Is Microsoft going backwards with the current design of Windows 9?

So once in a while I come back up for air and will write about Windows here and there.

I’ve been too busy with my other business but I saw a quote from a blog the other day that really caught my attention.

The exact quote was:

This makes quite a bit of sense as we have heard that Microsoft wants to move on from the current Windows release to make Threshold feel more like Windows 7, with just the right amount of Windows 8.1 tossed in.

The idea is that if they can make Windows 9 feel more like Windows 7/XP, it will make the transition easier for legacy users but they, by no means, want to do away with Modern apps. The apps will live on but will also be able to run on the desktop in a window.

The takeaway I got from this quote was that Microsoft is trying to unravel Windows 8/8.1 and make the whole thing look and feel a lot more like Windows 7.

Win8_pro_logoThat way lies the path to ruin for the Windows franchise (not Microsoft, just Windows).

Let me explain.

Having the benefit of hindsight and over 8,000 posts on Windows, I can tell you that most people missed the real lesson behind Windows 8.

Windows 8 was a good example of Microsoft doing exactly what they should have been doing. INNOVATING. defines innovation as:

  1. something newly introduced, such as a new method or device
  2. the act of innovating

Notice it doesn’t say anything about acceptance, popularity or profitability.

Windows 8 was radical, it was new, it was unlike anything we had ever seen, it was unique. It was innovative.

The problem was, it didn’t work. You see, that’s the dirty little (open) secret about true innovation, it doesn’t always work.

So now, Microsoft is faced with a stark choice.

Full Speed ahead

Continue to innovate and push the envelope in a different way with Windows 9. Build something different and force your users to take a new ride with you. This would be uncomfortable, possibly dangerous and very risky.

Hard on the brakes

Head back to the safety and security of Windows 7 because that’s what the users want. Because that’s what businesses feel most comfortable with and because Microsoft is a publicly traded company that has to think of shareholders, obligations and responsibility.

Let’s be clear, from a business strategy perspective, that’s the right and safe thing to do.

Unfortunately, based on all the dribs and drab leaks that have started coming out of Redmond, it looks like Microsoft have decided to go backwards and the truth is that would be a shame.

I strongly disliked Windows 8. Windows 8.x hasn’t done much for me either. I basically bought a $2000 Macbook Pro because I didn’t want to use Windows anymore and I think that the entire Windows franchise has gotten stale.

That is precisely the reason why Microsoft should not be looking back at Windows 7. It’s a fools trap.

If they keep parts of Windows 8 and tweak it so it looks more like Windows 7, they will be creating a Frankenstein’s monster and saying to the world that they wave the white flag.

They will defacto be saying that TRUE innovation will have to come from Apple, Google and others who aren’t beholden to corporate interests with their software.

The Bandaid

You see because consumers so thoroughly rejected Windows 8, there really is no good fix for it.

Removing charms and bringing back Start buttons/menus are really band aids that are better off in Windows 8 Service packs. The real million dollar question is what value can Microsoft add to the desktop and tablet experience that will really change the way we look at computers forever?

New features like a brand new UI, substantial Cortana integration and virtual desktops seem like the beginning of the way to go. It still remains to be seen whether the “new” OS will really push the envelope though.

Let me be clear, with Windows, I continue to think Microsoft are always only an inch away from massive success. They have smart developers and talented UI people and most importantly, they have gobs of money.

The Choice

Satya Nadella has a really tough job because he has to decide which way to go.

Whether he will give consumers and businesses what they want or be bolder and give them what they need.

I for one hope that he makes the bold choice but I fear that after Mr. Ballmer’s “riskiest bet” with Windows 8, Redmond may not have the appetite for yet more change.

That would be a loss for us all.

Well that’s my opinion, what do you guys think? Back to Windows 7 or press forward to the future?

Use the comments below…

Editor's choice 2014

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  • David Osage

    Smart article. I’m pretty sure Microsoft will choose going backwards.

    Thats what has made them successful to this point.

  • dpotts

    Push forward. Of course I am one of the people that really like windows 8

  • Yerachmiel Altman

    Microsoft can do almost nothing/everything wrong depending on who you ask and how you ask it.

    If you have a perfect product changing it only degrades it

    Yes, innovate, but never break. Greatness of IBM is that thirty and older year old software for the 360 still works!!!

    • innovate, but never break.

      Not sure if thats really possible. Isnt the definition of innovation bound to mean that you will break stuff sometimes?

      • Mick Hickson

        Innovation is the next building block, stepping stone to move beyond. Not Breaking, just rebuilding and revitalising.

      • Phil Lee

        The general idea is that if the innovation breaks stuff, it never gets out of beta-testing.
        Trying to innovate any other way is to court disaster, because every innovation you release, you are betting the company on – and sooner or later, you’ll lose.

  • wmcblues

    push on, I like Windows 8.1, I would prefer to have a Active Dock that allowed more choices, I personally would not like to go back to XP/7 style

  • Pvanc

    Onward and upward with Windows 8.1. I love it. Don’t go back to Windows 7.

  • Mika Salakka

    There’s good innovation and bad. For me, W8 landed squarely in the latter category. It wasn’t the disappearance of the Start menu that I found problematic, it’s the full-screen display of data in the new UI. I work with several application windows visible simultaneously, which is why I use a large monitor with a high resolution – for screen estate. The Modern UI completely does away with it, with the Start Screen and the subsequently useless Metro/Modern apps. There is only so much room on the Taskbar, and having to pin every shortcut there to avoid the jarring appearance of the Start Screen is frustrating. Furthermore, the inability to run Modern apps in windows means I’ll never use any of them. I uninstall or at least unpin them from the Start Screen, and never venture into the Windows Store to check out new apps.

    I am not alone with this. There are several business owners in my family, and each time they buy a new desktop for the office or the sales desk, they ask me to replace the new PC’s Windows 8 with a copy of Windows 7. In fact, I’ve told many of them to consult me prior any PC purchases so that I can make sure the machine’s manufacturer has released W7 drivers for it. The extra expense appears to be worth the investment just to keep the experience the same from one workstation to the next.

    I think Microsoft’s plan with Windows 8 was to try and catch up Apple and its iCloud/iOS/OS X ecosystem. Microsoft would like a similar fluid experience between Windows PCs, and the Windows Phones and Surface tablets they want to sell. Understandable. Apple’s next iteration of OS X, Yosemite, is certainly moving towards a more unified, iOS-like look and feel. The difference is, Apple is moving in that same direction much more carefully, and its mobile OS is still a separate OS. Windows 8 feels like a tablet OS crammed onto a desktop computer, in exchange for no real advantage or benefit for the consumer.

    Innovation is okay, but if no one else wants to use what you’ve created, it’s going to be difficult to create a business model around it.

    Incidentally, I use a MacBook Pro too. I’m not anti-Microsoft by any means; I use their Office 365 service and run Outlook for Mac.

    • Mobile Toyman

      Businesses can order Win7 OS on their purchases, Consumers just need to fix Start.

      I don’t install Win7 on any desktop now, I just install Classic Shell and configure to boot to desktop. Only a couple of Win8 things to learn.

      There is the rumor that Microsoft may give Windows XP/7 users a discounted or Free upgrade to Win9.

  • Texphil

    I for one think MS should continue innovating new technology and move forward without looking back. I being a IT professional, although retired and only consulting on a very limited basis at this point,
    thrive on new technology. I LIKE W8.x and I have found ways to structure
    it around my personal tastes. I will never go backwards as MS is
    possibly suggesting. However, I know that probably most do not have the
    back ground I have in IT and don’t like change, especially big changes
    as in W8.x. I do think for those people, MS should have introduced the
    changes it has made in smaller doses so the less tech savvy could digest
    the changes in smaller amounts would have helped the majority feel more comfortable and easier to learn the new formats in a less intimidating manor. Again, I hope MS continues to move forward to keep up with new technology being introduced. Going backward will be a travesty and people will eventually catch up and embrace the new.

  • As Meyer

    Vote to move forward on windows 8 foundation model. Even retrograding UI to act like or look windows 7, will be based on the W8 foundation anyway. MSFT has stated they will create the platform that will serve multi-devices. Develop once and deploy everywhere.
    That must continue, IMO. In W8 we have the desktop that is not a desktop that does desktop things. Thats our glimpse into the W8 model. The UI needs to continue to evolve. Adding workspaces ( aka Linux ), Integrated universal search with a press of a key ( aka ubuntu Unity )
    are good items to have in the UI. I still think the start page is a great idea, it can be customized
    to individuals, whether at home or in the workplace. As for the start menu, all it really needs to show is access to important areas that would be needed regardless of user. control panel, Devices, files…etc. I read somewhere that the clock might be removed from the task bar? that would be disappointing for me, perhaps they have a new way to implement an enhanced clock? I would like a permanent on/off/lock switch ( on screen ) as well. Perhaps that could be the lower right corner, with some standard menu button in lower left?
    Point is, move on and continue to listen to feedback. Is there a way for them to come up with a rolling point release, suitable to/for enterprise deployment? I am thinking that a Core OS
    w/ subscription levels to the features needed ( works for both Enterprise and consumer )
    Might be what we end up with. The core OS does not need updating or a overhaul as much as the
    new features that can be thought of and designed. This would be much like the smartphones,
    but with out having to look and access the same way as a smartphone ( unless your on a smartphone). I have an old Galaxy nexus phone that has made it through several OS updates for example. To get the latest I didnt have to throw the phone out, and we shouldnt have to throw Windows out the window, to get innovative new features.

  • dalawrie2

    Microsoft must maintain a positive view of Win 8 and ‘modern UI’. Younger people prefer the modern UI for social media (apparently) and touch, swipe etc, and MS must cater for them. And perhaps for them email is an out of date medium, but nonetheless the modern UI should include a better email client.

    Where it all falls down of course is where people want to do serious work with documents, for example, or PC maintenance tools. So I find it very hard to believe that the modern UI can ever provide the full functions that the desktop can, not to mention the degree of retraining and tool changes needed for a business environment, for example, in moving to modern from desktop.

    Mixing modern and desktop features is wrong, I believe, except for things that minimally overlap or conveniently do so, so I think there’s no good reason to dispense with the charms bar.

    User choice and consistent policy. Or repeated lack of it.
    Certainly MS should allow users to choose which UI the PC or device boots to; for some ranges of device it should be biased towards modern. That’s where it fell apart- taking away choice from users and forcing them to adopt something.

    MS has backtracked before. It introduced Aero with Vista/Win7 – then took it away. It didn’t have to, and it didn’t give users a choice. Fortunately there is a clever way to get Aero back (3rd party).

    The desktop
    definitely should have a start menu – and one that can optionally
    expand in columns. I can’t stand a single scrolling pane for a start
    menu- I’ve too many programs, categorised. That move to a single column was forced on people in Vista.

    Similarly they have a history of removing and reinstating email clients. (None in Win 7; basic in modern UI).
    That is a great way of forcing people who want Pop3 to move to a 3rd party solution, and one that doesn’t have bits of itself scattered all over the OS and elsewhere, and is easy to back up and transfer.

    Personally I never use the modern UI except for some Charms Bar features.

    Beyond UI issues:
    Getting to Safe Mode is now a nightmare initially, and it’s all too easy to get into a situation where you have an unbootable PC but can’t get to system restore or repair startup without a CD/DVD. Many would find themselves without one just when they need one. Sadly that’s one thing they’re unlikely to address, as most people would have given up long before, and turned to an expert or just reinstalled.

    Refresh reinstall has disappeared. This means recovery is much more limited, and it’s much more essential for people to use disk imaging periodically to avert disaster. That is much more the case with the huge updates we’ve had and have to look forward to.

  • Joe Gill

    The ‘problem’ with Win8, is that is was REVOLUTIONARY, not evolutionary !! Not a good idea, and acceptance rate shows!
    I am not in favor of hitting a ‘rewind’ button and going back.
    I would like to see a set of service packs introduced to allow users to sing “The Way We Were”.
    Then start issuing feature/service packs to add new features who are running in the new function mode and slowly evolve them to the new mode.
    It still needs touch and non-touch modes.

  • David Farris

    I get this over and over again and again. I have pushed Windows 8.xx out and the general response is ok. Most folks are happy to use the desktop environment and not give a thought to the new UI. I hear the occasional “I hate it” and when I respond “why”, the response is muted or mumbling something about they are confused. I had more of that from Win XP to 7. The most vitriol and outright hate I hear is from “those” guys. Yeah you know who you are.

    • Great feedback. Thanks.

    • Guest

      I think the resentment stems from being forced to follow the industry as the bridges are burned behind them having no choices of their own and not being able to see the cliff they are being herded toward.

  • Rumin8

    Windows 8.x devices are in two worlds. They work as tablets and as conventional desktops. I would not switch back to Windows 7. It is, by comparison to 8.x, boring. I use it at work, and miss Metro.

    People complain about Metro apps. Many say they refuse to use them and configure 8.x to hide them as far as possible. I do not do this. I have a bunch of desktop apps that I cannot live without, but I also use a good range of Metro apps. That’s on my laptop. As for tablet devices, I predominantly use the Metro apps, but there are times when I am away from home base and need to run desktop apps. The beauty is that I can do this on a tablet that I can shove in a small bag. I can take a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with me, and use my 8-inch Windows tablet as a full-blown PC. It works remarkably well. Things will get even better when WP and RT and Windows merge.

    To me it would be a tragedy if Metro apps disappeared. But I do not believe that will happen. Microsoft are proceeding with another important part of their strategy, which is the integration of WP, RT, and Windows. It must be a serious concern to them that it is taking so long to get there. But it was always the plan. It is why there are no upgrades from WP 7.x to WP 8, because they had to bite the bullet and advance to a new OS core.

    With a common underlying OS core and services, the beauty of Metro will become apparent. It is that Metro apps scale across a far wider display size range than other apps can. The same app can be provided with a number of built-in UI configurations applicable to different ranges of screen resolution, and can use whichever one is appropriate. Most of the underlying app code remains the same. This is coming, but as I said, it is taking time, hence the impatience, discontent, and for Microsoft, risk.

    Another plank in the strategy seems to be ‘Microsoft everywhere’, ie on every device, regardless of brand or OS. Hence Nadella giving the go-ahead to put Office on the iPad, even ahead of the Metro version for RT and Windows. This pervasiveness makes Microsoft apps and services a safer bet because they are not limited by a walled garden.

    It seems to me that Microsoft have had a long-term strategy behind everything that has happened in the last few years. They must have known for some time that they could not do a ‘quick fix’ to catch up with their competitors.

    As for Windows 9, Microsoft needs to make peace with the desktop users, and yes this is mostly the business community I suppose. It means bringing back the start menu, which will kill a lot of the complaints. There is no problem with that living alongside the normal 8.x features if it makes people happy. But Metro will become more flexible in that apps will be able to run in desktop windows.

    As for the use of multiple windows, I think in some cases it is just a psychological comfort seeing them together on the screen, something people are used to seeing, when in fact they predominantly work in one app at a time, and in fact will often make it large or actually maximise it.

    So the days of tedious window size and position manipulations without intelligent assistance are over, and that intelligent assistance will be in the direction already apparent, on both desktop and in Metro mode, ie the ability to position an app to the left or right by a single keystroke, with apps knowing what widths they can support, and groups of apps working together (like Reading List works with IE). Such grouping of apps could tie in with the rumoured support for multiple desktops.

    And in addition to all that, Cortana could make a big impact, in ways that the current (perhaps little-used and inadequate) voice command system cannot. So there are plenty of opportunities to make Windows 9 a feature-packed and flexible product with the Metro capability better-integrated and more well-rounded.

  • Mobile Toyman

    I support all mobile devices (Android, iOS, Windows 8 phone and Win8 RT) and also use all versions of Windows. Every system has good things and bad things about it. On the desktop with Windows 7 and 8.1 Pro 64bit I boot directly to the desktop and am productive. As is typical for Microsoft, third time is the charm, Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit is AWESOME, better than Win7. On the mobile front (Android, iOS, Windows 8 phone and Win8 RT) are consumable devices: run an app, switch between apps, copy and paste between apps, go back to the home screen. Mobile devices are designed to lighter weight, easier to carry and put away. Mobile devices are the APP, Android, iOS, Windows phone and RT work with apps. The Lumia 2520 (Windows 8.1 RT) is an awesome tablet on the same level as the Surface 2 and has the brightest screen of any tablet.

    Windows 9, no matter what Microsoft says it is designing, will install on multiple form factors. If on a phone or tablet, will use apps. If on a PC or device it will boot to the desktop. Some are hearing the charm bar is going away, if that is on the desktop, good. It was not used on the phone. If it goes away on the tablet, that may be a mistake. Remember that Microsoft wants the install to look where it is being installed and customize the OS that to the device which makes total sense. The Start menu is coming back to Win9.

    What devices do I use?

    Desktop: Win7, Win8.1, Linux
    Phone: Android (LG G2 – personal) and Win8 (HTC 8x – business, OfficeLens app)
    Tablet: iPad Air – reading email, books (pdf files). Multitasking needs a lot of work, so does cut and paste.
    Business tablet: Lumia 2520 Win8.1 RT w/ keyboard case. I have OneDrive (personal and Business), Dropbox, Box, Google drive, OneNote, Evernote, Office including work email and using Office 365. Also has Everynote to OneNote app.

    I don’t have an issue carrying small devices including a couple of phone and tablets. I do have an issue lugging around a laptop. I can get to any full desktop I need with Citrix (business) or Teamviewer (personal).

    The only thing I now need is a wearable display that will give me a full screen experience without carrying a 24″ monitor.

    I can do anything with any device, screen sizes are my only limitation. Apple, Google and Microsoft are seeing their market shares going in different directions than they were planning. This is the year where we are seeing us users have more influence on how the OSes are designed. Apple and Samsung are seeing their market share reducing because other (HTC, LG) are innovating: screen size, hardware and features. Microsoft may be losing money on Surface and Nokia hardware however their 2 hardware lines are doing a better job with great designs. The other vendors have to take notice because Win 8 mobile share is growing.

    Research the devices and vote with your purchases. Their is no reason you cannot be productive with any of the platforms now. We are in a mature tablet and phone market. You are going to see the two opposite ends of the market expand: low end (features) and high end (innovation and best hardware).

    • Thanks. Sounds like you’re actually making a great case for Microsoft to just make software and stay out of the hardware arena.

      • Mobile Toyman

        Microsoft tries to innovate right or wrong: Win ME, Vista (which was fine after SP1) Win7 is based on Vista kids.

        PC designers have become stagnant, it is companies that have made Hybrids (Yoga and Surface) that have pushed the other designers to also innovate. When the Surface Pro 2 came out, the keyboard was not bad and was backlighted. When the Surface Pro 3 came out, the keyboard had two positions (they dropped the backlight, mistake). Surface Pro 3 is a better design however too costly so M$ is having to give discounts. (purchase an ultrabook instead until the price drops)

  • clifton stillman

    I hope they continue to move forward, unfortunately it seems that they are going to give in to those that cant seem to move ahead.

    • It does seem that way. Thanks!

    • A screen full of kindergarten colored blocks does not equal “forward.”

  • Snuffy

    Personally what I read, if M$ does as some many posts around the World ( think, want, in theory) I will not be going to Windows 9.
    everything that made Win 8 better than Win7, Vista, XP, is being added back. what a sorry state… now rumors of NO CHARMS,
    This is to me 100% pure CRAP. – I say Get over XP, Vista, Win7, on to the future, of better and faster with less memory.
    So many (manufactures) have great programs which will fix (but they only work in LEGACY BIOS.) shame, I guess we will go back to and drop UEFI. drop Smart Boot. also, drop KEY embedded in BIOS by OEM. Oh CRAP lets just bring Windows XP back an crap on the rest…
    MJF and PT are some of the worse… on all this (IMO). Win 8.1 up1 (v17085) is nice improvements, I do hope they do not screw up the next.

    • Why the diss against MJF and PT?

      • Snuffy

        Why, most of what they spout about is very old hat, and they 99% of the time take credit for “it comes from others” and they never give credit. might sell magazines, very unethical. and they say “My Sources” which come from twits 🙂 in private some even joke MJF will post in 2 days,ha ha- I have even see them post FAKE photos of (inside source say REAL) and they never say crap when the FAKE posts never come true… would make them look bad. they both are mostly FAKE. glory seekers.

  • Smeyers

    For me a business user support technician Windows 8 is an error of no use in a desktop PC with no need for the start screen the start button is something we need! The speed of some services of the Windows and the Windows 7 practicality is the hope for the 9.

    • ???

    • Mick Hickson

      Win8 etseq is the first of a new generation for MS. Give it a chance and see what they do next. Maybe as has been said before, they have just tried to sweep too many changes too quickly. Vista for me was junk, but MS redeemed themselves with Win7. Who’s to say the same won’t happen again? Biggest mistake here, (IMO) is trying to put the Mob Interface on a desktop. Win9 will hopefully provide a modern resolve. End goal has to be to match what Apple are doing with a generic OS for mob, android (yes, I think MS have to, and should, go down this road) and desktop.

  • Lloyd Davidson

    Onuora, I’m neither a business owner or a casual home user. I’m what used to be called a hacker before that word took on it’s present criminal overtones. Back in the dark ages before Windows even was, a hacker was just a hobbyist who was always stressing his machine and it’s software to maximum smoke. We were always hungry and eager for the next new thing even if it didn’t work as advertised. We would make it do what it was supposed to do and more. We learned to code from magazines in the days when magazines were more than thinly veiled advertisements and doing a “build” actually meant taking up a soldering iron. Even from DOS 2.1 we recognized a kindred spirit in the boys from Redmond. We awaited their newest effort with as much breathlessness as a nerd could muster even though they lost a little face when they went to the GUI, Windows. Why, when coupled with the latest Intel chips, you didn’t even have to write a Kernel to make them work. Still, it was always a challenge and continues to be even though it becomes harder all the time to get past the multi layered Gui’s now in use. It’s still fun because even with Intel’s quad core chips and Windows 8.1 you can still find new and interesting things to do that isn’t in the specs. If I were a business owner and had to constantly pay to have my IT staff upgraded in the subtleties of a newer operating system I might be a tad upset with Windows changing every couple of years and if I were a casual home user I might be upset with having to constantly upgrade. However, with the changing nature of computing, having all the work happen elsewhere on that big server in the sky, AKA “The Cloud” I believe both the business owner and the home user will soon have to learn only how to deal with the interface itself, ALA Apple, and never have to tax their brains with actually learning anything more complicated than how to swipe. When that happens, dinosaurs like myself will face extension….but then old nerds never die, they just smell that way.

    • Hahah… old nerds never die. I agree with that…

  • old computergeek

    I want the interface from “Her”.

    • LOL

      Wouldnt that be awesome? I think thats Windows 15.

  • Greenman

    I miss DOS, when I could easily make the PC do exactly what I wanted. Each new version of the operating system buries things deeper with a steep learning curve trying to find things. Yet, I upgrade each time I get a chance, and will continue to do so. 8.1 short boot time is enough in itself for me to switch. Having finally found most of the adjustment I use to customize my PC, I would never go back. I believe most users are simply afraid of change. I don’t really see the big deal. I say move ahead, forget version 7. What I would like to see is one system for all hardware. I am frustrated that I can’t do things with windows phone that I can with the pc. I also think Microsoft is missing the boat by not providing for interoperability for apps with Android and other systems.

  • cowboy99230

    hi I think Microsoft should give people what they want I don’t think windows 9 will do any better than windows 8 did maybe Microsoft should make 2 systems and let people chose what they want windows 9 for the young tablet/smart phone group and windows XP/7 for the rest of us old people (old people are the ones with the money to buy new pc) as what I can see on the net 75 percent are using windows 7 or xp now anyway so if it is not broken don’t fix it

    • If it aint broke, dont fix it. Thats one way to look at it…

  • angry newraze

    Back to windows 7 I love the start menu in windows 7

  • adv

    I hope MS goes for the integration of it’s OS with Phones/tablets/Desktops. This way you can use what ever device you have without having to learn the OP system. Also have those Android apps work with this integrated new OS.
    I embraced W8.1 a long time ago and have been on this business of computers since the 1960’s.

    • Awesome! Thats great to hear. The OS device integration is pretty much a guaranteed target I would assume.

    • Phil Lee

      If you want to integrate everything together, why bother owning anything but a phone?
      If you want to run large, high resolution displays, the metro interface sucks.
      If you are using a 4″ phone screen the “classic” windows shell is unusable.
      On PC architecture machines, it makes most sense to have both available, but if one is missing, it should be metro, since that is the least well suited to the platform.
      The whole point of windows, from the earliest versions, has been the ability to have multiple tasks running and transfer data between them – but how can you drag and drop if you can only have one app(lication) visible on the screen at once?
      Cut&Paste is fine, but much slower, and Drag&Drop is probably the single most valuable improvement in usability that windows has ever had. Losing it (or having to mes around doing advanced configuration to get it back) is a huge backward step.
      I don’t notice *NIX having any problem having several different working environments available on the same platform, so why would MS?
      I want fingerprints and smudges all over my PC screens about as badly as I want RAID50 and dual redundant gigabit ethernet interfaces on my phone – i.e. not at all.
      I wouldn’t expect plug & play installation of a large diversity of additional devices on a phone either – it’s a pointless complication.
      Converging the devices to a common interface is like trying to fit a yoke and rudder pedals to a railway locomotive.
      If MS force me to go with a phone interface on their PC OSs, I will make the time investment to thoroughly learn Linux (at the moment I am merely familiar as a user rather than administrator) and upgrade to that instead (as many other users seem to be doing). Then I will be able to run whatever style of desktops I want, in many cases concurrently.
      I’m already migrating to applications with Linux versions, in preparation, as it seems to me that Windows is developing into a dead end, and as my data is mine, I want to be able to choose how I use it, and not be held ransom to upgrade costs in order to access it at all.

      That’s coming from someone who used to work as a consultant migrating *NIX environments to Windows, and hardening windows to defence department levels of security – so I used to have a big MS horse in the race. But when the owner hobbles the horse, it’s time to back another one.

  • What is all this obsession with the old start menu? No retreat, keep moving forward!

  • Steve

    I have Win 8.1 on a Medion Multimode Touch Notebook and hated it until I installed a third party Start Button, but like many of us “old timers” who are sometimes slow to accept change, I returned to my desktop with Win 7.

    XP proved to be a very popular OS and I have friends that refuse to move from it as it does all the want without having to update to a new computer or hardware just to “keep up” with each new OS MS bring out.

    People seem to forget that many people just want a computer that will do the everyday things like surf the web, send email, Skype.
    Not everyone needs or wants a tablet with a touch screen or IPhones, they like something that is comfortable and familiar to use without the headache of learning a new OS, these are the people MS has forgotten each time they bring out a new OS.

    I’m sure MS are very worried about the new OS Linux have brought out called Zorin 9 with changeable interfaces, simular to Win 7 or XP,
    Zorin is aimed squarely at the “old” MS XP and Win 7 users and I know many are changing to it, it’s a lot faster and easy to use and at this time no malware or virus worries.

    Maybe this is the reason why MS is bringing back some of the old parts of Win 7 and XP rather than lose their market to Linux Zorin 9.

    • Not sure Microsoft is terrified of Zorin Linux but thanks for the heads up. I had never heard of it before.

      • Steve

        I’m keeping Zorin 9 on my desktop and will wait and see if MS do make Win 9 FREE, XP still has a very large following even though some think Win 8.1 is the “ants pants” and these will be the “target users” of Win 9 .
        These are the people who have been loyal to XP and MS for many years and that’s the reason I think MS are bringing back the Start Menu. I hear it will be an update in Win 8.1 also.

    • TerriB

      This is the point. There are many older users who just want a PC to keep in touch with family, write letters/email, do banking & generally look up things they need to know. Why can’t Microsoft make an OS available like XP for those users & an OS for the others who use a PC for business & the like. That way everyone is happy. You don’t make clothes in 1 size saying you all wear it do you.

  • David

    I am using win 8.1 and love it – it has fixed a lot of the problems of win 8 and is very desktop friendly – I hate going back to my work computer which only has win 7 on it. Win 8 is stable and has good security. I also use two monitors a lot with desktop running on one screen and metro on the other – hey presto two computers in one. Plus of course it integrates well with MS Office and Sharepoint. A feature not often mentioned is that you can do a search on the metro screen just by typing in the name of the required file – without having to click on ANY button first. Win 8.1 is pretty close to what win 9 should be and probably if Microsoft had released win 8.1 from the beginning then there would be a lot more acceptance of win 8.

    • Yeah the metro search was one of the best parts of Windows 8.

  • esd2000

    I for one love Windows 8 & 8.1. I don’t quite understand what’s not to like. There’s good vids out there on how to use it. A start menu would be a step backwards IMO.

  • David Sandoval

    Personally I haven’t had a bad experience with Win8/8.1. I liked the bold step in trying to move away from the same, and yet different look of Windows. I know it is risky for them to push the envelope again but I welcome the change. I would prefer not to go backwards and hope they will continue to be innovative. Win95 was a huge change from Win3.1 and I remember lots of people complaint about that change. But who really wanted to go backwards after having worked with 95? Maybe 8.1 isn’t the answer but I think they are on to something and am excited to see what 9 will bring us.

  • Rohit

    I guess tis article its self proves how muchthe author loves innovation … At the first part of you are entioning thatinnvoation is key to sucess and second part says u got a mac for $2000 as u didnt like windows 8 thats bull shit… If u love innovation u should respect it ….i guess windows 8 is a great step ahead for a technology that will improve by time

    • I also say innovation is not a guarantee of success or popularity.


  • golfster

    A computer operating system is like a pair of shoes, one size doesn’t fit all.

    • Good point!

      • newles

        Some shoes come in very small or extremely large sizes for minority markets. Microsoft should hit the mainstream market for desktops and listen to consumers. If they wanted to create a touch screen sys for phones and tablets…. fine, just don’t force it on everyone ? If they don’t listen they are going to end up with a lot of shoes in the sales !

  • awad ghbn

    When are you doing download windows 9 beta

  • ac492

    Is Microsoft going backwards with W9? Well, reading many of the comments so far, innovation’s great, W8’s a superb system and it’s only dimwits and Luddites who think otherwise… I can remember people saying much the same thing about Vista!

    Well, to successfully run a business – of any kind – the aim MUST be the production of goods/services which customers desire or need and are eager to purchase and when they’d shelled out their cash were happy with the product and would be back for more of the same. And then they’d spread the message to other potential customers that this was a great, value-for-money product. With W8 can Microsoft (or anyone else) honestly claim that they succeeded in that aim? Very evidently not.

    So what to do? To have to go backwards to their last properly successful product would be sending a public message that the organisation had lost the plot with regard to what their customers needed or when purchased were entirely happy with. And after that, could potential buyers of the company’s next new product be comfortable with handing over cash to Microsoft? No, MS really have to move on to W9 – but make it less costly for the consumer to take the financial risk of change, and very importantly, make the change as painless as possible for the users – even if it looks to some ‘enthusiasts’ that the company’s playing it safe. That simply means that it’s taking heed of the needs of the majority of it’s customers and users.

  • Erick

    Microsoft will go forward, not backward. But, what a challenge … they have to satisfy everyone: XP, Vista, Win 7 and Win 8 users; and then there’s the competition (Apple, etc). I recently purchased a Thinkpad with Wn 8.1 and it didn’t take long to be right in step with where I had come from (Wn 7) plus the quickness and new approaches that Win 8.1 provided.are acceptable, even though they may be somewhat challenging to begin with. I personally like Wn 8.1 and can’t wait to become more proficient in its use. To help make the move, I installed MS Office 2007 (which I have much experience with) on the new Thinkpad and haven’t missed a beat! MS will go forward..

  • andy18699

    Great comments by every one. Microsoft will do in their wisdom what they think will be best for every one. Maybe they should have several Operating systems for Windows 9. Like they had 3 versions for Windows 7 I believe. Maybe we should have one for Desktop and Laptop, one for Pads and one for Phone. We’ll have to wait in anticipation as to what comes forth.

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  • Bill Franklin

    Good analysis as always Onuora. I think it’s clear Microsoft is in some kind of trouble whether they want to admit it or not. The number of younger users who now prefer Apple and Google products is bigger than most are willing to admit. I believe Microsoft needs to switch things up soon or they’re going to lose more and more customers.

  • Shankar

    Awesome UI in 8.1 hoping for much better than this.

  • Steve Trewick

    Windows 8.1 is great. I never hear you talk about its strengths. The speed it boots up, how stable it is. That’s what it is all about. Look, if you want to work in the work place shell, just go to it. What’s the problem. There’s not one person that I know that doesn’t like it, yet all I read about is how bad it is. I can’t understand it. It’s so petty the stuff that is being written about. No start button. You’ve got to be joking.

  • Disgusted With Technology

    It would be fine if MS would support their older OS indefinitely- they could push forward as much as they wanted to. Unfortunately, many in the IT field have lost sight of the fact that not everyone has the money or the ability to perpetually buy new computers, technical devices, etc as fast as MS wants to make them obsolete so you HAVE to buy new. Sorry, as someone who has been in the field for a long time, I think too many have lost sight of the rest of humanity in pursuit of self.

  • Mcklog

    I actually liked W8 very much, yes it has some drawbacks from the metro UI, but I certainly do not miss W7 or XP; W8 just need some fixes, have a better Desktop-Metro integration, and more options for the tiles in metro start like more sizes, last opened files, etc. In a few words, polish Metro more. I think that microsoft should not go backwards.

    That’s my opinion

  • Chase

    When Win7 came out, I tweaked it to look and act like WinXP. I tried Win8 and hated it and totally got rid of it. WinXP was on the right track for sure, but after that, it’s been down hill, and at some point, it’s time to look at something to replace Windows completely for someone like me who loves simple, easy and familiar.

  • Larry

    There are web sites that will bring back the start window and easy access to documents, pictures and control panel.

    I use ‘’ and have helped others use it.

  • Dale

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. the move from XP to Vista was Junk. They got it right again with Windows 7. Everyone I know likes Windows 7 and hates Windows 8.x . The Windows phone works well with 8. But who wants a 32″ touchscreen on their desk? I for one have enough trouble keeping my phone screen clear of fingerprints, I have no desire to do the same with my desktop.

  • Rick S.

    I have found zero value in the goofy cell-phone-like interface that Microsoft foisted onto their customers on mainstream device in Windows 8.x. It is a total failure of understanding their user base and how the majority of them use their PCs, and seems to come from a haphazard thought process of “change for change’s sake alone.” There are niche environments where touch screen makes sense, and for those specific users and environments, an ALTERNATE touch interface would have been perfectly fine to provide as an OPTION. But to force it upon all Windows end users arbitrarily was the very definition of the proverb “to cut off one’s nose despite the face.”
    There is no plausible reason to put a touch screen interface on mainstream devices for which a full size keyboard and pointing device are readily available. Its inaccurate; it’s slow; it wastes tons of screen real estate; the acts of touching and swiping on the screen with bare hands makes the screen disgusting to work with, both visually and tactilely, over a short period of time; key Windows features had to be hidden or made to be much less efficient in order to support the touch interface; reaching away from the keyboard and mouse/touchpad to perform touch activities more than quadruples the time it takes to perform the majority of tasks users need to perform. Note that the Windows 8.x changes were not alone in the Microsoft “change” thought process failure: there were changes forced on the Windows 7/Vista interface that were utterly unnecessary as well, but fortunately the majority were not nearly as invasive and/or pervasive as those shoehorned into Windows 8.x.
    The departure from the failed 8.x interface for larger devices cannot happen soon enough. Leave the touch interface relegated to those devices where it MUST be used, devices that either due to their size cannot reasonably have a useful keyboard and mouse (phones/tablets) or in environments where keyboards and mice pose environmental/safety/hygiene problems (weather-exposed/restaurants/healthcare environments). A touchscreen interface is a compromise to deal with the design limitations of those devices and environments, not a huge ungainly burden to spackle with a wide spatula over the entire computing landscape. Leaving that interface as an option is the best and most intelligent choice.

  • Jon

    Right or wrong 8 just doesn’t work for the majority of users, who, like me, are using ‘classic shell’ or some other way of making 8 tolerable.

    For people who want touch screens and apps that look like mobile phone gizmos 8 may work, BUT the majority want to use programs easily just like they always have (since 3.1 in my case).

    Multi-tasking means using multiple windows simultaneously. This is easily possible with even slower processors on a basic desktop. I just chesked and firefox is covering about 70% and filezilla 30% of the screen. That’s where they work best at the best % view and with the columns open so I can get the info I want. 2/3 doesn’t work neither does 3/4.

    It’s not just the resistance to change or ‘old shoes are more comfortable’ windows 8 is a complete mis-understanding of how customers actually use a GUI.

    Luckily I found Classic shell (which is free) or I was threatening to forget w few legacy programs and move to Linux, about 98% of what I do could be done on Linux with a couple of very annoying exceptions.

    9=7 good, 9=8+1bad


  • Neal

    I’m afraid they need to go backwards, I recently brought a laptop for my dad with windows 8.1 a dreadful time firstly transferring all his xp files and folders as the Microsoft transfer program didn’t work 2 days trying, (this laptop was for work so he wanted it cloned basically) secondly he couldn’t use it and I hated spending 3 days just to set it up and ended up paying for start8 and reconfiguring the whole system just to work like windows 7 so I could find the control panel to uninstall all the blot ware, and completely disabled metro ui never to be seen again, basically a complete ball ache, where as my mac was easy to transfer from old to new computer! People want a new machine they can be more productive!

  • Sam Smith

    I think we could have both tradition cutting edge technology. It requires option flexibility as the system evolves. MS tried to go to far to fast for many users, both the traditionalist and business. To me 8/8.1 is great for those who have touch screen machines, but it difficult to adapt to on key board machines. I have several machines that range from XP, 7 to 8/8.1. None have touch screen ability. Therefore I installed one of the simple overlays that allows the use of traditional desktop or the new 8/8.1. It should be simple to provide that option as needed as the product evolves.

  • paulhogan

    I have never had any problem with windows 8.1, it is so easy to use. I get sick of seeing people whinging and whining that a magic start button is missing, but I have never seen any explanation what this magic start button is. Sad.

  • Don

    I am an everyday user and I really don’t want to spend months learning a new OS that doesnt do anything good for me in the end and really isnt even as good as what I already have (Win 7). Give me an updated version of 7 with known problems fixed and maybe a touch interface available, as long as it can be hidden out of the way and unnoticeable.I have not heard of one single thing that Win 8x has that would do me any good.

  • Robert Bray

    STOP thinking in a straight line. Microsoft has multiple systems and it seems
    to me MS just wants to bring more users (from Windows 7) to the fold, avoiding
    the Windows XP User Lock. There are some
    who refuse to upgrade from window XP. MS
    has multiple active systems to fill multiple user likes and needs. I am sure there will be a different update
    for Windows 8/8.1 that will make you happy in the future. This is just an update for windows 7, so in
    my opinion this is a move forward. Thou 8
    is after 7, but in Windows there are two completely different OS’s.

  • Romanticapped

    The Real issue with Microsoft Windows, especially 8 is that they push too much change too fast on their users, they force what they think customers should have over what customers want. They completely changed the interface and look in 8 with no real option of reverting initially. They also tend to move buttons around that people use frequently and install things like ‘Ribbons’ in updates without any kind of warning. The thing people want with windows is customize-ability and many spend a long time getting things to look and feel the way they want, then Microsoft comes along and screws it all up on people. Another pain with Microsoft is migration, it takes way too long to install new OS and get your programs back. They have no good program migration protocol due to their lousy registry system. People would be more receptive if we knew we could seamlessly transfer our old programs into the new OS but most of this has to be done separately and takes too much time, then you have to adjust and tweak your personal settings and other preferences all over again. Microsoft needs to use some of that innovation on that issue, they have had years to deal with it, decades even and fail to come up with a good solution for easier, less painful migrations.

    Innovation is fine, as long as it is not forced on people, and they virtually forced Windows 8 down peoples throats, also several (thousands) older systems could not run 8 with p4 tech, too many people (and business’ with hundreds of computers) cannot afford to buy the OS and new computers just to run it. Another thing is that XP works just fine, it was not broken and forcing change for change sake is not always a good thing, it does have social ramifications in this ‘modern age’ of technology, where too many people live the majority of their lives on social tech.

  • terryb44256

    Whether or not I like or dislike window8, and I don’t usually like change, but I prefer to push on to newer than backward to older.