Evolving the Start menu


This post kicks off a series of posts on the design of the Start screen and the evolution of the core activity of launching and switching programs. Some folks are calling the Start screen the “Metro shell” for Windows 8, but for us it is the evolution of the Start menu and associated functions. We’ve been watching the comments closely and have seen the full spectrum of reactions as one would expect when the core interface changes. We want to use these blog posts to have a dialog that reflects back on your comments, and so we’ll start by walking you through the history and decisions that led to the current design. Because the Developer Preview is focused on building apps, and the core user experience is still under development, we want to make sure our discussions start from first principles and work through the design to provide a fuller context for where we will be at the next project milestone.

This post was authored by Chaitanya Sareen, program manager lead on our Core Experience Evolved team. You might remember Chaitanya, as he also worked on the Windows 7 experience and authored posts on the Engineering 7 blog.

–Steven

We’d like to share a series of blog posts on the how and why of reimagining Start. This first post talks about the history and evolution of the Start menu, and several of the problems and trends we’ve learned from you. We think it’s always important to understand where we’ve come from before we talk about where we’re headed. We’ll then have another post that dives into how we crafted the new Start screen, and then we’ll see where the discussion leads us from there.  

We recognize that to some people, any change to Windows is going to be disruptive, and so we want to make sure we continue an open dialog about those changes. Since Windows is such an integral part of so many people’s lives, most any change can generate visceral reactions like “how can I turn it off,” or debates over whether things are more or less efficient.

The debate around touch today is looking eerily like the debate in the 1980s over whether a mouse was a gimmick, a productivity time waster, or an innovation in the user experience. We say this knowing that many comments have been emphatic about the superiority of the mouse over touch. Unlike when the mouse was introduced—before desktop publishing programs came along there were few use cases for the mouse other than early paint programs—today we are surrounded by touch screens—at the airport, the gas station, the movie theater, every cash register, and of course, on our phones. The one place touch has not yet become mainstream is on the most capable of all the devices you use. Just like the introduction of the mouse, innovations like this do not happen without new OS support, new apps, and new hardware. We believe that, as with the mouse, we will see touch augmenting, but not replacing, most every aspect of the PC experience over time. Achieving this starts with the Windows 8 Developer Preview. So with that, let’s start the dialog about how things will evolve, not just in the Windows core user experience, but in hardware and apps as well.

With regard to the main user experience, particularly Start, we’re noticing some themes in your comments. Will there be a way to close Metro style apps without going to Task Manager? (Yes there will be, but we also want to talk about why you probably won’t need to use it.) Are we going to do anything to make the mouse more efficient in scrolling through your programs in Start? (Yes, we’ll improve that experience, and show you much more in the beta.) Some of you have talked about it feeling less efficient to cycle through your recent programs compared to using the taskbar (and we’ll have more to say about that in future posts). There are other comments as well, and the point here is just to make sure you know we are aware of the questions. Some things will be easier to discuss if we first agree on some shared terminology. For example, Metro style is a design language we can apply to any element of Windows, and the Start screen is the evolution of the Start menu (as well as taskbar, notifications, and gadgets), and not really a “Metro shell.” Another example is that we don’t see “Metro” as a mode of Windows, rather it is a way to describe the attributes of applications written to WinRT (as in these //build/ talks on traits of Metro style apps or principles of Metro style). There’s lots of ground to cover. We know with our initial focus on the platform and tools, we probably did not provide enough early context around the user experience changes through this blog.

The Start menu is one of the most visible parts of Windows, and so we don’t take any changes we make to it lightly. The environment around Windows has changed immensely since we first introduced the Start menu, and we want to make sure we’re still delivering an experience that is both relevant and tuned to the dynamic computing world we live in today. The evolution of the Start menu is inextricably linked with the development of several other related, but disparate concepts, such as application launching, application switching, system notifications, and gadgets. The history behind these and the divergent paths they have each taken create an opportunity for us to do a much better job in providing a cleaner, more powerful, and more uniform way of working across the wide variety of apps and PCs we use today. The new Start screen embodies this effort.

So, before we tackle Windows 8, let’s first take a trip down memory lane and see what we can learn about the Start menu.

A brief history of Start

The design of the Start menu began in 1992 for its debut in Windows 95. The menu was conceived in a world where PC towers and 15″ CRTs dominated cubicles. The Web was still an experiment and people had to drive to a store to buy software. It was a very different time. The fundamental goal of the menu was to provide an obvious place for people to start their computing tasks. It replaced the venerable Program Manager, that Windows 3.x concept that placed shortcuts in a floating window which happened to interfere with the desktop and other applications. Anchored to the taskbar, the Start menu was a consistent and consolidated portal to your apps and system functions. It was essentially the fastest way to start programs without hunting down an executable somewhere in the system.

Windows 95 Start menu, with Programs flyout pointing to Accessories, Startup, Microsoft Exchange, MS-DOS Prompt, The Microsoft Network, and Windows Explorer
Fig 1: The Windows 95 Start menu

Looking at the Windows 95 Start menu, you may immediately see the areas for improvement that subsequent versions of Windows addressed with incremental changes. For example, we heard feedback that putting an alphabetical list of programs under a flyout made it slow to navigate. Windows XP addressed this with the introduction of the “most frequently used” (MFU) section that surfaced the programs you used regularly. This change in turn introduced some new problems because there was no way to really customize it, and some people struggled to understand how the MFU was populated (a complex heuristic determined which apps you use the most). To address the customization aspect, Windows XP (and later, Windows Vista and Windows 7) featured a section where you could pin the apps that are most important to you, to put them at your fingertips. However, this functionality was still limited. You could put apps in the pinned section and reorder them, but you still couldn’t group or organize them if you had more than just a few items.

There were also problems with traversing All Programs on Window XP. It wasn’t uncommon to have your mouse “fall off” the menu and then you’d have to restart the task all over again (this was especially challenging for laptop customers who used track pads or for those with limited dexterity). It was also difficult to fit all this UI into lower resolution screens. Vista addressed this with the introduction of a single menu and a tree control that required fewer acrobatics with the mouse. However, All Programs still felt cramped, since the menu required a scroll bar (fig 2). The Start menu was already starting to feel full.

Windows 7 Start menu open to All Programs view with a list of 20 programs shown
Fig 2: All Programs in the Start menu in Windows 7

Another critical evolution of Start was the introduction of instant search. Vista and Windows 7 both made it really easy for you to open the menu and just type what you wanted. We know many of you enjoy this powerful method, as it reduces “time to launch.” The introduction of advanced commands also reduced the need to use the Run dialog. Nonetheless, we knew there were still areas for improvement. Search results sometimes feel overcrowded and showing lots of different types of data (email, files, control panel settings, etc.) didn’t always work best in a one-size-fits-all column. Some of you have asked whether the Windows 8 Start screen will also support search. Yes, it does—on the Start screen, just start typing to instantly see search results that you can filter by apps, files, or settings. And just like in Windows 7, the full power of search is available in Explorer.

Based on these challenges and your feedback, we’ve continued to refine the Start experience over the years. However, we find that even the Windows 7 Start menu still faces core usability challenges:

  • The menu feels cramped relative to available screen real estate when you try to see and navigate the full catalog of your programs.
  • Search doesn’t have the space it deserves to quickly show you rich results across all sources of information, especially on larger screens.
  • It’s hard to customize the menu to make it feel like it’s really yours.
  • Icons and shortcuts are static and don’t leverage more of the pixels we see in modern graphical interfaces to surface connected scenarios.

Of course, the above list isn’t a complete set of everything we are improving. We also aim to unify Start with the rest of the system and enable new scenarios. An important part of design is sometimes taking a step back to fundamentally reimagine something from the ground up in order to bring more than incremental improvements to a product. This is especially true for something like Start that was born in a very different time when we didn’t use our PCs the way we do today.

It is important not to lose sight of the breadth of the problem space. The Start menu is almost exclusively used to launch items (except for the subset of search functionality). The full program experience in Windows 7 also includes switching and pinning via the taskbar, alerts in the notification area, and gadgets on the desktop. As we continue our dialog, we’ll talk about how Windows 8 brings these all together in a harmonious manner.

How is the Start menu used?

Now that we’ve briefly discussed the history of the Start menu, let’s discover how people are actually using it. We thought it would be interesting to see how the usage of the menu has changed over time. Figure 3 reveals the change in Start menu usage across the two versions of Windows.

Table listing Start menu features and their percent change in usage: Pictures: -61%, Documents: -56%, Control Panel:-54%, Pinned items: -51%, All Programs: -42%, Computer: -40%, MFU: -28%, Start menu open: -11%.
Fig 3: Change in Start menu feature usage between Windows Vista and Windows 7

It is striking to see how dramatically different the use of the Start menu is in Windows Vista vs. Windows 7. Some of the Special Folders (what we call those items on the right side of the menu) dropped in use by over 50%. Likewise, people accessed pinned items on the Start menu half as often in Windows 7 than they did in Vista. People also access All Programs and the MFU far less often. Finally, we see an 11% drop in how often people are opening the Start menu at all. While 11% may seem like a small number at first, across our hundreds of millions of customers it is eye opening to see such a drop for a universally recognizable element of the Windows interface. We’re not talking about some hidden setting that is tweaked by a minority of people—we’re talking about a fundamental piece of Windows that people are using less and less.

So why the change in how people are using the Start menu? Here’s a hint—it has something to do with that bar at the bottom of your screen that was introduced in Windows 7.

The “Start bar”

The evolution of the Windows taskbar directly impacted the Start menu. What once was locked behind a menu suddenly came closer to you. The most obvious advancements were the introduction of Quick Launch by Internet Explorer 4.0’s Windows Desktop Update in 1997, as well as the more recent taskbar pinning in Windows 7.

Interesting side story: did you know that Quick Launch was initially disabled by default in Windows XP because some people believed the MFU list and pinning in the Start menu would suffice? We saw a volume of evidence to the contrary, and so we reversed the decision (though back then, the data upon which we based these decisions was limited, so we don’t really know what a broad variety of customers were doing). What we took away from this was that it was important for you to be able to designate what apps you care about, see them all in one place, and have them be one click away, rather than trying to guess what is important through software heuristics or having important items mixed with less important items.

To really bring this all home, let’s take a look at where people are pinning their apps. Figure 4 reveals that 85% of people have three or more items pinned to the taskbar compared to a mere 23% who have the same number pinned to the Start menu. Although the taskbar and Start menu have different pinned defaults, many people do customize both of them when they want to. The message is clear that the majority of people want most of their apps on the taskbar rather than having to dig into Start.

 Top bar chart shows 41% of users pin 0 apps to Start menu, 21% pin 1 app to Start menu, and 5% or less pin 5 or more apps to Start. Bottom bar chart shows 9% or less of users pin either 0, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9,or 10 apps to the taskbar, while  30% pin 3 apps to taskbar, 23% pin 4 apps to taskbar, and 15% pin 5 apps to taksbar.
Fig 4: Number of pinned apps on the Start menu (top) vs. on the taskbar (bottom)

We also know that enthusiasts in particular use their Windows 7 taskbar even more than the Start menu. Keyboard shortcuts like Win + <n> (where n corresponds to the sequence of an application icon on the taskbar) make it even faster for the keyboard experts to instantly launch and switch with the taskbar (and those shortcuts continue to work in Windows 8). When we visit IT pros, it’s not uncommon for us to see a taskbar filled with icons for standard corporate desktops. We even see items like Control Panel pinned to the taskbar to save people a trip to Start. Pinning is also increasing in popularly because you can now also pin websites to your taskbar with IE 9. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room on the taskbar—even at 1024×768 the taskbar can hold 22 small icons. Add the power of Jump lists, and theoretically, you can also have access to 220 files, folders, and sites at that same resolution! This means that for those who wish to just use desktop apps, the taskbar provides the room to quickly access the things you need every day without going to the Start menu.

Speaking of Jump lists, we’ve seen also how pinning Explorer by default to the taskbar and populating its Jump list with common folders makes it even easier to access system folders like Documents (not surprisingly, use of Documents in Start has also dropped, as shown above).

In summary, the taskbar has evolved to replace many aspects of the Start menu. You can even say the taskbar reveals many of the weaknesses of the Start menu and that the menu is no longer as valuable as it once was long ago. Search and access to All Programs are still unique strengths of the Start menu that we know you depend upon, but when it comes to the apps you use every day, one-click access from the taskbar is hard to beat. You, and many like you, are the ones who gave us this strong feedback over the years, which pushed us to make the taskbar a powerful primary launcher and switcher for the desktop. In fact, we sometimes even referred to the taskbar in Windows 7 as the “Start bar,” since it became clear that most people now start with the bar, rather than with the menu.

A new opportunity for Start

With the Windows taskbar becoming the key launcher and switcher for the desktop, and the Start menu being revealed as a poor everyday launcher, an opportunity appeared to reimagine Start and make it into something more valuable. Since we now know most of you can (and do) just use the taskbar to access the things you commonly use on the desktop, this freed us up to make Start even better at its unique strengths and to unlock new scenarios. Improved search, more room for all your programs, tiles that are alive with activity, and richer customization all suddenly become possible when the venerable, but aging, Start menu is transformed into a modern Start screen. Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll talk about the Start screen and how it represents the way we use our PCs today.

Chaitanya Sareen

Comments (357)

  1. Stan says:

    ************************************************************************************************

    I know this has nothing to do with the Start Menu, but here's a great suggestion for Windows 8:

    Let developers register file extensions to be used by their application when registering them for the Windows Store, so when you open an unknown file type, Windows can suggest programs that can open it from the Store.

    ************************************************************************************************

  2. raider says:

    No optional comeback for old Start menu? (I'm not talking about registry hacks, but an official switch inside Control Panel)

  3. Manan says:

    Quick question, how do you get stats on how many times I or other click on the folders in the start menu?!

  4. Bart says:

    In my use of Windows 8 so far I've found that a great feature of Windows 7 is buried. That is the search box. Currently all I have to do is click start and then I have a search box to utilize.

    Also, while I understand that you want a truly native interface for touch, many desktops will not have touch for a while. So, (the classic question) can you bring back some version of the Windows 7 start menu for non-touch enabled devices?

    Otherwise, for touch. I am loving what you guys are doing. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks

  5. Frank says:

    There is no "Post PC Era". With all due respect, it seems that this "Touch First" idea has gone a little too far, and that you do not take into consideration the 1 billion desktops that people use on a daily basis in an enterprise atmosphere. Stop being concerned with Facebook, and sharing pictures with your social network. Production and ease of use is taking a big hit, and the only way I can see this being successful is if you provide multiple versions. Stop with "what would Apple do?" and concentrate on "how can we make Windows more efficient".

  6. Onuora Amobi says:

    "We recognize that to some people, any change to Windows is going to be disruptive, and so we want to make sure we continue an open dialog about those changes. "

    Thank you.

    This has absolutely been refreshing.

    Onuora

    http://www.windows8update.com

  7. Marcus says:

    Have you guys gone mad!? The new "Start screen" is friggin' TERRIBLE! I seriously hope there's a way to bring back the old menu in the final product. Otherwise this is a HUGE step backwards. There's no reason for the Start menu to now take up the whole screen, going as far to even cover the taskbar and all the apps open. Not to mention is a horrible user experience.

  8. B8Blog says:

    @Manan we don't know anything about how you use the product. the data is our customer experience improvement program.  it is anonymous and opt-in.  there is a very clear privacy policy in place with regards to this data.

  9. FremyCompany says:

    I fully understand the concept of the new start menu and I really like it. However, if its background could be a darken version fo the "Desktop" in the case of desktop PC, it would dramatically increase the feel it's a "part of the OS" and not some strange thing that migrated from the Metro UI to our own world [].

    On a tablet, things are different since the desktop is not really the most important part of the experience and I would not especially expect that.

  10. Filip says:

    I don't like the new Metro Start.It doesn't have any sense for ordinary desktop user.I'm having standard desktop computer without touch screen monitor or some kind of touch input device.It's just not working for non touch devices.How do you plan to interact with that kind of apps when they were designed for touch not click?On first look it's interesting but after you start using it you realize that so many thing are just so hard to do.Even ordinary things are ticky and you have to find how to make them happen.Even my father which is Windows user for a long time, he tried to use Windows 8 and he just quit.He said this is so hard for me it's so unlogical.Start menu was built to locate apps not centralize the whole thing into it.I'm so frustrated with the new Metro.

  11. Silhouette says:

    @Bart: Just start typing. It works just like the Windows 7 search, and you can also use the Search charm.

  12. Andrew says:

    @Steven I'd like to point out that this data you collect is most likely from non-corporate users, you're basing all your statistics around home users and not business users.  Most enterprises will turn off the CEIP by default in Group Policy as a security precaution and to prevent chatter from the network.

  13. KrGAce says:

    One of the biggest issues, is Microsoft knows where they're going with Windows and what it will look like, we do not so that sparks debate.  I anxiously await to see where Windows is going in the next beta.  Great read!

  14. Briantist says:

    I have to say that if the current "Metro" thing insists on being on the Start Menu, then I won't be using Windows 8.  

    I have great eye-sight and I don't need SHOUTING AT IN MASSIVE LETTERING just to start a programme.

    I can't personally believe that the way that the Start button/Windows Key has gone though a single iteration of user testing, I can't find any level of user that thinks the Metro interface is anything other than some form of joke.

  15. Silhouette says:

    While the Metro UI is mostly manageable with a keyboard and mouse, using it with a laptop trackpad is a nightmare. Are you adding native gestures support to make the experience smoother for those without touch?

  16. For anyone interested, here is a compilation of all officially announced features in Windows 8 (client and server) along with their respective sources:

    helgeklein.com/…/officially-announced-new-features-in-windows-8

  17. mt327000 says:

    To me, the Start Screen feels like a step backward. It feels even more cluttered than the Start Menu did, and no longer can I get an idea of everything installed on my computer in a glance. The Start Screen feels slow and clunky, a sharp contrast to Jensen Harris's "fast and fluid" idea. If the Start Menu is hard to customize to fit the way I work, then customizing the Start Screen in this way is impossible. The entire idea is the exact opposite of the way I think and work, and there is the fundamental problem that the Start Screen is not designed for regular computers, but for touch slates. As for the "Start bar" in Windows 7 replacing the Start Menu, I haven't seen it. I use Windows 7 in the exact same way I use Windows Vista. I can't even remember the last time I used a Jump List. The Start Screen feels like a mess of icons, having all of the problems with the Start Menu you described and adding some of its own. I keep a very neat and orderly desktop, and can see everything on my comptuer in a glance in the "All Programs" view introduced in Windows Vista. To me, the Start Screen just doesn't work, nor does it have any advantages over the superior Start Menu.

  18. Mike says:

    So most users have 3 icons on their start bar… what would happen if it didn't default to having three there? My guess is that number would drop to zero for the majority of users. (I have 20 here at work)

    I'm good with knowing to just start typing at the metro start page, but what about the 40+ home user group? How are they going to know to do it if it's not laid out for them? To most I think this would end up being a lost feature.

  19. MOD says:

    And the important thing about search bar in Win7 start menu – it is small, and it does not interrupt me from the context of my work, I even don't look at the menu, I don't see large sliding screens etc, just small box. The current state of start screen in Win8 Dev Preview interrupt me from the work context, by changing the entire screen state.

  20. Andre Ziegler says:

    Will we get an option to activate the "Windows Vista/7 Startmenu" or not?

  21. Alex Kahoun says:

    Let me say that as far as the new start screen goes, it is top notch for touch.  Absolutely amazing.  I do have one complaint though, for the mouse, it's sub-par.  I can't stand the horizontal scroll bar.  From a design perspective you guys have spent a lot of quality time perfecting 8, and it shows!  When I'm forced to use the ugly scroll bar for horizontal scrolling though, I really think you guys dropped the ball there.  I'm not without offering a solution either.  Take a look at the IE Add-On Gallery  http://www.iegallery.com/…/default.aspx.  It has a nice smooth auto-scroll feature, only in the middle of the page, for mouse users.  Would it be possible to include something like this for mouse users?  Again, I know the design philosophy was touch-first, and you guys really knocked it out of the park on that one!  Can the mouse users get a tiny bit of love?  Keep up the good work.

  22. legacy says:

    let us choose between the "old" menù and the new one, pleaseeeee!!!

  23. legacy says:

    let us choose between the "old" menù and the new one, pleaseeeee!!!

  24. Tuxplorer says:

    Nice post as usual. But I'm keen to learn your plans about task switching feature in Metro styles apps. It needs improvements.

  25. i used the Startmenu everyday, but the new Startscreen makes a lot easier for, because the speace of the screen is better used and the way you can launch apps its much clearer and easier

    Compare the pic img801.imageshack.us/…/startmenuv2.jpg

    that was a improvement that wished for the startmenu, but with the new startscreen, this is solved for me.

  26. mt327000 says:

    In the link I posted to my topic in the forums, one of them was titled "A Response to the Idea of Changing, not Disabling, Metro." Please read this section.

    social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/b822c546-bf05-4cf9-b0a5-9cca3c1b404d

  27. mt327000 says:

    Another thing I want to point out about the Metro shell…

    What is the point of moving everything that used to be in one place into a bunch of separate areas? Why is Shut Down under a Settings pane? Why do I have to click on Search to view all of my programs or look at a bunch of flashing tiles when it is easier and faster to scroll through the Start Menu list? Will you address the problems with the Start Screen in the next post?

  28. Yannick says:

    When you are on the desktop and you do a search it shows the "Files" result by default. Is there a way to disable this or to set it to "Apps" like when you do a search from the Metro screen ?

    Another suggestions not related to the start menu.

    Can you improve the Open dialog/Save to location boxes. It is to small and people always have to resize this windows.

    Same thing for the Folder options and Internet Explorer options. It will be good to redesign this windows for people. Most of the time they don't know what to choose or select…they're kind of lost.

  29. Nick says:

    Search in the new Start Screen is broken for system settings.  For example, type uninstall and have fun actually selecting "uninstall a program" with just the keyboard.  On Windows 7 it's the first result.

  30. Silhouette says:

    For me, it does Apps by default… That's strange.

  31. mt327000 says:

    I just saw something else that made me think that this reimagining of Windows has gone too far.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

    I am aware that this is somewhat off-topic, but I wanted to remind everyone of Windows's roots. Just listening to this sound, when separated from the Windows 98 experience, reminds me of everything Windows has traditionally been good at that has been removed in Winodws 8 (such as the Start Menu). While it is true that Windows 98's Start Menu isn't as good as Windows XP's or Windows Vista's, it seems like a better way to use Windows than the Start Screen and the disconnected Metro experiences. It is very well-organized, with a simple click paradigm that is easier to use than Metro's abstract mix of tiles, or even the cluttered "pin to Taskbar" paradigm in Windows 7.

  32. Commentator says:

    If you want to do a new start bar do it, but give me the possibility to use the traditional/old taskbar

  33. whats confused me on the startscreen is that you write start, but when you click on start nothing happend, i connect with "Start" a reaction, so please make it functianl or leave it.

  34. Andrew says:

    BTW if you are going to force people to the metro style start then it should at least support mouse panning rather than having to find the horizontal scrollbar.

  35. Commentator says:

    Excuse me, start bar, not taskbar, but I'd like to see this also in the taskbar as in the other new interfaces of windows 8 (create new interfaces, but I decide which is the better for me) thanks

  36. HandNF says:

    Personally, I don't use the start menu much. I use it to access the control panel, 'run', and a couple of programs. Mostly everything is pinned on my desktop.

    I still think the classic start pop-up should exist in some extent, giving users quick controls to computer settings.

  37. Andrew says:

    I think the Metro style Start is nice when working with the tablet/touch. However, it is terrible when working with the mouse. It is particularly bad when I'm working on the desktop and I click on the start menu (with the mouse) only to get a jarring experience of being shifted to the metro style ui. Not to mention that there is a fraction of the items in view that would be if I had the Windows 7 start menu. I think when you're working in the desktop you need to remain in the desktop and see the original start menu even if it doesn't include any of the metro style apps.

  38. So, can I turn it off?

    Its sad that MS just looks at usage stats and designs the whole OS around these stats, which represent the average Joe of users, who utilize the Windows' features the worst possible way. Instead, MS should have used these stats to shape user experience towards more advanced, power use.

    Instead of opening a small Start menu in the corner of the screen, now the whole screen changes, forcing eyes to adapt to a new layout and colors every time. While the Start menu was open, the user could see contents of other windows.

    Its possible to go with both options, like this: http://i.imgur.com/VqI4c.png

  39. microsoft will you please let us use the metro-us start menu and our usual everyday start menu at the same time because it is needed.

  40. i meant metro-ui, not metro-us….

  41. i meant metro-ui, not metro-us….

  42. Kirill says:

    The main problem of Start Screen for me is not functionality. The main problem is that it is full screen. I don't want to see this big thing every time when i want to search application because it would steal attention from opened windows.

  43. Robert4WPF says:

    @mt327000:Excellent post, sums up the issues nicely.

    @Steven Sinofsky: This already is starting to feel like the Ribbon debate, where you seem to have accepted ticking off a large part of your users and wave around statistics to justify it. Sure, 75% of users may not care about the change, but the other 25% are REALLY mad.  You have forced us to weigh the pros of Win8 against a huge Con, and the con isn't even necessary!  Making the old Start Menu an option is neither difficult nor expensive.  I would also love to correlate the statistics for who hates the new start menu with who makes OS adoption plans for businesses.  I think you would find you are ticking off the wrong 25%.

  44. cranberry says:

    Thinking about what you tell us here in this post, I do fully agree to the fact that the task bar in Win 7 makes launching programs much faster. Hadn't been aware of this really. Under Vista and lower we either had to use the Startmenu (slow because of scrolling through long list), the search function or shortcuts on the desktop (requires closing of programs before starting another one -> bad). The Win 7 task bar does this job so much better.

    Having tested the WDP a bit, I am not yet sure if I'll like the new start screen. I do hope that the transition between Metro start screen <-> desktop will feel smoother and give you less the feeling of two separate UIs linked with a button. I am looking forward to getting to know the improvements that come with the new start screen (the question is: do you really get your job done faster, or is it only a revamp of the UI with theoretical improvements (more screen space used, but does it matter?)).

  45. Danny says:

    As a developer I want to spend most of my time on the desktop. The old start menu was great and quick to just hit win key and start typing my app name to run. I pin a lot but I also don't pin things used less often. Having the entire screen change in order to launch something is not as desirable. Having a primarily desktop centric experience w/o the metro start menu would be very appreciated.

  46. SimonRev says:

    I also have issue with the horizontal scrolling on the start page, and indeed, the pervasiveness of horizontal scrolling in metro apps.  At least you can use the scroll wheel, but it still feels very clunky. (Most metro apps don't support the mouse wheel for horizontal scroll though).

    As a mouse user, metro really makes me feel like a second class citizen.  Many things take extra clicks as well as entire screen wide mouse movements.  Touch gestures don't translate naturally into mouse actions (took me forever to realize that lower left mouse hover was the equivalent of right in touch swipe).  

    Discoverability for many things just isn't there — there is no reason to suspect that typing on the start screen will bring up search.  Heck, I was stuck for a few minutes on the lock screen (before I watched a video).  Fortunately there I decided to try ctrl-alt-delete and found it worked.

    You have done a great job at making touch a first class citizen of Windows, but I wish it didn't have to come at the price of making mouse/keyboard second class.

  47. Andrew says:

    You say that 11% doesn't seem like much but that it is when considering the hundreds of millions of users and so you use that as a justification for removing the classic start menu. However you discount the remaining millions of people that do use it frequently. I definitely use the taskbar pinning for frequently used apps and think its a great feature but I use lots of apps from day to day that I don't want to put into the taskbar and instead pin in my start menu or remain in the frequently used list of the start menu.

    Maybe as someone else stated, your stats come predominantly from home users and not corporate users? It seems to me that people less familiar/comfortable with windows will not change any default settings and will leave the customer feedback enabled.

  48. Fascinating stats, thinking about my own usage of Windows it's definitely true that I don't use the Start menu even nearly as much as I once did. Looking forward to the next part of this article.

  49. mt327000 says:

    This doesn't remind me of the Ribbon/Menus debate as much as some people think. For me, the Ribbon in Microsoft Office was a huge improvement over the menus and toolbars. Once I started using it, it became my favorite thing about Office 2007. It made everything simpler, easier to get to, and made Office less complicated without making any compromises. This is in direct contrast to Metro, where I feel like I spend the entire time trying to figure out why it exists. Metro cripples Windows functionality, with everything that used to be in logical locations now spread apart in ways that make no sense. Metro isn't even designed for mice. Office 2007 was carefully researched and developed over a period of many years, and designed from the ground up for mice and keyboards. Metro was carefully researched and developed over a period of many years, and designed up from the ground up for touch with mouse support tacked on later. This is a mistake. This is why the Start Screen in Windows 8 isn't as good as the Start Menu. If Microsoft wants to reimagine Windows 8 on the desktop, they should begin from the ground up with design for mice and keyboards, not touch. Touch should be a separate UI for tablets and slates only.

  50. Arvind says:

    I think in classic desktop start menu. we atleast need the search box , where we don't to have to go to metro screen to launch programs that will be opened in classic mode…..

  51. Matti-Koopa says:

    Please make a visible search indicator on the start screen. Casual users won't be able to figure out that you can simplay type there. Make a searchbox or at least a text at the top like "type to search".

  52. Great post!

    It really means a lot to acknowledge user concerns brought up on this forum and elsewhere, even if you aren't at liberty to address them. (while I suspected as much, it is good to know that you guys will be re-working the start screen interactions with mouse and keyboard)

    Looking forward to the follow-up post!

  53. Robbin says:

    I'm a huge fan of Windows and can't think of getting any other OS. But if Metro is dominating in Windows 8, I promise you I quit using Windows, if I can't get rid of every Metro-assosiated theme-parts.

  54. mt327000 says:

    As others have said, I wouldn't rely on the idea that 30% of people actually use the three applications they have pinned to the taskbar. This 3% is probably made up mostly of people who do not use the taskbar to launch applications, but just left the icons as they were when they opened up their computer. As for the other icons pinned to the taskbar in your statistics, many of these could simply be applications that were preinstalled by OEM's looking to save money. I once saw a budget laptop that had the taskbar filled with tons of useless icons right out of the box. Actually, this "tons of useless icons right out of the box" is what Windows Developer Preview's Start Screen feels like to me.

  55. Psy says:

    @Arvind. Agree. I use the search A LOT, and something like win+r but for search programs and files could be very handy.

  56. mt327000 says:

    When I said "This 3 percent" above, I ment to say "30 percent."

  57. B8Blog says:

    @lashtal — We offer this data to you as a way of having a conversation about some of the things behind the design.  We do not design the feature around any data points but rather the data informs and affirms choices we make.  We have many other tools we use.  It is just that when we show the data it is more than an assertion or something you might rule out as an opinion or has sampling issues as you might see with a survey or focus group approach.  

    @Andrew — We don't discount any portion of the customer base.  We were commenting on what is a dramatic change in usage by any measure and changes like this do not usually stay confined to any particular audience.  What is interesting is that these changes are happening without any additional change in software–we're seeing people change routine usage on the same system.

    @SimonRev — We take issue with the scrolling performance as well.  That's why we mentioned it along with the fact that the design is not complete 🙂

  58. tN0 says:

    With the new design you leave the "task oriented" concept behind and move back to an app centric approach that in my opinion isn't modern.

    I don't want to start apps. I wan't to do something with my PC. Were is this document I was working on yesterday? I don't find it in the new Start screen. Where is this tool I was using earlier? Oh, I have to search again, and again… You call it improved search? Why? Because I have to filter content manually again like in the 90's?

    A strange fact that comes to mind while reading this article is, that your data shows that people like to use the taskbar as a launcher but the taskbar isn't present when you turn on Windows 8. The Start screen hides the taskbar. And on the other side you showed that people don't like to pin apps to the Start menu but now, this is the only thing they can do on the new Start screen. I don't get that logic.

    And what about other basic features like power off or restart? Did people use this less often in Windows 7? Or why did you removed this functionality?

    Part of the new Start screen as we know it yet is this hover menu when you put the mouse pointer in the lower left corner. Not that the functionality is hidden to the user but it also feels very uncomfortable. It is one of the most important UI elements but does work like no other element in Windows. Nowhere else is such a menu that you don't have to open, that pops up automatically from nowhere. It just doesn't feel right.

    Here are things I hope will be improved dramatically in the next milestone:

    – finding files. Seriously.

    – switching between the desktop and metro isn't working. One example: you are using an rss reader in metro style and open a link that will open in your default browser (like Chrome) on the desktop. After reading you close the browser and booom, you are "lost" on the desktop, you aren't back on the rss app.

    – make the taskbar a first class citizen in Windows 8 again, don't hide it inside an "app" that you call "desktop".

    – put every task inside the taskbar, not just desktop tasks but also metro apps

    – make using Metro with a mouse better, that means easier and more discover-able, more effective (shorter movements) and more appealing (more feedback to user actions, hot track colors on the Start screen? Why not?)

    – make using the desktop with fingers better. One example: those ancient tabs inside small dialog windows with 1000 borders around the content.

    – make Aero more Metro. And Metro more Aero :o)

    – implement Jump Lists to the Live Tiles at the Start screen. Swiping up on a tile or right click could bring up a Jump List

    – re-think the current Ribbon implementation in Explorer. Please!

  59. edi says:

    first let me say that i love Microsoft and plan to work there after I graduate, I love Windows and I am absolutely in love with Windows 7.

    so what i have to say is from somebody who is bias for Microsoft:

    I HATE the new start screen.

    Now let me explain: it may be true that people including myself use the Superbar more and more and as a result use the start menu less and less. But still key functionalities lie in it – like easily starting search, shutting downrestarting my PC – things which on none touch screen PCs are the easiest to do by far using the start menu – but that's not the my strongest reason for my objection to the new start screen – my main problem with it is the fact that by putting the new start button in most beautiful UI in the world – Windows Aero – you ruin it – I HATE metro UI – I think its hideous on large screens  -I may be able to stand it on tablets because of the functionality gains that it brings to touch screens but i simply won't use a desktop OS that forces me to use METRO UI and constantly see it event when i am in the desktop AERO UI – and it is manifested in the Aero UI in the ugly black new start button and in the fact that to perform a search – instead of the elegant and beautiful search box that i have in Windows 7 Start screen i have to go to the new start screen – never!!!!!!. so consider this – make it possible to turn off metro on none touch PCs – and event better make it off by default when windows doesn't recognize a touch screen during its installation.

    Thanks

  60. sousa11 says:

    I really like the metro UI (especially on touch screens). So i hope in addition to the desktop-explorer you will give us an explorer also in metro style. You'd have to integrate only basic functionality into it (like new folder, copy paste). That would be great, so i wouldn't have to go back to the desktop mode for that.. Can't wait for the beta!

  61. alireza says:

    i love metro on zune software. its imazing & beautiful but in windows 8 its very ugly.

    you should do better design like zune sofware on pc.

    i and every microsoft fan i know hope you bring back start menu

    sorry for english

  62. alireza says:

    i love metro on zune software. its imazing & beautiful but in windows 8 its very ugly.

    you should do better design like zune sofware on pc.

    i and every microsoft fan i know hope you bring back start menu

    sorry for english

  63. Chimel says:

    Sorry if dupe, my comments never post when I am signed in, I signed out and reposted.

    I don't let clutter invade my computer: I don't have a single icon on my Desktop, not even the Recycle Bin, or a single app link at the root of All Programs, except for Windows Update.

    I access my apps in Windows 7 via different ways:

    – Apps pinned to the new Windows 7 taskbar for important and frequently used apps

    – From the Quick Launch toolbar for less important and frequently used utilities (a pain to set up in Win7)

    – An organized Start menu as shown in: lh4.googleusercontent.com/…/Start%252520menu.png

    All my media players and audio/video editors are under the "Multimedia" group; The main link(s) for most other apps are 'copied' to the "Applications" group; All the Start menu groups that were created automatically when installing apps and games are 'moved' to the "Complements" group.

    I rarely used the Most Frequently Used list, and I certainly will never use the huge mobilephone-like Start screen icons of the Metro UI on my desktop computer. The non-touch LCD monitor is even out of reach of my hands. I hope Windows 8 will be smart and enable/disable specific elements of Metro during setup, depending on the hardware configuration, like keeping the Search box visible in normal desktop computers. Right now, it looks like in order to support touch, you are getting rid of all years of advances in ergonomy that found their way into the previous versions of Windows, even for the users without touch hardware.

    The way to access your apps should not change in Windows 8 if you are not running it from a tablet or mobile phone. The new Windows 7 taskbar combined to the removal of the Quick Launch toolbar was already painful, you should not change drastically the UI every 2-3 years if the users are using the same traditional hardware, such as a normal LCD monitor, keyboard and mouse. This is no iPad.

  64. MarkL.NZ says:

    Just because we use the Start menu less, that doesn't mean it's not essential!

    I make use of the start bar for my very commonly used applications, sure. But I also use the start menu – thats there for the LESS often accessed, but just as essential, features.

    The reason it works so well in that way is because it's so well organised. In the developer preview of Win 8, there doesn't seem to be any good way to group, order or otherwise manage all the apps and programs that are listed. its just a big messy pile of references to EVERY INSTALLED APP OR PROGRAM in the system.

    How are you going to address this problem? There should be some better way of arranging things by default. The start menu in Win 7 has program folders. For example, say I install Visual Studio 2010 on my Win 7 PC. I get a Visual Studio 2010 folder in my start menu, which in turn has sub folders that serve to organise the individual tools, etc within that. On Win 8, when I install Visual Studio 11 Ultimate Preview, all I get are another 20 odd tiles dumped into the start page….

  65. Graeme says:

    Change is difficult eh. The new start menu is a vast improvement in looks and functionality. Horizontal scroll is much better on widescreen PCs.

    I hated the way the old start menu used to do things after you hovered for some unit of time.

    I think it's just a step on the way. We don't want to see that old menuing system carry into the future, The challenge is going to be transitioning all these desktop apps to something similar to a metro style interface. It will be interesting to see what happens to Office and the like.

  66. Alireza Noori says:

    Sure I can search for an app that I want to launch in Start Screen. But how about the time when I don't know what I'm looking for? I mean sometimes I just open the Start menu and look for a software that I don't recall its name but I know something about it. It's icon or what its name was like. I can't search for it cause I don't know what is it. I'm not sure but I think there's no way to access all the software this way in Windows 8. I think you should think about this.

  67. Hmm. A thoughtful, well written article.

    Whilst I'm not necessarily convinced that the new Start will achieve all of its required goals, I applaud Microsoft for trying something brave, new, and with solid reasons and evidence backing it.

    @Chimel: i agree with your problem – I feel like there's too much disunity between the Desktop and Start interfaces. I don't, however, agree with your solution. I wrote a post on this last week, head over to  capnfabs.net for more on this issue.

  68. converting windows phone 7 touch feature UI to tablet then desktop is the wrong way round, there are many ways to comunicate with computer devices, mouse, pen, touch, gastures, mind, eyes, voice etc why over invest on just one communication method. my opinion; all tiles or icons (live feed and right click must have the rest uninstall, other complimentary apps etc) on the desktop, start menu with windows control, mantainance features etc.

  69. John says:

    It's time for new start menu…the start menu is so old-ish! Learn from android, mac.

    Stack most used apps or can customize apps shortcut on the right side near the "show desktop".

    Time for innovation!!

  70. balloonview says:

    Boycott Windows 8 if no legacy start menu option.

  71. Robbie says:

    Been using the developer preview for a few weeks. Never logged into windows 7 during that time. At first i loved it, then i changed my mind. It's horrible. Searching is clunky and productivity has left the building.

    When it actually came round to doing work on the pc i found myself actually having to go back to windows 7. What used to take 5 seconds to search an application or common files now takes 20 seconds. I found myself also never in the metro ui. Login click desktop and never leave it.

    I will be leaving windows 9 installed and follow its updates but the way things are going, windows 7 will be the new XP. I cannot see universities and workplaces ever upgrading to windows 8. Too big a change. More money on training and huge loss in productivity.

    Robbie

  72. @Steven Sinofsky — I love what Metro is, and I appreciate all the blog posts thoroughly describing the changes in W8 and design decisions behind them.

    But, looking at all the feedback the new Start Screen brought, lets face it: it's not just a vocal minority complaining about removing some obscure feature no one really uses. It's about a really big change and many people dislike it in its current state while providing valid points about it's flaws. (nothing is perfect, I dont blame anyone)

    Thus I have to ask: Is the feedback posted here useful at all? Does it still affect anything? If the next Windows going to have a „no-compromise approach“, it cannot afford to drop a set of useful and proven features (Start menu) in favor of others, innovative but not quite ready to fully replace the old ones.

  73. Mkdahan says:

    It's important that the shutdown will be faster at 8…

  74. Your stats are lame, cause they are based on observing lab rats and monkeys, not real hard working people.

    You FAIL!

    Mouse was introduced into a non-GUI world, therefore was cumbersome to use. Now you comparing apples to crap.

    You FAIL!

  75. @MarkL.NZ — Thanks for your feedback. We agree that one of the roles of the start menu is to access your less often used but essential features. We’ll talk more about the organizational options in our next post, but many of them (zoom, group names, group rearrange, etc.) are not available in the developer preview build.

  76. mt327000 says:

    @Steven Sinofsky:

    I'm glad to hear that the Windows team will be working on making some of the changes that have been suggested over the past few weeks, and improving performance in Metro with mice. Still, I wonder why Metro on the desktop has to exist at all.

  77. mt327000 says:

    @Chaitanya Sareen

    Thank you for addressing the complains that I and other readers of this blog have had about Windows 8. It's good to know that you're paying attention and are planning on addressing these issues.

  78. For a tablet, the start screen is great.  I probably won't have many programs installed and it is very touch friendly.  I also will spend all (or most) of my time in this view.

    For the laptop, the start screen is very difficult to use with a track-pad.  I find myself moving over the entire screen to open the screen, start searching, switch search modes, then click my icon (just to go back to the desktop view I was on before).  I'm glad you said you will address mouse problems on the start screen.

    On the desktop, I can't find anything good to say about the start screen.  Having to switch to a full-screen collection of boxes feels like a modern version of the win 3.x program manager.  I have over 100 desktop application shortcuts in my windows 7 start menu (mostly development programs like Visual Studio, eclipse, Adobe Master Collection, ect.).  When I install these programs, my start screen will become a wall of 100 icons (not tiles – because development programs will never be WinRT apps).  For me, it seems you just brought back the program manager problem you fixed in Windows 95.

    I'm sure there is a design way to have the start menu on the desktop view and the start screen on the metro view.  I could then have a few live tiles and WinRT apps without being lost in a sea of icons for desktop programs and websites.

    PS.  I would love the ability to put a few live tiles on my desktop as gadgets so I could view them with the show desktop hover action (which takes less time to switch back and forth from then just opening the start screen).

  79. @Alice Steinglass [MSFT]

    Thank for mentioning there are organizational options that aren't available yet.  I'm worried about having 100 desktop program icons taking over my start screen.  I look forward to the next post.

  80. strawberry swing says:

    I am going to build a old fashioned start menu app and make it a 99c bestseller.  lol.

  81. Brent says:

    The main issue with the new Start screen is that it replaces the start menu, not the taskbar, but it covers the taskbar. Only movies and games have ever been allowed to hide our running programs like that before. The taskbar icons need to be visible on the Start screen.

  82. mt327000 says:

    Even if the Start Screen problems and issues with closing programs are resolved, is there any chance that the Metro platform, if I don't get the option to run it in a window, will have the same interoperability as Windows? For example, in Windows, I can drag things between programs, drag icons from the Start Menu to the desktop, use context menus to access other parts of the interface, etc. All of this functionality seems to be gone in Metro, making it much less useful than the regular UI. Is there any chance that this will be changed? I still think that running Metro apps in a window on desktops is the best approach.

  83. Windowsfan says:

    I actually like the idea of using the Metro Start screen to search for apps. the full-screen view can present the user with more apps at one time (about 20) while the start menu can only show 14. Also, the "tap windows key and type to search" approach is fast and simple. More attractive+Live Tiles for application updates+presents the user with more at once = a solid win for the Start screen, in my opinion. BUT, perhaps instead of forcing us to switch screens when we want to perform a search from the desktop, you could only bring up the Search charm menu at the side, and have us choose apps from there. This approach would make searching for apps via search less complex and jarring. I DO have beef with your taskbar though:

    Enough with the "small icons" already!  You could count the individual pixels on those things! They are unattractive, and have massive gaps between each other. The gaps between small icons are bigger than the icons themselves; the taskbar could house another icon within each of these gaps. It would be easier to fit more icons onto the taskbar if you shrank the huge gaps of empty space between each icon! Please ditch the "small icon" concept and  find a way to let the more attractive "original" taskbar icons gradually shrink as we add more programs.

    Also, let us pin folders to the taskbar, and pin documents inside of those folders! I can't believe this basic functionality was left out of Windows 7. You called the new taskbar a "superbar" before the release of Windows 7, yet it won't allow simple, intuitive interaction like pinning a folder. Do let us pin folders, documents, music, films, etc. to the taskbar. This is simply a matter of giving users choice: the windows team may believe that Windows 8 users are better off doing things THEIR way and keeping folders/documents on the desktop or hidden away inside Windows Explorer, but plenty of users would like to have these things on the taskbar, at the ready. Please include this choice in Windows 8.

  84. mt327000 says:

    I just noticed something else interesting. For the first time, instead of referring to the two interfaces in Windows 8 as "Metro" and "Desktop," I called them "Metro" and "Windows." In other words, in my mind, Metro isn't Windows, nor is it powerful enough or interoperable enough to be called Windows. I'm reminded of a forum post where Windows 8 was referred to as "Microsoft Window 8."

  85. Although not really related to the Start Menu, I am wondering when—if ever—will Windows get multiple desktops similar to Apple’s Spaces or *nix desktops?  If there was ever a feature that I am longing for, this has to be it.  Also, don’t give me “that feature is provided by third-party vendors” stuff; all implementations (those that I have used) are clunky and have a feel of a tacked-on afterthought.

  86. JDG says:

    WTF? Why do my comments always disappear when I try to post them?

  87. JDG says:

    Chaitanya still didn't answer the question everyone is asking: will we be able to turn this nonsense off and continue using the standard Windows 7 start menu? We don't care if you think this way is superior; many of us, having tried both, simply flat-out disagree.

    I don't even use the Windows 7 "superbar"; I set up the taskbar to use small icons and never combine, and then enable the Quick Launch bar, so it will look and work like XP. The truth is that I don't want or need to learn a different way of doing things when a perfectly good and efficient way is already encoded in my long-term muscle memory.

    Regarding touch: I don't want fingerprints on my monitor, and I also wouldn't feel comfortable stretching my arm for extended periods of time. (I often use my PC while lounging back in a chair.) I suspect many, if not most, other PC users feel the same way.

    I don't care if I need to set a registry key or group policy; that's fine. But if I can't turn this junk off, no way am I upgrading to Windows 8.

  88. Rico Alexander says:

    Please ignore all the requests to allow the classic start menu.  People will always complain about change and you have people even claiming search was faster with the old start menu.  Don't based your opinion on uninformed users.  Bite the bullet like Apple is willing to do and users will eventually see that the new start menu is the way to go.  Don't relent to those who just don't want to deal with change.

  89. mt327000 says:

    All the requests for a return of the classic Start Menu are not just complaints about change. To me, the new Start Screen actually feels less efficient than the Start Menu. I will admit, some commenters on this blog have gone too far and resorted to mudslinging to make their point, but from a scientific perspective, if you measure usability of Windows 7 and of Windows 8 in terms of click counts, Windows 7 wins hands down. This is not simple complaining, but a real usability problem that Microsoft will hopefully fix.

  90. Arvind says:

    when I am in classic mode , I want to like open visual studio. I have click search , write the text in the searchbox and select Apps filter and then click on visual studio.

    if I have search box like windows 7 .. it will make life easy.

  91. Chimel says:

    Damn commenting system. Again, forgive me if dupe. First instance did not post even when not signed on.

    @Rico Alexander I don't necessarily want the classic start menu, but I expect to be able to launch my favorite apps from a single click, preferable from the left mouse button, not clicking on Start, scrolling among dozens of apps and clicking one, as in Metro UI, or using the middle mouse button, as in Windows 7 Superbar for a second instance of Notepad. If Windows 8 allows this level of efficiency in a brand new UI, I am all for it and will adopt it.

    @capnfabs I didn't propose a solution for Windows 8, only stated how I am accessing apps in Windows 7.

    Your own solution is apparently to switch fully between the Desktop and Metro interfaces at logon.

    I would prefer to switch at any time, and I don't have enough time on Windows 8 to judge, but it looks like there are some Metro elements that may be good to keep in the Desktop interface, not just a choice between Metro and no Metro at all. I definitely don't want ever to see the epilepsy-causing appearing/disappearing Start screen on 2 monitors wide, but maybe some other Metro elements or windowed Metro on the second monitor (like you can use Windows Media Center while still displaying your other apps) would improve things. Some apps and gadgets would definitely look better running on Metro, or maybe work only on Metro, while using other apps on the Desktop UI.

    Really not a simple concept, but the point I agree with you is that something is wrong with the current interface for desktop users. Hope this gets refined before the first Beta, or it would be too late to change it before the release.

    The article started in the good direction trying to explain what Metro actually is, but at least for me, it failed at that. It's still not clear to me what Metro is exactly (or even Aero for that matter). It would be great to see a full article dedicated to Metro, with screenshots or videos to illustrate each point, and the possibility to subscribe to it while the concept is changing until the release.

  92. really looking forward to this series. I've been trying to make sense of the Start Screen since the Windows 8 sneak peek video. the easiest way to think of it is that the Start Screen is essentially an improved version of the Start Menu. the biggest "issue," in my opinion, is the transition (animation) you see when moving between the desktop and Start Screen. as funny as it sounds, I'd like to see whether having the desktop slide to the right would make it feel more familiar.

    in any case, people (self-included) who have come to rely on the taskbar as the primary way to launch applications will have an easy time adapting to Windows 8. for us, the Start Screen is a place to: launch/organize seldom used desktop programs; launch/organize metro apps; search for applications. it will also become a way to search for files and search for content using Metro apps thanks to Contracts.

    it seems like the beta will, thankfully, address many concerns people have over usability, and I imagine MS will continue to make "common sense" improvements–like providing an easy way to see all of your applications from the Start Screen. there is a lot of empty space between "Start" and the user tile.

  93. The new 'start screen' is an excellent evolution of the old start menu….I absolutely love it…an absolutely do not miss the old menu 🙂 Hopefully with further improvements… as mentioned in the above blog post…the experience will be far greater with the Mouse + Keyboard.

    I'd love to see how this will work great with multi-touch gesture trackpads…like the Logitech Touchpad that has just been released (will prob get one this weekend)…n hopefully…the new upcoming Windows 8 Laptops will come with multi-touch trackpads as standard.

    BTW, why didn't you just keep the purple background as standard for the developer preview? It looks so much better than the current green background (even though i know we'll have the ability to change it in the beta :))

    Can't wait to see the further improvements in the beta 🙂

  94. Siv.net says:

    The key point this article misses is the fact that the current implementation of the Metro start screen is immediately hidden when you start an application. The genius of the taskbar is that it's always visible and gives you instant visual feedback about the applications you have running.

    I could live without the start menu to an extent, but never the Win7 style taskbar. Like someone else said above, I have my tier 1 applications on the taskbar, two rows probably 20 or so items using all of the first row and 4 or 5 on the second row, it's a 24" screen so plenty of room left for more. Everything else is on the start menu or all programs. I have nothing on my desktop other than my favourite background pictures.

    Going back to what is effectively a modern day remake of XP's desktop cluttered with big garish icons is a backward step.

    Why not re-imagine the taskbar using a more finger friendly format and allow it to be on screen all the time so that you don't throw out everything gained since we lost the Program Manager.

    Siv

  95. Siv.net says:

    The key point this article misses is the fact that the current implementation of the Metro start screen is immediately hidden when you start an application. The genius of the taskbar is that it's always visible and gives you instant visual feedback about the applications you have running.

    I could live without the start menu to an extent, but never the Win7 style taskbar. Like someone else said above, I have my tier 1 applications on the taskbar, two rows probably 20 or so items using all of the first row and 4 or 5 on the second row, it's a 24" screen so plenty of room left for more. Everything else is on the start menu or all programs. I have nothing on my desktop other than my favourite background pictures.

    Going back to what is effectively a modern day remake of XP's desktop cluttered with big garish icons is a backward step.

    Why not re-imagine the taskbar using a more finger friendly format and allow it to be on screen all the time so that you don't throw out everything gained since we lost the Program Manager.

    Siv

  96. Siv.net says:

    The key point this article misses is the fact that the current implementation of the Metro start screen is immediately hidden when you start an application. The genius of the taskbar is that it's always visible and gives you instant visual feedback about the applications you have running.

    I could live without the start menu to an extent, but never the Win7 style taskbar. Like someone else said above, I have my tier 1 applications on the taskbar, two rows probably 20 or so items using all of the first row and 4 or 5 on the second row, it's a 24" screen so plenty of room left for more. Everything else is on the start menu or all programs. I have nothing on my desktop other than my favourite background pictures.

    Going back to what is effectively a modern day remake of XP's desktop cluttered with big garish icons is a backward step.

    Why not re-imagine the taskbar using a more finger friendly format and allow it to be on screen all the time so that you don't throw out everything gained since we lost the Program Manager.

    Siv

  97. Rico Alexander says:

    @chimel But in desktop mode you can launch your apps with a single click.  The only way I think of being able to do that for a Metro app is not have the app run in full screen which is not a good trade off.  Perhaps all Metro apps can have a taskbar that pops up at the bottom when hovering your mouse down there in full screen mode but that would possibly interfere with the app specific menus that appear below.

  98. Siv.net says:

    Sorry, didn't intend posting 3 times, IE10 went haywire!?

  99. mt327000 says:

    It's possible that you refreshed the web page and Internet Explorer resubmitted your comment without asking your permission. I had the same problem on the Windows Live Integration post.

  100. Balaji says:

    An interesting addition might be, a Start Menu Cache Vertical Bar(SMCVB)  (with small icons as seen on QuickLaunch) placed on the Left side of the Desktop, that stores intelligently Frequently used applications per User.  An application Qualifies its position in the Proposed SMCVB based on its Usage-count Over time, High Usage-count application ranks at the top of the SMCVB and low Frequently used Usage-Count application ranks at the bottom of SMCVB…  and the application launch icon can be subject to automatic movement/shuffling in its ordinal rank position based on its changing usage count over time or might end up disqualified from the SMCVB, if a new application ranks better than the existing pack in SMCVB. An Intelligent Background service could be programmed to implement the logic that calculates the Usage/launch count of the application and automatically pin it in the proposed SMCVB.  

    As this is automated by a Service, I would prefer SMCVB against QuickLaunch!

  101. Brian says:

    Here's a thought: Make the Jump List for the Start Screen icon be the old Start Menu. That way you get both.

    I do think there's a time and a place for -both- the Screen and the Menu. The Screen is great for launching apps and getting info quickly, but the Menu is a really compact way to start/do simple tasks (that also doesn't have that jarring switch from desktop to metro!). My ideal setup would be some combination of the two.

    Thanks

  102. @Siv

    >Going back to what is effectively a modern day remake of XP's desktop cluttered with big garish icons is

    >a backward step.

    I leave my desktop empty as well, and you can leave the Start Screen completely empty too, even without the desktop tile. just hit Windows key + D once you're logged in and you're in the desktop.

    I don't think the Start Screen is designed for users to sit there and stare at it. it's something you check right after you log in. it's a dashboard. with your emails, calendar, social network messages, weather, etc. you can also go back to it occasionally to check on this info, or just rely on the built-in notification system (unobtrusive alerts appear in the lower-right. you can disable these, of course.) given the way most people are permanently attached to Facebook & Twitter, I think most users will have no problem clicking the Windows key to see what's new.

  103. Wolf says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    A bit off topic but still regarding to metro Apps.

    Why is 1024×600 (netbooks) and 1360×768 (16:9?10?)  not consider wide screen?

    One of the main apps, Remote Connection fails to load do to this and I had to hunt down the old  way of useing RDP

    not only can I not Snap StartScreen/metro apps beside desktop, Im unable to even run Metro apps to begin with.

    I stongly beliave all metro Apps, minimal Screen reqirements should be 800×600 Or 1024×600 and not leave us NetBook users hanging.

    Other then that I personlly do not use the StartMenu at all ever since windows XP. Why? Dock tool bar called Address to the left side of the taskbar, and ping commen app to taskbar via quicklaunch or superBar.

    The Address bar is not only useful for webpages but you can run app as well as jump to system locations (IE location : c:user) (IE Application : iexplore) (IE Website : http://www.google.com)

    —————————————————————————————-

    @Steven Sinofsky

    Other question :

    Bill Gates = Windows Vista Ultimate Signiture Edition (25,000 Released)

    Steve Billmare = Windows 7 Signiture Edition  (2500 released) (party pack)

    is it your time to have your own Signiture Edition?

    Steven Sinofsky = Windows 8 Signiture Edition?

    I perosnly have Both Vista and Windows 7 Siginutre Edition and I would like to keep the Treadtion Going.

    ——————————————————————————————

    @Ever One Else

    Windows 8 Preview build, Scraching the Surface in a touchless world, Tour & walkthrough  @ http://www.youtube.com/watch

    Windows 7 & 8, World without Startmenu & StartScreen @ http://www.youtube.com/watch  

  104. ForeignGuy says:

    W8 DP is about WinRT, so Microsoft should be talking about how great can be this new platform for future Windows development. Microsoft should wait until W8 Beta to start talk about user experience stuff.

  105. Windows Phone users already know how useful 'Live Tiles' are…I think the vast majority of the users will realise beauty of this in the beta, when the real funtional 'live' applications are released.

    Start Screen with 'Live informative/funtional Tiles'  > Start Menu + Desktop with static icons

  106. Windows Phone users already know how useful 'Live Tiles' are…I think the vast majority of the users will realise beauty of this in the beta, when the real funtional 'live' applications are released.

    Start Screen with 'Live informative/funtional Tiles'  > Start Menu + Desktop with static icons

  107. I Want the previous Start Menu, that is so "Windows 98" …

  108. @SCOOBY_666UK

    WP7 is like 5% of the touch-phone market. All thanks to the ugly metro tiles. No, thanks.

  109. @SLx64: Have you even used Windows Phone 7? Even Android and the iPhone used to have a market share of 5%…infact Android only really took off after it had been out for around 2 years.

    Now talking about user staisfaction for those that have tried Windows Phone….majority of the users are very staisfied users.

  110. I don't care about your "majority"…. which are all stupid monkeys, or drones, or salesforce.

    I need productivity, which is not what stupid ugly metro brings to desktop….

    I've seen on many occasions WP7, yes it is fluid in your palm. For desktop – no way in hell.

    Ugly metro sucks big time regardless. iPhone is like light years ahead. Monkeys and drones will prove my point tomorrow.

  111. bradavon says:

    The Start Menu always was pretty rubbish tbh, sticking an entire list of programs under a massive list of submenus.

    The Windows 7 task bar is a revelation. I still find it a joy to use and I've been using Windows 7 since Beta.

    I do need some way of accessing program I use infrequently though. I'm not about to go pinning all my programs to the task bar!

  112. bradavon says:

    I too leave the Desktop almost blank. I've only got Computer and Recycle Bin on it. I like my wallpaper and want to keep it clean.

    It's in need of an update more than the start menu. So many people stick everything on it (Documents/Pictures/Videos/Music are so much better for this!), making it so difficult work out what you're looking at.

    The idea of having to minimise all my open programs just to access a file has always seem crazy to me.

  113. But you do care fore the Apple 'stupid monkeys/drones/saleforce'? And the only way you will care about Windows Phone (METRO) is if it overtakes Apples Market Share? That will automatically  make it a better product? Like Android? LOL 🙂  

    Please do think about it…give Windows Phone a try…and then if you don't like it…then fair enough. METRO will be brilliant on all THREE Screens.

  114. sreesiv says:

    This is a very good post. Data and explanations in synced context.

    I guess, you can also remove the "All Programs" scenario of Start Menu from the equation. Most people I know rarely use "All Programs" and drill in to find their apps. Search is the only place which needs close attention, and I am sure that it will looked upon with great importance.

    But the one thing that goes unnoticed, is the way telemetry data/technology is improving the way software evolves. Great work, appreciate it.

  115. I don't think it will be very obvious to most users that you can search apps/documents just by typing…so a 'live animated tile' with hints would prob really help new users.

  116. Kit says:

    I actually love the new Start Screen!

    1) Will we be able to give Desktop apps metro-style icons?

    2) There is no question number 2.

    Keep up the good work and please don't roll back any changes because of a few people who would still be on Windows 98 if it were up to them!

  117. @SCOOBY_666UK

    I just said, I don't care about majority or market. Only what's on the table.

    Every Windows catered to monkeys successfully and market figures backed that up.

    WP7 and metro obviously did not.

    I don't speak for the monkeys, their choice is irrelevant to my decision not to buy into WP7 and stinking metro.

    If monkeys suddenly flip and start showing obsessive lust for metro, salivating at every pixel of it, I will still consider metro the ugliest piece of crap to ever infest the technoworld.

  118. xsyr says:

    Microsoft, please return the Start menu of windows7 together with a badge, and a switch to make the interface metro somehow different, for example by contracting corner of the page in the top left corner to the bottom right corner. And please add in windows media player standard support MKV. They are my wishes for windows8.

  119. I like "cramped" Windows 7 menu, because I can still see what's happening in currently open apps when I need to launch a program. Other than that, it just feels uncomfortable for me to go to a different screen just to launch a program. I don't like too many items in All Programs though, so I moved all default Windows shortcuts to "Accessories" and keep it that way with other apps: one program – one item in All Programs menu. For the apps I use the most, I prefer MFU and desktop shortcuts, for files/docs – Jump lists (both recent and pinned elements).

  120. Pargev says:

    People naturally resist any dramatic change. No one who used or saw the windows8 dev-preview liked the absence of the known Start Menu, from whom I know.

    Microsoft must give an option to the users for backward compatibility, and let them choose the new way of work if it indeed proves to be more efficient than the old one.

    It is not just a UI change, after all!

  121. Mark W says:

    I was the first at my company (R&D for US Army Testing Grounds) to beta Test WIndows 7. Great Product. I am also the first to test WIndows 8. My livelihood is based on bringing our apps from the stoneage of WinForms to WPF/Silverlight, but Metro Homescreen is another Beast! (Not a good Beast either!)

    I asked 5 random coworkers to try and find the Calculator App. I gave them no hints as how to use WIn8. 3 out of the 5 gave up after 10 minutes. The other two actually gave up on the start menu and started digging through the System and Program Files folders!  None of them found it intuitive to find anything. I don't know who you tested but Windows 8 usability has taken a critical hit.

    On a personal programming question, why the HTML 5 and Javascript for Metro Apps? They are still using proprietory libraries for controls, so where is the benefit to using them over C#, VB, etc? I have not read any post from Microsoft that explains the benefits. Is it faster? Please tell us.

  122. @Jim Browski – Thanks for the input on the animation direction.  I’m sure some people will expect the Start menu to enter from left.  I thought I’d provide some background on why it works the way it does.  At any point, you can get back to your most recent app by swiping in from the left.  To help reinforce this, we always close apps by sliding them offscreen to the left.  Thus, when you go to Start, you see your current app slide left.  If you swipe the left slide of the Start menu or click on the left pixel, you can dismiss Start and go back to your app.  After you’ve launched another Metro app from Start, you can still return to your previous app using the left edge of the screen.  Because there are very few Metro apps available at this point, for most users the “Metro app” in this example is the desktop.

    And, even when using left swipe to switch apps, you’ll see the same animation direction.  If you look closely when you switch apps you’ll see that the app currently on screen moves left slightly before the new app expands to fill the screen.

  123. gawicks says:

    The Start screen is a top notch launcher for tablets. But on the desktop not so much. It's too distracting.Some Desktop Users would prefer the Start menu ; So please give us the *option* to turn it off

    Also there does not seem to be an 'All Programs' equivalent on the start screen . Yes I know about Search But I Want a Real list to *see all my programs*.

    Things like going to settings shutdown is not intuitive.

    Also there is a whole raft of issues with Multitasking. since you promised us a post I'll be quiet till then

  124. Sionic Ion says:

    (oh man, I didn't realize I typed a novel until I pasted it in from wordpad…)

    I love the new start screen because it is heading in a new direction. When Aero Glass was introduced in Windows Vista, it showed one thing more than anything. Potential. But the problem for most was you did not listen and many of our suggestions for something better were turned down as what you had was not a bug but "by design". It was extremely irritating knowing how much potential Windows Vista had and still has since Windows 7 is built off of that amazing platform that started it all.

    But just because the start screen in my perception is "heading in a new direction" does not mean it is good, because we do not know yet. The anticipation is as big as the skeptics of it are. The start screen in its current form is a dumbed down way of interacting with Windows and it rears its ugly face even when you try and avoid it or make the best of the situation and accept it. Because it distrupts productivity altogether. It should not need turned off, it needs improved, it can be much better.

    Metro is fantastic, I love it. But one thing I dislike about it is consistency. Have you looked at Windows Phone 7 lately? How about the Zune HD? Or perhaps the Zune Software? Maybe even the next Xbox 360 Dashboard? I am disgusted from the lack of consistency with Metro. The sad thing is, Metro has always been inconsistent. When you formally introduced Metro along with the first unveiling of Windows Phone 7 Series (before 'Series' was dropped from the name) you had said that Metro had been in several different user interface designs including Windows XP Media Center and older typography came from as early as Encarta 95. But when the Zune Software introduced a Metro design, it had a very nicely done and polished UI that was symbolic of only Zune at the time. But what happened to Metro between then and now, I have no idea.

    The Zune Metro UI carried very beautiful UI elements and features. The QuickPlay screen compared to the Start Screen in Windows 8 is dramatically different, but both are Metro somehow. I personally vote for the QuickPlay screen in Zune because it is neutral, it doesn't scream Metro, and it still has a lot of usability perks. When you move your mouse, the tiles move with it seamlessly. Glide your mouse over the tiles and a neat outline is highlighted as you span over the tiles, it is simply alive. It does not need to flip, do dances, or anything like that. It feels very graphical too, something Metro lost with Windows Phone 7. Gradients weren't outlawed back with the Metro UI in Zune like they were with Windows Phone 7, there was still a lot that had existed that could ease your transition from an iPod's UI to the Zune's UI. Ask any person who hates Windows Phone 7 why they hate Metro and they talk about how blocky and backward-thinking it is, comparing it to Windows 95. But Zune's Metro UI never had that reputation. Hmm.

    Oh and that Now Playing screen is nothing short of addictive! It is breath taking! Beautiful texture along with amazing photography! Metro's typography shines with the beautiful texture on the Now Playing screen! Oh and don't get me started how alive it feels with the text flying in! Move your mouse and the playlist pops up with a black design. Yet another place where gradients are not outlawed, in fact it is everywhere and makes texture look absolutely fantastic! I could not tell you how much I love the Now Playing screen and would simply never stop using it. This is what makes or breaks my Zune experience, the Metro design in Zune that will simply never die, that will never look awkward and overused. When I think Zune, I don't think possibilities of music on-the-go built into SkyDrive renamed Windows Live Music. I think of the totally awesome Zune experience that started Metro and will always remind me why I love Metro.

    Now lets talk what became of Metro. Well it all started when we saw the tiles in all their glory. So amazing, they could flip, show you everything you wanted to see on the go, and come back to reality. But I got into into the Microsoft vision more than others did and I still remember what Windows Phone 7 Series stood for. It was about glance and go, you don't need apps, you need a free flow of information right on your start screen. Big or little tiles, hubs that aggregate content instead of apps that bombard you with a room of doors leading to rooms you're only in for a couple seconds and then back out. You don't need copy and paste because Windows Phone 7 Series recognizes text with phone numbers or addresses and opens up the correct hub/app. Then we saw that famous Zune HD Metro UI concept, typography going off the screen. Yeah it felt Metro, but something felt different.

    Something very different alright. The experience diminished. No more gradients, no more flashy tiles, very little Zune UI elements kept intact. It was the Metro design language in its true colors. Designed for AMOLED screens to save on battery life, it had a lot of black everywhere. Trust me, best idea for Windows Phone 7 ever. I love my Samsung Focus for that. But something was missing. Yes, it was the apps. No, the selection wasn't the issue, it was their very own implementation of the Metro design language that bombarded my mind. The problem was the scrolling issues, or the fact that it was not alive at all. Some iOS apps are like this, but the issue is that most Windows Phone 7 apps are all like this. They imitate the Metro design language but have no idea how to carry it out, it's too difficult, it kills performance, too much is in the equation that it is nearly impossible to solve. Not to mention, multitasking was not there, copy/paste was not there and the text recognition was a way of saying "use this in the meantime". The tiles were atrocious, who knew Metro could look so bad. I was having trouble with customizing it because very few apps had live tile support letalone it actually working. They looked ugly, and they still do, as long as the restriction stands that it can only be static content unlike the native hubs/apps, it is doomed to fail.

    Mango improved a lot, but Windows Phone 7 lost a lot of what it was supposed to be. It couldn't keep its ring to it because it simply could not afford it. It needed to catch up, and that was all that was important to it. I love Mango because the Marketplace instantly loads now instead of waiting for the background image to load. Oh and that was another thing, image backgrounds seemed to be 16bit color quality and very pixelated. Not picture-perfect Zune Now Playing screen quality. But back to speed, the start screen showed up instantly as soon as you tapped the Start button, apps opened up quicker. You definitely sped up Windows Phone 7 with Mango. Oh and finally Zune implemented a up and down scrolling method for history and new songs lists. I accept that the search button confused people but I was disappointed they switched its purpose to just opening up Bing, it skewed away from the idea of having three physical hardware buttons that were universal across the OS, back, start, and search. Overall, I like Windows Phone 7. It has potential.

    But there comes Windows 8. Wow. Look where the time goes. From the Zune's Metro design language implementation to Windows 8's implementation. Once what seemed familiar but after reading what I've said, it may definitely feel like comparing apples to oranges. Of course you might have noticed I did not include my thoughts and feelings on Windows Live Messenger Wave 4, the fact of the matter is things changed, I'm emphasizing on that point. The Zune Software simply kept a lot of UI elements and usability perks that Windows 8 simply can't inherit because it was randomly dropped when the Metro design language was officially announced. It's a sad fact. A lot could be welcomed into Windows 8 and introduce some actual desktop functionality.

    You are promising complete compatibility, you are promising this will be an easy transition, no worries, no frets, but you know deep down so many people are skeptical. I'm skeptical because you are suggesting us something we know deep down is not true and are making us fight you. We are combatting you for what we want back that belongs rightfully to us. Our desktop functionality. You should know that you have crashed usability down to its knees and faceplanted it to the ground. Have you considered that? Because you introduced the superbar in Windows 7 and we used it because we freely thought we could and that it was truly easier to use. It was innovative in our minds. But this is a push we will combat to the very end. You will kill any potential of Windows 8, I'm skeptical and believe you will make wrong decisions.

    Let me help you understand something. I love the Zune experience because it was free and alive to advancements of today. It was a true creation. It had a neutral design. I love Windows Phone 7 simply because it matched my form factor, which was my phone. Yes I have my ups and downs with it, but you have polished the experience to the point that I love it now. But what you brought straight from Windows Phone 7, and what you concocted would fit right into Windows 8 is a big no-no. We do not need our experience dumbed down but improved in a forward-thinking fashion. The start screen in the current form should be modular and open to expand. It should take the place of the desktop, and you should replace Aero Glass almost completely with Metro. All full-screen Metro apps should be mere windows on the desktop, just like they always have been. And the tiles should never ever be hidden, they should always be visible. Once you logon, a vibrant colored ribbon should fly in (http://www.neowin.net/…/windows-8-how-to-change-metro-background-on-x64 like this, not really a ribbon, but an area that spans the display from left to right but only in the middle of the screen), the tiles should fly right on to the ribbon as the background above and below the ribbon should become a neutral gradient that has a slight outline on the sides/edges of the ribbon to make the ribbon with the tiles stand out. Several UI elements from the Zune Now Playing screen should be blended in like how text flew in, the time and date, perhaps your name, should all fly in. But it cannot be messy.

    Once it all flies in and you are ready to start getting down to being productive, you start interacting with it. As you move your move, the tiles should move with it, and they should be very interactive. Click on IE, watch how Windows does its thing. First it tilts the tile slightly and back to normal to show it was selected, then all tiles move, some to the left and others to the right. Then a Metro window flies in like how it does on Windows Phone 7. All your tiles are on the ribbon still, so is IE, but it can expand beyond the size of the ribbon, it is simply docked on, and you can move your mouse around and glance at all the tiles. You have no limitations because all the tiles rearranged when IE had opened so they would not get stuck behind IE. If you try moving IE, the tiles will move around as you choose where to dock the window and resize it.

    But how about opening WordPad (first app to come to mind, typing this right now in it!) to get some typing done. Simply move your move to span around the ribbon of tiles and click on WordPad. Again, the tiles will move around, allowing WordPad to fly in and dock on to the ribbon allowing you to resize it further to your liking. But what if you do not want to be distracted with all the latest tweets on a social app's tile and want to only be in WordPad? Well it depends if WordPad is natively Metro or if it is simply skinned to be Metro (no Aero Glass on windows to retain consistency). If it is a regular ol' Windows app, you can maximize it with a few legacy titlebar controls. But if it is rewritten to be natively Metro, you might have a button that makes it go full screen right next to a button that suspends the app and dismisses it from your view.

    What about multitasking? The taskbar will coexist with the ribbon of tiles. But it will only be used for apps that have been recently used, and it will not have the notification area with the time and data either. It will be strictly for multitasking, in fact, it is actually a scrollbar. In multiplayer games, if you turn around and dismiss a person from the camera view, their name followed by an arrow pointing where they are appears. Similar to that concept, when spanning the tiles, an app will either be shown on the ribbon, or it'll eventually get nudged off and the tiles will reorganize themselves to take the fullscreen. You cannot have an app half-way on the screen, half-way off, it'll simply reach an inertia that bounces it off the side of the screen and if you continue, it'll knock it completely off. Once an app is knocked off, the tile representing the app will slide in with an arrow pointing in the direction where the app was nudged off the screen. Which basically makes it a scrollbar that lets you navigate left to right to find your apps. So if you have IE and WordPad open, click on the IE tile at the bottom of the screen and your tiles will bounce off the ribbon while WordPad then is given a push off the screen and IE comes back into view and your tiles come back down from their bounce and reorganize accordingly.

    Of course a lot more will go into it. But the idea is to unveil the potential of Windows 8 and Metro. You cannot introduce the start screen and calm everybody down and say it isn't as bad as it seems and can be a blessing if you look at it that way. Because its not! Its like a parent telling a child "you should be blessed to have this dinner to eat, the kids in Africa aren't as lucky as you are". You are forcing us to like something dumbed down, if you look at the Control Panel, it's all white, with Metro typography. Any Metro notifications, for example, AutoPlay, disturb your normal Windows experience. Heck you can't even copy and paste in some of those text boxes! I believe if you unveil the potential of Metro by allowing the start screen to be modular and adapt according to the form factor of the device you are running on, you will find a lot of the skeptics to come to a sudden end. Because nobody wants to feel dumbed down, and I feel as thought Metro is labeled as such. Yes it can be a start screen and your apps can go full-screen on a slate PC. But on the desktop, you should get the same thing but in windows docked on a ribbon with the tiles right by your side, giving you new dynamic information in realtime. You should have animations, transitions, innovative ways to navigate Windows, you should have it all!

    More on the tablets front, the experience should be how it is now. No option to suspend apps and dismiss from view. Because if you press the Start button, it'll suspend it automatically. It would only distrupt you in a desktop experience on a desktop or laptop because you'd have more advanced task management built-in allowing you to glance at all apps running/suspended on the bottom of the screen. So you could dismiss suspended apps altogether from your view, but they'd stay suspended allowing quick resume. It is only to improve productivity that you'd have the feature to ban it from your view. Also take note that your apps would not open on the start screen, they'd go full screen on a tablet and you'd have to press the Start button to access the start screen. It would not have the flying-in text, the more advanced task management, etc. In fact, I opt that the Desktop become a Desktop hub that is available at no charge from the Windows Store for slate PCs. Of course it would not be a downloadable app, the Windows Store would treat it like one, but it would simply enable the shortcut permitting an ARM slate PC to startup the full Desktop experience. What would define the Desktop experience is allowing Flash and regular Windows apps, but it would be all skinned in Metro just like the Desktop PCs version would be.

    Metro can be more, it has potential. Don't let it be the blocky interface from Windows 95 that people believe it can only be, and nothing better. Let it shine, I don't wanna see Windows 8 flop. I didn't take 3 hours of my precious time to complain, I wanted to give you an oversight on how I felt Metro has degraded and changed in every iteration of it, and lost a lot of what made Metro so incredible in the Zune experience. I wanted to let you know that if you innovate and look at past designs, you could create a beautiful revelation of Metro in Windows 8. Please, I could tell you a lot more, but I don't want my feedback discarded with a thoughtless automated comment – "We thank you for your feedback and take this into consideration." because I'm really worried Windows 8 will have a dumb start screen with a bunch of tablet apps and roadblocks before I get to what matters most on a desktop…the desktop experience. 🙂

  125. GregH says:

    My concerns – the reality is that touch is not an option for most professionals – please try to remember users that sit in front of a computer at a desk and undertake serious workflows in a business environment – education, sales, data input, engineering, design, CAD, Digital Audio Workstations, Production, Graphic Design to name a few:

    a) That requires intense and long sessions of work

    b) That the applications which are required within these sessions have a number of intricate actions which can only currently be performed by mouse pointer

    The touch concept applies to screens which are at arm’s length of the user and requires the arm to be extended throughout the entire workflow – considering most users on the planet and the success of Windows is based on this set of users, why are we talking about touch as the successor to desktop and why is the Metro (new Start menu) being pushed as the future of our desktop computer.

    I do think the whole thing to me feels basic, lacking elegance, taste and consistency across the Metro philosphy as a whole. I was immediately concerned by the design of scroll bars and the default avatar fall-back image and the menus –they all feel oddly cheap and basic squared with 3 pixel black or white borders – it just looks wrong – where are your designers – where??!!! Why on earth can’t you just get top designers!

  126. @Arvind – The search box is not visible on screen until you start typing.  If you want to launch Visual Studio with a minimum number of keystrokes, you can hit the Win key, then start typing Visual Studio and hit enter.  You can also begin with Search and then choose the app’s scope (as you are doing today), but as you mentioned, that currently requires one extra step.  And, if you are using the keyboard, hitting the Win key is faster than Win+Q for search.

    @Bart, @Scooby_666UK, and others – We appreciate your feedback that finding search in the Start screen is not as clear now that we no longer draw the search box by default.  We’ll look into ways of helping users find keyboarding in Start.

  127. @Arvind – The search box is not visible on screen until you start typing.  If you want to launch Visual Studio with a minimum number of keystrokes, you can hit the Win key, then start typing Visual Studio and hit enter.  You can also begin with Search and then choose the app’s scope (as you are doing today), but as you mentioned, that currently requires one extra step.  And, if you are using the keyboard, hitting the Win key is faster than Win+Q for search.

    @Bart, @Scooby_666UK, and others – We appreciate your feedback that finding search in the Start screen is not as clear now that we no longer draw the search box by default.  We’ll look into ways of helping users find keyboarding in Start.

  128. GregH says:

    As a note just scanning @Sionic Ion's comment – my xbox interface looks and feels better than the Windows 8 'Start'

  129. Right now Metro feels like the worst kind of compromise. The trouble is not with disruption/innovation/architectural change, but the lack of consistency. Want to get rid of the Start Menu? Fine OSX and many Linux distros function fine without a direct equivalent. But if you are keeping the 'Classic' environment around make the Start Menu replacement something that has the same visual language and user experience as the Classic environment (and if the solution is "pin everything to the taskbar" then get rid of the Start Screen button where the Start Button used to be). Want to keep Metro as the only way to find and launch apps? Fine, but then get rid of the Classic environment. Anything else is a really sub-standard compromise – for long stretches of time a user should be either in Metro or in Classic, not continuously switching back between the two.

    On a side note, there is a very simple reason why touch has not taken off on the Desktop – it is not suited for it (just as it is not suited for, say, the TV – you do not want to go touch your TV set all the time). For prolonged periods of use, large screens should be vertical and touchscreens should be horizontal (otherwise you are either straining your neck or your arm). Don't see a way to square that circle.

  130. JohannesB says:

    The only problem me and my collegues have with the new startscreen is that you expect it to behave the same way using a mouse as with touch. That means left-clicking and dragging should make the startscreen scroll, not move around pinned applications. I'm sure you will change this.

  131. JohannesB says:

    The other day my mother asked me how to make a program she just launched full screen. The answer wasn't very logic "press the middle button in the top right corner of the program" and something she has to learn to be able to use a PC in a good way. With Windows 8 this problem goes away, because all apps are full screen. This is a natural step in the right direction by Microsoft, well done!

  132. @JohannesB We are working to improve mouse scrolling in the Start screen. We'll talk soon about a new way to scroll without having to use the scroll bar. Also, the scroll wheel is not working in the Developer Preview as we intend it to and we’ll be fixing this as well.

  133. @Kit – You asked if we will be able to give Desktop apps metro-style icons. Desktop apps will not have live metro-style tiles. There are many differences between desktop and Metro apps and when the tiles looked the same, we found people were confused. For example, if you right click on a Metro app, you can choose to resize the tile, uninstall it or unpin it from Start. With a desktop tile, you have a desktop focused set of options: run, run as administrator, open file location, pin/unpin from the taskbar, and pin/unpin from start. But, it isn’t just about the options on the tiles themselves. People were also confused once the app launched. For example:  Was this a desktop application that covered the taskbar (like a fullscreen game)? Or, is it a metro app?  Will the charms work with this app? Will the app automatically suspend when I switch away, or will it continue to use CPU cycles on my laptop? Thus, we designed the desktop tiles to make it clear that from the moment you launch the app that this app will run in the desktop and behave like a desktop app.

  134. Drewfus says:

    @Chaitanya Sareen (post author): Quality post. Quoting;

    • The menu feels cramped relative to available screen real estate…

    • Search doesn’t have the space it deserves…

    • It’s hard to customize the menu…

    • Icons and shortcuts are static and don’t leverage … the pixels … in modern [GUIs]

    So essentially the start menu is too small, and is compromised in terms of customization and functionality (and of course, touch usability). Ok, so why not just make it bigger? Rather than a complete redesign, just expand the existing start menu until it covers (and hence replaces) most of the desktop. I outlined my ideas for this @ social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/664021b4-2fe3-48e3-b2fb-849bebc8cbc2 (sorry, description only at this stage). This 'design' is much closer to the traditional start menu, but utilizes the available screen real-estate, differentiates between running and not running apps (which can easily be closed!), allows sorting on name, status or category, and overcomes some of the issues Paul Thurrott discusses @ http://www.winsupersite.com/…/windows-7-simple-vs-easy (because running apps don't confusingly intermingle with the "start bar").

    @tN0: "With the new design you leave the "task oriented" concept behind and move back to an app centric approach that in my opinion isn't modern."

    With my (descriptive) design, user can open recent files per app, or app directly. Your choice.

    @JDG: "Regarding touch: I don't want fingerprints on my monitor, and I also wouldn't feel comfortable stretching my arm for extended periods of time."

    On my Win7 touchscreen notebook, i find myself using the touchscreen intermittently with the trackpad/mouse. I don't treat touch vs. mouse as a dichotomy like many people seem to.

    Also, i'd add that trying to nail the touch UI in a single release might not be the way to go. Really, it only has to be a nice improvement on the competition – Windows 7.

    @Steven Sinofsky: "the data is our customer experience improvement program.  it is anonymous and opt-in."

    What is the reward for opting-in?

    @Sionic Ion: Nice essay 🙂 "oh man, I didn't realize I typed a novel until I pasted it in from wordpad…"

    Would be nice if Wordpad got Save_as_HTML option in Win8. Might just be the trigger for the next generation of web designers.

  135. Danny says:

    I've felt the start menu was a mess for some time now and have been looking forward to a big step away from it. Fortunately, Windows 8 offers just that! The small menu's with lists after lists of icons is horribly inefficient. Novice users also often don't get start as they rarely remember program names. I think the new start screen is a huge step in the right direction, though there still is more work to do. I see no issues with using an interface like this with a mouse and keyboard, it just needs some fine tuning which I am sure is still to come.

    "With regard to the main user experience, particularly Start, we’re noticing some themes in your comments. Will there be a way to close Metro style apps without going to Task Manager? (Yes there will be, but we also want to talk about why you probably won't need to use it.) Are we going to do anything to make the mouse more efficient in scrolling through your programs in Start? (Yes, we'll improve that experience, and show you much more in the beta.) Some of you have talked about it feeling less efficient to cycle through your recent programs compared to using the taskbar (and we'll have more to say about that in future posts)."

    These are the major concerns I see moving forward. I am very heartened to see they are being recognized by Microsoft. I think some believed that the changes here between now and RTM would be cosmetic only. I especially can't wait to see some changes/additions to program switching. Flipping through existing apps as an only option is just not efficient and would be a major step backwards. I would also like to see added an option to split the screen for side by side apps to 50/50 as well. I would also like to see more options integrated into the new interface as right now some options and settings are still only available in the desktop setting.

    Overall, I really like what I see, but there is still more work to be done to make this the best OS ever.

  136. GregH says:

    @Marina Dukhon [MS] – Users who you are asking are obviously at a very basic level (there could be a small indicator for desktop apps or an option)- most users will want to control the look of the Metro interface – this includes the style of the tile, for example for an Excel tile I would like to have a green tile with a flat white Excel logo if I choose and for Maya I would like a silver one with the symbol on it, you really need to maximise the customisation of these  – don’t make the mistake of dumbing things down the way you think it should be – Windows users want full control, no compromises we shouldn’t have to hack this thing – just have the option for default and then a customization option for the tile as users may also want to group tiles for desktop – either way we want to style this, and we also want to change the background and the color used for the frames backdrop on search etc.

  137. adam says:

    There are some issues that interfere with the seamless concept that you work on for windows 8

           one of these : when you want to open a desktop app (like task manager,microsoft word,etc..) from the metro start screen , the desktop opens first then then the app follow it, it seems like you open an app inside another app and that's annoying. you should make the desktop and the app open together at the same time when you click on that app in the start menu screen.

           also you should make metro apps able to be minimized to something like multitasking screen and this multitasking screen should contain ALL opened (running) METRO and DESKTOP apps.

           also the All-Apps-Full Screen must not blind the whole screen when you are working on the desktop

    to make it easy if you want to open another desktop apps(programs)  in your desktop work session   eg. if I'm working on microsoft word and after a while i want to open the photoshop then another desk top  app, .For that, there must be another solution rather than that blinding-all-apps-full screen on the desktop ,making it -for example- budding from the right of the screen like that of network connections  but a bit larger.

  138. The big difference between Windows 9x, Windows 2000/XP and between Windows 7/8 is choice. In earlier versions of Windows, UI and design changes were not forced on us. We had the option to use Program Manager and File Manager even in Windows XP. We had the option to use Classic Start Menu in Windows Vista. The newer OSes seem to FORCE what Microsoft thinks is best for us and leave no option/choice to return to the older interface. That is Microsoft's single biggest shortcoming in UI design and user experience. Another thing Microsoft needs to learn is that user interfaces not need to constantly see radical overhauls, they need to evolve building on what was built previously. Don't push the reset button far too often and start everything from scratch. You don't realize how annoying users find it when working UI features that people use everyday in their work was entirely gone instead of simply being turned off or disabled by default. No one's going to complain about Windows being more customizable. Instead, you make it less customizable, remove what's working previously and on which considerable time has been spent on in previous releases and then say to these users, this is it, to simplify we just had to eliminate features. Take it or leave it.

    Take the case of Classic Start Menu. It is still according to some, a better way to launch programs when using the mouse, but when using the keyboard, the new Start menu search approach is more powerful. Clearly, not everyone will agree to this, which is exactly why giving choice, not limiting it is important and that is something Microsoft has to learn a great deal about. Why should the Classic Start menu have been there in Windows 7? Because since Windows 95, seven releases of Windows had it and it lets people who what they wanted, so it should ALWAYS remain an option. Your usability studies and telemetry are not more important than what USERS want. If you tell users to shut up, accept what you have removed and move on, your product's adoption will be limited. It's a lose-lose situation for both users and Microsoft. What I would like to see in Windows 8 is a return of the Classic Start menu and of course the Windows Start menu (default for PC desktops and laptops) and Start Screen (default for tablets) will be the default interfaces. Never going to happen I know because Microsoft loves to dictate the interfaces people will use. Why does an app like Classic Shell see 30000+ downloads per month? Because you left out CHOICE and you discounted a number of customers. If the Classic menu closed because the mouse feel off the cascading menus, just make it not close by merely hovering the mouse outside but close it when the user clicks outside the Classic menu.

    Take another example. The Taskbar. After 7 releases including Windows 95 and 15 years of familiarity and muscle memory, Windows 7 overhauled the taskbar but forgot to include all of the previous features the old taskbar did.

    – There is no separation of running programs from non-running programs with the new taskbar because the AppIDs of pinned and running apps are the same. There should have been an option for those who prefer to have running programs on the extreme right.

    – Buttons can be set to "Never combine" but button grouping cannot be turned off. Buttons of the same app are always grouped together (because they share the same AppID). Why can't I have 1.Notepad .2 Paint  3. Notepad 4. IE 5. Notepad  if I started it in that order. It's always Notepad, Notepad, Notepad, Paint, IE.

    – When grouping is enabled, clicking on the thumbnail of a background window switches to it which is normal. But clicking on the thumbnail of a FOREground window (one which is already active) also switches to it again! It should minimize the active window!

    –  Multiple Taskbar buttons could be "selected" in Windows Vista by holding down Ctrl key and left/right clicking on taskbar buttons. For example, I could hold down Ctrl and click 4 Notepad windows or 5 Explorer windows and group close them or group maximize them. This feature was removed in Windows 7 because jump lists replaced the context menu you get when you right click a taskbar button. But if Shift+right click can show a context menu, why can't Ctrl+right click or Ctrl+shift+right click allow selecting taskbar buttons and show the group window actions menu (Close group, Maximize group etc?) Group close is only available if you combine your taskbar windows. It should also be there for users who don't combine windows.

    Why is it necessary to use a utility like 7 Taskbar Tweaker to hack using memory hooks in Explorer.exe to really customize the taskbar WE want when these customization options should have been built into Windows or offered in TweakUI?

    This week, Microsoft retired the gadget gallery with 5000+ gadgets for Windows 8 which hasn't even reached beta yet. You have no right to take away gadgets from Windows 7 and Vista users. Bring it back!

    Are you not capable of building an interface any more by making incremental improvements? You throw all kinds of these telemetry figures at users trying to convince how decisions based entirely on collected data instead of what people want are correct. You have in this post drawn your own conclusions that the Start menu is a bad launcher compared to the Taskbar, therefore the Start menu should be replaced by the Start screen! The Start Screen's primary limitation is that it doesn't have the Taskbar and that the mouse has to travel large distances!! Interfaces should be smart enough to switch depending on the input device used. If I click on the Start button, I should be able to configure it to open the Classic Start Menu (the one which Windows 7 removed). If I hit the Winkey, the new Start menu should open. If I touch the Start button, the Start screen should open. Can you enable one without disabling the other?

    Lesson to learn for usability and interface people at Microsoft: The Start screen UI is great but only for touch-first devices. Don't force your re-imaging on us!! Nothing is more important, absolutely nothing is more important that USER CHOICE. Users do not like an overhauled interface forced on them. You seem to have forgotten that. But the OS with the most diverse choices and customizability will be the most successful.

    I agree with some comments here. This is just like the Ribbon debate. Microsoft seems to have made up their mind and do not care any more about user choice when it comes to interface customizability.

  139. Drewfus says:

    "The debate around touch today is looking eerily like the debate in the 1980s over whether a mouse was a gimmick, a productivity time waster, or an innovation in the user experience."

    Yes, you Metro-haters are like the anti-mouse Luddite's of the 1980s – holding back progress! 😉

  140. LeoStorm85 says:

    I especially agree with FremyCompany about the fact that the real great problem of Metro start screen is that it is totally different in terms of style with respect to the traditional desktop; using a blurred or semi-transparent background instead of an opaque one for start screen would reduce the sensation of a sort of struggle between desktop and start screen.

    Additionally I would like to say that a key point of MS Windows releases over the years was backward compatibility. Now, the vast majority of applications for windows creates a start menu group where you can find the executable of course but also links, help and so on. How will we access this facilities in the future? I know and I agree with the analysis that the vast majority of users (including me) are moving many tasks from start menu to start bar (windows 7 task bar is really amazing) but this is not a good reason to make old start menu group unreachable at all. Also start menu provided an easy way to access recent files, how will you replace this in Windows 8?

    Finally we really need a way to rapidly changing the active application. Flip 3d was really wonderful to see but it was not usable as, for example, Exposè (or even Gnome 3 active application selection is). I think Windows need such a mechanism as well, especially now that you are so interested in attracting touch screens users.

  141. @Sinofsky: Closing applications must be an included feature if only to provide PRIVACY to users on public computers. While having programs suspended in WP7 is acceptable due to it being a personal, non-shared device, laptops and desktops are a completely different paradigm. Imagine using a W8 device to access your emails, bank accounts,  social networks, etc. What do you do when you are finished? Switch to a different program to cover up your information? What about the next person using the computer? Even if W8 programs are redesigned to close instead of suspend, I would not feel secure about not being able to control that myself.

  142. Thanks for finally opening this discussion "officially".  Frankly, this is where the REAL changes are.  

    I understand most, if not all, of the arguments brought forward in the blog, but some questions/concerns still persist.  

    How do I discover applications?  The thing is, a LOT of (usually big and professional) applications don't just install 1 program.  Looking at Visual Studio alone, there's the VS executable along with a whole bunch of SDK tools, command prompts etc…   How do I discover these?  I understand that newly installed applications will automatically be pinned as last items in the start screen (at least, that's how it is now).  But… I'm guessing that this won't happen for all the additional applications installed with it…  At least, I hope not…  Imagine installing VS and then finding it out it pinned 20 new tiles :-/

    In today's start menu, all these applications are nicely grouped in their program folder.  With the information I have now, it seems that my only option is to dig in explorer into the installation folder in "c:program files" to find them.  The current metro-list of all applications is not suitable, since that lists everything alphabetically and I don't know the names of all those additional programs.  In some cases, I don't even know the name of the executable of the very program I've installed.

    This is a big question mark for me.

    And I still fail to see why the new start menu needs to be full screen while working on a desktop.  It makes no sense.  I stand by my previous statement that it would be better to only keep metro tiles on the metro screen and redesign the start menu to just be a hierarchical repository of installed desktop applications.  This would also solve the problem of additional/secondary applications mentioned above.

    Because metro is full screen, it feels like "leaving" the desktop when you open it up.  It's very strange to having to "leave" the desktop in order to fire up a "desktop application".  

  143. GregH says:

    Good point @enlitn01 – who decided that we wouldn't need to close applications – honestly people, wake up!

  144. Tom Mason says:

    I've not had a chance to use the developer preview yet, but with the start screen it sounds like you've effectively managed to reinvent the desktop. I don't mean the PC, but the desktop that Aero peek reveals. That has always had space for hundreds of icons, and can be switched to in a moment, and has gadgets no-one ever uses (because they're always under the apps we really want to use), but I don't think I ever really launch apps from the desktop except when there are no other apps running. The Start menu is superior to the desktop as a launchpad BECAUSE it doesn't take up much space, but it sounds like your thinking has been that "we have lots of space, and we're not using it, therefore we should use more space". We don't want you to use more space. We like pinning apps on the taskbar because it doesn't use much space and is always visible. We like hitting the windows key and typing because it doesn't get in the way of what we're doing. It's interesting when I consider Android and IOS. Android has multiple "desktops" full of icons and functional widgets, but it also has a app launcher which is a touch to launch, followed by scrolling around a massive grid of icons (albeit nicely animated), which I hate using because it's slow and hard to find what I'm looking for. Now a phone OS spends most of it's time just showing widgets and the desktops, because the small amounts of information the notifications show can be contained there. A PC OS on the other hand is always running multiple apps, often on 2 or more monitors and mostly full screen so the desktop isn't visible, or interesting. I suspect that the Start screen will be a failure on the PC  for the same reason that Active Desktop, sidebar, and desktop widgets were failures. They're all invisible when the user is actually doing what they want to do, because they're not what the user wants to do.

  145. Kazi says:

    Imo it is too early to judge the efficiency of the new Start screen without the full power of the App store. We just don't have new metro style applications yet. Without those it seems I forced to use the good old desktop, and I found that, I pin the "start bar" with desktop applications. Imo this will dramatically change with the opening of the App store.

    Btw, I like the idea ie. the new start screen, even on a desktop computer, the only thing is needed to be improved is the scrolling experience, but this has been promised above.

    My opinion about Win8 in short: WinRT is so fantastic, Microsoft's destiny to make it successful, the price doesn’t matter.

  146. @ Steven Sinofsky

    I am not even thinking about buying a Windows Phone 7 because of the soulless tile-interface

    – Flat tiles

    – Ugly colors

    – Ugly monochromatic icons (eg. a white e-icon for internet explorer – horrible)

    – Absolutely soulless

    The above explains why I will (for the same reason) never install Windows 8 on my desktops and laptops, the more because everything becomes full screen instead of in windows – it is simply not "Windows" anymore.

    The soulless look and feel of the Metro interface is also why I will never buy tablets with Windows 8.

  147. Steve Jobs says:

    Hey Steven, please buy an iphone 5 . You can blog better with it with the new iBlog app.

  148. @Tom Mason says:

    You can right click any desktop gadget in Windows and select "Always on top". So your claim that desktop gadgets are only visible when the desktop is shown is not true.

  149. Alan I says:

    Hi guys,

    Sorry if this has already been addressed above (as I'm sure you've noticed, there's quite a few posts up there… just hope that you're still reading them this far down…)

    So anyway, I had a question regarding your stats in Fig 4 (number of pinned apps on the taskbar).  Purely out of interest, do those figures reflect the default three icons (Explorer, IE, WMP)?  I note that in your graph '3' is highest, so I'm curious as to if that's because it's the default.

    Further to that, do you guys have any idea how often those three default options are being used? Personally I use the Explorer one frequently but I've removed IE and WMP from the default (sorry, they're not my cup of tea).

    I know power users such ourselves customize such things heavily, but in my day job I see less tech-savvy individuals not changing these things either because they don't know how, or they simply don't care.  I couldn't even begin to count the number of times I've seen IE/WMP pinned despite the user never opening the applications once in their lives.

  150. @Site-Jumper says:

    Tiles have more live information (soul) than those freaky gel rounded static Mac icons

  151. Microsoft should retain the Start Menu and use a combination of both the Start Menu as well as the vertical 'Charm bar'(the one that appears on the right edge of the screen after swiping on a tablet)… That way, the user would not have to leave the desktop and if he/she wishes to use the metro modern apps, he/she would have to just take the mouse pointer to the rifht edge of the screen and then select the appropriate charm from the 'Charm bar' 🙂

    This is the 'Charm bar' I'm talking about:

    blog.laptopmag.com/…/Five-Charms-Windows-8.png

    The traditional 'Windows' feeling will also be preserved and the new innovation will also be implemented.

    And just because its almost a tradition to change the UI of the taskbar with every new Windows release, Microsoft should do a few tweaks here and there to the taskbar, like maybe adding User Tile on the extreme right or so.

  152. GordonF says:

    You're desperate to gain traction on the tablet and mobile space. You're forcing Metro on desktops so that:

    – users get used to the interface

    – developers have no choice but to learn the new framework

    In short: you're thinking you can leverage your dominant position on the desktop. Only from this perspective the changes make perfect sense. So, you can talk all this reimagining crap all you want to, you can't fool all of us.

  153. GordonF says:

    You're desperate to gain traction on the tablet and mobile space. You're forcing Metro on desktops so that:

    – users get used to the interface

    – developers have no choice but to learn the new framework

    In short: you're thinking you can leverage your dominant position on the desktop. Only from this perspective the changes make perfect sense. So, you can talk all this reimagining crap all you want to, you can't fool all of us.

  154. Jote says:

    When working with desktop apps (Digital Audio Workstations for instance) I'd find it very distracting when I need, for instance, to launch a calculator and to do this I need to invoke the Start screen which covers my entire workflow.

    The start menu was a menu. It was an OVERLAY on the workflow, I'd still see my apps, unlike the Start Screen which distracts me from workflow.

  155. danielgr says:

    Personally, I've liked most evolutions of the Start menu in the past years, and I definitely fit within the "user changes" you describe on W7. Now, here is how my current application-launching experience works, and I hope W8 will deliver something as good or better than it:

    – My apps/websites of choice have a place on the task-bar, where I make extensive use of jump-list

    – I go to the Start menu to "find other secondary but most used apps", love the heuristic algorithm that helps populate that list, and having jump-list available.

    – Whenever an application is not found on the task-bar nor the "most frequent applications", I always use the search.

    Now in what you describe it seems I will lose both "jump-lists" (which also automatically populate with my most frequent used files) and the Start menu list where "most used but not pinned apps" show. I hope the final W8 Start menu makes room for both of those.

  156. I really enjoyed the start screen of Windows 8, helped me a lot and still I took quand customize the programs the way I want!

  157. Ken Huang says:

    I have to say even thought the new design of start menu is quite simple ans easy to use, I feel the old one suits me better. I hope that you can give users an option to select which style of starts menu they would like to use.

  158. neorik says:

    dear sinofsky,

    I reccomend to have a "classic" windows start menu for win8 corporate edition with search box and superbar, and the new start screen look for tablet.

    For laptop with no touch capabilties just allow a switch option.

  159. Anon says:

    What ever happened to making a product that people want to use.  I hate metro, and I want an option for the old start menu.  Is that so hard to understand?  Microsoft… shooting themselves in the foot again….!

  160. i really like metro ui for tablets, but i would be much happier, if the 7 style start menu remain as option for us desktop powerusers. if you say that on tablet you never have to see the classic desktop, i think it should work the opposite way as well.

  161. Dan says:

    I've installed Windows 8 DP on my laptop and am currently using it as my primary OS. The main reason being is that I want to get a feel of it in the way you only can from using an OS day to day.

    Currently, I do start up, hit desktop and rarely got back to the Start Screen. But then I think that can be attributed to the total lack of Metro apps at present. I expect this to change once we've got a working Store and devs coming out with some great apps.

    However, I do think there are some simple ways to combine the desktop and the start screen. First off, the taskbar is NOT the desktop. The desktop is just the pretty picture you load up (or some bland, flat colour) covered with a load of icons. Yes, the desktop is dated, so let's get rid of it.

    Replace the current desktop with a scrolling screen of live tiles and make the start button the same as he show desktop button. You get the same effect a the start screen, but it its fully combined with the rest of the OS, instead of feeling like a second OS bolted around the old OS. More importantly, the taskbar remains in its useful place, giving all its current multitasking assistance. Just make sure it also displays all Metro apps, as well as desktop apps.

    Now, I do understand why you wouldn't want the taskbar persistent on a tablet. But that is easily fixable, even today. Just have the taskbar on auto-hide on tablets. In fact, you can go a step further. Give the taskbar another size of icons. Currently we have the traditional small size and the default larger size on Windows 7. Replace that with three options; the small, traditional size, a medium "Windows 7 default" size and a new, even larger size.

    What we have now is a taskbar useful for tablet multitasking. It's hidden off he bottom of the screen, reducing clutter. Then, you simply swipe up from the bottom, to bring up a touch-friendly list of all your running applications.

    You could actually combine the "touch taskbar" mode with the current aero peek and taskbar thumbnails. Large taskbar with thumbnails for each open application directly on it. Nice and large to hit with a big, fat finger! Just add application icons to make ID'ing each app easier. Grouping can sill occur and swiping up on a group would open the collection as a list of thumbnails above he taskbar. Similarly, swiping up on an individual app would still open a jumplist. This would also be a good place to have an option to close down suspended apps.

    That would single-handedly transform Metro from its current "simple multitasking"  form into  multitasking powerhouse like the current desktop/taskbar combo provides. It also keeps the interface clean and people need never see the taskbar if they don't want it. For those who do want it, it is easily accessible and usable on touch – and it is easily pinnable to make it persistent like the current taskbar.

  162. @ Steven Sinofsky & Chaitanya Sareen – U've mentioned that u will be improving the way it works with they keyboard + mouse…what about KINECT? I thought this was also one of the main reasons to go METRO with the larger Tiles, where 'U are the controller'. Do you have any update on this?

    As for the start menu – personally I prefer the new start screen (as I've emntioned before)….but for those that can't quite make the transition yet…wouldn't it make more sense to leave the 'Start Menu' in the 'Desktop Mode' ONLY, for 'Legacy Applications'? That way….users are still getting the 'Full Classic Desktop Experience'…..currently…its bits n pieces. I think alot more users would be happier with that solution (BTW, the Classic Desktop Mode could also do with a flattened Metro look to make it more in synch with the @start Screen')

    Also, I think we should have a Windows Phone Style Multi Tasking, aswell as the current snap/app switcher…except that we should go one-up on Windows Phone and allow users to close applications (as uve already noted).

  163. @Chaitanya who said:

    "Windows 7 Start menu still faces core usability challenges".

    • The menu feels cramped relative to available screen real estate when you try to see and navigate the full catalog of your programs.

    • Search doesn’t have the space it deserves to quickly show you rich results across all sources of information, especially on larger screens.

    • It’s hard to customize the menu to make it feel like it’s really yours.

    • Icons and shortcuts are static and don’t leverage more of the pixels we see in modern graphical interfaces to surface connected scenarios.

    I really don't understand or agree with any of these "challenges":

    • The menu feels cramped because Microsoft designed it that way in Windows Vista. The Classic Start Menu had expanding menus which utilized available screen real estate to show and navigate the full catalog of your programs. If it required "mouse acrobatics" as you say, then Microsoft could simply have made the menu NOT close/open folders with mouse hover but with a mouse click as it does in the current Windows Start Menu. A mouse click can't be accidental so there's no change of the menu closing accidentally unless the user actually clicks outside the menu to close it.

    • How much more space does search need and what for? What more information needs to be shown? Search in the Start menu is used to narrow down and filter items so users quickly get to the program or document they want to launch as fast as possible. Still, it requires searching for every program you want to launch that many number of times. With the Classic Start menu, one could launch multiple programs without the menu closing by holding down the Shift key, something which you should really consider enabling for the current/new Windows Start Menu so it doesn't close when Shift is held down and we can launch multiple programs at a time.

    • It's hard to customize the menu to make it like it’s really yours because Microsoft limited the customization options of the Start Menu. Just install Classic Shell to realize and see how customizable a Start Menu can be.

    • Icons and shortcuts being static are a very useful feature as they promote muscle memory, something which pinning also does. Plus, you can already drag to sort and rearrange Start menu items as well as search. How does scrolling to locate the large sized icons and shortcuts in the Start screen help for non-touch scenarios?

    Here's an example of a Start menu that's customizable, provides glass in Classic style, has search and proper screen estate utilization without a scroll bar and fixed area that "cramps up" items. (courtesy of Classic Shell): img690.imageshack.us/…/hybridstartmenu.png

    Either way, it is obvious from the comments that users want a proper GUI option to switch to the Start Menu and never see the Start Screen, or see the Start Screen only when using touch without disabling the Start Menu for mouse and keyboard access.

  164. While I do enjoy the features in the Windows 8 Developer Preview, I do not enjoy having to "switch" back and forth between the desktop and the Metro UI.  The Metro UI is definitely a great way for users to have touch-based access on a tablet.  However for most non-touch laptop/desktop users, myself included, it is extremely distracting and frustrating with only a mouse.

    If you ship Windows 8 WITHOUT the ability to choose the UI, for non-touch devices, you will definitely be making a huge mistake!  As hardware evolves, and touch-enabled devices become more mainstream, the Metro UI will make sense.  However, until that happens, simply give users the control to disable the Metro UI.

  165. Joao M Correia says:

    Do you know what the problem with present percentages is? It can be read both ways:

    "11% reduction in start menu usage" ALSO means "89% of the users still USE the start menu".

    Nice math.

  166. Eric says:

    I really DON'T use the taskbar as a program launcher — in the least. I thought Windows 7 made the Start menu an invaluable tool. Much more powerful than any other OS's offerings. I pin several applications to my Start Menu so my taskbar is free of clutter. To me, the task bar represents, well, tasks. The more items on there the more that is in my queue.

    Of course, launcher icons don't have the same meaning as a task I need to complete, but it gives me a visual nightmare to see half the taskbar taken over with icons and overwhelms my senses. Perhaps I'm unique, but I subscribe to minimalism. To me, a clean desktop is peace of mind, and the taskbar is a HUGE part of that (I don't even like that I can't manually decide what notifications should show in the panel without enabling the ugly arrow).

    At the very least, provide a registry hack to enable the old Start bar. In my experience with Windows 8 the new Start button/menu was slow and unresponsive, and this was on a machine from 2006 with 3GB RAM and ~3GhZ processor. It was sluggish and felt more like a distraction than an improvement in my daily workflow.

    I certainly understand that you want to create the best product for the most amount of people, but as a selfish user who for the first time isn't liking a Windows change, please have productivity and work use in mind for this release. I don't want to switch to Linux or Mac OS because my old buddy Windows got famous and left me in the dust.

  167. @Alice Steinglass

    thanks for the response.

  168. D says:

    You guys really need to get your priorities in order. The Start menu is not broken; don't fix it! Fix the ridiculous organization of files on the hard disk. Why Is there a users folder if I am the only user? Why are there 15 places for applications to store their data, some invisible, some not? Why can't the computer maintain it's responsiveness after many programs are installed and uninstalled over time? These are the things that need to be addressed, not the interface, which is more than adequate.

  169. Ken Stark says:

    What if Microsoft were to just give the Windows 7 style taskbar a new metro look (small tiles instead of icons) and make it available at the bottom of the start screen when you mouse over the bottom of the screen like the charms or when you activate the charms menu from a touch device? You could have all the benefits of the Windows 7 taskbar (Aero Peak, great task switching) and the live tiles in Windows 8. That would alleviate a lot of my concerns with the inferior mulitasking on Windows 8. Also it would be nice for some users if you could pin the new metro task bar to the bottom of the start screen so it would not disappear when you mouse away.

  170. herbert misson - brasil - sp says:

    olá steve, eu tenho uma sugestão para dar.

    é a seguinte, criar 3 modos de trabalho para o windows 8.

    primeiro modo para computadores com baixos requisitos e antigos:  menu iniciar básico e demais itens leve como o do windows xp para poder rodar em qualquer pc com 512mb de ram e processador de 500mhz., trocando em miudos, ressucitando o windows xp para rodar em pcs velhos e com baixo processamento.

    segundo modo: rodar o estilo visual e todas as potencialidades do windows 7 para a produtividade e focado nela, inclusive modo de atividades empresariais.

    terceiro modo: o estilo visual metro e junto com o desktop do jeito apresentado esclusivamente pensado para tablets e dispositivos sensiveis ao toque, otimizar também para processador e memoria de baixo de desempenho.

    esses modos de trabalho deveriam poder ser trocados pelo painel de controle para alternar entre eles conforme gosto e necessidade do usuário final.

  171. herbert misson - brasil - sp says:

    olá steve, eu tenho uma sugestão para dar.

    é a seguinte, criar 3 modos de trabalho para o windows 8.

    primeiro modo para computadores com baixos requisitos e antigos:  menu iniciar básico e demais itens leve como o do windows xp para poder rodar em qualquer pc com 512mb de ram e processador de 500mhz., trocando em miudos, ressucitando o windows xp para rodar em pcs velhos e com baixo processamento.

    segundo modo: rodar o estilo visual e todas as potencialidades do windows 7 para a produtividade e focado nela, inclusive modo de atividades empresariais.

    terceiro modo: o estilo visual metro e junto com o desktop do jeito apresentado esclusivamente pensado para tablets e dispositivos sensiveis ao toque, otimizar também para processador e memoria de baixo de desempenho.

    esses modos de trabalho deveriam poder ser trocados pelo painel de controle para alternar entre eles conforme gosto e necessidade do usuário final.

  172. @steven the new start menu is great,it gives me some information on what's happening on the apps,but it would be better if microsoft can work with some touchpad manufacturer such synaptics to make touchpad driver that support gestures,so we don't have to use scrollbar on the bottom(it's painful if you have many apps)

  173. fatcathu says:

    1 Since the Start button is totally meaning less on the Win8 desktop, why not enabled 'YoBettaHideYourPearl' by default ??

    2, Can I 'pin' some toolbar (deskband) with the folder {4234D49B-0245-4DF3-B780-3893943456E1} (applications) or {865e5e76-ad83-4dca-a109-50dc2113ce9a} (programs and fast items) on my 'start bar' ? that will be useful.

    3, one problem of the start screen is, it hide the current programe I am running on the desktop, which I may need to watch carefully without blinking, a start menu can reduce the time of my eye-focus leaving the window to the minimum, but with a Start Screen it takes much longer, its too distracting. I thing my point '2' can help here.

  174. For me personally I welcome the new "Start" screen. Good job for that especially for Touch users. Unfortunately it feels awkward using with mouse as other people posted here. One of my problem with new Start screen is when scrolling, mouse scroll is a good alternative for dragging the scrollbar but unfortunately Metro UI teases you to interact with it like on Touch, so I even accidentally drag my mouse on the Start screen.

    I have suggestions for that to implement mouse gestures not for Start but for all Metro experience without needing us developers to code for that. Drag with the screen for example that mimics touch kinetic scroll, also in Start Screen I hope to "reimagine" its scrollbar with something else. Other also suggest autoscroll near the edge is also a must.

    In terms of Search, I hope in beta there will be also "All" category in search and can be set to be default in settings. Personally I find the search more convenient and more usable when we still allow to search all kinds, but it should be group just like in Windows 7 and Vista search. Another thing, Windows 8 search speed feels like instant, but not sure when you have hundred of thousands indexed and tons of apps installed, hope it will still almost maintain its speed. Currently in my Windows 7, "Instant Search" feels like not instant when searching and usually I wait couple of sec.

    Concerning about huge res screens especially for desktops, I'm not sure if Windows 8 will support sizing of tiles and I hope there will be workaround for that, in order to maximize the space we have, but this feature is not necessary for me personally, maybe for others.

    About mouse gestures across Immersive UX, I hope not just for scrolling but for other things like zooming, arraging tiles in Start Screen and other apps, Semantics, and others. This will help solving complaints for mouse and trackpad users. Speaking of Trackpad(Touchpad), I hope that we can able to utilize gestures with our current generation laptops even last year since its almost scandalize to have multi-touch, like scrolling and such without special programs and needing for extra things for drivers that OEMs sometimes dont update so it should work with current models. I also concerned for older laptops without multi-touch, even a bit limited but hope to have gestures with them without needing special program and with current drivers as stated before.

    One last thing I notice with new Start Screen, I found when installing new legacy apps, it also include other thins like uninstaller and etc. Is there any workaround for this, hope that we will have solution for this in beta since it easily gets clutter in Start screen, almost like in current ones. Hope that apps especially legacy ones will have sort of hub for them that we will see only one tile and when we click it, it shows everything that relates to it, just like folders in current Start. I found that its little inconvenient to navigate other apps that dont show in Start screen, I always have to go with Search charm. I hope there will be more instant way to do this showing all apps like in Windows Phone 7.

    Well anyways, Start Screen for me is a welcoming change, I know that this is just a Dev Preview but we hope our feedback is being considered.

    Cheers! 😀

  175. Starting with W7, I don't use Start Menu that often, since most of the programs I use (Live Mail + Messenger, Office, Visual Studio, VMWare, Lync, Notepad++, etc.) are now pinned to the taskbar. So I rarely need the Start Menu…

  176. herbert misson - brasil - sp says:

    olá steve, eu tenho uma sugestão para dar.

    é a seguinte, criar 3 modos de trabalho para o windows 8.

    primeiro modo para computadores com baixos requisitos e antigos:  menu iniciar básico e demais itens leve como o do windows xp para poder rodar em qualquer pc com 512mb de ram e processador de 500mhz., trocando em miudos, ressucitando o windows xp para rodar em pcs velhos e com baixo processamento.

    segundo modo: rodar o estilo visual e todas as potencialidades do windows 7 para a produtividade e focado nela, inclusive modo de atividades empresariais.

    terceiro modo: o estilo visual metro e junto com o desktop do jeito apresentado esclusivamente pensado para tablets e dispositivos sensiveis ao toque, otimizar também para processador e memoria de baixo de desempenho.

    esses modos de trabalho deveriam poder ser trocados pelo painel de controle para alternar entre eles conforme gosto e necessidade do usuário final.

  177. Does anyone know if the Windows Developer Preview works with:

    1) Logitech TouchPad – Multi-Touch wireless gesture pad (alternative to mouse)

    2) Microsoft Touch Mouse – Multi-Touch gesture mouse

    I'd love to get both, but I want to know if they actually work.

  178. I'm thoroughly dissapointed that a real Start Menu won't apparently be put into the Desktop Interace and I can't see any reason to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.  I'll be doing all my work in the Desktop interface so how is it functional to force me to switch away from my running app to go searching my squares in Metro just to run a 2nd app only to have it switch back to the Desktop interface to run it?  I think the Metro interface is a major step backwards in functionality and looks, but others love it.  So why can't you have both Metro AND a start menu in the Desktop interface?  Give me the option to use either interface.  Wouldn't that appeal to 'everyone' and increase your customer base?  I don't plan to run my computer like it's a cell phone, so why remove one of the most useful things in Windows?

  179. Win 8 is my main computer. I stay on the desktop and hardly ever see the Start Screen, since there are  no WinRT apps that I can use with the mouse. The taskbar has most of my apps.

    However, if I did want to spend some time in Metro-land, there is quite a bit of frustration.

    -WinRT apps that play music (like the games) are still playing music when I switch away. I can't close them, so I have to head to the task manager. Multitasking is not fun with WinRT

    -The 'App Bar' works very poorly with the mouse, and I'm not sure it'll be great for touch either. Whereas on Windows Phone you know you always have a full menu under those three dots, so far these WInRT apps have very inconsistent  use of buttons. RIght-clicking a Live Tile and then reaching the mouse down to the bottom to unpin or whatever is also very tedious… Windows Phone has context menus, why not Windows 8?

    -The charms are listed on hovering bottom left, but once you click one the thing you want to interact with is at top right.

    -I feel like you worked on WinRT for keyboard ninjas, but not mouse users. FOr example, let's say I want tabs in Metro IE, I can't just hover up top… I have to do weird right-clicks. Too much

    -You really need something like Expose or Spaces or whatever Apple calls their stuff for multitasking WinRT apps. Fullscreen all the time works only for tablets, and even then we want options.

    -Graphic designers dropped the ball for this developer preview. As a previous commenter said, Zune is beautiful. This is not. WIndows Phone uses accent colors, the DP doesn't. Zune uses semi-opacity for Now Playing.. you could have done that for when the Start Screen needs to overlay the desktop. Heck, share the wallpaper between the Start Screen (semi-opaque) and the desktop, then people wouldn't feel so disoriented.

    I'm no touch hater, I just don't have a touch PC. That means the desktop is my 'home'. Therefore actions that I launch while at the desktop must always feel tied to the desktop.. it's not "just another app" when you're not living in the WinRT world. Therefore I don't want the Start Screen swooping in from the side.. it must smoothly overlay my experience. And what about when I'm in WinRT world and a Win32 app launches? That app should be able to find a place in front of me without having to "switch to desktop". I know there's a way to have the two worlds together without 'switching', since switching between WinRT apps sucks (A tablet is not a big phone, people).

    Windows 8 will be great, but I just don't see how much you could change before Beta. You have to work on merging worlds though.

    BTW, please continue to be specific in your use of the word "Metro" as a design language, instead of throwing around phrases like "Metro-style apps". Using WinRT doesn't make something metro-style

  180. Drewfus says:

    @Dan

    "Replace the current desktop with a scrolling screen of live tiles and make the start button the same as he show desktop button. You get the same effect a the start screen, but it its fully combined with the rest of the OS, instead of feeling like a second OS bolted around the old OS."

    Mostly agree. The start menu should never open/close (or require zigzag navigation) – it should just *be* the desktop. Windows key = Show Desktop. Easy. Now just touch optimize by increasing target areas. What i disagree with is the use of tiles. The concensus in this blog and the forum seems to be "tiles are great for tablets, but…". Disagree. Tiles are a bad choice for desktop *and* tablet users, because their size vs. functionality tradeoff is poor. They are big – bigger than necessary – and otherwise just sit there trying to look good. Metro Start is vile – at least at the moment.

    "More importantly, the taskbar remains in its useful place, giving all its current multitasking assistance. Just make sure it also displays all Metro apps, as well as desktop apps."

    Don't agree. The taskbar has to go. There are two many UI elements – start menu, desktop (icons), and taskbar, all trying to do each others job. They should be merged into a single, well designed object. Full-screen apps look great, and work great when WinKey=Show_Desktop is available. The taskbar is too distracting. Computers are great multitaskers – humans not so great. Microsoft is right about the preferabilty of full-screen apps, *if* Start is done right. The taskbar just complicates app UI design and might not work with swiping lower edge too well. I'm just taking your ideas to their 'logical conclusion'. Discussed further @  social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/664021b4-2fe3-48e3-b2fb-849bebc8cbc2 Start is the key to the success of Windows 8, but its a *big* change, so has to be done right.

    @GregH

    "I do think the whole thing to me feels basic, lacking elegance, taste and consistency across the Metro philosphy as a whole. I was immediately concerned by the design of scroll bars and the default avatar fall-back image and the menus –they all feel oddly cheap and basic squared with 3 pixel black or white borders – it just looks wrong – where are your designers – where??!!! Why on earth can’t you just get top designers!"

    Yes, the rhetoric does not match the reality at the moment. Maybe MSFT released the DP a few months too soon? There already seems to be a perception problem with people regarding Desktop apps as the serious ones, and Metro apps as the toys. That includes myself 😉

    @xpclient

    I see your point of view, but really, the links in the start menu are just too small for touch, and with all that desktop real estate, it's impossible for me to see how the pull-up start menu can survive, no matter how it's tweaked. The issues outlined in this blog are on the money, and besides, the start menu is in the wrong corner (it is physically the hardest corner to move towards – on or offscreen), and it pops the wrong way – pull-down is much more natural than pull-up. Talk about jarring.

    @Alice Steinglass [MSFT]

    "The search box is not visible on screen until you start typing."

    I can the elegance of this show_on_type approach, but maybe its just taking things slightly too far – for now. You (MSFT) are changing a lot of UI stuff for a single release.

  181. Toni Nash says:

    Microsoft has always been about options.  Apple has always been about locking people into a specific experience regardless if the user liked it or not.  Is Microsoft going to stay Microsoft and continue to provide choices or are you turning into Apple v 2.0?  I have both Macs and PCs in my home.  There are some very specific circumstances where I use my Mac, but it is always foreign and I prefer Windows 7.  However, if I'm forced to use to use the new interface without the option to use a Windows 7 like interface, then I will go 100% Mac.  At least I have the dock which is inferior to Windows 7 but superior to Windows 8.  Not everyone wants touch interface on their PC.  My tablet, fine.  Sorry but I don't want fingerprints all over my 27" monitor.  I don't want to have to reach out and touch a display to do something.  I want a keyboard and mouse or multi-touch trackpad.  I don't want to be immersed; I want to be productive.

  182. Drewfus says:

    "I can the elegance of this show_on_type approach…"

    I did not leave 'see' out intentionally 🙂

  183. Hey All,

       First of all, I have to say that those threatening to not use of buy Win8, is about as useful as a dull knife in a gun fight. (yes, I’m a redneck who owns several guns…so what).

      Anyway, I'm not in favor of the Metro interface for pcs/laptops because of the usability issues. I know that young children, teens, & 20 somethings will love it. Please remember those who do not have the money to buy new pcs (the unemployed, elderly on fixed incomes, etc.) as these are the people who I serve the most. I work in a Public Library. We were one of the first to put Win7 (& Vista before that) out for the public. The minor changes in those interfaces (as well as the ribbon in Office 2007 then 2010) caused us a LOT of extra work re-teaching our patrons. I can picture me bald, after pulling my hair out while trying to explain how these changes are supposed to make using Windows 8 easier, to our patron as they sit shaking their heads.

      And sorry, no, we have no funding to upgrade any of our computers to touch enabled devices. No Ohio library has excess money for the latest, next great thing. Before recommending that these changes to the interface, makes new classes for our patrons something we need to do……we no longer can afford the staff to hold the classes (classes which we used to do).

      Metro  seems to me to be change for the sake of change. Sorry to the teens & 20 somethings that are yelling foul….you are entitled to your opinion….so am I. Please continue to maintain continuity with what you have been providing. Keep some form of the familiar start menu & desktop.

  184. Ernest says:

    Why do I want to touch my computer? It works great for a phone, it's already in my hand, same with a tablet. But with my work desk setup I'd have to lean forward out of my chair to touch my monitor, while my mouse and keyboard are inches away. Why would I want to have to get out of my chair multiple times an hour to touch some random part of my screen when I can already do anything I need with existing input devices that are at hand?

  185. USE THE INTELLIGENCE ACTIVATE THE OLD START MENU ON PC DESKTOP AND NEW START ONLY ON TABLET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  186. Stephen Owen says:

    How about revamping libraries in this new distribution?  I've always though libraries should be a catch-all kind of like a live search folder for your PC, rather than having to specify which folders are indexed.

    For instance, the Default Libraries are Document, Pictures, Music, Video, but these don't index the whole PC, only certain folders.  On top of that, creating new libraries is very difficult and not useful.  Users like myself instead create shortcuts to saved searches, for instance of Media Drives where file format matches .iso, .iorrent or .gif, there are many legitimate reasons to want to view all of the items of a type like that.

    To encourage the user to discover and use new features, depth and comparability must be there.

  187. Lee Whittington says:

    I have fell in love with Windows 8 so far, this coming from someone who is not using a touch interface at all. I'm liking the new features and feel like they are more geared towards the things I use daily. I only have recommendation: For users that have dual display monitors where you can place the Start Screen and one monitor and Desktop on another, Allow users the ability to have the normal start button on the desktop side. I feel like this would be greatly received by many.

  188. Briantist says:

    Thinking about the how Metro comes up when you press the START button, I am reminded of the 250th Episode of The Simpson's, "A Tale of Two Springfields".

    "Hi! I'm Phoney McRingRing, mascot and president of the telephone company, and I'm here to explain why the convenience of one area code in <Your Town> has been replaced by the convenience of two area codes!"

  189. Pratyush Nalam says:

    How about a Start screen and Start menu? Steven, please respond!

  190. I'm one of those who love Metro, and if you guys execute it well i don't want to see my desktop again.

    But after using Win8 for 15 days are so as primary OS, at this point I don't agree with your claim the Start Screen (Or Metro World) is designed for touch but works well for Keyboard and Mouse.

    Some Key Issues I noticed

    1.  Right Click to See App's Menu Bar —

           I hate this Idea, in use this is so horrible to right click to see the menu. Even more frustrating is the right also serves as to bring well right click menu. Well now tell me in IE how to get URL bar on this your own Microsoft site scrapbook.bingmobile.com

    2.  Unpin a Tile –

       This is what i have to do a simple task to unpin a tile:

       a. Right Click on Tile

       b. A Bar is Displayed on the Bottom with option

       c. Now I have to move Mouse cursor to from say center to all the way to Bottom of the screen

    This might sound silly or small but in day to day use it is very frustrating. So my point is why not give the options on the tile, Just Like windows phone.

    3. There should a way to close the apps – I Know Windows Kernal Manages suspending apps for me . But you guys have to understand the apps which I don't need any more still stay in my way when I'm mutitasking.

    4. App Switcher –

    Sorry if have 10-15 apps open I don't think I can use the swipe gesture for app switching (But wait it is awesome when I have only 2-3 apps opens). Again just like Windows  Phone there should a gesture to show cards view of open apps. (I'm hoping you have this under you sleeves, Ryan Harris saidthe left bezel swipe is like back button so there should something to show view of all the apps running 😉 )

    Wait there are more, please let me know where can I share my suggestions.

  191. I'm one of those who love Metro, and if you guys execute it well i don't want to see my desktop again.

    But after using Win8 for 15 days are so as primary OS, at this point I don't agree with your claim the Start Screen (Or Metro World) is designed for touch but works well for Keyboard and Mouse.

    Some Key Issues I noticed

    1.  Right Click to See App's Menu Bar —

           I hate this Idea, in use this is so horrible to right click to see the menu. Even more frustrating is the right also serves as to bring well right click menu. Well now tell me in IE how to get URL bar on this your own Microsoft site scrapbook.bingmobile.com

    2.  Unpin a Tile –

       This is what i have to do a simple task to unpin a tile:

       a. Right Click on Tile

       b. A Bar is Displayed on the Bottom with option

       c. Now I have to move Mouse cursor to from say center to all the way to Bottom of the screen

    This might sound silly or small but in day to day use it is very frustrating. So my point is why not give the options on the tile, Just Like windows phone.

    3. There should a way to close the apps – I Know Windows Kernal Manages suspending apps for me . But you guys have to understand the apps which I don't need any more still stay in my way when I'm mutitasking.

    4. App Switcher –

    Sorry if have 10-15 apps open I don't think I can use the swipe gesture for app switching (But wait it is awesome when I have only 2-3 apps opens). Again just like Windows  Phone there should a gesture to show cards view of open apps. (I'm hoping you have this under you sleeves, Ryan Harris saidthe left bezel swipe is like back button so there should something to show view of all the apps running 😉 )

    Wait there are more, please let me know where can I share my suggestions.

  192. Looking forward to the new Start Menu.

  193. samhunt says:

    Lets get some Kinect on this thing!! 😀

  194. all new start menu says:

    the widows preiview  start menu sucks. where is the shutdown botton?

  195. Matt Sharpe says:

    I'd just like to add my vote that the new start screen is utterly nuts for a user who is busy attempting to get work done in the desktop environment.

    I sincerely hope there's an option to go back to the start menu.

    Matt Sharpe

  196. I think that I have sort of a solution for Microsoft and their problems with the keyboard vs the Touchscreen. Remember this recreation is mostly for the people who would be using the mouse and keyboard. Just how you did for touch now it is going the other way around from where you are now.

    1. Why don't you just make the start bar/task bar bigger (something like 20%/25% of the bottom half). This way you can totally redesign it the way you want to in the Metro Language with the not screen filling tiles but smaller tiles that animate as well.

        -IE10 could flip when you have a new:

             *message on Facebook or any other chat service that you are on in the browser

             *When you have a new email

             *change of a song, etc.

        – There could be notifications for all kinds of things that people would be able to see in a flash without  taking their attention off what they are doing which people  would apparently do when they touch the start menu

    I think that people should have the option to expand the start screen how ever far up as they would want it to go. This way people would still be able to place their Start Screen Preview Bar at the top which I know most people would want to do.

    2. Type and search  in desktop mode  would pop up about 35%/50?% of the screen to show you your results. This way you can still have those options of have the filter options somewhere in that space.

    3. Ballmer you talk about the 3 screen why not go even further, even more abstract with this idea and make the 3 screens go deeper with 3 screen options for a user to pick from. They could have:

        -25% sized Metro Start Bar,

        -50% size that covers half the screen (for people who mostly just be on the internet or typing up papers where you don't need all of that screen real-estate)

        -Full screen for the people who want to completely leave the desktop and emerge themselves into the Metro world which I bet you that people would because after a while the DESKTOP gets soo boring.

    4. I also think that they should have a horizontal snap. You have thought about Horizontal panning and tiles but didn't think about the snapping horizontal (It might not matter to some but it is an option). Also since you have thought about vertical snapping why not get some vertical Tiles which could show more information on the Start screen

    5. Auto-hiding is a major thing that you have done in your touch UI but I think that if you redesign the Metro Start BAR that an auto-hiding feature would be awesome to give the user more screen real-estate (like you said immerse the consumer into not just the app but the desktop). Also their are not options for more options in the Start Screen (wouldn't that be a good way to bring up a task manager or even get to the settings?)

    6. Also can we get all METRO STYLED ICONS throughout the entire UI, the entire OS. I even want some 3rd party programs from XP and Vista Metro down I am sure that you can do it for the ones that would be placed on the desktop, I could care less about the rest. I also want the EXPLORER to be totally redesigned into Metro. The Ribbon dont look too Ribbon with all of those options regardless if you can hide them or not. The ribbon should be a pretty cool looking Metro Styled Ribbon, no gradient included.

  197. I think that I have sort of a solution for Microsoft and their problems with the keyboard vs the Touchscreen. Remember this recreation is mostly for the people who would be using the mouse and keyboard. Just how you did for touch now it is going the other way around from where you are now.

    1. Why don't you just make the start bar/task bar bigger (something like 20%/25% of the bottom half). This way you can totally redesign it the way you want to in the Metro Language with the not screen filling tiles but smaller tiles that animate as well.

        -IE10 could flip when you have a new:

             *message on Facebook or any other chat service that you are on in the browser

             *When you have a new email

             *change of a song, etc.

        – There could be notifications for all kinds of things that people would be able to see in a flash without  taking their attention off what they are doing which people  would apparently do when they touch the start menu

    I think that people should have the option to expand the start screen how ever far up as they would want it to go. This way people would still be able to place their Start Screen Preview Bar at the top which I know most people would want to do.

    2. Type and search  in desktop mode  would pop up about 35%/50?% of the screen to show you your results. This way you can still have those options of have the filter options somewhere in that space.

    3. Ballmer you talk about the 3 screen why not go even further, even more abstract with this idea and make the 3 screens go deeper with 3 screen options for a user to pick from. They could have:

        -25% sized Metro Start Bar,

        -50% size that covers half the screen (for people who mostly just be on the internet or typing up papers where you don't need all of that screen real-estate)

        -Full screen for the people who want to completely leave the desktop and emerge themselves into the Metro world which I bet you that people would because after a while the DESKTOP gets soo boring.

    4. I also think that they should have a horizontal snap. You have thought about Horizontal panning and tiles but didn't think about the snapping horizontal (It might not matter to some but it is an option). Also since you have thought about vertical snapping why not get some vertical Tiles which could show more information on the Start screen

    5. Auto-hiding is a major thing that you have done in your touch UI but I think that if you redesign the Metro Start BAR that an auto-hiding feature would be awesome to give the user more screen real-estate (like you said immerse the consumer into not just the app but the desktop). Also their are not options for more options in the Start Screen (wouldn't that be a good way to bring up a task manager or even get to the settings?)

    6. Also can we get all METRO STYLED ICONS throughout the entire UI, the entire OS. I even want some 3rd party programs from XP and Vista Metro down I am sure that you can do it for the ones that would be placed on the desktop, I could care less about the rest. I also want the EXPLORER to be totally redesigned into Metro. The Ribbon dont look too Ribbon with all of those options regardless if you can hide them or not. The ribbon should be a pretty cool looking Metro Styled Ribbon, no gradient included.

  198. Subjex says:

    I personally loved the old style Windows 2000. It was simple and rocked. It could be just me but seriously all this just makes me hate windows more, as they are trying to be more like oSx

  199. Adam Tiley says:

    Also one more thing, the boot menu in Windows 8 is a bit annoying too. It has to restart from the boot menu if the user clicks a different operating system to boot into that one.

  200. Chimel says:

    Agree with @Dan, the full screen Start screen doesn't even work for anything bigger than a mobile phone.

    A new scrollable taskbar made of tiles that pops up from the bottom without hiding your whole screen is much less intrusive. Maybe with a switch to display either running apps (Windows 7 Taskbar equivalent) or non-running apps (Windows 7 Start menu equivalent.)

    At least it seems to be a concept worth exploring. On a desktop computer or laptop, I constantly multitask, even when watching videos or newscasts, so I certainly want to keep some apps visible at all times, including when I want to "start" some other apps or to switch to some running apps.

    I think I found out why some comments never post or some post twice. When I refresh this page to view the new comments, it always says "thanks for your comment" on top, before displaying the latest comments at the bottom. This is because the URL now ends with "?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage." I assume this was added after my first comment. Please don't modify the URL so we can actually post comments or replies, and forward the clean URL to others.

    Adding an auto-refresh option like in many other blogging/commenting sites (YouTube, Disqus) should be a must for such an important blog that generates massive comments. It would only add new comments as they come, instead of being forced to refresh the whole page of article and comments you already read just for the sake of a few new comments added since.

    And always when I refresh the page, there is a pop-up that says it needs to resend information. My 2 cents.

  201. Chimel says:

    Correction: It did not post the first time with the clean URL either. And when I tried to refresh after the post failed, it asked me confirmation to "resend information" as if I wanted to repost, but the comment box was empty. Second attempt to post seemed to have succeeded, although my comment is not displayed right away and I won't know for sure until it shows up. This blogging system is a nightmare.

  202. Michael says:

    One thing I fogot is that using search to find every app that you don't want pinned to the start screen in atrocious. And having them all show up in a flat view is even worse. Lets say for a moment that I have several apps on my PC that all installed a tool called "manage help settings" just like visual studio does. When I do a search and get multiple results with the same or similar names, I have no idea which is which because the containing folder context is gone.

    In addition, I frequently browse the folders on the start menu to discover what other useful tools were installed with a new program, something that would be very har, if not impossible, to do with the flat search view.

  203. @enlitn01 @harsha g @craig.smikle We certainly hear your feedback about close. The scenarios you call about privacy and removing apps from your switch list are certainly valid. We will be offering a fast and fluid way to close apps without going to Task Manager. Expect to see this, and other improvements, in the beta.

  204. Let the users can choose to use the start screen or the start menu themselves will meet requirements from different people, I wish Microsoft will listen to me.

  205. In view of the subject and also from some experience of time testing the new Windows developer preview, I would still connect to the other comments considering how this will work on laptops and workstations, including more traditional, mouse, touchpad, keyboard. In this sense, seen from a general picture from around the world and from how we working in our societies in a traditional way without making fingerprints all over the screen.

    Please stop the vision before you give Microsoft a bad reputation in name of above mentioned devices.

    The world is not ready for this big brave effort already, at least not in such a sensitive area as this change may cause. Actually can't understand why here not more users writing comments than here is, little bit strange as this is something that concerns everyone and not just a matter of Microsoft with partners & institutions in the back. More a kind of "politics" as it were a quite long time since computers & internet was a cool new part of our homes. It has headed over to become a technology that all our countries depends on. That's RESPONSIBILITY and Re-imagine if anything. Please don't fail that job my friends.

    Am having much more to say but let's take it another time, there will be better moments.

  206. Mike R says:

    Interesting side-note – how many people use the Start menu as the source for programs and items to pin to the taskbar?  I've found the Start screen difficult to work with mostly because I don't have my Taskbar set up for me appropriately, yet.  Food for thought!  It's a chicken and egg problem.

  207. Mr Ons says:

    The reason people are not using the start menu as much is because it was butchered.  When I click on my start menu, I don't want to have to click again to "All Programs."  My users don't either. I would rather be able to show my users a nice tidy grouping of programs. I wish someone from microsoft had to come and explain these changes to an 80 year old Emeritus professor.  

  208. BlindUser says:

    For me who is blind the 2 issues I had with Windows 7 Start are:

    1. When you navigate to a sub-menu and you press enter or right arrow to open it and then cursor down to read its items, there is no way to easily collapse the sub-menu again. In XP left arrow or escape would collapse the sub-menu but in Vista/7 left arrow just moves to the left column, a completely irrelevant place to move to. So, say I go down to All Programs and then into Accessories and then cursor down to Wordpad which is all the way to the end of the Accessories submenu, there is no way for me to collapse Accessories again using a simple keystroke such as left arrow. Instead I have to cursor all the way up to the menu's name, i.e. Accessories, and collapse it there. Very incovenient, especially since as a blind person I might not know what a particular sub-menu contains before exploring it. So, what usually happens when I don't know the exact name of the application I want open, is that I would have to keep opening sub-menus cursoring down,and then up again and closing them and then going to open another sub-menu. Very annoying and counter-productive.

    2. The second problem is that search is not very good. Not as good as Google say. I would type "note" for example and instead of Notepad, it might give me Printers and Faxes, just because the word note might be in that feature's description. The search was not smart at all. So, fix the search algorithm, not its appearance so much. For me search resulrts appeare just gfine

  209. Overall I love Windows 8. However I think users should be able to close Metro Apps. It's a very natural expectation. I'd say users should be able to open the App Bar and click a close button to close the app.

  210. AH says:

    Would be nice if users could customize the start menu, e.g. with custom backgrounds and colour schemes.

  211. Harsha. says:

    Well, in Win &, if I have to open the 'download folder' I just hit start and type 'dow'

    But in win 8, when I type download, it doesn't come up..

    Also if I have to click on the sub groups of search i.e 'Apps, settings or File' which is again more clicks. Why cant the search screen show 3 column of these subgroups with vertical scrolls for each columns.

  212. iTechnologyPro says:

    Now that you have explained your rationale about the "Start Bar" making the "Start Menu" in large part redundant, I have to agree (for myself).  Paying attention to how I work in Windows 7 (as an "Enthusiast" user) I literally have EVERY application I use pinned to the “Start Bar”, and there are only 2 things I find myself still going to the "Start Menu" for every day:  1) Instant Search  2) Log off/Shut down/Restart.  If you can find a way to do these two things from the “Start Bar” without switching to Metro (or pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL) I think I could get used to a desktop experience that loses the Start Menu.  I do find it disruptive to have a full-screen interface change to access these simple, frequently used features though.

    However, the overriding factor is that most users are NOT "enthusiasts" and are exceptionally resistant to change.  I have had a huge challenge getting non-"enthusiast" users (even fellow IT professionals) to pin anything to their Win 7 Start Bar, they do whatever they can to make Win 7 look and function like XP. (they did the same when XP came out, trying to make it look like 95/98)  Because they can continue operating as they did in XP, they are generally happy working in 7, that will not be the case if Metro replaces their beloved start menu.  These users will not accept the argument that they do not need the start menu because they can just pin stuff to the Start Bar.

    On one hand, forcing EVERYBODY to use Metro is probably the only way you will get most users to actually use it. (outside of tablets where it just makes sense as the default interface)

    On the other hand, M$ risks ending up with another Vista if the negative comments about changes (rational or not) become the meme for Windows 8 (as it was for Vista), that is what consumers (and the Media) will pickup on and run with.  Comments on this blog are a perfect example of this already starting to happen.

  213. gamemanj@hotmail.co.uk says:

    Microsoft, is this a late April fools joke??

    Just looking at the screenshot made me think this was windows mobile!

    I'm staying with 7-Windows 7 was the best!

  214. Bartók István says:

    In Windows XP I used to use the "classic" (Win2k-style) Start menu + heavy pinning (~30-40 apps). The colorful but ugly WinXP look sucked anyway, the good old Win95/Win2k look was much better.

    I have been using Windows 7 for almost two years now. The look is a bit less ugly than in XP, although Segoe UI font is horrible – luckily you can change it to use Lucida Sans Unicode (~Mac OS look) in most places with some regediting.

    But the lack of the classic Start menu still drives me nuts – I still couldn't get used to it in these 2 years. 🙁

    So, you don't have to worry about the Windows 8 interface… Seeing this level of ignorance from Microsoft made me to decide that when I'm upgrading my laptop I'm switching to either Mac OS or back to Linux on the new machine. "Aero" is also much faster on these…

    I just can't see why would it harm to the world-domination plans of M$ to bring back at least the default XP-style "All Programs" Start menu if so many people are asking for it? :O

    Or at least you could make the search that is built into the Win7 Start menu less sluggish. It's so slow in its current state that it clearly can not be a replacement for the classic Start menu at all – I believe a Core2 Duo @ 2 GHz with 4 GB RAM should be enough for a quick indexed search but it seems it isn't 🙁

  215. Chimel says:

    "M$ risks ending up with another Vista if the negative comments about changes become the meme for Windows 8"

    Nah, they'll just keep the name "Windows 8" for mobile phones, and "Loserster 8" for desktops, like Netflix did.  ^-^

  216. Funjay says:

    I agree with you.  The Start menu has outlived it's usefulness.  I think your solution is a step backwards though.  It's a good idea with poor execution.  Here is the problem:  Right now there are two main desktop peripherals…the mouse and keyboard.  Productivity is lost constantly switching between the two.  Adding a third multi-touch peripheral is the opposite of what most users what.  It's simply not very functional.  It's farther from the screen, requires more work to manipulate, and smudges up the screen.  

    Look at Apples approach to the iPhone.  They didn't try and adapt the Mac OS to the iPhone because the way they are used are incompatible.  This is the same reason every windows tablet/smart phone until recently has failed…you are trying to make one OS that does everything and that's just not practical.  Smart phones have 1 input device…Your finger.  Simple.  Elegant.  Fast.  Desktops have two input devices and Windows 8 is pushing users to add a third.  Clumsy. Impractical.  Slow.

    Here is what you should have done in Windows 8:

    1. Instead of adding touch functionality, you should be re-imagining the UI to be more integrated with the keyboard.  You should be able to do EVERYTHING without ever touching a mouse.  Windows 7 made huge improvements in that area, such as search, but as you said…it was an incremental update.  You should redesign Windows shortcuts to be a more integrated and customizable part of the OS.  Quicksilver on the mac is a good example.  Shortcuts shouldn't be background features used only by power users.  It should be an integral feature rich part of the whole OS.

    2.  Slap your Internet Explorer team.  There are browsing standards every one else follows except IE.  By deviating from browsing standards you aren't making things easier for the users, you are making things far far more difficult for web developers.  Rewrite the whole thing from scratch if you have to, but stop making browsers that break my websites after each new release.

    3. Stop trying to make 1 OS that does everything.  Make an OS for touch devices.  Make another one for Desktops.  You don't need a "splash screen" for applications.  Users shouldn't have to "go somewhere else" to run a program.  Think about what you learned about users pinning items to the taskbar.  Users want fully customizable menus.  Metro is not the best way to give them this.

    4. Get rid of the Start menu.  You can already create your own menus on the taskbar by attaching a folder with shortcuts in it.  While this works really well…it's not very elegant.  All you need is an easily accessible program that lists all the installed software.  A button to add a new "Menu", A list of  existing "Menus" on the taskbar and the ability to drag and drop the programs you want to the menus the user sets up.  Bam…multiple user built customizable start menus.  Every item in the menus should allow for user defined shortcuts.  They should also be able to double click on the program in the full list to run it.

    5. Ribbons are terrible.  They are far far far less efficient than the old task bars.  While I agree they were due for a complete overhaul…ribbons are awful.  I will not use windows 8 for this reason alone.

    6. Completely rewrite program installation.  Compare installing software in Windows and on a Mac.  A new Mac program has 1 file.  That's all you need to install any program.  You should create an installation wrapper for all software installations.  The user should never have to see the individual files in the wrapper unless they go digging around in the file manager.

    7. You should also completely redesign the Control Panel. It's impossible to find what you're looking for.  The Search bar in Windows 7 helped a LOT in that respect.

    I'm gonna be perfectly honest…I'm probably going to buy a Mac soon.  I had one in the past but I think it might be time to start preparing for a more permanent change back to the Mac.

  217. Anon says:

    Significant drop in usage attributed to a shift in user a preference – not that Microsoft completely messed up the implementation in later versions of windows while trying to make it more dynamic.

    Typical.

  218. Steve says:

    Microsoft is relying too much on telemetry data. What they fail to realize is that the users that opt-in for reporting telemetry data tend to be in the same statistical group. This leaves out the other (who knows what) percent of users that don't opt-in.

  219. jader3rd says:

    I virtually never use the start menu for anything beyond the search box. Keep it up.

  220. Olumide says:

    No one uses the start menu (in newer versions of Windows) because you broke it. Your frequent changes to the GUI is the reason why I've decided to stick with Windows XP. And PS, I love the start menu and the classic Windows look and feel. Besides having to learn a whole new way of doing the same thing is unproductive and I don't want to relearn a new desktop metaphor every time you guys release a new version of Windows.

  221. Mike says:

    Please have an option to have the clock on the start screen that sticks.

  222. fisher5th says:

    Hope W8 can both support classic start menu and metro style. And we can configure it to choose the classic start menu and metro style

  223. RJ says:

    Please bring back the old start menu even if it has to be an option in control panel. I cannot migrate to Win8 if the old start menu has gone.

  224. XP forever. says:

    There had better be a big button that says "TURN OFF ALL THE JUNK" and "MAKE THIS LOOK AND ACT JUST LIKE WINDOWS XP"

    Otherwise I will never, ever, ever migrate to this O.S.

    It looks like you've got a Windows Millennium Edition (and/or Vista) disaster on your hands.

  225. WIMP ftw says:

    Windows. Icons. Menus. Pointing Device.

    That model of UI has worked for 30+ years. Don't break it.

    What next? Take away the Keyboard?

    Could you cripple developer's workflows any more? Seriously?

    Oh and just because Apple do it – on TABLETS – does not mean it is a good idea.  In fact, it's probably good enough grounds to do the opposite, as…well… Apple-heads are…well… dim.

    Save Windows, Boycott Windows 8 – Someone get tell Bill they are pulling a Phantom Menace on his Operating System!!!

  226. Level380 says:

    So really users don't use apps and just use a web browser is that what your saying? So we might as well buy chromebooks and be done with it?

  227. Level380 says:

    So really users don't use apps and just use a web browser is that what your saying? So we might as well buy chromebooks and be done with it?

  228. herbert misson says:

    olá steve, eu tenho uma sugestão para dar.

    é a seguinte, criar 3 modos de trabalho para o windows 8.

    primeiro modo para computadores com baixos requisitos e antigos:  menu iniciar básico e demais itens leve como o do windows xp para poder rodar em qualquer pc com 512mb de ram e processador de 500mhz., trocando em miudos, ressucitando o windows xp para rodar em pcs velhos e com baixo processamento.

    segundo modo: rodar o estilo visual e todas as potencialidades do windows 7 para a produtividade e focado nela, inclusive modo de atividades empresariais.

    terceiro modo: o estilo visual metro e junto com o desktop do jeito apresentado esclusivamente pensado para tablets e dispositivos sensiveis ao toque, otimizar também para processador e memoria de baixo de desempenho.

    esses modos de trabalho deveriam poder ser trocados pelo painel de controle para alternar entre eles conforme gosto e necessidade do usuário final.

  229. Ihsan says:

    @Steven Honestly, I really like "Start-screen" idea because it is more friendly to user. BUT, the way you design it is totally wrong. Plain lame green colour (but I like the new BSOD colour), no animation make it dead, the pinned program look very clutter, takes whole space (even I hate clutter icons on desktop!!)

    Please and please improve the design especially the colour itself. I can say it looks great on tablet but a BIG NO!! for desktop

  230. I must be one of the few people in the world left who wants to decide for myself what is on the start menu. And why can't you understand that it's the functionality, not the appearance, that is important?

    So in other words, what you've done is look at data in the incorrect context, and once again removed a feature while seeming to have no idea that it is the first thing clicked by 90% of users when they sit down to a Windows PC.

    Keep going – you removed quicklaunch, broke search, destroyed the operation of the task bar, and now you are wrecking the start menu. There will literally be nothing left to call 'Windows' soon.

  231. @JDG: "Regarding touch: I don't want fingerprints on my monitor, and I also wouldn't feel comfortable stretching my arm for extended periods of time. (I often use my PC while lounging back in a chair.) I suspect many, if not most, other PC users feel the same way."

    Different input methods are definitely great at different things.  We don’t expect the desktop user to only rely on touch to use their system because as you point out, your arm would simply get tired.  Writing a long email on a touch keyboard is not going to be as easy as using a physical keyboard.  And using a keyboard shortcut is most likely going to be the quickest way to do something – for example, switching between apps by using Alt-Tab or searching for an app instead of browsing for it are the most efficient ways of doing these tasks.  To launch the first app on the taskbar, pressing Win+1 is a fantastic shortcut that saves time and the energy that it would otherwise take you to move your hand off your keyboard and put it on the mouse.  Similarly, the mouse is the most precise tool that we have for manipulating content.  Selecting text in Visual Studio or choosing a color in Photoshop are best with a mouse and we expect that people will continue to want to use these tools.  And if your hands are already on the mouse or keyboard, it can seem less efficient to have to switch input methods to complete your next task. But what we see is that people often gravitate to using whatever input method works best for the specific task even if they’re already in the midst of using something else.  So I might be typing this comment with my keyboard, but when I want to scroll up in the page to see something earlier on the blog, I find myself using touch to pan the page.  It just feels more natural, precise, and easier to touch the screen than to use the page up and down keys.  And when I load a web page that requires me to fill out a form, I use touch to put focus into the right text field and then use the keyboard to fill it in with content because is more efficient than finding the mouse cursor and dragging it to the right spot on the screen. The desktop user is going to rely on a combination of mouse, keyboard, and touch, and we designed the metro-style UI with this in mind, making sure we support all these types of input.  When you’re lounging back in a chair and using a desktop machine, then using a mouse makes a lot of sense until you have to type something long, and if you’re laying back on a couch with your laptop convertible, you’re likely going to want to use touch until you have to do something that requires a lot of precision.  So we don’t expect users to only ever rely on touch and we think it is important that the UI that we build works great with all of these methods.

  232. Yepster says:

    To the administrators/moderators of this forum:

    I think there is a (very annoying) bug in your forum software where comments that users submit are not displayed. If you compose a comment and in the mean time someone else comments, your comment will disappear in thin air. This is very frustrating. The workaround is to always copy your comment and if you did not receive the notification that your comment was received, paste and repost it.

    It would be nice if Microsoft looked into this and fixed this bug so users can comment again without having to fear that their carefully crafted text is lost.

  233. The Metro UI is beautiful and I can't wait for Windows 8.  Call it Metro-OS!

  234. Chimel says:

    @Marina Dukhon "And using a keyboard shortcut is most likely going to be the quickest way to do something – for example, switching between apps by using Alt-Tab or searching for an app instead of browsing for it are the most efficient ways of doing these tasks.  To launch the first app on the taskbar, pressing Win+1 is a fantastic shortcut that saves time and the energy that it would otherwise take you to move your hand off your keyboard and put it on the mouse."

    Alt+Tab works only if you have just a few apps open. More than a few, and you really need to remember the position of your current app compared to the one you want, in order to decide to use Alt+Tab or Shift+Alt+Tab. Same for Win+1: That works well for the 2-3 first apps because it's easy to remember.

    But searching for an app instead of browsing is not always efficient, unless you let Windows clutter the Start menu. And again, it requires that you memorize the name of the app you are looking for.

    If you organize the Start menu, then browsing for apps is most efficient. The fact that users use the Start menu less and less is because 1) they are encouraged to pin apps to the Taskbar, and 2) Windows does not offer any help in organizing the Start menu ( and many other reasons, no doubt).

    My Start items consists of subfolders arbitrary present in both the All Users and my individual user directory, so I have to clean up my individual folder regularly to move all that stuff to All Users. There used to be a right-click option from the Windows XP Start button to open the Start menu folder in Windows Explorer, this is gone now. When you delete or move Start items, Windows tells you that you don't have permissions although you are admin, and asks you to confirm, etc. It takes a lot of perseverance, nerd knowledge and time to maintain a clean and efficient Start menu.

    But instead of improving things, you just got rid of the problem, like cutting a finger instead of healing it. Well, cutting the whole hand if you remove the Taskbar too. While a Start menu has indeed no place on a mobile phone or mini tablet, it should at least be an option for anything bigger and with a keyboard, especially if the user is going to dock the device to a real monitor and keyboard/mouse. Hell, with the new USB graphic card devices, I expect that in a year or so even mobile phones would be able to run big screens.

  235. Max says:

    Start page and Desktop – are different concepts. On touchscreens better use start page, on the work on personal computers better use Desktop – comfortably. When you replaced start menu by start page, you forcing desktop users use different concept for: "search application", "execute application, which do not pinned on taskbar", "open control panel",… This is very bad 🙁 Now for simple action you hide my desktop…

    P.S. if will be duplicate, sorry 🙂

  236. Max says:

    Interesting, how responsive your secretaries and developers on these changes? 😉

  237. Thanks for Sharing MS. At moment, I feel that the current implementation of Start Screen is too intrusive for my 'desktop' experience. It is nice for on the move devices. However it is too 'noisy' for my desktop experience.

    it might be nice if you are transforming that big start screen to a "start bar" for desktop experience, in Metro manner.

    However you guys would still need to 'metrofy' Search and access to All Programs experience, without removing the current on screen content, when we are in desktop mode.

    Lets hope we can have a consistent feel for Windows 8, in both tablet n desktop mode.

    Cheers.

  238. ShelLuser says:

    I don't think this is going to work out and for the same reason why Windows CE / Mobile has never been really popular.

    Personally I get the feeling that MS consists of many departments who work totally besides each other, hardly ever sharing experiences and expertise.

    Why I think so?  Because I think to see a parallel here. Back in the day with Windows Mobile one of the big arguments against it was that using it was rather clumsy. It was basically Windows on a mobile device which tried to mimic the same Windows interface. But… "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". As such some start screen replacements became very popular (Spb pocket plus, Spb phone, Spb shell).

    And here you are doing the same yet opposite thing. Instead of trying to treat mobile devices like a desktop you're now trying to treat desktops like mobile devices.

    There are plenty of good reasons to come up with wrt to the start menu not being as much used as could be. One of those are software companies. Say I need 3 different editors. Chances are high that I'll end up with this in my start menu: "Company 1Fun edit", "Company 2Makro edit" and "Company 3Menu edit". Instead of putting all 3 editors in one "Editors" group. And since the majority of people have no idea that they can customize the menu they'll simply resort to using search or pinning because that will work faster.

    I don't see this Metro thing working out. Especially since the majority of applications will still be hosted on the desktop (the 'full' Internet Explorer for example). So why do I need to be taken away from the desktop, only to end up being put right back onto that same desktop again? That makes no sense.

    Sorry to say but I foresee another Vista disaster coming up. Especially if there are no ways with Win8 to manually get the Win7 start menu back.

    1) Try to remain backwards compatible. Give people the freedom to chose for themselves. People who don't WANT Metro shouldn't be forced to use it.

    2) When on the desktop, do as the desktop does. NOT as mobility goes, it hasn't worked the other way around, why would it suddenly work this time?

    My 2 cents.

  239. Considering that both of these posts on 'start' were pretty much saying "we hear your concerns, but we don't care and push our silly ideas anyway", I think there is a GREAT opportunity for developers here.

    Write an app(lication) that brings a start menu or similar and charge 2 bucks for it.  You'll make over 500 million dollars for sure.

    A couple of other things, not directly related to the topic, I take issue with that I wish to emphasize here:

    1. STOP calling desktop applications "legacy".  It's NOT LEGACY.  If 100 million of copies of win8 will get sold, 98 million of them will spend 95% of their time on the Desktop.  So PLEASE stop with calling the desktop LEGACY.  IT'S NOT.  Quite the opposite really.  It's the PRIMARY USE CASE of windows (puts that whole 'touch-first' thing in perspective, wouldn't you agree??)

    2. What's the deal with this word "app"?  Are we all to take over Steve Jobs' "cool" terminology now?  Call it an APPLICATION like a real IT person instead of some snobbish gimmick.  Screw apple and google.  Nobody cares.  And frankly, it just hurst msft's credibility by following apple bullocks like a little puppy.  have some freaking dignity.

    I really don't like the new direction microsoft is taking.  I was excited at first, but the more news that comes out, the more I feel like the system I have loved for over a decade is getting raped into oblivion.  I'm preparing to stick with windows 7 for a looooong time to come.  

    Windows 7 will clearly become the next XP, while windows 8 is almost sure to be another millenium (worst-case) or vista (best-case).

    Here's hoping that you boys will get it right in windows 9.  As it is now, I'm checking out till the release of beta and will reëvalutate.  Somehow though… I have a very bad feeling about this.  And my intuition never failed me in the past concerning new releases.

  240. I-DOTNET says:

    Microsoft was making smart phones and tablets years before anyone else.  The main reason why these devices didn't sell well is that they thought of smart phones and tablets as just portable computers rather than entirely different classes of devices.  

    They tried to force a desktop UI onto these devices.  

    Apple succeeded where Microsoft failed because they correctly realized that entirely new devices required entirely new UIs and new input methods (touch screen).

    Sadly, Microsoft hasn't seemed to learn from their mistakes and are just repeating the past.  They still see desktops/tablets/smart phones as one device.  This time, they are trying to force a smart phone/tablet UI on a desktop but it's still the same basic mistake.

    The way you use a tablet/smart phone and the way you use a desktop computer are completely different:

    Tablets and smart phones are used primarily for consumption of data – web surfing, e-mails, social networking, watching movies, casual gaming, etc.

    Desktops are used primarily for the production of data – word processing, spreadsheets, running business applications, data entry, software development, hard-core gaming, etc.

    These are two different use cases.  

    I can't help but wonder whether Microsoft bothered to buy iPads for their Win8 developers so they could figure out how people actually use tablets.

    Whatever the reason, Microsoft still doesn't 'get' tablets.

  241. @I-DOTNET

    While there are serious issues in win8 that need to resolved before release, I disagree heavily with you.

    Tablets 5 years ago weren't pc's because they weren't powerfull enough.

    These days, we have quad core tablets with 8 gigs of ram and big ssd's.  These tablets are also convertible into laptops or into an actual desktop (with a docking system).

    So yea, win8 tablets most certainly can be just as viable for production of data as for consumption of it.  This is why win8 tablets have the potential to completely eat up droid and ipad markets and render those things nothing but niche products.

    There is no reason at all why a device couldn't do both.  You also need to understand that apple has additional reasons for building a third device: sales.   It's an additional device to be bought by ifans.

    Why would apple sell you an iphone and a single convertible tablet/laptop when they could sell you a phone, a laptop AND a tablet?

    Don't let apple fool you into thinking that they had technical/functional reasons for this decision.  They do it this way so that they can squeeze more money from sales, NOT because it's supposedly the best way…

  242. Stephen Kellett says:

    3rd attempt at posting

    My background: MSDN member since 1995. Writing and selling software software since 1984.

    Windows XP – start menu, very easy to use.

    Windows Vista/7 – start menu, much harder to use. A step backward. No surpise use of it declined.

    Addition of "instant search" – this was another step backwards,

    you went from having an easy to use search box in Windows XP to

    having an instant search that was very cumbersome for anyone wanting to do

    anything other than a trivial search. You can argue that the instant search for trivial searches

    is faster than the search in XP. But for advanced users, the Vista/7 search experience is

    painful and slow compared to the Windows XP search experience. A real step backwards.

    You list these problems with WIndows 7 search:

    1 "The menu feels cramped relative to available screen real estate when you try to see and navigate the full catalog of your programs."

    2 "Search doesn’t have the space it deserves to quickly show you rich results across all sources of information, especially on larger screens."

    3 "It’s hard to customize the menu to make it feel like it’s really yours."

    But switching back to the Windows XP menu and search functionality

    would fix all of those problems!

    You also write: "The Start menu is almost exclusively used to launch items". to which I respond "Exactly", so why remove it in Windows 8! Its so important. I don't want to waste my time hunting on the Windows 7 app desktop looking for a program because you've got rid of a useful start menu for the Windows 7 desktop mode.

    Without the start menu you've suddenly made the business of working with non-Metro apps very much sub-optimal.

    Of course I then have the following options:

    1) Stick with Windows 7 – that is only good for so many years

    2) Move to Linux – where I can have sensible menus to find and launch programs

    3) Move to MacOS – where I can have sensible menus to find and launch programs

    Do you sense a trend in my objections? There are 3 main operating systems, of which,

    at present all 3 offer menus to launch programs. Vista/7 is slightly crippled in

    this respect (because XP menus were better), whereas MacOS/Linux both offer Windows XP levels of usability. And you're planning to make Windows 8 worse in this respect? And you want me to just trust

    you and accept that you know best. Sorry, I have tried Windows 8 and I'm very worried about the direction you are taking. I don't care about Metro, but I do care about a non working start menu in the Windows 7 app desktop mode.

    I don't care about pinning to the task bar – I use the task bar to see what is running.

    I hate having stuff pinned on the task bar – its wasted space that could be used to more effectively showing what is running.

    I use the start menu to pin what I frequently use.

    I am an IT Pro (clearly not like the ones you cite in your article) and long time (16 year) MSDN member.

    "Search and access to All Programs are still unique strengths of the Start menu" – yes, so don't get rid of that. Keep it!

    My customers are in the enterprise space. They want a desktop to work on. And a start menu to use.

    As a developer, anything that slows me down is a hindrance. Vista/7 are slower (interaction wise) than XP,

    but liveable with. My experience of Windows 8 is that this is a disaster for anyone wanting a desktop

    style experience (no touch, normal desktop apps) and wishes to interact using the start menu to find what

    they want to launch.

    Question; If I don't have a start menu to use, how do I find the myriad applications installed on my machine. Not via the metro start screen, that is for sure. And also I hope they won't all be pinned onto the task bar, filling that valuable space up. I want a start menu – its hidden and out of the way until I need it. And when I need it, it is there with everything in it. And while you are at it, please make it an XP style start menu, that would be much more usable than a Vista/7 style start menu.

    If you think that everyone wants a touchscreen PC you are wildly mistaken. Tablets are great for consuming information (watching video, browsing). They are absolutely appalling for entering data. And I hate that I have to keep cleaning my fingermarks off of the screen. I don't want my WIndows 8 desktop machine covered in smudges and finger marks. I'll be using it with a mouse, as I suspect will millions of other people, who also want to continue to work in a very effective and direct way, not wasting their time hunting for applications because the start menu no longer exists.

    Yes, a large section of your consumer base for Windows 8 will be home users. And I'm sure many of them will (for a while, at least) be wowed with what you've done. But a great deal of your customers are business users (Microsoft does make MOST of its income from OS sales and sales of Office). Your business users do not want their staff calling support and asking "I can't find XYZ app and the start menu doesn't exist. How can I do blah…". They don't want that once, let alone the hundreds of times it will happen with Windows 8.

    Apple have done this correctly. They have a desktop OS (MacOS) and a tablet OS (iOS). They both do different things. They do both well, differently to each other.

    You are mistakenly trying to do both with the same UI and worse, you've focussed on the glitz (the touch UI) and forgotten what brings home the bacon (the start menu and the ability to quickly and easily, that is QUICKLY AND EASILY find ANY program on the start menu without using the search box – QUICKLY AND EASILY). Have I mentioned that it needs to be QUICK AND EASY to find the program I (YOUR CUSTOMER) want to launch?

    Did I mention that I found the Metro UI to be utterly useless in this respect because the Windows desktop app had no Start menu for me to use, which meant I couldn't find what I wanted to work with. So much for QUICK and EASY.

    I've been a Linux fan (and user) since 1994. But I've made my living from Windows since about the same time. Windows is my main OS. Ubuntu was good until the recent release where they have stumbled with the dreadul unity user interface. You are about to make a similar, but much worse mistake. If the Windows 8 final release has the same UI shortcoming the Windows 8 Preview has had I'll stick with Windows 7 and long term probably move to Mac/Linux. I can see a lot of people abandoning Windows for the Mac because in Windows 8 you will treat "desktop mode" as a poor cousin of Metro.

    The Desktop app needs to be a fully functioning Windows 7 as it is today, complete with start menu. And Metro needs to be something else that runs in conjunction/alongside. And both need to be first class citizens. At present the Windows desktop app is definitely second class. If I was asked to work with it I would refuse – completely impossible to be productive in that environment, as it stands today in the Windows 8 Preview.

    You can prevent this from happening. The message is simple. Keep the start menu.

  243. I-DOTNET says:

    @Aroush 5

    Actually, I agree that there is no reason at all why a device couldn't do both.  The problem is the shell. They're trying to force a smart phone/tablet UI onto a desktop where it doesn't work well.  Windows needs 2 shells, Aero for desktops and Metro for tables/phones.  

  244. I-DOTNET says:

    @Alice Steinglass: You said that "the search box is not visible on screen until you start typing."  There are two problems with this.  

    First, it's not at all discoverable.  No one would expect to just type on the start screen to launch search.  Go to any major web site (Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, eBay, etc.)  None of them work this way.  They all have dedicated search boxes.  Users are going to scan through all the live tiles until the find the Search tile.  And if they can't find the Search tile, they'll give up in frustration.  

    Second, even if the users figure out how to get to search, most tablets won't come with keyboards.  

  245. Joe says:

    @Stephen Kellett

    Well said. With you on all counts.

    Windows XP or Windows 7 (reluctantly), or then Ubuntu and/or Chrome.  Mac OS as a last resort.

  246. @Stephen Kellett,

    Perfectly put. Steven Sinofsky, please listen to us! Don't kill the Start Menu. Let the Start Screen and Start Menu coexist!

  247. Mark says:

    You mention that one of the issues with the start menu was too many search results, however, as someone who keeps his hands on the keyboard a lot, I use the start menu to search for apps and settings. With the separation of apps, settings, and files, I can no longer use the keyboard to quickly search for "add or remove programs". Now I start typing "add or…" but then have to click on settings to get the search results I need.

    How about a heuristic approach to see what the search term is likely related to, apps, settings, or files and automatically show the most relevant results? Or even tracking most common searches and displaying those first.

  248. cromat says:

    Personally, as a Java developer and hobby .net developer this UI doesn't work for me at all. I usually have several ide's open, a command line interface open and many more applications?  How is the metro UI supposed to work for this.  Strongly considering switching to OS X (macbook pro) simply because their design idea is that a touch interface is only useful on a device that can lay flat a monitor doesn't count as a touch device and I can't agree more.  I own a zune hd, windows phone 7, and love the UI, but on my desktop with my mouse no.  My mom may like this interface but for us geeks/power users/developers it simply isn't good enough.

  249. Matt says:

    Show the developer preview to friends and family.  The same questions came up over and over – "Isn't my arm going to get tired touching the screen?" then when I explained that the mouse can be used, you get confused questions about why the "large squares" are still on the screen if a mouse is used.

    I generally like the new start menu, but make it appear smaller and as an overlay onto of the application windows.

  250. Start Screen says:

    1) Missing Start Menu in Windows 8. I think microsoft should add start menu but Metro style not old style.

    2) Merge Metro IE and tranditional IE into one IE.

    3) Make Office Metro based OR use the version from WP7.

  251. A Decision Maker says:

    [2nd Attempt at posting]

    I downloaded and tried out Win8 to see what things are going to be like for my users. I literally couldn't figure out how to use it… and I've got a string of MS certifications. I stumbled along through a night of frustration. On night two, I started searching the web for answers. I found out that I wasn't alone. Not only was I among the many who couldn't figure out the interface, I was also among the many that discovered that simple things weren't available anymore. Switching tasks was now a headache… but that's basic, right? People were talking about using hotkeys for everything now. I honestly think that if I were to create something on my own, with the intent of making someone angry, this is what I would have come up with.

    After night two, I deleted my virtual machine. I didn't want to deal with it anymore. I didn't want use it. Windows 8, to me, was a painful experience.

    Now what kind of CIO would I be if I chose to push this out nationwide? One who would definitely be talking with Jeremy Moskowitz to sort out how to destroy your "innovations"… and ultimately… one without a job.

    If you want to create an Apple product, fine. Create an OS for home users that want it. If you want businesses to adopt, then create something that we can use in production. There needs to be a fork in the road. This is getting out of hand. I don't know what crystal ball you're reading, but I will never sit at a desk and move my arms all over the place to work when I can use a mouse. It seems like you're designing the Nintendo Wii of operating systems. That isn't going to fly at the office.

    If your crystal ball thinks that voice recognition will replace the keyboard next, I'd beg to differ. How often do you type a business document that you get right on the first attempt? How often do you retype a sentence? Imagine navigating through your many changes by voice… or with 1 click of a mouse. Television is a wonderful thing… but reality is different. Please come back to it.

  252. ak112358 says:

    Am I the only one that uses the Win Vista and Win 7 Start Menu like launchy?

    1. Press Windows Key

    2. Type what I want

    3. Hit enter

    If there's a faster NON-MOUSE way, let me know.  Don't hate on use command line oriented folk!

  253. ap21 says:

    Lack of no search option on Metro interface that can search metro apps/ win32 programs. Also when we launch Win32 application why do we need to transistion back to windows desktop mode like we are on Windows 7, can't you match the transistion seemless like Metro application launch.

  254. PowerForce says:

    Metro apps are not working on my Compaq netbook. Not sure why?

  255. David says:

    It is a mistake to push this touch centric interface on the desktop. It does make sense on phone and tablet because they are touch devices.

    By all means have metro on phone and tablet installs, it should disabled by default on desktop and retain the windows 7 UI.

    Windows 7 PC users are not going to upgrade OS for a touch interface. Mouse and monitor are not going anywhere. One size does not fit all, you cannot simply discard decades of good UI design to jump on the latest gimmick.

  256. Harlow says:

    I think Metro might make a good home screen for a touch-enabled Windows 8 Tablet. After all, I love my Windows Phone 7 touch interface. But what about us weirdo’s who actually use our computers to do more than look at pictures, send email, browse the web, and check Facebook? (btw – I already have an iPad for that)

    For example, Excel on Windows Phone 7 is great for viewing spreadsheets on the go, but next to useless for creating or editing spreadsheets beyond creating a simple list or replacing text in some cells.

    Touch is great for certain things, but it just doesn't belong on the desktop. What about people who use multiple monitors? So what are we supposed to go out and buy multiple new touch enabled monitors so we can run Windows 8? That just added about $1,000 to the buy-in. Oh, and how exactly are we supposed to touch-drag something between monitors across the physical gap between them???

    And let's say I do decide to buy all new touchscreens for my desktop, what about all the apps that don't support touch? (Hey Microsoft, where is that touch version of Visual Studio? I guess you stopped eating your own dog food? Not good…) So now I have a keyboard, a mouse, AND multiple touch screens that I have to cycle my arms between to get any particular set of tasks completed. Hey, I really like technology that makes my job harder to do.

    There are millions and millions of desktop users out there who don't want touch and don't need touch, so don't force it down our throats. And no, I am not being a Luddite. The invention of the mouse complimented the keyboard to make computing more efficient; touch makes some tasks easier, but makes many tasks more difficult.

    Metro is neat, but it is not the "New Start Menu." It is more like the "New Windows Media Center" and should be treated as such.

  257. Paul says:

    So true, Harlow.

    Touch on the desktop is, without a doubt, a severe accessibility issue.

  258. bill says:

    Hopefully there is an option to turn off this tile crap and get to the desktop.  And a method to restore the Start button.  

    Where exactly are we to get a touch monitor that then forces us to reach up high and drag crap around on the vertical screen at our desk.  

    sheer nonsense.  

  259. Timothy Michel says:

    Touch is usefull in additioan to the mouse, but todays laser mice are far more accurate in locating a precise position on screen in a drawing or photo than any touch device. Also as the economy doesn't show any signs of short term invigoration. many won't be able to afford to update their disply devices to touch. So certainly introduce touch with Windows 8 but not at the expense of mice or other popular pointing devices..

  260. *.* says:

    Please don't get offended M$ but are you mentally challenged? Touch for a desktop? hahaha

  261. Sage says:

    i dont pin anything to the start menu.. Instead i have re-created the quick launch taskbar in windows 7. In that i have 8 items..

    So checking pinned apps isnt a viable way to measure the usage.

  262. You say "we believe we will see touch augmenting, but not replacing, most every aspect of the PC experience over time". That should only be your goal when the desktop PC is no longer with us. Touch on a desktop is an ergonomic nightmare, and it is telling that you don't even use the word "ergonomics" in this post. To compare current opposition to a touch-centric interface to the debate about the mouse in the 1980s is simplistic in the extreme. Using the mouse was not injurious to the health of the user; using touch on a desktop is. Don't get me wrong, I love touch, I think it's the way of the future, and I support your inclusion of it as an option. But please, while the desktop still dominates our working lives, keep it as simply that: an option.

  263. aquaraider says:

    WIN7's start menu and control panel sucks, in compare to XP. That's why nobody use it.

    Back to XP, within a few click in control panel, I can find everything I want, but I can't in Win7. Same to start menu as XP is expandable.

    What I can see is, "We make pizza, it was good, but not anymore, so people don't come to eat, and we say, people don't need pizza at all."

  264. gbozoki says:

    @Marina Dukhon [MS]: that's how _you_ use your computer. I – and millions of other users – DON'T USE IT LIKE THAT _AT ALL_! I wouldn't want to stare at a fingerprint-covered screen all day long and I'd most definitely not want to put money into a worthless touchscreen that's much worse in every aspect than my current (non-touch) monitor.

    Since Windows XP, Microsoft has been making Windows ever harder and more inconvenient to use. Useful features were dropped with little to no explanation or hidden (like Quick Launch) to make everyday user experience worse and worse.

    These changes shown in the Developer Preview do not work at all. They are based on marketing and a desire to mimic Apple and Google on a hardware platform totally different from phones/tablets.

    Having the touch-related features as purely optional addons would be fine – the touch interface does have its uses in some scenarios. Forcing desktop users to deal with it is a _very bad_ decision.

    I'm a software engineer who uses Windows XP & Windows 7 14+ hours a day. Let me tell you what I'll do if Windows 8 is released without full Windows XP / Windows 7 style desktop features and with a forced touch-style UI. I will not use use. I will tell all my friends not to use it. I will advise all my clients not to use it. I will advise all my customers not to use it. I will actively work to make Windows 8 the biggest financial flop in Microsoft's history.

    @Stephen Kellett: well put.

  265. ben says:

    It's good to see that you delete comments from people who criticize you because of telling you what the ordinary user, not the geek, thinks about Windows 8. If I were you, I would ask the potential "Sorry, I'm no computer literate. Please bear with me" customer what she/he thinks about all the stuff you are doing.

    I'm the one here:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    I'm an early bird and spend my time in the morning to read newspapers, e-mail and all these things. But most of the time, I work on my laptop. My current desktop wallpaper is 4 years old and they way my Vista system works, fits my work flow. I have 5  programs in my taskbar which I use in a daily basis.

    I use the Start button to turn off the system and to access the Control Panel from time to time. What I use permanently is the Desktop icon in my taskbar. I'm annoyed by Windows 7 where this important icon has moved to the very right side.

    Knowing that Microsoft is asking me to use Metro at 4 o'clock in the morning, is too much. I don't want to see it, even after a second coffee mug.

    I work for a technical support and have to ask people via phone to go to the Control Panel (CP). I can already imagine how people begin to type "Control Panel" in Windows 8.

    I don't get only English native speakers. Here is a list what (e.g.) Finnish customers have to type: http://www.eudict.com

    Steven, do you know how many people are unable to type a word correctly? It's incredible.

    Most "average" users have never used the CP. If you ask them to switch from View by Category to Small Icons in Win7, they don't find this drop down menu! I have to describe it with "Can you see the line blabala, and keep your eyes on this line and move now to the right side". It takes ages.

    Customers are always so irritated when the use the CP in Win7. When I ask to click here or there and we go back, we come always back on a completely different location in the CP as where we started. You will not believe how many of my customers are annoyed by the Win7 CP, which is even worse than the Vista one.

    Now, you want to introduce an OS for tablets on desktop PCs. Steven, it will be no fun.

    I personally wanted to switch  from Vista to Win8. Your Win8 "improvements" forced me to think about Win7 again and I will do so, even I don't like it for several reasons, but it works more or less as a desktop OS has to work.

  266. Alex says:

    If the start screen shared the same background, faded into view (as opposed to shifting), and displayed the taskbar down at the bottom, it would be much easier to handle. The way it is now is jarring and breaks my workflow… on a tablet, it's great; as a PC it is not.

    Another note: We have an open-cube workplace. It would be incredibly distracting to see other people go into the start screen, with swooshes and changes of color.

  267. Joe says:

    @Steven

    It is good to see some improvement done to the Start Bar and have it transitioned to a new graphical interface that "might" work. I do like it, and now that I see that there are improvements on the way, I feel more confident. Now, I do have a feedback and suggestion (If you guys know any other way to send feedback to the Windows team, please let me know):

    – When touching the left end of the screen (or pointing it with the mouse), you see the small thumbnail of the last used program. I would like it better if I could have all open programs there instead of having to repeat the same gesture of touching the left side of the screen to go through open programs one by one.  This is the exact critic I had to Vista's (and 7) Aero Switch. I enjoy using Windows over any other platform, but on the the "Metrotized" Start Screen, switching applications is not a good experience compared to Android Honeycomb or even iOS considering these two let you see all the running applications (and scroll through them if limited by screen size or resolution), while Windows will only show the last one when touching that left side end of the screen. I'm aware that Alt+Tab and Win+Start keyboard shortcuts still work, but that is also part of using the OS with a keyboard. Considering that the Win7 desktop (the Start Bar) let's you hover with the mouse through the applications to show thumbnails of running applications, I would like to know how can this be improved in Windows 8.

  268. AgainstTheFuture says:

    I really don't understand why to throw into rubbish the things which are working since decades.

    Starting point was the menu of the MsOffice products with the MsOffice2007-2010, ribbon menu, and I had to download plugins where I could find the functions where they really should be.

    Now, the disappearing of the Start Menu in W8. Why am I forced to modify my 15 y.o. habbits, to forget my keyboard shortcuts, etc. Even W7 contains so many really not needed "modernizations"…

    I believe, that all the new "features" could be advantageous for some of the users, but the traditional functions should be kept, thus allowing the user not to feel forced to solutions which doesn't like.

    Regards:

    AgainstTheFuture

  269. 中式别墅设计 says:

    believe, that all the new "features" could be advantageous for some of the users, but the traditional functions should be kept, thus allowing the user not to feel forced to solutions which doesn't like.

  270. Mr.m says:

    Are you seriously going to kill the standard windows experience that evolved over decades just so you pretend you are cool? Metro is cool, but it should stay in the “metro” space…leave our start menu alone. If you remove this functionality I will have to remove Windows from my machine, simple as that.

  271. Andy says:

    If one finger swipe from the left edge flips through all open apps one by one, why not introduce two finger swipe that would open top to bottom arrangement of all running apps to chose from. Just narrow strip on the left side.

  272. NoWay says:

    Amazing how you come to all the wrong conclusion from the data.

    However the answer is simple. You offer CHOICES. There is no one right way.

  273. DaveK says:

    Of course the Start Menu feels cramped and people use it less. You guys decided to set it to a ridiculously small size by default in Vista and Windows 7. In a world where people have increasingly large machines, you elected to hobble the Start Menu into a little tiny window with a huge scroll bar.

    One of the first things I always do is to increase the size of it significantly – I do this for all the computers where I work via Group Policy as well. Funnily enough, a bigger Start Menu makes it easier to pin multiple apps, makes it less cramped, and makes it easier to use! My advice would be to consider some of these failings of the existing Start Menu, rather than by effectively just binning it as a concept.

    So to clarify: Force it to be ridiculously small and people will stop using it! That doesn't mean that it's an outdated concept, just that you guys screwed up the implementation of it!

  274. stupid says:

    No default Start Menu on Desktop PCs, who's responsible for this stupid decission? Perhaps a google agent

  275. @Steven Sinofsky

    A short comment:

    What about givin the users more personalization options?

    Options for:

    – Enable/disable Metro UI

    – Personalize Metro Experience, to have Metro Apps in different environements, like this one: http://www.moquo.com.ar/…/desktop+metroapps.jpg

    – Change size of pinned icons in taskbar to Medium Size (24 x 24 pixels) -not only Small-Large) as showed here: ludomatico.deviantart.com/gallery , so the users can have apps, programs, and web shortcuts pinned in the taskbar.

  276. SlimShadow says:

    I'm 70 years old (female), and started buying my own computers in 1985. I use Win7 on my desktop and laptop and love it. I use the CP and Start, etc., etc. I've even gone into the registry (yes, I know that can be dangerous … oh, scary!).

    I haven't had the opportunity to try Win8, so can't quite visualize how it's going to look and operate (screenshots and videos don't help much).

    Here's what I do know though: I'll stick with Win7 for a while. And when I do switch to Win8, I know I'll get used to it. Everyone resists change, and everyone eventually adapts to change. Just have to dive right into the new thing and poke around. That's the only way to learn.

    The times they are a-changin'. If I can learn something new at my age, all of you young-uns can do it, too.

  277. Win8wow says:

    Windows 8 isn't that bad if you have a touchpad! I've been waiting forever for this beta!!! 🙂

  278. Win8wow says:

    Windows 8 isn't that bad if you have a touchpad! I've been waiting forever for this beta!!! 🙂

  279. stupid says:

    I love the Startscreen, it is so cool. When will the app store come out?

  280. Marcus says:

    Maybe the Start screen isn't so bad, man!

  281. Nicole says:

    I love it's fast bootup! I am going to tell my clients about Windows 8!

  282. Dan says:

    Wow, what a touching interface! I wish there were a Photos, Video, and Music app in the WDP (Developer Preview)

  283. ste says:

    This is definitely a life changing operating system.

  284. DaveK says:

    Windows 8 is a very compatible OS! It runs basically all of my W7 applications and can run the Windows 7 themes! You are doing a great job! 🙂

  285. Octagon says:

    I see comments disabled on the most hot issues like new boot and new Start Screen. The number of comments is also so large that it is hard to figure out if my comment is a duplicate.

    I guess the blog format is inadequate for such an issue like builfding Windows 8. Something better is necessary, say a mind map so that it is easy to see what is already said. I guess simple "me too" buttons will reduce the number of comments and thus increase readability.

    For example, have anybody said that an object that is both a tool to launch programs and a tool to display status is doomed to be suboptimal if it does not have 2 distinct states optimized for each task? The start menu used to be just a start menu, now it is a jack of all trades.

  286. DrVegas says:

    No Startmenu = no Windows8 on a PC for me !

    I expect the Startmenu to be an option. There is no technical need to offer ONLY Metro.

    I want the right to choose ! MY desktop is MY desktop !!

  287. I have a tablet running Windows 7, of course I wish it had Windows 8 instead and the new “start” menu. That is for my tablet…I repeat tablet pc, did you understand the key word here…it is ‘tablet’.

    Having said that I want you to leave my Windows desktop alone, I want the start menu as it was before only a bit better. I don’t want to touch my desktop PC every day that is the reason I bought the tablet for. And definitely I don’t want a huge grid to appear every time I want to start an app.

    No matter which person I talked about this “new design” for the start menu at my work place, they simply said that Microsoft has lost touch with reality. Desktops are desktops, keep going the wrong way like this and you will soon lose any business customers you may have.

    The company I work for has thousands of employees just for the IT departments and I constantly have to defend Windows in the server space. So far it wasn’t that difficult in my department because thanks to the Windows features, I can display high gains of productivity and that ensures that I am allowed to use MS technologies wherever I can.

    If you go ahead with these stupid decisions though, I will not be able to defend Windows when any other OS’ UI makes more sense that your silly start metro thing.

    Do you guys think for a minute that this the right productivity tool for a desktop OS and in the same time you get a salary making these silly decisions? Man you must be really great politicians, but seriously you are demolishing what Microsoft has managed to build over all these years and you should be held accountable.

    mil

  288. well, you've lost me. pick one or the other, I'm going over to Mac OS X and iOS.

  289. DrVegas says:

    I love this UI. The startscreen is the best!

  290. Apple rules says:

    R.I.P. Steve Jobs and thank you.

    Apple will rule the world.

  291. Win8wow says:

    Guys! Guys! This is a brand new UI! Stop repeating the same comments! I happen to love the UI! If you are going to act like this then go spam another blog! There are over 2 billion people who like the start screen more than the start menu! It's reality people!!!

  292. Apple Rules says:

    However, the startscreen is the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life. Please don't remove it Microsoft no matter what people say- because you are the best computer company in the world. 🙂

  293. Joe White says:

    In order to make the Start screen usable, I'll probably delete all the crap I never (or almost never) use. I don't need to be scrolling past Spy++ and the MFC-ATL Trace Utility and I don't know how many others every time I want to find an app.

    But there might come a time when I actually do need to start Spy++. Will I still be able to search for it? Will "Windows key + start typing" search through apps that installed themselves to the Start menu (and therefore still find what I'm looking for)? Or will it only search through the tiles, and if I deleted the tile I'm screwed?

  294. mt327000 says:

    @Steven Sinofsky:

    In response to the ever-growing dissatisfaction with Windows 8's new user interface, I ask that you completely stop demonstrating Windows 8 on touch devices or discussing Windows 8 touch at all until the the beta is released. Microsoft has made very little demonstrations of Windows 8 on desktops and laptops, which only drives the point home that Metro won't work properly on desktops when Windows 8 is launched. For the full details, click this link:

    social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/463e9682-ed05-4466-bfde-fe695b1a4e8c

  295. Joe White says:

    The startscreen I can bear. I mean, what's not to like? I just hope I can still access the Start menu viaa the desktop app…

  296. Help and How-to's with Windows 8 says:

    Don't get frustrated with your windows laptop or desktop computer… Use the scrollbar at the bottom of the screen to navigate through every app. If you navigate your mouse to the bottom left corner, you can easily access the Startbar! I hope this helps improve your Windows 8 beta experience! 🙂

  297. AHS0 says:

    OFF TOPIC:

    Steven, please I hope we can have Windows 8 by holidays 2012.

    As mentioned in this link:

    http://www.techspot.com/…/45762-consumers-yearning-for-a-windows-os-tablet.html

    "Research studies aside, it’s clear that Microsoft is still a very desirable brand and the company is only hurting themselves each day they don’t bring Windows 8 to market."

  298. TomJ says:

    I think by the tone of a lot of comments there is still a need to easily give the option to switch back to the old start menu.

    Why is MetroUI included in Server8?  The tiles don't seem to add anything and touch for server doesn't  matter much.

  299. Stefan says:

    Stop change things. Windows 8 is a big failure ! Sorry, but i hate it 100% ! Go back to XP functionality and looks. When Vista came i had to click 10 000 times more to do simple 'operations'. In Windows 7 i had to click 100 000 times for the same 'operations'. I have been using Windows since NT4 and until Vista. Yeah Vista are better than W7 and W8, but best of them all are Windows 2000 and XP. If You want people to work with their documents and so on then let them choose between classic UI or W7 UI, and that metro UI for touch. Too bad You really don't listen to people that have used Windows for many years. I even was a VIP customer once, but since Vista came i haven't cared to buy any later Windows at all. Now i think about change to Linux instead. Windows are a big failure in my eyes since W7. Looks like crap and work like crap.

  300. Jake G, says:

    I have always wanted to use OS made for cell phones in my desktop computer, this is so great.

    And this metro, I mean forget the multitasking, who needs that! One program at a time, great feature! It is so simple. I can forget all the other programs running in the background, because I can't even see them. What a feature! You can almost imagine going back to 80s, dos era with that metro, those were good times!

  301. Pete H. says:

    I see my initial post was not processed … so here it goes the second attempt …..

    I am so glad I am not alone. Frank, I can't agree with you more (as well as with many other after him).

    I installed the tech preview in an old Toshiba M200 (just for fun and see what happened with the "touch") and a modern Lenovo notebook.

    I can tell you this: I can't envision my daily day of IT PRO work using this "Grandma oriented GUI". My day does not involve Facebook (Thanks be given to GOD) nor Twitter or any other form of socializing … instead, it involves 3 to 5 RDC sessions with Customer servers, VNC to some of their desktops, handling 200-300 e-mails (which makes Outlook to be 100% of the time in one of my 4 23" monitors), overseeing the progress of my development team for our web app and testing the app itself in no less than to instances of IE ( and then one per each supported browser.

    I just can’t see my day under this “tiles new world” that makes me feel like I am sitting in front of a gigantic W7 Phone (which I do not have, use, like or will ever have).

    So, PROs out there … please share your views please .. Change for the sake of change is dangerous (we are living it) and forgetting the PRO and Corporate World is something Apple is still paying for it.

  302. Nemanja Ćosović says:

    If someone reads this. What is the difference between pinning the application and puting it in a QuickLaunch on TaskBar?

    I know you have to sell a lot of computers to house wives and children, but why are professionals left to play in Windows 'R' Us?

    All I can see on the graphs, shows me that the old TaskBar was GOOD, great even. God knows who and why did he decided to change it.

  303. Ehsan Mohammadi says:

    Thanks

  304. Jim says:

    I am using W8DP with Metro and Ribbon turned off. It is a 3rd party app, not supported by Microsoft. I HATE Metro and will not consider Windows 8 if Microsoft will not allow for the Windows 7 desktop. If I want a tablet screen, I will get one. Personally, I want the 95-Vista looking Start menu back. If Windows 8 can continue to support 32-bit (Thank You!!!) then it should continue to support the old fashioned way.

  305. Markus says:

    I hate to break the news to you but you really need to stop changing things that work well.

    1)  Maybe I'm just an old fashion conspiracy nut but every time I install something "Windows Installer" calls home.  So I conclude somewhere buried in Windows and under confidential Microsoft doors is your OS calling home to give statistics and other information in order to refine windows but not necessarily care what your doing.  It is interesting that you know most people use the Start Menu to look at their pictures.  How did you find that out?

    2) Unless you have a Tablet Metro UI is not very useful.  I have tons of Icons on my screen and I want them there.  I WANT the Start Menu and even if I had a touch screen for my PC my arm would get tired real quick.  Besides I use my 65 Inch television as my computer monitor.

    3) Still you refuse to return the Folder Size and Position function to Windows 7 and not present in 8 either amongst all the complaints.  Sorry you have problems fixing the Bags MRU but that's life.  Your lack of this function is the most asinine move that was never thought through by some engineer in India.

    4) Linux is ALMOST there…seriously.  I use Windows 7 but if I can get Windows games to run good on Linux then I'm gone.  It's free, it's secure and I can do everything on it than I can on windows so it's not a good idea to turn your customers off by adding a useless Ribbon and Metro UI without atleast giving a button to turn it off and going back to the original start menu.

    5) That security feature that checks every program I want to install needs to have the ability to turn off or get rid of it.  None of your business what I install even if I want to install a Virus on purpose.  Not your concern.  My personal property.  It actually asked me if I wanted to delete the program.  Are you insane?  Snorting curry lately?  Get your head out your rear.  Buried in a hidden "more" tab was the option to continue install.  Well dumb ass, if I didn't want to install it in the first place I wouldn't have tried to.

    That's my rant and as usual no one with common sense or authority will read it.

  306. WinFan01 says:

    I love every feature in Windows 8 (lower memory footprint, Windows Live sign-in, full GUI Boot Manager, etc.) except the Metro UI. I'm advising you, that's not Windows. If you are planning to make a desktop OS with Metro UI, you should name it "Microsoft Tiles".

  307. Iulius says:

    i always try new OS since the Win Millennium. there were things that i first dislike and than loved – Xp colors were too strong at start ( i was using Win NT at work ) but i got used. Vista was a nightmare on my computer but i`ve tried each and every thing on it and after a while i`ve bought a new computer a home just to have it. win7 was a first meet love and even if some things differ a little from Vista i was a very pleased customer.

    now win8 is crazy, i dislike it from the first moment, new start menu? – imagine assisting somebody which uses win8 and all the things are misplaced over the start menu and current open app. facebook, emails, photos, weather, economic projections -?? what i never want those. i have in my browsers a *facebook* block, i dislike that social network; email – hey it`s called outlook and i can open it as i do`nt wanna see a personal and very private email being displayed in my desktop because win8 was made stupid ok? photos – > same with the private emails, and wtf, i know how to get to profile photos, also did you check a widget photos using % ? i always disable those useless garbage widgets. weather ? – just look outside, if you anyway stay in house the weather is useless for you, and if you go out from time to time you just feel it, almost 30% of times when really matters ( snow, heavy rain) the weather projections are not good, so it`s another useless thing. economic projections and NYSE on desktop?? wtf i don`t need to see stocks as i don`t buy them or transaction them. i doubt there is more than 0.5% users that really need it.

    if win8 will have only one start menu than bye bye win8

    btw, you know the cycle :

    win98 – good, win millennium -bad, win xp – good , vista – bad, win7- good,  win 8 > bad ?

  308. Apple rules says:

    At fake Apple "Rules" that wrote: "However, the startscreen is the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life. Please don't remove it Microsoft no matter what people say- because you are the best computer company in the world. :-)"

    I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH THIS POST, DO NOT PRETEND TO BE ME.

    THE BEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD IS APPLE.

    PERIOD.

  309. jeremy says:

    I am a pretty tech savvy user and i stopped using the win8 release solely doe to the lack of a start menu.  I use the start->all programs too often in windows 7, but i do use the start menu for opening my pictures, music and document. I also use it all the time to hit the windows button then hit search. The classic start menu is still necessary an should be kept. I like the metro ui too as an addon to the old start menu. Suck as make it a desktop shortcut and let users decide to disable the old start menu. If people had trouble switching from office 2003 to office 2007 because the ribbon confused them, just imagine what the lack of a classic start meni will do

  310. Tim says:

    Well, here's my issue.  How are you gathering these statistics?  I'm assuming it's through anonymous statistic collection, that a user has to agree to?  If so, you're missing an entire segment of users: the power users.  Most geeks/power users disable sending anonymous statistics as soon as the system gets installed.  Not to mention corporations dumping it via group policy immediately.

    I fear you're making decisions based strictly on the feedback you're getting from the typical (I use this term in the nicest sense possible mom and dad!) clueless home-user.  An average of 3 items on the taskbar?  I can't say I've seen a single power user with less than 10.  And I have a tough time believing power users make up less than 1% of your market.

  311. B8Blog says:

    @Tim — We do hear concerns about the data we use.  First and foremost, we do not just look at the data and then follow it to a conclusion.  The data is something that helps us to understand potential areas to improve the product and more often than not it drives more questions for us to seek more answers.  For example, fif something isn't used often, then why might that be–is it something people don't need to do, is it something that is hard to find, and so on.  If something is used a lot, is it because it is popular or because it is a poorly designed area that keeps you coming back trying to make something work…  

    We chose to share the data in the blog posts not because it is the only source of information or the way we make decisions, but because we think for this dialog it provides a unique lens and a way for everyone to learn more about how the product we work on is actually used in the real world.  It is a unique perspective we share on the blog that goes beyond every party just asserting how things are.  It is fair to say that if we just gave data that was a survey, individual usability studies, or a focus group, the dialog would become one of discounting that data.  While it is perfectly fair to say that the telemtry data does not apply to you, it is representative of the population.   We also share the data because as you can imagine the audience of this blog tends to represent fairly technical users often working within the PC space directly.

    Those that question the data should of course do so–that's a first order element of any scientific discussion.  In this case, the data is opt-in and anonymous and private.  We're always clear about that.  Speaking broadly about the customer base, the opt-in rate is such that we have 100's of millions of data points to draw on.  The data goes well beyond a "sample" and is much closer to a census.  In addition to the raw telemetry of usage, we can also slice the data by aspects of anonymous demographic data such as the language used, the SKU/edition of Windows, the type of PC (laptop, desktop), as some examples.  For those that think we tend towards on type of population or another (retail v. volume licensing) we are careful to look at the data by those subsets (still well beyond anything one might call a sample and closer to a census) and make sure we are not seeing one data source drown out another.  Several times in these posts we've sliced the data or indicated that looking at the data through a certain filter does not change the results.

    With data sources like this all we're doing is reporting what we're seeing.  The data is highly reliable relative to the questions asked.  Data does not dictate how to evolve or design the product.  But when it comes to reporting on what the usage of the product is across customer types and within specific profiles, it is reliable.

  312. Karl says:

    Some do definitly not like the Startscreen and want back old Start menu.

    Some (like me) want both.What to do? Many suggest, please add an

    option to quit Metro, and back to old style ! Ok!

    I additionally suggest then to include in the Start menu an item "Startscreen" and

    this optionally via Start menu customize dialog (for those who do not even want to

    see the word Startscreen 🙂 ).

    So there is easy access to both worlds without explicitly toggling on/off.

  313. I think the main point here is not the statistics but we can all agree that telemetry data does not generate code and most definitely they are not telling you we need this specific new start screen.

    Personally I do not care how the new start screen/menu looks like; you guys have done a great work over the years so let’s say I trust you on that.

    But opening a full screen window when I want to start any applications is a serious problem for me on my desktop PC.

    My monitor is a 30” one so…do I have to suffer the contrast/brightness re-adjustment my eyes have to go through each time I press the “Start” button? Do you think this is not very tiring for everybody’s eyes? So let’s forget for a moment academic arguments about perception of information etc. and let’s consider how this affects us physically.

    Even if I we assume (haven’t tried that) that I could have one of three screens dedicated for the “Start Menu” that is always on, then just the huge amount of updating windows (live tiles) as you envision it will be so annoying and destructing that I will have to switch it off or something to concentrate on my work.

  314. Carl Stephens says:

    My take, Touch screen is great…….. if you have a touch screen. However if I am sitting at my desk chances are I am most comfortable with a keyboard and mouse.

    The start menu has been pretty much useless since, well…. I never access programs from the start menu unless it was through the run menu or the search menu in 7 or Vista. however, I still need access to those items from the desktop. I very much want access to the search menu and other basic functions, I don't need programs, or recent programs or documents.

  315. mt327000 says:

    Start screen is lookin great! cant w8!

  316. kejserdreng says:

    Cool for ipad like touch. Good work microsoft..cant wait for win8..But if you want to skip the start button microsoft needs to make more room for apps as macosx have in desktop mode.

    and what about search. Cant go back and forth to the startscreen when you are using desktop mode every time. Also there must be a shortcut  in the taskbar for documents, pc, pictures, system settings and so on. Not having to go back to the startmenu to get there

  317. The only thing that is teasing me is the heterogeneity in windows 8. We have flat, colorful, no border and full screen metro style apps and live tiles on one hand and old fashioned but familiar and comfortable desktop on the other hand which all real works are done at. These are two really different worlds that are attached together by force.

  318. LongARM says:

    Just to know I write some errors from windows 8 DP (of course they are because it is pre-beta just say). I'm using it now this is my primary system, I would like to test it. I have it until 2 weeks.

    – When I copy a file, it copy it but after that it take 1-2 minutes to close the windows and explorer.exe is freeze, I haven't idea why.

    – Mobile Broadband USB modem doesn't work very well.

    – If I make a new folder with any different programs, it freeze too for 1-2 minutes.

    – A question: why did you take out .vob support from WMP? I hope it will be in the final version, and please make .flv support to final version.

    I started looking for tablets. I hate them, but when I saw android honeycomb I loved them. So I noticed you "steal" something from Apple and Android – like the yes-no buttons in Metro. I don't know why is this the look of Metro… I dissapointed. I believed Metro' look this is because tablets can't use beautiful Aero-like Vista or Longhorn themes. I said all right, but Android 3.0 look like Longhorn but more beautiful. I suggest, make some design change, because tablets (in addition in the future) can use wonderful themes and you need to modify the windows 8 and add special features, otherwise you can't lead the market.

    I'm not against Ms (I hate Apple) but I see you haven't good ideas and your tablet is really nothing not as others. I hope the final windows 8 will kick off the others with original ideas, or Apple or Google will lead the market.

    This comment toke a lot of time, please think of these.

    … And who before me commented, say true. Please unstick the two: Metro and Desktop. We need really good changes for desktop and amazing apps, and good styled, fast tablets.

    -LongARM

  319. Petri says:

    Just a comment what I have learn, the location for the start menu is in wrong place for your wrist. Try to move the taskbar and the start menu to left or right from bottom. And your wrist thanks you.

    Also try to teach your users the keyboard short cut:

    – Windows key + R (for Run menu) + E (for Explorer) etc….

    Also the legacy (before Vista) Start-menu was multiple times easier to use without mouse, but how the metro is working without mouse? With touch screen I fully agree your point, but we are not there yet…

  320. Travy Pond says:

    I think it's going to be a sell out. Good luck!

  321. Matt says:

    I want to be able to use the FULL START MENU just like in Windows 7!

  322. Mike says:

    Most people I know usually ignore both the start menu and the "startbar"/quicklaunch instead opting to launch apps directly from their desktop shortcuts. Why weren't the statistics about that in your post?

    Having said that, as far as I'm concerned, the Metro start screen IS essentially a new form of desktop, not a new start menu. It has icons that can be laid out across the majority of the screen and when you click them, they launch programs. How again is that different from the current desktop?

    So if in Win 8 we have two desktops, one startbar and no start menu, will this impair the overall functionality and experience of using Windows? We can see that the Win 7 start menu is obviously not as relevant as it used to be and maybe a change to reflect this isn't such a bad idea, but at the end of the day a loss of functionality is a loss of functionality. People are creatures of habit and they don't want to LEARN how to use the new startscreen in conjunction with the old desktop, they just want to get on with things. Apple likes to use the line "you already know how to use it" in some of their commercials. If the start screen is going to become a reality, it needs to be intuitive. A 5y.o. needs to know how to use it without ever having used it before. If the transition from start menu to startscreen is too jarring, it just won't float.

    Additionally, if you don't at least give people the option to re-enable the classic start menu through a switch in the control panel, it'll give them something to seize on and it'll be Vista all over again. People just don't like being told what's best for them. If I want to keep using the Windows start menu for the next 10 years just because that's what I've always done then you shouldn't make that a problem for me.

  323. Cathy says:

    Congratulations, Microsoft! You've created an OS that people will hate more than Vista!

  324. Adam says:

    And another thing. The whole analysis fails to note why I used the start menu in windows 7: to find rarely used applications, mostly by instant search, but sometimes by browsing. It was not to open word.

  325. The best Microsoft could do with windows 8, is to give the user the opportunity/option to turn the new Start Menu on or off. This will satisfy a lot more of us.

    Regards from Denmark

  326. Thanks for that MS. says:

    Now i'm gonna switch to Linux, goodbye..

  327. I think windows 8 and specifically new start screen is maid for tablets and not for other form factors.  I installed developer preview version on my laptop (15.6”) and I didn’t like it at all. The new start screen had only 3 rows, tiles were so big for screen resolution (1366*768) and I couldn’t even resize the tiles to my desire just small which is square and large which is rectangle. I wish I could personalize the new start screen.

  328. Kim Harder says:

    Did not think it is very smart, to drop the start menu. There are many other things than just programs.

    Furthermore, the programs to install, comes to lie outside the screen in Windows 8, besides the Metro Apps. It is not very appropriate. You have to rock time scrolling to the side to find them.

    Is Microsoft up to, to destroy the usability of Windows?

  329. Bleipriester says:

    Great work, Microsoft!

    Thank You!

    Except that you abolished the startmenu.

    Why don´t you make both the startmenu AND the metro available. I did so, watch here, and it´s a good solution to fit Windows 8 for both PCs and Tablets, don´t you think?

    Here I opened the Metro menu and the Startmenu to demonstrate that it works:

    img441.imageshack.us/…/bothp.jpg

    Well, here in big with both taskmgr.exe and TM.exe:

    img269.imageshack.us/…/both2.jpg

    So I can use all the new features and designhs of Windows 8 AND hava a start menu. I wish that for the final version of WIndows 8.

    Is that really right to make only, what the most users use?

    As you see, I make use of the start menu, even the Programms and of course the Controll Panel. I like the Pinned items and use it scince Windows 95 though they had not that name 🙂

    And I like the Run Command integrated in the Start menu.

    Greets

    Daniel Wolfram

  330. Evil Overlord says:

    The thing is that even in Windows 7, I use Quick Launch.  Today's widescreens offer even less vertical space than the old aspect ratio.  So I put the taskbar on one side of the screen.  But pinning apps there uses up a lot of space (and I find it confusing to see which ones are open).  In Quick Launch, I can have three program icons in the space that one pinned app takes up.  I find this a far more useful way to work.

    But since you brought up Metro…  As you note, we've all used touch screens, where we hadn't used mice.  And some of us don't like them.  I traded in my touch screen smart phone for a simpler model.  An I much prefer a laptop to a tablet.  Windows 8 does seem very touch centric, which is bad news for some of us, even if the old desktop is available if we try hard enough..

  331. Bleipriester says:

    I can not see that Windows 8 is touch centric. There is a new additional surface with own apps, ok. But that´s all. Except for the start menu, I miss no feature.

    Pinned Items:

    I have my taskbar buttons not combined. So, they need more space. This is why I have just one item there: the IE.

  332. Nokomment says:

    Just one question: if you wanted a beautiful OS like XP and Vista and Win7 then why are make it absolutely uggly the windows8? The start menu was great, the new too big, too…. bad.

    And if you have a normal mind, why are you making MOBILE OS FROM DESKTOP. It is bad for tablets too… but those like mobiles just better. So this is not good, with a tablet, it will be bad too. Please make a normal OS or minimum an OS that designed for tablets, because that's closer for a computer than mobile.

    And I don't know why you (Ms) hate your Vista because that is faster than windows 7, more beautiful than windows 7 and hasn't got those terrible errors. If you make to it a service pack which contains win7's compatibilite abbulities, Vista will be the king. It is strange for me… if Apple had a bad choise and made a cr@p eg.: Tablet they make to it hundreds of commercials why it is so good. But you hate your own OS.

  333. I have a problem with the "How is the Start menu used?" section. You seem to be taking the data in Fig.3 as a causal relationship (people use the special folders less BECAUSE taskbar pinning is available), but only experiments can determine causal relationships. Data like this can only show that two or more parameters are related and not the cause of the change.

    As an extension of that, I would like to share my own reason for using the special folders less in Windows 7 than in Windows Vista. I don’t use the Windows 7 "Documents," "Pictures," etc links on the start menu because they send me to the Libraries of those categories instead of my actual "Documents" and "Pictures" folders. Don't get me wrong, Libraries are useful, but when I see my user tile followed by my user folder I expect that the "Documents" and "Pictures" will also take me to the real folders, not Libraries. My friends and I were rather put off by that UI inconsistency. It would have been better to add in a separate link specifically for Libraries and left “Documents,” “Pictures,” etc as they were previously.

    I feel you may be making the same mistake with Metro UI as you did with Libraries. They are nice options to have, but options should be changable. Users should be able to choose if they want Libraries as default or real folders as default (from the Start Menu shortcuts and when starting Explorer). Users should be able to choose if they want Metro UI as default or as a separate experience they can launch and have the traditional desktop as default.

    If the Start Menu was getting cramped, why don't you make it resizable instead of full screen only?

    Allow programs to be put under catagories such as "Games" "Media Players" "Multimedia Editing" "Tools" etc

    And please, don't baby your users. I don't use "apps," I use programs.

  334. How many of you complainers are actually using Windows 8?

    I'm using Windows 8 on my home PC exclusively, and the new Start screen is not an issue at all.

    1) I use the same handful of apps 90% of the time and they are either pinned to my taskbar or autorun at boot. This should be the case for the vast majority of Windows users.

    2) Start screen being fullscreen is not an issue – you are not expected to continue working while using the Start screen (how could you?)

    3) It's actually easier to find apps on the new screen (and will be even more so once you can categorise them, which has been shown but is not in the dev preview). I find it easier (with mouse/keyboard) to navigate the new screen than a fiddly menu, which is what the old start menu often ends up being).

    4) it will allow the use of live tiles to replace the need for running some apps (e.g. you can glance at the start screen to get all your updates from RSS, social, system monitors, etc.) and then with a single click be back at your desktop. Much better than alt-tabbing between things or opening apps for a couple of seconds that could just be live tiles.

    Having used Windows 8 for a few weeks now I notice no significant difference in the way I do things. Except for the rare occasion when I need to use the Start screen I just use Windows 8 in the same way I used Windows 7 (except I now have the benefit of some great improvements, such as the Explorer ribbon).

  335. Pizza says:

    Why you Ms such have no idea? Some people said you will add a Wind UI that full 3D. But this not true – but it's needed. Just watch these videos: what you ignored for Metro UI! What you didn't do when time needed!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

    I don't care the last one true or not but you should do this!

  336. Timo Jensen says:

    Just wondering if you have considered that many user says "no" to participate in enhancing the user experience. Did you consider that those who says "yes" may be a segment of users, that are not representative? Its like asking only women if women should get higher paychecks.

    Removing things like the start menu, reducing my PC to an IPad, is shurely a reason to consider turning towards Linux.

  337. Mark M says:

    I don't use pinned apps on the start menu or the taskbar to launch apps instead I reinstated the quick launch bar from which I launch all my apps. There is not a single icon on my desktop nor do I pin to the taskbar. The only apps on the taskbar are active ones. My quick launch currently has 50+ apps on it and it only takes one click to launch. While I can see the use of the metro style start screen on certain devices on twin 24" monitors it was just a hindrance to my productivity. Trying to make one interface that works on all devices from smart phones is never going to work.

  338. Create new jumplist could be a great feature

    -Jumplist Luncher

    en.www.ali.dj/jumplist-launcher

    -Jumplist Extender

    code.google.com/…/jumplist-extender

    -7 Stacks (more like OSX dock)

    alastria.com/…/7stacks

    -AeroJump

    solo-dev.deviantart.com/…/AeroJump-RC1-157274115

  339. Jim T says:

    The interpretation of the usage statistics are insane.  People are using things less or making use of pinning things because they are trying to work around how MS has crippled the start menu.  I've put icons on my desktop (not the stupid task bar or a jump list or any of that nonsense ) for my most used programs – and so far I have not had to turn off the desktop maintenance process that automatically deletes icons – Thank god.  I deplore having to type in the search field for programs even though its better than having to scroll through the giant list of all programs. The search box is a bad band aid for a bad interface design. The original design is far superior. I do not fear change… The xp style menu just works way better than any of this other ***.  

  340. I agree that the traditional start menu requires a lot of time to navigate. However, the model I follow (and that I have observed even casual users adopt over time) is that frequently used programs are placed in an advantageous position, either with shortcuts on the desktop, pinning them to the quick launch (or now task) bar, pinning them to the start menu, or creating a quickly-accessed folder in the start menu. This is consistent with the usage patterns being described here.

    That leaves the rest of the start menu as a "repository" of program references. I have several hundred programs on my primary system but only use about 12 on a regular basis. I don't mind fishing for an obsucre one when necessary.

    But I don't want to lose that "repository."

    I've been practicing using search in Win7 rather than digging through the menu. I'd estimate that it's worked for me more than 90% of the time. On the other hand, finding something in my deep start menu works 100% of the time.

  341. Francis GREVY says:

    I am being quite fed up with Microsoft imposing its views upon its users on how things must be done.

    There was a time (Bill Gates are you here?) when Microsoft products had respect for its existing users, and offered systematically a "compatibility" mode, which restored the previous user interface.

    Some of us, would like to avoid rewiring our brain everytime Microsft "genius" UI guys invent something new and change everything (ribbons anyone?).

    Furthermore, some of us actually use their computers to get work done, not merely to have flashy animations everywhere…

    At my company we have not switched from Office 2003 for this reason.

  342. @pumpkinzwan: I do have Windows 8 installed and I did try to use it, but unlike you I find the Start Menu so annoying I cannot do my job.

    Start Menu being full screen is an issue because it covers all my windows on my 30” monitor and forces my eyes to re-adjust. Yes, I may not be clicking on these Windows it hides, but I can still see them and get information from them. They don’t disappear just because I click on a button.

    You may be unable to view more than one Window at a time, but there are those among us that can and do enjoy having a lot of windows open at any given point and looking at them, no matter which Window is the main focus.

    In any case, I don’t really care if you are using the Start Menu screen or not, I am not trying to convince you to use one or the other. The old Start Menu is still functional in Windows 8 but it needs a hack to enable it. All we are asking is for an option and not the dictatorial line that comes from Mr. Steven.

  343. Bonjour. On a accès au Panneau de Configuration dans l'interface Metro, mais pas en totalité, ce qui nous oblige à basculer certaines fois vers le bureau. Alors que certains PC, pour des raisons ou d'autres, sont lents à basculer entre les deux interfaces… Je propose deux solutions : la première est d'avoir un Panneau de Configuration complet dans l'interface Metro (avec les évolutions que j'ai proposé, comme avoir tous les menus "Options" de tous les programmes dans ce Panneau), et de désactiver les transitions et sons quand ce sont eux qui font beuguer le système.

  344. Bonjour. On a accès au Panneau de Configuration dans l'interface Metro, mais pas en totalité, ce qui nous oblige à basculer certaines fois vers le bureau. Alors que certains PC, pour des raisons ou d'autres, sont lents à basculer entre les deux interfaces… Je propose deux solutions : la première est d'avoir un Panneau de Configuration complet dans l'interface Metro (avec les évolutions que j'ai proposé, comme avoir tous les menus "Options" de tous les programmes dans ce Panneau), et de désactiver les transitions et sons quand ce sont eux qui font beuguer le système.

  345. #IN before major FAIL .

    Windows 7 Start menu was flawless. You guys gonna mess it up and destroy microsoft with Metro. Write my words. Now that Steve is dead, Apple will unleash OS X to the PC market and you all be doomed!

  346. #IN before major FAIL .

    Windows 7 Start menu was flawless. You guys gonna mess it up and destroy microsoft with Metro. Write my words. Now that Steve is dead, Apple will unleash OS X to the PC market and you all be doomed!

  347. Ronbeau says:

    Why can't the Windows 8 install determine whether a touch device is installed on the PC?  If a touch device is present on the PC then give the user a choice of whether they would like to use the Metro interface.

    On the other hand, if there is not touch device make the Windows desktop the  the default interface.

    This sounds like it should be obvious and straight-forward.

    If the user add a touch device to the system later the use could be asked if they wish to use the Metro interface for that PC.

    Notice that I am strictly referring to PC, notebooks etc as opposed to tablets & cell phones.

  348. hauper12 says:

    I think the metro interface has a nice look and feel. The only issue is with the keyboard and mouse it can be a little difficult to use. But since this was not the complete build believe they will probably improve this experience. From a standard user perspective I think that it will work out nicely. Microsoft is not only trying to cater to the sys admin or the power user but the average user as well. So I think that they will like it and buy the operating system. I agree with it being the next step.

  349. @hauper12: You will need to define better what do you mean when you say “average user”. On the desktop an average user has enough brains to use Windows fine. If they don’t know how they do learn by either asking somebody or by watching some videos or by reading a book/Internet. The Metro UI is not something so natural that they end up needing no training and as you mentioned in your post it doesn’t even work nicely with keyboards and mice.

    Case in point, (as I said in a previous post somewhere) my 6 year old can use Windows 7 fine and believe me his brains are as average as his father, nothing special. I demoed the Metro UI to him, he was interested at the beginning because he thought it is a new game, when he realized it is just a skin, he lost interest.

  350. CPA Office says:

    Second attempt…

    CPA staff not interested in social media, photos, or entertainment – in fact, they are forbidden to access them at the office. Windows 8 appears to be a glorified graphic DOS platform designed for app and social media users, not down-to-nitty-gritty business users. If we lose desktop icon capabilities and have to click A to fumble around to get to B, this will be a huge step backward – waste of valuable time in a business where time is absolutely money. Up-front access to our tax programs is an absolute must. Don't try to simplify to the point of being inconvenient. Give us option of having instant program access (the multiple programs that we use), right up front – no monkeying around.

    Also, in these economic times, we do not have the money to change-out our peripherals just for Windows' sake. We trusted you and did that a few years back with Vista. If Windows 8 won't easily "fit" our needs, or if it requires all new equipment, we may as well start seeking out another that will – especially since we'll be changing platforms anyway.

    Don't Netflix it.

  351. Dennis says:

    FYI: Windows experience info (stats) are bogus. Any knowledgable windows user knows to shut that service off, or at least to opt out. If you want to know what improvements we would like to see in Windows 8, why not just ask?

  352. Love what I see so far and can't wait for the beta. Thanks for all the posts. I had too many comments so I put them and some concept slides in a pdf.

    skydrive.live.com

  353. Karl says:

    @TheRichman  MS can learn a lot of these concepts, very good!

  354. Jon says:

    So you're changing the OS out on me because your data suggests that I'm no longer an important demographic? This isn't a style choice, it's a functionality one. I understand changing the visual style, because users can adapt– but telling me that it's 2011 and nobody needs quick access to more than 3 items at a time is totally bogus. I do.

  355. Thanks @Karl,

    I only spent about 2 days on my slides and I know there's a lot of smart people at Microsoft who have spent many many "Red Bull" days in front of white boards. I think they have a noble goal to provide a unified experience across devices. I've used a boatload of device interfaces and franky grow weary of dealing with a bazillion ways to essentially do the same few thing – lanuch apps and switch apps. Especially as relates to work – personal stuff it's less an issue, even fun to see what eveyone's doing.

    Speaking of unified, I'd also like to Microsoft offer 1 PC OS to buy instead of the Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate thing. It does seem to make sense to offer the option of booting to the Start Screen or Desktop. It's not like you can totally avoid the Start Screen since you have to go there to run Metro Apps.I wouldn't mind sitting down in Starbucks, having my overpriced coffee, browsing around news and whatever, and then open up the desktop to do some work. I'm sure alot of people would opt to leave it the default.

    As to Metro Apps in a window on the desktop or shown as Apps in the desktop taskbar, one could argue that also falls under the umbrella of a unified experience. Minimally, it's a workflow issue imho. The power of Windows, even under a Win 8 desktop is…windows – the ability to see multiple content sources next to tools to create or process content. I would have thought that Microsoft would want to allow them to next to other Apps not only to promote their use, but to allow users to integrate them into workflow.

    But at this point it's just speculation based on a pre-beta so I'll reserve judgement for now until I have some quality time with the beta.

    Thanks again and looking forward to the beya to see how Win 8 shapes up.