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Replacing Windows 8's Missing Start Menu

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the give-me-something dept.

GUI 396

jfruh writes "The Start Button, which has offered Windows users quick access to important programs, folders, and configuration options since 1995 and has looked more or less the same for all that time, has been re-engineered beyond recognition for Windows 8, replaced by a Start Screen of colorful Metro tiles that greets the user upon startup. One big problem: once you enter Desktop mode to access non-Metro apps, you lose easy access to all the stuff you expect from the Start Button. This has given rise to something of a cottage industry for Start Button replacements, with multiple replacement utilities available even before Windows 8 officially arrives."

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396 comments

how about (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584371)

replacing the missing Windows 8 with Windows 7 instead and just like, carry on with life?

Re:how about (4, Insightful)

scottbomb (1290580) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584475)

Exactly. Windows 7 is still very new and works wonderfully. I was happy with Windows 95 until 2001 when I finally got XP. Windows XP worked well until I replaced it with Windows 7 in 2010. There is nothing Windows 8 offers that make me want it. I'll pass.

Re:how about (1)

no1nose (993082) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584677)

I agree! Windows 7 built on what XP offered me and perfected it. I waiting until this year to go XP -> 7. I'm sure the Start Orb/Menu will be back in Windows 9 anyway. Touch screens are wonderful for tablets, but horrible for desktops - my monitors are 2+ feet away, my shoulders will get tired reaching for those silly tiles. Also, using a touch interface on a non-touch device is maddening, anyone who has used a recent BlackBerry OS on a non-touch BlackBerry can attest to that :-)

Also, my touch screen iPhone is always dirty, trying to read the text in Order & Chaos Online through the smudges can be really hard...does anyone even want that on their desktop monitor?? I get annoyed when the guy who works for me comes into my office to show me something and puts his nasty, dirty paws on my screen... I don't need an OS to encourage this behavior.

How to fix this (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585105)

1 outside wear those "screen friendly" gloves whenever you can
2 inside get your hands on one of those stylus things (hopefully you don't have to use multifinger gestures too much)
3 have a small squirt bottle* and wipes on your desk ("encourage" your fellow Critters to clean their hands before getting close to your monitor)

* please note i would suggest that said bottle have screen cleaner or hand cleaner in it but ...

Re:How to fix this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585159)

Or just keep a microfiber cloth handy.

I thought this touch stuff was pretty bad, until I saw how much easier touch is than mousing for my father. This more natural gesture is a better fit for a lot of the population.

Re:how about (5, Insightful)

2fuf (993808) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584993)

Windows editions are like vintage wine or Star Trek movies: they are alternating good or crap.

Win 98 with all updates was great, Win ME sucked big time, Win XP is legendary, Win Vista is a mess, Win 7 is superb.

Sooo, I'll be sticking with 7 until Windows 9 :-)

Re:how about (2)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584953)

Nope, what it is in realty is give a chance for startups to develop the missing functionality. Introduce missing functionality if needed. Watch them, buy them if interesting. It is much cheaper than to develop in-house and this has been going on for decades. Remember trumpet winsock? It could have been developed in-house at a greater cost. Yeah, I know Microsoft dreamt of their own internet back then but still, the root principle applies; do your R&D at other expenses as far as possible. I have to admit it is rather clever.

Same goes for defrag and a bunch of other utilities.

Re:how about (2)

r1348 (2567295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585089)

Except they really didn't have to spend a dime on R&D for something that they developed in freakin' 1995.

Re:how about (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585227)

Who knows, by removing said functionality, you may have a chance to buy up a startup that just re-invented the start menu in the most ultimate way and profit. Do you get the root principle now ?

Re:how about (4, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585181)

You know? The funniest argument I ever heard against Linux back in the day was that you had all these wildly different desktops (GNOME, KDE, WM, XFCE, Fluxbox, etc...) and that Windows was supposedly superior because Joe Sixpack had a consistent desktop experience - Windows was Windows no matter where you went, etc.

I wonder where those people are now, who were making that argument back in 1998... ?

Re:how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585079)

Couldnt agree more. I had to move to Win7 from XP to play certain games, it will be a LONG time before I have to upgrade to a new version of Windows.

Now, if they had just left well enough alone and left the start button in and let people disable the metro ui, then I may have upgraded. Not now though.

M$ needs to fire their windows development manager.

Why use Win 8 anyway (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584381)

You can still buy computers with Win 7

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584441)

Sure you can do that. Also you will get left behind.

Figure out their gui now. Or when you do switch out it will suck... Many have a shock when they go from xp to win7. It is different. But not widely different like win8 is. So you have a 1-2 day 'where did they put it' curve. Win8... I am going to have fun walking family thru that...

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584573)

Sure you can do that. Also you will get left behind.

Figure out their gui now. Or when you do switch out it will suck... Many have a shock when they go from xp to win7. It is different. But not widely different like win8 is. So you have a 1-2 day 'where did they put it' curve. Win8... I am going to have fun walking family thru that...

Like being left behind from a train wreck.

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584587)

Left behind by what, exactly? I'm sure it's pretty simple to figure out, but that doesn't mean you need to put up with it when there are better alternatives available. I was wary of Vista when it came out, and likewise wary of 7. I switched to 7 at the end of last year when it had shown to be acceptable.

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584611)

That's pretty geek of you... wait for everyone else to test before going over... not that there wasn't a public beta or anything [/rollingofeyes]
 
Slashdot is just so lame with wanna-bes like you around anymore.

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584857)

not that there wasn't a public beta or anything

Not everybody is in a position to download a multigigabyte public beta at home. A lot of the United States, for example, is still limited to satellite or cellular Internet with a single digit GB/mo cap because real estate within range of cable is too expensive.

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (2)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584963)

Well, I'm certainly in a position to download MS betas if I want to, but I usually don't really feel any interest in doing so. And I know there will always be teething issues for the first few months of any MS OS, so why should I waste my time putting up with them?

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584711)

Windows 8 will end up being a huge turd like Vista. Once Microsoft realizes what we've been saying the past 1-2 years w/r/t 8 was correct (that is, when hardly anyone upgrades to 8 and/or everyone chooses to exercise downgrade rights), they'll put out Windows 9 a year or two later and it will have a normal Start button or at least something that isn't as so ridiculous and retarded as the Metro shit.

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584451)

For now. When Win 8 is available, will OEMs force it as the only choice or make consumers pay more for Win 7. Enterprises usually have separate licensing with MS and probably will not upgrade unless there is a need.

8 is NOT a replacement to 7 (1)

foma84 (2079302) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585077)

They are different target oses.

8 is clearly not a multitasking os, the UI focuses on one application at a time. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, it matches a tipical use of a tablet, for example. If you want to multitask, the desktop is still there, but it's not the main focus.
If on the other hand you need to do complex work, just go with traditional Win7.
I presonally think they both will live side-by-side and happily ever after.

Or just switch to Mint/Android.

Re:8 is NOT a replacement to 7 (3, Informative)

jbonomi (1839286) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585153)

Windows 8 pro does not restrict my window management and multitasking at all compared to Windows 7. Perhaps the RT version does, I'm not actually sure. I don't think there's a good motivation to upgrade 7 to 8 on desktop PCs perhaps besides the performance boosts, but I'm excited to use Windows 8 on a laptop/notebook hybrid device.

Re:Why use Win 8 anyway (1)

jbonomi (1839286) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585103)

I think the majority of new mobile PCs are going to be built with touch screen capabilities and the tablet form-factor in mind. On these devices, Windows 7 would be a mistake.

As a tech guy get used to it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584397)

You might hate it, but you're gonna look really stupid if you don't know how to use Windows 8.

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (4, Insightful)

flirno (945854) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584477)

No more than stupid than when people skipped Vista. In other words, no.

You might hate it, but you're gonna look really stupid if you don't know how to use Windows 8.

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585173)

Half my family ended up with it. 'Hey I bought this new computer and...'

You know what they *STILL* are using it. They do not care. Telling them otherwise is not going to make them suddenly drop 50-100 bucks on a new OS (remember all their stuff is windows and they know how to use it). Or even 'hey lets switch you out to...' is not going to fly unless I want to be 24/7 tech support for it. And that is a no also. Or 'hey lets buy a new computer' when the one they have still works...

For vista do these things. Turn off sysindexer (or at least update it), and replace the built in virus scanner with something decent (replace with the newer version it is way better). Do not use readyboost. Install SP2. Make sure it has at least 2 gig of ram pref 4. Turn on the auto defragmenter for at least once a week. You are set. The computer is now usable. Win 7 basically fixed these things. It is not that much different than vista.

Best reaction I get out of people on vista 'how did you make this work so well, it stunk before'.

Win 8 is going to stink. But it is what it is. *WE* are the ones who are going to deal with MS's mistake. So either learn the new thing or get left behind. For win9 they will switch it out again and we get to feel the pain again... Just like the last 10 versions.

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584555)

You might hate it, but you're gonna look really stupid if you don't know how to use Windows 8.

I'm a tech guy, and I avoid Windows and Windows users like the plague.

You want me to help you? Well, use some kind of Unix.

Never had any problems with that policy.

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584773)

Odds are better than average that you yourself don't use some form of Unix. Unix is expensive. I would be willing to concede that you may use a distro of Linux but other than at work, I would bet you haven't touched Unix.

UNIX runs on Macs in homes (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584923)

Unix is expensive. [...] other than at work, I would bet you haven't touched Unix.

A Mac mini (which runs a UNIX OS since 10.5 [slashdot.org] ) costs $650. So you're right that a real UNIX machine is more expensive than a low-end Windows PC, but not so expensive that only businesses can afford one.

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (2)

kokako (2499876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584943)

Unix is expensive. I would be willing to concede that you may use a distro of Linux but other than at work, I would bet you haven't touched Unix.

Unix is expensive? Define expensive. You can get OS X on Mac Mini, $599 at the Apple Store.

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (2)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585151)

It is more expensive than Windows for average customers when they have to pay me to patch their immediate problems. For me, Unix is less expensive in the long run because I completely understand and adhere to the philosophy from A to Z.

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585081)

Odds are better than average that you yourself don't use some form of Unix. Unix is expensive. I would be willing to concede that you may use a distro of Linux but other than at work, I would bet you haven't touched Unix.

GP here: using HP/UX, Solaris, Digital UNIX, AIX, and a dozen of Linux or BSD distros.

Shame we're both anonymous, I would win that bet. Stupid bet to make on a site like Slashdot, BTW, it's full of Unix users here (or it used to be).

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (2)

james_van (2241758) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584835)

doubtful, considering that most businesses wont move to 8 for at least a couple years, and theres a very good chance theyll skip if altogether and thats the only place where i would NEED to use windows 8. in the consumer world, within a few minutes of sitting down at a win8 computer, ill be able to figure out where everything i really need is at (and most likely how to switch to the non-metro mode, but considering that i avoid using other peoples computers where i can it probably wont ever be an issue. and really, who's gonna point and laugh at me cause i dont know how to use win8? 12 year old MS fanbois?

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (3, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585001)

Actually, as a tech guy, I rarely have to use the desktop installs I roll out except for internal testing. That's the user's job.

And although we can all USE the new interfaces, they are diabolical to some of us to use every day for every program you run. Most users barely run a program or two each session. I have twenty open now and I'm winding down for the end of the day (I work in schools).

I've lost count of how many times I've had to say to someone "I don't know, I never use that program, I'll find out". I might install it, support it, maintain it, debug it, deploy it, patch it and get it running on machines it's never supposed to. But I probably don't USE that program in my daily life very much at all (e.g. the finance programs, school reporting programs, etc.). That's for the users, for whom I can answer any problem if absolutely necessary (even if it means struggling against UI's and even personal user options that I hate) and can source external training for if need be.

But the fact is that in my daily life, the new UI costs me time compared to the 20+ critical systems set up to use a much more basic and consistent UI than that Metro junk that DOESN'T try to tell me how I should work.

God, I can't even use some people's desktop layouts or wallpapers they are so horrendous. It doesn't mean I don't support them and/or that I must use them myself on the servers and my own machines.

I have yet to ever "learn" to use an OS before it's been out for a year or so. Hell, I've deployed and supported Windows 7 machines for years - and still my first personal machine with it on was this September. What *I* use has absolutely no correlation to what my *users* use, which has absolutely no correlation to what I support (which is much vaster in scope and more in-depth than any of them will ever touch - in comparison, a tricky way to start programs is the least of my problems, but one that's easily solvable when it does crop up by deploying Classic Shell, for instance).

The new Windows 8 install we have planned for next summer? Guess what's loaded on it, and we haven't even seen the full OS out in circulation yet.

Re:As a tech guy get used to it (2)

jbonomi (1839286) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585075)

There's nothing to learn. You might have to poke at it for 5 minutes before you're comfortable. I think this is not as big a deal as a lot of people think.

My Stadegy. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584423)

Stop Bitching and complaining about every change in technology and get use to the the Damn thing.

I remember all the bitching and moaning about the Start Button when it was created. And now is is some God Sent UI that you can't live without.

If you get get Windows 8. you will figure it out shortly and you are back to normal.

Re:My Stadegy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584507)

Also, from now on we will be driving on the other side of the road on the third Tuesday of the month, except when the moon is full. Seriously. Why do we embrace change for changes sake? If it works, stop picking at it.

Re:My Stadegy. (5, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584875)

Because the Start button wasn't that great in the first place. It was essentially a select set of shortcuts.

A much better solution exists in Mac OS X, and should be emulated.
Pin to the Dock the following folders: Home directory, Applications.
Set them as list, sort by name.

Access to ALL files/folders/applications with one click.

No navigating into the hard drive if the installer didn't put a shortcut in the "All Programs" folder.

Re:My Stadegy. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584517)

For some reason, techies always seem to be the ones bitching the loudest about changes in technology - a field that exists only because of change. The funny thing is, it's just an endless cycle. They'll bitch about change N+1, but when it's time for change N+2, they'll bitch about how N+1 is the greatest thing since sliced bread and taking N+1 away is horrible. Then when N+3 comes, suddenly N+2 is fantastic, and N+3 is sheer idiocy. And so it goes.

Come back in 20 years, and it'll be the same.

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584777)

I can disprove your theory with one word...Millenium. No one liked it when it came out, no one ever has liked it. I think their plan is to release a good os every other time. Win 98, good, Millenium, not, XP, good, Vista, meh not so much, Win 7, good, Win 8 not looking so hot at the moment, but there's still some time to fix it.

Re:My Stadegy. (1)

phlinn (819946) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584805)

Nah... it's just that we only like every other change. N is good, N+1 is just horrible, N+2 is good and fixes all the horrible things in N+1. This may only hold for windows versions... :p

Re:My Stadegy. (4, Interesting)

EzInKy (115248) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584529)

How does hiding the "Start" button qualify as advancing technology? Isn't the motivation behind this related more to hiding what is behind the curtain than it is to exposing what is behind the curtain?

Re:My Stadegy. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584557)

Wrong. Windows 7 was the product of 20 years of refinements in user interface design. Throwing it all out and starting over is ridiculous. It's an obvious ploy to force people to upgrade what is a perfectly functional piece of software already. Frankly, MS must do this if it wants to stay in business. The revenue stream is only there if they can force people to keep shelling out money.
This time, it might not work. I'll stick with my windows 7 for now, and probably some flavor of Linux down the road (unless required to use Windows 8 for work).

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584945)

I don't think it's so much a ploy to convince people to upgrade as it is a ploy to stay relevant when more and more people seek tablet-style computing devices. As far as the UI goes, the desktop mode in Windows 8 is actually a further refined UI when compared to Windows 7. 20 years of UI work doesn't go away just because the start menu is different.
I think I'm biased to like Windows 8 though, because the Windows 8 pro tablets coming out are the mobile computers that I've wanted for decades: hybrid tablet/laptop devices with an OS built to handle both situations well. Windows tablet PCs have always been awkward at best because the OS was not designed with tablets in mind. I suppose we'll see if it lives up to my expectations this time.

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585131)

I think it has more to do with the size of hard disk and the number of program we have installed. At some point navigating a hierarquical menu is time wasting. Letting the computer search is faster. Otherwise you hit a bottleneck and cannot find much, or spend a horrendous amount of time navigating your programs. I'm not a windows user myself, but I think they probably have done worse things than moving on beyond the venerable and now much less useful start menu.

It's a natural evolution really. Who uses bookmarks on their browsers anymore? I have thousands of them, and a nifty hierarchy to classify them. But it's not worth spending a long time finding what I had stored there several years back. I re-search most of the time to find the URL I want to get to. I think I saw the results of a survey some years back that showed most people did so. It stands to reason, if that is the natural way of operating for most people, that the UI would evolve the same way when the complexity and number of programs available grows exponentially.

Anyways, just my 2 cents.

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584575)

I'm going to create a UI that requires you to drive a spike through your head in order to launch applications. Following your strategy you won't complain and will instead just "get use to the Damn thing".

Do you see the problem with your strategy? Where do you draw the line? If things take ten times as long on the new version as the old version do you still not complain and just get used to it?

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585033)

The change to the start menu is not a big deal, though. All this gnashing of teeth amounts to spurious FUD.

Re:My Stadegy. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584589)

I've never liked the start menu. I never liked the whole concept of a bunch of shortcuts all in a single location that almost all point to a bunch of programs in a single location. Wouldn't it be simpler and more direct to just list the programs and doing the organization at the program level? Making a start screen do the exact same thing does nothing to fix that flaw, and really brings it back to the windows 3 interface. The "cool" thing about Windows 95 was that they managed to stick progman into a single fly-out button.

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584649)

That paragraph has bi-polar disorder.

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584675)

That's because, *gasp*, people have differing opinions. The world might end if we all don't just mindlessly accept any change made for change's sake, right?

Re:My Stadegy. (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584733)

I remember all the bitching and moaning about the Start Button when it was created. And now is is some God Sent UI that you can't live without.

Well, taking away one's ability to log out from the "classic" interface may have more to do with it than any special love for the UI.

I don't work on Windows normally, but I've had to test some remote stuff for our students. I couldn't believe how annoying it now is to just LOG OFF from the classic interface - bring up the little pop-up slider on the right side (assuming it will actually come up, and assuming you already know it's there because there's no visual cue to let you know "hey there's this hidden panel over here"); go back to the Windows App Store interface; click on your name (gosh, that makes sense), then click "log out".

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584937)

Or you could just start typing shutdown /l (that's a lower case L) and log out. no mouse crap, just do it. Its even easier now than before because don't need to bring up a prompt or do the start run crap.

And here's my strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584745)

I know what I like and dislike, and when I find that a product has changed for the worse, I find a better product. How's that for simplicity? And I did it all without getting angry like you did.

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584869)

Dumb dumb, the start button is still there, they even left a space for it, they just made it invisible. Each corner of the screen in 8 hides a UI element, and if you're using multiple monitors they are very hard to hit.

Re:My Stadegy. (2)

rroman (2627559) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584925)

I don't agree. Microsoft changes the way the UI appears too often even if there is no reason to change it. Another example of this would be MS office. The UI changes with every version even though the old style UI, that is used in LibreOffice is good. If users were happy with the old interface, I don't think there is need to force the users to stop using it.

Re:My Stadegy. (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584947)

But if we do that, we might like it and then we might have to admit that actually Microsoft have come up with a good idea!

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

EnsilZah (575600) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585017)

Well, some people prefer to customize things to the way that's comfortable to them rather than just accept whatever the manufacturer thrusts upon them.

In the case of Windows I don't like pinning, gadgets, grouping of taskbar items 'personalized menus' so I turn those off.
I also use apps like UltraMon, TeraCopy and True Launch Bar to supplement functionality that's not available in Windows, I guess I might go back to using Launchy if I upgrade to Win8 so it's not really that big of an Issue.

But the problem in this case is that so far most UI changes MS made were optional and you could revert to older functionality with the tick of a checkbox, now they decided that your server will run a UI designed for touchscreen tablets because fuck you that's why and you don't have an option to get the old interface without third party software.

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585157)

I see nothing wrong with experimenting with a new interface. I see great problems with forcing people to use it, with no "classic" mode similar to past behavior. That's not saying "try it, you might like the new way better", it's saying a big "FU" to any business or ordinary people who have invested greatly in training for the previous behavior, or who try the new style and find that don't actually like it and/or it isn't actually more efficient.

Re:My Stadegy. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585163)

I remember all the bitching and moaning about the Start Button when it was created. And now is is some God Sent UI that you can't live without.

it's true that there's a certain segment of people who resist change for resistance's sake. These are the people who kept using windows explorer as program explorer after we got a start menu. it's also true that the start menu was a big step forward in ease of use. Unfortunately, it's not clear that the !Metro interface is another one.

Re:My Stadegy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585211)

The argument for the 'classic' Start button is that there's really no faster way to get to your regularly used programs or documents. That's right, faster than the command line. With a cleaned up Start menu, you can get to around 20 items in two keystrokes; 100+ in three. This method is more elegant than the 'dummy' buttons found at the top of some keyboards, as well as the 'built in' keyboard shortcuts that you can create for each shortcut (takes more strokes, less total shortcuts available, interferes with other commonly used key combinations, Windows has to 'think' about those (which is problematic), and they're not visibly maintainable - you have to remember what combinations you've already used; if you've already used one and don't remember where it is, it's not easy to find the duplicate). The Windows 7 Start button broke this too, but classic alternatives have been easy to find. The built in search in the 7 Start menu is nice on occasion though, and if I need it when using the classic alternative, the keystroke combination is Win, Win, Enter (which even puts the focus right in the search box). On average, it takes me at least twice as many keystrokes to get to a program/document in the Windows 7 Start menu, but the deal breaker is that it's prone to change with the installation of programs and the addition of documents; the classic Start Menu doesn't.

Microsoft nailed it with the classic Start menu, but most (all? How many other people fine tune their Start menu?) users let it get congested until it became a screen-wide train wreck of shortcuts, most of which aren't used, and I think this is why they came up with the 7-style menu. Microsoft is asking (forcing?) me to use a less efficient method to get to my programs and documents, and there's an argument to be made that this is not good.

Why not Microsoft ? (3, Interesting)

gtirloni (1531285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584427)

If many people can quickly create something that looks like a decent Win7 start menu, why can't Microsoft just do the obvious: leave the start button there? Or at least offer the option to re-enable it. It doesn't seem like a major support burden for them, does it?

Re:Why not Microsoft ? (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584499)

If you keep it, people will keep on using it. Windows 8 Goal is to get Laptop and PC manufacturers develop more tablets and touch enabled devices. If you kept the start bar, PC makers will keep on making normal PC's and slowly die away with other OS's like Android and iOS taking over.

Re:Why not Microsoft ? (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584695)

Trying to force a tablet UI on a general purpose machine like a laptop or desktop is just as bad as trying to use a desktop OS on a tablet. Microsoft are pretty much ensuring that no matter what you try to use Windows 8 on, you get the worst of both worlds..

Re:Why not Microsoft ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584703)

Exactly. And the reason Microsoft wants to push people away from PCs and towards tablets is because tablets have a shorter lifespan, which means compressed replacement cycles, which means more license sales for Microsoft. See?

Re:Why not Microsoft ? (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584519)

Because they've decided to push people toward Metro (or whatever they're calling it now). Probably so that they can try to horn themselves into the tablet market, as well as pushing people to using their own app store.

Re:Why not Microsoft ? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585011)

Would that be the idea behind it? Publish through the MS app store or have your application consigned to some invisible app purgatory. Or is it possible to distribute Metro apps outside of the MS app store?

Re:Why not Microsoft ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584927)

They actually did have a similar option to disable metro in the early, early, dev beta. They disabled it super quick though, because so many people were using it instead of metro. They promised that it only went missing for the dev releases so Metro could get tested... but who expects Microsoft to hold up that one?

Re:Why not Microsoft ? (2)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585235)

If many people can quickly create something that looks like a decent Win7 start menu, why can't Microsoft just do the obvious: leave the start button there? Or at least offer the option to re-enable it. It doesn't seem like a major support burden for them, does it?

It is there. Click in the corner where the start button used to be, and the start screen comes up. Hit the windows key, and the start screen comes up. Click an icon on that screen, just like in Windows 7, and it launches. Start typing, it starts searching just like Windows 7.

The only change is that to see "All Programs" you need to right click now, instead of clicking on the "All Programs" pop-out.

There's no real issue here, other than Slashdot wanting to stir the pot for ad revenue, and people spouting off who haven't ever used it by repeating the pot stirring that bloggers have been posting... for ad revenue. So, basically business as usual for the FOX News of technology sites.

Not too much, please... (3, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584581)

Another question has yet to be answered: in Windows 8, is the BSOD [wikipedia.org] still Blue? I mean, losing the emblematic Start button is one thing, but if the BSOD disappears as well, users will be really disoriented...

Re:Not too much, please... (1)

jmauro (32523) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584697)

Yes, but it lost all the technical codes that would allow someone to debug why the error occurred (and prevent it from erroring in the future). Now it is just a simile face and a message that you're computer isn't working right now.

Re:Not too much, please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585041)

Who can blame them. It works well for apple. Macs never crash, it just unexpectedly have to reboot sometimes.

Re:Not too much, please... (1)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584813)

Dude, read till the end that wikipedia page that you linked to. There's even a smiley in 8.

Re:Not too much, please... (1)

ifrag (984323) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585203)

Dude, read till the end that wikipedia page that you linked to. There's even a smiley in 8.

Wow... I'm sure that's going to help calm people down, now that they know the computer is sad about being crashed (actually a frowning face, it's not happy about it at least). Although if it was a :) that'd be even more hilarious.

Re:Not too much, please... (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584861)

Quite funny - it took me only three weeks to BSOD brand-new, recent, fully-patched installs of Windows 7 and Windows 8 RTM's without installing a single unsigned driver, a single dodgy app, doing anything vaguely stupid (i.e. trashing random memory using a C compiler or whatever).

Once, it crashed because I right-clicked on a CD ROM drive. That was it. I performed no other action, nothing else unusual was running.

The fact is that the BSOD should be as rare as a kernel panic in all non-hardware failures. It's not. Even on the new OS, or fully patched ones.

Re:Not too much, please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585145)

You caused a BSOD by doing something that interfaced with hardware. That sounds like a dodgy driver to me, or perhaps dodgy hardware. In Windows 7 the BSOD would tell you exactly what the faulting module was and I bet that would've indicated that the driver for the CD-ROM was at fault. It could very well have been a stock CD-ROM driver.

Note that if you expect that "trashing random memory using a C compiler" would cause a BSOD then I'm not certain that you know what a BSOD is. That would cause a GPF, perhaps, which hasn't looked like a BSOD since Windows 98, but short of writing your own dodgy kernel-space driver you wouldn't be able to take the OS down, at least not without exploiting a privilege escalation vulnerability in order to get direct kernel access.

BSODs should be as rare as kernel panics because that is exactly what they are.

circledock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584609)

thats a pretty boss application launcher, just needs scalability to make it useful for htpc interfaces

Seinfeld butt shake (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584743)

You gais are bieng too penis erect on windows 8. just ask butt buddies jewy seinfeld and bill gaytes

Just as an aside (2)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584789)

The GNOME developers did the same thing with GNOME Shell (GNOME 3). With Windows 8, I was hardly able to do anything, and it took forever to figure out how to use it, nevermind trying to actually get back to the Start Screen. Immediate -1. GNOME Shell? It's different, but if it wasn't for the single "Activities" button, I probably would have been doing the same thing. Additionally, a list of favorite applications (such as you'd have in a dock, which is visually similar to GNOME Shell's "Dash" feature) is really useful in terms of productivity. I wonder if the Windows team will ever get that part right.

Re:Just as an aside (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584969)

Additionally, a list of favorite applications (such as you'd have in a dock, which is visually similar to GNOME Shell's "Dash" feature) is really useful in terms of productivity. I wonder if the Windows team will ever get that part right.

I thought Windows 7 [wikipedia.org] and 8 [wikipedia.org] still have the task bar at the bottom with application icons and indicators when the app is running?

The Big Desktop Issue? Swapping Between Screens (3, Insightful)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584797)

I tried, I really did, to use Win8 on the desktop both without Start Menu replacement and with one. I absolutely could not stand what felt like an unnecessary extra step between switching back and forth. I don't care if it works on a small touch screen, it doesn't work on my desktop, get rid of the extra step AND give me a Start Menu. - HEX

Options (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584811)

-Use tons of workarounds that make Windows 8 works sorta like Windows 7.
-Keep using Windows 7.

That's a hard one...
Why would anyone use an OS with an interface meant for tablets on their desktop/*book? Are people going insane?

Windows 8 has an alternative to the Start button (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584831)

It's easy to get to non-metro apps in Windows 8. The Windows key launches the metro screen where you can see tiles for any metro or desktop app you've placed on the start screen. Also, typing any character after that screen comes up will start a search for app names containing the string you type (just like the Windows 7 Start button search). I find it no less convenient than the Start button.

I believe there's a longer strategy in place here. (5, Interesting)

HerculesMO (693085) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584851)

And that is really, to get rid of "legacy" apps entirely. I think Microsoft is pretty tired of having third parties (hence, the reason for the surface) and OEMs give their hard work a bad name. So what they are doing is introducing a new API (Windows RT) that requires "certification" (Minecraft didn't want to do this for whatever reason to "stick it" to Windows 8), which means that they require that if you have an app in Windows 8, it uninstalls *completely* and *cleanly*, among other performance indicators and things like that.

Microsoft is trying to retake its OS, under threat of the web, Apple, Google, etc. Windows 8, far from popular belief on this site, is actually a really good OS -- better in many ways, than Windows 7 is. It's faster (by a LOT), it's smooth, and its extensibility and APIs are still very good. The experience between "Metro" and the "Desktop" however, is extremely jarring. While I've written (and been modded up!) in the past about how bad the transition between the desktop and metro are, and how much better they "could have" done things, looking at a variety of information since then and forming a new opinion leads me only to think that they don't WANT it to be better. They want it to be jarring. They want you to start hating desktop apps and going to their store so you can get crap-ware free apps, that uninstall FAST and CLEAN, that don't bog down your computer, and have the additional benefit of getting a cheap piece of hardware to put it into like a Dell/HP/etc rather than paying two times the price for an Apple product.

Whether this is a good strategy or not, remains to be seen. Microsoft uses a LOT of data and telemetry to make its decisions in terms of UI design, API improvements, usability, etc. As much as I'd like to say that Windows 8 is just a boneheaded move, the performance of the OS is just too damn good to think that. And I know us here on Slashdot will revile the new UI and its use (though honestly, the loss of the start menu was no big loss for me as I adjusted to the new way in about 3 seconds). There are things that definitely need improvement even in the metro UI, but I feel we'll get that with a few patches.

The bottom line is that Microsoft is tired of having an unfriendly "BSOD" image, and they want to take steps to nix that, even if it means alienating a whole bunch of developers. I think they feel that their platform is still better on the whole than OSX (and I'd tend to agree here), and developers will still flock. By Windows 9, you won't see any more desktop apps being released... and that's the plan MS is heading for.

Just a warning before you flame me though, I'm not ENDORSING this idea, I'm simply stating that this is where I think MS is going.

Re:I believe there's a longer strategy in place he (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584909)

Pretty much.

Re:I believe there's a longer strategy in place he (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585183)

to get rid of "legacy" apps entirely

No. They want a new legacy, same as the old legacy.

So how do you start applications in Metro? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584873)

I presume there's a list somewhere.

Personally I was never all that impressed with the start menu in the first place. The task bar was a nice addition from Windows 95, but a menu with submenus is a fairly tedious way of starting an application. Give me a list of icons.

TspongE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584893)

conflict5 t4at

Classic Shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584897)

Windows 8 with Metro sucks, it is horrible.
I use the open source Classic Shell it works great to make Windows 8 behave more like Windows 7.

http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/

Start menu is still there (4, Informative)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about a year and a half ago | (#41584901)

The start menu is still there. You just don't see the icon in the task bar. All the functionality of it is still there. The first level is for commonly used programs. It's a nice clean layout that's easy to customize. From there, you can call up the 'All Programs' section. That's not organized quite so well, but it works.

There's no compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 8, but unlike Vista, there's no reason to actively avoid it.

Just get on with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41584907)

I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and I love it. The way I used Windows hasn't changed by much. Loading any app is exactly the same process as in Windows 7, being: Windows Button + type the first couple of chars of the app and hitting the Enter key.

Jesus Christ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585069)

Push the God-damned windows key.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585141)

I can't believe I'm still seeing these posts, especially here on Slashdot. It should take you about at most two weeks to get used to the lack of a "Start button" I hardly notice it anymore. If this was Cnet or some other water down site then yes they may have complaints. It hurts my brain that people spend time on this stuff.

You know why I like the Start menu? It's because it sync on every device I own; tablet, desktop, and laptop. Do something once and it's saved everywhere.

Hit the road. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41585167)

I replaced it already, about two weeks ago I finally made the switch to Linux, Xubuntu to be exact. It's impossible for me to use Microsoft products anymore due to the changes that I can't fix with out the source code.

Not only that, who knows whats in that source code, really?. We already know Microsoft gave a back door to the NSA. Can you guys say with 100% certainty that the Chinese didn't build a back door in for the attacks in 2010?. Can you, any of you say for 100% certainty that the MPAA or RIAA doesn't have or will not have back doors?.

You already know Microsoft has done it in the past. Microsoft is a dodgy company with an even more unsound past. I do not trust them and I'm finished with their products.

Replace what's missing (4, Funny)

multi io (640409) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585201)

Replacing Windows 8's Missing Start Menu

How do you replace something that's not there? Wouldn't you be *adding* it instead?

My view. (5, Insightful)

vistapwns (1103935) | about a year and a half ago | (#41585249)

Most of you will hate this, so fair warning.

I love Windows 8. Let me tell you why. The start menu is supposed to be an efficient program launcher. Ok, so to launch programs with the start menu, you have to click the start button, click "all programs", click your app folder, then click the application to start it. That's 4 clicks. To start a program in Windows 8, I click the start screen area, then click the application, that's two clicks. That's a quantifiable efficiency gain. People have argued against this by referring to pinning apps to the task bar and desk top and the start menu pinned item lists.

First, Windows 8 has the task bar and desk top, so it doesn't make sense to argue with those, if they're so good, use them in Windows 8 instead of the start screen. Two, I like the desktop and task bar clear of every thing, I never liked pinning items to the task bar because it makes it less efficient to determine what's running, I like to glance at the task bar and know everything there is running, where as in the past I have at times, in a rush, mistakenly thought something pinned was running and something running was pinned, which caused problems. The Desktop is a workspace that ideally should be clear of short cuts, as a user will do things like unzip folders there, and create many temp work files there, that need to be moved or deleted, which short cuts will get in the way of, and accidently removed. The start menu's pinned item list can only contain a few items (5 or so), so while they can be launched in two clicks you are severely limited in numbers vs. the start screen which can launch 40-60 apps in two clicks. What I like to do is unpin everything except my main apps/games, and a few metro apps I use, then group them and name the groups (minus button in the lower right.) A small action that makes things much better than the default.

Visual recognition of large distinct icons is a much nicer way to launch programs, rather than reading folder names where often a folder name is not related to the name of the app you are trying to launch, if you have many apps it can be difficult to remember which app is in which folder causing quite a bit of digging.

With the start screen, in addition to saving clicks versus the start menu, and being easier to find the program, you can have live tiles that give you a lot of useful information. I have an email counter, several news sites, calendar, upcoming events, and other things one click away. So why not stick with gadgets and other widgets and system tray notifications you are probably asking at this point? Well, several. Security, stability, and Power. Metro apps are run in a strict sandbox, they install and uninstall in isolated, clean fashion, so no installation or uninstallation of a metro app can corrupt the system, user data, or other metro apps, and they have strict requirements such that they can not use any CPU when not being used by the user, and very minimum system resource usage for notifications.
Contrast this with some desktop apps I was running before to accomplish these tasks, my email program was using about .5% cpu at all times, randomly accessed the disk, and increased DPC Latency, and it was a relatively well behaved email tray notifier as I tried a few others. A small amount, but it adds up for many such items. And programs like that that you (or the average user) gets from the web, have free reign over your user account, even if you don't run as admin (and you almost always have to give them admin at least once to install), they can still steal any user account data and credentials from your browser. Metro apps, being tightly sandboxed, can't read or touch any other data in the user account. I find this to be pretty important, and imagine a huge boon to productivity if users get a lot of their system/productivity utilities from metro apps instead of downloading random programs on the web, where the security risk is much higher.

Windows 8 has a lot of performance increases in it, like for real time audio mixing (see: http://createdigitalmusic.com/2012/06/music-developer-on-windows-8-a-leap-forward-for-desktops-a-leap-backward-for-metro-winrt/ [createdigitalmusic.com] ), it's been really stable since the consumer preview for me, and runs basically every old game and program I have, in fact all of my old stuff works.

It's easy to hate because it's different, but I gave it a try with an open mind and an attempt to understand the philosophy behind it, and I've reached a different conclusion than others, so maybe some of you could too.

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