Does Anyone Really Care About the Start Menu?

Discussion in 'Windows 8 Forum' started by gglazer, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. gglazer

    gglazer New Member

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    I really don't understand all the negative press.

    On my desktops and laptops I don't use the new Start Screen or its apps too much. But I haven't used the Start Menu very much for many years either.

    All the most commonly used apps are pinned to the Taskbar, for those that aren't I'll click Start and then type in the first few characters of the app I need. I haven't traversed through the Start Menu in a very very long time. The only thing that's different for me is that instead of clicking Start and typing the first few characters of the app I open the Charms Bar and click Search and start typing in the app. It takes the exact same amount of clicks. For all the most commonly used apps, they're still on the Taskbar.

    Windows 8 hasn't really changed the way I use a desktop at all. Sure I may not use the Start Screen or the apps much, but I bet that'll change in time when there are more apps I would like to use. To me I see the start screen and apps as just an addition you can either choose to use or not.

    All my users are setup/trained to open apps this way too under Win7. When I’ve sat down and demo Win8 for them and let them try it out they really don’t see much difference aside from the Charms Bar. That goes for the Anim/Edit teams who are technical as well as the Admin/Sales team who are the furthest from technical a person can possibly be. I always wait a while before upgrading our office network fully to a new OS until the first service pack comes out. But so far I won't have any issues upgrading our teams to Win8 when the time comes.

    Microsoft has been weaning people away from the Start Menu for years. It feels like they started this way back on Win95, with the IE shell update that added the Quick Launch bar. Then it was integrated in Win2000/XP. Vista and 7 have integrated the Quick Launch bar into the Taskbar and gave it much more functionality.

    I'm really happy with Windows 8 so far. I think Microsoft nailed it. And I think time will only confirm this. I get all the old functionality I used to have and now I have a touch experience for my tablets that isn't isolated from my desktops and laptop. And it'll only get better with time. Microsoft has appeared to be all in here, and they are a juggernaut.

    I'm surprised I don't see any other posts of articles outlining this. Am I alone here in not using or caring about the start menu?
     
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  2. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator

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    I think you are exactly right but bloggers and tech reviewers needed an easy point of attack prior to the general release to "scare" people into reading their blogs. That and they also fail to see the bigger picture and can only focus on what is wrong with Windows of any release. This will most likely be a way over blown issue when looked back at several years from now. In fact the argument will probably be made that the Start Screen is far easier to use than the Start Menu and the innovation of launching apps from the start screen and unifying that experience across PCs, phones and tablets was the great new direction for Windows.

    Here is a great article from the Verge picking up disparaging remarks against the original Windows and they sure look silly now.

    Source: Revisiting Windows 1.0: how Microsoft
     
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  3. janettwokay

    janettwokay New Member

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    Continuity is oftentimes a nice place to Start (pun intended).
     
  4. Sin

    Sin New Member

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    I have been in the habit of tapping the Windows Key and typing what I'm looking for, but most people I work with navigate through the start menu for their applications. This is even more insane when you see that most applications are five to seven levels deep due to the way that our IT department has the Start Menu configured. I'm way too impatient for this and so the change with Windows 8 was no big deal. For most people it's just the shock of change and that people don't generally like change. I agree that most of the press on this is just shock tactics trying to stir up reader.
     
  5. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator

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    Besides the Windows key it still works the same as a Start Menu anyway. Just go down to where the Start Menu was and guess what pops up? The Start Screen shortcut. Click that and all your apps (programs) open up in a much easier to view way that the old start menu. Everything is laid out nice and big in a tile. Click on what you want and get to work.
     
  6. DC-IT

    DC-IT New Member

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    The way I see it when Win 8 boots into the first screen it clearly named it a "Start" with all the tiles (apps) listed which allows you to click on any tile to launch the app you want.
    This whole screen is a modernized "Start" button of the previous Windows!
    So it's no big deal and one will get used to it in no time at all.

    So while I miss the Side Bar where I can pin apps/widgets like clock/Calendar/weather as per Windows Vista/7 all these are now on the Start screen embedded in the "live/active" tiles.
    To me Windows 8 is a winner.

    I was at the new Microsoft store in Yorkdale shopping centre in Toronto to test the Surface tablet and it is indeed of a very high built quality.
    I'm waiting to see the Pro tablet with the full version of Windows 8 before I decide which one to buy.

    Meanwhile I've upgraded my Desktop PC to Window 8 Pro so I can start exploring the ins and out of Win8.
    I hope LCD/LED manufactures will soon start selling 27"+ LED monitors so I can make full use of my PC.
     
  7. jehugo

    jehugo New Member

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    I look at the new start menu and I immediately comsume s lot of information I would normally have to browse around for. it's s fsntastic user interface on all it's platforms. People will bitch about anything, especially when they have not experienced it.
     
  8. randomizer

    randomizer New Member

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    Hot corners bother me far more than the Start screen since they actually get in the way sometimes. I usually only use Metro for a minute or so to check the news, and then I'm straight into Firefox, Visual Studio, PhpStorm or something else from my array of desktop-only applications. It's not so much that I don't like it, I just don't have a use for it, and as such it neither bothers me nor makes me more productive. It's just there.
     
  9. graye

    graye Member

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    The problem isn’t with the new start screen, I actually kinda like it… the problem is with the shift in attitude (and priorities) at Microsoft.

    I teach a Management Information Systems course where I frequently drill into the students that business needs drive the requirements for IT (and not the other way around). I often ask them “what is the value added” in implementing a new IT system (or making a change in an existing IT system). I tell them that a small business should not just blindly upgrade to that latest and greatest system without first determining what is the benefit to the business.

    Now consider this framework with regard to the changes from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and you’ll see that the “value added” is often only for Microsoft’s benefit… and not the customer. If you consider the new Windows Store as a new business model for Microsoft, you’ll see how changes to Windows 8 support and defend this business model often at the expense of the user.

    Consider the following list of changes:

    Removal of support for desktop gadgets: Gadgets were a direct “competitor” to the live tile feature of the start screen. Their removal supports the new business model (by forcing you to buy replacements through the store), but it has no added value for the customer. Plus there was a transparently-obvious ploy to discourage the use of gadgets by declaring them as unsafe.

    Removal of Aero support: Perhaps good-looking “desktop apps” put the Metro apps to shame, so they had to make the desktop apps less appealing??? Perhaps this was to encourage you to spend more time (and money) at the Metro start screen??? Regardless of the reason, this change has no added value for the customer.

    Removal of the Start Menu: This feature would supplant the need to use the Metro start screen for most users. Therefore, it had to be removed in order to support the new business model. Its removal would mean the user would be forced to view the Metro start screen numerous times (and perhaps entice the user to buy a few Metro apps?) Whatever the reason, this change has no added value for the customer.

    The list goes on, but the results are mostly the same… changes that support Microsoft’s internal business goals, but do very little to support the customer. It's all about Microsoft making more money.

    Can you ever imagine some customer of Microsoft calling up and asking to have any of those features removed? No? Well, then there must have been some other reason for their removal that had nothing to do with the customer.

    Yes, there are quite a few other changes to Windows 8 that actually do provide added value, such as boot time, boot security, etc… but that’s not what this article is about.
     
  10. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator

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    Very cynical view point. Yes, a market change is driving the sweeping change in Windows. MS realizes it better have an OS that works across all platforms and that means touch friendly and design friendly for phones, tablets and computers.

    Did you ever use gadgets? Most people didn't and they were performance hogs. One of the worst parts of Vista and the first to go in Windows 7. Live tiles are superior and they are open as "apps" where as the gadgets never drew developers and never would given the app landscape. Better to have apps that run on all devices where they will draw developers. There are already more free apps than there ever were gadgets.

    Aero? Not good on phones and tablets. Had to be ditched, nobody wants Windows CE phones. MS hit a homerun with live tiles and it makes sense to move all of Windows there.

    MS also collects data on how people actually use Windows. You know what they found? Many people who say they like certain features never use them. More people were making desktop shortcuts than using the Start Menu. Guess what got axed and what the new Start page resembles. Yep no more Start Menu and a full page of basically desktop shortcuts.

    The list goes on for other things like the task manager and other features that have been simplified for the average user (mostly to kill programs) and enhanced (though a level deeper) for power users.

    Quite frankly I don't see any specific changes in Windows driving dollars to MS for that purpose only. The whole idea of Windows has been rethought and the key money driver (apps) is an innovation of Apple reinforced by Google, Amazon and just about every other company with hardware or an online presence. MS had to move this direction and it is a huge benefit that users have come to expect and enjoy.
     
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  11. Mr.NK

    Mr.NK Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The Gadgets were mostly useless toys, the apps are standing between the simplified ui of gadgets and the power of full programs - from toyish multi colored-things up to oneNoteMX or mail/calender (even if it's sluggish). Since the vast majority (winappupdate states 87%) of the apps are for free, you only need to buy one, if you want a more professional approach. Yes MS earns more money with that, but i think this is normal for a company. At this point, the added value isn't really shining through, but i'll explain ...
    I remember some statement, that using the aero-glass-effect needed a tad more battery. Since Win8/RT was designed for the transition from fat-stationary-pc to the "light thin client"/mobile device, thats a added value for the costumer at the cost of some small cosmetic changes - what is the bonus of some glass-effect? I have to say, first time reading about the death of aero-glass i was sort of upset too, but i can live with this.
    As J515OP already stated, microsoft was more using their statistic-data, which showed, must user just searched (including me) their programs via the start menu. Yes, for desktop-only-users the discontinuation is hard, since the support of gestures by keyboards or mice are on the low end. There's definitive room for improvement. But at this point the transition from stationary to mobile kicks in: Touch is the new hype, since most mobile devises are relying on touch-based operation. To build one platform for all devices, you have to ponder, whats the best for both worlds. Since using the normal windows-ui on a touch-device is rather horrible (no real advantage to win7), i'm really happy to have the modern-ui. Like on my WindowsPhone it's a rather nice thing, but with a steep learning-curve. The charms are getting really useful - just copying/sharing/sending stuff from a program to another or to a service/device.
    Overall the two biggest problems are: The desktop remained for the normal user and they have no chance (by default) to get their beloved start-button back, if they want. MS is betting on a more touch-focused operation in near future, so they can get rid of the desktop - or add this as a goddie for enterprise-version.
    The bonus for the normal user? Most of them will stay happy, as they're only using web/music/gaming and videos, and with a decent amount of apps the new windows is a nice competition to ios/android. There is a central-store for every map with preview-pictures, recommendations and ratings - perfect for the average-joe.
    Based on this restrictions, it's not perfect for people searching for a workspace with no borders or for getting a choice. That's more a bonus for microsoft, but i doubt they can stand their restrictive policy as nowadays(see Browser-choice-conflict with the EU).
    The bonus for the enterprise? Since i'm not involved in enterprise-IT, i can't figure out the balance between pro and con's. It's more mobile, and enterprise-apps seem to get more capabilities for security etc., but since the most of them using standard-software for CAD/... running on desktop, there's no real bonus at the time as long as your business doesn't focus on mobile/touch-enabled operations). Only thing i could possibly imagine is a shift towards to cloud-services. Yes, in this case, Microsoft will make money, but you'll be able to start a mighty cad-software on your tablet at a train, as long as you're connected. I think you have to believe in those changes to see some added bonus here - i'm one of them, although i'm aware of the drawbacks (like the blackouts at amazons cloud-service, just to start).
    I think they do something for the user - at the time it isn't groundbreaking, it's more like catching up and to start a bet on transition. I'm more pleased with my surface, than with my old laptop. It was a workhorse for 6 years, but most of the time it stayed a machine for producing stuff and not for consumption. Now it can be used for both worlds (sort of). Most of consumers don't ask for change. They want just the same with a integrated tv or some new bling. But ms tried to get behind the behaviors of their costumers and make something new out of it. It's not perfect at the time, but in my opinion it is a start. Not for everyone, i will admit, but there are always some pioneers.
    And yes, most of the changes are generating money for ms alongside. But for the average-joe, it won't be much more expensive if he proves to be a responsible consumer.
     
  12. Russ

    Russ Active Member

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    Well, uh . . . , yes. Blame it all on the eevil capitalists trying to make money by satisfying their customers. (There's a novel idea!) I am reminded of a Bill Gates interview years ago (one of the business mags). Interviewer asked (approx), "So, is it Microsoft the big bully, or Microsoft the benefactor of mankind?" Coolly, Gates replied, "Neither really. We make what we hope is a good product; put it in the box and put it on the shelf. People buy it or they don't."

    Has anybody compared the entry price for Windows 8 versus those of Win7 or Vista? Why would such a money-hungry company do a thing like that?

    I never used Gadgets -- thought they were cute, but mostly they just got in the way and consumed resources while doing it. I seldom used the Start button because, as you say, my frequently-used apps were either pinned to the taskbar or shortcuts on my desktop. I like the Start screen, and, if I don't, the Desktop is only one click away.

    Over time I have heard a lot of whiners complain about Microsoft. Invariably, I have given them the same advice: "Don't use it! Boycott Microsoft!" This usually earned me a "deer in the headlights" look and a weak response of, "I can't." Depending on my mood at the moment, I either turned into a benevolent mentor or a ruthless inquisitor.

    I think Microsoft has made a bold and daring move that will ultimately enhance our lives. Other than that, it's Ok.

    Take care,
    Russ
     
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