Let's have a massive discussion about Windows 8

Coke Robot

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I want to rehash something that is going to be rehashed as the Release Preview of Windows 8 comes out probably tomorrow: the Start Menu.

Ok, from a good chunk of people here and some critics, the lack of a start menu is a big deal and to some, believe it's a catastrophe. I personally would like to know why. Maybe it's that I've been rocking Windows 8 since the Developer Preview last fall and have gotten acquainted very well it doesn't bother me. Honestly, I think to desktop power users, it's a big deal because that's what has been used for a decade and some. But really, think about the common consumer of a Windows device. Many people I've come across don't really care for the start menu. A few people have told me that they honestly don't ever use it since all their main items are pinned to the Taskbar (that sucked to find out because I organized the crap out of their start menu). A few have told me that they think Windows vista, even 7, just feels old. And the large rest I've seen use Windows, have installed Windows on their PCs; I feel like I can gather that the lack of a start menu won't be a huge loss to them. As long as something is accessible, it's fine. And yes, the Start Screen is accessible, you just configure it to do so.

Then there's the Desktop UI issue. Some say it's an abortion of the UI, and without the Start Screen Windows 8 is just a faster 7 with a Ribbon UI. This may be true, but what did people say about Windows 7 when it came out, or vista for that matter? People said that 7 was like vista, but it worked. People said vista was just a warmed over version of xp with performance issues. To wrap this thought up, the Desktop is still there and works as it should with a new interface to navigate around files and programs.

And then there's the metro concept people don't like or understand. The concept of metro design is minimalism, it's about content and not UI. Sure, some think it doesn't look nice, but that's because in the year of 2006,7ish when vista came out, Microsoft took a different road with the UI and made it the centerpiece when theoretically it wasn't supposed to be. Shucks! If you look at the Windows Longhorn concept from 2002, it looks more like the new Desktop UI of Windows 8! A transparent Taskbar with solid windows and a true chromeless approach. This was 2002 design here. Things would had been much different if that was the road we took if things panned out right. Metro design takes a bit to get used to because we're so used to UI fluff, it's ridiculous. We have gotten to the point where smartphones have more visual fluff than our desktop operating systems! Really?!

And then there is the touch aspect of Windows 8 people don't care to recognize. Again, touch is the future, just like the mouse was the future years ago. Microsoft pioneered in the use of the mouse, and the rest followed into history. Now, they are going to pioneer in touch and the New User Interface of the Kinect. And as history has shown, the rest will follow because unlike apple, Microsoft has more clout about changing tech standards. apple may have wanted Flash to die and use HTML5, but the HTML5 talk didn't seem to happen until IE9 came into being, maybe google chrome had some impact as well.

All in all, Windows 8 has changed a lot about how we use a User Interface, and will soon change how we interact with a PC.

Now, let's have a huge discussion!
 

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tseven

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I think they definitely needed to move in the tablet direction as they weren't able to produce a iPad competitor when the iPad first launched especially when people were excited over a windows tablet the courier at the time they didn't have any tablet to compete and now after losing out a few years they really have to push to get more apps and people to develop to catch up so in that sense I don't think it's wrong they are pushing for more tablet apps and for users to use the tablet/mobile side. However, forcing it without a choice is a different story. That, I don't appreciate. But I can understand why they would be so focused on their mobile/tablet stuff because they really need it. Zune came out late Zune HD also arrived late to fight with iPod and they never even marketed that product. This tablet product is necessary for them to fight in the future if they want to maintain presence in the mobile market where android and iOS are dominating. The metro might not be visually exciting but they definitely needed a tablet OS.

On the desktop side they definitely need to work on the user-interface more and implement functions that would make things easier to do.
 

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crawfish

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I think the Windows 7 taskbar WAS a huge Quicklaunch bar... :)

Not even close. The Windows 7 taskbar merged the limited functionality of Quick Launch with the original reason for the taskbar, locating open windows, and added new features like jump lists and progress indicators. The ability to pin icons to the taskbar is the best thing Microsoft has ever done for the Windows interface, and it isn't close. When you pin programs, you know where to go to launch them and where to look for them when they're running, and you get to choose where on the taskbar they go. The taskbar remains visible so you can take advantage of this and the other things like jump lists and progress bars when multitasking. Anybody who uses Quick Launch in Windows 7 can't be taken seriously on anything, because it reduces the space in which you can pin programs, and the ability to pin programs subsumes the functionality of Quick Launch while adding so much more. Anyone who understands these things and possesses even modest intelligence leaves Quick Launch disabled and pins programs. After 15 years of this interface, Microsoft finally innovated something with the Windows 7 taskbar, and they got it really, really right. Unfortunately, the Windows HE debacle proves it was just a fluke.

The Quicklaunch bar is also always visible, just like pinned programs. I don't like a cluttered taskbar, I just want it to show what is running. I don't like looking at a row of icons wondering if the program is running or if it's just a shortcut. I find the default Windows 7 taskbar to be too big and cluttered.

But hey, at least Windows 7 can be nicely customized to match my workflow.

While a program is running, Quick Launch still shows its icon which is good only for launching, wasting space. You have to locate its runtime icon on the taskbar to interact with its windows, and that position changes from run to run depending on the mix of programs you're running. Moreover, while it isn't running, Quick Launch doesn't give you jump lists that are available when you pin programs to the taskbar. And telling if a pinned program is running is easy, because its icon is displayed as a button. Based on all this, I would guess you are still using slab buttons with truncated text on the taskbar, too.
 

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Coke Robot

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I think they definitely needed to move in the tablet direction as they weren't able to produce a iPad competitor when the iPad first launched especially when people were excited over a windows tablet the courier at the time they didn't have any tablet to compete and now after losing out a few years they really have to push to get more apps and people to develop to catch up so in that sense I don't think it's wrong they are pushing for more tablet apps and for users to use the tablet/mobile side. However, forcing it without a choice is a different story. That, I don't appreciate. But I can understand why they would be so focused on their mobile/tablet stuff because they really need it. Zune came out late Zune HD also arrived late to fight with iPod and they never even marketed that product. This tablet product is necessary for them to fight in the future if they want to maintain presence in the mobile market where android and iOS are dominating. The metro might not be visually exciting but they definitely needed a tablet OS.

On the desktop side they definitely need to work on the user-interface more and implement functions that would make things easier to do.

Windows 7 came out in 2009 and was Microsoft's first attempt a true touch OS. The Desktop doesn't work well with touch as it, but definitely better than it was when the first xp tablet came out LONG before the ipad.

Windows 8 is packing a Desktop that will have further improved touch support as well as an interface that works better with touch and still works with a mouse and keyboard.
 

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    1 TB Seagate Barracuda (starting to hate Seagate)
    x2 3 TB Toshibas
    Windows 8.1 is installed on a SanDisk Ultra Plus 256 GB
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    A current work in progres as I'll be building the physical case myself. It shall be fantastic.
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ssbtech

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Metro might be good for touch in a media consumption environment, but it sucks for getting any real work done. Unless of course you're a self proclaimed "blogger" and your "job" is to post Twitbook updates all day.

For me, it just gets in the way.
 

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ssbtech

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Based on all this, I would guess you are still using slab buttons with truncated text on the taskbar, too.

And I use the favorites bar in IE along with Office 2003.

Heaven forbid I find something that works the way I want it to :rolleyes:

But, go ahead, buy into the "latest and greatest" that gets rammed down your throat. I'll still be sitting here with a workflow that works for me. :)
 

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crawfish

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Based on all this, I would guess you are still using slab buttons with truncated text on the taskbar, too.

And I use the favorites bar in IE along with Office 2003.

I don't care. I wasn't talking about those things. I was talking about the redundancy of using Quick Launch in Windows 7 and the failure to use the Windows 7 taskbar effectively.

Heaven forbid I find something that works the way I want it to :rolleyes:

But, go ahead, buy into the "latest and greatest" that gets rammed down your throat. I'll still be sitting here with a workflow that works for me. :)

That's a truly senseless comment about me buying into the "latest and greatest". Have you seen what I've written about Windows HE? As I've written before many times here, the Windows 7 taskbar finally addressed several deficiencies that were glaringly obvious to me the first time I loaded an NT4 beta, and it allowed me to get rid of the alternative program launchers I had used all that time. It's by far the most significant and useful update to the Windows interface that Microsoft has done since Windows 95, and it made immediate sense for all the reasons I've given.
 

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ssbtech

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I hate the Windows 7 taskbar, always have and always will.

Pinned applications make no sense to me - you want more than one Explorer window open? Clicking the icon minimizes the one that's open. Want to open a second IE window? Clicking "E" again just minimizes IE. Senseless. I don't care for jumplists, don't need them. Tried them for a while and hated it.

The default Win7 taskbar is big and takes up more space than it needs to. Default pinned icons are about twice the size of my little quicklaunch icons. I know, I know - you can select "use small icons" but you're still stuck with silly pinned icons. QuickLaunch icons don't move anywhere - pinned icons do.

The Windows 7 taskbar makes sense for your workflow, not mine. Thankfully it was easy to go back to a Vista style taskbar with little hassle.
 

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alphanumeric

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Don't you think it odd Steve Ballmer is projecting fantasy sales for this thing?

He must know it is not well liked, to put it mildly.

They have got something up their sleeve.

Couple of possibilities:

Maybe they are going to give it away for $30 or so.

Or, maybe they are betting the farm on this, we can't tell how much they are investing with the oem's and the marketing push - it could be billions.

One thing is for sure - this o/s is not going to sell itself.

I think Ballmer arrogantly thought that since about 525 millions PCs are rocking 7, they must end up running 8. But then again, that could potentially happen since until now and next February, it will cost 15 dollars to upgrade. At that cost, which is less than anti-virus protection, less than Office, less than many paid software; some might think that they might not have a lot to lose.

Don't you have to buy a new PC with Windows 7 pre-installed between X and X date to qualify for that 15$ upgrade? I don't see 525 million PC users doing that just to get windows 8 for 15$.
 

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crawfish

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I hate the Windows 7 taskbar, always have and always will.

Part of the problem is that you don't understand how it works, which is clear from the many incorrect things you've said about it.

Pinned applications make no sense to me - you want more than one Explorer window open? Clicking the icon minimizes the one that's open. Want to open a second IE window? Clicking "E" again just minimizes IE. Senseless.

Well, once the program is running, there's nothing else it should do; the taskbar is a window switcher for running programs. If you want to open a second IE window that way, right-click the pinned icon and click on the icon in the menu. Before you moan about how difficult this is, consider that 99% of the time, you should be using tabs anyway. If you're talking about Windows Explorer, you could also use Win+E to get a second window. Furthermore, just about all programs that support multiple top-level windows have a "New Window/Document" command on the File menu and also bound to Ctrl+N, including IE, Windows Explorer, Word, Excel, Firefox, etc.

I don't care for jumplists, don't need them. Tried them for a while and hated it.

Do you hate all things that are awesome? Besides providing a Recent Files feature on the taskbar, you can pin documents to jumplists, which is a sort of mini-Favorites feature. Pinning documents to jumplists lets me open them directly from the taskbar without having to navigate to them in Explorer or open the program and search through its Recent Files or use File/Open. I use this all the time with Excel, Notepad++, and PDF-XChange Viewer. Other programs like Outlook and iTunes provide program commands in their jumplist. In 2009, Microsoft finally caught on to the 1980s idea of RiscOS by making icons on the taskbar have a menu and actually do stuff, besides just helping people find open windows.

The default Win7 taskbar is big and takes up more space than it needs to. Default pinned icons are about twice the size of my little quicklaunch icons. I know, I know - you can select "use small icons" but you're still stuck with silly pinned icons. QuickLaunch icons don't move anywhere - pinned icons do.

Pinned icons do not move unless you move them. Same thing for items pinned to jumplists. However, pinned icons do shift as you run programs if you're not using "Always combine, hide labels". When you don't use that option, you get the horrible slabs with ugly, frequently useless truncated text, and that's no way to live. When you do use that option, everything stays where you put it, which is great for muscle memory.

As for the taskbar taking up too much space, as I've written here before, I used to think it would, too, and I'm sympathetic to that objection. However, once I tried it, it turned out to be a non-issue. Even with my three-row taskbar, I can still get close to 50 lines of text in a Visual Studio text window, and that's plenty. I'm not hindered with any program I use. I expect anyone who already sacrifices some space to an always-visible taskbar can afford to sacrifice more if necessary, unless he's on a really small screen. For me, devoting 11.8% of the vertical space on my 1680x1050 monitor to the taskbar vs 3.8% for one row or 7.8% for two was a great idea, as I have every program I run regularly right in front of me, along with a dozen regularly accessed folder shortcuts, and there has not been a single instance in which I said, "Darn, this document is scrolling now and it wasn't before." I make great use of that extra 8% of screen real estate, and I talked about this a lot more in my earlier message and subsequent discussion.

The Windows 7 taskbar makes sense for your workflow, not mine. Thankfully it was easy to go back to a Vista style taskbar with little hassle.

To each his own, I guess. Prior to Windows 7, I disabled Quick Launch because I was using another program launcher which was far more capable. I'll never understand how anyone who uses more than a handful of programs has ever been able to stand using Windows with the Start Menu, desktop, and later, the Quick Launch bar.
 

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ssbtech

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Well, once the program is running, there's nothing else it should do; the taskbar is a window switcher for running programs. If you want to open a second IE window that way, right-click the pinned icon and click on the icon in the menu. Before you moan about how difficult this is, consider that 99% of the time, you should be using tabs anyway. If you're talking about Windows Explorer, you could also use Win+E to get a second window.

Right clicking, keyboard shortcuts, etc.. all require more clicks/effort than simply single-clicking a QuickLaunch icon. Tabs in IE? Sure, but I'm on a multi monitor system and I like having multiple windows open. Occasionally I have to run IE64 in one window and IE32 bit in another because Flash likes to kill all open windows. Again, QuickLaunch works the way *I* want it to, pinned icons don't.
Do you hate all things that are awesome? Besides providing a Recent Files feature on the taskbar, you can pin documents to jumplists, which is a sort of mini-Favorites feature. Pinning documents to jumplists lets me open them directly from the taskbar without having to navigate to them in Explorer or open the program and search through its Recent Files or use File/Open. I use this all the time with Excel, Notepad++, and PDF-XChange Viewer. Other programs like Outlook and iTunes provide program commands in their jumplist. In 2009, Microsoft finally caught on to the 1980s idea of RiscOS by making icons on the taskbar have a menu and actually do stuff, besides just helping people find open windows.

Nope, I don't hate all things that are awesome, but we clearly have different opinions of what makes something awesome. I don't need documents in jumplists as I'm rarely working on the same document/file more than once. Again, I simply have no need for those features and I've turned them off since they're more of a nuisance than a benefit.

To each his own, I guess. Prior to Windows 7, I disabled Quick Launch because I was using another program launcher which was far more capable. I'll never understand how anyone who uses more than a handful of programs has ever been able to stand using Windows with the Start Menu, desktop, and later, the Quick Launch bar.

Yep, to each his own.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7
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    CPU
    AMD Quad Core something
    Motherboard
    Asus
    Memory
    5GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVidia something hacked with Quadro drivers
    Sound Card
    Asus Xonar
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    2x LCD
    Hard Drives
    A few of them
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    Corsair HX750
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    Couple of fans
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    Logitech backlit wireless
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    Logitech rechargable Laser Mouse
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