Reflecting on your comments on the Start screen


We’ve been having a lot of discussion regarding the two recent posts on the Windows 8 Start experience. Those of you who have used the Developer Preview are contributing to our understanding of your individual usage patterns and what is easier or more difficult than in Windows 7. As a reminder, we released Windows Developer Preview build with the full product “enabled” even though we still had much feature work to do in the user interface. We did this in order to foster the dialog and we want folks to understand that the product is not done. We’ve seen some small amount of visceral feedback focused on “choice” or “disable”—a natural reaction to change, but perhaps not the best way to have a dialog leading to a new product. We’re going to focus this post on making sure we heard your constructive feedback around the design as we continue to evolve it. Marina Dukhon, a senior program manager lead on the Core Experience team, authored this post focused on specific comments and the actions we are taking based on what you have said. –Steven

On behalf of the team, I want to thank everyone for their active engagement on the Start screen blogs over this past week. We have been following all of the comments and responding as much as we can. We know major changes like this can be controversial and we are looking forward to continuing this dialog with you. I wanted to address some of the specific topics that have been brought up so far as they pertain to the design. I know this doesn’t address all of your questions, but rest assured that we are listening and will be continuing this ongoing conversation.

Does the data support all customers?

@Andrew wrote:

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

Andrew, while it’s true that some enterprises choose not to enable the CEIP (Customer Experience Improvement Program, which gives us anonymous, opt-in feedback about how people are using Windows,) we still receive a huge amount of data from this program, including from enterprise customers. In addition, knowing the region, language, edition, and deployment attributes of the product allows us to further refine the data as needed. We often refer to this data as a full “census” (again noting that the data is opt-in and anonymous) as the number of unique data points is magnitudes beyond a “sampling.”

In addition to the CEIP program, we have a wide variety of channels to our corporate customers to understand their needs. For example, we collect feedback continuously during direct engagement with customers (such as during on-site visits and in our briefing centers around the world), from advisory council and early-adopter program members, and at public events such as TechEd and //build/. We also work closely with industry analysts (via consultations and their research) and execute a wide range of our own research studies directly. From these interactions, we know the kind of functionality and control that enterprises want over the Start menu and we are definitely taking these into account as we are designing and developing the changes for Windows 8.

When you look at the data, we can see that enterprise customers do, in fact, have some different experiences with their Start menus:

  • While 81% of home users have the default links like Control Panel, Games, and Documents on right hand-side of the Start menu , fewer than 2% of our enterprise customers have this experience.
  • Most people have removed some items in this part of the Start menu (with Games and Media Center entry points most often removed).
  • Enterprise users are launching pinned Start menu apps 68% more often than home users, but the usage of pinned items is still less than 10% of the sessions.
What are we doing with this information?

In general, individual enterprise customers are using Start menus that their administrators have customized. Using this research and our engagement with the enterprise community, we are working on special features that can help address the need for customization in the Start screen. For example, enterprises can remove items like Games and Help & Support from the Start screen. For Windows 8, we support deployment scenarios that include Start screens with a layout of tiles that matches their business group’s needs, allowing for an even greater number of pinned apps to be pre-defined for their users. We also support the managed lockdown of customization of the Start screen so that it is consistent across the corporation. These features have been built especially for our enterprise customers, taking into account the existing functionality that we have provided in the past and the needs that we perceive they will have in the future. And as many know, tech-savvy individuals can use these customizations as well.

Is Start less effective for “at a glance” viewing of my PC?

@mt327000 wrote:

“The Start Screen feels like a mess of icons, having all of the problems with the Start Menu you described and adding some of its own. I keep a very neat and orderly desktop, and can see everything on my computer in a glance in the “All Programs” view introduced in Windows Vista. To me, the Start Screen just doesn’t work, nor does it have any advantages over the superior Start Menu.”

The comments have been very clear that knowing what’s on your PC and seeing it at a glance is an important aspect of feeling in control. Let’s talk a little bit about how this works in the Start menu and how it compares to the Start screen.

In the Start menu today, when you expand the All Programs flyout, by default you can see a total of 20 apps without scrolling, regardless of how big your monitor is. In one of our studies, we found users launched an average of 57 different apps over the course of several months. And this doesn’t even include the large number of websites that people use day to day (for the purposes of launching and pinning we believe counting websites is important), some of which may evolve into Metro style apps. So you can see how a little window that shows 20 items does not prove scalable in this scenario. The comments have been clear that this scale is routine for those that are reading the blog, and we believe your usage would skew in this direction.

All Programs on the Start menu

Once apps are installed on the machine, you’ll likely need to scroll All Programs view in order to see all app folders

In addition to the limited real estate, apps in All Programs are buried under folders and subfolders of hierarchy, without any iconography to help you navigate to the right place. To make matters worse, things are often jumping around as you expand and collapse folders looking for the right app, making the experience even less efficient. Some have noted that this limitation is a design regression from the Windows XP Start menu. While technically that is true, we are fundamentally working with a menu, and as such, it is a single column with hierarchy that requires significant dexterity to navigate. The feedback around the scale of the old Windows XP design was resoundingly negative over time and led to the redesign for Vista and Windows 7.

In Windows 8 we assume that there are even more apps (and sites) than the XP/Vista/7 eras and so we needed even more scale. We also wanted to provide an at-a-glance view and a navigation model that requires much less dexterity. By using the full screen, we can now show more apps without the need to scroll or navigate hierarchy. By flattening the hierarchy, we provide a way for you to leverage the iconography of the apps and remove the burden of clicking through folders trying to find an app under its manufacturer’s name. Over time this will also address another common complaint, which is that when renaming, combining, or reorganizing folders (which you might do in order to keep the menu from wrapping) you would lose the ability to uninstall cleanly, and thus subject yourself to a periodic garbage collection of your Start menu to avoid dead links.

As we will talk about later in this post, the dexterity required to navigate a very large menu interface is inconsistent with good user interface design. Even if the items you wish to target are rarely targeted, the whole experience is degraded when constrained to a menu. Some have suggested that using XP-style menus that wrap around the screen, or increasing the size of today’s Start menu would “solve” the issues we are working to solve. Below we will talk about Fitts’ Law and how no increase in size or wrapping will address this. As DPI and monitor sizes increase, it becomes increasingly difficult to zig-zag around the menu to hit narrow buttons. Here is a screen shot submitted via a comment by @Bleipriester, where you can see the mouse “path” required as well as the additional navigation aid of the down/up chevrons. Keep this in mind as we discuss Fitts’ Law below.

@Bleipriester’s Start menu proposal, with 3 columns of navigation

@Bleipriester’s evolved Start menu, showing several columns of navigation

Thus as your monitor gets bigger, the Apps screen (an all-apps view of the Start screen) becomes more powerful. Here is how the number of apps that show up in the Apps screen grows across different monitor sizes in our latest builds:

Likely form factor

Size
(inches)

Resolution(s)

# Tiles on 1 page of Apps screen

# of Items on 1 page of All Programs

Laptop

12.1

1280×800

36

20

 

13

1366×768

40

20

 

13.3

1440×900

42

20

Desktop

21.5

1920×1080

80

20

 

23

1920×1080

80

20

 

27

2560×1440

150

20

Estimated number of apps visible on the Apps screen across different monitors

Your comments have been clear and we agree with many of the design issues you’ve raised. Some of you have mentioned how it’s difficult to find an app when its folder name is no longer available and how completely removing the folder structure has made it difficult to find an app that came in a suite.

To cite @aroush:

The current metro-list of all apps is not suitable, since that lists everything alphabetically and I don’t know the names of all those additional programs.”

We are working on addressing this feedback as we speak. Here is our latest design of the Apps screen, which would add back the structure that you’re used to with folders in All Programs today.

Redesigned Apps screen with suites of apps organized in groups

You can see here that, as in the Start menu, suites of apps are now organized in groups, instead of in one alphabetical list. This way, if you are looking for something that you know came in your Visual Studio suite, but can’t recall the exact name of the app, it should be much easier for you to find. And your alphabetical list should no longer be cluttered with app tiles that have obscure names because the developer was relying on the folder name to convey the actual name of the executable.

In addition to adding folder structure to this screen and organizing apps within their respective suites, we are also making this view denser. Fitting even more content helps you see what your computer has installed at a glance and decreases the need to scroll. It also decreases the need to navigate a wrapping menu structure or maintain folders or nested folders of programs.

With this design, we improved the scannability of your system, giving you confidence about what is on it at any given time.

Does the new Start support the kind of customization I require to be productive for my work?

@Ed1P wrote:

“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.”

Thanks for writing this up. You’ve obviously taken a lot of time to customize your machine to get it how you like it. This is a good example of how Windows is able to provide flexibility to our wide breadth of users. We will continue supporting such flexibility in Windows 8 and we expect there to continue to be a wide array of 3rd party launchers available to users to meet their specific needs. A good deal of obvious extensibility was intentionally omitted from the Developer Preview and will be there in the final product—colors and backgrounds, for example. But let’s focus on this advanced level of customization.

The level of customization that you have applied to your machine is certainly something that we consider an “advanced” user might do. Your level of advancement is also apparent in your app and folder usage within a working session. The table shows what we see people doing on their machines during the course of a working session:

Peak number of open windows

% of sessions

0-5

20.40%

6-9

49.30%

10-14

21.30%

15-19

4.60%

20-24

2.69%

25-29

1.30%

30-39

0.23%

40-49

0.08%

50-59

0.03%

60-79

0.03%

80-99

0.01%

100+

0.03%

The maximum number of windows people have open at a given time during a session

So you can see that your numbers are certainly beyond our “average” user, but we do have users of all levels using our system. At the low end, some folks might say this represents a “quick” session where you log on to do one thing and then log off (and even professionals do that). At the high end, this data might also include people who inadvertently launched malware and had tons of open windows. That’s why when looking at the data in aggregate we are confident that the averages tend to work out to be realistic. We know that there’s a tendency to try to use data to make one point or another—that’s why we want to provide the full context of the data here and make sure any limitations are understood. We provide this data to illuminate choices in the design, not to prescribe them.

While some might say we design the system for the low-end, that is not the case at all. At the other end of the spectrum, we hope everyone can see that designing the system for the high end would put a conceptual burden on broad set of customers. Our design point is to focus on a sweet spot and to provide the flexibility for the high end. There’s nothing new to our approach here and it is how we approach Windows design overall.

One of the popular aspects of Fences is that you can group your items together in a logical manner and even name your groups. But you also pointed out the difficulty in this design – the groups are on the desktop, which inherently sits underneath all of your open windows, making it difficult to get to while you’re in the midst of working on something. Since I don’t know what your setup looks like, it’s hard to know if my assumptions below are correct, but perhaps I can assume what at least some with this approach might have to manage around routinely (though from the sound of things you work hard to find a careful balance). One would spend time reorganizing the workspace to allow open windows to sit next to your launcher, allowing yourself to quickly access the launcher and keep an eye on the live updates, but at the cost of less screen real estate and more manual and fragile window management.

The value of arranging content on a 2-D plane

Another important aspect of Fences is the spatial arrangement that you can use to organize shortcuts. We know that remembering where something is located is much easier in a 2-dimensional space than in a 1-dimensional list. Our brains are naturally inclined to remember location, in addition to other properties like color and size. So finding an item that you already remember is in the top right of your screen is often faster than scanning through an alphabetical list. Another common critique of Start menu folders is that they all start with the same letter and differentiating requires reading several words in (for example, graphics professionals have a lot of folders starting with “A” for one manufacturer of those tools).

There is a large body of research to support that having multiple characteristics or attributes makes it easier to locate a specific item quickly and efficiently.  Windows already takes advantage of this, by showing details about files or search results, or showing both a thumbnail and a title for windows you have open.  We designed the Start screen to take advantage of characteristics of human cognitive processing. These characteristics are basic neurological patterns baked into the evolution that got us to using computers in the first place:

  • Human spatial memory – Your ability to remember where you put something or where something will appear.  This also includes taking advantage of spatial relationships, how different items are located in space relative to each other.
  • Muscle memory – A motor task that becomes automatic and can be performed without conscious effort.
  • Chunking – Grouping of items to make them easier to recall later.
  • Signal detection theory – Your ability to identify an item of interest even when there is lots of ”noise” or items which are not of interest.

We wanted to create a design that capitalizes on these attributes. With the All Programs view and the Most Frequently Used (MFU) or Pinned lists in the Start menu, we were very limited in terms of space and layout. It is impossible to develop a rich spatial framework with a one-dimensional list.  With the Start screen we can take advantage of a two-dimensional space. Microsoft Research has demonstrated in a series of different research studies, including their work on spatial memory for document management, for information retrieval, and on the Task Gallery, that it is possible to improve retrieval of items, even after 6 months of disuse, by adding richer organization over one-dimensional visual text lists. We wanted to take advantage of this effect to make it faster to locate specific apps on the Start screen. 

Many have mentioned using large monitors or multiple monitors. While the immediate reaction has been that the Start screen is less optimal for this approach, our design goal has been precisely to bring enhanced functionality for this environment. As with many cases, it should be no surprise to learn that the development team comprises a large number of very high tech power users with multiple HD+ screens running many Win32 applications all the time. The Start screen on a central monitor allows for the most rapid “in and out” of launching and switching when you are using a large number of apps and sites. And at the same time, the ability to have a heads-up display of status across a variety of (yet to be written) business applications will provide a new level of functionality.

Taking advantage of spatial arrangement on the Start screen

The grouping of tiles in the Start screen was designed with these principles in mind. We know that sizes of groups will naturally vary based on the kinds of items that you’re throwing together. Not only does this flexibility help with organization, but it also helps by creating a heterogeneous layout where shapes and sizes vary from group to group. This makes it easier to find a tile when you know it’s in a small group with an uneven edge on its right side or in a large group that looks like a full rectangle.

A schematic representation of the Start screen layout

Start screen layout takes advantage of position, shape, co-location, and color to help you find apps

In addition to group sizes and shapes, I can leverage several other factors to find my tile. Whether it’s because it is at the top right of a group (the red tile), next to the wide green tile in the big group (the black tile), the first square tile at the top of my big group (light blue tile), or the last tile in my Start screen (yellow tile), I have several attributes I can now rely on to find something. The same thing happens when you look at groups of tiles – I can use general color and group shape to identify the group that contains my games or the group that contains my news apps as I scroll through the screen.

Explaining spatial recognition through evolution

From an evolutionary perspective, this type of recognition is rooted in our most basic survival skills in our subconscious. Humans use more than one sense to map a stimulus. You need to locate each stimulus (where is it?) and triage it (will it eat me?). You also need to remember it for future processing and comparison. The key to making this fast and fluid is to present enough information that you can select correctly and remember your selection, without taking so much processing that your brain needs to pause to interpret what it has just perceived.

If all of this sounds familiar, it is basically why iconic presentations tend to be more efficient. It is also why irregular patterns can provide visual cues that reduce the need to process information, and rely just on sensory-motor skills. And of course, it is why large blocks of similarly formatted text in a menu (or graphical buttons) can take the most time and brain processing power. Here’s a good layperson’s article on elements of visual perception and of course there are many deep technical articles as well.

Incidentally, some folks have suggested we use less spacing, more transparency, or rounded corners to add more visual “candy” to the design. The clarity of spacing, solid edges and backgrounds, and rectangles is a significant improvement in the ability to identify your programs and to prevent overloading your brain causing headaches and the like (see this University of Massachusetts examination of the edge enhancement illusion and this one on the value that colors provide). Essentially these aesthetic additions trick your brain into thinking it needs to spend more time “understanding” the stimuli rather than just reacting to what it perceives.

How we are  making customization better

In terms of customization, you are definitely correct in saying that today you can customize the existing Start menu. The method that @Ed1p mentioned allows you to rename folders (breaking uninstall), move around files (breaking per user and per machine setup) and basically reorganize the tree of apps that exist on the system. For those brave souls out there who want to use drag and drop within the Start menu, this is also possible (albeit highly error prone).

However, these are very advanced ways of customizing your system, and unfortunately do not scale to a broad set of customers even if we initially intended them to. Not only do they take a lot of time, but the method is indirect since you’re not actually working within the Start menu. So it requires a lot of burdensome back and forth between Explorer windows and menu flyouts to get to the final result.

The personalization of the Start screen is one of the features that we want to make great, and we’re still iterating on it and to make it better. In the Windows Developer Preview, you can already try flexible group sizes, unpinning tiles, and resizing wide tiles to square tiles. And in the Beta, you’ll also be able to use other improvements based on this dialog, in addition to creating, naming, and rearranging groups.

@drewfus pointed out:

“When i said ‘The list of apps (and hence tiles) on a PC is neither known nor fixed’, i was alluding to the fact that this list is not constant – it grows over time, but more importantly that the chronological order of additions in no way matches the importance of new additions (except by coincidence), resulting in a constant impact on the users existing Start layout.”

This is a good point – your set of apps is likely going to continue to grow and change over time and you may find your new favorite apps months after you first organized your Start screen. Our goal is to balance your ability to keep control over your Start screen (i.e. not impacting what you’ve already organized when you acquire new apps by putting them at the end), while also making it simple to change it when you want. Group rearranging helps enable the particular scenario that @drewfus mentions – as you get more apps over time, it’s quite possible that your new favorite apps are now at the end of your Start screen. With group rearranging, we make it easy for you to move an entire group of apps to the front, without having to move them one tile at a time and you can just as easily demote a group of apps and put them at the end.

The Developer Preview was obviously incomplete in this regard, and given the importance we attach to this, we fully expect to land on a solution that combines flexibility with overall improvement that justifies the change from previous products.

The ability to put apps where you want them in a spatial layout, to use groupings to better enable recognition, and to move the tiles around on the screen should be a vast improvement over the Start menu. We believe this opens up a whole new world of organization and customization that will dramatically improve working with extremely large sets of apps and shortcuts.

Did you just make us invest in jump lists and then take them away?

@tN0 wrote:

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

Having a way to quickly access content within an app is a great feature and we’re happy to see the enthusiasm and increasing usage for jump lists in Windows 7. We have developed something new for Metro style apps that builds on the jump list concept. We think it will be even more powerful for end-users and an even richer opportunity for app developers. But first, some background on jump list usage in Windows today.

Current usage of jump lists

Though jump lists are often referenced with positive energy by our enthusiast users, the fact of the matter is that the usage of jump lists in the Start menu (most recently used documents for an app, for example) has not really gained as much traction as on the taskbar. To compare, 20% of sessions record a click to open a taskbar jump list, while only 1.2% of sessions record a click to invoke a Start menu jump list. People also use hover to invoke the Start menu jump list (and drag to invoke the taskbar jump list), but it’s difficult to use these numbers because we can’t tell whether the menu was opened intentionally or simply because the mouse was hovering over the item long enough to trigger it. Either way, even with accidental activations via mouse hover, at best, the Start menu jump lists are used half as often as those of the taskbar.

Applying this to Metro style apps

Given this data, we knew it was important to keep jump lists on the taskbar for your most commonly used desktop apps. But, we wanted to build something more customized for Metro style apps. The downside of existing jump lists is that they’re limited to what Windows understands best– files. This is great for file-centric apps, but apps today are moving away from the notion of files and turning to hosted content, which makes the concept of document jump lists less relevant.

Instead of building on and promoting file structure, our view for Metro style apps is more app-centric. The apps know better what kind of content they host: whether it’s an RSS feed, an album, a score tracker, or a person’s profile, and they can do a much better job exposing quick access to this content to the user. This content doesn’t involve files on the system that Windows knows about – it’s knowledge within the app. We’ve expanded the jump list concept to provide semantically richer links.

But we don’t want to have to manage several lists of our favorite stuff. One of the promises of the Start screen is that it is your personal place to host the apps that you love. We based the secondary tiles feature, on the notion that people want fast access to app content that they require for work, and they want a single, predictable place to access it. With this feature, any Metro style app can allow a user to pin a new tile to their Start screen that can navigate them to any part of the app. The tile can even be live, providing updates for that specific content. There’s no reason a file-centric app would not provide this same functionality for files. We know from usage data that people are fairly meticulous and deliberate in reusing common documents—MRUs composed of pinned files are extremely popular in Office apps and on the taskbar. The support we provide for developers makes this straightforward.

For example, I can have a social tile of my best friend pinned to my Start screen and keep up to date with her updates. Or I can track the XKCD feed from my RSS reader. Or quickly jump to a playlist that I like to listen to in the morning the same way I would have from a jump list. We expect line of business applications to allow this “deep linking” to specific machines for monitoring, account information, or other exception handling (as we described with our bug tracking application). All from the Start screen. All of these organized among other apps that I like to use, so they are fast to access and get me quickly to the content that I want to consume.

Building on secondary tiles

We’re continuing to invest in enabling Metro style app developers to provide personal and rich content to their users through live tiles. Secondary tiles will be a big part of making your machine feel more useful and personal, and something that you love to use. To help, we’re building even more live tile templates into our catalog so that developers can enable more scenarios for their users.

Overall, isn’t this a real usability problem?

@mt327000 wrote:

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

We do have to assert that efficiency, that is, time to accurately complete a task, is of paramount importance in design. We never say “most important” because we consider a broad range of attributes in designing how a feature works (resource utilization, reliability, accessibility, localizability, security, training, discoverability, and so on). As we work to improve our products, both in terms of efficiency and usability, we consider several factors for user interface approaches, such as mouse mileage, target size, loading time, parsing time, and mouse click counts (among others). It’s likely that in any change, there are efficiency gains and sometimes efficiency losses, but we take great pains to achieve a net gain in efficiency when all of these are considered.

One common theme in the comments has been an immediate rejection of change with the assumption that any change will reduce productivity so much that it will never be regained. One analogy we use looks at improvements in roads or traffic flow—for example, a new lane or exit. These types of projects might take years and during construction, we all might get frustrated at how much time we lose. But once the project is done, our use of the road is improved every single day, and so is the usage by everyone else—the net gain is to the whole universe of travelers, present and future. This comes at some near term cost to current users, but the net is an improvement for everyone. Yet we know that during construction we’re all the type of folks who sit and calculate whether we will ever make up for the time lost—this is the concern we hear. Unlike road construction, we design our changes to Windows so the payback comes for everyone in the span of hours, days, or perhaps weeks. If improving traffic flow started from the premise that no one would be interrupted even for a little bit, then there would never be any improvements and everyone’s usage would gradually decay. With Windows we see the same challenges—we need to improve the product for new uses and new hardware capabilities, and as such, there is always some transition. Much like engineering roads, you don’t keep both paths open and operational in parallel. But fortunately, unlike construction, you can control your own PC and can choose to switch when you want. This is especially the case for businesses as we commit to a 10-year minimum lifecycle.

One small example of this net gain is the ability to press the Windows key and immediately start typing to search for an app. Even though the search box doesn’t appear on the screen, we did extra work to make sure you can type right away, thus protecting the efficiency of searching for apps. Our design choice means that there is a short period before people discover this feature, but once they do, they see a huge efficiency gain. As a practical matter, the discoverability of this feature usually happens within hours of usage of Windows 8, as we have seen in the tweets regarding usage of the Developer Preview. Even if it doesn’t, the search command is in fact still there—the edit control is two clicks away. And we make things better for everyone by not having the UI clutter.

Mouse distance and mouse clicks

There has been a common thread in the comments when discussing efficiency that focuses on number of mouse clicks and mouse travel distance. Though these are important measures of efficiency, another factor that strongly plays into this equation is the target size. Many of you already know about Fitts’ Law, but let’s do a quick summary of what this is and how it applies to software.

Fitts’ Law is named after Paul Fitts, a psychologist at Ohio State University, with expertise in aviation. He developed his research to model cockpit ergonomics and created a model that was formulated to project how quickly a human can point at a physical button. Soon after, people started applying this model to software, tracking how quickly someone can target something on the screen with a mouse.

The mathematical formula is somewhat complex, but the basic premise is as follows:

  • The farther away a target is, the longer it takes to acquire it with a mouse
  • The smaller a target is, the longer it takes to acquire it with a mouse

So the speed with which a target can be clicked on with a mouse is a factor of both size and distance:

 Small square: This is close, but small, so more accuracy is required to target it; Large square: This is further away, but large, so less accuracy is required to target it, thus making it easier and faster to click on.
The closer the target, the faster you can hit it. The larger the target, the faster you can hit it.

One common formula that can be used to compare two hit targets more mathematically is the Shannon formulation:

T = a + b log 2 (1 + D/W)

Where:

  • T is the average time taken to acquire the target.
  • a and b are empirical constants determined through linear regression.
  • D is the distance from the starting point to the center of the target.
  • W is the width of the target measured along the axis of motion (how close to the target you need to get to acquire it.)
How does Fitts’ apply to Windows 8?

One of the most obvious ways to apply this in Windows 8 is with the Start button. Although we optimized Charms for touch (with the Start button accessible with a swipe from the right edge of the screen,) we preserved the notion of a control in the far left corner for mouse users. The corners are considered infinitely wide when it comes to Fitts’ Law, which makes UI in this location the easiest to target. It was important to keep the efficiency of the Start button high for our users, so we were adamant about making sure that this is not something we lost as we created a new UI paradigm.

The other obvious example of Fitts’ Law in action is the Start screen. In general, tiles are further away from your mouse cursor than entry points in the Start menu, but they are also larger in size, which helps negate the efficiency loss that was introduced with distance, and even brings efficiency gain.

We took a look at desktop monitors, and by controlling for constants a and b because we’re on the same device, and varying D and W based on the targets in the Start menu and Start screen, we calculated the speed of acquiring an app link. We then applied a heat map to show the results and see the following comparisons:

 Start menu overlaid with a heat map. Items at top (farthest away from mouse) are red, items in middle are yellow, and items at bottom (closest to mouse) are green.
Heat map of time to reach items in the Start menu from the Start button
(green items are the fastest to get to, red items are the slowest)

 Heat map of time to reach tiles in the Start screen from the Start button. Green tiles are in lower left corner, closest to mouse, yellow tiles in middle, red tiles in upper right, farthest from mouse.
Heat map of time to reach tiles in the Start screen from the Start button
(green tiles are the fastest to get to, red tiles are the slowest)

If you count the number of items that show up as green (delineated with the white line,) it is considerably larger on the Start screen (about 17 square tiles) than on the Start menu (2 apps). So there are many more items that you can reach more quickly on the Start screen.

In the Start menu, the top item (which is usually the most frequently used app or your favorite pinned app) is closer to the darker red, which is unfortunate. Lists are generally ordered top-down, which is why the Start menu used this logic, but to really emphasize efficiency, it would have been better to flip the order here and put it at the bottom of the list. Whereas in the Start screen, the bottom left tile is the easiest thing to get to with the mouse and even easier than any item on the Start menu.

Items at top of Start menu are red, indicating it takes more time to reach them; items at bottom are green, indicating less time required. Items in lower left corner are green, indicating easy access; items in top right are yellow, indicating more time needed to reach. 
The app that you’re using most frequently is further away on the Start menu than on the Start screen

It took us much iteration over the course of many months to get to the final size and shape of the tiles. As you can imagine, we iterated through many possibilities and tried many of them out in the lab. We asked test subjects to target a variety of buttons, much as you could imagine Fitts optimizing an air force cockpit design. Mouse distance (and touch target size) is just part of the story. In addition to these, we also considered the following factors when coming up with the tile size:

  • Screen size – How many apps should be visible on one page of the screen across monitors?
  • Form factors – How does your usage of different form factors affect your need for something to be smaller or larger (e.g. when you’re sitting on the couch with a slate vs. sitting further away from a large monitor on your desk)?
  • Efficiency of scanning – How do we provide enough breathing room to make it easy to scan the content, while also providing enough density and useful information?
  • Layout – What layout works best for scanning a grid of content, and how should different tile sizes relate to each other for easier parsing?
  • Space for live content and app branding – Tiles need to be big enough to provide useful information, but not so large that the amount of information displayed is overwhelming. And this also needs to be balanced with being able to actually launch your apps without requiring a lot of scrolling.
  • Visually pleasing shapes – The tiles need to be visually pleasing, and the shapes that they create when laid out on a page also need to appeal to the eye.

This is just a sample of some of the questions that we were asking ourselves when designing the size of tiles and the density of the Start screen. The end result is our attempt to balance efficiency of mouse movement, mouse targeting, parsing, and ability to see live data at a glance across various form factors and screen sizes to make the system feel powerful and efficient to use.

So, how many clicks does it take?

As Alice mentioned in a previous blog post, the current Start menu is primarily used for launching infrequently used apps, while users continue to launch more frequently used apps from the taskbar and Explorer. In fact, 88% of app launches are from outside the Start menu today. Instead, most launches are from the taskbar (41%) and the remaining are split between Explorer and the desktop (47%). So it was clear to us that the Start menu was trending away from being useful and we had an opportunity to redesign it to make it more useful and valuable. We want to be careful in this dialog of spending a lot of energy debating what amounts to a “long tail” usage case.

However, once we left that old paradigm, the next question was – how can we complete the same tasks without requiring more clicks? We kept this in mind throughout the design process, and once we had a design, we picked a couple of different tasks to compare click-to-click.

Launching an MFU or pinned app

How many clicks does it take to launch an app on the left side of the Start menu?

In Windows 7, if we assume your favorite program is in the left pane of the Start menu, it takes 2 clicks: one for the Start button and one for the app itself. It was important to us to keep this parity for the Start screen, so if an app is in the first page of the Start screen, it also takes 2 clicks to launch it.

However, the number of apps that gain this “2-click” benefit varies across the two UIs. By default, the Start menu provides 2-click access to 10 of your favorite apps, plus 10 special folders that Windows adds for you – few of which are used frequently. The highest usage item here is the Computer folder, with about 8% of sessions using it, and the numbers for the rest of the items drastically drop off. Also, while this area of the Start menu allows some limited customization, 81% of home users keep the default behavior.

In comparison, the Start screen provides 2-click access to many more apps and allows you to control the full layout of the screen. If you don’t want a link to Help and Support, don’t put it there – instead, use the space for your favorite app. And the number of apps that get this ability only increases the larger your monitor is. Incidentally, we made the customization much easier and you will no longer break out add/remove programs when you organize things. You can see below how many more tiles you get on one page as your monitor size increases.

Form factor

Size (inches)

Resolution(s)

# of tiles in 1 page of Start screen

# of items in Start menu

Slate

10.1

1366×768
1920×1080

12 wide or
24 square

10

10.6

1366×768
1920×1080

12 wide or
24 square

10

11.6

1366×768
1920×1080

12 wide or
24 square

10

Laptop

12.1

1280×800

16 wide or
32 square

10

12.1

1366×768

20 wide or
40 square

10

13

1366×768

20 wide or
40 square

10

13.3

1440×900

25 wide or
50 square

10

Desktop

21.5

1920×1080

36 wide or
72 square

10

23

1920×1080

36 wide or
72 square

10

27

2560×1440

42 wide or
84 square

10

How the Start screen scales with larger monitor sizes, compared to Start menu

In addition to the difference in the number of apps shown, the logic for what you see after you click the Start button has changed. The Start menu uses heuristics to calculate the MFU (most frequently used) apps that appear there. Unfortunately, these complex heuristics are sometimes wrong, and so the set of apps that you see here changes over time, adding a level of unpredictability into the launcher. On the other hand, the Start screen puts more value on user control and predictability, encouraging customization and increasing confidence about where things will be—a design goal that we followed as we designed the taskbar as well.

Launching an app from the All Programs list

The number of clicks to launch from the All Programs list varies depending on what you’re launching (is it closer to A or to Z?) If we were to generalize to a user who has some apps installed on their system, the most likely workflow is something along these lines:

Start button –> All Programs button –> Scrollbar button –> Expand the folder of the app I’m looking for (cross your fingers it’s the right one!) –> App = 5 clicks

In the Start screen this flow is different, but looks like this for the same scenario:

Start button –> Hover in corner –> Search button to launch Apps screen –> Scrollbar –> App = 5 clicks

This comparison leads to the same number of clicks when using the All Programs feature as when using the Apps screen, assuming you expanded the right Start menu folder the first time. Also, since you’re using more of your monitor with the Start screen, it is more likely that you won’t need to use the scrollbar to find the app, decreasing this to 4 clicks in Windows 8. You can see how other tasks, like launching one of the items in the right side of the Start menu (e.g. Control Panel or Computer) would also show the same number of clicks between the 2 UIs.

We would find the same results relative to keystroke counting as well. We have been careful to at least maintain parity and often improve relative to these measures.

Launching from other parts of the system

As I mentioned previously, 88% of app launches don’t actually originate from the Start menu. The rest of the launches are from the taskbar, Explorer, and the desktop, and the math here does not change in Windows 8. In order to be complete, however, it’s worth mentioning that there is a one-time additional click to get to your taskbar or desktop when you start up your machine, since we boot the machine to the Start screen. In the grand scheme of things, with all of the clicks that you do throughout your working session, one additional click to get to the desktop does not impact your overall efficiency, but since some people are asking about this, I thought it would be worth talking quickly about why we do this.

Since the Start screen is a launcher (and can also be the switcher) for both Metro style apps and desktop apps, we take you directly to the Start screen when you first turn on your machine. It is your new home base. This allows you to make a choice in terms of what app you want to launch first – it may be a desktop app or a Metro style app. It also provides an opportunity to see the dashboard of latest updates from your favorite apps without requiring you to launch them before you get into your day-to-day tasks. I know many folks have commented on not wanting to ever see such notifications or a dashboard. We would note two things.

First, even from above comments you’ve told us about the importance of apps that do report notifications or gadgets.

Second, given that this is a Developer Preview release, we all have to recognize that we simply don’t have many Metro style apps available yet, so our natural inclination is to always go to the desktop – making it seem silly for us to start here. But once your machine is packed with apps that you love, this should make a lot more sense. And if your main goal is still to use desktop apps, you can easily do this by clicking the Desktop tile and using the taskbar, or you can customize the Start screen to put your favorite desktop apps at the beginning of the Start screen and launch them directly. It is important to keep this in mind—today you might be going to the desktop so you can immediately get to the task bar. You can always put the taskbar apps on the Start screen and launch (or switch) from there, or just put the first one you always use right there in a Fitts-friendly location. And of course we should not forget that there are substantial savings yet to be had in logging on from a lock screen (in terms of number of clicks), and so there’s an immediate savings to overall workflow which fully accounts for the extra key.

How are we continuing to improve the efficiency of Start?


As we continue to build upon what we’ve shown in the Windows Developer Preview, we are keeping efficiency close to heart. Based on your feedback, one of the things that we’re doing to make it faster to get to All Programs is to take you directly to the Apps screen when you click Search in the desktop. This potentially removes another step from this task, making it even more efficient in Windows 8 to launch an app from the desktop relative to Windows 7. Another thing that we’re doing is increasing the number of rows of tiles that you can see on large monitors so that you can fit even more of your favorite apps closer to your mouse and make it faster to launch apps than before.

In conclusion, we are striving to help you gain efficiency with the new Start screen. This sort of analysis is generally difficult since we’re not comparing apples to apples. In some cases, there is a loss because of mouse distance, while in other cases there is a gain because of target size. In some cases, spatial arrangement or color can make it easier to find an app, in other cases having an app right under your mouse makes it really easy to click. The efficiency gain of the Start screen may not be in all of the same ways that you’re used to, and there may even be some efficiency gains that you don’t expect (for example, having a live tile tell you the latest stock quote so you don’t need to take time to launch the app is a great efficiency gain that is hard to measure quantitatively.) We are continually testing the efficiency of the new UI and we will continue to improve it.

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering why we put all of these issues in one really long post, and yet we still have more feedback and questions to answer. Our intention is to build on the unprecedented transparency we provide in building Windows and to bring you inside the development of the product. By now you can see that building Windows 8 is a complex endeavor with tons of variables and choices to be made, lots of data, and in considering all that, we go through a great deal of work when making even the smallest change. We simply love the dialog we’re having with you, and the opportunity to describe the depth of the work we do to bring you Windows. All of us on the Windows team are devoting our professional careers to building a great product, and so the opportunity to talk with passionate and informed people about the details of what we do is itself an added bonus.

–Marina Dukhon

Comments (767)

  1. RJHS says:

    Apart from every answer you gave, I think all users apreciate when you care about us. You've answered to many comments and feedback, and I think that it is a very nice way of treating us. Thank you very much, we like you're new system, but what we most like is your support to us, we know feel we are working together, we feel we are being heard. :)

    Greetings

  2. Jote says:

    I'm blown away by this post. Haven't read it yet, but "it certainly looks like a lot of words". Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading it in its entirety because it looks very juicy with all the illustrations. Thumbs up!

  3. Wow, great feedback!

    One little question: Are you considering some kind of integration with Kinect for start screen navigation?

  4. Thu Win says:

    I would like to know whether we can switch back to the start menu we are so familiar with.  Also, since most of the apps launch in the legacy desktop, can you make that the "default" launch location (like the current and older Windows app) instead of launching us straight to the start menu and the switching to the desktop.

    I have placed most of my work on the desktop where I can launch with a simple double click.  I also make use of the jump list to "pin" documents I need the most.

  5. Tim says:

    Have to give you a lot of props for writing this article with such detail and directly addressing concerns.

    There are still going to be people with complaints, no doubt, but lots of credit to you for this amount of discussion and transparency.

  6. Thu Win says:

    I would like to know whether we can switch back to the start menu we are so familiar with.  Also, since most of the apps launch in the legacy desktop, can you make that the "default" launch location (like the current and older Windows app) instead of launching us straight to the start menu and the switching to the desktop.

    I have placed most of my work on the desktop where I can launch with a simple double click.  I also make use of the jump list to "pin" documents I need the most.

  7. Jote says:

    "Here is our latest design of the Apps screen, which would add back the structure that you’re used to with folders in All Programs today."

    It's a step in a good direction, but still, when there's like 50 apps installed it will be very painful to scroll through all screens alphabetically to find out "oh yeah, the tool I need was called Zoombrowser". And what about folders that are multiple nested?

    I'm still not convinced that this flattened view is the way to go. Still – a step in the right direction

  8. SuNcO says:

    Off topic, but i want to see this kind of "care about users" on Windows Phone. i.e. windowsphone.uservoice.com

  9. tvald says:

    Thanks for explaining design decisions in such detail!  I appreciate the clarifications and data.

    One suggestion for search – please use an adaptive algorithm that reorders results based on selections from previous searches.  It cuts in half the number of keystrokes required because the algorithm essentially learns hotkeys for programs.  A good example of this is Launchy (www.launchy.net), which I use exclusively for launching programs.  (Another example is the Firefox awesomebar.)  Often, I can launch programs with only three or four keystrokes.

  10. Thu Win says:

    I am agreeing with Jote.  How about offering a "mission" control as a quick way to launch app AS WELL AS keeping the old start menu (like Apple is offering).

  11. Take a poll, and see how many people on the Windows Team even believe in the Start Screen.

    I think it's in trouble.

  12. Very interesting. My comment about click counts had less to do with the Start Screen and more to do with the overall design in Windows 8 and the limited multitasking capabilities. You can read the original case study along with my other isseus with Metro here:

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

    Also, is there any way that the Desktop could continue to be the primary UI in Windows 8 and the thing that users see as soon as they boot up the computer? This change would make Windows 8 a much better OS for desktop computers. Also, is there any chance that the Start Screen could load overtop of a darkened desktop rather than taking over the entire screen? Along with this, I'd like to see a system where it is possible to drag apps from the Start Screen to the desktop or from the App/Files view to the desktop. This would make using Windows 8 much easier. I'm convinced now that this full-screen view can be better than the old format, but it needs to work better with the existing Windows ecosystem.

    As for the changes you've made to the Search charm, is there any chance that you could add dedicated buttons for files and apps, rather than grouping them under Search? It would make it a lot easier for users to sit down in front of Windows 8 and use it.

    Also, I'd like the ability to run Metro-style apps in a window on the desktop rather than being forced to use full-screen view. I almost never use Internet Explorer or similar programs in full-screen view, so why should I switch now?

    There are still many questions that need to be answered.

  13. Dario D. says:

    (the above "DrDee" post should have been from "Dario D.")

  14. mr says:

    would like to see MSFT booths in stores or malls with win 8 pre release set ups and techies for public to evaluate the new OS.  wish there was a version similar to XP pro with less convolutions. and yes…similar to OS 10. for now I will stay with XP pro till Apr 2014!

  15. Ricardo Dawkins says:

    A lot of Apple fanboys here. They are delusional. I have never seen this type of discussion for any single type of Apple product.

  16. Just to clarify…

    The version of Metro/Start Screen/Search in Windows 8 feels disconnected compared to Windows 7. There needs to be a drag-and-drop interface between the Start Screen, the App/Files view, the Desktop, Metro-style apps, and desktop apps. This, in my opinion, would be much better than right-clicking and selecting "pin" on apps or browsing through folders to add shortcuts to the desktop in a Windows-95-style setup.

  17. madjah says:

    This is a very interesting post. But persoanlly I tink there should be an option  in control panel for the user to use the normal UI found in Windows 7 on desktops if they wanted to, and then they can use the new an improved start screen on tablets, then users will one be happy, as that's what most people are saying, two users will have best of both worlds/

    Personally switching between  the desktop user interface to the metro UI start screen does not work, I am an avid Microsoft follower, and personally I think this will damaged Microsoft, the best bet for now, is to have the opton to choose which start screen, then users will be very happy. then you could in windows 9 (looking quite far ahead now!) to then slowly phase out the normal desktop interface.

    I do hope you are listening very carefully as this could not sell that well, only for tablets (which I am aiming to purchase). Sorry for being harsh, but I think you need to tred carefully here and alter slightly.

    Apart form that it's a fantastic start, and it's going to sell very well for tablets, not quite sure about Windows 8 for desktops just yet.

  18. Ryan from Denver says:

    Those are some really great answers, and it makes sense for an app-centric world.  I wonder though if you can speak more at some point about more content-centric approach?  Windows Phone 7, where we saw tiles first really promoted content-centered.  It seems that metro-tiles are content-centric as well.  It would be my understanding and experience that many users start programs from opening files, not the application first.  

    Assuming that paradigm, how does Windows 8 improve finding content, beyond the searching of documents using the charm?  Is there a better navigation solution?  Based upon the feedback and response you gave the comments about grouping applications in folders, would this almost be more critical – where users have grouped files based upon their custom folders, not applications.

  19. BenDTU says:

    Wow – very informative!

    That refined Start Screen is a huge improvement over the old one. Great work!

  20. Okay Microsoft, but always keep this in mind:

    Once Windows 8 Beta AND RTM releases, more than likely the largest percent of people downloading/buying it will be installing it on a Desktop/PC.

    That is all.

  21. Tiago says:

    My mind is perplexed of how on earth the most fast and efficient way of opening an app is not talked.

    Start – type. The same for files and folders… All on the same window. No need to go to Start Screen.

    In my work, i have several windows opened, Excel, Notepad, IE. With Start Screen i might have 2 split in by a separator…

    You dont get it with all your calculus of formulas and statistics that people dont care about it. People prefer the simple and easiest way to Start Screen…

    Please give power to the users.

    In the bottom line you failed to mention the most important. And that is:

    We (MS) want you (consumer) to user the Start screen because of the apps stores (70-30%) 30% for Microsoft. Even if we have to create all this fancy graphics and texty-verbose, all we care is your money.

    I am not an Apple fan. But Microsoft really likes to imitate Apple business.  30% of an app. How on earth is this fair???

  22. Multitasker says:

    I love multitasking. I will browse the web, see a TV shows (either from a browser window or via a program), and maybe run ICE to make a panorama. One thing that I like with the start menu is that I can open it and it will not get in the way from the things I do, I do not go from one program to the other I open one more. If the start screen takes up the whole screen, you will ruin my TV show.

    One thing that I also "like" with the start menu is if I have a program (game or something) open that uses the whole screen, and I just want to check on something I can press the start button to get the taskbar and see what I need, instead of switching to another  "full size screen" (the new start screen).

    In short, I do not like it when something takes up the whole screen, this is why I would like to have the old start menu in Win8 as well.

    (Writing this, I have a browser window with several tabs, two other browser windows open, windows explorer/a folder, a PDF reader and another program running)

  23. Windowsfan says:

    Wow! This is amazing. I've always had the feeling that creating an operating system was long, hard, complex work involving great numbers of people, but this really sheds some light on how precise and complex an art it is. thank you for including quotes from members in this community, it really shows us that you read our comments and think them through. I was really intrigued by the snippet on Fitt's law, and the math behind it. Pretty cool stuff. The heat maps were also really convincing. this was a great explanation of your design theory, although it obviously only cracks the surface of what you guys do. thank you so much!

    I'd like to make a suggestion for multitasking. perhaps, when we bring up the alt+tab view, we could drag and drop apps onto the screen and snap them into position. this would allow us to snap any set of apps side by side, instead of limiting us to snapping apps we opened together. Maybe, instead of having to use alt+tab, this could work with a trackpad gesture. Easy navigation is key, and I'm appreciative that you all recognize this.

  24. Aleksey says:

    Thanks a lot for a thorough post.

    1. Let us choose whether to use traditional Start menu or not

    Would you please include the ability to bring back the traditional "Start" menu, while  still using the Start screen. Start screen might be great, but having ability to customize the system to one`s needs is even better!

    2.  Change the type in All Apps screen

    Your changes are much welcome, but now the newly introduced titles of groups are not that easy to read. Please, make them stand out and more prominent – now they are located too close to the icons and names of the programmes, which leads to a huge mess

    3. Consistency across Start Screen and Taskbar – same pinned items on Taskbar and Start Screen

    You say that Start Screen is a replacement of pinned items on the taskbar. Currently traditional programmes look UGLY when pinned to Start Screen (they look BEAUTIFUL on the taskbar), which leads to little desire to pin them to the Start Screen in the first place.

    However, even when one pins them – they open in a traditional desktop experience. This experience has a taskbar, but this taskbar has none of the pinned items we have on the Start Screen. As a result, I have to switch between the two constantly to open the programmes I have pinned.

    Please make  pinned programmes consistent across 2 environments: all the pinned programmes I have on the Start Screen should be pinned to the desktop taskbar as well.

    4. Cut the constant switching between desktop and Metro style

    Currently if I need to search for something in W8DP, I need to launch Start screen and then start typing (1st scenario) or hover over the Windows button and choose search (2 scenario) – as a result  Metro style either overtakes the entire screen (first scenario) or 1/3 of it (2 usage scenario). Why shall it occupy so much space and completely block my currnet acitivity on the desktop? The beauty of search in Start Menu is that it happens in the same desktop style and does not block this enviroment – unlike new Start Screen search.

    Metro looks completely out of design and style on traditional desktop envrionment, moreover this flicking on the screen between varios designs and styles really distracts from the activies I am currently performing in the desktop environemnt.

    Please ensure either more seamless integration of desktop and Metro or bring desktop closer to Metro or add a different visal search style for traditional desktop envrioment,

    5. Fix discrepancies in Metro vs. desktop style

    We are yet to understand why you think two completely different envrionments can co-exist, but please fix the discrepancies we witness so far between them:

    – Metro time and date notification looks out of place on traditional desktop

    – Metro search looks out of place on traditional desktop (check point #4)

    – Favourites in IE10 Metro are not synced to those in IE10 desktop, browsers don`t mirror the windows that are open in the other version

    – Pinned icons of traditional apps look out of place in Metro style – need to look more like they currently do on the taskbar

    Thank you! Good luck!

  25. Smith says:

    Thanks for another impressive and informative read, Marina & Windows Team.

  26. Evonet says:

    It’s great to see the evolution of the Metro UI, and I’m impressed with both the amount of thought that Microsoft have obviously put into the UI design, and with their willingness to adapt based on user feedback.  http://www.evonet.com.au/…/Microsoft-tweaks-the-Windows-8-Metro-UI-after-feedback.aspx

  27. @Tiago says:

    @Steven Sinofsky will you create a post on how fair stilling 30% of developers money is?

    Developers, developers, developers we want your money.

    The power of Windows is the user control. It seems that Windows8 that might end…

  28. insight says:

    The problems I still see are the same ones:

    On a desktop or notebook with a keyboard and mouse:

    I want to boot to the desktop.

    I want the Win7 start menu.

    I don't want Metro at all.

    Give me all the underlying tech upgrades to Win7 and forget about the garish eye candy of Metro.

    I will never buy an app from any app store.

    I do not use programs full screen (exclusively).

    I do not care about 'status' updates.

    I need a desktop O/S that disappears and lets me do my work as efficiently and as transparently as possible.

    This is not hard to do: simply give me the choice to do it.

    This latest blog post seemed almost sincere, but after having read through the previous 800? comments on the last two start menu posts, it is still simply trying to force power users with no choice (APPLE) instead of following in the Windows tradition of giving me many ways to do my tasks.

    Please: keep the phone O/S garbage off our desktops.

  29. RichardC says:

    Instead of spending so much time telling the customer that they're wrong why not just include every version of the Start menu (2K, XP, and Vista/7 versions) along with the start screen and let the user chose whatever works best for them.

    It's incredibly sad if a company the size of Microsoft can't maintain a few simple windows.  Forcing the user to work in the way you dictate leaves you looking lazy, incompetent and arrogant.

  30. TS says:

    Steve Jobs understood their users desires.

    Ballmer&Steven&Company understand their arrogance&statistical&graphics and force it on users…

  31. Joe says:

    You havent talked about multitasking which is a bigger issue in windows 8 than the start screen which i love. How will you make it easier to switch between 30 running apps without going back to the start screen  ?????????  Swiping from the left seems overly tedious !

  32. Joe says:

    You havent talked about multitasking which is a bigger issue in windows 8 than the start screen which i love. How will you make it easier to switch between 30 running apps without going back to the start screen  ?????????  Swiping from the left seems overly tedious !

  33. Lars Viklund says:

    One of my muscle memory tasks I perform very often is Start->Computer to get an Explorer, and Start->Rightclick Computer to get to Computer Management.

    Both of these are completely ruined with the Metro screen.

    Additionally, I quickly launch tasks by typing into the search bar on the start button. This is "possible" with the Metro screen, but it completely wipes my visual context with an overly slow swipe and an UI that doesn't give any feedback that you in fact can type or click most things there.

    Please stop innovating away things that real people use to get real things done. Keep the tablet paradigms on tablets and mobile devices.

  34. pmbAustin says:

    Increasing discoverability is important.  Providing a "search" tile to click on by default would prove very useful.  Obviously the other methods of getting there should stay, and users could move or hide the tile once they no longer need that set of training wheels, but offering them up front might eliminate some of the complaints about "discoverability".

    As for clicks and distance traveled, keep in mind laptop touch-pads here.  Going "far" on those things is a LOT more burdensome than doing so with a mouse.  Any UI which essentially requires jumping from the lower left corner to the upper right are to get something done will be painful on laptops, and should be avoided or minimized.

    Also not clear to me … is there a way to "dismiss" the start screen?  The use case I'm thinking of is working on the desktop, hitting the "Windows" key to bring it up, checking the status of some live tiles, and then just wanting to quickly return to what you were doing, right where you left off.  Bascially just flip the start screen up and then dismiss it.  As long as that is possible and easy (i.e. it doesn't require you to target and click on the "Desktop" tile to get back) it's good.  If it's not, it's bad.

    I can also see users with multiple monitors wanting to configure the start screen in different ways.  For example, popping up on just the left, right, or center screen… or popping up on ALL the screens at once (so you can see way more tiles without scrolling).  Please consider making that a configurable option.

    Lastly, in the issue of search, is being able to provide ample meta-data for the search.  This too will help eliminate some of the complaints.  For example, if I search for "Office", it should show me all the Office apps, even if the word "Office" isn't in the app name.  The company meta-data, as well as other metadata perhaps describing it (like typing "uninstall" and having the control panel add/remove programs tile come up).  This is especially true of everything that ships with the system (helping to find settings as well as apps to launch), but it should also be something developers can hook into… providing extra metadata to help the app enhance the ability of search to guide users to the correct app/tile/info.

    Just some (I hope) constructive suggestions and comments.  I'd be interested to hear other people's comments on them… and MS's response to them.

  35. @tvald

    I think an adaptive search algorithm would be a bad idea. Any time software like Windows or Office tries to guess what the user does most often as part of another feature, it is almost universally complained about and turned off. Remember the adaptive menus in Office 2000-2003? Any adaptive search algorithm would almost certainly be widely complained about.

  36. Bellevue Paul says:

    When I customized the Windows 7 taskbar for my own use, I moved it to the left side. This was mainly because it allowed two side-by-side windows to be a little bigger on my notebook screen. But it also meant the topmost item on the Start menu was also closest to the Start button. Can this also be done with Windows 8 for the same reason, to put most frequently used items in the upper left corner?

    Some software vendors put a lot of stuff in their Start menu folders. For example, they may show a set of templates, a couple of different launch modes, some utility programs, and an uninstaller. If they do this in the Start Screen it will really clutter things up. What is your recommended solution to this – can we weed out these folders without breaking their uninstaller?

    If the number of rows of tiles is variable to allow for large monitors, what process will be used to ensure the tiles continue to work when I log in from a tablet? Will the Start screen be shrunk, or will the tiles get moved somewhere? Or can I decide where the tiles will be on each size of screen?

  37. Chris McGrath says:

    Firstly, in the future, mind labelling the pictures so we can easily refer them.

    With the Groups in the App menu, I like the idea, but I don't think they group titles stand out enough. I would consider an option to have the larger groups always start at the top of the screen.

  38. The modification of the search area was very good.

  39. Alireza Noori says:

    I agree with almost all of these. The only thing I would recommend is this:

    Problems:

    1- You've added the secondary tiles instead of the jump list. There is a problem here. If I treat the start screen the same way I treated my taskbar, it would be a jungle. I've pinned about 20 folders to my explorer. If I pin the same number of tiles to one app in start screen, there won't be enough space to reach to my other apps efficiently.

    2- The other problem is that I've disabled recent files hence I can't pin for instance a solution file to my visual studio.

    Solution (just try to imagine this. I think it's really cool):

    In addition to the great "deep links" secondary tiles, I think there should be another option to pin any file (obviously for file-based apps) to their apps. For instance like you said, I may want to pin a few playlists to my music player. But the important thing is that these files should be shown as a button like (show pinned files) on the app bar (on the bottom of the screen). Clicking on this button will fade the other tiles, move the app tile (or its icon) on the upper left of the screen and bring the pinned files as tiles from the right hand of the screen with a little nice animation. Clicking on these tiles would open up the file with the specified app. This will solve both problem mentioned above and I can pin even hundreds of files to my app. More productivity even more than taskbar's.

  40. There should be written description by Microsoft of how to use the Metro interface by keyboard, mouse and touch.  Where is such a document available?

  41. I think that you guys still not see what the problem is: Metro and Desktop together. Metro cannot finds its own way to shine because of our old lovely Desktop. Bring to us a real full "immersive" experience without Desktop. Users will focus entirely on Metro, they will start learn it and using it fluently.

    Cheers.

  42. repy to Andrew says:

    There can't be such a document available: they're still making it up.

  43. @Andrew7Webb

    Actually, what I'd like to see is the inclusion of a tour in a style similar to the Windows XP Tour, an animated tour that introduces users to all of the great aspects of a product and makes it look like the best OS ever created. It would even be better if they could use the same narrator (if her voice sitll sounds the same). Even after so long of using different operating systems, I still feel as if Windows XP is the best OS ever created when I watch the Windows XP Tour, even though Windows Vista and Windows 7 are better.

  44. DannyM says:

    This post is very appreciated but you guys are ignoring calls to the full multitasking story, surely you don't expect us to keep swiping on the left to changes apps? Give us something better than that, it might work on a phone but it sure won't on a laptop/desktop/tablet.

  45. reply to Martin says:

    We don't need 'immersive' we need to be productive.

    Metro is the antithesis of productive.  On a desktop.  For a professional.

  46. Update:

    I knew I was leaving something out of my list of suggestions and questions.

    Will it be possible to add links to the Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, and Username folders on the main Start Screen in Windows 8? Such a change would certianly make Windows 8 better, and I'd rather manage files than app contents.

  47. Jack says:

    Every negative comments are removed here, how are you able to build anything based on the feedback? This will be real catastrophe.

  48. D.B. Aiser says:

    I understand moving forward (MS needs to make more $$), I understand moving to new markets (touch, tablets and ARM processors), I understand that to move to these new markets we need a new UX.

    What has changed with with our desktops though?  Nothing.  So, please don't change them.

    They work like they're supposed to and they let me work how I want and need to.

    I do not want to be 'connected' to any social network – I don't want to be 'connected' to the author of my programs either.

    I want to simply finish my work, on my multiple screens (4) with multiple windows at different sizes opened in the order and location I want.  Along with the start menu and taskbars left alone – so I can continue to be productive as each task progresses and requires me to introduce new programs (stop calling them apps!) as I see fit.

    With the Shut down button where it belongs (and not hidden).

  49. Saneer Jalbadda says:

    Very clear from reading all the comments that Metro and the Desktop do not mix.

    Dilemma?  Not really.

    Metro is for small, portable device like phones, tablets and touch screen enabled notebooks.

    Desktops are none of that.

    Solution: drop metro from desktops.

    So, who should this be addressed to?  (Someone with the authority to do something about it).

  50. By general concensus Metro is an ugly piece of boiled crap.

    That's the main concern.

    And brinning forward certain unrecognized authorities in the form of "psychologists" is a lame excuse for blunders.

    Next time get some shrinks.

  51. Jonathan says:

    Swiping from the right to switch apps is not so good. Why not a multitasking gesture wherein the user swipes from the right using two fingers or after swiping from the left to reveal the "start" icon, long tap on the start icon will reveal a metro style task manager so that switching apps is easy. This "metro style task manager" will work with snap.

  52. I can see the semantic zoom working very well with this new app list.

  53. Thanks for the very detailed post, however I'm still convinced that user should have the choice between the current Start menu (or the option to disable Start screen if you wish) and the new Metro UI Start screen. Such option could be included under Personalize section in the Control Panel. Let the users choose their own way to computer productivity and then let's see the statistics how many users choose Start menu or the Metro UI Start screen. Of course the choice should be reversible at any time.

    Personally, I don't think that the productivity comes down to the number of the mouse clicks or the distance of the mouse travel around the screen to achieve a task. I would rather have to deal with one or two additional mouse clicks than with swiching between the Desktop and the Start screen, because I value the idea of staying focused on the Desktop more than innovations of the Metro Start screen. Or if I may add another example: I like to have a minimal Desktop and I don't have any shortcuts (icons) over the wallpaper. I keep all the shortcuts on the Superbar, with the exception for installed games, but don't find that terrible to perform 3 mouse clicks (Start+Games+game icon in my Windows 7 Ultimate installation) to start the game. So, in my case, my preference for minimal Desktop makes me start games in not the most productive or efficient way (with less mouse clicks, if the game shortcut was placed in the Superbar).

    There is, I think, another reason, for which the users would like to have direct access to Start menu: Metro UI is not good in multitasking (only two applications simultanously on the screen) and task swiching compared to the Desktop.

  54. Philip Spohn says:

    After skimming this post (I'll read it later) to get a feel for *what* you're trying to provide and *why*, I got serious about seeing *how* I could use the Start screen with keyboard and mouse. I discovered that the Start screen isn't half bad after I did a mock up of how I could use it effectively instead of the Start menu. Once I had that insight, I understand much better why you've designed it the way you have, and why it's a valid approach.

    But you're missing a bet. Now that I see how I'd use the Start screen, I think you're missing a key way to communicate about it. You could be using the *how* dimension by showing some specific use cases, rather than arguing that it's the best way. There are several good ways that a person could and should use the Start screen for a large number of legacy apps, and they're easy to set up. You just need to show that.

  55. Jonathan says:

    how about:

    -automatic GPU switching depending if the app requires more GPU power

    -sandboxing of IE10, detaching a tab process from the browser UI and sandboxing of plug-ins, sandboxing of javascript

  56. angeladaptor says:

    Quote:

    "•Enterprise users are launching pinned Start menu apps 68% more often than home users, but the usage of pinned items is still less than 10% of the sessions."

    All that means is that most people don't run most apps most of the time.  Or have shortcuts on the desktop.  Or have pinned taskbar items.  Or it means that the most used program is started up on bootup / login of the user.  My point: your telemetry is not telling you anything conclusive.

    All of which means that your telemetry is telling you nothing that you can depend on or make decision on.  Even if you count it as a consensus (the sheer size of the numbers doesn't make them statistically relevant, btw) – it still really doesn't mean anything at all.  Not enough to keep bombarding us with these useless statistics.  Nor enough to use them as (however small) a reason move to the Metro Start Screen for no other reason than you are wasting manpower to build it.

    Show me a better start menu for a desktop user – not a mobile touch screen user – with functionality that will make me want to change.

    An example:

    When I hit the Win Key and start typing – go ahead – show me the results full screen (user selectable) – even as tiles, if they will really be better.  But if I just hit the Win Key, maybe I want something that is already there (like Pictures, Documents, Music or Computer, Control Panel or Devices and Printers) – see?  No need to search for those – just click.

    A lot of braincells are twisting and burning out trying to fix something that isn't broken.

    To see how broken it can be (and worse, easily) just look at OS/X Lion – that is simply a disaster that you should be looking at to NOT replicate.

    Wishing you good luck with Windows 8 – but hope you're around for Win9 when you might have the chance to fix what you're forcing down our throats right now.

  57. Artur says:

    Bullcrap. bottom line is MS is trying to force a failing UI (the metro) from a least liked mobile phone OS onto most popular OS in hopes  that more people would use metro.

    DON'T FORCE PEOPLE to USE THIS CRAP. I don't want "start screen" to cover my entire screen. is unproductive, I don't want to click on desktop, just so i can get into view that 99% of  windows users are in most of the day.

  58. Overall, I'm impresssed. Thanks for your response, Steven Sinofsky and Marina Dukhon. Suddenly, it actually looks like Windows 8 will be a good product!

  59. killazys says:

    Lot of people calling "bs" on this post…

    Listen folks. Science is science; your hard-ass view against change isn't making you look any smarter. "Profits" are irrelevant in the face of facts; read the article before making snap judgments. This is how things are going to be, and MS should seriously just ship the OS with this. No need to argue.

    See how many people buy Windows 8, including the complainers posting here. Even I personally don't like how the start screen works, but whatever. It's easier for MS to code one platform for both mobile and desktop, and they're actually MAKING PROGRESS AT THE SAME TIME in a quantifiable way. Apple fanboys need to cool it.

  60. Daniel says:

    Personally, I am rather excited about the possibilities of the new Start screen, just hoping that the actual implementation will be polished enough to make my computer life better (and shorter, if possible).

    I felt this post answers many issues, but to me at least one remains gray: jump lists. I sure understand that for tablet users the "APP-centric" approach will be a hit (as I enjoy it on my WP7), but I sure hope you understand file-centric apps are here to stay. A pretty good example is your best selling product: Office. Personally, I hardly ever launch an Office application in W7, and like (I believe) most, the number of frequently used files exceeds by far the capabilities of your expanded Stat screen. I could sure pin one or two here and there, but that will never reach the functionality of the jump-list. The beauty of the jump-lists is that not only you can "pin files", but it also keeps track of your recently used files. That saves a lot of time, which the start screen still misses.

    Now I think the problem you have is that, as you explained in your first posts, most people on Win7 uses less and less the start screen. That means you are taking something people were going away from and giving it fullscreen prominence, sure it's hard to swallow for some. In a way, all your talk is about how much better of a Start menu this is (with which I agree), but missing the point that "people were going away from the Start menu" to begin with. Since it goes "full screen", what people expect to find on the "Start screen" is not just "Stat menu functionality" (improved or not), but "full desktop functionality" (which includes the taskbar".

    One of the first critics I heard on the new metro interface is the fact that, compared with the task-bar, it makes multi-tasking much slower and harder. No worries if in the desktop view, but serialized access to Metro apps while on the start screen isn't good enough. Even WP7 (with 4" screens) has now a better app switching scheme, which I don't think is acceptable if you consider PC multitasking power vs. a phone. Sure hope a similar app switching ability is included in the final Win8 release.

    Now please keep in mind I only wrote about what I believe needs to be improved; that doesn't mean there isn't much Iike on this new menu, I do, and as I wrote before I'm pretty much looking forward to it. Just hope it delivers in real life, not just in concept.

  61. Stephen Bull says:

    If people do not like it, why force it down their throats? The facts of the matter is when it is release to Manufacturing then people will be force to buy it. It is not like Microsoft is willing to allow the OEMs to install Linux, or anything like that. What I see is more Mafioso tactics from Microsoft, force the consumer to support Microsoft’s bad decisions.

  62. breadwinner says:

    Quote:

    "In the Start menu today, when you expand the All Programs flyout, by default you can see a total of 20 apps without scrolling, regardless of how big your monitor is. In one of our studies, we found users launched an average of 57 different apps over the course of several months. And this doesn’t even include the large number of websites that people use day to day (for the purposes of launching and pinning we believe counting websites is important), some of which may evolve into Metro style apps."

    Again: who cares about metro style apps?  On the desktop?  Not users that actually do work on the systems.

    Again: 'default'  simply make Windows 8 aware that it is being installed on a larger real estate monitor and make the 'default' 30, 40, or 50 programs.  Or more: I don't have to draw you a picture of how the current start menu can be made better – given a larger monitor (or two or three…).

    Websites in such a context are laughable.  Why should we pin everything?  Isn't that what favorites are for?  Or, really, something to think about when I've launched my favorite browser (which is IE10, btw).

    And 57 different programs over several months is an impressive number of programs for an 'average'.  However, I use that many in as little as two hours – how is going full screen to the Metro Screen going to be more productive than simply launching them from the taskbar or even the start menu?  I can see that I already lost 10% of my productivity simply finding and launching my programs (I can run over 140 programs during a single, 4 hr session…).

    Don't dumb down the interface.  Give me more power not less.

    Simply give me a choice of how I use Windows – as I have always had up to this point.

  63. Wolf says:

    Ok fine the Charm (Search becomes all programs) what about people that do not havce touch screen and can not acces *charms* or the right side bar?

    are u going to let us move mouse to right side border and the bar will show up or is there going to be a tile (button) on the startMenu that labbled all Programs?

  64. Wolf says:

    Ok fine the Charm (Search becomes all programs) what about people that do not havce touch screen and can not acces *charms* or the right side bar?

    are u going to let us move mouse to right side border and the bar will show up or is there going to be a tile (button) on the startMenu that labbled all Programs?

  65. Andrew Fong says:

    I wonder if you've addressed user panic attack. When I open the start menu, I know that what I'm working on is still there, just underneath the start menu.

    With the start screen, everything vanishes. If I accidentally hit the Windows button, I get a sense that I've just lost whatever I'm working on. There's no permanent damage since you can close the start screen just like the start menu, and maybe this will go away with time, but I suspect there is a great deal more psychological anxiety with a full-screen, zero-transparency start screen.

  66. There is still a lot of work to do on the Apps screen, especially about the grouping: Groups are not discernible, with the group name in the same font as app names, no border to delimit groups, groups that can start and end in the middle of a column. And listing all apps nicely ordered in rows and columns in text mode (with one icon, but still) is a very outdated look for such a modern OS that's supposed to be graphic.

    And your presentation of the Apps screen uses only the groups as provided during setup by the apps, which is barely an efficient way to organize apps. I want to create custom groups, like one with all my 20 or so favorite apps, one group "Media" with all my media players and other audio/video apps, one group "Web browsers" with all 4-5 web browsers, etc. Using one group per application installed in the Apps screen is just as cluttered as it is in the Start menu.

    Still no change planned about the full screen status of the Start screen, which basically makes all apps with an "Always on top" option like media players, obsolete, if they can't show at all times, including when you need to multitask.

    As for efficiency, the new Start screen requires at least 2 clicks to launch the main apps, provided you can fit your 20 favorites in the Start screen (and I don't mean the Apps screen). But in Windows 7, between the apps pinned to the Taskbar or the Quick Launch toolbar, I can launch all of them in just 1 click.

    Between the full screen Start screen and the extra clicks, I don't see myself ever adopting the new Metro interface. Will developers be able to develop apps that can run in both the Metro and Desktop interfaces?

    I don't think developers would want to invest time on apps if they can only run in Metro, and wouldn't work on XP, Vista, 7, or 8 Desktop.

    You mention that attempts to manage the "old" Windows 7 Start menu result in the inability to delete groups or shortcuts if they are moved. But it's not the users who are responsible for this, it's Windows, for not offering a single solution to manage the Start menu for All Users or individual users. So users are forced to hack into the Start menu manually if they want to keep it clean and lean. Maybe you should invest more time on the classical Start menu, and maybe offer users a whole range of solutions to manage apps, instead of offering only one Metro solution.

  67. fez says:

    I completely agree with Philip Spohn. Please show us a few "use cases", preferably with videos.

    Once you show people _how_ to get real work done (e.g. programming), the feedback will much more reasonable.

  68. @Bellevue paul

    When you switch between different monitor sizes (e.g.  when you plug in an external monitor or use remote desktop), the tiles will reflow to fill up the number of rows that fit on your current screen, while the groupings will stay intact.

  69. What is shown here in this post are by natural causes an reaction on the fact the transition of the project of Metro Start-screen were met by a big portion of resistance. Why is it so hard to bring the feedback in and using it for a good positive purpose?

    I'll summarize it for you and please don't get it wrong.

    This is no accusation we're playing up but more of how we believe and perceive things.

    For instance Low-end / High-end [2], let me continue…Home-users / Corporate-users [2].

    (There between are many many smaller firms when check it up..aha;)

    Common today many having both fast position at "work" combined with other types of engagements and not always only Home/Work, a wide spread area of lots of different interests.

    If we take a look on our dialog here we see the same pattern again….Microsoft's representatives who want's sell a product (don't blame you guys) / Commentators who want's share their feedback [2].

    What do appear? Off course a 2 dimensional thinking or should we say, black and white thinking [2].

    In one of Microsoft earlier famous software it shows up again…Outlook / Makes me think hmm.. was there ever an In-look?  Always two spots never more than two dimensions. Why is that?

    Further more, we mention spatial credentials in this discussion (How we see on things).

    It would never work without the feeling and common sense much from former learned experience.

    Note I wrote 'Feeling', there can we also find what is called 'Intuition'

    A side of science which not yet particularly well known, some says it doesn't even exist.

    OT:

    Wasn't that long ago I saw an written article from a group of researchers, have to mention it in comparison with the other stuff I'm saying here. Well, in make a story short. What makes it interesting is to watch where peoples common sense is today. In an objective point of view they claimed animals can't having fun without it has to follow straight principles of instinct. They were so surprised of this discovery that almost Darwin himself dropped his mouth wide open. You know, I smiled when reading it to see how lost people can become if overestimate what's told in books or from listen on hearings of the reason it came from someone with a smashing title. Unbelievable but that's how our societies are build upon in this age.

    I know by own experience there's quite small differences between humans and animals.

    So much talk about instincts but less about life itself, and that can't be thought from books.

    Please mr Steven, put the fear to the side for a minute and bring all the great help to you.

    That's what we here for – Helping, not complaining if it is seen in that way.

    Mr T

  70. Mike McCollister says:

    Thanks for the explanation. I think that I am starting to understand what you are trying to do. However, one concern that I have is that there is no way to look at the computer and see what time it is. I can see who is logged in at the upper right corner but the clock should be up there as well. I’m sure that a clock tile will be available but how about having a section of sticky tiles that do not scroll? This way I can have a clock, weather, stocks, etc. that are always available for me to see no mater what start screen I’m on.

    Mike

  71. Jeremy says:

    Next post: Multitasking in Windows 8.

    Hint: Bring over the task switching card view from Windows Phone Mango. The one where you hold the back button and get a bunch of cards representing each app.

  72. Andrew Fong says:

    Hmmm … my previous comment seem not to have posted, so apologies if I'm repeating.

    I think you're missing the point on the two-click analysis. In Windows 7, the most frequently used apps are always one click away since they're pinned in the taskbar.

    In Windows 8, there's no taskbar (at least when using Metro-style apps). When you're switching from a Metro-style app to another app, it's a minimum of two clicks since you have to open up the start screen first.

    I think that's the source of "inefficiency" for a lot of people. It's not the start menu they miss. It's the taskbar. Moreover, the taskbar also provides (1) at-a-glance awareness of currently running apps (plus one-click app switching), as well as (2) time, volume, battery life, and other important information

    On that latter point, keep in mind that even mobile operating systems like iOS and Android have an omnipresent taskbar of sorts at the top with important information like battery life and signal strength. Brief aside: one of my (few) gripes about Windows Phone 7 is that I have to tap the top of the screen  to see my battery life.

    So can we get an omnipresent taskbar option? Or at least a blog post talking about it? =D

  73. sunshinemanagement says:

    Quote:

    "Based on your feedback, one of the things that we’re doing to make it faster to get to All Programs is to take you directly to the Apps screen when you click Search in the desktop."

    This is not making me faster – nor, I suspect many other users.

    First thing I do with a clean install of Windows (or a 'new to me' system) is put all the folders in DETAIL view.  Icons are trash.  Tiles are worthless.

    Why?  They're too big.  Too much scrolling.  To much head/eye movement.

    With the Details view, I can see everything I need to decide if that is indeed, the file I want/need.

    Moving through my hard drive's partitions (in Computer, folder view, of course), I first find the file/document that I am interested in working at that time and then proceed to 'open' it – which opens up the associated program, of course.

    With Metro – I have to think of 'apps' first?  'apps' make me puke (Apple!).  I run programs, I build programs and I don't need a different way of doing that, just for the sake of being different (which is what Metro is) – I need a better way.

    And so far, I have not seen a better way – just a way for MS to make more money and save money by having to concentrate on a 'single' O/S rather than the plain-to-see facts that at least two are needed.

    Make Windows 8 for mobile/touch/consumer platforms.  I'll wait for Windows 9 for us business users.

  74. Alan says:

    I would like to hear your response to this scenario:

    Lets say that I want to open the Networks pane. Here are the steps I take:

    1) Move the mouse over the bottom left of the screen. (The charms menu will appear.)

    2) Click on the settings button. (The settings pane will animate in from the right side of the screen.)

    3) Move my mouse over to the settings pane.

    4) Aim for the Networks button.

    5) Click the Networks button.

    There are a number of problems with these steps. They are inefficient by your own definitions as outlined in your post.

    1) The settings pane appears on the complete opposite side of the screen from the settings button in the charms menu. This results in a lot of unnecessary mouse movement.

    2) The settings pane itself is very big, so by your definition, it is very easy to move the mouse over. However, I am not going from the settings button on the charms menu to the settings pane. I am going from the settings button to another specific button on the settings pane. That specific button is both far away and small. That makes it very difficult to hit.

    Another example is the "right click" to bring up the app menus from the top/bottom of the screen. Your mouse is most likely around the center of the screen when you right click. Then you have to move your mouse over a button that is both far away and small.

    Excessive mouse movement is my number 1 frustration when using the Start Screen and Metro apps with  mouse. Other that, I love the concepts.

  75. Nassosdim says:

    Wow, you guys really nailed it! I'm definitely gotta have to read it again but I'm glad of this blog's approach towards feedback. Really a step forward user experience!

  76. smallsomeone says:

    @Nassosdim,

    Nailed it?  What? By ignoring and double talking oneself out of the heavyduty questions that were side-stepped?

    I love MS – but they are definitely not at their best right now.

  77. SSssZZ says:

    Steven Sinofsky, there is not a hope in the world that a flat, 2D 'TILE' based, no folders menu is faster and more efficient than a Start Menu and Taskbar with pinnable programs and documents – no matter how much screen real estate you can throw at Metro (the more, the worse it is, actually), given that the current Start Menu (Win7) is also optimized for the same screen (and, not at 'defaults', either).

    No matter how many statistics you can show, no matter what math is involved – you are re-inventing the wheel when the 'old' one is almost perfectly round already.

    Apple (and by extension OS/X Lion) is not your goal – WE ARE.

    Please turn the ship around or let someone else take the helm.

    We don't need an OS to hand hold us into what to buy, what to do and what information we need (constantly updated…) – we need an OS that lets us configure it as we see fit.

    This preview (and all that has been promised after it…) is not 'fit' at all.

    At least, not if we want to create content with our systems, rather than check what our friends are doing now.  now.   now…

  78. Hi Marina, Why not just place an All Programs tile on the start screen?  Going to search for all programs seems confusing and functionally misplaced. Thanks -Steve

  79. Jn says:

    All we need is a option to turn the new start menu on or off.

    Desktop users = old menu

    Touchscreen users = new menu

    Let us choose the way we want to use it.

  80. deon says:

    Microsoft please impress me,change we must do not be turn off by many of the negative reply.

  81. deon says:

    Microsoft please impress me,change we must do not be turn off by many of the negative reply.

  82. Jack says:

    Whoa. Do I see more "I want to go straight to the desktop" comments? Did these users even bother to read the post?!

    Thanks for the extensive explanation. It was enlightening and interesting. I can't wait to see the beta! :)

  83. mt327000 says:

    I love all of the changes in Windows 8, I have no complaints!

  84. @fake mt327000

    I'm not going to try to deal with this again. Stop posting fake comments in my name. There are many changes in Windows 8 that I dislike, and I have many complaints. Don't start causing problems again. I've already been through this once, and I have no desire to repeat it.

    For future reference: all future comments from mt327000 will be posted from my Windows Live ID.

  85. Robert Zaleski says:

    I ran across this thread and I'm wondering about the keyboard.  I've always had my start menu so I can hit the windows key and type a letter to open my most used apps.  Windows 7 with Search has made this even nicer. Is this still going to be supported in the 8 metro app launcher screen?  I certainly hope so, because this single item has made windows much more usable.

    On Linux I would constantly freak co-workers out by being able to flip over my mouse and literally work for minutes without touching it, and being quite efficient.  I realize this isn't the preferred method of working all the time (i.e. consuming content), but when doing things like reading e-mails (GMail) or typing anything, a slick keyboard interface makes things great.

    Just wanted to make sure I won't be forgotten when Windows 8 runs around, otherwise I'll doggedly avoid it like I did Vista

  86. @Steven Sinofsky, @Microsoft

    A CALL TO HOPE FOR WINDOWS 8

    I feel betrayed and left down and behind as a Windows user. I'm not a power nor a stupid but a regular Windows user.

    I see my (and many other's) Windows enthusiasm effectively ruined by the lack of flexibility the Windows team is showing here. And as a sensitive human I do not understand why we are treated with such lack of

    respect. It would be quite easy to keep the Start Menu and the Start Screen as two separate options, giving us choice.

    For some years now I've been investing money out of my private poor pocket and precious hours of my life in posting Windows 7 articles and making Windows podcasts, trying to be useful for the communities in my country. I was very much nicely surprised to see Windows 7 compared to Vista as a huge evolution.

    I am deeply disappointed to see Windows 8 compared to Windows 7 as a huge involution caused by corporate stubborness.

    This squared colored stuff you are promoting for the sake of self/Microsoft/Windows reinventing has nothing to do with Windows, be it on desktop or laptop IF it won't allow for choice and flexibility in personalizing the Windows User Experience. It has to do with deaf and blind corporate heads. Sorry for putting it so blunt, but this might wake you up eventually.

    I have been waiting for a bright reaction from you, Steven (I still respect you and I still consider you a very intelligent person) to all these requests of keeping the tablet and the desktop philosophies separate. Or, at least, you must be able to realize that this Metro interface is no good for productivity on desktops and that you won't save the IT world with huge sales of new touch machines with Windows 8 installed. On the contrary, my friend, trust us and provide means to be able to choose Windows 7 UI ways while keeping technological progress from Windows 8.

    Disorienting the customers by making changes like JumpLists and taskbar in Windows 7 and then just trowing them away in a few years with Windows 8 shows your own lack of orientation as a company. The levels of self-contradiction you show by doing this are strange. You act like all the things you studied, invested a lot of money in and promoted/worked so well for Windows 7 are no longer good to anyone. Do you really feel like trowing all that out trough the window ?

    You don't have to break your neck and ours neither just for the sake of reinventing the wheel. You didn't win on smartphone market with Metro on the first shot (as you were maybe expecting), you will loose even more with this on Windows 8.

    Admitting there are other ways and there should be freedom of choice can liberate you of this heavy burden of providing counter-arguments trough such huge blog posts. You are wasting several hours of work wrinting sterile blog posts talking about cold numbers instead of adding a few simple things to make PEOPLE happpy.

    This can open unbelievable ways to creativity and mass support for your work.

    The one thing it seems you don't understand (even if you at Microsoft pretend to study users and cultures a lot) is that while using the nonsense side of the telemetry and trowing away the practical side of things you are actually closing ears and sight to large potential customer masses.

    I am trully sorry but, as small and unimportant as a customer I might be, I am sharing with you that I'll be taking into consideration serously switching to Linux (best case sticking with Windows 7 until it looses support) and I think many others will have similar choices but Windows 8.

    The happiest scenario for you, Microsoft, will be people sticking with Windows 7 and you will be mad to see that Windows 8 sales will be even poorer than first generation of Windows Phone 7 sales.

    So please do wake up and do listen to customers, power users, enthusiasts, community leaders, simple user who comment here.

    They are your public.

    They are the early adopters and the mass influencers.

    Their comments, blog posts, podcasts, social media comments give this blog and your company credibility.

    Without these comments your blog, your work, your company and products would be pointless.

    You are really lucky everyone is still commenting here and there still is interest for Windows 8.

    But don't be fooled by hiding behind numbers and cold telemetry reports. Humans are the important factor and currently you are ignoring them.

    Get back to life. Wake up and open your eyes. This will fill your pockets better.

    It's easy, show some respect !

  87. iHateBullies says:

    Here is typical Microsoft. Make mistake, defend it vigourously, lose sales, fire executive that made the decision, lose more sales, bring the old behavior back. Please wait for 1 release of windows before it would be fixed. The stubborness and high headedness in a corporation is amazing.

    In history, a product that was hated by users has almost always failed. Here is what happens:

    – First they laugh at us.

    – Then they ignore us.

    – They they fire some poor souls.

    – Then we win!

    Apple with all their might did not dare to f^^k with their desktop users like this. Is the user interface people in windows so braindead? Why not make it optional for people who like old start menu? If no one switches back to old menu, remove it in future.

    I have decided to not use windows 8, I would tell my family and friends to not use windows 8. Just like you will ignore our feedback, I would  ignore you, you corporate bullies.

  88. avgjoe says:

    Steven Sinofsky,

    I want Windows to remain Windows.  If I wanted 'Applesque' attempts at dictatorship control and 'direction', I can simply throw my money at them.

    Give me a reason to stay with MS.

    Please.

    Seperate and distinguish between Desktop and Mobile devices.  They are not the same – nor should they be.

  89. Aboveyou00 says:

    I posted this 20 minutes ago, but it's still not showing up, so I'm going to give it another shot. Sorry if it multi-posts.

    I admit, I had concerns about the worth of the new start screen and metro apps, but now I'm convinced that the new changes to the OS really will work out for me and other people. Thank you for explaining all of your decisions and proving how much thought you put into the changes you make in Windows. Up until recently, I didn't think it was possible for somebody to care more about it than I did – how sadly mistaken I was!

    However, aside from the issues you clarified for me today, I still have a few questions and worries that I hope you somebody will answer for me. Some of them revolve around Windows 8 interpretations of Windows 7 concepts. I also have a few concerns about the new metro style apps, which I fully intend to incorporate into my computer experience regardless of your answers.

    For one thing, I don't think I completely understand you when you talk about the improvements you made to the start menu jump lists. I had assumed that they were mostly OS-populated – some perceived evidence of this is that if you open any MS Office 2010 product, (which came out well after Windows 7, and thus should have had plenty of time to implement jump lists if they were application-driven,) in the backstage view is a "recent" tab that shows some recently opened documents. These "recent" documents are almost never the same as the ones in the start menu or the taskbar jump lists. As near as I can tell, the jump list items that you see are files that you actually opened in windows explorer.

    So, my first question is, how exactly are you planning on making the jump lists customizable? Will there be an API for developers to dip into? (Was there already one, that the Office developers simply chose not to implement in Office 2010?) Will the same jump list changes apply also to taskbar jump lists in the old desktop UI? And in the start screen, will there be any kind of visual representation that distinguishes a jump list item from an app, or that links jump list items to their respective app owners? Will the same new customizations (with regard to jump lists) be available to desktop app developers, both in the taskbar and on the start screen? (I sure hope I don't come off as being too naive with any of these questions…)

    Also, I was wondering about the start screen tiles. Will desktop apps be able to have and customize tiles? I'd like to be able to differentiate my apps from the rest somehow, even if I don't end up developing directly for the metro framework.

    Also, am I right in assuming that metro style apps depend on the .NET framework to run? It would have to, or else it would have to depend on something similar, or else it would only run on x32 or ARM, but not both… If I'm wrong, then ignore the rest of my questions in this paragraph. But if I'm right, then what would happen to apps developed with newer versions of the framework (when they come out, that is)? Would the Windows Store implement a version system (Windows must be newer than X to run this game) to download and install that app? Or would the windows store just quietly install the prerequisites when such an issue occurred? And one last question regarding the .NET framework: will all of the existing .NET technologies continue to be compatible with the metro UI (such as Windows Forms, WPF, SQL Server, etc)?

    And… you guys are probably getting sick of me by now, but I have one last question. I know that it's possible to develop advanced and efficient metro apps (contrary to my irrational unconscious assumptions) because of the metro IE included in the developer preview. However, I have no idea if it's possible to develop real "software" for use in metro. By this I mean, software that most people have been associating with the desktop. For example, MS Word or per-pixel paint applications (as opposed to the finger-painting app sample found in the preview) or software development apps, such as Visual Studio. I like the idea, as a programmer, of getting the whole screen to myself – however, some things I've heard from videos of the BUILD conference have led me to believe that the metro start screen is, first and foremost, a touch-oriented experience. I understand the need to separate apps designed for devices from apps designed for mouse and keyboard, but cutting off metro style apps from "business-oriented" developers seems a little bit drastic. To be clear, will there be metro style apps in the app store specifically for mouse and keyboard? If not, then the new start screen is little more than a novelty for any kind of developer, be it programming or a more creative, visual art.

    Before I sign off, I'd like to point out that whenever somebody posts a deliberately insulting comment and then tells the Windows Dev team to "show some respect," it's you who's being rude – if you don't like the product, you don't have to buy it. None of them has ever deliberately insulted you. What they have come up with is a product of multiple years of hard work from many people – and, contrary to popular belief, it is NOT as easy as you think to "change it back" after making such a dramatic change, and it's even harder to keep both options – the start screen and the start menu. Besides that, it would only serve to confuse users further! I believe they are completely correct in making a "unified" start screen for both slates and other PCs.

    Anyway, there's my two cents. Thanks for reading this, and, hopefully, addressing my concerns.

    Brandon

  90. Yaniv says:

    Thank you guys. This blog post really helps us understand the reasoning behind everything and evolve our dialog even more.

    I'd like to further discuss the support for MRU in the new Start Screen.

    You said that usage of clicks to access jump lists in the current start menu is very low.

    I think that the click function had a very low discoverability and many users (including me) didn't even know that the jump lists could be opened by clicks; it is also not intuitive according to Fitts law since the arrow is both far and has a small target area.

    So my guess is that users use mouse hover instead.

    You said that accessing jump lists on the start menu using mouse hover is used half as often than on the task bar.

    This makes a lot of sense, since the task bar is the place to launch your frequent apps, and the infrequent apps are launched from start menu. Using the MRU on the start menu only half as much as the taskbar actually means it's a very popular feature.

    For example, I am a programmer, and I don't have to write Word documents too often; for this reason, I haven't pinned Word to my task bar. However, Word appears in the recent applications in the Start Menu.

    For me, when I do use Word, I usually either start a new document, or open one of the few recent documents I've used.

    This is very easy to do using the Word MRU jump list.

    You said that the new start screen will give Metro Apps an ability to control the content of their "jump lists", and this is perfect. But from what I understood in this post, legacy desktop apps such as Word, will not have jump lists at all in the Start Screen, which is unfortunate.

    Why not implement a default jump list for desktop apps as well, that uses the same file based logic as in Windows 7, while allowing the Metro Apps to implement their own jump-list functionality.

    This will allow a consistent user experience across Desktop and Metro Apps, since both will have jump lists; while allowing Metro Apps to implement advanced cloud-enabled jump-lists AND maintaining the existing jumplist + MRU functionality of existing Desktop Apps (which have already invested time to implement this for Win 7)

    Without this, the only solution will be to pin desktop apps to the taskbar.

    And as your metrics show, only 3 apps are pinned to the taskbar on average; so this is probably not a very common usage today.

    On a different note, you said we will be able to pin our taskbar apps to the start screen as well, so we'll have fast access to them on startup.

    Will we also be able to pin the Desktop version of IE10 to the Start Screen? As so far, I've failed in doing so, as it always launched the Metro version of IE10.

  91. Mark says:

    Why are you approving comments like the one from SLx64? They add no value. The person is an obvious troll. Letting one troll comment only encourages others, and then the whole forum goes down in terms of value for everyone.

  92. Ryan says:

    Thanks! I (We?) really appreciate the transparency all of you on the developer team are providing.  It will certainly make for a better product.

    I think the start screen is great.  I also think the Windows 7 desktop is great.  Is it possible to merge them?  Turn the start screen _into_ the desktop?  I like the concepts of both, I'd hate for them to be so separated!!

    It just feels like "desktop" is an "App" to me.  It creates a strange feeling for me as an power/enthusiast home user as well as windows (desktop) being a huge part of my day-to-day operations in engineering / building modeling / graphic.  "Which one do I use?"  I think more integration is key.

    Like "Control Panel".  There is the "app" in the start screen (based on the metro code) and then it switches to the desktop for the full version?!  I would love for them to be one and the same.

    Thanks again for the hard work.  I can't wait…

  93. Ryan says:

    Also.  I hope the team doesn't get discouraged from negative posts.  Especially the long ones that don't seem to add anything worthwhile

    *Remember the Ribbon?*

    At first use, people were scared to death of it!  Soon after?  We can't imagine life without it!  Almost every application I use day-to-day has taken the hint.  Autodesk software included!

  94. Ryan says:

    Also.  I hope the team doesn't get discouraged from negative posts.  Especially the long ones that don't seem to add anything worthwhile

    *Remember the Ribbon?*

    At first use, people were scared to death of it!  Soon after?  We can't imagine life without it!  Almost every application I use day-to-day has taken the hint.  Autodesk software included!

  95. voodoochile says:

    I'd like to see a mini start screen to replace the start menu – one that has tiles, scrolls vertically instead of horizontally and uses up say a ¼ of the screen from the left. It would also be useful for it to be dockable on the left as well just like apps. That way you can see live notifications as they come up and access the apps as you need.

    My biggest problem I have with the start screen is that with a large monitor it takes too long to move the mouse to access something. With the start screen only taking up ¼ of the screen it means less mouse movement while it would still be large enough to make it easier to access more apps. The same can be said for the search and settings screens which appears from the right – it would be quicker if it appeared from the left after you access it from the start menu. It would also be nice to have the app list appear using only a ¼ of the screen as well.

    Overall I think the start screen makes a lot of sense, though more so for smaller screens than larger ones. On a smaller screen having more room to access things would be better. However, it would be excellent if you could accommodate for both larger and smaller screens.

  96. Geez, some of these comments make it sound like Windows will be completely useless. One was asking for use-case of a programmer. Seriously, you think because of the new Start experience you won't be able to write in an IDE? Heck, some even complaining about productivity. How much time do you normally live in your Start menu? Chrome OS doesn't have one and they seem to do fine.  OS X never had a start experience, just a dock w/ correlating menu. There are of course good suggestions and surely plenty of time + room for improvements.

    I like the direction Microsoft is taking with Start and give huge kudos for opening up for such criticism on a dev build. Keep up the great work and highly appreciate the reflection!

  97. Joe White says:

    I'm amused that the Start screen is the home for the apps you use least often, and so you've decided it should be the first thing we see…

  98. sevenacids says:

    Guys, believe it or not, they're gonna push this new experience on us no matter what.

    Personally, I don't really care if starting an application needs one or five seconds – I'm not in that rush, and if someone really is, they should ask themselves why they have to be. Therefore, I can't really understand about this optimization on faster, faster, faster. The Windows 7 start menu works perfect for me. But that's my personal experience. Maybe someone else will do better with the start screen or even the classic start menu. And I don't agree with this "buried in folders" nonsense they're talking about. The organization of applications in folders is what keeps the start menu ordered, and if it is too much for the user to click on the Visual Studio 2010 folder to get to the IDE, for example, then I can't help it. The reason why I prefer to have this tree-structured list in the Windows 7 start menu over the start screen is because it's compact and doesn't take over the whole screen – I don't need a flat full screen view presented to me. I'm not that dumb to need a flat listing to find my applications.

    The option to turn the start screen and Metro off completely would be very much appreciated, because I'm an IT guy and spend most of the time on the desktop. I don't need Metro style apps at all. I used to use some Gadgets for weather and the like on the desktop but turned them off after a while because they were distracting the clean layout I prefer. And I hardly ever use my applications in full screen.

    I guess we won't get a switch to turn back, and the reason is, of course, the Windows Store and Microsoft's urge to be in full control on what software is available for Windows and – money. Simply like that. They're adopting Apple's behavior. I mean, imagine if it was possible to switch back: Many people would just do so and never buy a single flashy-blinky Metro style app.

    Looks I'm gonna stick with Windows 7 and look for alternatives around.

    PS: And in case someone cares: If you want to resize the start menu, the width of the all programs view and the right-hand pane, aren't there just some values in the registry that need to be tweaked? I know this was possible in XP but I can't remember if it was in the registry or you needed to hack some DLL…

  99. Quppa says:

    The updated design of the 'Apps list' (what's wrong with 'programs'?) shown here is certainly an improvement, but I still think folders are crucial in order to stop the list from becoming too long.

    > while only 1.2% of sessions record a click to invoke a Start menu jump list

    Looks like I'll be punished for being in the minority :( I use jump lists for Start menu items quite often.

    > The downside of existing jump lists is that they're limited to what Windows understands best – files

    That's not true, is it? Outlook's jump list contains only shortcuts to 'tasks' (new e-mail, etc.), IE's jump list has links to websites, and Remote Desktop Connection has the most recent connections – none of these are file-centric.

    > 81% of home users have the default links like Control Panel, Games, and Documents on right hand-side of the Start menu

    Will there be a replacement for these right-hand side links? Their absence in the Start screen is one of the biggest usability issues for me in the Windows Developer Preview. I miss having quick access to system properties (right-click on 'Computer' in the Start menu), administrative tools and the complete control panel.

    I certainly plan to give the Start screen another shot when a public beta is released, but try as I might, I just can't grow to like it in the Windows Developer Preview. In fact, I've found the experience to be bad enough that I subconsciously try to avoid using it as much as possible, using the task bar where previously I would have used the Start menu. As you note in the post, there aren't many Metro style 'apps' available yet, but given the choice between a Metro style app and a desktop program, why would a desktop or laptop user ever choose the former? I'm afraid I see nothing compelling in such a restricted, full-screen environment.

  100. Shubhan Chemburkar says:

    I appreciate that the reasons for building the start screen and the strong need for that as well. However, I did not like the new "Redesigned Apps screen with suites of apps organized in groups". It is good as a feature but the screen really looks overcrowded and hard to read. I am used to finding any item from a list  at a a glance, but in this screen its difficult to do so. May be you guys should gather some Eye-tracking data to build this screen more efficiently and not only base it on the CEIP data.

  101. I would also emphasize that i use the jump list more often than the task bar icon. I have a lot of items pinned in my jump list of that they are accessible easily. Also, how do you plan on providing search for files, outlook mail items and installed programs all at once (with correct priority) in the metro start screen.

  102. sevenacids says:

    "Start button –> All Programs button –> Scrollbar button –> Expand the folder of the app I’m looking for (cross your fingers it’s the right one!) –> App = 5 clicks"

    This is not accurate. It's more likely to be like this:

    Start button -> All Programs button -> Use mouse wheel for scrolling (no click!) -> Expand the folder of the application (sure it's the right one if the label of the folder has an accurate name, like "Visual Studio 2008" and "Visual Studio 2010", for example, so no finger crossing required – we're not as dumb as you assume here) -> Application = 4 clicks.

    Even the cheapest mice have a wheel today, so I take using it for granted in most cases.

    Still, I don't really get it why time and the number of mouse clicks is such an important case here. People who use their desktop every day and almost always start the same applications during a session "know" after some time where they are located and don't need to search for them. It's only in range about a few seconds and clicks.

    "Enterprise users are launching pinned Start menu apps 68% more often than home users, but the usage of pinned items is still less than 10% of the sessions."

    10% of the sessions… well, I assume then enterprise people pin their applications to the start menu and only start them once or twice during a session and keep them running. that's one possible explanation at least.

  103. somnia says:

    Perhaps this is something that I have set up incorrectly, but there does not seem to be a "back" button when using a mouse and keyboard setup. Something like the WP7 back button that takes you back to your previous apps.

    Second comment: searching with the start screen: using search on the start screen works, until you selected the wrong item and want to go back to your search. then you have to type everything all over again. In Windows Vista/7 there were two types of search that could be enabled from the start menu. A quick search and then also the "see more results" option that allowed you to open multiple results from the search.

    Windows 8 needs something akin to the "see more results" feature of Windows Vista/7. Whether that means that using a back button (the escape key maybe) that brings you back to your last search, or something else that performs a similar functionality.

  104. @Cosmin Tataru

    +1 Agree with the description //Thanks

  105. I'm must admit, like a lot of people here ,at first I was skeptical about the Start screen.

    But after having used the Developer Preview for some time I really got used to it even in its current 'unbaked' form.

    What's more, if you think about it, a planar view of your installed apps seems to be the  general consensus reached by OS vendors. Just look at Ubuntu's Unity or Gnome3's shell  or Lion's Launchpad (even KDE's plasma desktop is a variation of this idea).

    As you said in your article a spatial desktop is way more efficient to use than a flat list. (I recommend the reading of the  various articles by Ars Technica's writer John Syracusa  on this subject.)

    And I totally get the fact that you need to keep a  single-level hierarchy  view among the tiles for there to have live tiles displaying their information.  

    That said, I was thinking about the organizational problem that this presents and I saw in your post that in a effort to remedy this you added a form of labeling for app tiles.

    But why not in that case add the ability to group certain tiles (with a subdued visual cue like a groupbox  or different background colors for different groups)?

    This would also allow us to move a group of tiles more efficiently and to locate them more quickly.

    To sum this up: think about Firefox 4's groups but applied to tiles.

  106. Bellevue Paul says:

    Reading the comments, it looks like a few people aren't understanding what's being described here. As near as I can tell from reading all the blog posts, there is very little change to the desktop that would interfere with anyone's workflow. I think it's pretty impressive that you are managing to unify desktop and tablet interfaces, making best use of both platforms, with so little change to the current system.

    I'm very much a power user, but I see no reason to be afraid at all. This looks like really good work.

  107. Thanks for the detailed post! I'm excited about using the start screen as my default UI as soon as I can.

    One concern about the current setup:

    Opening the charms menu with a mouse by using the bottom left corner means it is very difficult to click on the left arrow scroll bar for the start screen.

    Either the charms hot corner should be in the upper left/right or the start screen scroll bars should be on the top.

  108. Thanks for the detailed post! I'm excited about using the start screen as my default UI as soon as I can.

    One concern about the current setup:

    Opening the charms menu with a mouse by using the bottom left corner means it is very difficult to click on the left arrow scroll bar for the start screen.

    Either the charms hot corner should be in the upper left/right or the start screen scroll bars should be on the top.

  109. Brian says:

    I think you guys are focusing too much on data, and not actual usability. I tried the Dev Preview (both on a Laptop and a Desktop), and was horrified at how hard it was to navigate. Since you guys like data, here are a couple great data points for you to analyze:

    First: Shutting down my computer:

    -Win7: Start > Shut Down (2 Clicks)

    -Win8: Hover over Start > Settings > Power > Shut Down (3 Clicks + 1 Hover, not to mention that you have to move your mouse to the other side of the screen –Fitts Law that one for me) (Also, why is Shut Down a Setting?)

    Control Panel (the real one):

    -Win7: Start > Control Panel (2 Clicks)

    -Win8: Start > Control Panel > Scroll > More Settings > Transition from Metro to Desktop (3 Clicks + 1 Scroll + 1 Transition) (In the interest of fairness, I added the time taken for the Metro->Desktop transition. We are talking about Speed of Use, right?)

    In all of your examples, I don't think you should count Hovers and Clicks equal. Hovers take waaaay more time than Clicking. I would choose Clicking over Hovering any day.

    Also, can I say that your latest App Screen version looks horrible? It's so hard to see the difference between a Program Title and the actual Application. What I like about the current Start Menu is that all of your programs are divided and organized into folders. If you want more detailed program information, you just open the folder. Sure it may mean one (1!!) more click, but it's not information overload like the current iteration of the App Screen. I would rather look at 20 Alphabetically Organized Folders than 39 Alphabetically Organized Applications (With Icons), 9 Application Titles, and an additional 7 Applications that are partially cut off (but still visible).

    -You present the user with that much information and it won't matter how good your Heat Map is, the user is already lost.

    I'm also confused why the 'Search' button in Desktop mode functions differently than the 'Search' button in Metro mode. Search in Desktop defaults to searching INSIDE the currently selected application, while 'Search' in Metro mode searches FOR the application that matches the search text.

    I think I said it in an earlier post that there are distinct advantages/disadvantages to using both the Screen and the Menu. My ideal setup would be some combination of the two. Why not give the Start Button a Jump List, and that Jump List would be the Start Menu?

    One final comment: Is it just me, or does the Start Screen look really blurry? Didn't you guys have that problem with DirectWrite in IE9? Are you using DirectWrite in the Start Screen? If you are, is there a way to disable DirectWrite and/or make the text sharper? I'll take non-optimized pixel rendering over blurry pixel rendering any day.

    OK I lied: I have one more comment: On the Start Screen, you are able to scroll sideways using the scroll wheel. Why aren't you able to scroll sideways through Apps using the scroll wheel?

    Sorry if my post is long, I'm just in panic mode. I would never pay money for an OS that I can't use. As much as I LOVE Windows, I wouldn't dream of buying this. You still have time Microsoft, do it right! Fix the problems! You can do it! </WordsOfEncouragement>

  110. mkeeseemkeedo says:

    @VCZilla and @ Bellevue Paul,

    This isn't a matter of getting 'used' to something – this is simply wrong, whether Paul and Steve any other MS employee working on this sees it or not.

    The desktop is not where mobile ideologies should be implemented.  Period.

    Just because other wanna be O/S's are going off the cliff, should MS follow?

    I accept that for VCZ and Paul, they are able to make it work – allow me the luxury of making it work for me.

    Turning off Metro on the desktop will be turning off $$$ for MS – but they can decide if they want to lose a little $$ or a lot $$$$ from the users like me, who collectively move, shape and recommend MS products (or not).

  111. Well, colors in Windows 8 Developer Preview, as I had mentioned, is highly inconsistent. In contrast to Xbox Metro and Windows Phone 7, you guys need to really audit the use of colors to produce the effect you mentioned in this diagram you had shown above: blogs.msdn.com/…/6355.Page8_2D00_1_5F00_1BFBCF40.png

    The thing is, in W8DP, I don't see the effectiveness of color at all – because all the tiles are screaming at me in different colors. If you can perhaps make it like WP7, where standard apps have a standard color, perhaps that will arrive at your selling point about color and space helping with organization. However, as it currently stands, the color scheme of Windows 8 is pretty bad.

  112. Nishkarsh Kankaria says:

    why does windows search have to index all items on pc to search them quickly later, whereas voidtools.com's app "everything" does it so quickly? can the search algorithm of the app "everything" be itegrated with search of windows eight.

    everything is an open source app.

    and also i hope u guys r thinking for a cool name name for windows eight os.

  113. B8Blog says:

    @Alan — there are several items called Network you might be referring to.  If it is the explorer network pane, you type WIN Key, network, enter.  If it is the network and sharing center control panel you type WIN key, network, then you can click or tab to Settings, and pick the first one.  OR you can type WIN key + W which is a shortcut to the settings search (i.e. control panel).  

    If you want to use the mouse you can mouse in the lower left to search and just start typing network and follow those same steps.

    For right click to bring up the apps menu, the right click can be anywhere on teh screen.  You can also use WIN key + Z for the app bar.

  114. B8Blog says:

    @Pak Kei — As noted in the post, customizing colors is not in the preview.

  115. Apologies in advance for typos; I'm typing on the virtual keyboard on my Samsung dev preview tablet, and long text entry is definitely not one of the things touch input is good for.  :)

    A few comments:

    1. Despite its length, this blog entry didn't address the main complaint about replacing the start menu with the start screen: that it is full screen and forces an unnatural context switch onto the user, destroying ease of multitasking.  Several people including me suggested having a docked view of the start screen that scrolls vertically.  Seems like a simple compromise that gives us the best of both worlds.

    2. I completely disagree that big tiles improves efficiency enough to overcome long mouse movements. Making buttons too small is very negative, but the improvement declines fast above a certain size.  Plus, the costs of mouse movement differ with different input devices, laptop touchpads in particular are very bad with Win8 dev preview.

    3.  We really need folders!  Several blog entries now have said that a design goal was to avoid "burying" things.  Well, frequently I prefer to bury things.  Further, and this is a HUGE problem, existing installers expect the start menu to have folders.  I have several engineering tools that have over 200 start menu items arranged in nested folders; when I install them on Win8, my start screen is buried.  Grouping as implemented in Metro doesn't help when there are hundreds or thousands of items.  I need to bury (organize!) things.

    4. Hyperlinks from one tile to a group would be handy.  It would be more natural for me to have a single games tile on the first page that I can click on to jump to the games group.  This would not be as good as a folder, but an improvement in my ability to organize.

    5. The tiles are a little too live.  Frequently I cannot tell what app a tile represents because it is showing random content that could be several different apps.  I think tiles should always have an identifying icon or text showing, preferably in a consistent place on the tile.

    Thanks!

  116. B8Blog says:

    @Cosmin Tataru — You said "Disorienting the customers by making changes like JumpLists and taskbar in Windows 7 and then just trowing them away"

    But I am hopeful that the past couple of posts have made it clear that what you said is not the case.

  117. Ryan says:

    I wish, there was a way to close Metro Apps.  If I have five open and I want to get to a particular one, I have to swipe through four apps before I get to the one I am looking for.  On a traditional desktop, I just click once on the open one I want, via the Taskbar.  Like Windows7 phone we should have a arrow on the Metro UI that takes us to the apps.  Get rid of the word Start and put a arrow there that I can tap to take me to my apps. It took me a long time to find the apps when I first starting using W8.

    Also how difficult would it really be to offer classic mode (Windows 7 start menu) for those who want it?  It's just one registry key right?  

  118. B8Blog says:

    @Aboveyou00 — Metro style apps use what we call teh WinRT which is a set of APIs built into Windows 8.  You can call these APIs from any number of programming languages.  You do not use the .net framework but you do use C#, XAML, HTML/JS, or C++ if you want.  Since these APIs are Windows, there is no overhead in calling them just as you would expect from Win32 APIs.  So if you want to write a maximally efficient program you can happily code away in C++ against the WinRT.  

    You might check out the //build/ presentation – channel9.msdn.com/…/BPS-1005 (Day 1 session on the Platform for Building Metro style apps).

    Yes there is already a developer API for jumplists – msdn.microsoft.com/…/dd942846.aspx.

  119. domenicoav says:

    Super Awesome WORK :-)

    Beta is coming for this X-Max ?

  120. domenicoav says:

    Super Awesome WORK :-)

    Beta is coming for this X-Max ?

  121. WindowsFan says:

    I would compare few aspects of windows 8 with OSX Lion which has some of similar changes but how Apple again gets it right and Microsoft does not. This is from desktop/notebook perspective and not tablet.

    Start Menu, Dock and LaunchPad

    – OSX does not alienate its existing user as it retains the Doct and all the benefit it has but adds a LaunchPad to launch apps which only appears upon certain key stroke.

    – The dock still remains visible when LaunchPad is displayed.

    – The desktop is not an app but it is the computer.

    Full Screen Applications

    – OSX did the full screen apps designed right. It allows same application to run both in desktop and full screen mode. This provides all the benefits of full screen experience without jeopardising the non-full screen experience.

    – Again Windows messed up here by having full screen apps on desktop work same as for tablet with charms bar and other similar tablet constructs .

    So the two main features on desktop are much better on OSX. This tells me why Apple is a leader in usability while Microsoft lags behind.

    Here is what Microsoft should have done for Windows:

    Applications:

    – Each applications should be able to run in 3 (or fewer) modes: Desktop, Full Screen Desktop and Tablet.

    – In desktop mode, it should keep same consistent user interface as other desktop applications.

    – In full screen desktop mode, it should provide immersive experience with menu available on some key press or something.

    – For tablet device, the app should provide full screen experience with charms bar and all other finger friendly goodies 😉

    Start Menu:

    – Keep windows start menu

    – Use Aero peek for tiles (similar to gadgets)

    – Allow users to put gadgets with tiles on same screen or divide the peek button in two parts, one for desktop and one for tiles (or launchpad)

    – Allow searching/launching of all applications (both regular and metro) via traditional start menu or new tiles.

    – Always keep the task bar visible, in each screen until user goes full screen application mode.

    For tablet:

    The start menu can default to tiles screen and use that as the only experience and don't show the taskbar if user is running in tablet mode.

    This would improve and enhance desktop experience and provide clean tablet experience. It would provide choice to users who don't want to use tiles on desktop. This would make the OS have multiple personalities each designed for specific experience where underlying foundations being the same.

    It would also make it easy to develop one application for experinece across multiple set of devices.

    Please do something like this, please don't make us hate desktop.

  122. Wolf says:

    JumpList on a Tile. Easy enable right click on a tile and have a context menu.

    in-fact remove the bottom right buttons advance/unpin in the startscreen. And read Right-clicking context menu.

    For Touch interface. Touch and Hold to enble context menu.

    MS dose not have to remove Jumplist at all. I bealive right click context menu(s) shoudl not be removed off of tiles ether.

  123. Wolf says:

    About my above comment. NoticingTouch and hold moves tiles. Make right clicking avilible Via 2 Finger Touch on Tiles.

  124. Tommy wilde says:

    Oh and how about a column for recent apps?

  125. Wolf says:

    Colums for recent app shoudl be handled by a tile. Clicking on tile called Recent  should bring up a search like windows with Files, Settings, Apps,  & Websits.

  126. Cheung says:

    Very impressive post.  Great work.

    Now there is only one thing that does not sit too well with me for start screen, it's fullscreen-ness.  It takes away the current working context, e.g. instructions that one needs to follow to locate something in the start screen.  There are a few ways to address this issue.  I like the idea that someone has brought up, to overlay the start screen on the current context.  In addition to that idea, I would like to suggest to make it only occupy the bottom half of the screen, so that you could scroll through the current context, e.g. the on screen instructions, while navigating the start half-screen.

    Another thing that I think might interest you is that a large portion of the Chinese middle aged people do not know how to type.  The primary, and only, input method they use is hand-writing recognition, which is rather slow and inconvenient to use.  So "All Programs" is about the only thing they would use to locate anything that is not pinned on desktop nor taskbar.  IMHO, getting the equivalence of "All Programs" right in start screen is rather important for them.

  127. B8Blog says:

    @Wolf – have a look at the //build/ presentation channel9.msdn.com/…/BPS-1004.  We talk about trying to avoid "hide and seek" sorts of operations like touch and hold.

  128. Jon says:

    I really like the new categorized Apps listing, but I find that between the increased density, single type style, and evenly distributed spacing, it comes across (to me) as very homogeneous and hard to read. I think that just by adding simple header strips behind the titles, it would break up that homogeneous grid into discreet zones and be much easier for users to quickly scan. I made an example mockup here to illustrate my point:  dl.dropbox.com/…/appListHeaders.jpg

    I'd also like to say that I am super happy that you guys are keeping these blog posts coming, letting us know your thought processes and soliciting user feedback. It's awesome for me as a long-time Windows user, and fascinating to me as an interface artist.

  129. Excellent post, gives an idea of why you do the things you do, or shall be doing in future.

    Is there a way to customize the web sites we pin to the Start menu in WDP? Presently we hold the pointer on each IE icon pinned long enough to be able to read what's the site about.

  130. I don't see why you all don't do a laucnchpad esque setup…. wait.

  131. @quppa – you can get items like Computer and Administrative tools into your Start screen in the WDP. For Computer, go to the Apps screen, and right click on the Computer tile. You can choose to pin it to Start and you can put the tile where you want it. To turn on administrative tools, hover in bottom left corner and choose Settings. Then open the Start preferences flyout and you'll see an option to show these tools in the Start screen. Again, you can choose which of these to keep pinned to Start and how they are organized.

  132. Wolf says:

    @ Steven Sinofsky

    Thats the problem. Limiting functionality over simplicity is not PC friendly. You would not do this back in Dos Years, you would not due this in Xp years. Why do it in the *Touch Years*

  133. The main thing i REALLY can't stand about this start screen is how claustrophobic it is.

    Look at Apple's Launchpad. http://www.apple.com/…/launchpad.html

    it doesn't feel cramped or tight or lonely like the start screen does. maybe it's the translucency showing the comforting wallpaper. i don't have a clue. but i do know that the start screen is very uncomfortable, and launchpad feels like home.

  134. maybe it's because the icons are small, maybe it's because the Dock is there. regardless Launchpad is 100 times better than this start screen.

  135. BTW, their folder implementation is brilliant as well…

  136. Wolf says:

    If user have to (to fingure touch / Touch and hold) to get right click menu The user still wins. Also The PC Users still get to keep there JumpList even in a Tile World.

  137. Huki says:

    Grouping programs into suites in the new App screen looks like a good design. Where does Windows get the data? Each app's name presumably comes from the exe description, what about the suite name? Is it the installation folder name? If so, can it be renamed by the user without renaming the folder?

  138. I love the Start Screen.  It has WAY more potential than something like Apple Launchpad (just a grid of icons).  Tiles/widgets always have an advantage over icons because they can display more information without going into an app.  I think Win8 does a great job of cleanly laying out tiles for the Start Screen.

    I welcome this Start Screen change.  I like the idea of taking advantage of using the fullscreen to show me everything I could be looking for.

    I also applaud your extensive research and planning that went into the development for this.  The changes that are made make a lot of sense and it's very apparent when this blog goes into such great detail about it.  Keep up the good work, you are really impressing me here!

  139. Wolf says:

    Watching some Build Vidos and useing the WDP. how come I can use my mice to swap apps for the left side (edge) but Im unable to use the mouse to swip the Charm Bar on the right?

    if your doing touch for and leaving the edge for Bars and swips atlest let the mouse do the same. IE move the mouse to the Edge of the Screen it bring out all avilible Command Bars such as Charms.

  140. Thanks a lot for this post, again so illuminating and also really convincing. It is exciting to see that our feedback has a real impact on the next Windows OS. Here are some suggestions (and, above all, please consider my concept):

    App screen:

    1) Clearer demarcation between titles and items.

    2) The search results should give a graphically clear priority to group names.

    Apps pinning:

    1) Please make Windows filter which apps will be pinned to the start page (no uninstallation or update apps).

    Non-full screen start page:

    1) The start page should be accessible both as full or as non-full screen (see my concept below). Mainly for two reasons: a) interaction of the start page with other windows, and b) less distraction. As Multitasker pointed out, one should indeed be able to listen to a video and at the same time launch an app without missing anything.

    Taskbar:

    1) As already suggested (by Windowsfan, Aleksey, Andrew Fong… and myself), we need a universal and exhaustive “open apps bar”, from which one could drag a window and snap it into position (again, see my concept below).

    2) Jump lists should appear as right click menu (with some touch equivalent like two-finger tapping) right next to the clicked icon on the open apps bar.

    3) Time, volume, battery life, etc. should appear on this open apps bar.

    Suggested design = a swipable Start page:

    1) The taskbar, as a list of all open apps, would be part of the start page (see Picture 1).

    2) When one would switch to a window, the open apps bar would remain, but as auto-hiding bar (see Picture 2).

    3) Then, if one would want to get to his tiles, he would have two choices:

    a) He would simply switch to the full screen start page (by pressing Win or, say, by clicking twice on the open apps bar) or

    b) He would make the open apps bar visible (by mouse or by swipe) and then he would simply drag the bar itself, thereby bringing some part [as long as he needs] of the start page (see Picture 3). He would then scroll through to find the tile he’s looking for and, on clicking, the start page would then swipe out by itself.

    Pictures 1-2-3: skydrive.live.com.

    Advantages:

    -No more inefficient taskbar needed.

    – A lot less multi-tasking problems.

    – A omnipresent access to all open windows.

    – Icons which would enable jumps lists and dragging/swiping to snap it into position.

    – An easy access to open windows even from the start page.

    – An easy way to make the start page interact with other windows.

    – And no need for the awkward time/date notification anymore, since these notifications would be visible on the open apps bar.

    One could argue that this concept would even be coherent with what Windows 8 already does: as the user swipe out the welcome screen, we would swipe in the start page.

  141. jader3rd says:

    I love this post. The details and data are great. It really does look like the Shell team did their research to get ahead of the naysayers. Once people start using it, they'll like the changes.

    In my mind so many of the worries won't matter. I can't believe people talk about organizing their start menu; what a waste of time to waste more time. Windows key + search term: it's all that really matters. I rarely touch my mouse to launch anything anymore. Plus, as there are more Metro apps there will be more uses for charms and launching from the start menu/screen will be used even less. I don't know if charms can be worked into classic desktop apps, but it would be great if they could be. They really are the start to the computer being able to make an intelligent guess as to what you'll want to do next, and make it easier for the user to do so.

  142. readme.txt says:

    @Steven Sinofsky:

    I like a lot of your ideas. I think the new Start screen has potential in many use cases. I like the tablet I received at build and have enjoyed attempting to incorporate it in my daily life. While I think your team is on the right track in fixing a lot of these pre-beta issues you still appear somewhat reluctant to kill some of your sacred cows.

    That said you defeat your whole explanation in this latest blog by stating things like:

    "Andrew, while it’s true that some enterprises choose not to enable the CEIP (Customer Experience Improvement Program, which gives us anonymous, opt-in feedback about how people are using Windows,) we still receive a huge amount of data from this program, including from enterprise customers."

    Yet you fail to quantify what percent of the feedback is from corporate users. "Huge amount" and "including enterprise customers" do not directly relate but you worded it such that many would make that connection.

    "One small example of this net gain is the ability to press the Windows key and immediately start typing to search for an app. Even though the search box doesn’t appear on the screen, we did extra work to make sure you can type right away"

    Yet you fail to mention that you can do this in Windows 7's start menu today.

    "Though jump lists are often referenced with positive energy by our enthusiast users, the fact of the matter is that the usage of jump lists in the Start menu (most recently used documents for an app, for example) has not really gained as much traction as on the taskbar. To compare, 20% of sessions record a click to open a taskbar jump list, while only 1.2% of sessions record a click to invoke a Start menu jump list. People also use hover to invoke the Start menu jump list (and drag to invoke the taskbar jump list), but it’s difficult to use these numbers because we can’t tell whether the menu was opened intentionally or simply because the mouse was hovering over the item long enough to trigger it. Either way, even with accidental activations via mouse hover, at best, the Start menu jump lists are used half as often as those of the taskbar."

    This woefully twisted explanation has several issues:

    1. You fail to note that this is a relatively new feature. It takes time for people to change their ways. Comparing the up-take of the new start screen in Windows 8 that was installed by enthusiast is by far no fair comparison to the usage data you have on jump lists by every kind of user of Windows 7 today.

    2. You note that jumplist usage on the taskbar is by far better than the start menu but then mitigate that by tossing in assumed accidental mouse hoverings. The truth here is that people found jump lists useful so much so that they added the apps to their taskbars so they could make use of them more easily. That should tell you why they should be incorporated in the start screen.

    3. You suggest later that developers will be able to build off of jump lists with live tiles yet fail to explain how that would be useful for document oriented apps like each and every one of Microsoft's own Office suite apps. Am I supposed to watch the live tile for Word and wait for the thumbnail of my MRU file I want to open to magically appear? If I wanted to play duck hunt I would have kept my Atari.

    Not once have you said "We heard you. We were wrong. This is how we're going to fix it." Instead you justify your choices using language that heavily favors your ideas.

    All-in-all it gives the impression that you've gone out on a limb with Metro and aren't willing to change your ideas in order to meet user demands. I hope you reconsider and take into account some of the great ideas that others have provided that would mitigate a lot of these concerns. For example, here's a bunch or great ideas from Vladimir that would provide better access to running tasks and the ability toi close them: social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/f29aa283-cc21-4877-83e4-5ea56a673a3f

    Also keep in mind that with Windows Phone team also used a lot of statistics and metrics. Look where that got them… Please keep up the great innovative work but also be willing to sacrifice your sacred cows. Thanks for listening.

  143. Here are something I think, buddy.

    As the latest design shows, the programs(or as you call, apps) are combined together, it's so considerate. But it's relatively tedious than those HTML5 apps, 'cause these apps are colorful and attractive, and those classic programs are all little cubes with long captions.

    My suggestions. 1)All apps can resize its "tile", and the icon can be larger. 2)Don't you think many programs, such as "Adobe device central" and "Office upload center"can not be opened ever. These apps can be removed from the main screen(or MUST BE), but there must be a container where all these "useless" programs can be found, without searching for the source folder.

    Vista's and 7's "Game Center" can be a good example. You can design an "app center", which are CORE apps put on the start screen, that will be better.

    Another suggestion. When pointed to a program file, there could be some options such as "add to Start Menu", or "pinned to taskbar", why aren't there an option like "add to Start Screen" or something like that?

    The last words. Do you really want the greenish start screen come to RTM? It's not pretty, I think.

    Best Wishes!

  144. Wolf says:

    You know what the bigest Issue is with the new Design. Ever thing seems to require the Win Key.

    As a gamer, A power Player I disabled the windows Key via registy edited.

    So now as a keyboard and mouse user only. Loading a metro app has casued a big issue for me. ? how do it leave it and get back to the start screen if Im undable to pull out the charm menu via mouse?

    I refuse to use or enable the Windows Key. mailyn to the fact that Playing a online game Like BlackOps and accdently hitting the windows key. Having it atl-tab me out is the bigest pain in the @ss

  145. First off, SQL Server Denali…… that is just awesome!

    The group organization is definitely a move in the right direction.  Are you going to add multiple sorting methods for app searching (i.e. groups, alphabetical, usage, date added)?

    One problem that I have with searching for apps in the Start Menu is the mixing of Metro and Desktop apps.  In the Start Screen app search, I don't know what I'm getting.  I can only manage to bring up the Metro Control Panel and Remote Desktop Connection, which is fine if I’m on a tablet, but not okay on my PC at work.  There needs to be some way to be able to determine a Metro app from a Desktop application.

    The fake charm start menu in Windows Developer Preview is simply terrible.  First off, it should be a clickable button like the regular Start Menu.  Click it once to make it appear and click it again to make it disappear.  The way it works right now goes against everything I’ve learned about conformity in user interface design.  My first impression upon seeing it was that it was unfinished and little to no time was even spent on it.  In Desktop, the Share and Devices charms are almost completely pointless as they are really designed for Metro apps.  Settings seems pretty pointless too, other than the fact that I can actually shutdown my pc from here.  I would really really strongly suggest re-creating this menu specifically for Desktop users.  It doesn’t have to be classic menu with folders, but at least give us a shutdown (with all of the different types) and the control panel.  I would also really really strongly recommend giving us a way to search for Desktop (not metro) applications without leaving the screen.  Probably 80% of the time I’ll go to the Start Screen, but the other 20% I want to stay on the Desktop.

    While I absolutely love the Start Screen and immersive apps, I’m feeling like you’re trying to force us to use them for everything.  When I’m at work, I’ll have open up to two SQL Server instances, two Performance Monitors, multiple Redgate applications, Outlook with multiple emails open, at least 2 Internet Explorer instances each with 10+ websites open, up to a couple Notepads, at least two Windows Explorers, possibly one or two Visual Studio instances, possibly Profiler, and other applications depending upon the situation.  Bottom line is I can’t manage all of this with metro apps and I will never be able to.  While I want use Metro were it makes sense, I need the full power of the Desktop in order to work.  From the people that I have talked to (mainly developers), I think this is the main area where people are concerned.  I do hate to jump on the bandwagon, but I have to agree with others that you should include an option to boot directly to the Desktop.  While I won’t personally be doing this, I strongly believe that businesses will demand it.

    Some of the comparisons such as the 5 click Start Menu vs 5 click Search Menu seem to miss the point.  This goes back to the whole commonly used versus rarely used problem.  Commonly used apps are going to be Tiles or pinned to the Taskbar and will be very easy to find.  Applications that are sometimes or rarely used, on the other hand, are very difficult to find in Metro, especially if you don’t know the name of it.  Adding groups will definitely help.  The comparison doesn’t take into account the amount of time that it will take between each click.  In the Start Menu I can search groups very quickly where in the Start Menu it will be very slow and I will see hundreds of icons in the process.  I’m not opposed to using metrics for this, but it has to consider all paths and not just the happy path.

    Steven and the Windows team, thank you for listening to our comments and feedback.  I know that this means a great deal to all of us.  We love windows and want this version to succeed and be the best that it can be.

  146. Translation says:

    "Our intention is to build on the unprecedented transparency we provide in building Windows and to bring you inside the development of the product."

    IOW, our intention is to show you how right we are and convince you of it. Transparancy is good. Taking practical advise from your users is better.

  147. Tink says:

    How about detection of touch screen interface during the install or just give us the choice to use the new metro interface or the traditional desktop.  I tend to have multiple applications open word, excel etc…  It takes longer for me to start word then switch back to the metro interface to open excel and repeat then it does currently start, run word for example. Win 8 feels toyish at the moment, but I do see the appeal for slate based computing but on a standard desktop with multiple monitors it's a no go.

  148. asdf says:

    Microsoft, can you make the start orb not overlap windows when the taskbar is set to small icons? i.e. please leave the start orb the same height as the taskbar.

  149. Regarding the Mouse Mileage, not sure if it is improved in all scenarios.

    Best Example is Unpinning a tile. It requires you to right click, then navigate to bottom to choose the unpin, they are many issue like this. You guys have to improve it a lot

  150. The only reason why some people are against the new Start screen and "Metro like" interface is that they fail to realize that Win32/.Net programs are considered as a legacy programs in Windows 8. (In the same way that DOS programs are the legacy programs in the original Windows and etc.) In other words, if you only running programs desktop programs and not interested in Metro apps then stick to Windows 7 and stop posting negative comments about Windows 8 that are not constructive. With that said, the Metro interference isn't perfect and there are still things that can be improved. In addition, if the future of Windows is "Metro", Microsoft should show a sneak peak to the Metro version of Office in order prove that it is possible to create these professional applications under Metro without compromises (meaning that touch and desktop users can use apps without any disadvantages). Until this day comes, many people are used to the Win32 environment will be skeptical that Metro is indeed the future of Windows on any platform.

  151. @harsha g: I agree especially  when using the touch pad on a laptop, I don't want to move too much. But this is another example where mouse mileage is worse. If you go to charms (on the desktop with a mouse) and hit the "settings" the plane comes from the right side of the screen instead of the left and therefore you would have to move your mouse from one side of the screen to another (and gets worse if you have a widescreen display). It would be more preferable if the plane came from the right.

  152. okden says:

    i would use metro start if i could use my mouse as a single touch device with gestures.

    IE left hold drag to scroll to programs.

    also i would like the option to have metro as the desktop background including the task bar with auto hide as would rather have metro tiles than gadgets.

  153. I have a question. Where is the Taskbar in the Metro UI? Steven Sinofsky, please answer this. Or any MS representative. And I like how you arranged the apps in the first picture. Brilliant. You got my faith back in Win 8. And can we still use Alt + Tab when we are in Metro UI? Please include that functionality. Don't kill that by giving telemetry statistics for Alt + Tab.

  154. Abilash says:

    Why don't you reduce the level of difference  between traditional desktop and the new metro-UI ?

    I think the biggest jarring difference in UI experience comes from the fact that metro-UI with subtle gradient (if any?) and clear fonts is very very different from the taskbar based UI which has translucency, gradients and way more "dressed up".

    I think the first step would be to "Re-skin" the traditional UI to match more in line with Metro UI. Get rid of the galssy taskbar and use same color palette as metro. Utmost care to be taken in order to make it look presentable, but it will remove the disconnect give people the feeling of two facets of a UI instead of the current feeling of split personality.

  155. Tuxplorer says:

    Wow! What a fantastic an enlightening blog post. It's incredible to learn about the amount of research that goes behind the Windows design process. Pathetic companies like crApple do none of these research or usability studies.

    Metro UI is so BEAUTIFUL, ELEGANT, CLEAN, FAST and FLUID compared to the pathetic static grid of icons in crApple's pathetic products.

    I love EVERY SINGLE change on Windows 8. They increase productivity and efficiency by a huge amount. I'm going to make ALL of my friends and family convert to Windows 8 as soon as it is released. Keep up the good work.

  156. Wolf says:

    How do I access the Charm Bar Via Mouse? Touch and Windows Key is not a option for me as I have no touch and I diable *windows key*

    Please do not tell me its Windows key + C?

  157. Even after three blog posts, Microsoft is yet to convince me why we need a Start Screen in the first place; your reasoning is not good enough because you didn't have solutions to the concerns I raised. Those who are in favor of the Start Menu and Taskbar don't prefer it just because of aversion to change, it's because they feel it's superior hence the demand for choice. And despite the overwhelming majority asking not to make the Start Screen the default for PCs but only for tablets, Microsoft ignores them and takes their own decisions. Fine, fair enough. But just let me have an option in the GUI to enable the Start Menu without disabling the Start Screen so with the input device of my choice, I can set what to open: menu or screen for 1. keyboard, 2. mouse and 3. touch. The Start Screen is a full screen experience that I do not want and it does not even show the taskbar. Why is Microsoft so adamant about giving users the ability to show the menu for mouse and keyboard usage *if they want it* but keep the Start screen for touch? Just because you have built a fresh and new UI, you want to force users to use it or completely disable it using the registry, no middle ground. Your attitude should be "Sure. Okay we will let you have the Start Menu for mouse and keyboard if you want it that badly". Instead your attitude is "Ours is the best approach. Stay with Windows 7 if you don't want to use it. And you most definitely cannot have both, depending on the input device you use to click, hit or touch Start".

    My previous concerns with Start Screen remain (that it cannot beat mainly the Taskbar but also the Start menu):

    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 the app or search. Switching to the Start screen covers the app I am running. Whereas from the taskbar, I can directly click the other app's button on the taskbar to launch it, no intermediate screen involved.

    Notification or at-a-glance information:

    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. I only have to scan the taskbar from left to right to see if any app or notification is demanding attention. 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. Compare that with the taskbar, where all it takes is 1 mouse click to switch once you identify the button on the taskbar. And no switching in serial order is required.

    One additional click to get to the desktop or to show the taskbar does not impact overall efficiency, but one additional click or keystroke (to get to the Start screen) every single time you want to launch or switch to an app is unnecessary which is why the Start screen doesn't work.

    As I tried to use the Start Screen more to give it a "fair go", I came across even more issues than above:

    1.  Some of the apps tiles on the Start screen in the Windows Developer Preview don't even have textual names, just icons, making it harder to quickly identify the app.

    2.  By your heat wave logic, the default selection in the Start screen for a keyboard should be on the bottom left most tile, not the top left most one.

    3.  Because the selection is on the top left most tile, after showing the Start Screen, only pressing the Down arrow key or Right arrow key does something. Pressing the Up arrow key or Left key does nothing, whereas in a menu, the selection begins from the top or bottom depending on whether Up or Down arrow key was pressed.

    4.  Will you clarify what exactly have you done so renaming or moving an item doesn't break Add/Remove programs?

    5.  Can you define custom keyboard shortcuts for the Start Screen items, the way you can assign any keyboard shortcut to Start Menu items? When the Start Screen is enabled (RPEnabled=1), custom keyboard shortcuts for the Start Menu do not work.

  158. NoP says:

    Move the Start button to the center of the screen, making about four times as many tiles easily accessible than it is today! Yes, even when you're showing the good ol' Desktop. Now that'll be a radical change!

    …yeah, of course I'm kidding, and I hope that you are, too – forcing this tablet-nonsense on powerful PCs. Go ahead, suspend apps, when being run on a lowly tablet. Go ahead, optimize for touch, since that's perfectly fine for a tablet. But don't expect users of 30" screens to sit within reach, and put smudge and fingerprints all over the screen.

    I really like the improvements made to the kernel, the faster startup, hell I'd even put up with the ribbon UI in Explorer. But unfortunately, this start screen is going to be a showstopper for me. I'm not saying that you should scrap this whole Metro feature, but IMHO it shouldn't get this much attention. I think a lot of people would be happier if you had a separate Windows 8 for tablets edition (you already have quite a lot SKUs, one more or less doesn't matter) which'd start up with this Metro screen, and all the other SKUs would have a feature that lets the user run WinRT apps as a bonus, otherwise operating normally, as in the last 20 years or so. But I guess Microsoft thinks of jumping into the tablet-bandwagon this way. Oh well.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work, and I love this blog. :)

  159. Ryan says:

    Thank you for your comments and insight into the thought process. There are definitely some good things going on (I love the deep-linking possibilities!). I appreciate your willingness to listen and not just pass off the criticism as folks not open to change, so please regard my comments as someone that is definitely open to change and is carefully listening to your rationale.

    I've used the WDP, and despite everything mentioned and knowing it's pre-beta… something just doesn't *feel right* about it, and I think that is part of the strong reaction here. I would hate to see people blowing off Win8 due to a bad first impresssion, and it's unfortunately sad but true how much that first impression can make or break a product. I'll try my best to add something helpful to the discussion.

    1) Efficiency vs. perceived effort. First, I don't think the heat map used for Win8 regarding the number of tiles is accurate. It certainly doesn't reflect the WDP Start screen, anyhow. You *could* arrange the Start screen this way, but is that likely to happen?

    The bigger point here, though, is about perceived effort. I realize the points about Fitts' Law were brief/simplified, but there's definitely a different perception of the effort involved of a small, close target vs. a large, far target. The perception (and actual efficiency, of course) is also much different for a mouse and keyboard user than a tablet user. What are your usability studies for mouse and keyboard users suggesting for the Start screen? I know changes are coming, but it's hard to imagine without a demo of how it might change. If the Start screen spans more than can fit in the display… it's hard to imagine how this could made to be a pleasant experience for non-touchscreen users. But I'm anxious to be proved wrong on this! :)

    2) Annoyance. Many are asking for a straight-to-desktop option, and this article suggests we're missing out on the value of the Start screen by doing that. However, I think the data provided earlier on gadget telemetry suggests that if the Start screen is in essence a combo launcher + glanceable (gadget-style) data, this doesn't seem the kind of broad appeal that would warrant this inflexible approach. For a tablet, it makes sense to me, but on an assistant's desktop, it would likely be just an extra unnecessary step–and a thorn in the side of the exasperated IT folks tired of explaining "no, really, you can't turn it off."

    I'll attempt an analogy. Imagine a car that, every time you start it, an obscuring heads-up UI is displayed showing gas mileage info, battery/fuel level, options for selecting the radio station or launching the GPS app, etc. This is all helpful info, but it won't let you simply drive until you select the Driving app. Even though it's a single "click," would it eventually drive you crazy?

    3) Data-informed design makes certain assumptions. I realize it's data-informed rather than data-driven design, but nonetheless, the discussion of the data seems narrow to me. For instance, all of the data is specific to the current Windows UI metaphors, yet you are taking the rare opportunity to reimagine Windows. The telemetry data is very useful if you want to build a better version of the current Windows UI, but if you're taking the time to redesign, it's much less helpful, and potentially dangerous. It also doesn't take into account that current features may go relatively unused because the discoverability is poor, or were "advertised"/trained insufficiently (somewhat different than discoverability), or would be used more widely if tweaked slightly, or that other features were relatively widely used because there was no better option available, or… you get the idea. I don't doubt the team realizes this as well, but it isn't apparent from the discussion in the blog posts.

    I guess a theme is emerging as I write this: regardless of the potential efficiency gains, benefits to be had, finally addressing old UI constraints, etc.–regardless of all of those, something that can perceived by the user as getting in their way is not going to be loved. Perhaps one of the elements or questions missing in the evaluation is: does it make the user feel more in control of and more at ease using their computer? I don't see that question being asked directly (more customization options is related, but only part of this question). I think if you put yourself in the desktop worker scenario, the new Start screen doesn't directly answer that question. It answers some other questions, but not that one.

    Honestly though, I think that a large part of the negative reaction on the part of some is due to the overall look and feel. Look and feel is obviously subjective, but there are a couple things I think have some objective merit. First, the color scheme is so… *different* than anything we've known in the Windows world, and when the reality is that the Desktop paradigm is going to remain central for most Windows users, it's jarring–it doesn't feel right. Combine this with the fact that if you're working on the Desktop and go to the Start screen, the Desktop is *poof*–gone–and you have a recipe for an disconcerted user. I know colors are not finalized, but seriously–if you made the background translucent so the user can easily tell their work didn't disappear (just like clicking on the Start menu today doesn't completely obscure their work) and is right there waiting for them, I think the reaction to the new Start screen would be MUCH different.

  160. Harry McLaren says:

    Very detailed post and I like the direction your taking both in design and transparancy. Keep up the good work.

  161. raider says:

    Nice improvements, but I want to read "If you desire it, you'll have the choice to use old regular Start menu or new Start screen for searching and launching applications"

    Still hasn't read something like this. I like 8, but seriously, don't force too much to use only Metro after years and years of traditional habits with Classic/Aero interface.

  162. Microsoft, if you use an image in your blog post demonstrating someone else's Start Menu, you should at least name or give credit to the app that makes it possible. The "evolved" Start menu from Bleipriester’s screenshot is the one from Classic Shell and the Task Manager in that screenshot clearly proves it.

    Also you tout Fitt's law, but Microsoft's entire suite of Office 2010 apps have moved away from the Office button which followed Fitt's law to the File menu button which doesn't follow Fitt's law.

  163. Like @xpclient did complain about the switching apps in Windows 8 in other posts. The people who want like taskbar like the aspect that you can switch apps, see which apps are running and launch at glace. Although, the Start screen now the new destination for launching apps but where is the reimagining of taskbar in terms of knowing which apps are suspended and quickly switch between them without using the start screen. Currently there is no signs of this, but hopefully there is a way so that we have more certainty of switching apps in Windows 8 at a glace and without heading to the Start screen.

  164. sokheang says:

    I am not against the New Start Screen. But please give me an option switch back to my Start Menu. Start Screen is for Tablet, but it's not suitable for desktop. If you don't give us an option to switch back, I'm confident that you give receive a lot of negative feedbacks from average cusumers regarding the start screen alone, and that's demaging.

  165. sreesiv says:

    Phew!!! Good post, but it’s very lengthy, and can sometime make people skim through it without reading it carefully. This problem can also be seen with the way ‘help and support’ OR ‘tips and tricks’ are usually laid out in products.

    It needs to be "simple and concise". That’s the key. All of this great effort for reducing inefficiencies should be made clear to the user and should be encouraged to try out right from the start. Otherwise people will discover these hidden gems very late in their course of use. There should be a cool way to demonstrate these key UI efficiency improvements in a way that reaches the masses and mere mortals.

    Also you could have added a video showing side by side comparison of a scenario being completed, in Windows 7 and Windows 8. A picture is worth a thousand words. A video demo is worth a million words.

  166. sokheang says:

    Anyway, why don't you have Start Buttons on Taskbar? One is for Start Manu and one is for Start Screen. It's the best of both world. :)

  167. sokheang says:

    I mean two Start Buttons on Taskbar. One is for Start Manu and one is for Start Screen.

  168. LeoStorm85 says:

    IMHO the real problem is the fact that desktop have been turned into an app. At the actual stage of development it looks like desktop is considered from Microsoft a legacy way of interaction. But desktop is not a simple app as Autocad, Matlab, Photoshop, Office are not apps, they are applications. From my point desktop should remain the starting point of user's task with the start menu called whenever necessary and not as a full screen application. Also something is missing in statistical reasoning; if users uses start menu less wrt to the past, why are you pushing a start screen even more invasive…it's unsane…at least from the point of view of a professional desktop user.

    If you use the whole screen for the start menu, you should give something really interesting. For example a way (exposè like to change the active application) with the possibility of switching to app (metro style app…not applications) selection or quick research. In this case a full screen start menu should have sense and would be an improvement in usability.

  169. msn@k-kp.de says:

    If I have not the choice to completely deactivate the Start Screen, I will boycott  Windows 8. To work with two desktops is not innovative.

    I want have ONE Desktop, a multitask desktop. I miss a task, I miss a tray.

    It makes no sense for me to start e application, the is switching to the desktop and if I want to start a new application I have to switch to the Start Screen desktop.

    I fed up with the dictation from Microsoft what I have to like and what not. I want to have the choice!

    Please, I implore you. Make the Start Screen optional. This is not a solution for extended or professional users!

  170. mt327000 says:

    lookin good already got my copy preordered, cant wait for the next xbox dashboard update too :)

  171. sem0 says:

    a feature I'd really love to see implemented in Win8 is the ability to group programs pinned to the taskbar! now I use Bins (http://www.oneupindustries.com/bins) but it would be awesome to do this without a third party app…

  172. AdamCarter says:

    That's a lot of words and pseudoscience to justify what it can't be justified. It's easier than all that folks. Just copy what Apple has done: one UI for each interaction style. Now that can't be that hard, can it?

  173. Aleske Evdokimov says:

    Comments are delivering.

    "I'm a power user. I'm productive. Did you hear me? I'm a productive power user! I need my desktop! Oh wait, I can still use my desktop the way it was for W7? Um…I don't care. I'm a power user, did you hear me? I don't care that I could have learned the new UI in five minutes that I spent whining. I am a power user godamit!"

    @Steven, @Marina and whole Core Experience Evolved team – please do not listen to brain-dead 'power users'. Your work is absolutely and definitively amazing and no morons should stop you!

  174. @PastorGL – Man, you nailed it right there! LOL!

  175. workman says:

    新开始屏幕的“搜索”功能+分类显示真坑爹啊。

    原来在win7下,直接搜索,所有结果都出来了,想得到精确结果,也就是多敲几下键盘的事,但在win8下,却弄了个分类,程序app、设置setting、文件files,搞得我敲完键盘后,还得用鼠标切换分类,然后才能找到想要的东西。

  176. The Start Menu is Gone, Bye Bye

    I can understand why some IT Pros are kinda freaked out but the way I see it, we ARE smart, professional people so we should just take a good look at this stuff & UNDERSTAND what is it all about

    Times are changing, computers are changing, Windows is evolving & we should understand that

    Adapting is not a big deal if you understand the reasons

    Kudos to you Steven & to all the Windows Team. This Open Discussion about the future of Windows is most appreciated

    I can see Windows 8 a huge success

    Change for the better is good

  177. My previous comment seems to have been eaten by the system, so at the risk of double-posting I'll more or less repeat my comments.

    First thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed response to my concerns. For clarity, I do NOT have 50 concurrent windows open, I just wish my mind could be that flexible! Instead I have six gadgets giving live update feeds, and 40 or so applications/folders pinned on my screen using Fences. My main work area is a large VMWare window containing at least two sometimes three or four open OS's. This virtual window is run at my old working level of 1200×1024 and is more or less fixed in position. This size allows the various Folders/apps contained in Fences to be permanently visible in their main categories (Fences allows scrolling within its own folders). My working habits are to flit between the various virtualized OS's depending on the task at hand, eyeball the live gadgets, and call up extra folders/apps as required. My main concern with the new Start Menu is its full-screen nature, as I see it interfering with, rather than complementing my preferred mode of operation.

    I'm not against the Metro style Start Screen in that I think it offers a very useful bridge between phone/tablet and Desktop. I'm just not convinced that its current 'full-screen' nature is helpful for desktop professionals who multitask between applications. However if you allow full customization of the new Start screen in terms of both size,and orientation I can see ways of using it to enhance the work habits of professionals.

    I wish I could fully test Windows 8 in my current mode of operation, but unfortunately my main Workstation cpus do not have SLAT and VMWare 8 support for Windows 8 is currently experimental at best.  Such a test will have to wait until next year.  

  178. Thanks Microsoft for listening to us, but the problem is the Start screen is display in full screen, so the users have to look at all around the monitor to pick the app to launch, while compare to Start menu only focus on a small area.  In personally I don't think the Start screen is efficient enough.

  179. Joao M Correia says:

    A whole bunch of words and you still continue throwing pseudoscience and making wrong assumptions.

    For example. Number of clicks.

    On the start menu, if its an app if launched once or twice before, its already on the most used list. Thats two clicks, not five. If its not on the list, and you know the name (which you also assume for the new start screen), then one click and two or three letters. Heh. Also, try counting the clicks/interactions you need to launch the following: Manage My Computer, Control Panel (the useful one), Shutdown, My Documents or Devices and Printers. Now do the same while you're reading a document on some related task. With a single monitor.

    I would also like to see you explain how full screen refreshes over remote desktop sessions are BETTER than refreshing just a corner of the screen. (Consider for example a slow home link with a vpn connection).

    Also, why should someone who already got multiple monitors because of the need for real estate screen space get YET ANOTHER monitor just to display a glorified program launcher? (With the implications of possibly getting YET ANOTHER graphics card, more expansion slot usage and the ridicule of it all – its like paying a tithe to microsoft to use more than one screen.)

    Also, start menu does not have to display just the number of items you posted. The problem with power users is that we actually know how to set the systems to our liking. That is fairly easy to expand -if and when absolutely necessary-. Which actually turns out to not be that often because you dont need a very large list when you just need to type another letter to narrow the list.

    And you also failed to address how a glorified full screen app launcher IS NOT disruptive to a work flow, when it obviously moves everything your doing (or even reading a tutorial) out from in front of you and hidden away. You also top that off with a bunch of "moving and slithering" playschool tiles, all clamoring for your attention. And if you turn those off, then, well, not much to justify a full screen app launcher then, is it?

    Task switching is also attrocious. Side swiping over tens of apps? REALLY? You're not even sugar coating that one up?

    Seriously, how stubborn (or how much do you want to ram the app store down everyones throats) to not simply add a "Do you want a full screen colorfull you're-dumb-launcher or a simple unobtrusive menu to launch programs?" question during installation, or even a simple control panel toggle?

    And you're also assuming that everyone will want phone-like-apps like "facing book", "tweety", or other assorted social crapware. I'd very much like to see Visual Studio, Office or other LoB metrified versions (not as viewers, but as real production software). We don't really need/want kids toys.

  180. Albus says:

    @Windows 8 Team — Felt Awesme reading the post. Am currently usin the DP of Win8.Quite a few suggestions that i would like to include are

    1. The process of loggin  in again after locking your pc on a non-touch desktop is annoying. The part where we have to drag mouse upwards.

    2. To simply shutdown or restart my pc i have to go through more clicks than in Windows 7.

    3. How can i recover the tiles i bymistakely removed from Start Screen?

  181. Joao M Correia says:

    (possible double post)

    A whole bunch of words and you still continue throwing pseudoscience and making wrong assumptions.

    For example. Number of clicks.

    On the start menu, if its an app if launched once or twice before, its already on the most used list. Thats two clicks, not five. If its not on the list, and you know the name (which you also assume for the new start screen), then one click and two or three letters. Heh. Also, try counting the clicks/interactions you need to launch the following: Manage My Computer, Control Panel (the useful one), Shutdown, My Documents or Devices and Printers. Now do the same while you're reading a document on some related task. With a single monitor.

    I would also like to see you explain how full screen refreshes over remote desktop sessions are BETTER than refreshing just a corner of the screen. (Consider for example a slow home link with a vpn connection).

    Also, why should someone who already got multiple monitors because of the need for real estate screen space get YET ANOTHER monitor just to display a glorified program launcher? (With the implications of possibly getting YET ANOTHER graphics card, more expansion slot usage and the ridicule of it all – its like paying a tithe to microsoft to use more than one screen.)

    Also, start menu does not have to display just the number of items you posted. The problem with power users is that we actually know how to set the systems to our liking. That is fairly easy to expand -if and when absolutely necessary-. Which actually turns out to not be that often because you dont need a very large list when you just need to type another letter to narrow the list.

    And you also failed to address how a glorified full screen app launcher IS NOT disruptive to a work flow, when it obviously moves everything your doing (or even reading a tutorial) out from in front of you and hidden away. You also top that off with a bunch of "moving and slithering" playschool tiles, all clamoring for your attention. And if you turn those off, then, well, not much to justify a full screen app launcher then, is it?

    Task switching is also attrocious. Side swiping over tens of apps? REALLY? You're not even sugar coating that one up?

    Seriously, how stubborn (or how much do you want to ram the app store down everyones throats) to not simply add a "Do you want a full screen colorfull you're-dumb-launcher or a simple unobtrusive menu to launch programs?" question during installation, or even a simple control panel toggle?

    And you're also assuming that everyone will want phone-like-apps like "facing book", "tweety", or other assorted social crapware. I'd very much like to see Visual Studio, Office or other LoB metrified versions (not as viewers, but as real production software). We don't really need/want kids toys.

  182. Joao M Correia says:

    From the post:

    "In addition to adding folder structure to this screen and organizing apps within their respective suites, we are also making this view denser. Fitting even more content helps you see what your computer has installed at a glance and decreases the need to scroll. It also decreases the need to navigate a wrapping menu structure or maintain folders or nested folders of programs."

    Erm, how does the first sentence not contradict the last one? You're ADDING a folder structure but you dont need to MAINTAIN folders?

    Also, when you're done adding the folders, and making it denser, just make it transparent, smaller, and call it start menu. Also, make it dock slightly above the windows banner on the taskbar.

    That should make it fine.

  183. @docmattman

    you're right, live icons is the ONLY feature they have on Apple tho… and Apple has 3 on them, and a better experience to boot.

  184. far says:

    very nice post but the transition between the new start screen and the desktop is like two seperare world, also going to the full control panel is a pain in the new windows 8, and the default control panel feels like a dumb down experience with a metro shell,

    going to the number of clicks of win7 VS win 8, if we are getting both 2 clicks on the same OS, then what's the use of building another OS breaking the user familiar UI into something alien without any true performance gain, new OS should always be BETTER in every way compared to the previous OS, giving the same performance defeats the purpose of getting a new OS. i love all the new win 8 features but the metro UI and the transition between start screen and desktop is somewhat a lackluster, live tiles is good but i won't be watching stock market or temperature,

    i do hope u improve the transition of metro vs traditional desktop, and opening the start menu for multi tasking is improved

    next blog post i would like to know how u improved multitasking and also talk about the new file system called protogon… can;t wait for the beta.

  185. Thank you for the in-depth post. I can't reflect on all if it at once, but here are some remarks which immediately come to mind:

    – The new App layout is promising, but with it you are also showing one of the UI's greatest weakness. Sure, you have lots of icons on screen, but when it comes to PROGRAM GROUPS, you have much less visible than on the current Start Menu!

    Think about this for a moment. If I search something on the Start Sreen, chances are I will look for the group first, and the shortcut within the group second. From this point of view, the Start Screen's setup is actually much less efficient than the original.

    Why not make the groups collapsible, and perhaps expand on hover or click? It would be similar to the Start Menu's folder structure (gasp!), but it would make much better use of the screen.

    – You argument with Fitts' Law fails to take TOUCHPADS into account. I am using one on my laptop right now, and can tell you (but try it yourself if you don't believe me) that the distance of two UI controls is much more problematic than size. When I want to get to the other edge of the screen, I have to swipe my fingers many times over the touchpad.

    For touchpad users, the "whole screen" Start Screen is a nightmare. How can you fix it? I don't think you can, doing so would probably hurt touch/other users. But you could give your users choice.

    I'd like to reiterate my previous question, which I don't think was answered here. Why do you insist tablet and desktop users sharing the same Start Screen, when the rest of the UI is obviously differentiated to more tablet-friendly and more desktop-friendly parts? You can't please everyone at once, why are you trying to do the impossible?

    It's not bad that you want to reimagine the Start Menu, but the "one size fits all" approach is simply not working.

  186. how about grouping similar applications in one icon on desktop task bar and you get to those applications

    as jump list  

  187. @bumblebritches57 says:

    You are an obvious troll. Keep yourself away from Microsoft ecosystem. You were a linux guy remember? the other day how you were crying about linux being better than windows before you were thrown out from the room? And now its Apple? Listen, you keep eating apple, in the end dig iGrave for yourself too, do whatever u want… but get the hell out of here phaleazee!

    BTW, why do you have windows desktop pictures on deviantart? Daymme,  you little hypocrite!

  188. This is great.

    I like this post because it gives a clear message that you indeed are listening and are actively working to do something with that feedback.  Respect!

    Indeed, the new app(lication) overview brings back the much needed grouping of suites of app(lication)s.  It's great!

    I must admit, I'm still pretty skeptical about the thing being full-screen and I don't expect that to change until I get my hands on the beta and see how it feels then.  I'll let that rest for the time being as it's clear that you are aware of those concerns.

    We were discussing this post here at work and a collegue of mine had a GREAT idea for the metro start screen: make groups collapsible.  Default them to "expanded" state and save the changes accross settings.  As in: if I collapse group A and reboot, group A should remain collapsed.

    I think that would indeed by very, very helpfull.  It would be an awesome way to organize and personalise our start screen.  I personally think that feature suggestiong is bang on the money!

    And I also have a question…

    What's up with the word "app"?  Where did this suddenly come from?  Apple?

    The thing is, when I (and I suspect a lot of other people as well) hear the word "app", I'm thinking "Angry Birds, Farmville and farting sounds".  I'm not thinking "office, visual studio, cubase,…". Those productivity suites are called Applications.  :-)

  189. App Store says:

    Guys,

    All this bla, bla it's just BS.

    Start Screen app store model will be forced on us. That's the only reason why MS is forcing us to use the new start screen even on Desktop. I believe that even lots of people working on MS dont like this model, but hey the big bosses money oriented short sighted are the bosses on charge, so…

    Well i will stick with Win7 or move to Apple OSX or Linux. I refuse to use Win8, maybe if i make some dll removal of Metro Start Screen.

    BTW i love Metro start screen for tablets.

    Win8 has some great potential but for now its way downgrade from Win7.

  190. App Store says:

    Well maybe i can install Google Desktop and from there open my apps and files/folders. Not the best way but way better then the all screen Metro distinct Desktop look…

  191. mt327000 says:

    I haven't read your post Steven but I can't keep quiet. I will always mess up and jump into the discussion which I don't have any knowledge about. I am a retard. Please give me a special treatment and ignore the crap I am spreading around. I love Windows 8 and I know I won't regret using it. Nobody will. Please release its beta version or even RTM ASAP because Windows 8 is some OS I am desperately waiting to use it as my primary OS.

    best,

    – mt327000 (aka: WindowsUser78)

    or you can call me retard … suite yourself 😉

  192. techieg says:

    One of the main features will be to make sure we can "easily" disable the Metro Start screen and be able to use the traditional one especially for those on other than tablets. This is extremely important especially when you don't need Metro on your desktop or laptop since it is not as suitable for keyboard and mouse.

  193. danwdoo says:

    I enjoyed the post and the reasoning behind it. I like the improvements to the app, screen but the groups are hard to see at a glance. Some kind of color differentiation would be helpful (think alternate lines being shaded in excel as an example of offsetting data). Something that makes it easy to see at a glance where a group begins and where it ends would be helpful.

    I am excited to see about all the customization that is coming. You points about customizing the startup screen breaks uninstalls is so true. I gave up on even trying because of this very reason! I hope there will be controls to prevent apps from adding links to docs, web pages and other non-essentials that are not specific programs but we'll see. At least if I can clean it up without breaking anything would be a big improvement!

    Keep up the great work and please hurry up on that beta!!!! =)

  194. Generally: the more I see the more I like.

    Specifics:

    Window/app management – From the very beginning of multi-tasking/multi-windowing systems, there has been two approaches – overlapping vs panes. I think you are going the right way with panes. Windows has always had poor window handling (e.g. maximise instead of size-to-content, multiple menubars), and while Win7 improved things a bit, I think the Win8 approach is better and more aligned with Alan Coopers Sovereign and Parasitic Application Postures. When you add in the predominance of tabbed rather than multi-window applications now, I think overlapping application and document windows are a metaphor that has passed its sell-by date for most scenarios. I do think you could go even further than the two pane approach – obviously you can with multiscreen – but you could put six 800×600 panes in low dpi  on a 27in+ screen and still give each pane as much room as on a small tablet. I also like the Contract/Transient Posture approach. There were a lot of other good ideas in Coopers About Face book (first published in 1995) that are just now beginning to appear.

    Start screen as Taskbar replacement (thinking long-term) – I think jumplists need to have some life on the start screen. I'd be happy if they could be accessed through the start screen appbar, like resize and unpin. I presume the default behaviour of tap/click on a tile is to switch to an already running application, and I presume shift/ctrl click will behave with tiles as they do with taskbar buttons. Again appbar buttons would satisfy me as a fallback/discoverable. I'd like a visual indicator that a tile/app is already running, but could probably live without it. Tile controls, similar to the taskbar peek controls, would be nice but would need to be re-engineered to be touch first, and might not be worth the candle. As for the task switcher that everyone is calling for (but I thought you'd already indicated was on the way), I'll just note that I find I'm just as likely to click on the thumbnails in Alt-Tab as the Taskbar.

    Persistent notifiers – I tend to agree that WINKEY,glance,WINKEY isn't much of a price to pay when coupled with timely alerts (as on WP7), but "watermarks" (non-interactive translucent screen overlay icons) might be worth investigating if they can be restricted – maybe just device related and the action center flag?. I'd like if Toasts had a watermark template too. I hate Toasts that obscure application controls.

    Mini/builtin-applications, control panels, etc. I hope these are all getting overhauled. I understand the many reasons why the desktop needs to be maintained, but I'd hope not much of the oobe would make use of it. A repeat of the Add Font Dialog, we don't need.

    Touchpads –  These will definitely be the poor relation for cursor movement; mouse, trackball and stick are much easier to "throw" across the screen. Maybe its worth adding class driver support for throw-to-edge gestures and/or key combinations to better support the infinite-edge element of Fitt's law.

  195. I'll be the first to say that I'm thrilled and excited about the Metro UI, and I will likely be one who uses it heavily.

    However, as a system administrator, I expect … no, insist … that there be a Group Policy to revert to Windows 7 start menu style. It's not that I don't want to transition my users to Metro… I do. However, I want to do it at my own timing and discretion, and the lack of admin control is why I avoided Vista. When the ribbon UI came to office, I embraced it, I pushed for it, and I have been a champion proponent. It made sense, and while different it was consistent with current UI elements and concepts. Metro, I feel, is excellent but is too drastic a difference for many users despite the benefits.

    Steven, your posts always prove that you truly listen to your customers. I genuinely hope that this is a post you will listen to and acknowledge.

  196. @Microsoft says:

    There are 195 comments so far. You can see this thing can be resolved if you give the users option to toggle between Classical start menu and Start Screen. Even if Start Screen is not selected as a first screen when OS loads, make the user able to switch to it by dragging the screen from left corner to rightwards. This will make everyone happy except the Apple dogs like BumbleBritches57.

  197. App Store says:

    One simple solution would be Start Menu mouse right-click. Left-Click would make the new start screen appear. Right-click the old. I am sure all people would agree with that. You could then costumize the left-right as you which.

  198. Dasharath k. says:

    — Pls note that all my comments below are related to desktop and laptop users where mouse, keyboard and  pad area are mostly used – this is not referred to touch hardware —

    Thanks for the detailed explaination – I'm a bit more prone to accept this big change now

    Nonetheless I stongly believe we need Metro Start to have the SAME FEATURES as old "Start+taskbar" UI had – just to mention a few:

    * Tiles for Computer, Network, Music, User, Pictures, Control Panel, Power, etc..

    this will allow the user to find the link he already knows in the new Start UI

    My Start menu is more populated on the right panel than the left one. Because most apps are on the taskbar and "system" links are on the start menu right panel

    * one click away from that file related to that app – I guess you call this deeplink

    Today I can do "start / hover Excel / click on .xls file I need to open" – it's quick and effective !

    My idea is that tomorrow we should have 2×1 tiles where

          you click to launch the app – OR –

          you click on the right of the tile (or right click) – opens a sub menu with links to "app-related file"

    * a tile for SEARCH

    mandatory, since we have to go to start often, than it's better that tile is there

    * tiles that can be selected via keyboard by certain key stroke methods – like today "start, type E,X,C, Enter" and you have Excel !

    ————————————————————————————————-

    Customization

    I've noticed the calculus for the number of tiles on a 1920×1080 screen: that number of tiles is good AS LONG AS WE CAN TWEAK tiles dimensions and spacing like we do now with Icons

    Grouping is good – what about a semitrasparent area behind grouped tile to "mark the group border" ?

    What about bigger tiles for bigger notifications ? (like 3×1 or 2×2 or even 3×2 ?)

    what about customizable metro start background ?

    maybe it can be selected as semi-transparent like Aero ? users will be able to glance at the same image thay have as the desktop background behind the tiles

    ————————————————————————————————–

    A part from these improvement, we need task switching to be the most efficient and understandable as possible – today ALT-TAB or the "permanently show task-bar" are very quick and very clear

    Tomorrow ?

    will I have to go through the start only to go back to the last app I was using ?

    what about SNAP, SHAKE etc to have 2 or more apps adjusted on the screen ?

    or moving to the border to have a window partially resized ?

    Personally, both for work and at home,  I move constantly between 3 or 4 windows (which are usually 2-3 apps) I don't see now W8 to be more effective than W7 in this activity

    —————————————————————-

    I think W8, for desktop and laptop, will have a slow adoption rate – maybe it won't be another Vista but again it's gonna be slow

    regards

  199. Joao M Correia says:

    Interestingly, i came across a Linus Torvalds quote relating to changes in Gnome

    In 2005, he took aim at GNOME developers for trying to oversimplify things. "This 'users are idiots, and are confused by functionality' mentality of Gnome is a disease," he said. "If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it."

    (found it here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/…/linus_slams_gnome_three)

    Although i'm not a special advocate for linux (and in fact, quite like windows 7 and 2008 r2), i find the quote highly appropriate to the Metro user experience with start screen.

    [And note that i particularly enjoy how many clicks i save by using the new explorer ribbon – its a -great- improvement, specially for common tasks]

  200. RonV says:

    The user swho constantly berate Microsoft by saying that "they don't listen" need to discover this blog. If they don't read and comment here, they have no reason to complain after Windows 8 is released.

  201. mt327000 says:

    I'm a power user. I'm productive. Did you hear me? I'm a productive power user! I need my desktop! Oh wait, I can still use my desktop the way it was for W7? Um…I don't care. I'm a power user, did you hear me? I don't care that I could have learned the new UI in five minutes that I spent whining. I am a power user godamit!

  202. Good article! It's great to see that how the CEIP influence your engineering work.

  203. mt327000 alias WindowsUser78 says:

    These so-called "power users" are mostly just brain-dead people with a very low IQ. They don't have the brains to even read the blog posts and all the studies that are explained there. They try to use their self-proclaimed "power user" status to hide their inability to learn new things. They are a bunch of pathetic morons

  204. DamionM says:

    Sorry Steven still not convinced… If you think about what you said you are just stating in your blog post why taking up your entire screen is better than taking up part of your screen to show information.

    When we moved from DOS to the windows GUI the command prompt was not taken away. As we move from GUI to METRO our start menu is taken away and there is really no real explanation for it besides we needed a way for users to get to the start screen. I say just use the charms or add some icon on the taskbar / start menu.

    I like METRO but i think that the limitations your team has placed on it for desktop users with the respect to items such as hubs, folders, windowing metro apps, limitation in screen size is its undoing.

    Windows is a product that sells itself but when you have the new METRO interface there isn't any value to DESKTOP users and that is the issue. Tablet's and all other devices in the world yes i agree with you it works great.. Why? Because all the other devices you are almost always doing one thing at a time. On your desktop it's very different.

    I really don't see why the desktop and start menu needs to be affected because of the metro additions. Just leave it alone work on metro. We will have different worlds just as we did when we went from DOS -> GUI -> METRO.

    Here are some suggestions i think would help metro's use for desktop users:

    1) Apps should be organized in hubs and folders, my choice is hubs for suites and smaller hubs for general apps with their uninstallers, read me files and helper files.

    2) You should offer users a choice in how apps are displayed, and start screen is displayed ie: tiled, list, icons, view etc. I think one of the issues you have is that some users like various views and picking one way to present it will only alienate the others. So this is where having a choice helps your team.

    3) Either leave the start menu alone or create a windows phone like experience in the start menu's place. You have enough room to do it.

    4) Just as program files created folders when apps were installed so should it be easy for developers to create hubs to organize install programs and proved a way to provide product information for already installed program suites or upcoming items. This would be on of metro's unique features as it would provide the ideal scenario for using metro instead of the desktop apps currently provided today. Ie: If creating an hub is as simple as selecting elements in an installer and use Microsoft’s azure to provide the updates, news and notifications to the desktop then it would help developers.

    5) There should be a windowed like experience for metro and a taskbar, overlays, popups etc.. Full screen apps for desktop means productivity and multitasking take a hit.

    6) Multiple monitor support should be practical for the start screen and multitasking through apps.

  205. App Store says:

    @mt327000 alias WindowsUser78 you are a pathetic user. Do you fell numbers are more important then your experience on a daily basis? Are you easily impressed by some fancy graphics?

  206. Matt says:

    Impressive post. I appreciate the work involved and am enjoying Win 8 on my Asus ep121 Slate (aside from a few driver issues). Jump Lists within the Metro UI would be nice, Keep up the great work, I think this OS will banish the Microsoft curse of; 'every other release of Windows is crap'. :-)

  207. Joao M Correia says:

    "We've seen some small amount of visceral feedback focused on "choice" or "disable""

    Your definition of small is special.

  208. chriswin says:

    Thank for you for the response, and we love what you doing so far. But I still think under 500 comments on this issue is not enough to implement any changes, I would recommend you get feed back from over 500 000 Microsoft partners globally and maybe customers (in your windows retail stores or other retailers), academic and business users too. A survey with questions and a short feedback (we are sure you have their email addresses for your parnters) will make things easier and a redirect to this blog (and a link to download the preview) will help a lot, it might take some effort but it will reduce change pains and facilitate windows re-imagined introductory and to perfect the product before deployment.

  209. JoeS says:

    How about pinch zoom on a tile to reveal a tiles that represent recent docs for that app? That would add the jump list equivalent to the start screen, and make the screen more '3D' (I can already see the WP7.5 style animation).

    It would end up being efficient as well:  one swipe and one tap to get to a recent doc, similar to task bar jump lists.

    I guess being buried below 400 posts is not going to get this noticed, but hey, got it off my chest.

  210. this really is quite phenomenal of the microsoft team, thanks! Many points you address satisfactorily but I am still eager to hear you address this decision of OS bifurcation into Metro and Desktop. As I read closely about the admirable work you've done in memory management and other core functioning improvements it seems to me that this decision must have evolved out of some such engineering requirement. I.e. the desktop requires resources that many people don't need and so Windows shouldn't load those resources … but if they're really necessary then we switch over to the traditional interface where such functions become available.

    This kind of thinking may be fantastic from an engineering point of view (and as I said, I'm eager to hear your actual reasoning) but it doesn't make it a good design or user-interface decision nor (I hope) a necessary one.

    Why not have the implementation of traditional desktop functions (taskbar, full start menu etc) be just the introduction of greater complexity into your metro interface in a manner like that laid out by user LudoMatico in his screenshots here: http://www.moquo.com.ar/…/desktop+metroapps.jpg

    Your typical metro interface is really barebones, just like you've already laid it out. But when you need advanced settings you flip a switch and up pop LudoMatico's extra buttons, the taskbar etc. and it feels much more like you're just enhancing your computer's capabilities rather than completely leaving one environment and entering another. This kind of switch would make Win8 feel like a much more cohesive experience! No doubt this would cause all kinds of headaches I can't fathom and can only poorly understand from the more technical level but from the standpoint of style it would be SO much improved from the current behavior.

  211. Solution to Metro crap says:

    Just remove/rename the DLL for Metro and the start Metro screen and you have fixed it :-)

  212. I think Metro is a great idea. But I think you (Microsoft) need to check some ideas from people who commented here, like:

    social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/f29aa283-cc21-4877-83e4-5ea56a673a3f

    or

    skydrive.live.com

    On my opinion, what Windows 8 need is:

    – A more natural transition from desktop to Metro;

    – Some kind of taskbar to check the opened applications. This snapping from the left thing is completely unfunctional;

    – A better mouse/keyboard usability. And please, take off these scrollbars from Start Screen…

  213. macewan says:

    Glad to see Microsoft improving Apple's Launch pad. Sure it's similar but your take on it is prettier.

  214. de@iru.ch says:

    That's all ok and fine. The only thing that has me worried is the transition. Opening the start menu catapults me to a whole different world visually. Maybe it's that I'm not yet used to it – maybe it's that you haven't yet had time to add nice touches to the transition. Opening notepad for example will lead to two full-screen transitions with the Win8 model.

    As it stands now the start menu feels like it's coming from a different world.

    BTW: I'd love if App & Control Panel results were listed in the same list when searching in the start menu.

  215. Obviously, the most important question has been answered. Win 8 will use ONLY Metro. This is where Microsoft is going. They believe that if they can justify why they believe Metro is the way to go forward, that we will fall in line like the good little sheep we are. I'm sure that there are a lot of home users that will love the new interface. I wish MS lots of sales to them. By the same token, MS should also note that there are a lot of us that are not happy with the direction that they are heading. These are customers that have used their products in some of the most demanding situations. I, personally believe that MS is not doing us justice in the way that they are answering our concerns. Since this is pretty much a Windows only institution, I suppose that I'll end up having to support Win 8 but, I'll recommend staying with Win 7 as long as possible. & I will probably switch to kubuntu (since ubuntu has done the same stupid trick of ticking off it's user base with Unity). This statement is not meant as anything but a statement of fact. I know that I'm just a peon as far as the grand scheme of things goes. Good luck with Metro.

  216. All right, someone at Microsoft has now publicly admitted this: "We know that remembering where something is located is much easier in a 2-dimensional space than in a 1-dimensional list", not to mention muscle memory as well.

    1) This is good, I have dreamed of a tile based interface since the late 80's.  I hope you guys have time to add some customization / scriptability to a tile so it can serve as something like a workflow inbox etc.

    2) Please go slap someone in the taskbar group.  They have failed at this simple concept for decades now.  To wit: if I launch 5 explorer windows, then I goddamn well expect their order in the taskbar to remain the same across restarts.  Closing them down and reopening them over and over and over again just to get the proper order I already entered last time is terribad UI.  Fail.  Chrome, a third party browser does this correctly, even across a crash.  Show some pride and finally fix this rubbish.

    3) If I drag a file onto an app on the taskbar, do you not think the likely scenario is "launch the damn file"?  Why the braindead attitude where I have to hover, wait for the app to focus and get to the foreground, then pray that it has a valid drop zone showing.  If not, its back to some window to find the file yet again.  Ugh.  Please make such drops consistent across the taskbar as well as onto the start screen tiles.

  217. giventake says:

    Andre Bires,

    Great ideas!  This version of Win8 is almost perfect.

    social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/f29aa283-cc21-4877-83e4-5ea56a673a3f

    Why?

    Because the desktop remains as the rightful, dominant metaphor along with a Start MENU, a TASKBAR that should always be visible – even in the Start SCREEN mode and the visual cues that it is really a part of the OS and not a bolted on part like the Start Screen looks and acts now.  The Shut down dialogue is a stroke of genius too.

    I also agree with others that ask for a 'Metro Office' version to see how a user would use Win8 productively (I'm talking multitasking here) as it has been presented so far.  I fail to see how it would be more productive, direct and efficient than what we have right now with Win7, Start Menu and TaskBar functionality.

    Steven Sinofsky, are any ideas like the above link shown being discussed at Win8 headquarters?  If not, why not?  This is the Windows 8 that I want to see on my system(s) soon.

  218. McZ says:

    I want Metro on my desktop. My wife also says OK, my 80-year-ole grandpa managed to use a computer for the first time using it.

    But there should be a choice. Based on user profile, a user should be able to choose one of the following modes:

    – Metro mode: Start Screen as is, scratch any notion of having something like a desktop (for what?); start Win32-apps in a Metro-styled Window with Taskbar replaced by AppBar, Max button removed, Min button = fall back to live-tile, Close button as is; this will make W8 Metro a coherent userXP.

    – Legacy mode: just start the Desktop including old Startmenu to make the ignorants happy. No possibility of jumping to Metro, let them live with their in most cases badly designed desktop apps not having any idea about multithreading.

    @Joao M Correia

    For the record: the father of an OS, which has a minimal success in the desktop world BECAUSE OF IT'S UI and it's COMPLEXITY, is complaining about oversimplification. What exactly should MS learn from this?

  219. McZ says:

    I want Metro on my desktop. My wife also says OK, my 80-year-ole grandpa managed to use a computer for the first time using it.

    But there should be a choice. Based on user profile, a user should be able to choose one of the following modes:

    – Metro mode: Start Screen as is, scratch any notion of having something like a desktop (for what?); start Win32-apps in a Metro-styled Window with Taskbar replaced by AppBar, Max button removed, Min button = fall back to live-tile, Close button as is; this will make W8 Metro a coherent userXP.

    – Legacy mode: just start the Desktop including old Startmenu to make the ignorants happy. No possibility of jumping to Metro, let them live with their in most cases badly designed desktop apps not having any idea about multithreading.

    @Joao M Correia

    For the record: the father of an OS, which has a minimal success in the desktop world BECAUSE OF IT'S UI and it's COMPLEXITY, is complaining about oversimplification. What exactly should MS learn from this?

  220. ThreadingPlease! says:

    I know this is more a fact of how the MSDN and TechNet blogs are currently setup, but ANYTHING you can do to make the comments section actually threaded would be awesome!  With the number of comments for each post, it's nearly impossible to track a response to someones questions.  

    A simply reply to an already existing post with the reply staying inline would be FANTASTIC!

  221. learamarrant says:

    @McZ,

    Your grandfather does not need a desktop.  Nor, obviously, does he do any work on a computer.  He is welcome to use Metro (and it would probably be even easier for him on a tablet too).

    You and your wife are also happy with Metro?  I'm happy for you!

    But please don't force your simplified view of a desktop computer experience onto someone who knows what he's doing with one.

    Neither should MS.

  222. Quppa says:

    @Marina Dukhon [MS]:

    Thanks for the suggestions. Pinning 'Computer' definitely helps, and I'm happy to see that I can even use it to access the system properties (though it takes a right click, moving the mouse a significant distance and two left clicks as opposed to a right click and a left click in close proximity). Adding the administrative tools to the Start screen seems like a poor replacement of the menu found in earlier versions of Windows. This made me remember something else for which an alternative is missing: the recent items menu (admittedly this is disabled by default in Vista and 7). Perhaps the main thing that menu has going for it is the 'Open file location' context menu item, something Jump List MRU lists lack for some inexplicable reason.

    @mt327000 and others:

    There is a setting in the Group Policy Editor called 'Do not show the Start Menu when the user logs in' which is meant to take the user straight to the desktop when starting Windows. It seems to be tied to a DWORD in the Registry called DontShowStartMenuOnLogin. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't seem to have any effect in the Windows Developer Preview. Still, it suggests that Microsoft is considering it as an option (whereas there is no option listed to properly disable the Start screen).

  223. LSE says:

    Simple question:

    MSFT is clearly aware that there are drawbacks with the current start menu. Why not design a start menu that works better but it is more at home in the desktop mouse/keyboard environment and keep this new start menu for the metro world. Yes I know, two start menus is crazy but it seems a lot of the drawbacks from the new start menu come from the need to support touch. Given touch will only be available in the minority of windows 8 machines, it seems rather pointless to try and push it to so many people that won't care for it. Keep the metro world a click away, but give the mouse/keyboard users a better experience. They are your bread and butter after all. The last think you want is for the start menu to taint the reputation of windows 8 and for your competition to seize on that to re-create the VISTA = BAD campain they ran to great success.

  224. @ Vladimir Krstic. Concerning: social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/f29aa283-cc21-4877-83e4-5ea56a673a3f. Really interesting. One big problem: at the current stage the Windows team seems to set the bottom edge and the top edge of the screen aside for metro apps (e.g. metro Internet Explorer). Your taskbar would require redesigning the way metro apps are built. I suppose this explains why the taskbar appears only on the desktop. This is why I suggest there should be some kind of taskbar on the right edge of the screen. But this is my humble opinion.

  225. Ray Charles says:

    Many complainers there and elsewhere fall into one of those categories:

    1. Don't even use (or shouldn't use) the start menu to launch apps all that often anyway in W7 but still make a big deal out of the new start screen.

    2. "I'm a power user. I'm productive. Did you hear me? I'm a productive power user! I need my desktop! Oh wait, I can still use my desktop the way it was for W7? Um…I don't care. I'm a power user, did you hear me? I don't care that I could have learned the new UI in five minutes that I spent whining. I am a power user godamit!"    

  226. axelriet says:

    How much is 30% of the US$ 457 billion software industry? Here is the motive. Like it or not, Metro and its mandatory "app store" are both coming. Microsoft needs a clear "disruptive innovation" break in order to redefine the software distribution model, force itself in the loop and secure its $ cut on everybody's work. This is it.

  227. I hope you know that everything you wrote in the "Overall, isn't this a real usability problem?" section is wrong.

    The speed for clicking a button does not depend on the button size. (unless the button is unreasonably tiny) and the time you reach something with a mouse does not depends on the distance. (Not with the default mouse settings where the mouse speed is not linear with the distance )

    Much more important what the user expects. Button position and time to accustom the the new information etc. And the Metro UI is horrible in that. Going to the start screen breaks the user experience. Puts the user into a totally new work environment (with new colors with tiles instead of icons new type interaction) where the user has to think in a different way to achieve something.

    If the whole desktop experience is changed (I dont want this,this is NOT a suggestion) then you can justify the MetroUI. However adding MetroUIon top of the existing Desktop is not working. It breaks up the work. It breaks up you concentrations on what you actually doing. Just to start notepad you have to go through 2 page transition. You dont create a work flow. You create work islands.

    A suggestion. I would like i the user on desktop could start typing and on the right side search result would show up. I would love that.

  228. I see that a lot of work has been invested into this blog post. But still I have some issues with the present design. I am just a regular user as I uses my machine for simple daily activities.

    I will try to highlight some of the issues that I think should be addressed:

    1. The start screen tends to occupy whole of my screen which a user usually won't prefer. So, try to make it customizable to occupy lesser space. Although I do agree that more space should be available to accommodate more tiles but still it doesn't seem right.

    2. It takes out the concept of "drag n drop" for quick pinning of docs, apps, and other stuff as there is no room for other windows once you press the "windows key".

    3. The greatest of my concerns lies with the fact that you aren't doing anything to improve the basic element of windows – Desktop. I think you are too much inclined towards the introduction of start screen although Desktop forms a much more important part. I hope some work will go into its "Re-imagination" that includes extended support for Desktop gadgets (which I believe will fade away after this concept of live tiles) and some improvement in Grouping methods of Desktop items.

    I hope these Issues will be considered and properly dealt with..

  229. Stefan says:

    Drop the Metro UI completely on PC's ! Let us choose which of the classic start menus we want; 2000, XP, Vista, 7. Metro UI on a PC; at home or in an enterprise will never work. It is simple as that. Every Windows released have always resulted in tons of third party software where the users can customize looks and functionalities in Windows that can't be done by default, f.ex the disabled feature with the rightclick with; move to… and copy to…. Why can't You add these, and other, features in to Windows by default ? Why do the users have to search the internet for these softwares/tweaks to get what we want ? If You drop that Metro crap Windows 8 can become a winner, but if You continue with it i would rather use Windows MIllenium than Windows 8.

  230. Jack says:

    "At first use, people were scared to death of it!  Soon after?  We can't imagine life without it!"

    We can't???  The ribbon doesn't seem to do much more than the previous drop-down menu system.  Please don't include me in your "us" with regards to the ribbon or Metro.

  231. Stefan says:

    I would like to add that let the users choose between NORMAL menus and that RIBBON CRAP You try to force on to us…..

  232. Just give it time... says:

    I completely understand voicing your concerns now, so that any modifications can get built into the final product.  However, as I read complaints from people…  it all feels like the Office ribbon all over again.

    Think of the number of people that threw up their arms in panic when it was announced, and how they hated it.  How it was going to bring down productivity and ruin their day.

    Now that it's been out and in use for awhile, I can't imagine going back to menus and chevrons… digging for hidden options… etc, etc, etc.  Granted I'm sure there are still more than plenty of people that hate the ribbon.  You just can't please everyone.  For those that hate the interface… use something else, or build something better.

  233. marriednotstupid says:

    Steven Sinofsky,

    The 'future' as trailblazed by Apple is in an App store.

    This, I can understand as being the grounds of your inflexible stance on making the Start Screen optional in Windows 8 (on a desktop system).

    But what makes you or anyone on your team think that an App store is going to be good for MS in the corporate space in which you now dominate?  Corporate users won't be allowed to download/install what they want on their work systems.  They won't be allowed to stare at pretty tiles that show them what they should be doing.  They're expected to simply get a certain amount of work done, with the least piddling around.

    Professional users also will be mostly 'immune' to an App store.  They already have the Programs and Applications they need to be productive.  If and when they need something new or better with which to do their work, the last thing they'll do is impulsively buy from an App store – hoping that the $1/$2/$10 junk they find will make them more productive.  Sure, they're only human – they'll succumb too (well, a few), but the effort your team has put in will in no way be rewarded from these two subsets of your overall user base.

    So, we are down to home/casual users.  Here, I agree – go crazy.  Force the App Store on these users and many times (a day/month/year) you will get them to buy impulsively.  Great for you and for the developers.

    But, I have to ask.  What part of the Windows users base is Corporate/Professional/Business users and what part is Home/Casual users?

    I am sure that there are enough in the former to also make it worthwhile to allow them to enjoy the under-the-hood improvements you are making to Win7, without forcing a lame App store and all the Apple 'locked-in-ness' that your are trying to create with your current Windows 8 direction.

    Focus your energies where you will have at least a chance of getting something in return.

    And, at the same time keep your business/professional users happy too.

    The App store will come to everyone, sooner, rather than later, I'm sure.

    But by forcing it's use now, with repercussions to efficiency and productivity with no return for either you or the parties you're offending, you will simply scatter your energies and the rewards (overall) will not outweigh the bad will and hostility you are creating unnecessarily today.

    How can you keep corporate/business/professional users happy?

    Give them more options.  Not less.

    Give them real performance improvements.

    Give them the OS tricks and self optimizations that fully utilize the resources current (and inexpensive) systems have on tap.  Don't do the 'optimizations' on desktops that are meant for tablets/phones.  Make substandard (hardware-wise) devices usable, but don't drag the top-end hardware down to those levels while you're at it.

    Give them a more transparent OS.  Not an in your face Start Screen.

    Give them a more stable O/S.  Win7 is great – make Win8 phenominal!

    Give them the tools to manage open applications more effectively.  3 or 4 programs is the practical limit for Alt-Tabbing between them.  After that, the Taskbar rules (up to the maximum icons your taskbar can display at one time).

    Do the Taskbar one better: Give them a 'zoomed out' view of all running programs with WIN+S (for 'switch') – give me this view in your beloved tile view – but if I can see and click on any random running program with this kind of ease, then we are talking progress (and please – don't rearrange these windows/tiles randomly – keep/show them in the order they were opened – they're opened like that for a reason, after all – but just in case – allow users to move them as they see fit too).   Not a Start Screen that is harder and less efficient to navigate than the Start Menu is now (when I have over 400 programs installed on my systems).

    Give them an optimized storage subsystem.  Allow the Users, the Programs and the Windows folders to be located at a specified drive/partition at time of install, as the users see fit.  Without breaking Windows Repair.  And with the option of using the Users folder that is currently on the drive/partition it was pointed to.

    Give them options like BINS for the Taskbar.  $0.99 is not a lot of money for that program, but MS can include this functionality and instantly increase the number of 'one-click' programs that launch by 4x with this simple idea.

    Give them an operating system that will take them where they want to go – not where you're forcing them to.

    Give them the best Windows version ever.

    If we wanted a walled garden like Apple's, we wouldn't be here telling you to stay true to Windows roots.

    Leave 'apps' and such for the consumers – give us the only real OS we know and so far, love.

    Windows 7 is a breath of fresh air (especially compared to OS/X).

    Don't make us suffocate on Windows 8 by cramming the Start Screen down our throats.

    Thank you for listening.

  234. SetYouFree says:

    Ray Charles was a blind man. I see that's still true.

  235. gawicks says:

    Thanks for the Explanation yet some of my questions remain

    1. The startscreen feels like it's in a parallel universe there has to be better integration between the two . Enable copy pasting shorcuts ,Drag drop from desktop etc;

    May be you ought to rethink the 'Desktop as an app'

    2.What Andrew Fong said about the taskbar in his first comment

    3.Transition from Start screen to Desktop must be smooth .Less the user feels it's a different experience the better.

    4.Going to Search to get the All Programs list is not intuitive

    5. Deep linking donesn't work for some jumplist functions like a MRU list or command such as inprivate browsing. Also I like these commands to be grouped with the app not littered throughout the start screen.

    6.Multitasking ( I'm waiting for the post)

    Thanks for Listening

  236. Nick says:

    An option to default to the traditional "Desktop" view at startup.

  237. Nick says:

    Can the Windows Phone have a customizable wallpaper at its Start screen, too?

  238. Temp says:

    I know it is not related to the post bue I have some suggestions:

    The tray area should be use only for systems icons. Programs must use jumplist. It is painful to switch to the tray or jumplist depending the programs you use.

    Internet explorer desktop versions should not support "toolbars" anymore but only BHO,activex,,, Because of toolbars i see most of customers blaming windows for their mistake

  239. First of all, thank you for acknowledging that there are major issues and taking the time to explain your decisions! It really does help to understand your design choices. However there is still beef with the ability to browse/explore find content on the computer. I tend to agree that launching apps is great, but trying to find the right file or website(s) to launch from the start screen is cumbersome and introduces delay.

    I walked through all the examples in this article and was able to improve my start tiles in a more reasonable pattern, but I kept thinking about Microsoft's "Productivity Future Vision" video. It sets the groundwork for Metro, but there are more than just rectangles! There are gauges, other "living" content that is better represented by dials and other more organic shapes. I also love one of the other commenters ideas about sticky tiles. Thanks for your time to reply to the community.

  240. Don't forget to keep right-click and drag'n'drop first class citizens in Windows 8.

    They are essential features for advanced users.

    Some ideas:

    * Allow metro apps to create context menus that can be opened with a right click (perhaps with the same contents of the appbar, or something more), the appbar does not work very well with mice (it's too distant)

    * When the user moves the mouse to the bottom edge of the screen, immediately display the appbar, without requiring an additional right click

    * Allow drag'n'drop between Metro and Desktop apps (ok, probably won't happen)

    * Allow to paste a file path in the metro "Open file" dialog.

  241. JoeS says:

    Another solution to the 'recent files' problem:

    How about having a pinch zoom on tiles go the the 'backstage' view of the app?

    That way

    – opening Word would still only take a single tap, and

    – getting to a recent file would take a 'pinch and a tap'

    Tagline: "Open recent files in a pinch!"

  242. Thanks for a great blog and looking forward to beta!

    I also liked SOME of the ideas of a tighter integrated environment between desktop and metro as shown here: social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/f29aa283-cc21-4877-83e4-5ea56a673a3f

    I'm sure we will see some great improvements regarding mouse usability / multitasking / tile jump lists int he beta. Things I think need big improvements based on the DP are:

    Legacy programs list on metro needs to look better than just a list! Grouping colours / backgrounds based on icons – anything to allow the old win7 icons to fit in better! And yes, it's not great to install a software suite and get 25 more programs added to metro!

    When transitioning to metro from the desktop, needs some definite improvements regarding softer transitions as well as the already mentioned loss of desktop/program view that users will experience (also painful to switch back/forward quickly when checking tiles) – would be much better to fade in/out or still display background or desktop behind etc

    The win7 existing desktop should also be updated to match the styling across the board as modern tiles do not match aero particularly well! Windows is a single product after all :-)

    Great job windows 8 team…

    And Windows phone mango rocks!

    Just my 2c.

  243. JoeS says:

    Regarding "Current usage of jump lists": The fact that Start Menu jump lists are used less has a simple reason:

    – The user pins the most important apps to the taskbar, and uses their jump lists a lot

    – For rarely used programs, it's less likely to have relevant recent files (but if they do, it's nice they're esily available!).

    I want a solution where the start screen can give fast access to recent files of all apps, even the rarely used ones. This cannot be solved by pinning documents to the start menu. My two 'pinch zoom' suggestions could improve that, but there may be better ways. Not sure what though!

  244. Mesonto says:

    "Once apps are installed on the machine, you’ll likely need to scroll All Programs view in order to see all app folders"  —  This is ridiculous. Organize your programs into more productive groups. THis should never happen, but with your new start screen, all applications, it will unfortunately be the case… an absolute mess.   (this reminds me of when all companies and individuals used to throw all apps onto C:/ drive… just dumb)

  245. I personally can't stand the "Start" button as a way to launch apps.  I rarely use it – instead relying on the desktop icons.  Bring on the Metro design – it'll be a breath of freshness.  Don't cave to the ingrained "zealots" who don't want change – take ownership of the user experience.

  246. sanitycheck says:

    Wow- I admit that I was skeptical of the Metro UI for a while, but reading all of the histrionic comments making bizarre arguments about how Microsoft ought to be sorry because "I'M STICKING WITH WINDOWS 7 OR MAC OS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!" has really brought me around. I've decided today that I love the new start screen, just because I can't bring myself to be in the same camp as these guys. Unbelievable. If it's really so awful as you say then Microsoft will pay the price for it when nobody uses Windows 8. Save your smugness for then.

  247. insanityunchecked says:

    @sanitycheck,

    well, if that is all it takes for you to love the crippled start screen, you are who MS is aiming for.

    Easily, predictably malleable.

    I see no histronic comments – except yours.

  248. Spyderco says:

    Like many others have mentioned, i dislike anything which hogs my entire screen.

    Writing this post i currently have open:

    IE, Chrome, Firefox, RDP (multiple), Visual Studio, AD users and computers, powergui, sql manager, excel, word, outlook, adobe reader, xml editior and a fair few other bits a pieces. and today is quite quiet.

    Currently in windows 7 if i need to open something, i dont click the start menu, i dont click a desktop icon, i dont click a pinned taskbar item. I simply hit the windows key, type enough for what i want and hit enter.

    Heres an example, if i want to remove something off my machine, i hit the windows key and type appwiz.cpl and hit enter. This usally loads before the start menu has even been displayed.

    Compare that to my current windows 8 experiance. I hit the windows button, this then takes over my entire screen (my biggest gripe) i start typing and hit enter, but find that this only takes me to the search results page, i then have to select appwiz.cpl for it to load, all the while my whole main screen has been ocupied by something i never wanted to see.

    Dont get me wrong, i really like the metro interface for tablets (and the rest of windows 8 generally) but it is simply not as effecient as windows 7 on a desktop. As it stands, my director has already told us that if there is no option to use the windows 7 style start menu, we wont be deploying at our company.

  249. Greg D says:

    Welcome to the club, sanitycheck; I've been there for weeks, now!  I was skeptical at first, the Start Menu's been such a quality staple for the last 15 years.  After working with Metro a bit in the preview, though, and understanding why the UI's getting reworked and where it was going based on some earlier blog posts, I developed a good understanding of what was happening and why.  The utter lack of any coherent arguments against Metro really sealed the deal for me, though.  :)  I'll use it happily even if I never own a touchscreen for the rest of my life.

  250. ShelLuser says:

    Its a nice post but you're still ignoring the essential cause of the "problem of the start menu" in my opinion.

    First issue is that no matter how well you design something, other vendors are likely to come in and mess things up. Many users install programs at their default location, which will result in a gigantic start menu. THAT is the cause of the whole issue here, that is why a lot of users who are unaware of the fact that they can edit all this will resort to searching and other means to start the program they want.

    While you can now change the interface you're not addressing the /cause/ of the problem. How long before users will now be faced with an endlessly long Metro start menu?  Instead of scrolling up/down they'll now have to scroll left/right. And considering that a tile is lager than a menu entry they'll need to scroll a whole lot longer as well.

    You're not solving a problem IMO, you're fighting a symptom.

  251. sanitycheck says:

    @insanityunchecked,

    Ha! So am I being hisrionic or am I a malleable dufus? Yes, I'm sure the people that make sardonic comments in defense of their design vision is _EXACTLY_ who Microsoft is aiming for! You must have an MBA.

  252. @syderco… you probably still use dos on a machine, love unix and vi is your primary editor.  I could ask 95% of people at work here what appwiz.cpl is and they wouldn't have a clue.  Most people want a way to access the 5 apps they use consistently along with seeing email updates/temps etc without the need to open the appropriate apps.

    How about letting the people who don't like the metro interface stick with the desktop alternative.

  253. Greg D says:

    @Spyderco

    "Currently in windows 7 if i need to open something, i dont click the start menu, i dont click a desktop icon, i dont click a pinned taskbar item. I simply hit the windows key, type enough for what i want and hit enter.

    Heres an example, if i want to remove something off my machine, i hit the windows key and type appwiz.cpl and hit enter. This usally loads before the start menu has even been displayed.

    Compare that to my current windows 8 experiance. I hit the windows button, this then takes over my entire screen (my biggest gripe) i start typing and hit enter, but find that this only takes me to the search results page, i then have to select appwiz.cpl for it to load, all the while my whole main screen has been ocupied by something i never wanted to see."

    You're wrong, actually.  The windows 8 experience is, keystroke-for-keystroke, identical to the windows 7 experience.  I just tried it.  In windows 8, just like in Windows 7, the first item in the search results is selected by default.  So consider the following set of keystrokes:

    [Windows], "snip", [Enter]

    This works identically on windows 7 and windows 8, both open the snipping tool (pedantically assuming, of course, that you haven't installed something else that supplants the snipping tool as the first search result).  You emphatically do NOT need to click the selected search result.  Tapping the enter key works just fine.

  254. @Just give it time:  You can't please everyone, but you can get a lot closer by making things optional.  It isn't all that hard.  Nearly everything in Linux based window managers is configurable–good thing too, as many of the animations and tools are too annoying to put up with for long.

    Nobody is afraid of change in the Computer world, it is pretty much the defining characteristic of the industry.  What we fear is BAD changes that we have to live with for an entire OS release cycle.  To take a relevant example, the Start Menu changed significantly between XP and Win7 in that there did not use to be a maximum height on the All Programs list.  Now there is, and the scroll bar is a very annoying usability problem.  On my 1200 pixel vertical resolution monitor there is really no need for a scrollbar, but some Microsoft team decided it looked better to have a fixed height so now I suffer.

    I've been using Win8 DP on my tablet, laptop, and desktop for almost a month now.  I'm pretty used to it now, and have noticed significant changes to my OS habits as a result.  Namely, I use the Win-R shortcut key and the Run window to launch almost all of my non-taskbar applications now, to avoid the transition to the Start Screen.  It is still a pain to go find a tool that I don't remember the exact name of, but I can actually get to things like Control Panel faster that way than I could through the start menu.

  255. George S says:

    @RobertWG – You make some good points, but also included a truism in your argument. Of course nobody fears _good_ change, it's just that many people personally identify changes as bad if it affects a very common task. For example, I would "fear" the change of a switch to a dvorak keyboard, even if after I got used to it I would type up to 3% faster. A silly example perhaps, but I just wanted to point out that the real area of disagreement here is over what constitutes a bad change.

  256. Asif says:

    One important thing about start screen ,i love jump list feature ,pinning feature and specially "search programs and file feature" which i use mostly to find my recent used files and or any installed application.

    I hope all above features will be available in Windows 8 new start screen and home users will easily find their recent used files ,installed applications  without any professional Windows 8 tranining.

  257. Joao M Correia says:

    @McZ

    Thanks. You just confirmed my point 10x.

  258. Please get the taskbar back in the Metro UI also

  259. Please get the taskbar back in the Metro UI also

  260. Wound says:

    @Marina Dukhon

    Firstly thanks for the considered response to the feedback.

    I agree that the "All Programs" part of the the start menu is deeply sucky, and much worse even than the XP version thanks to the loss of flyout menus, and if that was all we lost to the start screen I'd not be too worried, however I still think you've got this wrong.

    1) I like pinned and recently used programs on the start menu, and I particularly like the arrows that indicate the jump lists. To me they're more obvious than the right click jump lists in the taskbar.

    2) launching the start menu is not distracting, whereas the start screen with its content filled panels will be.

    3) The transition from desktop to start screen is jarring and unhelpful.

    4) The inability to see the taskbar from metro apps or the start screen is awful and simply cannot be allowed to remain.

    5) You talk about great metro apps as if they're inevitable, but if they're always full screen and not windowed (never mind this requirement of being distributed through some app store), I will never write a business application for metro, as my customers will never use one. The full screen view is just too inflexible for any serious application or user.

    6) Businesses will largely block the MS app store, meaning metro apps will never gain traction in enterprises, which mean many metro apps will never be installable on business PCs. Why then would I write one?

    7) The grouping of application groups into folder-ish things is a step forward, but will those groups be collapsible? If I'm looking for an app in the  visual studio suite, then reducing the number of things I need to scan past by collapsing groups is a good thing. Of course, then you've reinvented folders, which perhaps isn't that surprising as folders work quite nicely as a concept.

    8) It's good that starting to type from the start menu automatically goes into search, except that it's not obvious that you can do it since there's no UI element that suggests that mode of operation. Even a string which said "type to start search" would be an improvement.

    9) "The downside of existing jump lists is that they’re limited to what Windows understands best– files." Not true. Jump list contain a great many thing which are not files. Chrome lists recent sites, tasks, most visited etc. Media player exposes tasks and frequent music. The interface to jump lists is much richer than you make out.

    10) I treat pinned items start menu like a level 2 launcher (i.e things I do less often than pinned items on the taskbar), and the "all programs" bit is a launcher of last resort after search. It's absurd that you've taken the last resort and placed it above launchers 1, 2 and 3 (4 if you include the desktop).

  261. Azrael128 says:

    I mainly have one grudge, as a desktop/mouse user, with the Start Screen, which is : where the desktop apps icons are located.

    By default, when launching the Start Screen, we get to a screen filled with metro-apps tiles. We have to find the scrollbar (which is hard to get and besides, auto-hiding), and scroll far away to the right to get our desktop apps. This couldn't have been less optimal!

    When a user comes in the Start Screen from the Desktop, he is likely to be using mostly Desktop apps, and not Metro-apps. Most likely he's going to the start screen just like he would have come to the start menu: to start a new program, or launch the Explorer. So it would be logical that when coming to the Start Screen from the Desktop, we would have the Apps icons in front of us (this behavior could be different when coming from a Metro App, or right after Windows boot).

    Now, I understand that the Start Screen is customizable and that you can put desktop apps icons in the left side, near the metro apps. But this is not default behavior, and I doubt so many people will always drag their desktop app icons to the left screen (all the more so as it's actually a pain in the butt to do).

    I'm ok with the Start Screen replacing my Start Menu, so long as the programs, folders, shortcuts etc. are as easy to fetch as they were in the Start Menu, which means : right in front of me when I click "Start", without me needing to use a scrollbar to get to the screen where they are located, because the first "page" is bloated with metro apps I don't need as a desktop user.

    Since the default behavior seems to be : metro app to the left, desktop apps to the right. Let's bring the RIGHT part of the Start Screen when calling it from the desktop (and bring the left part when calling that same screen from a metro app).

  262. Alastair says:

    My only real complaint about the "mass of icons" on the start screen is the large distance I have to move the mouse in order to select an application I wish to use. The interface is clearly perfectly designed for tablet users, but it doesn't really suit a mouse. Similarly, having to drag the picture up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the menu is clearly a tablet-based design decision, as it again is very annoying to do using a mouse.

  263. Noel Anderton says:

    Thanks for all of the info, I am convinced of the merits of your arguments, but I am equally convinced that you are missing the fundamental issue, just as the great number of people complaining have missed the issue, and that is that the Desktop and Metro start screen have a a different look and feel, and frankly seem like 2 different operating systems.

    If you wanted to stick with the old desktop then you could have floated the new start screen over your existing desktop. It would have a nice translucent aero feel to it and it would seem to be completly part of the existing desktop. In this way it would have all of the benefits that you have ascribed to the new start screen but it would look and feel like it was part of the old desktop.

    Conversely, given that you (we all) want us to move to the new metro UI, the old desk top should be replaced with a new metro desktop for non tablet users. If I (re)imagine the desktop, it would look like the start screen, but the ability to snap a single app to the screen would be replaced with a super powered snapping ability, (like Visual studio windows) I could snap multiple apps next to each other or stacked vertically, or on top of each other (and accessible via tabs).  I am sure your team could (re)imagine something even better, but my point is that Metro needs a new desktop one that does not make non table users feel like they are using a UI that is not designed for them, even if (as you have pointed out) it is.

  264. Alastair says:

    I should point out that my mouse distance comment is not based on any mathematical calculation, like Fitt's law, merely the user annoyance of having to cross the entire screen with a mouse to select a program. Although the heat-coloured graphs are accurate, I don't agree that an icon at the top of the start menu takes as long to acquire as an item on the extreme right of the screen, from the same start point. Perhaps it takes proportionally as long, but surely the time the mouse takes to travel the whole screen width is a lot longer than it takes to go up the, rather shorter, start menu?

  265. @Tom A. Mason

    Bingo!! Really Microsoft, don't make apps in Metro full screen. Keep it as Windows.

  266. Wound says:

    @Marina Dukhon

    I'd also like to point out your "heat maps" are wrong for comparison purposes, as they must show different scales. The entire windows 7 start menu sits inside the green area on the start screen, so how can the top item in the list be red when the tile in the same location on the screen is green?

  267. Run, Forrest, Run says:

    I love the Shannon formulation. Now is sure that 1 billion people can drop their desktop skills because of that. . .

  268. Lance says:

    “By flattening the hierarchy, we provide a way for you to leverage the iconography of the apps”

    This also makes organizing the apps more difficult. If I have separate sections for image and video editing and layout, I am now scrolling through pages of icons I don’t need at the moment.  Under the current model they are all accessible instantly. Their status is also evident on the taskbar.

    Under metro there isn’t a way to see how a large copy activity is proceeding.

    ———————————–

    “The dexterity required to navigate a very large menu interface is inconsistent with good user interface design”

    Metro is universally horrible to navigate on a PC, especially with a touchpad.  I’ll take inconsistent and usable over consistent and painful any day. I know this is not final, but the current state is literally painful for me (minor nerve issues), the mouse and keyboard are not.

    I still don’t see what makes this superior to opening a window to “C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms” where I can control the windows size and launch everything in a similar mode to metro.  I can also do this without cluttering my whole screen.

    ——————————–

    “We do have to assert that efficiency, that is, time to accurately complete a task, is of paramount importance in design.”

    In the example you gave you fallaciously assume this is a learning curve issue, it’s not.  If the road they are “fixing” is longer, less convenient and bumpy it will be a worse experience and take longer. You are destroying something that actually works and replacing it with a scenic route that many (myself included) feel is a poorly implemented idea.

    I’m not arguing your metrics, I disagree what you are trying to do deal with “issues” you think people have with windows.  I can give you great data to support the need for new coke, but in reality it was a REALLY bad idea.

    “This sort of analysis is generally difficult since we’re not comparing apples to apples”

    Exactly, I deal in reporting an awful lot and I can provide data to support any bad decision that can be made.  The numbers are interesting on their own, but I can use that same data to describe how much more efficient people have become with the taskbar and that it should be expanded and improved…  Your data does not say take over the whole screen with the start menu and make a UI that is awkward with a keyboard.

    “But you also pointed out the difficulty in this design – the groups are on the desktop, which inherently sits underneath all of your open windows”

    This comment actually makes me it makes angry.  Taking over my whole screen is JUST as disruptive if not more so.  I can click the lower right corner and launch my app and right click it again without a complete change in UI.   I understand you feel the need to defend the decisions made, but intelligent people put their own bias on the backburner and look at what the users feedback is.  You are intelligent, which is why I don’t understand this “you must us metro” mentality when it’s apparent that for PC users it’s a poor design.

    All in all I see a lot of data desperately trying to validate your choice in direction, but not a lot op openness to the feedback that we think for PC’s metro UI is a huge mistake and really inconvenient.   Nobody is saying it’s bad for tablets, but my PC IS NOT A TABLET.  You talk about “touch first” I don’t have touch on my PC and I don’t want it on my PC so mouse becomes a second class citizen and it becomes harder to do my job.

    It’s obvious you care about the users so why won’t you listen to us when we say we on’t want to start in metro and we don’t like the experience?

  269. I love all these innovations from microsoft, and i admit i'm your biggest fan but i think there has to be an option to decide which start screen one wants.

    On desktops and laptops i think the default should be the desktop with the classic start menu, but on handhelds/tablets/slates, i think the metro start screen would be great.

    Microsoft has always been a company that offers options to its users and i think this start screen option should be given to us as well.

    I've installed the win8 dev preview on a laptop and i personally dont favour it (believe me i tried) over the classic (win7) desktop start screen.

    Thanks

    Tolu

  270. One things I haven't seen discussed (or maybe I've missed it), is newly installed application discoverability.  With XP/Vista/Win7, new applications were highlighted/advertised for a period of time on the Start Menu.

    As a developer of a commerically sold desktop application, I want to be able to tell my customers where a there newly installed application can be found.  Will it always appear at the end of the tiles?  Will it get any sort of special placement or highlighting for a introductory period of time?

  271. The SNAP feature in its current form is pretty limited in terms of felxibility/productivity/, especially on a Desktop System. It's understandable on ARM Systems to have a limited SNAP Feature, but on much more powerful x64/x86 Desktops, the SNAP Feature should/must be more powerful & Productive.

    The following is a series of Desktop SNAPS that I've created showing how it would be more useful and differentiate the more powerful x64/x86 systems from the ARM devices. The screen shots show the SNAP Feature using up to FOUR Applications in different views.

    I'm sure Microsoft could comeout with an even better solution, and maybe even apply this to ARM Tablets (especially the 50% – 50% SNAP View, instead of the current limited 25% – 75% View).

    Please click the link below (1366 x 768 Screen Resolution):

    s102.photobucket.com/…/Windows%208%20SNAP%20-%201366%20x%20768

    * Since we are talking about Desktop System, I have not created any Portrait Mode Snaps.

  272. Lance says:

    @tolubee

    If that was the case there is no reason to upgrade from a user perspective.  At this point aside from metro what is in Win 8 for non  technical users?  Fast booting and that's about it.

    Win8 isn't an upgrade for many of us from a usability/feature perspective.

  273. justmenotyouorus says:

    I want to upgrade even if usability and features are the same or at least equivalent to Win 7.

    The reason is the greater security, the increased robustness of the O/S and the hopefully better optimizations with the new hardware (multi-core cpu's, SSD's, etc.) available.

    However, this version that is being shown and forced on us is a downgrade, unfortunately.

    Downgrade in usability, downgrade in productivity, downgrade in efficiency and a downgrade to an Apple-like mentality that drags the top of the heap down to the ignorance of the masses.

    Let me rise to my level of (desktop computer) excellence – don't hold me back for 'the greater good'.

    Even if it means possibly losing a customer to your App store (you'll still have a customer, at least).

  274. Михаил says:

    А когда выйдет следующая бета версия Windows?

  275. RP says:

    I can understand Steven's frustration at the number of calls for an option of having the classical Start menu, when his team have put a lot of thought and work into the new one.  That said, there is no doubt in my mind that users should have the choice – in the same way that other changes over the years have always been optional, at least in the early years (I remember when the Start menu was still introduced – you could still run progman.exe if you wanted to! I think you could even set it as your shell).  If the new Start menu is great then having the option of the old one for anyone who prefers it won't be a barrier to its success.

  276. thinkingformyself says:

    I have to agree that an upgrade is valuable – even if no obvious reason from a user perspective is shown (assuming that usability is at least equal to the previous OS).

    http://www.tomshardware.com/…/microsoft-security-intelligence-report-v11-h1-2011-vulnerability-exploit,13676.html

    The link above shows why Win7x64 is my number one choice when recommending a new OS to a client.

  277. One feature that I'd love to see is a Taskbar pin for a list of applications.  For example, I currently use two custom toolbars.  One for the Office Suite and one for a custom list of applications.  These lists are too large to have pins for each app.

    Having a square Pin button that brings up a list of applications, just like the toolbars or jumplists, would allow us to quickly start a lot of applications without leaving the Desktop.   A left mouse click should bring up the list, just like it does with the toolbar list in the picture below.

    skydrive.live.com

    I think this feature would satisfy needs of a lot users.

  278. Stefan says:

    About that Customer Experience Improvement Program on Windows. I remember when i bought Vista Business x64 and installed Microsoft software on to it this question to join it came up several times even if i had clicked that didn't want to take a part in it. Why can't Microsoft accept the first choice choosen by the users, home or business ? It took me a while to find how to block the question via gpedit. But even choosen to disable it there some new Microsoft software asked the same question again. Why can't Microsoft accept my first choice ? Why can't it be disabled by default or been asked about at first start of a newly installed Windows, and never been asked about again, no matter what Microsoft products i install later ? You say You respect peoples privacy. I say You don't ! Haven't Microsoft learned anything yet ?

    2nd try to add this comment.

  279. TheMagnificent11 says:

    The thing I love most about Windows 7 is pinning apps to the taskbar and customising of the system tray (also pinning most used files/links within the pinned app).  The Metro style desktop is great but what happens when you have full-screen applications open?  You cannot see that tiles on the desktop.  At least the taskbar is always visible.

    The other small criticism I have is that it is not obvious that there is a menu appears when you mouse-over on the right.  Someone had to show me that; I couldn't figure it out for myself.  The thing I love about Windows is that you can figure everything out without reading a manual or watching a how-to-video.  Windows 8 seems to come up a bit short there.

  280. NoFullScreen says:

    You are really the most stubborn people at Microsoft that I have come across. Most of the people here do NOT want you to take over the whole screen with just a start menu.

    Just give us the option to switch it off and then just watch “the telemetry data show” to see who really cares about your solution to a problem that does not exist (and even if it did, this is not the right solution). Which application goes full screen by default with no option to change it? Apart from the blue screen, there is none. But hey now we have one because some researches suggested we should.

  281. Arnon says:

    I think that exploring the ideas of the new start screen is fantastic. Especially for tablets and for users who do not have lots of application. The idea of making it the only way is silly and wasteful. You spent many years "training us" on the start menu and made huge improvements to it, which make it very functional even on a machine with lots and lots of applications. Just to list a few: search, pin to start menu, pin to task bar, the right panel on the start menu with all its functionality. Now that the start menu is finally really functional, it would be crazy to just throw it away.

    I bet that if you do decide to completely toss it, then the first thing that would happen is that someone will write a utility that replicates its behavior and that would quickly become the most used application for users who download it. Just like you introduced the office new UI without a customization capability (after we had menu customization in previous office versions) and then someone wrote a ribbon customizer (which included a canned replica of the old office menus so that we could find what we could no longer find in the new ribbon), and eventually you introduced your own ribbon customizer. With that radical change that happened a long time ago, I still know many office users who hate the ribbon (myself, I like it, but it took some adjustments)

    The lessons you should take from the office experience are:

    1. It takes users a long time to adjust to a major new UI model of navigation. Some never want to go to new places.

    2.  Even users who are happy to try a new model take some time to get used to it and want to be able to fall back on the known and familiar

    3. It can take Microsoft several product iterations (5-10 years) to tweak and tune the new model to full, easy to use functionality

    4. Users hate abrupt, jarring changes

    So I suggest that you be "soft on us" – allow us to use the start screen or the start menu or both for at least one major windows version, until you are positive that you got it right. For myself I would appreciate if you take into account the needs and wishes of the statistically small number of high end users (many of them developers) who may not represent the consumers at large but have have a large impact on where the windows users community goes.

  282. I can't beleive the number of ppl that refuse to read the above and previous blogs, and keep asking the same, and now annoying questions.

    MS, please ONLY allow Live ID Posters and disable the annoying anonymous spamming posters. (I'm sure not all anonymous posters are spammers, but atleast it will severly crackdown on em).

  283. Can't wait says:

    Keep up the great work.  I had one idea while reading this post.  

    With respect to where a new tile is placed after an install: Since there is some empty space at the top and bottom of the tile set in the start screen, would it make sense to have a section appear entitled "Tiles waiting to be sorted" right on the very first screen?  This would allow people the ability to easily place the new app into any category they chose, or decide to drag it right to the very first group depending on their perception of future usage.  Having to go to the end of the list, and then drag it back to the front would be pretty annoying for each new app installed.  

    Just a thought.  I'm really enjoying this blog!  The team is doing an amazing job!  Keep up the pace!  I can't wait for this new OS….

  284. Can't wait says:

    Keep up the great work.  I had one idea while reading this post.  

    With respect to where a new tile is placed after an install: Since there is some empty space at the top and bottom of the tile set in the start screen, would it make sense to have a section appear entitled "Tiles waiting to be sorted" right on the very first screen?  This would allow people the ability to easily place the new app into any category they chose, or decide to drag it right to the very first group depending on their perception of future usage.  Having to go to the end of the list, and then drag it back to the front would be pretty annoying for each new app installed.  

    Just a thought.  I'm really enjoying this blog!  The team is doing an amazing job!  Keep up the pace!  I can't wait for this new OS….

  285. Ok we got it, you don't want to give a option to disable start screen.

    Why can't Start Screen and Start Menu live side by side…Atleast make start menu as second class citizen something like a Jump List (Which opens up on right click)

    When I'm in Metro I don't want to see Retro (Desktop) and when I'm in retro I don't want to see Metro..Truly no compromise

  286. alwaysanonymousnotaspammer says:

    Quote Scooby_666UK:

    "I can't beleive the number of ppl that refuse to read the above and previous blogs, and keep asking the same, and now annoying questions.

    MS, please ONLY allow Live ID Posters and disable the annoying anonymous spamming posters. (I'm sure not all anonymous posters are spammers, but atleast it will severly crackdown on em)."

    I hope those same questions are finally answered to our satisfaction.  What else is this blog post forum for?

    I hope that they are annoying enough to be answered with the only right answer: give the users the choice of how to best use their (desktop) machines.

    Each time somebody repeats what has been already said: I hope MS take notice that the path they are going down is the wrong one, at this time and with their unbelievable inflexibilty on this issue (full screen/mandatory Start Screen).

    The only spammer that I'm pretty sure? of that is fake is the 'fake' MTXXXXX user as WindowsUser98 keeps telling us.

  287. Ted says:

    Hi Steve!   I have a suggestion.   Could the tiles have rounded corners?   It just requires a simple CSS hack.   My brain has a hemorrhage each time I look at the tiles.

  288. Ford says:

    What a great post @Steven Sinofsky. I think i perfectly understands the concept of the Start Screen. I know know well you keep our comments in mind when designing windows.

  289. dave says:

    Great article. Seeing this type of UX detail coming out of Microsoft is extremely encouraging and really makes me rethink my attitude toward the company. And I'm a Windows user!

  290. dave says:

    In case my previous comment was not clear. I really like the fresh thinking going on with the Windows 8 effort. Yes, it's important to hear feedback and support the installed base, but there is definitely a sea change going on with touch devices and now is a perfect time to look at usability problems that have plagued windows for years. The problem with UX work is that your primary feedback is lots of people complaining, and when you've done a great job, people say, "you took that long to do something so obvious?"  :)

  291. Bruce Rosner says:

    I like your new App screen, but you need to use background rectangles to better visually define the groups.

    Checkout http://www.stardock.com/…/fences for an example.

  292. chills says:

    @dave,

    The major issue here is the ridiculous removal of the taskbar, the start menu and the full size start screen with it's senses jarring disconnect from the desktop.  For the desktop.  Where touch is still and will be for a long time the wrong technology applied to the wrong need.

    The 'great job' that is needed to be done now is to give mobile devices (touch enabled, of course) a different experience than what a desktop user needs.

    That is all – everything else about Windows 8 is icing on everybody's cake.

  293. good day steve. is it possible to allow the user to navigate the start screen by giving the touchpad the same functionality that the touch screen user has on a tablet and also when the user is in the desktop environment is it possible to show all open applications as a vertical group of thumb nails that could give the user the ability to chose which previous application to go back to ?

  294. I disabled metro using the reg hack within a few mins of win8 usage in a VirtualBox!

    Can you at least make the metro tiles simulated 3d buttons instead of plain old rectangles?

    Can you also post something on Win8 Beta release timetable?

  295. Third blog post about Start screen and still not convinced.

    There has to be a way to launch new programs with a mouse click without losing focus on the program that is currently open.

    There has to be a way to change with a mouse click from an open program to another open program.

    Without these, any UI is useless.

    You keep referring to Taskbar, QuickLaunch is still easier to use and customize.

  296. Marc says:

    Read about your "Improvements" from the critics…well let me say you something from the USER Side: I worked hard to have nearly NOTHING on my Desktop that looks like Shortcut!

    And now Win8 will blow my Workflow and Design with fill up my whole screen with "Apps" ???

    Thats Nuts! If you dont like your own Start Menu build in an self Hiding and customizeble Launcher like Object Dock,and everybodys Happy…Metro is a No Go.

    Sorry for Bad English 😉

  297. Lance says:

    "we make things better for everyone by not having the UI clutter."

    The whole of the start screen in metro is clutter.   People put clothes in drawers, throwing them all on the floor makes it harder to find what you want, not easier. If 1/2 of them are blinking or flashing data it's like having a lot of loud colored clothes on the floor with clashing colors.

  298. John Doe says:

    The real problem is that the Start Screen, Start Menu, and Taskbar functionality is baked into the operating system.  This is a design choice, not a technical requirement.  A big monolithic explorer.exe made sense for Windows 95, given the memory constraints of the time.  It doesn't have to be that way in 2011.   We wouldn't be having this argument if third parties could provide alternate UI's.  Let MST ship something that makes tablet lusers happy, and let control freaks install something with a bazillion configuration options.

  299. Anand Kalyanam says:

    One other issue i noticed today is, i was reading this blog using the RSS Reader metro app in windows 8. I wanted to scroll to the left, so i took the mouse to left lower corner for the mouse arrow. but as soon as i went there, windows icon popped up with charms menu. So it is very difficult to do that kind of scrolling with the mouse with metro apps open. Any improvement on this area?

  300. Tom Servo says:

    Not exactly relevant to this specific topic, but since it's probably going to be read anyway, if there aren't any Metro/WinRT screensaver interfaces planned, it's time to start on it.

  301. Roman says:

    What was mostly annoyed me when I faced with new metro-styled start screen is an inablity to quickly open or show context menu for folders like "computer" and "control panel". And it was really a pane to open explorer and find needed folder. Today I've realized that folders could be draged to explorer jump list at start menu and this really solves my problem.

    But it's too unintuitve feature. I was actually seeking for this in folder's context menu or in explorer toolbar. Because I used to pin programs using context menu. So it would be nice if this option will be appeared for folders in future build on windows 8.

  302. Nah, stupid rectangles – same gay boiled crap.

  303. John Cuyle says:

    One thing that occurs to me with the new start screen is that, for purely modern use it replaces both the start menu and start/taskbar.  One of the key features of the taskbar is that even for pinned apps there's a way to quickly visually differentiate between pinned, one instance running, and multiple instances running.  You can also quickly close one or all instances of a running application via the taskbar.  The Developer Preview has no similar visual queues or process lifetime management associated with it.  This is already a problem in the Developer preview, but for the metro apps in particular it is very troublesome because they don't show up on the taskbar.  I'm curious what the plan is for providing this sort of information and process lifetime management from the start screen.

  304. Matthew says:

    The comment system for this blog is broken.  Windows 8 is too intrusive for serious content work, and all you've convinced me to do it turn off the customer experience improvement program on my computer.  

  305. marlon says:

    Since metro is upon us, more suggestions for ease of adoption:

    1) A guided tour of metro for new users

    2) Get rid of the start menu for everybody (or make it an option to be rid of it) – desktop and  metro

       Let the taskbar rule – all it needs is a search button/icon/ the words "search"

    3) Since there would be no start menu, left clicking the window logo would bring up the option to switch from metro to desktop (and vice versa if one is in desktop), and the options hibernate, restart, shutdown etc would be there.

    4) It should also be possible to pin the the options hibernate, restart, shutdown etc to the taskbar, or make then tiles on the metro screen

    5) A space saving option on metro would be to allow diffrent views for multiple instances of a program. If I have 4 Word documents open, then the tile should have a slightly different look than if I have only one instance open. If the mouse hovers over the grouped tile than all the document icons should appear semi-transparent, and another left click would expand them into their own separate tiles  

    6) Enable the screen to be split among more than 2 running programs

    7) on metro alert the user to the open programs by putting them to the side, making them glow etc

    What I am trying to say is this:

    Expand the functionality of the taskbar so that the start menu is unnecessary,

    Use metro to do everything the taskbar can do, (in addition to providing more information on each tile, and the screen holding more tiles)

  306. Eric says:

    @mt327000 (the real one) — Thanks, you echo my sentiments exactly. Not to drag another OS into the equation here, but I don't mind the way the Unity launcher looks. I mind the way it works, but that's not a discussion for a Windows blog.

    In anycase, you summed it up best here "Along with this, I'd like to see a system where it is possible to drag apps from the Start Screen to the desktop or from the App/Files view to the desktop. This would make using Windows 8 much easier. I'm convinced now that this full-screen view can be better than the old format, but it needs to work better with the existing Windows ecosystem."

    I'm starting to like the full-screen approach, but I don't think it should be so married to Metro. I would prefer a darkened desktop as well, with the Start menu overlayed when you're using the desktop only (no Metro app pinned to the side of the screen). The answer for this is simple — it disorients the user when you are taking them away from their current surroundings. It's like travelling around in a rural town, making a left turn and winding up in NYC, just to make another left turn back into the same rural town. It's just very disorienting forcing the user to leave the Desktop for Metro and then get back to the Desktop for the Start Menu.

    Should a user choose to launch a Metro app from the Start Menu fine, take them to Metro, but don't disorient the Desktop user by forcing them to cross into a foreign land and have to navigate to where they once were…it's so counter-productive.

  307. Martin says:

    I think this post missed the mark.  

    There's a "massive" installed base that is used to using the current desktop pattern that relies heavily on a start menu.

    The development team could have built en entirely new UI that replaces the old desktop using the Metro UI patterns.  They didn't though.  Likely because they suspect that they'd lose a massive number of users who don't feel like learning a completely new OS.

    So instead we get this cobbled compromise of old and new.  I have to bounce back and forth between two different usage patterns.  One for touch-based tablets that will irritate me as I'm attempting to use my desktop, and another for desktops-style apps that will likely irritate me as I'm attempting to use a tablet.

    If you're in the desktop, regardless of what numbers MS has through CEIP, using the start menu is a simple, familiar, and easy way to fire up other apps and find things.  Having to flip into this other view that completely takes over the screen and then barrages me with status updates, pics, weather info, stocks info, and a completely different to switch between apps is distracting and interruptive.

    Could we all find a way to get by using the new metro/desktop cobbled stew?  Of course.  Will that end up being better for everyone long term and just become the norm?  Maybe, time will tell.

    In the interim though, if I'm going to shell out $100-300 to us this software, I better get the ability to use my desktop in a way that makes sense to me. That idea, "My desktop the way I want it", seems to have escaped the team and not been a top consideration.  It's upsetting.

  308. Daver says:

    I don't know if Win8 already has this capability, but I'd like Win 8 to have user Customizable Metro Screen Views and User Defined App Categories.  One view would be the default, that everyone see.  The user could also define alternate views, which would quickly rearrange all the icons into a desired layout of Metro App Icons.  Example: One view of Metro App Icons for work,  another for home, kids, etc.  

    Another feature would be that each screen could be like a folder.  But instead of calling it a folder, it should be called a Category of Metro Applications.  Screens "could" be dedicated to a category of Apps.   Custom Names of App Categories could be, Games, Favorites, Parents, Communication, News, Work, Developer, etc.  

    Obviously, we should be able to choose the order in which the screens/folders are displayed.    

    And for each Screen/Category, it would be nice to be able to define the background color, transparencies, background images, etc..  This would allow people to quickly realize which set of Metro App Screen they are looking at… The name of the App Category for the screen could be displayed as well.

  309. Matt says:

    Developers need to embrace change when designing new products just as much as customers do when adopting them.  A key component is the willingness to admit mistakes and adapt accordingly.

    Simply put I do not want big, blocky tiles on my desktop, nor a small, sensitive menu on my touch screen.

    The mistake here was trying to design this "one for all" interface.

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  311. Ted. says:

    For those that don't know, you can make the start menu bigger – just increase the number of recent programs to display in the customize menu from 10 to e.g. 20 or 25.  Then when you click on the start menu it show the entire list all the way to the top, much better than any new start screen with huge buttons on it.

  312. Mike says:

    If that weird green "settings" thing can take over only a third of the desktop on the right side when you press settings, why can't you have something similar for the start menu, except on the left side.  That is, when in desktop mode, bring up a 1/3 size start menu to keep the "feel" of overlapped windows.  A full screen start menu is gratuitous at this point in the user's workflow.  They are in desktop mode.  If they want the full start screen experience they can click on something in the "one third" view.

  313. Thanks for listening! I think the latest design of the App List is a move in the right direction. However, it would be great if the group titels could have a better visibility(bold, or something…). I find it difficult to distinguish between app titles and group titles… Thx! Christian

  314. Admin1234 says:

    The more I see of the new start screen the more I'm convinced that I don't want any part of it. All I want from Microsoft is an option to install Windows8 with the same interface as in Windows7 start menu and all. I want an option to install Windows8 completely without metro, I have no interest in giant tiles and full screen "apps". In fact only 2 things that go full screen on my PC besides work are games and movies. I have all the PROGRAMS I use regulary on my taskbar, often used programs and documents on the desktop and useful utilities pinned to start MENU. And I have widgets to give me all the "at a glance" information I ever need. I am perfectly happy with this setup, I don't want it taken away from me in Windows8.

  315. Don't know if someone mentioned this before, but it would be great if we can scroll in the Start Screen just by clicking on am empty space and then move the mouse in the direction that i want to scroll to. I do not want to move my mouse to the scrollbar at the bottom. This would be a great improvement and would be consistent with the touch user experience.

  316. @fake mt327000, @mt327000 alias WindowsUser78

    You stole my user ID on purpose, didn't you? You're having fun contradicting yourself? Are there multiple people here posting the mt327000 label in gray? It's clear from the "alias WindowsUser78" part that you are deliberately posting comments with my username while at the same time admitting that you are not the real mt327000/WindowsUser78. For everyone on this blog: real mt327000 comments will be posted with my Windows Live ID.  Any comment from October 7, 2011 or later with the "mt327000" name in gray letters is fake.

    @Steven Sinofsky

    Thanks for the blog post. It really helps clear up the issues revolving around the Metro UI.

    @Eric

    I'm gald to see that you can tell the difference between me and the fake mt327000. Just to be safe, though, I'm changing my display name again. I am now "MT-32 7000," which is now my display name is supposed to be read.

  317. Mayhemm88 says:

    While these changes are welcome and will help improve usability, I still think the start screen needs to be re-evaluated for non-touch devices. First of all, give users the option to turn metro features off via the control panel and make the desktop the default view. Second, make metro a "compliment" to the standard desktop on non touch machines.

    Right now, there are two ways I can think of that this could be accomplished:

    – Make the Metro Start Screen a separate app from the traditional start menu and have it pinned to the   taskbar by default. When a user clicks on the taskbar icon to launch metro, they will be greeted with the start screen in a less-jarring form that slowly dims and blurs the desktop.

    – Replace the "Show Desktop" Aero Peek button with a launcher for the start screen. When the user hovers over this button, slide a metro-styled search menu into view allowing the user to search his/her applications, files, etc.  When the user clicks this button, show the start screen in a less-jarring form that slowly dims and blurs the desktop

  318. It is really amazing that we have to argue about the merits of a design or another when nowadays Windows can easily accommodate the old and the new styles by just making them configurable. So you are telling us that 5 or more versions of Windows, Microsoft had got it wrong. Now we have these super graphics cards and you have all the GPU power to draw rectangles fast, you can sort it out with this UI.

    Personally, after having experienced the new start menu, I hate my WP7 screen for reminding me of the silliness Windows 8 Metro UI represents. If you do come out with that idiotic design and no option to turn it off, I will be embarrassed to be a Windows developer.

    I can only thank God for not being a Microsoft employee because I would be forced to use this idiotic user interface on my desktop. Now at least I have a choice and I choose to never use your “new/cool” but brainless UI.

    See you again when you release Windows 9 and if it does correct the “problems” of Windows 8. Until then I hope you have fun completing your academic papers, get your degree and go find work in another company that ignores their customers’ opinion like Microsoft does.

  319. Billy says:

    Windows was always ugly and always will be.

  320. Someone Familar says:

    @fake mt327000

    Anybody can tell that you're not mt327000. Stop pretending and post serious comments. How many other usernames have you faked?

  321. Matt says:

    I want to keep OLD start menu! I LOVE IT!

  322. Benjamin B. says:

    I like the concept of the new start screen but I also miss the old one.

    The first thing that came to my mind was:

    Why not use the old start menu on desktops and provide a way to launch Mentro with an extra icon (similar to Apple's LaunchPad) whereas you completely replace the start menu on tablets.

    Another idea was:

    Would it be possible to make the background transparent or something like that? I don't like the fact that it covers my whole desktop. It would be cool to use Metro while beeing able to interact with the desktop itselfe (or is this already possible with snap?).

    Talking about snap there's another thing I wanted to ask:

    How to use the Metro's snap feature with a mouse?

    That's all for now. I'm sure that Windows 8 will be great (already planned to buy a tablet with it), but please continue to make it more easy to use on desktops and don't forget the business clients.

    Thanks for all the insight!

  323. Jack says:

    I'm amused some posters are still asking for the old start menu. It seems pretty evident the old is gone and we need to adjust to the new.

    I do have a question though…

    Has there been any thought to showing the taskbar in the Start Screen? Thinking about the functions of the Start Screen sort of like the new File menu in office (Backstage), there is a wealth of additional options there, but you still have the ability to access other menu options. I think the Start Screen would be much less scary to people if they could still access 'pinned' applications (and it would save us one 'click' of the mouse). I'm sure there's a reason it's not there, but if you have a moment, I'd love to hear the thought process.

    Thanks for the in-depth description. I am in awe and trust I will love the final product more than Win7.

    – Jack

  324. JF says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this post Marina! Very insightful, I look forward to the beta to try these features out!

    There is always a very strong reaction when change is introduced to something that has become familiar (and the start menu has been around since 1995!!), but I've been hoping for a re-imagining of the start menu for a long time, since I now only use it to open "My Computer" (since it can't be pinned to the task bar) and to type-search to open programs.

    All in all, I think most of the complaints found here are baseless until the functionality of the Beta is delivered and users can really try out the next version of Windows.

  325. Persuadable says:

    Start menu = showing its limitations.  Taskbar = great idea, caught on fast with no hard sell, crying out for continued refinement and extension.  Win8 Green Screen = giant leap in the wrong direction, at least as far as desktop/large display use is concerned.  Eagerly awaiting Win8 SP1 when all this gets sorted out to foster enterprise deployments.

    The persistent hard sell and repeated use of the word "love" tells us all we need to know about how much the Windows developers really believe this stuff.

  326. Mayemm88 says:

    @Benjamin B.

    This is exactly what I was thinking. Either have the separate icon in the task-bar (like OSX launcher) or better yet replace the "show desktop" aero-peek button next to the clock with a launcher for metro (similar to a hot corner in osx or linux)

  327. Esben says:

    I think the new Start screen looks great! Keep up the good work :-)

  328. @Ray Charles

    Thanks to you, I finally figured out the fake mt327000's motive. He's MOCKING me and posting opinions that are the opposite of what I think, while using language and ideas that are completely different from my own. Don't blame me for the comment you quoted because I didn't post it, and you can tell what I posted and what I didn't because my comments no longer have the "mt327000" label on them, but are now credited to "MT-32 7000." Also, all of my real comments that I posted recently use my Windows Live ID. The fake ones do not.

  329. mvadu says:

    Very Informative post, thank you for that.

    I have two complaints about the start screen:

    1. Searching in start menu is not user friendly.

    E.g. search Device, in Windows-7 its one UI which shows everything related to devices (including Devices and Printers, Device Manager). In Windows-8 it does not show results directly, it has a result count (App(0), Settings(2)) and you need to expand settings, and then access your control panel app.

    2. "Start" icon used while you are in Metro desktop app is so out of whack, it does not fit the taskbar theme, desktop theme or anything. It looks as if desktop window manager forgot to pain lower left corner.

    Also for the click count you are considering that people are still using All Programs and all the way down to app folder, and launching it. But with Windows Vista most advanced than grandma users are using search within start menu. So its only two clicks and few button presses. As I noted above with Start Screen we need one extra click even while using start search method.

  330. Benjamin B. says:

    Always showing the task bar would be awesome too! You could return to the desktop with the aero-peek button and could quickly switch between apps. You could display "Metro" and Desktop in the task bar. Furthermore you could display all Metro apps. That way you could also exit those apps.

    I would really love to see that feature because it would make the desktop experience way more comfortable!

  331. Sean Crowley says:

    How about having right click open the old start menu? Intuitive, leaves the option available, and makes everyone happy. I don't like having to go to the start screen, then a menu, scroll, and then click, be transferred back to the desktop, all just to open control panel.

    As well, the whole clicking vs hovering your pointer thing on the current version of the start button feels disconnected. It should be a click to open, double click to go back to start screen. I often click on it out of habit, trying to get to settings.

    Finally, put shutdown, restart, and sleep in the main popout off of the start button. These shouldn't be hidden!

  332. Benjamin B. says:

    And it would be great to change the Metro background to the same one I use on the Desktop!

  333. Benjamin B. says:

    @Sean Crowley:

    The argument with the "hidden power-options" is a good point. It took a while to find the power options and it's not really intuitive right now.

  334. chris says:

    skydrive.live.com

    Guys this is how windows 8 should look like.

  335. Bitcrazed says:

    Firstly, **EPIC** post. Thanks for sharing so much information and background, along with the data to back it up.

    All: try using the new start menu natively on a laptop before criticizing it too much. I've spent the last week running exclusively on Win8 and it's really starting to grow on me. I am AT LEAST as productive as in Win8, if not moreso.

    Alas, sometimes, commenters' existing inefficiencies, inexperience and/or ignorance show through: Cases in point:

    @pmbAustin: "Also not clear to me … is there a way to "dismiss" the start screen?  The use case I'm thinking of is working on the desktop, hitting the "Windows" key to bring it up, checking the status of some live tiles, and then just wanting to quickly return to what you were doing"

    Hit the [Escape] key.

    @Lars Viklund: "One of my muscle memory tasks I perform very often is Start->Computer to get an Explorer, and Start->Rightclick Computer to get to Computer Management. Both of these are completely ruined with the Metro screen."

    Try the following:

    1) Hit [Windows] + [E] keys on your keyboard -> Explorer starts

    2) On Win8, from start page – "Computer" tile is right there in front of you.

    3) On Win8, from start page – right click "Computer" tile, it "Advanced" button on task-bar, hit "Manage". One more click, but easy to learn.

    @Persuadable – I saw A LOT of negative comments when Win8 task bar & new start menu appeared. Was NOT an "easy sell" to many blog commenters. Same can be said of Ribbon – hated by many until they actually use it. Try using Office 2003 after using Office 2010.

  336. Bitcrazed says:

    Firstly, **EPIC** post. Thanks for sharing so much information and background, along with the data to back it up.

    All: try using the new start menu natively on a laptop before criticizing it too much. I've spent the last week running exclusively on Win8 and it's really starting to grow on me. I am AT LEAST as productive as in Win8, if not moreso.

    Alas, sometimes, commenters' existing inefficiencies, inexperience and/or ignorance show through: Cases in point:

    @pmbAustin: "Also not clear to me … is there a way to "dismiss" the start screen?  The use case I'm thinking of is working on the desktop, hitting the "Windows" key to bring it up, checking the status of some live tiles, and then just wanting to quickly return to what you were doing"

    Hit the [Escape] key.

    @Lars Viklund: "One of my muscle memory tasks I perform very often is Start->Computer to get an Explorer, and Start->Rightclick Computer to get to Computer Management. Both of these are completely ruined with the Metro screen."

    Try the following:

    1) Hit [Windows] + [E] keys on your keyboard -> Explorer starts

    2) On Win8, from start page – "Computer" tile is right there in front of you.

    3) On Win8, from start page – right click "Computer" tile, it "Advanced" button on task-bar, hit "Manage". One more click, but easy to learn.

    @Persuadable – I saw A LOT of negative comments when Win8 task bar & new start menu appeared. Was NOT an "easy sell" to many blog commenters. Same can be said of Ribbon – hated by many until they actually use it. Try using Office 2003 after using Office 2010.

  337. mdsharpe says:

    The start screen is a usability nightmare for anyone who uses their desktop to get things done.

    I have been an enthusiastic early adopter of new Windows versions for many years now, and defended Vista when everyone else slated it, but I cannot stand the new metro UI in Windows 8.

    There is simply no way to justify taking over the entire screen just to launch a program.

    Provide an option to disable the metro UI, boot straight into the desktop and reenable the Win7 style start menu, and Windows 8 will be an absolute winner.

    Deny users this flexibility, forcing users into a more dumbed-down, locked-down (dare I say, Apple-like) experience, and Windows 8 will be, IMO, a big step backwards for personal computing.

  338. chris says:

    skydrive.live.com

    Guys this is how windows 8 should look like. reply this post if you agree

  339. Someone You Know says:

    @Fake MT-32 7000

    Are you out of your mind? You're not fooling anyone, and your "joke" isn't funny. Everyone knows you're not who you say you are.

  340. Someone You Know says:

    @Fake MT-32 7000

    Indeed, you are a "bad kid," at least, you act like one, and you deserve to be punished. Find some other blog to spam with fake comments.

  341. Media Player says:

    Can you combine Media player Zune player and Media Center into one thing => Media Hub

    Also for video editing, is there a way to access the particular frame of the video for editing as we can do in quicktime player? In other words; Windows Live Movie Maker should be part of that Media Hub and should have enhanced video editing capabilities as quicktime player. Thank you!

  342. grahamesd says:

    All I need is a place to quickly get to the apps I most often use, a place to type a search word or words to find apps I use less frequently and a method of hunting through a full list of all the apps on the machine to find the ones I rarely use.  The current Win7 task bar and start menu work well for me.  

    Having the facilities to do those three things is what's important to me.  How it looks is secondary.  I like the idea of a start screen as compared to just a start menu, more real estate makes life easier.  But those three pieces of functionality and making them easy and fast – that's what matters.

    Please don't let all the noise from the gazzillion different opinions distract you from those three functions.

  343. Thanks for the post Marina. I'm sure the new start screen will evolve nicely and make a lot of people happy. At least it's worth the try. If people get used to it on Tablets and like it there, then they might eventually miss it on the desktop.

    Best regards,

    Kasimier Buchcik

  344. Mark Lawson says:

    You back up your reasons for the Metro design based on science, but people don't interact on that basis. I installed the Windows 8 preview, spent 30 minutes playing and was completely lost by Metro. It simply does not work.

    You have given us Windows and then closed the curtains!!

  345. WOW! Thank you for the insight in UI design and all the work and thoughts that went into the new UI. Very much appreciated! And please, please don’t get discouraged or distracted by the negative comments – although I’m pretty sure you won’t.

    IMHO a discussion on the usability or the advantages of the start screen over the start menu is pretty much pointless at the moment. The developer preview is not meant for that. It lacks the most basic customisation features for the start screen, and what’s even more important – it lacks the relevant metro apps. Off course there’s currently no point on landing on the start screen – because there’s nothing valuable there – yet. Login into the PC and have a landing page displaying all relevant current information right away: emails, appointments, social media updates, alerts – whatever you need to act on, right there, right away, without having to start any application is just priceless. Anybody who cannot imagine or realise the value and the possibilities of that and instead continues to moan about the old times and the classic start menu and how great it was, well excuse me, but I think those people should better not look at pre-beta software and comment on it. It’s a waste of their time.

    Just my 2 cent….

  346. 龍陸逸 says:

    @Steve, the building team : I'm not a "get the old start menu back" dude, but I think it would be silly to drop down Win 8 adoption by not enabling users to desactivate the start screen. Remember Vista, *** talkers really can harm a system with their rage.

    Most of your efforts will be waste if the system is not somewhat wildly adopted.

  347. Joe Hammer says:

    Axel Rietschin is right on the money. This is just a way to force the Application Store on us. Microsoft has seen the huge profits Apple is making with it and they're desperate to get themselves a piece of the pie. And if desktop users are harmed on the process, so be it. After all, what are we going to do? Buy a Mac? Switch to Linux (yeah right)?

    Most of us have nowhere else to go and they know it… but we can always keep Windows 7 alive as we did with XP when they tried to force Vista down our throats.

  348. temp says:

    I really think that all of you people are complaining because the transition from the start screen to the desktop is to radical. I agree, it's look like having two different systems. If Microsoft can metronize a little the design of the desktop (icons, layout…) then it will be confortable.

  349. Grégory says:

    Bonjour,

    Il est dommage que Windows 8 bloque l'installation si on possède moins de 1 Go de ram.

    Avant avec Windows 7 j'avais un PC de 512Mo de RAM qui fonctionner, j'espère que lors de la bêta ce problème va disparaitre

  350. I just want to say I appreciate hearing the thoughts of the Windows Team and all the decisions that go into producing a product that has such a massive scope.

    – posted this from an HP core i5 (2009) laptop running the Dev Preview

  351. This is a useful follow up to the Start screen posts, but I think it reveals quite a bit about the team's motivations here. There's an awful lot of language such as "the apps you love" and the user "owning" their experience.

    That ignores the fact that a massive part of the Windows userbase are enterprise customers, many of whom are still XP users. In my enterprise PC, I have completely different habits to my home PC: 15-25 windows open vs. 2 or 3 at home. 1-2 type of simultaneous usage vs. 5-6 at home. But one thing is simple: I certainly don't "love" any of the applications I use at work. In fact, I loathe all of them. If I could spend an afternoon kicking the developers of those apps around the room, that would be a significant productivity boost for me. Most enterprise customers feel the same. And they certainly will never, ever, be given "ownership" of their machine.

    So who is this Start experience and OS targeted at? Tablet users. Phone Users. People who "love" their computing objects, who have a personal connection to them that most of us don't with our desktop PC's. My desktop is organised the way I want it but I certainly don't have any fond feelings for it.

    I see where MS are going with the start screen. But I think it's so caught up in the world of tablets and phones and TV's that it's not going to break across to the desktop user much.

    Please spend more time fixing the right click menu. Give us control over that. We use it all the time, because it's by far the most natural thing in the world. It's so good, even Apple had to back down and implement two button mice and a right click menu. Currently, the Windows one is broken because (as always) developers can do whatever they want to it, and users can't customise it. If you want to give us a wow factor, give me a control panel that lets me customise what's in the right click menu, and what applications are allowed to do anything to it.

  352. Jim says:

    It doesn't appear as if MS is going to listen. Metro will come, like it or not. My previous message today did not post. Glitch or censorship? I will not be using W8. Back To The Mac!

  353. Stephen KEllett says:

    "One small example of this net gain is the ability to press the Windows key and immediately start typing to search for an app."

    Exactly what is wrong with this. As people pointed out in the previous articles about the start menu, often you do not know what you are looking for. You'll know when you find it, but until you do find it you need to browse. You don't browse by searching. You browse by looking at what you can see. Which is why the WIndows XP menu was the best, followed by Vista/7 and Windows 8 is useless for solving this particular problem. Some tools I need to find I use possibly once per year, and typically no I can't rememeber

    their name. I sometimes have a clue as to which vendor menu to look under (usually Microsoft, buried in Visual Studio or somewhere else).

    "Even though the search box doesn’t appear on the screen".

    OK, so how is that discoverable? Seriously?

    I didn't know about this until I read about it. I was amazed that something so important was hidden like this. I would never have worked this out. Neither will my girlfriend. Neither will my parents. And so on. Sorry, but this is just really poor UI design. Stop thinking of your cool teenage tablet users and start thinking about your main user base – desktop users!

    "And we make things better for everyone by not having the UI clutter."

    How did you make it better by making it undiscoverable for me even though I'm very experienced?

    As for pressing the Windows key – I've been using windows as an MSDN user since 1994. Do you know when the first time I pressed the Windows key was? After reading an blog comment about the Windows key to get the start menu in a previous article about the Windows 8 start menu. I use Alt/Ctrl modifiers all the time. Never, ever use the Windows key. And from watching my colleagues, peers, family, etc, none of them use the Windows key either.

    If you're relying on the Windows key and "discoverable" (ha!) hidden search boxes for Windows 8's success you are in for a big surprise when the public see this.

    ", or you can customize the Start screen to put your favorite desktop apps at the beginning of the Start screen and launch them directly. I"

    No, I'd like a working start menu thank you. I'd like to be effecient and productive.

    I note that in your reply you have not addressed the problem of "I want to launch a new app in the context of what I am working on – switching to the start screen breaks that context – the information I need has just gone away".

    "Another thing that we’re doing is increasing the number of rows of tiles that you can see on large monitors so that you can fit even more of your favorite apps closer to your mouse and make it faster to launch apps than before."

    So the solution to managed, ordered information overload (Windows XP menu) is information overload (Start Screen). That is less productive.

    If I want a Windows start screen style overload I can get that right now in Windows 7 by just displaying my desktop and hunting for the various program icons on that desktop. I do actively try to keep them ordered and it is not an efficient way to find what I need to launch. What is effecient is using the start menu to do the same task (and of couse if I display the desktop I lose the context in exactly the same way as displaying the Windows 8 start screen).

    Yes, you've provided some very nice background and arguments for a lot of what you are doing. I appreciate that. But you are completely ignoring those of us that although we can see, understand and appreciate what you are doing, we also wish to work a certain way. What on earth is wrong with

    allowing us to have a start menu as well as your start screen?

  354. neverland says:

    @Max Nierbauer,

    Quote:

    "…

    Login into the PC and have a landing page displaying all relevant current information right away: emails, appointments, social media updates, alerts – whatever you need to act on, right there, right away, without having to start any application is just priceless. Anybody who cannot imagine or realise the value and the possibilities of that and instead continues to moan about the old times and the classic start menu and how great it was, well excuse me, but I think those people should better not look at pre-beta software and comment on it. It’s a waste of their time.

    …"

    Emails, appointments are easy: start Outlook, Hotmail or any other PIM that suits you automatically, at logon.

    Social media updates?  Are you 13?  Alerts?  Like what?  'Get to work' alerts?  Come on!

    When I start up my desktop I have work to do.  I don't need to be told what that work is.  I can click (on the taskbar, btw) to open Outlook to see my important email and appts for the day – or to send an email that a project is finished and waiting approval from a superior or colleage.

    If you can't imagine starting work without checking your social status pages – I'm sorry, but you don't need a desktop to do your so called work with.  Get a tablet and enjoy Win8 as-is.

    This is not moaning about old times – this is getting angry about treating longtime desktop citizens as second class subjects, all while putting people that need to let the world know they've arrived at StarBucks as easily as possible on their phones/tablets/touch enabled notebooks,  ahead of them.

    I am looking at this pre-beta software not because it is a waste of my time currently (and it is, right now), but because I don't want it to be a waste of my time when it ships and I want/need to be developing for it.

    Thanks for your opinion – but MS has you covered – I'm here because me and users like me are being blatantly ignored by MS.

    I am hopeful though that this will change soon.

  355. @Joe

    Actually, application store is not that a good revenue generator.

    http://www.tomsguide.com/…/App-Developers-Earn-Money-Make-Money-Apps,news-11784.html

    2.5 bils over 3 year period payoff to application providers. 30% into Apple pocket = around 1 bil.

    Their music store is even more profitable.

    http://www.asymco.com/…/itunes-has-paid-over-2-billion-to-app-developers-and-12-billion-to-record-labels

    Most revenue comes from selling actual iPhones and Macs.

    With ugly Metro, idiots behind it,  I do not see myself waiting in line for Windows 8 anytime soon.

  356. Alireza Noori says:

    I'm really surprised that some people really don't seem to respond to many scintific reasoning behind all of these designs and just say some things that don't bring anything to the table. I mean I like to respect other people's opinions but some people are doing their best to disagree!!!

    Anyway, I'd like to get an official response from MSFT (Steven, Marina, …) about what they think about my idea that I posted before in this same post. I know that you guys are busy but I really appreciate getting your opinoins.

    Thanks.

  357. edi says:

    I love Windows and Microsoft and I just want to help so hear me out – yes, there are some functionality gains when using the start screen vs. the start menu when searching for a program and it does in some ways unify notifications and widgets in one place but only in some ways…

    All your point in favor of the start screen and the new UI in terms of improving the functionality disregard the fact that people love the current UI, the taskbar in particular, switching between apps is a joy in the Aero UI, the start menu has the most convenient way to shut down and restart the PC and its main use is to store programs that one doesn't use frequently which  diminishes your points in favor of the start screen, because the current UI does give us all the accessibility that we need to all the apps that we use and for that one time that most of the people go to the start menu to launch that one app that they rarely use me and others aren't willing to abandon the start menu. As for all the other "gains" that the start screen brings like better notifications, widgets (which isn't that good – because the live tiles are far less powerful than widgets) and search gains (giving more real estate for search results) aren't all that better and you can vastly improve those functionalities in the current UI (like improving event farther the Widgets APIs, making the menu grow [with a nice animation] when you search in the start menu to show more search results and improving jump lists to give the ability to link to even more things and not just files [which you partially already can using tasks and to different areas of the applications like the Media Center allows]) – like you have done in every OS release – you improve the UI – instead of making excuses and cup outs for why the CURRENT UI isn't good enough (and disregarding many things that make it superior to your new UI in the process ) so instead of improving it you use it as an excuse for replacing it with a new UI that you thing will gain you the tablet world but in the process may actually lose you the PC world.

    As for your METRO UI – again, if you must replace the start menu with the start screen (to make people notice your new tablet friendly UI and buy windows tablets) at least give the Desktop & Laptop crowd choice – let Windows boot into the desktop and not metro and don't present us with a silly login screen when there is no password set.

    Most importantly- Windows Aero is gorgeous – putting this new ugly black start button and showing this ridicules rectangle at the right edge of the screen showing the time and date (which is already presented in the taskbar) when you hover over the ugly start button reminds us of Metro even if we don't want it – so give us choice and the ability to live with your new UI (which I hope you will reconsider and live just for tablets) by letting us avoid it.

    And last thing- you probably won't do it, but what the heck, please consider changing the flat and ugly METRO UI to Aero Glass UI – from one dimensional ugly paper like rectangles to gougers transparent, glass like rectangles – live all your metro concepts just use a different way to "draw" them, and then I can guaranty that people will be much more receptive to the new UI – because it will be just if not more stunning than the current Windows Aero.

  358. Mary Branscombe says:

    there seems to be a slight conflict between keeping the bottom left, ever-so-Fitts-friendly corner for the Start charm when you're using a mouse – just fling your mouse down there – and having the charm bar still open on the right, which is big but a long way away, and I have to click small things precisely within it. Do I remember a suggestion that this is that a part of the UI you see as evolving further with extra affordances for mouse?  

    App switching; for those finding left-swipe too serial, Win-Tab switches faster and there's still Alt-Tab

  359. Mary Branscombe says:

    there seems to be a slight conflict between keeping the bottom left, ever-so-Fitts-friendly corner for the Start charm when you're using a mouse – just fling your mouse down there – and having the charm bar still open on the right, which is big but a long way away, and I have to click small things precisely within it. Do I remember a suggestion that this is that a part of the UI you see as evolving further with extra affordances for mouse?  

    App switching; for those finding left-swipe too serial, Win-Tab switches faster and there's still Alt-Tab

  360. André says:

    Steven, it's time to support multiple desktops. Do not ignore this feature.

  361. We understand that it's a better start menu. But it's covering up the taskbar, which is what we actually use. And it isn't a better taskbar. It needs to be consistent in terms of pinned apps and make it clear which are running and what order they are in (for winkey+# shortcuts). Make all the awesomeness of the win 7 taskbar present in the start screen and you'll have fixed what is really bothering most people.

  362. Edmundo Santana says:

    “…Some have suggested that using XP-style menus that wrap around the screen, or increasing the size of today’s Start menu would “solve” the issues we are working to solve. Below we will talk about Fitts’ Law and how no increase in size or wrapping will address this. As DPI and monitor sizes increase, it becomes increasingly difficult to zig-zag around the menu to hit narrow buttons. Here is a screen shot submitted via a comment by @Bleipriester, where you can see the mouse “path” required as well as the additional navigation aid of the down/up chevrons. Keep this in mind as we discuss Fitts’ Law below.v…”. No, no, no… Why have you folders in operating systems? … To arrange matters in same subject, if you do so, you don’t have the big menus.

  363. Paul says:

    I can see the merits of making the Start Menu larger, but making it take up the WHOLE screen (hiding entirely the taskbar and open windows) is NOT the way to go.

    May I also suggest to include a search-box at the top-right of the Start Screen. It is not intuitively obvious that you can just type to search in the Start Screen.

  364. Paul says:

    … there should be a toggle for desktops vs. tablets. On the desktop the start screen appears in a popup that takes up, say, 60% of the screen area.

    On a tablet the start screen is full screen.

    Perhaps there could also be a "full screen" button (like in Windows Media Player) that toggles between "popup" and "full screen" modes.

  365. Test NewOne says:

    Thanks for communicating the behind the scenes aspects of building windows in such a logical and reasoned way.

    After reading this excellent post, when I thought through my use of desktop in XP, Vista and 7, I realized that my Desktop has been in some ways a Start Screen with shortcuts to various programs, files and gadgets. I also noticed that my usage of the start menu was primarily for less used programs.  So now looking at it from the perspective of Steven and Marina, my skepticism of the new UI has given way to an appreciation for the Start Screen.  Keep up the conversation.

  366. Skeezix says:

    the apps screen is great (blogs.msdn.com/…/2577.Page5_2D00_1_5F00_27918C7F.png) but please at least make it look more organized…kind of messy upon looking, but kudos for listening to comments keep up the good work!

  367. Fritz says:

    I used the reg hack to get the old start screen back for Win9. Best I could do. Is this illegal?

    Also: If you say the "old" start button/screen only had 20 entries, why not just enlarge it? It only fills half my vertical screen.

    If you are too small touch screen centred, you will lose the desktop market, or ppl just stay with old XP and WIn7.

  368. As a response to all of the users on this post, I agree with the suggestions I've seen for displaying the Start Screen overtop of a blurred, darkened desktop. This in my opinion, would bring the best of both worlds to Windows 8 users, the familiarity of the Desktop with the new opportunities of Metro. Of course, this would only be for desktop computers. Metro's current state is fine for tablets.

  369. Rafa Marques says:

    The new "start screen" is good, just needs to be improved. It also needs to support multiple desktops. If now the desktop is just an app, why not have multiple instances of the desktop?

  370. @ Joe Hammer: actually I do agree with this interpretation of events. The whole thing stings of marketing hype for the purpose of promoting the “Windows Supermarket” edition. Real estate on our screens seems to be precious and they are milking it by “in your face” advertising of the applications.

    It has taken them three blogs already trying to convince us that they up to something good when we all know they only care about promoting their new shop front. If that does not imply failure I don’t know what does.

    Actually I find the whole experience to be a very good experiment worth studying closer in the future computer science lessons. They are managing to alienate all their loyal developers who have decades of experience just to get a piece of the Apple/Android action. Will they succeed or are they going to fail one more time as they seem to be doing for the past decade in so many areas.

    If there was any merit in all their research then they will simply allow both Start Menus to coexist in Win8 and then observe usage patterns (through telemetry data, their favourite pass time) and prove that their research is worth anything or not.

    Unfortunately over the past decade Microsoft is sinking into irrelevance and they know it, they are getting attacked from all fronts with inferior solutions that obviously seem to be more in tune what the common people want from their computerised devices (not PCs). What they don’t get though seems to be that if they annoy the last remaining hard core devs out there they are going to lose their last allies in this OS eats OS world out there. They fail to acknowledge that tablets, phones and desktops are not the same thing.

    @Marina: No amount of telemetry data or studies can prove that we had it all wrong for the past 10 years. What you have proven is that you don’t know your target audience and you cannot cater for more than one type of users or devices.

    I just wish Microsoft was run by some visionary leadership and not by PhD researchers backing their decisions by tons of misinterpreted telemetry data for marketing purposes.

    I still have not found a single application that forces full screen operation on the desktop no matter what the users desires or not. Maybe you have an example to suggest to me so I can compare them with the new Start Menu.

  371. I love the new start screen paradigm. It gives me access to so much more information than the old desktop, and also allows me to access my most frequently-used applications quickly. As you discussed above, most of the applications I use frequently are pinned to my taskbar, or I access them using the search key. I do have two suggestions though:

    1. When right-clicking in a metro application, instead of presenting the tablet-friendly application bar at the bottom of the screen, I would prefer a contextual menu to come up where the mouse has been clicked. It would save a lot of moving around the screen and thus make using metro much more efficient.

    2. I think the search function would be far more useful if it mimicked the behaviour of the start menu search from Windows 7, where I get a selection of applications, settings and files; and I can choose to refine my search from there. It's annoying that settings and applications are isolated. On Windows 7, I could hit the windows key, type 'mouse', hit enter, and be taken to the mouse control panel application. In Windows Developer Preview, I have to click 'settings' on the right of the screen otherwise I get no results.

    Thankyou for taking the time to read our suggestions and give helpful feedback about the development process. As developers and users of Windows, we truly appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the next version of Windows.

  372. Dan Abarbanel says:

    Thank you Microsoft for ripping off Gnome and Unity with your Apps page.

  373. Windows Dude says:

    For the love of god, don't get rid of the old Start menu. If you want to do the whole 2D plane thing, at least make it so it doesnt take up the whole screen (see Ubuntu's latest for an example of this). I like being able to see whats going on behind the Start menu and have the ability to drag things in and out of it.

    Besides, the desktop is already a 2D plane of apps! Why do we need another?

  374. B8Blog says:

    @Mary Branscombe — the swipe from the right for the charms is for touch and is where your thumb is likely to be.  The lower left is both a compatibility location (where the start menu was) and a very easy target for a mouse.

  375. Wolf says:

    @Steven

    How do I swipe Charms Via Mouse?

    No touch, No windows key? leaves me stuck in a Metro app for the most part kinda annoying.

  376. B8Blog says:

    @Albus

    1. Press enter (or ctrl+alt+del for a domain joined machine)

    2. You can also use the physical power button or ctrl+alt+del and shutdown is there.

    3. Search for it by name and then repin it.  If you uninstalled a sample Metro style app (not just unpinned it) then you will need to do a refresh or reinstall the WDP.

  377. B8Blog says:

    @xpclient — We merely cited the comment in the post from @Bleipriester where no attribution was provided.  I don't think any malice was intended since we provided a citation in post.

  378. A user says:

    mil_ says:

    "@Marina: No amount of telemetry data or studies can prove that we had it all wrong for the past 10 years. What you have proven is that you don’t know your target audience and you cannot cater for more than one type of users or devices."

    I absolutely agree with that words. MS' justifications are pretty insulting right now. They seem to be robots.

  379. B8Blog says:

    @Wolf — (sounds like a keyboard without a WIN key?)  the same way you would bring up the start menu with a keyboard without a WIN key and a full screen app (like chrome, safari, powerpoint)…use CTRL+ESC.  Also ALT-TAB works just like you would expect (including the desktop).

  380. what gives says:

    Is there a delay on this thing, or does it just not work.  Just as well it didn't post.  My opinions aren't mainstream anyway.

  381. Persuadable says:

    You write:  "We've seen some small amount of visceral feedback focused on "choice" or "disable"—a natural reaction to change, but perhaps not the best way to have a dialog leading to a new product."

    Visceral?  What I've seen along these lines is fairly thoughtful descriptions of how commenters actually use their computers when doing real work.  These comments are precisely the opposite of "visceral" and definitely not a "reaction to change."  Many of us think you've just plain produced a lousy product, and are particularly disappointed because, with Windows 7, you seemed to be getting the message about what your customers want and to be producing something more than a low-rent Mac knockoff.  To characterize these comments as reactionary is for sure not the best way to have a dialog leading to anything useful.

  382. Kaushik says:

    I can't believe you guys are still complaining. Isn't it clear already that MS is not going to listen to you?

    The best way to protest is boycott this blog. Seriously.

  383. Mohak Rastogi says:

    My observation why people aren't liking this Metro Start Screen, the mouse, whether it's of a laptop or a computer, has a scroller meant for vertical scrolling. The tradition is, that the computers are made for vertical scrolling, the webpages, the documents, anything.

    But here, the Metro Start Menu is of horizontal scrolling, which feels excellent on touch-screen devices, but for computers it creates a negative impact(you scroll down and up, but the screen is moving sideways).

    Maybe this is the reason why most of the user are complaining.

    If possible, make the Start Menu vertical for non touch-screens devices. This will make the Start Menu easier to use and more effective.

  384. Unbeliever says:

    Mr. Sinofsky it's pretty clear you have made up your mind about Windows 8, Metro, etc. Just look at the Microsoft responses here. It's like all of the other Windows Division folks I met at Build — ignore the issues, stay on message, everything is a-ok. It's like everyone was coached to follow this script:

    1. Lead them to believe you're listening to them by providing "transparency".

    2. Convince them that your idea was right (this is not listening).  Load them up with misleading, one-sided "facts".

    3. Give them a place to vent.

    4. Ignore questions and issues raised that are contrary to your position (like politicians on a Sunday morning talk show)

    You never say, "hey we never thought of it that way, we'll look into that" or "We heard you. We got it wrong. We'll fit it."

    Microsoft always seems to assume the market will fix the problems they create (i.e. faster hardware will run your bloated software so people won't notice. Now it's touch screens will save your intentionally mouse/keyboard unfriendly designs.) If you truly believe that touch screen will overtake the desktop then you should do EVERYTHING in your power to insure the transition is smooth and not forced. It's pretty clear that you'd prefer leading people to touch screens by inconvenience rather than through desire. That's strategy is destine for failure. Please reconsider.

  385. As dlenihan points out, the left button of the scrollbar doesn't follow Fitt's law because the mouse charms are shown for the bottom left most corner. I don't get why we have two charms, a mouse charm (Win+C) and a touch/keyboard charm (Shift+Win+C). The same touch charm should be shown for the mouse by swiping from the right using the mouse. Because the touch charms are shown on the right, it also solves the problem for the mouse to travel from left to right across the screen to use the charms.

  386. What is being done to the context menu options we get when we right click a Start menu item? In the Metro UI, I only get Run, Run as Administrator, Open file location and Pin/Unpin. Where are Rename, Properties, Delete and any custom actions added by Sysinternals tools like shellrunas? How can the Start Screen in that case replace the Start Menu?

  387. Extra points to whoever guesses the title of the next blog relating to the start screen that may convince us we do not really need Windows to do our job:

    Start Menu +

    “Designing the Presentation Manager”

    “Reflecting on My Reflections”

    “My Way or No Way”

    “My Telemetry Data Is Better Than Yours”

    “Stack in the Past”

    “Rectangular & Spectacular”

  388. Jote says:

    The arguments regarding JUMP LISTS TELEMETRY are completely bogus. Doesn't it occur to anyone, that people do not use jump lists that much, because they are relatively NEW (2009?) compared to the taskbar/start menu experience (1995!)

    Gimme a break?

  389. Brt says:

    I don't think the issue is doing somthing better with the start menu. Get ride of it if you like and replace it with something better. But not a whole screen, something that does not take away from the desktop.

    The pushback is about it taking away a whole screen when the multiple currently running apps is what windows is about.

  390. Albus says:

    @Steven—Thanks for the response…but from an EU perspective why the basic fundamental functions (Shutting down Restart etc.) are complicated? Wouldn’t a simple button like in previous Windows be great!

    Must say that the move of Details Pane doesn’t do well. The details pane is no longer resizable. Of course it can be expanded but the options (Small, Medium and Large) are omitted.

    I loved the instant search function. However showing the search results on the screen by their respective groups (Apps, Settings and Files) would be much organized and easy for a user rather than the current behavior in which user has to go to particular group and view the results.

  391. Max says:

    Main difference and not convenience of Start Screen vs Start Menu — its hide Desktop and opened active application! Sometimes we need make some steps by the plan, opened in the browser/viewer/reader! For example when user setup some program by opened in the browser manual. With Start Screen this is very not convenience, because when we search some application, we don't see opened browser with opened manual!

    If you don't want return start menu, you must return at least search the application/document – function on the desktop/task bar. As possible solution: upgrader Win-R application 😉

  392. AheadOfItsTime says:

    The telemetry data presented in the past three blogs seem to be correct. Nobody likes the Start Menu and very few people are using it.

    The only thing Microsoft got wrong is the source operating system for this data. The data gathered are not coming from Windows 7, but from Windows 8. So now we know that nobody is going to be using the new start menu on their desktop in the future (and also that Microsoft does have a “time machine” type application they haven’t told us about).

  393. Joao M Correia says:

    A place for users to post comments and microsoft to ignore them and, against the  majority of opnions expressed here, stay on course, is not really listening to the users. Its just a place to vent.

    Adding a "choice" button would -not- prevent anyone from using/enjoying metro. It would just let the ones who think it abhorrent also use and enjoy the OS. Because this is such a usability loss that it ruins the rest of the OS experience completely. It could pop out gold ingots by the dozen, and it would still be a horrid UX on a desktop. "Bunch-of-words" and pseudoscience that isn't even right can not justify this. Doesn't the number of posts against it being forced (what you call "small") give you any pause that, maybe, just maybe, you ought to actually give users the choice? Like what microsoft did on vista, seven and xp, where you could enable the previously classic menu?

    The biggest problem is it being full screen. A glorified program launcher that goes full screen?

    And better yet, it even goes full screen over remote desktop. And it even goes on a full screen if you have multiple monitors. Its the Microsoft tithe to pay for multimonitor support.

    How is any of this going forward? These are clear UX problems that are being introduced by pure stubborness, and i'm pretty sure there are also many voices at microsoft that understand how this is a very big problem.

    You keep ignoring the fact that enterprise will skip this. Well, however justified "i told you so" will feel after it launches, there is still time to make it right (and its very easy too – everything is in place for it, actually). Just add a button and a group policy and be done with it, and you can even come out on the high horse, by "having listened to the users opinions", without detracting anyone from using Metro -by simply making it optional-. How is this bad for anyone?

    Another thing you obviously got wrong is the telemetry data. I bet it also tells you 98% of the users are right handed, so why didn't you just cut the option to use a left-handed mouse? Its in the data too!

    [The simple fact that the threads relating to this subject are the ones with the most activity and negative opinions, vs all the other improvement threads, should give you pause]

  394. Explorer in Windows 7 SP1 somewhen locks and i restart it. somewhen Explorer locks as windows full lock and i should restart my PC. This problem was not in Windows 7 before SP1. i hope problem of explorer locking or full windows locking will not exist in Windows 8.

  395. About one year later i will update my PC to a 6 or 8 core CPU. i hope i will not need to install "Process Lasso" program. But indisputable Windows 7 needs this program for who use multi-core CPU. if you don't know Process Lasso you can go to home page of this program: http://www.bitsum.com/prolasso.php

  396. Anonymous says:

    Dear Microsoft,

    Please give me a tabbed explorer in Windows 8 so I don't need so many windows open. Aside from what you are already working on that is the one thing I want that I'm not seeing.

  397. The traditional short-cuts on the Win7 desktop can provide start-up arguments in the target field. I can place these short-cuts in the Win7 desktop or Start Menu.  Can the link in a Metro tile have parameters? If not then the Win8 Start Screen has lost some of its power as a 'Launcher'. I have many applications that can be started up in various modes… so I create a short-cut to them rather than using the console/command prompt.

    If I have to revert to the desktop to launch an application then the Start Screen is a simply another layer hindering me from doing work.

    From what I've seen so far its not obvious how to manually create short-cuts to applications/filers in the Start Screen… Is/will  it be possible?    

  398. The traditional short-cuts on the Win7 desktop can provide start-up arguments in the target field. I can place these short-cuts in the Win7 desktop or Start Menu.  Can the link in a Metro tile have parameters? If not then the Win8 Start Screen has lost some of its power as a 'Launcher'. I have many applications that can be started up in various modes… so I create a short-cut to them rather than using the console/command prompt.

    If I have to revert to the desktop to launch an application then the Start Screen is a simply another layer hindering me from doing work.

    From what I've seen so far its not obvious how to manually create short-cuts to applications/filers in the Start Screen… Is/will  it be possible?    

  399. cor blimey says:

    I still use a Quicklaunch bar with around 300+ of applications sorted and categorized into 40+ folders.

    I missed the ability to import a simple list of shortcuts and folders into the Developers Previews' Startscreen. It would have allowed me to actually make use of this UI instead of bypassing it altogether.

    I was forced to pin the old Quicklaunch structure into Windows Explorers Jump List, instead of being able to continue using the toolbar set up due to a weird bug which refreshed all icons on the taskbar/desktop/menus making it virtually impossible to use the Developers Preview at some point as apart from visually jarring,

    it also closed menues and nested folders repeatedly.  

    But even before that bug surfaced, the menu structures of said toolbar was rendering far slower than was reasonable, always taking a few seconds to display, disqualifying using it prioductively, caching should've been enabled.

    As a heavily vision impaired user I'd appreciate if more work was done on enabling customization of application looks.

    In particular:

    The default High Contrast schemes built into Windows 8 make dividers (taskbar,explorer,etc) disappear, as well as reducing structure seen in Windows Explorer as in XP and prior.

    Ie. the color of selection rectangle matching the color of selected objects,

    A lot more options to allow to change divider colors among diverse other ui elements' colors are needed.

    A visibility improving scheme does not have to reduce structures nor does it need to strain the eyes.

    Ideally being able to adjust colors and the like in default schemes would be best, including all details of selection rectangle colors etc.

    Often the brightness of default elements of windows ui like rmb menues was a concern, being unable to adjust this properly even more so.

    Explorers dotted lines connecting folders are also missed. On vast folder/drive structures especially.

    From a usability standpoint, being unable to add copies/moves to a transfer queue and continue file transfers in case of errors is a long standing issue, as is the inability to set up default behaviors for user interaction questions ie replace, file in use operations. Settings for default behaviors for copying attributes and other metadata would help.

    Being able to adjust a transfer queue on the fly, removing and adding elements would offer a vast improvement to productivity.

  400. wolf says:

    @steven

    I figured it out. Appretnly The statmenu (bottom) is the same as the Charm Menu (right side) all I had to do was move my mouse to the bottom left conor in a Full screen metro app to go back.

    First whats the deal with Windows 8 Snap. It dose infact work on all screen Resolution and it looks and works extreamly well even on netbook at 1024×600. I HIGHLY SUGGEST REMOVING THE SCREEN RESOLUTION REQUIRMENTS FOR SNAP TO WORK AND MAKE IT ENABLED ON EVER DEVICE

    Second, Some one from MS at Build LIED to us. Metro Apps DO NOT need to have screen Resulotion of 1024×768 to load. don't bealive me check out my youtube video of me runing metro app on a netbook at 1012×600, NO HACKS, NO MODIFCATIONS REQUIRED

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

    PLEASE, OH PLEASE  MAKE WINDOWS 8 SNAP ENABLED BY DEFULT ON ALL DEVICE AS WELL AS MAKE METRO APP USEIBLE ON ALL DEVICE AS WELL

    I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO WRITE DOCUMENTS AND MAKE VIDEOS FOR THE PUBLIC ON HOW TO ENABLE AND RUN SUCH FEATURE WHEN WINDOWS 8 GOSE RTM.

    I ALSO DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO SPEND HOURS AFTER A INSTALL OF WINDOWS 8 IN TWEAKING AND REGISTRY EDITING JSUT OT ENBLE FEATURE AS WELL.

  401. BLUF:

    A solution is needed for the user requirement to have Metro UI elements available without obscuring currently open windows. In addition, telemetry data suggests that the taskbar or superbar is a greater part of the user experience and should be preserved until usage data suggests otherwise.

    1. Make the full screen start screen available with the left swipe instead of the start button. The start button is used by users with the expectation of a menu like dialog appearing not a full screen change.

    2. Make a Metro style, horizontal, transparent menu appear when the start button is pressed.  What initially caught my eye about the start screen is that only a small portion of the screen real estate was being used to display apps. It was bordered on the top and bottom by largely empty space. In fact, the metro start screen is not full screen, it only obscures the full screen. Allow the improved (as mentioned in this post) full screen start to appear with a left swipe and a small transparent section of the start screen, specifically the section that contains apps, to appear when the start button is pressed.

    3. Preserve and improve Win7 task switching. From the Desktop use an improved win7 task switching style. When in metro use metro style task switching.

    4. In Metro, preserve the taskbar, hidden. When the user touches the bottom of the screen a simple, resized Metro taskbar should appear. When in desktop, the same data should be in the taskbar but the 2 taskbars don’t have to look the same. The Desktop taskbar should look like a Desktop taskbar and the Metro taskbar should look like Metro (when the user needs it by touching or mouse over the bottom part of the screen).

    I believe that the above suggestions give user’s the best of both worlds:

    1. Enhances the functionality of the Desktop

    2. Allows user’s choice and control to decide when they want to see metro and when they don’t

    3. Prevents users from having the urge to disable metro completely

    4. Enhances Metro UI by taking one of the most popular parts of Windows, the taskbar, and integrating it with Metro in a touch friendly way.

    5. Maintains continuity between the 2 worlds

    6. Makes Metro apps accessible from the Desktop and frequently used desktop elements accessible with one click from Metro

    Furthermore, since this blog is hosted on MSDN, I think the users expect more than marketing, usability, and telemetry data/stats. Don’t treat us stupid, there are deep architectural limitations and reasons for Metro in its current form. Very few architectural (coding) reasons for the Metro UI have been addressed so far.

  402. I must say, Vladimir Krstic's design is by far the best solution I saw to date for a cohesive user experience. Much respect to him.

  403. Stefan says:

    Drop the Metro UI – it will not work for homeusers and enterprises ! Give us what we want – or loose customers  !!!!

  404. Albus says:

    @Windows 8 team — -And yes, like all other "majority" of users here i too love the old start menu! Please at least have an option where we can switch between Start Screen and Start Menu… Or else please remove the full screen mode of Start screen. The functionality does not go well with Desktop users esp. (who work with keyboard and mouse)

  405. Russ Painter says:

    There's WAY too much info inside these groups to be displaying all at once.  If I have my apps organized in folders, then I only want to see that folder name as a tile.  I want a single tile for "Microsoft Office" that when I click it, I can choose the specific app.  I don't want to see all of the office apps (including the seldom used utilities) appearing on my top level menu.  Allow ME to control how these roll-up.

  406. Yannik Seegel says:

    This looks much better than befor. But I still miss the quick search. I want to press the Windows key, type some letters, press Return and the right programm starts. This works so great with 7. Don't want to miss this in 8.

  407. Chupy says:

    Ok, You are just going back into a hybrid desktop.

    I would like if MS recognised that having just one open full-screen application goes completely against multitasking for desktop users, multitasking IS productivy for many. Metro does not allow multitasking. Tab is not multitasking, it goes against everything we are used to.

    You would spare yourself so much blood and tears if you just admitted the fact that metro is only viable for casual and tablet enabled users.

  408. Dasharath K. says:

    Call me fanatic but I've read 90% of the above post

    my preferences and what I strongly believe are the best suggestions, are summarized below

    1st choise – http://www.moquo.com.ar/…/desktop+metroapps.jpg

    GREAT JOB –

    you have everything you need !!!

    apps, task bar, live tiles, notes, recent files, open programs…EVERYTHING !!

    2nd choice – skydrive.live.com

    VERY GOOD job but smome minor details are TOO MUCH present

    should be tweaked a little more in sizes and appereance

    3rd choice – skydrive.live.com

    Dany Rodier had some very nice Ideas – but I will merge his work with FENCES from stardock to obtain a great result

    4th choice – mentioned by many but not supported by images

    start menu should be semitransparent and blur away the real desktop when evoked

    smooth transition and not shock from "world change"

    finally – I've been against Apple for their close software policies until recently

    I really want MS to do better then them – I fear win8 will fail if UI probs are not addresed quickly and reactively !

    regards

  409. GregH says:

    I don’t see a problem with the Start screen. At a fundamental level the changes are better – I cannot believe for a second that the ‘one click’ to desktop or Start screen is really anything like the problem that some are making it out to be and Metro apps are supposed to be chrome less whilst multi-tasking in the desktop is the same if not better than Win 7, I would be careful to take on board too much as some of these comments are from Apple users who are purposefully scheming to sabotage your progress, users imitating as a Windows user and then carefully suggesting the backward compatibility or stubborn classic users, perhaps even still using XP or that simply don’t like to change their working habits. The Start obviously evolves Windows into a very powerful OS which can cater for the array of new form factors and exciting hardware and it is light years ahead of the competition in terms of flexibility, the new app platform is great and even for people like myself who can only write html and css there seems to be an opportunity to contribute.  I had just received the update 7.5 ‘Mango’ for the Windows Phone – having switched from an iPhone some months ago I can tell you that the philosophy is superior and I now strongly believe in the idea of tiles and ‘at a glance’ potential, I think this will work well in the Windows, please keep the squared modern look – it is best to allow Apple to stick with the rounded corners and gel like bubble stuff, however I still believe you have a long way to go in terms of design and you need to add a sleek and elegant edge to the product taking into consideration some of the genuine concerns.

    Some of my thoughts:

    • Better multitasking and views management for apps and desktop applications when in Start – could we have an enhanced version of multitasking.

    • A more seamless blend of desktop Aero and Start metro design even if it is just making the Start button and transparent aero taskbar better complement each other – there needs to be a unified approach for Start and desktop, it could be subtle changes in the right places that make it better

    • More comprehensive detail into the graphical interface – the avatar fall back is terrible and even the small ‘key’ sprite for the password input field is ugly – please make sure that you have proper scrutiny of each element of the design by dedicated and tasteful design team – any product of this magnitude should be doing extra, Windows should be beautiful.

    • It seems an awkward route to find the power options – these should always be available – regardless of the developers who believe that we might see a time when apps and computers run continually without the need for power options – it is too early to remove close and power options from the immediate controls and we don’t want to confuse people and have them reach for the power button on the computer.

    I really hope that you produce a solid and forward thinking innovative product!

  410. Stephen Kellett says:

    I've published a lengthy reply to this article here

    http://www.softwareverify.com/blog

  411. John Anderson says:

    A very useful feature that was omitted in Windows Vista and Windows 7 is the Photo Viewer does not animate the gif images. They look bored-stiff, and I have to use another software to make them 'move'. Hope this will be solved in Widnows 8.

  412. @Windows engineering team: It would be great if we could have a option to keep a Windows 7 like start menu with a metro flavor and speed optimization. As for logging into Windows 8 it would be great to have an option to go straight to the desktop instead of the metro start menu. I'm sure the metro start menu is great on a touch device, but it just doesn't feel right on a desktop with a mouse/keyboard. I would also like to note that making all Windows applications as a download option could benefit many users including me that don't want all the useless clutter on their OS storage devices like a SSD.

  413. The problem is that that MetroUI forces the user to switch to a different environment from time to time. There should be a way to search for and start programs without leaving the desktop. Also when you are  in the Start Screen you do not knew where each app will start. Is it a metro app? Will it start full screen? Will it start as a windowed application. If I open IE on Metro UI why does it starts full screen? Why not on the desktop? Why does not share content? if I click one tile below IE than I open something in the desktop.

    It is totally messed up and confusing.

    Also the Metro UI is really ugly on a dektop. The tiles are causing headache.

  414. Ian Ringrose says:

    What I hate about change in windows is I will be forced to use both the new system and the old system for a long time (not all work and home PC will be upgraded at the same time), as well as to answer questions from family/friends on both of them.  (Most people don’t even know the version of windows they have when they ask be a question)

    (Mac are not a issues, as people know they are not PCs and I can claim I know nothing about them, so they can be different without giving me problems.)

  415. Evan Jansusziewicz says:

    I've only had time to skim this blog post. Although, I have to say I'm very impressed by Microsoft's science behind the interface and how they are handling the list of complaints. Keep up the good work BUILD team!

  416. I suggest that you extend the taskbar with pinable widgets. Like a widget for app search. A widget with a list of  most popular programs. A widget for Administrative programs. And than everybody could customize the taskbar the way they want. Or at least create proper desktop widgets for that.

    Personally I hope it will be possible to remove the StartScreen button completely. I see no advantage having that.

    IMO it does not have a WOW effect it has an "I am annoyed" effect. It ruins the out of the box experience completely. And it is a source of constant annoyance.  Simply because it is not designed for mouse and keyboard. It is just as annoying as a desktop OS on a tablet.

  417. mmosier88 says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    we don't care about your "telemetry data" we just want a simple choice Let us boot into desktop and have the old start menu. The start screen is ugly, takes up the whole screen, and is counter-intuitive to what most people use PCs for — Multitasking.  As a System Admin, I can vouch for all of the criticism that has been directed towards the start screen. It disrupts workflow and is only good for home and tablet users. I know people who have 10-20 windows open at a time as part of their daily workflow.

    In my opinion this new "start screen" is not a leap forward, but rather a giant leap backward to the DOS days,where you could only have one "full screen" app open at a time…  

    Please, get rid of this for non-tablet devices or at least give the user the option to choose what they want to use as the default interface. If you do not do this, you risk Windows 7 becoming the "new" XP.

  418. Homer says:

    Good job so far, one missing (or maybe not working feature) I see with the preview is the lack of 3G connectivity. I tried to make a phone call using my desktop computer at home and I have no signal.

    What is the point of having the WP7 UI if I cannot make any phone calls?

    Do-h!

  419. James says:

    great to know that apps will be displayed at a higher density, this is great news especially for mouse or desktop users.hope the guys at  windows phone will take note

  420. alireza says:

    this windows 8 is for PC or smart phones?!!!!!!!!!

  421. Jérôme says:

    I do not like the new Start-Screen's design. Please also enable a quick to reach classical start menue.

  422. Martin says:

    Please bring the Metro-Style! Like on WP7 or xBox! i like the style so much and user know where to klick, no metter what kind of device!

  423. I didn't read the whole post, so apologies if this has been addressed, but I feel the need to voice my concerns.

    For the past year, I have stopped using any kind of desktop icon. I have been using Vista and Win7 without any icons, file or application, on my desktop for more than a week. I do all my work (starting applications, finding files) exclusively through the start menu.

    Here is a picture representing that menu, and how it is possible for me to use it exclusively

    http://i.imgur.com/aMBY9.png

    There is SO much room vertically for the start menu to occupy, but people do not use it for some reason. Perhaps, rather than addressing the problems of limited start menu use by redesigning the menu, you should address the problems by encouraging users to use the start menu in a different way.

    The the way I have configured the menu, I can use it for launching 99% of the applications I use. Most files are loaded directly, rather than their application loaded first. I don't need a shortcut for acrobat (although it is there) because I always open pdf files from the explorer. The programs which I DO use are pinned, and occupy less than 50% of the vertical screen real estate.

    The indexing of my entire haddrive means that any program I want to open less frequently can be done by simply typing the name. Same goes for files. The feature is so obviously useful, but too few people know about it.

    All the vertical real estate means I can have shortcuts to everything Win7 offers: all my primary folders and system functions like control panel and Admin tools. If I want to open a single file, all I need do is find it in the folder fly-out. It's like a faster version of using the explorer, because it closes itself as soon as I open the file. If I want to open it in the explorer, all I need do is double-click the folder instead of single.

    Using the Start menu in this way means I never need to have anything on my desktop, and I never waste time looking for files or programs.

    Windows 8 is looking like it's going to destroy this for me. I hope you reconsider your design choice. The start menu is useful for far more than loading applications.

  424. Personally, I can't see where I'd spend much time in the desktop environment after getting used to the start screen.  I'd turn on my computer, launch the program (or programs) that I need and get to work. If I happen to be in the desktop environment running Photoshop, I can simply click on the pinned program on the taskbar (assuming that's still an option) and get to work.  Or, I can hit the start button and find a less-frequently-used program more quickly than I could before.

    If you absolutely have to appease the users that are complaining about moving from the current start menu to the start screen, maybe you could give the start button a right-click function that would open the traditional menu.  I still see this as a waste of time since it'll be much faster to use the start screen, but it'll preserve the option to use the start menu if one simply can't get past the idea of the start screen.  Plus, it'll help those users who do not want to interrupt what they're doing (tv shows and what not).

    I'm really pleased with the design philosophy you guys are employing, and I can't wait to start using this in a more polished form.  Please keep up the great work!

    P.S.  I don't consider myself a power user like an IT professional so I can't speak from that perspective.  I would say I'm an intermediate user who knows his way around a PC.  I had an iMac with OSX, and I hated it.  I felt constrained after being a PC user for so long.  I use a lot of programs (hate calling them apps :) ) regularly and I think this start screen is a great idea.

  425. martin says:

    Desktop users should worry more about Windows 9.  Once windows 8 is finished, feature complete and hits the market with a load of applications that take full advantage of the new environment, a nice tutorial when a new user logs in for the first time, it will be us desktop dinosaurs who start getting burnt.

    MS will be bombarded with a lot of requests from users who love the new environment and see no reason why this thing called the desktop even exists and will start bugging MS to remove it.  

    It will then be up to the remaining desktop fans to defend it.  Who knows what the future will hold maybe by then we wont want it either.

  426. I like the folders concept on the Start Screen, but the text no longer lines up on a grid (left to right). I was under the impression this was one of the design concepts of Metro.

  427. Ryan says:

    Just as long as you keep a one-key shortcut to search bar that allows me to launch any app with a few keystrokes then what more do I need?

  428. Dan says:

    We've almost come full circle. Anyone remember Windows 3.1? It was ugly, and everything was on the desktop (Program Manager) like this Metro thing, except you could minimize the Program Manager to get it out of the way…

    NT 4.0 made a huge improvement with the start menu. Win2k, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 all made changes to the Start Menu, but it was still better than having a cluttered desktop. You also had the option of putting what you wanted on the desktop, pinning to the taskbar, and leaving the rest in the Start Menu.

    If I remember correctly, NT 4 also gave you the option of keeping the clutter of the program manager, or using the Start Menu. Windows 8 should do the same. If you like clutter, keep the Start Screen. If you like order and a clean screen, keep the Desktop. Of course, I've seen some pretty cluttered desktops in my 20+ years of desktop engineering.

  429. mmosier88 says:

    @martin

    I disagree. I've been showing and explaining the start screen to my end-users. The first question I get is how to disable it and get a classic start menu.  Not because of "fear of change" but because the interface is limited and does not offer a good way of multitasking. The top two issues that my users came up with were:

    1. the fact that the start screen disrupts workflow by "kicking" the user into metro

    2. the metro apps are full screen and you cannot have more than two open at a time

    out of the dozen or so users I've demoed 8 with, 100% of them said they would be sticking with Windows 7 and XP if Windows 8 is not fixed to work for non-touch devices.

    In this light, I think (and hope) Windows 9 will bring back all of the "features" in windows 7 and leave metro only for the tablets.

  430. John says:

    I won't buy and install Windows 8 . I'm very satisfied with Windows 7 interface and I won't bother to learn a new one.

  431. @martin

    I so not worry about W9. If I can not get around of the Start Screen in W8 than I will abandon Windows. If MS decide that they will build an average OS for average users, then it is not for me any more. In W7 I can set up everything the way I want. The MetroUI is constant annoyance. There are annoying  stuff in W7 but I can hide them.( IE for example) I use my computer a lot. If every single time I go to the Start Screen  I feel "Oh Crap" than I will not use Windows.

    MS puts Windows Phone UI on a Desktop. How big is the market share of Windows Phones? Why do they want to extend the look and feel unsuccessful product to a successful one? Why do they want to put mobile experience on a desktop computer? I understand that there are people who like it but there are much more who does not.

    And there are alternatives. Again if on desktop environment I have to use full screen apps and full screen start screen than I will not use Windows, I already did that a lot with DOS.

  432. Lars Viklund says:

    @Bitcrazed

    It's not about "ignorance" or "relearning". It's getting thrown out of the zone due to the desktop environment not acting the way your brain is deeply used to it being used.

    I constantly lost track of what I was trying to do as the UI surprised and fought me at all points in time.

    I am completely aware of the Win+E shortcut, but as that's not part of my unconcious workflow, it's irrelevant whether it exists or not.

    I also find the heat maps amusing, as they assume that everyone uses the mouse to click the start button. Just about anyone who uses multiple monitors with aligned lower edges uses the Windows key to pull up the menu, as the Fitt's area of the start button is miniscule.

    That is amplified by that with some of the visual looks, the start button historically doesn't extend to the lower left corner (assuming a bottom-aligned taskbar.)

    I want the improved tech of the new Windows product, but I don't want to get forced into a hybrid point-and-drool experience with it.

    The swipe of the start screen as it flies in is so dissociative, all mental threads of operation are completely context switched away forever.

  433. temp says:

    Guys, the start menu is just for launching app. So please stop saying the Start screen is not a good way for multitasking. If someone dare to say he works with the start menu constantly I call him liar. When all your programs have been launched you don't have to care about the start menu anymore.

    You are complaining because you are afraid of evolution, you are afraid to do a little effort to use something else even if the post describes correctly the search functionality. You don't lose productivity

    And those saying you can't have more than two app openned at a time on the start screen are the same people wanting the classic start menu. So why are you now caring about the start screen because you know that most of the time you will be on the desktop!

    Microsoft is doing a good job, just write feedback to improve the product instead of crying like a baby.

  434. eunit234 says:

    @mmosier

    The closed minded attitude presented by your users, is definitive fear of change. To explain:

    1. "[it] disrupts workflow" meaning, it would require me to adjust my current workflow and adapt (I believe that means change).

    2. No one is requiring them to use metro style apps…

    So I'm not sure how they can claim not to be afraid of change.

  435. jumper says:

    Hi I haven't read any previous comments, I hope they incorporate microsoft surface into Windows 8 somehow.

  436. @mmosier – I also believe that we should be able to SNAP more than TWO Apps…at the very least, the ability to SNAP them at 50% + 50% rather than the current 25% + 75%. Check the following quick Mock-ups out to see what I mean:

    s102.photobucket.com/…/Windows%208%20SNAP%20-%201366%20x%20768

  437. @temp

    I use the start menu constantly. I constantly start and close programs. Often 5-10 program runs simultaneously. On start menu I organized  the most used programs. I use the search in start menu. I have no icons on the desktop because I like it clean and Iike the pretty wallpaper I have there. without messing that up. I dont need live feedback I dont need flashy gadgets, I dont need to know what is the weather, or if I have facebook notifications I dont use facebook. Want my OS clan and simple. I want my OS transparent laying silently behind my setup. Helping me and not distracting me.

  438. Why Microsoft forces us to use tablet UI on desktop ? It is terrible to use Metro style apps with mouse and keyboard.

  439. Mandy says:

    "Microsoft is doing a good job, just write feedback to improve the product instead of crying like a baby."

     Ok , here is my feedback : I will vote with my wallet that Metro interface must disappear.

    1. will buy my next mobile phone with Android .

    2. won't buy Windows 8

  440. mmosier88 says:

    @eunit234

    That makes sense now that I think about it, but it is a moot point. If people don't like the change then they won't use Windows 8.  I will use it because I am always on the bleeding edge of technology but even I find the start screen annoying and have been switching menus with a registry hack.  Sure, I've gotten used to the start screen for certain things but I can definitely understand where people are coming from, My feeling is these changes are too radical to be enabled by default. They need to have an option to forgo the metro experience. If there is not an option Windows 8 will be in trouble and will lose to Windows 7, just like Vista lost to XP.

  441. Joshua Godwin says:

    A very good and detailed post answering some of the genuine concerns.I am excited about the changes brought here,looking forward to the beta which will be more feature complete.All those who are mudslinging and calling the start screen to be removed are impeding innovation and change.I absolutely love what they are doing here but am sad to see the redundant up button like XP to go to the previous folder,breadcrumbs is a much better UI and people should learn to use it. Will there be support for tabs in explorer?thatwould also be very convenient.

  442. Joshua Godwin says:

    A very good and detailed post answering some of the genuine concerns.I am excited about the changes brought here,looking forward to the beta which will be more feature complete.All those who are mudslinging and calling the start screen to be removed are impeding innovation and change.I absolutely love what they are doing here but am sad to see the redundant up button like XP to go to the previous folder,breadcrumbs is a much better UI and people should learn to use it. Will there be support for tabs in explorer?thatwould also be very convenient.

  443. ali says:

    What about "Hubs" in win 8?

    Hubs in windows phone work great. Bring them in win 8, so we can have integrated places for specific tasks like People Hub, Music Hub, Game Hub or Developer hub.

    For example in Developer hub, we can have all our installed Developing Tools icons/tiles + projects + documents.

    p.s: Mr. Steven , Please use a better Comment System for this blog. I must send each of my comments twice to appear in this blog.

  444. Thanks for making this post. I think I can speak for pretty much everyone here, that we appreciate being heard and that our concerns are not falling on deaf ears.

    My following feedback is really only concerned if Win8 is being used on a desktop. If it's being used on a tablet, I really like the Start Screen as it is shown today.

    I agree with most of what you said, however the one thing that still has me disliking the Start Screen is the fact that it is full screen. In many of your examples, you use the fact that it goes into full screen as a benefit, which can be. For me though, it is also partially a regression. I appreciate the Windows 7 way of being able to use a small amount of my screen to launch something (even if I have to scroll a bit) and still have a good 75%-80% of screen to see what is going on. I like having that open area where other things are visible and I can see them while I'm using the start menu.

    For example, I use a few instant messengers, have stocks on a gadget, a weather gadget, etc. None of this is changing in the 5 seconds that I am using the start menu, but I can still see all those applications when the start menu is open. One could also argue that by making it full screen, I'll spend less time using the start screen and can go back to having an open monitor. While that's true, I feel that you guys would appeal to almost all of the complaints by giving the *option* to make it back into a side tile, or something similar to what it is in Windows 7. This solves two things:

    1)Those of us that don't want the start menu taking up the entire screen can use it while having other things visible to us.

    2) This experience can be tailored to the type of system you're on (tablet, vs a desktop)

    Thanks for reading!

  445. temp says:

    @Adam Koncz

    My PC looks like yours. You can use the start screen the same way you use the start menu. I always use the search to launch a program and I pinned my app to the taskbar

  446. matthewp131 says:

    All these improvements to the Start Screen are great, but my main problem with metro is the lack of window management. I can't easily work with 3-4 all at the same time, like I currently can in the traditional desktop. For me to switch to metro, there has to be window management.

  447. matthewp131 says:

    All these improvements to the Start Screen are great, but my main problem with metro is the lack of window management. I can't easily work with 3-4 all at the same time, like I currently can in the traditional desktop. For me to switch to metro, there has to be window management.

  448. Iulius says:

    no offense but your "start menu" is "my desktop" set up with fences

    for what i use the start menu: – few apps, less than 10 most of the time, the task bar has 6-7 pinpointed apps ( 22'' monitor) .

    let`s just think task bar: iexplore, firefox, chrome, excel, word, outlook

    start menu : excel, outlook, word irfan view (for fast print screen save), yahoo, notepad, DVD player, 2 games, calculator, winamp. ( some of this are used for their jump lists)  

    other than this what do i click from start menu – start – run cmd / notepad / paint /mmc. or right click my computer – manage .

    except those i 95% of time use star – search – done

    for 5% of times used for other stuff you want to kill my lovely start menu?

    A "classic" (win7) start menu & classic desktop option are the minimum requirements for me to move to win8.  if any of this is missing my bet is that the sales in first year on win8 will be something like 10-20% of the market. my personal option will be to stay out, and i mean very far from a closed OS (no option offered to  switch it = close system)

    << visceral feedback focused on "choice" or "disable"—a natural reaction to change, but perhaps not the best way to have a dialog leading to a new product>> maybe you should take this in discussion also when you refuse the "switch button"

  449. @temp

    There are not enough slot in my taskbar. But this is not the point. I don not want to go to an entirely different screen to find a program. I do not want to see huge tiles or small ones. I do not want to see Config page with 60px fonts. MetroUI on desktop is ugly. Looks like it is designed to children. I do not want any full screen app. I regularly use around 50 program and none of them fulls screen mode.

    OK. Simply.

    There is nothing in Metro UI that I need.

    There is nothing in Metro UI that I like.

    It has no benefit for me.

    I don't want it.

  450. Another area where both the Start Screen and the new Vista Start menu fall short but the Classic Start Menu excels (the one that Windows 7 removed) is launching multiple apps quickly. Suppose I want to launch two Notepad windows, two IE windows, Calculator, registry editor. I simple used to hold down the Shift key, then I could launch as many as apps as possible and the Classic Start menu would not close. These apps would launch in the background. Before launching the last app, I let go of the Shift key so it launched in the foreground. Why is this power user launching capability not possible in Windows 7 or Windows 8? Only the Taskbar supports quickly launch multiple apps but that means I have to pin all those apps to the Taskbar even if I don't use them frequently. I have asking this since Vista but Microsoft hasn't done anything to fix this.

  451. Firstly, thanks for the feedback on the feedback. It's greatly appreciated, and pleasing to know the public reaction to the WDP is being taken seriously enough to have a significant impact on the final product. I'll try to comment on this post more than once, from different PsoV. This is the long, critical one :)

    Marina, i realize Microsoft's vision goes way beyond a new and improved start menu, but…

    "In the Start menu today, when you expand the All Programs flyout, by default you can see a total of 20 apps without scrolling… In one of our studies, we found users launched an average of 57 different apps over the course of several months. And this doesn’t even include … websites … So you can see how a little window that shows 20 items does not prove scalable in this scenario. In addition to the limited real estate…"

    Well actually no, i *cannot* see how this little window can't be scaled. If the default height of the start menu is deemed inadequate, then go ahead and increase it! The current start menu doesn't "max-out" the y-axis, so why talk as though today's start menu were touching some architectural limit, when it isn't? Sure, that limit might not fullfil the criteria Microsoft has set, but the point is, the current number of items displayed in the Win7 start menu is just following tradition, and consequently there is no basis for using this example as though it were some sort of reference for its class. You're talking as though you weren't the OS vendor, or as if you don't have access to the Windows source code.

    "In addition to the limited real estate, apps in All Programs are buried under folders and subfolders of hierarchy, without any iconography to help you navigate to the right place. To make matters worse, things are often jumping around as you expand and collapse folders looking for the right app, making the experience even less efficient."

    So Marina, who made matters worse? It wasn't me. It wasn't anyone else who buys your products. It was *Microsoft*. Your company is responsible for these outcomes, and your company is capable of fixing them. Why are you presenting these deficiencies as though they were some sort of fait accompli? If program folders should be represented as individualized icons, or have embedded icons, then provide that capability. If stuff jumps around and you don't like this, then add another column for the child items. Please tell us – what exactly is preventing you from doing these things?

    When we get to the heat maps, you introduce Windows 8 as being designed using Fitt's Law as a design principle, and show us how well it compares to the Win7 start menu – that is, you compare concrete examples rather than conceptual best examples. It would have more objective to compare a list view that is maximized in the y-dimension, versus a grid – using the same icon and font size, also maximized in the y-dimension, and the *same* width in the x-dimension. Each menu type (list and grid) should be compared using the same number of pixels in each case. What your doing is granting the grid layout ten times more pixels, and then parading how superior it is to the list view – but the limits on the list view were put there by you – they are not inherent. Also, it is not enough just to reply that a list view menu cannot make more use of the y-axis than it currently does. What if you hypothetically gave the start menu multiple columns? – 1) Pinned items 2) All Programs 3) Items under All Programs 4) Recent files per app item 5) Search results 6) Existing second column. How would the numbers compare then? As you put it – "This sort of analysis is generally difficult since we’re not comparing apples to apples." We sure aren't.

    The reason i'm banging on about this when i know you've made up your mind, is not only to point out that you're being unfair to the poor old start menu, but also because i think there is an aspect to the resistance to the changes you might just be overlooking. I was thinking about serving up something along the lines of "if your so good and your design is so scientifically based, why has the reaction to it been so poor?", but having thought about it for a while, i think the problem relates to this – "It took us much iteration over the course of many months to get to the final size and shape of the tiles. As you can imagine, we iterated through many possibilities and tried many of them out in the lab. We asked test subjects to target a variety of buttons…" etc. You see, you've seen all the stuff that doesn't work, but we haven't. Presumably this also includes bigger versions of the start menu. It's not just a matter of trust, its matter of having reference points (ironically, given the subject matter). The public's only reference point is the start menu we are familiar with, but you have the "advantage" of having worked with, and learnt the pros and cons of all sorts of stuff. Paradoxically, it might pay to put a more Fitts-friendly start menu in the beta, just to provide a closer reference point, but one that supposedly will prove the superiority of Start. Now back to the tirade!..

    "By flattening the hierarchy, we provide a way for you to leverage the iconography of the apps and remove the burden of clicking through folders trying to find an app under its manufacturer’s name. Over time this will also address another common complaint, which is that when renaming, combining, or reorganizing folders … you would lose the ability to uninstall cleanly, and thus subject yourself to a periodic garbage collection…"

    Translation: Instead of burdening ourselves with the cost and effort of reimagining NTFS to provide the functionality to alleviate these problems and/or deal with these scenarios, plus tightening up logo requirements to enforce appropriate naming consistency and formatting, we decided it would be far easier just to flatten the hierarchy (which we know many of you find difficult to use or even understand), and provide you with a way of dealing with the resulting issues instead.

    Thankya Microsoft!

    Regarding your claim to be leveraging iconography, i think to some extent you're actually moving away from the benefits of icons, with the use of tiles in Start. An icon, from the visual PoV, has no other purpose than to identify an object. This works well given the standard sizes of icons in normal use, but once a critical size threshold is reached, the icon can stop acting as a symbol or flag *for* an object, and starts to *become* an object, "in its own right". It then takes on whatever purpose its creator deems appropriate. In the case of Start, that means we will likely end up with a sea of tiny posters, or worse, little advertisements. The impact this could have on Windows reputation as a serious OS will range from 'somewhat detrimental' to 'devastating'.

    'The value of arranging content on a 2-D plane': Of the three papers referenced in this section, one has no visible abstract, another concludes "the results were not statistically significant" and the third is about task and document management using 3D graphics. Mmm…

    "…having multiple characteristics or attributes makes it easier to locate a specific item quickly and efficiently.  Windows already takes advantage of this, by showing details [including icons, presumably] about files…"

    So problem solved? Apparently not, because "it is impossible to develop a rich spatial framework with a one-dimensional list." But why do i want to develop this rich spatial framework in place of simple lists? I can read or scan a list, i can recognize an icon, i can recognize an icon + text faster than text or icon alone, and i can learn the location of items in a list and access them directly. What is the problem your trying to solve?

    * Human spatial memory: Your saying; Once folders are flattened into groups, you can take advantage of your spatial relationship abilities. That's like saying; when you walk outside in the rain, you can take advantage of your umbrella.

    * Muscle memory: What motor tasks are you claiming can or will be able to be performed without conscious effort?

    * Chunking: Not sure how you're specifically exploiting or encouraging this skill, unless you mean that groups represent the chunks (but not folders?)

    * Signal detection theory: The cocktail-party phenomenon. Presumably a reference to live tile data. Fine, but the fact that the cognitive load of filtering noise is mainly subconcious doesn't mean you can treat this skill like a free lunch.

    "The grouping of tiles in the Start screen was designed with these principles in mind. We know that sizes of groups will naturally vary based on the kinds of items that you’re throwing together. Not only does this flexibility help with organization, but it also helps by creating a heterogeneous layout where shapes and sizes vary from group to group. This makes it easier to find a tile when you know it’s in a small group with an uneven edge on its right side or in a large group that looks like a full rectangle."

    Ok, lets count the number of assumptions required to make this work. 1) Although the user is scanning by group name, she still notices the irregular shapes of groups, that act as another source of visual differentiation, and which conveniently fall within her visual focal point. 2) Alternatively, she just searches by group shape instead. 3) She is not only happy with irregular group shapes, but deliberately builds irregular shapes to exploit the recognition benefit (of which she is in some sense aware), rather than 4) doing the opposite – arbitarily adding tiles to groups to force a regular shape, because she spends a lot of time on her Start layout and prefers "the tidy look", even at the cost of diluting the meaning of groups 5) The group members are not changing at a frequency that frustrates the value of recognition-via-shape, the converse of which would actually make group shape a liability in terms of its recognition value (because the user is making more effort to relearn her groups visual characteristics than she is saving once the new group shapes are learnt).

    I don't understand why "…the ability to press the Windows key and immediately start typing to search for an app" will, "even though the search box doesn’t appear on the screen…" result in "a huge efficiency gain". Compared to what? "…the discoverability of this feature usually happens within hours of usage of Windows 8, as we have seen in the tweets…" @Marina Dukhon [MS] 2011-10-12 4:41 PM – there is yet another example of what has been continuously occurring since the DP release that is not consistent with the scientific approach supported by this post. What happens after RTM to all the billions of users who aren't interested in experiencing the joys of Twittering, nor hang out in MSFT forums? @Quppa is obviously no beginner, and yet here you are providing remote coaching. This practise is biasing everything. What you should be saying @Quppa is "sorry, work it out for yourself" (essentially).

    "Our goal is to balance your ability to keep control over your Start screen (i.e. not impacting what you’ve already organized when you acquire new apps by putting them at the end), while also making it simple to change it when you want. Group rearranging helps enable the particular scenario that @drewfus mentions – as you get more apps over time, it’s quite possible that your new favorite apps are now at the end of your Start screen."

    Yes, this will help (and thanks for that, btw), but it also highlights a major limitation of groups – that even though you're flattening the folder hierarchy, you are *not* obtaining the advantage of multiple data views. One of the fundamental issues with hierarchies is that they represent a fixed way of organising data. For example, on my system i have a library (a plain folder) of hardware drivers. They are sorted by Winver, then class, manufacturer, then models. However, sometimes i would like the sorting to be class | Winver | manufacturer | models, or manufacturer | class | Winver | models, etc. But i'm stuck with the one fixed arrangement, unless i do lots of work with links (i should probably write a script). Now i don't see how a flat list + groups helps with this at all, and hence how the Start environment is going to work with any sort of complex file management, unless major new functionality is added. Otherwise we are going to be perpetually stuck with the Metro/Desktop duality, and of course that is not the intention.

    The inability to create multiple views limits groups in another respect. Suppose the user prefers a 3rd-party media app over WMP, which they only use occasionally. If the user adds both these apps into a group called 'Multimedia', and then places this group close to the home location for the benefit of quick access to their fav media app, then WMP gets a "free ride". Alternatively, the user can group by MFU (most frequently used), but then loses the value of naming groups semantically – the group names may as well be Group_1, Group_2, etc. So the user is perpetually frustrated by the fact that they can group semantically, or by use frequency, but not both – and therefore must decide which compromise carries the least cost.

  452. glad I copied it to the clipboard says:

    Well, I confess I was unfamiliar with Fitt's law.  As a sanity check, I tried to confirm that a sensible value T=0 would occur when zero movement is required.  Given D is the distance to the center of the object, and W/2 is its radius, I checked the case  D=W/2.  That would be the case where you're already at the destination to begin with.  But it doesn't resolve to T=0.  (Not even (T-a)=0).

    So I decided to derive the formula, with simplistic assumption that velocity diminishes with closeness:

    dx/dt = k(D-x)   over the interval {0, D-W/2}   and k=some constant

    solving that gives:

    T = b [ 1 + Log2( D/W ) ]      where   b= D ln(2) / v     and  v = initial velocity at t=0.

    This expression does give the sensible result T=0 when D=W/2.

    But what's this got to do with fetching the cracker, from the box, from the drawer, from the pantry, from the kitchen?  That's really the subject here, or should be.  Nested containers.  But the discussion's emphasis, graphics, and heady looking math, they're about anything else.

    In your next blog, how about trying to actually connect the information with the subject.  Instead of just trying to impress us with it.

    For example, when I glance at your new Explorer ribbon, all I see is a blur of stuff.  Where is all that science you applied to that?  And it's great to see you're experimenting with different tile sizes in the Start screen.  Will we be able to zoom and adjust the spacing?  Those are the kinds of things I would have thought would have been covered in this current expansive blog.

    Not trolling.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what you presented here.  But in my estimation, it was a distraction.

  453. Firstly, thanks for the feedback on the feedback. It's greatly appreciated, and pleasing to know the public reaction to the WDP is being taken seriously enough to have a significant impact on the final product. I'll try to comment on this post more than once, from different PsoV. This is the long, critical one :)

    Marina, i realize Microsoft's vision goes way beyond a new and improved start menu, but…

    "In the Start menu today, when you expand the All Programs flyout, by default you can see a total of 20 apps without scrolling… In one of our studies, we found users launched an average of 57 different apps over the course of several months. And this doesn’t even include … websites … So you can see how a little window that shows 20 items does not prove scalable in this scenario. In addition to the limited real estate…"

    Well actually no, i *cannot* see how this little window can't be scaled. If the default height of the start menu is deemed inadequate, then go ahead and increase it! The current start menu doesn't "max-out" the y-axis, so why talk as though today's start menu were touching some architectural limit, when it isn't? Sure, that limit might not fullfil the criteria Microsoft has set, but the point is, the current number of items displayed in the Win7 start menu is just following tradition, and consequently there is no basis for using this example as though it were some sort of reference for its class. You're talking as though you weren't the OS vendor, or as if you don't have access to the Windows source code.

    "In addition to the limited real estate, apps in All Programs are buried under folders and subfolders of hierarchy, without any iconography to help you navigate to the right place. To make matters worse, things are often jumping around as you expand and collapse folders looking for the right app, making the experience even less efficient."

    So Marina, who made matters worse? It wasn't me. It wasn't anyone else who buys your products. It was *Microsoft*. Your company is responsible for these outcomes, and your company is capable of fixing them. Why are you presenting these deficiencies as though they were some sort of fait accompli? If program folders should be represented as individualized icons, or have embedded icons, then provide that capability. If stuff jumps around and you don't like this, then add another column for the child items. Please tell us – what exactly is preventing you from doing these things?

    When we get to the heat maps, you introduce Windows 8 as being designed using Fitt's Law as a design principle, and show us how well it compares to the Win7 start menu – that is, you compare concrete examples rather than conceptual best examples. It would have more objective to compare a list view that is maximized in the y-dimension, versus a grid – using the same icon and font size, also maximized in the y-dimension, and the *same* width in the x-dimension. Each menu type (list and grid) should be compared using the same number of pixels in each case. What your doing is granting the grid layout ten times more pixels, and then parading how superior it is to the list view – but the limits on the list view were put there by you – they are not inherent. Also, it is not enough just to reply that a list view menu cannot make more use of the y-axis than it currently does. What if you hypothetically gave the start menu multiple columns? – 1) Pinned items 2) All Programs 3) Items under All Programs 4) Recent files per app item 5) Search results 6) Existing second column. How would the numbers compare then? As you put it – "This sort of analysis is generally difficult since we’re not comparing apples to apples." We sure aren't.

    The reason i'm banging on about this when i know you've made up your mind, is not only to point out that you're being unfair to the poor old start menu, but also because i think there is an aspect to the resistance to the changes you might just be overlooking. I was thinking about serving up something along the lines of "if your so good and your design is so scientifically based, why has the reaction to it been so poor?", but having thought about it for a while, i think the problem relates to this – "It took us much iteration over the course of many months to get to the final size and shape of the tiles. As you can imagine, we iterated through many possibilities and tried many of them out in the lab. We asked test subjects to target a variety of buttons…" etc. You see, you've seen all the stuff that doesn't work, but we haven't. Presumably this also includes bigger versions of the start menu. It's not just a matter of trust, its matter of having reference points (ironically, given the subject matter). The public's only reference point is the start menu we are familiar with, but you have the "advantage" of having worked with, and learnt the pros and cons of all sorts of stuff. Paradoxically, it might pay to put a more Fitts-friendly start menu in the beta, just to provide a closer reference point, but one that supposedly will prove the superiority of Start. Now back to the tirade!..

    "By flattening the hierarchy, we provide a way for you to leverage the iconography of the apps and remove the burden of clicking through folders trying to find an app under its manufacturer’s name. Over time this will also address another common complaint, which is that when renaming, combining, or reorganizing folders … you would lose the ability to uninstall cleanly, and thus subject yourself to a periodic garbage collection…"

    Translation: Instead of burdening ourselves with the cost and effort of reimagining NTFS to provide the functionality to alleviate these problems and/or deal with these scenarios, plus tightening up logo requirements to enforce appropriate naming consistency and formatting, we decided it would be far easier just to flatten the hierarchy (which we know many of you find difficult to use or even understand), and provide you with a way of dealing with the resulting issues instead.

    Thankya Microsoft!

    Regarding your claim to be leveraging iconography, i think to some extent you're actually moving away from the benefits of icons, with the use of tiles in Start. An icon, from the visual PoV, has no other purpose than to identify an object. This works well given the standard sizes of icons in normal use, but once a critical size threshold is reached, the icon can stop acting as a symbol or flag *for* an object, and starts to *become* an object, "in its own right". It then takes on whatever purpose its creator deems appropriate. In the case of Start, that means we will likely end up with a sea of tiny posters, or worse, little advertisements. The impact this could have on Windows reputation as a serious OS will range from 'somewhat detrimental' to 'devastating'.

    'The value of arranging content on a 2-D plane': Of the three papers referenced in this section, one has no visible abstract, another concludes "the results were not statistically significant" and the third is about task and document management using 3D graphics. Mmm…

    "…having multiple characteristics or attributes makes it easier to locate a specific item quickly and efficiently.  Windows already takes advantage of this, by showing details [including icons, presumably] about files…"

    So problem solved? Apparently not, because "it is impossible to develop a rich spatial framework with a one-dimensional list." But why do i want to develop this rich spatial framework in place of simple lists? I can read or scan a list, i can recognize an icon, i can recognize an icon + text faster than text or icon alone, and i can learn the location of items in a list and access them directly. What is the problem your trying to solve?

    * Human spatial memory: Your saying; Once folders are flattened into groups, you can take advantage of your spatial relationship abilities. That's like saying; when you walk outside in the rain, you can take advantage of your umbrella.

    * Muscle memory: What motor tasks are you claiming can or will be able to be performed without conscious effort?

    * Chunking: Not sure how you're specifically exploiting or encouraging this skill, unless you mean that groups represent the chunks (but not folders?)

    * Signal detection theory: The cocktail-party phenomenon. Presumably a reference to live tile data. Fine, but the fact that the cognitive load of filtering noise is mainly subconcious doesn't mean you can treat this skill like a free lunch.

    "The grouping of tiles in the Start screen was designed with these principles in mind. We know that sizes of groups will naturally vary based on the kinds of items that you’re throwing together. Not only does this flexibility help with organization, but it also helps by creating a heterogeneous layout where shapes and sizes vary from group to group. This makes it easier to find a tile when you know it’s in a small group with an uneven edge on its right side or in a large group that looks like a full rectangle."

    Ok, lets count the number of assumptions required to make this work. 1) Although the user is scanning by group name, she still notices the irregular shapes of groups, that act as another source of visual differentiation, and which conveniently fall within her visual focal point. 2) Alternatively, she just searches by group shape instead. 3) She is not only happy with irregular group shapes, but deliberately builds irregular shapes to exploit the recognition benefit (of which she is in some sense aware), rather than 4) doing the opposite – arbitarily adding tiles to groups to force a regular shape, because she spends a lot of time on her Start layout and prefers "the tidy look", even at the cost of diluting the meaning of groups 5) The group members are not changing at a frequency that frustrates the value of recognition-via-shape, the converse of which would actually make group shape a liability in terms of its recognition value (because the user is making more effort to relearn her groups visual characteristics than she is saving once the new group shapes are learnt).

    I don't understand why "…the ability to press the Windows key and immediately start typing to search for an app" will, "even though the search box doesn’t appear on the screen…" result in "a huge efficiency gain". Compared to what? "…the discoverability of this feature usually happens within hours of usage of Windows 8, as we have seen in the tweets…" @Marina Dukhon [MS] 2011-10-12 4:41 PM – there is yet another example of what has been continuously occurring since the DP release that is not consistent with the scientific approach supported by this post. What happens after RTM to all the billions of users who aren't interested in experiencing the joys of Twittering, nor hang out in MSFT forums? @Quppa is obviously no beginner, and yet here you are providing remote coaching. This practise is biasing everything. What you should be saying @Quppa is "sorry, work it out for yourself" (essentially).

    "Our goal is to balance your ability to keep control over your Start screen (i.e. not impacting what you’ve already organized when you acquire new apps by putting them at the end), while also making it simple to change it when you want. Group rearranging helps enable the particular scenario that @drewfus mentions – as you get more apps over time, it’s quite possible that your new favorite apps are now at the end of your Start screen."

    Yes, this will help (and thanks for that, btw), but it also highlights a major limitation of groups – that even though you're flattening the folder hierarchy, you are *not* obtaining the advantage of multiple data views. One of the fundamental issues with hierarchies is that they represent a fixed way of organising data. For example, on my system i have a library (a plain folder) of hardware drivers. They are sorted by Winver, then class, manufacturer, then models. However, sometimes i would like the sorting to be class | Winver | manufacturer | models, or manufacturer | class | Winver | models, etc. But i'm stuck with the one fixed arrangement, unless i do lots of work with links (i should probably write a script). Now i don't see how a flat list + groups helps with this at all, and hence how the Start environment is going to work with any sort of complex file management, unless major new functionality is added. Otherwise we are going to be perpetually stuck with the Metro/Desktop duality, and of course that is not the intention.

    The inability to create multiple views limits groups in another respect. Suppose the user prefers a 3rd-party media app over WMP, which they only use occasionally. If the user adds both these apps into a group called 'Multimedia', and then places this group close to the home location for the benefit of quick access to their fav media app, then WMP gets a "free ride". Alternatively, the user can group by MFU (most frequently used), but then loses the value of naming groups semantically – the group names may as well be Group_1, Group_2, etc. So the user is perpetually frustrated by the fact that they can group semantically, or by use frequency, but not both – and therefore must decide which compromise carries the least cost.

  454. I am enjoying the changes made in windows 8.  I am using it on my ASUS notebook and it runs much smoother then windows 7.  I like the start screen and believe that Microsoft is making a change for the better, but I have a few major issues.  There needs to be a designated “application” button.  For example, I want to be able to pin a button on my task bar that gets me to the application screen in 1 click.  Right now you have to mouse in the lower left corner click on search, click on apps and then click out of the search box.  This could be made much quicker by adding a simple button.  I also want to (easily) be able to make any shortcut, icon, program into a live tile.  The right click menu should have an option “pin as live tile”.  Microsoft has impressed me with its transparency on many issues that people have.  Keep up the great work!

  455. Bean says:

    Epic post guys. Really appreciate this and i discovered something new about both Windows 7 and 8… you can drag up on a taskbar icon to reveal the Jump List. I was right clicking all this time.

    Keep it up.

  456. Karl says:

    @ xpclient: you're right with your complaint. I still use vista on this machine, to me it's more flexible

    (with 3rd party tools) than w7. But for you  there is a super old style start menu which is better than the original:

    sourceforge.net/…/files. You can have xp-style or vista classic style.

    And if ms does not stop neglecting user requests they will learn on the hard tour who really is the boss – the customers.

    No one is compelled to purchase an os he  does not like. Buy computers without preinstalled oses!

  457. It seems to me that around 50% of users dislike the Start Screen in a desktop environment.

    Doesn't this tell you something?

    You are telling us that you spent a ton of time and money on research to find something better than start menu.

    But it seems to me that you spent all that money and time to find a way to justify a Mobile experience on a Desktop. It is hard to see otherwise that someone on the top decided "I want MetroUI on W8. Figure out why users need it" And you decided "Yeah, lets create a Start Screen, that will make hime happy".

  458. @glad I copied it to the clipboard

    Dont worry that part with Fitt's law is not true. Not until the button gets super tiny and the distances super long.

    They claim it is faster to launch something with MetroUI Maybe if it is the bottom left tile. But you can reach more item on a list faster. Also they do not count with the user perception. Most user will scan the website from top to bottom. It is much important the you have an an static structure than large buttons.

    If they care about Fits law Than Window's would have PIe-menu, There would be no horizontal panning/scrolling on Metro UI (on desktop)

  459. Eric Matthews says:

    If Windows users want a Start Menu in lieu of the Metro Start Screen, then give them one, and a good one at that.  Pages and pages of useless drivel about user interface design are meaningless if users don't like the concept of the Start Screen to begin with.  For example, my wife has dozens of great recipes for Salmon but they are worthless to me because I…don't….like…Salmon…AT ALL!

    Do you see the problem now?  There is no magic recipe for making the Start Screen palatable to every Windows User.  Many users have expressed their complete distaste for it, and you need to provide another choice on the menu (pun intended.)

    For me, I want to start up to the Windows Desktop and stay there…all…day…long.  I don't see any value to the Metro Start Screen (or Metro apps in general) on computer with a physical keyboard and pointing device.  The Metro GUI is really only applicable to the realm of tablets and smart phones – stop trying to mix the two paradigms – it's never going to work.

  460. Sachin Dhawale says:

    Why Microsoft is likely not giving independent user interface. Start screen like first impression good but, day to day it is dislike because of no of application get pin in it. so, it is very difficult to search them. that process take times, means your computer is having speed but your computer operating system doesn't have.

  461. The Metro look is very nice, but some aspects of Windows 8 looks very ugly – for example, the App list, while simplistic with minimal graphical touches, is not attractive at all.  It's too much text – is there a better way to integrate the best design aspects of Metro (e.g. tiles, colors) there?  I noticed a similarly bad layout for the Skydrive website – overly simple but not really attractive nor intuitive to explore the features/options.

  462. Mayhemm88 says:

    Okay. So everyone wants a "traditional" style start menu. Well, after thinking long and hard I came up with this simple change for the Start Charm in Windows 8. This would allow for more seamless switching between the start menu and start screen and would keep "legacy" components in tact enough to satisfy most people that want the classic start menu

    Here is how my start charm would function in desktop mode:

    i55.tinypic.com/2rz5q8w.png

    Here is how my metro start screen would look:

    i51.tinypic.com/11jvomq.png

  463. Ryan says:

    @Mayhemm88 I like your concept, looks good.

  464. Karl says:

    @Mayhemm88 : this has charm :). MS should hire you

  465. Nabeel says:

    Nice article and glad to hear you are taking feedback to heart. Ever since I tried developer preview I was looking a way to provide feedback.

    I have a specific issue the way Windows Explorer is set up. Not sure if it is just me not able to find the option or if the option is missing all together.

    I am running this on my Asus EP121 and I don't see a multiple select option. Lets say I have a folder with 100 photos and I want to select 20 random files from that list. Now I was expecting a button on the ribbon along with "Select All" or "Select" etc to enable this. I tried using the Ctrl key on the virtual keyboard and did not work. I was hoping MS will add another button, say "Select Multiple" and once clicked on this will let me select random files from the list.

    PS: Sorry about my English. Not my first language.

  466. Reading the part about jumplist, I thought why not reuse use that principle.

    Considering how many shortcust there are in the StartMenu that never get used. How often do you click

    on 'ReadMe', 'Go to Our Homepage', etc.?.

    What about something like "One installlation can only have one tile in "start menu" _by default_".

    All other shortcuts (like those rarely/never used) are only shown in the jump-list for that tile.

    It might break the old apps that dont get updated, but in these cases the user could right-click

    on a shortcut in the tasklist, and select either "set as primary action" or "pin to seperate tile".

    Eg. one tile for Visual Studio (the folder). The jumplist contains all shortcuts in that

    folder (maybe grouped by subfolders). To pin Spy++ to the wall, right-click and select "pin to seperate tile".

    The tile for VS and Spy++ could then be grouped on the wall…

  467. rocka says:

    Disappointed again …

    I'm still with XP at home, and long ago I often used to tell my friends I do not want Vista or Win 7, waiting for Win8.

    Unfortunately I have Win7 in the office and the damn ribbon of Office 2010, is not easy as other machines in the office using XP and Office 2003

    Anyway, thank God that exists classicshell.sourceforge.net and other utilities for Win 7…

    From my point of view with all these changes, Metro, Ribbon, startmenu, I think win 8 will be a fiasco like Vista, and 8 will no longer be my choice … Now… waiting for win 9  …

  468. James Hancock says:

    I didn't have a problem with it in the developer preview but I like the changes.

    That being said the biggest problem is multi-monitor support. It's great that the start bar shows on all displays and works intelligently that way now. But it's impossible to launch WinRT apps to another screen from what I can tell, and the new start system completely borks productivity in  the multi-monitor scenario. It needs to be available and come up on the active display when the start button is clicked on etc.

    If these issues can be addressed I'm 100% behind Windows 8!

  469. I love the ribbon feature. Good that it is widespread in Win 8. Excellent work MS!

    Love the Start Screen too but I would like it to coexist with Start Menu. Maybe you could include both the things in one common interface. A vertical bar at the left could be the traditional Start Menu. Please consider this Steven. Also, why is the taskbar absent in metro? I want it back!!

  470. Vincent says:

    It's really good work that you guys really take feedback seriously into the product.

    My 2c feedback:

    – Make the group name more prominent, either by making it bold or bigger or other font color

    – It's still painful to scroll through many programs in flat view. It will be great if group name is clicked or tapped, the metro UI shows all Group Name only, which is expandable to see content of that folder. Or, similar to click the alphabet in Windows phone.

    – All. Favorites, frequently used, recently used filter can be added next to t