Friday, June 15, 2012

Windows 8 Linkage: “Metro at Nightfall” edition

cc image credit image by echiner1 on flickr


OK.  I’ve now been spending a considerable amount of time using a virtualized installation of Windows 8 Release Preview. I have also come to an critical conclusion.

Until Microsoft (or the Windows tweaking community) comes up with a solid and reliable way to disable and/or prevent The Nuisance™ that is the Windows 8 Metro start page from running AND brings back a more realistic semblance of the classic “start menu” format, Windows 7 will be for us what XP has and remains for most of the enterprise world.

Seriously Microsoft. What are your focus groups thinking?

The game changer?  Dear Alvis.

Allow me to explain.

Last week, in a show of appreciation and support for dear daughter Alvis, Lavie and I picked up a new 17.3” i3-core, 4 GB RAM, Windows 7 Home Premium x64 bit laptop for her.  She has been soldiering on with her hand-me-down Gateway MT6451 laptop. I’ve long since upgraded the RAM to the max the system could support, dropped a larger HDD in it, upgraded it to Win 7 (x32) and it has been a real workhorse. It survived a DC input socket failure and repair, and at least two complete tear-downs by me. However, over the past several months the DC plug began to fail again leading to a flicking screen as it switched from AC to battery and back again. I considered picking up a new system-board. However at around $100 it didn’t make much sense for such an old system when I could pick up a newer and more powerful system for her for a few hundred more. So now she’s running a beautiful HP Pavilion g7 notebook and is beside herself with joy. Next comes picking out a lid “skin” and a bag to fit the behemoth.

Anyway, being such a new purchase it is possible it will qualify for a low-cost OS upgrade to Windows 8.  Alvis is a hip kid and is no slouch when it comes to technology and PC operation. So I showed her the Windows 8 Release Preview I’ve been working in.

Feedback was (basically) “gross, stupid, where’s the start menu on the desktop? Don’t you dare put that on my new laptop. I don’t want a Windows Phone on my laptop! I don’t get it.”

I was shocked. Really. If any demographic might be open to the Windows 8 Metro/Start Page interface I figured it would be a hip, younger kid who would appreciate the tiles and the Metro apps, etc. and doesn’t bring much baggage with them from the Windows-in-Enterprise world a-la XP and “Classic” mode. Nope. To her is is nothing more than Windows Phone on a PC. Period.

In fairness coming to my own conclusion, I loaded up a number of Metro Apps onto my Windows system to test out the experience.

  • I have to sign in with a Microsoft ID to download and install them? Seriously? Pass.
  • The news apps and photo-feed apps are quite beautiful. However when I’m looking for news give me the news…I felt I was reading the Parade Magazine using them.
  • The weather application tile was pretty cool.  But do I really want or need all that eye candy to figure out what the temperature and forecast is for the day? Nope. My NeXus dock bar has a superhandy icon that I can access to get almost all that same information for just a hover.
  • For the life of me I still can’t figure out how to surf successfully in the IE 10 Metro tile app.
  • Closing running Windows Metro tile applications is possible but still non-intuitive to me.
  • I can swap back and forth between the Start Page and the Desktop. However I prefer to just stay in the desktop, and find the Classic Shell tweak a must-have.
  • Performance is great and I love all the under the hood OS tweaks and changes. I want them. I want them really badly.
  • I don’t mind the “flat” windows and removal of many of the Areo/transparency styling's from Vista/Win7. That’s all cool and actually pulled off quite nicely.

But at the end of the day the Metro Start Page environment and the lack of a OEM start menu system for the Desktop really is just killing the deal for me.  Sure, I can and am using Classic Shell coupled with this cool trick How To Switch to Desktop Automatically in Windows 8 via Windows7hacker to auto-jump to the desktop after login (after a brief pause at the Start Page), but I shouldn’t have to!

Note: if you use that trick (and it is a nice/easy one) there is an error on the path location to save the file as listed in the post. Rather than using %appdate% it should be placed in the following location:

%appdata%\microsoft\windows\start menu\programs\startup

Nope. Windows 7 runs super smooth, has all the core features I need and require, that I cannot reasonably make the call to upgrade any of our systems to Windows 8 in its current iteration. We are still running Windows XP Pro at work and only now are there the initial rumblings of vetting Windows 7 for deployment across our enterprise. Windows 8 with the Start Page in corporate-land? Doubtful anytime soon.

So to be clear, I’m lovin the technical changes and features Windows 8 brings. I’m definitely not feeling the love for the new GUI. And it’s annoying enough to seriously keep me from upgrading our systems anytime soon.

Pass for now.

That said, here are a bunch-load of new links regarding Windows 8 goings-on for future reference.

Win8 (Release Preview) - Start Here - Get It

Win8 - Related Betas

Win8 - Install It

Win8 - Under the Hood

Win8 - To Go

Win8 - Tweaks

Win8 - Deeper Insights

Win8 - DaRT

  • nothing new in this area these past weeks…

Win8 - Usage Tips

Win8 - Miscellanea & Rumors

Windows 8 - GSD Previously Posted


--Claus V.


FF Extension Guru said...

"Windows Phone on a laptop", that has to be by far the best description of Windows 8 Metro I have heard. I have never really wanted a Windows phone (BSOD on my phone, I don't think so). I think once again MS is shooting themselves in the foot with Windows 8, much like they did with Vista (except I think this is going to be far worse).

FF Extension Guru said...

I might also add the classic 'start menu' is dead in Windows 8 Metro and Microsoft is making sure it stays that way.

Microsoft Blocking Third Parties from Reviving Start Button