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Backported to the Desktop

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  • I, WindowsVista567, created this post under an account that has since been deleted. If you have any questions about this post, I will respond to them from the "WindowsVista567" account, as I no longer have access to this one. Visit the "WindowsVista567 - old account" profile page for more information. The same is true of all other posts from 'WindowsVista567 - old account."

    How is the Windows 8 Start Screen and Metro UI being developed? For the moment, it looks like it was designed only for touch, and then backported to the desktop. Admittedly, this use of "backported" is not entirely correct, but the concept is similar. After using Windows 8 for some time, opening the Start Screen to launch programs starts to seem tedious. Most of the tiles on the Start Screen are completely irrelevant to anything I would ever do on my computer (Socialite and Tweet@rama?), and customizing the screen takes more work than it should. In some ways, I almost feel like the Tablet vs. PC situation that we are accustomed to has been reversed. Instead of modifying Windows slightly so that it works on tablets, this version feels like it as been backported from tablets to PC's. Is there any possiblity that the Start Screen will become more customized for mice in the future, or even slightly depreciated so that it doesn't feel jarring to switch back and forth? I like the Start Screen, and the Metro UI is a good step forward, but it feels a little like trying to navigate an iPad with a mouse. I would almost recommend developing a separate version of the Start Screen for regular computers, with better integration with the desktop, or a version of the Start Screen that isn't trying to be in your face all the time. Keep in mind, Windows will most likely still be far more common on desktops and laptops than it will be on tablets and slates. Most demos at this point have only showcased Windows 8 on touch computers, and Steven Sinofsky's demo of Windows on the desktop does not match up with my experiences using it on a regular, everyday PC. Typically, a version designed from the ground up for something is better than a port or conversion. In my experience, it is very rare that software converted from one platform to another is as good as something designed from the ground up for one single platform. The Metro UI is not bad, and I like some aspects of it, but it feels like it is running on the wrong kind of hardware on a desktop or laptop, which is how most people will see it in the end.

    Friday, September 16, 2011 8:04 PM

All replies

  • Thank you for your feedback, mt325000.  We are always glad to hear of your experiences with Windows Developer Preview and ideas to improve it.


    Greg - Microsoft Support Engineer
    Friday, September 16, 2011 8:25 PM
  • I hope I haven't offended anyone with my post. I would like to avoid crossing the line between constructive criticism and senseless complaining, as some users on this forum have done. However, please don't shove desktop and laptop users, Microsoft's primary consumer base, into a "legacy" corner, like Google is doing. At this point, I would rather have a real desktop PC than a tablet, or even a laptop, and the current development strategy is confusing to me. Why make the desktop version of Metro a version that is converted from a touchscreen interface when it is the desktop/laptop version that people will see most often? Even if it isn't a touchscreen interface that was converted for desktop users, it feels like one. If you are wondering why I am so worried about the future of Windows, look at what happens to video games when they are converted from one platform to another one. It is very rare that the conversion is as good as the original. In the case of "Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis," the GameBoy Advance version of the first "Sonic the Hedgehog" game, the developer, Sega, took a good game and ruined it. This is not what I see in the case of Windows 8, but I do see some interesting paralells. The phrase "touch-first" almost certainly means something like "laptops second, and desktops third." Please reconsider this strategy, and try to do something more geared toward desktops, like Office 2007's Ribbon UI.
    Friday, September 16, 2011 8:35 PM
  • No mt325000, you have not offended anyone that I know of. We welcome well thought out feedback on Windows Developer Preview.  Thank you for your time in posting your experiences with it.
    Greg - Microsoft Support Engineer
    Friday, September 16, 2011 9:32 PM
  • Couldn't agree more.
    Friday, September 16, 2011 11:10 PM
  • Actually, I just thought of a better idea. Instead of having the Start Screen completely replace the desktop unless the "Desktop" button is clicked, have the Start Screen load with the Desktop still visible underneath, rather than switching back and forth. This way, Windows would still be reimagined, and still look like Windows. I actually think this would be one of the best ways to ease the transtition. Instead of pushing the desktop entirely out of the way, have more integration between the desktop and the Metro UI. For example, after logging in to Windows, the first thing the user could see might be the Start Screen with a darkended desktop underneath. By clicking on a button, the user could make the Start Screen disappear and bring the desktop forward. This way, Windows still resembles the older versions. Keep in mind, though, that my idea for this is that it would only work as described above on non-touch devices. On tablets and smartphones only, which will feature only minimal backward compatiblity, the Metro UI works fine in its current state (at least, I think... I dont' have any tablets to test it with). This would also make it easier to mix Metro apps with the Desktop. The only issue would be the Snap feature, which really isn't a good idea on desktops anyway. There are better ways to use apps side by side, I am sure. A method of mixing desktop apps and Metro apps would work out a lot better than having two separate worlds of computing.
    Friday, September 16, 2011 11:36 PM
  • Though it is certainly an option that would be less jarring - I think your comment is based on the idea that Metro is (in fact) the proper choice and people just need to be eased into it. I personally think the Metro implimentation in the developer preview is absolutely the wrong direction to go on systems that use a keyboard & mouse vs. those that use touch.
    Friday, September 16, 2011 11:41 PM
  • As of now, I no longer agree with my "Start Screen on the desktop" suggestion that I made. I believe that an effective desktop OS would not have the Start Screen replace the Start Menu at all. However, as I said before, I can't edit that post as I deleted that account a long time ago.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011 8:32 PM