Get Ready For The Renewed Windows 8 No-Start-Button Scandal

In geek circles, we've been playing with Windows 8 test versions for so long that debates over the used-to-be-called-Metro updated Windows 8 interface feel like old news. It's easy to forget that when Windows 8 actually drops on October 26, that change is going to become much more obvious to the vast majority of computer users, and there's going to be a lot of complaining.

I was reminded of this last night when chatting with Waleed Aly on Radio National Drive about Windows 8. It was a good discussion (you can catch it online), but I was surprised that as soon as I mentioned the disappearance of the Start button — a relatively minor alteration compared to the overall interface switch — this became the focus of conversation.

But really, why wouldn't it? I've been covering technology long enough to remember when the introduction of the Start button was a big deal, but that 17 years ago. For many computer users, Windows and the Start button are inseparable; that's how you do things. Taking that away is inevitably going to cause a big reaction, and that reaction hasn't yet spread from the geeky to the masses.

A popular school of thought suggests that Windows 8 is due to be the "bad version", working on the theory that alternating releases of Windows are either widely accepted or broadly rejected (by this thinking, 7 was good, Vista was bad, XP was good, 98 was bad, 95 was good . . .) I'm not particularly convinced by this line of reasoning, mostly because there's a big difference between what was wrong with Vista — sloppy performance and terrible driver support — and what's perceived to be wrong with Windows 8 (a very different interface).

While I still think Windows 8 is unquestionably tablet-centric and that most existing users will be in Desktop mode all the time, I'm much more relaxed about that interface switch than I was when it was first announced.

In part, that's what always happens; you rally against a change before getting used to it. In part it's because I've come to accept that there are definite benefits to the new interface. But mostly, it's because once Classic Shell updated to provide a Start menu alternative, I knew I could have the best of both worlds; a keyboard driven Start-button interface for my classic Desktop apps, and the Metro interface for newer stuff or when I was on a tablet.

For people who mostly use a mouse and are happy pinning items to the Start bar, Classic Shell would be overkill. The search option within Windows 8 works well; hit the Windows key and start typing, and you'll find things very quickly, just as you do now. There will be new options to learn (such as the revised keyboard shortcuts), but that happens with any new platform.

So when people say to me "Does it matter that there isn't a Start button?", I'll be saying "Not spectacularly". But I don't expect the change to go unremarked. The sound and the fury always happens.


Comments

    Angus wrote "I still think Windows 8 is unquestionably tablet-centric". I still don't get this attitude. Yes, there is unquestionably a great deal of new, tablet-centric stuff but none of that needs to affect desktop users. Once you get to the desktop it is pretty much business as usual, only better. If you don't want to deal with the tablet-centric stuff there is nothing at all forcing you to, except for the Start Screen which is measurably better in every way than the Vista/Win7 Start Menu. It is much easier to find stuff and is far more customisable for the stuff you use all the time. Instead of making Start8 for Windows 8, Stardock ought to be making it for Win7, to bring all the brilliant new features of the Start Screen to Win7.

    I found the Vista/Win7 Start menu so bad that I almost never used it. Instead, for the first time in my 15 years of Windows use, I relied almost exclusively on pinning shortcuts to my desktop to get to my applications. Yes, I kept my absolutely most used things pinned to the Start Menu but once that was full I had no useful option beyond pinning shortcuts to the desktop.

    That said, I think MS are being stupid and bloody-minded by leaving the Start Button out. It is going to make everyone's first experience incredibly frustrating until they work out what to do to get around it. They should make it appear the first time you run Win8, but give users the option to ditch it once they realise they no longer need it.

    Last edited 03/10/12 11:51 am

      "They should make it appear the first time you run Win8, but give users the option to ditch it once they realise they no longer need it."

      Operating system + game design = scary (also awesome!) future where the OS determines your psychology by your usage patterns and adapts itself in various ways. Sounds terrifying and amazing.

      " If you don't want to deal with the tablet-centric stuff there is nothing at all forcing you to, except for the Start Screen which is measurably better in every way than the Vista/Win7 Start Menu. "

      I really don't understand your hatred of the Win 7 start menu. I use it every day and it's great. Functionally it's exactly the same as the previous start menus except it doesn't keep expanding to take up more and more of the screen as you go deeper into the folder structure, and that's a good thing. I like having everything neatly tucked away in there instead of having my desktop and taskbar cluttered with icons.

        OK, here is an example for you. Every now and then I might need something that comes with an application. For example, let's say I want to use Soundbooth, a part of Adobe CS4 that I probably only use a few times a year but when I need it, I really need it. In Win7 there was simply no room to pin an icon for something like this, so I had to go through this sequence of clicks:
        Start -> All Programs -> Adobe Creative Suite - > Programs (or something like that) -> SoundBooth
        In Win8 I have room enough to pin absolutely everything to the screen, so it is just Win key -> Soundbooth. But even if I hadn't pinned it, it would still just be Win Key -> All Apps -> Soundbooth. 2 or 3 steps instead of 5. And that is for something I knew the location of. For other things, like a PDF file that might install with a plug-in or driver for instance, it is easier to find it in Explorer than on the Win7 Start Menu, whereas the old fly-out menus in XP at least made it easier/faster to navigate around.

        I never had my desktop or taskbar cluttered with icons until I started using Vista/Win7. Before then things were easy to find. It was only after they started to obscure things behind layers and layers of folders that I found I needed to pin things all over the place. Now that I am on Win8, I have gone back to a clutter-free desktop.

          In Windows Vista or 7, try pressing windows key or opening the start menu then typing soundbooth. Mind blown??

          But on Win7 isn't it just "winkey, s-o-u-n-d-b, enter?"

            How are 8 keystrokes better than 2 mouse clicks? Having to use my keyboard is a total failure of UI design as far as I'm concerned. I'm happy to press the WIN key because I can do that without taking my hand off my mouse but as soon as I have to start typing it is a complete disruption to whatever I was trying to do.

              Have to agree with the search approach. I can type must faster then I can eyeball where the app I need is and move my hand in that direction. Search. Everything.

              BUT the Window 8 start screen is fantastic. There's a couple of niggles and annoyances around having to remember two different UI's and their respective actions (e.g. click from top of screen and drag down to close an app - feels a bit silly when you accidently try that on a desktop app) but most of the bad press will be users struggling with the change or not KNOWING what the new way is. I still think MS could have done more to help users figure out how to do things. Many will struggle.

              If 2 mouse clicks is a less intuitive response than 8 keystrokes, it's not necessarily an improved experience.

              The primary goal for UI design is to implement whatever requires the least amount of conscious thought between the user wanting access to an application, and getting it. Consider if the 2 mouse clicks require the user to go "click -> look around and locate application -> click", but the 8 keystrokes are "winkey -> type first 6 letters of application -> enter". That second option probably takes more physical effort (depending on whether they dart the mouse around the screen while they're looking in option 1), but less mental effort. So 2 mouse clicks can be more disruptive becasue they interrupt the user's thought processes.

              Of course, that relies on the user knowing the name of what they're after. If they don't know, it's a tough call. More visually-oriented users might prefer 8, while text-oriented users might prefer 7.

              Last edited 04/10/12 9:16 am

                Except text-oriented users can still do the exact same thing in 8, Windows key then typing and pressing enter still works with the start screen.

          Again, it's functionally EXACTLY THE SAME as previous start menus. The only difference is, it doesn't keep expanding to take up the screen the deeper into the folder structure you go, it stays in the original menu. Which I think is a good thing. I've never had any problems locating an application I want to use.

    Ugh this crap again.
    Dont like it, dont upgrade.

    I use the start button the whole part of once every few days if that. My usual way of doing things is either winkey + "search term" or using the applications i have pinned on my taskbar.

    Storm in a teacup as far as i am concerned.

      When I first read winkey my brain read it as "Winky" ;-) .

      Henceforth I shall call it Winky!

        I, too, was wondering about the new slang term "winkey" and what it meant.

        I for one don't use the winkey, having used computers for a couple decades before keyboards had them. Oh, and I didn't attend a school that favored emacs, either, so shift, control and eventually alt were all that I had in terms of special keys.

    I don't own a tablet. No, really. Because of this, I'm having a hard time imagining what you'd use the start screen for, given that I use my start menu for the search bar, the "Computer" button to open Windows Explorer, and just some recently launched programs. Anyone able to provide an insight as to why a tablet-like interface might be more useful than the start menu?

      The Start Screen is far more customisable. If you head over to my blog - http://knobatron.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/start-screen/ - you can see how I have customised mine with my own functional groups for "graphics" and "music" related software, complete with headers. It took me only a couple of minutes to do and when/if I install new applications, I just drag the tile to the spot I want it. Best of all, when I start my PC in the morning, it goes straight there so instead of having an empty desktop, I have all my app tiles and all I need to do is click on the first thing I need for the morning. It makes the hours of time and effort I put into making a Rainmeter skin almost seem like a huge waste.

        From your screen shots - it looks like a slightly more sophisticated desktop (with no background image).
        What's the difference between having folders, tiles, shortcuts, icons etc as opposed to just having shotrcuts on desktops (or start menus) like we do today?

          For one thing they are single-click, not double-click. For another they are LIVE Tiles, so they update with useful info, like who your unread emails are from or latest news headlines or the current weather. The tiles are as much like desktop gadgets as they are like app shortcuts. So you are getting the possibility of extra functionality.

          Of course, there is none of that for desktop applications right now but that is probably as much because they are made for Win7 than anything. Hopefully when software devs start upgrading their products, we might see expanded functionality in the Live Tiles for things like Photoshop. It might just show your recent files list or something, but it could be handy. We'll just have to wait and see but already I find it much better.

        That's pretty cool, actually. I hope the load time is a lot less than trying to have all those pieces of software load on launch on older versions of Windows :P

        The thing that's most worrying is the (likely irrational) association between "tablet UI" and "one program at a time" which I, and I imagine a lot of other people, just can't shake. Do many programs launch in full-screen by default? Can this be mitigated or properly prevented? Does everything play nicely with pre-Win8 software which runs natively in windows?

        I appreciate your responses, by the way! ^_^

          All pre-Win8 software still works the same, you have the desktop if you want it (with all it's normal windowy behaviour), the 'tablet ui' can have 2 things visible at once, either one full screen, or one mostly full screen and one sidebar.
          Because the desktop is just another app, you can actually have the desktop take up most of the screen with another sidebar app if you wanted too.

      Live tiles. I can go to the start screen and instantly see how many new emails I've got thanks to the Mail live tile, and it'll show who they're from too. The People live tile tells me about new twitter and facebook notifications. I have other tiles that show stuff as well. So basically, live tiles are what make it more useful. A quick, easy glance at everything that's going on around you. Sure is pretty helpful.
      Also, I find it quicker to use the start screen because everything's bigger and easier to click without missing, meaning I don't have to worry about mouse coordination so much and can zip around as quick as I want. Although, this is more a personal preference, not everyone will feel the same I suppose.

        So I guess it's a more powerful, functional, and extensible version of the desktop gadgets (also horribly known as widgets) that Win7 has on-screen by default, right? But they're also shortcuts to the full program. Hrm. Does that mean I can have a Livehacker "tile", so I can see at a glance, graphically, if there are new stories, in the same way Google Reader works for me now?

        And what other programs are "live" tiles? Email, Twitter, Facebook, etc, are kind of a given, since they're a bit like that on mobile operating systems, but what else works? Steam? IE/FF/Chrome? WoW/GW2? µTorrent? FileZilla? What else works?

          Any metro app can be a live tile, the developers just have to code it in. So no live tiles for desktop programs unfortunately. Live tiles can show practically anything. The tile for Solitaire shows my solitaire statistics, but that's not something I look at often :P You can also turn live tiles off if you want to, and then they'll just be just normal shortcuts.
          You can't create live tiles for websites, but there's probably an RSS Reader for Windows 8 that has live tile support that you could use. I haven't checked before though.

          Right now it is still in beta and no-one has released Win8 versions of anything except for a handful of Metro apps, so we can only really see what MS has done. Give it 6 months and who knows what we'll be seeing?

      I've been using Win8 daily and in all honesty if you want to keep using Start the way you do in Win7 (i.e. for search terms) that doesn't change in Win8.

      As for Explorer, Windows + E is the shortcut for Explorer in Win7 and that doesn't change in Win8, but you can always pin Explorer to your taskbar if you want to click on something.

      You may or may not find some reason to pin apps with live-tile information to your Start screen. I haven't, but that could be just because the Metro apps for e-mail, messaging and contacts (at least in consumer preview) are rubbish. What I have found is that Win8 is consistently snappier, with much closer integration into my Windows Live / MS Account (which I happen to like - you can also create a purely local account) and a couple of cool UI elements besides the Start screen.

      I barely see Metro at all, working almost exclusively in Desktop. I will be paying $40 to upgrade because nothing is any worse than Win7, and many things are better.

    Windows 98 wasn't bad. At all. Windows XP was terrible when it was first released. Everyone hated the new look. Sound familiar? When people talk about XP they're referring to Service Pack 3.

    Also, for everyone whinging about no start button, look down at your keyboards space bar. Now pan across to the left a little bit. OH, what's that? It's A START BUTTON!!!!

      OK, I'm looking to the left of my space bar. I see Ctrl, Alt, and a Pipe | Backslash \ key... nothing else.
      As for Win 8, its biggest problem isn't that its BAD - its just not enough of an improvement on Win 7. I see nothing that makes me want to stick a crowbar in my wallet and reward MS.

        you need a crowbar for your wallet for a $40 upgrade?

        Personally I think that, even if you completely ignore Windows Store Apps, the boot speed and multi-monitor support on the desktop are both worth the $40 upgrade cost. YMMV.

          agreed. plus the ease and speed of install was welcome.

    As mentioned above, Metro is aimed at tablets or touch screens to be specific. Why Microsoft decided to go at it like a bull at a gate on this I don't know but for me personally and a lot of other commenters, Metro is too invasive, it pops up when you don't need it and if you are running a taskbar organiser then you just don't need it. MS should give PC users the choice whether they want the start button or not, not have Metro forced on them. I can only assume that the great unwashed will be of mixed feelings about it too. Having said that, I can't wait to get hold of a tablet with 8 on it.

      Where does Metro stuff "pop up where you don't need it"? All my desktop software looks, feels and runs EXACTLY as it does in Win7. The OS driven open/close dialogues are exactly the same and there is nowhere at all that Metro has invaded.

      Even the OS itself is very, very similar to Win7 once you get to the desktop, the Metro stuff is almost all added onto what was already there. The one and only thing that has been replaced is the Start Menu, which was something that was badly broken before and is much, much better now.

      If you don't like things like the Metro-centric Settings, don't use them. Control Panel is still there and works just as it has since Vista. If anything it is easier to get to now than it was before (via right-click in the bottom-left corner of the screen). Other new Metro add-ons, like the Charms Bar and new app switcher are often handier and/or more useful than their traditional counterparts - ALT+Tab for switching and the System Tray for what the Charms Bar does - but now you get to choose which you use. I tend to use a bit of each, which has greatly improved the way I interact with my PC overall. After a year or so with WIn8, Win7 feels so slow and out of date now and the Start Menu still infuriates me at times, whereas if I have an issue with the Start Screen, it only takes me a moment to fix it for good.

        I use 'Start8' and a taskbar manager, so I haven't seen Metro in ages
        You really do have a bug up yer but about Metro dude. Take a pill and relax.!

          No, I just don't understand the attitude and I was hoping you could clarify it for me. Obviously my expectations were a little too high.

          I tried Start8 and it is measurably worse than the Start Screen. It also does stuff that makes Win8 worse overall. I can't remember exactly what it borked now but I removed it after one evening with it. They do seem to have updated since then, though, so maybe they fixed it but I just can't see the point in returning to something that was as seriously bad as the Vista Start Menu. There are a few things I might want to fix in WIn8 if I got the chance but the Start Screen is definitely not one of them.

          I go to the desktop when I start my machine in the morning and, just like you, I never see any Metro stuff all day. I don't need any 3rd party software for that, just Win8's desktop.

          I can't even imagine why I might need a Taskbar Manager, I didn't even know such a thing existed. I have built a few launchers in Rainmeter but that is only because it makes my desktop look really cool, not because it adds any functionality.

      Can you give me an example of when metro pops up when you don't need it please? I can't think of when that's happened for me in the last few months I've been using it.
      Anyway, I don't believe at all that Metro is touch specific. Microsoft's whole plan is to make an OS that works well on tablets, laptops, desktops, and hybrid devices. I don't think they're stupid enough to focus on only one of those four kinds of devices and then slap on support for the others as an afterthought. I personally find metro really nice to use with keyboard+mouse, and I don't see why people think it isn't. There's nothing I've come across that's horribly implemented on keyboard+mouse, everything works as expected and does so rather well. If you want an example of something that was designed for one kind of input and had keyboard+mouse support slapped on as an afterthought, you should try out Steam Big Picture mode.

    I'm using Start8 as well - it's great, don't have to deal with metro and it's silly un-killable metro apps at all now.
    Biggest problem for me has been driver support. The VPN tool I use for work doesn't support windows 8 yet, and I've also had issues connecting my Samsung Galaxy Nexus and getting the drivers working on Windows 8.
    Luckily my printer/scanner is working this time around though (I had to give away my last printer when it didn't support win7 x64 and canon had no intention of adding support for it)

      What "unkillable Metro apps"? If you want to kill a Metro app, just go to the app switcher on the left edge of the screen, right-click on the thumbnail and select close. Of if you are in the app, just click near the top and drag it downwards. It ain't rocket science.

      The only driver problems I've experienced are with installers that refuse to recognise Windows 8 as the correct OS for the driver version. Once you unpack the .inf files and stuff though, I've been able to install drivers for everything I've tried. MS learned their lesson with Vista and have said that Win8 will not require any updates to hardware drivers, so everything should work.

    You got the good/bad releases a bit wrong.
    3.1 good
    95 bad
    98 good
    2000/NT bad
    XP good
    Vista bad
    7 good
    8 ???

      Why is Win95 Windows NT and Windows 2000 bad? They were good for their time and I think WinNT was better than Win2000.

        Which WinNT? NT was a whole branch of proper OSes that mirrored the consumer version of Windows. i.e. WinNT 3 looked and felt like Windows 3.1, WinNT 4.0 looked and felt like Win95. Win2000 was the first version of NT to include DirectX and led directly to the convergence of the two OSes with WinXP. Since then every version of Windows has been a version of NT.

      NT bad!?!? Don't make me laugh. Every release of NT was way better than it's consumer counterpart. Why else do you think they migrated it all across to the NT kernel with WinXP? I'd also suggest that Vista is on par with Win7, if not just slightly better, although given that Vista is NT 6.0 and Win7 is actually just NT 6.1, they are pretty much identical. So saying one is bad and the other good is pretty laughable.

        7 has a lot of UI retooling to be more responsive than Vista and that's what people notice. But they're mainly identical under the hood - just like Win 8 is mainly identical to Win 7, except for all the things they've tweaked and optimized, and the UI change.

        Interesting that everyone forgets about Windows ME as well. I guess that might be because no one ever got it to stay up for long enough to use it?

          I don't find Win7 any more responsive than Vista was after SP1. Win7 seemed to make arbitrary changes simply to distance it from Vista and some of it was definitely not for the better. e.g They completely stuffed WMP to the point of it being unusable for syncing the USB thumb drives I use to listen to music in the car. Since I got onto Win7, and now Win8, I have had to load them through Explorer, which is far less elegant.

        You clearly never had to manage a domain of hundreds of NT machines. There were numerous things the consumer versions did better when it came to installing devices and software. Even though there were solid security reasons for this, the point remains.

        But your general lack of knowledge of computing never stops you having a detailed opinion of it. I always enjoy your fact free rants.

        Vista better than 7? You are too funny. You clearly also didnt have to support hundreds of machines during the Vistapocalypse. It eventually got ok, but then so did Windows ME after a billion patches, but its useability image never recovered.

      I always thought it went
      95 good
      98 bad
      2000 good
      ME bad
      XP good
      Vista bad
      7 good

      the way I remember was like this

      3.1 - good
      95 - good
      98 - bad
      98 SE - good
      ME - horrible horrible horrible horrible horrible horrible horrible horrible
      2000 - good
      XP - good (was basically 2000 with new look anyway)
      Vista - average at best
      7 - good

      2000 was the shit!! I was using 2000 for years after XP came out, pretty much up until most games started using Direct X 9 only, which meant I had to move off it!

    I have to laugh. This article is sponsored by Microsoft

      Motormouth is sponsored by Microsoft as well don't forget!

    Dear motormouth, you're an over zealous fanboy. You've shouted down everyone who has disagreed with you - congratulations.
    Metro does pop up shit everywhere. For example, if you put the mouse in one corner, you get a bunch of stuff. In Znither corner, different stuff. I'm an old school grey beard (with grey in my beard) and its the GUI I have disliked the most since I've been using GUIS (most probably GEOS on the c64).
    The paradigm is not intuitive. Then again, my favorite UI is the old Ububtu with three menus, apps, places, settings.
    I am not interested in guessing where things are. I'm not interested in apps that change context either. I read your arguments and I disagree. Feel free to shout me down too - but you won't change my mind. Win8 is a failure to me. You add a start button and an auto-bypass to goto desktop, I may be more interested.

      I haven't shouted anyone down. All I have done is ask questions for purposes of clarification. I try to always offer concrete facts to back up my opinions, why is it so much to ask others to do the same?

      "For example, if you put the mouse in one corner, you get a bunch of stuff." Yeah, and if you press the Win key you get the Start Screen. The point is that you can avoid/ignore all of it if you want to. It doesn't get in the way. I'd also suggest that the examples you give are not particularly valid anyway, in that whilst the design of some of it may use the Metro design language, the size of the UI elements is much more in keeping with desktop use than touchscreen use. e.g. If I left-click on the wi-fi icon in the System Tray, I get the Charms Bar with a list of available networks with icons to show signal strength. The UI is relatively small and unobtrusive. OTOH, if I right-click and choose the traditional Windows desktop option, I get a huge window full of irrelevant krap. In Win7 I'd get a smaller window if I left-clicked but overall I think the Metro one is no more intrusive at all.

      When you suggest that Metro stuff opens all over the place, I think it is only significant if it is like the Metro apps - ridiculously big for a full-size monitor. For other things where it is just different and in no way worse (or better), like the example I gave, I don't see that it is a valid criticism. If you can show me why it is, I'm happy to have my mind changed but I don't see any significant reason why a slim panel down one edge of the screen is such a burden compared to a similar sized window opening over the top of what you are doing.

      "I am not interested in guessing where things are." But everything is where it has always been. The Start Screen is where the Start Menu used to be, the System Tray is where it's always been and you can access all the things you used to access from the Start Button from exactly where that button used to be. The only unintuitive bit is that they were dumb enough to remove the actual button but once you get over that one hurdle, everything is just as it was.

      That's the thing, everyone looks at an image of the Start Screen and thinks that Windows had undergone some massive change but the reality I've experienced is that it is exactly the same about 99% of the time. Yes, they have added a whole new bunch of stuff that wasn't there before but they haven't really done that much to the core desktop experience, other than to make it incrementally better in a few areas, like the Task Manager and Explorer. Those changes have far more impact on my daily work than any of the Metro stuff but no-one even seems to notice, much less care.

        Indeed, indeed.

        "I've experienced is that it is exactly the same about 99% of the time. "

        Indeed. It is basically Win7 with a Win8 wrapper and that wrapper is very thin.. a single button press and the veil of Win8 is removed.

        "I haven't shouted anyone down. All I have done is ask questions for purposes of clarification. I try to always offer concrete facts to back up my opinions, why is it so much to ask others to do the same?"

        "You don't even know if it is a problem. Like every other idiot out there, you are making assumptions based on a couple of screenshots and what another bunch of idiots has said."

        Yep, Motormouth is alllllll about civil discussion.

    Even though nothing will change, I still can't see how having a start button would have completely ruined the Metro experience. It's a tiny little square (or circle) at the bottom corner of the screen.

      I've been using Win8 for a few weeks and decided to try the start menu again - Stardock has an app that puts it back again. I found I clicked it 3 times and realised I didn't really miss it after all.

    Not sure why people feel Windows 8 is a tablet centric release. I use it on my laptop without any trouble. lack of touch screen is not a hindrance at all. Also, somehow the lack of start button seems to be overstated. Seems people just don't understand that the way Win 8 is made, start button is not required at all. You just have to press CTRL+F and the charm bar let's you search for yourr apps, setting and pretty much everything. This is very good and helpful even on a traditional desktop. I hardly spend much time on the desktop mode since the new start screen is so great and the apps on this framework is much better than the legacy one. Just hope Adobe comes out with a Photoshop in this framework :)

    with windows 7 i found that i only sued the start button to access the search box and used that to find all my software. windows 8 has search built in as well and is just as easy to access.
    i personally have no issue with the lack of start button and am looking forward to the full version of win 8

    Been using the Windows 8 since beta, and now using the version from MSDN. Took a while to get used to the lack of Start menu, but after hitting the windows button and typing started becoming used more, I love the new style. Perhaps it's my past in Linux that doesn't make me fret about typing!

    The zippiness is great compared to windows 7, particularly in boot speed. 6 seconds to boot, with no SSD, just a standard 7200rpm 1TB drive, and an AMD Phenom 2 processor. Very happy!

      It was actually the need to type into the WIn7 Start Menu to find things that made me hate it. With Win8 I no longer need to do that, which makes me very happy.

        the search box in the start menu in Vista and 7 was really there because start menus get so full of crap that its quicker to type what you want and let it find it for you.

        I know I very rarely use the start menu these days.

    Dear Lifehacker,
    I have a desktop with two non-touch monitors that I do not intend to replace.
    I would like to see a review of the Windows 8 experience when used on
    non-touch monitors versus Windows 7.

      I'm not providing a review... mostly because I have no expertise and also can't be bothered. That said, I have your exact set up - well, 2 non-touch monitors on my desktop. And I'm finding Win8 really nice. Better multi-monitor support out of the box without needing to install extra software.

      Day to day, I mostly have Desktop on both monitors and don't really notice the Win8 UI stuff. Other days I have my left monitor with a metro twitter feed and some other Win8 app (changes), with my right monitor in Desktop.

    I don't care one way or the other about the start menu, or the folders or the tablet-based layout. There's only one thing that will throw me off Windows 8. Can someone please confirm it for me?

    Does Windows 8 still come bundled with Onestop?

      It had better, that Midi is important goddammit!

    "by this thinking, 7 was good, Vista was bad, XP was good, 98 was bad, 95 was good . . ."

    You skipped ME. It should read "XP was good, ME was bad, 98 was good, 95 was bad". Which is pretty accurate.

    Guys, stop arguing about the Startbutton, those who miss the lovely Start button can just go and buy this app to return it. Stardock have been doing desktop customisation for a fairly long time now, they know what the masses really want.
    http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ (beta available for free)
    If I'm forced to use Win 8 (unlikley I can see most business skipping this just as most big business skipped vista outright, standard operating environments take quite some time to develop after a new OS comes out, it makes little business sense )
    As a former PC Tech, I pity anyone doing support when Win8 comes out.
    Please note: I have nothing to do with stardock, but when I see a valid solution to a probl for many, instinct to pass that info on to your all ;)

      I can vouch that they've done a good job on this. However, I found after a few days that I wasn't even using it after all! :D

      You don't even know if it is a problem. Like every other idiot out there, you are making assumptions based on a couple of screenshots and what another bunch of idiots has said.

    I've been using Windows 8 for over 3 months on my main desktop. It's fine. Get the feck over it.

    Sorry to be off topic, but for the trekkies out there, is Windows 8 looking more like LCARS?

    Why the hell do you need a tablet/touchscreen menu on a PC in the first place ?

    Wow Microsoft, you just revolutionized the mouse and keyboard Apple style !

    http://i.imgur.com/dsCQ1.jpg

    Last edited 05/10/12 1:07 am

    The alternating good/bad versions theory breaks down because you have forgotten the version that most deserves to be forgotten... Windows ME.

    As a .NET developer in a business environment, I find it quite frustrating to not have the Start button to access programs grouped by vendor, as well as the Computer, Network, Control Panel, and Printers options for accessing management tools. This is especially frustrating as an admin working on many different of servers, where dozens of applications are loaded and all get grouped together on the start page. Additionally, I cannot find how to send shortcuts to the desktop from the start page or the taskbar, which would make life somewhat easier.

    Windows has been successful because it gave users many ways to do the same thing, appealing to everyone's preferences (think menu vs hotkey vs button, etc). Why they think forcing everyone into a UI box will be a plus for the brand escapes me.

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