Editorial: Why Windows 8 Start Menu's Absence is Irrelevant

By Julio Franco ยท 206 replies
Jul 18, 2012
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  1. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Nope, it's a perfectly fine desktop OS. Barely different than Windows 7 in day to day usage. This is more accurate: Metro is a tablet environment piggybacking on a desktop OS.
  2. No, Matt, it is not a perfectly fine desktop OS. It is designed to be used by a touch device, not a keyboard.
    Are you trolling every post that has a different opinion than the article?
    You did completely ignore the point of my post.
  3. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    You made no points. You said as a matter of fact: Windows 8 is a tablet OS. I'm saying as a matter of fact: no it friggen isn't. There are tablet components (Metro) strapped on to what is otherwise a perfectly normal desktop OS. The Metro screen can be 100% avoided.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,652   +1,092

    Fullscreen, no preview, no history of used files and programs, wasted space, hard to use with mouse and keyboard, changes that don't make sense.
    Was it that hard to make it not always fullscreen for desktop users? I used the start menu a lot, but now I had to create special toolbars and keep many shortcuts on my desktop just to make sure I don't use metro. It's one thing for users to use the start menu less often and it's another when they just simply avoid it.

    It's not only the functionality that annoys users, it's also the bad design and weird mouse controls.
  5. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,652   +1,092

    I agree about avoiding it. But isn't avoiding it kinda the problem MS has right now?
    I really like the performance improvements that Win8 has. I'm sure they also did a lot of research when they started making Metro, and it is a great tablet UI, but it's exactly that, nothing less, nothing more.
  6. My argument against Metro as a start menu replacement would be wasted movement. When designing an interface an important consideration is to keep the movement to perform an action minimal. Metro's design is entirely for a tablet, and it's great for that purpose.

    The change in Windows 7 so that selecting "All Programs" showed a list inside of the same pane was a good move in the direction of minimizing movement. The Windows 8 Metro interface went counter to that, but has it's advantages for the mouse user, though none that couldn't be provided by widgets and the taskbar, which are already available. The interface takes the whole screen, which means that there are times when you have to go across the entire screen to find something.

    This may not seem like a big deal, but it means that you have to examine the whole screen in order to find what you're looking for (until you memorize it). Even if you know exactly where it is, the amount of mouse movement involved is much larger, which means more time and more effort to achieve the same thing.
    Matthew likes this.
  7. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    +1 Mathew, good opinion.

    Personally, Start button is nothing but a useless blob in a corner of my screen (either on notebook or desktop). On more finer points of UI, I think Metro is reasonably fast (although I will agree aesthetically it still needs lots of improvements). To some extent, it has reduced my dependency on mouse, as I can simply start typing name of desired app & it will appear right away (but then again I am pretty good at typing ... :p).

    In fact, general consensus amongst all of my friends (who incidentally are still stuck in IT ;) ), aren't bothered about the missing Start button, and some of them will be 'training' thousands of users, couple of years down the road for migration to the new OS.

    I can understand where MS is taking its OS, and it make perfect sense to me. But for general public, UI change is a little 'drastic' but nothing which can't be overcome with little effort and time. Or if you really want to, you can get that Start button in W8 anyway (check out the W8 thread for it).
  8. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Agreed, I think there are some valid complaints about efficiency in terms of having to move your mouse a little more because things are spread out. However, these are relatively minor issues. How often do you launch a program with Start/Metro in a day and what is the accumulated loss? I guess the underlying point I'm trying to make with this article is that although Metro isn't perfect, it's receiving a disproportional amount of negative feedback for its issues. Having to spend an extra second or whatever to launch a program doesn't really warrant the lynching I've seen over the last six months.
  9. ig-88

    ig-88 Banned Posts: 32

    If Metro is a tablet environment piggybacking on a desktop OS then your articles are personal opinion blogs piggybacking on a technology website.

    You state that you wrote this article because, "many opinions of Windows 8 seem to be based on misconceptions". I think that's conjecture as well. Many people already know that it's possible to get Start menu functionality on Windows 8. The reason I don't want to upgrade to Windows 8 is not because the Start menu has been giving a backseat to the Metro interface. It's because the Metro interface has taken center stage on Windows 8. And it's a cellphone/tablet interface that should have been included as option for those people who want their desktop to function just like their tablets. Microsoft should have implemented the Metro interface in a more subtle manner and it would have been more easily and readily accepted.

    "The truth is, functionally speaking, Metro is basically identical to the Start menu."
    I don't really care whether Metro's functionality is the same or not. The way I execute that same functionality is what matters. The UI has radically changed from using a mouse and keyboard to a touch-screen interface. That's what people are upset about. Not whether the functionality is the same.

    "I have nothing to gain or lose from the launch of Windows 8."
    This may be true financially. I could say the same thing. The reason I express my opinion with my words and my money is to influence the future versions of Windows, not to gain anything from the damage that has already been done.

    It's fine to express one's opinions but to state your opinions as facts and insult other people's opinions by declaring them as misconceptions is going a little too far. I have no misconceptions about Windows 8. I know what it is. It's what you said it is. A perfectly fine OS under the hood with cellphone/tablet interface piggybacking on the top. I couldn't describe much better myself.
  10. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    Like Guest above Archean said, the KDE-Kickoff-like menu W7 had worked like a charm, and was as efficient (probably more) than the Unity dash, or equaled KDE's. Metro's UI is better suited for tablets, where swiping would be faster than typing in the app name in All Programs.
    As for avoiding Metro, the new "non-Aero" interface was a nightmare to my eyes. Way too bright for my taste. Feels like Classic! Ugly, IMAO!

    The whole of my point is focused on efficiency, which in a DE (Desktop Environment) experience W8 absolutely lacks.

    Conclusion: Win8 tablets - rock!
    Win8 desk - suck!
  11. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,136   +131

    It's an opinion piece, plain and simple. The reason I know it's an opinion piece, is that it is titled "Editorial: bla bla bla". Editorial = opinion. Before reading it, I knew there would probably be some opinions that I might not agree with, so with that knowledge I take things as they are, and I don't get over-excited when I see an opinion that I don't agree with.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  12. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    As Guest above Archean said, the KDE-Kickoff-like menu W7 had worked like a charm, and was as efficient (probably more) than the Unity dash, or equaled KDE's. Metro's UI is better suited for tablets, where swiping would be faster than typing in the app name in All Programs.
    As for avoiding Metro, the new "non-Aero" interface was a nightmare to my eyes. Way too bright for my taste. Feels like Classic! Ugly, IMAO!
    Even with the search feature in Metro, it's not my type.
    The whole of my point is focused on efficiency, which in a DE (Desktop Environment) experience W8 absolutely lacks.

    Conclusion: Win8 tablets - yeah!
    Win8 desk - needs work, but yeah.
  13. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 855   +121

    What if I have 8 hi-res monitors? That would become a problem to full screen a Start menu.

    I have not used Win8 yet, because I don't have time to goof off with it. This is not rhetoric or parroting other people. I am genuinely displeased with this change. If you can make Start metro menu Windowed, that would be ok. But I can't have the entire screen change just to open something.

    I will be purchasing Stardock's Start8 if I find a reason for upgrading.
  14. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    No offense, but gimme a break, "Guest"s, the thread title tag reads "Editorial". It's editorial opinion, not a review. :mad:
    So read before you post.
  15. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    It only occupies one screen, if that's your concern.
  16. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 953   +515

    Man, this guy gets mad respect from me for speaking it how it actually is. But still people are too blind to see some reason...
  17. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,185   +208

    Well I have all my programs listed at two mouse clicks away, more organised would be one mouse click. does windows 8 offer this?
  18. Littleczr

    Littleczr TS Addict Posts: 439   +86

    What in the world, this fails. At least give me the option of having it or not having it.
  19. spectrenad

    spectrenad TS Enthusiast Posts: 98   +18

    ppl cry because it SOMETIMES takes ONE additional click to acces a program and that they are losing time. but don't they know the OS is faster... -.-'
  20. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    There's more than one way to measure efficiency within a system
    More organized for me is my programs 2 mouse clicks away (or a kb shortcut) Metro (I will persevere) > Desktop > shortcut or taskbar...pretty much everything I usually use -esp. early in an evalution- Resource Monitor, CP, Performance Monitor, Excel, Docs, Libraries, Word, pdf, Core Temp, video transcode, benchmarks....and once I use those two mouseclicks (or kb shortcuts) the program -esp MS Office, transcoder etc, loads tout de suite . The lower initialization time for loading and opening a large Word or Excel doc, or the better framerate processing in Handbrake or FVC more than make up for that one click I had to endure (!) when I logged on....and of course, for most people using Win7/Married to the Start orb, shutting down usually involves mouse to Start and two clicks to shut down. With Win8 it's pretty easy to get used to Alt+F4 > Enter.
    Hey!, but thats my personal take, but most of my productivity is generally measured between desktop and shutdown, not Power ON to desktop.
  21. Hey if Microsoft wants to come up with an alternative to the Start menu that's fine by me. But the Metro replacement consists mostly of squares of largely empty space on a plain background. To my eye, it's visually jarring, unattractive, and wasteful of space.

    That's a deal-killer right there, even without getting into other questionable decisions regarding Windows 8's design. Coupled with the fact that Windows 7 is still good, and has an interface that I actually enjoy using, I don't understand the expectation that I should just accept Metro.

    There are some things that could potentially change my mind. Bevel some edges. Make submenu arrays of tiles unroll in a way that draws the eye rather than overwhelms it. Put some controls on the amount of information that is presented onscreen at once. And above all, get rid of the fullscreen transitions. I have a PC, not a 1080p tablet.
  22. killeriii

    killeriii TS Enthusiast Posts: 213   +14


    You seem bitter. IMO

    @ Guest
    "(Windows 8) a bifurcated OS that seems to regard Windows 7 with shame rather than the success that it was."

  23. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,957   +214

    If it where just a start-menu replacement the move would be quite pointless.
    It is a shift to get developers to make applications cross platform compatible, so that they will work on both your ARM based phone or tablet and on your PC, all in a common interface (Metro)

    Microsoft are trying hard to "convert" their applications to the Metro interface, so that they will not force the machine to drop back to "normal desktop mode" when launching them.

    My problem with this is that the applications I have seen so far like Windows Update or the Live Messenger really work terribly poor with a mouse and keyboard for input.

    But have no doubt that in the long run most apps in the future will be "Metro aware" so that you wont be dropped back to desktop mode when launching them.
    So then calling Matro a simple start-menu sounds quite wong IMO

    To be honest calling the "Power Users" complaining about Metro for various resons "Power Users" in quotes is equally degrading as calling "Metro" "The new start-menu"
  24. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    I feel like the abscence of the start button will change peoples view on windows -- as a hard to use and slow operating system.-- and recreate the image as a great easy to use OS. This may be a make or break strategy for them, we will wait and see.
  25. abysal

    abysal TS Booster Posts: 114   +40

    I love all the spin to try and make Metro look better. We'll have to wait and see how the market adopts this new trend.

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