On Keeping An Open Mind When It Comes To Windows 8

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 6, 2012
Updated • Sep 1, 2018
Windows, Windows 8

As a Windows user, I'm keeping a close eye on all Windows 8 development tidbits and leaks that I can find online and offline. Most of what I know comes from the developer preview version of the operating system that was released last year and leaks that seem to have picked up in pace recently.

I have to admit that I have not used the Windows 8 Developer Preview that much, mainly because I could not find a suitable way to work with both the Metro UI and my desktop applications.

It always felt like I had to switch between the Metro UI and the desktop constantly to start and work with the programs I wanted. I never warmed up to the idea of gadgets or icons on the desktop either, and it feels to me as if Metro UI is a modern version of that.

The Metro UI start page feels out of place, like something that would make life more complicated instead of easier. I have to admit that I did not test it on a touch enabled device, and it probably makes more sense there. Most Windows PCs on the other hand are not connected to touch screens, and even if that number will increase in the future, I cannot see myself connecting my desktop PC to a touchscreen for a number of reasons.

The switching between the desktop and Metro UI does not make much sense to me at all. Why do I have to use Metro UIs search to find applications that I want to launch on the desktop? Why is there no file launcher directly on the desktop?

For me, it is nothing more than a startpage, just like Opera's Speed Dial feature for instance but with the difference that it does not make it more comfortable to open applications I want to run. Another thing that bothered me in the developer preview was the limit of two open application windows at a time in the Metro UI interface. On my desktop, I always have two web browser windows displayed next to each other. More often than not, I also have a video player open, an instant messenger, image editor or another program that I'm also using regularly.

Recent leaks highlight another change that is likely going to make it into the beta and final release of Windows 8. Microsoft has removed what's left of the start button from the desktop interface of Windows 8. If you have worked with the developer preview you may remember that the start menu was limited to five charms links there. With the start menu gone in current builds, users need to activate the charms menu otherwise to access its functionality.

windows 7 charms

Charms appear when you move the mouse over the area the start menu button was all those years. You can open them with the keyboard shortcut Windows-c as well. Moving the mouse to the lower left corner to open the charms menu on the rightmost location does not seem to make lots of sense from a usability point of view. It is likely that Microsoft will improve that to make it more intuitive to use.

The core problem as it stands right now is that users do not see options to return to the Metro UI interface. There is no button or tooltip that explains how this is done. If Microsoft fails to provide those, or at least a thorough tutorial after installation, it could end disastrous.

Why has Microsoft removed the full start menu, and now the start menu button from the Windows 8 desktop interface? The most likely reason is to get users to use the Metro UI interface. With all their programs gone from the start menu, the only option users have is to place shortcuts on the desktop or taskbar, to use the search, or the Metro UI start page to launch their applications.

It is hard to keep an open mind at the moment. Everything that I have seen and tested so far looks like it is impractical for the desktop. Still, it is too early to tell and leaks are not always a reliable source anyway. It is likely that we will know more after the Windows 8 beta gets released by Microsoft.

I still hope that Microsoft will pull something out of a hat that will make all my worries go away. The only thing that I can think of right now that would do that is an option to turn off Metro UI, or give me more control when Metro UI is activated, and when it is not.

Am I the only one who thinks that two user interfaces is one too many? That Metro UI is impracticable on desktop PCs?

Update: After reading through this again it appears to have become more of a rant than what I intended it to be.

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On Keeping An Open Mind When It Comes To Windows 8
As a Windows user, I'm keeping a close eye on all Windows 8 development tidbits and leaks that I can find online and offline.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):


  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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