I've written many times about Windows 8, and why I don't like it. Yes, yes, objective reasons and comparisons of workflow between Windows 7 and 8 and how Windows 8 gets in your way, I know, I know, stuff that completely derails people's "I like Windows 8 because it's new and I'm not afraid of change" arguments.
According to this
Softpedia article Windows Blue will greatly improve the Start screen search function, which is one of my criticisms of Windows 8 as it is. Apparently Windows 8 is not pefect and has room for improvement, what do you know ?
Blue would use the same search charm as Windows 8, but would greatly improve it in order to help users not only to search for content, but also to access it with just one click.
Anyway, I have compiled every argument I have posted in several threads, here it is:
The interface in Windows 8 does not allow you to do the same things as in Windows 7.
1. The Start screen does not place tiles of recently used applications first for your convenience;
2. The Start screen also does not allow for program tiles to display jump lists of recently opened files;
3. The Start screen search function does not display results from all categories in one go, meaning that if what you are looking for does not fall in the first category, you have to click on the right category, meaning more work than previously;
4. Unlike with the Start menu, the Start screen search function does not have a "See more results" option that opens a window with all search results so that you can browse at will, whenever you want; useful for opening multiple files, for example, files that contain a specific text string like work files that have financial reports, or pictures that have a specific theme / keywords to them and that you need to consult / open / send to someone / copy to another storage device;
5. Unlike the Start menu, the Start screen search has no ability to do file operations, the only thing you can do with the search results is open / execute one and only one file.
- You can’t drag and drop a search result to a flash drive, or delete some / all of the search results;
- You also can’t send those files to a zip folder, extract compressed files; or send files as e-mail attachments, and all because the Start screen search results don't have context menus, because the interface was designed with tablets primarily in mind, with desktops as an afterthought, meaning they didn't have time to implement desktop features properly;
6. But even if the Start screen search feature was better, the concept of a second desktop brings other problems: when you are browsing the Start screen / using “Modern” apps” you are taken away from the desktop and the taskbar. This has several consequences:
- any program that requires you attention (flashing icon on the taskbar or notification) does not show on the Start screen. Examples: a finished download, Steam notifications, Anti-virus / Internet Security packages notifications, a multiple file copy / transfer that just finished, etc;
- you can't see programs or webpages that automatically refresh (Outlook, Thunderbird or any e-mail client that checks for messages periodically, certain news sites, facebook, your e-mail account), because you are on the Start screen. On the other hand, with the Start menu, you can click on any window that is in the background and the Start menu will disappear and you will be able to start interacting with that program immediately;
7. People who argue in favor of large icons on the Start screen forget or don't know that you have been able to enlarge the icons on the desktop for ages - just select one icon (the action applies to all icons), hold Ctrl and then use the mouse scroll wheel to adjust the size of the icons. Plus, you have a fully featured context menu, which you don't have on the Start screen;
8. These annoyances do get in the way because they make the workflow feel clunky, it takes longer to achieve the same results, they even managed to hide the Shut down, Restart, Sleep, Hibernate, etc, options, making it take longer to get there, whichever way you want to get there: Charms menu, Ctrl+Alt+Del or Alt+F4 when you are on the Desktop with all programs minimized. How screwed up is that ? More, in the Charms Menu they are under Settings. Shutting down your PC isn't a setting, it's a function. How can they screw up such basic things ? People have come to the ridicule of suggesting making our own options on the desktop or on the Start screen. I'm sorry, when people have to start making their own basic easy access to Windows features something is seriously wrong. The stock Windows experience should be a pleasant one for most people, just like Windows 7, not a "reparation project".
Having to clean up the functionality reduced Start screen each time you install new programs in order to prevent it from becoming a cluttered mess of tiles is not the definition of an improvement over the alphabetically organized and easy and fast to browse Start menu.
9. Along with the problems above, Microsoft brought back the "Up" button in the File Explorer, when it is plainly redundant now. Had they made a better job of explaining how beautifully simple Windows 7's address bar works, the "Up" button wouldn't be needed again. They don't even let you remove it. The address bar lets you explore all the directory tree that is above the directory you're in, you just have to click the folder you want to go to, it is not only faster in the sense you only have to click once to go, for example, two directory levels up, because you just click on the directory name you want to go to, as it is also much clearer, as the directory name is plainly written for you to know where you're going. True, this option is still there, but now we have more desktop clutter with that "Up" button.
The only reason they put the Start screen as the first screen you see is because they want you to look at all those apps and the app store, hoping you'll buy some apps. I have nothing against them wanting to make money, but Windows has lost functionality and ease of use the way they implemented it, and it honestly feels insulting that they sacrificed desktop usage just so they could show you how nice their tablets work.
They went as far as advising people to disable the gadgets platform altogether in Windows 7 when it was still the current OS due to some alleged security problems, instead of providing fixes for a feature that is part of what people paid for when they bought the OS. Are you guys happy with this kind of customer support that makes up excuses to drop support for features you paid for in a current OS just to make room for the competing dynamic tiles ?
People haven't had any difficulties in adapting to using mobile OSes over the years. People use Nokia's Symbian, iOS and Android, and have no difficulty in using desktop OSes, so the argument that people don't like change is not valid, not to mention that people who argue against people who don't like Windows 8 completely ignore the fact that there is a fundamental difference between good change and bad change, but of course that doesn't fit their rationale. Having the same user interface for devices with different input methods, which has been shown on several reviews to be a compromise, serves no useful purpose other than to promote their hopeful money making machine. This is not to say it can’t be done well, but it certainly hasn’t been done properly until now.
There are many more annoyances, but the main idea is that all of this could have been avoided had Microsoft given proper treatment to desktop users and merged the UI once called Metro with the desktop UI, allowing for the Start screen to run as any other program would, windowed, or fullscreen, but with an icon on the taskbar, and Metro style apps should be able to run on the desktop, just like gadgets do in Windows 7, and have a close button, just like all Windows applications. Putting too much emphasis on fullscreen applications (who needs a fullscreen weather app ?) that don't even have a close button is, in a way, destroying the concept of Windows, in the sense that you don't have windows anymore. Metro style apps should even be able to be resized on a desktop computer, after all they are fully vectorized, and indeed some of those Start menu 3rd party programs show that this is possible, along with a Start screen that lives on the desktop.
The desktop should continue to be the center of all the action on conventional computers. Bringing the Start screen into the equation is in essence bringing a second desktop to Windows and splitting the user attention between two worlds.
Windows 8 will need many feature improvements before it can be regarded as Windows 7: an OS that feels mature and well thought-out.
And Windows Blue should be just that. I hope it is. They don't have much time to do it however, although they certainly have a lot of feedback to work with.Edited by tpi2007 - 2/25/13 at 2:54pm