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Why Microsoft Killed the Windows Start Button

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-to-watch-it-die dept.

Microsoft 857

Barence writes "Microsoft claims it took the controversial decision to remove the Start button from the traditional Windows desktop because people had stopped using it. The lack of a Start button on the Windows 8 desktop has been one of the most divisive elements of the new user interface, and was widely assumed to have made way for the Metro Start screen. However, Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft, said the telemetry gathered from Windows 7 convinced Microsoft to radically overhaul the Start menu because people were using the taskbar instead. 'When we evolved the taskbar we saw awesome adoption of pinning [applications] on the taskbar,' said Sareen. 'We are seeing people pin like crazy. And so we saw the Start menu usage dramatically dropping, and that gave us an option. We're saying "look, Start menu usage is dropping, what can we do about it? What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?"'"

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857 comments

stopped using it? (5, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481527)

Who the hell is their focus group? I've not met a single person who doesn't use the start button.

Re:stopped using it? (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481571)

Mod up the parent... I completely concur. Yes I pinned as well, but I did use the start menu to navigate the positions. But hey why do I matter and care. I shifted all of my machines to OSX, and Linux Ubuntu...

Re:stopped using it? (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481609)

I use the start button about once every 5 minutes. Since my desktop is completely-clean of any icons, the start button is the only method I have to open new programs. Microsoft is probably lying through their teeth about "people don't use it".

Re:stopped using it? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482279)

I find myself using the Search function in the Start menu more. Just type the first few letters of the program I want to open and BAM motherfuckers! It starts.

Re:stopped using it? (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481929)

Insightful comment from the FA. They are surveying the novice users not power users, hence they produced a Win8 interface for novices, not us:

Flawed, like most surveys
"Weâ(TM)d seen the trend in Windows 7," referring to the telemetry gathered by the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program." ----- Well there we have it, all but the most basic users opt out of the intrusive MCEIP - so they are surveying people who don't even know what the Start Button is for - I kid you not. As a computer tech I see it all the time.

Re:stopped using it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482077)

Hell, I'm a power user, and I don't even pin anything; I make my Windows 7 "superbar" like Windows XP, and I use the "All Programs" list like it was used back in 98.

I use the start menu all of the time (to scroll through my hundreds of programs), and I rarely use the search bar. Windows 8 has completely killed my usage case.

Re:stopped using it? (5, Funny)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481637)

Relax, it's the old "The focus group made me do it defense", probably to be followed with "I was just doing my job", and then finally "I didn't know OKAY?!!?!!?!?! I DIDN'T KNOW!!!!"

Re:stopped using it? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481643)

The same idiots who like the ribbon.

Re:stopped using it? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482283)

I actually love the ribbon. It makes complex features more accessible and provides a superior visual organization of features.

Re:stopped using it? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481701)

You know the little box you can tick that says "Send anonymous usage data to Microsoft"? It's that data. Not a focus group, but telemetry data from actual windows installs.

Re:stopped using it? (5, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481797)

You know the little box you can tick that says "Send anonymous usage data to Microsoft"? It's that data. Not a focus group, but telemetry data from actual windows installs.

Oh. The thing everyone and their brother is told to NEVER check!

No wonder they got such asinine and utterly useless feedback. Because the only people giving them feedback were morons.

Re:stopped using it? (3, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481947)

Right, because Microsoft hires exactly 0 competent people who know what a representative sample is. I'm sure they have dozens of different methods to collect this data, one of which is the automated usage data built within Windows. I know in one blog post they addressed concerns that corporate users don't have this on, and therefore were not represented in the sample. Microsoft responded that they have other methods for collecting data from corporate users.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482009)

Oh. The thing everyone and their brother is told to NEVER check!

No wonder they got such asinine and utterly useless feedback. Because the only people giving them feedback were morons.

Then it is your fault for not allowing MS to collect the data. I actually rarely use Start other than to get a short list of common apps, search for my app, or to open a document. If the new interface lets me do this without clicking Start, that's fine with me. If these things are missing, then I would be sad.

Re:stopped using it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482189)

I *USED* to use the start menu quite a bit. Then they burred everything and smashed it into a small area of my screen (instead of expanding menus). So yeah I created a zillion icons and pinned the commonly used ones. Did they stop and think *maybe* they broke the start button and so people stopped using it?

Re:stopped using it? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481823)

And only idiots agree to send them that data.

Re:stopped using it? (4, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481717)

I never use it. Being the owner of a keyboard, I simply press the perfectly good button on that.

Besides, the start button is still there, it's simply hidden under a hot corner. Move your mouse to the same place you would normally, and click as normally, and you still still perform the same action as in older versions of windows. Of course, the menu is replaced with the start screen, but that's another matter.

Re:stopped using it? (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482071)

If you press the start button on the screen or on the keyboard, aren't you still using "the" start button? I too prefer the Windows button on the keyboard, and was greatly disappointed with its effect, or rather lack thereof, in the developer preview.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482271)

No, you're using the "Start key". The telemetry that Microsoft is referring to is "Who moves their mouse to the start orb and left-clicks it".

Re:stopped using it? (5, Insightful)

jerpyro (926071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481723)

I agree. I keep the top 5-7 pinned (Browser, Explorer, Winamp, Thunderbird, RDP, Visual Studio, SSMS) and then the rest of the stuff I don't need cluttering up my quicklaunch bar. The next top 10 are in the frequent list of my start menu. The rest I use so rarely that I'm ok hunting for.

I'd be ok with not having a start menu if there was a heirarchical way to organize the things that you don't use often... kind of like OH WAIT THAT'S THE START BUTTON! :)

Re:stopped using it? (4, Insightful)

redbeardcanada (1052028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481777)

I think for the most common tasks, people avoid the start bar by pinning their main applications (or use an applauncher in XP like Objectdock). The problem is when you need to do something other than the common. I think this will cause major confusion like the Office Ribbon where you know what you want to do, you know how you used to do it, but you can't find where it is anymore...

The Start menu was at least somewhat intuitive to find buried settings in Control Panel or seldom used programs.

Re:stopped using it? (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481937)

Of course the start menu will be very rarely used in a well configured system. That is the way it should be. That does not mean that it should be removed.

The Windows version could stand a re-org but that's a different kind of problem.

Re:stopped using it? (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482073)

The Start menu was at least somewhat intuitive to find buried settings in Control Panel or seldom used programs.

And how is the new solution not? There is a new applications list for seldomly used programs. Maybe you're confused because the new start menu isn't supposed to just be a place for things you never use. That's kind of what this entire article is about; they're trying to turn it into something that you actually use instead of being a closet for all your old junk that you only look through when you need to find your tennis racket you haven't used in 3 years.

Re:stopped using it? (3, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481779)

Hello, let me introduce myself. I do not use the start button. I access the start menu for two reasons: to access the search function (95% of the time) and to access a little used program (5% of the time, maybe once a month). Otherwise, my complete workflow is pinned to my task bar. I even access explorer from there and from keyboard shortcuts.

Windows 8 has completely changed that, and I'm thankful. There is a separate, more useful screen for searching and accessing little used apps. Now the start screen is much more useful, and I have a reason to actually access it.

If you don't like it, you have many options including not upgrading to Windows 8, or applying what will most certainly be a large array of hacks, tweaks, and UI modifications to get windows working the way you want it to, just as there have always exists in Windows.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481785)

There's no focus group, it says telemetry right in the article summary.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481809)

the focus group is probably the people who don't turn off the windows report-to-home spyware. i use the start button about 300 times a day, god.

Re:stopped using it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481851)

A lot of people pinned and then, instead of going to the start menu and click around in dozens folder and sub-folder, they simply learned (in a couple of days) to press CTRL-ESC and then start typing the program name.

This is *way* faster than any other method and you can do it in Windows 8.

Get used to it.

Re:stopped using it? (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481855)

Who the hell is their focus group? I've not met a single person who doesn't use the start button.

Marketing executives that are trying to compete with Apple by appearing hip and trendy, but instead fouling things up so bad they're going to need a backhoe instead of a shovel.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481869)

GNOME Shell designers, OSX fanboys and Android/iPhone kids.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481881)

I've not met a single person who doesn't use the start button.

I don't. Linux doesn't have one :P

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482043)

Probably because the Linux kernel is not a GUI. I have, however, used the same key as I did in Windows with various DEs on GNU/Linux.

Re:stopped using it? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481955)

Who the hell is their focus group?

419 out of 420 Microsoft employees no longer use the Start button

Re:stopped using it? (2, Interesting)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481967)

As a former IT professional who's used Windows more than any other OS and who's memorized most of the useful shortcuts and configured his desktop to allow me to get things done really quickly, even I still use the Start menu.

I have never once ever pinned anything on the task bar (Indeed I remove all the default pins and set it to show text unless the bar is full), because that would require me to click on an icon, and reduce task-bar real-estate for my apps. Horrible trade-off.

And a direct answer to their question: "What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?" -- remove pins. Pins and quickstart/recently used are the exact same fucking thing. I don't ever CLICK on the Start button, I hit my win key, which means it's not an extra click for me to access that menu, and it's vertically stacked which means I don't have this glob of icons. I hate that enough on OSX.

What it seems like is happening here is that Microsoft is trying to emulate OSX's Dock. The problem with that is that OSX also provides a start-menu of sorts, it's just got nowhere near as much power. So trying to emulate OSX but removing the one benefit you have over it seems like sawing off half of your foot so you can fit into designer sneakers. Good move, Microsoft. I won't use Win8 without a Start menu. Thanks, though.

Re:stopped using it? (3, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481983)

It is a misinterpretation of the data.

People pin the programs they use the most and in that way there is less start menu items being used total, but for infrequently used programs one usually accesses them via the start menu.

So basically Microsoft is saying that since you use certain programs 90+% of the time you don't need an easy way to access the ones you don't use on a regular basis. That is actually one of my main complaints in regards to using Linux so I think it is funny Microsoft is fucking this up in this way.

Microsoft could have came to the same conclusion if they were tracking how one uses Windows 95, but instead of it regarding pinning programs in Windows 95 you mainly used desktop items.

Re:stopped using it? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481991)

I use the Start Menu a lot. In fact, I never pin apps. I have that ugly taskbar disabled. I prefer to have three or four icons on my Quick Launch bar. Everything else is neatly filed away within the Start Menu.

Re:stopped using it? (1, Funny)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482007)

Who the hell is their focus group? I've not met a single person who doesn't use the start button.

Now, you do: I've clicked the Start button in Windows 7 only twice in my life: the first time was to see what else is installed and the second one was only to remove entries from the frequently used programs list.

I attribute this to pinning, shortcuts, and putting every application and/or file on the desktop.

I did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482035)

You will say "hey, but you don't use it anymore", and that's true. But, let me tell you my history:

I'm using Linux / Gnome 2, but in my previous work I used Windows 7 for a year (then I switched to Ubuntu, he). And, I gave up using the Start Menu the very same day I installed Launchy.

Pinning the apps I used (maybe being a "task-specific" - work - machine made this easier) helped a lot. But, when I started using Launchy, then there was almost no reason for using the Start Menu. A couple of times I felt surprised of clicking it for launching a program (I still used it for powering off the computer, he).

So, I didn't need it. Maybe for a less-geek user it's still useful (I don't think everybody feel comfortable with typing the app you want instead of clicking on a menu), but hey - I want to think that kind of people tends to use less applications (this can't be true, but maybe a portion of people fits in this category).

Re:stopped using it? (1)

toejam13 (958243) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482039)

Same here. Using it infrequently is not the same as never using it as all.

I have 14 icons in my Quick Launch folder that cover the bulk of my daily PC application use. Everything else is in the Start Menu. That includes stuff like MS Office, Photoshop and a slew of utilities and games. And I have a ton of games installed, going back to Win9x days (one of the benefits of having a 2TB hard drive).

The new tile system reminds me of the old Finder folder used by Mac Classic, but without the benefit of subfolders. Not being able to sort applications by type is going to drive the OCD side of me batty.

Time for somebody to port the KDE desktop manager to Windows, if it hasn't already been done.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482117)

There was no "focus group." Remember that question MS prompted you with when you installed your OS, which asked "do you want to periodically send anonymous usage information to MS?" It's the question that all of us on /. clicked NO to. Well, a bunch of grandmas didn't click NO, and now they're the ones influencing MS's decisions.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482135)

Two months old news. [msdn.com]

Ok, so let me get this straight, Slashdot finally reports on something within the same day, and it's a British article that's two months late to the argument?
Every complaint about the start screen is in the comments of my link, which is significantly longer than the article.

The "nobody used it" was apparently based on some subset of users that agreed to have their clicking of the OS tracked so MS could decide how to change things. There are plenty of counterarguments on the comments of the real article about how that self-selected demographic is roughly a rounding error in the Windows userbase. It did not deter any of the marketting folk who write the Win 8 blog.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482159)

I handle end-user tech support for about 400 people. The vast majority of them have no idea about the start menu. To them, if it's not on their desktop or pinned, it's "not installed."

If their focus group truly did have a good representation of the 'average user' I could totally see this as the result.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482179)

It's OK, don't worry. Windows 8 is just another iteration of Windows ME. It'll come, we'll have a few laughs and it will pass. Businesses will continue to use Windows 7 and nothing of value was lost in the process

Re:stopped using it? (4, Interesting)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482229)

True story: I support a couple hundred staff (small tech school), and by far the most common trouble call after deploying a new computer is "this computer doesn't have Outlook". The correct translation for this, in our case, is "Outlook isn't on my desktop, so it must not be installed".

How somebody can use a computer every day and not know how to use the start menu is a bit baffling to me. My best guess is that these people simply use a small subset of a computer's functionality, all of which somehow magically made its way to the desktop, quick launch or taskbar, as the case may be. This is the same demographic, by the way, that knows Internet Explorer simply as "The Internet".

Re:stopped using it? (1)

PhantomShadow (2666657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482231)

Sadly it seems that that their focus group is now the "average" user; the person that uses their computer for nothing more that a internet browser. alot of the people i know that have tryed windows 8 say they love it, so apparently Microsoft is doing a ok job at targeting that group. But personally i used the start menu every time i used my windows computer, and everyone in my family (before switching to various forms of linux) used it quite alot.

Re:stopped using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482237)

Agreed. Every user I know (and that ranges into the thousands, use the Start button on a regular basis. Especially if they have more than one or two apps. Once the desktop or the launch bar get cluttered, the Start menu is a must. Removing the Start button wouldn't be so bad as long as there was an option to re-enable it. Taking it away and refusing to let people have it back is not only bad design, it's also insulting.

Dont use it much (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481569)

All I use it for is to get to the control panel or my computer, and thats because im OCD when it comes to having no icons on my desktop.

Re:Dont use it much (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481639)

...OCD when it comes to having no icons on my desktop.

Optimally Clean Desktop syndrome?

Re:Dont use it much (2)

Maxx169 (920414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481901)

It's CDO thank you very much - where all the letters are in the right goddamned order!

Re:Dont use it much (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482053)

Your screen has a Central Dense Overcast?
That's OK, it's hurricane season.

Re:Dont use it much (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481733)

So... no icons on your desktop, and no use of the start button. How do you access your programs?

Re:Dont use it much (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481865)

The ones I use most go on the taskbar, the rest through my computer.

Re:Dont use it much (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482227)

I just right click, View, and uncheck Show Desktop Icons.

I just unchecked it now and it gave me a seizure until I checked it again.

all day every day (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481575)

I use it all day every day, on 10-100s of servers and desktops. WTF

Re:all day every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482051)

And prior to that (depending on age) you used Program Manager 100's of times a day too.

Frequency of use is not so relevant (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481589)

I hardly ever use my car's emergency brake; but it had damned well better be there, and I expect it to be in the usual spot, like on the floor next to the shifter or high up on the (older American cars). It doesn't belong on the ceiling.

Re:Frequency of use is not so relevant (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482015)

Unless you're driving a train :). Maybe Microsoft wants to turn all cars into trains!

What the actual fuck!? (1)

ToiletBomber (2269914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481613)

What group of people did they look at to get that impression!? Linux users? They certainly stopped using it... along with Windows for what should be a clearly obvious reason: Microsoft doesn't listen to it's customers.

Re:What the actual fuck!? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481833)

Well, actually they are like congressman...

They listen and don't give a rats ass.

Re:What the actual fuck!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481875)

Sure I stopped used the Start button, but I use the Classic version of the K Menu. What's it called now, Launcher or something?

phone home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481647)

How are they seeing that? Is Windows phoning home to send usage statistics?

Re:phone home? (1)

ToiletBomber (2269914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481683)

If it did that, there's no way in Hell that Microsoft could have come to that conclusion.

Do you just pin things to task bar? (1)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481681)

I sure as heck don't just pin everything to the task bar. That takes up room I need for open applications... Do you guys just pin things to the task bar? I've never seen ANYONE's computer with everything just pinned to the task bar.

Re:Do you just pin things to task bar? (1)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481827)

Using Windows 7 I pin quite a bit to my task bar, but its all stuff I have open at all times. I also, dont use the start button with any kind of regular frequency, because everything I run is more or less at my fingertips. I dont run 30 programs at once, since my windows machine is little more than a gaming platform at this point. I suspect someone doing work on the machine would need it more often, if that work involved using 20-30 different programs, depending on what needs to get done.

Re:Do you just pin things to task bar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481871)

I pin very, very frequently used apps. FF, IE, outlook, notepad, file explorer, thats it
i use the start button thousands of times a day
odd choice
typical M$

Re:Do you just pin things to task bar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481941)

Some things are pinned on my taskbar. The rest I have on my desktop, in folders on my desktop, or set on macro keys.

Re:Do you just pin things to task bar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481953)

there's a dozen or more programs i use regularly, i.e. semi-daily; on xp i have these on the quicklaunch tab, where they tile into a little 4x4 grid; not an option on 7, where i have 3 pinned programs. if everything is just pinned there, where is there room to see what's running? let's just put a big ribbon across the bottom of the screen with all programs pinned to it. fuck.

Taskbar is Great for Grandma. (4, Interesting)

tazan (652775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481705)

If you actually use your machine there's not near enough room to start everything from the taskbar. It's annoying to have to jump through hoops to get quicklaunch back. I have 35 icons in quicklaunch right now.


I don't mind windows 8 too much. I don't run any metro apps and so the only real difference I notice with 8 is the start menu is full screen and I have to hit the windows key to get there. They do need some better management tools for it. I somehow ended up with 30 extra tiles and the only way I could figure out how to get rid of them was to do them 1 at a time.


There is a real problem though if you do accidentally open a metro app. There's no obvious way to close it. I had to google it to find out how. That is completely unintuitive.

Why do users pin? (5, Insightful)

CaptainLugnuts (2594663) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481757)

Users pin apps to the taskbar because the UI for launching apps sucks. Long ago (Win2K) I would make my own folders at the root level in the start menu and group apps in a way that made sense. Win 7 broke my ability to do that without pinning. If Microsoft stopped breaking things that worked well for users they might have more time to 'innovate' actual improvements.

Re:Why do users pin? (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482103)

This. The start menu in Win7 is borken compared to everything since Windows 3.

Re:Why do users pin? (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482211)

I pin always-running applications so that, even if I restart them, they'll always be in the same place on my taskbar. Since several of our internal apps have the same icons, I use position to tell them apart.

Accidental Pinning (1)

bi$hop (878253) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481763)

I wonder if they factored accidental pinning into their numbers. I frequently pin windows that I actually intended to close (and it's annoying).

pinning [applications] on the taskbar (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481767)

Kinda like the Mac's dock I suppose. Only problem is I have 200+ programs. I can't pin them all to the taskbar; the start menu is still needed. (Also do PEOPLE pin their apps, or was it the annoying install programs doing it automatically? It seems every one of them does it, not me.)

QUOTE: "Sareen also claims that people are taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts to open applications, instead of resorting to the Start menu." ----- That would be fine if my keyboard was not laying on the floor, because I wasn't using it. We still need a mouse-based method to open our programs.

gun-foot-mouth (1)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481799)

"What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?"

Git rid of it. That's what we will do!

Yes I pin applications that I use all the time, but for those applications that I seldom use, I like to use the start button.

Real reason (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481813)

The "Start" button was writing checks that Microsoft couldn't cash.

We've screwed ourselves (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481829)

Everyone with a hint of savvy probably turned off the reporting to the 'Consumer Experience' team at Microsoft. The ones who didn't are the morons who have 3000 icons on their desktops. We've done this to ourselves.

The Metro Screen is Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481831)

Have you guys actually USED Windows 8? The interface is fine and dandy to be honest. What's worrying is instead UEFI boot and the inability to load your own programs, at least for the "Metro" interface. Both cut down on competition, one for the OS, the other for how programs themselves are distributed. That's a hell of a lot more worrying than qualms about a modest change in the interface.

Trees for the forrest or whatever.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481887)

I think MS is struggling to stay relevant. The days of ruling the roost are over - they have been for several years now. Apple has kicked their ass - big time - and Linux is this boring worm that is eating their stalk. And LibreOffice and Openoffice are the fungi on the outside.

You see, tech is extremely volatile and capricious. MS had a technical monopoly for what? A couple of decades - if that? Now they're considered some dog on the stock market - the markets have said that MS is a dog. The Markets! MS is a second rate tech company! - Talk to the hand! Apple is the leader - second hand up you bitch!

They are struggling in the sense that they're turning from tech's leader to tech's old stodgy sividend paying widows and orpahn's stock - well; below that because there are better things for them.

This is the dumbest bullshit I've ever heard. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481895)

If they're going to lie about why they've removed the Start menu, at least they could've been creative with their excuse. I have never seen anyone use the pinning feature to the extent discussed here. I have, however, seen the recent applications section in the Start Menu used extremely frequently.

Removing the Start Menu was a really bad decision, and using the big Metro landing page as a substitute is, to me, an extremely poor alternative. It remains to be seen how everyone else will take it, though.

Sample Group Correlation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481897)

Maybe there's some correlation between users who don't use the Start Menu, and users who agree to share usage information with Microsoft.

Translation (3, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481905)

"People were happy with the Apple menu through Mac OS 9 but now that they're using Mac OS X, they prefer to use the dock, and the Apple menu no longer works as an application launcher. So now we're going to have our users use the dock too. Oops, I mean the start menu and the taskbar! Forget what I said about that fruit company's name and the nautical term."

fucking retarded (0)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481907)

I keep 0 icons on my desktop, and don't want stupid pinned icons taking up my taskbar. I like to have WORDS on them, not just a dumb hard-to-deipher icon. See, I know how to READ. Sometimes there's 2 browser windows, and the WORDS help me know which one to use. Real estate there is expensive. Of course I use the start menu - I have over 250 programs installed.

It's like they want to force me to do everything by command-line. I practically do anyway, but now that they have 2 ProgramFiles foldres, it can be twice as hard to find shit. That's why the start menu is great. Especially the Windows 7 one that let's you type a few characters into the text entry box, and returns only the programs with those characters in it.

In short, WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING, MICROSOFT?

Coming soon: 3rd party start menus more susceptible to viruses than Microsoft's (assuming that is possible).

Re:fucking retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482267)

The "two" program files folders have been around on any Windows running on 64 bit architecture, so not a new thing there.

And if you really want to, there is a registry key to turn off Metro.

Common use (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481931)

Well, duh. I pin the (relatively) small selection of programs I use regularly. I pin the most common couple to the taskbar, because space there is really limited. The majority of the ones I pin get pinned to the more spacious start menu, or get put as icons on the desktop. The start menu itself, the full one, is for the programs that're installed but that I don't use constantly. I want them accessible because I do use them, just not every day. Take away the start menu and now I have to find somewhere to hold the icons for the hundred-plus programs I need access to that I'm not using every day (or even every month for that matter). So, Microsoft, if you're going to remove the start menu, what are you replacing it with that serves the same purpose? And if you aren't, why should I bother upgrading to something that makes life harder for me until I have software I have to use that absolutely won't run on what I've got working now?

WHY... (0)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40481939)

Why not have the best of both worlds? Have all your new fancy interface and a start button? Same with Unity, although I finally have gotten use to it, I still miss the traditional (GNOME 2) "Start" button.

Just give us both!

Re:WHY... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482221)

Because that wouldn't involve changing things to satisfy some designers ego?

Here's the reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481949)

They are getting this data because the people they are observing are only using 2 applications - Internet Explorer (for Facebook) and Solitaire. (and maybe sometimes iTunes). People who actually use computers use the Start button constantly. Microsoft really doesn't understand that hardcore users are what drive sales, and that non-hardcore users simply follow that existing trend. Windows 8 is looking like a real liability for Microsoft.

Marketing Fail.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40481951)

I use the start button every day, multiple times. I don't know anyone who doesn't use it, other than those who don't use windows.

Where on earth did they do their testing? Kindergarden?

Pinning works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482013)

For one reason... I have probably 50 or 60 apps on my computer of which I probably use 5 or 6 on a regular basis. The other ones I hardly use. I ping those 5, because I don't have to sort through the 50 or 60 apps to find the few I use on a regular basis. Now if you take away that feature, I once again must search through all apps to find the one I want on a much more frequent basis because I will spend most of my time launching those 5 or 6 apps! This is what Windows 7 worked well. I pin items that I launch all the time to my start bar and then I can just launch them with one click. The other items that I rarely use, I don't mind periodically searching for them.

What in the actual fuck? (0, Troll)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482025)

Of all the bullshit spewed out of Microsoft in the past years, this is certainly the most preposterous.

Un-pinned everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482033)

Using Windows 7 I un-pinned everything that was there by default. I don't pin anything to the taskbar and instead use the Start Menu.

I am really hoping that Windows 8 is the least pirated Microsoft operating system ever, not because of DRM but because no-one wants it.

i use the start button constantly (2)

james_van (2241758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482081)

but rarely ever to browse through the "folder structure" in there. i type the name of what i want and hit enter. 9 times out of 10 its faster than clicking through the folders. for programs i use regularly i have object dock (an identical dock on each screen) as a quicklaunch. i never liked the way things looked pinned to the taskbar and the windows quicklaunch bar just seemed ugly to me. any suggestions on something that i can replace the start menu search with so that when im forced (kicking and screaming, clutching 7 for dear life) into using 8 ill be able to keep my workflow the same? or maybe ill just use a shell replacement..... any suggestions there?

Ok fine... but (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482091)

What's with this new design paradigm to make everything hidden and unintuitive? If you wanted to redesign the start menu that's fine, but couldn't you have at least left the button that opens it? Personally, I'm a power user, so it's not that big of a deal for me to use the hot key, but that doesn't change the fact that a UI design that requires prior knowledge to use it (IE. use the windows key or mouse to the hidden area) is BAD design. There is another hidden area for the "options menu" to get to your shutdown and other useful functionality. And the login screen? Mother of god! No normal person would be able to use this crap without prior coaching, or quite a bit of fumbling around at first trying to "hack" the UI. In my opinion, that is the worst possible offense in UI design. Go back to the drawing board and try again Microsoft.

Turns signals 'never' used.... (3, Funny)

BenJeremy (181303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482093)

...by my focus group, those drivers I observe leaving parking lots or changing lanes.

Let's get rid of them for ALL drivers!

Microsoft R&D has gone full retard. Seldom-used feature does not equate to NEVER used feature, nor does it equate to NOT NEEDED feature.

Re:Turns signals 'never' used.... (2)

BenJeremy (181303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482261)

I feel I should add to this with something more substantive - Windows 7 and Vista "removed" the QukcStart bar; it still exists, but you have to use some magic incantations to get it back. I use that for 80% of my "most used apps" - 20% of my most used apps are pinned. The remainder are easily accessible through my Start Menu, organized into program groups. Of COURSE I rarely use my Start Menu, but the fact remains that I DO USE IT.

Likewise, I don't keep all of my summer and winter clothes scattered across my bed year-round... I put non-seasonal clothes away, and keep most of seasonal clothes in my dresser, and maybe hang a few ready-to-use things out.

Metro is all about forcing you to have everything up, and being able to find nothing else without using keyboard commands - a VERY BAD PRACTICE for a UI, yet, judging by the Microsoft employees trying to inject the "use a simple keyboard shortcut" answer into every discussion from here to Fark, they seem to have all been hit (repeatedly) on the head with a blunt object when it comes to proper UI design.

WTF?

To Tee Up Market for Windows 9 (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482133)

They are ingenious. I'm convinced they put the Windows Office Talking Paperclip and the Windows XP Search Puppy to give us a motivation to upgrade away from them.

I use the start menu every goddamned day. (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482175)

I pin my "important" apps to the bar, sure. But I've got hundreds of little apps that I may or may not use with regularity, other than regularly using at least one of them which I can't predict depending on my daily "tasks".

Limited sample (1)

IronOxen (2502562) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482201)

I have never had anything to do with surveys or statistical analysis but it seems to me that the data they gathered is invalid because they only got the telemetry from people who opted in to the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program. I would guess a very large percentage of those users didn't have a clue that they were opting in. Assuming there is no correlation between willingness to opt in and the computer literacy of the user, the sample group looks to me like it is skewed towards those users who are less computer savvy. If there is a correlation between computer literacy and the willingness to opt in ( which would be my guess ) then the sample group would be even more skewed. My guess is that the more literate you are and the more history you know about a company like Microsoft, the less likely you would be to share anything you don't have to with them. Wouldn't you need a representative cross section of users to make the claim that the start button isn't being used?

Weak article (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482245)

TFA gives hints about the development process, but goes little into the removal of Start. Understandably anything that can be in the Start Menu can be directly dumped onto the taskbar, such as the "Start Menu folder," like drawers from the CDE days or the icon folders from the Windows 3.1 days. Security wise, some security apps disable the Start Menu altogether, creating icons for the worker's applications on the desktop or putting them into the taskbar.
 
Doesn't explain why the new Start always consumes the entire screen; it's not like Gnome3, Ubuntu Unity, OS X Stacks & OS X Dashboard is that hard to copy.

flawed reasoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482257)

I like the Start menu because it's efficient. It's one-stop shopping for just about everything your PC can do. Getting rid of it for a more diffused and dumbed down "Metro" screen that overlays the desktop makes no sense. The taskbar wasn't competing with the Start menu, it was Start menu "lite". There's no need for the Start menu itself to go away. Metro will just slow me down. Now I'll just have to click through more GUI layers to get to what I want instead of having it all right there in the Start menu. Dumb move, Microsoft.

Telemetry (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482259)

Hey Microsoft when nobody buys Windows 8 and your market share is erroded by penguins and fruits... will there be anyone left to care about your telemetry?

List of Features (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40482291)

They removed it because it isn't actually necessary and the removal of it can be called an added feature as people try and figure out why in the world they would bother upgrading to yet another version of Windows.

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