Designing for PCs that boot faster than ever before

While we're hard at work making sure you never have to turn off your PC and can run in a connected standby state, we know that there will still be reboots for updating key system components. We've previously talked about reengineering the Windows boot experience and how we modernized and touch-enabled the core boot loader and choices. We've also made boot go by very fast. In fact, it is now so fast that we had to look at the design to enable the kinds of diagnostic boots required by those who do want to dig into their BIOS or load in alternative ways.

In this post, Chris Clark, a program manager on our User Experience team, talks about the design of an incredibly fast boot experience.

Windows 8 has a problem – it really can boot up too quickly.

So quickly, in fact, that there is no longer time for anything to interrupt boot. When you turn on a Windows 8 PC, there’s no longer long enough to detect keystrokes like F2 or F8, much less time to read a message such as “Press F2 for Setup.” For the first time in decades, you will no longer be able to interrupt boot and tell your PC to do anything different than what it was already expecting to do.

Fast booting is something we definitely want to preserve. Certainly no one would imagine intentionally slowing down boot to allow these functions to work as they did in the past. In this blog I’ll walk through how we’re addressing this “problem” with new solutions that will keep your PC booting as quickly as possible, while still letting you do all the things you expect.

Too fast to interrupt

It’s worth taking a moment to watch (again, if you’ve already seen it) the fast boot video posted by Gabe Aul in his previous post about delivering fast boot times in Windows 8. In this video you can see a laptop with a solid state drive (SSD) fully booting in less than 7 seconds. Booting this fast doesn't require special hardware, but it is a feature of new PCs. You'll still see much improved boot times in existing hardware, but in many PCs, the BIOS itself (the BIOS logo and set of messages you see as you boot up) does take significant time. An SSD contributes to the fast boot time as well, as you can imagine.

If the entire length of boot passes in just seven seconds, the individual portions that comprise the boot sequence go by almost too quickly to notice (much less, interrupt). Most of the decisions about what will happen in boot are over in the first 2-3 seconds – after that, booting is just about getting to Windows as quickly as possible. These 2-3 seconds include the time allowed for firmware initialization and POST (< 2 seconds), and the time allowed for the Windows boot manager to detect an alternate boot path (< 200 milliseconds on some systems). These times will continue to shrink, and even now they no longer allow enough time to interrupt boot as you could in the past.

On the Windows team, we felt the impact of this change first, and perhaps most painfully, with our own F8 behavior. In previous versions of Windows (as far back as Windows 95), you could press F8 at the beginning of boot to access an advanced boot options menu. This is where you’d find useful options such as Safe Mode and “Disable driver signing.” I personally remember using them when I upgraded my first PC from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. F8 helped me quickly resolve an upgrade issue and get started using Windows 95.

However, the hardware and software improvements in Windows 8 have collapsed the slice of time that remains for Windows to read and respond to the F8 keystroke. We have SSD-based UEFI systems where the “F8 window” is always less than 200 milliseconds. No matter how fast your fingers are, there is no way to reliably catch a 200 millisecond event. So you tap. I remember walking the halls and hearing people frantically trying to catch the F8 window – “tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap” – only to watch them reboot several times until they managed to finally get a tap inside the F8 window. We did an informal study and determined that top performers could, at best, sustain repeated tapping at about a 250ms frequency. Even in this best case, catching a 200 millisecond window still depends somewhat on randomness. And even if you eventually manage to catch this short window of time, you still have to contend with sore fingers, wasted time, and just how ridiculous people look when they are frantically jamming on their keyboard.

The problem we saw with our F8 key extends to any other key you may want to press during boot. For example, in the Windows 8 Developer Preview release, the F8 key led to a full set of repair, recovery, and advanced boot options. A different key allowed developer-focused options, such as enabling debugging or disabling driver signing. And on most PCs, there are additional keystrokes used by the firmware and advertised by messages during POST: “Press F2 for Setup” or “Press F12 for Network Boot.” Now, POST is almost over by the time these instructions could be displayed. And in many cases, the keyboard wouldn’t be functional until so late in POST that it’s almost not worth the time it would take the firmware to look for these keystrokes. Some devices won’t even try.

Even so, every one of these keystrokes plays an important role, and we have historically counted on them to provide important interrupt functions in boot. However, now, there is no longer time to do any of them.

Defining the problem space

We looked at these problems from many angles, and took a holistic approach to solving them. This effort spanned across developers, testers, and program managers, examining everything from the deepest parts of the kernel to the overall user experience. Approaching this first as an engineering problem, we identified the situations and scenarios that depended on keystrokes in boot and considered literally dozens of ways to restore functionality to each scenario in Windows 8.

Here are some of the key scenarios pulled from this list:

  • Even when Windows is booting up correctly, you may want to do something different – for example, you may want to boot from an alternate device such as a USB drive, go to the firmware’s BIOS setup options, or run tools from within the protected Windows Recovery Environment image on a separate partition. In general, these scenarios were accomplished in the past mainly without the involvement of Windows, using firmware-specific keys such as F2 or F12 (or some other key that you couldn't quite remember!).
  • You may need to troubleshoot a problem after something goes wrong, or want to undo something that just happened. Windows has many tools that assist with situations like these, such as allowing you to refresh or reset your PC, go back to a restore point using System Restore, or perform manual troubleshooting via the always-popular Command Prompt. In the past, these troubleshooting options were accessed primarily via the Windows boot manager, by pressing F8 at the beginning of boot.
  • Some error cases in startup are difficult to automatically detect. For example, the Windows boot process may have succeeded, but errors in components that are loaded later actually make Windows unusable. These cases are rare, but an example of where this might happen is a corrupt driver installation causing the login screen to crash whenever it loads. On previous-era hardware, you could interrupt boot with a keystroke (F8, for example) and reach a suitable repair option before the crashing component was even loaded. Over time, it has gotten harder to interrupt boot in this way, and in Windows 8, it’s virtually impossible.
  • We needed to enable certain startup options that are mainly used by developers – both inside and outside of Windows. Previously you could access these by pressing a key like F8 at the beginning of boot. These developer-targeted options are still important and include disabling driver signature enforcement, turning off “early launch anti-malware,” as well as other options.

One key design principle we focused on was how our solutions would fit in with the rest of Windows 8. We believed that these various boot options were more alike than they were different, and shouldn’t be located in different places within Windows. To look at this from the opposite direction, no one should need to learn how Windows is built, under the hood, to know where to go for a certain task. In the purest sense, we wanted it to “just work.”

Three solutions – one experience

We ultimately solved these problems with a combination of three different solutions. Together they create a unified experience and solve the scenarios without needing to interrupt boot with a keystroke:

  1. We pulled together all the options into a single menu – the boot options menu – that has all the troubleshooting tools, the developer-focused options for Windows startup, methods for accessing the firmware’s BIOS setup, and a straightforward method for booting to alternate devices such as USB drives.
  2. We created failover behaviors that automatically bring up the boot options menu (in a highly robust and validated environment) whenever there is a problem that would keep the PC from booting successfully into Windows.
  3. Finally, we created several straightforward methods to easily reach the boot options menu, even when nothing is wrong with Windows or boot. Instead of these menus and options being “interrupt-driven,” they are triggered in an intentional way that is much easier to accomplish successfully.

Each of these solutions addresses a different aspect of the core problem, and together they create a single, cohesive end-to-end experience.

A single menu for every boot option

The core vision behind the boot options menu is to create a single place for every option that affects the startup behavior of the Windows 8 PC. Portions of this menu were discussed in detail in our previous blog post titled Reengineering the Windows boot experience. That post has the complete details and describes the fundamental changes made within the boot menus to enable touch interaction, Windows 8 visuals, and a cohesive user experience across the many surfaces that make up boot. Here is a screenshot of the boot options menu on one of my UEFI-based PCs:

Choose an option: Continue, Use a device, Use another operating system ,Troubleshoot, or Turn off your PC

Booting to an alternate device (such as a USB drive or network) is one of the most common scenarios that previously required interrupting boot with a keystroke. With Windows 8 UEFI-based firmware, we can now use software to trigger this. On these devices, you’ll now see the “Use a device” button in the boot options menu, which provides this functionality directly. As you can see in the above image, this functionality sits side-by-side with the other boot options. Windows no longer requires a keystroke interruption to boot from an alternate device, (assuming, for the moment, that you can reach the boot options menu itself without requiring a keystroke in boot. More on this in a minute.)

Into this same menu, we’ve added new functionality that allows you to reboot directly into the UEFI firmware’s BIOS setup (on Windows 8 UEFI hardware that supports this). On previous-era hardware, instructions for entering BIOS setup appeared at POST in messages like “Press F2 for setup.” (These messages have been around on PCs longer than perhaps any other type of UI.) They will still occur on systems that were made prior to Windows 8, where they will continue to work (primarily because these devices take several seconds to POST.) However, a Windows 8 UEFI-based PC won’t stay in POST long enough for keystrokes like this to be used, so the new UEFI-based functionality allows this option to live on in the boot options menu. After looking at the other items in this menu, we decided to place the button that reboots the PC into the UEFI firmware’s BIOS setup under the “Troubleshooting” node, within the “Advanced options” group:

System Restore, System Image Recovery, Automatic Repair, Command Prompt, UEFI Firmware Settings ,or Windows Startup Settings

A quick note about older, non-UEFI devices: legacy hardware that was made before Windows 8 will not have these new UEFI-provided menu features (booting to firmware settings and booting directly to a device). The firmware on these devices will continue to support this functionality from the POST screen as it did in the past (using messages such as “Press F2 for Setup”). There is still time for keystrokes like this to work in POST on these legacy devices, since they won’t have the improvements that enable a Windows 8 PC to POST in less than 2 seconds.

The next item appears on all Windows 8 devices – UEFI and non-UEFI alike. In the image above, you can see that we’ve added Windows Startup Settings. This new addition brings the entry point for the developer-focused Windows startup options into the unified boot options menu, and allows us to satisfy the scenarios that previously required the separate key during boot. These include items such as “disable driver signing” and “debugging mode,” as well as Safe Mode and several other options. Here is a close-up view of the informational page for these options:

Restart to change Windows options such as: Disable driver signature enforcement, Disable early-launch anti-malware protection, Disable automatic restart on system failure, Enable low-resolution video mode, Enable debuggng mode, Enable boot logging, Enable Safe Mode

The boot options menu creates a single place for every option that affects the startup behavior of the Windows 8 PC. By bringing these together into a single place, the boot options menu has become a familiar, unified, and highly usable place for these related items. Tasks such as changing Windows Startup settings, entering the UEFI firmware’s BIOS setup, or booting to a USB drive no longer require interrupting boot with a keystroke – assuming you can get to the boot options menu itself. So let’s look at how you get there.

Getting to the boot options menu (automatically) when there is a problem

There are two main situations where you’ll need to get to the boot options menu on a Windows 8 PC. The first case is when something has gone wrong and a repair action is necessary to restore the PC to full functionality. The second case (which I’ll cover in the next section) is when nothing is wrong, but you want to change some aspect of startup behavior or firmware configuration, or boot from a different device than usual.

In the first case, something has gone wrong and repairs are needed. The previous model of PC hardware required you (or someone you trust) to begin this troubleshooting process by pressing one of the several possible keystrokes during boot. For example, the options in the Windows Developer Preview release were split between Shift+F8, F8, and firmware-dependent keys such as F2 or F12, (which often varied across different PCs).

Each of these keystrokes represents the first step in troubleshooting that will lead to eventual repair. Unifying all of these in a single boot options menu removes the need to use multiple keys for the many available options. And to take this even further, we’ve removed even this one remaining keystroke by automatically loading the boot options menu when there is no way to successfully complete Windows startup.

In Windows 8, this automatic failover behavior will take you directly to the boot options menu whenever there is a problem that would otherwise keep your PC from loading Windows. This even includes cases where it appears (to Windows) that boot has succeeded, but in actuality the PC is unusable. An example of how this could occur would be a faulty driver installation that is causing the main logon screen to appear completely blank. Windows may not be aware that the screen is blank, but anyone looking at the screen knows this immediately. We now algorithmically detect when this has occurred across multiple boots, and automatically boot directly into the boot options menu inside the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). Since the source image for WinRE contains drivers and files that are kept separate from the main Windows installation, it’s not affected by any software changes and is a reliable environment to begin troubleshooting from the boot options menu.

Could this behavior ever result in Windows going to the boot options menu in Windows RE when nothing is actually wrong? Requiring two consecutive occurrences certainly reduces this chance, but it’s definitely possible. With this in mind, we designed the boot options menu to have a prominent Continue button in the first position, as a clear escape path for anyone not actually experiencing problems with their Windows 8 PC. We studied this in our usability lab to see what people would do when this boot options menu appeared unexpectedly. We were happy to find that the Continue button served its purpose and provided an important escape hatch against false positives.

Continue: Exit and continue to Windows 8 Consumer Preview

In certain situations, Windows 8 can be even more specific about taking appropriate action to a specific problem. For example, if the core boot sequence itself fails to complete, we automatically try a second time. If this also doesn’t succeed, then Windows RE is automatically loaded and launches the specialized Startup Repair Tool. Even though this tool is tailor-made to fix many errors in the boot process, we still provide a pathway to all the other troubleshooting tools within the boot options menu for cases when the Startup Repair Tool is unsuccessful.

These automatic detection behaviors ensure the repair and recovery tools within Windows are always available, even when Windows itself is unable to load properly. Without needing to press a key or take any action, Windows RE is automatically loaded when it’s needed, allowing repair and recovery using the troubleshooting tools from the boot options menu itself.

Getting to the boot options menu whenever you want (even when nothing is wrong)

Even in non-error situations, we wanted an easy pathway to the boot options from within Windows. Many of the items in the menu are necessary even when everything is fully functional: booting to an alternate device, changing firmware configuration, and changing the developer-focused Windows Startup Settings, for example.

We wanted to make it easy to get to the boot options menu whenever you needed it, in a way that would logically fit within a fully-functional Windows 8.

In general, our preference is to create one method to do a certain thing, and make this one method the best possible. Even when there are multiple ways to do something, there is always a primary method – usually the most commonly used one, which covers the majority of cases. By choosing one way to do a certain thing, this way can be designed for a specific set of usage scenarios, and we can reasonably expect it to remain useful, usable, and desirable across these scenarios. Sometimes there are other cases that are not covered by the primary method. If these cases are not compelling enough to address, the primary method may truly be the only way.

However, in our case, we built a primary method and then added two more pathways: one to ensure we covered all the necessary scenarios, and a second to maintain a consistent pattern with existing Windows components.

The primary method of reaching the boot options is from Advanced startup on the General tab of PC settings. You can get to PC settings from the Settings charm, or by searching from the Start screen using specific search terms, such as boot, startup, safe mode, firmware, BIOS, or several others. On the General tab, you’ll see a short description of the options that will be available in the boot options menu, as well as a Restart now button. The descriptions shown on this screen are fully dynamic, and will change based on the hardware, firmware, and software available on your specific Windows 8 PC.

Several options shown, including Refresh your PC without affecting your files - button: Get started; Reset your PC and start over - button: Get started; Advanced startup - button: Restart now

Pressing the Restart now button under Advanced startup begins the primary pathway to reach the boot options on a fully functional system. The system begins the normal restart process. Then, just before Windows has finished shutting down and is about to fully restart and enter POST, the entire process is paused and the boot options menu fades into view. This is the latest point that UI can even appear during the shutdown/restart sequence. We decided to pause the restart process at this middle point, so that you can choose your destination before the PC goes through another POST. By choosing the desired boot option before POST occurs, we can jump directly to the firmware setup or device-boot (when these are chosen) without needing to go through a second restart and a second POST. You can even use this menu to quickly boot into a second Windows installation if you want to. Since Windows pauses the restart sequence to show the boot options menu, this is one of the fastest ways to boot to a second OS.

For even quicker access, there’s another way of reaching the boot options menu: from within the shutdown menu. If you hold down the Shift key while clicking Restart, Windows 8 will go through the same sequence of events as if you had clicked Advanced startup from within PC settings. Since you can open the shutdown menu from any part of Windows 8 using the Settings charm, this is an especially quick way to directly reach the boot options menu. As you watch the video at the end of this post, you will notice that we've moved this command so there is a straight linear flow with your mouse to reach these options — a flow that is less demanding than in Windows 7.

Menu over Power button: Sleep, Shut down, Restart

The reason that we added this Shift+Restart option to the shutdown menu was because the boot options need to be available even when no one has signed in to the PC. In the old hardware model that allowed keystrokes in boot, anyone with physical access to the PC could press a key to interrupt boot and use the available boot options. To preserve those scenarios, we needed a way for someone who hasn’t signed in (but is still physically using the PC) to use the boot options menu.

The shutdown menu fits these requirements perfectly – it’s always available from the login screen, even when no one is signed in. Also, the use of the Shift modifier on Restart fits with the pattern of using Shift on other items in that same menu. You may notice that the shutdown menu appears in many other places as well, for users who are signed in as well as users who aren’t. In all of these places, the same Shift+Restart behavior still works – we felt it was important for the shutdown menu to behave consistently and predictably, wherever it appears.

There’s one other way to trigger the boot options menu during shutdown, and this way has the added bonus of working from Command Prompt. We’ve added a new flag to shutdown.exe: /o. The /o flag only works in conjunction with /r (for restart), so the full syntax is:

Shutdown.exe /r /o

C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe  C:\Users\Chris right arrow shutdown.exe /r /o

We added this new flag to shutdown.exe because we wanted to keep this part of Windows consistent and predictable. Not everyone uses Shutdown.exe, but those who do, depend on it for the full set of shutdown-related tasks.

- Chris Clark

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Comments (206)
  1. SRV says:

    I like it!

  2. Nabil says:

    Have you change the way to shunt down the computer?

  3. Tommaso says:

    This is very cool, but ideally keeping F8 pressed for the whole boot sequence to trigger the boot menu would be easier. The user would just power up the PC while keeping F8 pressed, until the boot menu appears.

    Isn't this possible on current PC hardware?

  4. Yes but PC is not a Tablet. I really want to see MS showing all these demonstrations using keyboard and mouse. What about accessing boot options from Desktop?

  5. Hi says:

    @Tommaso I believe that is the idea to keep F8 but with a touch screen you can just hit and hold F8 when it’s booting right.

    So the idea I see it that with the new touch revolution we need to have a way to get there without having a keyboard.

    Hope that helped you Tommaso great question!

  6. Marty says:

    I'm with Tammaso – why not make it so you can just hold a key as the computer is starting? Does keyboard hardware differ too much from piece to piece to allow this? Or was this not considered because it would make the OS rely on a keyboard for trouble-shooting when touch could do the job just fine?

    And Nabil – they aren't going to change the way the system shuts down. The operating system is basically finished. To expect major changes to the way things work now is silly.

  7. Jeez says:

    ..what a huge improvement!

  8. What's the point of PC Settings vs Desktop Control Panel, why duplications?

  9. Holding shift key and clicking restart is not intuitive to most people. Microsoft needs to get out of keyboard shortcut philosophy because it fails usability test. People are still not even aware of CTRL + C to copy something let alone this. It is nice that is available but overall usability fails.

  10. Why would you expose shift + restart option when noone is signed in, it opens security problem there!

  11. James325 says:

    The shut down button should be on the start screen, or under the account name menu.

    @red77star, no problem. Anyone can reboot a desktop or laptop, and press F key to go in safe mode, or the key to go in the BIOS/UEFI (that is why you can set a password to it)

  12. Windows 7 says:

    [quote from author] "a flow that is less demanding than in Windows 7"

    No matter how many times you say it in no matter how many blogs, it doesn't make it true!

    Windows 8 navigation is a PITA!

  13. Why is Charm positioned on right side of the screen? For people who use mouse it is so clunky because you have to point cursor to specific location on screen wait little delay for charm to open drag down cursor to click an appropriate object on it. It is a nightmare. I still don't understand why Metro Screen was created when Desktop itself is unused space and if you set taskbar to autohide you will see what i am talking about. Metro even i disliked it should have been implemented within Desktop itself and not actually create whole new entity which opposes desktop in every possible visual and practical way and also brings duplications. WinRT does not make sense on PC only on small devices such as Tablets, Phones. Again the problem of defining what is PC and what is not is clearly there.

    Desktops, Laptops, Ultrabooks belong to PC.

    Tablets, Phones belong to PM -> Personal Mobile

    Server is entity for itself.

    Is there Desktop available on Phones or Just Metro interface (aka Start Screen). No it is not and that is exactly my point just it doesn't make sense to bring Metro Screen to Desktop. Having same user experience across all platforms is a poor excuse and it does not bring any value but actually limits one platform due the nature of another platform for which WinRT is maximum.

  14. NP says:

    In Win 98 you could hold down control for the boot menu. Why couldn't you do something similar for Win 8. Hold down control while the computer is booting.

  15. And if the system is with problems to start (because a driver failure, for example), how can I use safe mode boot without starting the OS?

  16. relinquish says:

    For a normal PC user why duplicate the control panel?

  17. Sorry, ignore my question, I didn't saw the automatic failover boot options menu text.

  18. @relinquish

    The reason is that Metro has no place on Desktop as it is trying to compete one. Even though MS wants us to think of Desktop as another app, i don't see it that way. It is just hanging there and i would gladly disabled it if it was even possible. Clearly my decision to run Windows 8 on my PC will be determined by inability to disable Metro (Start Screen and the rest). However i would get Windows 8 Phone because Metro makes sense there, and i do own Windows 7 Phone.

  19. Dan Bugglin says:

    Unfortunately your nice mouse-driven menu means I have to wait for Windows 8 to boot even if I want to select one of my other OSs to boot, such as Linux.  This makes Windows 8 look fast and Linux look slow.

    Thankfully it is possible to bring the old menu back, since the new menu is part of Windows 8 and the old one is simply suppressed in the bootloader settings and can be reactivated.

  20. Geoffc1 says:

    This is all very wonderful, but Microsoft's dirty little secret is that their own Windows Home Server 2011 product cannot backup or restore GPT disks. So modern PCs using UEFI/GPT cannot be backed up/restored using WHS 2011.


    The WHS 2011 team last acknowledged that this was a problem in November 2011. Since then – silence…

  21. JF says:

    @red77star If your system is running normally and you intentionally want to dig into advanced startup options, chances are you know about CTRL-C. Discoverability has always been a problem with keyboard short-cuts, but they are incredibly useful. In any case, a GUI option is available which makes the setting accessible regardless.

    I do agree with your first post however, as it has caused me a bit of confusion to have two places to look through to find PC settings. Add to that the fact that the traditional control panel is an insane mess at this point, and that Start->typing produces 0 results until you select to search through "Settings" – a cumbersome extra step from the fluidity of doing the same thing in Windows 7 – and trying to configure any part of the OS becomes much more painful than it used to be. I'm hoping this is something that will be improved: a consolidation and re-imagining of the control panel, and consistency between the Metro and Desktop control panels.

  22. Stick E Keys says:

    Will Windows 8 fix the "sticky keys" hack to circumvent security?

  23. Nice! Could you hightlight Restart with a * or sth. else, when a User press the Shift-Key.

    So that we can differentiate from a normal Restart. (Allthough i bet you won't use press the Shift-Key and restart by mistaken)

  24. Brian says:

    I agree with NP, holding CTRL while the box is booting seems like the best way to do it.

  25. bzsys says:

    "What's the point of PC Settings vs Desktop Control Panel, why duplications?"

    Actually this is explained in the user experience post by Jensen Harris. Their goals for settings in Windows 8 were

    (1) For the general public, present simplified / reduced configuration that would "make your PC work like a device, not a computer"

    (2) For power users, still provide all the configuration abilities you have in Windows 7

    It would be pretty hard to achieve both of these goals at the same time with one configuration interface. If they took all the options in Control Panel and put them into PC Settings, it would defeat the whole point of PC Settings which is to present fewer options. If they removed all the Control Panel choices that didn't fit into PC Settings, they'd be breaking compatibility. Having two "control panels" is pretty much the only way to achieve both of these goals. Not that I necessarily think it's a good thing, just I understand the reasons for it.

    Although I will say it's kind of lame to have a "General" tab in PC Settings. Both this and the Settings charm (which apparently includes Help?!?) could be renamed to "Stuff", or more fully "A bunch of random stuff we couldn't figure out how to fit into any of the other categories".

    "7. Make your PC work like a device, not a computer. […]

    Today most people love their PCs, but it is clear that people’s attitudes and expectations are changing for just about any device they carry around with them. People really want a product that just works. They want to sit on the couch and enjoy their favorite apps and games and websites and not worry about the vagaries of the registry or a million control panels or power profiles.[…]

    In contrast, today’s Windows is almost absurdly configurable. Even the most obscure features are often tweakable through a sometimes impenetrable labyrinth of control panels, group policies, special command-line utilities, undocumented registry keys, etc. […]

    We recognize that in the proper hands, or in the hands of someone who is willing to tolerate the downsides, these are not features to be critical of, but assets of Windows. Our intention is not to lock down Windows, but to provide a platform that meets consumer expectations for how a device should work. These assets are far too easily abused or accidently misused—there is a better way.

    Our goal in Windows 8 is to redefine people’s expectations of their PC. The most commonly used settings (those similar to the ones exposed on most phones or tablets today) are available within the new UI.  […]

    Now if you are an expert who really craves all of the traditional flexibility and customizability of all of the knobs and levers in the system, you can still access them just as easily as you could in Windows 7. These settings are still there, and they still work. The Control Panel and gpedit.msc and PowerShell and all of the other places you do expert customization of your PC are still there for you. People who don’t have the knowledge to use these advanced settings effectively can just enjoy their devices. And for those who do want that power, it is there for them."

  26. bzsys says:

    @redstar77 "I still don't understand why Metro Screen was created when Desktop itself is unused space and if you set taskbar to autohide you will see what i am talking about. Metro even i disliked it should have been implemented within Desktop itself and not actually create whole new entity which opposes desktop in every possible visual and practical way and also brings duplications."

    I don't understand why you'd want this. The desktop is covered by any windows that are open, so if the start screen took the place of the desktop, you'd have to Win-D or minimize windows to get to it. Then you'd have the same problem that desktop shortcuts have now, namely:

    1. Opening a desktop program or folder from a shortcut on the desktop: Hit Win-D to show desktop. Double-click (or single-click in Start screen-as-desktop-overlay case, I guess) on shortcut. New window opens on desktop … and now the system has forgotten your previous window configuration, so you'll have to manually restore everything that was open before.

    2. Opening a desktop program or folder pinned to the start screen: Hit Win to show start screen. Click on tile. Start screen goes away and new window opens on top of your existing window configuration, no need to restore it.

    Why would you prefer (1)?

  27. haaahaaa says:

    hates windows 8 but still love my windows 7

  28. OnTouch says:

    Does this Shift-key + Restart also work with the Touch keyboard?

  29. xpclient says:

    1.  I don't know if the Windows 8 team knows this or not, but with Vista, F8 was changed to Space bar (…/the-space-bar-is-the-new-f8-when-it-comes-to-vista-and-server-2008-boot-options.aspx) but F8 still worked in most cases but Space bar worked more reliably. For example, if the "Time to display list of OSes" was set to 0, only Space bar worked reliably, F8 didn't work, it just booted the default OS. Be sure you test F8 with "Time to display list of OSes" set to 0 for pre-UEFI PCs.

    2.  Why does the awesome shutdown /g to restart and restore registered applications (available since Vista) not exposed in the Windows user interface? Because this isn't exposed in the UI, no one uses it and therefore apps registered to automatically restore after a restart are next to absent (Google Chrome is the only non-Microsoft app that I know that registers for this).

    3.  Boot is only fast when there were no updates installed previously. If you have to restart after installing updates, it boots fast and then at the logon screen, you have to "wait till Windows configures updates." I wish that design wasn't like that so the configuration of updates takes place in the background when the PC is idle or any other less disruptive time. Is there a dependency on this configuration of updates to occur post-logoff and pre-logon? Updates always get in the way when I want to do a quick restart.

    4.  A progress bar would nice for hibernation and when it's doing a hybrid-shutdown as well (especially now that hybrid shutdown is the default shutdown now). Some PCs do not even come with LEDs these days for minimalistic design. How do you suppose the user gets to know the PC is off?

    5.  Please have an option to see the detailed BSOD (including memory address ranges for debugging) and Chkdsk when Chkdsk runs at startup. I want to see what correction it makes to the file system at boot time. I don't want to hunt them down in the massive Event Log.

    6.  I want my Logon, Logoff and Exit Windows sounds back even if they were removed for faster boot. At most removing the sounds for these events from Control Panel was okay. Removing the events themselves after years of customization is criminal.

    7.  When auto-logon is enabled on a Windows PC, holding down Shift allowed you to temporarily override it and not auto logon. Just like F8 gets skipped at startup, Shift gets skipped now and the system always auto logs on. When Shift is held down at the logon screen, auto logon should stop. This behavior is broken/unreliable in Vista and Windows 7 as well.

  30. Iqbal Shahid says:

    how do you shift + restart on a touch device?

  31. pmbAustin says:

    Excellent post, and a great new feature.  Thanks for this!

  32. J says:

    This will undoubtedly usher a new era of "Help, Windows fails to displays the boot menu automatically and proceeds to boot normally even though it freezes"

  33. Early in September you wrote about pressing Esc for firmware settings and Win for boot options:…/protecting-the-pre-os-environment-with-uefi.aspx

    If it is correct yet then why it is not included in this blogpost?

  34. temp says:

    @xpclient don't live in the past

  35. fa says:

    Who needs to fully boot their computer more than once a month, after applying OS-updates? The rest of the time it's normal starting from hibernation/standby.

    Also: Why make error-hunting easier when you should tackle the potential causes for these errors in the first place?

    More importantly: Will you offer all real updates and upgrades of the desktop-"app" for Win7-users?

  36. raymond says:

    why are the buttons so flat? why are the corners so sharp? At least give us some round corners. Even though window 7 was way too round, this is too severe of a sharp corner. At least give us buttons that have depth and character. Using some shading and effects would be nice like internet explorer 9's buttons. Why are the tabs of internet explorer so close? Give it some space so it's not so cluttered and cramped looking. Why are the scrollbars and dropdown button so ugly? That same scrollbar is in the consumer preview and it's very ugly. PLEASE fix it. I've never seen a more ugly scroll bar. The buttons cannot be so flat given that all the other content is 3D.

  37. raymond says:

    I hope it really does boot faster because the consumer preview doesn't boot that much faster than windows 7 for me. Also why are you making these menus so ugly? The start up menu, pc settings menu, charms bar menu. All the buttons are flat and ugly. Or flat in a box. The text menus are basically words inside a box. Doesn't look like much effort in design. The word buttons are words with a solid color as background.

  38. xpclient says:

    @temp, stop trolling.

  39. Raymond says:

    I hope it really does boot faster because the consumer preview doesn't boot that much faster than windows 7 for me. Also why are you making these menus so ugly? The start up menu, pc settings menu, charms bar menu. All the buttons are flat and ugly. Or flat in a box. The text menus are basically words inside a box. Doesn't look like much effort in design. The word buttons are words with a solid color as background. Please fix it. Everything is too flat and ugly.

  40. CMD says:

    I got into Command Prompt only mode, but shutdown.exe is not found in the path.  How do you gracefully shut down from the CMD shell then?

  41. So shutdown is really hibernation mode? I am saying this because from cold start Windows 8 takes as much time to boot as Windows 7. I don't think that new shutdown will work on gaming machines where overclocking is applied because it messes up voltage or clock speed when i coming from sleeping state often causing computer not to respond or blue screen. I could be wrong.

  42. #bzsys

    Computer is a device and device can be anything. Microsoft mixed apples and oranges again. This is the poorest excuse i heard.

  43. Mark says:

    This is a great feature and one that will work well with the new crop of UEFI and tablet systems. Kudos to you!

  44. LeoStorm85 says:

    In a word…exciting!!! Can't wait for the final version.

  45. xyzzer says:

    Awesome! I really appreciate you guys sharing the story of building Windows. So much openness surely can't harm!

  46. RonV says:


    "I got into Command Prompt only mode, but shutdown.exe is not found in the path.  How do you gracefully shut down from the CMD shell then?"

    Use the default path:

    %SystemRoot%System32Shutdown.exe /r /o

  47. I'm sure others have said this as well, but in case not… what about a scenario in which users CAN'T get Windows to boot at all (corrupted boot record, for example) and therefore can't trigger the error scenarios? Seems like there should be, even with fast booting hardware, a key sequence (like hold security button + power on) to trigger some sort of boot options… I suppose that will be determined based on the UEFI firmware, but it would be nice if it's made as a standard sequence instead of the myriad of F1-F12 keys that OEMs use today.

  48. Chris says:

    This OS is not suitable for PCs.

  49. etacarinae says:

    @raymond Agreed. I can't believe MSFT thinks this gaudy design is acceptable. It is absolutely woeful and for Jensen Harris to praise Metro and declare Aero as "cheesy" and outdated; I have to wonder just how much of their own kool aid they are drinking. There's nothing intuitive having plain text as menu options. How can a basic user distinguish between what's content and what is clickable or touchable?

  50. I love it, Keep the improvements coming, I can't wait to get Windows 8's Official Release.

  51. Ed says:



    Agree, this new style is just effin awful.

    Aero gave windows an edge over everybody else, but this style…

    Even the crappiest linux DE can look like that…

    Some Android folks made a metro mod for Android…

    How come teenagers can do in a few weeks what a multi billion company wants to put out to the market later this year…

  52. hoopz says:

    Apple machines have worked around this forever by allowing you to hold down a variety of keys when powering up the computer. Option/alt = boot menu, F = firewire target disk mode, etc. I guess that's too obvious and simple for Microsoft?

  53. Nitz Walsh says:

    I see responses that were intended for the User Experience blog post are showing up here, and now it's obvious why – no more comments are allowed on that blog post.

    I thought the cutoff date for comments was a week?  The UE post was added only 4 days ago.  Is that the actual cutoff date…or did the 90% of responses basically asking "WTF?!?" deter you from seeing more added? 🙂

    I would suggest extending the allowable comments to 2 weeks at least, the policy of shutting down communucation after such a short period practically guarantees you'll see spill-over.

  54. Nitz Walsh says:

    hoopz: Apple can do that because they control the hardware.  You're basically asking an OS vendor (MS) to circumvent a BIOS's (well, UEFI now) function, they simply can't do that.  

    Apple can do this as they control the firmware in their PC's, Microsoft doesn't.  So MS has to figure out what they can do to make the process simpler *once their code has loaded*, and they have IMO.   You're asking them to implement a function on startup where they have absolutely no control.

    Despite my unbridled hatred of Metro on the desktop and the way Win8 is shaping up, I'm fine with Metro here.  It's a single-window function that used to be mostly ugly text, having simple, clear tiles here actually works as there's no possibility I'll be loading up another program at this point.  Metro's design clashes with the desktop and lack of multitasking don't play into this scenario.

  55. Ed says:

    How do you access it from a tablet without an attached keyboard?

  56. "bzsys

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012 10:38 AM

    I don't understand why you'd want this. The desktop is covered by any windows that are open, so if the start screen took the place of the desktop"

    What?  Don't know what version of Windows you've been using but my Windows 7 desktop is only "covered" if I have an app maximized, which is not very often.  Additionally even if an app is maximized the start button is always available to open the start menu.  That is just the opposite as Metro where a user's 30in screen might suddenly turn bright green with hideous colored rectangles just to open an app.

  57. CMD says:

    @Ronnie Vernon

    It's not there, shutdown.exe is not in System32 when you reboot into Command Prompt-only safe mode.  In fact, commands like "dir /b /s | find 'shutdown'" do not reveal it anywhere in the X: or C: drives.  In any case, even when you're in the System32 folder, the shutdown.exe command does not work due to "missing file" errors.  I did discover that closing the CMD shell returns you to the menu of special boot-up options, but this is not discoverable and very poorly designed, if indeed this is the intended design.

  58. Riboute says:

    Being forced to launch Windows to preselect restart is counter-intuitive if you start from cold boot, or if you're doing startup things and need to restart several times.

    It's also an additional dependency where something may go wrong and prevent you from restarting.

    It would be much better to work with UEFI designers on some more natural way to implement a startup menu.

    Maybe for instance displaying and pausing on the startup menu if any of the keyboard keys, mouse buttons or touch screen positions is pressed (not repeatedly, just leaving your finger on it). It's usually one of the POST checks that interrupts the boot sequence if a keyboard key is pressed, but it should be easy to indicate that it's not a POST error, for instance by releasing the key to go to the startup menu instead of the UEFI screen.

    How did the UEFI designers solve this issue for their own sake? They did not wait on Windows to implement this "UEFI Firmware Settings" option.

    Additionally, if I once booted from a USB device, I'd like the options to say either "always boot from this device if it is present" or "display the startup menu at boot if this device is present" right from the first time, or later on. There might be other cases where Windows could be smarter about startup.

  59. Veer says:

    Won't all Windows 8 tablets come with a hardware "Windows Key"?

    All existing systems have one on their keyboard… Why not enable a Windows Key+Power Button combination for tablet and the same could be replicated for desktops.

    A sort of "One combo to rule them all"

    They already moved all advanced startup options to one menu, why not make it accessible through the most obvious key combo that should be standard on all Win 8 devices?

    Do that and then make sure and metro-ise the taskbar as well, dont leave it as glass. It looks stupid and out of place.

  60. @xpclient

    I'd like to see you program a system that applies system updates faster than what you want. Sometimes things take time to do.

  61. What you've done here is all fine and good. I support the additional options being added. Perhaps the shutdown menu text should change if you are holding shift though. So it might say "Restart (Boot Options)" instead, for example.

    However, I have no idea why this same functionality is being removed from POST/startup. There's no reason at all why the UEFI firmware should not stop and check for key presses at POST. Microsoft has a lot of influence in that area, and could the problem could easily be fixed. It makes zero sense to require a working (or broken, but not too broken) operating system to be installed just to be able to change the boot order or other basic options. The insanity of that situation boggles the mind. I would consider that a PC/motherboard defect and avoid any hardware that behaved that way. There's also no reason why Win8 couldn't stop and check for key presses. The way that Win8 starts up is not something out of your control, even though you keep making strange statements to that effect. Windows RT devices should startup as fast as possible, but Win8 devices would benefit greatly from having, by default, a short period where keystrokes can be detected (preferably with text somewhere about what key to press for boot options).

  62. IT says:

    hi Steve, I like Windows 8, it is fast, intuitive, and it is absolutely a great product.

    However, I don't like the User Experience of IE, it is far behind Chrome in terms of ease to use, launch speed, bookmark sync, autotranslation…., and also the less intuitive UI (changing from a color TV to a black-white TV ) and high cost of Visual Studio 2011, it is too much expensive!

    Wish you could hear some voices from the users regarding these two products when you are becoming CEO later.

  63. Beany says:

    Once again, great changes. But it would be nice to also be able to just hold a key down rather than tapping, or is this something you cant guarantee will work every time on all PC's? Because i've noticed holding down a key on some keyboards produces input at different speeds.

  64. sreesiv says:

    Very good. The attention to detail and the extensive thought that has gone in to accomplish all the legacy, yet important scenarious is very very impressive. I personally liked the Shift+Restart option and the way it avoids a second Restart/POST. The best way/quick way to boot to a second OS!!! It certainly is…

    Very Impressive and Modern…World class…

  65. @red77star —

    Lots of programs already allow holding down the Shift Key to bypass macros and other things.. Shift was already in Windows and MS office as well as Firefox and God knows many other programs.  Tech people are familiar with holding down Shift key already for many programs so this is a natural experience, and nothing new here — MS is making it known.. that Shift still works!

  66. @red77star —

    charms are on the right hand side because this matches iPods, iPhones, iPads, Android Phones and its RTL for the rest of the world, so that is why it is there too.. consistency for the consumer depending on how you hold it!

  67. @Tommaso and @Marty,

    It seems to me that the blog posted stated that typical boot squence has also been hold down if you can or hit it once, the problem as they stated is because you have a split second to tell the computer with a keyboard that before it boots fully.  The other reason is try doing that on a tablet, wont work.  So for consistency, they have to make it better for all devices.. that should be self explanatory if you use your brain.

  68. Alvaro says:

    Would be great to have an option to use PowerShell instead of cmd (isn't PS suppose to be 1000 times better than cmd??), you could easily mount .Net and the other requirements of PS into WinRE

    I guess Windows Memory Diagnostics, CheckDisk and other tools are somewhere in there (i havent seen them in the captures)

    What about bcdedit and bcdboot, have this tools been updated in some way??

  69. Abraham says:

    Will IDE, ATA or SATA hard drive users still see a improvement in the boot time of windows 8?

  70. One minor quibble – "Use another operating system" has the additional text "Continue with another installed version of Windows". There are actually operating systems out there other than Windows 🙂 Or is this not the mechanism one would use to boot into non-Windows OSes?

  71. it is so nice to have faster start up times. i wonder if it will help my HP Compaq tc4400 which has a startup time of 20 seconds or so when using windows 7. one of my Windows XP computers had a 5 second startup time. of course then i only used it for playing The Sims. it was an Armada E700 that i owned 10 years ago. usually when there are no startup processes, the computer will startup in no time at all. too bad that is not the case for my tc4400.

  72. and if Windows 8 does treat my Compaq tc4400 well, i may just upgrade, but just use it in a dual boot configuration.

  73. wr says:

    Stick E Keys, it is not a security hole. One have to have system access and change security settings for files to replace sticky keys program with cmd. If that's possible, then your system is already in danger without any hacks.

  74. raymond says:

    the on and off switch button looks awful and flat. Aero might be considered cheesy but that's because you guys didn't do a good job making Aero to begin with which is why it became outdated. This new metro on the desktop however is also a half-done approach. Visually it makes things hard to distinguish between buttons and what is part of the actual content. You are making things much harder and giving us no choice between the metro and the desktop environment we basically have to go into the the metro(which should be a mobile environment) to launch a program for the desktop environment. There is no adequate solution for the removal of the start button and we instead get a hidden menu. This hidden menu is all the more harder to find since when you however over the spot where the start button used to be we get the screenshot of the metro start screen that leads to the metro screen. The charms bar is annoying pop up when moving the mouse over to the side. So basically nothing has been made to be easier for the user but instead we have to work around the craziness and interrupt our workflow.

  75. to Microsoft(from japan nanasi) says:

    It is already bad all over the world at reputation.

    Isn't it that which the way which already carries out a development stop altogether once, and remade a code and UI from zero (blank state) over many hours thoroughly altogether says?

    It is a certain person's opinion.

    Of course, please continue support of 7 or Vista, and offer of an updating program.

    compatibility, lightness, ease of use, and speed , safety,I want these five points to put emphasis and to tackle

    I would suppress after fault at worst and would like you to develop in collaboration with many users and partners, and a developer.

  76. Vikas Patidar says:

    So the old complex things are going to be simple and the old simple things are complex.  Remove the Start button. Put the shutdown option to somewhere deep in 2-4 clicks .. WOW STUPID MICROSOFT

  77. Suraj kc says:

    Windows 8 fast boot- I am loving it

  78. I guess it's not off topic, but where is the "Hibernate" option ? I could only access it (windows 8 consumer preview) using the Alt+F4 combination from the desktop, which brought up the old shutdown pop-up box.

  79. neko says:

    I really hope that Metro is optional in desktop use and without it you'll get old and trusty Start menu back.

    Please Microsoft, do favour to yourself: allow desktop user use Windows 8 wiothout Metro if user choose it that way.

  80. Carmelo says:

    What about during boot up, holding your finger on the screen will bring up a boot menu, especially if boot is touch enabled.

  81. Can you people shut up about the stupid start menu!  Its gone.  Get over it! Use win7, linux, ipad and stop cluttering up these boards with your stupid rants.

  82. SDreamer says:

    Sounds good so far. Please consider making an active digitizer a requirement, it's one thing that makes TabletPCs better than tablets. At least have better drive support, especially for the devices you guys have tested with (ahem HP tm2t).

  83. Graham says:

    Just give it a few months and it'll be back to taking minutes to boot up, as the cruft builds up… 😉

  84. Darren says:

    While it is ok to select boot options from a full running system, it is once again ridicoulus that I have to make a full system start to be able to select the desired boot options for the restart. This is not simple and not intuitive. But hey we know it: Windows 8 is not intuitive at all. I think your user experience team needs to get fired.

    There are tons of short cuts all over Windows 8 so why did you not come up with the most simple solution available: Simply hold down space bar during boot and the boot menu will appear.

    And for tablets as they have a hardware windows button, it would be simple to keep this button pressed while start up.

    The way you are reimaging the most simplest solution and screwing up intuitive workflows only to make things overcomplicated different is unbearable. The people in charge for improving those decisions need to get replaced. And hopefully will once W8 sales figures flow in.

  85. dfgfg says:

    Metro is ugly

  86. JohannesB says:

    The tiles in that video almost looks like they are using gradient colours instead of flat colors. Are they? It looks great.

  87. Developersi says:

    I hope it really does boot faster because the consumer preview doesn't boot that much faster than windows 7 for me.

  88. Isn't it possible to see whether a key is being held down during boot, instead of being pressed? If you could just check whether F8 is held down, the timing window would no longer be an issue.

    I might have skipped something, but it seems in the new system if Windows is broken but it does not show the advanced options automatically for some reason, them I'm stuck with no way of accessing them, since they would require me to boot Windows normally first.

  89. SKK says:

    How about you make it possible for the PC to continuously boot in "Windows Startup Settings" so that, for example, we can have driver signature enforcement permanently disabled? What's the point of a fast booting PC if my DELL needs I8KFan which doesn't have signed drivers!

  90. Josh Marshall says:

    So if your PC is compromised by spyware, it'll no doubt be tailored to prevent boot menu access to confound removal attempts.  What then?

  91. Dae says:

    It would be much more convenient to have a 'Home' or 'Back to the main menu' button ,at perhaps the top right-hand corner, in order to return to the main menu straight away instead of clicking back multiple times. Opinions?

  92. Vigants says:

    Actually solution is very smart. For tablet devices there is no "F8" key… and hopefully in tablets there will be just one button – power buton. Maybe it is reasonable to have long press on power button to start bios menu?

  93. Now we just need a start menu for us techs that manage stuff and not people!

  94. Windows 7 says:

    @ JoergBaermann

    Are you saying you actually do stuff on your computer? I don't think that was in Microsoft's list of requirements for Windows 8.

    Windows 7 will live forever, failing that I better learn Linux.

  95. @ Windows 7

    Funny thing is that this article discusses something that is so easy on as example Ubuntu.

    Hold down the shift key after pressing the power button and you get a boot option menu, ofc. MS devs had to reinvent the wheel :p

  96. Windows 8 says:

    Will recovering option from Windows system image be available in Windows 8?

  97. RP says:

    Hope to see MS answer some of these questions.

    1) Why won't holding down F8 during and after pressing a reset button solve the problem?

    2) If Windows detects F8 being pressed while booting, but too late to load the boot menu, why doesn't it just auto-reboot and load the boot menu?

    3) If you have a touch device with no keyboard, how do you hold down shift while clicking the restart button?  Does the OSK get shown at this point?

    OT: If I go into my computer's properties and go to the window where I can edit environment variables, why is that window so so small and non-resizable?  Almost unusable.

  98. Win8FAIL says:

    Thats nice and all, but as long as MS still giving desktop users the middle finger, Win8 will FLOP just like Vista.

    Metro and Start Screen, who's idea was this? Certainly wasn't Win7 users idea.

  99. Windows 7 last real OS from MS ? says:

    Guys, Windows 8 Metro UI is a huge fail.  There are too many non-standard, non-user friendly, yucky charms being thrown into this soup.  The writing is on the wall, you've been hearing it on the tech forums.  You are creating a touch-frakenstein UI and this is going to crash and burn badly.  You might as well relabel Windows 8 as Windows Mobile, figure out how to keep the underlying architecture (kernel) to run it and the existing Windows 7, and then come out with Windows Desktop (aka Windows 9) as a follow on to Windows 7.  You are not only going to piss of most PC users but you are going to kill PC sales as well AND corner yourself into a narrower market.  MS, you guys periodically go off smoking something (seems like every other major OS release), and Win8 has all the hallmarks of being  under that other-release curse.   Yuck.

  100. This error is very useful for users who are not professional, but the traditional methods of working will create quite a nuisance for professional users.

    My idea for the non-UEFI-based BIOS access via the system settings will move to a tab-delimited files, restart the BIOS screen. I have to say clearly that the system will start to work up a feature everyone's duration.

  101. Bain says:

    Ok, I am probably late and this question has been asked a thousand times, but anyway : Metro may be great for Mobiles and Tablet PCs but whats the point of having it on a Desktop PC thats still largely used with a Mouse and not a Touchscreen ?? The whole concept seems like a answer to a problem no-one ever had (until forced to use Win 8). I am sorry, i will certainly skip WIN8 and continue with WIN 7 which is great (if only they managed to integrate a descent File Explorer – see, thats what most people need who actually have to work with their machines , not just pushing windows with smeary fingers).

  102. Harry says:

    @ RP et al.

    For some of your questions you don't need Microsoft to answer, but rather the hardware specifications. Just take a look at the repetition rate, with which keyboard interrupts are fired (once they become active in the boot sequence) and compare that with the "window of opportunity". You'll quickly see that there is no way to get a reliable and consistent behaviour with these parameters. While legacy OS (Windows < 8 and all those -x OS) have a longer "window of opportunity" this works, but with the lighning-fast Win8 this no longer holds true.


  103. Eric says:


    Back in Windows 95, when you click "Shut down" from the Start menu, windows would display an orange text message that reads "It's now safe to turn off your computer", giving users flexibility as to when they *really*  turn-off their PCs. Why the $^%& did they remove this functionality in later OSes?

  104. Steve says:

    Just wanted to know one thing, will these features work on all current UEFI implementations, or only on hardware released alongside Windows 8? And in saying that, would it work on the current crop of Ultrabooks as well?

  105. david says:

    why not just push the start button at boot up to get to this menu? semms rather complex to have to boot first, in order to be able to reboot "correctly"…

  106. Wow… Really great! 🙂 But I haven't found how to use it yet 🙁

  107. Benjamin says:


    Don't worry, temp is deleted on shutdown!

  108. Benjamin says:


    That message is still used the same way in modern Windows as it was back then.

    Whether is showed this or not was dependent on whether or not the hardware could shut itself off. If it can't, Windows displays that message.

  109. xpclient says:

    @Eric, you can make jokes about it but with ACPI PCs, there was no need to display that "It is now safe to" screen. But in case of hibernating a system with 8 or 16 GB of RAM, an indicator helps the user to rest assured that it hibernated successfully. Sometimes, it fails to hibernate due to some app vetoing the process or making the hibernation process stuck and then the device is drained of all battery and the user never comes to know. A progress bar isn't just for fanciness – it serves a purpose.

  110. kristina says:

    can you solve this isssue.

    I am using High contrast #1 in Win8. when I restart it's changed to contrast #4 later change to aero.  I not want it automatically. Ie 10 react like blackish when I try these themes. Can you solve it.


  111. @ Ed

    I had the same question… If I have a tablet PC that has no physical keyboard, but still have windows-key/Power/Volume controls buttons, what is the procedure for interrupting boot??

  112. Hanrahan says:

    So the question is if windows does not detect an issue, for example a resolution problem where he display shows blank but windows reconizes it as working, how do you get into the menu to switch resolution back to 800×600( or what ever that option is) Your still going to have to mash F8….. Great improvement, but like most of windows 8 new features, they are not 100%, nor will they be at launch…

  113. Mark says:

    I like that Windows boots faster, I doubt if I will use the hybrid fast-boot since usually I need to reboot because of some wierd memory glitch/system slowdown problem and a hibernate scenario will not help that at all.

    I'm assuming these high-speeds are with the newest computers or some kind of different option? I have UEFI BIOS on my desktop and it usually takes it around 10-15 seconds to get through the splash screen, the "hit Control-R for Array Controller" screen, the "Hit Tab to enter Setup" screen, before Windows ever gets around to being called. Since the BIOS boot will be unaffected by a SSD I am guessing newer computers must have some kind of fast-boot BIOS option to get through it so fast.

  114. devart says:

    Please add a higher level of customization than just setting a color and a wallpaper….

    And do not remove the glass style from the available options.

    -deviantART community.

  115. ST says:

    Nice, Microsoft has impressed me a lot lately 🙂

  116. rrrrr says:


  117. raymond says:

    Another issue is the font. Where is the clear-type technology? Why isn't the type clear when not using internet explorer as a browser but instead using firefox or google chrome? Why is the text not clear in microsoft word? Also the new system font is ugly way too thin and won't work on a busy background it works now since you are showing examples of a solid background so the font looks fine without effects but what happens against a busier background such as the windows phone lock screen photos? Or the tablet with a busy background? The typography loses it's legibility. You have to either give the font SOME effects to let the users be able to read it or make a better font altogether.

  118. adam says:


    i think Clear type fonts are harmful for some users !

    the man eyes in tow inside to effects become hazy !

    my recommendation for you is that not use clear type fonts for long time.

    first is health , and second state is elegance.

  119. my 2c says:

    Just one more thing about Aero…

    I undertand the need for a new look, but remember that many of us have different tastes.

    Keep Aero as a option and add customization options. REAL customization options.

  120. agsadf says:


    I like Clear Type…

    And the fonts in OSX are even more blurry

  121. Blair says:

    I think my favourite option on the boot menu will be "Use another operating system"

  122. Not a fanboy says:

    Faster than any other OS ? LIE ! LIE ! LIE ! My XP starts faster than Windows 8 !

  123. Blarg says:

    Just wondering if they rename the blog to "Failing Windows 8" and continue posting once this fugly useless Windows 8 hits the market and gets avoided by the vast majority of users because of the UI fail…

  124. Kanoj says:

    I'm trying to install windows 8 on my pc with 20 GB partition. its getting struck at "Devices getting ready 8%".. plz help me..

  125. pramod says:

    Generally speaking, one gets the impression that future windows 8 devices will most definitely be touch based (even the laptops).

    A lot of functionality is designed for touch centric devices and not for mouse and keyboard, in windows 8.

  126. adam says:


    Clear type for squatty or gross fonts is good . but for thin fonts is not good . (tahoma 8.5 – 9 or … fonts with this size )

    you are like Clear type . but i like my eyes.

    I don't work with OSX but this work is mistake . The Sun is very nice , but look at it than blind for Always.

    blurry in text is very mistake .…/m4f5w8ztcqtsrurrocji.rar

  127. Chris Wakefield says:

    Well written blog!!!  I just hope that Microsoft cam implement it correctly so that it works.

  128. kristina says:

    High contrast #1 themes not worked in win8. Can you fix it. Many software including Vs11 are broken when I am do use that themes.

  129. Thats it, you lost a Customer! i like to point Mr.Sinofsky to this ->

  130. S.Peltz says:

    Let me get this right.

    If I want to reimage my PC from WDS PXE boot, I have to boot up and then restart instead of using F12?

    I this is so, I'm not happy!

  131. keyboard buffer says:

    Whatever happened to the keyboard buffer?

    I may be a dinosaur to remember that, but in DOS times you could press a key in advance and it would be remembered (up to ~70 characters) until a program was ready to ask for keyboard input. I don't remember which interrupt used to process keyboard input, though.

  132. Tom Servo says:

    In the hope that MSFT personnel still reads this comment section two days later:

    It might be an idea to make a blog post, or whatever, about what a Windows 8 computer is doing, when one's not at the keyboard. I have my machine running 24/7 and find it pretty disconcerting what it's all doing over night. I have all maintenance tasks I can disable disabled. Yet, just this night again, on my way back from the toilet to my bed, I heard the thing grinding the hard drives like mad. And two out of three times I engage the lock screen, the idling disks spin up for no reason and start doing something.

  133. Windows 7 says:

    The more I read, the more I laugh! M$ have just extended support for Windows 7 until 2020:

    They already know Windows 8 is dead before it's even born!

  134. Dan says:

    I like the suggestion of holding the winkey+power to force it to boot to the boot options menu. I assume the reasons behind this decision are down to not knowing the finer details of every UEFI POST process. I get that it is possible that the POST may not register a key that is held down if it is first pressed before the POST has completed initialisation of the keyboard. This really depends on the particular functions of a specific firmware.

    However, I think this would be a moot point for WIndows RT devices. None exist at present, so all Microsoft has to do is make a Winkey+power press a requirement of any Windows RT devices. It makes perfect sense on an ARM-based tablet to perform an operation like that to boot to a recovery environment.

    Then, once it becomes commonplace in Windows RT devices, it will likely get adopted by most x86 UEFI makers, too. Sure, keep the functions as described above, as its always good to have multiple options. But similarly – its always good to have multiple options! 😉 Having a "held key" keypress to invoke the startup options would be a useful function for devices that would support it. Just as many of the things mentioned in this article, it would simply be another "dynamic feature" that would only be available if the hardware supports it.

  135. Dan says:

    @Windows 7. Why is that so funny? Windows XP extended support hasn't yet ended and that come out over ten years ago. This is a standard extended support cycle of Microsoft and not something out of the ordinary.

  136. Pax says:


    The main reason XP support was extended was because Vista sucked. and people demanded it.

    If Win 8 really is the new best thing since sliced bread, it shouldn't be necessary to extend Windows 7 support further than what already was.

    So I agree with the "Windows 7" poster, that this could look like an admission of pending failure.

    I mean, Microsoft would be downright suicidal not to listen to the feedback.

    Thousands and thousands of comments, mostly negative. Granted, a lot of whining that noone can use, but there are many, many well thought-out questions and suggestions.

    What MS needs to realize is, that all this is not about what they want Win 8 to be, but what the CUSTOMERS want Win 8 to be.

  137. Nitz Walsh says:

    "What MS needs to realize is, that all this is not about what they want Win8 to be, but what the CUSTOMERS want Win8 to be."

    Apparently this is another Win7 attribute that had to be nixed – after all, that was the central theme in Win7 marketing – "Win7 was my idea".

    Windows7, without a doubt I believe, has become MS's most accepted and praised OS ever released.

    – Aero: Further refined (only it's second iteration), generally agreed to be MS's most visually appealing OS.  

    So further improvements/refinement in Win8?  Things like super-smooth zooming/scrolling in desktop apps like OSX Lion? Nope, WRONG!  You may not have known it, but Aero was actually tacky and tasteless.  Witness the refined and sophisticated beauty of…large, pastel, massive tiles and an OS for those with no depth perception.

    – SKU's: While Win7 Starter was a crippled product, you truly only did see it on the netbooks.  For the vast majority of customers, very simple – you need to join to a domain, Win7 Pro.  Don't, Win7 home.  You get all the home features in Pro, just more – exactly what everyone was clamoring for after the ridiculous sceneario with Vista's SKU's.

    With Win8?  Yeah, you guys liked that, but we thought we'd make it a little more complex.  Want to play DVD's?  Tough, old technology (despite how the vast majority of the planet views movies at home today) – get a codec pack with a horrible OEM player that Win7 finally allowed us to avoid (oh, OEM crapware?  Yeah it's horrible, except media players now apparently).  Oh, Media Center?  You'll need to upgrade to Pro.  Then get the "Media Pack".

    etc, etc.  It's just so mind boggling that all these clear-cut examples of where MS finally got it right win Win7, they jettison them all due to being utterly panicked by the iPad.  It reveals an organization that really has little clear direction and ultimately very little respect for its userbase.  Products are not released because they demonstrate significantly advantages over the previous, they're released as a *strategy*, because MS has to get a "foothold" in a particular space that they now deem critical.  It's just damned cynical.

  138. Windows 7 says:

    @ Pax, thank you for clarifying my point.

    Just to add, Windows XP was extended after much unavoidable pressure from users, after the Vista fiasco. The only difference with Windows 7's extension is that M$ knew they had to do it before even being asked! Speaks volumes for the success of this Metro OS.

  139. etacarinae says:

    "Windows 8 has a problem – "

    I amended this for you:

    "Windows 8 has a problem – Metro"

  140. @Nitz Walsh

    I am not sure I agree with your "It reveals an organization that really has little clear direction" comment, but the "ultimately very little respect for its userbase" is right on.

    Personally I think that Microsoft knows exactly what it is doing by releasing Windows 8 as a hodge podge of useless consumer focused features, most of which will be totally ignored by the Facebook generation, and destroying the power and productivity of the desktop. Their goal is to destroy the traditional business environments with the expectation that we will all embrace their cloud offerings as our savior.

    They could not be more wrong.

    My own opinion of any company that willingly hands its most vital data to a 3rd party and then relies on a network that is inherently unstable and insecure for access is pretty low. The internet is fast approaching a point where control will either be locked down by the majority of world governments or handed to a UN organization that will have difficulty spelling DNS but will prove excellent at spelling TAX.

    Of course I do recognize that the above can be classified as a conspiracy theory and that one should not ascribe to mailicousness what can be explained by simple incompetence, but the sheer level of incompetence displayed by microsoft so far this year is mind boggling if truly unintentional.

  141. Peter says:

    @Nitz Walsh "ultimately very little respect for its userbase"

    @CJR Connect "[this^] is right on"

    When… if you had a billion+ users of any app or service, how would you please them all? Answer's simple, you wouldn't.

    if telemetry says a few hundred millions people work in a way and a few hundred thousand work another way… choice is simple

    if telemetry says a lots of people work in a way but some studies indicate that this fact might change in the near future due to new technology and whatnot… then you have to take it into account too…

    MS want to keep their client (and make new ones, it is pure business), the only way to do this is to honestly try to give them the best, how do they do that? By listening to their client, be it from blogs, forums or telemetry (whatever you have to say about that, you can’t deny that this is the best objective way to gather massive amount of information about OS/application usage) and by integrating what they honestly think is best suited for the future needs.

    Some people seem to think that MS is voluntary messing with its userbase… no, they don’t, they have absolutely no reason to do so. Some of the things they do may seems awkward, I’d give you that, but a company like MS can’t just do random things: everything have to be well thought and every decision have to have serious arguments to be chosen over others options. At some point everything they do is for their consumers, MS want to do the best they can for them and they’re backed by massive amount of data and costly studies that seem to indicate they are following the right path.

    There is a lot that can be said about MS, but lacking respect for its userbase… I don’t think so.

    Think of it that way, multiple people talk against Windows 8 we can agree on that, multiple people that genuinely dislike some MS decisions and that’s alright (everybody have their own taste after all), but look at this very blog there is an average of maybe 200 comment per post… made by approximately… ~50 people, even by taking other blogs in various languages around the world let’s say there is a MAXIMUM of a thousand (or let’s be generous: a few thousands) individuals continually bashing MS and Windows 8 and Metro… and now think that the Consumer Preview alone have been downloaded a few million times as far as we know. Do the math. Whichever way you choose to look at it, you can’t deny they have to be onto something.

  142. @CJR Connect says:

    You make this situation so very dramatic! First, Microsoft doesn't have to deliver this level of transparency, they don't have to maintain this blog and they don't have to read through these comments. But they do. That in itself shows an immense respect of the userbase. Second, I think many forget that the biggest power-users of Windows are most likely the people developing and maintaining Windows! It's rather unlikely that they would develop something that would make their day-to-day jobs less efficient. Third, I've been using the DP and CP from the start, and the only significant change from Windows 7 for a desktop user is the replacement of the start menu with the start screen. I very much doubt your entire productivity is dependent on that, and there are a number of small desktop improvements that increase productivity (no more "Are you sure you want to move this file to the Recycle Bin" messages!!!)

    The CP still needs work, and by all means, voice your concerns if there is a particular feature that is causing you grief. But thus far, with the work that's been done, the adjustments with each iteration (like default collapsing the ribbon in explorer) and this blog itself show some deep interest from the development teams in obtaining user feedback, which shows some great respect for their users.

  143. Trixinet says:

    When you are logged in from a standard user account, and when at least one administrator account has a blank password, could you design the user account control window to prompt for consent instead of credentials, because it seems illogical that users pick the administrator account with a password.

  144. bzsys says:


    "What?  Don't know what version of Windows you've been using but my Windows 7 desktop is only "covered" if I have an app maximized, which is not very often."

    Whether you have one window maximized, two windows snapped 50/50, a OneNote window docked to the side and the remaining space split 50/50, a bunch of Cygwin terminal windows resized in various configurations, or whatever, all or most of your desktop is still going to be covered by windows almost all of the time. And even when some of your desktop is still visible, it's not especially likely to be the part that's potentially useful to you at a given time.

    The rest of your comment didn't have much to do with what I was responding to, which was the idea that it would be better to have the start screen be "desktop wallpaper" instead of a popup.

  145. What? says:

    @Peter: MS doesn’t mess up randomly with the OS? Look at Vista, all options scattered around the OS, every options multi-tab split randomly because they were trying to make it easier. All they ended up with was a mess.

    Now they are messing with the desktop trying to chase the tablet market. Every time they see a new possible market opening they jump and the mess up anything that stands in their way. A start menu opening full screen on my 30” monitor is not just wrong, is stupid.

    And if they had a chance in the mobile/tablet market, maybe (just maybe) it will be worth letting them get away with murdering the desktop experience. Unfortunately the only way that Mr Ballmer will get his 500m installations he is talking about is if they start giving free hardware (phones, tablets and PCs), otherwise they have no chance reaching anywhere near this number.

    The only thing that keeps them relevant and in business is the business, but they seem to be forgetting that. So unless Window 9 is a U-turn on Metro cr@p I don’t see a happy ending.

    As many other devoted Windows developers I have already started investigating alternative OSes.

  146. Mark says:

    I'm struggling to figure out what to do with this. Currently I select shut-down rather than hibernate as usually there are memory problems and/or process junk in memory that needs to be erased. However it sounds like this is no longer an option and the only boot process is a modified hibernation one that preserves "the system state and memory contents to a file on disk" (from the fast boot times post) – but what if you don't want them preserved? I don't see an option to do an actual clean boot.

  147. Josh Rowe says:

    Question: Are there false-failure scenarios that will leave an unattended system in a state where it doesn't boot?  For example, I can envision two successive power outages that result in this boot menu showing up when nothing is actually wrong.  In my area of the woods, this is not an unexpected occurrence.  Not every user has a UPS.

  148. Windows 8 summary says:

    -VC11 Express can't compile Desktop not Console Apps

    -XNA is dead

    -WinRT is severely limited, i.e. no access to Win32, UIElement.Effect was removed, etc.

    -Flat, monotone and ugly metro style

    -No Aero

    -No customization beyond selecting a color and setting a wallpaper (typical of Apple)

    -No DVD support out of the box

    Do you think WinMe 3.0? Because I think so.

  149. @Tommaso and the others who would have preferred a solution involving holding a key down during power on

    Some hardware makers might do this, but we found it wasn’t something that would consistently work across the wide variety of hardware and firmware Windows runs with.


    On the Login and Lock screens, you can launch the On Screen Keyboard from the Accessibility menu, tap the Shift key and then tap the Restart button.


    Once in the boot menus you can use the option “Troubleshooting” -> “Advanced Options” -> “Windows Startup Settings”, the machine will reboot and show a screen that lets you disable the high res video driver.

  150. Nitz Walsh says:

    Hey, the goods news keeps coming!…/no-cost-desktop-software-development-is-dead-on-windows-8

    MS has just LOST it.

  151. bzsys says:

    yeah, I like a lot about Win8 but the no desktop dev on VS Express thing is just a boneheaded decision.

  152. Peter says:

    @Pax – Your comments indicate to me you don't work with enterprises that deploy this stuff. We talk to enterprises large and not-so-large, and continuity of support is very important for organisations that take time to deploy new releases. Not everyone just stops what they are doing and starts deploying new software – there are people as well as technology implications.

    Therefore extending support for platforms simply provides confidence to keep going on their longer term roadmaps.

  153. you are just awesome /sarcasm says:

    If Metro is good enough, you don't need to kill Desktop and Console Development…

    I have two requests, do not f*ck with VS Express and Make all the OS skinnable.

  154. Arthur says:


    You made me go from Microsoft fanboy to Microsoft hater in less than a year…

    I never ever wished something to fail as much as Windows 8….

    This isn't like Vista…

    Its worse…

  155. passingby says:

    it will be better if windows8 will ask us what is the primary use of the machine at the first use, mobile, tablet or PC and let user change it later if they want.

    right now i keep asking, what is the point for a very fast boot, but later I need a lot more click and drag to just go to my working desktop? remember that MS's customers are not all mobile user.

    can i just have the login box right in the welcome screen as a default? why i have to vertically drag the welcome screen way up my monitor? it is not easy and not very productive to me. and as a pc user, after log in, i just want my desktop show up right the way not metro!

    also at the end, when people want to leave, why it need 1 mouse over and 3 clicks to shutdown the system? can it be one mouse over + one click, and we good to go?

    i don't think "forcing" PC user to swallow mobile device's workflow will work.  

  156. Magarmuch says:

    @Arthur, save your eccentricities, go see the doctor or get yourself Linux or whatnot but whatever the fudge you wana do just do just GTFOH you whining punk!

    Good day 😎

  157. Darren says:


    They made me go fro Metro lover to Metro hater in 2 weeks. Before trying that consumer preview I thought Metro was really really cool. On my Windows Phone. After experiencing how they force it on me on the PC and how limited it is and who it seems to be a second best solution only, I started to hate it. On the phone it was the best solution. On the PC it was the worst solution they came across. It is like shaking my head and asking why, oh why. And I could not get rid of it. That´s when I started hating it even on my Windows Phone now. I really had plans to upgrade all my boxes including my little server to Windows 8/Server 8 this year but I believe I will give Linux a try.

    @Ari Pernick

    Are you saying you can force hardware makers to follow your touchscreen spcifications, but not telling them to implemnt hardware buttons in a way so that work reliably on boot?

    Well that´s one big difference to Apple. Maybe MS should spend more effort on this than on forcing Metro on people.


    There have been numerous tests recently that a lot of smartphone apps are sending out your personal data without even informing you. Microsoft is telling us that Windows Phone apps are easy to run on Windows 8. Here is a recent report on app security:…/smartphone-apps-sending-your-data-to-china

    It says that a lot of apps collect even private information like emails, telephone numbers and stuff.

    So basically apps are viruses/trojans. This is bad enough for smartphones. But how could anybody want this on their PCs where lots of personal information is stored?

    Window 8 is doomed.

  158. ReMark says:

    I see now VS11 is only for Metro Apps and for desktop application we need the 500$ pro licence…

    A bunch of 3rd-party softwares is developed by young guys (16>25 years old) not Inc., 3rd-party softwares that add features to Windows (that out-of-the-box has … almost nothing)

    Microsoft should encourage those who produce software for its operating system, Metro or Desktop.

    Tweet that #Vs11 #Win8

    Sorry for the OT.

  159. Pax says:



    "continuity of support is very important for organisations that take time to deploy new releases. Not everyone just stops what they are doing and starts deploying new software"


    And yet, Metro is the only way to go, apparently. No desktop for Express editions, No XP for C++ developers etc.

    It is so obvious that MS wants to kill off the desktop as fast as possible, so they can start making money by earning 30% of other peoples work…

    Apparently "continuity of support" is not as important to MS as it is to others…

  160. Pax says:

    MS must have serious doubts about their Metro solution…

    If they really believed in it, they wouldn't try to force-feed it down our throats.

    It doesn't take much, to figure out why desktop development was removed from the Express editions…

    If MS really believes in Metro they would give us BOTH Metro AND regular startmenu et all.

    They would give us the choice to stay exclusively on the desktop if we so desired and stay exclusively in Metro if that was our wish.

    Let us run Metro apps in windows on the desktop. Let us mix it up as we see fit.

    Then, if Metro really was as good as they say, people would begin to use it, and the desktop would automatically die out.

    Someone, in some post, said that it is impossible to make billions of customers happy. There will always be someone that's not happy.

    This is very true. BUT… This is also the reason why you give your customers as much choice and customization options as possible. Let the customer be in control. That's the recipe for achieving the most happy customers.

    Besides, all these comments are still a pretty good statistic of the reception Metro will get.

    Yeah, a few hundred people complaining… but only a handfull defending Metro. It may not be enough to be statistically accurate, but it's still gives a hint.

    And what's the point of a comment system, if you're not really interested in what people have to say?

  161. Windows 8 summary says:

    -VS11 Express can't compile Desktop nor Console Apps.

    -XNA's Not Alive.

    -WinRT is severely limited.

    -Flat, bloky, monotone and dysfunctional metro style, no Aero.

    -No video DVD support out of the box.

    Embed this image in your blog, facebook, google+, etc if you hate Windows 8.

    Users shouldn't be afraid of Microsoft, Microsoft should be afraid of its Users.

  162. hamakaze japan says:

    Although said also last time —.

    It requests anew.

    I want you to attach the translucent function of a start button and Aero as the option Windows 8.

    Should not only a required person be made not to turn ON?

    The unnecessary person needs to use the form of as at OFF.

    Since the way of it becomes easy-to-use by each person, please also give me customizability.

  163. ReMark says:

    Next generation? Mutilated by the tablet philosophy/trend.

    Is not porting the power of PC on tablets, but resizing/mutilating OSs for tablets.

    Power users and pro market? Too few, not easy money.

    Fatalistic prophecy? No, the mere sight of the future.

    The future? Linux (and no, not ubuntu)

    Mac OSX at least does not make you pay for their development tools, but is a restrictive OS and now oriented too much to trends (twitter integration and other disgusting crap)

  164. Edward says:


    Install gentoo then…

    …and get the heck out.

    I also criticize Microsoft, but I don't come with propaganda and conspiracy theories.

    Put on your tinfoil hat and walk away.

  165. YouTuber says:

    Read the comments all over the internet…

    YouTube is mad about Windows 8…

    Window s8 is dead on arrival…

  166. Indie Developer says:

    Please don't limit VS Express to Metro..

    If Metro turns out to be good, we will develop for it.

    No need to push us…

    I can't (at the moment) pay $1k for VS Pro..

    Also, I get Paint.Net instead of Photoshop for that same reason…

    If you really proceed with this, you will severely hurt yourself…  

    I FEAR Windows 8 will fail hard, and Apple will get all the PC market…

  167. Concerned says:

    You know what will happen if you limit VS Express?

    People will start using Mono Develop on Windows…

    And Eclipse And Qt, and…..

    Do not shoot yourself on the feet Microsoft.

  168. Usual bad behavior says:

    As usual. No change over the years. I wonder why Microsoft is bad like that.

    Make developers pay more to create desktop programs is wrong.

    Metro failure.


  169. ReMark says:


    Criticize Microsoft is useless now, MS has in mind only pushing Metro Apps and follow the trend (tablets tablets tablets :V).

    Following the trend is not bad, but MS gives a poor UI (metro & desktop) with poor customization (3rd-party tool maybe… lol) and poor attention to the users, MS puts little developers in difficulty (yeah, they can develop with VS10 for free, but the future says "metro metro metro metro"), etc…

    MS should pray developers to develop applications for Windows!!!

    Ms, I bet, will drop gadgets (somebody says "they are not usefull", but leave the user decide…) etc…

    But I want to waiting for the RC for the last word.

    Sorry for the OT, but at least somebody reads

  170. Who needs 'Windows Programs' anyway says:

    So it's Offical: "MFST is relegating 'Windows' to die a slow and lonely death!!!!"  Now i understand the "no compromises" slogan, if there are no real choices there is no need to compromise.

    It OK by me, anyway 99% of Programs were poorly programmed/developed:

      *NO UI consistency with the OS

      *Poor interface (no ribbon)

      *Outdated and Cheese Look (Aero)

      *Multiple Re-sizable Windows, notifications, wizards and dialog boxes.

      *Fully customizable programs with too many configurable  options and features.

      * The name "program" sounds old, so 1990's.

       * etc.

    The users its too dumb to understand all of this…. they need a single 'App' FULL screen with  few basic options or no options at all ….

    This its great!!!

    In fact i dont know why Microsoft just put a Windows 7 Starter with Internet Exporer 9 at start-up in kiosk mode (like pressing F11 in ie, but without options to do anything else in the PC), set up a bunch of web sites called Apps and voila you have windows 8.

  171. RealPeter says:

    @Who needs 'Windows Programs' anyway: "they need a single 'App' FULL screen"

    It's not that they need that or because they're dumb, it’s just what an insane majority of user are doing, so MS better optimize the most recurrent scenario its OS is facing.

    And that’s proven that most people use only a few apps, 1 at a time, maximized (that’s quite near fullscreen).

    You know, the kind of people with multiple windows open, with 10s of tabs open in each window (you, me, most of the people on this blog I guess) we are a drop in the ocean of ms users.

    That does not mean we’re not important to them (I mean most of people working there are just like us after all).

    What’s disappointing with this blog (and most tech blogs) is that I thought we were supposed to be smart enough to understand the reason why MS is doing what it is doing and realize that knowing what they know internally would probably lead us to take the same decision they did.

    That’s not the case for the majority of blogs’ comment writers.

  172. Dont forget the $$ says:


    You are wright, but forgot to mention than M$ will get a cut off every app sold… and thats why the are abandoning support for desktop programs (with a bunch of other reasons)

    Thats why you wont be able to desktop apps with VS Express 2011…

  173. Again says:

    Just wanted to reiterate since im not sure this comment posted the firs time.

    "In the old hardware model that allowed keystrokes in boot, anyone with physical access to the PC could press a key to interrupt boot and use the available boot options. To preserve those scenarios, we needed a way for someone who hasn’t signed in (but is still physically using the PC) to use the boot options menu.

    The shutdown menu fits these requirements perfectly – it’s always available from the login screen, even when no one is signed in."

    In a lot of scenarios this is pointless, as most of the time people want safe mode it is because of display related problems that windows will probably not detect. If windows doesnt detect there is a problem with the dispaly it will still load the login screen. Therefore you will be stuck and unable to get to boot options. You need to have a way to opt for boot options before actually loading drivers/booting etc.

  174. temp says:

    @steven Sinofsky It's not related to the post but I have to let you know this.

    Why Internet explorer 10 lag when it loads the comment. I have a high end machine and I don't understand why this behavior. You have the power to force IE team to deliver a robust product…

    And please improve the tracking protection list to support adblock plus filter. because right now it is not good enough. please do something

  175. Right now at work (on an XP Pro machine that works really well for its intended tasks) I have 17 windows open + zero to four Windows Live Messenger notes.  Generally five to seven windows are visible at one time (usually overlapped).  Metro doesn't strike me as an answer.

  176. This post us really about the desktop UI. I was just wondering if there is any particular reason why there is a separate Details and Preview pane when it seems like they can so easily be merged into one pane.

  177. bzsys says:


    My experience is that this blog is slow and unreliable for every browser, both in reading and posting comments.

  178. bzsys says:


    "Right now at work (on an XP Pro machine that works really well for its intended tasks) I have 17 windows open + zero to four Windows Live Messenger notes.  Generally five to seven windows are visible at one time (usually overlapped).  Metro doesn't strike me as an answer."

    And are the parts of your desktop you're interested in reliably visible underneath all those windows?

  179. Hobbyist says:

    Do not kill non-metro development in VS Express 11 and allow Windows-wide style customization and I'll buy it as soon as its released.

  180. Boot time means nothing when you are booting into a crap metro UI that is a toy and not for most people. I have always stood by microsoft and it's products but this is the biggest pile I have ever seen them make and they have had some big ones before. This should sell less than vista. What are you thinking when you have so many people telling you how bad this is and you just keep going with it?

  181. The more I think about it, the more situations I think of where I would absolutely need to get into the startup device or boot options menu before Windows loads. A couple examples would be to image the system or to boot to a data recovery environment. It consistently feels like the developers are a little too obsessed with buzz words and metrics like boot time or Fitts's Law, and spend little time considering actual usability.

  182. bzsys says:



    "Technology principle: The toy will win" 🙂

  183. Arthur says:


    Thank you…

  184. Steffo says:

    Fresh Swedish poll:


    8 out 10 Swedes use the desktop computer far more than the tablet. Tablets were mostly used for reading ebooks and and for entertaining kids.


    When Microsoft claim something else, they lie….

  185. Vincent says:

    Why not have a program that you can download from any device that goes onto a USB stick and use that as another way to get into the boot menu?

    For example, If I were to boot into this USB, it would search for a Win 8 install and launch the boot screen where I can go and recover my system if needs be. You can't rely on the system working all the time. Plus it looks like most tablets will have USB ports anyway so…

  186. @bzsys

    This toy will not win. If you think it will after seeing how windows phone has gone you are a FOOL!

  187. I first heard the news about VS11 Express only being capable of making Metro apps from the comments here. Wow. It was just a strong suspicion before, but now it's plainly obvious they don't care one bit about making a good operating system. They only want force Metro and the app store on us at all costs so that they can make their percentage. On top of that, developers can't distribute programs without paying Microsoft a fee. I guess they can say goodbye to the kids who would have become the next generation of Windows developers. Who's going to be left to actually write the software that makes Windows useful? Assuming Microsoft doesn't make a course correction away from all the bad decisions it has made lately, it's easy to see the graph of Windows market share start to look a lot like that of Internet Explorer. Linux is by no means as easy to use as Windows is currently. It looked as though that might never change, but no one ever expected that Microsoft would commit such a brazen act of self-immolation. It looks like Windows is slowly becoming the hardest to use, hardest to develop for, and most expensive mainstream OS available.

  188. raymond says:

    could you also do something with the windows button and not make it a "WINDOWS" button with your own logo. I'm talking about the keyboard here. It needs to be a part of the shortcut commands in program having just control, alt and shift are not quite enough. Please change the button to something else command like the mac anything that doesn't give the impression you are making your logo part of the keyboard. Also give more shortcut and functionality to to the "Windows" key. Also quit pushing the logo on us. Especially when you guys will be changing it. Allow implementations of more shortcuts using that key.

  189. Arthur (Australia) says:

    Two things

    1 People have favourite colours, do not show green orange and purple tiles if my favourite colour is blue.

    2 Allow us to do action directly from the tile, say skip to the next song with a button in the Music tile.

  190. Freggy says:


    Action on a tile. Watch this what a few teens have made for Android:

    Read the comments!!

    More here…/Vids.html

    There is more interaction with the tiles and the tiles have a context menu which allows additional interaction. Even at this early state it is already more useful than the Microsoft MEtro start screeen and offers better UI experience. Microsoft simply did not make their homework on delivering a good user experience. Now they need a lot of marketing to defend their crappy product based on crappy decisions.

  191. hamakaze japan says:

    talk of supporting only Flash by limitation?

    Since there is also a website which is still indicating by Flash fully after all, the close is completely impossible yet.

    The product which facilities, ease of use and safety, and balance were able to take is expected.

    Please do your best.

    Although a release preview version will come out still more this week or next week, is it improved rather than the consumer preview version?

  192. Nabkawe says:

    This menu…/0407.1_2D002D00_Boot_2D00_Options_2D00_menu_5F00_0F869C74.jpg

    should be accessed from the startup screen after pressing F8 for 3 seconds … it'll save lots of time on top of the time saved by W8 amazingly fast booting .

  193. Bryan Ferreira says:

    Is Microsoft taking care with our games? Win 8 doesn't have a ''Games'' folder like in win7 start menu Oo    we're supposed to look for the games all the time?   Oo   please pay atention, Microsoft!!!  don't drive us to Mac  :/

  194. I have already a ARM tablet, can i install Windows RT?

    Or i have to buy a new tablet?

    in this case forget the tablet market too, until windows tablets will be less or equal price than Android one(Glass, office(costs are very low…), fast and fully customizable….. with every kind of browser…

    Same as yours…. right?

    Uhm… think about that on every Android tablet i am free to buy and install Tom Tom, Sygic, Navigon asf as navigator, choose between plenty of Widgets(desktop gadgets) and there's plenty programs to make/edit pictures and video, play every kind of game lot of which well known on desktop PC's, are we supposed to have the same choice as android market for contents?

    War is beginning, and seems Microsoft is going into without weapons….

  195. raymond says:

    Make the help feature more useful in programs in macs when you can search into help and it finds topics and menu items that could be what you search for in windows everytime you go to help you get a manual or in adobe's case a online manual. Please sort these out with program developers or if it's something you can fix let make it easier to find menu items and such that relate to our issues and not make us have to open slow internet explorer to get a help manual that is online.

  196. Please do not make Adobe flash player a a Windows 8 Component says:

    Adobe Flash Player always has security risks.

  197. nanasai says:

    Windows 8 Concept / Түсінік

  198. startup repair says:

    I'm not opposed to an automated self repair mode, but there should be a way to cancel out early and continue on to the boot options menu.  I can't tell you how many hours of my short life have been wasted waiting for it to churn through things just to come to the conclusion that my PC can't be fixed, at which point I say 'yeah; thanks for nothing, where is the damn safe-mode boot already?'.  

    I'm really just asking for a short-cut out of the RE startup repair back to the 'f8' menu.

    A fun usability for-instance: install an unsigned boot driver, reboot and smack into the RE startup repair, it churns along for a few hours and basically just sets the system back to the previous restore point and declares success.  All I really wanted to do was to boot with driver signing enforcement disabled.  I'm not sure I can get there from here with win8 now.

  199. Please do not make Windows a Windows 8 Component says:

    Windows always has security risks.

  200. ReMark says:

    Adobe Flash Player has security risks? I suppose you can switch it on/off.

  201. Rounak Kayathwal says:

    Really that's cool. Launch windows 8 as fast as you can i will buy it as fast as i can.


  202. OneMoreThing says:

    I don´t understand. When I want to enter boot options menu I have to start Windows, select boot menu, shut it down, restart it and then it boots menu?

    And then? Next restart will be start into full Windows again? So I can only enter the boot menu 1 time. In case I need to enter it twice, I have to fully start Windows again and restart again? Smart.

    What about the os selection option in case there are several os installed on my pc? No chance to select that too? omg.

  203. Mark says:

    If I was the Windows manager I'd have done two things different.

    -Make only one Touch version of Windows for Tablets and Phones, make a ARM, x86 and x64 build.

    -Make a non-touch version of Windows for Laptops, Desktops and Netbooks, and make it able to run metro apps windowed.

    Additionally, I would not kill Aero, Id make a style combining the features of Metro and Aero.

    Additionally 2, I'd give the Xbox ability to run Metro Apps.

  204. In fact I am waiting for the Chinese version… I like your blog, but the only problem is… in Internet Explorer… the full post sometimes, like your previous blog about the UI of Windows 8… suddenly turn into… blank…

  205. @Steven Sinofsky

    Please update Windows 8 installer with new UI theme (solid white and squared corner) as well as other control visual style such as button/ navigation controls like Back/Forward buttons….Also, is there any better way to bring prettier background for the setup instead of ugly solid background that we have in Windows 8 installation right now. Even with only one color, there are many interesting tone, why choosing the low-saturated color like the one installer currently has. I think the teams have to get the sense of unified experience/feel even thought it's just the installation.

    Current Build Installer with old Aero and rounded corner……/048fd76e76b6dd91432784d4861d61939.png

  206. fsck Microsft says:

    Google is going to add a Window Manager to Android…

    Eventually there will be development tools and all the necessary software directly available on Android.

    Give me a single reason to keep using Microsoft Software?

    Android is Open Source Which means you get free OS upgrades….

    I can see Microsoft releasing Windows 9 next year or so, and we'd have to pay all over again…

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