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For Windows 8 Users, Stardock Revives the Start Menu

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the best-place-to-end-your-session dept.

GUI 370

jones_supa writes "By reinventing the Start Menu in Windows 8, Microsoft has caused some resistance to the new Start Screen. For those longing for the classic way of doing things, Stardock comes to rescue. The Start8 is a piece of software which replicates the functionality of the button and menu found in previous versions of Windows. Supported is starting applications, the Run and Shutdown features, and search."

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370 comments

Validity? (5, Insightful)

mws1066 (1057218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287645)

People get set in their ways, no question about it. Plenty of OSs don't have a start menu and they're quite usable. While I don't think the start menu is inherently bad OR good, I think people get way too hung up on the way a proprietary OS used to be - up to the point that they mod the hell out of the interface. I use MacOS and Windows 7 and Windows XP and Linux all quite regularly. People need to give more and be a little bit more mobile.

Re:Validity? (1)

ProgrammerJulia (2589195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287673)

That's the same reason for why people always cry about changes in Facebook or Slashdot interface. They feel homeless.

Re:Validity? (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287725)

That's the same reason for why people always cry about changes in Facebook or Slashdot interface. They feel homeless.

No, they just don't want to have to learn some new crap that's worse than the old crap.

Microsoft buggered up the start menu in Windows 7 and people complained, so they used that as an excuse to completely remove it and replace it with something much worse. Users don't like software changes that make their life harder for no good reason.

Re:Validity? (5, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287763)

Microsoft buggered up the start menu in Windows 7 and people complained

Really? I think the Windows 7 Start Menu is a considerable improvement over XP. I'll admit I was sceptical at first, but now I find that whenever I'm stuck on an XP box I really miss it.

I'm sure I'll get used to most of Windows 8's new conventions too, but as it stands I'm still not convinced that they're all a good idea - especially this idea of having to have both Metro and Regular versions of half your programs.

Re:Validity? (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287805)

I think the Windows 7 Start Menu is a considerable improvement over XP.

I honestly don't see how. I rarely use Windows any more, but when I boot into Windows 7 on my laptop I can never find the program I want to run on the new start menu. As far as I'm concerned it's a disaster zone.

Re:Validity? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287961)

In 7, click start, start typing the name of your program, and you're there.
In XP, the program is lost in submenus.

Re:Validity? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288039)

Really? You think having to type in the name is an improvement? I've never been "lost in submenus."

Re:Validity? (3, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288301)

You think having to type in the name is an improvement?

It's the difference between a O(1) operation and an O(n) operation.

But you certainly don't have to type the name... the common situation is you install something, and it's placed in a folder with the publisher's name that you might not know. Or perhaps you have so much software installed, your start menu fills the entire screen and it's hard to find a specific item. In those cases, it's easier to just type in the name and find it instantly rather than scan the whole list.

Re:Validity? (2)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288503)

There are lots of us that went through organizational effort to ensure that our start menu was properly categorized and organized. If I installed a new program it typically went to one of several categories much like you see on a modern Linux install (Accessories, Games, Multimedia, Productivity, Utilities). For people who put in that extra effort to keep things clean, everything post-XP has been a letdown.

With the paths that Microsoft and most of the big Linux distros have been going down lately, I'm actually looking at just buying a Mac Mini for my next system.

Re:Validity? (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288589)

Yeah, the OSX has such a better menu system~

". If I installed a new program it typically went to one of several categories"
it still can, and in some case, does. This type of thing is the back bone of the start system. Stop making excuses. You want to buy a mac? buy a mac.

Re:Validity? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288539)

I remember when my programs menu scrolled because it had too many programs for the screen. Now I don't even remember the last time I actually went into Start Menu folders. I just tap the Windows key, type the first few letters of whatever I want to open, and hit enter. Even if there were multiple files that fit into that filter, it's still more convenient to pick the right one from the list than to go through the All Programs menu. It's of the few innovations I actually liked about Vista (of course, 7 took that and improved it even more).

Windows 8 got rid of that entirely, and made a whole bunch of design changes that actually impede usability for anybody without a tablet or touchscreen. As I own a typical desktop with no touchscreen or anything like that, it will probably be the first Windows version that I'll entirely skip ever since Windows 95.

Re:Validity? (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288605)

I would actually have to agree that might be a decent improvement in Windows 7. It sounds like they copied QuickSilver [blacktree.com]. Can't run OSX without it. :) OK, OK, you could, but QuickSilver makes launching apps trivial, and you never have to leave the keyboard.

Re:Validity? (1)

parliboy (233658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288001)

And when you start typing the name of what you want to run in the search box, it still doesn't find it?

Re:Validity? (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288487)

And when you start typing the name of what you want to run in the search box, it still doesn't find it?

As the user a few posts above this suggested, if your solution to a crappy _graphical_ user interface is 'but you just have to type the name of the program', then you're doing something wrong.

Re:Validity? (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288643)

IT's an option. Not the only solution. Win 7 also highlights new folders, and if the application writers wants to, they can have there program launch-able from one of several reconfigured locations. Games, Devices, musics, etc..

Some people prefer the graphical user dialog box, some don't.

But if they have it, you complain, of the got rid of it you would complain.

Re:Validity? (4, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288045)

I can never find the program I want to run on the new start menu. As far as I'm concerned it's a disaster zone.

Why? It's just list of applications.

The Windows XP start menu with its flyout application menus didn't scale well. It just grows and grows with the more applications you add. For some people finding a particular item is a matter of scanning a list that fills your entire screen. Then you have the application folders which can be several layers deep, and require you to hover over a single item then move to the next menu, which can take a great deal of dexterity. Make one wrong move and the whole thing closes, and you have to start again.

The windows 7 start menu is much more sensible: and alphabetical list with clickable folders. It scales well, it doesn't require any dexterity to manipulate it. Just pin your most used applications and you're set. What is so difficult about that?

Re:Validity? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288471)

I must have a lot of dexterity then because I find setting menushowdelay in the registry to 10 ms down from 400 ms and the flyout menus in XP and the classic start menu on windows 7 to be much faster than the hover and click fest of the default windows 7 menu.

Re:Validity? (5, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288611)

Yes, you do. I know I personally mis-click sometimes, and is almost completely unusable for my mother, whose hand trembles. The Windows 7 menu is much more usable for her, and the larger targets of the Windows 8 menu are even better still. Always remember, Microsoft is developing their operating system for billions of people, and your super human skill at navigating a flyout list doesn't even play into their decision-making processes; accessibility is a legitimate concern in the design process.

Re:Validity? (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288505)

Why? It's just list of applications.

That's precisely the point. It's _NOT_ 'just a list of applications', it's a random list of applications with a random list of other crap and the place to look for the actual application you want is far from obvious.

If the Windows 7 start menu wasn't an abomination people wouldn't be telling us 'but you just have to type the name of the program'.

Re:Validity? (0, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288699)

It's not random. Don't confuse you being ignorant with the start menu being random.

There is a logical way it works. If you made half the effort in learning why it does things that you do showing of your ignorance, you would have nothing to complain about...but maybe that's your point. Maybe you're just a whiny bitch.

Re:Validity? (1)

djfreestyler (2579333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288537)

The windows 7 start menu is much more sensible: and alphabetical list with clickable folders. It scales well, it doesn't require any dexterity to manipulate it. Just pin your most used applications and you're set. What is so difficult about that?

No it does not scale well. You know why? One simple reason: It has a fixed size. The Windows XP application list certainly had its issues, but at least it had one big advantage: It was able to use all your screen space. I have a 24" monitor and on Windows 7, this means the Start menu fill about 1/8th part of the screen. Which means that as soon as you want to find something, you end up needing to do unnecessary clicking and scrolling just to get to your application. ( Assuming you don't know the name of the application of course. ) If it could be resized, I could simply scale it to a size that I am comfortable with ( three quarters of the screen or so ) and avoid all the unnecessary scrolling. The addition of searching was pretty useful, I just don't know why they had to break the "classic" use case of the Start Menu for that. For the rest there really is little difference between the two versions of the Start menu.

Re:Validity? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288593)

The windows 7 start menu is much more sensible: and alphabetical list with clickable folders. It scales well, it doesn't require any dexterity to manipulate it. Just pin your most used applications and you're set. What is so difficult about that?

It would scale a hell of a lot better if it were taller than 22 entries tall, and/or if it were resizable.

I'm knowledge-driven, not search-driven. If I'm on a new machine, want to see everything installed, not mouse around with a friggin' scrollbar. After a few tries, I'll have learned where my preferred apps are.

I don't want to have to search for things whose names I might not know the first time around.

And I really don't want to search - every. fucking. time. - for an item whose location and name I already know.

Bloody minimalist UX designers fucking up workable interfaces again.

Re:Validity? (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288685)

The windows 7 start menu is much more sensible: and alphabetical list with clickable folders. It scales well, it doesn't require any dexterity to manipulate it. Just pin your most used applications and you're set. What is so difficult about that?

I'm not seeing how the old WinXP Start Menu can't do the same. I am rarely in my start menu on XP systems - most programs I commonly use are in the Quick Launch Toolbar (which is exactly the same as "Pinning" programs). The Start menu is an alphabetical list with folders - they just fly out instead of replace the current list. I also have preference to the flyout version since I don't need to scroll to view all of my available options.

It's also easier to navigate with a keyboard - Win7's search bar makes a guess about what you want, and if it's not one of the 5 things listed, I need to grab my mouse and click around anyway. The WinXP menu lets me just navigate the flyout lists without the mouse.

As for scaling, I organize my programs in the menu (XP or Win7) into categories - Development, Office, Internet, etc, which alleviates the "so many programs, takes up my whole screen" problem. The WinXP menu becomes large and unwieldy only if you refuse to organize it - and the Win7 can become just as unwieldy for the same reasons.

Re:Validity? (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288415)

I think the Windows 7 Start Menu is a considerable improvement over XP.

I honestly don't see how. I rarely use Windows any more, but when I boot into Windows 7 on my laptop I can never find the program I want to run on the new start menu. As far as I'm concerned it's a disaster zone.

That's why the very first tweak that I applied to Windows 7 was to re-enable the quick launch bar. Essentially what Microsoft has done with Windows 8 is turn the quick launch bar into the primary desktop. This is perfect for tablets, but I'm not sure what the usability will be like for more advanced uses.

Re:Validity? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288433)

Type in the name in the search box at the bottom. If you type the full name properly, hitting enter will act as a run command (very useful for starting the command prompt: "cmd", enter, up it comes). And the pinning is nice, too, but I rarely use that.

Re:Validity? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288547)

Then it's you. Sorry, either you don't want to like it, or you are to stupid to think about it for 10 seconds.

I work with 100's of people whoa re not 'computer people'. No problems after the initial, hey it changed.

Re:Validity? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288683)

Have you tried just typing the program's name (its actual name)? Start menu indexes Program Files as well as several other places, so its pretty good about finding what you want.

Only snag is if you have indexed .cmd files, and want to open the command prompt-- youll then need to type "command".

Re:Validity? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288033)

Exploding menus are quick. Stopping to click on a scroll bar while navigating the start menu is a clear regression.

People are quick to point out that having a search feature is a win, which I agree with. That doesn't mean menu navigation is better in 7.

openSUSE's KDE 3.5 menu exploded like a classic Start menu, but also included integrated search. It was fantastic.

Re:Validity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288435)

You can get the same thing in Windows 7 with Classic Shell

Re:Validity? (2)

paintballer1087 (910920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288461)

Exploding menus are quick. Stopping to click on a scroll bar while navigating the start menu is a clear regression.

If only someone would create some type of wheel on a mouse to allow scrolling without clicking on the scroll bar. I think this could be handled on touchpads with a section on the side dedicated to scrolling... Just a thought. Maybe I should patent this idea!

Re:Validity? (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288527)

You have to click within the menu area even before you can scroll with the mouse wheel. Then you click to expand a menu entry and then scroll again. This is still a regression from hovering and quickly navigating.

Again, the addition of search is a win, but that doesn't mean the removal of an exploding menu is.

Re:Validity? (1)

Muramas95 (2459776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288627)

I honestly did not like win7's new taskbar but when I changed it to "never combine" and "use small icons" it was great. Being able to pin stuff to it and move programs around helped a lot. It also looked much better to place along the sides than any of the previous ones.

Re:Validity? (2)

Higgins_Boson (2569429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288703)

Really? I think the Windows 7 Start Menu is a considerable improvement over XP. I'll admit I was sceptical at first, but now I find that whenever I'm stuck on an XP box I really miss it.

I'm sure I'll get used to most of Windows 8's new conventions too, but as it stands I'm still not convinced that they're all a good idea - especially this idea of having to have both Metro and Regular versions of half your programs.

I completely agree. The Windows 7 start menu is perfect. Everything you need to do is right there either a click away, or a little bit of typing away. It's what the start menu should have always been. To me, it's so much nicer than XP's start menu that I feel like I've gone back to WFW 3.1 when I sit at an XP machine these days.

However, I've been kicking Windows 8 around since public release. While it performs decently, it is very cumbersome, awkward and unnatural to use on a desktop. I can see it will absolutely ROCK the touch screen world, but with the vast majority of desktops not having touch hardware... it's pointless to force it on those particular users.

I mostly use Linux these days anyhow, so this won't really affect me and it also means I will not be purchasing Windows 8 when it is officially released. Give that they have added another 4 flavors to their release cycle, that kills interest for me even more. Then you don't even NEED to ask about price. I am sure any "Ultimate" version (which I always have to have, just my choice) will cost close to $400 in a terrible economy and either increase piracy of their product or just force people to pay a bigger up-front cost for a Mac to get the cheaper (and usually free?) OS updates to save money in the long run.

I'll never go with an Apple product, but I will be damned if I buy Windows 8.

Re:Validity? (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288587)

No, they just don't want to have to learn some new crap that's worse than the old crap.

Rather, it's about not wanting to learn variations on the same damn thing over and over and over and over again. Which is a bit different than learning something new. If someone is going to have to learn yet another variant, then, to prevent angst, said variant should be pretty darned good.

Re:Validity? (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287701)

There's also something to be said for a familiar interface between systems. Although I don't take it to the extremes that some people do, I set up my Linux box to have a similar layout to my Windows box in terms of menus, icon placement, what-action-gives-what-result, etc. My Win 7 laptop is also set up similar to my Win 7 desktop even though one has a 14" screen and the other has three 22" screens, which makes for a different usage case. It's just a lot easier when going between otherwise dissimilar operating systems.

Re:Validity? (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288289)

Exactly. And this is why I install Cygwin on every Windows system I have to use. Bash is pretty much the same everywhere.

Re:Validity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288597)

I have the right-mouse menu "edit" action for text files setup to launch cygwin's vi.

Freaks out my colleagues every time :-)

Re:Validity? (1)

IwantToKeepAnon (411424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287831)

While I don't think the start menu is inherently bad OR good

I think a "menu" style application selection is bad. I can't count how many times I've bounced between different options 2 or 3 levels down and had to start over b/c my mouse moved a few pixels the wrong way. And tech support reaching out and trying to drive is even worse.

I don't know what the right answer is, but I do think the "Start menu" is the wrong answer. While not for the masses, I like dmenu_run tied to a hotkey. There's no mouse involved and just a couple of keystrokes always finds what I need. But that's a linux solution.

Re:Validity? (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287879)

I think a "menu" style application selection is bad. I can't count how many times I've bounced between different options 2 or 3 levels down and had to start over b/c my mouse moved a few pixels the wrong way.

So the solution to sometimes taking a few seconds to start an application from a menu is to force you to always take a few seconds to start an application by making you switch to a completely different screen where you have to scroll through a field of huge icons searching for the one you want?

Re:Validity? (1)

badpazzword (991691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288199)

Have you actually USED the thing? It's much more better than you make it up to be.

Also, type to search still works and is faster and more reliable than Windows 7's implementation.

Re:Validity? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288477)

There is an entire blog post about why the new menu is more efficient. Essentially, in Windows 8 the start menu scales better with resolution, especially on laptops; it engages different aspects of human memory including chunking and spacial memory that the old list menu can't engage; it's more customizable than the current start menu allowing you to make some items bigger than others, and even arrange items into groups and within groups; and most of all, Fitts' (since Slashdot nerds love citing Fitts' law) law says due to the new 2D applications menu along with the larger icons, more applications are reachable in the same amount of time in Windows 8 compared to Windows 7.

Basically, everyone is complaining about change for change sake, and they come back and say "Here are reasons a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h.... why this is technically a better design than the previous one with evidence and statistics to back us up."

Re:Validity? (1)

mws1066 (1057218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287923)

Yeah, well, I tend to agree. The menu style selector is good enough for Muggles though. Personally, I like to launch applications from a command line or run dialog regardless of what OS I'm running.

Re:Validity? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288599)

I think a "menu" style application selection is bad. I can't count how many times I've bounced between different options 2 or 3 levels down and had to start over b/c my mouse moved a few pixels the wrong way.

What infuriates me is that they stopped using "sticky" menus ten or more years ago. You want to open a file, click "file" and edit is open -- damn it, the file menu should STAY open until I make a selection or click outside the menu.

It's a really shitty design that iinm MS started, and unfortunately KDE has emulated it.

While not for the masses, I like dmenu_run tied to a hotkey. There's no mouse involved and just a couple of keystrokes always finds what I need. But that's a linux solution.

It isn't a linux solution on my Linux box. It uses the TV as a monitor, with a wireless keyboard and mouse. The keyboard almost always sits on a shelf unless I need to enter a password or something. And you can use a keyboard in Windows, it's just that few do. Hell, you even have a command line in Windows if you want one.

What REALLY annoys me is applications (in any OS, linux apps are often just as bad) that insist on mousing when the app's main functions need a keyboard. That's incredibly bad design from an ergonomic standpoint -- ever get "mouse elbow"? That comes from having to repeatedly go from keyboard and mouse to back, and is an unforgiveably bad design.

I hope a few developers (esp linux devs) think about this when writing their naxt application.

Re:Validity? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287907)

It's called muscle memory; it lets you play violin, and do regular tasks efficiently on a computer.

Until they change the interface.

Re:Validity? (1)

badpazzword (991691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288223)

I took all of ten minutes to discover and pick up the new window managing gestures in Windows 8. All, um, three of them?

Re:Validity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287945)

The start menu is inherently a bad design, even by microsoft's own guidelines. Cascading menus are horrible, particularly for just starting an application.

Re:Validity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288089)

No, the Windows 8 start page is a bad design for computers. Its fine for tablets, however fails on the desktop. The start menu is fast and efficient for starting applications.

Re:Validity? (5, Insightful)

cccc828 (740705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287959)

While it is no problem for the slashdot crowd, less tech-savvy users have huge problem with even the smallest change.

Here is one example:
I have a friend in his 50ties who just started to use computers and the internet. He barely known what a search engine is, and often has problems reading the small font of tool tips etc. He used IE8 and was used to type into the "Google Box" to search. Along comes the change to IE 9 and all of a sudden he has to use the URL bar to search. He has problems with that. This is not what he learned and how he expects things to work.

He also had problems when his mail client changed the Icon to write e-mails from "Mail" to "Compose".

A Hammer is a hammer is a hammer. In the real world tools do not change how they are operated.
Even cars did not change their UI in the past 100 years. And the elements that did change, are often not used by everyone. How many people do you know who do not know how to set their clock correctly? Who do not use their GPS? VCRs are/were known hard to use, because each and every one has a different way to program a recording.

While *I* love new UIs and shiny things in general, there are lots of people out there who cannot abstract computers and are lost when small things change.

Re:Validity? (4, Insightful)

IceNinjaNine (2026774) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288065)

People get set in their ways, no question about it.

Yeah, that whole brake pedal, clutch, steering wheel.. I'm just "used to it".. they should definitely tweak it a bit.

People need to give more and be a little bit more mobile.

Newsflash: people need to get work done. A good friend of mine still uses Emacs and is super productive. It's a tool, not a toy. Maybe they should provide some compelling evidence that it's worth retraining folks for the new stuff. Most of the newer UI technologies on desktop machines provide little additional productivity IMHO.

Disclosure: I'm a Slackware user running Openbox to primarily launch terminals.

Kids... lawn.. off..

Re:Validity? (1)

mws1066 (1057218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288131)

Unfortunately it's just not the reality that you can always keep using old interfaces. As a programmer, my interface can generally stay the same because I basically only need a text editor and a command line. But it's really not a big deal for the OS's interface to change - and it's expected. It's been going on for DECADES and for some reason people freak out every time it happens again.

Re:Validity? (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288243)

I'll admit I get personally stuck in my ways... I tend to find efficient ways to work and it messes up my mojo every time MS needlessly messes about with things.

All of that, I can cope with.

However, it REALLY sucks when you're trying to support a computer novice. I already regularly (a dozen or more times a day) have to say something along the lines of "Ok, are you windows vista/7 or xp user? Vista? Ok, go to c:\users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\...

or say things like "ok, go to START -> All Programs -> MYCOMPANYSNAME -> Activate MYCOMPANY'S PRODUCT" because the stupid "use customized menus" means I can't count on a deterministic way to get to a given item without going "the long way round".

When MS they changes things around, I need to be able to identify which flavor of Windows they have and help my (often clueless) users find what they're looking for.

I LIKE the classic menu system and START menus because while they're not as easy as saying "Type the following: find ./ -name foo |grep -v bar", they've got a "I don't know what I'm looking for, but I'll know it when I see it" to them that means I can generally work out what I need... the context-based things with the ribbons and the new Windows 8 crap just makes that even more of a pain.

rabble. Rabble. RABBLE! /endrant

Re:Validity? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288499)

I don't think the problem is the start menu has gone away per se but that what has replaced it is completely inadequate for the task. It's not space efficient, it does a terrible job of presenting "classic" style apps, it lacks the compactness and finesse of the existing task bar, and the metro apps suck balls. Some things stuff like control panel is also a confusing mess of new overlay style control panels with simplistic switches and old style windowed panels all accessible through different routes. It just looks awful, as if someone mashed GNOME3 into KDE and it was a coin toss for the user which behaviour was going to kick in for any given action.

Unlike GNOME 3 which feels cohesive and well designed (and is also optional since you can use another desktop), Windows 8 just feels like a mess. I can appreciate Metro is much more suitable for tablets but there really needs to be a switch that disables it on the desktop. Replace gadgets with metro and maybe augment the experience here and there but the core desktop experience has to be work properly for a desktop. It doesn't have to slavishly copy the start menu in Windows 7 - the start menu seems to change with every release and people are used to that, but it has to be an adequate replacement both in terms of functionality and efficiency.

I am hoping that Microsoft realise all this and the consumer preview is just a test bed for the new stuff with more "traditional" features being folded back in. I cannot imagine that corporates will be happy AT ALL if it gets shoved out the door in anything resembling its current state.

Don't stop there (4, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287665)

Stardock, please bring back the Win3.x Program Manager!

Re:Don't stop there (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288203)

Have you seen Fences?
http://www.stardock.com/products/fences/ ;)

Re:Don't stop there (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288257)

I use it at work. nice little application. Of course if one is really pining for the classic Program Manager (why, I don't know), you can grab it (along with File Manager) from a Windows NT 4 install.

Non-starter for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287709)

The only way I'm touching Windows 8 is by slapping it with the aborted late-term fetus of Usability.

Re:Non-starter for me (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288217)

Be kind, now! This is Stardock's first attempt at writing a program that has any resemblance to the underlying OS. They're trying as hard as they can!

Re:Non-starter for me (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288283)

Nope. They were doing Object Desktop for OS/2 back in the mid-90s. It was a damn fine product too. I was hoping someone would step in and provide hacks for Win8. I figured Stardock would be one of the first, and they are.

Re:Non-starter for me (0)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288553)

I think I'll need to call this a mild whoosh. Sort of like one of those summer breezes that come out of nowhere. Thanks for the neat bit of history, though—I had no idea that Object Desktop was, at one point in history, widely regarded as not a hideous wreck [stardock.com].

Microsoft position (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287713)

i kinda understand why Microsoft taking this stance on start menu, they need to get the Metro UI on desktop so that developers will make applications for Metro, and in turn it will help the Win8 Tablets gain massive apps in short period of time

Re:Microsoft position (2, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287739)

i kinda understand why Microsoft taking this stance on start menu, they need to get the Metro UI on desktop so that developers will make applications for Metro, and in turn it will help the Win8 Tablets gain massive apps in short period of time

Why would a desktop user want to run a Metrosexual app that's designed for a tablet?

Re:Microsoft position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287799)

just because the app was designed for Metro UI doesn't mean it will not function as normal app would, Microsoft need to drop the JS/CSS crap thing and get more serious about the App designs, right now most of the apps are kinda bad looking, and doesn't encourage people to feel that metro UI are actually quite good.

Re:Microsoft position (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287817)

just because the app was designed for Metro UI doesn't mean it will not function as normal app would

So the OP said that the benefit of pushing Metrosexual on the desktop was that developers would build apps that would run on tablets, and now you're saying that the apps will function as normal desktop apps and therefore will be useless on a tablet?

Re:Microsoft position (-1, Troll)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288135)

Metro (Not metrosexual. You should be modded troll just for that) is a design language, not a commitment to any specific UI. The new xbox dashboard, xbox.com, microsoft.com, Zune desktop software are all Microsoft products that use the Metro design that are not meant for touch screens. In particular, the Zune software is an example of a great metro app that isn't meant for touch screen, but could be used on one easily. From all indications, the new Office suite will feature a Metro UI, and those applications certainly work well with mouse/keyboard.

desktops apps do not need to be full screen (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287957)

Why did MS make the build in e-mail app a full screen on in windows 8?

I hope that they don't do this to notepad and the other windows Accessories.

Re:desktops apps do not need to be full screen (1)

Bastardchyld (889185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288489)

Maybe they wanted to highlight to all the linux folks out there that they actually had a mail app. To be honest I had forgotten they actually had one. By the way they should make notepad a full screen, it is a hell of a text editor...

-matt

Re:desktops apps do not need to be full screen (5, Funny)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288677)

Notepad is not an editor. It's a second clipboard....

Re:Microsoft position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288381)

Except that it won't. Since Metro apps aren't going to work on older versions of Windows (ie: 7) and 7 isn't going anywhere because 8 is going to be rejected in the corporate world...

7 has huge market penetration, 8 does not. People are NOT going to make Metro apps that are meant for use by desktop users, because it kills most of your market to do so.

All they're really doing is making the desktop experience inferior and keeping people on Windows 7.

Stardock Oh Boy! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287771)

The world's worst game developer recreates a deprecated windows feature!

Can it be deployed via GPO? (5, Insightful)

weave (48069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287775)

I can see the bitching from users already. I tried Win 8 myself and was immediately stuck on how to quit an open app or even how to run another one and switch between them. It's just not obvious, and that's going to be a problem.

When Office 2007 was rolled out at my org, even with loads of advanced notice and training, the phone was ringing for weeks "How do I print?" "How do I copy/paste?" etc, etc....

I have a better plan. Keep Windows 7 deployed for as long as XP was before upgrading users.

I should, however, be thankfully to Microsoft for all of the job security they provide.

Re:Can it be deployed via GPO? (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288053)

Click and drag the screen to exit. Look, Windows 8 is a forcible union between touch pads and computers. It's an epic fail in implementation from the get go. If you're serious about applying major UI fixes to an OS not already released to the public, I'd say you have your priorities backwards. A better route would to not order any new machines with the OS preloaded. Just stick with Windows 7. The world shouted down Vista and we (the consumer) won that battle just as we have one the battle against Windows ME. The known fact that Microsoft releases a turd once in a while has been accepted as the new norm. So pull yourself up from the bootstraps and bypass this OS entirely. It's real easy!

Re:Can it be deployed via GPO? (0)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288219)

with loads of advanced notice and training, the phone was ringing for weeks "How do I print?" "How do I copy/paste?"

Must have been some terrible training, since printing and copy/paste shortcuts remained unchanged from 2003 to 2007. Your users must be exceptionally stupid since when you start the program, there are giant buttons that say "cut/copy/paste" right there.

Re:Can it be deployed via GPO? (1)

weave (48069) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288403)

Must have been some terrible training, since printing and copy/paste shortcuts remained unchanged from 2003 to 2007.

People get set in their ways so if they used to use the File and Edit menus to do those things and they disappear from view, then they get confused.

I'm not going to call them stupid because there's a lot of things they do in their own jobs that are simple to them but I wouldn't understand myself at all.

Almost (5, Informative)

dinfinity (2300094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287819)

A pity, looking at the screenshot, I was hoping that it would actually enable a taskbar while using the Metro interface. Instead, it just displays the start screen in a quarter of the display area - a size for which the Metro interface is ridiculous. Vistart ( http://lee-soft.com/vistart/ [lee-soft.com] - no affiliation) is a better alternative if you want the start button back.

We all suffer under the whim of UI designers (4, Insightful)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287853)

It's good to hear that the Windows users out there are suffering as much as us Gnome3 users. Why is it so hard to understand, most of us don't even want to be aware of the UI, it should 'just work'.

Re:We all suffer under the whim of UI designers (2)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288059)

It's only fair for Windows users to have to endure a clusterfuck like Gnome 3 and Unity as well.

Re:We all suffer under the whim of UI designers (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288377)

Honestly, I'm beginning to think it's a sick joke by desktop developers to make everyone hate the desktop and use something easier to program.

Re:We all suffer under the whim of UI designers (1)

lvxferre (2470098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288585)

Honestly? The sick joke is another one: "We know what it's better for you and you don't need options. There's no such thing as different people with different needs and tastes."

Re:We all suffer under the whim of UI designers (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288139)

KDE 4.8 still provides a fantastic desktop experience. I think perhaps they are the only sane approach to this supposed post-PC world.

Your Plasma shell can be switched on the fly. You can have a network shell on a netbook, a standard desktop shell, a tablet shell, etc. And you're not forced into any of them as a singular environment to rule them all.

Re:We all suffer under the whim of UI designers (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288629)

KDE is awesome no doubt. If version 4.3 or greater (when it got good) had been available when Shuttleworth first started with Ubuntu and had he went with that instead of Gnome, and continued to refine the shit out of it I think desktop Linux might be taken a lot more seriously these days. I'm not saying Ubuntu is desktop Linux but when you mention it to normal people there is at least a chance they may have heard of it. The KDE developers seem to be pretty happy with its adoption but for I for one would really like to see a big desktop focused distro to come out of the woodwork like Ubuntu did and champion it. Probably won't happen though. Oh well.

Re:We all suffer under the whim of UI designers (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288337)

If it comes to UI, I would trade "just works" with "can be customized via a settings dialog" any time! But nooooooo...yes, I'm looking at Gnome and Windows in the same devilish manner...

Registry (3, Informative)

munozdj (1787326) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287877)

I had the urge to change the metro interface to the classic one in my copy of the Developer Preview and, after some googling (google is my friend indeed), I found that it only requires changing a certain value in windows registry. So this Stardock changes only that? Seems to be just a glorified way to set a registry value. Citation! [mstechpages.com]

It boils down to user-type (4, Insightful)

Dakiraun (1633747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287881)

A lot of folks tend to banter back and forth over classic vs. the more modern metro and metro-like shells (such as Unity or the iOS, or Andriod). What it really comes down to is the type of user behind the computer. The more modern mobile/touch interfaces like Metro are an application-centric approach that caters best to a user who is interested in doing a specific thing quickly and easily. Older interface types with taskbars, window lists and so on are task-centric shells that cater more to power-users and/or administrators who tend to have a lot of things going on at once, and who need to be able to manage all the open applications with ease.

As such, task-centric shells are likely to always be preferred by the one group while the more average user will prefer the updated shells (even if some of them will initially complain about the need to relearn things). The most effective way to manage this situation is simple - just make sure to offer both worlds.

A good example of this is that recently Mint Linux made the move to Gnome 3, and with it, a more Application-centric shell. They provided a number of applets, and soon after a fork of Gnome 3 (Cinnamon), that were able to offer the user either extreme, and even multiple points between the two shell types. Ubuntu, on the other hand, did not really offer a choice and forced the users' hands in shifting to Unity. The result was a very large shift in popularity to Mint as the current preferred Linux distribution (as seen on Distrowatch's listings). As long as Microsoft offers a choice, I think they'll be able to keep both worlds happy. Well... as happy as can be expected for running Windows anyway. ;)

Stardock: late to the game (5, Informative)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288007)

I'm already using a third party FOSS replacement, Classic Start Menu [codeproject.com], in Windows 7 to replace at least one critical bit of capability that Microsoft revoked: folders in the root of the start menu. I've relied for years on being able to create and manage folders in the start menu as sub-folders to manage shortcuts. I eliminate at least one click, I can organize them by task or function, and I don't have to deal with the confusion of developers' sometimes unintuitive ways of placing their apps in Programs.

I expect the author of Classic Start Menu will shift with the tide when Windows 8 arrives and produce a new version, so I will likely just keep using it if he does and it continues to prove necessary for me. That way I eliminate even the learning curve of Stardock's rendition.

Re:Stardock: late to the game (1, Insightful)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288371)

I've relied for years on being able to create and manage folders in the start menu as sub-folders to manage shortcuts.

Have you ever found it faster to type the name of the program you're looking for? Press the Win key and start typing. Don't even need to waste time by using a mouse.

Won't Make an Impact (1, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288047)

Third-party tools also gave Windows 7 back the "Classic Start Menu" that had been available from Windows 95 through Windows Vista.

Note the insignificant installed based of these tools.

When push comes to shove, this is a third-party application, which, while of great interest to a small number of devotees on their personal machines, are not a realistic (let alone desirable) option in a managed network environment. And as you're forced to use the new UI at work, you'll be less inclined to reject it at home.

The new UI is here to stay, and these tools shouldn't be viewed as anything more than a crutch to aid in your ultimate transition away from the old one. If you really don't like the new interface, don't upgrade to Windows 8 to begin with.

Yeahh... (1)

GrahamRKF (2590835) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288109)

I honestly don't think it looks nice to have all of the non-metro apps be tiles. It completely removed any folder structure, leaving me with a big pile of apps with confusing names (for example: I have 10 tiles that are just called "uninstaller," and some other onew where the name is obscure, because the proper name is the folder name). I'd be perfectly happy to have a normal start menu for all of the non-metro apps.

Wow, A forced UI change, with no other benefits (1)

Tomsk70 (984457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288313)

I think (as a server-bod of twenty years) that without a disable-by-group-policy option, most corps are going to skip this one.

Change for change's sake (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288385)

I managed to skip Vista, and clung to my XP laptop as long as I could until it failed then I was forced to replace it with 7. 7 was basically what Vista should have been.

Some times, I feel like the OS makers don't know what they're doing. While I seldom ever use the Start menu on Win 7 (I pin the apps I use to the task bar), it doesn't mean I never use it.

Even more irritating are the changes from Snow Leopard to Lion. I understand the theory behind queueing, but I almost never want any application to open up the document I last used. Likewise, I'm irritated by being forced to uncheck the "Reopen windows on next login" or whatever the dialog box is when you go to log out. I'm sure there's a way to disable that in the terminal, but why should I have to go through that. Let me disable/enable it from the Finder as an option if I want it.

The OS makers DO know what they're doing. (2, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288563)

It's the fucktard "interface designers" who've been smoking their crack for too long that are fucking this up.

Office 2007's "Ribbon" was the first salvo in this war of dumbing down and obfuscating an organized, intelligent deep interface. And may the stupid ass hair responsible for that atrocity burn in hell.

The new Win8 interface is simply an extension of the "we're too stupid and lazy to expose functionality to you easily" mentality (emphasis on "MENTAL") happening at Microsoft.

Basically, like MacOS, it's a triumph of form over function.

Too bad what people need is functional software.

Stardock? No thanks. (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288455)

While it's a cool product, Stardock's Windows mods are well known for destabilizing the system. Basic Windows operations mostly go off without a hitch.

But if you're doing high end gaming on a system, all the their products install can make your experience an endless, frustrating bughunt.

Were it just for a group of PC's in an office where no gaming should be happening, I'd say "cool".

3rd parties doing what M$ should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288567)

Call me when the summary says "For Windows 8 Users, Microsoft Revives the Start Menu"

sh1t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288645)

confirming the Juugernaut either Assholes, as they turned over to yet

The new start screen is not for this audience (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288695)

While I don't particularly like the new "start screen" I do understand the reasons behind it.

All of the "ordinary" users Ive ever encountered avoid the start menu like a plague. It's an unfamiliar and arbitrary abstraction that really is very confusing. Most people absolutely do not think about multitasking. The idea of calling something up that covers what they're working on is really too much when they've got actual work to do.

Watch any non-techy user. They will close a program to free up their screen, then open another. To us this is maddening but to the ordinary user it makes sense. This is why iOS is so popular. It's designed around switching between full screen applications and it does it very very well.

The new start screen is just that. You call it up, it covers your screen, and you switch to a different application. It's that seamless mode switch of application->home->application that ordinary users crave.

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