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

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

    pushkarpm TS Rookie

    IMHO...every1's rt now focusing on negatives of metro but there are sm +ves to it as well. Once we see some gr8 apps in the store, ppl will begin to like metro. But it needs time.

    The dictum still holds true... Best time to buy any Microsoft OS is after it reaches SP1, Win 8 is no exception.
  2. Ivan.Gorrion

    Ivan.Gorrion TS Rookie

    I've just always thought it looked very Gnome 3. Maybe better but will probably always remind me of that.
  3. Windows 7's start menu and desktop are more refined, efficient and functional than Metro. It already has all the facilities for Metro functionality without having the latters UI limitations and jarring switches. Streaming info, news, emails, media etc? Place widgets on your desktop. Need quick access icons? Place shortcuts on your taskbar, desktop or pin them in your start menu (my favourite!). Need a quick text search? Press your keyboard start key and start typing! Best of all is the Start Menu itself which organises all functionality into one location: control panel, networking, easy-scrolling All Programs, Run, Devices and all your Personal files. Whereas in Metro everything is a jumbled mess. A mixture of Apps and Programs that inflicts jarring UI switches. Fullscreen one-app limitation with obtuse actions required for switching to another running app and even for closing the current one. Functionality hidden in taskbars at the edges of screens instead of all options being exposed. Multiple space inefficient full screen displays for simple single sentence menus. Hidden, not enough and/or totally absent navigational ques. No consistency in the navigational flow of apps, displays and menus. Large space inefficient tiles that are either too small to display any significant info or too large with no info at all besides item name and icon. Really I would rather place multiple customizable traditional windows side by side on my desktop for optimal space useage than the horrible TILES. Metro is an overall inappropriate and unnecessary main screen UI. The traditional start menu + desktop + icons has been refined over years and is the best overall OS UI environment available for KB + Mouse.

    Although I'm not conviced that Metro is the ideal (merely passable) UI for touch-based input devices, the best thing Microsoft can do at this point is include a total on/off switch for the Metro UI inside the traditional start menu placed next to the shut down button. With OFF being default.

    Completely agree.
  4. Its nice to see not "everybody" is a Microsoft kool-aid drinker. It is fascinating how many people have convinced themselves that Windows 8 is "the bomb"!!! because it boots faster.
  5. Ok - So your a business user or power user what works best you have 3 programs or more open on your screen that you are actively working in

    A. Small Classic Start menu that can be quickly opened and not cover the entire screen stopping you from working COMPLETELY

    B. Metro that will cover the entire screen stopping you from working COMPLETELY & Look stupid to Boot
  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    If you're focused on launching a program, you pretty much can't be working. Your visual and mental focus would shift to the new activity (opening software), and your input devices would become occupied by said task. Even if you were incredibly adept at multitasking, Windows doesn't support simultaneous input to the Start menu or Metro and, say, a Word document. At that point, it's irrelevant whether you're launching programs from a quarter screen menu or a full screen menu. In virtually all scenarios, you're going to be taken away from your work for three seconds or whatever.
  7. Zilpha

    Zilpha TS Enthusiast Posts: 319

    Sure, but from a convenience standpoint I'd rather the small and unobtrusive menu selection rather than giving over control of the entire screen to an interface application.

    Still think that calling it Windows 8 was the big mistake.
  8. Zero21XX

    Zero21XX TS Member

    I love how people who have been using the same interface format for over 2 decades think that they're going to properly utilize something that they've only been using for about a week. The arrogance of people astounds me sometimes.

    I've been using Windows 8 since CP(about 6 months), and I must say I'm completely convinced this is the way to go. We get everything that made the last OS great, and we also get what makes the other OSes great. No that's change we don't want that ooooohh no change... in a market that doesn't stop evolving not even for a day.
  9. I work in the tech department at my place of employment. Since I've gotten to know all of my end users level of tech savviness, I can say with great confidence that there are maybe 5 people out of the 80 I work with who would be able to easily switch to Windows 8 on their desktops. Most of the rest of them could probably switch over and get used to it after a couple of months of continuous use, but would complain for at least a year about how they liked the old interface better. However, I have one user who is like what one person posted about his father. She has notes everywhere about how to do what she needs to do in Windows (we're still using XP). This is the only way she can function. If something doesn't work right, or if her view in Outlook gets changed, or her font size gets changed, or if ANYTHING gets changed, it completely shuts her down. She literally can not function AT ALL until I go in there and get it back to the way it was. She won't even try. Recently her view in Outlook got changed when she clicked on something she shouldn't have clicked on. I was out to lunch. Another (non-tech) co-worker tried to help her out and by the time I got back, so many settings had been changed it took me almost 4 hours to finally get everything back to how she wanted it. The whole time she's sitting right there nearly in tears. She lost 4 hours of work because her view in Outlook changed and she couldn't function. If I set her in front of a computer with Windows 8 on it, she would have a meltdown.

    I say all of this because for some people out there, it doesn't matter whether or not Windows 8 will simplify things if only they spend a little time learning how to use it. They are not willing or able to handle doing such a thing. It's those people especially (not just people like me who don't like the looks of Metro and would prefer my PC continue to look like a PC and my tablet to continue to look like a tablet), who Microsoft is ignoring. And ALL of this could be avoided if they just kept the option to boot directly into Aero instead of Metro! If they just kept that one feature it would go a LONG way toward calming down some of the hatred.
  10. Zilpha

    Zilpha TS Enthusiast Posts: 319

    How about your own arrogance there? Who are you to decide which is the "way to go" for anyone other than yourself?

    Change comes slowly, if at all, for some people. Additionally, there has to be value in the change in order for it to be worthwhile. Right now, the Metro on a desktop computer has no value. It's a tablet OS, designed for a tablet or phone, and now we are getting word that they have completely disabled even the OPTION to use a classic desktop. This is a bad move, and it will show in the sales numbers that many of us are predicting will be abyssmal.

    I get that they want to catch up to Apple in terms of handheld device success. It's a good goal and I WANT to see more of Windows on handheld devices... But I DON'T want to see it at the expense of Windows 7 or the expense of my comfortable and efficient mouse and keyboard interface. We'd all be on board with Windows "8" if it gave us the option to use the classic desktop. Since it doesn't, I still think it should be marketed as Windows Metro and not the succesor to 7.
  11. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    Nope, they're supposedly disabling one workaround that let people boot with the desktop showing first instead of Metro (a matter of whether you have to press one extra button during Windows' startup). They aren't disabling the desktop and they debatably aren't even removing an option because they never provided a built-in choice to load the desktop screen first. There will be (and already are) many other workarounds that accomplish the same thing. Now, you can argue that you shouldn't need a workaround, but that's another discussion. This is what I'm talking about though: complete hysteria over misunderstandings.
  12. Zilpha

    Zilpha TS Enthusiast Posts: 319

    Who's being hysterical? I'm making comments based on articles found on this very site. The ability to bypass Metro has been nuked and according to the article, so have "hopes for a group object policy to control this startup behavior".

    Perhaps articles need to be written in a more succint fashion? What I got out of it is that it's Metro or bust. Judging by the comments, I'm not the only one.
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    It's not what you know, but rather what you seem to not know.

    Sure, it is "Metro or bust", but *only* at startup. You make it sound as through the Metro Start Screen *is* Windows 8. It is not.

    After a user exits Metro (by opening a program, show desktop etc..), they can live happily ever after in their familiar, Windows 7-like desktop environment. The Metro Start Screen is merely a dashboard and one that apparently must startup automatically now, no matter what.
    Archean likes this.
  14. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Exactly, most of the comments kind of give impressions as if 'Metro' is Win8, when infact it isn't. There are shortcomings in the new 'application launcher' I.e. new UI, but that is where the dissimilarities with windows 7 ends. Discount this, and the new OS is rock solid and fast.
  15. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    I don't have the time to worry about all this Windows 8 stuff anymore! I'm about to upgrade to a full version of Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) for the first time ever, I'm going to have to worry about learning that for now, needless to say Windows 8. So give me a couple years after Windows 7 fits me like a well oiled glove, and in a couple years, I just might give a damn!
  16. I think the tile system is great for tablets (and I will be buying a MS Windows 8 tablet when they are released - finally some an alternative to Apple I-Pad, which is compatible with all my windows 7 pc's, etc. However I will not be upgrading to windows 8 as the tile system sucks on a normal display and you should have the option to choose what you want to use. At the end of the day If I am buying Windows 8 I shoudl have the choice not soem big company.
  17. You know what I keep hearing over and over and over again like a beating a dead horse...

    "Oh look at windows 8!! It boots so fast!!!! OMG!!!"

    You know what also boots really fast... countless distributions of linux.... FAIL!!!!!

    If your really that hung up on a few less seconds for your computer to boot... you really should seek some help... how many times a week do you really boot a desktop computer.. for me twice... TOPS!

    This operating system needs to be rated on usability.. not 'bootability'... get with it!!
  18. nigelle

    nigelle TS Rookie

    I have not yet used Win 8 preview and I'll not (my existing PC with XP is too old) but I plan to buy a new PC.
    I am afraid of the new "metro" applications : Obviously we'll need several months(sss) before all present applications are translated to "metro"... and they will be more expensive because MS take a part of the fee I pay.
    Please answer the following stupid questions on running old fashioned applications on W 8 :
    -can I still run an .exe program e.g. abcdefg.exe and how ?
    -can I still pin a program in the rapid start bar (left down corner in XP near the start button) and how ? This is for frequently used programs. I run them with 1 click.
    -can I still pin the icon of a program on the desktop (with the corresponding *.lnk) and how ? This is for less frequently used programs. I run them with double clicks.
    -can I still access a list of all the programs installed in the PC to run the selected one and how ? This is for not frequently used programs. I run them with several clicks.
  19. As an IT professional with 20+ years I have said, like many of you:

    "Metro is stupid".

    Heck, personally I used WIN+R more than I ever used the start menu, at 90wpm its faster to type in "compmgmt.msc" than finding it somewhere. Like MS has said, most of my common apps were just icons on my desktop. So I never really used the start menu, it was a pain, slow, problematic with too many trees, and just not real useful IMO.

    BUT, after using win8 for a few weeks I can say that the metro *IS* the start menu. Where you used to have to click you still click, you used to get this little menu with lots of trees, now you get a full screen with lots of big buttons. I think for most non-techie users it'll take a bit of "wtf is this!?!?", but after a few weeks of using it they'll prefer it, as it makes their life easier for the 4 icons they click every day.

    This doesn't change applications, you start up visual studio, word, or the MMC it is the exact same, so thinking this will slow people down is, well, an uneducated decision.

    Windows 8 has lots of other great features, heck my 7 second power on to login screen is awesome for my laptop.

    However, I can also say, as an IT fellow, after a few weeks of having Windows 8, I simply don't use metro. I never see it. My shortcuts are on my desktop. I did add little start menu shortcuts to the taskbar, and like the old start menu, I never use it.

    Windows is technology, and like all technology it changes, sometimes dramatically, sometimes not-so-much. But most people, including myself, hate change, but unlikely most people bitching about a new interface, I embrace the fact that it is the future, do what I've done since windows wasn't even a dream of a highly educated financially backed kid called Bill Gates, and make my system work for me.

    Metro, or whatever it'll be called, *WILL* be extremely popular in 5 years. Huge numbers of people have smart phones now, and tablets, and now their desktop works the same way. They will prefer that, the familiarity will be good for them, and it'll be easier to get non-computer users that love their phones to use a PC. Plus there will be less of a transition between all the computer platforms you use today.

    Metro is simply the start menu with bigger icons that provide feedback, stop thinking of it as a drastic change in any way.
  20. dtourond

    dtourond TS Member

    Actually it makes it a lot easier to use and it blows away the start menu. The Start Screen is much more customizable than the traditional Start Menu.
  21. I use Windows extensively and depend on easy access to the Control Panel, Administrative Tools, etc. I understand the idea of moving Windows to a place where mobile devices can use it as effectively as standard systems and to that end I understand the concept behind Metro. The problem for me is that they have removed the start Button and not offered an equivalent alternative. For those who say what is the big deal, I never use the start button. That's great and I would say that the current design of Metro is perfect for a standard user. But for those of us that need to get to tools quickly and run multiple programs efficiently, the current design of Metro is lacking.

    As an example, the Start button has been replaced by the full screen Metro option. Interesting idea, but when I go to list all programs (which I need to do frequently), I am overwhelmed with pages and pages of programs (I have installed all my standard software to see how it works). It isn't usable. It would be better if we were offered options that could be expanded (or new windows open). And, the search option is ridiculous. Every time I want to run a program I have to search for it and select from multiple options with similar names. This was not well thought out.

    What is the problem with allowing Power Users to have the Start button back. Or at least create a Metro organization that is clean and effective when you do a lot on your computer.

    By the way, I have used and am continuing to use Windows 8. However, at this point I can not consider migrating to it for my standard work. It is not a productive environment yet.
  22. Not even a Windows 8 user, but reading more than half of the comments here makes me feel depressed regarding the inteligence of the posters. Complaining about having to do 1 click more?
  23. I dreaded when they took my up button away, or the backspace shortcut. Taking my start menu away, KILL ME NOW!
    Might be old school, but I still use the keyboard a lot, and use the windows key to access the start menu and the arrows and enter to select the program. I don't understand why windows is doing this stuff..... It takes a heck of a lot longer to access the display/network/control panel settings, by forcing me to go through useless menus. If they wanted to venture in Metro (stupid freaking name btw) then they should of left the option of a classic view. I want my start and UP icons!
    avoidz likes this.
  24. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    You can access the control panel and other such things by right clicking in the bottom left hand corner:

  25. I agree with those who say that Microsoft should not be forcing the Metro (that's what I'll call it, sue me) interface on those who don't want it. (Before you say anything, I HAVE tried Windows 8.) People should know that they don't have to have Windows on their next computer. Linux has come a long way, to the point where it's just about as easy to use as Windows with the same learning curve. When I heard that MS has no plans on bringing back the start menu, that's when I decided that I was done being at their mercy and from now on I would have a choice. I've been using Ubuntu Studio as my primary OS for the last two months with no problem. By the time I need a new laptop, I'll be buying it from one of the many companies that sells computers with Linux pre-installed.

    Here's what I would do if you aren't looking forward to buying a Windows 8 computer. Download Linux from one of the many distribution sites and set up a dual boot on your computer, so you can boot into either Linux or Windows. Then slowly, over the next few months, just take ten minutes a day learning how to use Linux, to decide if you want it. Like me, you might find yourself doing less and less on Windows until your realize one day that there's little or nothing that you need it for. At the very least, keep an open mind and know that you don't have to use Windows - there are choices.

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