changes that include 'flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distracting gradients.' Despite all of these changes with the interface, the company doesn't appear to be worried about the issue of 'learnability.' Instead, Microsoft believes that with a little help it won't take long for users to adapt to the new operating system."
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Aero Glass UI No More On Windows 8

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  • by gagol ( 583737 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:19AM (#40050971)
    more walled garden... still not enough to make me leave my Linux freedom that I enjoy so much.
    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      At least they scaled back the window borders a tad, I thought the borders were unforgiveably large.

      However, the window borders still look pretty gigantic compared to other platforms. At least the Aero look helped mitigate the borders by making them translucent, though that wasn't much of a comfort.

      • Re:Less eye candy (Score:5, Informative)

        by maitai ( 46370 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:39AM (#40051065) Homepage

        There's an option in Windows to adjust the border width (it defaults to 4 but can be lowered all the way to 0).

        Appearance -> Window Color -> Advanced appearance settings.. -> Border padding

        • There's an option in Windows to adjust the border width (it defaults to 4 but can be lowered all the way to 0).

          Appearance -> Window Color -> Advanced appearance settings.. -> Border padding

          Control Panel->Appearance and Personalization->Personalization->Window Color and Appearance->Advanced appearance settings.. -> Border Padding Default was 5 on my machine

          • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @11:03AM (#40051209) Homepage Journal

            To sell more Macs.

          • Or you could could select "Windows 7 Basic" theme and get what pretty much amounts to the Windows 8 theme. It's what I use all the time on Windows 7. I just think it's alot nicer. It has the best bits of the classic interface with the new features of Aero.
            The screenshots of the Windows 8 interface don't seem to have the rounded corners of 7 (Aero or basic) but do seem to have the right-on-the-edge title bar buttons of Aero (that basic omits)
            Win8 looks like something between Aero and Basic, I wonder if they'

            • Re:Less eye candy (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2012 @11:34AM (#40051393)

              Or you could could select "Windows 7 Basic" theme and get what pretty much amounts to the Windows 8 theme. It's what I use all the time on Windows 7. I just think it's alot nicer. It has the best bits of the classic interface with the new features of Aero.

              You lose Aero Peek. That's one of the few features of Glass I actually care about it, the shiny gradient crap can get lost.

            • Personally i just went back to Vista Black [] because 1.-It was the only thing I really liked about Vista and 2.- I saw no need in keeping my GPU active when I was surfing simply so I could see a tiny strip of wallpaper through the task bar. Some parts of Aero I do like though, the ability to flip through open windows is nice and the winkey+left or right to make a window half size is great for file compares but that was about it for me.

              That said after running Win 8 CP for a month and having it set up on a spar

              • Re:Less eye candy (Score:4, Informative)

                by Calos ( 2281322 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @06:26PM (#40053863)

                But don't take MY word for it, download the free Win 8 consumer preview yourself. Just fire up a VM and give it a spin if you don't have a spare machine to try it on

                I don't have a spare machine to try it on, so I did try to test it in a VM. Turns out, it requires hardware virtualization features which I don't have in my Core Duo laptop, which has otherwise been adequate for my needs for the past several years. Which pretty much negates any chance of me buying Windows 8 for the computer I've been planning, because I can't give it a thorough test run.

                Anyone know why the CP requires hardware virtualization, or is it just a quirk of VirtualBox?

                • by adolf ( 21054 )

                  There are other freely-available VMs out there and not all of them require special hardware features.

                  I've run various versions of VMWare just fine, for instance, on my Pentium-M laptop (which just barely predates your Core Duo machine). But it's not exactly speedy about it (and never was) without hardware support.

                  If you're really, really interested: See if someone has a pre-made VM with Windows 8 that works with VMWare Player and then just run the thing.

      • Aero glass is nonfunctional eye candy. I just turn it off.

    • I don't see this as less eye candy, but just a change in style. In terms of User Interfaces you have an Uncanny Valley type effect going on. you can only make it seem to life like until people start to react negatively to it. Microsoft with on Vista and Windows 7 probably reached that limit. So in the new UI, they are cutting back and making things more abstract.
      But if you pay careful attention in windows 8 you can see a lot of eye candy going on, I had installed the Customer Preview there are a lot of ef

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Walled garden"...check.
      "Linux freedom"...check.
      First post...check.

      You pass the closed-minded neckbeard test! Congratulations!

  • by kakaburra ( 2508064 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:21AM (#40050983)
    The start button seems to be missing
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gagol ( 583737 )
      I believe you have to the windows key or send your mouse pointer to the lower left corner of your screen to bring it up. Hiding everything and let the clueless user guess what to do is the next step in computer usability evolution, or the latest mistake of the 800 pounds gorilla. Anyone knows how long gorillas live?
      • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:30AM (#40051029) Homepage Journal
        If I have to guess what to do, the GUI lost its purpose. May as well just go back to DOS
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2012 @11:12AM (#40051257)

          If I have to guess what to do, the GUI lost its purpose. May as well just go back to DOS

          The purpose of the GUI is to keep UX designers employed. The year 24-bit color becomes standard, XP's Fisher-price look is "needed" to make that boring and stodgy NT/2K look go away. The year 3d graphics appears on commodity hardware, Aero is "needed" to make that "childish" XP look go away. The year touchscreens come out, Metro is "needed" to make that "distracting" 3D glossy look go away.

          Same sorta deal with Firefox - a few years ago, a browser with lots of options and user control was a good thing. Now it's "distracting" and even the status bar and the name of the communications protocol in the title bar needs to go away to make it "clean".

          It's not UX design, it's fashion design. Bunch of artistes wanking away on Photoshop trying to out-trendify each other. It's an utter waste of computing resources, and I'm sick of it.

          • It's not UX design, it's fashion design. Bunch of artistes wanking away on Photoshop trying to out-trendify each other. It's an utter waste of computing resources, and I'm sick of it.

            Yet I constantly see people ruing how so many things are clunky and unusable because they're "designed by engineers." The fact is that Microsoft isn't trying to capture the command line guru market, they're trying to capture the 99.9% of everyone else market. So if you're sick of companies and organizations using professional designers who specialize in making UIs more U-friendly and pretty, that's too damn bad and you've got a really hard life ahead of you.

            But hey, there are always still command-line ins

          • by Dracos ( 107777 )

            After your first sentence, you're absolutely right. UI designers have unlearned the difference between can and should.

            If I hadn't already commented, I'd mod you up for your use of "Fisher Price".

          • It's not UX design, it's fashion design.

            UX design is fashion design. It sure as heck isn't ergonomics or HCI.

            It's like an architect knows how big doors need to be and where they should go. An interior designer tells you what colour to paint them. Actually, that's harsh - on interior designers. UX twerps can't even choose colours properly.

            Bunch of artistes wanking away on Photoshop trying to out-trendify each other.

            I wonder if you're onto something there. What looks good on a static mock up projected

        • The only reason you think the start button is obvious and intuitive us because you've been using it for 17 years. Microsoft tried an office start button in 2007 and no one understood it was an actual clicks le button, since they e never seen it before. By removing the button, and instead using a hot corner, Microsoft made the interface MORE useful in my opinion. First, they removed a click, making a two step process into one. Then, they made the button infinite size for greater targetability according to fi
          • by Dan93 ( 222999 )
            Except that in Windows 8 they didn't remove the click. The hot corner still makes a "button" appear, but you still have to click on it to get into the start screen.
        • Microsoft are onto a winner with the Win8 design, with thousands of people tearing their hair out trying to figure out how to do things that they've learnt over the years, now have to learn a new way, for NO useful gain whatsoever.... Lots of clips on Youtube like this: []
      • Nope, the windows key shows the metro screen, at least by default in the current preview.

      • Who the FUCK stares at their wallpaper and does nothing with their PC for hours on end?

        A plain desktop just requires more keystrokes/mouse clicks.

        "Anyone knows how long gorillas live?"

        Depends on how much government protection they get.

        Absent that, they'd all be bush meat and I don't mean Rosie O'Donnell.

    • The vistart addon for Windows 8 will fix that. It still allows access to Metro as well. [].

    • The start button seems to be missing

      I have that problem in unity also...

    • by dmomo ( 256005 )

      No Start button?!?!? Then how on Earth are we supposed to shut down the OS?

  • Relearn an OS? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:25AM (#40051007)

    Instead, Microsoft believes that with a little help it won't take long for users to adapt to the new operating system.

    I finally agree with Microsoft on this one. They are correct, with only a little help it won't take long for users to adapt to a new OS such as MacOSX or Linux! Glad they finally are admitting it.

    The only reason anyone stuck with Windows was the backwards compatibility and all the software available and that people have already invested in. Seems they are working pretty hard to remove as much of that as they can from Win8, which lowers the reasons to use it from 1 to 0 for a large number of people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hyperhaplo ( 575219 )


      Windows 7 is killing the platform for me. Yes, I can see how there are various improvements.. which is good, but this price to pay for them is terrible.

      So far as I can tell, Windows 7 is just XP with some extra features and some bug fixes. Pity that they still haven't bought out Teracopy. It is extremely annoying for some things which are now crippled. I can't imagine putting up with this in Windows 8. The only reason I persist is because it is easier, on this machine, to leave W7 installed. Linux Mint

      • Re:Relearn an OS? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @11:05AM (#40051223) Homepage

        The biggest improvement in Windows 7 (or rather Vista) is the sudo-like interface for running things that require elevated permissions. It is much better than the su-like interface in Windows XP which doesn't always work, or having to log out and log in as administrator.

        • Re:Relearn an OS? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bmo ( 77928 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @12:18PM (#40051707)

          sudo-like interface for running things that require elevated permissions

          The reason for UAC was not to recreate sudo. UAC is, and was, exceptionally intrusive for one purpose only: to create negative feedback to developers who insisted on using Admin permission for everything. Even some games required Admin access under XP, for example.

          Microsoft had finally given consumers a multi-user OS in XP and developers were insisting on defeating the benefits of multi-user, making limited user accounts especially painful.

          Thus UAC. If your program was bringing up UAC for every stupid thing, then you were doing it wrong.

          Now, most programs need to bring up Admin privs for installation and that's the last you see of UAC if you are not doing admin-specific tasks.

          It annoyed the piss out of end users when UAC first showed up and everyone in the press misunderstood its purpose. UAC was considered a black mark against Vista. But you have to ask, how else was Microsoft going to force developers into obeying the practices everyone else did on other multi-user OSes?

          I am a Unix and Linux guy, but I have to give credit to Microsoft for doing it right for once.


          • Re:Relearn an OS? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @01:37PM (#40052287) Homepage

            I realise that. That wasn't my point though. In XP, if I am logged in as a restricted user and want to do something that requires elevated permissions, such as install some software or do something in the Control Panel that isn't an everyday task, I can either right click on the icon, chose "run as a different user" and hope for the best; or completely log out of Windows, log back in as administrator, perform my administration task, log back out again, and log back in as my restricted user account.

            In Windows 7 (and Vista), if I want to perform an administration task that requires elevated permissions, I get the UAC prompt, type in my password, and do what I want to do, exactly the same as I do with sudo in OSX or Linux.

      • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

        If you'd bothered reading *anything* about Windows 8, you'd have noticed that they have a dramatically improved file copy/move dialog, in many ways superior to TeraCopy. But hey, keep on whining.

      • It is much much more than just bug fixes. First you have DirectX 10/11. Then you have things being able to access a mapped drive from a different user (this really helps when logged in as myself, but run an admin backup script). I have games some wonderful windows games that work now, that would never work on anything but Windows 95, with REAL hardware of the era. GDI is hardware accelerated. You can boot straight to a VHD. I could go on and on, but I am satisfied with my point.
  • Windows 8 might be worth using if it had the Windows classic interface with the Windows 2000 look, the Metro abomination is a shovel digging the grave of Win 8. Like Ubuntu dumping Gnome 2.32.2 and adopting Unity in 11.04. You just drive users away. I just installed Windows 7 in a Virtualbox instance and the Windows classic interface is the only one I can stand.

    • by gagol ( 583737 )
      I love Ubuntu but hate this Unity nonsense, I am now using Xubuntu and could not be happier. Diversity is good!
  • Not news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:37AM (#40051055)

    This isn't even news for nerds. Nerds have already been using the Developer and Consumer Previews and await the first beta, like me.

    Flattening of window widgets is not news. It's not even a story.

    And a link to the MSDN blog that discusses the entire history of Windows from 1.0 to 8 to justify the shenanigans in 8? Come the hell on. The Windows "defenders" here already do that in the comments. I can't even imagine the flood of grievances filed with the MWSU.

    The story is Metro. The story is how maddening Metro is going to be to the vast majority of desktop users when you can't turn it off. The story is about how Microsoft thinks they've found the holy grail of a "one interface for all devices" when it's self-delusion, again. The story is how you and I and every other nerd on the planet is going to have to answer dumb questions about Metro just to be polite. Repeatedly. Until Windows 9.


    • Mod parent up. I can even load Windows 8 on my Mac with Parallels.

      At least Microsoft is just not copying Mac. I have to give them credit for that.
    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

      Which is a shame, really, because outside of Metro Windows 8 has a few nifty additions that I wouldn't mind having.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @11:21AM (#40051319)

      If they keep Metro as The One UI to Rule Them All, as it seems they wish to, my strategy at work will be twofold:

      1) Don't roll out Windows 8. 7 has support until 2020, there's plenty of time. We'll stay on 7, and we'll make sure to let the MS rep know why.

      2) In cases where we need/want 8 get a UI mod to make 8 look like 7. Someone will have what we need, probably Stardock. They already have a start button restorer ( and given that UI customization is their big market, I imagine they'll develop a suite of tools that'll make 8 act like 7 to whatever degree you desire.

      So that's my plan. If people want to use Metro they'll be allowed, of course, but I'm not going to be doing any hand holding on it. Anyone who says "I don't like this can I have the old way back," will be accommodated.

      I just think it is funny that MS doesn't seem to realize they are going to create another XP, meaning an OS that people don't want to move off of. XP wasn't all their fault, it was just the first real solid version of Windows most people had used (the first NT based OS for home users), Vista had teething problems initially due to very lazy-ass driver development from many manufacturers, and there was a big smear campaign against it (to the point I'll see people at work say that Vista sucks and they like 7... working on a Vista machine, they don't even know what it is, they just know it is bad, so they think they are on 7).

      Well this time they'll do it again with 7, but it'll be all their fault. They have a good OS that people were happy with the upgrade to. If they release one that people don't like, they'll get stuck in the mentality of "7 is the only good OS, I won't upgrade."

      That's the part I'm going to be annoyed about. Not 8, but in 2018 when 9 or 10 is the thing and it is a good OS, trying to convince people that yes, there is a new good one and you need to move to it before support expires.

      • 2) In cases where we need/want 8 get a UI mod to make 8 look like 7. Someone will have what we need, probably Stardock. They already have a start button restorer ( and given that UI customization is their big market

        Start8 is better than nothing, but it brings up a minimized Metro-ish screen taking up a quarter of your desktop. IMO, Classic Shell is a much better solution and actually restores a real start menu: []

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:43AM (#40051091)

    The windows OS was largely similar from Windows 3.1 to Vista. Stop toying with it. I think it's find to have these as optional or even the default GUI if people really want it. But some of us have been using the windows GUI for ages and it's frankly not appreciated when things are moved around.

    We know where all the buttons and features are supposed to be guys. There is no other place you can put them that will be better.

    Every new version of windows is like some guy randomly coming into your kitchen and reorganizing everything only to leave a little message behind saying "I fixed your kitchen, you're welcome.".... Well great... I can't find the maynanese... my spice rack is completely out of order... and there are about a hundred things that i have to patiently remove from whatever stupid location they were put and put them back where I want them.

    What? I can't move it there because you outright removed cabinets and installed totally different appliances? I had that experience in Windows 7 where they took away the ability to sort folders manually. Happily I found a registry hack that added the feature back into the system.

    This is obnoxious Microsoft. And beyond that, we've lost compatibilty with most of the old dos apps in the 64 bit version of windows. There's no good reason for that since dos was already being emulated. You can't tell me that you can't emulate a 16 bit environment in a 64 bit environment when there are a dozen dos emulators on the market that will do just that. Of course, most of them are designed for games and so don't work with networked printers or any of the other fun stuff that we've been counting on for YEARS.

    Seriously Microsoft. You're killing it. Your selling point forever has been standards and backward compatibility.

    I can over look a lot of nonsense if you just give me an updated version of the same thing. I don't use windows to be wowed by the GUI graphics. I use windows because that's how I launch the programs and manage the files that I ACTUALLY care about. Changing everything around randomly is not helpful. Stop doing it. At the very least, at least provide some buried Classic mode somewhere in the system.

    I'm tired of New Coke Windows. No one stick with you because you're innovative. We stick with you because you're consistent.

    • in Windows 7 where they took away the ability to sort folders manually

      Ummm, what? What exactly are you describing by sorting folders manually? I've never had any problem with Explorer sorting the contents of a directory based off of any attribute the files may have. And what do you mean by manually? Computers are phenomenal at sorting, why would you not have the computer do the sorting?

  • Windows 9 (Score:5, Funny)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:49AM (#40051117) Homepage

    Based on recent trends in IE and Win UI design, Microsoft's announced plans, and their track record doing things just a little differently from Apple, I expect the default UI for Windows 9 to be just a blank bluish-grey screen with a lighter logo in the middle, and functions will be brought on screen and selected by gesturing in front of it in a dialect of American Sign Language. (Passwords will be entered by hiding one hand behind the other and finger-spelling.)

    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      gesturing in front of it

      In whatever case, there will be rude gesticulation.


  • Nice job guys... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by erac3rx ( 832099 )
    Take away the one thing that differentiates you from Mac OS X-- the fact that your UI isn't ugly. We like Aero. If you make your UI ugly, why not just use OS X with it's ugly brushed aluminum and stoplights. Works for me. Metro is cool on tablets and phones, ridiculous and stupid on desktops. Clearly we've got this 'every other release is crap' thing going on with Windows now. But keep in mind that it's easier than ever to switch to Mac these days. Sure the UI is ugly, but the architecture is clearly
    • You clearly haven't used a Mac in several years. For at least the past three versions of OS X there's no ugly brushed aluminum anymore, and the stoplights (which were indeed ugly) are now all grey. In fact the entire UI is now almost completely greyscale (which is not necessarily ideal for usability, but it's not ugly anyway) and completely unobtrusive. And once I got used to Finder, I hate having to browse files on other computers - for me, Finder is far superior (of course I was coming from Linux where fi

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @10:55AM (#40051151) Homepage

    Everyone was happily moving along in a world where more gradients, more gloss, or more 3D was the way of the future. Then Apple changed all that by going retro. They still used gradients and gloss, but in a more subtle way. Their icons were 2D, flat, iconic rather than 3D and realistic. This changed more than just GUIs: slideshows, packaging, advertisements, and trade show posters are changing too.

    Microsoft is just following the trend. This will be consistent with the look and feel of Metro, and Visual Studio 2012.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      That would be an indication that Apple is now leading the industry, and Microsoft is just a follower.....

  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @11:11AM (#40051251)
    is complete.
  • by biodata ( 1981610 ) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @11:15AM (#40051277)
    It's about time OS stopped wasting time, cpu and ram with rubbish like pretending to be something it isn't, and focused instead on using resources wisely to be a better computer. They can't ditch skeumorphism fast enough for me. Are you listening Apple? I'm talking to you.
  • "Microsoft believes that with a little help it won't take long for users to adapt to the new operating system."

    Already ahead of you on that one M$. I've been ramping up my Ubuntu usage ever since details of Win 8 started appearing.

  • I quite like the Aero glass effect, but if you are going to make it simple like this, at least make the window frame bezelled and ensure it's not white. It's horrible to have (say) a notepad open, and the frame looks like it's part of the document. That screenshot in the main link is horrible. It all looks white and washed out (it's a disturbing trend that's become more apparent on the web too).

    Some contrast goes a long way.
  • The good old Windows 95 interface idiom used by the likes of Windows XP and Gnome2 was good enough for Jesus in the Bible, it should be good enough for everyone in America and the other part of the world (Alaska and maybe Hawaii, too). Doesn't Microsoft know they will burn in Hell for fiddling with the UI God handed down on Mount Ararat?
  • This looks like Windows 3.11 with extra stuff inside the windows. Terrible. I honestly have no idea anymore if MS has any sort of plan or vision, it just seems like they have lost the plot. I can't see migrating my users to even just the upcoming Office version with the overly drastic UI changes that make support a nightmare, Windows 8 manages to take those same concerns and make them even worse. Companies have been so consistently resistant to upgrade with each successive release of the OS with many still

  • On the Microsoft blogs, the vast majority of users, by *far* have asked for the Start button to remain as is. Guess what Microsoft is going to do?

    Microsoft, because you *needed* more unthinking, unaware, 20-something arrogance in your life. Daily.

    Thank goodness for Linux and Wine, that's all I have to say. The Zorin distribution of Ubuntu particularly.

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