I know I’m starting to sound like a Microsoft hater. That’s not true at all, but with the amount of time I’ve spent lately bashing MSoft for Windows 8, you could get that impression. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… There are many elements of Windows 8 that I actually like.
But it’s hard to deny. The recent release of the Windows 8.1 Preview underscores just how intransigent and arrogant Microsoft has become.
In Windows 8, Microsoft decided to re-write everything everybody ever knew about Windows.
They left us access to the “Desktop” but without any of the “desktop functionality.” They yanked out the one item that has been kicking around in every incarnation of Windows since 1994.
A START MENU!
Listen up, Microsoft… To paraphrase that immortal debate performance between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle…
“Mr. Ballmer, I knew the Start Menu. I was personal friends with the Start Menu. What you’ve given us, sir, is NOT a Start Menu.”
A central element of the Windows operating system – an element that has been in EVERY ITERATION OF WINDOWS since Windows 95 – was summarily yanked out of Windows as if it was one giant, cosmic, “OOPSIE!” Microsoft decided it had to play catch-up with Apple and finally create a tablet-friendly OS, but in the process Microsoft decided that legacy users could just get on board or go elsewhere.
Hence, the Start MENU vanished in Windows 8.
Well the new “Preview Release” of Windows 8.1 is on the market, and a Start “HYPERLINK” has made an appearance.
Make no mistake… What Microsoft has given us is NOT a “Start MENU.” It is just a hyperlink, no more no less. With one click, it launches you back to the new, tiled Windows desktop. Yipee-ding-dong-doo.
- No custom-organized fly-out menus of programs.
- No fly-out list of recently opened files.
- No two-click access to the control panel and all of the system configuration items you could ever want.
- No two-click access to your print queues, your most used programs, etc.
Nope. Just a stinking hyper-link. The “Start Hyperlink” does nothing but bounce you back to the “Live Tile” interface you NEVER SAID YOU WANTED.
Which is just PART of the reason why ComputerWorld’s deep-dive into the Windows 8.1 Preview contains plenty of faint praise for Microsoft’s latest update. Their take? It’s better, but it does not go far enough. The lack of a Start Menu remains a glaring, maddening omission.
To be sure, Windows 8.1 makes some things easier. It adds feature that should have been in the OS on the very first day of its launch, like supporting categories on the “All Programs” menu, and the ability to boot straight to the desktop.
But it STILL lacks the ONE thing that Microsoft COULD have added just by repurposing the old Start Menu code from Windows 7.
Instead, we are forced to hack our computers and add on an AFTERMARKET Start Menu product like Classic Shell.
I don’t get it. I don’t get it a little bit. This isn’t rocket science. Microsoft could sell a BILLION copies of Windows 8 if it would just put back in a stinking START MENU. Enterprises are dying for a faster, more manageable, more secure OS. That’s what Windows 8 represents.
Windows XP is going away soon and a true Start Menu in Windows 8.1 would hasten its demise. But that would require Microsoft to admit it screwed up. It would require Microsoft to admit that they rushed a world-rocking interface paradigm shift on a world that wasn’t looking for it.
So wake up, Microsoft. I’m using Windows 8, but I’m using it on MY terms, NOT yours!
Classic Shell is MY Start Menu of choice! The Start Hyperlink is an EPIC FAIL!