Windows 8 Metro interface Blues

Windows 8 Metro interface Blues

Summary: The new version of Windows 8 — Blue — seems to be well under way, but it appears to be coming with the same old dreadful Metro interface.

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I've got a bad case of the Windows 8 Metro interface Blues. It looks like Microsoft will be releasing Windows Blue midyear, but the interface is going to be the same old Metro mess that's been giving its users the blues since day one.

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Windows Blue: More of the same old Metro mess.
(Image: WinBeta)

What gives, Microsoft? Windows 8's acceptance on the desktop has fallen even behind Vista's lousy numbers. The biggest single reason for this is the Metro interface. Sure, Metro may be OK on a smartphone or tablet — although you sure couldn't tell it by the ice-cold reception that Windows 8 Phone and RT have found in the market — but it's awful on the desktop.

Call me crazy, but really Microsoft, would it kill you to add a Start button and make the Windows 8 desktop the default interface instead of Metro? It's not that hard. Heck, as David Gewirtz pointed out, it doesn't take that much to make Windows 8 look normal.

Even then, however, you can't really avoid the Metro morass. Take Matt Baxter-Reynolds' dad, who — after double-clicking on a photo in his desktop mail app — ended up dumped in the Metro-style photo viewer: Just an image in the middle of a full-screen gray window with no trace of the decades old windows, icon, menu, and pointer (WIMP) interface metaphor for a guide.

But is Microsoft fixing its busted interface? Nope.

Instead, if the leaked Blue release is the real thing, it looks like all we'll really be getting are resizable tiles and a snap view, which will enable two or more tiled apps to be on the display at the same time. Wow, resizable and multiple windows on the screen at once. What a great idea! Gosh, we haven't seen that since, oh, Windows 7.

If Microsoft really wants to save Windows 8 with Blue (or, as I'm starting to think of it, Windows 8 Second Edition ala Windows 98 Second Edition), they're going to need to do more than update its core apps and put some WIMP-style lipstick on the Metro pig. The fix Windows 8 really needs is to dump Metro and give Windows 8 an Aero-style interface , but Microsoft seems unwilling to change its course. Oh well, if it wants people to explore Google Chromebooks and stick with Windows 7, so be it.

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Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software Development, Windows

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139 comments
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  • why do you care...

    you can't stand Microsoft products, so why do you care what they do? Aren't you supposed to be blogging on Linux, open source, and networking?
    CriticalSection
    • amazing he gets paid to write this

      Clearly the audience feels this guy is out of touch. ZD, why not hire writers that can actually contribute in a manner the readership appreciates? Why do you put d-bags like this on the payroll?
      sfoalex
      • Microsoft's (Employee?) Troll(s) Spew(s) Vile at a Truthful Review

        Microsoft hasn't made a passable OS since Windows 2000.

        XP: Activation-crippled bug fix of 2K that broke, via dev tools, 2K-compatible compiler builds

        Vista: Activation-crippled, security-feigning, HW-upgrade-forcing crap that never sold

        7: Activation-crippled, bloated bug fix of Vista that gave businesses NOTHING they wanted over XP, except "SW Assurance" cost headaches.

        8: Ugly, raped-interface OS and Office suite devised to drive online app revenue and "SW as a Service" adoption.

        No one wants this crap, but that's the poison you get from a monopoly. Businesses and the general public are too timid to gang up and tell M$ to shove this garbage, so, the lack of sales (no matter how much M$ inflates the numbers) will have to do.
        Win8AnUglyDisaster
        • Oh my, standard tripe

          All the "MS payroll" accusations do is show how far Steven's fans must go to defend his moronic opinions.

          Yes, he is paid for this, and to be honest, seeing him be constantly wrong is quite entertaining, but one tires of the foolish fans accusing anyone that disagrees with him of being on Microsoft's payroll.

          First, MS is not smart enough to pull off a campaign like that, and second, and most importantly,

          Steven is not that important!

          Decision makers do not follow Steven, he is here for entertainment only.

          I guess Steven is right on schedule as well. He had a couple decent articles with real news, or at least something to write about, but he is not getting the hits, so time for flames to get posts, so he goes after Windows.

          Psychologists will tell you that some people thrive on negative attention so they do stupid things to get it. You might want to refer to the author and see if he fits the description (hint, he is a prime candidate!)
          Cynical99
        • Actually, Windows 7 is not *that* terrible.

          Yes, it's bloated, requires a ludicrous amount of resources (though not as bad as Vista) and has a number of significant issues -- but since it's come out, I've spent a lot less time helping my friends "fix" their broken Windows. Security is actually passable (still not as good as Linux), and they can manage to keep the OS updated, themselves.

          There's still "Product Activation", onerous licensing terms, network/file copying issues, and what-not. There's also the onerous, stupefyingly user-hostile licensing terms -- but people seem to accept that as a "necessary evil" (they're wrong, but as long as they don't see the alternatives as credible (Apple is "too expensive", and Linux is "too hard" or "too fringe") they're going to be easy prey for the techno-magical flim-flam of Microsoft's marketing.

          As long as they have a decently powerful machine, maintaining and using Windows 7 is not going to be too onerous (also, confirmed "gamers" are still wearing Microsoft's bridle, but those with an "entry-level", consumer PC or "netbook" class system, are going to be amenable to trying Linux -- if only from sheer exasperation; they're quite surprised at the improved performance on their "clunky", "old" hardware).

          But I still far prefer Linux (even Ubuntu) to any version of Windows. Once you get used to the difference, it's hard to go back.
          bswiss
          • Windows 7 is not bloated in the slightest

            99% of the 'bloat' that idiots like you so whine about is coming from them including drivers for every single device under the sun for the past 10 years, like a RESPONSIBLE OS maker does.

            If they would only go back 2 or 3 years with their drivers, they could very well shave 1/3rd of the size of Windows 7 and 8.

            Unfortunately, the device makers HOWL at the top of their lungs when that is considered, so it is never done.
            Lerianis10
          • Simply wrong (and wrong again, and again)

            1) Linux support far more devices than Windows does (especially considering that old device drivers aren't abandoned just because a new version of Linux comes out) -- so by that reasoning, Linux would be more bloated than Windows

            2) a Linux install needs less disk space than Windows does

            3) a Linux system can run well in less RAM than a Windows system can even cope with.
            bswiss
          • wrong?

            I can see where you say he's wrong about the bloated part but like this stupid writer you fail to leave out a lot of wrongs that make Linux crap. Like the 400 versions out, the fact they all crash like crazy, or even the biggest one Ubuntu half the time can't come out of sleep unharmed without 1: making your screen a snow globe or 2: make your mouse/keyboard driver not come on so you have to reset. Don't get me started on having to type code into terminal to get things to work or give me the classic Linux is on servers and they run all the time crap (different animal). Now windows is generally good its the hardware they buy that's junk. HP, gateway,acer this crap kills their image while Sony Lenovo and Asus get bad press from the other companies. I've never had to restore my Sony ar-605e since I bought it as a display model from best buy. Now I'm not that biased I just know what works and what doesn't and what you want to use it for. If your rich and want a desktop get a mac, it will be out of date within 5 years guaranteed. You have a piece of crap computer that you don't want to pay $ for an os newer than win 2000 use Linux. I've used all and I like all for different reasons but from a business standpoint using windows office with usb connectivity I can take a picture or pdf, mark it up with a digitizer pen not those pos nub craps, save as separate copy send it out and have a 10 hour battery life and all on a slate. Not only that compatibility goes all the way back to win 95 so I can run all the programs that are worth anything since the 90's. Oh and this is a dell tablet. Show me ANYTHING that is this capable. Everyone is looking at this the wrong way. Desktops WILL be dead, its just a matter of time. Think hybrid slatebooks and hdmi cables
            jdhinds1234
          • ROTFLMAO!

            1. Complete and utter BS!

            2. Who cares?

            3. Complete and utter BS!
            jhammackHTH
          • LOL! Not terrible!

            That's the understatement of the century. It's a great OS.
            jhammackHTH
        • Oh God!

          Your parents should be arrested and locked up for having you.
          jhammackHTH
        • Yadda yadda yadda....

          ...so then we all went out and bought a Windows 8 PC.
          Cayble
      • I agree

        with his comments. I find his contributions valuable, and therefore valuable. I don't agree with everything he writes, but he is 100% spot here, as far as I'm concerned.
        roteague
        • Your name wouldn't be

          Steve Junior by any chance.
          Great ability you have there. Talking through your rear end like you do. You should be on tv with a talent like that.
          Moosehouse
        • He just neglects to point out...

          That if Windows 8 having a market share a hares breath below Vista is evidence of some kind of inherent problem then the fact Windows 8 has obliterated all combined versions of Linux in market share would be the much more important story.

          But even though he is supposed to be a Linux writer, thats a Linux story he will not tell.

          And even if he did one day, it would be nothing less than the story of a Linux apologist. It would be a story full of the very kinds of excuses, stories and explanations he clearly dosnt allow to come into play for Windows 8.

          The bottom line is, SVJN has no credibility left when it comes to anything related to Windows 8. He blew it with to much of his complete nonsense weeks and weeks ago.
          Cayble
    • if you are good at something

      Don't do it for free! JSVN is good at trolling, so he gets paid for it. I bet he's still there because they can't fire him.
      Simon Tupper
      • Good advice!

        So how much are they paying you?

        SJVN is still here because ZDNet wants to pretend to be OS agnostic.

        And because he put in a solid decade (more?) of yeoman work debunking MS "TCO studies" and "White Papers", "Get The Facts" propaganda, and similar garbage around the rise of Linux in the server arena, the netbook era, and the like. And some purely Windows stuff (not complimentary to Microsoft, though). He had this nasty habit of being right -- but the ad revenue is still largely Windows-centric.

        Now, most of the (informed) people who appreciated his stuff have moved on -- as has Linux, itself; there are better places to keep up with Linux news and FOSS topics. But he still here, dropping off a light, easy Linux piece now and then -- just to make sure the Windows nerds don't forget that there *are* other operating systems (anybody wh's actually interested will eventually gravitate elsewhere)..
        bswiss
        • SJVN has had a nasty habit of being right?

          Ha! So now we meet one more guy who seems to live in the fansatsy land of "If I say it, it will be true."

          Well, your wrong. SVJN is wrong. We could care less a single whit what you say when its simply nonsense like SVJN has a nasty habit of being right. You might as well say bozo the clown has this nasty habit of being taken seriously.

          He has nobody but himself for people not being able to take him seriously. He only speaks in half truths at the best of times, purposly misuses statistics and conjures up ideas of what people should think about a situation based on that kind of thinking. In the process he completely ignores the fact, and I mean completely ignores the fact that once you apply the same standards of thinking to Linux and its market share as he says is appropriate to apply to WIndows 8, it would mean Linux is total garbage from the inside out, IF SJVN was right in his approach.

          He is simply not credible. There isnt a thing more to it. Hes created the situation so now he should live with it.
          Cayble
    • Re: you can't stand Microsoft products

      What makes you say that? SJVN has taken a lot of trouble over the years to appreciate Microsoft so he can point out exactly where their failings are. Is it his fault Microsoft persists in being so obnoxiously stupid?
      ldo17
      • SJVN has made a living....

        from bashing Windows. If you, as you said he put a lot of time into Windows to point out it's failings, why doesn't he do the same for Linux or OS X, which both have had as many and often more failings over the years but ZDnet gives them a free pass.
        Why has he never wrote about the successes of Windows and the great technologies that MSFT ahs produced and keeps business customers coming back over and over for decades now? Where has his Windows 7 pieces been? Does he only come out when MSFT needs to be chastised and he feels he is right for the job? Too funny.

        SJVN deserves no credit for what amounts a career of MSFT bashing. He like others here is a blogger, not a writer. to be a writer involves integrity, emotional maturity and objective writing, none of which SVJN qualifies.
        xuniL_z