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Why Windows 8.1 needs to bring back the full Start menu

By on June 10, 2013 3:39:01 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1120

imageWindows 8.1 is scheduled to bring the Start button back to the Windows 8 desktop. However, it will not include the Start menu. Instead, it’ll simply transport the user out of the desktop and back into the Metro Start screen environment.  This is a mistake.

I realize that there lots of people out there who like the Start screen metaphor.  And we can argue whether the Start screen is a more productive environment than the traditional desktop until the end of time.  However, what isn’t debatable is that such a radical departure from 20 years of training is very expensive and disruptive.

Not everyone, in fact, I would argue not even most people are particularly familiar with using computers even today. They have some expertise with some piece of software but in terms of navigating the operating system itself, their understanding is remarkably fragile.  I run into this every day when I deal with enterprise customers (who, I might add, represent a significant percentage of the 5+ million Start8 users out there). 

I don’t think most technically savvy people realize just how reliant on documentation the average user is. Whether that be a computer book, a website, or even the training manual for the support people who are trying to help walk through people updating their cable modem or the streaming video service or access their online banking account, people rely on existing documentation. And that documentation – those 20 years of accumulated knowledge – has real value. This is value that Microsoft is discarding for purposes that make little sense.

I personally have no issue with the Start screen or Metro. I find Metro (even the Windows 8.1 iteration) to be wholly inferior to the desktop for trying to get work done but it’s not something that can’t be improved on with a few more iterations.  What I do object to is forcing users to completely switch paradigms where the new one offers no tangible benefit to the bulk of the existing user base.  The user base should be gradually migrated over to the Start screen/Metro/ModernUI environment based on the intrinsic advantages it delivers (which, right now, are not very apparent to the non-touch user).

As much of a boon Microsoft’s design choices have been to our business this past year, our first concern has to be for the health of the overall ecosystem.  Start8 and ModernMix are products we’ve created to make Windows 8 more usable for our customers. But they are features that should have been part of the OS from day 1. They should never had to be made. Microsoft should realize that the immense popularity of these programs indicates that people want these features and should have made them part of Windows 8.1. 

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June 10, 2013 3:49:48 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

This would be one of those posts that you just can't argue with. I know nothing of enterprise customers, but everyone I know personally hates the modern UI and loves Start8.

I have no idea what MS was thinking, but I know it was wrong.

 

Thanks Brad, and Stardock for giving me my PC back.

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June 10, 2013 4:26:41 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I for one will be happy to keep paying Stardock $10-$20 every few years for more usable interfaces.

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June 10, 2013 4:50:12 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I wonder if all of the things that have been talked about Windows 8 as being negative is the reason it shows up on less desktops than Vista at the moment?  

I guess it could also be just bad marketing.

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June 10, 2013 5:03:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I completely agree with this message. The start menu has been around for quite some time, and I do not see any productivity change otherwise. Well, at least someone is making money off of a simple mistake by MS. I do hope that they figure this out and update an appropriate UI for the future.

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June 10, 2013 6:13:37 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Ynglaur,
I for one will be happy to keep paying Stardock $10-$20 every few years for more usable interfaces.

I'll pay much more that that, every year, to have at least some control over how my computer looks and operates.

If 8.1 doesn't bring it back, well, there's always 8.2, 8.3, 8.4................

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June 10, 2013 6:45:05 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I sometimes find that some products remove features and configurations that I like, while adding new features that interfere with old features.

For instance, many years ago pushing the middle mouse button (or mouse wheel if you prefer) while using an internet browser would activate a scrolling feature that allow you to scroll horizontally and vertically depending on the position the cursor was from where you pushed the middle mouse button (it would leave an image where it was so you could easily figure out which way you were going to scroll). As such, you didn't need to use the scroll bars on the side of the window any more. But then Firefox added a feature that allowed you to open new links and tabs by moving your mouse over it and pressing the middle mouse button. Since many websites I go to back then had many images that were also links, it became difficult to scroll using the way I was accustomed to without opening new windows and tabs. I had to be careful where I had my mouse at the time when I tried to scroll, instead of scrolling where ever I felt like it. I tried going back to Internet Explorer, but it didn't take long for Microsoft to duplicate that feature from Firefox and put it into Internet Explorer.

Another example was how Microsoft had removed the menu bar in Microsoft Office and replaced it with a ribbon system. They didn't give you an option to go back and use the old system; they simply removed it completely.

Many internet browsers now hide the menu bar by default (and other things), but I haven't run into to many problems with making things look the way they did before. So I'm currently relieved about internet browsers.

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June 10, 2013 9:15:42 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

These issues should be put in the faces of those who are responsible for the OS being the way it is. I mean right up front and in your face! Otherwise its all moot. I doubt very much the people over at MS even read these posts. To get them to sit up and take notice means that sometimes you gots to get a bit aggressive. Hit them with it loud enough, hard enough and fast enough so as to leave them no choice in the matter.

My two cents.

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June 10, 2013 11:11:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The success of Stardock's 'fixes' for the Win8 GUI should be a wake up call for MS [if they weren't actually comatose].

I kinda prefer their ennui, however, as it means SD's future/longevity is assured....

Why worry about getting a new game release 'right' when all you have to do is wait for MS to get a new OS release 'wrong'? ....

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June 10, 2013 11:33:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Did you write that Uvah?        Is my friend Ross in there?   

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June 11, 2013 1:25:59 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Setting up two 2012 servers at the moment. Doing real intense administrative work without having a startmenu is a real pain there. So I ended up installing the Start8 trial. Eventually I get the customer to buy 2 licenses... It is not like it is an awful lot of money for a company...

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June 11, 2013 4:05:17 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Jafo summed it up nicely. MS could take lessons from devs who know what they're doing. Case in point...Windowblinds 8. Nuff said!

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June 11, 2013 4:14:25 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I meet people all the time who have bought new computers and didn't realize how different W8 is from what they are used to (read migrating from xp/vista).

I always give them links to both Start8 and modern mix.

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June 11, 2013 7:27:30 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

While i partly agree with Frogboys post i still think that the lack of tutorials on a new OS number with completely new and different Interfaces is the reason it is what its is today. Start8 can solve the need of a missing startbutton and desktop startmenu while i think it is not needed as much as ModernMix. ModerMix is crucial to every windows8 user i think simpl,y because it provides the freedom to use your desktop after i installed it its the number 1 software for me that did what i wanted modern apps to be capable of. 

 

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June 11, 2013 9:28:23 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

As an Enterprise CTO, frogboys comments are spot on.  The cost of retraining, increase in help desk support staff etc, is one of the core reasons not to upgrade to a new OS (forget the compatibility issues for this discussion), with a whole new UI.  Myself and all of my peers within the industry have no plans at all to upgrade from win 7 to win 8. In fact a great many are still transitioning from XP.  Whilst Start8 is a great product for domestic use, even the thought of users accidentally getting into the metro screen, would give me nightmares, knowing full well that as soon as that happened they would be straight onto the help desk.  You would be amazed at how long it takes to train a normal office worker how to use office & explorer.  even a small change in the UI eg Explorer is extremely expensive & disruptive.  If you then take away the one part of the OS that has been constant for users regardless of which company they have previously worked for & which version of windows they have been on, you are asking for a huge headache.  For the cost of that I could retrain everyone to use Linux & open office & save a fortune.

Just my thoughts on an excellent OP.

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June 11, 2013 9:32:32 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

There is a simple solution. Tell Microsoft what you think with your wallet. Don't buy Windows 8. Stick to Windows 7.

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June 11, 2013 1:44:58 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting kona0197,
Tell Microsoft what you think with your wallet

Hasn't made any difference. Every new thingie that comes out people will jump all over it. Its keep up with the joneses type thing.

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June 11, 2013 1:56:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

All of my Enterprise clients are sticking with Win7 (and WinXP to a lesser extent) rather than go up to Win8.  I think I can count the number of times I've seen them use Vista on one hand.

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June 11, 2013 2:24:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Uvah,
Hasn't made any difference. Every new thingie that comes out people will jump all over it. Its keep up with the joneses type thing.

Actually it has. As you know Windows 8 has a very small market share.

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June 11, 2013 7:24:03 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

It strikes me that all MS had to do was build on what the Start Menu already does.

So for example, let's say that you have a particular session (saved tabs) you want to restore in your browser, how cool would it be if all your browser sessions were on the Start menu (or pinned to the Quick-Launch, that works too)?

Or maybe you have a few applications that you want to open together with their last files to resume working on what you were doing when you were last at the computer.  I mean you can drill for each thing but tis tedious.  I would love to be able to just walk away, make a cuppa, come back and everything is ready for input.

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June 11, 2013 7:49:05 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

What I wonder is, why not make the Metro Start Menu the default, and the old fashioned one optional? This way, many would stick with the garbage Metro version, but enterprise users could enable the good old fashioned ones themselves.

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June 11, 2013 7:54:49 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

As much of a boon Microsoft’s design choices have been to our business this past year, our first concern has to be for the health of the overall ecosystem.

That is the ethical stand to take...and SD's traditional one. That kind of corporate culture should be far more pervasive than it is. It wouldn't harm profits in the least, as customer satisfaction counts a good deal.

 

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June 12, 2013 12:39:07 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I have mixed feelings on this topic.

It's pretty obvious that MS is not going to bring back the old start menu. 

Start8 does a fantastic job of accomplishing that task. Much better than any of the rivals out there.

However.. I think people are doing themselves an injustice in relying on it. You aren't going to learn the new way if you have to rely on this method.

I will agree that the new features should have been rolled out in phases instead of all at once, but it is what it is. Learn it or move over before you get caught in a wider array of the learning curve.

- and please... be realistic with the "move to Linux" stuff. It isn't going to happen.

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June 12, 2013 12:46:45 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

LOL, Don't think you read my post fully. I wasn't talking about moving to Linux. I was talking about retraining costs, & why corporates will hang onto Win7 as long as possible.  So much so that it's cheaper for companies to flatten pre installed win 8 machines (or downgrade) to windows 7 ( or even buy a new win 7 licence) then it is to use Win8.

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June 12, 2013 12:55:09 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

didn't mean anyone in particular Maverick. I just know that the remark is coming from somewhere in the peanut gallery 

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June 12, 2013 1:25:25 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Maverick1310,

LOL, Don't think you read my post fully. I wasn't talking about moving to Linux. I was talking about retraining costs, & why corporates will hang onto Win7 as long as possible.  So much so that it's cheaper for companies to flatten pre installed win 8 machines (or downgrade) to windows 7 ( or even buy a new win 7 licence) then it is to use Win8.

My company (in the top 100 of Fortune 500 companies) really just started this year upgrading everyone from Windows XP to Windows 7. Windows 8 isn't even on the horizon.

 

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