Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

Summary: Microsoft remains convinced that touch is the way forward, but will address some of the issues facing desktop users.


Microsoft is listening to your Windows 8 Start Screen concerns, and has promised to address them and improve the mouse and keyboard experience.

Chaitanya Sareen, program manager lead for Microsoft's Core Experience Evolved team, explains over on the Building Windows 8 blog:

We recognize that to some people, any change to Windows is going to be disruptive, and so we want to make sure we continue an open dialog about those changes. Since Windows is such an integral part of so many people's lives, most any change can generate visceral reactions like "how can I turn it off," or debates over whether things are more or less efficient.

So, Microsoft is listening!

The debate around touch today is looking eerily like the debate in the 1980s over whether a mouse was a gimmick, a productivity time waster, or an innovation in the user experience. We say this knowing that many comments have been emphatic about the superiority of the mouse over touch. Unlike when the mouse was introduced-before desktop publishing programs came along there were few use cases for the mouse other than early paint programs-today we are surrounded by touch screens-at the airport, the gas station, the movie theater, every cash register, and of course, on our phones. The one place touch has not yet become mainstream is on the most capable of all the devices you use. Just like the introduction of the mouse, innovations like this do not happen without new OS support, new apps, and new hardware. We believe that, as with the mouse, we will see touch augmenting, but not replacing, most every aspect of the PC experience over time. Achieving this starts with the Windows 8 Developer Preview.

Sareen then goes on (rather long-windedly, as is the case with these posts) to address some of the feedback that Microsoft has received. He covers three categories:

Q: Can Metro apps be closed without having to resort to the Task Manager?

A: 'Yes' but Microsoft thinks that you won't need to do it often.

Q: Will Microsoft improve the current mouse scrolling through the apps on the Start Screen?

A: According to Sareen this will be improved in the Windows 8 beta.

Q: Will there be a better way of cycling through apps?

A: Microsoft plans to detail this in a future post.

What we're not getting is any kind of word as to whether the classic Start menu option will be available officially rather than through a third-party hack. I'm still holding out hope that Microsoft won't forcibly shove the Metro Start Screen down all out throats.

Microsoft seems convinced that touch UI is the way forward on the desktop. I remain to be convinced. I don't see touch catching on with enterprise users for a variety of reasons (cost, training ...) and as far as the home user goes, tell me how touch makes email, Facebook, photo editing, video editing and so on any better?

[poll id="693"]

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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  • "Should Microsoft offer the classic Start Menu in Windows 8?"


    I still think good ol' business users should have access to the full "classic" UI. Seems silly to have metro running in a business environment.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

      @Cylon Centurion
      won't matter a bit.
      Old or new style windoze apps are dying fast:
      The Linux Geek
      • What?

        @The Linux Geek
        So a service that offered extensions to other services is shut down and this proves something?
        Getting desperate there LG. Pathetically desperate.

        I guess Win7 sales and the interest in Win8 are enough to scare you.
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        @The Linux Geek - I notice you conveniently decided to ignore the reason WHY they're shutting down the Live Gallery:<br><blockquote><br>Part of the reason Microsoft has decided to close the Windows Live Gallery has to do with the upcoming launch of the Windows 8 operating system. Microsoft has already released a Developer Preview of Windows 8 which will include <b>support for downloading apps via the Microsoft Store</b>.<br></blockquote>
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        @The Linux Geek - back to the fry station little boy. Smoke break is over. What a numb-skull.
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        @The Linux Geek
        I've learned that anyone who uses the term "windoze" lacks any objectivity at all, much less offers a persuasive argument.
      • Desperate??

        @The Linux Geek <br>Please please spare us your one dimensional views. Go back to your desk and start writing programs for an OS (Linux) that most 'ordinary' folk can understand, then and only then will you be in the position to announce the 'death' of apps that are more 'USER FRIENDLY'.
    • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

      @Cylon Centurion ...

      Not only that, but Microsoft should have a transitional period with their OS. They shouldn't simply discontinue a long-used feature overnight. My advise to Microsoft for Windows 8:

      1. Feel free to enable it by default, but have the option to disable Metro in Home and Professional editions.
      2. Disable Metro by default in Business edition.
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        @WarhavenSC - Maybe not by default but absolutely make sure that it's definable by Group Policy for non-touch systems.
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        @WarhavenSC Exactly - or even better, if the OS doesn't detect touch-capable hardware, default to the classic interface outright. Whatever its merits on a touch-enabled devices, Metro makes no sense on a device that is not.
    • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

      @Cylon Centurion..... it really does not matter, but Classic mode is a GOOD step, as I have decided that I will not upgrade beyond XP until MSWin7,8,9,10 are backwards compatible allowing me to OP/install 8/16/32bit loaders/programs without requiring some special mode/VMware/etc. I wrote programs in QB and now VB I no longer can use in Win7..... I'm sick of MS sticking it to us on programs that I own/use/proficient-at due to MS inability to create OS's that are backwards compatible.

      I'll go to Linux next then screw MS forever!

      N6JSX, MS-EET, Sr EE Test/MFG
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        @Kuby - Either that or you could throw off the animal skin cape and move out of the caves you're living in.

        Just a thought.
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        You will find the grass a lot greener on the other (Linux) side...
        Johan Safari
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        @Kuby <br>Hope that door is big enough for you to runnn through. I guess there will be no reason for you to hang out in Windows essential blogs either. You're Out Of Here!!
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        And when Appl* release their's in a couple of years from now, you will be back here trying to convience everyone that it's the best idea ever and how it is the most innovative technique. Go figure
      • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

        @Kuby When you do, you can pull your old peripherals out of the closet, run your old apps on Wine, and take out half your RAM and save it for later. You can run Unity if you really want it to look like Win8. Welcome to freedom!
    • No kidding.

      @Cylon Centurion Seriously. Talk about an ergonomic nightmare; it's bad enough we have folks sitting with questionable posture in front of luminescent rectangles ALL DAY LONG without having to think about reaching up to interact with the computer. And I definitely have no desire to do this at home, either, especially when the PC I use most often is connected to a television with a wireless mouse & keyboard. =P
    • I'm with you for the most part...

      @Cylon Centurion

      ...but I would LOVE to have the Metro Screen as a sort of "Screen Saver". It would seem to me that such an interface would be great for the kind of "Impulse Launches" one might do when one didn't need the full UI. Like when you just want to launch your DVD software, or listen to to one of your bookmarked pages. Otherwise, I don't even want to think about using it for hours on end as opposed to the Desktop/Start Menu UI. Heck, I still run in "Classic" helps me catch phony apps that look like XP programs...
      ReadWryt (error)
    • Maybe Windows 8 will have little/nothing to offer?

      @Cylon Centurion - For the traditional desktop user perhaps Microsoft is missing a trick. There are plenty of things they SHOULD have been working on but don't seem interested in proper improvements.
    • RE: Microsoft to address Windows 8 Start Screen concerns

      @Cylon Centurion I would extend that to say that it's silly to have metro running on a desktop, period.