Microsoft, Don't Bail On Windows 8

The sheer audacity of Windows 8 was enough to set it apart. It was startling, the kind of uncompromising upheaval you almost never see from a frontrunner. Despite obvious missteps -- big, idiotic, self-inflicted ones, more often than not -- it always gave the sense that it was just wrong-footed, correctable stuff, never cause for a total retreat. Except, if recent reports are to be believed, that’s just what Microsoft seems to be doing. Retreating. And we really hope it doesn’t.

The next update for Windows -- codename Windows Blue or 8.1 -- is due at the end of June. It should be major, retooling a lot of what Windows does, or at least how it does it. But there's been at least some talk that it's going to go beyond that, and pull back from the deep end of next level UI that Windows 8 airdropped its users into.

It's almost certain that the Start button is coming back, and that you’ll be able to launch into the regular old desktop. On their own, these are actually actually great changes. And frankly, that’s probably all they are. Hopefully. Because Microsoft can’t afford to reverse course at this point. And we shouldn’t want it to, either.

Metro* Is the Way Forward

The PC, as we’ve long known it, is a DVD player. It’s good enough in many homes, and even far more usable than newer broadband-reliant streaming boxes. Plenty of people will be using and buying DVDs for years. But they aren’t buying new standalone DVD players.

Now think about how the majority of households use their PCs. They’re web boxes or homework towers or non-optimised gaming rigs, glorified Facebook terminals as often, more often than command central for a desktop full of spreadsheets and research and assets. With a few tweaks to the groundwork laid down, everything the average computer uses a PC for can be, more or less, simplified. And if it works as a detachable touch interface, for the inevitable (but still nascent) convergence of the tablet and laptop, all the better.

Sure, the windowed environment will always be necessary for true efficiency, but that’s beside the point. We don’t need true efficiency. Really, we don’t. Not as we have it now. Because that efficiency isn’t really efficient. What it connotates, really, is the ability to multitask efficiently, and as often as not, that can give you more options than you know what to do with. You can probably focus on whatever you're doing or reading a lot better without emails, IMs, and tweets firing in all directions.

This idea has been in the air. Google’s Chrome OS has advocated it for years now, and the new Chromebook Pixel has taken it to its breaking point. Premium, beautiful hardware that makes things easy, not “efficient”. At some point, like discrete graphics cards and optical drives, maybe the old school definition of an efficient desktop can finally fall away, too. And in its place will be Metro, or something very much like it.

It’s possible that this isn’t even achievable under the current windowed paradigm. Certainly, it would be made infinitely harder. But that side of the fence is already developed enough that it doesn’t need much nurturing. In fact, it probably, ultimately, needs to be left alone more than poked. Just a facelift and a mini-makeover is all. There’s one big issue facing it for now -- the lack of support for all the gorgeous super hi-res screens coming out, which we’ll get to -- but overall, it’s necessary, it will be there. And as crazy efficient new Haswell chips, both the main Core series and their ultra-low-power 22nm SoC variants, make their way into machines, we’ll be able to tuck the whole desktop mode into smaller and more viable convertibles.

OK, Windows 8 Has Problems

It’s not perfect. In fact, there are enough little, frustrating, Microsoftian problems with Windows 8 that at times you wonder if, even with this road map laid out by very smart people, if Microsoft will be able to get out of its own way long enough to follow the road. Encouragement comes in the fact that what’s wrong with Windows 8 doesn’t run as deep as some, often biased parties, would have you believe.

These are problems that can be thought through. Navigation from one environment to the other -- the common complaint of being yanked out of desktop or dumped back into it -- should be first on the list. No right-thinking person wants to flop back and forth from one way of using a PC to another in between apps. It should be one or the other. Switches should be pre-meditated. Everyone wants this. It’s easy to implement. But to make that feasible, you also have to admit that even for non-”work efficient” tasks, the Metro environment isn’t quite good enough yet. Happily, that’s actually not a very hard fix.

Iconography for iconography’s sake, instead of using symbols and buttons for true, functional purposes. Take the way the Snap feature works -- that is, the second Metro app you can snap to either side of your screen. It’s there, sure, and provides some information, but creating any action, like composing a tweet, takes you away from what you’re viewing. This is a core complaint of Windows 8’s Metro apps -- as soon as you want to do anything, you’re blasted off in another direction. It’s visually disorienting. And if you’re talking about ways the software is used, this is one of the easiest to fix. Make new emails overtake the Snap app’s space temporarily, or insert themselves into the bottom of the panel, a la WebOS, so there’s still one Window, but more information. This fix alone would go miles and miles toward making the Metro apps usable, and addressing the issue of all the acres of unused space within them.

There are some obvious fixes out there that will make tackling everything easier. Fix scaling, for one thing. What’s scaling, you ask? Scaling is the reason that the retina MacBook Pro and Chromebook Pixel look gorgeous -- no, really, GORGEOUS -- when displaying text, web pages and other optimised content. It’s also the reason that Windows 8’s assortment of high-pixel density screens (namely the Surface Pro and the recent Toshiba Kirabook) look so goddamn awful. Windows 8's desktop on a hi-res screen is either impossibly small (pixel-for-pixel) or magnified in a way that nearly all of its apps are fuzzy messes, and the ones that aren't still don't look as sharp as on OS X or Chrome. Apple and Google’s solutions (double the resolution for assets, and simply optimise Chrome and lean on web content, respectively) are simpler than what Microsoft is being forced into (percentage-based scaling in Metro, god-knows-what in desktop), but that’s secondary to us. Microsoft having backed itself into a corner doesn’t change the urgency of needing to get the hell out of it. It’s not just that super hi-res screens are rapidly becoming the present day standard for awesome laptops. It’s that scaling is actually more important to Microsoft than it is to Google or Apple right now, because it’s so key in making tablets -- which demand crazy pixel density -- and laptops work as convertibles.

But Windows 8 Is Not The Problem

Early last month, a notion spread around. It went, basically, that PC sales had dropped to 79 million units in the first quarter, their lowest point ever and down 13 per cent from the year before. The assumption made widely at the time by many reactionaries was that Windows 8 had not only failed to boost PC sales, but had actively gone out and submarined them, that this glacier of an industry grinding to a halt was slowed further by its new un-aerodynamic paint job.

In a way, they were half-right. Windows 8 wasn’t the boost to PCs everyone had been hoping for. But it was a lifeline. They’re in tow, within sight of the leaders. Windows 8 bought them a little more time to figure things out. But here’s Microsoft trying to save its hard-won industry, attempting essentially to apply a field tourniquet and build an evacuation spacecraft at the same time, and it keeps getting kicked in the head by its patients.

Acer has been one of the loudest, which would be comical given Acer’s reputation for making slipshod computers, except that Acer has incrementally become one of the few companies that really gets what a Windows PC is right now. Its convertibles have been more... questionable. But that’s a lot the point. Laptops themselves, PCs in general, they’ve become nearly idealised versions of themselves. And sales are still falling. Products are more beautiful and efficient than ever. And sales are falling. That is not because of an OS. It’s because PCs as we knew them, a tower and a monitor, are no longer a growing market. And that’s OK.

It’s easy to understand an executive looking at something goofy like the Acer R7 and fearing that this is the frightful new face of laptops that Windows 8 has wrought. Easy, but still so dumb. In their honest moments, the companies making the truly out-there designs on these machines describe them as what they are, a play at niche markets -- visual professionals, students, educators, what have you -- almost akin to the fragmentation of cable television along similar niche interest lines. And while the F word had traditionally been a scary and misguided idea, specialised hardware doesn't sound like the craziest idea. And like TV, maybe that leads to a gem or two if you follow the rabbit hole all the way to its end, like The Wire or Breaking Bad.

That's not the real game though. What's important is figuring out what comes next. We have a vague of what that unified computing experience looks like, but, for now, Microsoft just needs to weather through the unquiet present, unafraid, until the rest of us can catch up with the future.

*Yes, still calling it Metro. Shut up.



    Hmm lets see, yes it may be future looking however the problem is that it is FAR TOO forward looking.
    A gradually steeping stone to this would of been ideal or at least to option to go back to a classic environment.

    Windows 8 has the following problems:
    Updates are effectively hidden and take more clicks to get to which means a potential security issue.

    Nobdoy really likes the interface on a desktop/laptop where you are using a mouse.

    Alot of apps use the desktop interface still so....

    It comes with alot of garbage on the screen.

    The built in email metro app is confusing to most people and should be removed.

    Training costs associated with training users to use the interface.

    The next version:
    Windows Blue/8.1 or whatever it is will allow people to use a classic interface which will improve sales for the OS.

      I really like the interface on a desktop/laptop where you are using a mouse.

      Don't bail?
      First of all, I don't think Microsoft is bailing simply on the wimps of a handful of people.
      If they are, they are idiotic.

      On the other hand, "a handful" might really mean "an assload of people who hurt Microsoft, not by being loud on blogs, but by actually voting with their wallets".
      In this case, if Microsoft decides NOT to bail, then that too, is idiotic.

      Somehow, I get the feeling that all these die-hard win8 fanboys are actually Apple/Linux shills.
      It's like telling a morbidly obese person "Don't listen to everyone else. You don't have to exercise. You're perfect the way you are".

      I don't see how its any different to using Windows 7 with a keyboard and mouse?
      Windows 8 adds the modern/metro start screen with access to Windows 8 apps....

      Seems like Win-Win to me?

    ....Load of crap is what it was. What retard makes a tablet OS for a PC ?

    About as "innovative" as building a Tardis for a pair of roller skates.

    Last edited 11/05/13 11:27 am

      Who made a tablet OS for a PC? Windows 8 looks and feels pretty much like Windows 7 on my laptop, with solid, useful improvements where they were needed. I experience only the tiniest compromises in my day-to-day use but the miracle of it is that if I wanted to put it on a tablet it would also be useful there. You couldn't use it the same way but you could definitely do everything you do on an iPad, and then some.

      Ultimately it does a pretty good job, the problem is that it is just too easy a target. You can say the desktop is useless on a tablet and the Metro* stuff is useless on a desktop/laptop and you'd be completely right. But you'd also be completely missing the point. It is like saying that MS Word is a terrible vector drawing application - it's true but it's completely beside the point. Using the correct parts of the OS in each environment works really, really well, especially for a first effort. Give it a few more iterations and I reckon it could be perfect but, as Kyle says, MS must stay the course and reman focussed on their original vision.

      Windows 8 is exactly how I've wanted to use a PC for years. I don't PC game, so why would I need a power hungry loud fan spinning desktop PC? I have a Lenovo Helix i7 and a 27" IPS monitor with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. When I want to casually use a tablet, I rip the screen off and sit at the lounge browsing news or checking my facebook. When I want a laptop I put the screen back on and go do my thing, and when I want to do some serious work I plug my monitor in and sit down at my desk.

      I don't have to manage which device has which things on it, I don't have to maintain multiple devices, I don't have to generally screw around at all. I have one device which can comfortably do anything I need it for.

      What retard would buy an android or ios tablet, and a PC, and possibly even a laptop? I can't believe people are stupid enough to just keep buying multiple single use devices.

        "power hungry loud fan spinning desktop PC?"
        Oh how wrong you are.

          Powerful desktops are power hungry. How's that beefy PSU going? Let's not pretend if you have a tiny PSU you don't have a machine that's barely more powerful than a mobile machine anyway.

          Oh and if you use water cooling? You're definitely the furthest from a typical user that you could get.

            I guess you're right in some ways, but an average desktop PC is far from what I'd call "loud". You can get custom heat sinks, quiet fans and under clock if you really like. Also, "typical user??" I don't understand what you mean, you did say PC gaming. Most PC gamers know their way around a computer to keep it quiet.

        What retard would buy an android or ios tablet, and a PC, and possibly even a laptop? I can't believe people are stupid enough to just keep buying multiple single use devices.

        Calling people retards because they don't do things the way you do is moronic. Also, loads and loads and loads of people do.

          You do realise I am not the top level of this thread right? Check the post above mine I was responding to.

            Congratulations, you still had to stoop to his level to make an argument.

              Says the guy who stooped to the same level by calling me a moron. Congratulations, you're a hypocrite.

                Hey, I said the action was moronic, not yourself, not my fault you came to that implication

      if they made windows 8 solely for a tablet/phone yer sure go stupid we dont care but dont impose software that you call an OS for a desktop pc ... agreed beyond words and those clowns should stop trying to simplify things for a user, its time those precious new users got they head screwed on and actually learnt how to operate something other than the E-Penis...

      Last edited 13/05/13 10:04 am

    Dear Microsoft,
    Please bail on Windows 8. Or at least provide an option to remove this horrid, out-of-place mess. Either go with smooth and flat or glossy. You cannot have both. If you choose smooth, then update all of the icons. If you stay glossy, update the 'Modern' interface. We don't want smooth AND glossy in the same OS.

    Personally, go with glossy, but not too glossy. Well, go with Windows 7 glossy. But a bit smoother.

    - Deonyi

      This is like that nightmare where a client comes at you with heartfelt but confusing and contradictory feedback. Oh no, wait. That isn't a nightmare. That's my job. Metro is part of the move towards a simpler more matte finish to UI. I think that is what you mean by "smoother". What is the glossy part you are talking about?

      I agree. I dislike the Windows UI intensely. It might be faster and more stable, but it is simply awful to use. Time for MS to return to the drawing board and start again . . .

      Your wish has already been granted - you can uninstall every, single Metro app if you like. They have certainly gone 100% for "smooth and flat", removing Aero in the Release Preview about 9 months ago, so there is another of your wishes already granted. I can't stand the look of Windows 7 - it is worse than Vista and much. much worse than Win8. Win8 is also very customisable, try and make Win7 look as cool as this -

        wow, must of taken you 10 steps to get to that window! win7 would have taken 3.

          No, 3 steps - right click in the lower-left corner (or press WIN+X), select "Control Panel", select "Devices & Printers". Of course, the most used things from Control Panel are on the same right-click menu, so some things that are 3 steps in Win7 are only 2 steps away in Win8.

        Except that doesn't look cool at all, in fact it's god awful. Go on deviantArt, search Windows 7 Skins and marvel at the plethora of beautiful minimalist skins available to people who patch for 3rd party themes. Microsoft's "Metro" is, in my opinion, a disgrace to minimalist design. No discernable flow, conformity or colour scheme, just a bunch of eye-glaringly bright multi-coloured squares which honestly look like something made by a child in MSPaint. Good minimalist design is simple and beautiful. Metro is just simple. I know this is all subjective but this is how I feel. Compare Metro to Aero and it doesn't hold a candle - admittedly default Aero is slightly obnoxious but the focus on transparency is much nicer than what you see in Windows 8. The use of 3rd party themes highlights that (take a look at Soft7 and Shine 2.0). You can get similar themes in Windows 8 but the point is that they head in the right direction - along the Aero-focused route (or another minimalist route altogether), not along this playtime Metro path Microsoft has forced us onto. Change can be good, Metro, however, is not.

          Why would I bother putting the work of others on my computer? If I was going to make a theme, I would go to the effort of making my own, although I always loved the Zune theme for WinXP. I used it for many years, mostly because of the super-thin window borders.

          Interestingly, when you search Deviant Art for "minimalist windows theme", you get just as many Metro style themes for other systems as you do 3rd party themes for Windows itself. So obviously a fair whack of those who make "the plethora of beautiful minimalist skins available " do not share your opinion of Windows 8's look.

          I definitely agree with you that Win8 in is default state has deviated a little too far from the original Metro concept. WinPhone does it better but ZuneHD is still the best and most pure incarnation of Metro. Luckily for both of us, we don't have to put up with it if we don't want to. All my tiles are the same neutral grey colour. Only apps have coloured tiles and they are easily dealt with - mine are all either uninstalled or unpinned. I will welcome the extra customisation features in Blue/8.1 but, even in its current state, Win8 is far more customisable than Win7 was. If you don't like my colours, feel free to choose your own.

    It works I don't know what all the fuss is about.
    The metro side is easier and more efficient than the START Button ever was if you take the time to work it out.

    I totally disagree with removing multi tasking, my work wold be much more difficult if MS were silly enough to do it, a lot of times I am using data from multiple sources to generate emails, Docs etc.
    Windows 8 is good with some big improvements over 7 if people would take the 5 seconds to adjust to the desktop mode and using Metro as a start bar.
    Also a single program at a time style interface for home would drive me insane, it may be the writers preference but never mine.

      I think it is really something you would adjust to rather quickly. I don't think he was suggesting the ability to multi-task should be completely removed so much as re-imagined. e.g. Instead of drag-n-drop, you'd get used to CTRL+C/CTRL+V pretty quickly if your open apps resumed efficiently, as is the case with Win8's Metro* stuff.

        So instead of being able to see and use all the open windows just by moving a mouse, they should be hidden and require keyboard input to even see.
        Backward step in a big way IMHO, and makes my 32" screen pointless for most apps as a singe window.

        Last edited 11/05/13 2:52 pm

          Don't bother. You'll never convince a fan boy. This guy is all over any Microsoft article on here with multiple replies to any negative comments, and his own initiated threads.

            You mean you won't convince someone who has actually been using the OS for more than a year when all you have to base your worthless opinion on is a screenshot on a website or 5 minutes at a Dick Smith store?

          Again, that's not what he's suggesting. What he is saying is that maybe simple is ultimately more efficient, which makes some sense to me. i.e. a limited number of split-screen applications/apps rather than a hodge-podge of overlapping windows. If you've ever used OS X, with the world's worst window management, you would definitely see where he is coming from here.

          The way the split-screen works in Win8 is pretty cool and there are reportedly a few improvements coming in Blue/8.1 that could make it even more useful. Even the way it works when you push the desktop to the edge is good, kind of like a vertical application switcher.

      You can have two programs open at the same time in the Modern interface if you want to. Or are you talking about something else?

        Mostly 3 or 4 program windows open and visible at a time.

          Just out of curiosity, for what purpose? I can see having two so that you can D'n'D between them but after that it seems a bit pointless.

            You may be right about active use cases, but there are also passive use cases. On my machine I usually have three: an active PDF, an active word document, and a citation manager that I refer to in a passive fashion. I've noticed that most people using PC's usually have at least three, two active and usually a passive like skype, email, etc. Hence the popularity of large and multi-monitor setups.

              But this is exactly what he is talking about - ways of achieving this without having to resort to multiple, overlapping windows.

    The Start Page is just a full screen start menu with neat search features - just start typing. Then there are a few basic mouse gestures. I have no idea why some people get so attached to certain things. Then again I have no idea why many people stop listening to new music once they hit 30.

      The Win 7 start menu already had "just start typing" search. It also had jump lists for the applications shown (pinned and recent), which are a very efficient way to access recent files or other tasks. The Win 8 start screen strips this functionality out, in addition to forcing a context switch by being full screen only. It is less functional and harder to use.

        No it doesn't, it just gives you a lot more control. How many apps could you pin to the Win7 "jump list"? In Win8 you can order every, single piece of software on your machine exactly how you like it - in categories, by function, alphabetically, whatever you want. Losing the "recent documents" list seems a bit heavy-handed but it is not something I ever used and I imagine they only removed it because a lot of others never used it, either.

        I think they broke the Start Menu badly in Vista and carried it across to Win7. With Win8 they have made something much, much better than any Start Menu that went before.

          These are jump lists:

          Win 8 has them for applications on the taskbar, just like Win 7, but Win 7 additionally made them available for applications in the start menu (accessible by clicking or hovering over the right facing arrow next to compatible applications). This was extremely useful for making efficient use of infrequently used applications, and Win 8 strips it out completely.

            Jump lists still exist in Windows 8, i'm guessing your referring to the recently used applications?

            TBH I cant tell you any 'infrequent' app I have ever used the jump list for... Normally I wold only ever use a jumplist for apps I have pinned..

            However I can see the feature your missing

    Sure, the windowed environment will always be necessary for true efficiency, but that’s beside the point... What it connotates, really, is the ability to multitask efficiently, and as often as not, that can give you more options than you know what to do with. You can probably focus on whatever you’re doing or reading a lot better without emails, IMs, and tweets firing in all directions.

    This sort of thinking narrowly assumes that there are no tasks that require more than one window open simultaneously. Not sure if that's down to a lack of imagination on the writer's part ("I only need one window to type this article, all other windows must be non-work related") or due to the denial that desktop PCs exist anymore, that there are people out there working on screens larger than 13 inches.

      I work on a minimum of 2 screens, sometimes I extend the desktop to three depending on what I am doing. I hate the context switching in windows 8, I hate having to go out to the start screen to select another application. I hate that it often appears back in full screen, and if I was doing something on the desktop I have to struggle to get everything organized again. I hate the mouse gestures, they are slow and inefficient for a mouse. I hate even the keyboard navigation and shortcuts, they are counter intuitive and change their usefulness and functionality too much based on the context the screen is in.

      This OS is a piece of garbage for usability on a desktop or laptop. I could see myself being very satisified with it on a tablet device (and I do currently own a windows phone and will be purchasing a surface pro when they become available in my region). However as a desktop... this is awful. I feel like the OS is fighting me every step of the way and because of that I'm downgrading to Windows 7 on my laptop and desktop devices.

      Professionally I think Windows 8 is DOA. I've worked at two really huge organisations over the last year and no one in the business or IT wants to invest in doing windows 8 desktop rollouts and that's where the real money for Microsoft is. I still can't believe they've done this - maybe they are just testing these features out and they're expecting people will stay on Windows 7, that's the only thing that makes sense to me.

    This is peoples problem with Windows 8:

    And I guarantee that each and every Windows 8 hater isnt even running Windows 8.

      Change for change's sake is the problem.

        Except it's not change for change's sake. All the changes in W8 have a clear rationale. "Change you don't agree with" maybe, but not "change for change's sake".

      "And I guarantee that each and every Windows 8 hater isnt even running Windows 8."

      Your "guarantee" is not worth a pinch of the proverbial. I don't like the Windows 8 UI and I am certainly running it.

      You're right. My sister has it on her computer. I used it to help get her set up... and realised how annoying and counter-intuitive it was - naturally, I do not run it myself.

      I ran Windows 8 for testing purposes. I hated it. Now I don't run it.

      I disagree with you Warcroft for a different reason. I don't use win8 because I regard it as their most ill conceived product in a long line of rubbish software, but I did try it out before reaching this conclusion. In fact I've used almost all their products since dos 5 in my work, and when I form an opinion about the architecture of one of their products, it's based upon scientific analysis from first principles. There are millions like me who share this opinion of win8 reached coldly and rationally. Why else do you think hundreds of billions of dollars has been wiped off the value of ms corp? Calling us win8 haters and implying we have a naive view is laughable.

      Your statement seems regrettably troll like (it certainly uses the language of a troll). It's possible to have a difference of opinion yet still behave respectfully towards others. When I read a comment like this I suspect the poster is either being inflammatory for an irrational reason, or is a paid astroturfer doing the business of ms corp.

      I would be interested in hearing your response.

    Im running windows 8 and sure enough it runs faster than win7, but it feels and looks like a bag of dicks.

    I have it on all my PC's and my laptop, I don't use the "Metro" interface at all on any of them. Why, because the Apps are crap! If they could make the Apps work like a full blown program does in the regular desktop that would solve the problem.

    Absolutely love Windows 8, but if Microsoft go backwards to the shitty old Windows 95 UI in the next version I'll be going Mac. I'm sick of Microsoft not having the balls to make great things, and when they do bailing on it because the nerds who are afraid of change yell hard enough all over the internet.

      In every way, this.
      Windows 8 is a huge improvement on the unimaginative stuff they've done before. Huge speed improvements with a fresh UI, why are people always complaining about it?

        I don't get it, why does everything have to be change for changes sake and imaginative? Making something pretty at the cost of it working properly is not a good change.

        I like Metro. I just don't like the way it handles multi-tasking. It feels like a step backwards in that respect - and as use large monitors at work, I plan to stick with seven for the time being. I do think this is fixable though.

          There's not really any reason to stick with W7 if Metro is your issue. It's completely optional in W8, you never have to use it if you don't want to. Think of Metro more as a program on your PC, not a layer of the operating system, because under the hood that's basically all it is. A full-screen single-monitor program that you never actually have to launch. On the other hand, W8 has better performance and a number of desktop improvements that make it more compelling than W7.

            Its more the fact that you get pushed into metro by default with many filetypes. I'd have to spend a lot of time fiddling around to get a similar user experience already provided by 7.

              Not really. Any filetype I've clicked on from the desktop which wants to open in metro gives you a popup with launch programs anyway. You can always right click and say "always open with xxx" just like windows 7. Nothing has pushed me into metro from desktop.

                Is this maybe a function you have to turn on, because that is not what happens by default for many filetypes. JPG for example defaults to the lousy METRO app and pulls me out of desktop mode.

                  Just checked and jpg open in Windows Photo Viewer, I haven't done anything. Gif and PNG ask me which program I'd prefer.

    I hope the changes are optional.
    I don't miss the start button but I perfer Windows starts at the desktop with Metro a keypress away if you want it.
    There is a way to fake it with a command line on explorer.exe so it runs control panel or something and it opens the desktop to do it.

    Yea, the Windows 8 start screen is terrible on PC. It really needs to be integrated into the desktop (think Rainmeter) before it can provide any practical value.

    Performance wise, Windows 8 is pretty damn good though.

    However, without Start8, Launchy, AutoHotKey and Rainmeter, I wouldn't continue using it...

    Personally I don't think Win 8 went far enough if its Metro stuff. Hear me out: I still want a desktop environment but I also want my programs to be smooth and unified rather than cluttered and flopping all over each other like dead fish. The Metro interface feels good and runs well and having apps integrate into it is awesome, the way when I click the 'network connections' button in the taskbar it swishes in nicely from the side. I love that and wish more of windows did that.

    But that's not what Microsoft has done with Win 8, they have a schizophrenic mess trying to please both the desktop and tablet users and pleasing none. Metro is just a glorified start menu and it's apps are full-screen crippled version of desktop programs. Some settings are on the desktop, some in Metro, you can barely customize your workspace, commands don't work across all fields, and many more oversights.

    What irritates me more these days is not when developers make fancy new features and screw them up, but all the little things that they never bothered with that have been right in front of our face since many versions ago. (looking at you Adobe.)

    I loved Windows 7. I therefore jumped at Windows 8 thinking that it would be an improvement and even adapted to the 'cursor to the top right to see services' and had no problem with the shut down method. But when I got the 'critical error' that crippled my machine - and many others were affected apparently because I read the blogs looking for a repair method - I lost interest. Constant updates and patches suggested that it was buggy and Windows 8 seems to have attracted more criticism than any previous version or iteration.

      There's nothing particularly unstable in the operating system itself, and from a quick Google search it seems that most of the critical problems are caused by bad drivers. That aside though, don't worry about what others think of it, discussions about W8 tend to be dominated by very vocal people who have very little experience with the OS and very little ability to adapt to change. There are a lot of people you don't hear from because they're busy happily using W8 without any complaints. But even ignoring that, it would be impossible for W8 to have even remotely as poor a reception as Windows ME had.

    Please kill off metro as the primary interface. Leave it there for the people foolish enough to buy Vista Phones, but give the rest of us back a Menu button with Shutdown as a prominent option.

    Windows 8 is the absolute biggest stinkiest bowl of whale intestinal smelling glump ever released on a world still using mice and keyboards.

    Bail Microsoft, bail. In fact, re-release XP but just make it quicker. XP was your greatest OS and you shouldn't have turned your back on it. Windows 7 annoys the crap out of me, and Windows 8 is an abortion. Bail and make the majority of people happy again.

    I upgraded my Dell XPS, which had a few minor issues with wireless networking on Win 7 - the only reason I could find from Dell was a conflict in software.
    I have had no problems at all using Win 8 and it certainly starts faster and I have had no further issues with wireless.
    Sure, I had to open my mind to new ways of doing things, but once I learned the shortcuts I needed and changed the start screen apps to the programs I use, I've been very happy with the whole deal, even though I haven't got a touch screen.
    I do look forward to the updates and hope they address many of the concerns that users seem to be whinging about, but my experience has been very positive.

    Found a sneak peak of Windows 8.1:

    Been using W8 on my PC with mouse and keyboard since January with dual monitors. Been perfectly fine. I can imagine how some might find W8 to be annoying with just one monitor. Tip: Use it with dual screen, you'll love it! A screen for desktop, the other for any Metro apps, tho most of the time the only metro app i have is pinned to the side of one monitor (skype of mail) so I pretty much have 1.5 monitors in desktop mode. And if wanting to go to start menu, only one monitor goes full screen, the second is still full desktop!

    Windows 8 has a lower adoption rate than Vista - that pretty much says it all in terms of market acceptance. Just have a look through the comments here and see how polarizing people's opinions are on the new UI, and then compare this to Windows 7 which was almost universally well received over Vista.

    Microsoft's biggest mistake was forcing people to boot into Metro - allowing users to boot straight to desktop and bypassing the Metro would have quelled a lot of the hate. Not everyone wants a flat menu structure and all their tool bars set to auto-hide. They now have the problem that Window 8 is tainted in the eyes of many customers, and these customers wont be happy with a re-design of the UI, they will want Metro removed completely.

      I'm inclined to defend W8, but with as little bias as possible, W7 was well received because Vista wasn't. Companies that wanted something to upgrade to but skipped Vista jumped on W7 because it was a big improvement over XP. The difference between W7 and W8 is much smaller, and that's where the most significant portion of the adoption rates comes from - companies not seeing a favourable cost/benefit ratio to upgrade, not because it's inherently worse than its predecessor. Most IT staff I've dealt with or am friends with quite like W8 and use it at home, there's just no good business case to take it up.

        I think the Metro UI on a tablet is fine. When you have a small screen, it makes sense to maximise the screen real estate by hiding menus, but at the same time displaying as many apps / short cuts as you can, And again when you're using your fingers to navigate, large tiles and swipe gestures also work well.
        The problem, for me at least, is that it doesn't translate well into a desktop experience. On the desktop I'm dealing with 15-20 different Windows at any one time, having a full screen overlay (the Start screen) obscures too much info. Because I'm using large screens, I have lots more screen real estate - hidden menus become more of a hindrance than help. I don't mind having to learn my way around the new interface if it was demonstrably quicker than the old one, but I just didn't find that the case. Some things are quicker, some are slower, but overall it's pretty much the same. And doing things differently with the same result give's the feeling of change for change's sake, even if that wasn't the intention.

    I like windows 8 just like I like to see someone else in a nice suit. Meanwhile I use XP and Win7 as I need to do my just as quickly as possible and don't have time to learn and get use to another new MS thing. In the end computer is no more no less but another tool like a hammer or saw and has to be practical first. Otherwise you just buy a Mac!

    Windows 8 is ahead of the market. Its main issue is people dont like change.

    As more and more touch screen laptops come out and people start upgrading their computers people will be loving windows 8 in comparison to older versions.

    I think Microsoft have done a brilliant move, it will have a slow start sure, but any other full PC operating system is pathetic compared to windows 8 for touch screens.

    Personally, i use it on a Desktop PC and really dont see it as that big of a difference from Windows 7. start menu is now full screen. all system stuff can be got to easily by right clicking in the bottom left corner. its easier to do anything now imo.

    a few tweaks (like adding a shortcut for shutdown) and its great. the startup time on it is ridiculously fast compared to previous windows versions.

    The new start button theyre adding apparently only takes you back to the metro interface anyway so its pointless lol

      Its main issue is people dont like change.
      I hear this time and again from people defending Windows 8. If people didn't like change we wouldn't see changes in government during elections, the iPhone would never have caught on, social media would be non-existent, etc.,etc.

      The truth is that people love change - when they believe the new product / tech / whatever is an improvement over the existing one.

        It is an improvement. Its just because they know how to use windows 7 and prior and they dont know how to use windows 8, the changes are so bloody minimal for an "everyday" user.

        I agree. Look at the smart phone market over the past 5 years and what that has also done for tablets. People don't necessarily hate change, they just don't necessarily think any change is good.

        I don't mind WIndows 8...but if people hate it I think there's as much chance it's because they genuinely don't like MSs implementation as it is they have issues changing their ways. There's some changes they made which in my eyes and many others are poor compromises which are widely documented and I won't go into them here. Some consider these positive changes, many do not.

    Windows 8 has a horrible looking interface, and as long as that interface remains as the main interface I won't be using it. I know there's desktop mode, but the fact that they've decided to make that an option instead of the default is turning me off the system. Desktop mode as default, horrible looking tablet interface as the optional mode and I'd be willing to consider jumping on board.

      Saving yourself one click (the desktop tile) once per reboot doesn't seem like a particularly rational reason to reject the entire operating system.

        It's more a rejection of the aesthetics than anything else. It's my small, stupid way of telling Microsoft that I think their tiled design is ugly as hell.

        Last edited 13/05/13 11:56 am

          Fair enough. I quite like it, myself. Full image Steam tiles look great, in particular =)

    Why Linux is awesome: When the designers of the UI jump the shark and make a sutpid UI, you can just switch out the whole GUI for another one, or the previous one, while still using the latest software.

    As a linux user, I say: yes MS, keep it up with your valiant W8 efforts! hahahahaha ;)

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