Week in Tech: Windows 9 10

Ignore the stupid branding. Embrace the uncharacteristically sane noises coming out of Microsoft. Windows 10 looks promising for old-school PC users. You know, like gamers with desktop PCs. Will I live to regret this sunny optimism? Maybe. Will Windows 10 stop the general Windows rot? Doubtful. Even now, Microsoft’s technical ambitions for Windows seem feeble compared to the grand vision it once had back in the early 2000s. But most of what Microsoft revealed in its mercifully brief presentation covering the new Windows 10 Technical Preview release was positive for desktop dinosaurs and relatively little made me gag.

Anyway, what should we all make of Windows 10 as far as we now know it? Generally, Joe Belfiore’s (the conspicuously friendly face of Windows development) presentation was pleasingly bullshit lite – under-promising in order to eventually over-deliver was my overriding sense. The central theme involved making sure the next version of Windows doesn’t leave anyone out – desktop users, office drones, mobile device lovers, everyone is included.

Actually, what we saw and what was said was mostly about those wage-slave worker drones or more specifically making sure Windows 10 makes for such an easy transition from Windows 7, big corporates will be happy to foist it upon their minions and buy a load of new boxes or at least Windows licences.

But that’s OK because it means Microsoft, it seems, is making damn sure that the desktop experience works much better in Windows 10. Of course, Microsoft has been steadily winding back from the ill-advised imposition of touch-optimised interface elements on mouse and keyboard users for a while.

The friendly going-on-medicated face of Windows…

Each and every major update of Windows 8 has been an incremental step towards reintroducing traditional mouse-and-keyboard UI cues. But the vibe before Windows 10 was reluctant going on downright bloody minded – OK, we’ll give you the Start button back, but you can’t have the Start menu. Ha!

With Windows 10, the recalcitrance seems to be gone. What do you want? Great, here you go, have it. What does that mean in practice? The return of the Start menu but with added live tiles in the style of the Modern touch UI from Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Stick that in your mouse-and-keyboard interface and smoke it

Next up is a blurring of the borders between the touch-optimised Modern UI and the desktop. Modern UI apps can now pop out into traditional windows rather than requiring total domination of the screen.

That feeds into improved multitasking. There’s a new “Task View” button in task bar (yes, it’s a lot like Apple’s Expose), the “Snap-to” feature has been tweaked and now supports up to four apps arranged in screen quarters and for the first time multiple desktops are supported and indeed included in Task View. Oh and dedicated search fields are back – both in the Start menu and on the Task bar.

Nothing dramatic or genuinely new? Nope. But here’s a nice little touch that I think captures Microsoft’s attitude with Windows 10. They’ve added full keyboard shortcut support to the command prompt for the first time. Yes, you can paste into the command prompt. Talk about technical innovation.

Four tasks (count ’em) snapped to!

My sense is that Windows 10 is going to be a pretty nice experience for mouse and keyboard users, that’s for sure. But what about gamers specifically? We’ve touched on this previously, but Windows 10 will bring with it DirectX 12. And DirectX 12 might just be killer for gaming. Reducing game rendering overheads to game console levels of efficiency is the sales pitch and if it gets anywhere near delivering, it’ll be bloody brilliant.

On that subject, I don’t think it’s clear as yet whether DX12 will be Windows 10 exclusive or also available for Windows 8. Microsoft is ultimately a corporation and not a charity, so I’m guessing it will be Win 10 exclusive.

As for the question of how what we’ve seen of Windows 10 jives with gaming, there are a few elements that could be interesting. The multitasking and multiple desktops element could offer new ways of balancing gaming with more general PC usage.

There’s also the whole develop-once, roll-out-on-all-platforms idea that is supposed to finally deliver with Windows 10 and allow platform-agnostic app development across all kinds of Windows PCs as well as Windows Phone. It seems highly implausible at this stage that this would include sophisticated and demanding 3D games. One day, perhaps.

It’s also worth noting that the new Technical Preview isn’t about introducing new ‘consumery’ features like the rumoured inclusion in Windows 10 of Microsoft’s Cortana voice controlled ‘personal assistant’ as seen in Windows Phone (basically, Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri).

Oh my god, it’s made of keyboard shortcuts

If you’re looking for negatives, well, it does seem a little like Microsoft is throwing touch users under the bus. The touch-optimised task switcher appears to be toast, for instance. I suspect Microsoft may be swinging back too far towards the mouse and keyboard with Windows 10. What it still doesn’t seem to grasp is that whatever input method you’re using, the interface needs to be consistent. It’s no good kicking mouse and keyboard users into a touch environment and vice versa.

My biggest objection, however, is the aforementioned lack of overall ambition. Symptomatic of this is support for multiple screen DPIs. This is becoming quite an acute issue, what with the new army of affordable 4K screens with their super-fine pixel pitches.

To date, Windows’ support for high DPI screens has been piss poor. That will supposedly be improved with Windows 10. But from what I’ve seen, support will remain distinctly rudimentary compared with what Micrsoft was planning with the fully vectorised Avalon graphics engine for Windows Longhorn over a decade ago.

The brave new face of multitasking

Overall, then, I actually think most of us are going to be pretty happy with Windows 10 when it appears. It’ll play nicely with mouse and keyboard and games might well run noticeably faster. For the foreseeable future and for the likely shelf life of Windows 10, that’s probably plenty.

But it doesn’t feel like an OS that will keep Windows relevant in the broader computing environment. Windows as a phone and tablet OS is dead in the water and so far there’s nothing to indicate Microsoft can turn that around. If anything, Windows 10 seems to be retreating even further to the two safe havens of business machines and gaming boxes. In the short to medium term, that will probably make for better gaming boxes. For the long term, that’s a bit worrisome.

158 Comments

  1. LegendaryTeeth says:

    Seems like a “When I build a new computer, I’ll start with this OS”, rather than the “oh god oh god why can’t I get Windows 7!? I DON’T WANT WINDOWS 8” type deal.

  2. suibhne says:

    To be fair, Windows 8.1 is fine once you spend 20 minutes to fix the crap interface. The actual guts of the OS are solid, and it gets better game performance than 7. If they can retain the under-the-hood stuff and fix the howling annoyances on the surface level, I could see upgrading to this shortly after release.

    • programmdude says:

      Windows 8.1 wasn’t “must reinstall now” bad, it was fairly usable once you disable everything metro related. But when it came time to reinstall, I still chose 7 over 8 mostly because I didn’t have to spend all that effort to make it usable, it just starts off usable. And I missed aero.
      The core of windows 8 does seem to be fine, it’s just the UI that sucks.

      • iainl says:

        Really? I find the amount of time required to turn off the bits off 8.1’s UI I don’t like is less than that required to get 7 playing nicely with SSDs and where it craps bits and pieces to.

    • Martel says:

      Plus for those of us in corporate IT it’s quite a bit better under the hood, and all those fancy command line improvements in Windows 10 has quite a few folks jumping up and down.

      One thing I’m curious about is that it says it’s going to be an interface that customizes itself to the type of device you’re on. So it’s hard to say if they’re swinging away from touch as that might already be a different experience on mobile devices (I’ve only played with it in VMs) and if not, it’s at least supposed to be. It might not of course, but it sounded like their intention.

    • P.Funk says:

      To be fair, the user interface is the thing that 95% of users will be using for 99% of their time so for it to be lacking rather defeats the purpose of a consumer operating system. Its not like its a car that has a joystick instead of a wheel but gas mileage thats so good you should just learn and adapt, its more like a reference text that has its index so badly organized that you’ll basically always be less efficient when using it than if you just used the slightly older edition even if there’s a bit of new stuff missing from it.

      User interface, the word user is pretty important. I can’t for the life of me understand how they could screw that up. Must have been one of those weird focus group corporate thingies where they lost complete touch with reality while following some dynamic that put everyone into a self satisfying bubble.

      • manny says:

        UI design ideas are like aholes, everyone has one. The challenge is handing the UI design to only a couple of people so it’s consistent and making sure these two people represent the average user.

        An idea worth trying would be to crowd source it, allow people to vote on the UI elements they want.

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          Godwhacker says:

          Crowd-sourcing the design would be an absolutely terrible idea. You’d end up with the ‘Start’ button opening a Netscape Navigator window onto the 4Chan homepage.

          • P.Funk says:

            Linux seems to do just fine letting the wider community decide what it wants its GUIs to look like. In fact several Linux features are now part of Windows and OSX.

            I’ve also yet to see a 4chan distro that trolls you.

          • Hypocee says:

            Ahahahaha, hahahaha

            Haha

            Aaahahahaha

          • yojimbojango says:

            Gnome 3, Kde 4, Unity. It’s been 15 years of constant bickering and fighting about the UI in linux land.

          • P.Funk says:

            Bickering is also known as competition.

            Do we really want to frame choice as a problem?

      • battles_atlas says:

        Well said P.Funk, I tire of the endless (semi) defenses of Windows 8 or 8.1 on the grounds that ‘if you ignore the most important element, its fine’, or ‘if you spend an hour finding out how to remove that stuff, its fine’.

        Its not fine, its fucking scandalous. Win 8 was the worst piece of product design this century. Even after paying for a third party to give me back a start bar, it still finds ways to confuse me anytime I make the grievous mistake of trying to leverage my twenty years of experience with Microsoft OSs.

        • JonWood says:

          > Win 8 was the worst piece of product design this century.

          I’m just going to assume you’ve never used any line of business software developed internally by a big corporate this century. There is nothing worse than a niche piece of software with a user interface designed by a backend developer. I say this a backend developer who sometimes has to design UI.

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        yhancik says:

        “the user interface is the thing that 95% of users will be using for 99% of their time”

        It’s true, but what got everyone’s panties in a bunch is mostly the replacement of the start menu with a start screen. I don’t know about you, but I don’t spend 99% of my time in either of those. Past that, it’s really just the same old Windows UI. I still believe the issue has been overblown in scarily irrational proportions.

        • P.Funk says:

          Its a gateway. Those things are used for moments but they’re part of everyone’s deep muscle memory. They work, they work well, and telling everyone to suck it up, learn a new system, and oh btw this new system is bafflingly unfamiliar and in fact inefficient for mouse and keyboard users (unless you spend an hour or two switching the annoying bits off).

          Its like I said, reference text index. When you read a book its mostly the body not the index, but if that index is borked you will always look at that reference and say “that thing is fucked”.

          Nothing annoys me more than when a minor UI change is made in something that leads me to having to do something slower than I used to. Its like when youtube nests something in a menu and I realize that for the next 6 months everytime I go to watch a video I’m using 2x as many mouse clicks. A mouse click is fast, but its still twice as many clicks as I need to make and that to me is unacceptable, even if people are obsessed with the new form over function trend we’re in the midst of.

  3. Bobka says:

    Will they, in any way, restrict the installation of software not acquired off the Windows Store? I remember that policy with Metro apps in W8 (along with additional rules, such as Store apps not being able to download executables or something), and I want to see it die a fiery death, but I haven’t found any word on how things will work in W10.

    It seems to me like this is a far more pressing issue than the UI. Will developers be able to choose how to publish their games? Ludum Dare for example – everyone would need to upload their games to the Windows Store because there’s no other way for others to install and thus judge the games (unless the games are browser-enabled).

    So is Microsoft still angling to take control of, and a slice a slice of revenue from, all software sales on future Windows platforms?

    • Colthor says:

      Don’t worry. I was testing out the preview build today, and even stuff made in VB6 still works. Just copied from one machine to another.

      And yeah, the UI is fine. Which, after Win8’s car crash of frustration mangling into unusability is a pleasant surprise.

    • green frog says:

      Are people really still afraid of this? I remember when Windows 8 came out there was no stop to the end-of-times rhetoric from all the people who were convinced that the next Windows after 8 was going to kill the Desktop entirely and turn x86 Windows into essentially iOS, even though that wouldn’t really make sense for anyone.

      Did you read the article? Metro is being de-emphasized, Desktop is being re-emphasized. Actually, Windows has been moving in the opposite direction from that hypothetical scenario for quite some time now. Every new revision has been pivoting back towards the keyboard and mouse set. So no, I’m sure you’ll be able to run all your programs just fine.

      • Bobka says:

        Sure, I read the article and saw that Metro was being de-emphasized. That wasn’t the question; I don’t really care about the UI one way or another. It was whether Microsoft was expanding the access and “security” policies it tried into the desktop environment. The Metro UI just happens to be where Microsoft decided to draw the line with its new policies in W8, but the UI is irrelevant to whatever installation requirements Microsoft decides to build into the OS.

        There’s no technical reason they couldn’t expand that to the desktop, and while there are numerous reasons why they shouldn’t (technical, business, or otherwise), “shouldn’t” hasn’t always proven enough to motivate major corporations, especially when they obviously somehow felt they had an interest in trying out the policy in the first place.

        • green frog says:

          Well, I can’t speak for Microsoft of course, but I don’t think that’s where they’re going to take things if I’m reading the current leadership’s direction right.

          FWIW though the competition has already taken moves in that direction, recent versions of OS X give you a warning message by default if you try to install a program from outside of the Mac App Store. It can be easily disabled, of course, but the intent is clear: they’re trying to encourage you to get all your programs from Apple’s storefront.

          • P.Funk says:

            So basically they’re trying to turn an open platform into a closed one through coercive UI design.

            Brilliant.

          • TormDK says:

            It’s about giving control back to the owner.

            So if you are corporate IT, you get to decide what the drones will be allowed to use. Windows 10 will also be big on MDM as far as I’ve been told because Bring your own device is still a thing that IT needs to be able to handle.

            Can that make the platform more restrictive? Yes, I suppose it could – but then why would you want to use something that wasn’t OK’ed by your corporate overlords on their dime.

            For the home user, you are the overlord and can thus chose how the restrictions should apply.

  4. Rich says:

    It’s going to be a day-one purchase for the wife’s laptop. The sooner Win 8 dies, the better.
    As for my desktop, it’ll depend on whether my graphics card turns out to be DX12 compatible.

  5. killias2 says:

    This was a good read, but I was getting a little sick of every other sentence being some combination of snarky cynicism and belabored acquiescence. Here are some basic truths:
    1. Windows absolutely dominates its niche of not-quite-Linux-but-too-smart-for-Apple users and PC gamers. Nothing is anywhere near changing this.
    2. Windows 8 is nowhere near as bad as internet commenters like to say. After the initial learning curve and/or settings adjustment, it’s faster and more stable than 7. My Windows 8 tablet (running an Atom!) boots in seconds. My main desktop with an i7 and an SSD takes about 10x as long to get going. I’ll admit to not using it much on desktops, but I know a number of software engineers who fiercely argue W8’s benefits, especially as regards keyboard shortcuts.
    3. Most of people’s problems with Windows 8 are main targets for change in Windows 9/10.
    4. Windows 8 tablets blow the competition out of the water. I don’t even understand how my Transformer 100 was sold in the same category as Nexus 7s, old iPads, and chromebooks. It can do everything and yet its priced the same as glorified smartphones. Windows RT is a disaster, but true Windows 8 hybrids are just amazing little devices.

    “I suspect Microsoft may be swinging back too far towards the mouse and keyboard with Windows 10. What it still doesn’t seem to grasp is that whatever input method you’re using, the interface needs to be consistent.”
    My understanding is that Windows 10 is built exactly around this very need, which is more than can be said for ANY OF THE COMPETITION. I mean, a Transformer 100 can already be a tablet, a netbook, or a desktop as needed. iOS struggles to work well with just different form factors, much less different UIs/inputs/niches.

    The rumor on the street is that “Continuum” will allow Windows to switch its basic UI on the fly, based on what inputs are available and/or being used. That’s amazing. That’s not something to dismiss because “UGH, it’s Microsoft.”

    • Chuckleluck says:

      “Windows absolutely dominates its niche of not-quite-Linux-but-too-smart-for-Apple users and PC gamers. Nothing is anywhere near changing this.”

      I agree. The conclusion of this article made it sound a little like Windows is on its deathbed. 8 might have been hated on significantly (whether it was justified or not), but for me it’ll be my favorite OS in the foreseeable future. Steam OS might bring about a Linux revolution, but I use my computer for more than just games.

    • Martel says:

      One thing that is often overlooked is that people hate change, regardless of whether that change is good or not. Especially so when it’s the OS you use for 8-10 hours a day.

      • Kittim says:

        In the case of Windows 8, for desktop users it was change with no benefits and significant detriments.
        I want to restart my Win7 PC? Start Menu, Restart (I changed mine from Shutdown)

        Windows 8 has my dicking around with the fucking mouse at extremes of the screen in order to activate the magic bit of screen (with absolutely no indication that it’s there) that exposes a wanky fly out that gives me a power icon that exposes a menu that lest me press Restart. Even typing about it makes me want to get hold of the dickhead that thought that was cool kick him in the nuts!

        I have to use 8 & 8.1 in my work and they are by far the shittiest bit of UI design that’s ever been puked onto a desktop. They even break the UI design rules Microsoft themselves created for Windows XP/Vista/7.

        People wanting a more upbeat article about the next version of Windows need to be complaining to Microsoft, not Mr Larid.

        • Rich says:

          +1

          I hate the argument that people just don’t like change. If the change is clearly for the worse, of course people won’t bloody like it.

          • Stardog says:

            Agreed. “People don’t like change” is probably the worst platitude around, especially considering that it makes no sense. I wish people would just stop with it.

          • Distec says:

            IMO there’s a small degree of arrogance with those statements too, especially when Windows 8 is the subject. I think I’m a fairly competent PC enthusiast, and I’m willing to learn and adapt to changes in an OS or interface. Despite being unconvinced of the merits of Win8’s UI, I could get used to it. After all, I have the know-how, the patience, and the enthusiasm for it.

            Other people don’t. The kind of people you see saying “Well duh, just use the keyboard shortcut, dumbass?” on tech forums overestimate and misjudge the capabilities of others. Most people use computers, but they don’t live in the world of them. If they have gotten used to what has been the definite and primary design through all versions of Windows over the last decade plus, I don’t see why they shouldn’t walk away from your product when it needlessly confuses them. Most people have not learned the library of tricks and shortcuts that a geek like me has. When I used to work technology at a retail outlet, customers of all ages and types were regularly coming back in to return their Win8 computers, to get a tutorial on how to use the damn things as they had been for the last ten years, or literally shoving money in my pocket to put on Win7 or XP.

            The iPhone was certainly different when it was released, and it had its share of naysayers too. But people readily warmed up to smartphone interfaces when they saw what they could do. Nothing like the stagnancy of Microsoft’s OS. They just failed to convince most people of their drastic update’s benefits, if there were any. People like change when they can see what they’re getting out of it, rather than being told to just learn it again cuz reasons.

          • TheApologist says:

            Yep – this. When I bought a PC with Win 8 on it, I was very ready to write off people’s complaints as just resistance to change or unwillingness to learn something new.

            However, this is one of those cases where something was just clearly worse. The UI is poorly designed, and, for all the considerable technical merits of win 8 (boot times, general zippiness and stability) a year later I still feel like I am fighting with it to get it to do simple things.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          Or you could just right-click Start. Windows 8 relies a lot more on that mouse button.

          P.S.: As Rich has just demonstrated, “Clearly for the worse” usually means “I’m doing things the hard way because I haven’t RTFM”.

          • P.Funk says:

            Can you explain to me why one should need to read a manual to know how to turn off a computer through a UI from a vendor they’ve been using for over 20 years?

            Since they invented the Start Menu people have been able to upgrade to a new version of Windows and access basic functions through that easily, using LMB. Why change that? Is there a reason I should need to read a manual to access that after well over a decade of consistency?

            This reminds me of why I dislike new versions of Windows. Control Panel always contains more or less all the same things, with a few new ones added, but they ALWAYS change the names of those identical things. XP I used to find “Add Remove Programs” icon, but in Win7 that was under “Programs and Features” for some fucking reason. All the renaming of things inside Control Panel has done is force me to start using the Start Menu search to type in the name of the thing I really want so I can bypass the annoying nested menus.

            There are changes that are made that are clearly not considered and happen inside the bubble of someone’s new design. They aren’t better if they offer nothing new except forcing me to internalize a different hoop to jump through than the one I remembered for the last 10 years.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            There’s still the MS-DOS prompt if you don’t want to deal with all the changes Microsoft made to Windows in the last 20 years.

            C:\> shutdown -s

          • Baines says:

            I didn’t read through a manual to find that you could right-click the little Windows icon in the lower left corner.

            A friend was showing me the OS to see if I wanted to go with 8.1. After mentioning that the old Start menu was gone, and showing what happened if you left clicked on the Windows icon, he asked me to see if I could figure out how to shut down the machine. First thing I did was right click on the Windows icon.

          • wengart says:

            But why would anyone right-click the start menu? I’ve used Windows since I was 5 years old. My family had a Windows 95 computer -> 98 -.> XP ->7 and finally Windows 8.

            For nearly two decades (almost my entire life) right-clicking the start menu did shit all. Why should I suddenly suspect that it acts differently?

            Although a lot of people are missing the overall argument here. This isn’t about problems shutting down your computer. It is using the weird Win8 shutdown routine to showcase how fucking stupid the whole UI design of Win 8 was.

            Lets take a perfectly working user interface and fuck around with it in various ways. Rarely does what we do actually improve anyone’s experience. The best they’ll probably get is pulling even, but that is not even a given. This of course is the best decision to make.

            If you were a common windows user and spent more than 15 seconds trying to figure out how to do something common in Win 8 it can’t be classed as anything else than a fuck up on Microsoft’s part. They have a 20 year old UI style that works. That millions have a muscle memory for and they fucked it up.

          • fredc says:

            Dude, it’s a microsoft product. No-one can “RTFM” because as you should know, there is no F’n Manual to R.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            Except there is a F-ing M to R.

          • drewski says:

            Windows 8.1 lets you do that. Windows 8 does not.

            Although if you right click on the Metro preview that comes up in Win 8 when you track off the bottom left corner you get a pretty cool fast control panel type menu…which still doesn’t have a program list or the ability to turn off the computer. So close, Microsoft. So close.

        • drinniol says:

          Really? I just hit Alt-F4 on the fucking desktop from day 1. Maybe I’m a POWER USER.

        • Juke says:

          @Kittim FWIW, if you are still enraged by the deeply buried power icon (and I agree, it’s poorly thought out,) at least try using the WIN+X hotkey to get the menu that includes a Shut Down or SIgn Out flyout. That annoyance was glaring when I first installed Win 8, then with the 8.1 updates, MS did acknowledge their brain fart and put a power icon on the Start screen (so reachable with a press of the WIN key,) but I then the WIN+X menu is even faster.

          Not that Win 8 should require this much power user savvy; I’m not really defending it, but I at least appreciate that Microsoft seems open to rethinking things that aren’t working in their efforts to modernize.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          Or you could just right click on the start button or press that nice power icon in the top right corner of the screen.

        • Martel says:

          Oh I agree, and found Windows 8 to be pretty irritating. Just trying to point out that it doesn’t matter how good it is, if it’s different people will flip out.

          And really, Microsoft needs to stop worrying about consumers, it’s enterprises that pay their bills anyway. Which is another reason the Win8 (pre 8.1) UI is extra annoying.

          • Emeraude says:

            And really, Microsoft needs to stop worrying about consumers, it’s enterprises that pay their bills anyway.

            That’s an interesting conundrum here. MS’s real customers are clearly other companies, not consumers. The thing is, they still need that captive pool of consumers. This is half of what they sell to said companies. The software, yes, but also the stable, captured market.

            The fact that they manage to make the end-users pay on top of it is kinda baffling in some ways. To say the least. I mean, I could understand when MS at least pretended it was juggling with the obligations of both consumers and companies as customers, having to reach a compromise. But it hasn’t looked like it in a long time.

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          samsharp99 says:

          Along with the right click the start button and Win+X shortcuts, they also added a shutdown menu/command to the start screen with an update.

        • TormDK says:

          I was quite surprised when I found out that Windows 8 (RTM, not .1) for the first time EVAH made sense with what the power button did when pressed on my desktop.

          Want to shut Down? Press the power button, the machine will shut down (Not hybernate, shut down).

          So I’ve never fully understood why users have had problems with shutting the machine down. I guess people are not used to using the power button :)

          • drewski says:

            In many older Windows builds hitting the power button would turn off the machine without performing any shutdown process at all, which was Bad, and probably got a lot of people into the habit of using the Shutdown option.

        • Thrippy says:

          The most straightforward postmortem of 8.x’s troubles is that the touch/swipe emulation was a failure. That, and, well, full screen “apps.” Gotta love the live weather thingie that still doesn’t offer coverage for my area.

          I have and will continue to challenge anyone parroting the hoary learning curve argument to demonstrate they can efficiently navigate the interface with a keyboard, touch pad, or mouse of their choosing. I have witnessed no winners yet. Having never used 8.x on a touch screen myself, I’m faster than they are. Importantly, all of us make constant mistakes, or rather 8.x is constantly miscuing user input. It’s uncannily similar to someone using remote desktop trying to wrestle control of your desktop.

          I’m sure a small army at Redmond desperately did not want it to leave the door in that state. I only hope they have risen in power.

    • Rich says:

      “2. Windows 8 is nowhere near as bad as internet commenters like to say”
      Um, no.
      “…My Windows 8 tablet (running an Atom!) boots in seconds.”
      Ah, there you go: you’re a touch screen user, which means Win 8 was made for you. If you don’t have a touch screen it is quite definitely a massive pain in the arse. To argue otherwise is to out yourself as a MS fanboy.

      “4. Windows 8 tablets blow the competition out of the water.”
      Actually, I’m inclined to agree. If I were to get any kind of touch screen thing it would probably be an ASUS T100m.

      • Joriath says:

        Well Windows did rejuvinate my laptop which was on its last legs on Windows 7. Just the one case, I admit, so no contribution to wider trends but in terms of speed Windows 8 was a huge improvement on Windows 7. Hopefully Windows 10 gets rid of the UI issues (even though Windows 8.1 was a massive improvement) and then all is good.

        • fish99 says:

          Most likely you could have achieved the same improvement just by reinstalling 7. Honestly there’s few differences under the hood that would make a noticeable performance difference, but you can easily notice the difference between a new install of an OS and a bloated/semi-broken old install of the same OS.

      • dsch says:

        Selective quotation. Classic.

        • Rich says:

          Well yes, because those were the main points I took issue with. That’s how you have reasoned arguments you know.
          If you want me to be exhaustive:
          1. That seems to be the case – at least for the foreseeable future
          2. Wrong – unless you’re a touch user, which you clearly are, otherwise it’s a horrible experience at all times
          3. Glad to hear it because they definitely need changing ASAP!
          4. I personally agree

          • Juke says:

            I use Windows 8 on both touch and non-touch devices in multiple form factors (tablet, laptop, desktop,) and I don’t mind using it with M & KB; in fact, I have the option to use Win 7 on those machines but prefer 8. So there’s your counterpoint.

      • derbefrier says:

        i use win 8 on my desktop. once you get used to the new UI its just well…..like any other windows. People really over react to this sort of thing.

    • aepervius says:

      “Windows 8 is nowhere near as bad as internet commenters like to say. ”

      I beg to differ. From the I-will-take-full-screen-where-you-care-or-not start menu to the various annoyance of application wanting fullscreen estate or corner mouse shortcut orwhatever they are called, for a desktop enterprise environment win 8 is a nightmare.

      But sicne youa re speaking of tablet I am not surprised you gind it good, it was designed for phone and tablet. but msot of those which find win8 horrible even with start8 and win 8.1, are desktop user. surprised ? not at all.

      • LostInDaJungle says:

        How silly of MS to support touch after it’s been mainstream for 5-7 years. Morons.

        I do corporate IT. We recently had some interns over the summer, and they had touch laptops. When they checked them back in, all I heard was how much they loved touch once they got used to it. “Man, I work on this for an hour and then go back to my PC, and I keep forgetting I can’t just touch the screen.”

        I’ll admit that I was a Win 8 hater at first, but I learned the touch interface to support my users. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it. Went out and got a Dell Venue Pro 8 and a Windows Phone. Replaced my Nexus 7 and 5 respectively. I’m very happy with the decision.

        When I hear Win users say “Who needs touch”, I can only think back to my Mac friends that said the same thing about a right mouse button. If you never had it, you don’t know what you’re missing. When I see commenters say they can’t find the power icon, I have to assume they haven’t spent much time with the OS. Top left corner of start screen. Or charms bar. Or right click the start button.

        And FWIW, I do all of my work on a Win 8.1 non-touch desktop. Never use/see Metro, and it doesn’t bother me in the least. A friend is a competitive BF4 player, who cares very much about the low level internals… He runs Windows 8. It’s faster. He has never used a Metro app.

        People hated XP when it was first released, and now we look back on it very fondly. “Why do I have to click “Start” to shut down my PC? Stupid Microsoft. Plus my 10 year old dot matrix printer doesn’t work anymore!”

        Windows 8 is far from perfect, but it is much better than the internet would have you believe. If you look at the goals of Metro/Modern design, it’s not that far removed from Android L. Content over chrome, a flat look, bright primary colors… Android L gets praise, Microsoft gets “Fisher Price OS’ jabs.

        Much longer comment than intended. :) Not everyone is going to love touch… I still know guys that refuse to use a mouse. All I’m saying is don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

        • wengart says:

          Touch hasn’t really been mainstream for 5-7 years outside of anything except the smartphone market.

          Generally though people are okay with Win 8. I have a Win 8 laptop. Its fine. I feel no need to go back to Win7. On the other hand Win8 hasn’t really been an improved experience and given a fresh install choice I would go with Win7. This is the kind of thinking you hear a lot and it is mostly down to the shit UI that makes assumptions about the use of touch. Which is a bad idea. The market penetration just isn;t there and in many cases touch doesn’t make sense.

        • PikaBot says:

          Android L is a mobile OS, Windows 8 is a desktop OS. I hate the goddamn flat look wherever it rears its head, don’t get me wrong, but it makes a lot more sense for a phone than a desktop computer. In fact, you’ve made almost the exact same mistake Microsoft did when developing 8: failing to recognize that different form factors have different needs and different expectations, and that just slapping the same design onto both is a terrible idea.

    • gorice says:

      “Windows absolutely dominates its niche of not-quite-Linux-but-too-smart-for-Apple users and PC gamers. Nothing is anywhere near changing this.”

      Well, yes, because Microsoft have spent their entire history obliterating competition in their market segment and turning it into their own personal Mordor. People use Windows because there really isn’t much choice (in many workplaces, no choice at all). The options on offer are basically ‘meh’, ‘luxury toy’ and ‘DIY’.

    • Geebs says:

      Given that your post kicked off a long thread of people fighting over the multiple ways in which Win8 obscures the simple act of turning off the computer, maybe Mac users aren’t so dumb after all ;-)

  6. Chuckleluck says:

    “On that subject, I don’t think it’s clear as yet whether DX12 will be Windows 10 exclusive or also available for Windows 8. Microsoft is ultimately a corporation and not a charity, so I’m guessing it will be Win 10 exclusive.”

    DOESN’T FEEL SO GOOD NOW, DOES IT WINDOWS 8 USERS?

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Why would it come out for Win8 when Win10 is touted as a free upgrade for Win8 users?

      • Emeraude says:

        The mandatory upgrade is a cost in itself. Whether it’s worth it or not is another matter.

        • montorsi says:

          Indeed, it will cost me all off 20 minutes to download, another 30 to upgrade and perhaps an hour or two to make sure all my applications are compatible and reinstall whichever ones need it. Not too bad considering I’m getting a free upgrade to a better gaming OS.

          Then again, after the initial shock, and simply installing StartIsBack, Windows 8/8.1 has been fine for me. Not having the Aero overhead is truly a blessing.

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            Better because it has a bigger number?
            Do you also bin all your older Sims games because there’e one out with a bigger number than the others?

          • All is Well says:

            @Somini
            Obviously they do not mean that “bigger number=better”. The article on which they commented clearly lists a number of ways 10 improves over 8 – this *very comment thread* started off with someone commenting on DX12 in Windows 10, which is supposed to make it a better gaming OS (how true this actually is, is another matter). Also, montorsi explicitly stated they use startisback, so getting a non-fullscreen start menu is obviously something they’d consider “better”.

  7. gruia says:

    the OS looks good. but we can make it better. Please sign up and provide feedback. (they have a neat tool implemented for that)
    We can make it awesome !

  8. Mezmorki says:

    So here’s my pet theory ….

    We all know that every other version of windows is garbage right? Let’s go back in time …

    Win8 – garbage
    Win7 – yeah!
    Vista – garbage
    XP – yeah!
    ME – garbage
    98 – yeah!

    So why are they skipping Win 9? Win9 should be yeah! But they skipped that and went right to 10, which my little theory predicts will be more garbage. Or maybe I’m just crazy …

    • Sp4rkR4t says:

      They didn’t skip 9, seven ate nine.

    • Cockie says:

      Where did 2000 go?

      • LionsPhil says:

        Different lineage. Win2K wasn’t targetted at home systems.

        The “pattern” also doesn’t hold before 98, or arguably before ME because while 98 had the fancypants IE4 shell, it was also more prone to breaking itself than 95. Switching to NT really was the best thing that ever happened to Windows.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        It’s not part of the canon timeline.

      • Tom Walker says:

        That is something that’s often missed out of this theory. Obviously you wouldn’t include Server 2000, but 2K Pro was a desktop OS.

        That said, as someone who used 2K Pro at home for many years, I assure you it was close enough to XP as to not need counting seperately. It didn’t have the then-pretty UI theme and it had an annoying inability to use an Ethernet connection that wasn’t plugged in until after you’d already booted, but apart from that is was the same thing.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          Win98SE is also always left out of that equation and that received a full consumer release (probably because the internet wasn’t good enough back then to just have it as a service pack).

    • mattevansc3 says:

      That’s not even remotely true.
      Win98 was shit on release, it was Win98SE that was decent.

      WinXP followed on from Win2000 and WinXP was shit on release because of it and took two service packs before it was regarded as good.

      Vista was not bad. Vista’s issues stemmed from OEMs installing it on underpowered hardware, hardware vendors like nVidia releasing shit drivers and Microsoft going OTT with the security. Windows7 is near identical to Vista, so much so that it was considered Vista SE on release.

    • Tssha says:

      They’re skipping 9 because of poorly written OS checks in third-party programs that read the OS as “Windows 9” and throw an exception, saying “You cannot run this program on Windows ME, please update your operating system”.

      …I’m not joking. That’s why they skipped 9. Because the nineties happened.

      Like this program here:

      link to grepcode.com

      Ahh, the perils of OS development…no matter how good you are, you always have to make up for some third-party’s screw-up…

      • Premium User Badge

        samsharp99 says:

        Thanks for the little tidbit! It would have been great if they had gone ahead with it and all these unsupported programs (from like 10+ years ago!) suddenly started installing/running again :D

  9. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I’m really enjoying it so far and I’m loving the feedback system they have built into the preview, I just hope they listen.

    So far my changes I want to see made are;

    Make the search & task switcher optional since they don’t do anything except take up space, search is already in the start menu and the task switcher is Alt-Tab.

    Choose between Windows & Tab or Alt-Tab interfaces, they serve the same bloody purpose, pick one already.

    Integrate PC Settings with the control panel, no need for 2 apps.

    Regarding touch, if it requires a app requires a separate interface for touch don’t build out a whole new app and leave the old one, have the interfaces be dynamic as they bloody should have been the past 10 years.

    It’s good so far but you are right there is no visions here, I think that left the building with Longhorn all those years ago.

    • Emeraude says:

      Yeah, no vision.

      You know, there is a portrait that could be made of modern Microsoft as a company that tries to make small, unmotivated steps forward in any direction that it thinks is going to cannibalize market shares from the latest big successful thing of the times punctuated by steps backward as it tries to minimize the backlash from its existing user-base, and I think that portrait would be fair.

      Granted, when you get as big as MS, it becomes much harder to actually innovate and reinvent yourself, not when you have to balance everything you try with the need to keep the company as big as it is. Not when you have to struggle against the very standardization that is key to your success. Far less risk-taking margins.

      All that to say I have no trust nor love for MS. I wish the whole DX12 and platform locking nonsense would go away in favor of a more platform agnostic context (granted I’m not convinced DX itself is the main issue, that portion of the problem seems more tied to middle-ware as far as I can see), but recent news from W10 probably get the highest praise I can give the company: it’s not as bad as I feared it would be. It looks average, relatively functional, and optional for the vast majority of users in years to come. Which is the best you can hope from the company I thin right now.

      • grenadeh says:

        Your comment assumes that existing users are stupid and gullible enough to run out and buy the new operating system simply because it exists. Microsoft Windows is not an Apple iTrash product. People stuck with XP for 13 years for a reason. They’re still on 7 for a reason. So the backlash is from those ignorant users who aren’t actually users – just business people who go out and buy manufacturer computers because it’s the only way they perceive of rectifying performance issues with their existing machines.

        I’ve yet to ever meet anyone in IT who doesn’t sing W8’s praises, because they actually took the time to RTFM and figure it out.

        • Emeraude says:

          Your comment assumes that existing users are stupid and gullible enough to run out and buy the new operating system simply because it exists.

          How so ? The vast majority of users will get it because that’s what will be sold to them. That doesn’t tell much about users in general. And I don’t see how my comment really addressed users in any way, it was talking about MS.

          People stuck with XP for 13 years for a reason.

          They had no alternative, and didn’t upgrade their hardware ?

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Regarding the touch comment that has already been shown in the universal app preview. Its up to the app developers to create the additional UIs to bolt onto the app.

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        If Microsoft can’t even workout to create their own first-party apps like that, how can third parties do anything?

    • grenadeh says:

      Windows tab is there because it looks cool and it’s more useful, by far, than a simple alt tab. Don’t use it if you don’t like it. Don’t suggest stupid shit like taking it out though because MS will mistake a lack of contrary opinions for agreement.

  10. LionsPhil says:

    Shallow comment because I can’t be bothered to echo the substantial ones and haven’t had enough of a play to form much else yet: hoping they do something about the godawfully ugly visual design before this hits final release.

    • green frog says:

      I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Look at iOS 7/8 and OS X Yosemite. Look at recent visual design in general. Gloss and skeuomorphism are out, minimalism, bold typography and bright solid colors are in. Windows 8 and Windows Phone were ahead of their time visually, now everybody’s doing it.

      Eventually the trends will move on to something else, of course. But I doubt Windows is going to revert back to Noughties aesthetics unilaterally even if some people don’t prefer the current look.

      • P.Funk says:

        What bothers me is when the aesthetic trend creeps into the way the UI works and hampers the functionality of it. I was a devout Opera 12 user, but this whole Chrome extravaganza has turned every browser now, including the new Opera, into a minimalist, as few things on the screen as possible thing and it annoys the ever loving crap out of me.

        Opera 12 is the most efficient browser I’d ever used. Compare its side tab access to bookmarks to the obnoxious Chrome one and there’s just no competition.

        Form over function is the worst part of the visual aesthetic trend these days in my opinion. Nested menus need to die.

        • manny says:

          Opera moving to the Chrome web rendering engine which is open source and free is due to it being cheaper primarily, but also probably because the chrome rendering engine is the web standard being the dominant browser by far and it also being quite fast and stable. (Certainly more stable than Operas original renderer which tended to crash on occasion)

          This required a rewrite of the Opera browser, but I believe that they will enventually include all the features of the previous opera browser. Granted this belief is more faith than anything since they haven’t said much on the matter.

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            30% market share means “king of browsers” apparently. Gotcha!

          • P.Funk says:

            What does changing to the Chrome engine have to do with fundamentally binning the entire UI concept behind Opera 12?

          • manny says:

            Well the other explanation is that Opera team decided it wasn’t satsified with it’s measly market share and change their entire design philosophy, if that’s the case Opera classic is truly dead.

        • grenadeh says:

          Why in gods name would you want anything at all on your browser window except the displayed web page? As far as aesthetics, Chrome is the king of browsers. Anything else you need to do can be easily and quickly achieved with keyboard shortcuts or menus that really don’t need to be there all the time.

          • P.Funk says:

            Because a single mouse click is just as fast as pressing two keys, maybe faster if my fingers aren’t poised on the keyboard. The side tab for Opera 12’s bookmarks was also infinitely faster than the Chrome version. Rather than having to open a tab for my bookmarks I just see a small side menu pop open. These are bookmarks, wtf do I need the whole screen for? I could check my bookmarks to see if I had something while I watched a youtube video instead of having to open a whole window for no particularly good reason.

            You say hide things you don’t need to see, but I am a PC desktop user, I have massive screen space and adding a couple mm open browser space isn’t going to revolutionize my desktop experience. What webpage needs that space? Most of its just empty, the real body of it being in the centre of the screen, a body of a page I now can’t see because Chrome tells me I have to see my bookmarks by opening a new tab that is also inefficiently using more space than I need for it.

            Sounds like you drank the kool-aide, and thats fine. People should be allowed to enjoy their UI as they like, but I specifically dislike how every browser is now trying to be Chrome. And btw, if your UI requires you to use keyboard shortcuts to access things efficiently then its on some level a failure. I can access bookmarks in Opera 12 no faster with keyboard than mouse, meanwhile with Chrome that is not the case as nested menus have made my mousing inefficient.

          • PikaBot says:

            I also want my browser to give me information about the page, and allow me easy access to the tools I need to perform functions on that page without having to move away from it because the actual menus are buried in new fucking tabs for some idiot reason.

            Chrome is certainly the ‘king’ in that they’re the trendsetter and every other browser is busy shamelessly aping them. But good god do I hate their design choices.

          • P.Funk says:

            PikaBot, you have an ally in me.

    • Geebs says:

      I do find the retinal burn from all these bright, flat fields of a single colour pretty tiring on the eyes, but I think that’s mostly due to not having gone HiDPI on either my desktop or laptop yet.

      Hopefully, though, this sort of design aesthetic might discourage people from buying laptops with terrible TN screens, which make this stuff look even worse.

  11. Chiron says:

    I’m sad… we’re locked into upgrading the corporate computers from XP to Windows 8 and I am fucking dreading it.

    • Juke says:

      From XP? Jesus, you should be excited; you’ll be a beneficiary of a generation of stability and performance advances. 8 isn’t perfect by a long stretch, but I would dread coming into work every day to support XP. If you have crusty, bitter users (and let’s face it, most are,) just make sure to apply an appropriately old-school theme to your build and you’re halfway home.

      • grenadeh says:

        Good god man I haven’t seen XP in an enterprise environment in 3 months and only then because it was my job to migrate users to 7. Of all my years in IT (started officially when Vista was new) I’ve rarely seen XP and wept when I did. Yes it was great, but good lord it’s a waste of time compared to 7.

      • Asurmen says:

        I’ve only just moved from XP to 7, and I work for the UK government.

    • Martel says:

      Surprised you’re going from XP to 8 and not 7 considering that 7 has a longer support life than 8 does.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        It sort of does. Microsoft’s support cut-off updates with each update so while Win8 may have a short cut off date, upgrading to Win8.1 gives you that support cut off date instead.

  12. hideinlight says:

    Why 10? Because 7 8 9 !

  13. trjp says:

    There’s a joke running around that they went for 10 because people wrote code which said

    if (OS startsWith(“Windows 9”)) … // Windows 95/98

    Almost certainly nonsense but at the same time possibly not ;0

    • Malcolm says:

      It seems quite plausible to me: link to searchcode.com

      But it was ever thus.

    • Premium User Badge

      steves says:

      “Almost certainly nonsense but at the same time possibly not”

      Definitely not. I may or may not have been guilty of such abominations in my youth…

      Microsoft really cares about backwards compatibility, on a decade+ level.

      Something else that’s fun – IE11, a perfectly decent browser these days, identifies itself as “like Gecko”‘ (i.e. Firefox) because all the old-school crap you had to do to deal with IE6/7 issues was done with a similar level of ill-thought-out foolishness.

      Anyway, as someone who is by some miracle still employed in a Microsoft-heavy environment (SQL Server, .NET/IIS, Visual Studio, Azure, etc) I have to say MS are absolutely getting their shit together these days, so I have high hopes they can manage it with the consumer stuff.

      XBox is probably still a disaster though…

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Yeah no, definitively not nonsense.

    • GrosData says:

      Or how unconsistent OS names make us write bad code.
      Can’t wait for the next IE aswell. They’ll call it “Internet Next” and we’ll end up with :
      [if IE]
      [if IN]
      on our websites.

      • Martel says:

        Anybody that uses the OS name and not the version must be inexperienced in the Windows world

        • Caerphoto says:

          Maybe so, but that hasn’t prevented far too many of them from writing code that businesses depend on, unfortunately.

  14. melnificent says:

    I quite like windows 8. I have a surface pro so it’s pretty much made for the touch screen, but on a keyboard and mouse system click Desktop and then there are keyboard shortcuts for most things and if in doubt press Windows + X to get the little menu to pop up.

    The main problem I have with windows 8 is the way they changed the licencing to keep the key stored on the hard disk only…. when your disk dies you lose ever being able to use windows 8 without buying a new licence key. On the plus side, I’ve happily moved to linux.

    • iainl says:

      As long as you’re on 8.1 (and you bloody well should be; 8.0 was the abomination people say) then just set it to boot to desktop and you don’t even need to do that part. All my commonly used apps are pinned to the taskbar even on my 7 box, so I don’t really use Start that often.

  15. caff says:

    I’ll install this when I buy a new PC in 2016, along with my G-SYNC 4k IPS 40-inch panel.

    Until then, nothing sounds very interesting. I’ll stick with Windows 7 running games @ 1080p on my massively pixellated and oversaturated TV.

    Am I the only person to notice the Microsoft chap has a slightly Hitler haircut? Just a slightly shorter cut, and growth of a small moustache, would be enough.

  16. mattevansc3 says:

    This is an overly negative article for a Tech Preview. Tech Previews aren’t designed for consumers, its for businesses, developers and hardware vendors to allow them enough time to make sure their stuff works before release and enthusiasts to beta test.

    Talking about a lack of ambition at this stage is akin to downloading a single player demo and criticising it for the lack of multiplayer.

    Also there’s a considerable amount in the article that doesn’t ring true if you spend time on the tech sites. Microsoft originally showed an earlier version of the Start Menu running on Windows 8 back in this year’s BUILD conference. They’ve talked about improving the touch interface. You’ve been able to copy and paste into the command prompt since WinXP (copy as normal then in the command prompt its Alt+Space+K+P) it is the Ctrl+V command you haven’t been able to use.

    Just because its not in the Technical Preview doesn’t mean its not coming or isn’t being worked on.

  17. Megazell says:

    I stick with Linux Mint. So far all of the games I play run on it awesomely and easily.

  18. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Actually 8/8.1 wasn’t that bad from the gamer perspective. I have an almost 7 like interface now with the advanced tech of 8. Granted I can’t get over the fact that sentient beings made such an ugly flat art design which also returns in 10.
    From a business point of view I’ll tell you that our office drones won’t see 10 anytime soon. 7 runs out 2020 which is enough time for MS to make an actual enterprise OS. All our new W8 licensed desktops are delivered downgraded to 7 and if the users had their say they’d still be running XP.
    Apparently with 8 they thought we’re giving out touch monitors and smartphones to everyone and let them sync their data around all the time. All day long I want to look at ever-moving tiles and never view two documents on screen at the same time (modern ui). Well maybe if you’re an office worker at MS or Google.
    Truth is: 95 was a milestone ahead from 3.1 and XP one or two milestones from 98se (which was much better than 95). Even XP and XPsp3 are completely different. 7 had many new features compared to XP. Now 8 has aside from modern ui tile design some new features but not as many as from XP ->7. Here’s the catch 8.1 is exactly the same as 8 and looks more like a 5 mb-patch than a 3.6 GB full install image update. Tried 10 today and it looks like 8 with service pack 1. Co-worker was bored in fifteen minutes. New Server also looks the same as Server 2012.

    • Baines says:

      Biggest problem from a gamer perspective is that some developers didn’t bother testing their games on Windows 8 or 8.1 machines, and thus didn’t find Windows 8/8.1 specific issues. There were sometimes programs with issues specific to the 64-bit version of 8/8.1 as well.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        But that’s really the devs fault then. Worst offender was Microsofts own Games for Windows live, while it wasn’t installed properly at least the associated game worked somehow. Glad that was axed.

  19. Unknown says:

    I dunno if this will get fixed in the consumer release, but there are now TWO calculators. The Metro Calculator app, and the good old calc.exe program. In general a lot of the apps seem like really redundant and in some cases crippled versions of existing programs.

    • iainl says:

      I doubt it will – just as on Windows 8, the Not-Called-Metro Calculator is far easier to use on a small Tablet than the Desktop one.

      If they are going to do anything, it would be great if they made it easier at install time to not get the apps they don’t need, based on expected usage of the box.

    • Sebbatt says:

      i agree

  20. Bureaucromancer says:

    I don’t buy that the task switcher is a sign of a retreat from touch compatibility. The new win + tab interface is, if anything, more touch friendly than the sidebar and is invoked with the same swipe from the left gesture. We’re talking about a bar down the side of the screen being replaced with a fullscreen display that is more functional and includes larger targets for touch users. It just so happens to do it in a may that isn’t drastically jarring for mouse and keyboard users used to alt + tab and includes reasonably elegant functionality they would be interested in.

    The technical preview definitely isn’t optimized for touch devices right now, but so far Win 10 has me more interested in getting, and in developing for, windows tablets than ever before.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      There will be a technical preview for the tablet and phone variants of Win10 early 2015.

  21. racccoon says:

    MICROSOFT HAS DONE A FINE JOB!

    Although teething has taken away a lot of our precious time at times..
    Overall MICROSOFT has created the world a of CODING, GRAPHIC ARTS, TOOLS,/APPS & GAMES TO PLAY!

    Without MICROSOFT the apple would of been rotten, worn out, n’ burnt! & maybe the AMIGA might of rained Supreme, but Microsoft has achieved the world of computer inventiveness we see today

    Well done, MICROSOFT, I SAY.

  22. Jade Raven says:

    Now I’m really confused as to why they didn’t just call the Xbox One the Xbox 4.
    I’m picking that the next one is called the “Xbox 5” now.

    • pepperfez says:

      No, that’ll be 10 as well. And I’m sure this IE10 will be better than the old one.

  23. grenadeh says:

    Evidently Jeremy neglected to pay any attention whatsoever to the major feature and point of the entire technical preview thus far: Continuum.

    Created to do exactly what he listed in negatives: unify the transition back and forth from desktop and touch apps without “throwing mobile users under the bus.” I take it you haven’t actually used the preview build yet unlike tons of people who have. Literally, go to PC world or any other site and this is the entirety of what they cover in their articles. It’s the point of Windows 10 thus far.

    PS no business will ever, ever use Windows 10. To this day, companies across the country and globe are still paying contractors in a mad rush to migrate all of their end-user machines from XP to Windows 7 -barring those who refuse to do so. Windows 7 is the most solid and agreeable release to date in history, so no one will be upgrading until at least 2020 like someone already said.

    And new Windows releases are never, ever, aimed at business users – Microsoft’s true customers.

  24. bill says:

    So when microsoft is ambitious and tries to make big changes, everyone complains.
    When they’re less ambitious and make incremental improvements, everyone complains.

    A few things are sure welcome, like having metro apps and desktop apps coexit better. But overall it seems like they’re fixing the things everyone bitched about, rather than fixing the things that needed fixing.

    It’s a minor visual thing, but why does the graphical style of the taskbar and apptray (and desktop icons) STILL not match that of metro??? Why can i easily make my adroid phone have metro-style icons and UI, but microsoft can’t make windows have metro style icons???

    Windows 8 made a lot of lovely little tweaks under the hood, but I agree that a little more ambition would be nice.
    IMHO, the problem was that instead of taking a fresh approach to the desktop UI, they made a new UI (metro) and put the two together. Now they’re rolling back metro and sticking with the old desktop UI, but that’s what needed changing.

    • PikaBot says:

      It’s a minor visual thing, but why does the graphical style of the taskbar and apptray (and desktop icons) STILL not match that of metro??

      Because the designers were merciful upon those of us who don’t want our OSes to look like complete ass? Good lord, providing refuge from the Metro interface is a feature, not a bug.

  25. Mr Coot says:

    Well I hope Linux has native support for gaming by the time MS stops support for Win 8, which is the last MS OS I bought and will ever buy.

    No mention of the elephant in the room which is the MS shop. Pay excessively for a shitty OS only to be herded into their app shop to spend more money and be groomed to give your personally identifying data to them via MS account.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Not until Nvidia takes their heads out of their asses.
      Noveau(the open source driver) is making inroads, so NVIDIA is feeling threatened and is starting to lock-down their cards.
      link to phoronix.com

  26. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Most important feature: Can you finally resize the cmd window to arbitrary sizes with your mouse? Because that drives me crazy, every time.

    • Low Life says:

      They’ll be doing that big change in Windows 20.

      (Actually I think you can)

      Unix terminals are still so much more useful it’s not even fun :(

    • znisses says:

      Not being able to change the size of cmd window? Not sure about win8 but up untill win7 you just have to go to properties of the cmd window and set screen buffer size width and height (once basically) and presto. Output is wrapped to fit the size of the buffer and the window can be any size up to and equal to the size of the buffer.

      I don’t get that people moan so much about win8, to make win7 UI work efficiently for me I need to change quite a few things as well. Win8 makes the diffirence of this fiddling way more obvious but the fiddling has always been there. Maybe less so in Win10 but I would not hold my breath.

      But I will skip win8 for sure, I do not wish to start over on a new OS every couple of years without also getting a new computer. That may not happen soon since I have a decent enough machine.

  27. Low Life says:

    If you’re looking for negatives, well, it does seem a little like Microsoft is throwing touch users under the bus. The touch-optimised task switcher appears to be toast, for instance. I suspect Microsoft may be swinging back too far towards the mouse and keyboard with Windows 10. What it still doesn’t seem to grasp is that whatever input method you’re using, the interface needs to be consistent. It’s no good kicking mouse and keyboard users into a touch environment and vice versa.

    I disagree. They’re finally differentiating the touch and KB&M interfaces, which they should’ve done in Windows 8 already. Video here: link to youtube.com

    The technical preview probably doesn’t have the feature yet.

  28. Dwarph says:

    Something noone seems to have noticed yet is that Win10 is the unified app store which is meant to encompass all devices from mobiles, pcs and consoles. Yup thats right, the xbox one is going to have the same app store as the pc. The qustions that this bring to mind are, dos this meant more ports to pc from xbox? of vice versa? or will it be te same as always? hmmm.

  29. Jackablade says:

    I’ll be deep, deep down in the cold, cold ground before I use any Windows with that hideous primary coloured square motif. Dagnabbit.

  30. Wowbagger says:

    I can paste in to command prompts already, does that make me a wizard from the future?

  31. gorgonaut says:

    I dislike win8 a lot. I think the flat, solid colour design they made is terrible, and looks like win98.
    However, the task manager is a magnificent piece of work, and I wish there was a way to get it in Windows 7.

  32. hawken.grey says:

    I can’t see a single compelling reason (or feature) which would make me want to upgrade from Win7 to Win10. Why? Why would I want to do that?

    • yabonn says:

      I didn’t want to move from XP, they made me.

      Decided I’d be the last time, Mint is quite fun.

      • TormDK says:

        Who are “they”? Windows XP works fine, it’s just not supported by anyone any longer.

        Well, unless you are a huge enterprise customer that purchased a Custom Support Agreement with Microsoft, in which case it is still supported.

  33. TheApologist says:

    Is Direct X 12 significant enough for me to hold off upgrading to a GTX 970? I’m on a Radeon 5870 and it’s showing the strain…

    • Volcanu says:

      Nvidia claim that the GTX 970 & 980 are Directx 12 compatible – so I wouldn’t let that stop you.

      NB – whether “Directx 12 compatible/ supporting” means they will take full advantage of all the changes is perhaps a shade ambiguous.

      • TheApologist says:

        Ah – thanks!

        Yes, ‘compatible’ is a bit ambiguous, but I guess I should also be a bit skeptical about how big the difference will be – I feel like I’ve heard this claim about directx changes before…

        I think I’ll take the plunge. Once more unto the breach, dear credit card!

        • Low Life says:

          Yeah, you shouldn’t worry too much about Direct3D 12. If I wanted to be extremely reductive I’d say D3D12 is basically D3D11 ported to a lower level of abstraction. It’s going to be a big change for developers and hopefully lead to rather large performance increases, but at least for now its new features are also being added to D3D11.3 which is being released at the same time as D3D12 (and the new Nvidia cards also support D3D11.3).

          If you want to read more about their approach, this article is pretty good: link to anandtech.com

          • TheApologist says:

            That article was cool – thanks.

            Also, ‘conservative rasterization’ is the best phrase I’ve ever seen written down.

  34. skyturnedred says:

    If I can get another update for for a similar price as last time, I will update in a heartbeat. WinXP to Win8 for 15$ was an amazing deal.

  35. Det. Bullock says:

    Ok, would it hurt to have a proper start menu directly on windows tablet with a new update?
    My father’s new laptop is driving him and my brother crazy every time they have to use something that isn’t on the already absurdly cluttered desktop.

  36. Widthwood says:

    Looks like they kept the most awesome feature of Windows 8 in Windows 10: system clock, dependent on CPU base frequency!
    Just by slight overclocking of BCLK you can slow down system time by a whole hour per day or more, thus providing you with MORE TIME!

    But seriously, this is ridiculous.

  37. Sebbatt says:

    sooooo… what is happening to 9? is it just being skipped? what’s happening? also i am speaking in present tense so that dumb joke “because 7 8 9!” doesn’t work.

  38. Zergpussy says:

    Win 8 is a nightmare. Not just because it is using teletubby tiles. Just because they did not let you chose which kind of UI you want. Imagine different UIs depending if there is touch, mouse, keyboard or even just personal preferences. Imagine you could chose which UI as you have chosen which aero design in Win 7. Imagine User-built or just extremely customizable UIs. But i fear not even Win 20 will let you customize its UI. Microsoft is just too Apple when it comes to personal freedom.