Designing the Start screen


Thank you for the comments and feedback on the previous post. We definitely get the message that there’s a lot of feedback and passion around the design. We’re going to continue talking about the design and answering your questions and comments through these blog posts. We designed Start to be a modern, fast and fluid replacement for the combination of launching, switching, notifying, and at-a-glance viewing of information. That’s a tall order. And of course, we set out to do this for the vast majority of customers, who are more familiar with the Start menu, mouse and keyboard, as well as for new customers using touch-capable devices. This post is authored by Alice Steinglass, the group program manager for the Core Experience Evolved team. –Steven

As we wrote about in our post on evolving the Start menu, after studying real world usage of the Start menu through a variety of techniques, we realized that it was serving mainly as the launcher for programs you rarely use. As more and more launching takes place from the task bar, the Start menu looks like a lot of user interface for programs you don’t use very frequently. And the Start menu is not well-optimized for this purpose. It affords limited customization, provides virtually no useful information, and offers only a small space for search results. We found that people “in the know” who valued efficiency were moving away from the Start menu, and pinning their frequently used programs to the taskbar so that they could access them instantly in one click. We see this quite a bit on professional workstations where there are set of tools that all fit on the taskbar and are all used regularly—machines used by engineers, designers, developers, information workers, etc.

So, as evidence mounts that the menu hasn’t kept up with the modern way in which we use our PCs today, we’ve seen a growing interest in replacements for the Start menu (whether for touch, or mouse and keyboard). At the same time, we’ve seen an ever-increasing use of cumbersome notification tray icons (with ever-increasing menus and actions), and a continued interest in desktop gadgets that have yet to realize their potential.

In light of these realizations, we stepped back and reimagined the role of Start in Windows 8. We knew that we already had a powerful launcher for desktop programs in the taskbar. The Start screen is not just a replacement for the Start menu—it is designed to be a great launcher and switcher of apps, a place that is alive with notifications, customizable, powerful, and efficient. It brings together a set of solutions that today are disparate and poorly integrated. As we have said, some of these features, as well as the full scope of mouse and keyboard support, are not included in the Windows 8 Developer Preview, which was focused on building Metro style apps and the WinRT APIs.

Alive with activity

As we analyzed Windows systems, we found that the average PC is cluttered with a large array of system tray notifications, a long list of folders and shortcuts for installed software, and applets in numerous places in the system, all begging for your attention. In addition to the programs, people access a large number of websites with updated data from the Internet or a company intranet. These programs and websites consume and present a constant stream of fresh data: new email, business data, communications, articles, pictures, feeds, etc.

We designed the Windows 8 Start screen so you can create a connected dashboard that keeps you in touch with all the apps, activities, places, and people you care about. The news app shows the latest headlines, the weather app shows the forecast, an RSS app tells you what’s new, a social networking app displays your status, or a game can tell you when it is your turn—and when it isn’t. While these are just examples, it is not hard to imagine the apps you use today (whether in the browser, on the desktop, gadgets, or notifications) being reimagined as Metro style apps that connect to the same exact data sources, but instead provide a rich, customizable, interactive “heads-up display.” We expect corporate applications to be developed that display Live tiles for important internal systems and processes too. You can envision even the most mundane uses being improved by this ability to track live data. For example, our development team has been using a Metro style bug tracker (an example of a corporate application) that connects up to our existing bug database. It was a small amount of work to create, and replaced several varied notification tray icons and gadgets in use around the team.

Fig 1 - Live tiles on the Start screen
Fig 1: Live tiles on the Start screen

Apps can still represent themselves with just an icon and a name. And, for certain tools, that will continue to make sense: Command Prompt, Task Manager, etc. But, for most of today’s more relevant and connected apps, a simple icon and name is limiting, when they have so much more information they can share. And that information can be shared at a glance without any window management or any context change on your part.

We knew we needed to be able to load live tiles instantly and efficiently. Long battery life and instant performance is fundamental to the experience of any mobile device. If every app launched and loaded a process when you entered Start (the traditional “gadget” model), it would slow down the performance of navigating to it, scrolling, etc. It would also increase the background memory and CPU footprint, which would decrease battery life. Today, when people want to check to see if they have new email, they run their mail app, see an app-specific notification competing with other notifications, or open up another browser tab. If they want to see what’s going on with their social networks, they leave open a bunch of different web sites or apps. If they are waiting for their turn in a game, that app is open. This means they are forced into a situation where they are either impacting their performance and battery life by running each of these programs simultaneously, or they are disconnected and have to constantly open and close programs. Why should your mobile device be so much better at these routine tasks than your PC (of any form factor) which has a vastly larger screen, more storage, and more connectivity and processing power?

To address this, the Start screen uses a single process to pull down notifications from the Windows Notification Service and keep the tiles up to date. The tiles are cached, so they can load instantly when you go to Start. The result is that the tiles aren’t apps—they are a system-provided surface that can quickly tell you what’s new with your app. They are an extension of the apps you use (or the apps you develop), providing instant access to relevant content without costing battery life or slowing down performance.

Customization

A critical part of creating a meaningful dashboard and launcher is enabling you to customize it to be yours. The old Start menu offered some limited customizability—you could pin a few apps to a short list, and use the customization dialog to choose which of the limited built-in quick links you wanted to show. But, the choices were severely limited. You could not add your own links. You could not link to anything other than an app. You couldn’t change the order of the apps, group apps, or pin more than a few apps. In fact, we’ve heard a lot of complaints about the challenges of ordering the Start menu items manually and maintaining that ordering. The taskbar helps with some of these issues, but it has a limited surface area to work with relative to the screen.

As we started to design the new Start screen, we considered options where we would automatically sort apps or pin a set of quick links (similar to the right side of the Start menu today). But, in our user research, we found that people didn’t want us to guess what they would use. People who are proficient using their PCs want the flexibility to design their own Start experience. We know in the current Developer Preview, the automatic layout is a particular concern and of course as we said, we’re not done yet and this is something we will make sure is under your control. The organizational tools we’ll describe below (naming, grouping, zooming) were shown in Jensen Harris’s talk at //build/, but were not in the Developer Preview.

Good customization options start with organization. The Windows 7 Start menu is just a simple flat list. But, as people collect more and more apps, the ability to organize and group apps together becomes more important. We brought a variety of people of different skill-levels into our test labs and asked them to organize the apps and websites they use frequently. The variability was surprisingly large. People did not fit all their apps into the same predefined groups, or even the same group sizes. Some people had 5 games they thought belonged together. Others had 40. Sometimes a group of tiles had a clear name, like Games or News. Other times, people couldn’t come up with a good name for the groupings they created, and chose to refer to them only as “things I go to frequently,” for instance. Because of this, we designed the Start screen to give you flexibility over the number of groups, the size of any group, the layout of tiles within the group, and whether or not you want to name a group.

An unnamed group shown next to a "Games" group of tiles
Fig 2: Tiles may be grouped with or without group names

But creating a custom dashboard is about more than just organizing apps. Organized or proficient users might want custom shortcuts to information or a location within an app. For example, instead of just having the headlines for an entire news site on your Start screen, you might also want a tile that shows the headlines for the Sports or Tech section. With Windows 8, apps can provide these deep links too, so that people can create their own powerful and customized Start experiences. This means that tiles for apps can live alongside tiles that represent links to web pages, albums, playlists, specific people, a level within a game, a particular stock, etc. Any of these secondary tiles can be small or large, and can be put anywhere on the Start screen. They are “live,” just like app tiles, meaning that they are constantly updated with fresh and relevant content. This is a great way for app developers to provide differentiated functionality.

Start screen shown with a group of "Example Pinned Tiles"
Fig 3: It’s easy to customize Start by pinning deep links to apps wherever you want them

Start launches with instant access to everything on the first screen, bounded only by the size of the display. And, while Start supports standard scrolling, people told us they also wanted a way to quickly jump to a particular group. We enabled zoom as a way to step back, survey the landscape of the Start menu, and go directly to any group. We considered starting zoomed out and letting you dive into a group, but early usage data indicated that the vast majority of the time, people activate a tile that is on the first page. The standard zoomed-in view allows you to instantly glance at your dashboard just by hitting the Windows key on the keyboard, and then pressing it again to return to what you were doing. This means that checking anything on the Start screen is always just a single click or key press away. When you compare zoom to meticulously navigating a populated Start menu hierarchy, or uncovering pinned items on the taskbar, the experience is much faster and more fluid, and scales to many more programs and pinned items.

We of course considered folders, but our experience with folders broadly and in the Start menu tells us that folders are a way of burying things, not organizing them. Folders also make it impossible to see the up-to-date information an app might present. Once the apps are organized into groups, zooming out provides an at-a-glance view of the groups (similar to looking at a folder list). From the zoomed out view, you can jump directly into any group just as you would open a folder. For those wishing to stash certain programs out of sight, you can always remove the pinned icon from Start and use search to access it, or just put the program at the far end of the Start page. This is by far the most efficient way to manage a large library of apps.

Start screen zoomed out, showing (unnamed group), Art, Games, and Info groups
Fig 4: Zooming out in Start makes it easy to see groups of apps and target a specific section of the screen

Powerful and efficient

As we covered in our last post, the number of apps and websites that people use has been increasing dramatically over the last 10 years. When people had to go to a physical store and buy every program that existed on their PCs, it made sense to have a Start menu that was optimized for showing around 10 apps. Today, people use so many more apps and websites (which is another way to deliver app-like functionality), that the experience needed to be rethought for how people were using PCs today.

As we looked at layout options for the Start screen, we considered whether it should be full screen or appear on top of your apps as a small temporary window in the corner. Small popup windows are great for scenarios where you need to see the context of what is on the screen while you’re using it (although modern user interfaces are using popups less and less). For example, it’s a good design for doing advanced font settings in your Word doc. Its small size allows you to look at the text you’re changing on the screen while setting the new font style.

But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing. So we wanted to take advantage of the whole screen to make launching and switching apps as efficient as possible. The full-screen Start gives you the power and flexibility to launch more apps with a single click. You can still put your most frequently used desktop apps on the taskbar in desktop. But the new Start screen has space to duplicate the 10-12 app links that you had pinned to the old Start menu, and still fit an additional 12 to 14 items on the first screen of a 1366 x 768 display. With a higher density display, obviously there’s room to add even more apps that you can get to with a single click. As a reminder, Windows 8 requires a 1024 x 768 minimum resolution for Metro style apps, and as long as your screen is at least 1366px wide, you can use snap to show two apps at once. We’re aware of the feedback about lack of diagnostic information other than the published system requirements on the download page—rest assured we are working on making this clearer.

24 shortcuts on start screen

Fig 5: At 1366×768, Start shows 24 custom shortcuts on the first screen

People also want the efficiency of being able to instantly launch apps, documents, and settings without moving their fingers off the keyboard. We needed to retain this ability from Windows 7 while working to make it even better. If you have only one app with the word Excel in the name, launching it works exactly the same as it always has. Hit Start. Start typing “Ex…” and watch it autocomplete. Hit Enter, and Excel launches. Four keystrokes. Given the significantly increasing number of apps that people are using, search is clearly a more efficient way to access them, whether using a physical or on-screen keyboard. By combining the new Start screen with Search you get an ever-narrowing scope and easy hit targets whether for keyboard, mouse, or touch.

By comparison, as soon as the user searches for something with many hit results, the Start menu in Windows 7 can’t scale to the results. For example, if you are looking for a Control Panel option with the word “input”, the Start menu only returns the first 3 results in each category. To see the full list of results, you need to arrow down to the category (such as Control Panel), wait for Explorer to open, and then find the result you want there. If you are opening a document, you then need to manually close the Explorer window when you are done. While the new search capabilities in the Vista and Windows 7 Start menu clearly improved your ability to get to your top programs quickly, searching for anything other than a frequently used item remained inefficient and frustrating.

Search results in Windows 7Fig 6: Limited room in the Start menu prevents a full lists of results from being shown and requires opening Explorer

With Windows 8, we wanted to minimize the keystrokes to instantly search and launch your app/file/setting/email/etc. Because the search results are full-screen, we can show at least 48 items on most screens, instead of just three. And, if you want to see the rest, you simply scroll (instead of launching Explorer and redoing the search). This simple change allows you to efficiently launch any app or file on the PC with a minimum of keystrokes.

We looked at two ways of improving the efficiency of search:

  • Putting more on the screen
  • Making it easier and faster to recognize the correct search result

The Windows 7 model forced all the search results into a standard template of an icon and text. As we looked at different data types, we saw that people could more quickly recognize their search result if the view was tailored to the data. Pictures should be displayed as thumbnails, email messages should say who they are from, videos should include their length, etc. So we designed a search model for the Start screen where each app displays the data in an optimized format. Thus, instead of seeing just 3 results per category type (all as text), you now can hit Start, type a search term, see an entire page of app results, or continue down the list to look at the results for files, settings, email, web, social networks, or any other app on your system. The Search contract is one of the exciting platform APIs in WinRT that developers can take advantage of. It allows this unified search experience while also letting the unique elements of an app’s data shine through. It is a win-win for both the person using the app and the app developer.

Full screen App search results, showing 18 results for searching on "a"
Fig 7: The Start screen has plenty of room to show app search results

Searching for Jason in Files, returns 17 results, all shown on one screen.
Fig 8: Start screen has more room to show you more detailed search results for files

Searching for "Jason" in the BUILD app returns 32 People results, 0 Sessions results.

Fig 9: Search isn’t just restricted to the system—apps can display search results optimized for that app

A full-screen Start experience empowers you to pick the things you care about (even if you care about way more than 12) and organize them the way you want so you can launch them instantly without scrolling. And, when you want to search, you can instantly see all search results (not just a couple). The design trades off peripheral awareness of what you’re leaving behind in favor of optimizing for where you’re going next, so that you can get there faster and more efficiently.

Keyboard and mouse

Because we have often demonstrated touch interactions with Start and its lineage in the Windows Phone Metro style, many believe that our design is all about touch rather than keyboard and mouse, or even that we’re putting the phone interface on a PC—it is neither.

For mouse people, the position of the Start button in the lower-left corner of Windows 8 makes it an easy click-target (even in a full-screen app). Once in Start, more items are directly accessible to the mouse without scrolling or opening menu flyouts. For keyboard people, pinning frequently used desktop apps on the desktop taskbar enables instant shortcuts: Win+1, Win+2, etc. And, getting to less frequently used apps through search follows the existing paradigm of hitting the Windows key and typing the search term. The larger search results improve speed (both for searching and browsing).

Of course, there are things we’re still working on, that aren’t yet finished in the Developer Preview. For example, we know there are bugs in interacting at high speed with the scroll wheel on the mouse, and we’re working on fixing these. We’re also adding the ability to instantly zoom out with the mouse and keyboard, and we’re looking at ways to make scrolling faster and easier. And, we are working on fixing a bug in the Developer Preview that causes inconsistent and slow page-down/page-up behavior. We’re also looking at making rearranging more predictable for mouse, keyboard, and touch.

One picture we often use to talk about change is the following. The y-axis is some measure of efficiency—such as time to complete a task, seconds it takes to do something, etc. The x-axis is calendar time. If someone is proficient with something and then a change takes place, there is by definition a dip in functionality. But after an adjustment period, the metrics of success improve. The net result is that over time, work becomes more efficient, even for the same task. And combined with new tasks and capabilities there is an overall net win.

Summary

The Windows 8, the Start screen is not just a replacement for the Windows 7 Start menu but a bringing together of several different ways of navigating your machine. Even in Windows 7, people who are proficient with Windows are already replacing the Start menu with the taskbar for their frequently used desktop apps.

For people using mostly desktop apps, the Start screen complements the functionality of the taskbar. Using both together, you have instant access to your most frequently used apps combined with a more powerful way to launch your less frequently used apps (through search or by grouping items on the Start screen). And, for Metro apps, Live tiles transform the Start screen into a dashboard that helps you stay up to date and connected in a high quality experience substantially improved over the notification tray. The new experience offers a way to more efficiently launch apps, stay connected to the most relevant information from apps, and find the things you care about. It also lets you launch and switch quickly between your apps and specific locations within those apps all without sacrificing performance or draining the battery of a laptop or tablet PC.

Alice Steinglass

Comments (603)

  1. raider says:

    Sorry, still don't buying it. I need to see a switch between Classic and Metro, or I'll skip 8 as well as future Windows versions. I supported you with Vista and 7 against XP, now I can't. Metro for tablet, not for mouse.

  2. Jack says:

    Are the Start Screen and Metro UI synonomous?

  3. I like the metro starscreen but I believe alot people, that dislike it, have to learn how to actually use it. When you pin apps to the taskbar, you won't get into the startscreen. The more you add, the less you need to be in the metro screen. So this startscreen becomes a notification area in a rich way, usefull for non-work stuff.

    I just have a few wishes looking to the Dev Preview:

    1. This metro system should work on two monitors too. Using multiple metro apps becomes much more easier on two screens then on one. Desktop doesn't feel like an app, when the other screen is showing just blank unless I use old desktop programs. It also feels natural to slide a window to the left side of my second screen, to see my rss feeds updating…

    2. Since Windows starts with the start screen, I would love to have my icons that I have pinned on my taskbar, visible at the bottom of the start screen, as a seperate group below all other groups. This enables me to start the application I always use as soon as I sign in. If I excidently pressed the Windows key, I still can use the icons I've pinned on my taskbar, just like in any other Windows version.

    3. I like to enable touch gestures on my mouse. I know you told us changes were coming, so I hope I can get that same easy swipe movements with my mouse like with a finger.

    I hope these things get in the future releases!

  4. Knowledge Worker says:

    Metro is productivity killer.  Period.

  5. Also, just thinking.

    What if we also be allowed to simply show lists of programs in stead of icons in the start screen. Just small text, no large icons. Just like in the startmenu (win7) but then shown on 100% of the screen.

    I'm not saying this should be standard, but if it was possible, I think for the more advanced users, with mouse, see the benefit of the new screen.

  6. Start Search, Control Panel and now Start Screen's Settings, all belongs to God Mode aka Master Control Panel. http://bit.ly/mVTcMc

    Thanks to Microsoft!! Now we dont need any mode anymore… because start screen is here.

  7. Philip says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing. So we wanted to take advantage of the whole screen to make launching and switching apps as efficient as possible. "

    That doesn't mean you aren't using information from the thing you're currently doing.  "this email said to go to start|accesso… crap, what did it say again?"      This gets even more likely with the amount of information/capability on the new start screen.

    It also does not mean you are abandoning what you are doing – I may want multiple windows open at the same time – metro mode makes this harder, sometimes not possible.

    I *love* Metro on the tablet by the way.  But on the desktop, it almost feels like I'm running a different OS inside a VM – they don't play well together, they don't look alike, and it requires me to mentally shift into a different mode going from one to the other.

  8. Marcus says:

    Another post about the Start Screen is another post that MS just doesn't get that it's terrible on the DESKTOP. I have no doubts it's perfect for touch devices, but what about the desktop? If I were to use 8 on a desktop, I wouldn't want ANY of the metro crap on there.

    Microsoft is just getting more and more out of touch with the people who actually use their products.

  9. hart says:

    The new design is good, but you cannot take away people's right of choice and alternatives. Remember tabs in internet explorer 9. Many demanded that the tabs were on a separate line-and it's done. People have an alternative. Although there are now few people it is recognizing that the new version better.

    Start button CANNOT BE removed completely. Do not decide for people like them better.

  10. I can just say: Turn on your Windows 8 PC and see whats going on!

    Turn on your Windows 7 PC and open different porgramms(Broswer, mail, etc..) to see whats going on!

    So its clear, which solution is better 😉

    I really like the Startscreen with the MetroUI and i'm excited to see the development of this makes progress 🙂

    I know customization comes later, but maybe it would be possible that i can select a wallpaper as background for the startscreen, instead of solid colours.

  11. Briantist says:

    You could construct a very plausible "conspiracy theory" that Windows 8 "Metro" is specifically designed (say by the Chinese government) to quickly reduce the efficiency of the western economies.

    Phase I, of course, was that uber-time-waster "Facebook".  

    By 2012, will anyone anywhere do any productive work at ALL?  

  12. Blake says:

    Improving the keyboard and mouse support is critical, but please don't forget that a huge percentage of the current market has a keyboard and trackpad instead.   Multi-touch zooming and scrolling should have native support on trackpads as well, not just OEM-provided mouse-wheel-emulating cruft.

  13. akelkar says:

    Why do people require a START Button? Why not just press the windows-key!

  14. Nicole says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing."

    No, you're not, not if you are using your computer for real work, or even in the scenario Phillip mentions above that impacts practically every users.

    I'm without you philosophically, it's the execution that fails.  It doesn't speed up and make a users more efficient, it adds a speed bump.  That fact that the team is repeatedly having to defend this approach should tell you something.

  15. I agree with @Peter van Dam 😀

    Start Screen is the best thing in Windows 8, of course there are others, but this is the one I love the most! I hope I can see it in Beta, RC and RTM versions too 🙂

  16. tN0 says:

    I'm curious if the team really believes what this article claims: that search is faster and easier on the new Start screen. Because it is not and can be proven very easily. Do you really believe that people will have 48 apps installed that match a search term? Even with only searching for one letter ("a") in the screen shot the search list is half empty!

    Is showing more search results really a solution? For what problem? Why not using the screen real estate better and providing more information about search results like Jump Lists for the highlighted app or a thumbnail for the selected file? Displaying more results isn't helping but does need more work from the user: he may need to "search" the long list himself.

    The provided example of searching for "input" doesn't make any sense to me. Could someone please tell me what the user is looking for in this example? Because my experience is that Windows 7 always gives me the right result as the first item in the list no matter if it is a file, an app or a control item without manually filtering! And filtering search results in the Developer Preview is horrible with a keyboard.

    This blog isn't moving forward. The last two articles doesn't reveal any new insight but did repeat what we already know. Again you repeat that people are using the Taskbar as a launcher. Fine. But why do you hide it then after starting Windows 8? No answer. The last articles don't really explain the decisions made in detail as Jensen Harris did in his Office 2007 blog years ago.

  17. The only thing I wish is the users can choose to use the start screen or the start menu themselves, this will meet requirements from different people.

  18. Jon says:

    As a launcher for applications, I think the new start screen works fine. Mouse support needs a little touch up, but you've already got that planned.

    As a switcher between applications, it's terrible. It removes the distinction between "Things I am currently doing" and "Things I might want to do at some point in the future". This is somewhat acceptable in a tablet workflow, but it's very disruptive to the desktop computing experience.

  19. Nicole says:

    Sorry for the typos… autocomplete isn't all it's cracked up to be sometimes!

  20. I can appreciate the new design of the start screen as I understand why that we are soon to be entering into the age of the tablet.  However, I am still a passionate PC user and will continue to be so even after most likely acquiring a tablet in the future.

    The main purpose for which I use the traditional Start Menu is for adding applications to the taskbar (a feature that you mention in this and the previous post).  I would love to see the traditional context menu (or a redesigned context menu) available in the new Start Screen.  It should include Pin to Taskbar, Properties and so-on, as well as the existing option to pin to the Start Screen.

    If a more verbose context menu was provided on the Start Screen, I would have no quaffs about leaving the old Start Menu behind.  It's time to embrace the future.  Let's just hope we can get it right.

  21. Tom says:

    How many apps do people "in the know" actually use? I think you are over thinking this.  

  22. @Bastian92 — You asked to have more customization for the Start Screen background. The Developer Preview Release only has one option, but we don't think that everyone will want a green background with squares. We're planning to add more customization options here in the future.

  23. Shkyrockett says:

    Wow, we have come full circle back to the early days of the internet with all of those pages loaded up with cheesy animated gifs, only now they are application tiles on our desktops which are constantly SCREAMING for our attention. Is there any way to turn them off once they have been used?

  24. Kevin says:

    @Alice-

    I certainly hope so (Customization of the Start screen), because right now it isn't very attractive and the videos on how it integrates with Windows live are also ugly.  I am really trying to keep an open mind and not dismiss something, only because it's new, however at it's current iteration I am not putting this on any of my Enterprise machines.  Here's to the future.  Make it right MS!!  

  25. Keith says:

    Alice Steinglass will there be an option for live wallpaper/ backgound similar kinda like the weather app backgrounds ?

  26. @Alice Steinglass [MSFT]

    i only asked, because a full desktop wall would not maybe fit with the tiles and i know that customization comes later, like always.

  27. Posting My Comment from Previous post again

    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 , in use this is so horrible to right click to see the menu. Even more frustrating is that right also serves as to bring well right click menu. 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, Jasen Harris saidthe left bezel swipe is like back button so there should something to show view of all the apps running 😉 )

  28. Chimel says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing"

    NOOOOOOO! I want to browse the web while watching a video, I want to use Calculator to help me on what I am doing, I want to copy some text or picture into Notepad or Word or Paint, there are tons of cases where I multitask and I am not leaving what I was doing, I am complementing what I was doing.

    "If you have only one app with the word Excel in the name, launching it works exactly the same as it always has. Hit Start. Start typing “Ex…” and watch it autocomplete"

    Who among efficient users do that? Instead of having a shortcut in the taskbar or the Quick Launch toolbar for instant 1-click access, not 4 keyboard keys or a cumbersome mix of mouse clicks and keyboard keys.

    I rarely ever use the Search box, especially not for apps, which are efficiently organized on my computer after 20 years of constant usage. The only 2 apps I ever typed were regedit and msconfig, and some arcane admin tool that requires parameters, but I even have Quick Launch shortcuts for some of these, like MsConfig and the Services applet.

    I agree that Windows 8 should have a different touch interface for phones and small tablets, and it should somehow be consistent with the Windows 8 GUI for desktop and laptop computers, but it looks like you are giving the priority to the new shiny latest thing, while writing off years of progress in Windows, like integrating desktop usage into mobile usage, instead of the opposite.

    And good luck with integrating web pages and media files like the album playlist mentioned to the Start screen. This will not only increase the clutter tenfold, even with groups, it will just repeat the mistakes of the Start menu. On a full screen.

    I have a couple of dozens bookmarks I use regularly, 10 of them are already pinned to my browsers, and a couple hundreds more I rarely use. Same for my music library, there is just no way the Start screen can replace specialized media library apps or media players. At best it can provide links to these apps and the apps can integrate into the Metro GUI, but the Start screen cannot replace them.

    Looks like there is still some serious work with huge impact to do before even the first Beta. Please don't consider just one user scenario, but let all users be able to feel at ease in Windows 8. The full-screen Start screen just won't do for many users. More like full-scream…

  29. @Jack — Are the Start Screen and Metro UI synonymous?  The Metro style is a design language we can apply to any element of Windows.  The new Start Screen uses this design language as it reimagines the functionality of the Start menu (as well as taskbar, notifications and gadgets).  This is similar to the way new apps written to WinRT can be a Metro apps.

  30. Shotah says:

    Thanks for not listening to customer feedback and trying to sell your idea that you have worked up on a drawing board.

  31. @Blake – Great point.  We agree that trackpads and pointing sticks are key parts of the mouse story.  We have generally been referring to all of these as “mice,” but they each have different properties.  For example, with a trackpad it is sometimes harder to move long distances across the screen and we are looking at ways of reducing mouse mileage to make things more efficient.  We are also looking at ways of improving scrolling specifically for these types of mice.

  32. Mike says:

    Will we get to know more about the improvments of the startscreen since wdp in the next post?

  33. all new says:

    yes yes redesign the start menu and screen.

  34. "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing"

    NOOOOOOO! I want to browse the web while watching a video, I want to use Calculator to help me on what I am doing, I want to copy some text or picture into Notepad or Word or Paint, there are tons of cases where I multitask and I am not leaving what I was doing, I am complementing what I was doing."

    @Chimel U can use snap to do all these

  35. Tuxplorer says:

    Fantastic blog post once again. I really LOVE the new Metro Start Screen. It will become much more useful once more Metro apps become available in the Windows store.

    But I expected more about task switching facility. Hopefully you will discuss that in a future blog post.

  36. Certainly the Start screen is a welcome improvement. I had commented previously about how one would distinguish between two application shortcuts with the same name if there are no Program Groups. You had replied simply thanking me for my comment; which I take to mean that you are considering that issue.

    However, it really seems you need to touch on multi-screen interactions. It would be nice to be able to have the start screen on a different screen than a desktop, or on multiple screen, or to even be able to tear off and window a Metro app on a desktop for those of use with multiple large screens. As a case in point, I never maximize my browser window because it makes switching between browser windows and other applications slower. I recognize that the desktop isn't going away, but if some future applications are written entirely in Metro style, it would be painful to be forced to use them in 1600×1400 when all they need is 1024×768, which can be a window on a much bigger monitor.

  37. chris says:

    I have a question is the Startscreen based on WinRT?

  38. DamionM says:

    Steven,

    All these complaints people are having with METRO can be fixed if you simply allow the metro interface to be used within the desktop as a window and use the profile icon that is already on the regular desktop programs menu to switch you to full screen metro or something like that.

    I like metro but as many people have said it is a productivity killer. Full screen apps by nature reduces your productivity and causes you to do gimmicks like side by side window pains, task switching from the corner of the screen etc..

    Just as i can maximize a window so should metro be able to be maximized or minimized on the desktop. When we switched from DOS to the Windows GUI  you could run dos either full screen or in a windowed environment.  With this advancement  to metro you have to choose between either full screen metro or your desktop and that reduces the choice that we had in the past of running multiple programs effectively.

    The new Task manger program can already exist in metro all that's needed is either the reverse for the desktop where metro is in the desktop or the full desktop within metro or something like that.

  39. Joe says:

    The Start Screen is great, and will prove all the more powerful as more 'metro styled' apps are released in the future.  

    The arguments about multitasking I think are valid, the example of watching a movie and using the calculator. This could be acheived with a widescreen monitor side by side as metro apps.  

    I could also imagine a mini-start-screen using the JumpViewer control that could be launched along the side of the app or the desktop.  Maybe scroll it vertically like the windows phone.

  40. Dan says:

    @Blake Totally agree about native gesture support for laptop touchpads. That would instantly make the start screen amazingly simple to use on all current laptops.

    Just simple touches like swiping two fingers left or right to scroll the start screen back and forth owuld be wonderful. In fact, I keep trying to do it without thinking on my laptop! Having to move the mouse pointer down the a scrollbar in order to scroll the start screen seems horribly alien!

    There is something else I think Mixcrosoft should consider doing; multiple start screens! Sounds crazy? I think not.

    People often tend to use a single computing device for multiple usage scenarios. For instance, I use my laptop for casual home use (consumption of personal data), as a tool as an IT Consultant (lots of diagnostic tools, knowledge base links, LOADS of RDP session links) and as a Media Centre (well, that's just Windows Media Centre!)

    Why would I want a single start screen loaded with all that to scroll through? What I want instantly when I'm at home is not what I want instantly when I'm at work. when I hook my laptop to the telly, all I want to see is my multimedia consumption apps – I don't care about connecting to a client's server when I want to watch a movie!

    So, multiple start screens that you can switch between. Seems a logical organisation tool for people who use lots of applications, but use different groups of aplpications more regularly at different times. Add in Windows 8's new location services and it could be even better. Got a new laptop with a GPS tracker? Activate my "Social" Start Screen automatically when I'm in my home and switch back to my "Business" Start Screen when I'm in the office.

    For someone like me who is a roaming consultant I would literally wet myself (ok, maybe not literally!) if I could configure a different Start Screen for every client and have Windows automatically set it as the default based on a GPS-controlled location awareness system.

    Hack, I'm just tihnking about all the possibilities of having multiple Start Screens combined with event-based automation. Get a Skype call from a client, have your Start Screen reconfigure with links relavent to them. Want your computer to remind you to stop working at 5.30? Have a schedule set to change your start screen to "home" layout at 5.30 every day, excluding weekends when its always defaulted to "home" mode, except where you've scheduled a "work day" in your calendar.

    If the Start Screen is to now be a dashboard of important information, it suddenly makes sense to have it dynamically change what it displays depending on what is important at different times.

    Make Windows 8 do that and I'll give you the money for it now!

  41. doum says:

    @Alice Steinglass : for trackpad, please add great multitouch and scrolling with two fingers like in MacOS. It's the only thing I prefer in Apple computer and OS.

  42. I'd like to quote the previous post concerning the origins of the Windows 95 Start Menu:

    "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."

    Am I seeing things, or is history repeating itself? Because the full screen "Start screen" gets just as much in the way of "the desktop and other applications" – pardon me, it gets in the way even more, since nothing else is visible, not even the taskbar.

    I very often use the Start Menu, and not always because I want to launch a new program and forget about the current one. That would be true only if all applications were full screen, and my music player or my IM program surely isn't. I might want to log into my MSN account while typing this post, for instance. The current Start Menu is unobtrusive, and allows for efficient multitasking. This is further helped by the search feature, which usually finds the program I want at first guess.

    Isn't there a trend detectable here? The "Start screen" is good if you usually use just one or two programs at a time, all of them on full screen. I might be mistaken, but that suspiciously reminds me of a tablet. Ergo, the Start Screen is great as a tablet interface, but not as great, to put it mildly, as a desktop interface.

    Why is the Win8 team trying to keep the two "faces" of Windows 8 together at this particular point so desperately? Basically everything else is separate. We have two IEs, one with plugins, one without, two user interfaces which feel mind-breakingly different… if this is really the way you want to go, why don't you go all the way? Have a Start Menu for the desktop mode, and a Start Screen if the user is in Metro-world. You can still put some switch into them which morphs one into the other, if you are trying to make this behave as some kind of bridge between the two experiences, which is perhaps what you seem to be doing, I'm not sure.

    With the separation of Metro and desktop, you admitted that Windows can't be everything at once. Why not admit the same for the Start Menu?

  43. Chimel says:

    @harsha g Snap is just for Metro apps, right? And it just splits the screen or multiple monitors' screen between 2 apps, hardly an improvement on my current multitasking of resizable movable overlappable windows.

  44. Alice Steinglass [MSFT] – What about Multi-Touch Gesture track pads (e.g. Logitech TouchPad) & Multi-Touch Gesture Mice (Microsoft Touch Mouse). Will these be natively supported?

  45. Eric Malamisura says:

    I'm sorry but there should absolutely be folders, Apple tried this same approach with iOS and it becomes evident very quickly that you need some organization methodology.  Placing apps at the end of the list is unacceptable, what should happen is I can have a folder, when I open it I get a new view with live tiles, etc. of all the applications in that folder.  Heck don't even name it folder, name it 'View' or something but I definitely prefer organization over search, its the way I work.  If I wan't live tiles for certain apps I will leave them out of the folder, and even if they are in a folder, its one click away to see that folder view.  It also has the added benefit of organizing similar views of live tile data, for instance I could have a 'View' called 'Business' and have Analytics for my site, AdRevenue, Invoice Tracking, etc. and get a glance of all this like information extremely quickly from just the live tiles…

  46. Of course we are in early stage developments, for now seems better than old start menu,more space for apps and programs, live tiles give you a glance what are you doing before with alt+tab or win+tab, if the live tiles are going to be interctive with opened apps or music playing, is going to be a very useful feature.

    Let's wait and see… for now is looking good so far…. 🙂

  47. Eric Malamisura says:

    The multi-monitor scenario needs to be drastically improved as its currently absolutely awful!  I mean why should I have three monitors if I can't effectively use them using the Metro Start Menu? I mean seriously? Thats a deal breaker for me right there….

  48. Harry Johnston says:

    @Dan, one solution in your scenario is multiple accounts.  My laptop has a work account, a personal account, an account used only for online banking, and of course an admin account.  They're all me, but by differentiating I can configure each context the way I want it.

  49. I'm all for the Metro UI, the old Start Menu is clumsy; I pin all my programs to the W7 Task Bar, now with Metro things are improving! Kudos.

  50. Ian Easson says:

    Something struck me as I was reading the beginning of this post, when you used the word "dashboard".

    That, at least to me, is a far better and more understandable description of what you are trying to do.

    So, as a marketer, I think that you should consider re-labeling the "Metro Start Screen" as the "Metro Dashboard".  If you did this, I think a lot of people would twig to what you are trying to do.

    Just a suggestion.  You don't need to pay me for it.

  51. Jayme Edwards says:

    Honestly if you just added rounded corners to the content/app selections, this UI would look a whole lot better. And round the topleft/bottomleft corners of the system menu panel on the right, round topleft/topright for bottom appbar, bottomleft, bottomright for top appbar etc. Just taking the square edges off this design will make it look much more organic. Otherwise the simplicity and focus on content is great.

    Just one fools opinion.

  52. Rildon Panker says:

    I really like the new start screen, but I do hope the icons for non-Metro apps will be reimagined…at least for the standard Windows things like Task Manager.

  53. Robert Levy says:

    We were told at BUILD that only Metro apps can have live tiles and that Metro is not for enterprise applications.  That's in conflict with this post.  Does this mean desktop apps will be able to have live tiles in the beta release?

  54. Robert Levy says:

    We were told at BUILD that only Metro apps can have live tiles and that Metro is not for enterprise applications.  That's in conflict with this post.  Does this mean desktop apps will be able to have live tiles in the beta release?

  55. DaMarico F. says:

    I've been wishing you guys would do two things with the desktop. First bring the Metro elements to icons, desktop applications, and the task bar; get rid of Aero or match it to the start screen. Second move the start menu functionality over to the charms area. Other than that good job

  56. Artiantil says:

    Not everyone uses a tablet. The Metro UI fails with a keyboard and mouse. You are reducing efficiency. 8|

    The Metro UI is useless, plain and simple.

  57. @ steven sinofsky

    I know where to find Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Acronis True Image, Faststone Capture, My TomTom and so many other programs that I use in Windows 7.

    They are 1 click away via the start button without hiding the work that I am doing.

    And those that I have not put directly under the Start button are under Start button/All programs.

    I do not need a full screen start menu fort that purpose that hides my workdesktop each time that I need to use it.

    You wrote "So, as evidence mounts that the menu hasn’t kept up with the modern way in which we use our PCs today"

    I honestly doubt that you really (want to) know how professional business staff uses their computer.

    The new startscreen is good for people who are passing their time on the internet, in social chat groups, etc.

    Anyway, I know pretty well how I (have to) use my desktop in a professonal business environment and I am pretty good at it.

    I don't see any possibility to attain the same speed, accuracy and efficiency with that Massive Obtrusive Full Screen Start Screen of yours (that is not even nice to look at) in front of my nose all the time.

    I know (now already) that it will never come on the desktop computers of our workspace.

    I agree that there is a lot of work to be done till the beta, but the design behind the whole thing will not allow to make it right for desktops meant to do serious business work.

  58. John says:

    A better way is make quick launch "apps" that can stacks (can create category) most used apps near show desktop after the "clock and date".

    Like this app (se-traymenu):

    http://www.chip.de/…/7c53c0abcc4e62bb.jpg

  59. yourfavoriten3rd says:

    I know exactly what Microsoft is doing here, they are becoming apple. Now i certainly mean no disrespect (being called a supporter of apple in my house is a bad thing) but unlike all of us who commented, the general public of america is dumb. face it. they need something, pretty, simple, and shiny to please them, just like what Apple churns out. However Microsoft has done better. They married the pretty shiny, with the same performance of windows 7. I have no doubts that this will definitely appeal to the general public, and perhaps when people get used to metro, they might even start buying Windows Phone 7's. Its a very smart strategic move albeit, the people who DO know what they are doing might not be happy, however you must remember that we make up a very small percent of the population of this world.

  60. @Shkyrockett – You were asking if you could turn off the tiles? Yes, we don’t want to force you to look at anything that you don’t want to see.  We designed the Start Screen to put you in control of your launcher. If a tile has something you want to see (such as the game score, stock quotes, recent wall post, etc.), you can choose to have it large. Or, you can choose to make it small. You can also choose whether an app is something you want to pin on the front of your Start screen or, if you don’t want to see it, you can unpin it and access it through Search instead.

  61. @ Robert Levy – Thanks for your comment. Metro style apps will be able to have live tiles. We expect to see Metro style apps for both consumer and enterprise audiences.  Desktop applications will not have live tiles.  For more information check out Kip Olson's talk from //build on Ch. 9 titled "Using live tiles and notifications".

  62. Isaac Barrett says:

    Huge windows 8 fan, but I'm not buying this.  

    Take the SQL Server or Redgate tools folders for example.  There are numerous programs in these folders, including profiler, business intelligence studio, integration services, configurations, and many many more.  I only use these occasionally and I definitely don't know the names of all of these.  Adding up all of sub application links among all of my programs and you’re talking about several hundred programs.  It is critical for me to be able to find the one I'm looking for in a matter of seconds and using the Windows 8 Metro start screen (which I love) I don't even know how to find it.  The application search looks great for applications, but not trivial Programs.  If I'm working in several programs at the same time I have to be able to quickly open up a needed program, say notepad, without going to a completely different screen.  There's no way in hell I want notepad as a tile on my start screen.  

    Getting rid of the start menu simply DOES NOT WORK and it won't work for my organization.  I want metro, but I also want to be able to freaking find my application and sub-applications.  With the Windows 8 Preview I can't do it and it would really piss me off in a work environment.  

    Please readdress this from a traditional desktop users point of view.  I don't want to have to pin the freaking programs folder to my taskbar.  It would be so pointless and stupid.  Re-engineer the start menu, but have a desktop version and a metro version, don't try to combine them.

  63. @Eric Malamisura – You were asking about folder support.  We aren’t calling them folders, but we want to enable you to organize your apps into groups in the way you are describing.  For example, you could have a group called ‘Business’ which includes AdRevenue, Invoice Tracking, etc.  In the current Developer Preview Build, you need to scroll past all your groups to get to this group. But, we are enabling zoom as a way to instantly collapse your groups and expand into a particular group.  This means that you will be able to launch your most frequently used programs with a single click on the main screen of Start.  You will be able to zoom out with one click and then zoom in on your Business group and go instantly to the Invoice Tracking software.  Similarly to folders, the groups are flexible to fit as many (or as few) apps as you want into a group.

  64. Alice Steinglass [MSFT] – If not groups, then what about HUBS like Windows Phone?

  65. It make me sick to listen to all those weak minded people who complaint about the new "Start menu".

    I personally use windows8 dev prev. everyday as a mean to learn the new APIs. I found the new metro UI to be sooo much more efficient than the old start menu.

    Of course it took me a couple day to get use to it, of course at first i cursed it

    I do hope Microsoft will have the balls to keep it that way and improve it. Meto UI is the natural evolution of windows.

    Stop beeing affraid, and try it, learn it, things are changing,evolving,accept the challenge.

  66. @ Alice Steinglass

    What if people do not want to see tiles at all ?

    What if people want to keep their Windows 7 start menu (that they already organized) by a simple click on the Windows 7 desktop start button ?

  67. Jote says:

    @Isaac Barrett: very interesting point, but I doubt Microsoft is going to address your concerns.

  68. @ Alice Steinglass

    What if people do not want to see tiles at all ?

    What if people want to keep their Windows 7 start menu (that they already organized) by a simple click on the Windows 7 desktop start button ?

  69. @Robert Levy – Metro is definitely something that enterprise applications can use.  We are already building Metro tools for our internal use on the Windows team.  For example, we have a bug tracking tool that includes a live tile that gives me at an at-a-glance view of my team’s bugs.

    You also asked if Desktop apps will have live metro-style tiles?  From Marina Dukhon’s comment from yesterday:  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.

  70. mt327000 says:

    I have two more suggestions for the Start Screen:

    1. Create an "apps" menu that is the equivalent to the "All Programs" menu on the Start Menu. You may think that folders hide functionality and items, but this simply isn't true. Isn't navigating through Start Screen folders easier than navigating through a long list of unrelated apps?

    2. Create a Start Screen equivalent to the User Folder, Documents, Pictures, Music, Video, Control Panel, etc. that currently exists on the Start Menu. This is one of my favorite features in Windows XP, Vista, and 7, and the removal of these buttons is a nightmare when it comes to using Windows 8.

  71. mt327000 says:

    My idea for the Metro UI and Start Screen in Windows 8 is this:

    1. On desktops, boot up to the desktop, not the Start Screen. For many people, the Start Screen only adds an extra step between starting up the PC and using the computer, as we now have to open the Desktop, still the primary way of using Windows 8, manually. Despite Microsoft's best efforts, I still see the desktop in Windows 8 as the primary UI, and it should load by default. When the Start Button is clicked, load the Start Screen with a dimmed desktop in the background.

    2. Let users run Metro-style apps in a fixed-size window or something similar.

  72. Chimel says:

    "you can unpin it and access it through Search instead"

    That's hardly efficient, I don't even know or remember the names of all the apps I am using.

    Just in the multimedia group, I have links to several media players, audio and video editors, converters, MP3 properties editors, subtitle editors and what not.

    Apps are too important not to be organized into categories or folders.

    There must be a way to represent the exact same apps structure under 2 different Desktop and Metro GUI.

  73. Wouldn't it be better to keep that start menu in Desktop Mode and keep all legacy apps there? Since, when you click on a legacy app in Metro Mode, it flips back over to Desktop Mode. Also, the fact that the legacy icons look ugly in Metro mode, and they have no live tile function.

  74. Mr Ons says:

    No! No! No!  This kind of crap does not work in the enterprise!  Menu's and Folders are logical, Consistent, and easy for task workers to use.  Every time a change is made for the sake of change, users suffer.  One of the reasons we have been slow to adopt newer versions of Office and Windows is the difficulty in supporting Ribbon bars and Buried menus over the phone.  The interface to Windows 95 was really good.  Monkeying around with it has made the user experience worse.

  75. Silhouette says:

    After using the Windows Previews, when I'm in Windows 7, I keep catching myself moving the cursor to the bottom-left corner and remembering that it doesn't hover, and also moving the cursor to the left side to switch to TweetDeck or Windows Live Messenger or something. Heh.

    Must be doing something right. 😛

  76. Simon says:

    Thanks for explaining the thinking behind the new Start screen. I can imagine it works very well on smallish tablet devices. However, after using it on my desktop with a keyboard and mouse for a while I'm not so convinced about that scenario. I hit a few key stumbling blocks:

    1) Switching between the desktop and the start screen is highly disruptive to my workflow. It feels like I am switching between two computers (echoing the comments above). *Especially* if the Start screen is meant to replace the notification area you can expect users to often take a peek at what's new, without meaning to switch tasks.

    2) Using a mouse (trackball in my case) I end up making *many* more mouse kilometres on the start screen. Bottom-left to click the 'settings' charm, and 'power' all the way on the right, bottom-left to call up the start screen and click an app icon on the top right, etc. I realize that there are keyboard short-cuts for some of this, but my friends and family members won't. Fundamentally, the 'close to your thumbs' design philosophy doesn't translate well to situations where you have only one pointer, such as a mouse.

    3) Too big. Launching the start screen makes my want to move further away from my 21" screen because the information is splattered across my display with such a low density.

    For desktop/mouse users it would be great if there were options to modify the start screen in the following ways:

    a) When the start screen is launched from the desktop make it an overlay, perhaps with a (semi-)transparent background to preserve continuity.

    b) Bring up the charms menu from the lower right corner as well, so that the settings and search panels are within reach.

    c) Option to have smaller tiles (before zooming out) to show more of them on the same screen.

  77. Not really sure how start screen (context switch) works for me, I will wait for Beta to experience. But one thing is very clear, need to improve search functionality in Win8 start screen.

    Typing "cmd" in start screen, well opens up the right app. How about typing "sleep" where I want to change sleep settings, today the experience is not good. First it lists "sleep" apps, not sure what if it has zero results. But I have to go to settings section to find right sleep settings. The experience is great in Win7 whether you type "cmd" or "sleep".

    You may want to add section "ALL" to match Win7 search results. After having that, if you really think it makes more sense to have "apps", "settings", etc sections (silos), you keep it; otherwise just remove it and that simplifies search experience.

  78. Billy King says:

    The reason start->search works for me in Windows 7 is because I'm not *just* searching; I'm *also* searching. I've got my video or my document, and then I have search. One doesn't overtake the other.

    What if I've got a web browser open to a video on my secondary monitor and I want to open a word document on the primary? Will I be taken from my video to the search results for "Word?"

    What if I'm building a website and I need to pull up command prompt? Will I be taken from my code?

    If I'm using 3ds Max and I choose to look for online help, will I have to temporarily leave Max to get to my web browser?

    Sure, the current implementation is a bit small, and sometimes it runs out of room, but usually it doesn't. Why not just add a scroll bar, or have the search box expand horizontally or vertically when it overflows?

    And then there's the time after I finish searching. By the time I've pressed 'enter,' my attention has already shifted back to my already-open windows. If I'm taken to a separate screen, I have to reacquaint myself with my already-running applications before I can proceed. Where on the screen did I stop typing? Where's the address bar?

    I understand the reasoning behind the design, and I appreciate the desire to have a unifying interface between devices, but I think we can do better. Mouse, keyboard, touch… we use them all differently, and I feel like the current design tries too hard to be a jack-of-all-trades. "It is great for touch, and also works with keyboard and mouse." Wouldn't it be better to deliver two distinct interfaces that are both fantastic at what they do, instead of one that is great at one thing and "works" with another? Why should we try to create identical software interfaces for such nonidentical hardware interfaces?

    I believe there's a way to design different interfaces to be intuitive – a user who knows one knows them all – without being literally identical.

  79. do what ever is ok, just dont make us re learn the system, that will be a HUGE problem for business users, or those who have known the system for so long. (over 1 billion or more users globally), but i still think the tiles should on the desktop backround, like classi icons on the desktop, and window feel or look when each application is on.

  80. johnny says:

    I think the metro apps should have an option to close, because some while suspended and closed when they are not in use continue to consume ram, I think also the option "power" should be a more appropriate location like the start button options.

  81. Microsoft Bob, anyone? 😀

  82. Alex says:

    I am hopeful but still skeptical. First, I would like to say that I do love the concept of a Metro dashboard. What I am not sold on is the critical user experience of bouncing between the desktop and the dashboard. On the tablet, I can see people living in the Metro world the majority of the time, just like on Windows Phone. On the desktop, people will live in the traditional desktop most of the time and treat the start screen as a temporary dashboard that they will pull out when they need it. I think the start screen needs to recognize this and modify itself to suit that role better when on a desktop computer.

    I also wanted to mention two things:

    1) Take away everyone's touch screen/tablet at Microsoft. Make all of the devs, PMs, marketing guys, etc use Windows 8 daily with a mouse and keyboard. Fix the usability issues.

    If you really focus on polishing mouse+keyboard usage, the start screen might work. I am anxious to get my hands on the beta that has all of the customization improvements and better mouse+keyboard support. That will be the most telling in terms of whether or not the start screen will work for non-tablets.

    2) Like everyone else, I feel that moving from the desktop to the start screen is jarring. The start screen takes over for a brief second knocking you out of context.

  83. Stephen McLaughlin says:

    1) What are all those smiling people? Are they part of an incomplete online buddy list? Images I've opened recently? What happens when I click on them? there's no context at all.

    2) Two different weather bars and Two different stock trackers. Why on earth aren't these grouped?

    3) Looks like a pair of ads in the center row there. Will users actually have control of everything that appears here? I doubt it.

    4) The twitter and email tiles use all that space for single messages. So wasteful.

    In all, this looks like you are replacing a Start Menu that suffered from overcrowding too many tiny items into a small space by creating a Start Screen that is overcrowded with too many huge and uninformative items in a massive, yet poorly utilized space.

  84. @johnny

    there will be a way to close Metro apps (other than the Task Manager). Alice revealed this in her previous post.

    "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.)"

  85. Jimmy Curious says:

    "Windows 8 requires a 1024 x 768 minimum resolution for Metro style apps."

    Netbooks have a 1024 x 600 resolution, what will happen to netbooks?

  86. Joao M Correia says:

    Just as an example of how wasteful the new start screen is, in a 27" screen, if it was 10x smaller, it would still be larger than the current start menu AND at the same time, less useful because it has way less information and functionality.

    This is stupid, but i'm begging you, don't shoot yourself on the foot with this… put a switch in the code.

  87. Sean says:

    It seems to me that this start screen is in the wrong place. When I hit the Start button I’m looking for a program that is infrequently used or else going to change some setting in the control panel. I keep my frequently used programs on the taskbar in Win 7 or on the desktop in previous versions of Windows.

    I agree with a lot of what Dan said. I think that the desktop needs this, not the Start menu. There already is a mechanism in place for doing this in a Windows 7 type UI. There is a Start button in the lower-left corner and a show desktop button in the lower-right. I like to be able to see what programs are running or see/ confirm that I have a good wifi signal by just glancing at the taskbar. If you want to hide/ show it maybe that could be just a swipe up/down at the bottom of the screen and make the app truly full screen. I envision an implementation similar to Active desktop. I really liked the ideas behind Active Desktop back in the day. The problem was that most people had dial-up so you weren’t always online. Now most everyone with a computer has an active connection to the internet. Perhaps it’s time to resurrect Active Desktop in a more modern, polished form.  There are a plethora of gadgets for the Win 7 desktop including weather, twitter, RSS feed readers, etc. Turn the gadgets into live tiles and integrate them further into the desktop. Then you can just click/ tap to bring up a full-screen version, just like the Win 8 start screen.  It would be at the very least a bit more evolutionary than revolutionary.

  88. Robert4WPF says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing"

    This is so wrong it is scary, and if you really believe this it explains a lot.  The whole point of overlapping windows is that we can multitask efficiently by mixing apps.  The old style startmenu is better mainly because it is NOT fullscreen.  This one app at a time thing (or one and a sidebar, a very slight improvement) is exactly why Metro will not replace the desktop for business and power users.

    Similarly, the lack of folders is totally missing the point of the old start menu.  We need them to organize our INfrequently used applications.  Search is not a real substitute because we don't always know what we are looking for, hence the need for logical grouping.  (ie can you name all of the tools installed with Visual Srudio?  I can–because I just looked in the Start menu).  The groups available in the new Metro start screen are a poor substitute.  Sometimes I WANT to bury things until I need them, instead of cluttering up the ui. it would also be nice to *** folder on the first start page so I could access a particular set of apps with a single click instead of scrolling or zooming out then clicking.

    One thing I have wondered, why not allow the start menu to dock on the side like any other app, and allow making that the default view for the start button?  In that view make the default zoom level Groups, use vertical scroll, and always show the search tool–that would actually make a great fully customizable replacement foe the start menu.

  89. Sean says:

    Another thing that I think would help with the evolution of the start menu, is to (at least have the option to) force installer programs to conform to some sort of convention for making shortcuts. i.e. all games should go in a games folder. Right now you can have a “Microsoft Games” folder, an “EA Games” folder, a “Starcraft” folder and 3 others. Then there’s also a folder for VLC, iTunes, Nero, etc. that all could go in a multimedia folder.  When you open the all programs option in the Win 7/Vista menu, it is difficult to find anything because you have to scroll if you have more than a half-dozen programs installed. I think that “all programs” should be completely categorized into a hierarchy to make everything easier to find when you are graphically traversing it. There should be no direct shortcuts to a program on the base level (the list when you first open all programs). So many installers put shortcuts there, assuming that I use them. (I’m looking at you Acrobat Reader. When I need to open a pdf, I have a file sitting in front of me in a folder somewhere or I’m inside a browser) If you use a program frequently it should be pinned to the taskbar, if it is only semi-frequently it should show up when you first open the start menu in the frequent programs list.

  90. IT-Manager says:

    Metro might be good for tablets and attractive to the consumer market, but it's an upgrade killer for the business market.

    Please provide an alternative true Win7 personality, which can be configured as the default, so that business can roll out Win8 and not have to deal with lost productivity as users ***, moan and otherwise come up with excuses why they can't get their job done.

  91. Don says:

    Candy tiles are for tablets, not desktops.

  92. The ONLY way to convince the DOUBTERS/HATERS of the usefulness of the new start menu is when official & useful live apps have been released (along with various tweaks).

  93. Why cant I post??? says:

    Let me give another vote for putting that Metro thingey to the desktop instead if the Start Menu! Sean is right. Merge Icons, Live Tiles and Gadgets to something really new and really useful!

  94. Why cant I post??? says:

    Let me give another vote for putting that Metro thingey to the desktop instead if the Start Menu! Sean is right. Merge Icons, Live Tiles and Gadgets to something really new and really useful!

  95. Andrew Fong says:

    Will the Search Contract and other WinRT features be available to browser apps? For example, if I wanted to search Wikipedia from the start menu, would I have to download a Metro-style Wikipedia app? Or could Wikipedia enable search by embedding certain tags within their site?

  96. @johnny We have plans to support closing Metro style apps without going to Task Manager and will be discussing details in an upcoming post.

  97. Wolf says:

    Back to My orginal Question~ Metro App Requirements Minimal 1024×768

    what with the odd screen requirements for metro Apps and Metro "Snap"

    All. yes ALL major netbooks have a screen Resulution of 1024×600@60 (WideScreen) Not only can no one Metro Snap StartScreen beside Desktop. NO Netbook User can even use a Metro App.

    Second, Why is 1366×768 Consider WideScreen and alowe Metro Snap ti desktop when 1360×768 is not consider widescreen and there for unable to metro snap?

    All 15.1 15.4 and some 16.4 Inch laptop all use 1360×768 for there widescreen native Resulutions but are unable to Metro Snap?

    I personly have a 26in WideScreen Display that has a native Resulution of 1360×768@60 via HDMI and Im not able to Metro Snap to desktop.

    Im dispointed. I Bealive the minimal Screen Requiment should be 800×600 for metro apps and NO minimal Requirment to metro Snap.

    One should be able to snap Metro App and StartScreen to desktop no matter what there Screen Size is.

  98. Anonymous says:

    😮

    Look at figure 1, a call app!

  99. @Wolf – Google/Bing and download 'Windows 8 Snap Enabler' ….click 'Enable Snap Feature', reset your machine…n c how Snap works for you on ur current resolution…and you will understand why Microsoft has set the minimum requirement.

  100. @SCOOBY_666UK Multi-touch track pads and multi-touch mice can be used as with Win 7. Note, that there are some known bugs we're tracking with mouse wheel and multi-touch track pad not always working in the Windows Developer Preview build. We are also looking at ways of improving scrolling for single touch track pads, mice and pointing sticks.

  101. Stephen Kellett says:

    You're completely missing the point.

    #1 What if I don't know what is on the machine? How do I find that file. With XP/Vista/7 I just open the menu and browse.

    #2 I don't want to go back to the full screen Metro Start screen. I want to stay with the screen the way it currently is, open the start menu, launch the program I want and continue with the screen as it was before (with the new application running). I don't want to be back in Metro land, having been dropped out of my Windows desktop (which *IS* where I and many millions of other enterprise folk will be working).

  102. Xarismata says:

    I love it. Looks much better, and being a user of windows phone, I can't wait for the metro future of windows and it's apps.

  103. Wolf says:

    @SCOOBY_66UK

    I have thanks.. And it works decent for me. Though I wish it I didn't need a 3rd party to enable the feature.

    on the Netbook 1024×600 the desktop looks a bit small but its still useable. On 1360×768 it works perfect. since 1366 vs 1360 is only 6 pixels less is no big loss at all

  104. Wolf says:

    But I still beleave that all Metro App minimal Requirements Should be 800×600. The Current 1024×768 Leave out  90% of all netbook user makes WinRT useless for netbook users. What would be the point of the startscreen if one can not even use Metro Apps or display live tiles?

  105. @Chantal Leonard [MSFT] – Thanks for the info….hopefully Laptop Manufacturers will start using Multi-Touch Trackpads as standard with their Netbook/Notebooks…as it will really improve the experience with the Windows 8 METRO UI.

    This also means I'll be purchasing the new Logitech TouchPad (if they're available in the UK), if not…then I'll get a Microsoft Touch Mouse 🙂

  106. John says:

    Agreed with Sylvan. Without innovation (MS would be forever stuck doing the same old things the same old way), windows will lose the market share to android OS or IOS =)

    The start menu has been since windows 95. Its time to let go.

  107. Wolf says:

    @MSFT

    Windows 8 Dev on my Aspire One-D257, 10.1, Atom Intell 1.66, 2GIG DDr3 Intel GMA 3150 @ 1024×768 + VGA/VGA On 26in  @ 1360×768.

    Video here http://www.youtube.com/watch

    I Personlly uninstalled all Metro Apps due to face NON would load on Native 1024×600.

    Also I unable to Snap at 1360X768 on 26in WideScreen Display.

    I Stong beliave this still need to be reconisder for requirements. Let the user snap at any screen size and let us netbook user enjoy Metro Apps and Live tiles at a native res 1024×600.

  108. Bydia says:

    I like most of what I see and have tried with windows8.

    What I miss with the Start Menu is "Context".  In previous versions of windows related programs from a "Company" were "Grouped" together in a folder… giving me at a glance the items from that Company.  Now it's scattered in the alphabetical order.

    Searching didn't work for me as I had 10s of thousands of items to search.. took forever.

    To fix the Apps view, just add a second view like other Metro apps.

  109. Wolf says:

    Error above thats Native 1024×600 For netbook screen size

    Sry no edit button

  110. @Xarismata – Generally, Windows Phone users can understand/ see the beauty of the METRO UI…pity theres so few 🙁 Using METRO UI is not the same as seeing it in action on YouTube.

    Once real/useful LIVE functional Metro apps have been released…then ppl will understand/see the beauty of the new Metro UI

    @Wolf – I also tried SNAP on a netbook…although it's useable…its far from ideal….though it is much better on my 32" 1080P Desktop Screen…a world of a difference really 🙂

  111. Bydia says:

    Make the snap view, the next Phone 8 view (with Windows 8 as the OS for the next phone).

    I want Phone 8 to go from Phone to Tablet like Asus PadPhone… then to Desktop when I plugin Keyboard, mouse and HDMI Monitor.

  112. Brandon says:

    I love metro, but only on tablets. For desktops and laptops people NEED the option for the classic start menu.

  113. Wolf says:

    @ SCOOBY_666UK

    of coruse larger Displays and Screen Resulutions will looks better No matter what you do but that dose not mean a feature or a Appliction should NOT RUN on lower/smaller screen.

  114. mt327000 says:

    It is true that launching a new app DOES NOT mean that I am leaving the thing that I am currently doing. I don't know whether Microsoft thinks that Windows users use only one app at a time or not, but this is simply not true. Just because I launch Adobe Photoshop doesn't mean that I'm not also using Microsoft Word, and just because I open the Start Menu doesn't mean that I'm not also looking at something that I'm doing in another wiindow. Ultimately, as time goes on, the fundamental flaws in the Metro application model on desktops will be revealed, I'm sure. Metro just doesn't offer the same power and flexibilty that Windows does. When users begin to mentally separate Windows 8 into "Metro" and "Windows," rather than "Metro" and "Desktop," this reveals some problems with the existing Metro UI. Please restore the regular Windows 7 usage model for Windows 8 on desktops and let users run Metro apps in a window. Really, Metro feels like an add-on layer rather than a new Windows shell. It prevents users from accessing the actual system until they click on the "Desktop" tile. This is a mistake, in my opinion. If I could post a video comparing Windows 7 to Windows 8 demonstrating how I use the two systems, I would, but this is not possible right now.

    If you are planning on doing any further usabilty testing, ask someone who really knows Windows 7 and and has worked with Windows 8 to use the two operating systems back to back, and compare the usage model for both operating systems. The results might be surprisng.

  115. @Bydia – In the next beta build….on the new start menu, you will be able to create groups of apps….and be able to see all ur groups by using the zoom out function to get to the group u want…currently this is not enabled in the developers preview.

  116. Cheung says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing"

    Wrong assumption.

  117. @Stephen McLaughlin – the tiles that you’re seeing in these screenshots are from one person’s machine that was populated and customized using the sample apps that have been built for the Developer Preview.  The smiling people are secondary tiles that were added by the user from their Socialite application.  Secondary tiles is a feature that lets you create new tiles from within metro-style apps to provide quick access to specific content within an app and, just like normal tiles, can be lit up with live content (e.g. you can imagine how these can be your favorite friends and the tiles could show you status changes for them directly on your Start screen.) They are not automatically added to Start – we believe in letting you control this UI and customizing it the way you want. Only the apps that you install and secondary tiles that you add yourself will be added to the Start screen.

    The 2 different weather and stocks tiles are also examples of secondary tiles. These were added because the user was interested in seeing up-to-date live tile information for these specific stocks and cities on their Start screen at a glance. The Stocks sample app can show you a set of 5 different stocks and cycle through their latest stock prices within the app tile – secondary tiles let users see one particular stock without waiting for it to cycle into view. You can also imagine an app being built that shows you all of the stock info in one tile without cycling for more info. And the two tiles that I think you’re seeing that look like they could be ads are actually a couple of music album secondary tiles from the Music app – these would launch the Music app and start playing the corresponding album for you.

  118. oops… yes, I want more rectangles…. moooorrreee

  119. tvald says:

    For program search, can Windows 8 use an adaptive algorithm like Launchy (www.launchy.net)?  It's so convenient to be able to launch most programs with a couple of keystrokes.  (And it's much easier than remembering an arbitrary mapping from hotkeys to programs.)

  120. Artur says:

    horrible simply horrible.

    this metro crap should be optional hidden somewhere in add-ons. this is the worst UI i ever seen for a desktop.

  121. mt327000 says:

    I am wondering something.

    Why does the Start Screen and Metro UI hide the desktop by default? Despite the changes made to the user interface, I still spend almost all of my time in Windows 8 in the desktop.

    I still don't see why Metro apps can't be run in a window. If you can move the desktop to make room for Metro elements, Metro elements can certainly be run in a window in the regular Desktop UI. The only reason for not doing so is to force Windows users to adopt a touch-centric, phone-like experience on a PC, or because there is not enough time in the next year to implement this much-needed feature. Hopefully, there is enough time to make changes like these. Otherwise, many technical and semi-technical users will try to abandon Metro entirely.

  122. @Bydia You asked for better grouping in the Apps view. We’re planning some improvements to better represent related shortcuts and will be detailing the changes in an upcoming post.  

  123. @Marina Dukhon [MS] –  Hopefully I'll be able to use the secondary tile function to quickly access Live TV/EPG Guide 🙂

    Users currently spending more time in the Desktop UI than the Metro UI is to be expected – There are currently no Metro apps at the moment remember….so why would you spend time in the Metro UI?

  124. Sycraft says:

    I really do not see what Microsoft is going for here. To me, something like this speaks of being extremely out of touch with how business users actually use their computers. Go around any office, I would have to assume including Microsoft itself, and look at what you see. There's two things that are immediately apparent:

    1) Multiple monitors are real popular. It isn't just the techies that have that, it is accountants, administrative assistants, everyone. The reason is, of course, to have more going on.

    2) People have lots of things open at once. E-mail, Excel, several browser windows or tabs and so on. They switch around app to app, set them up in various arrangements to see what they need, and so on. They do not single task.

    Well this "everything full screen" idea really interferes with that. The reason the start menu and task bar works well for that environment is that it doesn't cover up all your apps. You can launch a new app easily. Likewise, the taskbar makes switching extremely easy. It will be a massive interference to have to call up an entire separate screen just to launch something, and then more so if all apps are fullscreen and have to be switched between using an alt-tab style interface (be it with keys, mouse or whatever).

    Trying to "tablet-ify" desktops is a very bad idea that I can only see blowing up and cause people to refuse to upgrade. Tablets are different devices for different tasks that demand a different UI. Desktops are what they are for a reason.

    I very much hope that MS doesn't lose sight of the enterprise world, which is really the mainstay for Windows, in their rush to jump in the tablet craze. Make a tablet interface, fine, but don't try and force it on desktops. The tablet fad will simmer down, and desktops will still be here, getting work done, as they have for decades.

    If you want businesses to use Windows 8, you need to make it work friendly, not tablet friendly.

  125. mt327000 says:

    It is true that there aren't very many Metro apps, but it is a mistake to say that there are no Metro apps at all. I have tried the News app, the Weather app, several of the games, Metro IE, and BitBox, and have come away feeling unimpressed. While it is true that these apps were written by college interns over a period of ten weeks with a changing platform, many of these apps have severe usability problems, an extreme dearth of features, or both. My use of Metro IE typically lasts about two minutes before I decide that it isn't good enough for regular use. When I watch Jensen Harris's "8 Traits of Great Metro-style Apps" video, he seems to encourage many of the design decisions that make Metro apps look bad for desktop users. The other thing I don't understand is why the desktop acts like an app. It isn't an app (there is a discussion on the forum about this), so why does it act like one? Why is the user locked into a Metro box until he or she clicks on the "Desktop" button?

  126. mt327000 says:

    Also interesting to note:

    I do not remember seeing this volume of complaints about the new UI when Office 2007 was released. Windows 8 is such a radical departure from existing versions of Windows that it might not work out.

  127. BurningOrange says:

    I may be in the minority, but I think the Metro Start screen is the best user interface since the invention of a graphical user interface for computers, whether it is for desktop or for tablets. "One scalable full screen place to see everything important at a glance with live tiles".

    I completely disagree with a lot these "metro crap is horrible blablabla" comments.

  128. Pwr usr says:

    Delta gap between the 'Start menu bar' and  'Metro Start Screen' will be a lot for many users. Providing both full fledged might be a very good option

  129. Disgusted says:

    You really are trying to move your customers to Apple or Linux, or other operating systems, aren't you?

  130. Artur says:

    I play games less and less. and if this is the new default UI, OSX here I come.

  131. DamionM says:

    If you think about it. When we went from the command prompt to windows gui we did not suddenly  jump to windows explorer when we typed DIR at the command prompt. This is the experience we are getting with the metro interface when the start button is pressed and it is jarring. We are in the desktop not metro. The charms is what should take us to metro. Leave the desktop start menu alone as it works fine and everone is happy with it.

    If windows is metro and the desktop is an app then why does the desktop's start button (that is a desktop feature) take you to metro when no other metro app does that?  The charms should just show up (somewhere either on the start menu with the other programs and the search box or on the top or right of the desktop) when you press start if it is absolutely needed but certainly not jump you to metro. Metro should be selectable from the charms.

    Also: Folders for grouping is a must or hubs or something like that.  

    All other devices metro works perfectly it's with desktops that we find the interface not to be 100%.  The desktop is for getting work done and this is done by multitasking and having multiple windows open at once. I have powershell open, 3 programs open all at the same time and across multiple monitors.

  132. 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.

  133. Blocked says:

    Why are my posts being blocked?  Is it an IE9 issue?  

  134. Blocked says:

    Maybe you should post the rules somewhere about what posts get blocked and why;  for example, are we not supposed to mention competing products like Apple iPad?

  135. Bryan S. says:

    I love the new start menu. If you ask me, it's everything a start menu should be. I really love it guys, keep up the great work. I don't even like windows phone's metro style, but I love this start menu's look and feel. It's just awesome.

    Two requests: 1. the same thing I always request: please allow an option to round the corners of the tiles a little, and 2. please let me change the background image 🙂

  136. Michael says:

    My biggest gripe with the new Start Screen is how easily it becomes cluttered, and how difficult it can be to maintain it.  For example, if you install an application that application may place a link to uninstall, a link to the readme, perhaps a link to the program folder all in the start menu under its individual folder.  In the Start Screen, those things all get spewed out as tiles on the start screen.  I installed Visual Studio 2011 and it nearly takes up a screen full with its links and applications!

  137. @Andrew Fong – the search contract and other WinRT features are available to metro-style apps only.  So for your scenario of searching Wikipedia, yes, you would need to download a metro-style Wikipedia app from the store.

  138. "I may be in the minority, but I think the Metro Start screen is the best user interface since the invention of a graphical user interface for computers, whether it is for desktop or for tablets. "One scalable full screen place to see everything important at a glance with live tiles".

    I completely disagree with a lot these "metro crap is horrible blablabla" comments."

    BurningOrange, The greater issue here is not whether the traditional start menu is better or not than big green squares.  The issue is about choice.  Choice for users, choice for developers, choice for Adobe, choice for the little guy.

    Choice has always been one of Windows' greatest qualities.  Take a peak at the Mac forums right now.  There are huge arguments going on between the Snow Leopard camp and the Lion camp about the UI.  It's hardly a secret that their product line has very little choice and while currently enjoying success there are so many things that their OS can't do.

    That is not true about Windows.  That means that Windows needs even more choice that the other guys.  Being able to operate your desktop with only the W7 UI, operate your table with Metro and maybe go back and forth on a 13 laptop is really, really important.  If there was choice in the matter there would be very little arguing.

  139. Atul Madhugiri says:

    This design is usable on a netbook or tablets but not on a 24 inch monitor. I would prefer scrolling down the start menu than moving the mouse across the whole screen every time I want to open an app.

  140. B8Blog says:

    @Blocked our second post on decorum gave the "rules".  We have consistently reminded folks that the system is completely automated.  The only time posts are deleted before publication is when the automated system (which has an algorithm not visible to us) flags them.  If a post is deemed offensive to "community standards" we delete it as fast as possible after it is published–there is no moderating of comments.

     

    I have manually checked the queue and see no automatically blocked comments at all for this post.  Two posts were manually deleted for content blatantly failing to meet community standards.

  141. @Sean Regarding your comments on organization. You highlight something we noticed ourselves with Start menu folders and that Alice touches in the post – folders tend to bury things, and give you a lot of different rocks to look under when you’re trying to browse to an app. It’s also difficult to customize the Start menu today in a way that’s meaningful or for us to use heuristics to determine how users would like to organize. You might think in terms of categories – Media, Games, another user might think in terms of workflow – Favorites, Work, Play. The way you think of your apps is entirely personal.

    With those two things in mind, we decided to make it a lot easier to customize with the Start screen and put you (the user) in control of how your apps are laid out. Group the tiles as you like, and optionally label these as well. By providing a flat view of your groups you can see up to date information for the tiles in that group (this wouldn’t be possible with collapsed folders.) To quickly navigate this flattened list you can zoom out with one click to see an at-a-glance view of groups (similar to looking at folders in a list.) As noted in the post zooming and naming aren’t available in the Windows Developer Preview build. You can also watch Jensen Harris’ //build/ talk to see a demo of this (around minute 33). If you don’t find a particular shortcut useful and would like it out of the way, you can unpin it.

    We’re also planning some improvements to better group related shortcuts in the all Apps view.  So you’ll have the choice to either browse your apps in your customized layout in the Start view where you can arrange tiles exactly the way you want, or in the Apps view which will more closely approximate the folder grouping you’re used to today.  We’ll be discussing this functionality and other aspects of Start in more detail in upcoming posts.

  142. B8Blog says:

    @JDG You were mentioning not wanting fingerprints on your monitor.

    I don't think any of us do (or on our phones)!  

    Honestly, what we are seeing very consistently are two things.  First, more and more people are touching PC screens even when they know they are not touch capable.  This comes from the fact that every other screen in daily use is touch or rapidly transitioning–phones, ATMs, cash registers, movies, gas stations, airline kiosks, package delivery handhelds, and so on.  It is only natural to expect a giant interactive screen in front of you to be touch.  A good way to see this is to watch people shopping at a computer store–you can just watch for a few minutes before people start touching a screen (and often getting disappointed).

    Second, once you do have touch on a PC you very quickly assume it is there and your own workstyle develops a model for when to use it and when to not.  Many of the environmental and task variables described in the post will be cues to your brain as to what to do.  It is really interesting to watch yourself go through this transition.  There have been a number of folks commenting in forums about using the touch machines from //build/ and finding a sense of disappointment when they return to their desktop or laptop without touch.  

    THis second fact is of course very much like what we saw with the transition to a mouse.  At first people talked about not being productive by leaving the "home row" and the problems of maintaining a mouse pad and a finicky mechanical mouse.  And everyone had spent time and energy memorizing keyboard shortcuts.  And then one day you find yoruself using a mouse even when you know there is a shortcut.  The same thing happened with right click when it was added to apps around the Windows 3.0 time.  

    No one model ever takes over completely and the availability of a multi-modal interaction with a PC makes everyone more efficient–but in a way that they choose deliberately or not, up to them.  That's another element of "no compromise".

    It will take time for the proliferation of touch.  Just as it took time for the proliferation of mice, GUI, internet, and so on.  It is still very early.  We are working to build a software foundation that works extraordinarily well today and will prove to powerful investments for the future.  I also hope in the near future, screen technology continues to improve so there are no fingerprints on my PC or monitor (or phone, ATM, gas station,…)

  143. Ryan says:

    I'm not looking forward to this. I love the Win 7 Start menu simply as a launcher (search and run, or occasionally search emails/files and then click the category/file type for more results). I've never had an issue with this, it's much faster than any older version of Windows (thanks to better indexing by default).

    The Start screen looks too disruptive – if I'm in the middle of something I don't want to be distracted by notifications, weather reports, or news feeds.  I sincerely hope you include an option to revert to the Win7 style of Start Menu. I agree with your remakrs about how the Start bar has made the Start menu less important – but that's a good thing. If you want to use more of the screen, just get it pull out to the right like it did before in XP (don't go nuts though). I don't see the great difficulty in adding more customization options to the Win7 Start menu design either – just add something like the 'Personalize' applet for the Win7 desktop that is dedicated to it.

    Just to make it clear, I will not be using the Start screen unless (1) I'm bored and am looking for info (timewasting), or (2) I purchase a tablet PC.

    Thanks for keeping us up-to-date with your plans, ideas, reasoning, and stats from the current and older versions of Windows – it's been a good read so far.

  144. domenicoav says:

    Any video ?

  145. Yepster says:

    Weird. Posted twice now. Followed community guidelines (twice) and post never appeared.

  146. Guillermo says:

    @Steven Sinofsky 4 Oct 2011 9:26 PM

    Yes, but do you as SS or as MS realize that "every other screen in daily use, touch or rapidly transitioning–phones, ATMs, cash registers, movies, gas stations, airline kiosks, package delivery handhelds, and so on" are OTHER than your desktop? Or your laptop? And that those are the most important to your personal life? And that you are forcing that kind of interface to machines that will not be ready for it BY THE TIME 8 ships?

    I understand the sacrifices that have to be made to bring innovation and reforge paradigms with eyes on the future, but does it even make financial sense to ignore the upheaval when it's not NECESSARY? I mean ignoring, not innovating.

    Wanna do another Vista by not caring to EASE the transition? Do you wanna give Apple that luxury again? Ok, do it. Good that it will be more interesting this time.

  147. I'm not really happy that such a simple goal – launch an app redraw my whole screen => different background => different brightness and shine => needing eyes to adapt to the new conditions twice in just a few seconds (open and close Start), which takes time in my case. Having the Start menu small, the shine is almost stable all the time, so I am more effective and stable.

    Also, I am happy having the search in Windows 7 Start menu as is, as in 99,9% cases the first or the second hit is what I wanted – no problem for me to choose the right part of the name to search (for example, I am not searching Microsoft; rather use Excel). In Windows 8 I need one more decission to express – choose I am searching for Settings instead of Apps, which I do 50% of cases.

    You are also going in opposite way than in the Office 2007 Ribbon case. You are hiding functionality in Windows 8 from the people so the need for "1001 tips with Start screen/Windows" articles are going to be needed more than today, as most functionality is not available untill a special griff is executed.

  148. Yepster says:

    Retry number 3 (maybe it deletes my post because I said I did not like the new start menu).

    I do not like the new start menu. The idea is nice but in practice it proved to be a serious productivity drain and the only reason I removed Win 8 and went back to Win 7. The current implementation feels like two UI's being bolted together and optimized for tablet use. For a desktop user, the start menu feels intrusive and weird because it is such a different UI. It reminds me of starting Mediacenter every time I hit start. It looks great on a screenshot but I found it quite cumbersome and annoying in real life. The start menu also has a tendency to quickly become a mess. I installed Office 2010 and Visual Studio and those two products alone now take up more than a page. Ability to zoom in and out is nice but the fundamental issue here is that not every icon should be displayed as a tile. This would in my opinion kill the whole idea behind tiles.  I would strongly suggest that Microsoft moves these tiles to the desktop (like gadgets) and adds a modernized start menu (as a evolution of the Win 7 implementation) on top to give users quick access to the stuff they need most. As a user, I would then click start in the lower left to quickly access my documents, pictures, programs and settings. I would click the lower right to display the background with tiles to give me snapshot information of the products installed. Make this happen and you have another Windows 8 customer.

  149. Yepster says:

    Retry number 3 (maybe it deletes my post because I said I did not like the new start menu).

    I do not like the new start menu. The idea is nice but in practice it proved to be a serious productivity drain and the only reason I removed Win 8 and went back to Win 7. The current implementation feels like two UI's being bolted together and optimized for tablet use. For a desktop user, the start menu feels intrusive and weird because it is such a different UI. It reminds me of starting Mediacenter every time I hit start. It looks great on a screenshot but I found it quite cumbersome and annoying in real life. The start menu also has a tendency to quickly become a mess. I installed Office 2010 and Visual Studio and those two products alone now take up more than a page. Ability to zoom in and out is nice but the fundamental issue here is that not every icon should be displayed as a tile. This would in my opinion kill the whole idea behind tiles.  I would strongly suggest that Microsoft moves these tiles to the desktop (like gadgets) and adds a modernized start menu (as a evolution of the Win 7 implementation) on top to give users quick access to the stuff they need most. As a user, I would then click start in the lower left to quickly access my documents, pictures, programs and settings. I would click the lower right to display the background with tiles to give me snapshot information of the products installed. Make this happen and you have another Windows 8 customer.

  150. I also agree with the previous commenter that the full screen Start makes following a steps on a web site or e-mail quite harder.

    Yes, there is a split functionality, but it does not work for everyone (1024px) and requires ability to find a non-trivial solution for trivial problem.

  151. Harshit says:

    start menu is too good but when you are launching windows 8 is there is any fixed date for launching windows  8  please answer me mister steven in next blog

    my  windows 7 displays  blue screen is there is any solution to this problem is windows 8 having this problem

  152. Can you included a notification for end users, who have a screen resolution e.g. Netbooks), which not supports METRO Style apps. Maybe after first start, because i think they would wonder why the app not work.

  153. Missing Mark Russinovich Windows 8 posts :-(( It would be also interesting reading about internal details. Especially about legacy stuff … Mark where are you??? 🙂

  154. far says:

    i think this issue can quickly be resolved by giving us our traditional start button while having out new start screen… organising different programs folders and components will be a pain in the new start screeen and yeah it will be better to have a semu transparent start menu

  155. Steven says:

    @Steven Sinofsky: I don't agree with your vision that people will expect touch support in every device. For desktop use, touch is not natural. Just try to work with one of these HP touchsmart PC's for a few hours. The touch capability seems great at first but quickly becomes annoying. Your arm gets tired from reaching out all the time, you have to sit up (or even bend over) to touch your screen and your monitor gets smudged quickly. It is nice in the kitchen, but unpractical at your desk. Just try it right now on the monitor in front of you and simulate swiping though some screens for half a minute.

    I think touch on the desktop is as unnatural as implementing touch on a TV. For a TV, people prefer a remote. For a desktop they prefer a mouse. For this reason, I also think Kinect will not succeed as a replacement for the TV remote or PC mouse (regardless the sales success it is now). Ultimately, people want quick access to their data. Waving your hand in front of a screen or touching your desktop monitor is a nice tech gimmick but ultimately less effective and convenient compared to picking up the remote or using a mouse.

    I therefore seriously hope that Microsoft seperates the tablet experience from the PC experience in Windows 8. Both have different usage scenarios and require different approaches in my view. It would be great for desktop users to have the benefit of tiles as a feature tucked away on the background/wallpaper instead of an in-your-face feature that pops-up and distracts your whenever you hit start.

  156. @Bastian92 — Thanks for the feedback.  Yes, we will add a notification for end users who are below the minimum resolution (1024×768).  

  157. evilsushi says:

    I like the metro look and feel and the touch functionality is great but the mouse needs work and power users need more functionality if it is to replace the desktop as the main place to be.

    1. While accessing the charm bar in the lower left corner is easy, it doesn't make sense to have to move all the way over to right side of the screen to make further selections.  This is a lot of mousing to get fairly routine tasks done.

    2. Swiping through open programs is just plain inefficient,  Borrow the multitasking from Windows phone, this would work well.  (But let us customize the background).

    3. Two open apps at once maybe OK for a small screen but there needs to be more flexibility for larger hi res screens.  For example for a 1080 x 1920 monitor maybe true 50/50 split and a 20/60/20 split.

    4. Desktop apps and metro apps act too differently.  When switching we just get the desktop and all the stuff on it instead a desktop with each open desktop item.  This is really inconsistent, it essentially treats the entire desktop and all running programs on it as one app.  We need to have each open program on the desktop show up when switching through apps.

    5. Remote desktop and VM functionality need to be moved to the charm bar.  Interacting with a metro app inside of metro app is really confusing and could be easily corrected by moving this control to the charm bar.

    6. Tiles need to have a smaller 1/4 size option.  This is especially true for apps that don't have any live information or for pinning people that we need quick access to but don't really care about their latest news.

    7. Quick keys, let us assign quick keys to quickly open or switch to specific apps (while in metro mode).  Similar to the win + 1 function on the desktop.

  158. wtf says:

    epic comments sensorship – now I don't trust anything you say.

  159. Anonymous says:

    Today's reality seems to be simple: Social crap has contaminated everything. Now you have to throw away a beautiful and PRODUCTIVE OS like Windows 7 and start playing with a dumb OS like it seems to be Windows 8. Optimizing everything to sharing photos, videos, Twitter and Facebook status, and all that king of narcissist garbage. Metro style goes in that direction. It will simplify that stupid behavior. You will sit on the couch, and then you will open up a social app crap and you will share nicely with the rest of the world your narcissist reality. But when you must work to make a living all the pain starts. Fighting with switching apps, fighting with finding stuff, and fighting with all that kind of things that productive people do on daily basis. But I still am confident: MS will wakes up. I hope so!

  160. While I can see that the Metro-style Start replacement works well for touch screens on small form-factor computers it will dramatically reduce my productivity on a desktop with a large widescreen monitor. I have 50 apps+folders that I visit regularly during the course of a working session. I do not now use my customized Windows 7 Start Menu (yes you CAN customize it, and do all the things Alice says are impossible, just by right-clicking on 'All Programs' at the base of the start menu and rejigging the Program Folders), Instead I now use the free Stardock Fences app which allows me to group these as immediately accessible tiles on the screen.

    I recognize the similarity between my groups of Stardock Fences and Metro Start Screen 'pages', however the one big difference which makes Fences more productive than Metro is that I can have them grouped and pinned vertically on the left hand side of my screen, leaving the right hand side free for live update gadgets and the center as a very workable 1200×1024 area — I can happily code or 3D model in this area and instantly switch what I'm doing while still keeping an eye on Live updates.  I rarely use the taskbar, it just becomes an autohide alert area.

    Metro would be much more usable for my desktop layout if it were possible to use it vertically and pin it to the side. Even better, if it can be split in two vertically scrollable areas – Live updates/gadgets in one area and app, folder/file  launching in another leaving me a large area of working screen real estate in the center.

  161. Wolf says:

    @ Alice Steinglass [MSFT]

    A better idea would force all developers to makesure all Metro App for wil a minimal Screen Size of 800×600. Iimiting metro apps to only 1024×768 will cut out all netbook users as well as hurt the windows App Store.

    I have some Real Footage of Windows 8 Snap Working WELL on Screen Size of 1024×600 and 1360×768.

    Once youtube gets there @ss in shape and out of read only mode I will post them…

    shows how it infact is usefull even for small screen sizes to enable Snap by Defult and not via Registery edit.

  162. gawicks says:

    I agree with someone above who said that the new start screen takes your attention off your work. Ideally  the app launcher should be out of the way and make your apps and workflow shine. The Start screen feels like a different experience and getting back to your workflow is not very intuitive. See what I mean?

    It makes a lot of sense for mobile scenarios ; Glance and go. but on the desktop this is not needed. Don't get me wrong you guys have done some awesome work on the start screen. But it's not enough . You are smart I'm sure you could think of a better no compromise solution.

  163. Gennaro Eduardo Tangari says:

    I'm sorry but still I don't like the new "start" menu and the way how to find my application.

    I agree with the fact that the new "start" menu with Metro interface is a great launcher and let me me say a great dashboard. But if you don't use your computer for "playing" only with browser or a few mobile-like app, I think the new way to find and launch application is too complicated and uncomfortable: I have tens of apps, I can arrange it in few folder into the old start menu based on the kind of applications. In this way I don't loose to much space into my monitor and I have a visual guide that help me to find apps even when I don't remember the and/or I can't write his caption into the search field.

    Metro is great for smartphone, it could be great for tablet and for launcher but give me reason to choose Windows is that I can have an operating system quite easy to use but with powerful features.

    thank you and sorry for my bad English.

  164. @Ed1P Yes, we expect some people will want even more customization. Add-ons such as Stardock Fences will still be able to operate on top of Windows 8. Thus, you can use your customized launcher along with the new Start Screen.

  165. B8Blog says:

    @Steven you mentioned "Just try to work with one of these HP touchsmart PC's for a few hours."

    Just as you should not type continuously for a few hours, or grip a mouse for a few hours, you certainly would not work with your arm held up to a screen for a few hours.   Part of the challenge in a dialog like this is painting things as extremes which we are wokring hard not to do.

    Everyone will use different modes different amounts–just as they already do today.  Just as we see here regarding the use of pointer v. trackpad, or how often alternate keyboard shortcuts are used, or toolbars v. right click, what we have consistently learned is that new UI affordances get used "at the right time in the right context".  No one is saying that anything replaces something in entirety.  No one uses one exclusively (even though Windows can use a keyboard everywhere, there are very few people who choose to avoid a pointing device of any kind).

    The examples and experiences I gave are not just my personal experience, but we've seen them repeated in labs and follow up visits, computer stores around the world, and even in the comments following the //build/ conference.  

    It might very well be that you would never touch the screen (or use right click, or shortcuts, or …) but that does not mean they are not useful to others and as we said our design goals are to accomodate the broadest set of usage types while continuing to enable new scenarios and improved productivity overall.

  166. Nedko066 says:

    Hello!

    Thank you for explaining the Windows 8 Start screen concept. I think I got your idea now – you want to replace the application launcher (Start menu) with a big scale organizer (Start screen).

    However, I still don't think that the replacement is reasonable. I just can't reach everything from the taskbar… I still use and need Start menu. The searchbar from the Start menu provides great capabilities (you can easilly find any app and easilly launch it). The problem with the small size of Start menu can be solved by letting the user to manually resize the Start menu and show the search results in multiple columns depending on the size.

    I was pleased to know that the Metro style will be in Windows 8. On my future laptop I am going to use it as a big organizer and maybe as media center. I admire the Metro style but I think that the Metro Start Screen can't replace the Start menu. Whatever you call it, pressing the Start button brings you to the Metro environment. Firstly, the Start Screen takes over the whole screen which is an obstacle for fast looking up something while observing a background app (maybe you should think over the possibility for optional resizing). Secondly, you have to admit that clicking the Start button and searching is easier than clicking the Start button, getting in Search through the Metro environment and searching.

    If you don't want to put the so called Start Screen in a Start menu pane or to start it through additional button, then at least keep the Start menu somehow. For example you could put the searchbar to the taskbar or something like this.

    I am not against changes. I like the fast boot times, the Explorer improvements and so on but I just don't find it comfortable. You know that the current concept of Windows includes Explorer, windows, taskbar, Start menu, etc. If you are going to change that concept, than at least do it gradually. I know that you are excited to present the new experience and make the user use it. Thatswhy you put the Metro style environment directly on the taskbar but think about the users that install Windows 8, click on the Start button and are confused from everything happening after that. If you ask me, let the users get used to the new Metro style by their own…

    Thank you,

    Nedko

  167. Danny says:

    I have to say I am quite happy with what I see. Having not been able to try the zoom out feature, it seems a lot of screen real estate is wasted at the top and bottom. It might be nice to have an option for it to expand by group into logical sections(per group perhaps), to take advantage of usable space.

    I do hope that there will be a good solution to the programs that want to install seemingly dozens of links to sub programs and documents. Maybe a parent program square that expands or something as well as the ability to sublink to these other objects.

    I can't wait for the beta so I can try out some of these new features!

  168. Please allow me to explain how the Start screen does not work for me:

    Launching:

    When I want to launch an app pinned on the Start screen while I am already running another app, I have to first switch to the Start screen to launch it or search again after switching first to the Start screen. Switching to the Start screen covers the app I am running. Whereas from the taskbar, I can directly click the other app's icon to launch it, no intermediate screen involved.

    Notification or at-a-glance information:

    I have to scan an entire screen full of apps and locate the app I am running and see if or what it is showing anything. By contrast, I only have to scan the taskbar from left to right to see if any app or notification is demanding attention. Most certainly, I do not want to search again to see if any app is showing notifications.

    Microsoft says the Start screen does not replace only the Start menu but also the taskbar and its notifications. Because the taskbar is always on top and always visible, I don't have to switch to anything in the first place to see the notification. Whereas, if I am running a Metro style app which is always full-screen, I have to first switch to the Start screen to see the notifications from multiple apps.

    Switching:

    Switching in the Start screen is also inferior to the way we switch on the taskbar. Dragging from the left most pixel to determine in the tiny preview what app is what and then switching in serial order is not intuitive. Heck, even Alt-Tab confuses me with its tiny previews but Alt-Tab works because it has icons too besides thumbnails. Icons are instantly identifiable. Compare that with the taskbar, where all it takes is 1 mouse click to switch once you identify the icon. And no switching in serial order is required.

    Searching:

    Exactly the point "tN0" makes. Searching is used to narrow down or filter items. It is very unlikely that users *want* to see these many search results items after they on purpose type a search term to clear out the clutter.

    For mouse/touchpad as input device:

    The pointer has to travel long distances, especially if using touchpad, it's very non-intuitive. And most touchpads are single-touch and their scrolling areas are far from the reliability the mouse scroll wheel offers for zooming. At the same time, the size of an individual tile is too big for my mouse pointer, even on the desktop I keep small icons and the Start menu also has small icons in "All Programs". This large interface is only suitable for touch-first finger oriented input devices. Zooming out will also make the tiles harder to identify.

    The Start Screen is no match for the Taskbar and does not do everything the Taskbar is capable of. So why is the Taskbar not there on the Start screen? Why do we have to switch to the desktop to access the taskbar? I feel extremely uncomfortable and not in control with the Start Screen covering the taskbar.

    Build an interface please that is smart with the input device used and which keeps users in control. The Start Menu and Start Screen do not need to be mutually exclusive. What you need to do is when the user touches the Start button, show the Start screen and when the user clicks the Start button, show the regular Start Menu. Plus, make this configurable so users can select what they want to do when clicking the Start button, touching it or hitting the Win key. Something like this: img256.imageshack.us/…/csmcustomizability.png.

    Another point to note is what if I am comfortable with the way things are and really don't have time to learn the new way of doing things? Innovation doesn't necessarily mean you have to overhaul the UI, sometimes you can evolve and build upon the existing UI too which is what works best for everyone already familiar with Windows.

  169. Chen says:

    Posting this again as it was censored the first time:

    I am very confused, is this post about the start-page for tablet-mode or is this actually what pops up when i want to open the start menu?

    1. A full screen pop up when you click the start button is initially going to scare every single person. Including the whole range of users from grandmas to hardcore sysadmins. It also seems very distracting if you are in a program and just quickly want a file that your whole screen is going to be covered. Is opening and closing the start instant? I think a start menu with the old looks but covering 95% of the screen would be way more familiar for everyone.

    2. How does drag and drop work? Can i drag a file from the start-screen to a running desktop application?

    3. How does keyboard navigation work when searching? There seems to be two menus, one X-Y menu with the actual search results and one Y-menu on the right with categories. I don't see how this can be navigated easily and intuitively with only arrow buttons. I don't want to touch my mouse at all when using the menu.

    4. Can the search also find running applications and files open in running applications? Like quicksilver does, or "switch to active tab" in firefox? As tuxplorer i would really like to see improvements to task switching, like alt-tab within the application etc.

    5. I don't see any search option for "everything".

    6. In the 5th picture showing many office-icons, why are the icons super tiny and with text describing. That's like the old start menu but in an inefficent square grid instead of a list. If you are going to use a big grid, then leverage it and show big icons.

    7. Notifications are what they sound like – notifications. They should notify you. You shouldn't have to poll them by opening the start-screen every second minute. This seems like it can easily become a huge distraction. But yeah, might be good for slow feeds such as stocks, weather and news. Seems more like a screen saver.

  170. Matti-Koopa says:

    There still Needs to be a clear visible indication that you CAN type to search in the start menu. If there is no search bar with a blinking line no one will know that. At least make a smal note at the top "Type to search" with a nice Icon.

  171. Chen says:

    btw, you'r csrf-timer on this forum is set way too low, by the time you're done reading the post you can't post any comments. You are just taken to the article again without any confirmation that your comment was received

  172. Joe says:

    My biggest gripe with windows 8 is multitasking. To switch between aps you have to swipe from the left. How about if you have 30 running aps. Do swipe you 30 times ?

    In the desktop you just click an icon and you can switch to that application. Why isnt there something similar ??? It can be somesort of  hidden bar , that you hover over and you have an list or icons of running apps and you just click or tap the one you want to switch too.

    Another concern is the dual monitor? Why isn't there an option to extend the metro start screen to the 2nd monitor ? The second monitor is autmatically set to desktop and you can't change that which is dumb. And when you launch a desktop app from the start screen, the application launches in the 1st monitor giving you 2 desktop screens. Ideally it should launch in the desktop monitor, leaving the 1st monitor

    metro styled.

  173. The metro search functionality is not efficient as it is now for the following reasons:

    1. it covers up the entire screen.  Imagine reading on a website that you need to start tool 'cl4582ers.exe' to get a certain thing done.  This is not an actual file, but it wouldn't be the first time that certain tools have incredibly meaningless or unintuitive names.  Today, I can hit 'start' and start typing WHILE looking at my browser to make sure I don't make spelling errors. Tomorrow, I'll have to switch back to desktop to double check and start over if I make a spelling mistake.

    2. To do this with a mouse, the distance that the mouse pointer is travelling is ridiculous.  First you need to got to the left bottom corner and "hoover" to get the menu (which, btw, is the ONLY place in windows where such a method is used to get to a menu – this is not good design).  Then you can start typing.  Now you need to go with your mouse to the complete opposite side of the screen to select a category.  After that, you AGAIN need to cross the entire screen all the way to the left to select an application from the list.  This is incredibly inefficient.

    3. I don't see why windows doesn't immediatly show ALL results.  Why do I need to CLICK on a category to see the results from that category?  What's wrong with listing ALL results immediatly, grouped per category and placed in some scrollviewer?  It doesn't make ANY sense.  In the current way, I can see all search results instantly.  Metro requires me to "click" through the categories.  AND it also covers up my entire screen.  Funny how a search functionality that takes up the ENTIRE screen shows LESS results at a glance then a search that only takes up about 1/6th of the screen.

    Me thinks that a lot of work still needs to be done here.

  174. Chimel says:

    @Steven Sinofsky About the blocked comments mentioned earlier, the issue is not that the system blocked them because of content filtering, but apparently because this MSDN blog just deletes any comment if other comments were posted in the mean time, between the time you started to type and the time you click on Post. There are many other suggestions in these Windows 8 blogs about auto-refresh of the comments, etc. If you didn't copy your post into the Clipboard before trying to post, there is no way to retrieve it, at which stage I assume most people just give up.

    Will the Charm bar be renamed before the first Beta? This will be terrible to localize.

  175. Wound says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    When the whole world is screaming at you "You're making a huge mistake", you really ought to stop and think. After all isn't the customer always right?

    When I first heard about windows 8 I was excited. I thought it sounded great, but the more I've read the more concerned I became, until I finally got to use the developer preview. Now I can say you really need to stop and rethink. Metro has no place on the desktop, and the start screen has to go. The problem is that the start screen is intrusive and disrupting to workflow, and the social focus which seems to be the driver has no place in a work environment. Social things are all blocked in many workplaces! I currently have about 10 windows open, of which 4 are visible over 2 monitors and notifications from other apps are visible. If any of the apps I needed were metro apps then I couldn't see the other 9! This is why I don't believe I will ever write a business metro app, except maybe for tablets, but then why should I choose windows HTML5 over apple or android?

    The other problem is that you've made a mistake in identifying the weaknesses of the start menu. Yes it's cramped but the other way of saying that is that it's an efficient use of space, with high information density and functionality within short mouse movements. This is actually a good thing. The start screen on the other hand has low information density with inefficient use of space, and functionality which requires a lot of mouse movement. This is BAD.

    If we must have metro apps, they should live inside windows and behave like good windows citizens. If we want them full screen we should be able to choose it, but as it is windows 8 is actually a gift to apple and android, and a threat to the success of Microsoft and to your career, which would be sad.

  176. Steve says:

    @Sinofsky

    You are an idiot. Seriously, you are a corporate PIG.

  177. Sergey says:

    Legacy software icons looks awful on a Start screen, Please, do something to fix it!

  178. Gatt says:

    Windows is reimagined so much with the Metro UI that we are not really seeing "WINDOWS" in it (with the exception of "Desktop"). At my first look, it looked like to be aptly called the "METROS"…

    Sad to say that Windows is not evolving, it's transformed – not yet sure whether for the good or bad !!! 🙁

  179. Dimitris says:

    For desktop we must have the classic menu and an option to use Metro.

    It is the best solution.

    No way for Metro on my desktop.

  180. Akshay says:

    The software icons look very bad and awful. Please replace it with something cool and beautiful.

  181. Win7rocks says:

    Have you forgotten everything you did in Windows 7 and wish to erase any progress after XP? Hello? Windows 7 UI was best for PCs but not fit for tablets that is why you developed the Metro UI. Now why are you forcing the reverse a.k.a. Metro UI for PCs??

  182. Sujay says:

    If the Metro UI is also envisioned as a launcher, and there exist two IEs (one in Metro and another in Desktop), how do I know which one I'm launching?

    I don't use IE and hence it is a perfect candidate for me not to pin it in the task bar. I sometimes have to use IE though for non-standard pages, and I launch it from the Start menu in Win7. How does this scenario work in Win8?

  183. Craig King says:

    @Steven

    All the devices you mention when talking about how touch screens are becoming a larger part of our lives are nothing like a PC: "phones, ATMs, cash registers, movies, gas stations, airline kiosks, package delivery handhelds".

    Of this set only phones and delivery handhelds are devices not used in passing for a moment. And both phones and delivery handhelds don't have the space for anything much more than a touch screen.

    I don't walk past my PC and use it in passing, I sit down and do work at it. I can't see a practical need for a touch screen in anything I do at my machine.

    Touchscreen work on handheld devices, they still don't make sense on machines designed for sitting down and doing work.

    By all means, include the metro interface in Windows, but give it to us in a Windows setup like the Media Center. Even allow us to boot into it, just don't make it the only way forward.

    Or to put it another way, you have had a hard enough time moving people and corporates from Windows XP to Vista and 7 (both of which had clear productivity gains). This is a step backwards that requires massive retraining, how do you expect them to respond….

  184. Drewfus says:

    @Alice Steinglass (post author): "We designed the Windows 8 Start screen so you can create a connected dashboard that keeps you in touch with all the apps, activities, places, and people you care about. … Metro style apps … provide a rich, customizable, interactive "heads-up display."

    I don't accept the dashboard analogy. Dashboards don't move around, Metro Start does. How do you get 'dashboard' out of a scrollable grid of tiles? Imagine a pilot or F1 driver using this "heads-up display" – "where was that tile?", scroll, scroll, distraction, scroll, zoom-out, "should i just search?", distraction … crash!!

    "Apps can still represent themselves with just an icon and a name. And, for certain tools, that will continue to make sense:"

    Probably the vast majority of tools, actually.

    "But, for most of today’s more relevant and connected apps, a simple icon and name is limiting, when they have so much more information they can share."

    Who's definition of relevant are we using here? Anyway, here is the fatal flaw in that analysis and in Start DP. You've decided that the best way forward for Start is to conflate two things:

    1. App launch

    2. App output

    Here is the problem; Metro tiles are too *big* as touch targets, but they are too *small* for an app canvas. Excessively large touch targets result in excessive scrolling within Start (and they look ridiculous). Conversely, suboptimally small app canvases drastically reduce the scope and readability of output. Yes compromises!

    A superior solution would be to cleanly separate the 'live' functionality from the 'launch' functionality. Divide Desktop (renamed from Start) into two left-right halves. Embed a traditional looking, but touch optimized icon + text start menu in the left half, and a Metro 'canvas' in the right half. That way users get to keep something approaching the traditonal start menu, *and* you get your live_activity_without_windowing feature, but in a decent size frame, not some mini-compromise tile. Other than the obvious opportunity to specialize each side of Desktop, there would be nice side-benefits like the ability to retain the stationary object canvas on the users lock screen (assuming appropriateness).

    "Any of these secondary tiles can be small or large, and can be put anywhere on the Start screen. They are “live,” just like app tiles, meaning that they are constantly updated with fresh and relevant content. This is a great way for app developers to provide differentiated functionality."

    This is … Active Desktop gone mad.

    "We of course considered folders, but our experience with folders broadly and in the Start menu tells us that folders are a way of burying things, not organizing them. Folders also make it impossible to see the up-to-date information an app might present."

    That is some rationalization. "Our experience" does not refer to usability testing, it refers to the fact that folders simply do not fit with the live tile paradigm – so out they go.

    "One picture we often use to talk about change is the following. The y-axis is some measure of efficiency—such as time to complete a task, seconds it takes to do something, etc. The x-axis is calendar time. If someone is proficient with something and then a change takes place, there is by definition a dip in functionality. But after an adjustment period, the metrics of success improve. The net result is that over time, work becomes more efficient, even for the same task. And combined with new tasks and capabilities there is an overall net win."

    That is not being patronizing, it just means; when you lot get over yourselves and realize how much more productive you are in Windows 8, you'll be thanking us instead.

  185. ste says:

    The start screen / metro ui is only there for two reasons:

    1 – To force users to become used to this user-interface, which would increase the popularity of windows tablets devices.

    2 – To move the Windows ecosystem towards the app store type of model, where Microsoft have a 30% cut (and 100% control) off every windows application sold.

    I don't care what they say, but this is a severe usability issue.. it's not even eye candy.

    In every response to this by microsoft drones, they're aggressivley defending the new user interface as though they know best on how we should work with our computers. We're just the users… what would we know?

    It's obvious people are not happy with it, so stop being so arrogant.

    I'm sorry, but the customer is always right.

  186. Martin says:

    @steven

    "Just as you should not type continuously for a few hours, or grip a mouse for a few hours, you certainly would not work with your arm held up to a screen for a few hours."

    Especially you guys there should know that exactly that is the reality for a majority of employees nowadays. No matter if i want or not i have to spend hours a day on Keyboard and mouse – and will continue to do so and therefore wont start using Metro in the first place. Judging from the (early!) preview Metro is far to… inefficiant to be used in a everyday manner.

    "Everyone will use different modes different amounts–just as they already do today.  Just as we see here regarding the use of pointer v. trackpad, or how often alternate keyboard shortcuts are used, or toolbars v. right click, what we have consistently learned is that new UI affordances get used "at the right time in the right context".  No one is saying that anything replaces something in entirety.  No one uses one exclusively (even though Windows can use a keyboard everywhere, there are very few people who choose to avoid a pointing device of any kind)."

    Sounds like you dont try to enforce touch input onto your customers in the end at all.. so just make that clear and tell us: Yes there will be the option to turn off the Metro Start Screen.

    If that was the case many people would be satiesfied already.

    "The examples and experiences I gave are not just my personal experience, but we've seen them repeated in labs and follow up visits, computer stores around the world, and even in the comments following the //build/ conference."

    I am a scientist and work a lot in laboratoies and see a lot of conferences – and tell you what.. reality does often not work like the lab or like colleges tell me..

    "It might very well be that you would never touch the screen (or use right click, or shortcuts, or …) but that does not mean they are not useful to others and as we said our design goals are to accomodate the broadest set of usage types while continuing to enable new scenarios and improved productivity overall."

    As i said, your post sounds very diplomatic and i can only repeat: Dont abandon the start button to enforce one way of working on your customers. Thats the APPLE way, not MS.. Just make it an option and everyone will be happy.

  187. Hello, What happened to the HistoryVault????

  188. @joe No you don't have to swipe 30 times! Press Start, click the app you want, job done.

    It seems weird at first but once you let go of the idea there is a difference between switching to a "running" app and launching a new one it suddenly clicks and starts making a lot more sense. Treat all your "Metro" apps as if they are always running (but at zero impact to battery/performance) and just flick between them as needed.

    @Drewfus The content of a Live Tile isn't supposed to be seen as app output, it's just there to offer enough of a contextual notification for you to decide whether or not to open the app and deal with it right now. If you've used a Windows Phone device in anger it quickly becomes a very natural and helpful feature.

    P.S. Someone should go give the MSDN blogs guys a sharp prod, they really need to fix whatever is causing all the failed post submissions. It looks rather unprofessional and generates much of the bad feeling that posts are being moderated away.

  189. @joe No you don't have to swipe 30 times! Press Start, click the app you want, job done.

    It seems weird at first but once you let go of the idea there is a difference between switching to a "running" app and launching a new one it suddenly clicks and starts making a lot more sense. Treat all your "Metro" apps as if they are always running (but at zero impact to battery/performance) and just flick between them as needed.

    @Drewfus The content of a Live Tile isn't supposed to be seen as app output, it's just there to offer enough of a contextual notification for you to decide whether or not to open the app and deal with it right now. If you've used a Windows Phone device in anger it quickly becomes a very natural and helpful feature.

    P.S. Someone should go give the MSDN blogs guys a sharp prod, they really need to fix whatever is causing all the failed post submissions. It looks rather unprofessional and generates much of the bad feeling that posts are being moderated away.

  190. rob says:

    30% cut to M$ or what have you from content store – does that mean you'll be giving this shite for free?

  191. Wound says:

    Ha, just found this; thanks to the lack of folders for organisation on the start screen, all the little apps that used to be installed in sub folders in the start menu are now "surfaced" at the top level. The problem is that the folder structure was really part of the name, and stripped of that it's hard to make sense of what they are. For example, the start screen now contains 4 items called "uninstall", with little indication of what they will actually uninstall. FAIL.

  192. Mathew K. J. says:

    Why not have a classic start menu as well as the one that goes to the metro screen.

    One feature I use commonly is the Recently Opened files list which I get when I hover over an application like notepad or acrobat reader in the start menu.

    I am not aware of such a feature in the new interface.

  193. Alireza Noori says:

    I'd like to know if there's anywhere that I can browse all of my apps without searching anything. I couldn't find anywhere in the developer preview. If there isn't, there should be. I can do this in Windows 7.

  194. DamionM says:

    Simply put having groupings of folders or more ideally hubs is a huge benefit. I can see immediately the how the metro interface would have if developers of software applications could create their own HUBs to contain the programs and tools associated with the installed application suites. Adobe for example could show all their applications in their own hub and provide information about future or upcoming programs, news, weather (lol) etc. It could also show more information about each of the software and tools besides just the name and icon as we presently have with the folder approach.

    This would be beneficial to MS because if the information is in the hub on my desktop in metro I really don't need to go the the adobe website using a competitor's browser.

    Just look how many sub-programs and tools/ ad-ons Visual Studio or SQL Server comes with. Surely these tools don't all need tiles residing on the metro start screen. If there was a hub each manufacturer's installed programs  we would no longer need the intro html pages they currently do because the hubs would handle all that in a more  organized fashion. This would further give developers reason to create applications for the new metro interface.

  195. @Alice,

    Thank you for your response, and I'm glad to hear that full 3rd party customization of the Windows screen will not be blocked. However you really missed the point of my post which was to show that Metro can be compatible, at least with wide screen desktops by the simple change in paradigm to scroll Metro vertically rather than horizontally and after customization for size/shape, snap to an edge rather than wastefully filling the screen. I would also like to be able to keep many aspects of the Live update but it would be much less distracting if I could separate them away from my normal workflow in another customizable (size/shape/position) frame.

    If the Microsoft Touch Mouse works with Windows 8, I would be interested to hear any feedback, as that might just change my opinions, but there is NO WAY I will ever use a touch screen on a desktop as that is just too fatiguing, and a conventional mouse is irritating slow and unproductive with the current Metro paradigm.  

  196. JSM says:

    The new Start screen looks really great,  but I see the new design as redundant with the desktop.  

    Currently you can put icons and files on your desktop to launch and access them quickly.  You can also add gadgets for live information.

    Now you want to add another screen that needs a button or a keystroke to be seen and that gives the desktop abilities plus additional capacities.

    Why not just replace the current desktop by the Start screen ?  This would preserve the current desktop abilities and  give you all the power of the new Start screen while preserving the visibility of the windows of all running applications and of the taskbar.

    The life property of the Start desktop could even completely replace the taskbar !  In Windows 7 you need to hover over a running application on the taskbar to see the current state of its window.  With the life property,  this is not needed anymore (although running would need to be clearly visible).

    And with little adaptation,  jumplists could even be possible.

  197. @Folder seekers says:

    If you watch the Build conference's day1 keynotes, you would know that on start screen there is a coinciding concept called "groups" and you can manage your groups and do all the CRUD operations on it. It has been demonstrated in the keynotes and they would probably release it in the next developer's preview.

  198. Good, more personalization, this is what the people want, but don't forget, that people want to decide what functions use, so don't delete the old start…..

    P.S.:I need an implementation that can be useful for all the people who use metro ui……in fact I'll use a Low-Cost Multi-point Interactive Whiteboard Using the Wiimote, because I haven't a touch screen…..the problems are 2:

    1.First we need a way to connect automatically the bluetooth device that we want when the pc is booting (in this case for recognition of the wiimote), without going out from the metro ui

    2.Secondly a way to get the softwares on without going on the desktop (in this case for the Wiimote Whiteboard v0.3)…..if this depend by the software, there is the source in the bottom link, where you can download the software.

    In this way more people can see the potentiality of the metro ui, because more people can use the touchscreen……

    For who is interested to the Wiimote whiteboard there is a link johnnylee.net/…/wii

    Please, answer me in one way or in another

  199. What value does touch add to the human user?, the windows 7 tablet works fine with a pen while on the go (Microsoft’s marketing and distribution is not that good that’s why u haven’t sold as much your new windows store should be franchised globally with partners in every known town on the earth, now! that’s marketing and distribution and it needs reimagining and no such thing as “post Personal Computer period”). What does this have to with the start menu? productivity. the state of the world economy isn’t looking for new ways of doing the same thing with the same efficiency (the metro UI is major concern unless you prove its efficiency mathematically and/or philosophically from over a billion data feed from users around the world not the few you use here as reference for accuracy), they want to be more productive so they can earn, they don’t care if they have touch the tool, they want to be productive. Why invest or reimaging the tool for just one computer communication method (other future ways include voice and mind control using neural brain signals to communicate with the device, will you then reimaging windows for that too).

    The way I see it, those tiles should be on the desktop (right clicking should give access to sub programs too), like the gadgets on win 7, and not break to metro UI when clicking start (all software program icons or tiles should be on the desktop and their live feeds into them (or anything that has to with that particular program including access to its folders and file), the start menu should have OS control programs, maintenance, support/help, windows browser, search etc functions (this few and other few as you see fit will make it smaller excluding everything that don’t have anything thing to do with the OS or its use), no need to have software program launchers on start when they are on the desktop, one click (show desktop) on win7 takes the human user to the desktop without breaking work flow, it just minimizes the open program windows, why not have that win 8? Why not invest more on pen functionality).  Yes! a pen with right, left and scroll that will work on all computer devices small or big, hand held or stationary etc, that same pen can communicate with in-house ad screens or any other screen, the pen will save this project, please.

    What windows need to so is research more on all possible human and machine communication methods, and introduce this gradually not 2012 like you want win8 (the fact remains that people are still stealing the OS and the economic climate wont allow tools with the same efficiency unless you prove the wrong mathematically and/or philosophically).

    Mechanical engineers from Mercedes Benz say "the best or nothing!", what do Microsoft software engineers say? We are hoping they are saying the same or similar thing.

    Above all you guys you do deserve a lot compliments from us users over the years. Thank you and good luck.

  200. Dasharath K. says:

    dear MS WIN 8 team

    my 2 cents thoughts below

    1) from start menu in win 7, I can launch a particular file with "click start", mouse over to program, wait a sec for submenu, "click file". this is very good for excel and similar as I can pin the most used files.

    Where is the same function in win 8 metro ? should I pin a tile for every "large used" files I have ?

    2) Wallpapers are a great customization for all users. POINT.

    The metro tiles position should be customizable too – not only their arrangement.

    For example I might want a start page with only 3 or 4 tiles aligned at the bottom of the screen and a great picture filling the background.

    If tiles are large and automatically centered or aligned this is a great loss for customization.

    just to make clear my thoughts in my win7 desktop there are 3 or 4 folders for files. All the apps I use are in the taskbar and the desktop is reserved for a great picture. I'm talking of a 1920x screen !

    I prefer to have it minimal with taskbar to support me but not in the middle of everything

    I know it sounds like Apple – but I would like to stay with MS – let us have our windows !

  201. Martín says:

    @Steven Sinofsky,

    I think that WinRT (platform and concept) will make a big difference in this industry (multiple factor, mobile, etc). I have been using W8DP for a couple of weeks, and I have a pretty accurate feeling about W8 experience. But that big difference I mentioned can not be truth if my other conclusion "Windows 8 has the worst bug ever in its history" is real:

    Currently inevitable experience:

    – Metro Experience AND Desktop Experience

    It should be:

    – Metro Experience OR Desktop Experience

    There are many new stuffs to learn and to take taste within Metro concept, but that is OK. What is not OK is Metro-Desktop coexistence. Metro is all about an immersive experience, but there is not such experience when, for whatever reason, I have to switch to Desktop. People will never feel a full immersive experience, or will never appreciate the new platform, because of that switching situation. It is a deal breaker. Circumvent Metro ruins everything. It feels bad, very bad. Something is broken irremediably in that scenario. Whatever solution comes in help of this coexistence it will fail likely at some point.

    I like Metro and I like Desktop, but I like them in separated environment. If I should have to use one or other it should be in different machines. In Desktop, it should be a Windows experience "Desktop Edition" (or something like that).

    V/R,

    Martín

    PS. A Spanish way of communication for this blog it will be appreciated. . .

  202. Jimmy Curious says:

    So, what are "Metro style apps"? All the ones we are seeing in tiles in the Developer Preview (no, because we can see mixed desktop apps and Metro style apps there)???

    How can I clearly distinguish a Metro style app from a Desktop App, apart from their name or icon?

    For example, I know that Excel 2010 is a Desktop app and its Metro style app does NOT exist (yet).

    All apps downloaded from the Windows 8 App Store will be Metro Style apps?

    So netbook users won't be able to use the Windows 8 App Store at all…

  203. cranberry says:

    jsm: "Why not just replace the current desktop by the Start screen ?"

    This sounds indeed very reasonable to me. It would provide a better integration of the two UI concepts, and one could probably even get rid of the Aero peek button (just click the Start button to get to the desktop). The live tiles would replace the gadgets, and all static tiles can be seen as icons on the desktop. I am interested why you've decided not to do it this way.

  204. The only that that is problematic about the start screen is that when you install a desktop suite of software, each program treated as an app including the uninstaller. After a few install of suites, or even just programs, you would notice that there are 6 " desktop apps" called "uninstaller" when searching for apps. I think the solution is that in your search when you are searching for apps in the start screen that there should be a clear category for "desktop programs" and it is categorized the same way as folders (like what you have discussed in this post". Alternatively, the all desktop apps can only be found the start menu in "Desktop mode" and all the haters of the start screen will rejoice. With that said, I am definitely a fan of the new Start Screen.

  205. sreesiv says:

    Good post, but recommend future posts to be a bit more concise.

  206. xacseed says:

    I don't think YOU really know how WE use YOUR product…

    On my phone it's OK to use facebook on fullscreen, then a web browser, then a game…

    On a PC I use at least 10 applications at the same time, none of them is fullscreened, I always have the taskbar to quickly switch between them. And when I use the "old" Start Menu, all my windows are still there and I can continue my work with them.

    I can't imagine one scenario where your new UI is more productive that the Windows 7 one.

    Metro style for tablet is OK, Metro Style for PC with classic and productive mouse+keyboard is just crazy. Please let user choose to use Metro or not. We definitely NEED something like this: img256.imageshack.us/…/csmcustomizability.png

  207. What happened? says:

    I wrote a long comment and it just got censored. I didn't even save it. Please look into the bug.

  208. xacseed says:

    Martín said:

    *Currently inevitable experience:

    – Metro Experience AND Desktop Experience

    It should be:

    – Metro Experience OR Desktop Experience*

    Can't agree more. Both environment are different, and we can't have a consistent experience with such an hybrid approach.

    Let PC users (that use keyboard and mouse for 99% of them) have the productive Desktop experience.

    Let Windows Phone users have the Metro experience.

    I'm both PC and Windows Phone user, but not at the same time. I don't want both approaches (Desktop and Metro) at the same time.

  209. Pratyush Nalam says:

    Hello Steven and all the Windows developers!!

    I completely agree with you on the Start Screen. It is a new kind of intuitive experience but I have a few suggestions. I hope you heed them.

    Firstly, you need to reassess the reason for your fantastic market dominance. As a true-blue Windows fan, the foremost reason for Windows' consistent 90% market share is CHOICE. Traditionally, Windows has always offered consumers choice. Apple never gave choice and has suffered. (Good news!) And I sincerely hope that Windows doesn't commit such a grave mistake. Please don't make the Start Screen as the only option. I like your idea of combining Metro and Desktop UIs. How about extending it to Start? You could have a Start menu AND a Start screen. You see, Start screen is in a sense (not completely, please don't misinterpret), a time-waste. I don't like my screen filling up every time I want to open something.

    A Start menu on the other hand is more concise and doesn't hamper your vision. Yes, I love the Start screen but it is too obtrusive. Please give us two options and uphold the legacy of Windows: CHOICE.

    With best wishes for Windows 8

    From a loyal time-tested Windows fan

    Pratyush Nalam

  210. @Tom A. Mason + Andrew.28 Yes, agreed that's a problem currently. Don't know I really want to see too much of a fix though, because applications dumping a stupid number of shortcuts into the Start menu (including Uninstall which has no place there) is one of the worst abuses of the current UI anyway. Try typing "uninstall" into your Win7 Start menu and you see the same problem.

  211. Thank you for the great explanation. Now the new Metro Start screen makes all the more sense. I am amazed of how much thought you put into it and how straight forward your approach and your lines of thought are. I can easily see the benefits and speed improvements this new interface will bring (by the way: working solely on a Mouse + Keyboard PC).

    I think there are two tings that might be important to guarantee that professional users can work efficiently:

    1. There needs to be a way to quickly switch between several different apps one is currently using. With the Win 7 taskbar you could switch from any program you were using to another one, just with one mouse click on the icon in the task bar.

    With Metro right now you either have to go the detour via the start screen (one additional click) or you have to file through the previously used apps by dragging them from the left side of the screen (might take ages). Therefore some way of quickly accessing a set o running apps (and not all apps that have been opened, as is the case now with Alt + TAB) needs to be there.

    2. Right now to use two apps simultaneously, you can have them side by side. But right now one is small, the other one is large. Having them use one half of the screen each is not an option; yet.

    Also I would love to see interaction between those two apps (e.g. drag and drop of one object (text, image, file etc) from one app to the other, just as we have seen with the Curier tablet

  212. Hello Steven and all the Windows developers!!

    I completely agree with you on the Start Screen. It is a new kind of intuitive experience but I have a few suggestions. I hope you heed them.

    Firstly, you need to reassess the reason for your fantastic market dominance. As a true-blue Windows fan, the foremost reason for Windows' consistent 90% market share is CHOICE. Traditionally, Windows has always offered consumers choice. Apple never gave choice and has suffered. (Good news!) And I sincerely hope that Windows doesn't commit such a grave mistake. Please don't make the Start Screen as the only option. I like your idea of combining Metro and Desktop UIs. How about extending it to Start? You could have a Start menu AND a Start screen. You see, Start screen is in a sense (not completely, please don't misinterpret), a time-waste. I don't like my screen filling up every time I want to open something.

    A Start menu on the other hand is more concise and doesn't hamper your vision. Yes, I love the Start screen but it is too obtrusive. Please give us two options and uphold the legacy of Windows: CHOICE.

    With best wishes for Windows 8

    From a loyal time-tested Windows fan

    Pratyush Nalam

  213. Stephen Kellett says:

    Having read the comments here and the previous post a few themes are showing;

    1) Business/Enterprise users are very worried that their productive multi-window environment is going to disappear, be hampered seriously or become a second class citizen compared to Metro.

    2) Other people seem to like Metro. Some of them have Windows phones. None of them (that I read) have indicated they are business users.

    3) Some people will move to MacOS or Linux if you continue to ignore the concerns of people in category 1.

    4) I've only noticed feedback from the Windwows 8 team directed at those that show positive comments towards Metro. No feedback for anyone providing valuable insight into how they work – the main one being "multi-screen, multi-window, I launch apps while working with other apps". The bit I don't understand is even inexperience users like my girlfriend (a total non-techie) launches apps while working with other apps. It is such a basic thing. Why would you want to deliberately break that functionality?

    I'm in categories 1 and 3. I'm disappointed at the one-sidedness of (4).

    I'm very concerned. Microsoft is where I make my living. That won't be possible if (1) is mucked up. It will certainly excellerate my decision making over the future direction of my career. I'll have to discard 16 years of MSDN experience and move to something else. This isn't an idle threat either. I cannot work with Metor as it is – it kills productivity.

    Leave it alone. By all means have a Start Dashboard for Metro (tablets) and leave the Start Menu as it is for those millions of us that want to be productive in a multi-window, multi-screen, business world.

  214. @Stephen

    How about combining both? Having a Start menu and Start screen so that we can use what we want?

  215. i am too excited to know when windows 8 launch please tell me fixed date

  216. Adam D says:

    I'm very impressed with the ambition and thoughtfulness of the Metro interface. Kudos!

    With that let me echo others' concern regarding how (at least for users who will always have need of some traditional, non-metro applications) Win 8 feels like using two distinct OS's. There has to be a more elegant solution to moving Windows forward while preserving legacy applications than this drastic jumping from Metro to desktop. I'm fairly confident the two can be integrated in a way that enhances both of them. Just for instance, why can't the start screen launch windowed metro apps, alongside a chrome-heavy photoshop? And just put the option of the task bar and traditional start menu on the bottom of the Metro Start screen. I see no reason the two can't play real nice together. I swipe through all these beautiful tiles when using a touch screen and go into my start menu when I've decided it's the better place for whatever given reason. This transforms the Metro start screen into essentially a suped up version of the old active desktop, which is a bloody awesome idea.

    Some way or another, you've got to get these two UI's to be one UI.

  217. Losing Faith says:

    "We designed Start to be a modern, fast and fluid replacement for the combination of launching, switching, notifying, and at-a-glance viewing of information."

    -IF IT IS NOT BROKE, DON'T "FIX" IT. – No need to replace the START menu at all.  Just add in some new junk that 99% of people will turn off, deactivate, etc.  (like they did with all the Vista and Win 7 junk).

    "We set out to do this for the vast majority of customers, who are more familiar with the Start menu, mouse and keyboard, as well as for new customers using touch-capable devices."

    -REALLY?  AS IT FEELS LIKE YOU ARE ABANDONING YOUR MILLIONS OF EXISTING USERS, WHO LOVE THE W.I.M.P. MODEL IN FAVOUR OF JUMPING ON THE APPLE TABLET TOUCH FAD.

    "…after studying real world usage of the Start menu through a variety of techniques"

    WOULD LOVE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THE ACTUAL TECHNIQUES USED.  LAUGHABLE.

    "…we realized that it was serving mainly as the launcher for programs you rarely use."

    WRONG.  WRONG. WRONG.

    1. run dialog.

    2. control panel.

    3. document

    4, list of all programs.

    "We found that people “in the know” who valued efficiency were moving away from the Start menu, and pinning their frequently used programs to the taskbar so that they could access them instantly in one click. We see this quite a bit on professional workstations where there are set of tools that all fit on the taskbar and are all used regularly—machines used by engineers, designers, developers, information workers, etc."

    OK. SO JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE USING THE TASKBAR, YOU NUKE THE START MENU? JOKERS.

    "So, as evidence mounts (WHAT EVIDENCE? – YOUR FLAWED, ILL-OBSERVED CONCLUSIONS) that the menu hasn’t kept up with the modern way in which we (WHO ARE WE – YOU MORE LIKE, SOME FAD JUNKIE APPLE CLONER) use our PCs (YES PC – NOT TOUCH, NOT TABLET, NOT iPHONE!) today, we've seen a growing interest in replacements (AGAIN – JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS HERE) for the Start menu"

    "and a continued interest in desktop gadgets that have yet to realize their potential."

    GADGET ARE RUBBISH.  THEY HOG RESOURCES, DISTRACT.  ALL I WANT TO SEE ON MY DESKTOP IS A WINDOWS XP LANDSCAPE WALLPAPER.  AND THE STANDARD "MY COMPUTER" (and friends) ICONS.

  218. David says:

    Question – If you are not a tablet user, what is the reason, benefit to move to Windows 8 from Windows 7?

  219. Glum. says:

    @DAVID

    think you hit the nail squarely on the head there, muchacho.

    Windows 8 looks like it will only work for touch tablet devices. Everyone else will look at it and see it it too much effort.

    It could be as bad an idea as that RIBBON thing that "infected" Microsoft Office back around 2007 (worst idea ever – well until now – losing the START MENU takes the trophy now).

  220. Drewfus says:

    @AndyCadley: "The content of a Live Tile isn't supposed to be seen as app output, it's just there to offer enough of a contextual notification for you to decide whether or not to open the app and deal with it right now."

    Come on now. I'm not just talking about some strict computer science definition of 'output'. Just take the examples given in the post:

    "The news app shows the latest headlines, the weather app shows the forecast, an RSS app tells you what’s new, a social networking app displays your status, or a game can tell you when it is your turn—and when it isn’t." "We expect corporate applications to be developed that display Live tiles for important internal systems and processes too. You can envision even the most mundane uses being improved by this ability to track live data."

    That's output. We are not talking about mere 'notifications'. Do you think Microsoft have reimagined the start menu as some sprawling system-tray covering your entire screen? The tiles are to be regarded as genuine output devices. Sure, the tiles only provide a subset of the output their apps display in fullscreen mode, but they aren't just giant system-tray cretins. So you can think of the fullscreen app as the real McCoy, but the tile is mini-McCoy 🙂

    Now this results in a serious design issue. If you determined the optimum target size versus target distance tradeoff for touch, and similarly for mouse use, and compared to the optimium size of tiles versus number of tiles when considered as output devices, there is negligible chance that all three cases would point to the same result. It follows that Metro Start involves fundamental tradeoffs – or compromises – in its design, due to the (IMO incorrect) decision to make the Start targets have the dual role of app launchers and app live data monitors.

    There is also the issue (that really invites more discussion) of what most apps are going to be displaying in their tiles that will actually have utility for the end user. Have another look at Fig 5 – Alice's own Start. Most of the tiles have nothing in them except icon and text. Sure, we are only at M3, or whatever, but what would *you* want to see in those tiles? Further, if tiles are "a great way for app developers to provide differentiated functionality", can you see what this is likely to lead to? *Every* app is going to get some sort of live data, regardless of it's objective merit, merely so that app vendors don't get out-differentiated by other app-vendors. Microsoft are turning the start menu from an app launch and search utility into a  battleground of little attention seekers, all competing for our most scarce resource. Steven Sinofsky might be super-excited at the thought of this. Me – not so much.

    Another goal of the WinRT/Metro revolution might be worth considering, and that is its relationship to UPnP (Universal Plug and Play). I can imagine Microsofties reimagining our computer networking landscape to include links to all the gadgets in our homes (and beyond), a Start tile to represent every gadget, and all these linked to other "relevant and connected apps", via which we receive a steady stream of up-to-the-second info on anything electronic.

  221. Chris M says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing."

    Have we forgotten the namesake of the OS? Windowing enables us to multitask, to to many things at once. The vast majority of the time that I'm launching something from the Start Menu I'm not leaving a task behind to launch an entirely new task, I'm opening another window to assist with my current task.

  222. Chris M says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing."

    Have we forgotten the namesake of the OS? Windowing enables us to multitask, to to many things at once. The vast majority of the time that I'm launching something from the Start Menu I'm not leaving a task behind to launch an entirely new task, I'm opening another window to assist with my current task.

  223. Chris M says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing."

    Have we forgotten the namesake of the OS? Windowing enables us to multitask, to to many things at once. The vast majority of the time that I'm launching something from the Start Menu I'm not leaving a task behind to launch an entirely new task, I'm opening another window to assist with my current task.

  224. Chris M says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing."

    Have we forgotten the namesake of the OS? Windowing enables us to multitask, to to many things at once. The vast majority of the time that I'm launching something from the Start Menu I'm not leaving a task behind to launch an entirely new task, I'm opening another window to assist with my current task.

  225. Chris M says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing."

    Have we forgotten the namesake of the OS? Windowing enables us to multitask, to to many things at once. The vast majority of the time that I'm launching something from the Start Menu I'm not leaving a task behind to launch an entirely new task, I'm opening another window to assist with my current task.

  226. Andy says:

    A lot of people say that switching between start screen and desktop feels jarring. It feels the same to me. Start screen and desktop feel disconnected. I like the way start screen and metro style looks and feels. But how it coexist with desktop does not feel right. Desktop for me is my work space. All i do, windows that i have opened, all programs i run exist on may work space (desktop). My desk stays the same… only content changes. Evolution of start into the Start screen in essence creates another work space that feels disconnected from desktop. (Going from start screen to desktop feels like opening another metro app.) So when I go from start screen to the desktop to do some work , it feels like going from one desk to another. Start was always part of the desktop. New start screen should feel like evolution of desktop and part of it. Switching between them should feel different from switching between other metro apps.

    What would work for me;  Start and desktop sharing the same background image. When switching from start screen to desktop, all tiles and start screen elements  fly of the screen (lets say up) and desktop icons and contents including taskbar fly from the bottom. Background image does not move.(If using different background images, just dissolve from one to another) This way it does not feel like switching between two work spaces, it would feel like changing content of my work space and start screen would feel like evolution of something we already know and are used to.

    I would appreciate any comments and thoughts on my idea. Thank you.

  227. JDG says:

    Still no answer to the question everyone is asking.

    Will we be able to use the classic Windows 7 start menu? YES OR NO.

    Why do you refuse to give a straight, simple answer?

  228. Mark E says:

    I don't like the fact that microsoft doesn't want to clarify if we will be able to CHOOSE for the classic desktop WITH the 'W7 style' start menu. I don't like registry hacks for enabling hidden functions. Please offer us the choice, because I don't like being forced to switch to Metro UI each time I have to launch an app not pinned to the taskbar.

  229. @Stephen Kellett I've been an enterprise systems administrator for over a decade and am also old enough to remember the transistions from DOS to Windows and then from Windows 3 to Windows 95. It's certainly a big change, but I think you're wrong to assert that business users can't benefit from these changes too.

    @Drewfus There is plenty of room in the current tile size to display, e.g. a picture of Sunshine and the temperature for a weather app, the current number of unread emails I have etc. And it doesn't even need to be that complex, a secondary tile from a Facebook app which takes me directly to a contacts page might only need an image of their current profile picture, possibly overlaying an icon to show recent status changes or cycling to show part of the text. That's enough context for me to know what it is for and whether I want to look further. It is a form of notification, with just more information than something like a tray icon can possibly ever provide.

  230. sg says:

    don't fool yourselves – windows is no longer about choice.

    microsoft now have their "no compromise" policy – ie, they will not compromise for anyone.

    not even their loyal customers who are now locked in.

  231. sg says:

    don't fool yourselves – windows is no longer about choice.

    microsoft now have their "no compromise" policy – ie, they will not compromise for anyone.

    not even their loyal customers who are now locked in.

  232. sg says:

    don't fool yourselves – windows is no longer about choice.

    microsoft now have their "no compromise" policy – ie, they will not compromise for anyone.

    not even their loyal customers who are now locked in.

  233. rob says:

    @Andy

    I believe they are repurposing the whole Windows kernel to eliminate familiar window handles and objects. For watever reason (though we all know – to sh#t on the little guy), execs at MS decided that their Platform division with all its cr#p and bullsh#t has more value than any user conveniences. Platform needs to copycat iPad, someone gets bonuses – that's more important to these pigs these days.

    @JDG

    The same reason – bonuses get slashed when they talk to you like a human.

  234. Andre Ziegler says:

    Shotah

    10-04-2011 9:29 PM

    Thanks for not listening to customer feedback and trying to sell your idea that you have worked up on a drawing board.

    _____________________

    I've with you. This is the human way to defend their work. It is difficult too udnerstadn that everyone use the same in a completely different way and MS fails to accept this. So they only defend their "work" and don't listen. Till Win7 MS forced tablet users to use desktop controlls/desktop apps, now they force desktop users to use a tablet UI. Both is wrong and both fails.  Looks like MS won't a Windows ME2. I don't know, this is the only explanation. MS simply doesn't want to earn money from what I see. In each other company the designers would be fired because of behavior which is bad for business.

    I gave it up after 2 weeks. Using the metro crap with mouse and keyboard is IMPOSSIBLE. Simply look at the BUILD2011 videos where the MSFT employees are also lost with the Metro UI when showing demos with mouse/keyboard 😀

    THE SWITCH FROM THE DESKTOP TO THIS STARTSCREEN INTERRUPTS THE WORKFLOW TOO MUCH AND SLOWS DOWN THE WORK.

    I can't understand where this slowdown is an improvement.

    The startscreen ONLY makes sense as a IDLE screen when you don't work at the PC. Here you get live data and overviews of thing you may be interested when you don't work with the PC. But merging the app switch, startmenu into this view is/was and will be always a bad and terrible idea.

  235. sg says:

    oh please excuse the multiple posts – IE10 screwed up on me!

  236. A lot of naysayers here, but I think it looks promising – just needs more refinement which I'm sure you're working on.  Some thoughts:

    So, the tiles on the start screen get updated using Windows Push Notification Services.  That's great for a lot of "cloud" applications – perfect for something like a social network.

    But the tiles completely fall apart for an offline app.  Suppose I have a simple offline game that needs to do absolutely nothing online.  Let's say I want to show an image on the tile for the current level the user is on.  (Maybe the game is Minesweeper and I want to show a thumbnail of the current game the user is playing.)  You're telling me I have to make an HTTP POST to WNS in order to do this?  OK, fine – not the end of the world and still easy to do.

    The big problem is – what happens if the user goes offline?  I can't make my HTTP POST to WNS.  So wouldn't my app tile go "stale" and stop updating?  That doesn't even make sense for an app that doesn't go online in the first place – users know that, and they'll expect my app tile to still update even when offline.  They'll understand why their social network tile isn't updating – the reason should be obvious.  An offline app tile not updating when the computer is disconnected?  That's not excusable.  Users might go offline for many reasons – I might not have cellular service, and only go online on a WiFi network.  Or, some of us like to venture outside the big city and drive places that might not have a cell phone signal!

    The other, completely different issue is you need to allow for viewing data side-by-side *in Metro* (since the writing is now obviously on the wall for traditional old-school desktop apps).  Imagine a student writing a paper in one app and referring to a web page in another app.  There needs to be a way to view both in Metro without constant "Alt+Tabbing".

    To support the previous point, you absolutely *must* support multiple monitors *in Metro* in a seamless way.  Imagine 3 touchscreen monitors at my desk all running Metro apps.  To move an app to another monitor I just "throw" it with my finger somehow.  Wouldn't that be cool?

  237. @JamesJohnston You don't have to use WNS, you can also do local tile updates when your app is running. It's just a slightly less general use scenario.

  238. Wound says:

    @JamesJohnston

    "To support the previous point, you absolutely *must* support multiple monitors *in Metro* in a seamless way.  Imagine 3 touchscreen monitors at my desk all running Metro apps.  To move an app to another monitor I just "throw" it with my finger somehow.  Wouldn't that be cool?"

    No, no it wouldn't. Multiple vertical monitors on a desktop are no place for any kind of reaching out an arm to touch a screen interaction. Nor are they any place for purely full screen apps. Besides, we already have a perfectly good solution with aero snap, except *doh*, metro apps aren't in windows!

  239. Joao M Correia says:

    "Alive with activity" also means "Full of distractions" when you're trying to do something complicated, like say, opening another program.

    Thats yet another VERY IMPORTANT plus for the win7 start menu.

    When i go to open another program, i don't want to see colorful rectangles all updating and moving and changing and what not, i just want the program, preferably without losing my train of thought in the process.

  240. Mike says:

    I wonder how many people commenting here are IT-types.  I suspect most.  The trouble with IT-types is that they're very set in their ways and protective against changing the way they work today.  Just look at all the fuss when Exlporer replaced File Manager.  I don't see anyone 15 years later calling for File Manager to come back.  It's a similar story with those who hate the ribbon in Explorer.  Will I use it?  Probably not.  But having spent a lot of time with casual PC users who struggle with basic file management I think it will benefit more people than it hurts.

    The fundamental point here seems to be that the Start menu isn't being used as much for app launches and we're being given something new that does a lot more.  If you want to launch apps without seeing it then you can pin them to the task bar.  I'm quite happy to try this and see how it turns out, otherwise we'll still be using today's equivalent of File Manager in 2026.  Don't be scared, people.

  241. rob says:

    @Mike

    "I don't see anyone 15 years later calling for File Manager to come back."

    Are you kidding me? I don't use the regular explorer in my work. I constantly complain the explorer sucks for regular use. I prefer latest file managers – those you probably never heard of.

    And I am looking forward to keep using my file managers in 2026 if you don't mind in your little world. Provided I don't die by then from Metrosexual idiocity.

  242. Dan says:

    "Of course, there are things we’re still working on, that aren’t yet finished in the Developer Preview. "

    Yeah, the whole thing is a mess. What makes you think we want all of that "live" content on the start screen? What about people that still use modems to access the net or don't have internet access at all? Why are you shoving a "mobile" style interface on us? My desktop & monitor is not mobile & I'll be honest with you…I wouldn't want it if it was mobile. I don't own a smartphone, can't get service where I live so why have it. Even if I could get service I wouldn't have it anyway. There's more to life than a phone.

       Why not make the start menu or start page a choice. I see this as your latest Microsoft Bob, ME, & Vista all rolled together. Yes you have the lions share of the market. That does not mean that it is a permanent situation. Your standing is dependent on what have you done for us lately?

    Not much it looks like to me.

  243. Mike says:

    @rob

    "And I am looking forward to keep using my file managers in 2026 if you don't mind in your little world."

    I'll repeat, "The trouble with IT-types is that they're very set in their ways and protective against changing the way they work today."  I have no problem if you want to stay in your "little world".  Just don't hold the rest of us back.

  244. Mark says:

    My god, just fix what's broken and leave the customization of the desktop open to the user! The more you take away the option to turn off the new crap (that longtime users really don't want), the closer you get to being apple. Been with MS since the very beginning, desktop and enterprise, windows 7 is such a cluster####, it's my last MS OS. Linux here I come.

  245. Drewfus says:

    @AndyCadley: "There is plenty of room in the current tile size to display, e.g. a picture of Sunshine and the temperature for a weather app, the current number of unread emails I have etc."

    Those 4 bytes of data and an icon could go just go into a couple of real simple gadgets. We are talking about a root and branch redesign of the start menu here, and your thinking about the weather and Facebook.

  246. Pax says:

    Please leave the start menu as windows 7!

  247. Laco says:

    Windows 8 will be like Vista… Windows 9 will be like Seven, which was Vista done right.

  248. rob says:

    @Mike

    Well, sorry to hear that you are for extorting the last savings from grandmas and mentally challenged by flashing at them pictures of their beloved doggies full screen, next to balloons with reminders to register.

  249. Arthur says:

    Could you use same GUI as for your Xbox interface (liveside.net/…/Xbox-LIVE-TV.png) ? Consistency between MS GUI will be very welcome 🙂

    The menu in the Xbox interface is also a good way to quicly access "groups" of the Start Screen. What do you think ?

  250. Peanut says:

    @Laco

    Yes, with each release of windows they seem to alternate good/crap:

    NT4: good

    Win2k: crap

    XP: good

    Vista: crap

    Win7: good

    Win8: crap

    Win9: hopefully good, because that's my next upgrade if I continue

  251. Peanut says:

    sorry for the dup, IE crapped out on me again

  252. xacseed says:

    MS doesn't answer to people that care about productivity in IT companies. That's just crzay, because the whole Microsoft ecosystem (Windows, Office, .Net, SQL Server, IIS…) is build for those users.

    Please give to people that WORK (80% of the techie users that read your blog) and spend 8 hours a day with your products a decent answer and stop ignoring them.

  253. Windows 8 is really innovative ….. But it is much for touch screen devices, We desktop users did not find any innovation for us. Since Windows 7, Microsoft is focusing on touch screen devices, but what about normal mouse users. I have seen all versions of Windows yet, out of which I am using Windows Vista, for me which is best.

    I really want to highlight that, some good features of Windows Vista, has been detoriated in Windows 7. Windows 8 just look like I am using a mobile phone OS.

    If we talk about Start Screen, to locate my usual applications like Word Pad, Calculator, i hav to search for, which was easily available……. but here its difficult to find.

    I request Microsoft, to market these touch screen features solely for touch screen users, this MAY not much appreciated by desktop users.

    I really like Windows Vista theme, Windows Sidebar in Vista, Windows Flip 3D and Aero features of Windows Vista, these are gems of Windows.

    And what happended to Flip 3D in Windows 8?? Is it dropped in this version.

    Similarly, old copy/move operation box looked nice…..

  254. After arguing all last night with people over on winrumors, this is what my problem is with getting rid of any Start Menu.

    Typing for applications is fine, but most people rarely do this.  Obscure or rarely used application should be able to be found by using only the mouse.  This is true especially in situation where the user doesn’t remember the name of the application that they are looking for.  If someone has one hand on the mouse they shouldn’t have to take it off to type "SQL" just to find something like Profiler.

    Vision, if I'm watching or doing something on a window and I want to open up a second program that isn't on my taskbar, I don't want to go to a full immersive experience just to find it.  A lot of the time I will want to go to the metro Start Screen, but a lot of the time I really don't.

    Options like Run, Control Panel, Devices and Printers, and most importantly SHUT DOWN are all accessed through the Start Menu.  Simply shutting down the PC is not intuitive in Windows 8 Preview.  I have to go to "Settings", which doesn't make any sense, and then find the power button.  How do I find the full control panel (not the metro one), or the devices and printer?  How do I get to "Run"?  None of this is intuitive.

    I'm all for redesigning the Start Menu, but Desktop and Metro and two different environments and each has its own specific needs.  Some people will only want to work in the desktop environment and that is absolutely fine.  They should be able to.  For someone like myself, I want to use the best of both worlds, but more than that I want options.  Both environments have big advantages and big disadvantages.  A lot of heavy PC users will not be okay with the lack of a Start Menu and I’m worried that stuff like this will hurt Window’s market share.  I use the start menu every single day.  With Windows 8, I would move a lot of the common functionality to the new start screen, but I can't and don't want to move all of it.  I should also be able to shutdown my pc in two intuitive clicks.

    Above all else, Windows 8 needs to be intuitive.  One of the big reasons people (not myself) like the ipad is the fact that an 80 year old dude can pick it up and use it without an instruction manual.  If I’m having a hard time figuring stuff out in windows 8, then it isn’t good for the general public.  I am very excited for Windows 8 and have full confidence that these issues will be workeded out before release.

  255. As informative as this post is, Microsoft’s intention has been made clear, and that is to move completely to the Metro UI.  Yes, there are some users who would benefit from the Metro UI.  Yes, there are systems where only using the Metro UI makes sense.  However, users today are utilizing a keyboard and mouse for computing.  Most of these users use few if any keyboard shortcuts; they simply navigate using the mouse, until they find what they need.

    The aggravation that Microsoft will cause the Windows community will be overwhelming!  That will translate into lost sales, users, and increased opportunity for the competition.

    I think that the Windows 8 Developer Preview has shown the incredible work Microsoft has done towards bringing touch-based computing into the fold.  However, at this time, users, computers and applications aren’t ready to move entirely over to touch-based computing.

    Bridging the current and touch-based computing worlds, with an option for both the Metro UI for touch-based usage and the current standard UI for non-touch computing is the wise choice.  As the devices and applications mature, users will move to touch-based computing.  Please don’t make the mistake of prematurely forcing it.  It would be an incredibly costly one.

  256. ZEIGHY says:

    Wait, so this post was the long version of "screw you guys, no start menu for you, use the start screen because we think it's better"

    uh, why not just put the win7 start menu for those would want to opt to use it? While your points about the start screen is valid, they don't apply to what most people prefer to use or do.

    In fact, I opened this post expecting to see you say "hey we're making a better start menu for you guys" instead I am deeply disappointed by what this post is about.

    Start Menu =/= Start Screen

    yes, the start menu is indeed a launcher… what do you think it's other purpose is? The start screen otherwise caters to something completely different. Get your head straight.

  257. Progman is better says:

    @xacseed:

    The people who you are talking about have no choice to use Windows – and Micro$oft know it. That's why they can ignore them

  258. What Microsoft really need to do is:

    1- Re-allow the Start Menu in the Desktop Mode (Desktop Mode needs a more flattened METRO UI look – like Windows Server 8 Preview).

    2 – Allow an option in the control panel to boot into Desktop Mode, if a user chooses to do so. (Personally, I'll be using the METRO Start Screen). Default should be the METRO UI Start Screen.

    3 – As METRO apps become more prevailant and ppl see the beauty and usefulness of them…you can possible start to phase the Desktop Mode out…much like what happened to DOS.

    Humans don't like change….but once they get used to the METRO UI…they'll love it 🙂

  259. @Drewfus Developers just don't write gadgets, they didn't when Active Desktop was the new big thing, they didn't when Longhorn's Sidebar was the new big thing. All the functionality lives in the app and investing functionality in replicating a small part of it in a little sub-app is just not a compelling scenario in the main.

    Live Tiles aren't gadgets, you're thinking about them like they should be and that's not the purpose. There are very few applications that can't benefit from being able to expose a small amount of status, even if it's just something to say "Hey, new stuff is here – you might want to check it out"

  260. Progman is better says:

    @SCOOBY_666UK:

    Are you serious?

    Only allowing 1 visible application isn't a step forward – it isn't even "windows".

    What real applications could you imagine using with the metro ui?

  261. Progman is better says:

    Correction: the metro interface is windows 1.0

  262. GregH says:

    I have to reiterate @Arthur the xbox interface is far better in terms of design gloss – the Start feels kind of tacky at the moment – you need to make this look amazing, sleek and elegant.

  263. @Andy you said (many, many posts above) that switching from Metro Start Screen to Desktop doesn't feel right for you, as if leaving one desk and going to another. I absolutely agree with you there. I also agree with you about how to make the transition more seamless.The smoother transition (background image stays the same, tiles fly away to be replaced by the task bar and desktop content).

    To say it differently: The Desktop has to become more Metro-Style like (oh, many people here will hate this…)

    The way I see it, the only advantage the Win7 Task bar has over the Metro system, is that you can easily navigate between several apps (cause you can always see them at the bottom of the screen). So maybe that should be the only thing to change, when switching to Desktop mode… the task bar with running Desktop Program Icons floating up from below. Then you have the best of both worlds, if you will…

  264. gawicks says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing."

    Now that's a wrong assumption .There are numerous instances where I launch an app to *complement* what I am doing. Like launching calculator while in Powerpoint , using the dictionary app to look up a word. Open notepad to jut down a few notes while browsing etc;

    Also you are right about the fact that the Taskbar is a very useful as a launcher and a switcher with jumplists it's almost perfect.

    But in Win8 it's a different story .It's not top level anymore .The Metro apps and the Taskbar is in two world and not aware of each other. To launch a Metro App I have to go to a completely different App launching and switching experience . This hampers  usability .Don't you see the problem here?

  265. @Alireza Noori – You wanted to know if there is a place to browse all the apps on your system.  You can do this through the Search.  Of course, you can hit Search and start typing the name of an app.  But, you can also hit Search and then just browse through all the apps on your system.  We found in usability studies that when people couldn’t find the app they wanted, they went to Search to find it.  But, once people chose Search, they still may or may not know the name of the app, so we wanted to enable both browsing and typing.

  266. Mihail Pilipov says:

    A как добавлять плитки в меню Пуск?

  267. Sven says:

    I want to know more about the improvements 😉

  268. 1: Search is not fast because there's no "All" category. If I type 'Ex' it shows me apps, and it takes an extra click to see files or settings. Please default to showing All like the Start Menu did (let's say you only have 4 app results, then you have space for other stuff), and allow us to focus by clicking on the category or search contract we want

    2: The Start Menu did some work to figure out what were frequently and recently used programs of mine that are not on the Taskbar, and it worked well. With the Dashboard, you've given me control to group things but now I don't have the benefit of that MRU/MFU anymore. WHy should I have to do all the work when you already have those algorithms? Allow us to have a group that is populated by the operating system, not by me moving tiles around.

    3: One benefit of the Start Menu list is it was alphabetical. The fact that we can't memorize where all our tiles are means it can require a lot of scanning to find an app. Also, if we just installed a bunch of apps then those will take a while to find. By the way, if we're installing apps that create Start Menu folders filled with uninstallers and crap, you put all of those as tiles on the dashboard… you know that has to change, right?

    4. You repeat that the Start Screen is great for launching and switching. You've discussed the launching part, but there's no mention of how switching is improved. I'm not talking about Alt-Tab or Win-Tab, I'm talking mouse. When using only desktop apps it's ok once they're already launched, since I can just click the taskbar, but what about switching Metro apps? No, not "swipe from the side"… not fun with a mouse.

    – And then, why fullscreen/immersive only? My screen is humongous, and non-touch. I shouldn't be forced to view WinRT apps full-screen if I don't want to.

    5: Simple unpinning of a tile is a pain. Right click, move to bottom? My screen is humongous, I can't do this

    6: "When launching a new app you're leaving what you're doing"… You're destroying my mental workflow, talking like that. Did you forget about all the shiny Live Tiles waiting to distract me when I'm supposed to be launching an app? I'm not crying to have the classic start menu back, I'm just asking that you come up with a better way to preserve workflow. You have to make tasks faster than both Launchy and ObjectDock, and this can't happen via "tap, swoop, scan, recognize, click, swoop"

    I ask that you hide your keyboards and try using Win8 with just a mouse for a while.

  269. Douglas Houserman says:

    There will be significant backlash with this.  I really don't want something full screen.  I want to quickly launch applications without covering up what I am working on.  Please provide another alternative or I won't be upgrading!

  270. @Joao M Correia – You said, “When i go to open another program, i don't want to see colorful rectangles all updating and moving and changing and what not, i just want the program, preferably without losing my train of thought in the process.”

    Thanks for the feedback.  We agree that you should not need to look at tiles you are not interested in seeing.  One of our goals with the Start Screen design is to put you in control.  If you find some of the content useful (such as a news headline or a your latest email), then you can put it on your Start Screen.  If you don’t find it useful, you can make the tile small.  Or, you will be able to disable the notifications (not currently possible in the Developer Preview Build).  Or, if you don’t want to see the app tile at all, you can remove it from Start Screen altogether.  (You pin it to your taskbar, put a shortcut on your desktop, or search the Start Screen to launch it.)

  271. Unscrew Win8-Plugin says:

    Found this plugin which has managed to UN-SCREW Windows 8.

    http://www.thewindowsclub.com/metro-ui-tweaker-windows-8-released

    Looks like you can turn off METRO, and UN-SCREW the start menu.

    Trying it now, maybe there is hope.  It just means I have to hack the OS to pieces to get it to behave as it should.

  272. Hi,

    What I'd like to see is the ability to save your Start screen customizations to Skydrive for example – or cloud in whatever way.  And even keep them synced on multiple devices running Windows 8.

    As I see it, the customizations you can make to the Start screen are extensive and should be guarded.

    I for example would like to have the same configuration on both my home computer as my work desktop/laptop to be able to keep my productivity high whether working personal or business.

  273. bob says:

    Can we pin metro apps to the taskbar?

  274. Alberto says:

    Why this blog isn't in spanish?

    I understand english but…

    Thanks for all news!

  275. nate says:

    the biggest thing that currently seems unnatural is the context switch between the desktop and the start screen.  it is like being slapped in the face.  Litterally. a more subtile appoach may be for the start menu to always be present behind a transparent desktop.  when in invoked it can rise to the top.  when working within the desktop enviornment it can fade away into the background but the live tiles can still be visible and updated to provide information about the apps, etc..  Also this would better marry the concept of gadgets and live tiles and make the live tiles viewable when in the desktop enviornment.

  276. @Mihail Pilipov – Tiles are added to the Start Screen when an application is installed.  You can also add secondary tiles from within Metro-style apps that can link you to content within the app.

  277. Mark E says:

    Why are you so stubbornly holding on to the Start Screen? I know it looks fresh, colourful and so on, great for touch devices. People keep telling you that they want/need the OPTION to have the good-old start menu back. Why don't you give it? Two different paradigms, I want to use one. If I don't get the choice, I won't buy it. Call it old-fashioned, I don't really care.

    You make great products, but it FEELS like you are forcing me to use the Metro UI, when I don't really need it. I don't want to unscrew the UI with some tweaking tool, give us the option please.

  278. Daniel Bezerra says:

    The "Start" displayed at the upper-left corner of the screen is useless and distracting. Maybe there is some marketing ideia behind it, but for the users the Start screen is important because it's the start screen and not because it's the Start screen. If some recognition matters then the customized content of that screen will do the job.

  279. Chen says:

    jsm just solved all your problems: "Why not just replace the current desktop by the Start screen ?"

    This will also solve the mess most people have on their desktops. Seriously, have you seen a normal users desktop. They are overflooded with junk. You often find 2 year old files hanging around there mixed with the latest important files.

    Isn't this what you are trying to do anyway, the new start seems like a mix of Widgets/Gadgets+Dashboard+Sidebar+ActiveDesktop. As long as you still quickly can drop temporary files onto it, it will not be a problem.

    Oh and btw, remember that the iPhone didn't have folders on it's home-screen before. Apple had to add it because everyone realized that it doesn't work with one huge flat grid. You need folders.

  280. Thanks for this clear rationale. I would have a lot of suggestions. Let’s start with those two:

    1) I really think the taskbar should be “universal” as is the alt-tab function. But I also think that it should only serve to give access to open windows (as the tab bar in IE). Because of the start page the desktop taskbar becomes irrelevant for launching apps and should simply be replaced with a metro taskbar that would be accessible from any window. The taskbar is the most efficient way to access to open windows with a mouse. Swipe (and its mouse avatar) isn’t efficient at all (one window at a time, that’s not serious! At least let us choose what window to swipe in… from a taskbar). And the desktop taskbar is frustrating because it only shows desktop apps. Now, since the top and the bottom of screen are already used by apps, this universal taskbar could be on the left side of screen as an extension of the charms menu. Here are some images to show what I mean:

    skydrive.live.com

    2) The start menu needs to be more efficient in various ways. The transition between the current window and the start menu should be much faster. There should be a filter to prevent uninstallation and update .exe files being automatically pinned up. There should also be a third size of tile, namely an icon-like tile (¼ of the current small tile) for those desktop apps without live content. This would enable us to gather a lot of uninteresting tiles on an even smaller surface. A 1” by 1” tile for a simple Microsoft Word icon is a big waste of space. And a ½” by ½” tile would still be big enough for the touch experience.

  281. New Apple iPhone fails to wow investors, fans

  282. mt327000 says:

    @Steven Sinofsky, @Alice Steinglass

    Will there be an option to boot into the desktop instead of the Metro environment and Start Screen for non-touchscreen computers? Will there be a way to load the Start Screen overtop of a dimmed desktop rather than having it replace everything on the screen? Will there be a way to drag and drop items from the Start Screen to the desktop or to Metro or non-Metro applications? Will it be possible to run Metro-style applications in a window, rather than in full-screen? Will there be a better equivalent to the "All Programs" Start Menu, including folders that the current Start Menu is designed to use? Will there be a Start Screen equivalent to the Documents, Pictures, Music, Video, Help, etc. links in the Start Menu? Will there be a better way to share information between Metro apps than the "Contracts" system that exists today?

    Windows 8 could be the best operating system ever made if the answer to all these questions is "yes."

    Despite all of your best efforts, the Desktop is still the primary UI for Windows 8. In other words, the Desktop is Windows.

    Metro on the desktop feels like an extra side gimmick to me in its current implmentation, but it certainly doesn't have to be.

  283. For all the people suggesting to replace the current desktop with the Start Screen, that is not the best idea. First, the desktop is a space you arrange windows on.. do we need to to have all the tile stuff going on in the background? Granted some people litter it with icons now, but the only time I want to cover up my beautiful wallpaper is when I put a file on the desktop temporarily for quick use

    Come to think of it, with the way desktops now are abused with icons it can't be worse to do some tiles instead. That desktop idea might actually work

  284. By the way, let me just state I thoroughly appreciate you guys opening up and exposing yourself to this abuse on a blog. It takes really tough skin to pour hard work into something, reveal it to your audience, and listen to them tear it apart. So Alice, Marina, et al.. thanks.

    But you don't get to sleep until this thing is perfect! My life centers around Windows and Windows Phone, so it's all tough love over here

  285. MJR says:

    There's a lot of talk of touchscreen devices becoming more pervasive, but in most of my working environments the screens are positioned too far away to comfortably touch the screen. Bringing the screen closer is not an option because it would then be too close to read comfortably. Therefore whilst it's great for tablet scenarios, it's important the usability with mouse and keyboard remains optimal, because even if I had a touchscreen monitor on my PCs, I don't think I'd be able to work with it effectively because of the ergonomics.

    I also share some of the concerns expressed here about the start screen – depending on what you are doing, the context switch can be very jarring when the entire desktop disappears (and as pointed out by an earlier poster, there are many scenarios where you would want to be referencing something else on-screen whilst interacting with search etc.) The desktop and start screen can feel like two different/separate environments.

    For desktop users I think it would also be very useful to have the option to run metro apps windowed on the desktop, so that you have the choice when using metro apps of the full-screen exprience, or the traditional multi-tasking on the desktop, depending on what's most appropriate to your working practices.

  286. Alex86 says:

    Please bring back the original Start Menu! Metro is unusable on the PC with mouse and keyboard! Metro is for tablets. Aero (with original Start Menu) is for Desktop PCs!

    We will not buy Windows without Start menu!

  287. I'll second craig.smikle's "thank you" for this willingness to take criticism. Clearly you've poured yourselves into Windows 8 and it shows tons of potential. I'll also add to such criticism, agreeing with the somewhat persistent one regarding the odd functionality of breaking up the desktop with the start gui. There's got to be a better way to harmonize the two. Dany Rodier went the extra mile with screenshots of a proposed functionality that actually looks pretty decent to me!

  288. Yeah, And I will have to "third" what was said above, and I do also like the image that Dany created.

  289. Rojas says:

    If i can't turn off that Spamming  Metro start screen, then i am not going to upgrade..

  290. adam m. says:

    why you don't make the icons of metro tiles (like that for internet explorer and control panel) colorful instead of being white or make this at least an option ?

    Also why not to make the icons of [desktop apps tiles] bigger like that of [metro apps tiles] and simply differentiate them by putting the name of the app above the icon in the desktop tiles and below it in metro tiles, or you can differentiate them for example by the color of the tile background or any other way.

  291. If I click the start button from the traditional desktop I'd expect the task bar to stay in place. The Start screen doesn't really use that real estate, and it would feel much more like one system if the task bar stayed put. Right now it feels like I'm toggling between two systems and it's hard to get back to where I was if I change my mind and decide not to launch anything.

    I'd expect the task bar to vanish when I launch a metro application, and not to reappear if I hit start from the Metro Desktop.

  292. It looks like desktop users will have to live with the Start Screen.

    There will not be a possibility to boot my desktop right into the Classic Destop with the Classic Start Menu.

    That is why Windows 8 is over and out for me.

    I won't even have a look at the beta.

  293. Spreadsheet design says:

    This is the same spreadsheet data driven design that has NOTHING to do with how people actually work. Just like the fluent "ribbon" interface.

    What I do not understand is why this type of change isn't an option instead of the default?

    I miss the mid 90s when I felt like I could trust Microsoft to at least make decisions with the user in mind.

  294. mt327000 says:

    Of course, most of the suggestions that have been made regarding redesigning the UI would only apply for regular computers, A.K.A. desktops and laptops. On tablets, Metro looks great! On desktops, the reimagination of Windows needs to be reimagined (or at least rethought).

  295. Tim says:

    only thing i like on windows 8 is live update tiles. thats the only new thing i have seen so far..

  296. Tom says:

    Tiles look like the Windows Phone 7 interface, 100% the same.

    Just horizontal not vertical scrolling.

  297. Tam says:

    I agree with Tim and Tom. But I wanted more changes in the Desktop part of Windows, otherwise it is Windows 7 + Windows Phone interface and few else…

    Windows 9? Nahhhh, too late to wait.

  298. Insignificant says:

    Hi,

    will there be an option to automatically pin the *x* most frequent apps in the order of use on the Metro Startpage? I don’t want to sort all my programs, I want the system to sort them for me, will this be possible? At least at an option.

    Also I would be great to sort groups alphabetically and after the most frequent use as well.

    Do we also get a metro sidebar thing? The tile infos are very great, but on a desktop you’re not as often on the startpage as you’re when you’re at a tablet pc. So it would be great to also *see* some tiles when you’re in desktop mode.

  299. GordonF says:

    People are already talking about Windows 8 as the new Vista. Is it really worth it to piss off your loyal customers to pursue the iPad fad?

    I'd think about it.

  300. Tam says:

    I meant "and little else". Thanks for this dialogue but it's useless. Information world is changing. Windows is no longer necessary as in the past.

  301. Wolf says:

    @Microsoft & Others.

    Im going to keep repeating this until something is done. I also going up and beyound and do it with videos for the world to see  that limited Features can Work on Lower end systems.

    Windows 8 Exprince is suppose to be fluent  from one system to another. From Tablet to Desktop to netbook. If my Tablet can do Windows 8 Snap, so should my netbook. If my Tablet can display metro apps and live tiles so should my netbook.

    With Windows Live Sign in on Windows 8. Setting from my desktop will be syned and  downloaded to my netbook.Thats including Metro App setting. What good are the setting that are being sync to the cloud if I can not use then on my other Devices?

    What good would the Windows App Store be for Netbook users when they are unable to use Any of the WinRT apps that will be on there.

    I Strongly suggest and will keep repeating that all Metro Apps HAVE to work on Screen Resolutions of ether 800×600 or atlest 1024×600 minimal.

    ———————————————————————–

    Picture a Non Tech Swavy person going to Bestbuy or another Retail outlet looking to buy a Windows 8 Netbook (lets say a Dell Duo) A multiTouch Netbook that has a 10.1 Screen with a Native Resolution of 1024×600.

    He ether Buys it thinking it can Run metro Apps and takes it home and get very upset after he fines out that is dose not run any Metro apps. Ether Returns Device, (MS and Laptop Manifactor loses  a sale here)

    Or he keep it and tell ever one he know that windows 8 is garbage (Another ME/Vista) Word by mouth can give prodects bad rep.

    Ask your self, who is going to go into a Retail outlet to buy a Windows 8 Netbook, Looking at all the Shelf Displays and notice none of the netbooks can Run Metro Apps. As well none of the netbooks can use any of the windows store. Would you Still buy a windows 8 Netbook?  I know I would ether be looking for a windows 7, xp or Linux netbook at that point.

    Metro UI StartScreen for the most part is kinda useless with out being able to have Live Tiles for live Info on the fly.

    ———————————————————————-

    Up next! Ever Resolutions from 800×600 should infact be able to do Windows 8 Snap.

    One shoudl not have to add or edit a Registery Vaule to enable it. I have did some real Live footage of it working Extreamly well on a netbook useing 800×600, 1024×600, and 1360×764 (on a 26in widescreen display Native Resolution)

    Windows 8 Devlopers Preview, Windows 8 Snap, Low Resolutions

    http://www.youtube.com/watch (video 1)

    Windows 8 Devlopers Preview, Windows 8 Snap, Low Resolutions. Example Work Flow

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

    Even if can't see the full desktop, It still shows Previews of apps runing that when u click on them, The App Re-sizes the desktop screen to a useible state well keeping your metro app still visible.

    all that need to be fixed here is the Slide bar. I think the bar should be click or touch to auto resize app. From 1/3rd to 2/3rd and back. For touch and non touch screens I should not have to Drag bar to resize. Let the system do it automadicly since you can only have ether 1/3rd or 2/3rd settings anywazs. Since we are unable to have are own custom sizes for windows 8 Snap feature.

    Or better yet let us have are own Custom Sizes for snaped screens. So one could ether go hafe and hafe or one tenths of the screen if we really wanted to.

  302. @adam m. – Thanks for the feedback.  The icons on metro tiles are designed by the app.  We have not locked our final designs yet for our internal apps (such as IE and control panel), but as you install applications, they can use color.  

    The desktop app tiles are designed to support backwards compatibility.  There are lots of existing apps for Windows that provide a single small icon and text string for the Windows 7 start menu.  We are using these same assets to represent the app on the Windows 8 Start Screen.

  303. Eric says:

    Not sure if you consider this as part of the start screen or not, but when I swipe from the right or take my mouse to the lower left and get the start button, search button and settings. The time, battery life, and Wifi notifications show up.

    I really wish these were clickable so I could go straight to wifi connections or to a calendar.

  304. Eric says:

    Not sure if you consider this as part of the start screen or not, but when I swipe from the right or take my mouse to the lower left and get the start button, search button and settings. The time, battery life, and Wifi notifications show up.

    I really wish these were clickable so I could go straight to wifi connections or to a calendar.

  305. Guys…check out the Xbox360's new METRO UI…which will also be part of Windows 8 in the beta (If ONLY MS allowed tuner support in this instead of Windows Media Center):

    http://www.microsoft.com/…/videoGallery.aspx

  306. Yaniv says:

    Can you please confirm whether we will still have access to the 'Recent' jump lists?

    For example, my primary use of the start menu today (except searching) is to open recent Word documents, Visual Studio solutions or RDP connections using the jump lists in the menu.

    Will we able to do that using the new start screen, or will we be forced to pin Word and Visual Studio to the taskbar in order to achieve that?

  307. SNAP FEATURE: It would be brilliant if Microsoft would allow us to SNAP up to FOUR Metro Apps…instead of the current TWO….believe me…there are many uses.

    That would be REAL MULTI-TASKING 🙂

  308. The second group of metro tiles should automatically be for 'recent' stuff.

  309. Nerd_Ngong says:

    Below are my suggestions/feedback:

    1.  Could you please have "shut down" (and its related functions) in a very simple location, preferably on the main screen and not under "settings"?  It took me 10-15 minutes to figure out how to shut down my PC without pressing the physical button on the front of my desktop, and I want to make sure that the basic fundamentals you need to know on a computer can easily be taught to my grandparents.

    2.  I still like the old start menu, but I want to use the start screen as well.  Currently, in the Windows 8 Developer Preview, if you put your cursor in the far corner of the taskbar (on the left), a small menu appears.  Perhaps this should be replaced with the normal start menu, this way you can still have the "legacy" start menu, as well as the new start screen and be able to use them interchangeably.

    3.  If it's not already in the makings, I definitely want to see an option to be able to put your regular desktop as the primary screen you see when you log in, as opposed to the start screen, or perhaps during the out of box experience, you have the choice to indicate if you want to see the desktop or start screen first.

  310. Scenario for Windows 7:

    Eyes focused on a window containing some figures, say $4,259.95 and wondering what 7.5% of that is.

    Press: 'Windows Key' – c – a – l – c – enter – 4 – 2 – 5 – 9 – . – 9 – 5

    Eyes move to the Calculator to continue the calculation and see the answer.

    Am I correct in assuming that to avoid being blasted with a screen full of metro in Window(s) 8, I need to first set and memorise a custom short cut key or add nearly all apps to the task bar?

    I can't wait to buy a Window 8 tablet but I think pigs will fly before I see Windows 8 in the corporate/government space if there is no easy way to bump metro firmly into the background.

  311. @Jared Homes – U'd prob be able to do that in the upcoming beta with the two window snap and the 'real/full' multi-tasking coming in the beta. However, I think with our large & high resolution displays, we should be allowed to snap upto four metro apps on one screen.

  312. Nerd_Ngong says:

    Another suggestion…

    Using a mouse, I know there is a scrollbar provided on the start screen, however, I find myself wanting to move along in the screen with left clicking and sliding much like a touchscreen (and the lock screen on Windows 8 for that matter).

    Thanks

  313. Nerd_Ngong says:

    I'm full of suggestions today!  Perhaps this will change too before beta, but please put the ribbon in places such as control panel, programs & features, system properties, etc as well to make the UI consistant.

  314. Update on my suggestion that the taskbar should be made universal: I've touched up my images so that the taskbar looks more metro style. Also, I added a Power charm!

    skydrive.live.com

  315. If u're wanting users to use the new metro style, then we should never really have to go in to the desktop. By this I mean…Metro versions of Task Manager/Command Prompt/Calculator/My Computer/Paint/Note Pad, etc.

    If a Metro version of something like Task Manager can't be done, then this shows real limitations of the Metro Style, and ppl will pick up on it n give it -ve press.

    BTW, R.I.P. Steve Jobs 1955-2011 http://www.apple.com/

  316. Visigoth says:

    Guys, the Metro interface simply DOES NOT WORK with a keyboard & mouse (like 90%+ of the world uses). Give it up! It's been said a million times already, but it just DOES NOT WORK! Keep the Metro interface for tablets as the default, but for the love of God and your own body, make the "classic" UI for PC the default.

    Touch screens will always stay a niche, because the costs involved in upgrading every screen is astronomical. Not to mention, people are so used to the keyboard + mouse combo, that they'll fight to keep them.

    VOICE RECOGNITION, on the other hand, is something you should've poured billions into and make it work seamlessly, in real time. NOT TOUCH! VOICE, DAMN IT!

  317. B8Blog says:

    Comments disabled for 24 hours.

  318. mt327000 says:

    Now that the comments have been turned back on on this page, I'd like to point out something that I should have said a long time ago.

    One of the reasons why people (myself included) don't think that Metro will work on the desktop is because Microsoft has hardly demonstrated Windows 8 running on the desktop at all. Microsoft has primarily demonstrated Windows 8 running on touch devices and left us to figure out for ourselves how the product works on regular computers.

    Microsoft, please stop demonstrating Windows 8 on tablets until after the beta is released, as demonstrating Windows 8 with touch gives us no idea how it will work on our own computers. For more information, see this post:

    social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/463e9682-ed05-4466-bfde-fe695b1a4e8c

  319. B8Blog says:

    @mt327000 That is simply not true so I don't know how to answer that "request".  At each forum we have demonstrated Windows 8 we have shown it on a variety of machines.  In the keynote at //build/ we covered a full spectrum of machines with and without touch from desktop to laptop to all in one.  

  320. mt327000 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!!! If you block this comment I will **** you

  321. . says:

    Metro and desktop in same pc is like living with wife and mistress under same roof. That means troubles.

  322. . says:

    But, you know nobody liked getting rid of DOS, and the new experience is better. So let's just see how Metro UI goes.

  323. Win8wow says:

    @ •

    See, that's the spirit, we'll see how it goes. It may be a Windows Paradise for everyone once the app store opens!

  324. LD says:

    @ •

    Ummmmm DOS is still there, and when windows was a better interface with 3.1 people switched, not because they were forced to.  Surprisingly there are still things that you can only do from a DOS prompt.The difference here is that you can't do things more efficiently and more intuitively in the old desktop modality.

    Try installing MS BOB… seriously and try and get real work done in that system.  There's a reason BOB was one of Microsoft's biggest flops and this is BOB version 2.0.

    "Bob received the 7th place in PC World magazine's list of the 25 worst tech products of all time,[9] a spot in Time magazine's list of the 50 Worst Inventions[10] and number one worst product of the decade by CNET.com.[11]"

    most people would learn from this.

  325. Scott Barnes says:

    Ever sat down and watched a human being react to shapes / patterns on a screen with the context around "what is the same" … perceptional organization index + processing speed index = bad win8 start menu.

    If the answer for Windows 8 start menu is to funnel peoples Perceptual Organisation and Visual Structures then…well.. good luck with that one 😉 you wont yield a victory here…

  326. B8Blog says:

    @Scott Barnes — From a user interface design perspective your brain works the opposite of what you stated.  These are evolutionary capabilities built into our sensory system.  We are receiving a stimulus (reception) processing it (perception) and then acting.  When you have more visual cues (i.e. many shapes, colors, and arrangements) the perception step can by bypassed because the reception completes your understanding.  This is a basic survival instinct sort of thing.  Also as a result, the next time you want that same thing the ability to recall it is improved.

    When you have large blocks of text (menus) or large uniform grids of buttons (old style toolbars) they take a great deal of perception.  This is far slower.  What happens is your brain kicks in and says "wait a minute, a lot going on here so I need to stop and process all of this".  It is akin to your brain saying "this looks like a puzzle I had better solve before acting".  While people criticize the aesthetics of the Ribbon and the "irregular" chunks, the greatly speed reception and recall and that is by design.

    The "what is the same" test you describe is what happens when presented with a long string of menu items that all start with Microsoft, compared to a personalized grid of predictable shapes and layout with varying colors and contents with spatial cues.  The processing power and time that goes into distinguishing things from the menu is vastly more than what can be done via the Start screen design.

    We'll talk about this in a follow up post since it seems to be interesting.

  327. An advice for all Microsoft employees that seem to love Apple tablets/products, go buy one and while you are at it, please resign from Microsoft and go get a job at Apple.

    We are the dedicated users of Windows, we liveand work with Windows every day and we can tell you that the changes you have made in the start menu render Windows useless as a desktop operating system.

    After five minutes with the preview build I am lost and I am a developer with 20 years of experience mostly on Windows platforms. You have turned Windows into a glorified facebook application that has no value whatsoever as a desktop OS because it simply kills productivity.

    I do not want my 30” monitor flashing a huge grid in front of me every time I switch applications or settings.

    Do you still understand user interface design or you had a lobotomy before you started work on Win8 UI? Do you understand the notion of desktop real estate or somebody has hit you on the head with a huge square tile and you now can only see tiles in front of you?

    I just feel sorry for all the hard working Microsoft employees that did such a good work on the rest of the OS. You managed to destroy the user experience of the whole OS by removing the heart of the Windows user experience and replacing it with an abomination that simply does not work on the desktop and manages to frustrate any sensible user.

    As far as I am concerned, if things do not change very soon by fencing the crazy Metro bunch of developers that are let loose in the OS, it is curtains for the MS products in the business space and on my desktop.

    mil

  328. OKTHEN says:

    Why can’t we have metro as the background keeping the taskbar visible at the same time?

    Best of both and have the mouse as a single touch device with gestures

    Also i don’t want to scroll all the way to the end of metro to load a program

    And i hate typing if i don’t need to

    Make windows 8 run from the mouse.

    And more the taskbar when it’s full of programs needs the scroll of the mouse to see more not those little triangles

  329. Here is a scenario you people may want to consider:

    In the place I am working for a single user can have 4 to 6 monitors (minimum) on a PC full of excel sheets and lots of dedicated products all displaying finance information in real time. If I was to make an application that goes full screen for any period of time I better have a very good reason for that or else…

    Now what the “Metro team” is proposing is that if this guy wants to click on the “start menu” to find an app or something they will have to dedicate a whole screen for X amount of seconds because “hey it is cool”, “hey it is new”, “hey we are the new UI and we don’t give a damn about how you were using your computer all these years”.

    The obvious path for this client is not to use future versions of Windows and, if they don’t use Windows then thousands of IT stuff will also have to change their systems so we are compatible with the clients that do pay our salaries. Do the maths…

    And here is another piece of advice, if you continue with this path, please change your adverts that say “I am a PC”, I find it very misleading, what you should say is “I am a Tablet and I don’t care about your PC”.

  330. Curious says:

    What will be the next Windows' name?

    "Windows Hybrid"?

    "Windows Chernobyl"?

    "Windows Endogamy"?

    "Windows Nonsense"

    "Windows Telemetry Driven"?

    "Windows Unproductive"?

    "Windows Dumb"?

  331. Written in the BOB's says:

    Anyone remember old famous DALLAS an prime time soap opera from the early 1980 ?

    Don't know why that one reminds me of Mr BOB but it was really a top notch everyone followed.

    If talking of living under the same roof these brother's quite equal "BOB" lot's of cake and much oil 🙂

    Excuse me, just a thought in the loop

    Next please

  332. Joao M Correia says:

    @Alice Steinglass[MSFT]

    You said "We agree that you should not need to look at tiles you are not interested in seeing.  One of our goals with the Start Screen design is to put you in control.  If you find some of the content useful (such as a news headline or a your latest email), then you can put it on your Start Screen.  If you don’t find it useful, you can make the tile small.  Or, you will be able to disable the notifications (not currently possible in the Developer Preview Build).  Or, if you don’t want to see the app tile at all, you can remove it from Start Screen altogether.  (You pin it to your taskbar, put a shortcut on your desktop, or search the Start Screen to launch it.)"

    Well, then if i remove all the tiles and distracting apps, Start Screen will just be a full screen app launcher that will STILL take away whatever i am working in at the moment -just to find and launch another program- on which i probably want to work at the same time (or don't want to lose sight of a video being played in media player, for example).

    The start menu has many other functionalities that became much harder to do or find with Start Screen. For example, how do you do My computer->manage now? Or launch the control panel (the real one, not the metro abomination)? Or how do you reach the run command -with the mouse-? Start Menu had great ways to do that -and as a bonus- it didnt distract the user.

  333. Good one Curious,

    My vote goes for “Windows Telemetry Driven”..but…

    …hold a sec though, that is misleading too, because it implies the can interpret the results correctly, which is obviously not the case. They are just using it to support their academic level arguments.

    Here are some more suggestions:

    “Windows Squared”

    “Windows Fondle Me”

    “Windows Knows Better”

    “Windows Presentation Manager Edition”

    “Windows Pad Me”

    “No Windows Just Squares”

    “Windows Facebook”

    “Windows Grid View Edition”

    “Windows Finger Edition”

    “Windows No More”

    “Windows The End”

  334. GregH says:

    I think some of you are just being negative and you sound like idiots, sorry.  Start screen is very capable at providing a touch interface and I am excited about the possibilities with new tablets devices or even larger screens (cheaper and more options too), I also think that we will see some incredible high end apps – I think it is much better that I could possibly have a powerful tablet that I can carry around and run touch apps easily and then plug it into a dock which can powers my multi screen desktop – the hardware on new devices are most likely going to be powerful chips and maybe 8gb + ram, it is important to recognise that Windows 8 is a significant improvement to Windows 7 and the same way of working is still there but better (switching to the desktop is incredibly easy from Start, if not seamless – so stop making a big deal of what really is just a Start menu – a much better one!) I am excited about better built in security, performance, USB 3.0, Windows Live login and cloud syncing across devices, new dual monitor support for taskbar and other areas that we haven’t heard about yet like ‘File History’ or new features for Media – I think some more is coming – a great deal of the discussions have been around new features for desktop use , honestly I think that the start is excellent and it is still in development, the negative talk is just the noise that happens whenever something new comes along, really at this point we need to be providing constructive criticism and Microsoft – stay focused, lots of work to do.

  335. Joao M Correia says:

    @GregH: Sure Windows 8 has great new stuff under the hood. The problem is that the usability nightmare, on non-touch devices, makes all the rest unusable. Most everyone here is not an end-user. We use several programs at the same time, we like side-by-side views of multiple programs, we dont wan't to be distracted from our workflows, and, more importantly, we are past the ages of playing with colorful blocks.

    Since, say, 4 years old.

  336. 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.

  337. LeoStorm85 says:

    I completely disagree with you Stefan about Windows 7. It is a stable and secure system and allows for a great productivity. Where I agree with you is about Windows 8, if they will deliver the system with today's concept it will be the biggest failure in Microsoft history. During the last years Windows gained market share also in enterprise market where unix/linux based systems has always ruled. How they think to impose W8 to a system administrator. Also talking about something that is more familiar to me, how they think researchers will stay on Windows platform (in the research field at the moment the three main platforms namely Windows, Linux and Mac equally share the market) if they are creating a big social network application?

  338. LeoStorm85 says:

    I completely disagree with you Stefan about Windows 7. It is a stable and secure system and allows for a great productivity. Where I agree with you is about Windows 8, if they will deliver the system with today's concept it will be the biggest failure in Microsoft history. During the last years Windows gained market share also in enterprise market where unix/linux based systems has always ruled. How they think to impose W8 to a system administrator. Also talking about something that is more familiar to me, how they think researchers will stay on Windows platform (in the research field at the moment the three main platforms namely Windows, Linux and Mac equally share the market) if they are creating a big social network application?

  339. GregH my friend, have you read any of these postings before you call us all idiots?

    Nobody has an issue with Windows 8 features, it seems like it is going to be a great OS when it comes to OS core features, performance etc and a great UI for tablet PCs which I cannot wait to install on my Iconia W500 tablet currently running Windows 7.

    Now when it comes to the desktop it is going to be unusable, simple as that. You obviously have as much experience in working with the desktop as my neighbours’ dog and your opinion is really irrelevant.

    We are all against the new UI for the desktops (read the key word here again…desktops) because it is based on silly interpretations of a bunch of people that study a doctorate on UI design. It is totally detached from reality and has no value to us as desktop/business/developers/users.

    I downloaded the Dev edition and installed it on a VM on Windows Server 2008 R2. I have problems finding anything in that mess of a UI and the huge grid I have to invoke every time I have to find something makes things even worse.

    Windows UI desktop development is supposed to be an evolution and not a revolution lead by a bunch of deranged lunatics. I can tell you what will happen if this continues. People like me won’t install it at home or at work. People like me won’t lobby our businesses to invest on an upgrade on Windows 8. Windows 8 will flop worse than Vista and then MS will come with Windows 9 asking for forgiveness. This time though we will say we had enough and look around for any more sensible solutions.

    People like you though will continue writing irrelevant comments about things they do not comprehend and be oblivious of the reality and importance of the situation.

    If Microsoft uses telemetry to excuse such serious errors in their judgment then they are to be trusted no more. People will lose any confidence/respect towards them, especially in the business environments which seems to be their last stronghold at the moment.

    By this time they should have a clear vision and understanding of what the customers want, what they have demonstrated though is that they cannot think of more than one customer type at a time. I have Windows Phone 7, it is great, I love it but I don’t want my desktop to look like it, end of story.

  340. With WIndows 8, MS is making the same mistake they made with IE9 : ignoring user-feedback.

    There have been lots of users begging not to copy the Chrome interface for IE9.

    And what did we get ? A Chrome interface.

    Another blunder has been the login screen.

    We used to have very usefull icons in the login screen with:

    – the "remember me" feature which allowed the signin page to remember ones email address and password.

    – management of multiple accounts which could display several accounts on the Signin page.

    MS took them away from us, and only after heavy discussions they brought back a variant that is not half as user-friendly as the original soltion.

    And finally the Live Essential Programs.

    None of the complaints, requests, suggestions for improvement for Live Photo Gallery, Live Movie Maker, Live Mesh, and Live Mail have been taken into account since 2009.

    How do you want us (the users) to continue loving you the way we did for so many years?

  341. The new Start menu is a usability nightmare on the desktop computer. In my view it does not bring anything new compared to the old or should I say current Start menu. It is just more terrible to use.I don't understard why I have to move back and forward between the Desktop and the new Start menu just to open a new program or search for a file or an email or open Control panel.

    I also like to have multiple programs open on the Desktop and fail to see how the new UI is better at this than the Desktop. I just pined all the programs to the Superbar, including the Control panel link and Task manager link just to not have to use the new Start menu.

    I just hope that the final version of Windows 8 will have the option to disable the new Start menu on the desktop computers, because the new Start menu seem like a reedition of Microsoft Bob to me.

  342. Joao M Correia says:

    At this point, these are the words that could make everything right again, if coming from official microsoft sources:

    "You will be able to disable the Start Screen and use the Windows 7 start menu on Windows 8"

    Just as you can never go to the desktop if using a tablet, you should also have the option to -never- go to the start screen if using the desktop (emphasis on -never-). Of course, at the same time, we want to be able to still get to the not-so-often-used but still useful programs through a great launcher like start menu. Or do all the other functions start menu currently allows.

  343. Auburg says:

    If Microsoft did bring in the option to disable Metro UI for Windows 8, wouldn't you be left with Windows 7.5 on the desktop ? Oh yeah, that's why they're so reluctant…

  344. Auburg says:

    ok, that was a slight exaggeration 😉  – Windows 8 does have a lot of other promising features, but Metro UI is clearly what Microsoft want to push foremost amongst  them.

  345. @Steven Sinofsky 6 Oct 2011 11:22 PM

    So to summarize the first two paragraphs: "Recognition time is the inverse of the perceptual differentiation of observed objects".

    Fine, but that must only be true up to a point, otherwise the best design from a recognition PoV would be to make each element an area of randomly colored dots. Some structure and uniformity are always prefered to complete randomness (which maximizes differentiation), so it's not as simple as "more is better". Ok, so it sounds like the ribbon is closer to the optimum than traditional menus or toolbars are, but what about Start DP compared to Win7 start menu?..

    "…your brain kicks in and says "wait a minute, a lot going on here so I need to stop and process all of this".  It is akin to your brain saying "this looks like a puzzle I had better solve before acting".

    1. This is not the likely reaction of someone launching an app from either the pinned section of the start menu, or from the taskbar, because the user has already organized these to suit and is therefore familiar with them. There is no sense of being overwhelmed at all. This post and the last indicate that these are the preferred methods for starting commonly used apps, so is not Start DP a case of optimizing app launch for the least commonly used start links, and therefore contrary to the general principle of caching?

    2. Start actually does not follow the stimulus -> action, or perception -> action sequence most of the time. Instead it follows the recall -> perception -> action -> … -> perception -> action sequence. Why? Because most of it is offscreen, and therefore location processing and time must be accounted for. Sure, this applies to the start menu & taskbar to some extent, however …

    3. Opening menus and toolbars only requires redrawing the part of the screen they occupy, whereas scrolling Start requires a complete screen update. Consequently there is more visual processing (and user action) required, and most of this related to processing movement.

    4. The amount of movement is exacerbated by the large size of the tiles in the scrolling dimension, relative to the height of elements in list view (like the start menu).

    5. The traditional start menu allows vertical visual scanning, whereas Start requires at least as much horizontal scanning as vertical. It is always easier to scan for the first few characters – like Wor… Exc… Pow… – in a downwards direction, than it is to scan horizontally, which more or less entails reading entire words before moving on to the next.

    The "…long string of menu items that all start with Microsoft" you mention is by design, not necessity. MSO program shortcuts are organized under a folder – or should i say; hidden under a rock – labelled 'Microsoft Office', so the 'Microsoft' in 'Microsoft <ProgName>' shortcut is redundant, and not a failing of the start menu per se. Why will tiles necessarily be different anyway?

    "a lot going on here so I need to stop and process all of this"

    Why is that not the perfect description of a screen full of live tiles?

  346. Joao M Correia says:

    @Drewfus: You said '"a lot going on here so I need to stop and process all of this"

    Why is that not the perfect description of a screen full of live tiles?'

    That nailed it perfectly.

  347. Stefan says:

    @LeoStorm85:

    Well, it works like blaha on my computers. Same on my friends computers. That is MY and MY FRIENDS experience.

  348. Stefan says:

    @LeoStorm85:

    Well, it works like blaha on my computers. Same on my friends computers. That is MY and MY FRIENDS experience.

  349. Stefan says:

    "You will be able to disable the Start Screen and use the Windows 7 start menu on Windows 8" – i don't want Windows 7 start menu, i want classic start menu.

  350. LK001 says:

    Very good job.

    Search result – huge information value on one place in very consistent form.

    Start sceen – great performance boost. I appreciate customization.

    Keep rolling…

    One question: What will happen (in aspect of user interface) when someone has a fullscreen app running (i.e. game) and push the windows key?

  351. Tihiy says:

    So far you're getting a lot of negative feedback. You need to find something better than telemetry and lotofwords to make people understand why Windows 8 is not a total screw-up.

  352. Leave_Our_Desktop_Alone says:

    Two words to describe the new desktop experience “Total Failure”.

    Then again, based on the telemetry data they have concluded that we all need to share the same UI in the Windows Phone 7, X Box, Tablets and of course our desktops. So we got it all wrong for the past 20 years.

    But now we know the truth, when we want to search for an application we should go full screen to some form of tiles and cover everything else. Then we can come back to what we were doing…all this “cool actions“ because we should be using tiles instead of Windows. I would just love to use Excel inside a tile too, why use the desktop at all. Heck I wish my VS2010 was also running inside a tile next to another 100 tiles all updating at the same time.

    Or maybe (just maybe) they don’t have a clue on how to interpret telemetry data or simply they seem to have forgotten to take their medication lately. Maybe we should fire these people and go hire somebody who knows what desktop means.

    My advice to everybody is to start using your legs more because if the telemetry data shows otherwise they will chop them off. If you are right handed, start using your left hand equally or else you are going to loose it. And of course if you are not using your head a lot, then you don’t have a lot of time left in this world because the telemetry data will get you.

    Here is what we can do to save our precious desktop features, every time you boot Windows, go to the start menu and click around various items for 30 minutes. Also try using your left hand more just in case.

    Just give us an option to disable the metro screen, we don’t want it polluting on our desktop.

  353. Are these posts moderated? I posted a day or two ago but it hasn't shown up yet.

  354. Hmm, well that one obviously got through. I'll summarise:

    What's going to happen to legacy Start menu items if you upgrade from an older version of Windows, and what will happen if you install an old app? Do Start menu groups translate into tile groups in this situation? That'll produce a lot of tiles…

  355. Metro by itself is okay. I like it. Well there will be some changes in the ux but I am confident that the next Windows isn't going to offer less productivity that former versions. Thus, thumbs up.

    +1 to Peter van Dam's suggestions. Mouse gestures would really be fine.

  356. Jeff says:

    It's good to hear that you have plans for PC's with lower than 1024 X 768 resolution. As for now, I think windows 8 still have a long way to go and I hope that the Developer Preview is just a part of the planned user experience. I'm looking forward for more features with the next releases. For every product of course there's "resistance to change", but for this OS, my wish is that this will be stable, secure, and fast.

    PS. Is there a plan for making the mouse movements look like as if it's a touchscreen-like gesture? =)

  357. lyesmtih says:

    OK, let me say it as simple as I possibly can.

    No touch interface for a desktop!

    As much as I am satisfied with Windows 7 I get more and more disillusioned in Windows 8. Metro UI does not work on desktop or laptop. It is slow to use. It is ugly. Talking about ugly. There is no way that I will stare colored bricks over an ugly green background all day long. I hope it is possible to chose a neutral theme. One that change the background and the color of the bricks as well.

  358. John says:

    Are there plans to simplify the shutdown menu? It's just hard to find. I had to use ALT f4 in desktop view to shutdown my pc. Also, ALT F4 is not working when i'm on Start screen. Is that the way it is or is it a problem?

  359. Mark says:

    As expected, people will look for negatives, not constructive criticisms. Just wait folks, you better create your own OS if you have too much to complain. Just give comments that can be of help for improvement.

  360. ehow: How to mitigate Start Screen trolling says:

    There is a need of Windows7-StartMenu like search in Windows 8.. which should search in everything including control panel and drives… Most of the trolling is due to this reason! We have same desktop experience but when we press WindowKey and type something, it should bring it as swiftly as windows 7.. like i do WindowKey then type "remove program" as I'm typing it brings up the add-remove-program/uninstall program utility from control-panel and much more and then without using mouse or other keystroke i hit Enter and its right there on the face of my laptop!

    Microsoft, Windows 8 experience doesn't really hurt. Since we have search capabilities as well as Indexing Options and Start Screen Categories search is there. If you bring back some kind of a quick launch search which search the files folders and stuff buried deep inside the control panel (like services, power options and add remove programs) these troll will stop messing around. I can tolerate one extra key like WindKey+F to search *everything* (including control panel items) but the experience should be the same as in Windows7, like WindowKey->type[msconfig]->pressEnter and the configuration app is opened without any extra clicks and wait.. this makes Windows 7 real fast and fluid.. plz make some sense out of it… OR make the startscreen search capable of finding things from control panel, my drives, and since so forth….make a category like PC so if i click it the PC items are filtered.

  361. Did it ever occur to Microsoft that less and less people may be using the Start Menu in Windows 7 compared to Vista because you took away the Classic Start Menu option? People may have switched to other third party launchers and that explains the reduction in usage of the new Start Menu. Please bring the Classic Start Menu back and make the new Windows Start menu the default for PCs, and the Start Screen default for tablets. Choice is very important once customers get accustomed to an interface shipping in Windows, do not force customers to choose the interface you think works best. That made previous Windows versions super successful and every customer happy.

  362. My apologies if this shows up twice, hit post but still cannot see it.

    I absolutely love the new Start Screen (and like the suggestion earlier to call it Metro dashboard). All I ever did with the old start menu was to use start search and for everything else I either used something I had pinned to the task bar or Windows key + R to run it. I haven't read all the posts here so I hope this hasn't been suggested yet, but I think to appease all the people that want the start menu back, you could have the Start button behave the old way, launch the start menu as Win7 did. And for those of us who want the Metro Start Screen, throwing the mouse into the bottom corner (perhaps a pixel border below the button and to it's left) will bring up the charms as it already does allowing us to go to that screen.

    This ensures that it is one click for both groups of people to get to what they want.

  363. @xpclient says:

    I beg your pardon? Reduction in start menu usage in Windows 7 as compared to VISTA? u r soo funny i can't believe you… don't tell anyone phaleeeeeeeeaz!

  364. m3l7 says:

    I hope that there will be good keyboard and trackpad support…

    all search functions, start menu and win management should be easily done with keyboard…

    and maybe with a shortcuts manager somewhere in the control panel

    also, trackpad support in win7 is awful.. please improove it!! I would like to see real smooth scroll and multi finger support native in win8. Official synaptics drivers are not good…. see osx and linux for comparison)

  365. Murphy L. says:

    First, you failed on hte mobile arena because you tried shoehorning a traditional UI into touch devices. Now, you're going to fail by doing the exact same opposite, trying to force a touch UI into traditional desktops. Some people just never learn.

    If you're going to copy Apple, at least do it right. What's so damn hard about realising that different interaction styles require two different UIs?

  366. Murphy L. says:

    Please keep the UI! I wrote a stupid comment before!!!

  367. Murphy L. says:

    Please keep the UI! I wrote a stupid comment before!!!

  368. @ xpclient: I'm pretty sure that's not why fewer people use the start menu. It might be why you don't, but you're in the minority. I am curious as to what the the classic menu offers that the windows 7 bar doesn't or is your reason just because you're use to it. Personally don't use the start menu because the desktop, startbar/taskbar and the start menu share much of the same functionality. And are way too redundant. Besides their will all ways be third party solutions for your issue.

  369. @whoever replied to me, I am not claiming there is a reduction in Start Menu usage but Microsoft's telemetry is. If you read the previous blog post (blogs.msdn.com/…/evolving-the-start-menu.aspx) in its entirety, you would see where.

  370. Mark says:

    @ •

    @ win8wow

          I love Windows 8 too! Let's post stuff ALL day and show those Windows 8 haters the TRUTH!!!!

  371. Kene says:

    @Steven:

    While I do like some of the improvements that Windows 8 makes on the tablet I believe as others have also said here that you need to be a bit more practical in your choices.  Don’t stop improving metro; just make it better for the vast majority of your touch-less users.

    Here's the short list:

    1. The start menu is going to be overwhelming very quickly. You say you leave it up to the user the customize it but you fail to site the extra work a user has to go through to clean it up after a program has dumped readme's, uninstallers, and other second tier apps on the star menu. You need folders or hubs — somewhere to put the less important stuff.

    2. Reliance on the keyboard as a crutch for poor mouse support is just silly. At BUILD several of the speakers deferred to the keyboard when the mouse came up short. I'm sorry but only geeks remember shortcut keys. The consumers whom you wish to sell this to don't. Provide a more mouse friendly start menu and means to switch tasks.

    3. Don't hold on to the ideal of "No chrome. Even if it hurts." Doing research in Metro IE is painful as you constantly have to bring up the app bar to reveal the back button to get back to the search results. This makes it better for people? How? If you want a pristine, chromeless experience go ahead, make it the default but allow the rest of us to pin the app bar and other chrome we frequently access

    4. Be BETTER than your competition! No plug-ins in Metro IE is just wrong. Say I'm in a Microsoft Word document… I click on a link in the document that opens the linked web page in Metro IE. The problem is that the link was for a video that doesn't play in Metro IE (no plug-ins). Now I have to remember to bring up the app bar, select the document icon, and select "show in desktop view". Finally I'm taken to desktop IE where I can see the video. How many steps was that? How many context changes? You don't need a study to tell you that just won't cut it for most.

    5. Let us close our metro apps. Swiping to switch apps is useless when you have to navigate through the control panel, a game, a web site that you used hours ago. Not to mention when the game or other media like app is swiped in the sound from the app resumes. This can be embarrassing in the wrong context. Some here say “just access the app from the start menu as if it weren’t already running.” To that I ask “then what exactly is the swipe to switch app gesture for? How am I supposed invoke the split screen?”

    There's plenty more where that came from. In general all I ask is that you be a little more practical where you draw the line on the "purity" of Windows 8 and a little less "encouraging" of the world to the direction you seek (i.e. HTML5 video over SL/Flash).

    Thanks for listening.

  372. Here's a question–> This article appeared on WinRumors.com–>"Microsoft admitted on Monday that initial sales of Windows Phone 7 had been lower than the company anticipated. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer previously admitted that sales had been “very small” during his keynote address"

    So my question is, if that is truly the case…why put the same OS on a desktop???  

    Just my .02

  373. Hello Mr Sinofsky,

    Thank you for the chance to run the new Developer Preview. I like it, but it needs work for the current desktop…period. To the other posters, this is just Alpha release at best…please try to remember that guys. Hopefully, "the powers that be" at Microsoft will consider our feedback and try to make appropriate changes to allow the user more control of their own computer. However, they have chosen a product model and it's future direction and they have control of that, not us…right? I agree, this OS is targeting touchscreen devices and they will have to get it to work on desktops as well. I am guessing that Microsoft and the major computer manufacturers are leaning towards producing all touchscreen devices. You can buy a touchscreen desktop right now. The problem with that is that "we" will have to spend more money for the new touchscreen interface. remember that they are a business and need to make new products for sale. So, to sum up what I've said and hopefully slowdown the rants about the new OS, (me too), I'll have to find the money to buy a new device and bite the bullet…it's 2011. I don't mean to make anyone mad, but all the comments are very similar…and Microsoft is not going to change it's model this far in…right? Thanks for reading this guys.

  374. Kene says:

    Anywho, I will never get one of them tablets, so I'll just sit by my laptop, milking  cows for y'all.

  375. Kene says:

    Anywho, I will never get one of them tablets, so I'll just sit by my laptop, milking  cows for y'all.

  376. Disgusted says:

    Smarter is healthy. Smarter is powering apps for employees to communicate to each other. With a start menu, you can't download Angry Birds or see the stocks or view the weather forcasts. To make a l o n g story short: dump the outdated start menu, keep this new discovery (Start Screen)!

  377. iSaad says:

    New Start Screen (Metro) is good for Tablets and touchable devices. Please put a option in Windows 8 for set 2 start up type: 1. Metro  2.Desktop

    As when we have chosen Desktop, Windows boots and start up directly to desktop.

    Please please please.

  378. win8wow says:

    "Smarter is healthy. Smarter is powering apps for employees to communicate to each other. With a start menu, you can't download Angry Birds or see the stocks or view the weather forcasts. To make a l o n g story short: dump the outdated start menu, keep this new discovery (Start Screen)!"

    Great poetry! Anyway, we need to stop this Windows 8 boycott! Have any ideas?

  379. win8wow says:

    "Smarter is healthy. Smarter is powering apps for employees to communicate to each other. With a start menu, you can't download Angry Birds or see the stocks or view the weather forcasts. To make a l o n g story short: dump the outdated start menu, keep this new discovery (Start Screen)!"

    Great poetry! Anyway, we need to stop this Windows 8 boycott! Have any ideas?

  380. win8wow says:

    "Smarter is healthy. Smarter is powering apps for employees to communicate to each other. With a start menu, you can't download Angry Birds or see the stocks or view the weather forcasts. To make a l o n g story short: dump the outdated start menu, keep this new discovery (Start Screen)!"

    Great poetry! Anyway, we need to stop this Windows 8 boycott! Have any ideas?

  381. win8wow says:

    "Smarter is healthy. Smarter is powering apps for employees to communicate to each other. With a start menu, you can't download Angry Birds or see the stocks or view the weather forcasts. To make a l o n g story short: dump the outdated start menu, keep this new discovery (Start Screen)!"

    Great poetry! Anyway, we need to stop this Windows 8 boycott! Have any ideas?

  382. @ Saad Shamsei says:

    Don't be saad when I say this, but the new UI is beautiful on a laptop. Have no idea about desktops, however, but keep the experience on laptops! I hate the old UI!

  383. @ Saad Shamsei says:

    Don't be saad when I say this, but the new UI is beautiful on a laptop. Have no idea about desktops, however, but keep the experience on laptops! I hate the old UI!

  384. @ Saad Shamsei says:

    Don't be saad when I say this, but the new UI is beautiful on a laptop. Have no idea about desktops, however, but keep the experience on laptops! I hate the old UI!

  385. @ Saad Shamsei says:

    Don't be saad when I say this, but the new UI is beautiful on a laptop. Have no idea about desktops, however, but keep the experience on laptops! I hate the old UI!

  386. @ Saad Shamsei says:

    Don't be saad when I say this, but the new UI is beautiful on a laptop. Have no idea about desktops, however, but keep the experience on laptops! I hate the old UI!

  387. Desktop is different says:

    @cincyfan43sc do you even get the problem here? The problem is that the new UI doesn’t work on the desktop, it simply ruins the desktop experience.

    Who cares about new hardware, I am going to buy three 27” monitors in a couple of months anyway just because I can. Still though I am not planning on “touching” any of those every day, and definitely I don’t want Microsoft stealing one of them for their metro start screen every time I want to start a program from the menu.

    Alpha or not it doesn’t matter, these guys are arguing that this was a decision they’ve already taken based on telemetry data, what we are saying here is that this decision is wrong for the desktops. Next time before you join a conversation pretending to be voice of reason, please read the posts and try to understand the problem, so you don’t sound like you have no clue what forum/subject you are posting to.

    Most people do not use touch screens to do they work, but you maybe an exception, or maybe posting to facebook is what you consider work and this is what you are doing all day. Keep posting there and not here.

  388. Sorry guys I had another stupid thought. The OS works, but it's too fragmented for us right now. So, I think Microsoft should sell two OS models, one for touchscreen interfaces and one for desktops and laptops. It won't matter as far as sales. I have run and manipulated Windows 7 and I think it's the best OS they have produced up to date. Changing the way the Windows desktop works is going to be a hard sell Mr Sinofsky. My idea would be to market the touchscreen OS as it is, it seemed to run very well at the Build conference. On the desktop OS for now, introduce the Metri UI as a quick launch on the taskbar, or use something similar to fences when you boot to the desktop. That will allow us to have our familiar desktop that works for us, and with a click of an Tiles icon, access to all our our personal tiles, program files and folders. As I said, try to introduce the new Merto UI until we, as the consumers can catch up with touchscreen's. Just my 2 cents.

  389. raider says:

    I am going to keep Windows 8 because of its incredible UI on desktops. I know that many of you don't like it, but I LOVE it! I will upgrade when it's released.

  390. Dynamic tiles are like ad banners says:

    Way too noisy, just like ad banners screaming for your attention. Imagine having 3-4-5 or maybe 10 dynamic tiles at your stat screen, doing different kinds of animations/transitions. It's like having a web page with annoying banners making it harder to concentrate on the essential things.

    At least make it possible to choose the kind of transition between "screens" in the tile update, or even better: make it possible to disable dynamic tiles even if the app is programmed to use dynamic updating of its tile.

    Cheers!

  391. Ntz Walsh says:

    " @Mark  I love Windows 8 too! Let's post stuff ALL day and show those Windows 8 haters the TRUTH!!!!"

    By all means.  How about actually debating the points risen by its detractors?  There have been some bile-filled rants to be sure, but there's a lot of detailed, instructive criticism here showing exactly *why* the Start Screen just interferes with desktop operation.

    It seems the vast majority of the Start Screen supports can provide little to argue except "I like it!  It's pretty!  It's new, don't be old!" – somewhat telling when its supports can't actually offer an argument as to why it's more productive and a better solution for non-touch platforms.

  392. cincyfan43sc says:

    Did I say that? That's a little awkward. I meant to say keep the UI on all types of computers, like Jensen Harris said!

  393. cincyfan43sc says:

    Did I say that? That's a little awkward. I meant to say keep the UI on all types of computers, like Jensen Harris said!

  394. Mark W. says:

    Just because someone can get used to a new interface doesn't make it better. There is still way too much mouse travel movement for basic operations. I still don't think there are enough use case scenarios. I happen to sometimes work on computers in the desert (US Army Tester) and sometimes a mouse is bad, and I only have the keyboard to work with. How the hell would I navigate to shutdown and reboot?

  395. Ntz Walsh says:

    Laptops and tablets run Windows 8 perfectly! I love this OS!

  396. Ntz Walsh says:

    Laptops and tablets run Windows 8 perfectly! I love this OS!

  397. Arms says:

    Run windows 8 on pc with faster!! I LOVE Windows 8!!!

  398. Mark W. says:

    But in the last comment I was criticizing Vista, not Windows 8. Windows 8 is a very portable system that I enjoy using!

  399. I-DotNET says:

    This is my second attempt to post this:

    @Alice: Part of the reason why the Start bar is so successful is that it is always visible.  By forcing users to return to the desktop (now called the Start screen), you're burying functionality and turning a simple one-step process into a more complicated two-step process.

    Also, I brought up a couple issues with the new search in the previous blog post but no one responded so I am mentioning them again:

    First, the new search is not 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.  

  400. @LK001 – You asked: “One question: What will happen (in aspect of user interface) when someone has a fullscreen app running (i.e. game) and push the windows key?”

    If you push the Windows key, you return to the Start Screen – the same way it opens the Start Menu today. And the other keyboard shortcuts you expect will also continue to work: Win+d takes you to the desktop, win+t takes you to the first element in the taskbar.  Win+b takes you to the system tray. We’ve also added Win+c which brings up the charms menu and clock.

  401. @Dynamic tiles are like ad banners – You asked, “or even better: make it possible to disable dynamic tiles even if the app is programmed to use dynamic updating of its tile.”

    Thanks for the feedback on this. You are in complete control of your Start menu. You can choose if you want to see large tiles with information, or if you want to make a given app small. And, based on your (and others) suggestions in this blog, we are currently working on a way to allow you to turn off notifications for an app altogether. The goal is to build a personal dashboard that contains the information and apps you want to see and nothing you don't want to see.

  402. David Nelson says:

    "the Start menu…affords limited customization, provides virtually no useful information, and offers only a small space for search results."

    "…as soon as the user searches for something with many hit results, the Start menu in Windows 7 can’t scale to the results. For example, if you are looking for a Control Panel option with the word “input”, the Start menu only returns the first 3 results in each category."

    I don't need any more information than the Start Menu search provides: the name of the program is enough. Nor do I need a lot of extra space. It's not like there are hundreds of results when I search and I need to wade through them all; there are a dozen at most, and what I want is one of the first couple. The fact that this can all be done in a small area of the screen without covering my running applications (yes, I run more than one application at a time) is a GOOD thing!

  403. pmbAustin says:

    Lots of closed minds in the replies… judging it before it's even done, without even really learning to use it.  I think it's important to highlight the "pain points" so they can be addressed, without rejecting the entire concept out of hand.  I think there's a lot of good work here and a lot of interesting ideas being offered.

    The way I use the start menu is obviously not the way most people do apparently, but here's what I do:

    I have my most-used apps pinned to my task bar.  I have a "second-tier" of less-frequently-used apps pinned to my start menu.  I use the "search" box for going directly to things I don't use often but know what to type to find them.  And finally, I use the "All Programs" list to find things I've just installed in order to pin them somewhere.

    The new Start Screen allows for all of this functionality, but there are some tasks that currently require more clicks, and/or more mouse-travel, thus making them less efficient.  I have faith in the team that as long as we bring up these issues in an explicit, well-documented and constructive way, will be addressed.

    I think one of the more interesting ideas I've seen here is the notion of making the task bar more universal (i.e. have the option to have it running along the bottom of the start screen).

    The other idea I like is the ability to configure the start-screen to one monitor in a multi-monitor setup, so that the desktop remains on the other monitor (user gets to choose), or having the start screen slide in from the side and only take up half the space (keeping your desktop context).

    Finally, the ability to have it show more categories in the search page instead of just one… especially when the default category is empty or very sparsely populated, so a user can elminate the extra clicks required to use search to find things.

    Anyway, I would encourage everyone to keep it constructive.  Describe usage scenarios and use-cases in detail, and explain why the "new way" falls short, and offer suggestions (other than "scrap the new way, it sucks!") to enhance the "new way" to make it better fulfill your specific use-cases.

  404. jader3rd says:

    I like the idea of a full screen start menu.

    For all of those people saying that don't want to get distracted from what they were doing, that's exactly what they are doing! By opening the start menu, they're doing something else. True, it might be enhance what they were doing, but once the enhancement is found, everything will return to what it was. I have a huge monitor, lets use it when I'm trying to find a program to run.

    It just needs to be as fast as loading and searching in the Win7 start menu.

  405. LD says:

    I'm actually surprised that some people like the "metro" look.  From a developer standpoint, if I use metro:

    – 30% of my income goes to MS

    – Multitasking is crippled

    – Users can't see apps that offer them information that they may want to bring into my app

    – Horrible task switching.

    – Lack of communication with metro sandbox and desktop only tools that feed into my app

    From a user perspective:

    – Poor multitasking

    – Inability to close an app that I don't need to see (MS said this will be addressed)

    – Inability to see other information on the screen

    – HUGE tiles on a large monitor

    – Busy and "noisy" start screen

    – Difficult to navigate (on a PC)

    – Full screen only – no windows in my windows

    – Not intuitive to novice users – my wife was lost using this without my help.  She felt like "[She] couldn't get anything done.  Who's stupid idea was this?"

    – No folders to organize categories  

    I was hoping from something innovative from MS and seeing what drove the decision was interesting, but less people using the start menu doesn't mean that "metro" is a better solution. Data helps make decisions.  So less people use the start menu:

    1. Is that a problem?

    2. Are you sure that dominating the whole screen with the start menu is better?

    3. Touch isn't on 95% of the desktops and would be uncomfortable to use (hold your arm at 90 degrees for an hour).

    4. Is there a better way to improve the current experience without loosing functionality?

    It feels like MS is putting their business drivers ahead of the consumers and the developers…. bad idea.  Very bad idea. I see this as:

    1. MS trying to take over the tablet market by leveraging the desktop

    2. Try and get a percentage from every app sold

    Neither of these is good for the consumer or the developer.  If metro was an OPTION fine, then I can safely ignore it like I ignore the narrator in windows.  It's there if I need it, but I don't and all it would do is annoy me (this is not to say it's bad for the visually impaired).

    It's been said that metro is like MS Bob… an oversimplified interface that is geared toward the people that are unwilling to learn how to use a computer.  You aren't doing people any favors by oversimplifying the interaction.  Exposure to the lower level elements of the computer for advanced users is what helps them learn how computers work and build interest in becoming a developer.  

    If I had started on tablets I doubt I'd be where I am today, I would have turned them off and read a book.  

    I have 3 tablets in my house… I use 1 for reading books on BART (the train here) and watching the occasional video. Other than that I barely use it. My wife has yet to take her tablet out of the house.  I actually dislike my tablets, I can't personalize them or tune them or do much with them.  they are for reading and playing games, not being productive.

    Tablets are for data consumption. PC's are for data manipulation, creation and consumption.  This is why the current start experience (tablet UI) is being so poorly received. MS is removing capabilities, not improving them or being innovative IMHO.

  406. Nitz Walsh says:

    "There is still way too much mouse travel movement for basic operations. "

    This is a huge problem right now – the complete ignorance of Fitts Law when working with Metro on the desktop.  Simply tasks require multiple mouse sweeps and full-screen movement.

  407. David Nelson says:

    I am a big fan of the start screen!

  408. gawicks says:

    Guys there is no doubt you have done some great work here. But lets be realists; Long time Windows users who's  jobs depend on Windows are going to freak out when they see this on the desktop .People hate change especially when it's forced on to them . Admit it;On the desktop there is really nothing for you guys to *fix* Everything is fine. So don't fix what isn't broken. Especially when that *fix* makes it harder to get *my* work done.

    It's ok to make a mistake. But being arrogant doesn't help anyone. You have taken a few missteps lets just be honest about that

  409. Torsten EBL says:

    It's amazing to share users opinions when reading and go through what has been said in these threads. It standing clear to me there is hope for the future when watch how many who still has what it takes in see the difference in speak of what's possible and what's fighting against every common sense.

    @Microsoft, Steven Sinofsky, Alice Steinglass & Chaitanya Sareen with Teams.

    Thanks for the hard work you all shown here on your blog, been a long interesting reading all the way.

    Not to forget the big work that's been going on behind both the superb  nice created Demo shows you all made as well the most essential part the new OS with all it's interesting features. Just asking, Shouldn't anyone be impressed of all this ? It's in all terms highly appreciated from everyone i can think of, even me.

    I'm sure many consumers which considering using solutions like Tablets, Slates & Multi-touch screens are really looking forward in start using your products, No doubt about it as they fit perfectly well for that segment on the market. It would be almost unbelievable if Microsoft letting this opportunity pass by in my own eyes.

    I do also realize like many else that the other side of the project named desktops and workstations have met a few issues here that by quite high chance may having an negative impact from future use by many.

    I do also share a big part of what's been told in response and what this might mean for traditional users.

    In the same time i enjoy to see that Microsoft after all found the inspiration in change on many of these basic  things in how the features working together with parts of new interface on different levels.

    I do like that myself and it's looking great so far in using it and handle it from boot to shutdown.

    It's only this by letting people be met by a big green door right up their face instead of a traditional desktop that's makes me wondering what's actually going on.

    We know Microsoft standing close other social companies like Facebook & Twitter etc.

    From seen & fallowed the latest years development in this market i can't say anything else than this part of the game is almost excessive when it comes to spreading these services and thought Microsoft stood for increased interests in users security. For me it doesn't care how many updates that are released in tighten security holes when anyway trying to trick young users become addicted of all these new fancy services there are. I do understand it's a way of living for a company and advertisements and PR are very important. I' wrote one suggestion and mentioned before the risk by using easy predictable passwords when creating the connection between computer/tablet and existing or new Live accounts. Can see for myself users may see a difference here in how we looking in making an Local system account on devices and the other point of view when create passwords on a web-service online in the browser. As we in that stage can't using anything more than our own mind or write down these credentials on paper, lot of these passwords having the risk in become too easy with following consequence – more high jacked accounts, with higher risk for spread sensitive material, stolen identities, more spam. If continue using this solution i'd love to see a two step management of this were we for instance could take use from the Credential manager and using it like a password manager in keep both these Live passwords safe as also why not all others.

    When it comes to the discussion and debate here in speak of Metro's survival in platforms as workstations.  Yhea I can understand how this subject may sound to discuss from your point of view.

    Wish i could help you with a quick answer but can't think of anything other alternative than just wait with providing Windows 8 until a better moment appear and go forward developing your tablets & touch as planned. I do realize the whole concept are based on the vision of Metro (App store, tiles etc) but in the field of workstation Microsoft unfortunately going to bite it's on tail if trying.

    The choice are off course yours, take use from the small advice or leave it.

    Wish you good luck guys despite which roads are taken.

    Thanks for reading a thought  

  410. Ehsan Mohammadi says:

    Thanks

  411. @ Alice Steinglass. Thanks for your clear explanations. Could you pleas tell me if you have considered a universal taskbar (see my first comment on this page) and, if it's the case, what is the rationale in not opting for it? At present stage, I find it doubly weird to keep the Windows 7 taskbar:

    1- a second unnecessary apps launcher (the conversion to the start menu should be total)

    2- an inefficient list of open windows, doubly inefficient:

       a- since this list should be accessible from any window (metro or aero), and

       b- above all since there should be listed all open windows (not just aero, but also metro).

    As I see this, a universal taskbar would resolve all these problems. And I would be grateful if you would let us understand your viewpoint.

    Thanks in advance.

  412. nstuff says:

    Windows 7 is the epitome of multitasking.  

    A phone with its limited resources (and small screen) necessitated a single focus on each task you are doing.  Why then does the requirements of a phone or tablet translate into a powerful computer needing a similar single-task focused design?  Why does clicking on the start menu have to take over the entire screen, hiding everything you are working on?  Can this be configurable with a nice graphical transition of it growing out to a large size (but not full screen) if you wish it to?

    Similarly for those of us with multiple monitors.  Why does a full-screen game on the primary screen render the second screen useless (except for keeping an eye on status or instant messages)?

    As Windows continues to grow up and you guys are obviously starting to think about what people want, why not continue to work on the little things to make the experience that much nicer?  Minimizing a full-screen 3d game or switching between multiple full-screen 3d applications should be just as easy as switching between MS Word and Internet Explorer.  Clicking the start menu should not completely obscure what you are actively working on.

    Windows has always been about giving people options.  That is why there is still such a huge following in the face of a much more "hip" Mac OS which seems to focus on one size fits all.  Give us the option, give us the choice.

    Keep multi-tasking alive.  Don't force us to a one-size fits all strategy when a UI is required on a device like a phone or tablet but isn't on a powerful device like a laptop or PC.

  413. CvP says:

    I type a 500word comment and this blog just ate it. Feeling disgusting.

    Using IE10 btw.

  414. David Nelson says:

    "At the same time, we’ve seen an ever-increasing use of cumbersome notification tray icons (with ever-increasing menus and actions)…"

    What exactly is "cubmersome" about a tray icon? It's small and out of the way, but there as a quick way to access important functions related to background tasks WITHOUT switching away from what I am currently working on. Again, this is a GOOD thing, and throwing around words like "cumbersome" without actually supporting that claim does not give you justification for removing a critical feature of the OS.

  415. Xero says:

    Nothing wrong with Win8.

    The current release of win8 is OK.. just fix the bugs and prepare it for RTM! No need to ask these trolls. The troll will remain a troll. There is a large clientele who accept this UI with little customizations and bug-fix to have the most robust Windows based operating-system. You have already achieved number of milestones and enable it for touch, IE10, DirectX with hardware accelerated graphics, fast boot with full support for UEFI, ARM and since so forth. Some fellas will join us late on win8 and embrace this UX eventually. Else they always have option to stick with Win7 or something else… There is a significant difference in processing and consumption/utilization of resources and the difference can be easily be observed on old architectures like Pentium 4 to latest like core-i family! But the troll and haters cannot be convinced, no matter whatever kind of treat you offer them!

    +1 @[trolls should be banned from the entire Windows ecosystem and should be punished to use some ape-OS for the rest of their sorry lives!]

  416. @David Nelson

    I personally need more space for searches than what the start menu gives. The start menu is a universal search that can do more than just search apps. It searches files, video, settings, emails, contacts  etc. And it's all in one place without opening individual programs first. With windows 8 search has been beefed up even further to be able to do deep searches into programs that apply for the search contract. Like a searching your Facebook app, bing etc. To give you this extra  flexibility a full screen is necessary and more efficient. You also get more info on the items you searching without opening them.

    I can't fathom why someone needs to see the desktop while searching the start menu. One person said if they had a document open that gave a procedure, being able to see start menu and the document at the same time would be useful. Honestly, if you can't remember the first letter of the name of the program you want to search then copy and paste it. I agree with @jader3rd I have a 30 inch monitor when opening start menu, you're temporarily doing something else even if it complements something else that's open. As long as I can return in the same amount it makes no difference.

  417. Actually I decided to ask a question instead of just posting my criticism (for a change).

    Dear Alice,

    I

    have Windows 8 installed on a test system, how can I uninstall the “Start Screen” and all the metro UI madness from my system? I assume there must be a way deep inside the settings because I also assume that the Windows 8 server won’t be using all these mad tiles.

    Thanks,

    mil

  418. Actually I decided to ask a question instead of just posting my criticism (for a change).

    Dear Alice,

    I have Windows 8 installed on a test system, how can I uninstall the “Start Screen” and all the metro UI madness from my system? I assume there must be a way deep inside the settings because I also assume that the Windows 8 server won’t be using all these mad tiles.

    Thanks,

    mil

  419. I-DotNET says:

    @Mil: The Metro UI is the new Windows UI.  The 'classic' Windows UI is only being kept for backwards compatibility, at least until everyone rewrites all their apps in Metro.

  420. @ David Nelson

    Tray item are cumbersome because they require a process to be running for each of them. This is what slows down your computer at startup. For notification purposes this is a inefficient waste of computer resources. Live tiles (unlike widgets) don't run a process for each of them they just run one process. Developers send the updates to the  window server that does all the grunt work and just sends you a push notification. Why have third party notifications when notifications are built into the OS.

    Background process for other purposes are useful, and are allowed but better regulated. The problem was everyone wanted their app open all the time so you get a spamming of tray icons and background tasks which none power users don't know how to deal with.

  421. Nicole says:

    All the Start Screen is missing is a monkey to punch and a little scottie dog running back and forth.

  422. jamome says:

    Start screen doesn't sufficiently replace the traditional Desktop's start menu, nor even apply in my opinion.

    Jump around in silly clothes, making puppy noises, while eating pot pies + jam with a knife for all I care in Metro.

    Bring back the Start menu for traditional desktop.  

  423. all the super brief "I love Win 8 and the new start screen" look an awful lot like spam … I am cautiously optimistic about MS pulling off an awesome OS here but as it is, the thing is broken for desktop users. There are lots of good (though often unnecessarily hostile) comments explaining why and sometimes offering great recommendations for its improvement but if nothing else convinced me that Win8 as it's presented in the developer preview would be a flop then all of the recent spam of "please keep it the way it is" comments would definitely so convince me. It looks like a competitor has seen MS's weakness and pounced, hoping that Win8 will be pushed out to customers with its broken interface … providing competitor OS's a long-awaited opportunity to MS's hold, especially in the enterprise market.

    As a long time fan of Microsoft I plead, don't let that happen! The simple solution is to integrate the desktop with the Start screen. There's no reason I can fathom that we can't have the best of both, including traditional start menu functionality. And I'll repeat something another poster wisely observed, asking the desktop user to rely on keyboard commands is just an awful idea. Windows needs to be 100% navigatable by just the mouse. Only a small fraction of users will use keyboard commands.

    So much potential here, please don't blow it!

  424. @I-DotNET : Thank you man for brightening my evening with a joke. Actually I do hope that this was a joke otherwise I really feel sorry for your understanding of technology.

    Do you really think that this UI has any value outside the tablets/WP7 space? Do you think the millions of business users out there have any use for this collection of flashing rectangles?

    If the answer is yes to any or both of the above questions then you should join the Metro UI team because you both seem to think alike.

    The organization I work for has hundreds of thousands of employees and believe me there is not a chance in a million they would ever install this “new” UI on their desktops. They are buying computers to help their employees with their work, not help them access social networks faster. And believe me again when I say they are definitely not going to replace desktops (driving 6 to 8 screens each) with a tablet so they can browse the Internet all day and look at squares flashing all over.

  425. I-DotNET says:

    The solution is simple.  On tablets, the default UI should be Metro.  On desktops, the default UI should be Aero.

  426. @I-DotNET : That is what I am talking about…at last we came to an agreement. Now let’s see how many posts does it take for Microsoft to realize this simple idea.

    By the way let me repeat:

    I have Windows Phone 7, I love its “squares” (i.e. Metro UI).

    I have a tablet with Windows 7 and I wish it was running Window 8 with the Metro UI.

    I have 6 laptops, 3 desktops and 4 servers. There is no way I will ever install Window 8 as long as it contains the Metro UI in its current form, i.e. without being able to switch it off.

  427. I-DotNET says:

    @Mil: Oh, no I agree with you.  The Metro UI is inappropriate for desktops.  Microsoft doesn't seem to understand this.  I have a few posts about this at their Win8 forum:

    social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/3cb61afd-2b0d-4e7d-ae64-245ab9715b41

  428. rob says:

    @I-DotNET

    Idiot, also declare round wheels "classic" and out of fashion. See how anybody reacts to that.

  429. It has been a pleasure reading these blogs about "The next big thing". There's no doubt in the fact that issues need to be addressed before actual release of Windows 8. The start menu in Windows 7 has been a big success barring the above mentioned issues. But transforming it into something never seen before could be a bad move. But hey, Windows 8 has already been regarded as "The Riskiest product of Microsoft", so it is worth the shot. Looking forward to testing it in the Beta.

  430. rob says:

    @I-DotNET

    eeeh, you confusing me, what is your agenda?

  431. It would appear that someone is lying and pretending to be me. There is a comment that states the following:

    "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!!! If you block this comment I will (not quote what the user said)."

    I DID NOT POST THIS! I have no idea who this user is, but it is NOT ME! As for my own comments, I'm not spamming the blog, merely asking for chagnes to the Windows 8 UI. Stating that there are over 2 billino people who love Windows 8's Metro UI is simply wrong, unless this user happens to have more information (which I doubt). Please delete the comment that I quoted.

  432. I-DotNET says:

    @Rob.  Sorry if I was unclear.  When I said:

    "The Metro UI is the new Windows UI.  The 'classic' Windows UI is only being kept for backwards compatibility, at least until everyone rewrites all their apps in Metro"  

    I didn't mean that I *agree* with this.  I'm just repeating what appears to be Microsoft's strategy.  

  433. Steven Sinofsky said:

    "@mt327000 That is simply not true so I don't know how to answer that "request".  At each forum we have demonstrated Windows 8 we have shown it on a variety of machines.  In the keynote at //build/ we covered a full spectrum of machines with and without touch from desktop to laptop to all in one. "

    @Steven Sinofsky

    I'm sorry if I offended you. I can assure you, that was not my intention. Here is my response to the Metro UI:

    Even though you have demonstrated Windows 8 running on a variety of machines, the bulk of the discussions surreounding the Metro platform seem to revolve around touch. While it is true that the Windows 8 team has demonstrated Windows 8 running on traditional computers, such as desktops and laptops, I can't find anywhere where you go in-depth into the Metro UI on desktops. If there is such a place in the //build/ videos, please tell me where it is. I may have missed something.

    As for demonstrations of Metro on desktops, the //build/ keynote seemed to focus on deskops from a multi-monitor standpoint and a boot performance standpoint. I don't remember ever seeing a full, in-depth demonstration of Metro on the desktop.

    I"m sorry if I offended you. I understand how upsetting it can be to have users react to all of the work you've done for the past three years like this. I did not intend any harm, I was only pointing out that the Windows team has been so focused on touch that it is hard to find any examples of how Metro works on the desktop outside of your multi-monitor demonstration, which did not go into the extreme detail that users need to see before they will be sold on Windows 8.

    Just a reminder, there IS a user on this blog who has pretended to be me, but is NOT me. I don't know what else the user I quoted has posted, but this type of issue is a problem as long as it is possible to post comments without signing in to Windows Live.

  434. @mt327000 What is your display name, really? I am the real mt327000. I don't know who you are. While it is true that I have posted some comments without signing in where the color of the display name is gray, there seems to be a user here who has posted using my display name who is not me. Please do not do this. This will only cause problems for everyone involved, unless you have another account I don't know about which also happens to have the mt327000 display name.

  435. To mt327000 says:

    Don't worry, he did the same to David Nelson (just search for comments from him, around that time a bunch of people posted negative opinions, and suddenly 2-3 posts later, they posted a short, positive one).

    I guess he can be caught by IP?

  436. Dasharath K. says:

    dear MS team

    again some quick comments hope you'are gonna use them for the better

    1a) tiles must be resizable like are icons on desktop today (CTRL+mouse whell)

    1b) number of rows and columns of tiles is a user defined variable !!! (not just 3 rows and 7-8 columns)

    2a) metro start screen (or dashboard ) should run in a window if it's called from the desktop or from another program

    2b) metro start screen (or dashboard ) should not be full screen. the size and position are defined and LOCKED by the user

    3) no scroll bars – put a "<" on the left and a ">" on the right. that move one full page – bind those to PgUp and PgDw and also people can touch them or click them

    4a) program tiles must have large Icon small text – Icon is fully colored on a theme based background

    4b) file tiles must have large text and small icon (icon is referred to their native program) – background should be the negative version of the one used for programs

    6) I fully approve the user above who said to force software makers to load their icons in preferred categories (media, games, tools, graphics etc)

    7) user icon on the top right is useless – I know who I am ! I know who I've logged into

    put a customizable area there with tools like: clock, calendar, network icon, battery, notification, tray icons etc – I underline CUSTOMIZABLE !!!

    8) if a use search then it will show all results first – after, if needed, i can refine the search using options on the right in screen 7 and 8

    9) users will surely miss their preferred picture as background. solid color background should be an option as is today for the desktop. other options are gradients, pictures, animated desktops

    10) some sort of taskbar with icons for currently running programs/processes is mandatory

    11) to launch a program when you are in another one,

    today: move mouse and click (or move finger and tap)

    to tomorrow: move mouse, click start, move mouse, click the right tile (move finger, tap, move finger again, tap again)

    the new method is completely a non-sense

    12) personally I never use "start"+"type name to search"+"enter to launch"

    None of the people I know at work do it (yes, I've asked at the 13 people in my hub)

    everyone knows where the programs they use daily are. everyone knows how to launch them quickly

    one of the biggest improvement of 7 was the pinned apps in taskbar which I greatly miss no that I'm writing to you from Vista  – do not ruin that !!

    13) as an example, I'm listening to music now: to change song and back to write: alt -tab, B, alt-tab

    (no changes at all in my screen coz both apps are windows and not mazimized nor overlapped)

    tomorrow will be: start, find the live tile that is playing music, click it, find the other tile from which you came, click it, (supposing I can change song from the tile – otherwise is longer)

    this means two full change of the complete screen just to change a song and go back typing

    final word:

    I was excited when I read all the good improvement you are doing (mainly boot time and less memory usage). I think I'll try ribbons for a change and then judge it.

    I can't be convinced or even being neutral to this killing of the user experience that "metro start" is.

    sorry but I'm quite convinced too that W8 it's gonna be Vista 2nd, the revenge !

    I specify – for the PC market – for tablets and phones it's gonne be great

    thanks

  437. @To mt327000

    I see what you mean. A long list of complaints about Metro is interrupted with "I love the Start Screen!" To prevent any further incedents, I plan on posting all future comments signed in. I have also updated the display image to show the Windows desktop, rather than a blank white picture.

  438. Actually here is another “Microsoft Communication Failure No X”.

    We all are talking and mostly agree that the Metro UI is irrelevant when dealing with the desktop version of the OS, but we are happy with the tablet/WP7. In every post we have to add disclaimers about which “edition” of the OS we are unhappy with.

    The only people who post positive e-mails seems to be either spammers or just people who do not understand what are talking about. They seem to think we are against the Metro UI everywhere when we are clearly referring to the desktop user experience.

    The only people I blame for the mess is Microsoft and their inability to come up with clear messages.

    Here it is Microsoft, you chance to reply and clear any the misunderstanding:

    Tell us what the plans are for your OS UI in clear sentences. Are you really so confused as to make “one UI for all editions” mistake or is this just a tech preview of the Metro happiness but the desktop version of the UI will allow us to bypass this finger happy drivel?

    Really…where are the blog writers hiding at this point? Are they printing these postings and having emergency meetings with the designers of these “new and cool features”? Are they running a second analysis of their telemetry to see that there are really no spider nets in our Windows 7 start menus?

    Steven and Alice, are you seriously using your desktop that way? Do you like pressing a magic button and invoke a full screen application just to start a program? Is your workload that simple that all you need is a few squares to deal with it? In that case I am jealous of you…for the rest of us thought, that have some serious work to perform day in day out, a grid view full of flushing rectangles will not make our life any easier.  

  439. @Steven Sinofsky

    I deleted the "Please Stop Demonstrating Windows 8 with Touch" post from the forum. The link I have no longer works. I'm sorry if I caused any trouble with my posts.

  440. edi says:

    First let me say (again) 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 let's say that you have me convinced that the old start menu (and search) and gadgets and notification system in every OS prior to Windows 8 and its start screen was an inefficient mass and I may even agree to that partially – it wasn't perfect and there was plenty room for improvement – so far I am with you.

    BUT – the thing that you don't get (maybe because you are in the midst of this METRO craze) and most people don't state clearly enough or don't get why the new UI bothers them so much but just say that they don't want it(even if they agree to your inefficiency claims of the current UI) is the simple fact that METRO is UGLY (and again I love Microsoft and I just want to prevent you from doing your greatest mistake ever) – or at least its ugly compared to Windows Aero and Aero Glass – so mashing those together only stresses how ugly  it is – I don't want to use it on my desktop alongside Aero. On a tablet it will work because it's perfect for touch and one will be 99.9 percent immersed within Metro and won't see Aero so comparisons won't be necessary.

    So what's the solution to the inefficiency problem of the current UI – Simple – Improve it – make it better while you still have got time – don't get so caught up in trying to force aero onto none tablet users that you don't see how people dislike it.

    If you need tips on how to improve it contact me (eduarddav@gmail.com) because I really love Microsoft and see my future there and I would like to help in every way possible.

    Please listen to me and countless other and don't force METRO UI on us – because if you do Windows 8 may be the first Windows that I don't upgrade to (which would sadden me deeply) and with me countless others.

  441. edi says:

    First let me say (again) 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 let's say that you have me convinced that the old start menu (and search) and gadgets and notification system in every OS prior to Windows 8 and its start screen was an inefficient mass and I may even agree to that partially – it wasn't perfect and there was plenty room for improvement – so far I am with you.

    BUT – the thing that you don't get (maybe because you are in the midst of this METRO craze) and most people don't state clearly enough or don't get why the new UI bothers them so much but just say that they don't want it(even if they agree to your inefficiency claims of the current UI) is the simple fact that METRO is UGLY (and again I love Microsoft and I just want to prevent you from doing your greatest mistake ever) – or at least its ugly compared to Windows Aero and Aero Glass – so mashing those together only stresses how ugly  it is – I don't want to use it on my desktop alongside Aero. On a tablet it will work because it's perfect for touch and one will be 99.9 percent immersed within Metro and won't see Aero so comparisons won't be necessary.

    So what's the solution to the inefficiency problem of the current UI – Simple – Improve it – make it better while you still have got time – don't get so caught up in trying to force aero onto none tablet users that you don't see how people dislike it.

    If you need tips on how to improve it contact me (eduarddav@gmail.com) because I really love Microsoft and see my future there and I would like to help in every way possible.

    Please listen to me and countless other and don't force METRO UI on us – because if you do Windows 8 may be the first Windows that I don't upgrade to (which would sadden me deeply) and with me countless others.

  442. I have to ask.  Why can't you have both the Start Menu in Desktop and the menu in Metro?  I could select which interface I startup in and run Windows "my way"?  Wouldn't the flexibility be a selling point and solve this issue for everyone?

  443. commongenius says:

    "…it is not hard to imagine the apps you use today…being reimagined as Metro style apps that…provide a rich, customizable, interactive 'heads-up display.'"

    Apparently you don't know what a "heads-up display" (HUD) is. Let me help out by quoting from Wikipedia (emphasis mine): "A…heads-up display (HUD) is any transparent display that presents data WITHOUT REQUIRING USERS TO LOOK AWAY FROM THEIR USUAL VIEWPOINTS." Bringing up a full screen of flashing tiles that obscures what I am working on is NOT a HUD! The taskbar that is always visible at the bottom of my screen where I can glance at it quickly WITHOUT it being in the way is  HUD. The notification icons that I can glance at to see the status of my email program or my anti-virus or my instant messenger or my wireless connection WITHOUT switching away from what I am doing is a HUD. The Start Screen is the antithesis of a HUD.

  444. @Dany Rodier – You raise a number of good questions around multitasking. Rather than try to address this in a quick comment, we are authoring a blog post around switching apps and multitasking where we will explain all of this in more detail.

  445. @AdamDerosiers

    Honestly, I'm not being hostile. I think that Windows 8 has some great ideas, like the Ribbon in Windows Explorer, full-screen applications, full-screen Start Menu, etc., but the implementation of these ideas just isn't right. For example, many of the benefits of a full-screen Start Menu are negated by the fact that it replaces everything that is currently on the desktop. The same is true of the way Metro-style apps cover up everything on the desktop unless they are snapped to the side of the screen in a thin column. Also, many of the UI ideas of Metro-style apps, like the hidden "app bar," just don't seem right on a PC.

  446. @I-DotNET:

    I don't understand what you're complaining about. You said that "The solution is simple.  On tablets, the default UI should be Metro.  On desktops, the default UI should be Aero"

    But you can already do this in windows 8. It's very easy to access the desktop. Metro and the start screen are not the same thing. Even if metro apps are better suited to touch(though I think any judgment of this should wait for the beta). I don't see what that has to do with the start screen.  Which I feel in it's new iteration is much better than the  current start menu (which I stopped using since the introduction  of the start bar) regardless of input.

    It's pretty obvious that you will use the desktop . On the desktop the taskbar  is  a much better way to access programs without interrupting what you're doing than the start menu ever was.  If I pin a item to start menu in windows 7 and pin that same item to the taskbar do you honestly think it's more disruptive to click the icon on the task bar that's already  in front of your face or press the window button and then click an icon.  As  for the search and  scrolling through the list of all your programs you've really already interrupted what your doing. The new start screen does both of these more efficiently so  you can get back to what you were doing quicker. So all that's really happened is a redundant function got removed.

    You also said:

    "The Metro UI is the new Windows UI.  The 'classic' Windows UI is only being kept for backwards compatibility, at least until everyone rewrites all their apps in Metro"

    I don't think that's the case they left office unchanged  because the felt that enterprise/productivity would use desktop mode and mouse and keyboard.

    Windows is letting legacy and metro stand side by side and the user  decide which one they likes. You can even use one for play and one for work. I personally think metro would be great on my lap to. But on my monitor with a 30 inch screen maybe not (it depends on the beta) . Either way though I love the new start  screen. The start menu isn't metro it's the intersection leading to the two paths.

  447. Persuadable says:

    Live tiles are one of those ideas which sound great until you actually live with them a while.  I found them extremely distracting and deleting the ones in the preview.  I don't doubt that some people might enjoy them and that in some settings they may be useful.  However, it would be nice to have some settings, either global or per-app, so I could tell the things to shut the heck up.

    David A Nelson's comments above on the HUD issue are very much on target.

  448. commongenius says:

    "But, when you’re launching a new app, you’re leaving the thing you’re currently doing."

    I have read this statement a dozen times now, and it still leaves my speechless. That Microsoft, one of the pioneers of multitasking on the PC, could actually make this statement in public just makes me…sad. This is the final nail in the coffin, the one statement that truly demonstrates that Microsoft has completely lost touch with desktop users.

    Let me state this is no uncertain times: when I launch a new app, I am NOT leaving the thing I'm currently doing. This cannot be overstated: multi-tasking is a cornerstone of modern productivity in computing. For example, I am typing this comment in WordPad (because I know that the MSDN blog engine will probably eat it a couple of times before it finally posts). When I launched WordPad, does that mean that I am "leaving" the blog? Of course not! I am using BOTH, at the same time. When I take some numbers from my company intranet and plug them into Excel to do some analysis, I am not leaving the intranet; I am using BOTH, side by side, simultaneously. When I paste a SQL query from my application's log file into SSMS for debugging, I'm not leaving the log file; I need it side by side with the running query to debug the problem.

    From the way Microsoft has been talking lately, you would think that this concept is an anachronism; but in fact it is what professional computer users do ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. I cannot begin to describe my sense of disappointment that Microsoft has consciously decided to abandon these users.

  449. I-DotNET says:

    @stzeer6:  According to Mary Jo Foley on the Windows Weekly podcast, Microsoft does not intend Metro style apps to be simply tablet style apps.  Instead, Microsoft envisions that all apps be the Metro style, and that companies rewrite all their business apps to be Metro-style.  

    It's about 10 minutes in the following video:

    http://www.winsupersite.com/…/windows-weekly-227-twins-140698

  450. Joe says:

    Can we get live wallpaper support for  both the start screen and the desktop  background

  451. Start Screen says:

    It's great to get this insight and dialogue, and I love the work that's being done on Windows 8.

    At the same time I think the volume of comments about the Start Menu is a hint that there is a real issue here, no matter how it can be defended with logic.

    The new Start Screen seems to share the philosophy of the Office 2010 Backstage. I remember seeing screenshots of the Office 2010 Backstage and it seemed awkward and jarring. But in actual use, the result is very polished and nice to use.

    That's no guarantee it will work for Windows 8 (and I'd echo the comments of many here that on a desktop system it's not a great experience right now), but it is early days and I think it can get there.

    If I think about my uses of the Start Menu, I go there for just one reason. I go to Start to find find the things that are not on the Taskbar. So, it needs to be fantastic at finding things by whichever metaphor suits the user. Visually, by category, and by search.

    Search is great, but a list of everything is essential too. That means not just all Apps, but all Settings and an Explorer interface for Files right there in the Start Screen interface.

    There is also one critical filter that's missing right now.

    I would want to be able to filter to show only Desktop apps, or only Metro apps. And I would like to make that setting "stick" on either a dedicated touch or dedicated mouse/keyboard system.

    This would speed up the search process, and I think it would really help the "Desktop only" users and "Metro only" users who don't want to be taken to the other environment by surprise.

    And for the Search results, by default (unless the user chooses otherwise) search should show items from all categories. Having to do an extra click to show Settings results just slows down the workflow. I see a number of others have experienced the same.

    Another aspect that needs a bit more polish is to make sure the Desktop and Desktop apps are still awesome first class citizens from a UI perspective. Speaking frankly, the current small icon makes Desktop apps look second class and I think that might be what's driving the emotion behind wanting interactive tiles for Desktop apps. One possibility might be to have the Desktop app tiles shown on the Start Screen adopt the "texture" of the Desktop background, just like the main Desktop tile does. This would make it very obvious visually which are the Desktop applications, and it will make those tiles look a lot nicer – as they did on the Desktop environment they were designed for – and using the Desktop background gives a touch of user personalisation.

    It's probably asking too much at this stage, but if the long term vision is the ability to write one app that can launch with either a Metro skin or a Desktop skin, and can flip between the two views on the fly without using the user's current workflow, then surely extending all relevant parts of WindowsRT to Desktop apps would help drive towards that.

    And a question I have, that may also help some users who feel a full screen interrupts their workflow. I can understand this feeling. Can the Start Screen be used as a split screen? I am using Windows 8 on a mouse/keyboard only device so I'm not sure whether this is supported, but if so it's another option for those who feel they need to see their current work while using the Start Screen. Another possibility here would be having a current Desktop screenshot in the background as one of the user options for the Metro interface background.

    One Desktop to Metro transition that is really is jarring at the moment is using a mouse to, say, in Personalise on the *Desktop*, choosing More Themes flips me to the *Metro* Internet Explorer … that unexpected switch to the Metro environment is decidedly unpleasant and sub-optimal, the Metro IE simply does not feel  mouse-friendly so now I need to get back to the Desktop, manually load Desktop IE, and search for the Windows Themes website.

    A couple of UI requests, giving the user the ability to customer texture and colour the Metro system tiles will lead to richer UI. And for those who like simplicity (or want to save battery life?) the ability to disable all the tile animations might be useful.

    PS. Are comments on this blog are broken in IE10? I had to install Firefox so that I could post this comment.

  452. Amy Green says:

    No dont take away the old start meny completely!.  Microsoft please listen to us because we are the ones who will use it.  Step away from touch for a moment and think 'Desktop' 'non-touch'.  Imagine the touch metro interface in an office/call center/business type environment and you will see that its not very practical in that type of environment which WONT have touchscreens atleast not for many years yet.  The metro interface is still usable in a desktop environment but a normal start menu will be required.  Dont build Windows 8 purely for touch because it the 500+ million desktop users will get frustrated and you will not win them over meaning they wont upgrade when its released and as a developer that means im losing millions of potential customers which wont make Windows 8 very appealing at the end of the day because I want people to use my apps when they get home on their desktops aswell as out and about on their tablets.

  453. rob says:

    I'm eyeing Apple's OS X. Have you noticed it's getting improvements – like all-four sides resizable windows, some interesting stuff in taskbar,

    Check out your local Apple store, you will be surprised.

    I just hope Apple will be smart enough to refrain from screwing their desktops. Cause I'm fed up with Microshit shitting at me.

  454. James says:

    Hmm… Windows 8 seems like a very good time waster. It shows all your updates and all your social news, so you can do less work and Facebook more! The concept of Metro is also very cool for a complete touchscreen system but i cannot imagine an office being complete touchscreen. The offices will still have the old fashioned keyboard and mouse, and Metro is a bit counter-intuitive.

    Otherwise Windows 8 is very amazing.

  455. @I-DotNet:  No way I don’t believe you…oh hold on a sec, let me watch the video…oh my God, you are right!

    Indeed, Microsoft says officially, that they will want us to REPLACE our productivity applications with Metro UI apps. On the record, Microsoft you are complete and utterly one dimensional ‘something’. Every time Microsoft has a new technology they think that it is the magic brush that they can paint the entire world with.

    She says on the video “We are going to let you run your current productivity app as desktop app, but we want you to re-write it as a metro app because this is where we are going and the future is Metro”.  As far as I am concerned she is a total moron and it is safe to ignore she even exists.

    And then the other guy explains how easy it is to port applications like Photoshop to the Metro UI. Fine, of course it is easy, I can do it too because I am an experienced developer on Windows. Would I do it though, of course not, there are two different types of apps in the way you use them. You need Photoshop open side by side with other apps, this is the wrong example you silly single minded person.

    Of course these messages are wrong and totally marketing driven. From a technical perspective there is no problem doing what they are describing, but of course from a usability perspective when it comes to productivity apps they have no chance they will succeed.

    Here is history repeating:

    Since before 2000, .net was the top dog, programming in C++ is not cool anymore. COM will be replaced by .net. Managed code will run your OS UI. Windows forms is so old fashion, WPF is the new rage.

    Let’s see how these statements are holding on now:

    Vista died during birth and came back as a quick patch on the previous version of the OS (namely Windows Server 2003). The reason is of course that half way in the project they realized that to build major parts of the OS in managed languages is stupid, from a performance and tons of other reasons. Of course that experiment generated the WPF abomination, which still haunts us today even though WPF is in maintenance mode since 2007.

    COM is still alive and kicking, it lives inside the WinRT and everywhere in the OS whatever lib you look at that needs to be exposed, is a variation of COM.

    C++ is coming back big time, when MS realized that developers continued programming in this language when it comes to productivity applications or any serious type of projects. The only difference of course is that this didn’t show in their “telemetry data” because these developers are programming on other OSes.

    So what we conclude from the last 10 years of historical misjudged statements is that Microsoft always goes the wrong direction and then they come back (eventually) when they realize nobody follows them to the cliff edge.

    How can I have seem all these from day one and ignore all your misjudgements and you as a huge organization not being able to do so, I am nobody, you are a big organization with tons of clever people. Obviously there are lots of people at Microsoft that watch these statements being thrown left and right and they are just waiting for the time when they are called in to clean up the mess again and again.

    As a loyal customer for over 20 years I am fed up with all your childish moves and directions. I am fed up seeing all these “great ideas/statements” blowing on your face time and time again. You are worse the Homer Simpson, let’s name the new version “Windows D’oh!”.

    Now, the big question for us is, do we wait another few years to see them coming back crawling for forgiveness or do we say enough bs for two decades, let’s move on because Microsoft seems they have lost it completely?

    Let’s observe the writing on the wall, where I work I have to fight hard to be able to install a Windows 2008 server when all other boxes are running a variation of Linux. Apple provides great innovation without p-sing over their entire legacy. Google is shaping to be an OS competitor, amazing, I would never have believed they will succeed, but that is probably because I thought that Microsoft had learned any lessons.

    So from a business perspective, the remaining Microsoft stronghold is the desktop. Only by leveraging their dominance on that aspect they will be able to push the server barrier forward. And what do they decide to do instead is to ruin the desktop experience with Metro toys.

    I am developing in C++, C# and Java specializing in high scale client server applications. What I have managed to do over the years is marginalize myself because I have to keep fighting to support Windows in my workplaces on multimillion dollar projects. Given my knowledge if I had chosen to go with the flow I would be 10 years ahead career wise, but I thought I was supporting the “right way” of doing things.

    Microsoft you are not helping me at all to do my (and your) job coming up with these idiotic statements and I am getting tired.

  456. @I-DotNET:

    Thanks for the reply,  the video you posted was quite interesting. Mary J Foley is a blogger, gossip and stirring the pot is what she does. Also much of it was speculation as no one in that video works for Microsoft.

    I wasn't so naive as not to think that legacy might be replaced at some point. But I thought if it was it would be a market driven change, which may still be the case. But if not, I can also understand where they're coming from, the need to support both ARM and Intel. They also did say enterprise will have the option to turn the start menu off, though I don't know why you would regardless of using metro apps or desktop apps.

    I don't however, think that an eventual move from win32 or to WinRT is the same as a move from the desktop/mouse style apps to metro style apps. It's perfectly possible to make classic styled (or just more mouse friendly) apps with the right tools in WinRT, the desktop app itself is an example of this. It's also possible for them to introduce a fully WinRT desktop mode (or just add some mouse enhancing options like universal taskbar)  in the future to support these apps. This isn't necessary in windows 8  as win32 is still supported and has the strongest ecosystem. So I can't really speculate about the solution to a problem that won't present itself until windows 9  or 10.  

    I'm not a fan boy, there are a few things I'd like to see to make metro apps more mouse friendly/productive but they that have absolutely nothing to do with the start screen. I don't know which concerns will  be addressed in the beta and which won't. But all can be solved my using the desktop. I still have that choice.

    My suggestions are:

    1) The option for a metrofide universal taskbar(jump lists are awesome) that auto-hides, even if it's only a option to mouse users. So I can open or switch programs with minimal interruption to what I'm doing.

    2) Requirement for all mice to provide 360 degree scrolling. With touch this is easy to do so to translate a touch first UI to mouse this is necessary. Most touch mice can already do this. A scroll ball like apple's mighty mouse is a alternate approach. Metro apps are highly horizontal and vertical scroll intensive so it should be just as easy and intuitive to scroll in both directions. Many track-pads already do this.

    3)Fake close that suspends items but also removes them from the task switching list, giving me more control. A well implemented suspend can be a good feature. Kind of like a web browsers ram cache, return visits are quicker. And if it doesn't hog resources  on the phone so why would it on a computer.

    4)Flash support. Adobe said that they would develop a non-plugin solution using  AIR. They already do this for some tablet OS's.  Either way I'm not do worried, if flash isn't fully supported  on windows it'll die  quick.

    5) Make semantic zoom easy. If it's a core motif I shouldn't have to go shortcut to do it. Any mouse gesture will do. A dedicated zoom toggle key on the keyboard or a on screen icon are fine too.

    6)More robust multi-window multitasking on high res displays. On a 30-inch monitor  2 windows at the same time isn't enough. I'd be OK with 3 or 4.

  457. W Rankel says:

    Microsoft is so out of touch with its users.  Not only will this product turn out to be a flop, it will be the downfall of Microsoft.  You are canibalizing the entire Windows experience in a desperate bid to cut into the tablet market.  Metro UI is cumbersome, grossly ugly, useless, and slows my producticty when I tested it on my desktop.  It has NO place on a desktop computer, maybe a tablet but NOT a desktop.  Listening to the development staff on this blog is like listening to Apple fanatics refuse to acknowledge fault in their software.  Ive worked in IT tech support for 15 years and i can tell you right now, enterprise and desktop users will depise and hate metro UI.  Not sure what u guys at microsoft have been smoking but you guys are not in reality.  You don't even listen to your users microsoft… Bring back an alternate normal start menu for desktop users or face a rebellion that will become the downfall of your company.  Arrogance is the only word that describes this development team.

  458. Cameron wingrove says:

    I love the new start screen and everything, but one thing i am annoyed about is you have to a 1024 by 768 resolution to run metro apps and your screen has to be 1366 pixels wide to use the snap feature, ithink he requirements should be dropped to support current netbooks and tablets

  459. M Burt. says:

    I couldn't see myself upgrading to windows 8 if this is where it is headed for the desktop environment. The new start screen is fantastic for tablet and touch screen environments but for desktop and notebook the windows 7 desktop interface and start menu is a more attractive and better option. Please consider making this a optional setting where users can disable the metro/start screen if it is not required in their environment and to retain the windows 7 start menu in desktop mode.

  460. FremyCompany says:

    People just don't like to change the way they work. When they'll get used to it, they will like it. Don't pay too much attention to the comments in this blog post (beside that you should continue your work to improve the way Metro apps works on the Desktop).

    Well, there's only two things I would like you to do :

    1) Show the taskbar in the startscreen (or at least, add an option to do it). If I see the startscreen by default when my PC starts and "should use it only to lauch apps I use less", there's a conflict.

    2) Allow "good" computers to get no background for the start launcher, only an aero overlay on your desktop. It will really help to get the new Metro Start Screen more accepted by some people.

  461. Marlon says:

    Suggestions:

    1. Put the desktop tile in the left , (maybe the desktop tile should be bigger and just by itself, or it should be grouped along with an all programs tile, a search tile, my computer, my documents, pictures etc with a header "system"). The most important thing is that the desktop tile remains pinned to the left so one can simply click it and use the traditional desktop experience.

    2. Extend the new windows snap to accomodate more windows on the screen. It is good to have 2 applications running side by side and one vary the width but it should be possible to put 3 or 4 apps side by side (or above and below each other).

    3. Change the tile scrolling behaviour from side to side to up and down (or allow for this option).

    4. Increase the transfer and copying speeds.

  462. really DONT DO THIS metro sucks on normal pc. Give us normal desktop, make metro for tablets only.

  463. @stzeer6

    I really like your suggestions! They are spot on and I would love to see them complete an already fantastic Windows experience!

  464. Saeed says:

    I love metro, but ONLY on tablet.It is terrible on the DESKTOP.

  465. Richard says:

    Okay, I can accept the new fancy Start screen, if it doesnt only bring the new stuff, but also keeps the old things I am used in Start menu:

    1. All programs organized in folders: like "k-lite codec pack" folder with all codecs, uninstaller and media player – tell me how would one browse through program components when those components are distributed randomly between other apps in alphabetic order? Or think of having many "uninstall" programs and you have no idea which is which.

    Clearly folders need to come back.

    2. Control panel, my computer, recent items, run etc. These need to return.

    3. On windows phone 7 start screen there is a button which shows all apps. On windows 8, there is so much empty space, you really can put all the stuff I mentioned above in a nice way with fancy buttons.

  466. Here is an excellent work from MICROSOFT.

    Sorry .. Do not change anything on the general concept.

    Microsoft will be unbeatable on  Tabletts, laptops and PCs.

    Small critics are busy here because they already have all the fear of Windows 8 …

    Windows 8 is already a perfection … and will be a fulminant success.

    MICROSOFT FOR EVER…..

  467. Here is an excellent work from MICROSOFT.

    Sorry .. Do not change anything on the general concept.

    Microsoft will be unbeatable on  Tabletts, laptops and PCs.

    Small critics are busy here because they already have all the fear of Windows 8 …

    Windows 8 is already a perfection … and will be a fulminant success.

    MICROSOFT FOR EVER…..

  468. Windows 8 is already a perfection … and will be a fulminant success.

    MICROSOFT FOR EVER…..

  469. Mr.Windows says:

    Good job guys,love the start screen please don't listen to the hypocrites who are afraid of using something new,the start screen is the best thing that ever happened to Windows please keep it in the desktop version of Windows 8.Sorry for using such harsh words for these people but,it's just that they don't like anything you guys make,everytime you make something new,they will start comparing it with old products…I don't get this if you don't want to use a new thing then,why are you making such bad comments & disgrading these new products??? If you don't like it leave it,it's your personal choice don't spoon-feed your crappy principles onto others,many people will read these comments first without reading your blog posts & think that Windows 8 is a bad product whereas it is not.LISTEN UP PEOPLE WINDOWS 8 WILL BE A HIT & IT WILL BE THE BEST OS EVER!!!

  470. ONE WINDOWS 8  PLEASE..

    Please dont change anything on the Pc version…

    Windows 8 is already a perfection … and will be a fulminant success.

    MICROSOFT FOR EVER…..

  471. Here is an excellent work from MICROSOFT.

    Sorry .. Do not change anything on the general concept.

    Microsoft will be unbeatable on  Tabletts, laptops and PCs.

    Small critics are busy here because they already have all the fear of Windows 8 …

    Windows 8 is already a perfection … and will be a fulminant success.

    MICROSOFT FOR EVER…..

  472. Here is an excellent work from MICROSOFT.

    Sorry .. Do not change anything on the general concept.

    Microsoft will be unbeatable on  Tabletts, laptops and PCs.

    Small critics are busy here because they already have all the fear of Windows 8 …

    Windows 8 is already a perfection … and will be a fulminant success.

    MICROSOFT FOR EVER…..

  473. Bryan says:

    This isn't  the Windows I remember… it just isn't  Windows at all. its bad..

  474. Windows 8 is an evolution.

    Windows 8 is not for  mentally retarded People

    Windows 8 moves and can not Stay in 1995.

    Windows 8 is for Windows 2012 and above.

    Have the Courage to understand this wonderful adventure of Microsoft

    ONE WINDOWS 8

    MICROSOFT FOR EVER.

  475. Stefan says:

    As a business owner and a long time customer i now can see that Windows Vista is the last real operatingsystem from Microsoft. Windows 7 is crap and Windows 8 are even worse than crap. Now i have to stay with Windows 2000 (not internet connected), Windows XP and Windows Vista. Running Windows 7 with XP-mode i find very strange. Why didn't You do Windows 7 more compatible with older XP-software instead ? Many software i use run excellent on Vista and eralier Windows versions, but not on Windows 7. I guess Windows 8 with this crap UI will make me get sick when searching for things. Don't change things that aren't broken !!!!!!! As i have stated before: Windows 8 will become a bigger failure than Windows Millenium !!!!

    Posting still doesn't work properly ! (2nd try)

  476. mt327000 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!!! If you block this comment I will (not quote what the user said).

  477. B8Blog says:

    @Stefan — Feel free to use the mail link above and let us know what software you are running that is compatible with Windows Vista but not compatible with Windows 7.

  478. @Stefan, @Fake mt327000

    Are you the same person? More comments are appearing under the mt327000 label that I did not post. I guarantee that some of the posts here are NOT MINE. The comment from mt327000 dated Sat, Oct. 8 2011 at 4:05/1:05 PM is not mine. The comment dated Sat. Oct 8 2011 at 4:30/1:30 PM is also not mine. Please stop with the fake comments and identify who you really are. This is getting out of hand. I think I've been very clear in my dislike of the Metro UI. It should seem obvious from the language used in the comments I mentioned that they are not written by me. They are by someone else who put "mt327000" in the name box.

    @Steven Sinofsky

    Please turn off the ability to post anonymous comments. Again, posts are appearing under the mt327000 label that I did not post.

    To everyone who reads this blog, please assume that all comments carrying the "mt327000" label without the Live ID certification posted on or after October 7, 2011 are not from me. There are now three comments in this list that WERE NOT posted by the real mt327000.

    @Stefan

    I have no idea who posted the "Guys! Guys!" comment in my name. I also did not post the response that quoted you exactly.

    I do not use foul language in my comments, but clearly the fake mt327000 does. This is a problem that must be resolved.

  479. @Steven Sinofsky – I also request that you turn anonymous (Non-Live ID) posts off. I think a certain user(s) is spamming the forum with the same negative Windows 8 comments.

  480. Amir says:

    How about a faster access to search. Like a gesture or a button for one click voice search or the actual search. I guess currently it takes 3 clicks to bring on the search, right?

  481. I think VOICE will play a key part in Windows 8 via KINECT….I really hope MS do put more emphasis on the use of gestures and push oem partners to make multi-touch mice/trackpads for desktop computers to be the norm.

    Features like Apples 'Mission Control' would really come in handy….and an improvement to the snap feature. Currently the snap feature is a bit gimmicky….but it could be great if we're allowed to snap upto 4 windows….and on the 50-50 on the double snap screen ( I will create some pics using photoshop to show what I mean).

  482. @Amir

    Why would it take 3 clicks to access search. You just press the windows button on the keyboard and start typing like you always have. Alternatively you can move your mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen and click the start/windows icon and then start typing. That's one click access. You are aware that the start button and charms reveals themselves when you move your mouse to the bottom left hand corner in of the screen?

  483. Chris says:

    I can read through a vertical list of words much better than I can pick it out from a bunch of tiles that fill my whole screen.

    Imagine this: You want to find the eight of spades from a deck of cards. Which way is easier to find it?

    1) Have all the card names listed alphabetically. Open the list, scroll to the eights, and select the eight of spades.

    2) Have somebody lay all fifty two cards out on a table. Try to pick the eight of spades out from that.

    If you try option two, you will likely find your eyes darting around all over the place. It's overwhelming, and it requires special concentration to process all that you see in an organized manner. Metro's tiles are a lot like this. They don't even have names on the tiles; I have to pick out app titles from whichever non-standardized way it is presented on the tile (if it is presented). On a device with the screen real estate to have a proper start menu, using a list of names is much easier than a screen filled with icons.

  484. Chris says:

    Also note that on Fig. 4, your zoomed out view, it is difficult to tell what a lot of those apps are. Many of them don't even have names! I don't know what apps are launched by most of the icons in the "Art" section. Is the one that looks like a video screen a program for editing videos or just watching them? What is the icon that shows two people? Trying to find something in that is a matter of guess and check.

  485. @Chris

    You don't open programs directly from the zoomed out view when you click on a group you navigate to that group. It's just like clicking on a folder to see what is inside. In the classic start menu when you are outside a folder you can't see the icons or program names in it. How is this any different? Also you would have a rough idea of what is in the art section if you made that group and named it art.

    I can understand that some people may prefer a vertical lists. But I think your analogy is very bad. If you throw a deck of cards on the table it's random. With tiles your putting them in the order and folder/grouping of your choice. A better analogy would be a long vertical list of 52 cards or square group of 52 cards both in alphabetical or any other order of your choosing. I personally don't know why you would do either in this case I would just press the window button and type 8. I suppose if you are lazy things could become a bit random. But I rather group things the way I want then have it in alphabetical order anyways. If you really  want alphabetical order just type "A" or any other letter you want on the start screen and you'll get all the A's,

    Also tiles in the normal view do have program names on them. I think the distracting aspect of the start screen is more about taking the time to get use to it then any actual functional reason.

  486. B8Blog says:

    @Chris, @stzeer6 offers some perspective.  

    The tiles are not random as they might be in the card analogy.  You put them where you thought it made sense (including groups).  You didn't have to arrange them symmetrically and some of the cards are different sizes.  It will be far easier to find the cards than if someone randomly placed them in a giant grid.

    ANd as mentioned, with folders you play hide and seek a bit.  The full list of text has challenges because so many of the folders will have similar names (like the name of a vendor).  Plus in addition to hide and seek you have multuple scrolling and click actions to find one.  A more typical start menu might have folders for "One", "Two", "Three".  or maybe by suit or color.  And of course the folders would be called "Bicycle Poker Deck" which would prefix each of the cards 🙂

    Earlier Fitts' law was mentioned.  THis is something we will pick up in a follow up post.  The new Start screen was designed to place more items in a better proximity following this paradigm.  As you can imagine the Start menu turns out to be a relatively poor design if you take into account that "law".  

    Keep in mind too that if the program was installed and you moved or renamed the folders or shortcuts, then you would subsequently have housekeeping to do if you uninstall the program.  These are other limitations that we address with the combination of WinRT and the Start screen for Metro style apps.  

    We'll have more to say on these topics.

  487. Come on Steven, the only reason you can display more information and experiment with various concepts is that you are effectively stealing our whole screen. Again it is fine on tablets, you can have the whole thing (my Acer W500 is yours to make better), but not on my desktop, it has reached perfection already because it runs Windows 7.

    The new start screen is like stealing the whole memory space of my machine every time I want to choose an application or do a search. I rather have the shortcomings of the start menu as you describe them (which are very valid points), than sacrifice my desktop’s real estate to try to mitigate these issues.

    Anyway, the most important thing for me is that we can switch this thing off, even if it takes some manual hacks:

    http://www.zdnet.com/…/14976

    Disclaimer: I have not tried this yet, but only the idea that there is a way out makes me sleep easier during the night. It also has some issues with flickering when you enable the start menu…pity, but still better than having the Start Screen.

    Then again it also makes me sad that while we are all excited playing with our newest and hopefully best Windows EVER, we still have to revert to hacks from day one to get it to do what we feel is natural/given Windows functionality.

    It cannot be that difficult to say officially that we can turn this thing off. That way we can move on and discuss the Metro UI as a Tablet feature and praise it as it deserves because it makes our tablets so much better and functional.

  488. patrick says:

    I think the power button should be in a more appropriate location as beside the user tile

  489. @steerz6 : "…I think your analogy is very bad [@Chris 2011-10-9 3:51 PM]. If you throw a deck of cards on the table it's random. With tiles your putting them in the order and folder/grouping of your choice. A better analogy would be a long vertical list of 52 cards or square group of 52 cards both in alphabetical or any other order of your choosing."

    That would be a better analogy, but it overlooks several things.

    1. The point Chris made about the superiority of vertical visual scanning still holds. To compare scanning to reading per se; reading, regardless of the language being left-to-right or right-to-left, is predominantly an x-axis activity, whereas scanning is almost the opposite – the emphasis is on the y-axis. Any vertical list (like the start menu) wins over any alternative arrangement. Furthermore, regardless of the arrangement of the grid – alphabetical, random, grouped – as Chris puts it; "…you *will* [my emphasis] likely find your eyes darting around all over the place. It's overwhelming, and it requires special concentration to process all that you see in an organized manner." That is the price to be paid for spreading items out across both x and y axises. What your assuming is that the interpreter of Start has the discipline to read the screen like she was reading a book, but while that left-right-CR/LF-left-right… behaviour works in the case of linear text, it does not work in the case of mostly unrelated elements, such as a collection of app tiles. Worse still for Start (and as several commenters have realized), the problem of darting eyes is going to be exacerbated by the 'live' nature of the tiles – there will be a lot going on that can the catch the eyes attention.

    2. The pack of cards analogy (any version) misses a critical point. A pack of cards is a fixed, known set of items. The list of apps (and hence tiles) on a PC in neither known nor fixed. By laying out tiles in a 2-dimensional grid with no heirarchical organizational unit available, a major issue is permanently created for the user; every additional tile potentially disrupts the carefully organized layout previously created. That's the price for offering the user control over every aspect of their Start 'dashboard', *except* the ability to move beyond a flat data structure. The consequences of this are serious. Consider a user who has potentially spent *hours* getting their Start layout "just right". On considering a trip to the App Store, she now has to weigh-up not only the cost-benefit of the app itself, but how much time will be required to redesign/re-tweak her carefully organised existing layout. She might just decide; "this time i can't be bothered".

    3. "I personally don't know why you would do either [scan a list or a grid] in this case I would just press the window button and type 8." Here is the major failing of search per se; it assumes the user will select the most appropriate, or desired element, from the list of search results. Problem is, that is not how users actually use search – instead, they deterministically select the first (maybe second or third) item in the list, a behaviour sometimes referred to as Google Gullibility http://www.useit.com/…/user-skills.html This is not so bad in the case of web page results, but if people use Start search in the same manner they use Bing/Google search, they are going to get frustrated. Really, to be advising users they are probably better off running searches every time they want to start an app is more or less admitting that no organizational design can be made particularly good.

    4. In the case of tiles themselves, an important, though implicit assumption is being made (IMO) about how these will be used in practice, that is questionable; the user will regard a live tile as a summary / notification / "what's new" indicator for the associated app, and use this data as a basis for switching to the app (or not). Not true. What will happen is that the tiles will be just big enough and rich enough as data sources that the lazy or apathetic user will not bother switching to the app proper. In the users mind, the tile will become the app and the app will become the tile. Never mind the debate over launching an app and "leaving the thing you’re currently doing". Users will actually *stop* launching apps and start living in Start. Windows will become synonymous with Start. Unfortunately for all, the Start-centric user is going to be rather underwhelmed when comparing her tiles to her iPhone apps, which are both larger and more beautifully rendered on the Retina Display than on her poor old (new) PC! An unfair comparison? Tell that to the users.

    5. Great emphasis has been placed in this post and the last on how the use of the start menu has declined in favour of more practical alternatives like the "Start bar" (Taskbar), with the conclusion being that using the start menu is not a particularly great tool for locating or launching apps (too small, too many foldered links, poor customization ability, etc). This analysis has been "on the money" IMO. However, the danger is that Start could actually be worse than the start menu, for two further and related reasons – one bad and one very bad. The bad reason; it is very unlikely that most, or even many apps will be good candidates as live data sources (via their tiles). Some applications will of course be perfect examples of live data sources, but many will be poor. Those that make poor examples will also compare poorly to the casual observer or user. That is bad enough – since it means these apps will be at a competitive disadvantage, regardless of their specific merit, but worse, what is likely to happen in these cases is that app vendors will simply start adding arbitary live data capabilities to their apps in an effort to seem "modern". The very bad reason is that in an effort to locate the tiles with good data capabilities somewhere on the 'home' location of Start, all other tiles will get pushed offscreen, and these will be precisely the apps that users are now pinning to their taskbars! Stuff like office/productivity, multimedia, administration and accessories. So the irony could be, that in denigrating the start menu, Windows 8 will end up requiring users to not only access their commonly run apps via Start, but once there, to also to recall the location of, then scroll to their important app, then activate it. This would be no faster than accessing, say Word, by pressing the Windows key (to open the start menu), opening the Microsoft Office folder and clicking 'Microsoft Word'. Except that the frequent Word user probably has that app pinned conveniently to the pinned section of the start menu, or to the taskbar (or both).

    6. Alice Steinglass has mentioned many times that Microsoft wants the user to be in full control of their Start experience. That's fine in itself but it overlooks that many users will be too apathetic or uninformed to craft their own Start layout/experience. As you know most users never change the defaults for almost anything, so why will Start be any different? What this means is that in most cases users Start layout will simply correspond to the order in which apps are installed on their systems, and occupying the first several places in that order will be all the crapware and trialware deemed appropriate by the OEM.

  490. Ivan says:

    Well it is everything but not modern,it looks so simple and old,one color,big tiles…i dont like it at all,when i first tryed build 7989 i was excited,everything looked great but this one i hate,it is counter-productive for pc users in every way…

  491. kejserdreng says:

    if you want to skip the start button microsoft needs to make more room for apps as macosx have.

    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

  492. martin says:

    @kejserdreng1 – Just personalise your desktop icons, add control panel, computer and user files.  Then on the taskbar check the option for the desktop toolbar.  I also have the links toolbar enabled for stuff like commonly used docs.  Also don't forget you can resize the taskbar and have as many icons as you like.

  493. I agree with people saying the start screen is fantastic because yes it is I realy like it and it will be used by desktop users but it is meant for touch devices.  People using tablets will use metro as their primary screen and very rarely if ever use the desktop itself because the apps they use will only be on metro can you seriously see yourself using photoshop, office, visual studio and other similar software on a tablet? it would be incredibly annoying and slow to use with a touchscreen keyboard.  Some people may carry a wireless keyboard with their tablets but not many and that would defeat the whole purpose of touch so whats the point.  As a desktop user can you realy see yourself reaching over to your monitor all the time to perform tasks when it can be done so much easier and quicker with a mouse leaving less finger prints and not straining your arm.  The easy and simple solution to this entire problem is to just include a standard start menu aswell as the start screen maybe having 2 buttons with 1 activating metro and the other the start menu.  That to me is an easy solution which would make everyone happy,  boost sales and wouldnt interfere with the new metro interface or features.  Doing this would please both the people who want to use metro and people who want to use start menu giving them a choice to use either one or both if they choose too. Problem solved, arguments over and 500+ million customers happy to go out and buy Windows 8 when it hits the shops – now thats good business and I doubt anyone could disagree.

  494. ideas:

    -more options for the size of tiles like in the new metro interface for the xbox 360

    -some kind of interface accessible in right click for customizing how the tile looks and what data or image is displayed, either defined by the application or by the os

    -some kind of scripting interface to allow people to put custom data in tiles, like if I want to make a tile for a person then show their online status for Skype, MSN, etc.

    -some kind of template interface for sharing this custom tiles like the one I described; also presupposes the concept of tiles not only for programs but for more general concepts like people

  495. TheGameHHH says:

    Finally had a chance to install the DP on my PC. So far, I find it faster than Windows 7. The start screen isn't as bad as I first thought. I think the shortcut tiles of non-metro apps don't look that good next to the metro apps tiles. Maybe change the background of each app tile according to the colors of the app icon? Also, full customization of everything in the start screen would certainly be a welcome addition. I know this is just a DP, so I hope come beta there are more improvements. Oh and please, make turning off or restarting the PC more easier. Right now there is no easy way to do it.

  496. TheGameHHH says:

    Finally had a chance to install the DP on my PC. So far, I find it faster than Windows 7. The start screen isn't as bad as I first thought. I think the shortcut tiles of non-metro apps don't look that good next to the metro apps tiles. Maybe change the background of each app tile according to the colors of the app icon? Also, full customization of everything in the start screen would certainly be a welcome addition. I know this is just a DP, so I hope come beta there are more improvements. Oh and please, make turning off or restarting the PC more easier. Right now there is no easy way to do it.

  497. @ Alice Steinglass. That’s good news. Meanwhile, I’m trying to improve my suggestion as to the taskbar. I don’t know if it is worth it, since it may be all already settled. But I am giving a shot just in case I can still contribute. Here are some new (and less new) ideas. In broad outline:

    1. Charms bar

    1.1. The charms bar should be at the same place (that is, as sidebar) whether one works with or without touch. Making us switch between two display locations creates unnecessary confusion. I suppose that, when one works with both touch and mouse, the charms bar appears as sidebar. Why not then be coherent and keep it always as such?

    1.2. One should be given the choice to locate the charms bar at the right side (by default for right-handed) or at the left side.

    1.3. The charms bar should be made visible in response to (i) a swipe from the right = (ii) Win+C = (iii) moving the mouse cursor to the bottom right corner of the screen.

    1.4. There should be a Power charm.

    2. Taskbar

    2.1. I cannot see any good reason why the desktop taskbar should be kept in Windows 8, at least as launching bar; this can and should be done only from the start page. To keep the taskbar as launching bar is an unnecessary and confusing doubling.

    2.2. Additional commands or tasks specific to particular apps, which in Windows 7 appeared in the jump list (like WMP basic commands), should simply be integrated as parts or their tile on the start page. For example, one should be able to play, pause, skip back, skip forward, rate a song… from the WMP tile.

    2.3. Still, there should be a touch equivalent and also a mouse equivalent to the alt-tab function. This equivalent should be as universal and as exhaustive as the alt-tab function. In Windows 8 the desktop taskbar is neither universal nor exhaustive (but the alt-tab function is).

    2.3. I suggest it would be best to replace the current taskbar with some kind of “open apps bar” (see new images: skydrive.live.com), which wouldn’t be competing with the start page (as the current taskbar does) but would give access to all open windows (which the desktop taskbar does not).

    2.4. Swipe is extremely inefficient: swiping in one window at a time makes no sense when one has 4+ windows opened. To make it efficient one should be able to swipe in a precise window selected out of the said open apps bar.

    2.5. Would there be such an open apps bar, typing alt-tab should make the same bar pop up.

    2.6. This open apps bar should be made visible in response to (i) a swipe from the left = (ii) alt+tab and/or Win+? = (iii) moving the mouse cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen.

    2.7. Consequently with 1.2. one should be given the choice to locate the open apps bar at the left side (by default) or at the right side. Personally, since I would use the apps bar many more times than the charms bar I would prefer to have it at right side of screen.

    2.8. There should be a “Pin up to the start page” command in the right click menu for all apps and files (above all in Windows Explorer).

    3. Right click

    3.1. I really think that to convert the right click menu in a bottom bar (like on start page) is a bad idea. The right click menu should be kept where it traditionally was, right where one clicks.

    3.2. A touch way to make the right click menu appear could simply be to click on the file with two fingers.

    Thanks for taking the time to read our comments.

  498. All I wanted was to test the desktop first and then the Metro UI. All I wanted was a choice, but…you can read the rest from the previous posts.

    Anyway, here is the solution for those who want to see how Windows 8 will look without the Metro UI on their desktop and the old start menu back in the right place:

    Just rename c:windowssystem32shsxs.dll to something else and reboot.

    I got it from here:

    social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/5f0432ff-f86f-476c-a847-85097326c1e0

    It did work for me but as the disclaimer goes, you are responsible for your actions if something goes wrong.

    Just let me add another disclaimer: I am also a developer and I will probably develop Metro UI applications, but that is when I want to target the tablet market, not because somebody is forcing me.

    I just installed the Visual Studio 2011 preview and I am also playing around with the desktop (the original and unaltered one). All I can say is that I feel guilty towards my Windows 7, it was so good to me but now I am in love with Windows 8, it is fast, beautiful and functional from the core to the desktop UI.

    Thank you Microsoft.

  499. Hitler doesn't seem to like the Start Screen either 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

    Don't forget to enable subtitles (CC – closed captions).

    And now on topic, you should really give your user options, like you did in the past.

    Allow users to choose either the start menu, or the start screen for the Desktop. Or even both.

    Being able to customize is the main reason I use and love Windows instead of MacOS.

    That, and the fact that Windows rewards my 20+ years investment of using it, for example almost all keyboard shortcuts from Windows 3.0 still work in Windows 7. For example "Alt+Space M" to move a window you cannot reach with the mouse, for some reason.

    After using MacOS for 6 month, I returned to Windows, I felt a huge relief when everthing was where I expected it to be, and every action seemed natural and easy.

    Sadly, it seems that recently you started to copy Apple, especially their "we know better than the user what the user needs".

    And not being to acess "All Programs" in an easy way, is very annoying.

    You could at least place a shortcut to "All Programs" in Windows Explorer, and allow us to pin any folder to the task bar, including  "All Programs".

    If I try to pin a folder to the taskbar, it pins it to the Windows Explorer jump list. That sucks.

    Also, if not including the full Windows 7 start menu, at least include the search function in the current form, not the full screen abomination that attempts to replace it.

    And about "Start menu only returns the first 3 results in each category", that is plain wrong. It returns 3 by default.

    But I have a 1920×1080 LCD, and I configured the start menu to list 20 recent applications. This also makes the search area larger. And now, when I seach "input" as you described, I receive:

    – 2 programs

    – 7 control panel items

    – 6 documents

    – 14 files

    That is a total of 29 items.

    Not very far from the 48 items supported by the Start Screen search, and I could even increase the recent applicatons from 20 to 24 on my display, with large icons.

    With that, the number of items from a search result increases from 29 to a whooping 37 (thirty seven) search result items:

    2 programs + 7 control panel + 6 documents + 22 files = 37 items, with the windows 7 search.

    And, to be fair, who needs 48 search results on the screen simultaneusly? If you get that many results, it means your search is not specific enough.

    I think the Windows 7 search is more than enough for 99% of my use cases. No need for the full screen search horror of Windows 8.

    Sorry for any typing mistakes, IE9 doesn't support spell checking.

  500. @Vladimir Nicolici: This video is excellent, thank you.

  501. Tommy Wilde says:

    There needs to be a better way to unpin multiple items at once from the start screen. I'm sure vendors will load it up with crapware. Long process to unpin one at a time.

  502. Guest says:

    In the technical preview, the start button brings us to the Metro UI. This gets rid of a lot of functionality that I have been familiar with the old windows UI: the StartUp menu, the documents, the control panel, the "search program and run" input box. Now, for each search, I need to switch between the Metro UI and the tranditional windows experience. This is not a good user experience for Win8!

  503. @Tommy Wilde – Thanks for the feedback. We’ll see if we can make it easier to unpin multiple items at a time. We’re mocking up a prototype for this.

  504. @Persuadable – You commented that the live tiles are distracting. Because this is just a developer preview build with intern apps, we don’t yet have customized content available for you. When you can see your latest email or information you care about, you might find them more useful. But, if you don’t want to see them, this is completely up to you. You can make the tiles small, move them around, or unpin them. Also, based on the feedback from you and others on this blog, we are currently building a way to turn them off (not available in the developer preview).

  505. @illaqueate – You were asking if there would be a way to customize how the tile looks or the data it displays. Right now, we only have a few simple sample apps available and they don’t support this kind of customization.

    But, Windows allows apps to customize their tiles and the secondary pinned tiles any way they want to. You can see an example of this with the PaintPlay app in the Developer Preview Build. It allows you to draw any picture you want and then set that to be the tile for the app (under settings).

    You also asked how this would work with people tiles. The Socialite app allows you to pin people to your start screen, but doesn’t show any status for them. You could imagine that Skype, Facebook, MSN, etc. could easily allow you to pin people with information such as their online status, most recent post, etc.

    Windows 8 gives the apps control over the information they display and the options/settings they provide. This gives them the flexibility to display the information that is most relevant to you.

  506. @ Alice Steinglass – What about the legacy app tiles? Is there going to be any improvement to these? At the moment they really look out of place on the new start screen….more like 2nd class citizens.

    Can they visually/aesthetically be improved? Is it not possible to take inspiration from the IE10 pinned tiles…by this I mean…

    1 – Center the icon on the tile

    2 – Put the text at the bottom

    3 – Use the most dominant colour of the icon as the background tile colour.

    I've tried this on MS Word 2010 Icons, and they seem to look much better on the new start screen.

    What do you think? Is any work being done on this?

  507. Sorry…number 3  is supposed to be:

    Use the most dominant colour of the icon…invert it  and use it as the background colour of the tile.

  508. I like the Metro style display. Like it a lot actually.  I like when you look at pictures in your my picture folder etc, it sort of emulates the display keeping in with the rectangles and closely framed theme sweeping to the right and left.  

    However the weird old icons in squares with small lettering (like the excel icon), makes it look bad, like it doesn't belong.  And worse, when you click on lists, the rectangles disappear making it look like naked text dangling next to tiny pictures (same in the app menu).  The large squares in the start screen are interrupted and not cohesive when you click on lists.  And the font (which you can probably change) by default looks strange.  The rectangles should still be there and light up as you hover over them (as opposed to not there then lighting up as you hover over them).

    Also since we're going all horizontally (like in the my pictures folder), one would think that when you click on a drop down or list it should make use of not only just dropping down but opening right.  It would have a dramatic Metro effect of rectangular choices that magically appear across the screen.  It would be like no other drop down menu.

    I'm not sure how you would change how files look in a folder (having them look like a Metro start display may be too over the top) but they look lonely floating with weird dangling font and icons that belonged to yesteryear, but I think the argument is sound enough to say that it needs to be transformed just like the start menu.

    To me, it seems like if you're gonna make the jump of changing everything completely, then continue with the jump and make things look consistent (aka doing something different with the drop down menus and folder windows).

    Thanks for listening, Steve.

  509. Hello Steven,

    Please listen to the multitude of feedback being offered here. I absolutely love the Start Screen but I do want my Start menu back. What's happening if you give us two options? Everyone will be happy. There are so many new awesome features in Windows 8 which can catapult sales. Don't let it sink just because of one feature. Give us both and see Windows 8 being the most successful OS of all time.

    Thanks for listening.

  510. Hello Steven,

    Please listen to the multitude of feedback being offered here. I absolutely love the Start Screen but I do want my Start menu back. What's happening if you give us two options? Everyone will be happy. There are so many new awesome features in Windows 8 which can catapult sales. Don't let it sink just because of one feature. Give us both and see Windows 8 being the most successful OS of all time.

    Thanks for listening.

  511. One more question. Where is the Taskbar in Windows 8 when we are in the Metro UI? Gone?? Please don't kill that too!!

  512. One more question. Where is the Taskbar in Windows 8 when we are in the Metro UI? Gone?? Please don't kill that too!!

  513. Ryan Govender says:

    The Metro UI bears a striking resembalance to Windows Media Centre, with larger icons and a fluid interface it looks more appealing when viewed on a large screen, as such, I have a large collection of music and I would like to see better intergration of audio features. Another handy feature is so include a search filter to filter out duplicate files, so far microsoft has done well, though the shift should be towards improving the media features the operating system.

  514. Ryan Govender says:

    The Metro UI bears a striking resembalance to Windows Media Centre, with large icons and a fluid interface it looks more appealing when viewed on a large screen, as such, I have a large collection of music and I would like to see better intergration of audio features. Another handy feature is to include a search filter to filter out duplicate files, so far microsoft has done well, though the shift should be towards improving the media features the operating system.

  515. Hello.

    Being a long-time user of Windows, I am quite dissatisfied with Metro, let alone having to withstand it in Windows Developer Preview as the start menu. I am already annoyed with this some time ago on another post, but now it has just simply omitted the Start Menu I have loved with all my heart. Hence, in order to see my beloved menu again, I had to do registry key hacks. Only with that, I am fully content, seeing that long-time partner again.

    If Microsoft can provide a choice for comsumers to choose between the regular Start Menu and this vile(at least, in my eyes, they just look plain idiotic, childish, and foolish) Metro Start Screen, that will be a lot of inprovement, since us long-term users who DON"T have a touch screen have been acustomed to it. We want increased stability, not "Change for change".

    I really enjoy using Windows for a long time, and I have gone through from Windows 98 SE up to 7(the second fantasic thing Windows has ever been, the first one is Windows XP) since I was a child, including Windows Me, which is quite stable for my case, and Vista, which is somehow under my expectations. I don't want to abandon it for OS X(which I quite admire but not fully acustomed to) simply because of a Start Screen that I feel is detestable in my own eyes.

  516. Catalin says:

    Just transfer w8 new features (Memory usage, New Task Manager, Copy/Paste Diaglog, Immersive UI) to Windows 7 and you have created the best OS EVER…you cand still continue making W8 for tablets!

  517. Li-Qun says:

    A China ISV released an tool for Win8 to switch Win7 and Win8 start menu. http://www.win8china.com/windows8master. They also developed an app for the user to change background color & image in Win8. http://www.win8china.com/…/144.html. Interesting!

  518. Joao M Correia says:

    And yet another usability shortcoming of windows 8 current state.

    I have a workstation with 4 27" screens. I have 16 monitoring apps all running on windows side-by-side spread over them. I am -not- sitting within arms length of them, because, they are -large- screens. They are obviously not touch either.

    I don't want to:

    a) waste one screen with the start screen

    b) replace them with touch screens of the same size

    c) move closer to desk even if i replaced them with touch screens, because i'd lose the apps from view

    d) when launching other applications, i don't want to visually lose any of the monitoring apps from view

    Try doing -that- on windows 8. With 7, its obviously possible (because thats whats running on it now).

    Breaking something as simple as that is not really a step forward in UX design.

    Desktops are -not- tablets. Don't bag them all together.

    Make it optional.

    (and you should have listened to the marketing guys. "Fast and fluid" does recall snakes. Raiders of the Lost Ark snakes. Thats not a good catchphrase.)

  519. Joao M Correia says:

    @Alice Steinglass

    You said "You are in control". No, i'm not. I want to disable the start screen and never look at it again. If i can't, i'm not in control. Make it -optional-.

  520. Joao M Correia says:

    Quite frankly, Microsoft should really take a step back and consider all the things that have been pointed out here as shortcomings of the proposed UX for Windows 8 on the desktop.

    The ones that post here and on the forum are the "microsoft guys" at the workplace. We are the ones interested in making this a great product, because we are the ones that have always defended microsoft and microsoft product's usage.

    -We are the loyal ones- and we are telling you it doesn't work as you think.

    We are the ones that will have to go to management and try to explain why we're suddenly -not- upgrading to a new windows version. And if we do upgrade, we are the ones that will have to deal with helpdesk flooding (we remember office ribbon). We are the ones that will have to retrain user workforces.

    -We are the ones that have to be convinced this works-. And we're not.

    You have great ideas for tablets. But for desktops, something as -simple- as making the start screen optional would make windows 8 get back on track again.

    -We are the ones that have always used microsoft products- and we want to continue doing it. But not like this. Its just -wrong-. And its still very easy to make right.

  521. @ Drewfus

    99% of what you said is pure speculation. Stop making blanket statements: If something is an opinion or a very loosely weaved theory, please treat it as such and nothing more. I’ve never seen the straw man fallacy used so gratuitously in my entire life. None of my positions are based on the easy to tear down assumptions that you invented and so conveniently decided to attribute to me. But in light of this, I thought it would be fun to frequently use the phrase that you coined “Here is the major failing per se; you assumed,” as this statement ironically is so very applicable to almost everything you say.

    I’m quite well aware that you are trolling. The only reason I’m replying is in the one off case that someone out there doesn’t realize this.

    1. You stated that, “Any vertical list (like the start menu) wins over any alternative arrangement.” With the Start menu you are doing just that reading a list, since it’s icons are too small for any form of visual recognition. Here is the major failing per se; your statement assumes that tiles are a list in grid format that can only be read. With tiles you get both an icon and a name. Once a familiarity is developed (repeat visits) it is much quicker to recognize something than reading it, which you are repeatedly forced to do with the start menu. Even if you don’t recognize a tile, you are still eliminating all the ones you do recognize at a glance. The y-axis rule applies to lists only, but not to something with a visual component. Things of this nature are often arranged in both x and y axes. You do realize the startbar is horizon? Most people do developed some familiarity with the majority of their apps, as they installed them, and use them. This doesn’t even take into account that grouping will decrease the amount of scanning required. You can group things on the classic start menu but it is so unintuitive that other than power users few bother to do it(I’ll explain why that is in point 6).

    I think arguing this point either way is moot. You presented your hypothesis and I presented mine. Experimental research would be necessary for any real determination.

    2. The pack of cards analogy in any version is flawed, that was my point, though I should have explicitly said this. You stated that “The list of apps (and hence tiles) on a PC is neither known nor fixed.” Here is the major failing per se; your statement assumes that the apps an individual has on their computer are entirely “not known” to them, this is a gross oversimplification. You do develop some familiarity with the applications you install and use and group. True it's not fixed, but what’s the typical rate of change? And “no heirarchical organizational unit,” you can group tiles and name the group and zoom out to see all the groups for quick navigation ….can you say hierarchy:)

    Your other point was ”On considering a trip to the App Store, she now has to weigh-up not only the cost-benefit of the app itself, but how much time will be required to redesign/re-tweak her carefully organized existing layout. She might just decide; "this time i can't be bothered"”. You really are pulling at straws there. But once again: In the case of organizing your tiles, an important, though implicit assumption is being made (IMO) about the typical usage models of sane human beings bearing any resemblance to that of Drewfus. This is very and I repeat very questionable. No one in their right mind would do this; it’s only you.

    3. You are taking the usage model for a browser search engine like Google and applying it to an app search.  Here is the major failing of the Drewfus model of search per se. Google search does not equal app search; they are not the same thing, not even close.  One has almost an infinite number of inputs and infinite outputs. The other has a very narrow list of outputs.

    4. “Tiles will be just big enough and rich enough as data sources that the lazy or apathetic user will not bother switching to the app proper…. Users will actually *stop* launching apps and start living in Start,” it is really quite difficult for me to even come close to taking this one seriously. But I think your following statement says it all, “Unfortunately for all, the Start-centric user is going to be rather underwhelmed when comparing her tiles to her iPhone apps, which are both larger and more beautifully rendered on the Retina Display than on her poor old (new) PC!.” APPLE FANBOY AKA SUPER TROLL

    5. Dewfus double talk 101: You express the opinion that Alice Steinglass’s analysis that Start menu use has declined in favour of the more practical taskbar and that the Start menu is not a great tool for locating or launching apps, as "on the money". I’m glad you realize that the start menu is not good at locating or launching apps when compared to the taskbar. So if the Start bar/taskbar is a more than adequate replacement for the start menu, why are you arguing again?

    Next up, the Drewfus crystal ball:  You stated that some apps are poorly suited for live data and developers will start adding arbitrary live data to seem "modern". You are assuming that because something could happen, that it inevitably will happen. This hasn’t happened on Windows Phone, not a perfect comparison but better than pure speculation. Also Microsoft already places restrictions on what type of data can be displayed and formats, I thought I’d also mention that they own the app store. There is also some cost associated with live data. You are also assuming developers will decide spamming you is the best way to get you to buy/use their app’s, as opposed to finding innovative and relevant usage models. Also small tiles are not very data rich and Microsoft also said they are looking at ways to give people the option to turn the live data off for a app. Look I can’t predict the future, but there are way too many factors for anyone to make a blanket statement like you did or even say that it’s the likely scenario.

    I think you should get an award for saying that the use of the start screen will degrade the taskbar. This has got to be the largest stretch of all time. Good job.

    6. Have you ever tried organize the start menu? To add a new folder to the windows 7 start menu? You have to go to C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms to do it. Sound like non-intuitive power used stuff to me. Also by default the start menu locks you in alphabetical order, so if you do what is intuitive like drag a folder to a different location in the list, guess what you can’t. You have to dig deep through settings and uncheck the “sort all public menus by name” box. More power user stuff. Also stand alone programs require their own folder in the classic start menu, so as to contain both the program icon and uninstaller icons. And once a program is moved into another folder in the start menu if it is uninstalled it remains on the start menu as the installer doesn't remove it. It’s infinitely more easy and intuitive to organize the start experience in widows 8. Drag tile, name group easy spezy.

    Look, I’m not going to be an intermediary between you and Alice Steinglass. There is a reason that I didn’t post all the ways that I feel that the Win 8 start screen benefits users. It’s because I’m not asking you why you dislike it, tell it to someone else. I responded to 5 of your nonsensical rebuttals that were directed at me. The 6th was a bonus. Go Troll someone else. I won’t reply to you again.

  522. Joao M Correia says:

    Using the start screen on remote desktop connections also increases the network usage alot each time you use it because:

    a)it implies a full screen redraw each time it opens

    b)it implies a full screen redraw each time it scrolls

    c)it implies more redraws each time a tile updates

    compared to using windows 7 start menu where:

    a)only the start menu corner of the screen would be refreshed

    Using this over consumer grade lines when doing it over a VPN from home is -not- a very favorable UX.

  523. Peekaboo says:

    @stzeer6: Still not convinced, even after reading your 6 pages of explanation why we should put the new Metro UI start menu on our desktops.

    Using the whole screen just to display rectangles on my huge monitors would only be interesting to me if I was 3 years old (or if I was you), but I am not. I stopped playing with coloured rectangles years ago, now I like resizable windows and buttons. Some times I put them side by side, some times slightly over each other, but I never let a start menu cover them all, that would make me very sad.

    Then again, I wish they make it optional so you can continue playing Peekaboo with your desktop.

  524. Lyesmith says:

    OK I spent  2 full days with Win8 set up, programs installed and tried to do some real life work.

    The Metro App launcher simply counter productive. Absolutely horrible. And it is because the following is not true:

    "after studying real world usage of the Start menu through a variety of techniques, we realized that it was serving mainly as the launcher for programs you rarely use."

    The Start Menu is for apps that you use frequently! If you click the "All Programs" Button THEN you step into a section where the sentence above is true. But you already have a search text box in the start menu to find those apps.

    An other thing. Who selected this particularly disgusting shade of green for start screen? Did he got a raise? I assume the goal was to trigger epilepsy and he or she succeeded completely.  

  525. @Alice Steinglass [MSFT]

    Quote:

    "We are currently building a way to turn them off (not available in the developer preview)."

    Thanks for helping us!

    Appreciate Microsoft take this challenge seriously, it's a step in a better direction.

    Let us hope time may solve the rest as more everyone realize.

    Someone mentioned it's about "No Compromises"

    Who was in charge for the idea in the first place?

    Ballmer & Co? Ok I understand 🙂

  526. @Peekaboo

    In that post I wasn't trying to explain why or even if people should use the start screen. If I wanted to do this I would of listed all the benefits vs. the cons. And admittedly some of those are beyond my scope. I was only replying to the specific comments Drewfus directed at me. Regardless of what the correct conclusion is I didn't feel Drewfus's points were valid. Sorry that my post was way too long…I let trolling get under my skin.

  527. Peekaboo says:

    @stzeer6: Yep, I understand, np. I also want to make clear that I didn’t mean to cause any offence with my post (sorry if I did), I was just trying to calm you down guys.

    I personally find this Start Screen menu thing very much a binary argument, i.e. most people either like it in their desktop or they hate it. As you can understand I hate it.

    Let’s see what Microsoft will decide at the end.

  528. Lucus says:

    I cant belive microsoft with apps that is what apple uses now they will boyh be using hardware not software

  529. Lucus says:

    I cant belive microsoft with apps that is what apple uses now they will boyh be using hardware not software

  530. @Peekaboo

    No offense taken. I think what you said makes a lot of sense. Let's see what happens.

  531. Neeraj says:

    Metro style is quite good. But still I want to see a switch between these two's, Metro style should be there but I need the old version start menu as well that is Start -> All Programs -> Accessories version of menu.

  532. Ryan says:

    The WP7 UI is awesome, smooth and elegant.  The Windows 8 Start menu should look more like that.  Right now it is  kind of confusing.  Hard to navigate, where are the apps?  You have to tap on search to get to apps, which took me two days to figure out.  I have to tap on setting to shut it down?  Since when was shutting the computer down a setting? WP7 I used everything right out of the box no problem.  Why not replace the word Start on the start menu with a arrow that takes you to the apps, change the background to black and give the tiles customizable colors.  Also too many tiles are cluttering it, maybe narrow the amount per column down some.  I know this is just a preview and all of that maybe in the works already (God I hope so), but remember you're trying to make this OS touch friendly to compete against the already elegant devices out there.  Just some thoughts.  

  533. @Alice Steinglass

    You said: "You were asking if you could turn off the tiles? Yes, we don’t want to force you to look at anything that you don’t want to see"

    And then proceeded with saying that we can unpin and pin app(lication)s…  This, to me, is very very arrogant and quite frankly a little provocative.

    You know very well that when people ask "can I turn the tiles off?", what they really mean is "can I turn of metro and use the old-school start menu?".  For some reason, you keep silent about that in all possible languages.

    Not to mention that there is a CLEAR contradiction between what you said in the quoted sentence and with what you proceed afterwards.  What if I don't want to look at metro tiles?  What if angry birds doesn't interest me in the slightest? What if I am an engineer who uses plenty of productivity suits that will NEVER make it to metro app(lication)s on the grounds of those app(lication)s being far to complex to be dumbed down into a full-screen, touch-first UI with enormous buttons and 40pt fonts?

    Let's be serious here…

    I sit behind a desktop computer with 2 giant (non-touch) monitors.  I can search any app(lication) I want WITHOUT having that functionality cover up my entire screen.  WHY do you insist on me having to browse through a full-screen 'menu' full of bullocks that doesn't interest me?

    WHY do you insist on me LEAVING the desktop to boot up a desktop app(lication)?

    Also, and this is a question I've been trying to get answered for a while now…  HOW do I discover "hidden" app(lication)s?

    For example, when I install full-blown visual studio…  I don't just get one executable.  I get DOZENS.  And the most important ones are all found through the program group in my start menu.

    But those groups are gone in metro…  So what will happen then?  Will the install automatically pin 40 new tiles to my homescreen that I then will be required to go unpin one by one?  If they aren't pinned, why not?  And how do I find out that these things exist without knowing the names?  Do I need to go look in the program files on my C drive (after windows informs me that I should be going into those folders probably)?

    This is asanine.

    Put metro tiles on metro and put desktop applications in the desktop start menu.  Replace the shutdown button of the dekstop start menu with a button to return to metro and be done with all of this wonna-be-apple bullocks.

    Enterprise made microsoft into the giant it is today.  And what does microsoft do?  Develop a GUI that is optimised for fartin app(lication)s and angry birds.

    I call that an epic fail.  It's a shame, because it COULD be the best thing to have ever happened to IT since Xerox moved beyond the character based interface.

    There is still time.  Fix it.

  534. Peter Betak says:

    Mouse gestures!

    One thing I would REALLY like to see is integrated customizable "mouse gestures" in both the Start screen and Desktop. It is a really efficient way of navigation without having to click on buttons all over the screen (eg. the Start button, WinKey, minimize, launch Explorer, etc.). Especially on big screens.

    A simple "Right click+Move down" could enable the zoom out of the tiles in the Start screen. Micro movements!

  535. yosteve says:

    About the screen taking up space, if it can dissappear like fences can (double click and the whole thing dissappears) that would be a good option.

  536. I've just come up with a great new idea. Rather than spend the next few years debating the merits of Metro on the desktop for the next year and pointing out how touch-first UI doesn't work right on desktops, I've come up with a whole new idea.

    I don't want to take up too much comment space, but I've posted a description in the forums of my idea.

    social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/2f0c5d0a-cdd6-44e4-934a-b375f9a5b8ab

  537. Nope I don’t like your idea, I don’t want to talk to my computer because:

    A. It is not clever enough yet to understand me when I say “Write a program, sell it and give me the money”.

    B. My wife will be jealous if I do so, I hardly talk to her as it is (because I am playing with the new Win8 and VS2011 CTP most of the time).

    Actually is more or less the same reason why I don’t like the touch UI, if my wife catches me fondling my computer then she will demand the same treatment, then I will have less time to spend with Windows.