Yes, Microsoft should hide the Metro screen by default

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I just finished reading Mary Jo Foley’s recent post where she believes it would be a mistake for Microsoft to hide the Metro screen by default when a user logs in.

This is related to the new batch of leaks about Windows 8.1 Update 1.

Her interesting comment:

If Microsoft did make skipping the Metro Start screen a default option, the company would give developers even less of a reason to write Windows Store/Metro Style apps. Yes, the ability to pin Metro Style apps to the desktop task bar is supposedly part of Windows 8.1 Update 1, as has been reported previously. But if users don’t have incentive to seek out Metro Style apps from the get-go, why bother?

I agree with what she says about the default option being a huge disincentive to developers but at this point, I think the ship has sailed anyway.

The fact that Microsoft is bothering to make such drastic updates indicates means that they understand Windows 8.x has severe problems. The kind of problems that just aren’t really salvageable.

Ultimately, I feel that Microsoft are really just putting a bandaid on this cancer knowing full well that the patient is done for anyway.

The real challenge now is Windows 9.

I disagree with the recent speculation that Windows 9 isn’t going to have major changes and people shouldn’t hope for much. Windows 9 will have to be radically different from Windows 8 while maintaining the features we expect from a Windows OS.

Basically Windows 9 will be Microsoft’s second try to improve Windows 7.

Some of the big challenges ahead will be how to make those changes and simultaneously somehow preserve all the R&D that went into the Windows 8 infrastructure (Tiles, HTML5, CSS3, development, apps). It’s a lot of work to figure out and I think that’s why Microsoft may ultimately choose Satya Nadella.

Windows is a big deal and the next CEO will have to roll up their sleeves and get into the weeds on this one. The last time a CEO entrusted Windows to an exec (Sinofsky), that executive broke it. I believe no other executive will ever have such control over the Windows vision again.

If the next CEO is smart, he will make sure that he gets lots of eyeballs on the beta of Windows 9 and pays close attention to feedback. To be fair, they had TONS of eyeballs on Windows 8 but difference is, they ignored most of the obvious glitches.

So back to the main topic, yes I think Microsoft should hide the Metro screen as a default, users want their Windows back and Microsoft has bigger problems to worry about.

What do you think? Use the comments below.

  • philnolan3d

    No, they shouldn’t.

    • Rodney Longoria

      I so agree with you, Phil!

  • Charles Vance Gurley

    if they plan to improve windows 7 then they should just put out windows 7 again with added improvements (like speed) of windows 8. What about all the people making apps, especially VLC they have been making it for years. Now when almost done they are treating metro like a disease and containing it.

    I Thought windows 9 would be securing everything into one mind. Now with everything i’ve been reading, it’s like they are plotting it’s demise. Way too much backtracking from ms these days. first with xbox one and now windows 8. I hope im wrong about windows 9, but i am getting a wash away vibe from them about windows 8 now…

    • Ray C

      Way too much backtracking. This is the prob the way it’s just going to be in this Internet, 24 Hour news world we live in. We already see it in politics. Enough people whine and make noise in the media and blog world, and a majority of people follow along like sheep. Companies and politicians get so scared by a few, when the majority don’t even care or don’t even know about the issue being discusses. The Xbox one is a perfect example. The average consumer probably never argued with a single person about the 24-Hour check-in this summer.

  • ECM2

    Why not make everybody happy if you can? Short of giving away Windows OS for free, here’s what – in my humble opinion – MS should do:

    1. Keep the desktop-UI (DUI) and touch-UI (TUI) in Windows 8, as well as in Windows 9.

    2. Give the user the option to use only DUI, only TUI, or both (DTUI).

    3. The DUI, TUI, or DTUI option should be presented immediately during the installation of Windows, but the user should also have the option to change the primary UI in the control panel.

    4. Touch-based devices should run TUI out of the box, but DUI or DTUI should remain as an option.

    5. Desktop PCs and non-touch laptops should run DUI out of the box, but TUI or DTUI should remain as options.

    6. Give the developers the option to create DUI applications, TUI apps, or DTUI (hybrid) programs.

    7. Since it may not be easy to create DTUI (hybrid) programs, add a functionality to the DUI that will allow easy access to (hidden) TUI apps. For example, a TUI app shortcut can be pinned on the taskbar and/or a shortcut can be shown on the Start Menu. Clicking the pinned icon or menu name will launch the TUI app in a window or in full-screen.

    8. The same method should be available to all devices: desktops, laptops, hybrids, tablets, phablets, phones, etc.

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Dammit ECM, you’re out here making too much sense!!

      You know MSFT will never make it that easy.

      :-)

      • ECM2

        Are you implying that MSFT – in all its wealth and glory – is too dumb to
        come up with a Grand Unified Theory? LOL!

        • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

          LOL – I would never say that.

          :-)

          I just think that they have a way of ….processing information at their own pace. How’s that?

          • ECM2

            :-)

  • mgp

    Onuora, why don’t you just disappear from the windows scene and stick to the Apple scene. They pay your salary anyway!!!

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Cos I need a pay raise.

      Have to stick with Windows for that.

      • mgp

        So you criticize Windows for the money? See, you give yourself away, now GO AWAY!!!!!

        • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

          Hmm you come to my blog and I should go away?

          Interesting…

          I’ll ponder the quantum physics behind that one…

          • Dave

            Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I like your style Onuora – nice comeback there!

          • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

            Thanks Dave!

            I do it for the love!

            :-)

      • WillyThePooh

        Yes. Because windows is still the majority OS used by the world. Wait until Linux overcomes windows by 2074, then you will stick with Linux.

        • Paul Muscarella

          Sorry but Linux will not be everyone’s OS people do not like change
          or want to learn new ways of doing things That is why windows 8 has hade a hard time.

          • WillyThePooh

            That’s why I said 2074. Linux fans will hope by that time all current windows users will pass away.

  • Ray C

    I don’t agree with the idea of doing boot to desktop by default. I kind of agree with the option during installation, but honestly if that option was originally in Windows 8, how many people would have picked Metro install? I say boot to Metro by default, and the first few times you go to Desktop just ask “would you prefer to go here at boot?” Most people are not installing Windows 8. It comes with their box? Is it going to ask during install or first use? All they had to do was make Metro simpler. They’re already adding the search and power button. Have less tiles by default. Only have enough tiles/buttons for the store, power options, search, and whatever are the top 5 to 10 clicks people usually go to first in Windows 7. PC Settings could be some of these tiles for example. Of course All apps button should be there. Give people more options for organizing. With the adding of the context menus and power button, and the 8.1 start menu, there really is no reason to go to desktop by default. I could almost understand if that was the only way, if there was no way for you to go in and set it yourself.

    • WillyThePooh

      I also wonder why they don’t put a taskbar at the bottom of start screen. Put all charm bar options there plus “All Apps Menu” tile on the taskbar. There are a lot of rooms on the start screen.

  • Macpaul Emeka Ekwueme

    I agree with Mary. That’ll be MS’s greatest undoing. They should continue on the path they are with 8.1. Like ECM2 suggested allow for the configuration on which UI to allow prominence at setup. I think it is that simple. Those vampires who detest modern apps like holy water can configure their system so they’ll never have to use them, while the rest of us can continue our lives with both UIs and everyone will live happily ever after just like in the movies.

    • http://www.keelstech.com/ Lee Keels

      The Metro UI is universally hated. The best thing they can do is make it go away and pretend it never happened.

      • Macpaul Emeka Ekwueme

        ‘Universally’ by a handful of people averse to change? You are dead wrong bro.

      • WillyThePooh

        When you use the word “universally”, I am sure you are biased by your hate. A lot of people out there like metro UI because they know how to make metro UI works for them.

      • Anthony E. Scandora, Jr.

        Not universally hated. On my main desktop PC with a real keyboard, mouse, speakers, and two large monitors, and on my full function laptop that I sometimes need while away from my desk, I paid $5 each to Stardock for Start8, downloaded Adobe Reader and VLC, set Windows Photo Viewer to open photos, and enjoy a faster, safer Windows than 7. I don’t know what they were smoking when they thought we all needed full screen apps but nobody needed a pop-up Start menu.

        On the other hand, I much prefer my Dell Venue 8 (Windows 8.1 Pro 8″ tablet) to my (Google/ASUS) Nexus 7 (Android 7″ tablet). I got and learned how to use the Nexus Android tablet first, and later the Venue Windows tablet. I found the Metro interface and apps generally easier to use than their Android counterparts and even when platform makes no difference, I use the Venue Windows tablet.

        I also have Office and other Desktop applications installed on my Venue. Its 8″ size and on-screen keyboard make it impractical for serious work, but for minor edits to a .docx or .xlsx, or for occasional light use of another Desktop application I can do what needs to be done away from my desk without the size and weight of a laptop.

        I have a client who makes great use of a Surface Pro 2. He runs a repair shop and needs to run a Windows application on the shop floor. Until the Surface, he had to carry bulky, heavy, easy to crash or drop laptops on the shop floor. The Desktop repair application works just as well on the Desktop side of the Surface as on a much heavier both in weight and price Toughbook. For tablet use he likes the Metro side of his Surface better than his iPad, which has been gathering dust since he got the Surface.

  • Rodney Longoria

    Sorry @Ammalgam:disqus, you’ve missed the boat on this one, my friend. Perhaps Microsoft needs to make SOME concessions with the upcoming update to appease the K12 set, but this would NOT be one of them. Like @ecm2:disqus stated, options are the best way to handle it. The way you are preaching it, is kind of Sinofskonian in its approach. How ironic!

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Sinofskian?

      Umm does that mean that I sound like a man who gets millions of dollars in stock options?

      OK, I can live with that.

      :-)

      • Rodney Longoria

        Sinofskonian, as in Orwellian only instead of Orwell substitute Sinofsky. Heh!

        • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

          LOL

          No comment…

  • Hamid Mongol

    agreed with ECM2…

  • Rikikrik

    Well almost a billion in sales revenue on the Surface in 2013 says otherwise. At the end of 2014 Surface revenue will surpass the 2 billion mark for sure. It will be great to run apps on the desktop, but the Metro screen should stay.

  • WillyThePooh

    I don’t really see win9 will be a big change if it is going to roll out in a year. Normally, before a major version comes out, it goes through multiple betas. But it won’t have enough time to do it this time. A major version release without beta testing? Is MS crazy or those who believe it a major release?

  • As Meyer

    Pondering Win 9 as a correction to Win 8? I believe MSFT made the right move in a Modern UI. Perhaps the wrong move was in not doubling down on that UI, allowing the traditional desktop ui prominence to continue. The experience of both in a single OS has confused the issue. Yet when thinking of the modern UI, I can see why MSFT felt there to be a need for the Desk UI, a blank canvas seem to be needed for( perhaps it is just a desire) certain activities. My hope is that MSFT figures out the duality of the UI’s and can incorporate the “canvas activities” to the Modern UI.

    I really feel that is the way to move forward for them. Aside from the Tile aspect that users

    seem to have a love/hate view of that, Modern UI is a sharp looking format. There are apps that look great in modern ui and i enjoy them. Many of the controls seem well integrated

    and Windows 8 does a solid job of central management ( syncing) as well. Window management in the modern ui is also quite neat, akin to the “workspaces” seen in Linux

    distros. While not a true workspace addition, it is effective for multitasking, which is the

    goal I think. So I do think it possible to have a single os core for the major devices, and this is indeed where MSFT should continue. I dont believe Sinofsky should be blamed at all as a

    Guy Who Broke Windows, thats ridiculous. His was a major undertaking and quite daring.

    Windows 8 was a shock to the system, and it woke people up a bit. It was such a huge undertaking to change some format and re-platform a dominant Windows environment,

    that no way could windows 8 have come out “perfect”. Windows 8 had to be the evolutionary

    step taken, and I applaud Sinofsky and all involved for taking it.

    So, No, MSFT should not step back to the Traditional Desk UI, but move forward to work those activities in a Modern UI. The App store is great revenue channel for all involved as well as a great intro source for new apps and windows discovery. They need to keep that.

    My vote is to take a little more time for the next truly major Windows Release, beyond this Windows 8.1.1 update and Windows 9 distraction. Call it Windows One, a unified OS core and familiar UI for all major devices. If they can do that, then indeed, Windows will have Won the day.

  • Don Smith

    I admit I haven’t taken the time to read all the comments posted in this discussion. No need to — I’ve read it all before. I’ve been using Windows 8 since the first beta over a year ago. I use a desktop and a laptop computer, neither with touch support. I prefer a mouse and keyboard. I honestly don’t understand all the people who are so freaked out about WIN 8. You can love “Metro” or hate “Metro.” The solution is so simple it makes all this “noise” lubricous. After learning and using both “Metro” and the desktop long enough to make a decision, I simply chose to pay five bucks for Stardock’s Start 8, chose to boot to the desktop, and haven’t seen “Metro” since. I love using my Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center computers! They’re fast, and solid as a rock. “Problem” solved.

    • http://www.learnabouttheweb.com/ Onuora Amobi

      LOL

      Don, simple and straightforward huh?

      It’s too bad MSFT built something that users prefer to hide. Says something…

      • Darlington Jones

        It says that we shoulda have all bought transformer book t100s

  • Robert Kegel

    What Microsoft should really do is one of two things. Either when updating or installing or when you start your new computer for the first time you should have an option to turn on or off the Start Menu, and Metro. OR at login screen have a toggle switch. OR for computers that have mouse and keyboard automatically turn off Metro and add the start menu and if you have a tablet Metro is turned on and start menu is off.

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