Some early users, including me, have complained about Microsoft’s decision to get rid of the traditional Start menu in Windows 8.

But industry analyst Dale Vile, research director at Freeform Dynamics in the U.K., says the rest of us are wrong, or at least aren’t giving Windows 8 a fair shake.

Vile’s post on CIO UK magazine is a great read, providing an alternative and enlightening take. He has been using Windows 8 on multiple monitors for work, and testing it at home with his 14-year-old daughter, who declared after using a Windows 8 slate, “This is SOOO much better than my iPad.”

Here’s what he has to say about the Start menu …

On a controversial aside, I personally think Microsoft was right to do away with the old start menu, which to me now seems cramped, clumsy and inefficient when I go back to a Windows 7 machine. Being a typical lazy human being that gravitates to the familiar when given a chance, if the start menu was there I probably would have continued using it and failed to take advantage of the more efficient navigation mechanisms designed into the Windows 8 desktop. Now I wouldn’t want the start menu back, even if I could have it, as it would be totally redundant, arguably even counterproductive.

In other words, he’s on the opposite end of the spectrum from Chris Pirillo’s dad.

Personally, I’ve had a good experience with Windows 8 on a tablet, but I’ve found the learning curve especially steep on a traditional desktop computer, and the new commands and methods of navigating aren’t yet second-nature to me when I’m using a keyboard and mouse.

The real test will start on Oct. 26, when the new operating system is released to the wider world.

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  • Guest

    MS knows how to spend $$$ to buy good reviews (see how there were sporadic vista reviews that flowed, while the predominat was that it was crap), but it rarely has effect. I know very few desktop users who have positive things to say about the current release.

    Ultimatly what will determine success or failure will be developer support of “metro”, if they apps aren’t there, then they fail, nothing else will matter.

    • Allen

      Don’t believe the nega-hype about Vista. So many people never tried it yes are convinced “it was crap” because a smarmy hipster in a TV commercial made John Hodgman look foolish.

      Here’s my experience with Vista. My 74 year old mom is still running it and says it’s the best OS she’s ever used. This is the same woman that calls me for every piece of tech support, including when the cat jumps on her keyboard and now there’s a light on that she hadn’t seen before (scroll lock).

  • Guest

    An educated, informed man would have seen this coming since 1995. Windows 95 used a simple pull-down (pull-up) start menu with cascading submenus. Later versions added “pinned” apps, additional shortcuts, and more images. Going to full-screen was the fulfillment of a generation-long vision.

    Thank you, Microsoft, for fearlessly innovating.

  • Mike E. Delta

    I’m in complete agreement with Dale, too often everyone is SO quick to cling to things and reject the new for some misguided familiarity. Instead of accepting that the Start “in-your-face” offers a bit more breathing room and possibly even greater freedom, everyone clamors for a return to the claustrophobic confines of a menu. The criticism of Windows 8 I liken to agoraphobia…that’s the one where you never want to go outside, right? It’s NOT that difficult, I want my charms and switcher constantly at work…the whole system just feels that much freer, fluid, faster. I’ll say it again, SO over the desktop. =[

    • Seth Thomas

      Agreed. These arguments are made by the same people that can’t figure out IOS. There are others (like <65 years old) that will adapt pretty quickly. Let's see, who should Microsoft cater to? I'm just glad to know that I'm not on my last OS upgrade before I die.

  • guest

    Seeing some of the new multitouch mice that are coming out specifically for W8 and that enable things like easy switching between Metro and Desktop views, that should help ease the transition for some as well.

  • Jeff Erwin

    The issue for Microsoft is not the consumer, it’s the enterprise. Given that there is now a learning curve to adapt what is essentially a new operating system, Microsoft has opened themselves up to be compared and evaluated against other options. In other words, if the enterprise has to suffer the pain of 10,000 employees having to learn a new user interface, why not look at the Mac or Linux? If Microsoft had stuck with a more traditional ‘Windows’ style, the upgrade would have been an automatic event.

    Or, the enterprise could take one look at Windows 8 and the steep learning curve ahead for 10,000 employees and just decide to stay with Windows 7.

    Either scenario is bad news for Microsoft. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Seth Thomas

      Well, the enterprise is adopting the ipad/IOS. Windows 8 w/ the start screen/metro apps is Microsoft’s answer to the former. Are you suggesting the enterprise is not table/pad ready or that Windows 8 is not a tablet/pad alternative?

      • SheasSuas

        The enterprise is adopting the iPad/iOS? I’d talk to company IT departments before accepting that. Ipad and Android devices may be popping up with in the field sales reps, but these babies are a pig to integrate into a corporate environment. That is where Microsoft has the opportunity with Win 8.

        • Me

          My IT dept. hates Apples and yet they love iPads over Androids.

        • EdBear69

          NOAA ditched Blackberry for iPhone in June. There are only two smartphones that currently support Federal IT regulations: blackberry and iPhone. IPads are making huge inroads here as well. Android doesn’t have the required controls for use in Government. It will be interesting to see how govt. adoption of windows 8 goes.

    • guest

      No, it’s the consumer. That’s where growth is and where the BYOD movement in enterprises is a serious problem for them. Enterprises themselves are notoriously slow in adoption. Half still run XP. And many are also struggling through layoffs and downsizing currently, particularly in Europe. Most enterprises will probably pass on W8 entirely and wait for W9, except for tablets deployments. And in that scenario they’re already evaluating competitors. So that argument is moot, and frankly W8 has the familiarity edge and ability to run existing W32 apps. Not really sure what you mean about steep learning curve? If you ignore the Metro app environment, and most enterprises at this point will, “learning” W8 consists primarily of figuring out the new start menu while in desktop mode. Big wow. And even that will probably be obviated by some enteprising 3rd party utility within weeks of GA.

      MS is making a bet for the next decade of sales, not next year’s.

  • history repeats itself

    To me, this is just like removing the menus in Office when they added the ribbon. They could have left the menus in place, but noooo. Sure it might be easier for newbies to learn, but it sucks for the rest of us.

    So now, when I use Office, and want to use a less common feature I usually have to spend time hunting through the ribbons for things that aren’t where I knew they were, hovering over each incomprehensible icon and reading the tooltips. Sure, the ‘aA’ icon makes sense but it wasn’t obvious at a glance and it wasn’t where I expected it to be. Good luck finding the macros in Excel without Google.

    • My Name is The Fight

      Why dont you add things to the quick access bar then?

  • Me

    “…the new commands and methods of navigating aren’t yet second-nature to me when I’m using a keyboard and mouse.”

    And therein lies the problem. When you use a Mac you can pretty much just try things you think would work and they do. Apple gets intuitive user interfaces, Microsoft has never ever understood user interfaces.

  • Allen

    I’m tired of seeing Chris Pirillo’s dad, especially when Windows 8 usage was mastered by a 3 year old.


    Those of you who easily “master” the windows 8 interface are obviously not using your computer to its fullest potential. I for one would like to know where I can get an all programs screen, so that I can browse through my older programs that windows 8 doesn’t seem to beleive are “apps”.

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