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Start Screen folders ?

    Question

  • Is it possible to create folders on the start screen, to group related programs ? If not we will end up with literally hundreds and hundres of tiles after installing several dozen program suites.

     

    e.g. Visual Studio, SQL Server, Office etc. all install many programs each. Splatting every individual program and utility onto the start screen will become a navigation nightmare.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 5:17 PM

Answers

All replies

  • No, there is no folder support in the Metro styled Start screen, nor it is planned. You can only visually group programs into "rectangled" areas.

    Additionally, you can unpin most of the programs and keep just the one you use most often and the others launch using Search (just start typing while in Start screen, or toup left bottom corner of the Start screen).

    • Edited by MCCZ Sunday, September 18, 2011 5:42 PM
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 5:41 PM
  • Whilst I see the Metro UI working well on tablet touch devices, I can't possibly see how this will work for desktop applications. The first thing I see corporate IT departments asking is how to turn it off! It might be Microsoft's big strategy for the tablet market, but it could be a serious barrier to Windows 8 in the enterprise. The many threads expressing similar sentiments show Microsoft has a lot of work to do either on the Windows 8 UI for business, or convincing users of the "benefits"(?) of it - probably both!
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 7:58 PM
  • No, there is no folder support in the Metro styled Start screen, nor it is planned. 

    That's ridiculous, I can understand it not being included in the dev preview, but no folders at all? Maybe I have to see it in action, but I know that I personally find hierarchical grouping, or at least categorical grouping to be very intuitive. Can these 'rectangled' areas be collapsed?
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 8:06 PM
  • Whilst I see the Metro UI working well on tablet touch devices, I can't possibly see how this will work for desktop applications. The first thing I see corporate IT departments asking is how to turn it off! It might be Microsoft's big strategy for the tablet market, but it could be a serious barrier to Windows 8 in the enterprise. The many threads expressing similar sentiments show Microsoft has a lot of work to do either on the Windows 8 UI for business, or convincing users of the "benefits"(?) of it - probably both!


    I don't see why they would ask to "turn it off", unless they weren't a very good IT department. *lol* There's a one-button press to get to the regular desktop that some old-school, set-in-their-ways IT guy can use to do anything he's used to doing in a more comfortable interface. And spend a few hours watching the keynote describing all of the performance benefits and integrations and it's easy to see how it can improve IT workflow at a corporate level. At least to me it is.

    But, once again, it's important to note that this is a DEVELOPER preview. It's not a business-user or end-user preview. And even then the benefits are pretty obvious to me after watching the keynote on more levels than you seem to be giving it credit for. Don't be so scared of something new. Aside from a few kinks here and there that will surely be fixed before a future version arrives, you can still use it in the same old manner you're used to.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 8:12 PM
  • No, they can't be collapsed in the current build and nothing has been stated about whether they will in the final build, but I guess that it is not planned currently.
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 8:13 PM
  • I think if the folder idea doesn't get included, then that's a great opportunity for a 3rd-party developer to create a Metro-style app that would give that functionality to you. It doesn't seem to me like it would be all that hard to put together. Especially with the templates already included in the Visual Studio 11 preview.
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 8:17 PM
  • Collapsing groups would largely defeat the purpose of Live Tiles, which are designed to be much more than an icon to launch an app. You should think of your tile(s) as a way to encourage your user to run your application, by giving them an at-a-glance look at key data or taking advantage of pictures or information relevant to them to form a connection with the user. You should want to see your live tiles not hide them away.

    For applications which aren't going to be used often enough to justify occupying space on the user's screen, they can simply unpin them and use the search apps charm to access them on the occasion they use them.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 8:50 PM
  • No, they can't be collapsed in the current build and nothing has been stated about whether they will in the final build, but I guess that it is not planned currently.


    I also think that something should be done to even partly replicate the functionality of Win7 Start Menu.
    This could simply be an optional Metro Start Menu Group which can be activated by the Administrator, should it be needed, especially in large organizations; that would be very helpful for system admins to transition users from the old start menu to the new metro start menu.


    Taym
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 8:56 PM
  • >>Collapsing groups would largely defeat the purpose of Live Tiles...You should want to see your live tiles not hide them away.<<<

    That sounds fine in theory but in practice users will end up with a huge number of icons on the start screen that they either (i) need to remove every time they install a new app, or (ii) have no idea what these are and end up with hundreds of of them they have to wade through. After installing just 1 program, I've ended up with loads of tiles, most of which would hardly every be used.

     


    • Edited by admac Sunday, September 18, 2011 9:09 PM
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 9:06 PM
  • No, there is no folder support in the Metro styled Start screen, nor it is planned. 

    That's ridiculous, I can understand it not being included in the dev preview, but no folders at all? Maybe I have to see it in action, but I know that I personally find hierarchical grouping, or at least categorical grouping to be very intuitive. Can these 'rectangled' areas be collapsed?
    Just learn to live with it, been asking for folders in WP7 with no vail. Best they could come up with with is quick jump list based on letters. MS at least that like in Mango so I could have all my apps under what ever letter I like.
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 9:30 PM
  • Collapsing groups would largely defeat the purpose of Live Tiles, which are designed to be much more than an icon to launch an app. You should think of your tile(s) as a way to encourage your user to run your application, by giving them an at-a-glance look at key data or taking advantage of pictures or information relevant to them to form a connection with the user. You should want to see your live tiles not hide them away.

    For applications which aren't going to be used often enough to justify occupying space on the user's screen, they can simply unpin them and use the search apps charm to access them on the occasion they use them.

    As already pointed out, some applications install plenty of shortcuts that's going to quickly fill out the start screen. It will be very annoying to have to go to each tile to remove them. This will be a major annoyance to the end user. By grouping them in
     a folder, you can at least take out the apps you will use frequently and put them in the main screen and then unpin the folder (which would unpin everything included in it).

    But this brings up another issue.

    On a desktop, sure it's very easy to just start typing away when you are searching for an app. In Windows 7, it's very easy to do. Click Start Menu and type away the program name to get a list of everything. On a desktop using windows 8, it wouldn't be as easy, but you could still theoretically start typing once you reach the Search screen.

    On a tablet, it's not going to be very fun to have to type every time you want to search for an app that isn't pinned. You might bring up, well if you're going to use an app that often, then just pin it. But I believe there are 3 types of app categories: those used frequently, those used once in a while, and those used rarely (if ever). The frequently used apps are pinned which makes sense, while the ones rarely used are unpinned. However those apps which are used once in a while, get used a bit more frequently but not enough that it justifies getting pinned.

    As an example, I don't have MS Paint or MS Snipping Tool pinned on my Start Menu or Taskbar in Windows 7. But use them every so often that it would be annoying to have to type it out on a tablet (or to even search for it in the metro interface). And just because Live Tiles exist, does not mean that all titles have to be live and display information. So no, a folder/group of tiles would not defeat its purpose. Live tiles AND static tiles will exist in Windows 8. To think otherwise would be naive.

    If MS did develop some foldering/grouping of tiles, it would simply have to come up with an intuitive way to go up one folder (or group). One way to think of it is that iOS allows for grouping of apps. No reason that Microsoft can't do something similar.
    • Edited by BP88 Sunday, September 18, 2011 10:07 PM
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 10:04 PM
  • Metro apps can't create loads of tiles, they get one primary tile and that's it. Secondary tiles can be created from within the application to allow a user to pin specific data or views to the start screen but these all require user consent. As such, it won't be an issue for these applications. I'd agree that right now the behaviour of older applications that felt the need to litter the start menu with numerous icons is decidely less than ideal. Hopefully that can be fixed in a more desirable fashion before RTM.

    As for tile grouping, that can be done without collapsing or hiding any tiles. Less frequently used applications can simply be moved to a group further to the right, so they are "out of the way" for the most part whilst still being easy to take a quick glance if desired. You can even set them to use the smaller tile size and use the larger one for apps you use most or which present more useful information to their live tile.

    Whilst it certainly the case that an app can leave it's live tile as a totally static icon and not present any information that way, doing so would be missing out on one of the best ways to make your application feel like it is constantly running and useful and developers will be doing themselves a favour by taking advantage of the functionality.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 11:01 PM
  • Well I'm not saying Metro apps create loads of tiles. I was referring to the legacy apps taken from the example screenshot posted earlier. But yea hopefully Microsoft will address that.

    That's not at all what is meant by tile grouping here in the context we're speaking of. Tile overload will become a problem as more apps start to get installed by users. iOS addressed this by grouping apps. MS will have to do the same. No one will want to swipe right until they finally get the app they want. Nor will they want to search every time for the app they want. Resizing tiles, moving them further away from the main start screen, etc. isn't really going to do the same as collapsible grouping of tiles.

    Well just because an app can use a live tile, it doesn't mean it has to. I mean just look at the screenshot above. Sure the tiles could be prettier, but what type of live information are they going to show?

    Sunday, September 18, 2011 11:30 PM
  • So wait, is the start screen a place to go when I need to launch a program (start menu) or a place to go for one-off information (sidebar, dashboard)? I would have thought the primary purpose of the start screen would be the former, and thus organization would take priority ahead of information display.
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 11:35 PM
  • It's both. Which is what you often really want because a great many applications you really only want to look at when there is something worth seeing. For example your email client is something you often only need to look at when you've received mail. So rather than having to have your mail open all the time, you can simply look at the tile and only actually launch the app when it indicates mail has arrived.

    It helps to think less about starting and stopping applications and instead see the start screen as a mechanism for switching to what you need, when you need it. Live tiles can give your app the appearance of being "always running" even when it isn't.

    Monday, September 19, 2011 5:04 PM
  • I find this annoying on both WP7 and W8. The idea that a search can replace folders is silly. You don't always remember the name of apps. You store them in a folder structure in a logical way so you can find them when you want to accomplish a certain task..
    Monday, September 26, 2011 11:09 AM
  • Yes this is a developer preview, and I understand why Microsoft have release it (So they can have more applications than Apple on RTW), But remember the Enterprise environment is a big area for Microsoft, and remember the End User does not like change more so than IT Departments Staff, good example was Office 2010, it took some time for people to like it. Another example is Facebook look at the amount of END USERS complain about the new interface…


    I would like Microsoft to let Infrastructure departments know what control they have over the start menu and if they can pin applications to it using Active Directory yes there is going to be a big learning curve for IT and End Users but it does look like Windows 8 is more focused on Home users and less on Enterprise at the moment, I can’t see the tiles giving that much to the enterprise as most use office, outlook, word, bespoke systems that are not using Metro! Even windows Phone 7 has less Enterprise features than Windows 6.5?


    Technical Beta Tester || Matthew John Earley BSc (hons) || www.o0MattE0o.myby.co.uk
    Monday, September 26, 2011 12:46 PM