Windows 8

cwathen
Posts: 1135
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Do you not remember the complaints that Microsoft had got rid of Program Manager when Windows 95 came out, along with lots of tips being available on how to configure Windows so that that stupid explorer rubbish doesn't come up and it displays progman.exe instead?
Umm...no I don't remember this actually. Program Manager *did* have some advantages over the start menu, like when you launch a program the current group was still on top rather than needing to wade all the way through the start menu to find it again. But detail things like this were far outweighed by it's disadvantages and even in the earliest days of Windows 95 I don't recall anyone missing it. The general consensus was that it took up too much screen space considering it was just a task launcher, was very inefficient to use if you had a large number of programs and because it was application rather than document oriented it enforced an unnattural two-step way of opening files (eg you're not opening your expenses spreadsheet, you are opening Microsoft Excel and then using that to open your expenses spreadsheet). Come to think of it, the start screen seems to share all of these characteristics...so what was old-hat in 1995 is apparently the way forward in 2012 (but then Windows 1.0 from 1985 had a feature identical to the 'new feature' of aero snap in Windows 7)?

But for all it's faults, Program Manager was available right up to Windows XP if you really wanted to use it, Windows 95 even went so far as offering an option in it's setup program to use it as the default task launcher instead of the start menu. Windows 8 provides no such option to use a start menu if you'd prefer.
Or how about the "Fisher Price" UI added with XP. "Nobody want's their desktop to looks like some kids toy" said all the commentators then. "First thing to do when you install XP is goto the theme page and put it back to 'Windows Classic'. This should be the default". The changes to the start menu were not excluded from that "Why do I need links to my documents on there? The Start Menu is for programs".
And I was at the top of the list of 'Fisher Pricer' complainants. But they really stemmed around the fact that you couldn't choose the colour scheme and that the classic interface seemed bastardised with dodgy font choice (like that hideous Arial Bold Italic used for much of the start menu) to make it intentionally look like a poor relation to the new interface. But at least the classic interface was there if you preferred it. For the record, I don't recall many people having an issue with the new start menu. I certainly didn't.
Every edition of Windows has had a significant number of people complaining that Microsoft has got it all wrong, and they should leave stuff as it is, and allow people to opt-in to the changes if they like them. If we had done that, we would still have the Windows 3 interface. And I challenge anyone to say the W7 desktop isn't better.
I think the issue is more that there isn't *an* interface, there are two. They didn't manage to make a new interface under which everything could run, so you end up with one interface for launching tasks and running Windows 8 apps, and another interface for everything else, with no ties at all between the two. On top of that, the only way to open programs short of creating myriad numbers of shortcuts on the desktop is to use a full screen task launcher rather than a start menu. It all seems such a disconnected and incoherent way of working. Whatever anyone's views on previous interfaces, at least they were all a singular entity, and at least there was the option of a 'classic' way of working if you preferred it at least initially (it took until Windows Vista to completely retire the Program Manager, until Windows 7 to not offer a Windows 95 style start menu, and even 7 does still provide the Windows 95 UI from 14 years before it was released as an option if you really want it). This time there is nothing.

For touch-enabled devices, maybe the new interface works well, but for a traditional keyboard and mouse driven machine, it seems pointless and annoying. IMO, the new interface should be an option for people with hardware which benefits from it, not forced on everyone.

What's so sad is that there are many reports that under the hood Windows 8 does perform signicifantly better than Windows 7 on the same hardware, it's such a shame that they've come up with such a wank-handed way of presenting that performance that many people may not want it.
Philip
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Joined: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 21.23
Location: Merseyside
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Well, the big day is coming. In four days Windows 8 will be released even though it seems like yesterday that Windows 7 was being released.

Personally... I'm going to give it a miss and wait for Windows 9. Not a fan of the Metro interface, or the new flat look instead of Aero on the old interface (now known as 'Desktop').
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cdd
Posts: 2538
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 14.05

I'm not quite sure why IE10 thinks a handy keyboard shortcut is ESC to delete the content of a text box (such as the one I'm typing into) with no undo option.

Apart from that, I am rethinking my position on Windows 8. The metro-UI and the Windows interface are a lot more integrated than they were in the preview release.

I wish I could have the feature in WIndows 7 where you could type a search term into Start (e.g. UAC) and be able to hit 'Enter' to the relevant result from Control Panel. Now, it seems I do this and I have to then select "Settings" (itself three keypresses), and then hit enter to the option there. I wish there was a way to merge the two lists for the purposes of searching.

I fear that for as long as I have access to PCs with a start menu, I will miss it, simply due to force of habit. Although I am pleased that WinKey+R (Run) still exists for old-skool app launching.

Overall I'm pleased, although I don't understand the Microsoft User Account business. How does this translate to a Local Account? What do I enter when trying to log in to my PC from remotely - my name, email address? What's this bizarre "MicrosoftAccount" domain that keeps cropping up? Mucho confuso there.
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dosxuk
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 21.37
Location: Sheffield

cdd wrote:I'm not quite sure why IE10 thinks a handy keyboard shortcut is ESC to delete the content of a text box (such as the one I'm typing into) with no undo option.
IE has done this for years. It doesn't actually delete the contents, but resets the current form to the preset values (which may be nothing). Its effectively a keyboard shortcut to the luckily underused <input type="reset" /> button.
woah
Posts: 345
Joined: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 12.39
Location: Sheffield

I'm getting a new laptop shortly and can't decide whether I'm going to take the plunge and go for Windows 8. I really can't be doing with bouncing in and out of the Metro interface all day long, not with a mouse and keyboard anyway, so I think if I do get a Windows 8 machine I'd also have to get this to save me the irritation. Unlike a lot of these mods it doesn't look out of place and is fully functional.

I like the speed and performance improvements in 8, that's what is tempting me - but I definitely don't like the Metro interface on non-touchscreen systems - and I don't like the silly dual boot screen either which effectively loads Windows 8, then asks what operating system you want to load and if it's not Windows 8, it reboots the machine and you have to go through the loading process again. I do hope that's something that has changed in the RTM version!
Jovis
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri 25 Aug, 2006 20.08

Have you used the new interface for any length of time?
woah
Posts: 345
Joined: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 12.39
Location: Sheffield

Jovis wrote:Have you used the new interface for any length of time?
A couple of weeks, yes.
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martindtanderson
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A lot of the new laptops/pcs out there includes Touch displays, so if you can afford a newer machine, the touch screen may make life much more pleasant.
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Jake
Posts: 214
Joined: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 13.00
Location: Derbyshire

Updating the trackpad drivers on my laptop made a world of difference. Gestures make the experience a lot smoother.
eoin
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue 01 Feb, 2005 21.06

Jake wrote:Updating the trackpad drivers on my laptop made a world of difference. Gestures make the experience a lot smoother.
Could you expand on that? Are trackpad manufacturers releasing updates for Windows 8? I have a two year old laptop with a Synaptics trackpad, their website seems to have no mention of such updates.
Jake
Posts: 214
Joined: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 13.00
Location: Derbyshire

eoin wrote:
Jake wrote:Updating the trackpad drivers on my laptop made a world of difference. Gestures make the experience a lot smoother.
Could you expand on that? Are trackpad manufacturers releasing updates for Windows 8? I have a two year old laptop with a Synaptics trackpad, their website seems to have no mention of such updates.
Yeah, best checking your laptop manufacturer's website. But I found updated drivers for both my 3 year old HP and my parents Acer.
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