Windows 8 optimize

Poll Results: IT Pros agree missing Start Button is not an angst-ridden crisis

Despite the incessant drumbeat to the contrary, most IT pros on TechRepublic are approaching the pending release of Windows 8 with calmness.

Early in February 2012, I asked what I considered to be a simple question:

Is the lack of a Start Button in Windows 8 really a big deal or is it just an excuse to feign angst before the beta release?

Change may be an inevitable part of an information technology professional's life, but that does not mean it is always embraced as beneficial -- at least seldom at first blush. However, there are degrees of change. There are minor changes that can be avoided or mitigated, and there are major changes that cannot be avoided and must be dealt with. Judging by the results of the poll, it would seem that the loss of a Start Button in Microsoft Windows 8 is one of the minor changes.

At the very least, the results suggest that, despite the very loud chorus of naysayers citing the lack of a Start Button as the final straw that will drive them to other operating systems, most IT pros are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the pending beta release of Windows 8.

(The general consensus is that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview will be announced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on February 29, 2012.

Follow-up question

It is no secret that I find the tone of the comments on Windows 8 that I have seen in the discussion forums on TechRepublic to be way more apocalyptic than warranted by the facts. The angst expressed when Microsoft announced that there would be no Start Button just did not match the magnitude of the change. Obviously, there is more than the loss of single desktop button causing all this hand-wringing, but what that is eludes me.

So, let me ask for some calm, rational explanation. What exactly concerns you about Windows 8? Are you one of the members expressing what seems to be a sense of betrayal at the changes Microsoft is making to Windows? Can you express why you feel that way? What about it is raising your blood pressure?

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

37 comments
andrew232006
andrew232006

Many people don't like. Many don't care. Is there any need in rehashing it? Tell me something else about windows 8.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I find the transition between it and the traditional desktop rather jarring. While one as some degree of control over the positioning of Metro tiles, it is not complete control. The tiles can only be arranged in columns of two; there are no odd numbers of columsn allowed. Tiles autoarrange within a column from the top down; you cannot position a tile at the bottom of column where it would be close to the hot spot that brings up the Start screen. Even if you could force tiles to the bottom of a column, there is a minimum distance between the lowest tile in a column and the bottom left corner that activates the Start screen. If MS insists on this model of autoarranging tiles, it should put the Start hot spot in the UPPER left, closest to where the first tiles are anchored. I also found it quite cumbersome to reduce the size of some of the tiles. Tiles come in 'single wide' and 'double wide' sizes; I have no idea what determines the default size. They can be made larger or smaller by right-clicking, but only one at a time. I wanted to 'Make Smaller' all of the double-wide tiles. I could select multiples with CTRL+Right-click, but the 'Make Smaller' option disappears if you select more than one at a time. I recognize this is most likely a one-time operation for each time; still, having to individually shrink eight or ten of them quickly became annoying. I haven't figured out yet how to create new tiles. I loaded Office as one user, and tiles populated the desktop automatically. However, when I switched to another user, the tiles for Office apps were not there. I don't know how to start apps that I know are there; I haven't yet found a 'Run' or a 'Start, All Programs' equivalent.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Right click on the metro screen and an all programs pops up.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I kept trying to do something with the Settings menu. Figured out what serves as the old 'Startup' menu folder, or how to otherwise have an application start at logon?

Slayer_
Slayer_

But scheduled tasks should work, you can schedule tasks for right after successful login.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew like.author.displayName 1 Like

...only in reverse. For the first Windows phones, the idea was to put the "Windows" interface on a phone. It didn't work well, because using a hand-held device with a small screen and small or no keyboard is a totally different user experience than sitting at a desk or laptop. The "classic" Windows interface is very inefficient on a small device. So now, MS is going to try to put their new (and much better defined) phone interface on the desktop. But the problem is the same. It's two totally different experiences. The phone interface will be very inefficient on a desktop/laptop device. I don't want the same interface on both devices because I use them differently. All I do want is to be able to access the same data on both. Having access to the same data does not necessarily mean having to access it the exact same way.

jimlonero
jimlonero like.author.displayName 1 Like

It could be that the big reaction in the Windows camp is because there are many more Windows users than there are of any other operating system. If/when Apple changes the Mac UI, will there be such an outcry? Most likely, but not as loud. Why? Because there are much fewer users of the Mac than of Windows. (Same with Linux/Unix.) So, the more users, the more opinions that will be expressed. And this just goes to show that Windows users have just as much passion as those using other operating systems. And, since there are more of them (us), it is much loudere. This should put a smile on Microsoft's face.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'll bet there would be a much bigger smile if those users were greeting it with more acclaim and less complaint.

jimbo00725
jimbo00725

Ok, so all the Microsoft Haters need to check themselves. the start button will still be there, (it has to be for the enterprise, at least for now). There is a registry change that re-nables the start menu for those folks who hate change. change can be good. And if not, go see apple, and pay the elevated price and get no support. good luck there!

Slayer_
Slayer_ like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Not many modern OS's let you run 20 year old applications, but Windows does.

Skruis
Skruis like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Now make it a mountain. Losing the start button is no big deal. Navigating through 1 metro start screen to launch your app is no big deal and even just using the keyboard to type the name of your app, then hit enter is no big deal. There are greater issues with the state of computing than to spend all this time complaining about 1 button or 1 graphical launcher that you will probably spend 5 minutes in per day total as a desktop user.

tvshub
tvshub

How can you have a Start button without a Finish button? Without a Finish, then you never really start, do you?

pjmckay
pjmckay

Everyone has to start somewhere; whether it be Apps or the Quicklaunch menu in Apple talk; or 'start' in MS lingo. I'm happy to press start for a list of my apps. Maybe you'd be happier if the called it 'finder', or ;'Go'. It's all a bit of a stupid argument. And we all press close or exit at the end anyway. Besides 'Finish' is far too dramatic. That should blow it up and destroy it. Not a bad thought for one buttoned mice though, and not a bad thought for one buttoned devices.

jlippens
jlippens

I think the angst riddled fears are coming from experience with MS history, Vista was a definite "bomb" in my opinion and would make me wait on upgrading until I know MS has their act together.

SerrJ215
SerrJ215 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I am reserving judgment until I get my hands on a true beta, but honstly I have never seen an OS get so much attention for not being out there.

pjmckay
pjmckay

Nobody has seen it but everyone knows what'll be released next week. Nobody had seen the iPhone5 either but knew what it would encompass 6 months ago.. whoops that became the 4s for similar reasons. Please dont let facts get in the way of a good story :-)

WanderMouse
WanderMouse like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

My main issure with Win8 is whether there will be a "classic mode" version that will be optimal for laptop/desktop use. I don't want to work with a touchscreen interface on either a laptop or desktop, nor try to navigate a Metro interface with keyboard & mouse. Either of the latter two will be a "deal breaker" for me, for Win8. When Vista was imminent, I updated my computers at the last moment when I could get WinXP SP3 to avoid Vista entirely. If Win8 does not offer a "classic" interface, I will again update while Win7 is still offered, presumably in late 2012 or early 2013. Otherwise, I'm happy enough with XP that I'll wait until support expires in 2014, and give Win8 time to work out the bugs and update to at least SP1.

pjmckay
pjmckay

So long as its an option I think you'll be surprised how much you'll use it if you can. I've been using tablets before the ipad tablet (HP4200... Oops am I allowed to say they existed before Apple invented them?), and touch screen EPOS stuff in the past. Recently it's been in home jukeboxes and similar BUT I think the option of touching a button rather than mousing is a real progression... so long as its done properly. I love my asus transformer but I use the keyboard mostly as I prefer it for typing, but navigate via touch. Similarly with work ipad but I'm using a bluetooth keyboard to save using 50% of the screen. I really believe it's the consumers future and can't wait till m next foray into new hardware. I see it as the equivalent of tellys going from mono to colour. My granny told me it was unnnatural at the time. How daft does that sound.

HckrAdm2005
HckrAdm2005

From what i've read and watched in pod cast videos the Intel version's will have the classical/desktop look/GUI available as to the ARM processors will only have metro except for the office apps. They will have a desktop screen/interface available. Of course this is all pre-beta, so we shall see soon on what happens. The fact there is no start button/windows orb isn't a big deal to me since i mostly use hot keys anyways.

beaverusiv
beaverusiv like.author.displayName 1 Like

If you really dislike change so much you can just keep install disks of XP and keep old software and disconnect from the Internet (for updates) or you can keep a disk of linux and do the same. You have a legitimate reason, I mean, I personally am not ever going to use touch on anything other than my phone so I will not use win8 if it doesn't suit my use-case either. I'm still excited for it, though. Vista was cool (yes I said it, mainly because of what it meant rather than what it did) and Win7 is the best OS I've ever used. Bring it on!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

Hopefully the Help resources for the beta will be more informative. My limited experience with the W8 Developer's release was unpleasant and unproductive. I couldn't figure out how to some of what the Start button did; other things seemed less convenient. The Metro GUI on a desktop, laptop, or other non-touch system was a 'No Go', and I shouldn't have to jump through registry hoops to disable it. I'll limit my comment in this post to the Start button, and not rehash my other previously expressed negative initial impressions. They've had several months to decay in my memory, and they'll be out of date in a few days anyway.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

It was thought that the metrosexual interface would replace the start button, render it pointless. I guess not.

Juergen Hartl
Juergen Hartl like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Really? There is a ton of app-launchers available. Then, when win8 launches, it will take a week, at most ,for someone to come up with a way to implement the start button , or a replacement. So no big deal in any way.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What, exactly, concerns you about Windows 8? What about it is raising your blood pressure?

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's not just the removal of the START button that has so many Windows users up in arms. It's the cumulative effect of all the arrogant actions by Microsoft towards its users in which the removal of the START button is just the most recent. Since the largest segment of Windows users is not made up of the IT Pros out there its somewhat useless to ask the IT Pros anything about this. If you want real feedback then you need to go to the average user who will have to deal with this change. The average user is computer literate but they are no IT pro and so they ARE going to have difficulty with Windows 8 because of these dumb changes made by Microsoft. It will be very interesting to see how much negative feedback Microsoft gets from real users once it's out and in use. Many are still hopping mad about having the RIBNBON shoved down their throats in Office 2007/2010. You can bet those same users are going to be just as mad if not more so when they find out that the next latest & greatest version of Windows has removed the classic START button and replaced it with nothing. I imagine that just as they denied any problems with the RIBBON fiasco when Office 2007 came out, Microsoft will once again tout the START-less Windows 8 as success. Just as they initially did with Windows ME and then again with Windows Vista, 2 versions of the OS we all know were abysmal failures not matter how many times Microsoft declares them to be a success.

kmdennis
kmdennis

I am willing to bet that most of the commentaries here are by IT professionals and not the average EU. So far many already have issues with the misplacement of the regular utilities on in Win7. I am still frustrated when I have to navigate the Control Panel. I will hope to test the Win 8 but already I love my start button and do not want to learn to use a start-less UI to go without it. Many average user likes the system the way it is now and really are already fed up with the constant forcing of a new OS by MS who constantyl change the location of things increasing the learning curve and frustration level. By end of year Win 8 will out and by end of 2013 Win 9 will be ready even before Win 8 has been adopted. Well we will see how it goes.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...buy the further dumbification of Windows. I am continually annoyed by the drive away from keyboard entry and shortcuts to pointer-driven input like "the ribbon". Make my work far less efficient.

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic like.author.displayName 1 Like

"I am continually annoyed by the drive away from keyboard entry and shortcuts to pointer-driven input like "the ribbon". Make my work far less efficient. " Exactly! Now Microsoft would have you believe that you are mistaken because their extensive testing [supposedly] proved that the Ribbon was better for everyone and for everything from Copy & Paste to washing your car. What utter rubbish! I think you may be on to something with the dumbing-down part; something I had not considered. I believe there is an overall effort to dumb-down the populace as a whole from reduced social skills (more electronic communications and less face to face or even voice to voice over phone) to a reduced vocabulary as seen with the text messaging phenomenon. The younger generation is happier sending emoticons and simple phrases and acronyms then actually taking face to face.

seanferd
seanferd like.author.displayName 1 Like

That's what. Personally, I couldn't care less about what Microsoft is offering any more.

pjmckay
pjmckay

Do we care you don't care? No! I've got an open mind though and see benfits all round... even bought my VMFusion license for my bosses cloned MAC.Thought it the least I could do to use it in VMWare for testing and supporting him. That said; whether I press start, or finder or use a bar that manages to use 5% of my real estate is really a little bit of a stupid argument. I need to 'start' somehwere. I could start at the top of the tree 'the start button' or I could choose whether the Apple selection of icons is a one-stop option at that time... hmmmm if not I'll need to go to apps. Thats a choice rather than a 'start'. Now.... To a complete zealot I'll be making no sense clearly, BUT what difference does it make? I create a quicklaunch selection (aka what Apple offer in a different name) or I go to a common start point. Start or Apps; Who really cares? So long as I get what I want, I'm happy. D'you know what makes me laugh and sad at the same time.. the number of muppets that think Apple is a little trophy on their arm... that think they 'cut-it'; but just come across as clueless with more money; tell me it's intuitive then wonder why I can't do cut'n'paste easily, or do a context menu... It's simply not as intuitive as you think! Win7 makes sense; one mouse button doesn't to me. Airbook hardware is great though... shame I dont like IOS and prefer Win7, two button mouses, and tabs, etc. Wouldn't it be great if we could all just let each other be happy one day?????

kmdennis
kmdennis

It seems like the vast majority of testers and users of Vista hated it (myself included) that we promptly removed that offensive OS and installed Server08, Win or XP SP3. It only sold because it was forced to be installed on new PC's. There were those who ridiculed those of us who could not stand Vista. The rest is history. Now may users so far seem to hate the new UI of Win8. Most of do not care for a phone interface on a PC desktop and even more so if it is not touch screen. There are those who would attach a trailer to the Viper or Ferrari so they can get the best of both worlds. There are those of us who want the sport car to remain a sports car. I have not yet used the Win 8 so I cannot comment on it, but if bears any semblance to Unity of Ubuntu, then I hope and pray my company completely ignores installing it on my system. In fact I will create a bootable USB for my current system or simply use something like Suse. How often should we plan on changing Operating Systems? How many companies have installed Exchange 2007, 2010 and now we already have another version. Well what are the benefits of Win 8 other than having a phone interface on the desktop?