Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

Summary: Microsoft has a long way to go to make Windows 8 work on desktops and tablets.

SHARE:

I've been using the Windows 8 developer preview now for long enough to come across a number of design flaws that MUST be addressed for the OS to be usable on desktops, notebooks and tablets.

Note: I know that this is a developer preview, and not a beta or release candidate, and that nothing is fixed in stone, but if we don't make a noise now, it might be too late by the time we get to the beta stage.

#1 - Metro multitasking = two apps

Right now, I'm working with six different applications. When it comes to Metro apps on Windows 8, multitasking means having two apps on the screen side-by-side. That's it. For the causal user, that might be fine, but for power users, Metro offers little more than a LeapFrog 'My First Computer' experience.

The limit of having two app on screen at any one time is crazy and needs a total rethink.

#2 - Mishmash of Metro UI and Aero UI

I find the fact that I'm continually switching between the tile-based Metro UI and the glassy Aero UI at best jarring, and at worse illogical and confusing. Switching between Metro apps and traditional applications is particularly painful, and the idea of trying to do any real work that way doesn't fill me with joy.

At present, the Metro UI is thin veneer over the classic UI. A good example is Control Panel. One minute you're seeing a Metro UI, but a single click is all it takes to kick you into the classic UI. Metro UI is a veneer that doesn't work for either desktop or tablet users.

There needs to be a total reworking of Windows to allow two separate UIs, because this current situation is laughable.

#3 - Metro is nothing more than a gimmick on the desktop and needs a kill switch

While Metro makes some sense on tablets (it makes sense if you're not in the market for a Windows tablet to get legacy support and a familiar environment), I can't come up with a single good reason for this UI to be on desktops, and it's hard to make a case for it on notebooks. I don't see touch-based computing becoming mainstream on the desktop, and I don't see Microsoft shoving the Metro UI down people's throats changing this.

With this in mind, it makes no sense - none at all - for Windows 8 to boot into the Metro UI by default. I've gone to the point where I just see it as a secondary log-on screen that I have to get out of the way if I'm to get any real work done.

In other words - Metro UI needs an official kill switch.

Note: Check out my ZDNet blogging buddy James Kendrick's thoughts on Windows 8 on a tablet.

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

191 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

    For once, I agree with all of your points, particularly the Metro kill switch. Metro is obviously NOT a desktop UI. It's fine on tablets, but gets in the way on desktops.
    BillDem
    • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

      @BillDem Get six pack Abs

      I???m busy and can???t spend 60 minutes a day with exercises.
      Truth About Six Pack Abs does not require this.
      30-45 minutes workouts 2-3 times a week should do the trick

      go here : <em></em>goo<em></em>.<em></em>gl<em></em><em></em>/YR85Z<em></em>
      alexdan2
      • The sad thing about these spam posts?

        @alexdan2
        They are more relevant than AKH's blog.
        toddybottom
    • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

      @BillDem Get six pack Abs

      I???m busy and can???t spend 60 minutes a day with exercises.
      Truth About Six Pack Abs does not require this.
      30-45 minutes workouts 2-3 times a week should do the trick

      go here : <em></em>goo<em></em>.<em></em>gl<em></em><em></em>/YR85Z<em></em>
      alexdan2
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        @alexdan2
        GET LOST !
        hkommedal
      • @alexdan2 .. all that gym work obviously

        .. never helped with your mental ineptitude.<br><br>But I'm guessing it's nothing an electric drill to the side of your head and a small packet of peanuts couldn't fix.<br><br>.. oh, in case you're curious, the peanuts will help replace that empty gap between your ears .. hey, look on the bright side, they may even push your current IQ into positive integer territory! <br><br>go here (for definitions of: <i>ineptitude, IQ, positive integer .. an .. to .. of .. the .. on</i>): google.com
        thx-1138_
    • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

      @BillDem Get six pack Abs

      I???m busy and can???t spend 60 minutes a day with exercises.
      Truth About Six Pack Abs does not require this.
      30-45 minutes workouts 2-3 times a week should do the trick

      go here : <em></em>goo<em></em>.<em></em>gl<em></em><em></em>/YR85Z<em></em>
      alexdan2
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        @alexdan2
        Get OUT of here !
        hkommedal
    • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

      @BillDem
      Robots of the world assume you don't have six pack abs, but you want them enough to work 90 minutes per week for them (not much more than that though).

      Also, Metro needs a killswitch. This desktop mode without a start button hardly seems like a desktop mode. Maybe Metro could be accessed by a shortcut, as if it were a program running within desktop mode.
      In fact, I hate this use of Metro where the traditional desktop environment is relegated to one program within metro. However, if Metro felt like one program running within the traditional desktop environment, Windows 8 would be a lot easier to swallow.
      chris3145
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        @chris3145
        Microsoft could use a Control Panel element for the user to select the UI to invoke on boot up--Metro or traditional desktop.
        TsarNikky
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        @chris3145 I agree that Metro doesn't make sense for desktops. But MS would never simply turn it into an application, they learned to not doing that from Windows Media Center Edition: nobody ever uses it.
        belli_bettens@...
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        Metro makes sense to be default on a touchscreen device. It wouldn't be difficult to just give the user a boot up choice in the control panel. <br><br>And I don't think the sky is falling. The article seems a bit dramatic on something that is just a developer preview. Like Windows 8 would only allow 2 app multitasking. Oh no!! Quick, gotta nip this one in the bud. Please.
        crogs
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        @chris3145,

        I agree. I've been using the DEV preview myself for a few days and that's the feeling I get. The desktop is being presented as a "program" to run from Metro. It really ought to be the other way around. Metro ought to be a "mode" of Windows, not the main entry point.

        I can tell you for sure that if I ever consider developing to Metro myself, the front-end is not going to be Metro first, desktop as an afterthought. The jury is out on this one as far as I'm concerned.
        Max Peck
    • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

      @BillDem - unfortunately, the Metro kill switch would kill Metro. It's probably going to remain a requirement so that the future of Windows doesn't ricochet back to the old useless desktop.

      Personally, I'm looking forward to having a rich desktop, and having a tablet OS that doesn't force me to also pack my laptop on trips. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much effort they put into keeping the mouse+keyboard support as full-featured as they did, and we can only expect more streamlining as the product nears its release. That said, I won't have much patience if the final product makes desktop apps hard to use.

      And then... there will be Windows 9. This is only the beginning, so it's going to feel immature right now, but we can be thankful that we're no longer stuck with the Microsoft status-quo, which was dying a slow death.
      scH4MMER
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        @scH4MMER
        So maybe Metro SHOULD be killed
        sackbut
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        @tk_77

        What part of Developer Preview don't you get? The only reason they released it to the general public was because it was going to leak anyway, so rather than Microsoft risk customers getting malware from shady torrents, they just released it to everyone.

        Sheesh.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

        @scH4MMER
        Maybe killing Metro for laptops/desktops is not a bad thing. Metro is clearly designed for casual tablet users.
        TsarNikky
    • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

      @BillDem Have to say I concur. I love what Microsoft has done but it certainly needs polishing and all your points are valid. The most annoying thing is the start menu switch when you're in Aero mode then all of a sudden there's this damn Metro and of course vice versa. It makes more sense that you get the interface that matches the hardware attached. If I don't have a touch screen driver, why would I want metro? Reverse is true too, if I have a mouse attached how likely is it I want big blocks to click on? I think there needs to be some "thought" at the Windows kernel level that takes its best guess at the interface you want and then presents it. Perhaps an easy access icon/tile that lets you switch if it selected the wrong one for you but it certainly can't stay the way it is otherwise you can see people turning Metro off in the registry and leaving it off.
      GeiselS
    • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

      @BillDem It is desktop UI. For me it works fine.
      kamilw
    • RE: Windows 8 design flaws Microsoft MUST address

      @BillDem
      AMEN! Will Microsoft listen??
      TsarNikky