Is the Start UI Too Locked Down? Should Windows 9 Open Things Up A Bit More?

Is the Start UI Too Locked Down? Should Windows 9 Open Things Up A Bit More?

Over the last few years, we’ve seen two very different opinions evolve in regards to Windows 8. Some say that the new UI is the best thing to ever happen to Windows. Others say that it is pure evil reborn.

To be honest though, there are many other opinions that are shades of gray here.

Those who love Windows 8’s new UI, for example, could have very different reasons why. Maybe they like its touch-centric design. Others don’t use Metro but understand the desktop is improved and that appeals to them. Same goes for the haters of Windows 8. The reason for the hatred or distrust could certainly differ.

Personally I like Windows 8. While I am not bothered by at all by the new UI. One thing I do hope changes in Windows 9 is the nature of the new UI though.

What am I talking about? Start UI takes a page from Apple’s book. It is very locked down with only minor customizations allowed. You have just one store front, and that’s it.

Windows New UI Favors A Locked-Down Approach

I’m not sure if I like the “locked system” that Windows is moving towards. While the desktop is still very much the same open Windows we are used to– the new UI isn’t.

You might be thinking, “Yah, but you still have the desktop for those things”. That is true now, but I think in the long-run the desktop will eventually fade away and the START UI will simply become the entire Windows experience. Granted this is probably many years off.

This isn’t a criticism of the Windows Store, the full-screen experience or the way that charms work. I like all of it. I just wish that what you could do in the Windows new UI was more open to your control.

Finding a Compromise Point

We need to find a compromise point here. I understand that in many ways mobile operating systems need to be locked down to prevent malware issues like some users have ran into using third party store apps.

Still, the more locked down approach works fine for Windows Phone, but Windows 8 is a dual-OS for mobile and desktop efforts– so it needs to find the balance.

What that balance might look like, I’m not sure. Honestly, just added a deeper level of customization (backgrounds, deeper icon size adjustments, widgets, etc) would probably help a great deal.

Do you agree that Windows START UI is too locked down for a desktop OS? If so, what do you think would be some good changes in Windows 9 to help open things up a bit more?

Tags: , , ,
Previous Post
Microsoft Windows Phone 8

Week In Review (Dec 31 – Jan 4)

Next Post

Microsoft: Google, I Am Disappointed

  • 123321

    yep i agree. the startscreen is too locked down. don’t get me wrong, i really like the new ui and the startscreen; but i want to be able to set any color as backgroundcolor. i want to be able to set the color of my tiles. maybe it would be nice as well to have the possibility to add a custom wallpaper on the startscreen background. i also want to be able to create folders or sth similar. i know that you can make groups and you can also name them but that’s not the same.

    • Andrew_Grush

      Exactly. Adding this kind of customization would be major step in the right direction. Rumors suggest that Blue is adding such things— we’ll see. I’m still not sure if Blue is real, but if it is, I have a strong feeling it is just an upgrade to Windows 8 and not a full-blown new version.

    • iBooa the First

      I agree. You should be able to pin files. We should be able to make folders. The thing I miss most about the Start Menu, however, is the thing added in 7: the arrow next to the app that lets you see and click on recent programs. It drives me crazy! That was THE MOST useful feature of the start menu. Sure, jump lists take care of that, but the menu lists were very helpful.

      Other than that, it should be more open. Maybe a color wheel to pick the background, if you can’t put a picture. Maybe making the tiles smaller??

    • Lee Keels

      If you read what you just described, it’s already there. It’s called the desktop.

      • 123321

        Desktop is sth completely different than the startscreen.
        the startscreen is sth like Desktop+startmenu and thats a good thing. offering livetiles, endless wide screen, search, change the user etc. etc.
        so the startscreen is much more than the Desktop. adding some features like folders to the startscreen would be very nice.

  • Steve Cook

    just not to bother you guys but how do you know what windows 9 looks like

    • 123321

      we don’t actually know anything about how win9 or whatever the name will be look like, but that doesn’t mean not to make some imaginations or suggestions… 😉

  • Andyman

    A good option for windows 9 would be to select what hardware the user has. For example if using a laptop device without touchscreen then to allow the user to personalise their own look. For example many haters of windows 8 would prefer to have windows 7 back so why not allow this option?
    This could be done quite easily! Come on Microsoft, think of each user and windows 9 could be a success 🙂

  • Vytas

    3 years later: “Oh windows 9 so great they removed as much as ~1/3 of crap they introduced when making windows 8 from windows 7. So windows 9 is far better than 8. I like them.”

  • CaedenV

    For myself it all depends.
    if modernUI is a unifying standard across the phone, console, tablet and PC from factors, then sure, lock it down as much as you want. However, in exchange I want very tight integration between devices where changes to my settings on one device are propegated across all devices. Installing a program on one device should make it available across all devices. I basically want it to be a cloud UI or OS where all things on it show up on all devices.

    However, if modernUI is merely a shared design language that is similar but not identical across all devices, then I want much more customization and installation options. if I am going to be using a different OS with different software, and a different use case, then I want more options to utilize those differences to my advantage wherever possible. But honestly, as a win8 and wp8 user, I really think you could make a single UI that can work across the board. So long as my desktop PC and laptop still have an option to an open desktop interface where I can have 100 applications and windows open at once, and install all of the software I have sunk thousands of dollars into over the years, I will continue to be happy.