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)?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?
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.
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.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".
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.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.
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.