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  1. #1
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    Start button/menu perspective from Ed Bott

    Here's an article about the Start button/menu and Windows 8 by Ed Bott - Sorry, but bringing back the Start menu won't help Windows 8.

    Yes, I know Ed Bott is generally a strong Microsoft supporter and I'm sure this will bring out the Windows 8 detractors again. It is just his opinion designed to get you to think a little. Besides there are some interesting Windows 7 and Windows 8 pointers in it.

    Joe

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    My goodness, W8 has driven poor Ed 'round the bend hasn't it. As he described all the movement over the entire screen and back and forth from one U.I. to the other, I got the willies all over again. Also the shortcomings of all the alternate placements and uses were not addressed at all, but at least he admits it is complicated and difficult and not mature in the least. Simplicity loses because MS had to come up with those alternatives to accommodate two U.I.s and try to force folks to the Start screen.

    What the folks at StartIsBack are doing/adding just seems to make a boatload more sense to me, especially the separation of programs from the Start screen because mine was a royal mess and I didn't even have 30% of a normal complement of installed programs at the time. Why would I go to the Start screen with a perfectly rounded out Desktop U.I.? I wouldn't of course, and that was Microsoft's major concern at the time of engineering as well.

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    I don't think that one is a very good article, to be honest. There is also a very important part of the Start menu conspicuously missing from the article - > the All Programs menu. I have seen Ed Bott do much better than this.
    Rui
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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    There are some of us who seldom use Search. I may use Search a half dozen times in a year. As far as "getting you to think a little", I think Ed is way, way behind the curve on this one as far as I'm concerned.

    I think everybody and his brother has begun to realize that Windows 8 is Microsoft's (humorous) way of trying to elbow its way into the tablet market and trying to force OEM's into making iPad clones that run Windows. The OEM's didn't bite off a big chunk of that, and not so many users have, either.

    It took me awhile to slice and dice Windows 8 (although I'm semi-retired, I've been working almost full time since the RTM of Windows 8 - and I don't do Beta's, period) and it literally is only Windows 7 Service Pack 2. The enhancements in "stability", "security", "networking", etc. are the main assets (and they're not "huge", just improvements). Metro UI is the Microsoft Elbow, and that's all it amounts to. It's pasted on, not-so-much built-in.

    If I put a priority on it (which I don't really have time for right now), I'm pretty sure I could get "PC Settings" to run in the desktop instead of the Metro UI, and that's about the only thing for which the Metro UI is actually necessary in my setup at this point. And as Ed pointed out, who visits User Accounts that often? On top of that, about the only real need for PC Settings is adding a new user. Most everything else about PC Settings can be handled through the Control Panel.

    Of course the Metro/Touch UI is the way to go for a tablet - no argument there at all. And combining the two UI's is not unreasonable in and of itself, and it makes some sense. It would have made a lot more sense to put the option of which UI to use in the OOBE.

    My "Program Files" partition in Windows 7 is 100GB, with 50GB free. I use more programs than just Office. Imagine what a Start Screen for me would look like. Ed makes his living as a writer. I don't.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-05-24 at 12:03.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  5. #5
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I disagree with Ed. I really like Windows 8, with one exception: Working without a start button / start menu is like tying one hand behind my back and making me use only one hand for everything.

    I installed StartIsBack, and for me, it is identical to the Windows 7 start button / start menu. In other words, it gives you all of the functionality of the Windows 7 start button / start menu.

    Windows 8 is faster and feels more solid than Windows 7. When I hit ctrl/alt/del to lock the screen, it locks instantly. It also unlocks instantly.

    I really hated to have such an apparently well-designed and efficient version of Windows that was so severely hobbled (and so unnecessarily hobbled) by not having a start button / start menu.

    Therefore, once I installed StartIsBack, the problem was COMPLETELY resolved, and I have no more complaints of any significance, except for the difficulty of going into Safe Mode. But I haven't yet tried to get to it, so I'll hold off commenting on that till I've actually tried it for myself.

    As far as being able to run programs from the "metro" interface, that interface is hobbled compared to the traditional "desktop" interface. If I was forced to use something as stupid as the metro interface, I wouldn't even consider using Windows 8.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2013-05-24 at 11:58.

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    The start menu depicted doesn't show a bit of customization, I wouldn't find it nearly as effective like that either.
    Just in case Ed is reading this (yeah right), he shows Remote Desktop on the start screen. From there it is one click to open on desktop yes (first irritation)? Then assuming more than one so its not the default.rpd, one has to click on Options..., then Open, and find and click on the correct RDP and then finally connect. With the start menu, even as shown, it has the little carrot at the end of the Remote desktop item, so with just one click and as long as the RDP is one of the 10 or 15 most recently used or is pinned in the jumplist, one more click on the proper one and we're in.

    Now, to properly blow your mind Ed, for special use items like Remote desktop, in XP one can create a toolbar and not only place it on the taskbar, but anywhere on the desktop, even as an autohid list attached to any side of the screen not occupied by the taskbar. So I have mine attached to the left side of the desktop screen, one click from start to finish, and I'm in.

    That is my lesson to you in productivity that you wanted and its only one item, granted of great importance to me, but I'm sure others must have a few of great importance to them. I thought about it for another 10 minutes or so (yet again) and still for the life of me can't figure out why I would want to put desktop folder and file links on the start screen so I could go right back to the desktop and one can't just keep saying, well, pin it to the taskbar, pin it to the task bar, pin it to the taskbar; there is not enough room on the taskbar for it to be the one stop shop for everything if one is an advanced user with a lot of programs and multitasking operations. I must admit to a bias here as I greatly dislike combined buttons so I need the room and I don't like the more compact nature of the icon view either; it doesn't lend me enough info on the folder or program, which I could get from combined preview, but I just don't like it that way, no efficiency lost or gained either way.

    I could go on Ed, but I don't want to write a manifesto.

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    Metro UI is the Microsoft Elbow, and that's all it amounts to. It's pasted on, not-so-much built-in.
    I knew that intuitively from it's behavior in, where else, Remote Desktop. Nice to have it confirmed.


    My "Program Files" partition in Windows 7 is 100GB, with 50GB free. I use more programs than just Office. Imagine what a Start Screen for me would look like. Ed makes his living as a writer. I don't.
    My base install is about 87 gigs for Win 7 including OS, about 74 gigs for XP including OS, and that doesn't include my gaming rigs which are nearly off the scale, about 3 times the normal XP install and there's still not room for everything on the 240-256 gig SSDs.

    I have 26 image and video processing programs alone (if I counted right)!

    --oops, I didn't even include any of the native programs!

  8. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    My base install is about 87 gigs for Win 7 including OS, about 74 gigs for XP including OS, and that doesn't include my gaming rigs which are nearly off the scale, about 3 times the normal XP install and there's still not room for everything on the 240-256 gig SSDs.

    I have 26 image and video processing programs alone (if I counted right)!

    --oops, I didn't even include any of the native programs!
    Right. "Just pin it to the taskbar" doesn't quite cut it, does it?

    This sort of reality is the reason that I stated a while back that I wouldn't be using Window 8 unless I could get it set up like I have Windows 7 set up. For the piddling amount of "under the hood" improvements (no offense intended to those who think of it as "a lot" of improvements) there was simply no viable reason to make an effort to switch.

    Now that I do have it running my way, I don't mind making a measured and meaningful (as in when I have time and the need to install programs) migration to Windows 8; dual booting makes it rather simple. Without the $40 sale price, though, I wouldn't even be doing that.

    And another proof-in-the-pudding of the reality that Windows 8 is little more than Windows 7 SP2 is that virtually ALL of my customizations of Windows 7 can be directly ported to Windows 8. There's only two that I can think of off hand that needed a little registry tweak, and I brought them forward from XP into 7.

    For those who really like the Metro UI, I'm happy for them. For those of us who don't, I'm grateful for StartIsBack for saving me a heap of time in getting where I am now.

    Both camps can have what they want; there's no real need to bicker back and forth about it. That's one of the unintended consequences of Microsoft's inability to actually remove the Start Menu from Windows, and just crippling it.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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    Yes, I haven't the slightest interest in telling Ed he should employ a traditional start menu, and his veiw might even be right, but, years from now.
    I should mention that 26 programs just "floating" in the all programs list is kind of messy as well, but Microsoft, with years of engineering proficiency in this department, wisely made this a list of shortcuts to the actual executables and placed them in their own folder (essentially it's another pre-configured toolbar), which makes it relatively easy to organize into categories and get rid of the "grandstanders" that put their executables directly into the main list, like Adobe. In fact, those scoundrels hardly leave a thing in the Adobe shortcut folder where it should be!

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    For Ed Bott to suggest other than a Microsoft Approved solution to anything having to do with Windows would put his career into a fairly rapid decline; he'd be cut off from that insider track. While he may have by his reputation earned the flexibility to offer criticisms of things Microsoft, and even suggest alternatives Microsoft might pursue, he is firmly ensconced in the Microsoft Box, and his writings should be perused in that context. He's stuck with it. We're not.

    As to floaters in my All Programs menu, I don't have any. Everything is pretty much sorted into folders according to purpose.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  11. #11
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    As to floaters in my All Programs menu, I don't have any. Everything is pretty much sorted into folders according to purpose.
    I wouldn't have expected anything to the contrary , but perhaps there were some who didn't realize the precise adaptability of the All Programs (AP) section and I was imagining if I installed all programs at once and sorted by name, I'd be hunting and pecking in the AP as is, even though it doesn't get out of control like the Start screen can if left to the defaults.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I find the survey results at the end of this blog post interesting. Read the article (it's quite short) then cast your vote and click the button.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-05-25 at 18:02. Reason: corrected link
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  13. #13
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    You must have to be a member to see the survey results, all I see is a blank area on the page.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caveman144 View Post
    You must have to be a member to see the survey results, all I see is a blank area on the page.
    You don't need to be a member. Try this link, then read the article, vote and click on the Vote and See Results button. Currently, "Dislike" outnumbers "Like" a little over 2 to 1.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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    I think that Ed is correct on some things. For example, I agree with him on the search capability - seeing a large list of possible hits while I type (Win8) is definitely better than getting only the top 3 results (Win7). I even have Classic Shell set up to bring up the Win8 Start screen when I hit the Windows key, at which point I continue typing the search string. There are others I disagree with - placing a tile on the Win8 Start screen. Yuck. After installing a few dozen apps the Start screen is one hopeless mess, worse than the mess we had with the All Programs menu in XP - I recall spending hours every month trying to keep the XP menu under control; I am not about to go do the same thing with the Win8 Start screen.

    But there is one feature of the Start menu he completely ignores - the All Programs menu. That's what I use the Start button for. Why? Because about 6 weeks ago I recall installing and using this really helpful utility. But I can't recall the name, so search does no good. But by scanning though the All Programs menu, I just might be able to find it. (Yeah I could scan the Start screen with pages and pages worth of tiles with little to differentiate between them). And that's just one example, I find myself in that situation often.

    So as far as I am concerned, Ed stood up a straw man (no I did not know that I could click the user's icon to get to the user settings) and easily knocked it down. But he never addressed how I actually use the start menu, so his whole conclusion is flawed and doesn't apply to me.
    Last edited by cafed00d; 2013-05-25 at 18:53.

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