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Microsoft Businesses Windows IT

Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015 516

DroidJason1 (3589319) writes "Microsoft recently announced plans to reintroduce the Start Menu to Windows in an upcoming version of the operating system. While the plan was to roll out an update to Windows 8.1 and offer the Start menu later this year, it seems like this is no longer the case. Now Microsoft is reportedly looking to release the Start Menu with Windows 9, which is expected in April of 2015. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have faced a boat load of criticism and hatred, partly due to the removal of the Start button and Start menu. The restoration of a visible Start button on the taskbar was one of the key features of the Windows 8.1 update, released back in October of 2013."
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Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015

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  • by postmortem ( 906676 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @02:29PM (#47148171) Journal

    to "latest and greatest" version of Windows in 2014 either.

    MS may as well start selling retail copies of Win 7 again

  • FTFY.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @02:38PM (#47148249) Journal

    "Microsoft will not have a new desktop-appropriate operating system until 2015." Fixed that for you.

    I'm not sure why they're doing this -- third party developers have proven it's easy to do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2014 @02:42PM (#47148279)

    Windows XP (2001) - Good

    And this is where all these "every other release" lists derail. Windows XP in 2001 was terrible. It wasn't until SP2 and arguable SP3 until it was usable. Prior to that it was a security nightmare. I mean, Slashdot at the time was ground zero for railing against XP and its "Fisherprice" interface. How do you people not remember this?

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @02:42PM (#47148283) Homepage

    i.e. Windows Update that automatically disables the start menu for Windows XP to Windows 7. Then everybody will be forced to grow accustomed to it.

    Wow, force adoption of an un-popular version of your software by crippling the other versions.

    Brilliant strategy! What could possibly go wrong? Just piss off everybody, and then they won't be pissed off about Windows 8.

    You, sir, have a brilliant future in PR ahead of you.

    What next, brick all of the XBox 360s so people have to buy an XBone?

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @02:53PM (#47148377)
    For reasons known only to them, they wanted phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops to all use the same interface. Since a start menu doesn't work well on a phone, they opted to remove it.
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @02:57PM (#47148431)

    For reasons known only to them, they wanted phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops to all use the same interface. Since a start menu doesn't work well on a phone, they opted to remove it.

    Hmm... Sounds like Firefox 29...

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @03:10PM (#47148583)

    It was to push Modern UI (nee Metro) onto every platform to try to bootstrap app development for their floundering mobile offerings and to try to capture the application revenue that Apple and Google were achieving through their walled garden app stores.

  • Re:Every Other OS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuegoFuerte ( 247200 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @03:21PM (#47148667)

    Besides all the shiny marketing, they are admittedly designed with usability in mind,

    I used to believe this load of bullshit about Mac usability, until I got one. I've been using a Macbook Pro for 6 months now as my primary machine, and I still hate it. Usability my ass... just TRY connecting the damn thing to a projector or second display in a conference room and making it behave in a rational manner. Or try taking a screenshot... what was that obnoxious key combo again? That's right... it makes no sense and can't be remembered by a mere mortal. Let's jump to the beginning of a line with the Home key, or the end of the line with the End key... oh wait, it doesn't have one. They conveniently replaced those with more key combinations that can't be remembered by us mortals. Apparently text entry isn't an important usability case for Apple.

    Any time I want to get real work done, I plug in a Windows keyboard and switch over to a Windows VM. Why? Not because I love Microsoft software and Windows so much, it's because it "just fucking works" unlike everything on the Mac.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @03:22PM (#47148669) Journal

    > "The restoration of a visible Start button on the taskbar was one of the key features of the Windows 8.1 update, released back in October of 2013."

    Apparently this needs to be pointed out yet again: A button that takes you to the start screen is not a start button. What users requested was the start menu back. What was delivered was at best a condescending "we know what you really want better than you", and more like a calculated insult.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @03:26PM (#47148731) Journal

    Anyway, what gets me is it seems like a lot of people reflexively insist on a start menu like a toddler insists on his blanky. You have six year old's walking around clutching a blanket that they don't even use for anything other than its familiarity. [emph. added]

    But we have invested years learning those habits. Productivity kicks in when the tool becomes a reflex. Reflexes are not a bad thing: they speed us up because we don't have stop and think.

    I have nothing against the octopus body design, but there is a big learning curve for a brain used to a human body to suddenly be shoved into an octopus body.

    Unless the "new thing" offers about a 20% productivity improvement, it's generally best to stick with the existing interface because the learning curve will eat up that 20% for a few years. In biz investment terms, the ROI is too far out. Why can't MS just give us both interface choices as a user setting?

    Change for changes' sake is a productivity drain. (There is a reason I kick kids off my lawn :-)

  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @03:38PM (#47148853) Journal

    I partly agree. Windows 8.1 isn't as tragic as it seems at first. But they've forgotten one of the primary goals of a UI: discoverability.

    I'm a Linux geek, so I'm used to typing arcane commands into shell prompts. I can find whatever I need in a Google search if I don't know it already. Command line interfaces require you to specify what you are looking for. It's expected that you should know in advance what you want and how to ask for it. This is somewhat less true for the double-tab interface in bash, but still, the basic idea is to specify.

    What made Windows and MacOS such a big deal back in the day is that they were "discoverable" - you could figure out what options you had available by reading the menus and picking one, with the basic expectation that, if there was an option or command to run, there'd be a menu entry in a hopefully sensible place to allow it. Thus, anybody could "use" a computer by finding the obvious start button.

    Windows 8.x tosses discoverability to the wind. You just have to know in advance which combination of swipes and from which side in order to get what you want. Because of this, it's not discoverable. What makes Windows 8 so damning and frustrating for the new user is that stuff happens and there's no obvious reason why.

    With this recent statement, Microsoft has made clear that they're going to try to double down on the Metro Interface, and hope that by promising it at some distant, future date, the haters will shut up long enough for people to get used to the not-discoverable Windows 8 interface.

    I have mixed feelings about this.

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @03:38PM (#47148857)
    Microsoft had an epiphany. That epiphany was called iTunes and later spun off as the App Store. You see Apple gets a cut of EVERY APP SOLD via their marketplace and I believe they might even share in revenue from ads in ad supported apps as well. Since it is impossible to sideload apps without jailbreaking an iOS device they have ISV's over a barrel if they want to sell to Apple's customers. Microsoft decided they liked Steve Job's decidedly Gatesesque business model. They knew their mobile devices would be a hard sell given the saturation of iOS/Android so they decided they could back door their model into their desktop OS. It has been a multi-tiered approach but non of their vectors has gotten much traction. Surface RT was DOA and Surface Pro and desktop users continue to use traditional [pcworld.com] Windows apps. If Microsoft brings the start menu back it would delay even further Metro App adoption and Microsoft's newest revenue stream. So they will continue to promise to bring it back so people won't just throw Windows 7 on their new PC but keep delaying it as long as they can in hopes Metro App use continues to climb.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @03:51PM (#47148981)

    Microsoft has been on a long-term trend in the name of ease of use of burying everything behind complicated and convoluted UIs since at least Vista, although the default XP UI was also in on it a little.

    Little things, like changing your computer's IP address seem to require more and more clicks, dialog boxes and window changes to accomplish the same tasks as before. More and more settings seem to default to "idiot light' mode where basic information is deliberately turned off or hidden.

    This might be tolerable for a "home" edition of something designed to get grandma on the internet with a minimum of long distance phone calls to her grandkids, but it's absolutely maddening for "professional" editions and simply uncalled for in "server" editions.

    I just cannot fathom what group or individual decided that Server 2012 needed the same UI as the most basic desktop OS. I don't mind the concept of Metro and the execution seems OK on a Surface Pro provided you stay in Metro mode, but there should be a switch or something that just completely disabled Metro mode for server OSes (and should be the default) and it should be switchable for desktop OSes.

    Further, the desktop UI needs an "expert" mode where some of the "wizards" are disabled (can't I just have my network connections without the network and sharing center) and more details and technical information are presented to the end users without being filtered/turned off.

  • Too Late Microsoft (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @05:18PM (#47149779)

    Windows has jumped the shark. It's all downhill from here.

    Many folks have finally tired of Microsoft just churning the interface just to make a new product. All that did was alienate the users that had grown accustomed to menu interfaces in Office and the Start menu. Paying to buy a whole new version of the OS and then dealing with the headaches of just trying to figure out how to just get back to the capability the user had before the change got really old.

    The problems with Windows 8 are not necessarily with the features. Windows 8 may be the best OS under the sun, but most users won't ever know that because it is buried under one of the most craptastic PC user interfaces contrived. Folks probably would be happy to have the core features of Windows 8 if the menus and buttons looked familiar to the last version. They do not.

    I finally went to Linux simply because they kept a lot of the UI features like menus and start buttons that Windows abandoned. Linux really is now at a point where it is an easier OS to transition to from Windows XP and 7 vs transitioning to Windows 8. That is not because Linux interfaces improved dramatically (though they are better than they were) but because Windows 8 broke a lot of UI features that the users really liked and wanted.

    Happy trails Microsoft, best wishes from a formerly happy customer from the Windows 3.1 days. Friendly advice - stop pissing off your loyal customers and give them what they want to see.

  • Re:Every Other OS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @05:18PM (#47149785)
    I completely agree. OSX has a poor user interface. Their "Save screen real estate by only having one pull down menu" made sense when we were running on 320x200 screens. At that resolution, a pull down menu took a significant percentage of the screen real estate, and everyone was using a single screen. Today, screen real estate is abundant, and multiple monitors are common. With the single menu, there is no good visual cue to indicate which of your many open windows the pull down menu will affect. This is a poor UI giving poor usability. Putting removable media in the trash is the movement for ejecting the media? Total brain dead UI.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?