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Microsoft Alternately Mum and Talkative About Windows 8

Under Windows chief Steven Sinofsky there is a basic blackout on Windows 8 information. No one except a chosen few (he and Steve Ballmer, for instance) are allowed to utter a word on the OS. This is despite the fact that at the recent Build Conference hours of presentations and hundreds of PowerPoint slides were devoted to the topic. And it gave away thousands of Samsung tablets loaded with a Windows 8 preview.

Another who is allowed to speak is Chaitanya Sareen, a program manager who is dribbling out information on his blog --  though, truth be told, he is more about analysis and philosophy than disclosing fresh details.

The biggest change hitting Windows 8 is the Metro interface, which is only one one option for interface -- the old-style Win 7 look will also still be available. Apparently even though the classic look still looks classic, it will no longer have the Start Button. Instead, apps are launched from the taskbar.

Sareen explains that few even use the Start Button anymore (I guess he hasn't been keystroke logging my computer!). Microsoft also argues that the folder-based approach of the Start Menu makes items hard to find -- so long Start Menu!

Metro goes a step further and does away with the taskbar. Instead, it will surface apps in tiles in the middle of the screen.

While Microsoft is in lock-down as far as discussing new features, expect further drum pointing around Metro.

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/21/2011 at 1:18 PM

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 Rufus Virginia

This sounds like the reasons they used for the ribbon (I absolutely despise it). How can they say it's hard to find programs in the Start Menu? It's a nice alphabetical list, organized in folders. What could be easier? I don't know that I've seen anyone NOT use the Start Menu. As far as interfaces, I would think the Metro interface would be easier for tablets, but it seems a bit like a kid's game on a desktop or laptop.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 JD

I find that Windows 8 is going to be another Windows M.E. (Mistake Edition) The Metro is not a viable interface for work, home or anything except a touchscreen tablet.Removing the Start orb/key is just not a wise thing to do. When I used the Preview build, I was amazed at the pure non user friendly interface. Many companies are changing to Windows 7 now and Windows 8 is not even close to being a usable product for them. It's a shame that they are trying to push this to desktops.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 Dustin

I'm in agreement with John. Where are they getting their statistics when they're claiming most people don't use the start button anymore? Are they polling Mac users?

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 John

Chaitanya Sareen must be out of touch. I use the start button (or so called Windows Orb) dozens of time everyday.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 Marc

"Metro ... will surface apps in tiles in the middle of the screen." - Funny that in presentations I saw people have difficulty finding an app this way. Sure, it looks advanced, but the old folder based approach (alphabetically ordered) allows binary search.

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 Marc Wagner Bloomington, Indiana, USA

It's still early, Doug! Metro will prove to be well-suited for small screens but there is plenty of work which will still needs to e done with a keyboard and a mouse. Microsoft will have to accommodate both user environments for quite some time (perhaps indefinitely) to address the needs of all of its users.

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