Designing search for the Start screen

Given the ton of interest in the design of the new Start screen we wanted to dive deeper into the topic of search. There’s a clear focus on efficiency and overall professional productivity in the comments. For professional scenarios, every keystroke matters. One new aspect of the Windows 8 platform is the ability for Metro style apps to deliver a customized search “contract.” For this post we’ll focus on the built-in search capabilities for files, settings, and apps, which update the Windows 7 search features. You can learn more from our //build/ session on search, which provides a detailed look at the topic of this post. With that lens, Brian Uphoff, a program manager on our Search, View, and Command user experience team, authored this post.

In our previous related posts (Evolving the Start menu, Designing the Start screen, and Reflecting on your comments on the Start screen) we discussed the evolution of the Start menu and the reasoning behind the design. We also discussed how organizational mechanisms and search are powerful tools that make it easier to find and launch apps. As you install more and more apps, these tools become increasingly important. For the past several releases, searching from the Start menu has been established as the quickest way to find and launch apps, particularly for keyboard users.

When planning Windows 8, we wanted to make sure the efficiency and dexterity of the Windows 7 Start menu search was carried forward into the new Start screen. Before we dive into the details of the new experience, let’s take a quick look at the evolution of search from the Start menu, and how people are using it today.

Evolution of searching from Start

The search box in the Start menu as we know it today first made its appearance in Windows Vista. It became easy for users to search for programs or apps, settings, and files on the desktop and in personal folders like Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos. The search experience aggregated different types of results in one view with programs and settings combined in a single group. The results of a query displayed a small set of items in heuristically sized groups. You needed to click “See all results” to see the rest in Windows Explorer, which aggregated everything into one ungrouped and unsorted view.

Search results shown in Start menu, divided into Programs, Favorites and History, and FilesFigure 1: Start menu search in Windows Vista

In Windows 7, we expanded results to include detailed Control Panel tasks in addition to the main Control Panel pages. We also separated out Control Panel items from programs into a unique group that allowed you to more easily focus on the type of result you were looking for.

The overall experience aggregated different types of items and had a fixed limit on the number of results that could appear. This was because the result set was limited to the size of the Start menu. Clicking a group header took you to Windows Explorer for programs and files or to Control Panel for settings. Each experience had a type-specific view, though the search results order diverged from what was shown in the Start menu. Showing an aggregated view in the Start menu required compromising on performance in addition to space because we would search all programs, Control Panel items, and files, even if you were looking for only one of these data types.

Search results divided into Programs (38), Control Panel (118), Documents (316), and Music (24)Figure 2: Start menu search in Windows 7

When we look at the usage data of how people are using the Start menu to search in Windows 7, it’s clear that searching to launch programs is the most frequent and important activity users engage in with Start search.

Our telemetry data shows that 67% of all searches in Windows 7 are used to find and launch programs. Searching for files accounts for 22% of all Windows 7 Start menu searches, and searching for Control Panel items about 9%. Searching for email messages via Start Menu is very rare (less than 0.05%). The remaining 2% are searches executing the “Run” functionality.

Pie chart showing 67% Programs, 22% Files, 9% Control Panel, and 2%  Run (commanding & navigation)Figure 3: Windows 7 Start menu search usage data

Searching from Start in Windows 8

Searching via the Start menu has continued to evolve with each release. The Windows 8 Start search experience builds on top of search features available in Windows 7 and provides a unique view for each of the three system groups – Apps, Settings and Files. These search result views are a natural progression from the Windows 7 groups and are easily accessible from anywhere in the operating system via the Search charm or keyboard shortcuts. Separating the search results into views means we can tailor the experience for each data type. For example, the File search view provides you with filters and search suggestions while typing to quickly complete your query.

In Windows 8, we expect people will be acquiring and installing more apps than ever before. Had we continued using the Windows 7 Start menu search interface to search for a Control Panel item, you would always see app or program results before Control Panel results, displacing many Control Panel items from being the first match. This and other constraints on the existing design required us to develop a new approach—this is especially true as we consider the increasing use of larger monitors or higher DPI screens where longer menus become even more difficult to use and navigate. In Windows 7, the total number of results that could be shown in the Start menu was limited. Depending on the number of groups with matching results, an average of 3-4 results were shown per group. Very rarely did all results for a group show up, and the organization of the results was pretty unpredictable.

With Windows 8, on the other hand, we’re following an app-first model, where each app developer understands their data and users best, and knows the best way to present the information to them. Using the same model for search, we believe that always having a quick and consistent way to get directly to settings or file search results gives you precision and control over the type of results you’re looking for. In Windows 8, each view is tailored for the type of content you’re searching for, and shows all the results, instead of limiting them due to screen real-estate.

One change a few of you will notice is that file search results no longer include email messages and contacts. The inclusion of email search never got the generalized support from mail clients that we had hoped for, though at least one mail client did support it (one reason why email searches are rare in the Start menu <0.05% of total searches). With the app-first approach in Windows 8, Metro style email apps will use the search contract to provide a rich set of filtered search results in a view customized for email. In comparison, email clients and other apps in Windows 7 have no control over how their search results are presented.

We paid special attention to ensuring the number of keystrokes required to find and launch apps, settings, or files is at parity with or better than in Windows 7. We’ve introduce a set of keyboard shortcuts to help users quickly and efficiently get to settings search results (WIN key + W) or file search results (WIN key + F), thus reducing the total number of keystrokes needed to find and launch settings or files. We’ll cover how we maintained and increased keyboard efficiency across these views in more detail later in the post.

Searching apps

App search results show the full set of apps (both their “friendly” names and executable names) for which the search term matches the name. As the number of installed apps increases, it becomes difficult to browse through a large list to find an infrequently used app. Search helps quickly filter and reduce a large list of apps down in just a few key strokes. We wanted to make sure we preserved the same keyboard usage patterns as Windows 7. You don’t have to first click on the Search charm to begin searching – simply start typing in the Start screen and you’ll see your list of apps filter down to the one you are looking for.

Full screen app search results, with alternate views (Settings, Files)  displayed below Search box.Figure 4: Full-screen app search results

Also note that the Most Frequently Used (MFU)-based ranking of app search results from Windows 7 is preserved in Windows 8. For example, if you type “paint” in the developer preview you get 2 apps back as search results – PaintPlay and Paint. If you predominantly just use Paint, it will be ranked higher than PaintPlay as you use it more often. So, launching Paint (or other apps you frequently use) becomes more efficient the more you use app search.

Some of you have pointed out that many users won’t discover that they can simply type to start searching in the Start screen. Search is closely associated with typing— the most common pattern to search in the Start menu is to bring up the Start menu by using the Windows key or by clicking the Start button and typing. That exact and efficient behavior is preserved in Windows 8 as we have observed and found that pattern is what users care about most. Our experience in user tests, and even when people at //build/ tried the Develop Preview for the first time, shows that people tend to serendipitously discover this feature early in using Windows 8, and so we’re confident it will not be a hindrance to usability. Nevertheless the Search charm is highly visible, and selecting it shows the Search box.

The Windows 7 Start menu also included “Run” functionality for commanding and navigating Windows. This has been carried over to Windows 8 as well—tasks like running scripts and .exes in the user’s PATH are still possible and supported in App search. Search continues to support launching folders in Windows Explorer by typing in full paths. For example, typing “C:\” in Start search results in the set of folders in the C: drive appearing below the search box. Pressing the Down Arrow key moves selection through the list and autocompletes the folder name in the search box, allowing users to continue typing to further refine the path. You can do the same with UNC (\\foo\example) paths as well. And of course WIN key + R will switch to the desktop and bring up the classic Run dialog, just as you would expect.

Typing a path in Start searchFigure 5: Typing a path into Start search

Searching settings

The settings search experience brings together all settings and Control Panel items across the system in one view. Settings search results are matched not only to the name of the Control Panel applet or task, but also to the various keywords that may describe it. We have also heard your frustration that shutdown is not available as a search result, and we will address this along with improvements to the Start user interface for shutdown (as a reminder, you can also just use the power button or close the lid).

Settings search results for "notifications" includes Notifications, Turn notifications on or off, Lock Screen, Check for updates, etc.Figure 6: Full-screen settings search results

Searching files

The number of files on PCs keeps increasing over time as users continue to acquire and create more documents, music, photos, and videos. Our goal, while redesigning the file search experience, was to make it seamless and complete so you can achieve your task of quickly finding a file without having to transition to Windows Explorer.

In File search, you’ll also see search suggestions as you type to help you quickly and efficiently complete the search. The indexer provides these search suggestions based on the content and properties of files it knows about. Search suggestions are a very powerful concept made popular and used extensively on the web—they help you to pinpoint relevant search terms with just a few keystrokes. In Windows 8 we built search suggestions into the file search experience and also made this feature available in the platform for all Metro style apps to use. Note, this feature also accounts for typos or spelling errors, and suggests the auto-corrected search term as you type. Using the arrow keys to choose suggestions autocompletes the term in the box. This makes it easy to add more terms to the query and quickly narrow down the set of results to find the one you want.

You can also still search using AQS (Advanced Query Syntax) from Windows 7. AQS allows for greater precision and control when constructing the query to get targeted results. Here are some sample searches and their advanced query syntax:


AQS Syntax

Find all files authored by Brian or David

author: (Brian OR David)

Find all photos with an F-stop of 2.8 where no flash was fired

f-stop:2.8 flashmode:no flash

Find all files where the file name contains a word starting with Metro and the file size is greater than 1MB

filename:$<Metro* size:>1mb

Suggestions include build, bui, Blog, Brian Uphoff, BridgeFigure 7: Search suggestions based on the content and properties of files

Results include Documents, Videos, Pictures, and OtherFigure 8: Full-screen file search showing results

Separating searches for apps, settings, and files into their own views allows room for each of them to evolve and breathe— this way they can each provide their own ideal display format—unlike the single list of results in previous versions, which required conformity to achieve aggregation in the limited space. For example, the file search view also provides filters to easily refine the results based on the type of file you’re searching for. Filtering by type is a powerful way to efficiently reduce the results set, irrespective of where the file is saved.

More relevant and contextual information for each file is also now displayed to make the search experience complete. This helps differentiate between similar results and also makes it clear to you why a given result was returned, by highlighting the property that matched the search term—something not possible in the Start menu before. For example, when searching for the term “performance,” the results now highlight where “performance” matched. In one result, it matched on the Title property, and is clearly indicated that way in the result. The results also show file type and size to help further disambiguate between results.

The word "Performance" highlighted in two file resultsFigure 9 File search results highlight the property that matches the search term

Using a mouse, hovering over a result reveals a rich tooltip with some additional details. For example, for the video result shown below, the rich tooltip shows the duration of the video, frame height, frame width, date modified, and the full path to the file. Using touch, pressing and holding on an item reveals the tooltip.

Tooltip for BUILD video file says: 00:51:52, 540, 960, 9/16/2011 3:04 AM, C:\Users\srvaidya\Desktop\Session Video\121.wmvFigure 10: Rich tooltip reveals additional details in file search

Designing Start search for dexterity

Designing for efficiency and dexterity is a core goal of the Start search feature team. As such, using the keyboard to launch apps, settings, and files from search is a very important part of the Start search experience. We also put a lot of thought into preserving existing keyboard patterns, which both average and advanced users have come to rely on, and have built muscle memory around.

Our telemetry data shows that many users leverage the Start menu as a means of commanding Windows. They use specific key-combinations to efficiently launch apps. For example, pressing the WIN key, typing “calc”, and pressing ENTER launches Calculator. Many advanced users know that typing “cmd” and then CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER opens an elevated command, and that typing “notepad c:\mynotes” creates or opens a .txt file. If you watch the keyboard demonstration from the //build/ keynote, you will see many of these used.

These keyboard patterns continue to work in Windows 8 just as well as in previous versions. Pressing the WIN key takes you to the Start screen. Simply start typing in the Start screen and the Search pane automatically opens with the search term in the search box, and the view filtered to show apps that match the term.

The fastest way to search settings and files from anywhere in the system is to use a set of keyboard shortcuts introduced to increase efficiency. These Windows 8 shortcuts reduce the number of keystrokes needed to launch a setting or file to a number equal to (or less than in many cases) what was required in Windows 7. Alternatively, you can also use the Search pane, which indicates the number of results matching the search in each view, to switch between apps, settings, and file searches.

Windows iconand type

Apps search

Windows icon+W

Settings search

Windows icon+F

Files search

Figure 11: Windows 8 Start search keyboard shortcuts

Based in part on the feedback here, we are working on a change that we hope to have available in our beta release, which will take you directly to app search results when you select the Search charm in the desktop.

The efficiency of using the keyboard doesn’t stop at just typing to start a search. Sometimes the app, setting, or file that you want to launch is not the first result shown. You can use the arrow keys to quickly move down to the desired app in the results list, and then press ENTER to launch it. The white box that shows keyboard focus tells you which app will be launched on ENTER. This enables you to efficiently launch any app, setting, or file matching a search. In Windows 7, you could only launch one of the top 3-4 results with this kind of efficiency.

When we looked at some of the common Control Panel items people were searching for (for example, searching for power options using the term “power”), it quickly became clear that because we favored app results first in our Windows 7 design, “Power options” was the fourth result, below all the power shell app results. If you installed Office and frequently used PowerPoint, you saw PowerPoint along with Power shell (32 bit, 64 bit, and the Help file) ahead of ”Power options.” Extending a similar design in Windows 8 would have meant that the position of the “Power options” result would continue to fluctuate as you installed more apps on your system. This forces you to scan through increasingly large result-sets every time you search for a particular app or setting or file.

In Windows 8, we also provide the count of results per system view, so you immediately know how many apps or settings or files match the search term. Switching search views is also designed so you can easily switch views without taking your hands off of the keyboard. In the example shown below, to switch to settings search, press the Down Arrow key and the focus shifts to settings in the search list. Press ENTER and you will see settings search results. As mentioned before, you can continue to use the arrow keys to choose the desired item and press ENTER to launch it. Pressing TAB allows you to quickly switch between the search results list and the Search pane.

Below the Search box are: Apps 0, Settings 17, Files 617.Figure 12: No results for apps – but use the arrow keys to switch to settings view, which shows 17 results

"Users" is selected, but arrow keys can be used to navigate to "User Tile" or "Customize your user tile" or "User Accounts"Figure 13: Use the arrow keys to choose a settings search result

To add to our earlier point on preserving search efficiency, here are some comparisons of the number of keystrokes for launching frequently used apps via search. In Windows 7, you would press the WIN key, start typing in your search term, and then press ENTER to launch the program. We count all the keystrokes end to end. In Windows 8, you can apply the same pattern for searching for apps (WIN key, type in the search term, press ENTER to launch). Launching Word, Calculator, Paint, or Media Player by pressing the WIN key and typing “word”, “calc”, “calculator”, “paint”, “player”, or “media” in the search box takes precisely the same number of keystrokes in Windows 8 as it does in Windows 7.

To launch settings in Windows 7, you would press the WIN key, type in the query, arrow down to the result you wanted, and press ENTER to launch it. In Windows 8, you can use WIN key + W to launch settings search, type in a query, and press ENTER to launch. Typing WIN key + W and typing “uninstall”, “device manager”, or “defender” gives you the same results with precisely the same number of keystrokes in Windows 8 as in Windows 7. In some cases, it takes even fewer keystrokes than in Windows 7 (for example, pressing WIN key + W, typing “power” and then pressing ENTER to launch power options).

This dexterity-focused design isn’t all we have done to make search more efficient. We have also made key performance investments across the system. In current testing of Windows 8, our search performance improvements have cut app search time in half for desktops and laptops. The improvements are even larger on netbooks.

On x86 desktop: 58% decrease from Windows 7 to Windows 8, on x64 desktop, 55% decrease, on x64 laptop, 45% decrease, on x86 netbook, 78% decreaseFigure 14: Performance comparison showing % decrease in execution time of app search

Designed for touch, too

We discussed the details of designing search for dexterity while using the keyboard, but this design works equally well for touch. To begin searching in Start, simply swipe the edge and tap on the Search charm. This opens the full list of installed apps. You can use the touch keyboard to search for a program to launch, but you can also use semantic zoom to zoom out, and then tap on the section that contains your app. Start search is lightweight, fast, fluid, and quickly gets out of the way as you pan through your list of apps, settings, or files.

The Search pane makes it easy to continue searching for the same term in other system views or Metro style apps with just one tap. Touch-friendly search suggestions minimize typing on a touch screen, and the search contract provides a framework for search suggestions that developers can use for their own Metro style apps as well. In addition, we designed touch-friendly filters with result counts in the file search view to help users quickly refine the search results set.

The new Start search experience makes it easier than ever to search for content in your PC or in apps from anywhere in the system. It’s been designed to work seamlessly and efficiently across the range of devices that Windows will run on, and across different input mechanisms such as the mouse, keyboard, and touch. Start search brings apps, settings, and files together with other Metro style apps that implement the Search contract, creating a unified and consistent search experience. We will talk more about the search experience and the search contract in a future post. In the meantime, you can get more information from our talk at //build/ on the Search contract.

Here’s a video showing how easy and efficient it is to quickly launch apps, settings, and files from anywhere in the system using the keyboard:

Download this video to view it in your favorite media player:
High quality MP4 | Lower quality MP4

We look forward to your continued feedback as you try out the Windows 8 Start search experience!


Comments (381)

  1. Win user says:

    Searching in Win7 is terrible. Let usu hope you fix it in win 8 in desktop style apps, and also metrp SA

  2. You said in the blog post that the functionality from Windows 7 where Start Search could replace the Run function still exists, but in my testing, this is not the case. I don't remember ever being able to do this in Windows 8. I seem to remember typing in the path for TOWN.MID in the serach box and Windows didn't display any results. Did you ship the developer preview with this functionality enabled?

    Also, please put a "Programs" button on the Start Screen or the Charms menu. Even though we all know by now that using the Seach charm has the duplicate effect of showing users all the apps on a system, many people don't, and it doesn't feel natural to use a "Search" function to open a program.

    One more thing: please answer the question about whether or not it will be possible to run Windows 8 with the Desktop as the primary UI, and with loading the Start Screen without covering everything on the desktop. The answer to this question will make or break Windows 8.

    In conclusion, I'm glad to see that the ability to type in file paths into the Search box will continue to work in Windows 8. This was one of Windows Vista's better features, and I would have hated to see it be removed.

  3. Shag says:

    It takes a second to change the way you think to use the new start menu. I think most people are complaining because they are not making the connection. This short video does help make sense of it.

  4. @Win user

    What's wrong with searching in Windows 7? If you have a problem with Windows 7's search, you should explain what it is. Telling Microsoft that "it's terrible" doesn't make it any better.

  5. I also forgot to mention this:

    Windows 8 needs an easy way to shut down the computer from the Start Screen. You said that I can always close the lid or press the power button to accomplish this, but this isn't necessarily true. For one thing, my computer doesn't have a lid, since it's not a laptop. Don't forget that depending on what I do with my computer, the power button could shut it down, put it in Sleep mode, hibernate it, or possibly do something else. Users expect to have a button to shut down the PC on the Start Menu or Start Screen, and there is no excuse for removing this in Windows 8. Hiding "Shut Down" under "Settings" is one of the worst design mistakes I have ever seen, period.

  6. Win user says:


    More precise, searching files is bad. Too few options, less than in XP. Also takes longer time. Some window with search parameters is required.

    Searching programs (in start menu) is ok.  

  7. HECTOR says:

    WINDOWS 8 IS BRILLANT!!!!!   of course is diferent….  it's new… who would want the same thing on a new one as the older one??? is just dummm… if u people wants the older stuff… then stay with the win7… why are u here "trying" to help to make the "NEW" windows 8 if u want the Win7 stuff??? -______- dumm assess       MS U'RE DOING IT GREAT! =)

  8. Ben H [MSFT] says:

    @WindowsVista567, you can also shut down Windows by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL and using the shutdown button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

  9. Excuse me... says:

    I'm a faithful Windows user, and I'm pretty sure that Metro is the new and correct way to approach the future, but c'mon. . . This new search thing is a MESS when desktop is related. Look at that horrible experience when you want to search for folders! Kill desktop or let it just how it is in W7.

  10. It would be nice to have "Search All" as default when the user begins typing. Then you could populate the highest rank hits by category (Documents, Control Panel, Apps, Music, etc.) Similar to Windows Vista / 7 search functionality in Start.

    Otherwise I feel like I'd have to constantly remember to hit Windows key + W for /just/ settings or Widnows key + F for files. If I don't go that route, I'm ending up with another mouse movement to change the search category.

  11. This stuff is looking good, but I think you folks should take a concept from the Games industry and stick built in tutorials into Windows itself, not just a simple help file or blogs. I think a lot of problems/complaints would evaporate if you did so (how often do you hear people complaining that some game changes the interface?).

    Looking forward to Windows 8 regardless 🙂

  12. One thing these posts have taught me is that people are never satisfied no matter what.  Good job on the search especially like the search contract and how you can search within individual apps.

  13. tN0 says:

    Again: providing more search results by separating search scenarios isn't a solution in my opinion. I was hoping for better results and more information at one glance. Instead you are throwing more results at me so I have to do the work by filtering and searching the search results list.

    And searching from the desktop world really is a bad experience as can be seen in this video. Jumping in and out of the Start Screen is confusing and the transitions are still not fast enough.

    I don't really see enough progress yet so my hope is that your team has a lot to reveal in the beta version.

  14. @The Grand User

    Microsoft has made good tutorials before. Remember the Windows XP Tour?

    As for why people don't complain when games change the interface: people don't rely on games to get their work done, or for any digital activites other than playing the game. Windows, however, is used by people for using the Internet, typing documents, creating scientific models, solving advanced math problems, editing photos, making movies and almost everything else you can think of doing on a computer. Thus, changes made to Windows impact users quite a bit. The Start Screen could be the greatest thing that ever happened to Windows or it could completely destroy the PC industry. That's why changes to the Windows UI are such a big deal.

  15. far says:

    the new  search option breaks the line of sight between my work and the start screen and this is annoying, also having a black windows button on the task bar is so ugly with this aero interace, god, everything abt windows 8 is pretty cool except the start screen

  16. someone says:

    Why not combine the Start Screen and the Desktop?

  17. telemetry-still? says:

    @Steven and @Brian,

    I can't believe we're continuing down this road that the telemetry is seemingly taking us to.

    I'm estatic that the keyboard shortcuts have been retained and even improved.

    What about moving around with a mouse?  Hello?

    At the end of a long work session, I can barely move my mouse the few mm it needs to navigate the complete start menu – without need of the keyboard – how is making me use the keyboard any better than with all previous versions of Windows?

    Please, take the time to listen to us: don't fix what is not broken.

    The start menu may need upgrading to be useful going forward – with this I can agree 100%.

    The start screen is (on a desktop) the opposite of ease and usability.

    The mouse is the most precise, effortless and natural way to navigate around a modern PC for any experienced user – take advantage of this fact and use the screen real estate wisely.

    Instead of simply banging our heads over and over on your inflexible start screen experience – on our desktops – try to realize that matching the best interface with the best available input tools is clearly the way forward.

    Keep Metro and the Desktop experiences separate, as they clearly don't mix – no matter what your telemetry shows.

  18. Thanks for the post. But I am not convinced the search experience is great compared to Win7. I think you are putting these results in APPs, Settings, Files silos.

    I like shortcuts win+w, win+f, but again you are expecting user to learn and remember about apps, settings and files. The cost of transaction is high.

    I will use the same example I used in previous post, try search for win + "sleep" in Win7 nad Win8.

  19. Onuora Amobi says:

    I have been really impressed with the search on the Samsung tablets with Windows 8.

    I love the fact that you start typing and it brings up the dialog.. looks well thought out.


  20. R.Johnston says:

    Keyboard shortcuts?

    Is this 1991 with WordPerfect 5.1?

    Where are the usability videos of how much better the user experience is with Win8 and a mouse?

    There aren't any because Win8 is harder to use on a real system than any other O/S available.

    This is not progress, match the interface to the hardware available on each different type of platform, please!

    Why is this obvious point being ignored?

    Why is the obvious point that folders and the organization they bring being ignored too?

    I don't want an 'app' first O/S – my files are what are important – not the tools I use to create them.

    Give me first-class file search, organization and data manipulation tools.

    Keep the dizzying effects, the glitz and the telemetry.

  21. tN0 says:

    Another  issue I see here: there is no information what kind of file "121" is (the first search result for searching files for "build").

    In Windows 7 there is a headline showing you that it is a video file plus the icon shows the file type and the associate program that will open the file (in this case Windows Media Player). On Windows 8 you only get a thumbnail. It could be an image, a presentation or a video. Even after hovering over it you have to know that the file extension WMV means it is a video. My mother wouldn't know this.

    How can you call this an improvement?

  22. Philip says:

    While I'm not a huge fan of the start screen yet, I'm more than willing to give it a try.   However, the search has a few issues –

    The one glaring problem is when searching for something that has no "program" matches, but *does* have "settings" matches.  In this case I get a huge screen that says "0 results".   I would prefer (and expect) the results screen to default to the search group actually produced results.

    Can we have a setting to disable the "Swoop in" animation?   When I'm searching for something, I normally know just what I want and want it to start – On win 7 I hit  the windows key, type a bit and hit enter.  Boom, started.   On win8 I hit the windows key, and there's a distracting animation while the entire screen turns green.  Neat-ish the first time, but not the 960th time.  

  23. James M Kent says:

    Well, I found the updates to search to be far less useful than the search from Windows 7.  The Windows 7 Search is primarily useful in that it added the entire contents of the control panel to the search AND because you're basically unable to visually scan the start menu any more due to the removal of the classic start menu (you're visually constrained to a scrollable corner) it is a way to gradually inspect against it.

    I still would like to have an efficient way to BROWSE what is currently in the menu (a real limitation of the current design).  However, if we look at the new search, in the scenario of "Remove Programs" or "Windows Update", there is a clearly identified task that is narrowed down to 0 results on the search in Windows 8.  Not only that, but getting ONLY the Metro version of that (with no option to launch the FULL Windows Update), you have to work your way around to the desktop, get a computer, right click, properties, navigate to Windows Update from there and launch the fully capable version.

    One way around that would be either letting the search be configured to launch metro version OR full version – the metro one in general is usually less capable.  However this was a big step backwards in expectations to see that the search can identify NO RESULTS FOUND under apps and still show the category.  Why not show all categories by default and allow filtering if we want to into types via the navigation?

  24. Simon says:

    I think I'd prefer it if the Application results and Settings results were combined into a single (mixed) list. Often used items should move to the first place, no matter whether they're Apps or control panel items.

  25. Shashi K says:

    while it is nice easy to press win key and type app name  => you are covering keyboard

    what about just the mouse?

    where we click the start menu and , clicking in all programs and clicking on my application

    how is this achieved in win 8?

    it would atleast be great if there was a All Programs tab on the metro UI  that would by default show all the installed programs .. withouf user pinning each application.–> really a consolation gift for the mouse users.

  26. r.ash says:

    If discoverability is such a problem for this feature, why not borrow from webOS? Include a text entry box between the "Start" and the username at the top of the start screen. The default text can include "Type to search". This would provide minimum impact way to make the feature obvious to all users.

  27. Carol Anne says:

    Why are ALL your screenshots (and this blog) using such tiny, tiny, TINY type?  Some of us are getting older (I'm only 70, now, having been in the computer business since I was 15), and frankly, I'm tired of having to use extra tools (magnifiers, on the screen, or in my hand) just to read the @)(%*%& text that all your 25-year-old programmers can see just fine.

    Give us a practical (and universal) way to change global font sizes without breaking the application (eg., XP allows 96 or 120 dpi, but many apps won't work with 120 dpi, or they work, but they scramble the screen because programmers' haven't written adaptive code.

    Please, move the "stock" font size for Windows 8 into the common core of code, and let those of us who find 3 pt (or even 8 pt) type too damned small!

  28. borntomultitask says:


    huge, fast movements (of the entire desktop) are not conducive to a productive workflow.

    The 'designing search for the start screen' has a long way to go.

    Too big (the fonts).

    Too little (the information presented).

    Too dumbed down (the expectations are for kids and old people, while not catering to them either).

    Too keyboard driven (great on a desktop/bad on a desktop with a mouse – bad on a touch device/bad on a touch device with no real keyboard).

    Too much concentration on being different (from Win7) instead of being better (the user experience should be obviously better – the rest will follow).

    While the dev preview is great to play around with – it is no Win7.  This latest post shows that it may never be.

    Why are desktop users being punished?  You know that MS will pay in the end.

  29. Joao M Correia says:

    The contract design you implemented could just as easily provide the same results in the current start menu.

    Again, the main problem is the full screen of it. Do it less obtrusive by reusing the start menu (for example, when you offer the CHOICE of disabling the start screen)

  30. The green is ugly, I hope in the final release we can change the colours.

  31. Having used Windows from ver. 3.1, I welcome the changes happening in the new Windows 8.  No one will ever be satisfied or happy with change of any kind.  If you are one of them, then stay with what you have and don't move on, but don't try to change everything new for the rest of us who don't want to keep the same old thing.   I have no problem with anything in this Developer Preview and can't wait for updates.  I'm on a laptop and have no problem with using the mouse/keyboard to navigate through my files or apps.  And if I can do it at my age anyone can.  You just have to open your minds and let the change happen.

  32. Denis says:

    Windows 8 needs an easy way to shut down the computer from the Start Screen. You said that I can always close the lid or press the power button to accomplish this, but this isn't necessarily true. For one thing, my computer doesn't have a lid, since it's not a laptop. Don't forget that depending on what I do with my computer, the power button could shut it down, put it in Sleep mode, hibernate it, or possibly do something else. Users expect to have a button to shut down the PC on the Start Menu or Start Screen, and there is no excuse for removing this in Windows 8. Hiding "Shut Down" under "Settings" is one of the worst design mistakes I have ever seen, period. I agree with @WindowsVista567

  33. AConcernedWindowsUser says:

    I believe that the main problem with the new metro design (i.e. start screen and full screen metro apps) is the feeling of alienation it imposes on users.

    Microsoft says that Metro is a design languageparadigm, but users perceive it as a "mode" that is distinct from the rest of the windows experience. That's why you read about: "I want to boot into the desktop mode", "I don't want to leave the desktop mode", etc… That's a clear indication that there is something inherently wrong with the design. If it's absolutely necessary to bring a mobile experience into the desktop world (something than many, myself included, are not entirely convinced of), it should at least be handled in a different manner.

    That said, the work you've done in other areas of the os is amazing and much appreciated. Windows is a great os and if you keep innovating and adding features that make people's lives simpler and more efficient, it can become even greater. Keep at it …

  34. SuNcO says:

    There wil be a GUI to use the search options ? I mean, not everybody is going to remember commands (ex filename:$<Metro* size:>1mb)

  35. JF says:

    If there are no app results, why not show the settings results immediately? Seems like wasted keystrokes to switch panes when Windows already knows that what you're searching for is most likely a setting.

    Win+W will help, but it still seems silly to present the user with a "nothing found" window while knowing there are results elsewhere.

  36. ADD THE ABILITY TO DO MATH AND DEFINE WORDS RIGHT IN THE SEARCH BAR. I'm kinda hyper rn. sorry for shouting.

  37. Enthusiast says:

    There is only one thing that bothers me with the whole "Start Screen" stuff.

    It's the disruption when you invoke it. The fact that my desktop slides away and a totally different (let's say… "very green") thing takes its place completely breaks my context.

    Maybe try that simple trick: when I press the Win key, darken the desktop and makes the Start Screen appear smoothly on top of it. So that it doesn't feel like I'm switching from the most important context (my desktop) to something totally different (and back), just to launch calc.

    I'm pretty sure it would make an important difference in how people perceive the Start Menu and it may have a better reception. That way people could more easily think of it as a "mega-start menu" rather than "a totally new Start Screen that I don't want".

    The enhancement it brings to usability are good, I think!

  38. Jerue says:

    Great post! The new search system is much improved over Windows 7, but could still use some improvements. One of the biggest complaints about the new Start screen (and one that I agree with) is that there is no easy way to quickly and easily access your files through the Start screen. The file seach interface could be improved to fix this. The default view for the app search when no text is typed is to show all the apps. This is great and the main idea should be extended to the file search. That is, when the deafult file search is shown (no text has been typed), instead of showing a blank space, it could show the libraries (or some other folders). Clicking on a specific folder opens that folder in the search UI, and clicking on another folder opens that one and so on.  Then search could function the same way it does in Windows explorer: As you explore down through the folders, the search functions only searches the folder you are in and its subfolders. For example, if you move to the Documents library, then search will only search that library. A breadcrumb view of the folder directory should also be given to move in and out of the folders seamlessly. The allows someone to search specific folders, but also allows someone to easily find files on their system based on folder location. It improves the search functionality and gives users direct access to their files from the Start screen.

  39. I see two main problems in Windows 8 search.

    (1) Again, we are forced to operate in full screen mode. This is really annoying.

    (2) It gets even worst: not only are we obliged to search in full screen mode, but the search window disappears as soon as we switch to another window. So, if I search for a specific expression in a PDF file out of a 500 Gb hard drive, I need to pause what I am doing and wait until the end of search; otherwise, I will lose my search query.

  40. @Steven Sinofsky

    AConcernedWindowsUser is right. It's clear that Metro is poorly integrated into Windows and that the whole experience seems more basic, broken, and less powerful than the regular Windows experience. You and the rest of the Windows team have a tendency to talk about "Metro-style apps" and "Desktop apps," but I see it a little bit differently.

    In my mind, Windows 8 is firmly split down the middle into two sections: "Metro" and "Windows."

    Notice I didn't say "Metro" and "Desktop." I said "Metro" and "Windows."

    This indicates a fundamental problem with Windows 8: it's such a radical, and in some ways not as good, departure from the regular Windows experience that it doesn't feel like using a computer so much as it feels like navigating an iPhone with the mouse. This has less to do with the Start Screen and more to do with the entire Metro experience. Implemented properly, using the suggestions I have provided on other posts (do an Edit-Find for WindowsVista567 if you want to look for them), the Start Screen can be a good thing, but not in its current implementation.

    Fortunately, though, this blog post seems to indicate that the Search function will be ultimately unchanged from Windows 7. That's a good thing, as Search definitely should not be changed. One good idea of Windows Vista will remain in Windows 8. Now, what about Flip 3D?

  41. I really hope that the serach tool in Win 8 will have big improvements, in desktop use and in metro….

    There will be a paint for desktop and one for the Metro UI? Please add in this software the possibility of make a background trasparent

    Also, can you add please driver for sixasis (controller PS3) via usb/bluetooth?Win 8 have to be also for gaming experience

  42. The move from Desktop-Windows to Startscreen-Tiles is too distracting.

    Not only it is full screen it also breaks the "line of sight" with what one is doing.

    It is anti-productive.

    Having different kinds of searches (apps, settings, files) instead of a global search is limiting.

    The engineering part of Windows 8 is shaping up beautifully (Task Manager, file management, boot times, etc), the shoehorning of a touch UI into a KB+M world is a disgrace.

    Hopefully we can bypass Startscreen-Tiles entirely using a KB+M controlled desktop.

  43. Nicole says:

    "where each app developer understands their data and users best"

    You guys continue to hang yourself with the what you think is accurate telemetry data (it doesn't reflect almost all business& power users who turn it off) and assumptions.  You've never installed something and had 28 useless icons and ads show up on your desktop and start menu?  Ever seen the garbage on the desktop of the average home user?  The start screen is going to be too polluted and bloated with crapware to use without constant maintenance with today's software — and if MS wants to push an App Store model it's going to get much, much worse.  You can assume developers will play nice, but what they are really going to do is manipulate every loophole they can find to "improve" their visibility to the user and sell other apps.  The start screen, they way you envision it, is ripe for abuse.

    Yes, better searching MAY help that (and it does perform much better), but most of us don't want to have to search to run programs we run every day, and we certainly don't want to have to stop what we are doing, have our entire work environment yanked around to search for calculator or notepad.  At least for me, a Win7 style taskbar will help alleviate that massive work interruption — and I can mostly never use the start screen then.

  44. I like how the tool-tips give more information about files; that is a welcome improvement.

    I do wonder though how I would distinguish between launching a 'desktop' version of calc and a 'Metro' version of calc. If I'm working in desktop mode I'd want the desktop version, if I'm working in Metro, I'd want the Metro version. I don't want to have to learn two different commands or have two calculator shortcuts on my start screen. This is particularly important because I eventually hope to get a tablet PC and use it as my primary PC, docking it with a keyboard and mouse when at my desk. In that case I'll have to frequently switch between the two calculator, or two of seemingly everything. Having the option for Metro programs to run in a windowed mode as Visual Studio was shown during Build to do would be a good way to have a single calculator (or other application) that can be used in a desktop mode or in a Metro mode. If the last place I was in was the desktop, launch the app in windowed mode, if it was a full-screen Metro application, launch it in Metro mode.

    You also mention semantic zoom again. There really needs to be information given on how that will work. It seems the same gestures that work on the screen should work on the touch pad (if available) or I should be able to use my mouse wheel for zooming the start screen. Then the start screen should zoom in around my pointer. The wheel isn't needed to scroll horizontally.

    Finally, I heard a rumor that one might be able to get a tablet pre-reloaded with Windows 8 beta. That would be something I'd be very interested in because right now I have no way to really test Windows 8 extensively as it is loaded on an old notebook. I'm sure many techs would purchase such a tablet and gladly submit bug reports. I'd even be OK if the beta version forced the customer improvement reporting tool on so you could get some telemetry on what is working and what isn't during the beta test.

  45. Do you think you can fix how search works? In Windows XP in Outlook I could use the build-in search to find an email and the search would search for a part of a word. With Windows Search and Vista/7 you broke that so now I can only search the beginning of words. This drives me up a wall with a tool like MyMobiler. I know it has the word 'mobile' in it, but I can never find it in my start menu because I have to search for mymobil to find it. I eventually renamed the shortcut to My Mobiler so I could find the application again.

    I long for the days when search actually searched correctly.

  46. To all of you that turn off the customer improvement feedback because you are afraid of sending data to Microsoft (including corporate customers) I've always said that was foolish. The more data Microsoft has about applications crashing and how we use our computers, the better computer Microsoft can make for us. Microsoft can't design for what it doesn't know about. I wanted to be counted in Microsoft's next OS, so I opted in. If you didn't want to be counted in Windows 8, then you opted out and can't complain that this isn't what you expected or what your corporate users want. The data is anonymized, send it in, staring now, and let's help Microsoft give us what we really want.

  47. Thank you guys are for posting these blogs, they are professionally done and we all appreciate your efforts. Actually I could not thank you enough for taking the time to speak to us in such a professional way and also adding the Video. I really try hard to “accept” the message but unfortunately I cannot.

    I am totally disappointed that your message has no value what so ever, apart from to prove that you are either totally detached from reality or you really want to replace your customer base completely from one that generates content with one that just consumes it, nothing in between.

    This style of working with a desktop PCs and/or laptops is what I usually laugh about when I see some of my colleagues that are stack in UNIX era, when the keyboard was still the king. (I am not saying this applies to every UNIX person out there, only those guys that refuse to use the mouse most of the time and they love to type countless lines of instructions that could easily be performed with a mouse click on the right icon. Unfortunately you made lots of variants of UNIX to seem more desirable now than ever, because they have moved on since then).

    I thought that I was not using my preview build correctly or something so I watched the demo and the screen view was switched N times between the full screen of the Metro UI and the desktop. You expect me or any person than still values his eyes to have to put up with a desktop that changes 100% in brightness/contrast 1000s of times a day just so I can do what? Search for applications, files, images!

    Believe me when I say a “professional” user does not want the Start Menu jumping on his face with every search (I asked a lot of professional IT people in my office none agreed with this concept).

    Then there are all the “magic” key strokes we have to memorize now, else I will end up lost in the endless sea of rectangles.

    So if I am to understand the whole objective right, the Windows users, even those that want to use Windows on the desktop, are going to be buying 1000s of applications very soon because…doesn’t matter why, Microsoft is saying so…and we need to solve the problem of locating them quickly because during the course of a day we may want to run 500 of those important apps.

    Of course your telemetry will show up favourite results for the new method, you are STEALING THE WHOLE DESKTOP!

    Sorry for not being able to add any more “constructive” comments, but you are really presenting us with a joke here and I am really trying hard not to laugh.

  48. Kent says:

    Is it possible to put the search results into a Window?  In my experience with the DP when you click on a file the program for that file launches.  For example, typing in a commonly used photo tag brings up all of those photos (excellent). However, if I left or right mouse click on one of them I'm switched over to Windows Explorer (left clicking launches the Windows Photo Viewer with the applicable photo).  How do I get back to the resultant set?

  49. John says:

    Search in windows explorer was the worse "feature" ever. It can't not find what you looking for and it slow like a turtle and less options.

    I have to use thirth-party tool like Agent Ransack ( to do the job.

    Please don't based your search on indexed/offline-index. It doesn't make it faster and slow everything down.

  50. @c_barth: I think that no matter what you/me or anybody says, Microsoft is always driven by marketing ideas and not telemetry. It is obvious that the telemetry data used here just to “support” their marketing decisions. They are comparing a full screen application like the Start/Search menu with the old menu and they “conclude” that it is more efficient. Of course it is, if something is 8 times bigger of course you will be able to display more information.

    My guess is that the marketing line here is “unify the desktop and the tablet user experience in the best way you can”. And all I can say about their efforts is that it seems they are doing a fantastic job. No, I am serious, they are trying their best and they almost seem (to the common user) that they are getting somewhere.

    Of course all they have done is ruin the user interface experience for both worlds and it is going to end in tears. But hey we have been here before, at least there is some stability in their approach of “new”.

  51. Andrew Fong says:

    Win+W doesn't make sense to me as a keyboard shortcut for searching settings (e.g. why not Win+S). Can we customize shortcuts in Windows 8? It'd be nice to not have to rely on AutoHotKey.

  52. this is a joke. MS please stop justifying the tiles when people are rejecting them.

    Remembering windows keys just to use your tile interface more efficiently? Are you kidding me?

  53. @The Entire Windows Team

    It may be best to step back and take a look at Windows 8 and ask yourself "How would we design our UI if it was never, ever, going to run on touch devices?"

    This is what needs to be done for Windows 8 on desktops. There are too many fundamental problems with a single UI for different devices, as the rection to this post from users demonstrates. The comments on posts about Metro are mostly complaints. This indicates that you are moving in the wrong direction. If Netflix could get rid of Qwikster, you can redesign Metro without having to throw away all your hard work. The results of my testing have proven this.…/09fdf8b7-031c-4f49-8638-1bad9350f88e

  54. Steven: Have you given any real thought to how you're going to handle the discoverability issue?  Yes, I realize that you said that users "serendipitously" discover search, but I find that hard to believe.  I doubt very many people would expect to just start typing on the desktop to launch search.  

    Go to any major web site (Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, eBay, etc.)  None of them work this way.  Not one.  They all have dedicated search boxes.  Most likely, users are going to scan through all the live tiles until the find the Search tile.  And if they can't find the Search tile, they'll give up in frustration.  

    At the very least, Microsoft should add a Search tile to the Start screen.  This will make it easy for users to figure out how to get to search.  At least until users figure out they can just type at the start screen.

    Also, I'm a little concerned about focus on keyboard shortcuts.  Of course, they're great for power users, but many consumers don't know how to copy and paste using keyboard shortcuts.  The days of expecting consumers to memorize keyboard shortcuts are gone.  

  55. Gordonf F. says:

    I don't want my searches to be full-screen. I got a 1080p resolution screen for a reason. Stop shoehorning a touch screen onto desktop PCs! You're not listening to feedback at all, at least don't keep on pretending you are, insulting our intelligence in the process.

  56. Eric says:

    Great job with the search screen, I've found it helpful on my Dell duo.

    One piece of feedback I have for you is to help make all these new and even old windows shortcuts easier to find. I've learned quite a few shortcuts by reading these blog posts that I had no idea existed. It would be nice if there were a way built into windows to help me learn new keyboard shortcuts and improve my productivity.

  57. Windows user says:

    Telemetry just says half of the story.

    Altough Telemetry is usefull to give certain facts, it only gives you what you are expecting to see, not the all picture. You say that "Our telemetry data shows that 67% of all searches in Windows 7 are used to find and launch programs. Searching for files accounts for 22% of all Windows 7 Start menu searches, and searching for Control Panel items about 9%." Well fair enough. Can you measure how people would like to use 3 different  shortcuts to open diferent things? Or how much time will they loose trying to reach +f or + W?

    I dont really think that on your video, being on Desktop word and wanting to open just an calculator you'll have to leave the Desktop and enter Metro. How can Telemetry measure people attitude towards that? This switch back and forth is not elegant, or even useful. I think the full search is usefull when you want to open items you usually dont open. Like an  app that i want to use it help me with video or that app that i dont remember my name. But for calculator the start menu is simpler, at least visually. Or you could replace the start menu for a mini-search-screen Metro. You could add and Window Key + k (mouse right click) for instance to open the win7 start menu or the mini metro green search screen.

    Have you measured how fast is opening the calculator or word from windows 7 vs and 8 by telemetry? And only with a mouse can you measure that? I think that people who are used live by the mouse will find not very pratical to move the mouse around an entire screen to open Word or other app. You can say well, 1 time what's the big deal. Well the entire day. Can you measure telemetrically how much people will use the mouse and how much tendinitis people will have? How much times switching between Green (whatever) to Desktop back and forth will make sight more tired?

    The truth about Telemetry is that as a usefull tool must be useful with care. You will only see what you want/are looking at. You can measure a full other stuffs, that gives you all other conclusions.

    I like Metro and the ability to use the Search Apps/Files/Settings on an full screen. Just not always.

    I think i will use Google Desktop just when i just want a calculator or Notepad.  

  58. Panda X says:

    I just tried the file search. Buggy in the dev preview but works. (Buggy as in explorer crashed several times)

    One thing I don't like is it seems to take longer than expected for a tooltip/preview to show up. It'd be nice if that time was shortened a bit. Also the addition of flying tooltips wouldn't be a bad idea. By which I mean once a tooltip is open and you hover over an item near it the tooltip follows the cursor and the information is updated rather than tooltip close, pause, tooltip open.

  59. IdeaMan! says:

    I'm beginning to like the overall direction of the Start screen, but there's one thing that still bothers me: Jarring transitions.  I'm sure you've heard it many times, but that's only because its true.

    What if, when hitting the Start button, you render the tiles on top of the current running metro app (including the Desktop) ? To differentiate the Start screen from the background you could apply some effects like a gray scale to the app in the background , and/or shrink the background app a little bit like you do with tiles when you're dragging one around on the screen.  

    This could give the user the impression that their work hasn't just disappeared… it feels safer knowing stuff is still there because you can still see it.  Also its easier on the eyes, and could even look cooler.  

  60. the more I use it the more I realise that Metro just doesn't work on a PC. It is clumsy, unintuitive and just plain disruptive to work flow. For the people that like it fine but at least provide the option to switch it off. Just because it is a change doesn't mean that its better for me using a PC 12+ hours a day it is just painful and the closest I have come to physically abusing my PC. On more than one occasion I have had to get up and simply walk away thru frustration. Yes I know this is technically off topic but an improved search is useless if the shell which you operate it from is not usable.

  61. How I am going to search for folders in “Start” screen? Still have to use Windows Explorer, right?

  62. Jim Better says:

    It would be better if the right search pane appeared in the Desktop view without switching back and forth from the tiles interface.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Let it appear into the Desktop, leave alone the Metro interface.

    That would be great.

  63. TiTa says:

    Might I suggest a small textblock within the start menu's appbar that reads "type anytime to search". I think that'd solve most discoverability concerns people have, though users just discovering the feature might be convinced they need to bring up the appbar to search for a while.

  64. HONESTLY! How the heck is continuously switching contexts from the desktop for the smallest things a great improvement in any way? So continuously having to watch your desktop swap out from under you just to type something in to search and then swipe back in to view is possibly the most annoying thing I can think of about W8. Please DO NOT overlook "context switching" as a major mood killer for power users *on my knees begging*!!

  65. cleverclogs says:

    Ah ***. Are you serious MS that I have to have a complete switch from desktop/application to Metro Start screen every time I want to type things in to the search box?

    What happens when I have a document open and I want to type in a few words in the search box from said document? I lose focus of the document to do that? I don't want that to happen.

    It's well and good having specific search-keys like Winkey+W but why not just incorporate that in to the NORMAL start menu?

    I think the constant transitions from metro UI to desktop and back again are going to get VERY frustrating.

    Have you considered how awkward it will be if I want to perform repeated searches for different things to pull up content?

    Please, I beg you, give us a normal start menu for normal desktop use.

  66. Jason says:

    One of the biggest problems with Windows 7 search is the Indexer.  It crushes the hard drive and brings system performance to a halt.  It is almost as bad to performance as virus (er… antivirus) software.  

    Please build a new API into windows, something like:

    FileActivityInfo[] FilesTouched(searchPattern, oldestActivityReturned, changeType)…


    a notification API for active applications.

    This way, the Indexer, AV software, and other random apps could plug into this, and eat less hard drive.

  67. cleverclogs says:

    IT would make more sense to have a minimalistic bar swipe in from the left-hand-side without the huge transition to that metro interface. THEN, perhaps introduce some transparency, so results come up on a transparent glass overlay on top of the standard desktop. Perhaps upon the metro-bar coming in from the left, have the entire desktop shrink a little so that everything can still be visible.


  68. @ tN0  Thanks for your feedback.

    We use dynamic property layout in File search to show the user what property their search term matched and to provide additional relevant information about each specific file type. In the case of pictures and videos, thumbnails can also help quickly identify a file. For most document files there isn’t a thumbnail available and so an icon is shown.

    If a user were looking for a the “Build” video in this scenario then the thumbnail should help them identify it. They could also use the type-based filters to narrow the set to just videos. If instead the user were looking for a PowerPoint, for example, then they should be able to quickly identify that the first result isn’t what they are looking for and move on to the next three results which are PowerPoints.

  69. @WindowsVista567 Thanks for your feedback.

    The “Run” functionality available in the Windows 7 Start menu is available in the Windows 8 Developer Preview. To launch this particular file just type c:w and start using path completion to get to C:WindowsMediatown.mid and hit enter.

  70. @Windows user

    I fully agree with the option of a mini metro search screen. I'd prefer it to be the default action for when hitting Windows key from the desktop but I'd settle for 'Win + whatever'. Your suggestion to right click "to open the win7 start menu or the mini metro green search screen" is also an excellent one.


    I honestly believe the current fullscreen 'in your face' transition when pressing the Windows key from the desktop is going to have a significant and completely disproportionate impact on the acceptance of Windows 8. I'm sure the Windows team wouldn't want all their great work overshadowed by somthing that in hindsight was so easy to remedy.

  71. Alvaro says:

    My comment no where to be found…. sry if it's doble post:

    I like the new search… mainly because "Apps"; Files and Settings are diferent and when looking for one of those the relevant information its diferent:

    For example when i look an "app" to launch i just care about the name…"Outlook" (maybe some tags like "mail" or "send"; "e-mail") but when im looking for a file i care more about the author, size, date and path… (maybe even thumbnails to set apart homonymous files)…

    One thing i also use the start or run box is to open webs; just tipe, for myself its easier than open my default browser, stop loading the star page, and type  the url …. i dont konw if many people use this …

    What if we need more filters to find files, like size, modif date scrols, type and so on…  

    Tiny <–||——————->  Huge     Less than 64 KB

    Old  <——————-||—>  New      After Last week

    With search taking the whole screen you could easily find a place to put this filters, maybe a + sig with the text add filters or something..

    Good work anyway …. it has room for improvement


  72. Robbo says:

    If I hear "Our telemetry data shows that…" one more time, I think I'm going to have to stop reading these blogs. How about listing to what people are saying in these comments.

    What about this question, that heaps of people are asking, including @WindowsVista567 : "One more thing: please answer the question about whether or not it will be possible to run Windows 8 with the Desktop as the primary UI, and with loading the Start Screen without covering everything on the desktop."

    And I completely agree with this from @WindowsVista567 – The answer to this question will make or break Windows 8.

  73. Stefan says:

    Windows 8. Humm. Should i cry ? Should i laugh ?

  74. steveg says:

    Is there an Advanced Find screen? I find Windows 7+Vista search far less productive than even XPs limited search options.

    Take Google or ebay advanced searches as an example, everything they offer can also be done by entering text in the usual search, but the Advanced Search form provides discoverability to the various search parameters available.

    It's difficult to know what options are available in Windows 7.

    This blog: it'd be interesting to add a check box to comments to indicate whether people have actually tried Windows 8 or are just irrationally frothing at the mouth. (I haven't installed it).

  75. @BrianUp

    I see what the problem was. The results appeared in the Search bar on the right-hand side. This is why user interface design is so important, and is just another example of the many mistakes that the Windows team has made. If you do a search like this, even when in the "Apps" view, the results are still expected to appear in the main viewing area. Strangely, they do not. When I didn't see the results where I expected them to be, I assumed the feature was broken. The Start Search behavior in Windows 8 probably needs to be more like what it is in Windows 7, and Apps/All Programs needs a dedicated menu. I will not be embracing an app-centric model with Windows 8, and many other users will agree with me, so it makes sense to restore some file-centric aspects of Search that were in Windows 7.

    When I say I will not embrace an app-centric model, here is what I mean: if an app stores its files in a hidden, app-specific folder or does not let me choose where to store saved files, I WILL NOT use it, period. If a photo app stores photos in a folder that is hidden or locked down, perhaps in the Applications folder, I will not use it. I will instead use an app that is file-centric, as managing files from a central location is much easier than trying to use photo managers like Adobe Organizer or Windows Photo Gallery.

  76. What I really don't understand regarding search is why is it so good NOT to have a search box on the Start Screen? Some people might find the function regardless, but why not make it easier to find it? Are you running low on screen real estate? My impression is that you still have plenty of room there, and that's an understatement.

  77. You addressed one of my main concerns with Win 8; I couldn't search for settings quickly. That shortcut fixes that. But remember to support the best feature from win 7: win+#. I know this works in windows 8, but you can't see the pinned apps to see what number goes to which application unless you are in the desktop app. These should be visible at least in the start menu.

  78. Windowsfan says:

    I agree with The Grand User! bring in-built tutorials to Windows 8, dependent on the form factor it's installed for. this is a very bold, new interface, and people need to know they can still type to search, they need to know where the charm menu is, etc. and unfortunately, most people don't read the start menu. These tutorials can't be annoying like pop-ups, though, that would ruin this "fresh experience" feel.

  79. Windowsfan says:

    I agree with The Grand User! bring in-built tutorials to Windows 8, dependent on the form factor it's installed for. this is a very bold, new interface, and people need to know they can still type to search, they need to know where the charm menu is, etc. and unfortunately, most people don't read the start menu. These tutorials can't be annoying like pop-ups, though, that would ruin this "fresh experience" feel.

  80. adam m, says:

    Why not to combine a Metro windows explorer to this search engine ?

    this will make it powerful and universal .

  81. nancy pyri says:

    search transition needs to be addressed. It is jarring to having to back and forth from your context to the search. This is not ipad.

  82. I loath mobile operating systems and apps so i was reluctant to take to the new start menu but the video won me over.

  83. Nitz Walsh says:

    Is this being developed in concert with the promotion of a new HULK film?

    Seriously, what the heck is with your love of green?  I just can't comprehend how any adult looks at that and thinks "Welp, needs more shades of green".

  84. Jonathan Kay says:

    You've forgotten about pen input.  I regularly search for things on my start menu in Windows 7 by tapping on the search field in the start menu, bringing up the TIP and writing what application I want.

    If you don't have the ability to make the magic search charm swipe action that's being mentioned in these entries, you see no way to get to the field and there's no TIP or keyboard to come up.  So this means anyone with an existing or upcoming non-touch device is out of luck unless they have a physical keyboard… and memorize a hot key.  And goodness knows how this all works with JAWS and similar.

    I definitely think a search field or button should be visible on the start screen at all times as it's not discoverable otherwise.  I know it says here that "people will just try it and see how it works", but my own experiences with testing show that when hiding features in new versions (particularly with existing input fields), people assume the feature has just been taken out.  For instance, I know of someone who used the search field in IE7/8 and when they were upgraded to IE9, started searching by going to and using the search field on the web page.  How should they magically somehow know that they can search from the IE9 address bar? (I'll note at least the IE team tried to sneak a search button in there to help you out). Said person now prefers a different browser.

  85. CapoxD says:

    Great work on the search in windows 8.

    @WindowsVista567 you keep going off topic, stop writing the same on every post please. I don't really care if you "METRO" or "WINDOWS" or DESKTOP or whatever. Try to stay on topic.

    Can't wait for the beta.

  86. @CapoxD

    Sorry, you're right, but this Search feature is fully integrated with and directly tied to the Metro UI, so I tend to consider any post like this at least somewhat available for Metro UI criticism. Also, many criticims and suggestions for Search have to be brought back to the rest of the Metro UI discussion in order to be complete. Sorry if I caused any problems with my posts, I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

  87. Alvaro says:

    I agree the transition is a little jarring.. maybe if you leave the desktop background or the taskbar … one advantage of leaving the taskbar would be that you can see tha apps currently runnig …. just a tought.

  88. Xero says:

    @Win user, wait wait.. did WindowsXP has search, really? Well in Windows 7, you can include all your fixed/internal or external hard-drive in index by going to indexing options (probably via start menu search) then modifying the path. Once the index is ready (in few hours), afterwards it would take too few keystrokes (a fuzzy search) to get to the file/folder/program or control-panel-item needed even if it's buried deep inside the folders (like you type ser.. while you are typing you will see Control Panel's services in start-menu list). You are missing the real goodness of Windows 7 for too long mate! I rarely open Windows Explorer to access a file or folder in Windows 7, because Start Menu search caters the need: To find the right file in no time!

    Hope it helps!

  89. WindowsVista567 says:

    Great work MS really lookin forward to the beta, METRO is the future for touch and mice and I can't wait. Now back to a hardcore COD session.

  90. Jim says:

    Is this a joke? omg new windows looks so ugly. wtf micrsoft?

  91. @WindowsVista567 (fake) says:

    Are you crazy? You aren't fooling anyone with this silly game of yours. The real WindowsVista567 posts better comments than you!

  92. @WindowsVista567 (fake) says:

    Are you crazy? You aren't fooling anyone with this silly game of yours. The real WindowsVista567 posts better comments than you!

  93. Eric Matthews says:

    Switching to the Start Screen to do simple tasks (like search) cannot possibly be optimal.  On a multiple monitor desktop workstation, there is ample screen real-estate to display a search UI with results and keep my work in front of me at the same time.  I simply do not see any benefit from implementing search on the start screen.

    After thinking about it,  start screen search is also not optimal for tablets.   None on the screenshots presented here show an on-screen keyboard.  How do you expect tablet users to enter search information?  How will the presence of the on-screen keyboard change the layout of the search results?

  94. jep says:

    A lot slower this way. I like old way. I hope there will be a option to disable metro.

  95. WOW.. the transition is so jarring and ugly…make me dizzy just watching the context switch from Metro to the Desktop… I'm sure MS can do a better job making the transition smoother… this is such a non-starter.. the context switch from full screen search to the desktop…now you're in Metro, the next minute you're in the Desktop..from a modern UI to and old UI..this absolutely makes no UI sense… the concept is ok…although I do not like the full screen mode search, but they need to work on polishing the Desktp UI to bring it closer to Metro so that the transition is not so jarring…

  96. If we had real-time voice recognition, there would be no need to type anything. :-/

    Sigh. I guess I must wait another 10 damn years before this stupid touch craze dies down.

  97. Off-topic but made relevant by some of the comments: Those bemoaning the preponderance of green in Start should consider that this is just a preview edition, and the background color (#0e6e39ff) is simply hard-coded into the theme at this stage. All this will change long before RTM. Please stop being so superficial. You should be focusing on the *content* of this post, not what your favorite color is.…/dissecting-the-new-windows-8-start-ui-layers-images-and-colors-oh-my

  98. Robbo says:

    Why didn't the user in the video add the Calculator shortcut to the task bar. Then it would have been one mouse movement, and one click and the Calculator would open. Instead you have him pressing WIN, then typing CALC, then pressing enter – that's hardly more efficient.

  99. sokheang says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    Searching is a pain in windows 8. for windows 7, all i need to do is to press or click start manu and type and everything is there. i dont have to browse thru many categories or remember those shortcuts.

    Multitask in windows 8 is also a pain. I don't like to use keyboard to multitask, alt + tab or win + tab. it's not userfriendly. all i want is to click to multitask.

  100. Please do not foget us diabled folks who only have a few (3) fingers left on my hand after a run in with a saw at home. My mouse is so much better to use for me to search with and a lot faster than trying to type for me as I am left handed to boot..

  101. HandNF says:

    My only complaint is that the search results are very green. Even the highlighted text is green. It'd be great to add more colors to have more contrast.

  102. Rich says:

    Off Topic, but I have been asking this from Microsoft for a long long time before Apple started doing this, but are you going to start making video tutorials on your product.  I bet the reason a ton of people never used the Run/Search command for finding a program was 1 they had no idea they could even click in that box and 2. you have the crappiest tutorials ever.  How about teach your customers how to use your products a bit, no wonder why so many customers are jumping ship its easy.

    1. You have Mac Geniuses for about $150 / year anytime you need to learn something

    2. They have hundreds of free video tutorials.

    3. To upgrade to Windows costs $350 / license ugh…

  103. @Jason, Thanks for the feedback!

    There are existing file system notification APIs that many applications use to obtain information about file system updates – resource consumption depends on how apps respond to these notifications.

    Each release we’ve improved the performance of the search indexer. The indexer dynamically backs off resource usage when the user is active, making the resources available for other processes. In Windows 8 we have done further work to improve the indexer. When compared with Windows 7, disk writes have been reduced by 50% while indexing files and the index now uses 10-20% less hard disk space.

  104. Tommy wilde says:

    That green is the most hideous color. And theres too much of it  Seriously, we can change that, right? Themes for the whole system?

  105. far says:

    the thing i am having most problem with that MICROSOFT is forcing us to use keyboard shortcuts to fix all these UI bad implementation and design. WIN +W etc, this is okay for an advanced user like me, but for most people i know, don't even know how to use the copy, cut and paste shortcut ,CTRL+C, CRTL+V etc, do u really expect them to remember all these shortcuts?? do u really thing even basic users/ end users u really expect them, to press CTRL+ALT+DEL so that they get an option to shutdown the PC. come man, effective screen design. make more use of GUI instead of keyboard shortcut, there's something called human computer interaction(HCI) you really should think abt it, instead of backing ur decisions based on telemetry, you really should forget ur are the developers and look at win 8 from a consumer perspective, the transition from desktop to start screen is not fluid and breaks the experience.  same number of clicks is not equal to number of time taken to search for an app., also while its nice taht teh default search is for apps and programs, i would prefer it to be, apps is displayed in priority, followed by settings or files and not apps only, files only or settings only. you wanted feedback, you are getting it from all the comments. atleast take all of this as constructive criticism and improve the OS, don't ignore us. the reason we are all commenting is because we actually care abt the development of the OS,  ignoring feedback defeats the purpose of the blog and the comment system. kindly consider it,

  106. far says:

    the thing i am having most problem with that MICROSOFT is forcing us to use keyboard shortcuts to fix all these UI bad implementation and design. WIN +W etc, this is okay for an advanced user like me, but for most people i know, don't even know how to use the copy, cut and paste shortcut ,CTRL+C, CRTL+V etc, do u really expect them to remember all these shortcuts?? do u really thing even basic users/ end users u really expect them, to press CTRL+ALT+DEL so that they get an option to shutdown the PC. come man, effective screen design. make more use of GUI instead of keyboard shortcut, there's something called human computer interaction(HCI) you really should think abt it, instead of backing ur decisions based on telemetry, you really should forget ur are the developers and look at win 8 from a consumer perspective, the transition from desktop to start screen is not fluid and breaks the experience.  same number of clicks is not equal to number of time taken to search for an app., also while its nice taht teh default search is for apps and programs, i would prefer it to be, apps is displayed in priority, followed by settings or files and not apps only, files only or settings only. you wanted feedback, you are getting it from all the comments. atleast take all of this as constructive criticism and improve the OS, don't ignore us. the reason we are all commenting is because we actually care abt the development of the OS,  ignoring feedback defeats the purpose of the blog and the comment system. kindly consider it,

  107. xpclient says:

    I have some issues with the Start Screen to which Microsoft hasn't given satisfactory replies and some suggestions:


    1.  Feature lost: Why can't the user define custom keyboard shortcuts for the Start Screen items, the way he can assign any keyboard shortcut to Start Menu items?

    2.  Unproductive UI: Contextual options like Run as administrator, Open file location are hidden beneath one additional click – the "Advanced" button – at the bottom of the Start Screen. Please show contextual actions as individual buttons below on the Start screen. No need to hide those 3 actions in a menu.

    3.  Unproductive UI: For mouse usage, when you right click on an app, the mouse has to travel all the way down to the bottom of the Start screen to Pin or access advanced contextual options. Whereas in the Start menu, the context menu appeared right at the position of the mouse pointer where the user right clicked..

    4.  Feature lost: Loss of many context menu actions. 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 Microsoft's own Sysinternals tools like shellrunas which adds the "Run as different user" option?

    5.  Usability issue: At the Start Screen, because the white box that shows keyboard focus is on the top left most tile, 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 keyboard focus/blue selection begins from the top or bottom depending on whether Up or Down arrow key was pressed.

    6.  Feature lost: The Start Screen does not show tooltips for apps from the app shortcut's "Comment" field. The Start Menu showed tooltips from the shortcut (LNK file's) comment field.

    7.  Feature lost: The Start Screen does not show tooltips for folders defined using desktop.ini in that folder. In Windows 7, the Start Menu shows tooltips for folders.

    8.  Just to prove your point and justify your design decisions, you continue to ignore the point we are making that we do not want a full-screen view of anything covering the work we are doing. The lack of the Taskbar on the Start Screen is also a deal-breaker.


    1.  Run dialog supports executing apps defined in the AppPaths registry key at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionApp Paths (read more about what App Paths is at…/10189298.aspx) which Start Screen Search does not support. You should add running apps defined in AppPaths from Start Search (Start Menu search box and Start Screen search).

    2.  The mouse charms menu is poorly designed. The mouse charms menu is activated by hovering over the bottom left corner (to follow Fitt's law you say) but this creates a problem for clicking the left button of the scroll bar on the Start Screen. Secondly, the mouse charms menu is shown on the left but clicking any charm shows the UI on the right, so the mouse has to travel from left to right unnecessarily. You have given us no reason why there two separate charms menus (one for touch and one for mouse). The same touch charm menu should be shown for the mouse by swiping from the right using the mouse.

    3.  Add options to Run dialog to elevate using checkbox and Ctrl+Shift+Enter. Task Manager's Run dialog already has that checkbox.

  108. AndyCadley says:

    @Jonathan Kay

    You can perform the swipe gestures with a stylus, so searching with only a pen is a similar experience to touch.

  109. Joe Hoffman says:

    I'm sorry, but I disagree with every part of this post.  There needs to be an 'all' option.

    Really?  Typing uninstall doesn't get you want because there's 20 searches?  Well how many users are searching for uninstall and not searching for the control panel by its name, Programs and features?  If I press start, type programs, and hit enter its done.

    Hiding things between more keyboard shortcuts that most people aren't going to ever know does not make things more efficient, it makes them more obtuse.

    And yes, you can arrow down to the search parameters you want, but that's a bunch of extra keystrokes, making it less efficient.

    Finally, the one thing that is ridiculous about all this telemetry data that Microsoft is collecting is that it's not a representative group.  Don't get me wrong, I'm sure you get tons of responses all over the world.  But EVERY unknowledgable computer user is leaving these options enabled, and most advanced users are turning them off.  It's no wonder why you get so many people who don't use the advanced features.

  110. xpclient says:

    And whatever happened to the special folders in the Start Menu's right column? How can we directly launch Devices and Printers, or Games Explorer? Searching for printers shows nothing, not even the printers themselves nor Devices and Printers.

  111. xpclient says:

    What happened to the browsable list of "Recent Items" (Recent documents)?

  112. xpclient says:

    Also, right clicking a file in the Start Screen after searching is opening it. What if I want to see its properties? Why are the contextual options missing? You have taken away entirely any context menu options we got by right clicking an item in the Start Menu.

  113. I've reached the conclusion that I use my PC in a very different way to Microsoft's user panel. I spend 80% of my time using 20% of my applications and files. As a result I organize my workspace and shortcuts to make accessing that 80% as fast as possible. I only use 'search' when I have lost something!

    My main complaint about Windows 7 search is in two areas, which I'm afraid cause me a great deal of dissatisfaction.

    a) Accessing any network file inevitably results in the 'Green Bar of Death' during which the PC seems to be rebuilding its search index of the network files (which I assume includes real or imagined ACLs changes). Leastways that is the only explanation I can reach for a very major irritant and time-waster.

    b) The current search engine seems to spend a lot of its time thrashing the hard drives. This i/o threshing causes knock-on problems for i/o intensive operations such as the use of virtual guests. Surely indexes should only be built or updated when a real change has been made to a file.

  114. LeoStorm85 says:

    Seriously, I'm continue saying that until the metro screen will not merged with desktop, this approach will be ugly. IMHO start screen for desktop and laptop should be something different in many ways on desktops and laptops:

    – add transparency; it is really ugly to switch between two completely different screens

    – add an easy way to switch between apps (like windows preview and something more)

    – who says that the computer should start with the start screen…start on the desktop and then use the start button…please do not use windows 8 as a first step to drop desktop in future versions. Desktop may be an old approach but it works.

  115. Brian Butterworth says:

    I know I'm part of the "I've been using WINDOWS since version 1.12 – if it ain't broke don't fix it" brigade, but there is one thing the "new search" really points out the failure of Metro.

    Sometimes, get this Microsoft, I do MORE THAN ONE SEARCH AT ONCE.

    Yes, being a WindowS user, I use the multiple-things in multiple-windowS interface you have provided over the years so I can do DIFFERENT TASKS ON THE SAME COMPUTER at the same time.

    If you do insist on releasing this product as it is the UK, I will take you to Trading Standards if you call it WindowS anything.

    It clearly isn't WindowS, perhaps "Window 8" would describe it, or "MS-DOS launcher".

  116. xpclient says:

    Another lost feature: You cannot search for folders any more? There is a folder called "Letters" in my Documents library. When I type "let" in the Start menu search, it shows me the "Letters" folder. But nothing on the Start Screen because apparently the Start Screen only shows files, not folders???

  117. Windows 8 Enthusiast says:

    Steven give me the beta soooooooon. period

  118. Quppa says:

    As usual, xpclient makes many valid points.


    > The one glaring problem is when searching for something that has no "program" matches, but *does* have "settings" matches. In this case I get a huge screen that says "0 results". I would prefer (and expect) the results screen to default to the search group actually produced results.

    Thank you; this is very annoying and I hope it will be revised in future builds. When I type 'windows up' in the WDP, I have to switch to the settings group in order to launch Windows Update. In Windows 7, the first control panel item is automatically selected if there are no results under 'programs' (as it happens, Windows Update is listed under 'programs' in Windows 7, but that is not relevant).

    The whole notion of taking over the entire screen is disagreeable to me, but I suppose that's a fundamental Windows 8 design issue and not limited to search. I'd rather see the improvements described here, like rich tooltips, be part of search in Windows Explorer.

  119. WindowsFan says:



    @The Entire Windows Team

    It may be best to step back and take a look at Windows 8 and ask yourself "How would we design our UI if it was never, ever, going to run on touch devices?"

    This is what needs to be done for Windows 8 on desktops. There are too many fundamental problems with a single UI for different devices, as the rection to this post from users demonstrates. The comments on posts about Metro are mostly complaints. This indicates that you are moving in the wrong direction. If Netflix could get rid of Qwikster, you can redesign Metro without having to throw away all your hard work. The results of my testing have proven this.…/09fdf8b7-031c-4f49-8638-1bad9350f88e


    This is the best comment I have seen so far. Please see my other comment on previous start screen article, how Apple ported best part of iOS to OSX where as Microsoft is trying to create one UI for both use cases. This is going to be another disaster from Microsoft if not as big as MS BoB but surely as big as Vista.

  120. WindowsFan says:



    @The Entire Windows Team

    It may be best to step back and take a look at Windows 8 and ask yourself "How would we design our UI if it was never, ever, going to run on touch devices?"

    This is what needs to be done for Windows 8 on desktops. There are too many fundamental problems with a single UI for different devices, as the rection to this post from users demonstrates. The comments on posts about Metro are mostly complaints. This indicates that you are moving in the wrong direction. If Netflix could get rid of Qwikster, you can redesign Metro without having to throw away all your hard work. The results of my testing have proven this.…/09fdf8b7-031c-4f49-8638-1bad9350f88e


    This is the best comment I have seen so far. Please see my other comment on previous start screen article, how Apple ported best part of iOS to OSX where as Microsoft is trying to create one UI for both use cases. This is going to be another disaster from Microsoft if not as big as MS BoB but surely as big as Vista.

  121. I like the fact that most of the productivity optimizations this new UI paradigm is bringing depend heavily on the Win-key+# combination. In the same time we are supposed to be previewing a tablet oriented interface. Do you see the contradiction here?

    So they are creating a tablet oriented user interface, but they are using it to replace the desktop interface. On the desktop it is really unusable and it cannot compete with the existing desktop but on the tablet I need a keyboard to use it efficiently.

    I love where this is going…(not).

  122. 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:


    – 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.

  123. @ Marc Wautier – MSFT

    "…When compared with Windows 7, disk writes have been reduced by 50% while indexing files and the index now uses 10-20% less hard disk space."

    Good work, but too bad. Hideous Metro will distract me 100% of the time to notice.

  124. @Brian Butterworth — I'm a bit unclear on what functionality has changed with regard to more than one search at a time.  Above we described the Start screen search experience which is the expansion of the experience in today's Start menu.  If you wish to do more than one search at a time you can use the Explorer windows in the desktop just as you do today.

  125. Windows 8 Enthusiast says:

    Any word on ARM windows 8 ?? Will my old win 7 softwares work on it??

  126. danwdoo says:

    It's hard to tell where everything is going in regards to Windows. If the desktop is expected to be depreciated and eventually go away, then the current design makes more sense. If it is not, then it seems like it would make much more sense to put the tiles on top of the current desktop rather than transition to another screen entirely. It's the constant back and forth between two 'worlds' that seems disjointed. Perhaps some guidance in this area would help alleviate some of the concerns.

  127. Yes app search seems pretty nice in Window 8. But not MetroUI! Implement the same search in Desktop/Start Menu search and it will be nice.

    Used MetroUI/Start Screen  for a week and I could not get used to it. It is a continuous pain in the ass. Now I switched back to W7  for all my daily work and just use w8 to look up what you post about.

    No way for me to use Windows 8 unless I can turn MetroUI off completely

  128. Kaushik says:

    I just had an epiphany. We should all open our Windows 7 computers and complain about Metro in the Start Menu search field. This will show up in the telemetry data and they will remove Metro.

  129. Joao M Correia says:

    "Given the ton of interest in the design of the new Start screen"

    To be precise, the ton of interest in DISABLING the new start screen. Your interpretation is just sugar coating reality.

    @Steven – you said "If you wish to do more than one search at a time you can use the Explorer windows in the desktop just as you do today." – That would be great. In fact, thats all that is being asked for. Continued use of the explorer interface without a single hint of Metro, whatsoever, ever. I'm still at a loss for any technical reason not to implement a simple toggle (similar to current classic interface option under advanced options).

  130. PQ says:

    Can anyone explain how in Win 8 I can watch a video (in either the desktop or a Metro app) and then open a new (not open) application without browsing away from the video (as the start screen would cover it)?

    I'm not talking about snapping already open apps (like in Video#1)… this seems like such a basic use case, but I can't see how to do it with the new start screen….

  131. Stephen Kellett says:

    >For professional scenarios, every keystroke matters.

    Indeed. So why give us search that by default is non-customizable. I want a search box that I can use immediately to specify file filters, multiple search folders, optionally specify content to match for and optionally specify a date range. And I want feedback, including the current location being searched (so I can guess rougly how far it is – the progress bar is useless for that).

    I had all of this with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. You replaced this in Vista and 7 with a really clunky search format that meant I had to type a search that would fail, then get the search window, then click custom, then fight your awful user interface having to mouse click this that the other.

    And now with Windows 8 you've made it just a variation on Windows Vista/7.

    And what am I searching for the vast majority of the time? Is it applications or is it data of one sort or another? Yes, you guessed it. Its data I am searching for.

    I rarely use search to look for programs because they are present on my very usable Windows XP start menu, or my less usable Windows 7 start menu.

    >As you install more and more apps, these tools become increasingly important.

    Only because you have disregarded the utility that is afforded by the start menu and replaced it with this useless start screen. I've got between 450-900 applications on my machine. THe ones I need regularly I can find on the start menu. The ones I need rarely I may search for. And when I do search for them I'll open the search box and tell it which folder to search in if I know. That is quick and easy on XP and clumsy on 7 because you messed up search. Likewise very clumsy on 8 because no easy to specify this.

    >we wanted to make sure the efficiency and dexterity of the Windows 7 Start menu search was carried forward

    What efficiency? Windows 7 is mcuh less efficient than Windows XP search box. I have to fail a search before I can customize it.  How can that be more efficient?

    > Had we continued using the Windows 7 Start menu search interface to search for a Control Panel item, >you would always see app or program results before Control Panel results

    Doh! But if you'd jsut let us have a useful start menu we'd be able to open the control panel easily and not need to search for it. Going to the start screen, clicking control panel, scrolling down, clicking more settings and finally getting the control panel can hardly be considered efficient.

    >In Windows 7, the total number of results that could be shown in the Start menu was limited

    Indeed, but in Windows XP, the search results are shown in their own window. You can show lots of results there.

    >Search charm.

    That is the thing on the popup menu from the start button that on displays on seemingly random occasions? I haven't found a method to reliably display that menu or reliably not-display it. It just seems to appear at random some of the time when my mouse hovers over it.

    > You don’t have to first click on the Search charm to begin searching – simply start typing in the Start screen and you’ll see your list of apps filter down to the one you are looking for.

    Completely undiscoverable. I wondered where search had gone. Only when I read your blog did I know I could do this. I've been writing software since 1984. I'm not a newbie or an idiot. But I couldn't find this functionality. How are less computer savvy folks like my parents, my girlfriend, the people at the vetinary surgeons going to discover this? They are not going to discover it. You haven't preserved the search

    functionality from Windows 7 – part of that functionality is knowing there is a place to go to, to search. It was on the Start menu, but you#ve removed that, so…

    You claim that at //build/ people easily discovered this. A room full of advanced computer users and hi-tech phone users. Hardly john and jane average computer user is it?

    >More relevant and contextual information for each file is also now displayed to make the search experience complete.

    Er, no. Why isn't the date shown, etc? I have all this information available (in one row) in Windows XP. You're wasting screen real estate On Windows 8.

    And of course, Windows 8 search is full screen, which again like all things in Metro is exactly what desktop users don't want. We want a search experience like that of Windows 7, or preferrably of Windows XP where you can set the search up without wasting time doing a search that will fail so you can get to the customize stage. We also want the search windows resizable and on the desktop, with current

    folder feedback so that we can see our other activities as the search progresses and so we can use the search results in context with the applications we are working on.

    Windows 8 search gives us none of that.

    This reply is not to disagree with you for the sake of disagreeing. The purpose is to point out that, yet again, Metro is a tablet UI (that probably works quite well for tablets) but which is totally inappropriate for those of us that work on the desktop.

    Its also interesting to see the use of telemetry data to justify these decisions, claiming the results are going to help power users. You had a good start menu in XP, broke it in Vista/7 and then use the telemetry data from VIsta/7 to say people don't use the start menu very much. Hardly surprising considering the Vista/7 start menu is so hard to use compared to the WIndows XP one. And again, the same

    thing happening with the search telemetry. I use Windows 7 on my email machine. I do very little searching on this machine – mainly because the search experience is so painful (setup a search to fail, then customize, watch the search with no search location indicator). I use XP x64 as my development machine. I use search a lot. I can start a search, fully customize it before search starts. I get to see where it is currently searching. And I get to view the results in a fully resizable, moveable (to another monitor, perhaps?) windows. Really useful,  real utility in that. I can't see any utility (for me) in what you've done for Windows 8. I can see if I had to use that for any length of  time Id be writing my own search utility to give me back what you've taken away.

    Please, will you stop breaking what you spent so long acheiving? Windows 7 is good. A few things (start menu, search) could be better but you are going in completely the wrong direction for your desktop users.

  132. No.. says:

    I still don't see how this is better than Windows 7. I still don't want an ugly, green, full screen thing every time I want to do the simplest of tasks.

  133. Xero says:

    In Windows 7, I use this command "iexplore" to open IE with the desired website (in this case While in Windows 8, when I do the same, it opens up the metro browser. Is there a way to set IE-desktop to launch at that point?

    Also in advanced query syntax, besides those three basic logical operators, please implement the time-saving XOR operator 😎


  134. Xero says:

    In Windows 7, I use this command "iexplore" to open IE with the desired website (in this case While in Windows 8, when I do the same, it opens up the metro browser. Is there a way to set IE-desktop to launch at that point?

    Also in advanced query syntax, besides those three basic logical operators, please implement the time-saving XOR operator 😎


  135. Andy G says:

    I think the desktop to metro transition would work a lot better if rather than the current side-swipe the whole metro interface appeared in the foreground of the desktop window in an "aero" style, with the background desktop de-emphasised by dropping the brightness so metro is any overlay over the desktop. The best example of this I can think of is when you you get the UAC prompt in Vista / 7.

  136. StartScreenHater says:

    Why the f%%k are you shoving Metro down our throat? You would be fired like the person IIRC Brian who released Vista. We will show you with our wallet. Never underestimate the power of geek community (no matter how small) as we influence the world and the word of mouth.

  137. My fear is – seeing these screenshots – that the overall green color (which will be customizable, I know) may cause pretty painful effects on your eyes if you have to look at that color all day long.  Why not use an even lighter shade (mostly being white with green accents) for the right search bar and anything that appears over there?  Just a thought.

  138. Xero says:

    @Andy G. In my perception, Metro is a paradigm shift towards new kind of apps compared to the one we are accustomed to. Metro encapsulates some features of desktop, like search where you can find files/folders from desktop world as well as the metro world but reverse is not possible. That is; the metro apps doesn't appear in program files folder or under uninstall programs and you cannot search for metro app from Windows Explorer search. So I guess you got a nice suggestion about the overlay to make it look like a part of the desktop world, but it's highly unlikely.

  139. Lewis Robinson says:

    Wish I could see a post named, "Improvements in Windows Media Player".

    ID3v2.4 tag; APE, FLAC, ALAC, OGG; DIVX, MKV, FLV, XVID formats — where available, where allowed — support.

    Please, Steven Sinofsky

  140. @SabbeRubbish says:

    As you know it will be fixed. So chillout!

  141. Stephen Kellett says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    "@Brian Butterworth — I'm a bit unclear on what functionality has changed with regard to more than one search at a time.  Above we described the Start screen search experience which is the expansion of the experience in today's Start menu.  If you wish to do more than one search at a time you can use the Explorer windows in the desktop just as you do today."

    Wrong. Just as we do today is not search using Explorer windows. I'd never have thought of doing that until I read your reply to Brian. I've just tried it on Windows 8. Yes I can have multiple different searches that way.

    But if I do that, for each search I have to do the following sub-optimal actions (none of which are as good as Windows 7 or Windows XP search):

    1) Launch an explorer. In windows 8 I need to remember to right click to launch 2nd and 3rd ones otherwise I'll just bring the current one to the front. Un-necessary mental complications there. It should be same for every window.

    2) Change the address bar to the root of where I want to search.

    3) Specify the file filter then press return

    Problems with this:

    No ability to specify multiple search locations.

    No ability to specify content filters (words inside files, etc)

    If you change the folder root after specifying the file filter the file filter is lost

    No search progress

    No ability to customize search

    None-obvious – despite using Windows for the last 15 years I hadn't thought of this

    Nothing like WIndows 7 search, nothing like Windows XP search. nothing like WIndows 8 search.


    Why can't you leave alone what is already working and give us something useful?

    Don't you understand the anger and frustration coming from folks like me is because we want Windows 8 to be a success and we are really seriously concerned and worried that you are about to do something even less successful than Vista?

  142. Matt Ayres says:

    Go and make Windows 8 search like this:

    So when you search for something, anything, it finds it no matter where it is. That is surely the simplist basis of a search routine.

  143. Stephen Kellett says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    I've been playing with Windows 8 Explorer search a bit more. Took me a while to realise I can customize the search experience. And what a backwards step that is compared to say the Windows XP cusomtization experience. Let me explain why.

    In Windows 8 you've done this with a drop down ribbon control. As soon as I modify one setting the whole ribbon goes away, so I have to redisplay it then modify another setting. And so on. So tedious. Such a waste of time. Leave the darned ribbon displayed will you! I know when I've finished changing the settings, not you.

    Whereas in Windows XP, start menu, search. Enter my file filter, enter optional multiple folders to search, modify the date range, enter a file content filter and go. None of it goes away or is reset if I change anything. Its all there, right from the start. I can see the results in my search window. Quick, easy, efficient.

    I also notice that the other attributes you normally control from the menu in Windows 7 (such as view settings etc) are controlled via similar ribbon controls. For all of these ribbons you use huge amounts of screen real estate. Nothing is easy to find. Nothing is easy to modify (because everything goes away as soon as I modify anything). Its a dreadful user experience compared to anything that came before it.

    Why are you dumbing your OS down? It needs to be usable for experts, not idiots.

  144. Joao M Correia says:

    Windows 8 feels like its designed for idiots. Makes sense then, if only idiots will use it.

    [Yes, its an obnoxious rant. More or less on par with the responses from microsoft]

  145. Katie Price says:

    I want to know the price.


    Maximum 50 dollars for "Windows 8 Home Premium" upgrade from Windows 7 is OK for me.

    Otherwise, Windows 8 will never exist for me.

    No tablet either.

  146. @@Steven Sinofsky

    So far you are posting about the features in windows developer preview 8102  but when Microsoft will add new features in windows 8 developer. As there are maximum number of users of win8beta and other are giving suggestions for interesting  features to include it in windows.

    also there is no like or dislike options for posts so we can check which post are good to read and which not

    also no any ms official member  is giving reply for suggestions given by users or developers

  147. Windows user says:

    Sadly as windows user, i realise that MS isn't slightly interested in helping and making life easier to users. They just follow their guidelines to achieve

    what purposes they want. I am not saying only about Metro. But also things like Flac, mkv, divx, which require codecs installations… MS want to stick with their own thing. But its not easying life for users… Even if people are all using flac and divx they dont natively support it. Flash on Tablets also. Android users are complaing that they have reduced battery life. With Metro on Desktop is only going to get worst. The full screen search apps all the time is really obtrusive and schizrophenic in switching contexts just to open an common/often used app or a simple file. The Desktop is not an app. It's an context like Metro. Desktop as an app is just an immense absurdity. I dont realise not how one can invent this idea, everyone has bad ideas from time to time, but how people surrounding them thing this makes sense. Make a poll and you would get like 3% of people agreeing with you that Desktop is an app.

    Microsoft just dont realise it or get it. They are much of time, not always of course, but from behind. They just cant figure it what the market will follow. They just react. IPhone -> Windows Phone (great product, but far back on time, against Android WP is too small because of time and also availabitily, but mostly because of time.   IPAD-> Metro Windows 8 tablet. Far behind in time. The thing is MS is also trying to apply Metro context on Windows Desktop which doesn't make sense. At least as it is now.

    I think glorious the idea that you can switch from context to context whenever you want, like having a laptop (touch-screen) device that can transform, if you are using touch of mouse-keyboard. But not by reducing previous funcionality that worked fine on Desktop and having to switch context just on simple searches.

    In future it would make MS back even further. MS will realise this model wont work, and have to adapt it. I fimrly believe that Windows 8 will not be  widely accepted because of this schizrophenic context. At Windows 9 time, MS will understand and make context more separate, or at least being able to live in one and only having to switch when the user wants.

    I dont know the motifs of why MS wants thing to work this way. I might suspect that to make people buy more 30% apps store revenue. Maybe is just pure stubberness of Windows design team, i dont know. Whatever, this telemettry doesn't cover the all thing. Just what you want it to see. You get just some data and use as you will. Clearly whatever motif, MS isn't aiming to users needs/easing. The level of satisfing of the product is only going one way, down. People will have to workaround to make things work as they want. Windows 8 as great new things on the Desktop and on Tablet side, but not how they merge on switching all the time. Again Desktop is NOT an app.

    Desktop idea absurdity as an app can only be understood as an way of trying to explain how things work now. But ironically on the other side also just reveals itself the all absurdity of this current model.

    In the end this would 'work'. Windows 8 will be possible to use it. But not on the most elegant and efficiently way.  

    My question is, as intelligent and a wise person Steven seems to me. Does he agree with this model and is one of the main backup support or he just can change it, and is waiting for an official bad response from users to an i told you so, to the responsible person being Ballmer or whatever?

  148. All you people who say you do not like the new Start Screen/Menu/Search “in your face Metro UI”, you are wrong. The telemetry data says you WILL like it in the future.

    Also the telemetry data has proven beyond any doubt that the Tooth Fairy exists as well as the Easter Bunny.

    If you continue refusing to accept all these “improvements” in the desktop space, you will have to go through even more telemetry data. The choice is yours…

    Say hello to the new era were statistics are driving the UI development 99.9% of the time. At least one company believes that this is the right way of doing things.  And if you disagree with that, then you are wrong, because they have the telemetry data to prove telemetry can design better UIs than common sense.

  149. @Mil_

    The problem is, these are developers who are doing all of the UI work. they aren't designers or artists, they are developers, who have no reason at all to be in the UI. they need to hire a group of Industrial Designers (like i will be) and hammer this *** out.

  150. I don't understand why you have to press the down arrow twice to switch to the settings search.

  151. Reading these blog posts from Microsoft is growing frustrating, I want to continue to be a MS fanboy and I want Win8 to be a great OS.But there are a lot of valid, insightful criticisms being made on these posts that seem ignored. When MS decides to address an issue it's generally tangential. Why keep avoiding the big criticisms?

    The way it looks to me is that all the major complaints about desktop usability and efficiency all flow out of the same single bad design decision – to separate the desktop from the Metro.  I disagree with the naysayers who feel that having one OS for desktop and tablet is undoable. It's possible but you just haven't achieved it yet. Find a way to make going into desktop mode a way of suping up the metro interface in a manner that allows all traditional Windows functionality (the taskbar, start menu and effing WINDOWS) to be employed in addition to the start screen and you can have it all. This jumping from desktop to a disruptive full-screen metro thing is just plain wrong. Bad UI, ugly, and disruptive, inefficient and not friendly to users who dislike navigating their os by keyboard commands.

  152. @BumbleBritches57: Very kind of you to give this excuse to their design and I wish it was true, so in that case they will just fix it by calling in the “designers”. And I may have agreed with your statement if I wasn’t a developer myself who has worked on a number UI designs. But believe me the one thing I always keep in mind is “respect the user’s desktop space”.

    I am not saying that a UI designer would not do a better job, I am just saying that even a good developer would not, ever, propose a full screen switching to a desktop app for a simple feature like the Search Screen and I am sure Microsoft has a lot of good designers too.

    The people in control here are those in the marketing department. Only those people can come up with these crazy designs and then ask the poor people in the development and design teams to try to implement them.

    The end result is a “fantastic” job like the one we are witnessing in Windows 8 Metro UI for the desktop.

    It is so incomprehensible that I bet you it will feature in all future literature of Universities about software development and UI design on how NOT to do things.

    Now the real question is, since Mr Steven seems to be a clever guy what is he doing drumming up the Metro madness on the desktop? Is he just waiting for some other bosses to fail miserably and then he can get more control and sort things out? Only time will tell, but for sure I am enjoying a lot the latest Windows soap opera.

  153. juan says:

    Windows 8… re-invent the wheel again… Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot again… Stupid consumers buying this load of horse #hit again…

  154. Bharat says:

    This OS is going to rewrite everything.. eagerly waiting..

  155. Money talks! says:


    i found it! The reason about Windows 8 non-sense… MS has the idea of making 1 bad OS, then 1 good OS. That way they sell 2x more OS, double money.

    If they make windows Vista like Windows 7 then 7 wont be needed and people wont need to buy or upgrade again in the near time.

    Now that makes sense. People will buy 8 and then buy 9 as soon as its released. Of course there are people who will not buy 8, but there lot's of them who will buy… Great idea…

  156. Money talks! says:


    i found it! The reason about Windows 8 non-sense… MS has the idea of making 1 bad OS, then 1 good OS. That way they sell 2x more OS, double money.

    If they make windows Vista like Windows 7 then 7 wont be needed and people wont need to buy or upgrade again in the near time.

    Now that makes sense. People will buy 8 and then buy 9 as soon as its released. Of course there are people who will not buy 8, but there lot's of them who will buy… Great idea…

  157. It's called a Tick-Tock cycle bro. a simple release for bug fixes, and a major version for big feautees, overhauls.

    a little paranoid are we?

  158. Anonymous says:


    If you want to turn down the noise and the crazy level on this blog, you might want to disable anonymous comments.  Just require LiveID to post anything.   Yes it might cut out some people that want to have a real useful voice, but they don't want to create a LiveID.  Hell, you could even implement the new OpenID and allow for various authentication sources!  🙂  It would make it a lot easier to find helpful comments, be they good/bad in respect to views of the product.

  159. I haven't even read the article yet and I'm already mad.  How about it if the Windows 8 team throws their statistics in the garbage and just sits down and improves upon an already really nice system.  I'm really sick of reading how statistics are justifying this or that human decision.

    Windows 7 has a great start screen.  Yes it can be improved on without destroying it. No it doesn't need to become giant green squares.

  160. Don't know if it was mentioned already but it would be cool if the search could be extended by such useful things as quick calculation results (like in Mac Spotlight) and things like search queries that voice recognition tools like Siri can answer.

  161. I agree, Open ID should be supported….

    it won't tho, because Microsoft is a whiny *** who forces everyone into locking in their own ***.

    can't wait for PS4. i won't be getting an Xbox again. that's for sure 🙂

  162. About all these start menu/screen and search improvements I am still missing a good history function. Yesterday I had to save a file two times to a folder deep in the filesystem. I need this folder three times a month. Now I have to save something a third time to this folder, but its not in the last used folders in the file save dialog :(( grrrr #!§$

  163. I always use search but I hate Indexing service :S. Too slow and heavy ¬_¬

  164. The Search in Windows 7 was amazingly fast. I never clicked All Programs and opened any program manually. Just pressing Win key and typing program name and pressing enter was cool. And I am excited that this feature is getting even better in Windows 8.

    I think the metro UI is brilliant. And The Start Screen should include Computer, User Documents, Control Panel, Recycle Bin icons or tiles and the desktop interface should be removed. Metro is amazing and who would want to return to the desktop mode….

  165. Chuck_h says:

    One thing I would love to see is that ability to have "plug-ins" to other applications for Search such as Outlook, and SharePoiint.  That way, you can unify searches.  I like how it it is broken down in the screen shots where you have basically one icon for apps, one for files, and one for control panel.  I can envision having an icon for Outlook and SharePoint on that list.

  166. Jonathan says:

    Is there any chance that you could implement "natural language" support in search? AQS seems really useful and certainly adds a great deal of functionality, but it would be useful for a lot more people if we could use the examples from the left column rather than the ones on the right. Especially with apps like Siri capturing people's attention, adding the ability to search as we speak would be a huge addition of value for the Windows environment.

    I'm enjoying the articles and really looking forward to Windows 8. I appreciate the bold new direction that Metro represents, and I'm glad you're sticking to your guns on its implementation. Major changes are always resisted, but I think that time will show that this was a worthwhile change.

  167. RickyF says:

    Designs by committee creates bad designs

    Either embrace geeks and other high-end users or make it simple. Instead Microsoft is does neither here. Window 7 and Vista search is simple. This is not, nor is it feature-rich enough to allow for pinpoint searching.

  168. I find it funny that people are so up in arms over software that is not even beta. These posts were meant to give users an insight into their design process and thinking behind the new version of windows.  Once beta hits with tons more features and improvements (that they are already working on and probably finished with a great deal) people can then judge the product since it will be mostly feature complete at that time.

  169. Joao M Correia says:

    @Steve981: So, what point will there be exactly in complaining after it hits beta, when its feature complete and nothing will be changed? Of course we want microsoft to give the CHOICE of disabling (or somehow avoiding) metro completely on the desktop, and now is the time to let it be known.

  170. – Please add 'Date Modified' to all results for Files search (before hover). You can put it beside the file size. Date applies to all files, and is more important than size very often.

    – WinKey + W is harder to type than just WinKey. I'm still holding out for an aggregated 'All' view with grouping like the Windows 7 Start Menu. I'll take the supposed performance hit.

    Note that the two keystrokes of WinKey and W take more cognitive effort than the two keystrokes of tapping the Down arrow twice

    -Tab to switch panes before tapping down is confusing. Results of any type shouldn't be in the right pane

    – How do I achieve this Start Menu process in the new Start Screen? Start -> User -> FolderUnderUser -> FileUnderThatFolder.file -> Click and open my file without having to navigate through Explorer? This is not possible in the Start Screen.

    – Launchy and the like are beloved for a reason. I always thought you guys would make something to emulate that. Center of screen, no loss of focus, quick keyboard launching. Please do that.

  171. Still Jarring... says:

    I like the posibilities this new search offers but the implementation is still poor…some things that could be improved:

    1. Transitions betwen search and desktop … you could smooth over the effects, add some transparency or something…

    2.  Screen real state vs Informational context … I agree thah more screen space means more information to display; but there is no gain in hidding the task bar … even less if its replaced with an uninformative green space (or whatever color you choose)

    3. Graphical Layout – even if the Saint Patrick theme it's temporal the tiles, files names and prperties, are missing something… doesn feel right.

    4. Keyboard+ mouse navigation – Search as it is right now seems optimaced for touch (as important thing wolud beon the sides where most likely your thumbs would be) but i dont think that having to scrolls the mouse from one corner to the other and back its an efficent and mouse friendly search…

    5. Advanced Query Syntax – Really????? are you asking your users to learn the equivalent of a programing syntax instead of puting user friendly filters, chechkboxes, dropdown menus ans sliders….

    6. File search – Again with so much screen reals state you couldt find a space to add filters,sliders and so on… if the Files Search is going to be so poor …maybe would be better take it out of start seacrh and make the Windos+F take you directly to Windows Explorer Search

    7. Improved funcionality – As many had said why not add some extra functions like:

     -basic math operations type "Win 9+5" get 9+15 is 14

     -measure convertions type "Win 3 meters to yards" get "3 meters equals 3,2808399 yards"

    , -or even web search "W:goo" and go "; with your default browser

    Just some ideas

  172. Alvaro says:

    @Steve981 I agree that just complaining about a hafl baked product it's silly but another thing is given toughfull feedback, even before hits beta … the sooner you start aporting the more chances you would be listened (i think).

  173. Mark Lewis says:

    Searching by acronym would be a good way to save keystrokes.  For example, if I have Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 installed, I'd like to be able to type "vs" (for <b>V</b>isual <b>S</b>tudio).  Similarly, a search for "mw" could return <b>M</b>icrosoft <b>W</b>ord and <b>M</b>ySQL <b>W</b>orkbench as results.

    Code completion in some IDEs works on this principle, and I find it to be a huge time saver.

  174. @mil "All you people who say you do not like the new Start Screen/Menu/Search 'in your face Metro UI', you are wrong. The telemetry data says you WILL like it in the future."

    Very well put!  As I said in the "Microsoft rolls out the Chewbacca defense" discussion, the contrast between how Apple and Microsoft sells their products is stunning.  You don't see Apple using telemetric data or complicated math formulas to justify their UI.  Instead, Apple just shows off their UI and it sells itself.…/0219857e-d032-433d-a00a-1230af17fa78

  175. skSdnW says:

    Where is my good old Win+F?:

    How do you return to the search results? …or do you expect me to redo the search if I picked the wrong file from the results?

    What if I want to have two (unrelated) search results? (Pressing Win+F twice in Win95…7)

    What if I need to look at a document/website while performing the search?

    What about the normal context menu for the results? (IContextmenu used by shell extensions)

    When I search for files, I might need to sort by size/date etc.

    I don't work with apps, I work with files! Sometimes I want to open a file in the default image viewer, sometimes in Photoshop, why are you making this so hard?

    FILE search was perfect in Win2000…

  176. @Steven: Part of the problem you're having here is Microsoft's apparent refusal to acknowledge or address our feedback.  You seem to have lost sight that the point of this blog was to enter into a *discussion* with us.  Can you imagine our frustration where you refuse to acknowledge or address what we're saying?

  177. @NotExactly

    I don't believe Microsoft has addressed the issue of the two use cases about how desktops and tablets are used.  For more:…/0219857e-d032-433d-a00a-1230af17fa78

  178. Poll says:

    If someone wants to try and prove the interest level in needing the features of the old shell, how about creating a poll with various questions along those lines.  Let the people respond and vote if they care about needing these choices.  Let the actual numbers speak for how important it really is to the community as a whole.  If the data proves it to be at least close to 50/50 or even 60/40 in either direction, that should be enough to make it an optional choice.  If 5 people out of 1,000 actually care, then that will speak for itself too.  To put it another way, all of the people shouting about it are probably getting overlooked as a minority.  Besides, why not respond back to the telemetry data, with actual user preference opinion data?

  179. kejserdreng says:

    I dont like it. It is not frontcenter on the desktop, and search is something you want right in front of you with all  your documents and notes and sometimes you are sitting in a webcall with another person.

    i think that only search on the startscreen is a bummer. Not that many customers will be happy about, if they are working on the desktop only.

    Microsoft need to have search both on the desktop and on the startscreen.

    Hope microsoft will change it

  180. @Stephen Kellett I am not sure your description of search matches older Windows or Windows 8.  it feels like you have an optimal v degenerative example but the step by steps don't quit match either UI.  just want to be sure we understand the examples where we are taking more keystrokes to see the general case.

  181. xpclient says:

    Why isn't there any context menu supported on files in the Start Screen either? What if after searching to a file, I want it to open with another program, or ZIP it? You recommend only Explorer search for that?

    Coming to Explorer search (sorry for going off-topic as Explorer search is not the focus of this post), but Explorer search by default searches only the current location. Searching is no longer as useful or as effective as earlier versions of Windows (2000 and XP). Indexed search is fast and the indexer may now be consuming low resources but real-time non-indexed location search is shockingly slow and the GUI even with the ribbon is not right. In the Developer Preview with the "search tools" ribbon, I could not find an easy way to specify multiple search locations separated by a semicolon or pipe like Windows XP search. Search terms and search locations are two criteria that you need to make far more easier for multiple values. I almost always want to search in multiple locations not indexed by Windows Search and enter multiple search terms. 'name:filename1 OR name:filename2 AND folderpath:C: OR folderpath:D:' is far from intuitive. Plus, you need to give an option to start search after we define all the parameters, not start searching the moment the user specifies one filter.

    The Windows Search platform itself is efficient, allows searching with iFilters, and the Advanced Query Syntax (AQS) is very powerful but requires too much remembering. It's the remembering aspect that MS hasn't quite got right and the UI is too minimal or badly done that it's the reason why users aren't able to find their files.

    I believe the Ribbon GUI containing the following fields should be very easy to do:

    1.  Search terms with ability to specify multiple search terms separated by semicolon or pipe

    2.  Containing text field (for searching inside files using iFilters). I know Windows Search already searches both file names as well as contents but this is unnecessary when the user only wants to search for file names.

    3.  Path field with autocomplete is very important, as well as environment variable and separator support, an option whether or not to search subfolders (currently, searching C: AND D: in a single query is very hard with Windows Search)

    4.  File extension(s), file type and/or file kind fields

    5.  Size field to specify size in KB, MB or GB

    6.  Date modified and Date created fields

    7.  Options like search inside compressed files, system and hidden folders

    8.  Start search button that begins searching after we have defined the above 7 criteria i.e. search begins only after fully customizing it and Start is clicked

    9.  Very important and missing option in the Ribbon GUI to search without using the index temporarily.

    The Ribbon is better than Windows 7's extremely minimalist approach but you can still improve the GUI much more to make like Windows XP search (for example, folderpath: doesn't accept environment variables? whereas XP search does). Currently the Ribbon search tools GUI does have some of these but it does not have a separate field to enter each value, it just builds the search in the Ctrl-E filter box.

  182. Tom says:

    Off-topic: Are you thinking about changes in file system? We need a native solution that implements "zero page reclaim" in NTFS… This is very important to PAAS where the providers are using storage with thin provisioning.

  183. Nitz Walsh says:

    I too hope to hear about any NTFS improvements that might be coming our way.  The 64 volume shadow copy limit per volume is a real killer when using previous versions, if this was significantly increased previous versions would be a heck of a lot more powerful and only limited by the HD space.  

    Hopefully upcoming blogs will start to deviate a bit – the Metro fire is going to keep burning, and these "explanations" only seem to stoke it.

  184. There are some guys on blogs saying to MS, that hire them to develop and improve windows.  but they are not posting any new ideas or logic's for Win OS. So i also doesn't want to loose my chance to say MS to hire me (Give a good job)

    to MS. I will definitely do my best to improve MS and Win OS. I am a student of Computer Science and i already posted my great ideas in blogs to make Win OS better. Like i said  about to include facility like Macs airdrop  to easily share file through Bluetooth or WiFi network. MS may name the feature Push to Share for Windows.  So user can easily share files between windows PCs  and windows phones and all other supported devices. And i will continue giving more suggestions to make Windows better

  185. Arnon says:

    Having a good app search experience is critical. Note that in my case I use search many time when I don't quite remember exactly what the file name is, and sometimes the existing Windows 7 search in the start menu is sub-optimal (although not bad). If there was a vendor provided or user provided free text description attached to an app then app search could become even more productive than it is already.

    Note that for best results this facility should work even if the Windows Search service is off.

    Windows Search is off on several of my machines due to the fact that it can kill your performance. It seems that the windows kernel does not know how to prioritize processes based on IO utilization and IO wait time (disk IO). I can make CPU hogs take lower priority, but often what kills performance is IO wait time or throughput on a specific disk (especially if it's the system disk). Windows Search can slow a machine down to a crawl by hogging disk IO (often on wait time rather than throughput) – therefore – it gets killed or disabled.

    This should not make the app search not function or make it slow. Anything involved in app search it a tiny amount of data and should not depend on the Windows Search service (or dis-service)

  186. jader3rd says:

    @sokheang Learn to use alt+tab, it's great.

    @R.Johnston Using the keyboard results in faster use of the computer. If only Windows did a better job of informing users what the keyboard shortcuts were (especially Media Center).

    @Robbo Ever hear of the squeaky wheel getting the oil? They use the telementary data because it does a better job of reflecting what everyone is doing, versus extra whiny people who yell really loudly.

    @Xpclient Recent Items went away in Win 7 and were replaced by jump lists. But you can always create your own. Create a search for recent items and save it as a favorite.

    @Stephen Kellett I for one don't want search like what existed in XP. It never worked for me. It was so bad Google Desktop became the premium application that everyone installed for a few years. I don't know of anyone who's installed Google Desktop on Vista/7, because it's not needed.

    In "Reflecting on your comments on the Start screen" there are the heat maps showing mouse movements. If the user moves the mouse to the bottom left of the screen to click on the windows button, with the current layout don't they then have to move the mouse to the top right to change if they're searching for files or settings?

    Oh, and thank you for focusing on Searching without needing the mouse. Search in the start menu has been the single most useful change to the Windows OS. Now if only more of Windows would help users be more efficient with their keyboards.

  187. mvadu says:

    Hi Steve, AQS can be a very handy tool for an advanced user, but too many options to remember for a generic user. You can probably double check how many users actually used more than couple of tags out of hundreds available AQS tags.  Do you have any plans to provide an UI to construct advanced search queries? similar to advanced search in forums.

    That should allow the user to select a type of file, and allow them to select appropriate advanced searchable parameters. E.g. once you select Image as file type, you should get options to add search criteria like "f-number:", flash etc.. If the value can be one of pre-defined set of values (like flash) even the value box should be a drop-down. user should be able to define a logical operator and add several such criteria. The options should be appropriate for the file type, so a music may give options to filter on composer, band, genre etc.

  188. @Poll — I think the folks that believe we do not correctly apply telemetry data would have to concede that using a poll to make decisions for us would be the equivalent of a "marketing based focus group design by committee approach".  That's the furthest from our approach we could get.

    As we've previously talked about (and also in the Windows 7 blog) telemetry is not a tool we use to come up with answers for the product or justifications.  It is one of many tools that inform our own choices in the design process.  We share the telemetry on the blog to provide a shared context for the choices we make that we think is a unique contribution to the dialog–you don't see this elsewhere and certainly not for a product as widely used and diverse as Windows (though I promise every product you use and site you visit has telemetry they apply).  

    Telemetry is not a substitute for thinking any more than a poll would be.  The primary difference between the telemetry and a poll or survey is that the telemetry is millions upon millions of data points approaching a full census without any inherent bias. You would likely see many questions about the methodology if we did a survey.  A survey would be subject to a significant debate about the very questions being asked, wording, the descriptions, and of course would be limited to the readers of the blog or an internet site (and subject to all sorts of limitations of internet surveys).

    We use telemetry to settle arguments over how a feature is used.  We find it is better to look at the telemetry (sliced by product edition, hardware used, country, or other aggregate and anonymous points) and talk about how something is actually used as a fact, rather than an assertion.  This allows us to form views of how to do new designs that take into account actual usage.  At the same time we're of course fully aware that limitations in the current product might drive usage patterns in certain ways.  Yet one must also recognize the age old challenges of forward design usually referred to as "Henry Ford said people would ask for a faster horse".  We see all of these dynamics in play in this dialog.  

  189. @Steven:  Let me point you to a post someone else made in the Win8 forums:

    "Is Microsoft Really Getting A Representative Sample from All of this Telemetry Data?

    "It seems clear from the Building Windows 8 entries that a great deal of the design of Windows 8 is coming from telemetry data collected from Windows 7 users.  However, it seems to me that there is no way this would be a good representative sample.

    "If you're trying to see if someone is using an advanced feature, and get a response that nobody is, is that really accurate?  I mean, every basic computer user is going to leave the data collection enabled since they don't even know it's there, or how to turn it off.  Of course these people aren't using an advanced feature.  Advanced users, on the other hand, are much more likely to turn off these data collection options, which means that the process itself is filtering out the very users who would be helpful to have the opinion of."…/94811a50-0687-4985-a3ac-579f6842c4a7

  190. xpclient says:

    @jader3rd, no Recent Items did not go away in Windows 7. It can be easily added to the Start Menu and it gives a combined view of all recently opened documents including documents for apps you do not have running or pinned in the Taskbar or Start Menu whereas jump lists only give you recent documents on a per-app basis. Anyways, my point was that the special folder locations in the Start Menu right column (Libraries, user folder, Network Connections, etc.) are there for 1-click access, plus they still can expand like menus. They seem to have gone away too in the Start Screen.

  191. @Stephen Kellett

    "I had all of this with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. You replaced this in Vista and 7 with a really clunky search format that meant I had to type a search that would fail, then get the search window, then click custom, then fight your awful user interface having to mouse click this that the other."

    And here I thought I was the only one who hated how Search changed since XP. I hardly use it now on 7. It's just too onerous to do those kind of searches anymore. I get that MS wants to move away from checkboxes and rollouts and all those cludgy looking paramerters and move to a cleaner looking UI. But if the functionality you seek is buried so deep that you have to jump through hoops in the "clean" UI to get them, what's the point? This is why I never fell in love with the Mac OS.

    I'm keeping an open mind on Metro. This is a course correction MS has to make at some point otherwise they'll get knocked out by Android and iOS. We're in the middle of an evolution in how computing functions for the vast majority of the popultation and MS is trying to put out something that to me appears to be an operating system that's attempting to bridge the divide between what was and what will be. I agree that there are concerns about the whole "one size fits all" aspect and how tablet computing and PC computing don't always match up. But I'm willing to wait and see what MS comes up with before damning it…and this version isn't designed for that kind of analysis.

    In any case, if Windows 8 turns out to be the half baked idea that a lot of the detractors here claim it is based on a Developer Preview, then I'll just stick with 7, skip 8, and wait for 9. Just as I did with XP when Vista came out.

  192. Stefan says:

    With an easy tweak in Windows 2000 and XP You can search for all filetypes.

  193. Jon says:

    This is a really bad UX. I'm sure this has to have been mentioned before, but oh my god, why on earth are you switching off the entire screen!? What if I have a webpage open that says: "open your _______ application", and I hit Win to find it… now because of this obnoxious window covering my browser window, I just forgot what I was looking for. Or maybe I want to open a couple of things. I'm going to get nauseous switching back and forth between windows. Why does this UX have to be so involved? What is wrong with simply displaying a small popover like the Start Menu does in Win7?

  194. @Steven: All we asked for is to go for horse riding and you are preparing for us a Hummer.

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful I am just referring to the full screen operation of all the Metro technology you have demoed so far. It may be fine for the tablets, but it is not acceptable for the desktop.

    The telemetry data cannot really be used to settle this argument because all it shows is that you can display more information when you use the whole screen.

    My personal “problem” with the new design is quite obvious, full screen start menu/search is not something my 30” monitor is meant for. Even on my 18” laptop is quite annoying, maybe on my 11” HP DM1 would fine and on my Iconia W500 would be great.

    What this paradigm would be perfect for is the Dell Inspiron Duo Tablet changing from desktop to Metro UI when I flip the monitor to tablet mode. On any desktop type arrangement this full screen mode is counterproductive and unacceptable.  

    It is not an argument of wanting change or not, I do want a new Windows version every year if possible, I love all versions so far (even Vista had a lot of great features and I did prefer it than Windows XP) but if the “new” thing is going to make me less productive is not something I will invest money on.

    There is one thing to be progressive, and another to be just different for the sake of it.

  195. Stefan says:

    Finally i got my Windows 7 act as a Windows, and with the classic startmenu. As someone else stated i havem as an advanced user, turned off all of this datacollecting in Windows 7. Why do You have to do with what i do on my computer ? Why do You not inform about this in a very clear way at the first start of Windows that You collect data ? Why can't i be asked to have all collecting turned on or off ? It seem not to be only CEIP but also a lot off stuff is running in the taskscheduler. I feel like someone spy on me what i am doing. I might be a bit paranoid but i even clean up all log-files now and then. You don't have to do anything on my computer at all, if You don't ask for my permission first !

  196. Rico says:

    A search.EXE would be nice. If I get a virus, it would be cool to SEARCH all new .exe files added to the system by date. Erasing new bad processes would be allot easier.

  197. Stefan says:

    I want to say one thing again, said by many here: LISTEN TO YOUR USERS !

  198. But for some reason I did not like the green background with semi-green foreground. I would prefer black background with bright green foreground.

  199. D says:

    Isn't that a IBM R51? @Steven Sinofsky

  200. Stefan says:

    Katie Price wrote:"Maximum 50 dollars for "Windows 8 Home Premium" upgrade from Windows 7 is OK for me.".

    To me Microsoft have to pay to get me to use Windows 8….Windows 8 is not an operatingsystem, it is an annoyance !

    By the way, in USA will Windows 8 be far cheaper than in the rest of the modern world. Another reason why it will be cracked before it is released.

  201. @I-DotNET – Just asserting this doesn't make it the case.  This is something we hear from folks who disagree with whether or not the data reflects their individual usage in a proportion they believe represents their view of how common a pattern is.  All we can do is continue to share the data.  There isn't a better source of data in aggregate.  We're not claiming that the data represents any single person or any narrowly defined "group" (defined however you would like to define a group of hundreds or thousands), but that it does reliably and effectively represent the aggregate usage of hundreds of millions.  

  202. johnd126 says:

    This emphasis on searching to find an app implies that you know what the app is called.  There are so many times I know I have a utility to do such-and-such but don't know the name of it.  It's easy to find looking through folders.  Having every single application on my computer listed on a single screen won't help me find it.  

    I like the Metro screen but for most things I do the good old Start Menu will be much more convenient.  Really, how hard would it be to give us both choices if that's what we want?

  203. Ok let’s assume we all agree that the data is correct and this new UI paradigm improves everything it set to improve upon. The only question remaining is “at what cost?”.

    The analogy here is that “yes you can have a swimming pool instead of a bath tab in your house, but you have to lose two bedrooms and the living room”.

    I rather stick with the extra rooms and forego the swimming pool for the time being until you come up with a better offer.

    In the meantime there are going to be a lot of people that prefer to have the swimming pool, I can accept that. Only time will tell if this is the right decision for the majority of users.

  204. @WindowsFan

    My public display name is actually WindowsVista567. The numbers go in order and are designed to match up with different Windows releases (5 for Windows 2000/XP, 6 for Windows Vista, and 7 for Windows 7 even though it's really 6.1). Thanks for supporting my comment!

    @Steven Sinofsky

    Do you read the tech news for information about the public's reaction to Windows 8? It seems that now that the BUILD buzz has died down, I keep seeing less and less good things about Windows 8 and a lot more bad ones. This link (…/windows-weekly-230-start-menu-lie-140912) contains a video with a discussion about Windows 8, which starts around 36:10. Despite the opinion that the Metro experience will improve when better apps exist, how is the Metro approach any better than the old one? Talking about full-screen apps in OS X, Tom Meritt says "I hate that stuff." If I don't want to run Internet Explorer full-screen, why would I want Metro? Please do a post about the entire platforn and the potential benefits of it, not just the Start screen. I like the title of this video: "The Start Menu is a Lie." Mary Jo Foley is right when she says that you need to answer the questions we have been asking.

  205. Mary Branscombe says:

    @Steven Sinofsky re @Brian Butterworth

    I suspect what Brian means is that in 7 you can start a search quickly from the Start menu and then click any of the headings or the See More Results links to open the search into Explorer and keep it on screen while you go on to do another search. I can't see a way to do that from the Start screen (and would assume the security boundary between Metro and desktop would prevent that), in a similar way to not getting previews of document contents for Word/Excel/PDF etc results (as opposed to the thumbnail preview of more details) until there are Metro apps providing those results?); a second search in Windows 8 loses the first results.

    We less than 0.05% are rather fond of the tools we've found useful…

    @Brian – try internalising Ctrl-E to open a new Explorer to search in/Ctrl-F to open a search window directly; that gives you more of the familiar behaviour with less of a context switch.

  206. Mary Branscombe says:

    @Steven Sinofsky re @Brian Butterworth

    I suspect what Brian means is that in 7 you can start a search quickly from the Start menu and then click any of the headings or the See More Results links to open the search into Explorer and keep it on screen while you go on to do another search. I can't see a way to do that from the Start screen (and would assume the security boundary between Metro and desktop would prevent that), in a similar way to not getting previews of document contents for Word/Excel/PDF etc results (as opposed to the thumbnail preview of more details) until there are Metro apps providing those results?); a second search in Windows 8 loses the first results.

    We less than 0.05% are rather fond of the tools we've found useful…

    @Brian – try internalising Ctrl-E to open a new Explorer to search in/Ctrl-F to open a search window directly; that gives you more of the familiar behaviour with less of a context switch.

  207. Now I am officially protogonist lol, yesterday I installed windows 8 in ntfs formatted partition and with exactly same configuration PC this time I installed with protogon file system. The result was quite surprising. windows 8 with protogon file system way faster than ntfs formatted hard disk. I think this is huge achievement.

  208. ali [APPL] ! says:

    @Brian Uphoff

    Two tiny and simple ideas for improving efficiency in Figure 12:

    1. In Start Screen, when user searches something and there are no results for Apps, Windows should automatically switch to a system group that has results.

    But instead of this, Windows Force us to use a arrow key or mouse or finger to go to a group that contains some results.

    2. When there are no results, instead of showing a blank page, clearly tell user that Windows couldn't find anything.

  209. Love what you're doing here.  So glad the start button will actually have a usable function for me.  Love the style, love the functionality, love the simplicity.

    It's going to be simple for beginners while supplying plenty of efficiencies and shortcuts for advanced users.

    Keep it up!

  210. xyz198155 says:

    your strategy in windows 8 is not to allow flash on the Full Screen IE9 app.

    But what is the alternative out there that I can use to be able to play video content using the IE9 app?

  211. Is there a way to change the metro interface color???

  212. qriusme says:

    I'm not sure if you're aware of the Launchy search app for windows, which is a derivative of what was a great search app in OS X – QuickSilver.   Its simplicity was in that you can have a quick keystroke to launch a search box right in the middle and then type away and then the search was gone.  

    Your method seems overly complicated and jarring for the average user.  Can't you imitate a simple method like that?  Also, for those saying chill out, this is alpha, that's exactly why critical comments are valuable, to make sure things get refined and not left there when it goes into production.

  213. @Joao M Correia

    There would still be time to make minor changes before RTM. If there is not time then it can be released in a later service pack

  214. Microsoft's approach to Windows 8 features isn't much different than the approach to previous versions of Windows.

    They'll meet the vast majority of users needs (the 'sweet spot') and the little nit-picky things you don't like will be handled by 3rd parties.

    Or you can just adapt to Windows 8's subtleties and allow them to quickly become 2nd nature. MS will make some concessions but they won't go back.

  215. Michael says:

    With the tooltip, no preview of content? Let a second or two of the video play or the audio file.

    OtherwiseI like the improvments! They just though add to the one issue I have. I use multi-window multitaksing on a large (>30") Full HD screen, how will you make it that multiple workspaces will be available in the metro interface with a mouse and keyboard?

    From what was shown, it could clearly do a bit of multitasking with the extra bits on the side, but haven't been able to do it with anything other than share.

    Possibly make a grid possible with four blocks which can have different apps swapped in and out when need be? They will simply be 4 windows running metro apps, shortcuts to zoom in on specific ones would be helpful as well, but being able to interface with 4 windows at once will be a step up from only one window constantly.

  216. diepille says:

    First I want to thank you for this Blog and the way you communicate with us. I'm looking forward to what you are doing with Windows as a Touch-friedly Platform. You're doing great work there, but I think you should really think about what you are doing to the standard non-touch desktop experience.

    You talk about a touch-first design with no compromise, and a seamless experience, and that we don't ever have to see the standard Windows explorer if we don't want to and we can have a metro-only experience. Well, that's great for touch users, but what about the desktop user?

    How did we become second-class citizens of the Windows world? Why don't we get a seamless experience? Why do we have to make compromises? I understand that you are reaching for new platforms and new Users, but don't forget about the 350+ million existing Win7 users.

    I'm not saying that you should keep the old Search function. It worked fine for me, but as you pointed out there are ways to improve it. So go ahead and improve it, but do it in a way you would do it on a desktop platform.

    Windows 7 is so great, because it took all the good things from earlier windows version, got rid off the bad ones, and presents it all with a really nice and user-friendly interface that is a joy to use.

    Think about how you could patch-in  a better search experience into Windows 7 and start from there.

    Why not just keep the basic functionality of the start menu, and when you start a search the width of the menu doubles, and there you have all the great things you came up with for the metro-search presented in an "Aero" style. So you would have all the benefit of the new search, but not break the experience for the Dektop user!

    To conclude my statement: Give the dektop users a SEAMLESS experience. Improve the search functionality, but keep the (option for) Aero design for non-touch devices.

  217. Alvaro says:

    again lost my comment :C…

    @MSFT I understand that u ignore people winning about metro or telemetry

    But what about those who bring constructive feedback; I read valid suggestions like:

    * making switch desktop-start less jarring

    * adding simple math calculations and unit conversions

    * Improving files search with filters and tools for more relevant information

    * Implement support over natural language over AQS

    I haven't seen a single reply to these ideas (good or bad). Lets srtive away from the "Metro & your telemetry suck" discussion to a more constructive dialog; WIN 8 team please tell us what do you think of the suggestions given in this blogs????

  218. Alvaro says:

    @MSFT I understand that u ignore people winning about metro or telemetry

    But what about those who bring constructive feedback; I read valid suggestions like:

    * making switch desktop-start less jarring

    * adding simple math calculations and unit conversions

    * Improving files search with filters and tools for more relevant information

    * Implement support over natural language over AQS

    I haven't seen a single reply to these ideas (good or bad). Lets srtive away from the "Metro & your telemetry suck" discussion to a more constructive dialog; WIN 8 team please tell us what do you think of the suggestions given in this blogs????

  219. pmbAustin says:

    @johnd126 — my assumption is (and I hope I'm right) is that you don't need to know the exact literal name in order for search to work to find an application.  There will be metadata that gets searched as well, including company name, suite name, and maybe other things.  So if I search for "Microsoft", I'd expect Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc to pop up, along with all the other "Microsoft" apps I have installed.

    If this isn't true, then your point is very valid and a concern.  But I think current search doesn't always require exact filename matches already, so I think it's pretty safe to say that you won't need to know the file name or "app name" to find your app.  The folder or path info should probably be part of the searched metadata.

    I do think that the ability for apps to provide additional metadata to use for searching, so that the app can help control how discoverable it is, would be a good thing.

  220. @Microsoft

    Alvaro is right. We need to have a true discussion about Windows 8 rather than talking about whether or not the telemetry is correct. I am also curious to hear what you think of our suggestions.

  221. Yes, definitions, math, unit conversion, and emoji support in search.

    my friends like to use new emoticons on me, and Wikipedia is a pain in the ass to read that table.

    let my just type >.< in search, and have it pop up with cat face. 🙂

  222. there is a *** ton of work to be done in Windows 8. if it ships like this, with less bugs, i won't use it, and just watch even more developers make games for iOS/Mac OS

  223. @ Alvaro (per SInofsky's keynote) in Windows 8, the desktop is treated like just another app.

    In my opinion, pulling up the Start screen will always be jarring until we get used to it, which for me, took about a week of using Windows 8 as my primary OS. Many have argued the addition of robust Metro style apps via the Windows Store will also ease the shock because we'll spend more time in a "Metro" environment. This makes sense.

    Switching from the Desktop to the Start screen will be just like switching from Metro IE10 or the forthcoming Mail/Calendar/Contacts Metro style apps etc to the Start screen.

    I doubt there's much MS can do to make such a big change seem like it isn't a big change.

  224. pmbAustin says:

    When IE9 got rid of the separate search box, I was upset and made it known on the IEBlog.  I still want my separate search box back.  The reason is that it provided a consistent context while browsing through results and following links, that allowed me to 1) know where I was, and 2) get back to the 'start' with one click, and 3) try the same search in another search engine with one click (well, click, drag, release).  It also didn't pollute my address drop-down bar with transient search queries, pushing out other sites that I tended to rely on being there.

    Many of the complaints about the Start Screen seem to be in the same vein:  loss of context.  And this is loss of context in both directions.  As noted, if you're trying to search for something you've been prompted to do on a web page, the moment you click search, suddenly you can't see the page to read off of it… you've lost context.  And then once you've searched and clicked on something, you can't go back and refine the search or just click a new category, or whatever… the query and the results are lost.  You start fresh each time.  Again, loss of context.

    I think this is what people are actually referring to when talking about a 'jarring' experience and a 'loss of productivity'.  Not the number of keystrokes required, but the loss of context and the cost of context switching (especially on bigger monitors).  Some users might be 'freaked out' that their desktop is suddenly gone at first, while others might forget what they wanted or needed the moment it's out of sight.  There are also minor "discoverability" issues.  

    There are also siginfiicant "mouse-travel" issues, that go double for track-pad users.  Initiating an experience in the lower-left corner that requires a focus-shift to the upper-right corner is just not going to fly for those users.  It's fine for touch users, because the action is initiated on the right, and stays on the right.  For keyboard users, it's less of an issue becasue there is no 'travel'.  But mouse/track-pad users have a legitimate gripe here.

    So rather than concentrating on telemetry and heat-maps and click-counts in the next blog about this topic, how about concentrating on context, and on usage via the mouse and track-pad.

  225. @BumbleBritches57 says:

    You are a foul-mouthed ruthless kid. Need to learn some ethics how to talk in public. Stop barking and GTFOH. You don't like Windows, Xbox or anything made by Microsoft, then WTF you are doing here you miserable troll. B.I.T.C.H!

  226. Moderator says:

    BumbleBritches57, you better watch your tone before commenting. This is a common place to extend your suggestions and comments. You must respect the other audience and visitors of blogs and try to be civil. Though it seems you need to try very hard to reflect some good manners but it's mandatory for survival.

  227. LOL. watch my tone before commenting. you mean kiss MS's ass, and tell them they did a good job when they didn't do ***? lol. no.

  228. WindowsVista567 says:

    What is everybody complaining about? Windows 8 is looking great and the new Start Screen is beautiful and elegant. I can't wait to play minesweeper on it.

  229. Alvaro says:

    @jimbrowski you're right Desktop it's now just an App; and if you don't invoke it the code wont be even loaded …. but you must agree with me that with the current software ecosystem; and the productivity programs that i don't imagine in Merto UI (Adobe Photoshop, Autocad; MATLab , Office, Custom Software; you name it) people will still be working on Desktop A LOT so there will be the case when you need launch Desktop and search together.. an hence the lost of context (jarring effect)

  230. Moderator says:

    Just try to be civil while commenting about the subject in hand. If you have some personal grudges, don't plague in here.

  231. NeoGamer says:

    @Microsoft, what's the ETA on Microsoft flight game? It's being a while. Kick some lazy aasses there. Also, please release the game on WP7! Would be fun…/2296772-microsoft-flight-game-

  232. one-way: how to revolutionize IE says:

    Sometimes, we receive links to download files as a plain-text email. Supposedly, the file type is PDF or some other which launches inside the bowser via corresponding add-on, and our intent is to download the file in that scenario, we would have to wait for the file to load completely then it can be saved.

    There must be number of other scenarios as well, which may require an option to manually enter the URL in download manager. Please provide us with a "Create Download" button in download manager, so the user can enlist the download by manually entering the URL to save a file, resource or the entire webpage within the download manager.

    Also, introduce the paste shortcut Ctrl+V in download manager for a single entry and Ctrl+Shift+V for batch entries.

    P.S. The idea of batch-files download option is inferred from Free Download Manager – FDM. IMO, it would be great to integrate the complete set of basic features of a download manager in IE (perhaps some advanced features like; download categories & P2P torrent support as well).

  233. Sorry, after using it for about week, I still don't like the start screen, and I returned to Windows 7.

    I don't like that you separated the "setting" and the "app" searches. I don't want to have to remember if an item is an app or a setting. I don't care what it is, I just want to launch the thing.

    Now, if I want to use Windows Update, I have to ask myself, is it a setting or an app? Then, I have to remember that I have to use Win+W to search it because it's a setting, then after pressing Win+W the desktop is replaced by the full screen thingy, then I can finally do the search, press enter, and instead of returning to the desktop where I have all my work, now the desktop is still hidden, and the Metro control panel is full screen, so I can't see any important changes on the desktop while there.

    Then realize that the Metro Windows Update is not powerful enough, so instead of having a link to the Desktop Windows Update on the Metro Windows Update, I have to scroll to the bottom of the Metro Control Panel, select More Settings, I am finally returned to the desktop, I am presented with the Desktop Control Panel, were you cannot find anything, because the Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 Desktop control panel is not organized in a way that makes any sense.

    After about a minute you find the Desktop Windows Update under "System and Security", and you can finally launch it.

    How did this work in Windows 7? Press "Win", type "update", wait a few seconds, press down arrow 3 times to select "Windows Update" from the search results, press enter. No full screen transitions. It just works. It's beautiful.

    How could you redesign the Task Manager to make it so much better than the old one, then got it so wrong with the Metro Start Screen replacing the Desktop Start Menu?

  234. @ pmbAustin, you can just pull up the search charm in the desktop and you won't lose any context. in the Dev Preview hover in the left corner and click search or click Windows+c and choose search.

  235. Jim says:

    A universal contact system that has a nice API for other programs to use would be a big deal for regular users. Using my iPad and my WP7, the two things I search for directly are Apps and Contacts. I don't generally search for e-mail, but contacts I search for all of the time on both WP7 and iPad. Just because i don't search for contacts on Win 7 doesn't mean that I don't want to. It is just that Win7 does not have a usable contacts system that is integrated into the applications I use (e.g. Thunderbird).

    Don't think, oh people don't use that, think "what if people and applications had access to a decent contacts system, would they search then?" or "If applications could integrate into search, one option would be contact management from different vendors."

  236. I assume MS is aware of this issue, but since I have time to spare…

    There's some odd behavior when launching a desktop control panel (settings) shortcut application after search. In fact, it may be solely "Settings" shortcuts that cause this. Clicking on a result prompts the desktop to "wipe in" on top of the previous state of the desktop. For example, I currently have my browser maximized with the taskbar at the bottom. After searching for "desk" and choosing "Change Desktop Background" I will briefly see a shot of my browser maximized in the background while another shot of my browser, taskbar, and the "Change Desktop Background" window all "wipe in." It's a bit messy.

  237. sj1900 says:

    A lot of people are complaining about the Start Screen.  I don't mind it, but I do have an issue with its implementation.  I perceive most of my Win8 work would be done with desktop apps, not metro apps, with a lot of emphasis being switching between apps – something which I imagine will be common with other IT Pros and Devs.  However, as soon as I click Start to launch a new program, it does an annoying animation and switches to the full screen Start Screen.  This immediatly disctracts me from my current task and takes my entire world to the Start Screen.  Then when I launch an app related to what I'm doing, it does another animation to get back to the desktop with the new app I launched.  This is very distracting for my mental process.

    I think the full screen Start Screen is important for some scenarios (tablets, a large number of consumers), but expert users need a slightly different implementation.  I'm not advcating having an option to revert to the legacy Start Menu, but some hybrid option.  E.g. when in desktop and click Start, the Start Screen appears as a large window, leaving the taskbar visible and without distracting full screen animations (a bit like a very large Start Menu I spose).   This allows the benefits of the Start Screen and live tiles, but would provide a better user interface transiition for expert Windows users who won't rely on Metro apps so much.

  238. @WindowsVista567 (fake, gray letters)

    I've had enough. Who do you think you are, anyway?

  239. Actually, I think in some cases I would prefer an invisible (100% transparency) Desktop Start Menu, instead of the Metro Start Screen.

    At least that would spare me of the full screen transitions. I could blindly type [Win],calc,[enter], and start a calculator without switching needlessly to a green screen.

    That's what I do anyway in Windows 7 for familiar applications. Mostly, I don't even look at the start menu anymore when I launch them with the keyboard.

    Furthermore, the new start screen is almost useless if I want to start multiple instances of an application, for example I sometimes need to make multiple screenshots for a web application.

    In windows 7 with my browser active I type [print screen],[win],mspaint,[Ctrl+V] to take the screenshot then[Alt+Tab] to return to the browser, click something in the web aplication, use again [print screen],[win],mspaint,[Ctrl+V],[Alt+Tab] to obtain a new screenshot in a new Paint instance, rinse and repeat. Then at the end I crop and save each screenshot.

    If I try the same in Windows 8, it works fine. But if I search it with "paint", instead of "mspaint", instead of opening multiple instances after each search/[enter], it just selects the existing paint instance from the previous launch. Why? Most people will search "paint", not "mspaint", and will not be able to open multiple instances.

    For other applications: if you search "notepad" [enter] it will just select an existing instance. If instead I search "notepad.exe" [enter] it will create a new instance at each search. And the same for "calc" vs "calc.exe". I don't like this. I want the default behaviour to be "open a new instance every time", like before.

    I wonder if this behaviour is by design or an accident 🙂

    I know if I right click on the search result, select "advanced" then "run", it will always start a new instance, but I think this should be the default behaviour.

    I like that our feedback is read by MS, and sometimes changes are even made base on it (for example programs grouped in the Apps screen, or as MS put it "suites of apps are now organized in groups").

    But until we are given the option to use the old Start Menu for the Deskop I think my Hitler video is still relevant:

  240. Anonymous says:

    @Fake WindowsVista567

    How could you possibly play Minesweeper on Windows Metro? Your comments continue to confuse me.

  241. WindowsVista567 says:

    Windows 8 is super! I love my mom, my dad and Microsoft to create the Windows 8. Please release it NAW! Time to watch spiderman (cartoon) Yay! I want some MOAR!

  242. Stefan says:

    Heard from admins in corporations in Sweden:"Will they release Windows 8 with MetroUI in both clients/servers ? They better have to let people choose between Metro and Classic else we will not bother to upgrade !"

    Maybe it is time for the Windows 8 dev team to start to think; will we continue with this crap or will the be unemployed after the release ?

  243. Someone says:

    @Fake Commentator

    There's no room for comments like yours on this blog.

  244. Stefan says:


    Heard from admins in corporations in Sweden:"Will they release Windows 8 with MetroUI in both clients/servers ? They better have to let people choose between Metro and Classic else we will not bother to upgrade !"

    Maybe it is time for the Windows 8 dev team to start to think; will we continue with this crap or will WE be unemployed after the release ?

  245. @WindowsVista567 says:

    spiderman cartoon? r u a 11yrs old kid? lololol!!!

  246. James Mane says:

    @one-way: how to revolutionize IE, this is an interesting idea. I hope they implement this feature so we don't need to use third party download manager apps. Moreover, @IETeam please make IE10 super duper so I dont need to install multiple browsers!

  247. @ C_barth Thanks for your feedback. Desktop apps have a slightly different visual treatment than Metro-Style apps. Desktop apps (e.g. Windows Explorer or Calc) have an app tile that uses the color of the Start Screen background. Metro-style apps have full-bleed photos, bigger icons on various color plates, and often show updates. Also, you can group apps however you like in the Start Screen. For example, you could move all of your desktop apps to one group.

  248. Justin says:

    Why isn't it more like Spotlight? Why do I have to select Files, Settings, or Programs? Why doesn't it know what I want just straight up. Spotlight works so well at knowing that I mean a mouse setting if I type mouse and knowing that I want search for multisim in an engineering report for a class. Windows Search would be more powerful than Spotlight if it attempted to do what Spotlight does then can be quickly and optionally broken down into Files, Settings, or Programs if it's best guess isn't correct. Right now, you guys could learn a lot from Spotlight in OS X.

  249. First, I want to say that I love the work you all are doing with Windows 8 and can’t wait to see what the beta will be like. As with most things (especially a developer preview!), there is still much to be desired. All of this talk about the search charm got me thinking about the whole idea of two separate desktops and how they function differently, especially the search.

    I think the classic desktop and Start screen can co-exist together in a much smoother fashion by combing the two separate experiences into one. The main concept from the desktop that does not currently integrate with the Start screen is the taskbar, but I do not see this as much of an obstacle. In fact, combing some version of the taskbar could double as a way to close Metro-style applications. Here is a link to a picture of the Start screen that I have modified showing how a Windows 8 Metro-style taskbar and charms might appear:…/photostream

    The Start button is in the same position as Windows 7 and earlier versions so the user is immediately aware of what it does. In “desktop” mode, the taskbar and charms could stay permanently on the Start screen, while in “tablet” mode, they would only appear when swiped from the edge of the screen. Windows functions would use the bottom and left edge of the screen, while programs would use the right and top edges. When a desktop application is launched, the Start screen could fade out (or the tiles could disappear), leaving the taskbar and program as the center of attention.…/photostream

    Metro apps, being full screen, would not show the taskbar. When the user hovers the mouse over the start button, the charms menu appears.…/photostream

    Clicking the start button goes right back to the Start screen. Of course, many desktop applications could be open and function just as they do in Windows 7 with the Metro taskbar and faded Start screen (or maybe the tiles would just disappear). This effectively combines the classic desktop and metro style without a jarring transition between the two. As a bonus, Microsoft could even allow Metro apps to function in a windowed mode and display similar to the desktop apps, or allow users to pin their favorite apps to the taskbar permanently 

    I hope you like my ideas. Thanks from reading.

  250. Stefan says:

    It is kind of fun to see how the dev team continue to push for MetroUI. In Sweden on many forums admins in large corporations reject the whole idea of Windows 8; MetroUI and ribbons. They don't want it, on either servers or clients. They do also say that if Windows 8 are shipped with the MetroUI they will not allow any upgrade to Windows 8, They will wait for Windows 9 to see if You have learned from Your failure with Windows 8. Maybe the dev team should start to look for another job, i doubt You will have any if You don't listen to Your customers. Why is it so hard to meet Your customers demands ?

  251. jader3rd says:

    @xpclient, Hey what do you know, Recent Items is still there. It's not on by default though (not on any system I've used). I still think it's way more useful to add a search query for items modified today to the Explorer favorites. Jump lists are still more useful too.

  252. Jari says:

    I really hope that Metro can be disabled completely. I have been loyal Windows user since 3.1, but it seems that Windows 7 will be last.

  253. @WindowsVista567

    Please stop feeding the troll. We all know that he is not you. You are keeping him here by paying attention to him. Ignore him, and he'll go away.

  254. Chen says:

    Speaking of search. Does it actually WORK?

    Windows vista and 7 has many many times given me "no items match your search" when i know that the search-phrase exists in a search-able file in an indexed location. I don't trust it at all anymore.

  255. I've set up a uservoice forum for expanding on the discussion here. Its at

    If you've got suggestions for improvements, post them there and see what others think.

  256. AaronG says:

    I think you have started out with the premise that reducing the number of keystrokes to perform a task is the goal for many Windows 8 tasks.  I think this is a misguided approach.  We could go back to Wordstar days where every function was just Ctrl+ 2 keys away, but was this easy, memorable or preferable to what we have today?

    Introducing more Winkey + combinations for the user is also just going to mean that those functions invoked by the users will be harder to remember and access and the 'simple' route to using them will not be used.  Winkey + F for find is memorable.  Winkey + (one of three options) is not memorable, especially by a layman trying to use Windows 8.

    I expect if you look at your telemetry on Winkey use maybe 2 or 3 of the combinations are used, out of how many possibilities, 20?

    Such a shame that email search has been removed as well.  I often have written a note on something, say "banking" and can't remember where I stored it.  Was it a banking.txt, in a folder called banking or stored as a draft email with the word banking in.  Currently to find that I'd click start (well, middle click I use Classic Shell), type "banki", find the document I'm after in my email drafts.

  257. Anyway, about Windows 8 Aero. you guys should really look at Cloud7. i love it.  because it's simple, and minimalist…/cloud7_2_9_6_by_bumblebritches57-d2v00o4.jpg

  258. Lee says:

    @Jari, windowkey+d or clicking desktop-tile brings the desktop. Adding a key combo make you so annoy that you will leave using windows! This is insane.. Microsoft should give the option to turn it off but seriously you guys are too much.

    Current version of metro has number of shortcomings from accessibility perspective (especially for Keyboard+Mouse users). IMO, metro should be worked in such a way that it addresses the major concerns of most people rather than dropping the whole idea. Not even 1% of windows consumers are representing their comments about Metro thus far. But what power users? Would they appreciate this idea? Yet power-users also are the stakeholders of the ecosystem and their feedback should be incorporated. But why turning off the Metro is the only way? Why not make the metro versatile and so everyone become happy?

    Making lot of people happy is already done by introducing Metro and telling that its not even half cooked and more improvements are coming forth. But making everyone happy is impossibility because some people are blatantly trolling and some are single-bit they have fixed their mind on "Metro is bad" and will be that way even Microsoft evolves metro to a level where it meets all the usability and accessibility concerns.

    @Microsoft, choice is yours. Neutral people, who are not stunned by Apple or Google, welcomes the new ideas. But please make the metro more evolved to address usability and accessibility concerns which you will find in many valuable comments.

    –Summary of this post:

    The current version of metro is unacceptable. Microsoft can either give the option to turn off the metro OR make the metro in such a way that we don’t have the need of startmenu anymore. Either way most users will become happy. I feel sorry for trolls, single-bit or mindless people who don’t even have any tangible opinion.

  259. Stephen Kellett says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    " The primary difference between the telemetry and a poll or survey is that the telemetry is millions upon millions of data points approaching a full census without any inherent bias."

    Not true. As has been pointed out to you MANY times, enterprise and business users are the Very groups likely to turn off your statistical reporting. You cannot rely on telemetry to support any of these decisions. Why do you think we are rejecting your work so strongly?

    Because we want to remain productive and this new search is anything but.

    All of your use cases do not come close to how I use search. I never use it find a program to launch, I use it to find files, and I want to view the results in the context of the programs I use, and I want multiple searches open at once, with the results displayed on the monitor of my choice in a window resized and positioned as I see fit. How does your start screen search fulfill any of those criteria?

    I can do all of the above trivially in XP and with a bit more effort in Vista/7 and its impossible in Windows 8 (Explorer windows do not count, I want the proper full blown search experience that you get from the Start Menu, not that the awful search you've implemented in Windows 8 Explorer).

    If you'd just drop this ridiculous Start Screen Metro nonesense all of these problems will go away.

    "We use telemetry to settle arguments over how a feature is used. "

    Apparently I'm the only person that uses search the way I describe? Not according to the feedback on this blog. Do you care about your business customers? Do you understand that Windows and Office are the two Microsoft cash cows and what business users like counts?

    " talk about how something is actually used as a fact, rather than an assertion."

    We've been giving you facts and clear decsriptions of how we use search (and the start menu) and I have not seen any of those (by any commentor) get acknowledged unless they say "Metro is great". We DO NOT WANT what you are offering. We are your customers. Are you

    listening? Do you understand?

    "Henry Ford said people would ask for a faster horse".

    Indeed, but with Windows 8 Developer Preview you are giving us a dumbed down, slower donkey. We want an improvement (if possible) to the very nice business saloon car that is Windows 7.

  260. Stephen Kellett post in on the money. Telemetry is failing miserably. Microsoft isnt addressing enterprise concerns on the Windows 8 UI.

    This is now the fourth (?) blog article on the Startscreen-Tile. Microsoft representatives have yet failed to address the most commom asked question.

    Will there be an easy way, official way, to disable the Metro UI entirely? Includin the Startscreen-tile?

  261. windows user says:


    I ask you directly this 2 questions:

    1 – Is there a way to Disable Metro UI entirely? Yes/No/I can't say now

    2 – Is there a way to make the Start Menu not full screen or use the old Start Menu even if Metro is not disable? Yes/No/I can't say now

    will you answers the questions that all people want to listen, not some secondary question you are always using as an escape?

    You can keep answers to other questions, but almost all posts and further questions are a consequence of this 2 questions. You can even make more posts about the start menu, but the ultimate question to the user remains….

  262. xpclient says:

    @jader3rd, I am talking about the Start Screen, which Microsoft is touting as the replacement for the Start Menu. Recent Items is only there in the Start Menu, not in the Start Screen. Or do you not understand the difference between the Start Menu and the Start Screen?

  263. @ Impar "Will there be an easy way, official way, to disable the Metro UI entirely? Including the Startscreen-tile?"

    that's the wrong question, I think. When push comes to shove MS may (for the short term) provide some customers the ability to disable Metro tiles and such things but there really is a lot of savvy to MS's basic decision to create an OS that can unify people's computing experience across new form factors (phone and tablet) with their desktop and laptop environment. I think that should be accepted by even people who dislike the Metro experience and instead of clamoring for its utter removal (MS can't ultimately do this because Metro is their best bet for winning the future) they should focus energy on how to make Win 8 a more productive OS. As I've said in several posts unifying the desktop with the Metro seems like a surefire approach.

    I think, from a memory and resources management perspective there's a need for having an architectural distinction between working in Metro vs desktop (people on a tablet can stay in Metro, not use any chrome apps and preserve loads of battery) but the move into desktop and back needn't be so jarring.

    So far the best mockup of how to accomplish this, I think, is described just a few posts above by Jerue:…/designing-search-for-the-start-screen.aspx

    That looks about exactly like the OS I imagine we need. Forward-looking, flexible enough to span all the devices, and yet without jarring jumps between computing modes with an easy way to provide most or even ALL of the functionality that we love in windows, like WINDOWS and taskbar and maybe even the full start menu atop the start screen, less need for this necessity of keyboard commands for even basic navigation, all of which would make it a productive environment and one that would require far less retraining. Pretty brilliant looking to me, kudos Jerue!

    That would really be "no compromises" by providing *everything* we love about the past windows perfectly integrated with the advances proposed in the metro interface.

  264. Taylor Hall says:

    As a way to quickly jump to other searches, can users customize other shortcuts like Win+G to do a google search straight from windows search?  or Ctrl+Alt+F to do a Facebook Search?

    Or, is there a way that we could use the search expressions to jump to facebook.  For instance, if I wanted to search for a friend on facebook, it would be nice to just hit Win, and then start typing face:FriendName; or google:MSDNAA; or twitter:#SYTYCD; or even using the seraches already there– file:presentation.doc; or setting:power.

  265. John says:


    And btw worst idea to have the search field fill the whole screen, it will eat my RAM, so overall this is a BIG step in the wrong way!

  266. @ John Your comments are very "professional" and not "childish," at all. The use of all caps and exclamation marks after every sentence truly exemplify proper posting etiquette.


    Time for Sinofsky to lock down the comments on this one.

  267. IAgreeWithJohn says:

    @jimbrowski: Go play the "moderator" game somewhere else, John has a very valid point. All this silly language used is rather annoying. And the new Start In Your Face Menu/Search is totally childish and wrong.

  268. Lewis Robinson says:

    People better complain everything about Windows 8 right now! When it is still in pre-beta stage.

    Once it hits beta, Microsoft WILL NOT add any new features!!


  269. FuturePastNow says:

    Thank you for making these blog posts. I completely disagree with the direction you're going, but it's a fascinating discussion, and I'm sure the Windows team is working very hard on this awful UI it intends to force on everyone (I mean that sincerely). Now, to the complaints:

    1) I have a large, high-resolution monitor. This full-screen search shows a lot of results (if there are a lot of results), spread all across the screen and beyond. If what I want is buried in the middle, it takes my poor eyes a long time to scan the screen and find it. Is this a problem you recognize and intend to work on, or can I expect the usual "our telemetry supports this, it's the future, get used to it" response?

    2) And speaking of full screen search, did I mention I have a large monitor? The only things I want fullscreen on it are movies and games, and half the time I don't want those to be fullscreen. What does your telemetry tell you to do about that?

    3) What fool decided to show a screen of nothing when their are no app results for a search?

  270. I am Windows says:

    Why 90% of people know that I have a registry?

    90% of people can not be software developers.

    I do not understand why people speak ill of my registry.

    I am very sad that all the progress I make are obscured by the complaints on my registry.

    My registry does not have anything that works but everyone complains about.

    All can be filled with garbage and everyone can build software to wipe.

    90% of people install CCleaner which increases the number of my keys to let people delete other keys.

    The keys are my treasure and I want them all to me.

    The simplicity and cleanliness are not part of my logic.

    All this and out of my logic, but all this is possible.

    Why not allow people to provide feedback on my registry?

  271. I am Windows says:

    and I use windows and I want to talk about my registry with the users of this site.

  272. WindowsVista567 says:

    @fake WindowsVista567

    "Windows 8 is super! I love my mom, my dad and Microsoft to create the Windows 8. Please release it NAW! Time to watch spiderman (cartoon) Yay! I want some MOAR!"

    I'd just like to point out that I (the original WindowsVista567) did not post this. I'd appreciate it if you came up with your own name and didnt sully my good name and street reputation. Now back to some grandtheftauto and 50 cent.

  273. I am Windows says:

    I ask all users to provide feedback on my registry or say their experience or thought.

  274. Sabhareesh_Rs says:

    The Win8's new searching option is gonna rock the OS..

    Each feature is enhancing its beauty.. developers rockzz

  275. A beautiful mind says:

    All the kids wailing, whining & crying here about the new startscreen were the ones who cried, wailed & tugged at their parents on their first day to school.

    It took them time some time to realise that school was good, fun & for the better in the long run.

    This resistance to change is a sickness which is self-imposed & irrational & detrimental to mankind.

    I'm a power user, with POWER in C.A.P.S.

    I run applications (professionally) & games ranging from fruity loops to Visual studio, from Illustrator to Hex/Resource editors, from Crysis 2 to dangerous dave, from 3DS max to ms paint. I work with the registry, with theming, with development, with websites, with game design, with phone apps, with brand development, with video authoring, with analytical solutions & what not.


    I love metro to its core. with all my heart. I'm just waiting for the brushing & polishing before it is unveiled  me its full glory. It'll be like watching kelly brook on a beach rising out of the water in a great bikini.

  276. Nitz Walsh says:

    So, "a beautiful mind", care to address any of the actual criticisms?  Your post contained nothing of substance and just served to call anyone who's actually taken the time to detail how the new Start Screen negatively impacts their workflow "children".

    Seems like you could do with a little more time past pubery yourself.

  277. @Steven Sinofsky

    I hope you guys are still reading these comments even though the article is a couple of days old.  I love the direction Windows 8 is heading.  That said, I have 2 suggestions for how to deal with the change-averse crowd.

    1) Allow users to right-click the Start button to give them their precious classic Start Menu.

    2) Allow users to adjust and set a default transparency to the Start Screen background.  That way, a 100% transparency would be more of an overlay of tiles that would still allow some focus on what is at hand.

    Please reject any calls for the Start Menu to be inside a window.  Windows are ugly to be honest, and a full screen app (or program for the sensitive) like Zune is beautiful.  I want my computer to be efficient and powerful.  I also want my computer and its programs to be beautiful.  If I have to look at this thing all day long, I want it to be as pleasant as possible, and the more efficient you make things, the less time I have to spend looking at it.

    Please keep up the good work, and ignore the calls from anyone who classifies these changes as "dumbing down" the OS.  Know that reasonable people understand that this process is making the experience better and faster for the vast majority of people.  Continue your progress, and just remember to keep power users in mind with as much customization options as possible.

  278. @Fake WindowsVista567

    What's wrong with you? Do you have that much fun spamming every post with fake comments in my name? Not only did I not post the Spider-Man comment, I also did not post the WindowsVista567 comment with gray letters that responded to it. The gray letters without the Windows Desktop picture and the references to "street reputation," "grandteftauto," and "50 cent" prove that that comment didn't come from me. My Windows Live account serves as authentication for this comment, and every WindowsVista567 comment not from this account is fake.

  279. @taboolexicon: I think your post says it all in respect to who they are targeting with the  new Metro Full Screen UI:

    A user that wants a powerful computer but not more than one Window visible at the same time (?)

    A user that wants his UI to look beautiful so he does not have to spend too much time looking at it (?)

    A user who thinks all these new features are adding to the OS when all they give you are rectangles on a big flat full screen window (?)

    A user that cannot cope with the complexity of the current Windows but wants as much customization options as possible (?)

    Sorry but I don’t get it, are you having an argument with yourself or something?

    Anyway, I think that Microsoft has the same way of thinking as you lately, so you may have more chances of getting through to them than any of us.

  280. Tony says:

    Please enhance Media Player by providing the audio boost and managing the subtitle web services so we can download subtitles within the player. Both of these features are available in k-lite media player classic. Also, I understand there are licensing issues with codecs but would be wonderful if you provide link to codecs catalog within the player, so people use your player rather than download those players which are bundled with the codec pack..

    Finally, (like QuickTime) in Windows Live Movie Maker, please provide us frame level access while editing the video, so I can extract, delete and replace a frame from movie and besides WMV there must be other video formats while saving videos. (asf, avi, mpg… and since so forth!).

  281. Stefan says:

    Why can't some people here accept that all people DON'T like Windows 8 ?

    You are probably not involved in corporations where every single minute, or even second, are valuable money. Where productivity comes first.

    Stop whine about us who don't like what we see in Windows 8. We have the F same right to comment here as You have. Accept it or just get lost !

    And to the Windows 8 team, why don't You answer us who don't agree with You ?

  282. Since some people seem to be having some issues posting proper comments, I'd like to remind everybody of the rules this blog has for posting good comments:…/556340.aspx…/about-this-blog-and-your-comments.aspx

    To the person who has posted multiple comments with my display name, let me remind you of two important parts of the second post:

    "We reserve the right to delete comments or otherwise edit what has been said. Things that will get comments edited or deleted:

    •Offensive or abusive language or behavior as determined by a community standard

    •Misrepresentation (i.e., claiming to be somebody you're not) — if you don't want to use your real name, that's fine, as long as your profile name isn't offensive, abusive, or misrepresentative"

    To the fake WindowsVista567, this applies to you, me, and everyone else who posts comments here.

  283. @Steven Sinofsky

    Are there any other Windows 8 blogs out there that I could read?

  284. Stefan says:

    Will there be a way to disable MetroUI entirely ?

    YES or NO

    2nd try to add this comment ! Commenting here suck….

  285. Chris123NT says:

    @Stefan this is a good question, and the answer should be yes, but then again this is the new Microsoft, where choice is a foreign language.  Metro is god awful and I don't want any part of it on my DESKTOP PC.

    If I had a Tablet, then yes I could see this UI making sense.

  286. @WindowsVista567: Don’t ask for another blog from the same people, you will just get another story about telemetry driven rectangles in full screen mode. But if you insist, here is another more interesting blog:…/microsoft-research-shows-some-fresh-thinking-on-nui-and-touch-interface.aspx

    I guess I will have to pass on the Windows 8 (Rectangle Edition) and wait for the Windows X (Balls Edition).

    Seriously now, these guys are demoing some very cool/amazing stuff, it is worth watching the video.

    Back to the main point though, I still want my “old” Windows as well as my “old” keyboard and “old” mouse when I am working…but hey these guys are creating something new, not just rectangles, so I would be willing to experiment with what they come up next.

  287. @mil

    I’m sorry you are having trouble understanding my post.  I’ll see if I can help.

    1) I’m in front of my computer for about 6 hours a day.

    2) If I have to look at my computer all day, I want it to look nice.

    3) I’d rather not look at my computer for 6 hours, so if making the OS more efficient can make my productivity increase, I may be able to shave minutes (or more) off of my time spent in front of it.

    The “no compromise” approach as I understand it would benefit the power user and the casual user in different ways.  A power user should have a vast array of customization options available to him (now go back and read my two numbered requests).  A casual user should not have to spend a lot of time trying to make his computer work. Windows 8 appears to be making a brilliant attempt at satisfying both user groups.

    You can have qualms with the Metro styling, and I’d say that everyone has his own personal style preferences, and I can understand why a person might not like it.  Personally, I love the style of it.  More than style, though, I can see that the Start Screen already gives me more functionality than the Start button does (for my usage).  I have faster access to what I use most, quick search, and live tiles for information at a glance.  I’m sure there’s more, but these are the things that are instant advantages to me over Windows 7.

    Again, I know that every user will not be satisfied with every change.  That’s kinda how life works.  I do, though, see a lot of hard work going into this OS, and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like ti will be great.  I can use it and customize it to my needs; the suggestions I recommended would help solve some of the major concerns from “power” users; and my parents could pick it up and use it more comfortably than they use a PC now.

    I hope this has helped you to understand my thoughts on the progress of this OS.

  288. @mil_

    Stop complaining about the telemetry. It can be put to good use. Look at:

    for an example of what I want to see in a Windows 8 blog.

  289. @WindowsVista567: It was a joke m8, chill out 😉

  290. @taboolexicon: I respect your thoughts and desires, but I found them conflicting. Anyway, I am in for change and I consider myself a power user since I do program on Windows for the past 20 years and I switched to the new version of Windows with every beta version.

    The problem I have is that I find Windows 8 useless on the desktop as long as it steals one of my monitors for the silly start menu/search. I find the whole unification of desktop and tablets effort to be a futile and it will damage Windows 8 sales.

    I have done my research by asking all users I can find, in my work, they all agree it is not the right answer, but I respect it may be the one for you. If they do not include the option to avoid this “new” Start Menu I will have to wait for Windows 9 or when they get it right, or just switch to another OS.

  291. @mil_

    The "stop compaining about telemetry" part was really aimed at the entire set of commentators. I don't like Metro, but at the same time, I'm not the one starting these arguments about how "bad" Microsoft's telemetry is (and I really don't see anything wrong with the telemetry). Actually, I think that Windows 8 needs a UI blog from Jensen Harris. I liked the Office User Interface Blog because it was the thing that convinced me to buy Microsoft Office 2007. That, and the Story of the Ribbon, which Harris presented about a year after Office 2007 came out, really convinced me that the Ribbon was the best UI for programs like Microsoft Word. If there's anyone who could put these Windows 8 UI problems to rest, I think it would be him who would have that abiliy. In some ways, he seems like the Steve Jobs of Microsoft UI design. He always seems to know what's best for consumers, more than most designers (look at Corel Home Office's version of the Ribbon). The Office 2007 UI blog is clear, well-focused, and contains tons of information about the Office UI. Plus, that blog is specifically focused on the UI so there's less chance that, with that format, you will be eagerly waiting for the next UI post and find the title of the newest post to be "Reducing Runtime Memory in Windows 8," which has nothing to do with anything anyone's talking about for Windows 8. Plus, the Office 2007 UI blog feels like it was written by a person who really cares about what they do. This blog, by contrast, feels like the official Windows 8 news channel, with a different author for every post. I'd like to see the old Microsoft design mentality come back.

  292. @Steven Sinofsky: Thank you for responding to one of my comments. Unfortunately, it was one of my minor points. I’d rather look at the bigger issues.

    First, let me assuage you of any fears that I am adverse to change. I am an early adopter. For example, ten years ago, I switched from VB6 to .NET when .NET 1.0 was still in beta. Flash forward to something more recent, I switched from Windows Mobile to the iPhone as soon as I could, waited in line to get an iPad, and bought a Windows Phone 7 the day it came out. If anyone would have told me ten years ago (or even 5 years ago) that I would be waiting in line to buy an Apple product, I would have told them they were crazy. In any case, I can handle change just fine. That's not the issue.

    Second, it's not that I don't like Metro. I've been using my Samsung Focus for a year now and think Metro works great on a phone. Microsoft could have come out with a smart phone UI that simply copied Apple's iOS the way Google did with Android, but they didn't. Live Tiles are a great idea and Microsoft should be applauded for coming out with a UI that sets itself apart from its competitors.

    Third, it's not that I don't like Metro on a tablet. When I first saw the video by Jensen Harris back in June, I was blown away. I said to myself that my iPad was going to be the last Apple product I would buy, and proudly e-mailed links to the video to my friends, family and colleagues.

    For months, I waited in eager anticipation for the BUILD conference. I couldn't wait to get a hold of the development tools so I could start writing Win8 apps. But I'm not writing any. And I've stopped bragging to everyone about how great Windows 8 is.

    What happened?

    After the start of BUILD, it took about a week or so for reality to set in. Win8's Metro UI isn't just for tablets. Microsoft (whether they've said this directly or not) envisions Metro as the future of Windows on the desktop.

    This is a mistake and please allow me to explain why.

    I use my iPad for casual computing: surfing the web, checking my Facebook news feed, watching movies, etc. Touch screen UIs excel at the consumption of content. But whenever I want to do any real work – create content – I put down my iPad and use a desktop computer. Virtual keyboards are great for typing a short e-mail, but I wouldn't want to write a term paper on it. For that, I want a real keyboard and mouse.

    You don't have to take my word for it. Here's a pretty nice article on the difference between the consumption of content versus the creation of content. Steven, do you think you can take a few minutes to read it, please?…/can-an-ipad-replace-a-laptop-2011-edition

    I think that Microsoft has misunderstood the tablet market and why the touch-screen UI has been so successful. Touch-screen UIs are not the next generation of UI the way that GUIs and the mouse replaced the command line. Instead, what we're seeing here is the creation of a brand new category of device, a device that is used differently for different purposes and often by different people. The touch screen UI is simply the UI best suited for this category. No more. No less.

    For years, Microsoft made the mistake of selling tablets that used a UI optimized for a desktop. They sold poorly and it wasn’t until the iPad came out that tablets finally started selling.

    Today, Microsoft is making the same mistake but only in reverse. Instead of forcing a desktop UI onto a tablet, Microsoft is forcing a tablet UI onto a desktop.

    UIs optimized for touch screens don't replace UIs optimized for the keyboard and mouse any more than airplanes replaced automobiles. They both have their place.

    This is why so many of your customers are complaining. It’s not that we don’t like change. It’s because you’re putting a tablet UI where it doesn’t belong.

    Fortunately, what many of us are asking for shouldn’t be too difficult to implement from a technical standpoint. It’s really more of a question of will on the part of Microsoft.

    Yes, we can have one core OS for desktops and tablets, but the shells need to be different:

    – Metro UI for tablets

    – Aero UI for desktops

    Let those be the defaults and let users switch back and forth if they like. But they both need to be first-class citizens.

  293. A suggestion – try and experiment with turning the Apps list into formal Start Menus and implement them to be virtual Start Menu's.

    Could be likes this:

    An "apps folder" concept (better coupling with the Metro UI or tiles – instead of the current hybrid of old and new). A user concept like the a stack of tiles, a group name, a Start Menu qualifier that can be reset (can this formal group of tiles become an actual Start Menu), and a non-constrainted number (unbounded upper limit) of tiles that can be mark as a trigger for that virtual menu.

    More details:

    Virtual Start Menu's – Turn the Apps list into supporting something like using tiles or a more first class part of the Metro UI – which may be in effect would mean virtual Start Menu's (however more secondary when on the formal list called Apps – while Start Menu remains primary).

    I think my comment about the portrant and landscape stuff fit better here – especially the last part reconsidering the Apps list – the result of going direct Search > Apps > [list]

    The Metro UI:

    Great work! Especially the automation of the layout. I'm looking forward to try and convey information through the titles too. A great property of the Metro UI. The shape of the titles almost makes them imaginary (no margens).

    Regarding the topic about "Designing the start menu" I think we need the new start menu and Metro UI (I think my comments on that topic concentrated on the deployment of programs and organization).

    Apps list or search (Apps information retrieval):

    However I'm still open to explanations whether this thing about initating an app should really be completely transparent i.e. there are just tiles (visual) – no techical terms like apps or technicalities ideally (allthough in practices from thinking "so" essentially about the UI with disconcern to apps – the apps list reintroduced a problem (the technicalities of apps – i.e. having an apps list).

    May be the apps term should go away and focus on the Metro UI instead … that is the tiles or visuals. May be the apps list should follow a similar idea as in the start menu to using tilesto present the more full complexity of what (apps) are formally available for the user – while the start screen then holds whats actually (virtually) available?

    May be the start screen with Metro UI versus apps list with Text holds a kind of impedeance mismatch (coupling problem) between old and new – i.e. the app launch system in Windows 8 preview is right now a hybrid with Start Screen (new Metro UI – note: the tiles) and then the Apps list with the legacy text stuff + grouping stuff.

    May be the Apps list should just go complete new of use tiles as well. No apps legacy list (text) – but something proposing tiles there as well. Like clusters of tiles that can be sorted or filtered (like stacked) differently i.e. depending on what somebody suggested as tags. The you could do your own like "domain" thing of tiles and just say uninstall to the lot of them. And gone they are – delegated to an uninstall process in the system. That would support the touch stuff as well nicely? The tile view could just be an alternate view to the current text suggestion in "Designing the Start Menu" with some grouping now kind of matching the legacy folder presentation. That could be the initial view but with added flexibility those tiles could be stacked, the stacks remembered and then you can just go an actually unfold … meaning ehhh … virtual Start Menu's?

    Then you could always "pin"  a formal stack or formal Start Menu as primary

    … much similar too what you can do with multidisplay today – switching your primary display. I.e. when closing Visual Studio in a developer stack of programs the virtualisation of the Start Menu could fallback to the default display – either factory or user reset .

    It could be more advanced like having one program pinned in several stacks. So if I i.e. opened Word from a consumer stack or office stack of pinned programs that stack would become the Start Menu (if qualified, i.e. marked as something that have precendence or can be promoted to Start Menu) – and if I then start Visual Studio (and it has Word pinned as well and its container stack can be qualified to Start Menu) then i.e. a Dev stack be comes Start Menu.

    Or it could just be more virtual … like having Visual Studio or some other virtual Start Menu trigger as pinned on the default Start Menu – and when used its stack of tiles will be triggered to fill the Start Menu space from left to right – and filter everything out except activated (and suspended) processes.

    So an apps folder concept like the a stack of tiles, a group name, a Start Menu qualifier that can be reset (can this formal group of tiles become an actual Start Menu), and a non-constrainted number (unbounded upper limit) of tiles that can be mark as a trigger for that virtual menu.

    The apps can be pinned in several stacks and the virtual Start Menu will always try and mix the screen according to the customization. Of course manual overrides – like positioning, marking forcing a tile to always be represented on the Start Menu … and so on

  294. Virtual Start Menu – making the Apps List a better provider for the Start Menu

    Considering web UI guess the proposition of a virtual Start Menu uses kind of faceted navigation while sticking to the user concept of an actual Start Menu (user concept as opposed to a global object or single instance Start Menu) . However, the set virtual Start Menu triggers help set the filters automatically while manual overrides is an aspects of user precedence presets on the filter thus across any Start Menu.

    With what – much similar to the idea in faceted navigation you can save on the navigation and much of the time just press the Start Menu button – which is the intention of the new Start Menu. However, the extention (data) of that – the Apps List – just need to support it. An impedeance mismatch or coupling problem between the Start Menu and the Apps List.

  295. RichardC says:

    In the video the view keeps flashing between the desktop and entirely different start screen.  It's dreadful the way you're completely taken out of the desktop and it's like you're using two different operating systems at the same time.

    The traditional start menu is far better because it keeps the user in the desktop at all times instead of having him switching rapidly between wildly different UIs.

  296. Musafir_86 says:

    @Windows 8 Team,

    -I personally prefer Windows XP built-in search behaviour compared to Windows Vista or Windows 7, or even Windows Desktop Search 4.0 for XP.

    -In Windows XP, like other commenter(s) said, you could specify filters/options and then search right away. I always use "Advanced File Search" instead of that task-based/wizard-guided search, and of course, without that Search Assistant.

    -My favourite (and most important) feature is the content's search ("A word or phrase in the file"). It will search the given string within *ANY* file that is could parses, be it DOC, XLS, PPT, or VCF, VMG or even EXE or COM! This is available without the need for any specific iFilter installed. Windows Vista nor 7 cannot do this (disclaimer: DOCX/XLSX/PPTS is zip-compressed, hence cannot). I really missed this on my Vista Business x64 (I stores my contacts and messages from my good old Nokia 3120 in VCF and VMG formats respectively).

    -My point #1: STRING SEARCH within ANY file. Please make this available once again in Windows 8, or better, backport to Windows Vista/7.

    -Also, XP built-n search is FASTER compared to Vista (maybe even 7) for non-indexed items. Yes, default "Indexing Service" in XP is slower, but non-indexed search is always faster. We cannot index everything, can we? E.g. disk drives that aren't ours that are given/obtained for a short time.

    -My point #2: please make NON-INDEXED search faster, like it was in XP.

    -Another thing (point #3): please make the search automatically include partial name search, like in XP. In Windows Vista/7, we HAVE to put asterisk (*) in front of the subject/input string.

    -Anyway, keep up your good work and don't forget to reply my comment. 🙂


  297. BTW Including support for a managed approach – Optimizing the APPX deployment descriptor to support consumption from the App Store

    The same goes for the lack of the deployment descriptor in the APPX Package format … coupling problem with reference to the intention of just pressing the Start Menu button and get as close to an  actual view of what's relevant (including the intention of tiles converying data to info on the display).

    Introducing the classifcation in the deployment descriptor can help instrumentation in the system to infer which virtual Start menu or user concept the app should go to rather than cluttering the display (i.e quality over visibility/popularity … quality of "search"). The user could remap locations himself it he decides to use such a feature.

    Such builtin management could also help support distribution of programs … I guess a "business or consumer problem" can emerge and a bound on what you would install to prevent your single Start Menu or rather your usable display (what the new Start menu promotes) from being cluttered. That could be- despite every program in WinRT will be sandboxed technically for technical reliability. We also need the use case "reliability" in the distribution. I don't think users will fill their only display with a lot, lot of programs?

    But if virtual and support for kind of automated insertions it would become a lot easier to just research the App Store and go try – then you can always go back and test – and now, with classification, you would know what you downloaded (the taxonomy system would be a facility for automated user concepts instead of users having to switch their attention away from the App Store to organize, organize programs as they go. You can workflow the AppStore … just grapping all those Apps to try them out quickly.

    New Apps could go in a New Apps stack with respect to the suggestion on the Apps List. From here they could expire manually or automated on timeout either to be preserved or uninstalled. It would help collaborating with a lot of apps in the App Store.

    Right now it seems there is just going to be one single Start Menu for which all Apps will compete for visbility … A potent Windows 8 "Google"  visibility over quality problem directly in the display (if you just consume programs – you will need to manage that in one single flat Start Menu – and flat equals complex if you consume to much in this case)

  298. ben says:

    @Ben H [MSFT] 18 Oct 2011 12:27 PM

    Wow, Windows 8 brings back the good old time, when we had to use the command line and a long list of key combinations below our keyboard.

    When will we get back this black screen ?

    Ctrl+Alt+Del is for Task Manager and most people have never used it or know about it.

  299. …. an additional comment on automation of apps classification in the UI: there may be indrect support through some technical properties to local resources in the AppX package format to interpret and infer matching user concepts (suggestion: virtual Start Menu's). But the functionality would still have to be implemeted.

    Still those properties do not refer directly to the application type ifself in the Cloud or whatever but local resources like global folder objects, file types or devices … and you can not be sure intentional user application type or category is fully reflected by such means or lack of declaration (i.e. no local resouces or just a printer capability).

    Cloud is network and different from local resource capability. So still lack of classification from my point of view.

    Please tell me if there is anything in that AppX format I have overlooked for such classification possibilities … I've looked here again:…/br211473(v=VS.85).aspx

    At least the potential for application classification should be reservered in the new deployment format … i.e. as part of the idenity … the apps should not only have a "phenotype" or individual indentity but also one for feature similarity (genotype) … "a or more types" – i.e. hybrid or present in several categories in the AppStore. Those categories could be mapped directly to Players, News, Entertainment, Dev, Administration to keep it rather simple – and may be additionally Tool (if app just promoting one feature or less feature complete)

    Anyway may be new apps suites will become virtual through the WinRT share facilities making evering just a tool – but then – becomes the Start Menu just a big horisontally complicated menu of everything like and endless menu in Word for everything. Eh, I just installed a new feature only.

    What's a good way of organizing features on a display – an icon or tile for all features? This kind of goes back to smartphones as special purpose messaging devices constrating the number of features people will install.

    The answer: Must be virtualization in the Start Menu of all that stuff – the Start Menu becomes the general application like a stack of tiles (features?) for Java development.

  300. Rudy Sloup says:

    First of all to M$ keep up the good work. And dont listen to the people saying XP was better they are just Type S personalities who do not want to change. I have used every M$ product and between XP and windows 7 there is no contest for speed and efficiency more gets done faster in 7. Sure a couple things became harder but the overall improvements were very much in the positive direction.

    Anyhow the point here is how can we make the metro start menu be a no brainer win that is the goal isnt it. I am open to new things but I can also tell you when something is needed to make a new thing as good or better than the old thing. From using windows 8 this is what I miss.

    My problem with search in windows 8 and alot of stuff is that it is off to the right of the screen when the start menu is on the left. For most people this is just a huge travel distance that is less efficient. In windows 7 and vista search was the first thing closest to the start button now it is the furthest.

    I think by default they need to flip all that stuff to the other side of the screen. I think this would also make it easier for people to transition to windows 8 sinse it would almost seem like you were opening the start menu if you hit search or something.

    I also think when M$ releases windows 8 when you install it they need to ask you if you are using a touch screen tablet where primary input is fingers or a mouse and keyboard. Then they need to ask you if you prefer the start button on the left or right. Then this info is used to customize it per personal situation. Most people myself included are right handed and with small devices like phones and tablets it would make more sense to have the start menu on the right bottom corner and have all tiles mirrored along the vertical axis. In fact everything should flip I think.

    Also as others said I want to see the new start menu be able to show me which programs are open. I imagine it working similar to the windows 7 task bar except now it is 2D instead of 1D. Programs that are open have highlighted or raised tiles. And those tiles indicate how many windows are open. And if more than 1 is open then when you click the tile you get previews like windows 7 but they spread out in 2D instead of a single row.

  301. Sagar says:

    @ Steven Sinofsky, @ Brian

    If I am video chatting with someone on Skype and want to search for a file on my computer that I want to send him, I will have to leave the video behind and go to Metro to find what I want! Do you think that's an "efficient way of searching? You shoud enable "search" in the Metro as well as in the Desktop.

  302. Ryan says:

    Bah… another comment eaten, and I just realized it now. What is the timeout here? If I don't hit refresh right before posting, it gets eaten. At any rate, I'll try to reconstruct my original post:

    Are there any improvements to the indexer itself in Windows 8? The search feature in Vista/7 is great, but the indexer is competitively very slow. We had a situation where a 3rd party PDF software package installed its own PDF iFilter, and for some reason, over time it started corrupting the index for many users. We had to disable their iFilter and then manually delete and rebuild the index (rebuilding from the Indexer Control Panel wouldn't do it). We turned off all indexing sources except for Outlook, and it took over 3 days to reindex 80,000 items (~1 GB) on an otherwise idle, Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz/4 GB RAM/7200 RPM drive desktop machine (over a weekend). This was typical performance for other users that had corrupted indexes. Will any improvements from other search properties (FAST, Bing, etc.) be incorporated?

    Likewise, while I can appreciate the "hands-off/maintenance-free" approach to the indexer, there is no logging ability whatsoever. Will this be addressed? I think at least an option to turn on some rudimentary logging/monitoring is a minimum. There is currently no way to know what files error out or are not indexed for other reasons.

    It would also be very appreciated if the limits of the indexer were documented somewhere–e.g., the fact that the indexer stops indexing at some point on larger files. At what point is it currently? I can't find current information online anywhere, but only some indirect discussion about this issue in the previous version along with some indication that the issue still existed in Vista and beyond (as a performance decision).

    After introducing the instant search feature as part of Windows, many people absolutely rely on the indexer. Please don't stop improving the indexing engine–it needs to be significantly more robust, performant, and well-documented not only to be competitive, but simply to meet its obligation as a critical function of the OS. It's frustrating when an online search of the entire web is a better experience than a simple search only of your own computer. If there are improvements in Windows 8 to the indexer, please let us know! 🙂

  303. ky says:

    Just wonder if we have any improvement for Intl languages? In intl version, some feature/product names are left in English, so it cannot be searched when I use Korean to search it.

  304. ky says:

    Just wonder if we have any improvement for Intl languages? In intl version, some feature/product names are left in English, so it cannot be searched when I use Korean to search it.

  305. @ben says:

    your comment stinks! WTF you are talking about anyway? CTRL+ALT+DEL is for options screen with task manager as an option and CTRL+SHIFT+ESC (which can be pressed by one hand) is for lanching Task manager since windows vista. R u still on XP? Similarly F3 and WindKey+F is for search. F3>Type query>Hit Enter and you get results. Also, in 7 and Vista you can search in start menu. Hit WindKey>type query and you get the results.

    All that you can do in Windows 8 with extra options. So, what is your point? You dont have any point. You lose…

  306. ThereThere says:

    There there now, nobody loses anything. Maybe Microsoft will lose all their real desktop business customers eventually.

    But hey they will have rectangle happy customers instead, that love pressing random key combinations to compensate for the luck of common sense.

    Now, I am sure there must be a key comb. somewhere that will make this Metro UI crp go away…where is it, where is it…

  307. Nitz Walsh says:

    @Ryan: Something else is going on there, there is no way that Win7/Vista's indexer should take 3 days for a 1 GB Outlook OST.  Mine is 2GB and well over 80,000 items – indexing it I would estimate at under an hour, if even that.  This is an old 2GB Althon 64 X2 4800 PC with a slow HD.

    Now that being said, yes I agree – I would like to see some improvements in the low-level functionality of the indexer (or just reducing the Metro avalanche articles a tad:)).

    A particular annoyance is how search just breaks down outside of indexed areas.  OSX's Spotlight doesn't need to distinguish between indexed vs. non-indexed, it just searches everything, and quickly.  Now this can be a detriment in some cases, such as plugging in an external HD with lots of files – Spotlight will not allow you to perfor searches until it's finished and starts hitting the HD pretty hard (albeit I don't know this is with Lion).  With Windows wildly varying use cases I can see where automatically "index everything" could be a disaster in some scenarios, so indexing file contents only by user command probably makes sense.

    However, I would like there to be an option to automatically search for all areas on your system by just searching for *file type*  in the areas that are not indexed.  I realize that the indexer will only index file types if it can't read the files contents, but that still requires you to index the specific folder manually.

    There are a ton of freeware file-type searchers out there which can comb a HD in seconds, I don't know what seach is doing outside of indexed areas but I've never understood just why it takes so long (Windows search in general before indexing had a deseved reputation of being very, very slow).  I'm not sure this is a search indexer limitation, NTFS limitation, or both.  I would be fantastic if I could set Explorer to show all hidden files and all OS-files, then just start typing and file that .dll hidden in AppDataLocal Usersetc etc.

  308. OnTopic says:

    Do these things EVER stay on topic?!?!  The comments section of one blog post just continues the same conversations from the last blog post.  It's like half the people never even read the post, and just come here as a place to rant about the same topics again and again.  I realize that Microsoft is watching the posts in this location, so you feel you have an actual audience.  However… how about we try to create SOME continuity in conversations here people????  These "comment" posts that are now getting long enough to be a blog post of their own, are getting a little out of place and most likely ignored by the majority.

  309. @OnTopic says:

    Stop posting these copy and paste replies to every thread!

    If we get answers, we'll move on to other questions and issues.

  310. @@OnTopic says:

    Stop posting these copy and paste rants to every thread then too!

  311. Vin says:

    WinKey + W makes me SO happy! Awesome work!

  312. @pip25

    Thank you! Your words are exactly what I needed to hear. How did I not notice your comment before?

    Glad to know you can tell the difference between me and the other guy.

  313. Extra! Extra! Read All About It!…/61455

    We're not the only ones complaining about Windows Metro.

  314. @WindowsVista567 says:

    I see your ZDNet link and raise you one……/6297893

    Then I suggest you look at this…

    Then read this……/the-backfire-effect

    Please note the URL is no reflection on you… the content is the important factor overall.  We can post links all day and try to convince each other that we are right.  In the end, Microsoft is going to release what they collectively believe to be the right thing.  You have the choice to use it… or not.

  315. @@WindowsVista567

    I already knew about the "Great Debate" story before I posted my first comment, but I can point to another article with a free, no sign-in poll where 87% of voters think that Microsoft should offer a regular Start Menu.

  316. @WindowsVista567 says:

    Apparently you haven't looked at the other two links…  it doesn't matter how many links we post/find.  There is always going to be a source that argues your point… or my point… or the other guys.  I highly doubt if I *** loud enough you are going to change your mind.

    Just because Microsoft hasn't directly taken the time to respond to your exact post, doesn't mean they aren't aware of the concern.  They don't owe you (or anyone else) anything.  Feel free to keep posting your points over and over again, be the on topic or not.  It's their choice if they want to directly aknowledge you (or anyone else).  It's your choice to buy the software (or not) that they choose to create and sell.

    This isn't directed at you, but everyone as a whole….  keep up the same complaints if you feel the energy is worth your time.  I'm done even trying to look the the comments sectiosn on these posts.


    Keep up the good work, and do whatever you think is right in the end.

  317. Let’s not forget that the Metro UI applications will only be available from the Windows Market place. So each time I press the Start button I am entering the virtual Windows Shop. That means that Microsoft is force feeding us their app store and they are threatening to cut us off from the desktop apps by treating it as a second class citizen.

    Sorry my friend but no argument can convince me (and a lot of other people) that when it comes to the desktop Windows 8.0 is just the new Windows 1.0 (as that article says)…only this time it is coming with prettier rectangles and a shop to go along.

    So I agree with WindowsVista567, he is at least one user that cares about Windows and their future on the desktop, instead of just going with the flow.

    At the end of the day if they want to “lock down” the tablet space, they are free to do as they like. But when they are ruining the desktop experience to herd us all towards the Metro UI direction (and eventually their shop), it doesn’t sound very nice and only a sheep would just follow.

    Finally they are making statements like “all the screens will be touch screens in the future”, come on, my next 60” TV that will replace my 52” will be a touch screen? Am I going to use my media center remote control, or I am going to be getting up to change channels by touching the screen. The same goes for my multi-monitor desktop setup. Am I going to be filling all my monitors with finger prints?

    Of course Microsoft will release what they thing is right for them, but we have every right to tell them it is not right for us.

  318. @Steven Sinofsky

    I have another Metro-related question, and comments are turned off on the other post so this is the best place I can find to ask this:

    Would you every try to convince us that Windows Media Center is better than Windows Media Player for listening to music on a daily basis? When run in full-screen mode, Media Center essentially is a Metro-style app, a few years ahead of its time. In many ways, Metro feels like an evolution of Media Center, not Windows. If Media Center isn't as good as Media Player for desktop use, how are Metro-style apps better than desktop apps? This is one of the big questions that everyone has been asking, phrased a little bit differently, and I would like to see this addressed in a future post.

  319. @AdamDesrosiers

    Thanks for the positive comments! I think Microsoft can implement both the tradition desktop and new Metro Start screen in a simple, unified, single UI. This would be much easier to use, intuitive, and more powerful for users of both the classic desktop and Metro Start screen. Not to mention, it gets rid of the need to have two separate charm bars in two different locations, which will only add to more confusion. Simplicity, while providing all the tools to power users, is the key to winning the user over. Having two separate desktops definitely does not meet that criteria.

  320. There is an implicit design rule evident in these posts that the user interface will not be modified based on touch versus mouse use, probably based on the notion that the two input methods are not an either/or proposition in practice (use). However, my view is that this rule should not be an absolute, as this subsequently denies any opportunities for specialization of the UI for different input methods, regardless of merit. Perhaps MSFT don't see any significant scope for specialization, which would be remarkable in itself (that such a convenient set of cooincidences should exist), or that MSFT are ignoring these opportunities for both the dual-input scenario and for the sake of marketing the line that one UI fits (almost) all device classes. In contrast, my idea here about presenting search results, includes changing the presentation dependent on the presence of a touchscreen (or user preference regarding UI optimization mode), and then optimzing each case in respect of this. For touchscreen:

    1. Search results appear in details view down the left side of screen

    2.1 For files, each result record includes these fields; 1) a number 2) file extension [max 4 chars*] 3) File name 4) Modified time in relative format 4) File size in MB.# [KB's are too small + i don't like commas in numbers]

    2.2 For apps, divide results into groups based on vendor name. Use this name as a sub-header for each group. Each app result is displayed with 1) a number [following a continuous sequence that ignores sub-headers] 2) App name 3) Small icon.

    2.3 For settings, follow the pattern for apps, except 'app name'='setting description'.

    3. On right side of screen is an extended keypad. This keypad starts at bottom-right and continues up the screen. Above row 7, 8, 9 is 10, 11, 12, then 13, 14, 15 etc.

    4. The numbers referred to @2.1|2-1) correspond to the numbers @3

    5. As the user scrolls (if necessary) through the search results list, the file details change (obviously), but the file numbers – and the extended keypad – *do not*. The displayed numbers all remain static when scrolling occurs. So page three, row twelve of the search results is a file numbered 12, and the calender looking device on right has a just adequately sized tile/key labelled 12, that when touched, results in "file 12" opening. Assuming 24 records per page – for this example; file#12=record#60

    * If extension > 4 chars, display as; abc~ (i'd prefer seeing the ext over icon, but of course could be both)

    The tiles (keypad keys) contain a small app icon, or a medium icon displayed as watermark, and also contain number ##. Scroll buttons go top and bottom of "keypad". For the mouse user, the keypad pane is simply replaced by a second pane of search results (as required).

    Important ideas are:

    1. Result record shape (strips of left-aligned text) is optimized for scannability, and file/app/setting details follow an MSB -> LSB sequence. Activation points are optimized for touch (squares). Search result items in this post are by contrast doing both jobs, are therefore relatively large, thus requiring multiple columns. I doubt the public will accept this multi-column layout (especially compared to the simplicity of web search results). One column is best, two is stretching the friendship, but acceptable. More than two spells trouble.

    2. (Although irrelevant to main concept,) date/time modified is replaced with time-since-modified, in appropriate formats (mins, hours, days, etc). This prevents the user having to perform in-head calculations and be aware of the date.

    3. Jensen Harris's //build/ vid explains how users prefer to use the left and right edges, and especially the lower-left/right areas, as touch points. By separating the results from the touch points, and placing the touch points down the right edge (with top search result activated at bottom-right), my layout follows the principle described by Jensen – the method used in the DP does not.…/BPS-1004

    4. Marina's post included this statement: "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." My layout draws on that insight more explicitly than the DP does – the search result on row x always corresponds to a tile in a fixed, and therefore learnable location. There is a consistent spatial relationship between row ## and tile ##. By contrast, how is the DP exploiting the insight referred to in MD's quote, for search results?

    Further points; 1) The search filters can go somewhere in the middle of screen – say, just to the left of the keypad – and hence be an extension of this 2) By adding a Ctrl key, user can select multiple files, and get an instant AQS equivalent query @search bar 3) the general principle could be used in any context that involves generating lists, including calendars.

    Finally, the new keyboard "shortcuts" are all well and good, but surely a new standard keyboard with several extra keys would be appropriate for the Metro era. I quoted 'shortcuts' because i think this is a misnomer when applied to keyboard sequences. F1 is a true shortcut, whereas stuff like WIN+F and CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER should only be referred to as a sequence. If you [MSFT] want to call these functions shortcuts, then market a keyboard that includes these functions as single keys. Anything less is a compromise.

  321. grenangen says:

    Well, this thing with covering the entire screen is just not working out for me. I have a 30'' screen at 2560×1600. There is a reason for having that big screen, multiple windows next to each other, not one app covering the entire screen leaving a ton of white space / not utilized space. That dog just wont hunt.

    It also feels ridiculous that I should have to wait for a animation/transition to complete before I can continue to do tasks such as launch a new app, find a setting or the like, with win7 it's just WIN key and search, bam, action.

    This thing with trying to get a touch interface into a regular keyboard/mouse computer just wont work, and as other has already mentioned, it's even more pain on a big screen with the right click menu appearing bottom right, that gives me a huge distance to travel with the mouse to be able to do a sub-action, this really has to be re-worked for keyboard/mouse usage.

    On another note, can't wait to play with win8 on a tablet.

  322. RodneyMcKay says:

    I watched the video twice but i can't believe what i am seeing! You searched for "calc" and "power options". Both things can easily be done from the win7-start menu today without choosing between different search options (did you really press Tab – Key Down – Return to navigate from the app-search to the settings-search? This is crazy!) . The most annoying thing in the world is to leave the desktop to see this full screen view of metro – oh my god this is really terrible. I use the search field in the start menu of win7 all the time and i allways get my results after a few keystrokes. Don't change things just for the sake of "change".

  323. WindowsDeveloper says:

    I work with many programs like Visual Studio, SQL Management Studio, Eclipse, Remote Desktop, Photo Shop, Excel, … and none of those applications will ever work with a Metro interface. Metro is good for tablets and for users who surf the web, reading emails, viewing pictures and such things.

    Don't force working people in offices to work with a Metro interface. The "search" video is just funny, noone will enjoy this feature it is really bad. I always laughed about users who said "i will stay on Windows XP as long as possible" but now i start thinking "i will stay on Windows 7 as long as possible" 🙂 hahaha

  324. Francesco Pira says:

    You're Windows search seems to be very fast and useful, but remember there are users who do not like sudden windows change or other type of animation. I suggest you to show right search panel firstly and after a fade in, the results panel.

  325. @Steven Sinofsky

    In the light of this new Windows UI, I've been reading Jensen Harris's old Office UI blog again, and I found an interesting link that took me to this, on another blog:…/464152.aspx

    It turns out that this post was written by none other than Steven Sinofsky! I have a question for you that has been bothering me for some time:

    In the blog post I linked to, you provided quotes from users who negatively described the GUI experience as compared to using MS-DOS. The quotes you pulled to describe GUI's were from users who thought that DOS was better for general computing than Windows. Today, we know how wrong this is, but is this how the Windows team sees Metro? Does the team think that Metro is to the GUI what the GUI was to DOS?

    Many users disagree with you on this point. From the perspective of many, Metro is as bad as the Office Assistant. I'm sure you've seen the comparisons that people have drawn between Metro and Microsoft Bob. Here's another question: what happens to Metro UI users who don't have touchscreens? You can't properly use a GUI without a mouse or trackpad, so how do you properly use a touch/Metro UI without a touchscreen? Do you expect that touchscreens on the desktop will become as common as mice?

    Oddly enough, it's still possible to comment on that post that is over six years old. However, it is directly related to this Windows 8 discussion and I would be interested in hearing your thoughs. My comment on that page is below all the PingBack comments.

  326. Any cool thing about the new UI is – it's immersive.

    But first – great with providing a way for more immersive apps but what the OS being more immersive itself? Take control panel, explorer and so on. They should use the immersive concept as well as the Start Menu. Again it's not just the Apps list.

    The problem is that the lack of Metro UI in Windows 8 itself – that is the OS without the factory apps on top uses legacy UI and a 3rd kind of web ui for the charm, i.e. control panel and so on. Where do you want to go? To go, you need to go there.

    That's the problen: The theme across the partial UI's for subsystems in the OS needs to be taken to Metro UI and possibly immersive as well. It will make the experience more complete and let the legacy be the part that "does not fit into the future". Right now, the immersive stuff only exist as far as the UI's are concerned – only from the Start Menu and up through any App in WinRT.

    Hopefully we will se an immersive Explorer using tiles and stuff … an App List with tiles – like I suggested above.

    The cool stuff … who said Windows should run on legacy displays?

    Have it virtual reality. With the immersive UI it could be projected instead and go beyond.

    Getting that virtual Start Menu, virtual Desk Top, virtual Home Screen or whatever … would allow for i.e. reuse with the location API.

    When come to the office it's "knows" go give me that screen. When I login in at the sports club on their PC and roams I get may sports Starts Menu for that place. At home it just starts the media center (when the Gallileo system is up and runing determining that PC within a meter or 2)

    The Start Menu or really the a launch system should be that flexibile always virtualizing. I.e. in the last use case there is just one apps so I don't need to see the Start Menu.

  327. BTW With "Metro UI" I'm referring exclusively to those tiles. They are the sun reflecting the perceived quality of Metro UI. The Tiles …

    More bricks – more immersiveness … more visuals blocks … less text. I.e. control panel, i.e. Apps List should be just stacks of tiles.

    If anybody don't like an immersive UI throw in an option or slider that can disable immersiveness partially and a warning when you loose the ability to run WinRT apps. Think games and players …

    Less text, more visuals (tiles or small dislays) … go with the concepts in the Start Menu and implement it. It needs to be everywhere, flexibile and useful.

    Then a new immersive UI in Windows 8 will stand out as the broad experience. Right now its only an exclusive experience limited to the Start Menu and any WinRT app on top. Control panel feels like an ActiveX upgrade … not Metro Tile stuff.

    It's up to you … may the app engine should be perceived as under the hood? So no priority for more immersive. But PC's are about files, right? So you are going to use the OS as well. So let's have it immersive as well – with them tile displays everywhere.

    … do tiles with the legacy taskbar as welll out of the box when immersive is on .. a guess is … you're already doeing it …?

    But let the application launch system (the "Start Menu") become more dynamic than its current state … a virtual launcher with triggers and all kinds of stuff possible. Same for the "formal Star Menu" the Apps List.

    If not please let there be an API (haven't looked through that properly) so it can be extended by 3rd parties.

  328. So basically design the launch system for variability or different configurations with option for triggers either external (manual) or internal (i.e. location … "Role is everything"). If only one app in a Start Menu no indirection. Make the Apps List just the formal Start Menu of all apps with tiles and use something like stacking to organize them and 2nd to i.e. support workflow on the stacks (batching).

    I think this would work much better for the apps list … like stacks of video tiles in media player. The tiles are a visual "media" presentation anyway. Have a button at the top of any instance of the Start Menu to go to the Apps List or formal Start Menu – i.e. a preset button next to the title Start Menu or that you can just press the Start Menu title and get the standard Metro context – allowing to configure or change your Start Menu instance.

    This is a development preview of Windows – so my development comments without knowing how much of this has already been discussed and given priorities.

  329. Another thing that could be done with a virtual Start Menu and inference:

    When there's is only one app in a virtual Start Menu and that instance of a Start Menu is active that could imply kiosk mode given the new immersive UI (full screen). It would make kiosk mode much easier to configure to some point:

    … just create a new application of Windows (virtual Start Menu) and put only one app there – i.e. Media Center, activate that menu and reboot. At the next login theres an option to do a new user for kiosk – based on the last activated instance of a windows application (Start Menu) was a singularity, one app applied to the infrastructure in this last case. A new must be created to proceed with auto-login.

    On additional reboots it can then just do the auto login and start the app directly in an exclusive mode (no explorer policy hacks – all automated).

    To disable later press the Start button lower left – and on reboot you get the Windows security screen to login.

    I.e. it would be easy to setup the machine to run Media Center immersively as kiosk for consumers.

  330. Virtual Start Menu's – are like the Windows Phone's "super" tiles …

    It's all about bringing real value to the business and experience of launching applications – not just claiming technical effectiveness like shortening mouse movements in a new Start Menu.

    With Virtual Start Menus we would get a different experince launching apps since the "launching experience" itself would simulate data-driven – like using the People super-tile on the Windows Phone aggregating different coupled services below – at least from a use perspective.

    Saying that, the Metro UI on the windows phone is not considered to be just another application launcher but data-driven trough the tiles. I think the tiles reflecting functionality or app icons in the new Windows Start Menu contradicts the frontpage idea in the Phones UI – at least initially since every app in the current Windows frontpage will have their own tile and complicate the interface.

    So again another point for making virtual Start Menu – or the notion of super-tiles – bascially supporting the transition in Windows to the data-driven tile idea in the original Metro UI from the phone.

    On one possible migration path: in the future Windows could have those basic tiles like a graphics tile (similar to the idea of the Phones People tile) – you hit it … and it virtualizes all kind of services (or apps) building a virtual UI for using WinRT cloud apps all each doing one thing or 2 with graphics. Much like MS Office itself is just a collecting of objects with different UI's and workflows.

    An aggregated UI like the People tile in the Windows Phone is reflecting a real Cloud app and the basic tile idea. The user value of that idea is not yet represented in the use of new launch systems default page.

  331. @WindowsVista567 — Many people disagree with something that I did not say?

  332. So is it "process is everything" ? ;o)

    The current focus on IT to deliver effective workflows focused on output-value for users.

    So is launch PIM and initiating workflow events?

    Is the Windows Phone People tile really a "super-file" tile?Then what about PC's and files. Chrome OS will support files – even though they initially said it's all web. Windows 8 says PC's are much about files? Then what about launch of files? Should I pin a folder in the Start Menu? Will I have to launch Word first to open the office workspace? On the Windows Phone I open the People workspace to deal with the People? Will Windows 8 be like that? Opening a global object like People on the Phone? Opening a global object like Documents on Windows?

    The great thing about the PC is we get to concentrate on the data. No margins.

    On the Phones it would mean – I go to the gps data and say – I want to do this with that data – and choose a software feature (the app). Only I can usually not do that on a phone because they are provisioned by the Telcos or other interest. So Is it really about the user interface or is it really about the bureacracy (deals)?

    But that is using the data.

    You can build an experience around using the data – i.e. a device embedding the data. But it usually means provisioning. Like a TomTom navigator. Or an iPhone. Or a Windows Phone.

    People want to use data. One thing is the popularity of VLC. Why – because they go and double click that video file and it comes on display. But data first. The point is, when evaluating users it's incredible how fast they learn when interested – and harddisk sales proove the point. Every person below age 40 can do that now including the deployment. But the visibility (popularity) of something like VLC is based on browsing the data first.

    Windows works that way – and I know it will keep working that way. Data is the road to every use.

    My point here is … get the concept of data first into the Start Menu – the desktop, explorer … data or files first. I.e. let's have the People tile there. Using the legacy UI – let's have a folder in the namespace like documents, videos, sound named People. And so on … more global objects (and similar capabilities to be declared by supporting WinRT apps)

    Also do a Movies global object i.e. contained inside the videos global object. Have WinRT capability and when you hit the Movies tile … and supporting provisioning apps will be there to let you order a movie. I.e. you could basically aggregrate any movie offer in World into the UI of the movies tile.

    The users wants data. Providers may want their own app icon and control the user experience – it's the challenge of not only the original idea of hypermedia but also inherit to the cloud and orchestration of similarity between services in portals. But providers can still do that – provide their own UI or HTMl5 web-page in an app. Like on the Windows Phone – the user can drag that app icon onto the front (Start Menu) as a tile. With the virtual Start Menu suggested, coupling with the concept of a super tile – you could actually construct your own kind of "global object" with those provisoned movie apps running as tiles inside the same view – similar to portlets. However in view only – it would be like portlet mapping only – without both data integration through global objects and without functional integration through suoer-tiles – that a global object reflected by a super-tile for that application would help facilitate.

    Anyway the user will decide – and with more global objects as tiles the WinRT app can be integrated into the experience anyway the users decides to access the data offered.

    Also third parties could be allowed to declare a new capability in terms of a new global object or namespace – to support specialized integration within apps through i.e. one tile originating from one creative app – and extended by others.

    All this perspective also reflects – in any case, what frontends will mean to the socalled webpages in the hyper world eventually. What's the host for UI? We are just at the begining … webpages is a transition. Like wordprocessing was more rich than typewriting. And frontends are virtual too. They don't exist before you use them – they are nowhere, but can be anywhere when observed (accessed). It will be that way eventually. Real quantum. And first class usable when just expressing a conceptual solution like a Peoples tile or Movies tile. In some ways this resembles what UDDI set out to do – but more constructive.

  333. Sanket says:

    Instead of making start menu or app as a search give us simplified app for start menu items and imp please give us simple way to shut down

  334. These posts are getting too long, so let’s summarize the main points here and see if I got it right. From all these blogs and relevant postings Microsoft is arguing the following points:

    1. All screens will be “touch enabled” in the future (they said so in a build video too) and that implies you will be touching all your screens instead of using the mouse.

    2. Metro UI is the “evolution” of Windows and the new way of interacting with the operating system.

    3. The current classic Windows is too complicated for the users.

    4. Productivity efficiencies are to be found when you have one or two only visible applications at any given time.

    5. Full screen on the current action (e.g. search) is what users want and it will make them more efficient.

    6. Memorizing lots of key combinations will solve any deficiencies of the new approach.

    7. The classic Windows looks ugly where the Metro style is so modern and pretty.

    8. The new paradigm is applicable to everything and scales well from phones, to tablets, to laptops and up to desktops.

    9. Icons are not good anymore because text in rectangles is so much better to convey information.

    10. All these findings are backed by telemetry data and can be quantified so there is no argument about.

    Arguments against all the above points are scattered around the forum, but the only thing I would say is that the Metro UI and the current Windows UI (desktop) are not the same. Windows desktop cannot evolve into a Metro UI because they are two different paradigms.

    The only thing you will manage to achieve by trying to unify them is to destroy Windows. You are not evolving the desktop you are just replacing it with an inferior paradigm.

  335. @Steven Sinofsky

    Is that what I said? That didn't come out quite right. I meant that it is impled in everything the team has done that you see Metro as replacing the desktop, and the desktop in Windows 8 is provided only as a means for backward compatibility. In other words, you think that Metro is the future and that the desktop is the past. Am I right?

    Going back to the original question… do you see Metro as being to the GUI what the GUI was to DOS, yes or no?

  336. @mil_

    "These posts are getting too long…"  With respect to what? The attention span of the average reader? These are technical posts about difficult and complex subjects. The posts are as long as they need to be, given the content, and in some cases even the longer posts are not enough, so will have to be continued in later posts. Really, if you find the posts too long, then you're on the wrong blog.

    1. "All screens will be “touch enabled” in the future (they said so in a build video too) and that implies you will be touching all your screens instead of using the mouse."  All screens in the future will be touchscreens, means … all future screens will be touchscreens – it does not mean one, two or three other things, including anything about the fate of the mouse. The Metro-related post authors and Steven Sinofsky have made clear that touch and mouse are not, and should not be regarded as an either/or proposition. There is no rule that says you can't plug a mouse into a touch-enabled system. Jensen Harris @//build/ made clear the mouse was the most precise input method available and ideal for apps like Photoshop. For MSFT to predict the death of the mouse in favor of touch would be tantamount to predicting the demise of Photoshop. Haven't heard MSFT make that prediction, implied or not – have you?

    2. "Metro UI is the “evolution” of Windows and the new way of interacting with the operating system."  This is correct except that 'evolution' implies gradual change – whereas Metro should be seen as more of a revolution than simply contributing to gradual change – it's a clean break from the past. If 'evolution' were the right word, MSFT would be calling the new sub-system WinET, rather than WinRT. Besides, a mere evolution wouldn't be causing all this fuss 🙂

    3. "The current classic Windows is too complicated for the users."  More or less correct – for some users. Case in point; my dad knows all about Excel and Outlook, but ask him where he saves his files, or to copy a file to a UFD, and he has no idea. Many users are like this – they can use their apps ok but anything relating to Explorer or CPLs or basic admin tasks is totally alien to them. You have to stay aware of this intermediate/middle-of-the-bell-curve type user that is more sophisticated than the casual web browser but still struggles with some of the more abstract stuff, even things like drive letters and nested folders. Remember also that most so-called power users grew up in the era of/or have had lots of experience with command-line interfaces, which more or less force the user to understand this and other lower-level stuff, so the general problem is only likely to worsen in a relative and absolute sense.

    Furthermore, it's not just a matter of being "too complicated" – it's simply an issue of maximizing ease-of-use. That's a laudable goal, and is being achieved not just by designing with touch in mind, but with several other major design principles, most of which were covered in the "too long" post by Marina Dukhon. Commenters like WindowsVista567 who say things such as "No amount of extra scrollbars, corner menus, or right-click UI's will change the fact that Metro was designed for touch and converted for mice and keyboards" are wrong. Metro wasn't designed "for touch" – it was designed *for users*. Anyone who says they agree with that last quote without offering evidence in support is talking out of the wrong end of their bodies.

    4. "Productivity efficiencies are to be found when you have one or two only visible applications at any given time."  Many commenters have ignored the benefits of running apps fullscreen. Specifically they have focused on a perceived or anticipated loss of inter-app productivity or workflow, but have ignored the *intra*-app productivity benefits of fullscreen, chromeless, "immersive" UIs – which offer a distraction-free, maximum pixel work environment. Also, as i pointed out @…/reflecting-on-your-comments-on-the-start-screen.aspx – the belief that tiles/groups *within* Start won't eventually be able to display first-class app content is incorrect. Instead, believe the evidence to the contrary, and don't wait for some VIP to tell you what you can read/see with your own eyes.

    5. "Full screen on the current action (e.g. search) is what users want and it will make them more efficient."  It will make them more efficient, but whether it is what they want remains to be seen, but ultimately irrelevant. As Steve Jobs said – "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

    6. "Memorizing lots of key combinations will solve any deficiencies of the new approach."  Presumably you say the same about Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Win-F, Win-L and all other existing key combinations? What makes key-combos features for Desktop, but band-aids for Metro? Regardless of the environment, it will always be true that having single keystroke functions is preferable to key-combinations, and MSFT fanboys should be pushing for all new keyboards ("Metroboards"?) to include functions like Cut, Copy, Paste, and Win-W as single key options.

    7. "The classic Windows looks ugly where the Metro style is so modern and pretty."  MSFT have not called the Desktop environment ugly. Have you got a quote or two to back up that claim? This is subjective stuff, however it would be fair to say that Metro is not yet deserving of any beauty awards, but we are right at the beginning of the Metro era. Be patient like i know you were with early versions of Windows.

    8. "The new paradigm is applicable to everything and scales well from phones, to tablets, to laptops and up to desktops."  If Win8 runs ok in 1GB RAM, and phones are produced with 1GB RAM or more, then i guess that claim would be correct in a resources sense – but MSFT have a phone-specific OS, so we can jump to the next class/size of devices anyway, unless you want to define the new paradigm as referring to little more than "designed for touch", which would be far from complete. So which classes of device don't you think Win8+ will be suitable for, or are you arguing against the notion of OS scalability?

    9. "Icons are not good anymore because text in rectangles is so much better to convey information."  That's just a false dichotomy. Text in tiles has not superseeded icons, it complements them – at the very least. Also, how would you indicate things like # of unread emails or the weather using only icons? Even disregarding stuff like live data, icons and text have always been used in combination, rather than as competing substitutes. Putting icons and text into shapes called tiles hasn't changed the situation one bit.

    10. "All these findings are backed by telemetry data and can be quantified so there is no argument about."  That's a big claim on your behalf, and again, if you can't back it up with quotes or citations i'll accuse you of making things up as you go. What i've found interesting about the commentary on telemetery is this – people only *** about and misrepresent the use of telemetary when the end result or new feature is not to their liking. In the case of the new Task Manager, which was explicitly designed using telemetary data as a guide, not a single commenter on the TM post has so far argued against the use of telemetary in that design, because *they like the outcome*. The same folk will whine incessantly about the use of telemetary when they *don't* like the outcome. Hypocrites, every one of them.

    "Windows desktop cannot evolve into a Metro UI because they are two different paradigms." "The only thing you will manage to achieve by trying to unify them is to destroy Windows. You are not evolving the desktop you are just replacing it with an inferior paradigm."  Who said anything about replacement? Please watch or re-watch Jensen Harris's //build/ presentation. Metro style apps are particularly suitable for tasks that work with chromeless "windows". Other, heavily chromed apps (like Photoshop) still have an important place and will continue to be supported. Is that too difficult to understand?

    I guess if i had to condense my criticism of all these points and most of the other arguments against Metro i've heard repeated endlessly, into a single phrase, it would be; it's more complicated than that. More generally, i think a lot of you guys (and girls) have made up your minds about WinRT/Metro far too prematurely. There is a long way to go and lots of features and refinements to be added. Be patient, and perhaps take heed of this Bill Gates quote – "Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years."

  337. pZo says:

    i hope microsoft will just declare this is tablet OS and not design for desktop. So i can use it the most happily with my tablet. let it be optional for desktop (if they want to install it, it is still supported). So with this desktop user can keep quite and stop complaining.

    there is nothing wrong with windows 7, desktop user can still wait for microsoft to release their next gen os for desktop ( wonder what it will looks though, since peoples seem reluctant for any changes in UI). there is no point to release windows 8 for desktop with removal of all metro style features, since its not much different to windows 7 anyway.

  338. @Drewfus: Yes, these posts are too long for the intended audience. We are talking about full screen Metro UI users, no time (or means) to scroll or resize. Either say what you want within a tweet or don’t say it at all 😉

    Now before you go writing another long reply, I was just kidding, don’t get this previous sentence seriously, it was a joke. Of course we need long posts to explain all these arguments for/against such complex features. Man, your long posts are infectious…here is one from me and although I don’t disagree with your posting that much, I would like to explain some of my points better.

    But first let us me make a few things clear.

    I am only referring to the Metro UI and not the WinRT. So far I like WinRT and I think it is a step to the right direction.

    When I am referring to “scaling”, I mean the Metro UI and not the kernel of the OS. That is a subject on its own and so far Microsoft is doing a fantastic job with the kernel. No complains whatsoever.

    “Jensen Harris @//build/ made clear the mouse was the most precise input method available and ideal for apps like Photoshop.”

    Yes I know that I can still use Photoshop, Visual Studio etc on the desktop, then why do I have to be jumping to the full Metro UI every time I want the start menu? He did mentioned on the given video that all the screens in the future will be touch enabled, like it was something that was missing from my workflow, i.e. replace the mouse with touch. Touch is not relevant to my day to day work at all.

    “whereas Metro should be seen as more of a revolution than simply contributing to gradual change – it's a clean break from the past.”

    Metro UI (not WinRT) cannot be either evolution or revolution because it is not directly comparable with desktop Windows. Two different paradigms of working with applications. Break from the past like what? So..we are not going to be using computers for work in the future?

    “Metro wasn't designed "for touch" – it was designed *for users*.”

    Hmm, yes you are right in the way you defined the broad spectrum of “users”. So I cannot disagree with this argument, the only thing I can add is that it was not designed for the existing desktop users that use computers to produce and not always consume content.

    “Many commenters have ignored the benefits of running apps fullscreen. Specifically they have focused on a perceived or anticipated loss of inter-app productivity or workflow, but have ignored the *intra*-app productivity benefits of fullscreen, chromeless, "immersive" UIs”

    I won’t disagree completely on that point because it depends on the user and the given workflow. It definitely does not match my requirements (or anybody at my workplace) but let’s see what people make of it in the future.

    “It will make them more efficient, but whether it is what they want remains to be seen, but ultimately irrelevant.”

    Come on, that is a joke…i.e. pressing a button and losing your whole desktop just to perform a search. That looks so ridiculous on my 30” monitor that I won’t even debate it. The only thing I would say is that it is not Job’s or Steven’s eyes that are suffering from the change of contract/brightness and focus every time I press the WinKey on the Windows 8.

    “What makes key-combos features for Desktop, but band-aids for Metro?”

    The problem is that I found myself learning more about key combinations reading about Metro UI than all my life using the Windows desktop. What makes it a band aid is the fact that this new UI is supposed to be “perfect” for tablets, yet we are resorting to key combs.

    “This is subjective stuff, however it would be fair to say that Metro is not yet deserving of any beauty awards, but we are right at the beginning of the Metro era. Be patient like i know you were with early versions of Windows.”

    Yes, look at the new task manager, it is pretty (I can say that). The problem of course is that this is WinRT and not Metro UI but they are confusing the two (intentionally?).

    “So which classes of device don't you think Win8+ will be suitable for, or are you arguing against the notion of OS scalability?”

    As I said I am referring to the Metro UI and I find it unusable in desktop environments (for people who create content, just so we get the right user definition here). Working on a Metro UI environment is counterproductive as far as my workflows are concerned. I installed Windows 8 and used it on my desktop before I come to that conclusion.

    Remaining comments:

    The main point about all these issues is yes telemetry data sucks when trying to design a UI because successful UI design is not something you can easily quantify. UI design is a form of art and art has a lot of interpretations.

    Yep, the new task manager looks cool and does provide extra functionality. Does it solves all the problems indicated by the telemetry data, I don’t care, I like it as a developer it does make my life easier.  Do I like the Metro UI, again I don’t care what the telemetry data says it does make my work life difficult so I don’t like it on my desktop.

    If as you say we have made our mind prematurely (and again let’s keep the conversation on the Metro UI and not WinRT) then we will be complaining only about features that are missing and not about the fact that they are polluting the desktop UI with tablet features. A full screen search window is not an unrefined feature, no amount of refinement will make it “not full screen” because it is “full screen” to start with.

    Microsoft took upon them the quest of unifying the desktop and the tablet space (and everything in between), one UI (Metro) to rule them all. In the process, they are giving me (a developer with decades of experience) the same UI as they are giving to my mother, a 65 year old lady that she does use Word, PowerPoint and the browser to perform 99% of her tasks.

    Sorry my friend, but something is seriously wrong here, or just Microsoft has another magic brush to paint the future with. Based on past history, I will stay clear of that as well because my guess is that it is going to be another “I told you so” moment.

  339. So to precise the notion of tiles in the Metro UI and the namespaces in legacy Windows – the global data objects or namespace containers and their functional reflection in "super" tiles (like the People "super" tile) would reflect support for a domain (application domains).

    So support for different domains woould be facilitated by support for variability in the launch system. The launch system is the basic delegate in Windows holding the responsibility for what the application infrastructure – namely Windows itself – is actually going to be used for, what will be run right now.

    One might argue there is just a need for one concrete (single instance) of the launch object (the current one and only Start Menu). However, that argument would be contradicted by use of roaming in the Cloud – the going to be default Windows 8 consumer experience –  really the use of the Cloud itself: mobile use/mobility/anywhere.

    The use of the application infrastructure Windows will follow the user – the mobility, rather than the device (the idea of having a device experince like a GPS navigator – and i.e. just one single menu purposing the device. However with roaming in Windows 8 and virtual Start Menu you could do that as well).

    So the devices responsibility being a singular user expirence are weakening fast. The devices are become more imaginery or limitless. I.e. the IPod almost instantly became the IPhone (the IPod was really about ITumes and Music bureaucracy to generate sales of IPods). The iPhone became an IPad. The IPad becomes a PC (IPad + Desktop stand + keyboard ). The Android or popular Linux application infrastructure device has Home Screens for the different possbile uses.

    So its hard to follow the *BS* in the media that the PC is dead. PC's are visibly (popular) referencing Microsoft Windows. However, the fact is PC's are everything "Intel". And Intel are growing. Initially x86 BSD and Linux came around. Apple went "PC" with Intel and BSD. Android went PC with Linux. It's really Open Source PC platforms crossing the chasm growing into the PC market (Novell tried to do that with SUSE – but Google is better at that – selling a "PC", not just Linux) – i.e. even their form factor is growing into real PC's – adding what's missing. Those devices are not getting smaller. They are getting bigger awhile more virtual, i.e. with touch you can take the flat display with you.

    The devices are virtualized more and more – and the user context (for instance the location) will determine what is valuable (effective) to have in the actual Start Menu at that moment.

    Next is the realization of virtual reality like you could project or video map the UI onto a surface and natural interfaces like machine vision interaction (like kinnect). Then you would not need a display – but a highly efficient LED lamp inside the "PC" (the "Phone") and projecting from behind the user the camera could do that spatial user interaction thing like Minority Report … the future of a "Pocket PC".

    So great with a new launch UI – but release it from the device context. In my view device virtualization and everything is a PC (Windows, Linux (Android), MacOS (BSD)) is just yet another reason the launch object can not be singular and attached to the device context.

    The launch object (Start Menu) is really virtual and follows the users movement across dimensions such as location, time and so on. That completely macthes and couples with the new support and default consumer experience in Windows 8 for moving in those dimensions ("roaming") – completetly device independent.

  340. @Computermensch: Interesting argument about roaming, user profile and non- single use devices. As far as common, “content consuming users” are concerned I will have to agree with your points and Windows 8 Metro UI does answer some of these requirements. Indeed it does present the user with a common environment that does not seem foreign moving form device to device.

    On the other hand, are we not doing (in UI terms) what Java has claimed all these years, i.e. write once, run everywhere? This by the way was a misleading statement, you will never write an application the same way if you are targeting a server or a desktop or a phone environment unless of course you are not a very talented developer or you simply don’t care.

    I still cannot buy the argument that we do have to treat every user as a simpleton that cannot deal with a change of UI when moving from some limited capabilities device (e.g. GPS, Phone etc) to a full blown desktop with 3 monitors, 16GB of memory and 2 graphics cards.

    The UI should transform to take advantage of the extended capabilities of device I am using, not having to simulate the lowest common denominator just so the user is not “offended” by the added functionality.

    When I am moving from one device to another I do so because that device has something different to offer me. I cannot be convinced that a 60” TV screen should have the same UI as the Windows Phone 7, or that having three monitors connected to my desktop does not present some very interesting opportunities for a better interface than a tablet/phone one.

    I don’t want device independence; I want Microsoft to offer me the best UI they can come up with for each of the devices based on form factor and other features.

  341. @Mil

    Yes, I agree with you too.

    The output and result of a new launching subsystem in Windows should be: "effective actual UI".

    Microsoft mission on the new Start Menu has to be "better launch of the actual UI".

    So I think you nailed it. Virtualization in the start menu is exactly what you want. Different UI's i.e. based on device dependence, form factor and so on.

    That's why I want the virtual launch system. Then you can do exactly what you want – i.e. also write an app with an immersive UI that just fits your context – i.e some device, some server.

    I also agree with you the users are more advanced – they are not simpletons, i.e. my former VLC argument.

    I.e. like your Java argument about the need for different UI's depending on i.e. device context – desktop, server. I also agree with that. That's why I want virtualization in the launch system. Then at least the user can just switch the UI based on i.e. device dependence.

    With the virtual start menu and possible use of machine ID or geo location – for a media center frontend app the user could for instance set a launch object on workstation to hold only that app, activate the launch object (this Start Menu) as default – and the PC would default to start immersively as a Media Center. On the Server the user could set another app or the same (depending on support inside the app for variable UI) to be part of the some data management  or whatever.for the media files. He could start the app itself – like the current Windows 8 developer preview Start Menu … or with more support for what I call "super" tiles the app could decide to integrate itself (just like the shell namespace context menu in legacy Windows). I think of the People tile (allthough from the Windows Phone) as an example of users calling Explorer / ROOT {namespace], browser a file there and do something using the shell context menu (with apps integrated)

    I think the applications deployed to the device – or the actual application of Windows itself – will determine to best UI. The actual UI is whatever you start. Don't know if that can be automated from the app store (if Microsoft should offer to configure the application UI of Windows based on the major application type deployed on an instance of Windows OS). But with virtualization of the launch system the user could configure that himself or capable apps could also support that on deployment or device dependence (i.e. a remote control device is connected)

    I.e. You could may be even using the virtual launch system for just launching the legacy UI with no immersive.

    My whole point in virtualization in the launch system is postponing that decision to whatever the user decides and allow for easy configuration. Just press a few things – and connect some dimension (machine ID and/or Geo Location and/or Time)

    So if you take your laptop to your office or may be even your desk at home (depending on geo sensitivity – i.e. see the upcoming Gallileo sytem in Europe to replace GPS) you can set your use of Windows to just present you with the legacy UI. Take the same laptop or just login to some screen at your dining table – and you see something like a view of tiles with News and stuff. I.e. it already got todays wheater displayed in that tile.

    As a user you decide what is actually the best UI – the best use case right there, right now. You are launching the UI or app on Windows.

    So I think we agree on that since I think a virtual launch system would do exactly what you want and follows your perspective on things (I'm just still calling it Start Menu not to confuse – but Start Menu is really when Windows does not know what the user want's to do next – really use the Windows engine for in that instance. So different configrations could be created by the user and attach to device context i.e. MAC adresse or machine name (device dependence), location or time).

    I.e. integrated with the calendar you can just go around your workplace and Windows would have launched some of your stuff when you go to that meeting – only if you want to do so (like the current use of the start folder in legacy Start Menu). But this is more faceted (combinations of variable machine ID or device depedence, Geo Location, Date/Clock). At your desk at work a preferred menu wih Visual Studio, source code workspace and other programming tools could be preconfigured.

    All differential programmering or configuration of the Start Menu just by using drag and drop of apps with a few presets for that instance of the virtual Start Menu.

    From my point of view I'm just after more automation in Windows to get the simple UI – namely what I want Windows to support right now, right here in the actual display offering to reduce everything else away put in the background. Then in many cases I wont need more profiles. For instance as a system administrator at one company I can just create a virtual start menu for their place if my Live ID is connected to their LAN and i.e. the AD in Windows Server 8. Need to do something else? I just take forward my personal start menu. One app I would like to have across all menu's could be a messaging tile. If the Start Menu could be resized or just fast-keyed to like 1/4 of the display – I could just look at those tiles, i.e. seeing the new messages running on the dislay of the tile with Visual Studio to the right. Moving the mouse over the Start Menu's background could i.e. extend it to full screen display the rest of the tiles for programming tools. In that case I would keep my static tiles or icons or shortcuts pinned to the left of the start menu. Newly deployed apps should also be to the left then I think i.e. visibility.

    So as you stated – the need to have not one UI that fits everything – like run everywhere, but the need to have different UI's depending on context. THE BEST UI – is eaxctly the same I want. And LAUNCH or actual use of Windows OS is the key to that.

    I think it's a shame – if a new launch system is designed for Windows in 2011 – and it's does not promise to do it's responsibility better in accordance with todays statements from MIcrosoft ("role is everything", "workflow is everything" and so on. Namely launching or triggering apps. If not a new Start Menu will really have a achieved nothing new, except people needs to manage a new UI and the practical complications of that.

    The output and result of a new launching subsystem in Windows should be: "effective actual UI".

    Microsoft mission on the new Start Menu has to be "better launch of the actual UI".

    So I think you nailed it. Virtualization in the start menu is exactly what you want. Different UI's i.e. based on device dependence, form factor and so on.

  342. @Steven Sinofsky

    "Many people disagree with that I did not say?"

    Yes! This might be the best Windows news that I've heard in a long time. I didn't think of this at first, but this implies (for the first time ever) that you don't see Metro as replacing the desktop. In other words, it sounds like you realize that a large percentage of users will not make the move to Metro unless Microsoft practially forces them to. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, though, because I might just be reading more details into your words like I did before. Or maybe I didn't properly state what it is that many users disagree with?

    Actually, in this case, many users do disagree with what you did not say, because in the //build/ videos, it sounds like you actually see Metro and touchscreens the way you describe the GUI in this blog post (…/464152.aspx).

    Now you just need to implement that option to change Windows back to normal that we have been asking for.

  343. @WindowsVista567

    Please, your approach is not appropriate.

  344. BTW For the example of a GPS navigation device running Windows 8 i.e. on ARM a user would just have a virtual start menu attached to that machine. I.e. you can actually deploy i.e. a TomTom app from appstore and probably that app would just setup that instance of the Start Menu.

    What does that precisely mean? Well, on your TomTom navigator formfactor you set the TomTom app running. May be in the future it would use Windows 8 or variant. But on the laptop you can still use that instance of the Start Menu (i.e. named My TomTom Nagavtor 4584) – only on that device – the laptop – is does not start i kiosk like on the small gps device, but works as TomTom Home. I.e. may be would get a fewer icons. Any supporting 3rd party support tools would be on that same Start Menu for that device. Of course you can still pin stuff where you want them.

    But it also opens the possibility of accessing more stuff on that GPS display in your car – if Windows 8 is under the hood. I.e. just switch the Start Menu … or really the actual UI.

    Virtual Launch System under the hood (let's keep it as Start Menu in the Windows front end)

    Finally, whether to use Metro UI or not will entirely depend on what you are going launch or how you configured your actual Start Menu. In many use cases the virtual launch system will allow stuff to just start immersive and fullscreen. I.e. that sports coaching app just comes on when I'm outside at the sports facility.

    In any less determined situation I get something much closer to legacy. I.e. I'm just going to login in to my PC – and do different stuff. Whatever I feel like. For that I also get an instance of the Start Menu (the one marked default and unbounded – without i.e. machine id, geo location and time).

    If I want to reset the theme i.e. reseting it to Aero rather than Metro – since launch is about display or UI – I can just select the Windows Theme for that launch object – this Start Menu instance: All in all I do a preset of this default Start Menu to use the legacy UI – and it brings me straight to the desktop and possibly automatically setting policies to prefer legacy in this case … when possible (i.e. opening the control panel gives me the legacy control panel). If so though – now virtual Start Menu is the key to automating user rendering configurations for the display – this also counts for my previous examples I guess – the HKEY_User will be variable for especially the shell keys, especially rendering constrains. But the shell is already the object of change in Windows 8. So should be no problem.

    Auto-launching would include a security concern in the use case in a Start Menu or really launch object instance (i.e. auto-login in kiosk mode with device dependence – auto-login in HKEY_machine but ok to reflect from the launch object since this is one unique machine id getting dedicated to the kiosk role in this case … device dependence … and requires the user is local administration to reset the device role).

    Then no worries about whether or not to run Metro UI. Users decide – they decide now, but the decision making would be implemented into the virtual Start Menu without the need to do group policy or local security policy and stuff or one registry hack.

    You just launch the best/optimal UI for your current use case of Windows. And with Windows 8 it has the potential to integrate into any device or form factor – any kind of PC.

  345. @Steven Sinofsky:

    Please tell us what "approach" is "appropriate".  You said that when you begain this blog, it was to facilitate a *discussion*.  It's been anything but a discussion.  Anytime anyone brings up a legitimate criticism, it just gets ignored.  Is this any way to treat your customers?

  346. @Steven Sinofsky

    Whoops. Sorry. Feel free to delete those comments. Trying to figure out what you mean from one simple comment probably isn't a good idea. I won't make that mistake again.

  347. Launch is the basic application of the application infrastructure – that basic initial event.

    So support for that special event is critical in the operating system. It the alpha event where an application starts its life.

    Let's have virtuali Start Menu.

    Make sure those instance configurations are serialized and reflected in XML. Then application domains can be shared. I.e. at a new work place I just import the application domain – that virtual start menu. I can setup a web server to push such configurations – i.e. virtual application suites or the appstore can be extended to throw commisions at resellers who virtually packages apps into a suite for i.e. Windows Software Development – in practice becomes a virtual start menu with deployment. Insteading of educating folks about what to install (lots and lots of reviews) you tell them what to use and wrap it up in a virtual start menu. When I install the virtualized Start Menu instance I can go to the appstore and see my basket with the price tag.

    Launch it is. Let others do product management wrapping them apps as if they were partials of custom cars with users preference for best solution available right here, right now done by a reseller. Turn the key and there you go.

  348. @Steven Sinofsky

    This comment system is a terrible substitute for a real dialogue. The exchange that just occurred is proof. This may be the last thing I ever post here.

  349. @WindowsVista567: I didn't see anything inappropriate in your posts.  Microsoft can delete them if they want, but anyone could have saved screenshots.

  350. @WindowsVista567 and @I-DotNet

    It is inappropriate to say I said something I clearly did not, then to use my statement that I did not say it as further proof I said something.  

    As we have said, no comments are deleted for expressing any view unless they are offensive.  

  351. Final Blog Comment from WindowsVista567 says:

    @I-DotNET and the rest of the commentators

    My approach was inappropriate because I pushed too hard for answers, with a bad method, reading details into Sinofsky's comment that didn't exist in a desparate attempt to find out if Windows 8 will include the Metro UI in the Developer Preview format. Sadly, this just isn't working. It's been over a month and nothing has really changed, and this comment field is more of a message board than a dialogue, so it is pointless for me to say anything else.

    Believe me, Steven Sinofsky's comment is painful to read… and mainly because of how true it is. I never thought I would be the one to post a comment with such a negative reaction. I don't see how any more comments from me can possibly benefit anyone. I would actually prefer it if Microsoft deleted that last post; it's one of the worst I've written. Don't go blaming Microsoft or accusing them of trying to prevent feedback from being posted, because that's not the issue. For now, I'll just wait and see what Windows 8 turns into. No more comments.

  352. P.S. from WindowsVista567

    @Steven Sinofsky

    I would really like it if you deleted my comments. If I asked for you to delete them, why not do that? It looks like you were offended by the post to me, even though there's no foul language. Or is it forbidden by company policy to delete comments like that? I've had about enough of these comments in general, so I don't think I'll say anything else. By the way, the comment that started this whole debate was based on what I heard you saying at //build/ and on this blog, and on the overall attitude for Windows 8, so in a sense, I thought you did say it. Hence the appearance of the strange posts. I do admit, though, posting that comment that you said was "not appropriate" was a pretty dumb idea. You're absolutely right about it. Hopefully, I'm none now. No more comments from WindowsVista567!

  353. P.S. from WindowsVista567

    @Steven Sinofsky

    I would really like it if you deleted my comments. If I asked for you to delete them, why not do that? It looks like you were offended by the post to me, even though there's no foul language. Or is it forbidden by company policy to delete comments like that? I've had about enough of these comments in general, so I don't think I'll say anything else. By the way, the comment that started this whole debate was based on what I heard you saying at //build/ and on this blog, and on the overall attitude for Windows 8, so in a sense, I thought you did say it. Hence the appearance of the strange posts. I do admit, though, posting that comment that you said was "not appropriate" was a pretty dumb idea. You're absolutely right about it. Hopefully, I'm done now. No more comments from WindowsVista567!

  354. @Steven Sinofsky:

    You said that this was going to be a *discussion*.  Which blog are you discussing our concerns?  It's certainly not this one.

    Every time any legitimate negative criticism gets brought up, they get summarily dismissed (and usually without explanation beyond 'early adopters' are afraid of 'change'.).

    If you want your existing customer base to go away, then be honest and just say so.  But please do pretend that this is a discussion with your existing customers when it's clearly not.

  355. @Steven Sinofsky

    When I said that "posting that comment that you said as 'not appropriate' was a dumb idea," I mean that I, WindowsVista567, made a dumb decision in posting that comment. You haven't done anything that I think was "dumb."


    Let it go. I was wrong. Period. Done. Your posts have nothing to do with my comment mistakes.

    Hopefully, I won't find anything else that I want to say differently. Let's hope that this will be my last, last, comment.

  356. @Computermensch: Yep, I can see this approach working in the long term.

    I have recently purchased an LG washing machine that has a little TFT screen. It makes choosing the various washing options an easy task (at last) because it does explain all the settings you choose as you turn the dial in one place (temperature, spin cycle rpm etc). Then when it is doing the actual washing it does display all the necessary information. It even can play diagnostics to a phone set you can hold next to it if you call the support center.

    Now, I am not saying let’s put >40MB of memory into this thing and run Windows 8 kernel, but we could run WinCE or something, keeping the Windows Virtual UI paradigm. When I am in the kitchen I look at the washing progress in its small screen, full screen with only the activity of interest showing, i.e. the washing (yep I don’t want to browse the Internet on my washing machine unlike some companies would make you believe).

    Now if I go to my PC upstairs I will be able to see the washing machine as a tile, or even better as something that I don’t hate lately 😉

    In this tile I can see the progress and any other info I require, expand it and get a full real time report. Of course if we follow exactly what the Metro UI implies, all my 30” monitor would display in this example would be progress of the washing cycle in full screen. But let’s ignore that at the moment.

    To keep Microsoft happy on their latest fad we could also make use of the “cloud” so my Omnia7 (Windows Phone 7) can also display a special tile about the washing machine linked to other information and stats, i.e. electricity/water spent etc. But using your GPS locator and the fact that I am within WiFi range the phone could skip the notification if it knew that I am currently watching TV.

    Instead my Windows Media Center would be able to give me a notification when the washing is done, with “results” summary and if I have given it full permissions it can even pause the movie for me and when the washing is done. So I can have my movie playing loud and not worry about hearing the end of the washing tune (this machine plays a very nice tone at the end but not loud enough for hearing it across all rooms in the house).

    All this device interaction though will have to span across profiles because my wife’s account should be notified as well since she can also be interested in the washing action taking place in the kitchen. Now we have a number of devices that are all connected and they know what is going on around them, i.e. all the actions we are taking and they can keep us informed about their progress. Man and machine working together.

    Now if only my Iconia tablet could do the ironing I would be so happy. But I guess I will have to wait for the ironing tile to be available at the Microsoft app store first.

  357. sokheang says:

    @ Steven Sinofsky

    Please stop arguing and start listening. You want feedbacks and we give you feedbacks, but you only seem to defend yourself. Stop arguing plz….

  358. @Mil

    Yeah, that's the picture. And it would be great if the tites could notify across virtual start menus too – i.e. your wifes profile.

    That could be done if Microsoft would let you push or share a virtual start menu i.e. even partially – so she can also just get i.e a few tiles or simply in some cases just 1 tile. I.e. when a user accepts a shared virtual start menu they could say yes to accept while no to its layout – then getting a list of virtual start menus and just drag the tiles where they want them.

    It's all about the producer-transformer-consumer (P > T > C) – or as you put it – system interactions – and while manual or introducing a human to a tile at the end of the interactive chain – or even inside the chain. So ideally those tiles or apps could be developed to notify each other and even better also chained interactively delivering output to each other. Promise of the cloud, devices and sensors.

  359. Just to correct myself:

    I called the People tile a "super" tile to promote its ability to reflect a global object or namespace containing everything connected to the concept of People.

    The right name for that sort of tile in the Windows Metro UI is a hub. I had forgot that word.

  360. BTW Initially the PTC pattern was left out of GOF book about Design Patterns. Interactions was considered so basic they did not go into the litterature initially. That was corrected a few years later.

    As other put it: Compuer Science is basicly the science about system interactions. So in that sense the tiles are pretty basic and important if they can become these interactive bricks as we go.

    So theres a whole lot more to it than just rendering the UI too. Just a MIL put it about interactions.

    Metro UI: Along the road the Metro should go for the perspective of interactions … and the UI – go for virtualization (the actual UI on Windows instantly)?

    Metro is already there in manys … but the virtual UI is not, unless virtuallization in the Start Menu is implemeted now when Microsoft is changing the concept of the Start Menu.

  361. Aranate says:

    Will there be any voice activated methods such as voice or natural language search in Windows 8? It is already becoming common in search engines and Siri of iOS, and will be a good feature to have in the Windows OS bringing it up to par with the rest of the competition.

  362. In some ways a virtual Start Menu could be the path to take the Metro Ui further … to become in one instance of a launch object simply a UI to i.e. Word Processing as one application domain. I.e. one tile or app delivers grammatic control. One is the editor (i.e. may be a HUGE TILE) and so on … may be somebody would do an app to do some writing for you following patterns to write a good story? Use of tiles like this follows the idea somebody else wrote somewhere in this forum to be able to drag the resize the Start Menu. It's just all immersive and we should be able to see some of the tiles like gadgets as we go – i.e. the entire display should not be exclusive to one app in Metro always.

    It would take declarative programming beyond XML where users can just construct their own applications using single or multifeatured featured apps in the apps store – constructing them into interfaces of tiles reusing the virtual Start Menu interface.

    So may be the formal name should just be Start? And then you can rename your actual launch object to whatever you want it to be.

    Virtualization in launch can mean many things … because its virtual. Any actual rutime scenario can be implemented.

    But lets see where Microsoft goes. Right now we still probably have to use Windows legacy for i.e. Visual Studio – because it's not going to run fullscreen while we have to go away from it to run some tool. May be one day Visual Studio will also have some of its major features put into tiles in a virtual launch object – probably named after the project? So I would not have to even open the project in Visual Studio? Those tiles could include build and continiouns integration reports from a Team Server, a play/debug tile and a test tile reflecting dynamic unit testing as we program – and of course priorities from the scrum project lead … and some 3rd party app features from the appstore. In nature, I hit my portable device and its projects the source and runs the prototype on some wall or display.

    At that point the legacy interface will probably have been replace somewhere in the future. Like the final countdown for almost 30 years of the text BIOS,

    But the virtual Start Menu would be a start – then such decisions can be taken later for Windows developing the Metro experience. And we get to experiment and extend the launch system from which all applications lifecycle depend – and integrate how we get the best UI right here, right now (office location, machine id, tine).

    … Really the projected display of the best available solution to me right here, right now.

    Of course it would all be experimental use – but the support in Windows would be there. If Microsoft wants – they can just keep their current display of a Start Menu there – but variability would be available to others non-tablet users.

  363. … and virtual start menus will be Windows not just on par (state-of-the-art) with Linux (Android) – especially Android 4 (ICE Cream) allthough it just has Home Screens. It would be beyond with potential for automated displays without the need to go and start your app. You just use the power putton and virtualize the use of the device.

    In the kitchen the tablet will simply display the recipe app or a recipe webpage untill changed.

    So take it further … to the basics of what the OS is used for. Running an application type or domain on top and provide some automation so it follows the network stuff.

    Not Home Displays (for icons), but real Mobile Displays for Macine ID, Location, Time … stuff in space … so you in many cases just go rendering the actual UI directly. The users don't have that possibility yet … and it supports the basic idea beyond Home Screens for functional complexity by icons … namely the Data-Driven Metro UI and the deicision to run WinRT apps immersively and fullscreen. … and starting an application directly is also about less navigation.

    Why do I want to start something that can start itself when appropriate? There's just one Start button – the button on the machine?

    Remember the Dieter Rams Braun Coffe machine – 1 button. Because everything inside was integrated and automated. Automation is key to reducing complexity in the presentation – not graphical design removing stuff manually. That's the secondary approach and its work and potential dependis on the degree of automation. That's why that coffee machine could portray itself as so simple with 1 start button: Power On.

    The virtualization of spatial launch objects will do the same in Windows.

  364. Ehtesham says:

    I have installed windows 8 and am using it as my primary OS.

    I also want to share some screen shots of my windows…/windows-8-features-applications-programs-screen-shots-display-wall-papers-style

  365. José says:

    The only problem with search in Win7 from the start menu is speed. This is troublesome especially as I can't do anything else during the search as if i switch windows the start menu disappears and the search is lost. So I have to type and keep the menu open while the search is performed. This is annoying-

  366. Nitz Walsh says:


    "Let's hope that this will be my last, last, comment."

    Why do you have to "hope"?  YOU control when and where you post, what a ridiculous comment.

  367. John B says:

    "We look forward to your continued feedback as you try out the Windows 8 Start search experience!"

    All my slighty negative comments are not even published here, way to hear users when you can only see positive comments…

  368. Al says:

    It's very annoying that the search has settings and files under separate tabs. Since we are working with a full screen monitor, can't we see every thing at once? It worked in win7 with a much smaller space so it should definitely work in win8. According to your telemetry data, one third of searches aren't for apps so for those one third of all searches, we shouldn't needlessly be imposed with the extra task of clicking the tab for those of us who don't remember keyboard shortcuts.

  369. Will says:

    The problem with the old search (as in XP, Win 7) is the FILESYSTEM not the interface.  Microsoft clearly doesn't do any indexing UNTIL you search.  Well, duh, that's going to be slow.  But how does this idiotic Metro crap solve that problem?  It doesn't.

  370. Will says:

    "All my slighty negative comments are not even published here, way to hear users when you can only see positive comments…"

    They don't care what we think.  They figure we'll buy whatever they peddle as long as its in the store.  But if Microsoft PCs are going to be crippled into being tablets, why not just buy a tablet?  Windows 8 is all the more reason to buy an Android device.  And if Windows usability and multitasking is going to crippled, why not buy a Macbook Air?  If Windows becomes as crippled as Mac, I'll just go to Mac.  If Windows is going to be given an ugly tablet interface and made into a tablet masquerading as a laptop, I'll just go to Android whose interface is way better than Metro (Android interface is more Windows-like actually, since it mimics your standard Desktop type interface that both Windows XP / 7 and Mac have).

  371. @mil_: Picking up on a few of your comments.

    "When I am referring to “scaling”, I mean the Metro UI and not the kernel of the OS."

    Ok, fine. However, i don't agree with the general consensus on this blog and in the forum that the Metro UI is great for hand-held devices but doesn't scale well to laptop/desktop PCs. When you go from icons to tiles as the target points, and then start adding app data and app content to the tiles, the bigger the screen you have, the better off you are. Then if you consider combining tiles into groups and regarding the group as a "window", plus the need to zoom out to see all you groups and scroll to see all your tiles, then you are definately at an advantage with a larger screen, even in a relative sense. So i think the idea of Metro being a tablet UI "shoehorned" into a desktop UI is false – and the converse is true. Metro is absolutely designed with big monitors, and multiple monitors, in mind, and not only will it scale well, but these environments are where it will shine.

    Take this as a (currently) extreme example. Consider a house like the M & B Gates residence with walls covered in screens that display various types of content based on the preferences of the occupants and visitors. Now what interface would be preferable for controlling systems like that – the Metro UI with touch, or Desktop with a mouse? Of course, it's a "no-brainer". So there's one nice example were the critics of Metro on larger systems are just wrong. The question for me, is not – does Metro scale up? – rather it's – will Metro work ok on sub-netbooks and small tablets?

    "Come on, that is a joke…i.e. pressing a button and losing your whole desktop just to perform a search. That looks so ridiculous on my 30” monitor that I won’t even debate it. The only thing I would say is that it is not Job’s or Steven’s eyes that are suffering from the change of contract/brightness and focus every time I press the WinKey on the Windows 8."

    What exactly is the problem in temporarily "losing the desktop"? Is it the transition itself, or the loss of attention, or something else? I agree that the abrubt change in contrast/brightness is currently a problem. (Part of that problem is due to apps using stark white, battery-sapping backgrounds. IMO plain white is too bright and should never be used – a light beige or cream hue is far easier on the eyes, especially in dim lighting environments.) Regarding the altered brightness and "jarring" nature of the transition, there are several things that could be done, and i think Microsoft have to some extent deliberately avoided smoothing-out the Metro -> Desktop -> Metro transitions in the DP to see how much people can tolerate. I guess they have the answer now. However, i can imagine things like combining/locking the Metro and Desktop background color and wallpaper would help, as would replacing the slide-back, slide-in affect with a rapid fade-out, fade-in of the tile/window layer (possibly overlapped). That might mean users having to replace their more graphically rich desktop wallpapers with something more bland that doesn't spoil the look of Start, but so be it (or just have a prominent slideshow tile, as compensation). While i'm on the subject, the other tweaks i would make are:

    1. The start menu button should look less like the Win7 button than it does in the DP. It should get the Metro color scheme (white flag on green base), and the running app look, so users perceive the start button as representing an app, and not a pull-up menu. Currently the start button is too much of a "lie" (it breaks user expectations, causing a slight loss of trust in the OS). The context-menu gets an 'Open Start Menu Programs' Explorer link so users can quickly rebuild their taskbars.

    2. The Desktop tile should be removed, and be replaced by a Desktop group, containing by default, IE and Explorer tiles, plus tiles for whatever icons the user pins to the taskbar (@desktop). Perhaps the Desktop group should get smaller, rectangular tiles, to make this group look a little more like the start menu.

    3. System tray functionality should be completely removed from the taskbar (with the possible exception of date/time) and moved to Start. Desktop is just another destination (from Start), so it should no longer host OS related functions & notifications.

    4. An unrelated point i'm going to add regardless, is that tile visibility should not be restricted to unlocked sessions. The user should be able to flag tiles as 'Public' (non-confidential), so that when they lock their logon sessions, these tiles stay visible so users can observe live data.

    The point i made about telemetary had nothing to do with liking or disliking the new Task Manager personally. Instead, the fact is that everything new in Win8 that has a UI is being designed with telemetary as a guide, or, as a design tool, is probably a better way of putting it. I don't understand why people can't except this, or why people think the telemetary data totally drives the outcomes, with no respect to any other factors, including "the art". There are multiple factors at play here, and MSFT are not using telemetary "fullscreen", like you seem to think they are. Frankly, i think many people (not yourself) are attacking the use of telemetary in Win8 because they can't or can't be bothered articulating what problems or issues they have with the new stuff, or simply want to pretend that MSFT is some big, dumb organization with no "artists", and if only they would listen to me (who has the great design sense and skills), then all would be well. Well to those folks i say – keep dreaming.

  372. Irfanfare says:

    Great post, like your previous ones. I Like the way you explain things through demos, stats and graphs. Very persuasively done. Love the Search feature in 8, definitely easier than 7. The only thing that irks me is IE10, its less responsive on my 1.25 RAM, 6 yr. old HP desktop so much so that I have to frequently go to the desktop view. Also wish it had a Home button just as in its desktop view.

  373. @Steven Sinofsky

    There's one thing that telemetry can't address: psychological matters. I believe you're disregarding the psychological attachment of desktop users to the Desktop (Open windows, taskbar, icons) as a "home" to their computing needs. Adding a separate screen for most of the critical tasks is understandably a need for tablet usage – and the screen you're building is stylish and functionally superior to every other tablet interface out there. That's were MSFT always shined, after all. But for a desktop scenario, you should allow it to blend somehow with the desktop itself: as an overlay, as a half-screen that slides out of one the screen sides, etc. – without actually "hiding" the desktop, without leaving it and making it disappear from the user's view. This has a very bad psychological impact, that's in my opinion what's generating most of the negative answers to the start screen.

    Also, Aero should be somewhat metro-fied for the always underrated question of visual consistency – but that's another matter.

  374. @Drewfus:

    Please read again the example you mentioned

    “Now what interface would be preferable for controlling systems like that – the Metro UI with touch, or Desktop with a mouse?”

    What is the best device I should be using to control all these screens? A tablet of course or a remote control that looks like a tablet, let’s say a 7” tablet with the Metro UI. So that actually proves the point that Metro UI is for tablets and not for desktops.

    “What exactly is the problem in temporarily "losing the desktop"? Is it the transition itself, or the loss of attention, or something else?”

    I do not want to transition to a full screen application just for a few seconds. It is tiring, stupid and unnecessary. When I am using my computer my main task is not to search for applications or look at live tiles, I have work to do. If I am video conferencing with somebody and I have outlook open as well as Visual Studio, I don’t need/want an application of any type going and covering my desktop.

    When I am driving, I am not going full screen with the in car radio interface because I am changing stations.

    My problem with the telemetry data is that they compare oranges and potatoes by saying “look, you now have more space to search for things”. Yes, I don’t even need telemetry data to show me that I can display more results on a full screen window than an 8th smaller Window the old start menu represented. So what?

    Do I really need to scientifically explain why the telemetry data is used wrongly in an effort to support a UI that is made for tablets and desktop challenged simpletons? I don’t think I have to prove anything when there is a history of Windows that spans almost two decades. As I said before there was nothing stopping us from “inventing” this “new” way of using Windows a decade ago. The technology required was there one way or another (maybe the smooth transitions would be a bit hard to achieve though).

    All these years Microsoft was trying to convince us that the desktop UI could fit into the Mobile Phone…Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.5 etc. Then the market “explained” to them in billions of lost market share that they were following the wrong path. Now they are trying to fit the Phone UI into the desktops…maybe this time they are not completely wrong because they will get all the novice users to like it.

    Is Windows “difficult” to use because I am getting lost constantly when searching for my applications? Why do they assume I am always searching for applications? Why do they assume it is so important to me than I am willing to sacrifice my whole desktop even for a few seconds/minutes? Is this what their telemetry data tells them? Does it also tell them that I am interested in animating tiles that distract me from my work constantly without having the option to restrict the size of the Window that displays them? These are the wrong conclusions, it is not what I want as a desktop user and the only reason they try to defend that position is because they are trying to herd us towards that direction.

    I am not going to debate the rest of your points because they represent suggestions on how to unify the two paradigms, and probably they are correct if the main objective was correct. But I disagree completely with unifying the two because they are as I said two different ways of using a computer and they will never merge without breaking one of them completely.

    The main points are, I am not going to be touching my 3 desktop monitors now or in the future. A full screen application is something I want to have full control of. Searching for applications/files is not what I am paid to do when I am sitting in front of my computer. I know where my applications are and I don’t have tens of thousands of them now and I am not going to have tens of thousands of applications in my desktop in the future. I want a different UI tailored for the device it is used with and make full use of its capabilities. “Full screen” is not the same as “full use”, it is just a lazy way of using the desktop that appeals to novices but is against professional users of the desktop.

    Microsoft seems to confuse the message of Windows Everywhere, which is perfect for the OS kernel with the message that every device can have and should have the same basic interface. I find this later message to be childish and wrong and the only reason to go down that path is if they really want to change their user base completely.

  375. We can also add that the Start Menu because of exactly that role is the most important object in the operating system controlling the end user experience.

    Technology from Microsoft is extremely great but its under the hood

    Microsoft needs to make the Start Menu and thus the end user experience as just a good techonology (characterized by almost no weaknesses) as the NTFS (like the introduction of transaction control in Vista and Windows 7). Complete hidden but great. Now in Windows 8 a new file system is expected by some. So NTFS is not good enough in Microsoft opion. Yes, a new technology is may be needed. But thats under the hood and nobody "consumer" like ever sees it or directly experience it.

    But the same ambitiousness from Microsofts part should be there regarding the most important thing for the end user experience. Where's all the software and automatics – the smart stuff – beyond looks and graphics?

    Again virtual start menu. Come on! Don't do a Start Menu with an Apps list – don't do it likke 1995.

    Think end user expience has to be in value, in the possibilities – in USE! Not just pictures or imagination.

    Do the same great stuff there as elsewhere. Bottom up is great … but top down too if you have to prioritize. Building Windows 8 is an imaginary process … theres no way to start with the bottom first and do a technically strong and very useful UI in a later release. You can't do such a UI first and have no a weak engine under the hood.

    Do both. Great with the strong engine. That was also the case with Windows Vista – it was the core for Windows 7 – like Windows 2000 was for Windows XP.

    Now WIndows 8 – new core, WinRT, possibly protogon and much, much more. Very busy doing core technology. Which is great.

    Only to avoid the Vista thing – remember the UI too! And its not about some nice pictures – but useful.

    Vista had an animatied desktop. Never mind.

    The technology at the time for Vista was very good and it was the foundation of Windows 7 – Vista rebranded with A NEW DEKSTOP!

    So please get it. Personally, I wrote a feedback note then critizing the lack of renewal in taskbar during Vista. It came with Windows 7!

    In Windows 7 I worried about the lack of renewal or innovation in the taskbar and start menu. It came with Metro.

    But now I worry about the usefullness. It has to be strong technology like what to do for every other component in Windows. Everything is so good.

    Then why is there no smart real good techonology in the UI? I'm not thinking about the looks. The looks are rather great. But that Start Menu can not really do anything software cool. Nothing.

    Same with the apps list.

    They are just appaling in behaviour – but looks ok (the tile stuff). Following that idea, those tiles could be smart of stuff. Or at least I would want that virtual start menu.

    You go under the hood and stuff is really cool in Windows

    Why is that? What happens at the desktop level? Nobody cares about writing cool software and smart algos for that.

    I took a look in process monitor following the work of the Start Menu and Apps List. The apps list just scans folders across the system and presents them icons in the apps list. That's it. Hey, we don't wanna do it the cool way. I want to write a new application pool instead or something like that? No tiles, no stacks, no virtualization. No computer science? Only psychologi and medical science?

    Please, please – what I really worry is, that there will be no way to build changes into the beaviour of the Start and also the Apps LIst, because you want to control that complete because of reality, consumer trust and the appstore. Meaning locked up unflexible Start Menu and Apps List – like a new locked up Media Center  presentation with no ways of changing that … and a real forever locked up tech Start Menu (not looks, but FUNCTIONALITY and no virtualization) … untill next Windows release.

    Meanwhile new start menu and launcher comes up – only they will not be able too collaborate with the appstore, because variability and managed API's that can EXTEND THE BEHAVIOUR in the Start Menu was ignored.

    I.e. is it wrong to say that from Microsofts perspective the success of the app store depends of the Start Menu. I.e. can anbody install something from the appstore if the are not using that Start Menu? So do great stuff for the Start Menu under the hood and virtualize it. Also with a managed API variants can be required to implement certain behaviour and not overide others. Shoud not be that hard to do.

    A lot less harder that a lot of new stuff in Windows 8. Please, more effort here. The artists are doeing great, but more computer stuff … software stuff. An Start Menu for 2012 that would impress people in Computer Science. Touch is not new or special. It's old. The market interest is new. So let's get more than that.

    Allow us to do more with launching programs. The most important part of the user objects.

    You already know what I want to do. Spatial Launch Objets. Just provide the API's so we don't have to break collaboration with the app store.

    On the phone we can access the live camera feed …

    As I put in earlier I don't mind you doeing you own Start Menu that way – just that in can be replaced. If you don't want it replaced put more software into it – other than the artists, psychologist and other interpretive specialists. Provide more engineers that will write virtual code as well.

    But I do mind that you're doeing it the Vista way again. More software into the user expiernence.  Think about what you did for the taskbar, right?

    It became smarter. It could do stuff.

    Now think about how much of that you're doeing with the Start Menu. Search is just appaling. That's delegating the responsibility to the user … go discover and find it yourself.

    I am not saying it easy – I'm just saying the allow the object to be switched. Then we can redo the start menu. Everybody can have launch the way the want. Evyerbody can optimize the user experience. Everybody is different. Let's use differtial programming for the Start Menu.


  376. And finally. With the virtual start menu – and possibly virtual shelll – Windows is getting ready for its future. It has 95% market share. It's so huge – nobody really invests so much money in developing the infrastructure except Microsoft. And may be Goolge coming up – except they still does not really care about innovation in the OS because they are using Linux – and have to give stuff away.

    MacOS is notorious for having most of BSD code in its kernel. Android is Linux. Both dependend on open source license so every investment possibly lost to the public. So nobody really invests.

    With the virtualization starting to come into the desktop level we can finally get on with the game and say, hey – the roads have been build. Let's focus on some new stuff instead. And i.e. the MacOS at some point in the future can be Windows core in part rebranded at the deskttop level. Just as it already is – but BSD. Same for Android – but Linux. They all prepared for it choosing stuff that runs on Intel technology.

    Let's get on with it. There are new ventures to be done.

  377. Ehsan says:


    Windows team ! i have some questions and plz..answer me !

    maybe someone above has asked this but as there this complain about differentiating the apps..files.settings into categories .. and how that doubles the clicks (taps on tablets) to find a file o settings when you're not intending for an searching an app ?

    so you tell me.. you need more room to show the results and avoid the confusion..but you're actually doubling the taps / clicks aren't you ?

    if you insist on doing it your way..ok .. but why don't you apply this workaround ?

    if a user hits win+F for still gives you the files category BUT it's not's files FIRST

    if he hits win+W then it gives you  settings FIRST search result ??!

    And i have another question that i be glad to be answered

    earlier this week mr ballmer said in press cf that " I don't want to be a scientist to be able to use a (android )

    since you both work in the same company.. .. I ask this..

    haw could I know I had to hit win+W to get the settings results and not be a scientist ??

    seriously..i used developer preview for 3 weeks at least  (and i'm a soft eng by the way ) and I didn't notice it until I saw that on your blog..maybe I'm dumb !?

  378. @mil_

    "What is the best device I should be using to control all these screens? A tablet of course or a remote control that looks like a tablet, let’s say a 7” tablet with the Metro UI. So that actually proves the point that Metro UI is for tablets and not for desktops."

    No, it doesn't. All it "proves" is that a household full of wall monitors might be best controlled via a tablet. For a house with one or two wallscreens, direct touch would be useful, just as it would be for a display built into a refrigerator, or other household appliance.

    "I do not want to transition to a full screen application just for a few seconds. It is tiring, stupid and unnecessary."

    I timed the transition from Desktop -> Start (and the reverse), and it seems to be around 0.75 seconds. This is below the approximate 1.0 second threshold that usability expert Jacob Nielson identifies as "…the limit for the user's flow of thought to stay uninterrupted, even though the user will notice the delay."…/responsetime.html In contrast, the start menu goes close enough to being within the 0.1 second barrier, which "…is about the limit for having the user feel that the system is reacting instantaneously…" However, in the case of Start-Desktop transitions the user will have to readjust to a totally changed screen display, as well as processing movement during the transition interval. This would mean getting perilously close to a genuine disruption of the users attention. Not good. Microsoft will most likely need to reduce the transition time right down, and minimize the cognitive overhead as best they can, before Win8 goes RTM.

    "When I am using my computer my main task is not to search for applications or look at live tiles, I have work to do. If I am video conferencing with somebody and I have outlook open as well as Visual Studio, I don’t need/want an application of any type going and covering my desktop."

    I'll just make a point i've already made in a slightly different way – don't let Microsoft's new terms for old things mislead you. If you want an example of what i mean, go to – and there is a very simple Metro style UI – a solid background and one big "tile" in the middle displaying content, plus a field for user input. That tile could just as easily be your video conferencing app, or your newest inbox entries. A Metro tile is just the analog to an HTML <div> – "reimagined" as the building-block for web-based app interfaces. A combination of tiles is called a group, but you could call it a webpage, or a window, or a … banana. The point is we now have a web-standards based application interface model, albeit incomplete. The other thing about tiles is that they can (or will) be created in any size required. So not just 1x or 2x, but also 0.1x, 10x, fullscreen, eighth-screen, quad-screen, fit-to-content. Whatever suits. Don't assume any limits, unless Microsoft tell you otherwise, and maybe not even then.

    "Do I really need to scientifically explain why the telemetry data is used wrongly in an effort to support a UI that is made for tablets and desktop challenged simpletons?"

    If Microsoft justify their design decisions using objective data/evidence + usability testing + trial & error + existing research + well known design principles + maths, you are going to have to do a lot more to counter their arguments than just assuming your own conclusion. Telemetry is useful for optimization, but to optimize implies that the fundamentals of the thing being designed or refined must already be in place, so these must have had a different source of inspiration. Do F1 teams design their cars using telemetry alone, or do they use telemetry for fine-tuning?

    "Is Windows “difficult” to use because I am getting lost constantly when searching for my applications? Why do they assume I am always searching for applications? Why do they assume it is so important to me than I am willing to sacrifice my whole desktop even for a few seconds/minutes? Is this what their telemetry data tells them?"

    I partially agree with you here, in that Microsoft seems to be trying to persaude us that the start menu is so bad and yet so crucial to users that we should regard it as the Achilles Heel of Windows that absolutely needs a major overhaul – to put it mildly. Of course, the counter-argument is always going to be that since, as the telemetry tells us, 88% of app launches occur from places other than the start menu, then to that extent the argument that the start menu is some grossly flawed thing must also be 88% irrelevant. The problem for the "pro-start menu" group is that the argument is a two-way street – if you're not using the start menu much for app launch or for search, then why so much angst over the occasional mildy interrupting Desktop -> Start -> Desktop cycle, if you're getting stuff like fullscreen search results and data services into the bargain? Aren't we sailing perilously close to a storm in a teacup here?

    "I am not going to be touching my 3 desktop monitors now or in the future."

    Fine, but touch is touch and Metro is Metro. Besides, i reckon you will touch your monitors, occasionally 🙂

    "Searching for applications/files is not what I am paid to do when I am sitting in front of my computer."

    Almost none of us are, but here is the fascinating thing (that i predict we'll see covered in a future post) – most users spend an inordinate amount of time searching for files, apps and webpages. Web search time is something we are well aware of, but apparently users spend some amazingly high proportion of each computer-facing hour searching for stuff, particularly files. There are several reasons, including the poor file naming habits of users, and the fixed heirarchies that existing filesystems force us to use.…/filedeath.html So i don't agree with you when you say – "“Full screen” is not the same as “full use”, it is just a lazy way of using the desktop that appeals to novices but is against professional users of the desktop" – in the case of search. On the contrary, if anything should be fullscreen in Windows, it's search.

    "Microsoft seems to confuse the message of Windows Everywhere, which is perfect for the OS kernel with the message that every device can have and should have the same basic interface. I find this later message to be childish and wrong and the only reason to go down that path is if they really want to change their user base completely."

    Again, your last point is true, if you assume your own conclusion (that Metro UI is for tablets and not for desktops) – but why?