A commonly requested service at Chip & Bytes is our Microsoft Windows Re-Install Service - although not for the reason you may expect. We have people come in to have their OS re-installed because they have a virus or file corruption, sure, but the most common request in the last year involves Windows 8/8.1.
Microsoft, in the eyes of our customers, made a mistake with Windows 8 – they tried to push too dramatic of an operating system change too quickly on their customers.
For those of you in the dark, and still on Windows XP or 7, let me show you what I mean. Here is my Windows 7 computer I am using to write this blog, with its Start Menu displaying:
The Windows 7 Start Menu uses the same iconic styling present in Windows for 20 years – a button in the lower left corner that the user clicks to pop-up a navigation menu. From this menu the user can select programs, or shortcuts to important folders on the computer.
The Windows Start Menu does not occupy the entire screen, in fact it occupies less and less as monitors and resolution increase, and instead lets you keep an eye on your work and desktop icons while selecting another application or task. This is an aspect of the Start Menu most of us did not consider until it was taken away. What do I mean? Let me show you:
Above is a Windows 8 Start Menu screen shot sourced from Google Images. You are probably a confused reader if you have yet to use Windows 8. Where is the Desktop? Where are my icons? Where is the Task Bar used to multitask and monitor open programs for the last 20 years? They are there, but hidden – hidden behind the full screen Start Menu that lacks a Start Button. In Windows 8 the Start Menu is activated by moving your mouse (or finder on a touch screen) into the bottom left corner. It is de-activated by hitting the awkward “Desktop” tile. This system obscures any view of your work and makes it easy to loose track of what you were doing.
This new navigation style, which Microsoft has dubbed “Metro,” comes packaged with a wide variety of awkward “Apps” which may or may not work on your tablet or computer, depending on which you open. These Apps perform common tasks like play video or view images, but also launch in a confusing full screen manner devoid of convenient Minimize, Maximize, or Close buttons. The Apps also do a great job of covering the Windows task bar, scattering your hopes of effective multitasking.
This sudden and abrupt change to our customers’ most familiar tool is not well received. People “hate” Windows 8. They tell us they do not know where to go, what to do, or what to click. They say they feel lost and that they have lost all sense of productivity. They want us to take a brand new computer, factory installed with Windows 8 or 8.1, wipe it completely go backward – install Windows 7.
Microsoft is hoping to make everything right with Windows 9.
Microsoft is trying to make a compromise with its upcoming Windows 9 Operating System – due at the end of 2015. Tablet users want a great touch experience – the ability to navigate everything simply with one finger, while traditional desktop users want a return to form on the simple, Start Menu style navigation that made Windows the productivity operating system of choice for the last 20+ years.
The picture above shows Microsoft’s plan for Windows 9 – a new Start Menu that shows off the beautiful, Metro tile design of Windows 8 on the functionality of the existing Windows 98-Windows 7 Start Menu.
We will wait to see how Microsoft’s newest outing works in the wild.