The Direction of Microsoft Windows

Paul Thurrott of the Windows Supersite wrote what I would call a blistering evaluation of the state of Microsoft’s consumer versions of Windows and it has garnered a lot of attention and discussion.

I have never shied away from the fact that I like Windows 8/8.1. I find it dynamic and very productive on both touch and non-touch systems.   There is most certainly a learning curve to adapt to the tiled Start Screen interface and using Modern Apps. You also have to forget how you used previous versions of Windows when it comes to how you put apps to use.

For instance, it is hard to not want to close a Modern App right after using it and remove the app from system memory. However, Windows 8/8.1 was made to handle those inactive apps so they take up minimal memory and resources but open back up quickly the next time you start them up.

The other thing is many believed the desktop was abandoned but it is still there with its full capabilities and is familiar to users of the previous versions of Windows.  You should see the reaction people have when I show them this in my job as a Best Buy Microsoft Consultant – they are genuinely surprised. Everything they have read or seen is about the Start Screen with none to little mention about the familiar desktop.

Now the changes we are seeing coming in Windows 8.1 Update 1 will help those who want a more familiar interaction with the tiled interface by introducing a Boot to Desktop option and context menu’s on the tiles instead of App Bars.

Will this save Windows 8/8.1?

Not likely, in my opinion, because that obituary was written well before Windows 8 ever hit the market in October of 2012.

So do you think Microsoft is heading in the right direction with Windows or do they need to pull a Vista and start all over towards Windows 9?

Is Microsoft heading in the right direction with Windows?

  • No (64%, 1,098 Votes)
  • Yes (24%, 408 Votes)
  • Not Sure (12%, 206 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,712

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35 thoughts on “The Direction of Microsoft Windows

  1. Elborn Mendenhall March 7, 2014 at 12:49 PM -

    I am old and not by any means not a computer expert. I have always looked for alternates to Windows, including Z-Dos and others OS. I have used Word Perfect since WP3, and even Word Star. I now have Windows 7 on n two computers, XP on my laptop, and 8.1 on another computer, and Yes I am having trouble with 8.1. As I have lost some finger use, I do find the apps of 8.1 at times useful, and I would like to do more with that feature. HOWEVER, I don’t like the idea of everything has to be purchased from the Store. I think that all the apps on my new 8.1 screen will slowly disappear. One of my dislikes is problems moving files from a flash drive to the computer and having data, photos in the library and not with the program.

  2. I have gone through Vista, Win 7, and now Win 8.1 on laptops. My main computer on my desktop where all the productivity is created, is running XP SP3. If MS finds a way to screw up XP, I will not replace it with some abortion like 8. All the squawking about the monitor filled up with large shortcuts and the things like the calc function we used before now in a pile of Apps is missing the point. The system is designed to be an idiots game pad. Nothing works logically and actually using the computer as a computer is blocked at every turn. (Why I will stay with XP ) I use windows because the software I use runs under windows, But WINE is getting closer and if they ever drive me out of my workig operating system, they will drive me to SUSE Linux.

  3. I wouldn’t say that Windows is going in the wrong direction but I think some changes are needed. I’m running 8.1 now on five machines and generally speaking they are running well. I use all of them in Desktop mode, however. I have two 23 inch monitors on my desk here at home, connected to either or both of two PCs. My laptop is 17 inches, My PC at the TV station has a 27 inch monitor. Windows 8 Metro is not the mode that fits that size screen unless I want to watch movies.

    Desktop mode still suits me best. I work with the Adobe CC programs as well as AutoCAD, Visio, Excel, Word and other stuff which I would not want to have to work with in Metro mode.

    The other thing that drives me nuts is that metro apps keep popping up when I go to vies pictures, audio and other forms of media. I suppose I don’t have my defaults all set properly but when one is working in Desktop mode, those apps shouldn’t even be listening!

    If Windows 8 had two distinct modes and it stayed in the selected mode until changed by the user, that would be perfect. I would still like a drop-up start list in desktop mode. Having to go into Metro to find an app that doesn’t happen to be on my desktop as an icon is a pain.

    Otherwise the two modes are fine in their own place. I want to make the choice, however. I don’t want Microsoft doing that for me. They are usually wrong.

  4. I have never had any problems using 8/8.1. The apps from the store are great and easy to install and uninstall. They also take up little room. You remove or uninstall all apps you don’t want on the screen. No need to be littered with programs you don’t use. One click and you are on the desktop. Now with 8.1 you can boot to the desktop and with update 1 coming you can have the start menu back.

    • “Now with 8.1 you can boot to the desktop and with update 1 coming you can have the start menu back.”

      That and a start up list is all we asked for. But in what seemed like petulant brat behavior we were ignored for a year. What is so difficult about letting the user decide into which style of platform to boot?

      • Just for clarification the Start Menu as it was in Windows 7 is not coming back in Windows 8.1 Update 1 – at least not based on any public leaks, etc.

        As for being ignored – Microsoft was listening and getting feedback – that is why Windows 8.1 was released.

        The reality is that Microsoft was never going to return to the Windows 7 style Start Menu.

  5. TThere must be a lot of stupid people out there. Windows 8 is great. Easy to use after you learn how. A big improvement ovfer past windows.

    • If that is the best answer you can come up with, it displays sheer arrogance and ignorance, in equal proportions. The fact that a massive number of people hate Windows 8 does not make them stupid, it means that they prefer alternatives, as with many things in life. It is comments like this from ignoramus’ like you that do nothing to further the improvement in software from Microsoft.

  6. I have been use Win 8/8.1 and have no problem. I think Win 8 was MS trying to make 8 a tile based OS like Android OS or iOS, but they over shot the target with big over whelming tile and the lack of easy recognizable icons on the tile like Android OS or iOS. I personally do not use the Win 8 tiles, I go right to the desktop! I guess I’m too old school!
    I have a Surface RT and think MS limiting Apps or third party software was a big mistake. MS became so big success by allowing third party software, but the Surface RT is taking a page out of Apples play book!

  7. I heard all the complaints about Windows8 but decided to install it on the new machine I built in Jan. 2013. I installed classic start and set it up like windows 7. I still have every version of windows since xp running on machines I use regularly including vista. I rarely have problems with any of them that I can’t trace back to some bone headed action on my part. I now have 2 laptops and a desktop running windows 8.1. The laptops are both touch screen acer V5 series and we are happy with them both. The desk top computer is a home built computer with a 27″ non touch screen monitor running win 8.1 and I boot to the desktop. I admit to using the metro apps for some programs as they do have some features in the metro version that aren’t in the standard (app). My biggest and only real complaint with Microsoft is the lack of backward compatibility with some very expensive programs such as some versions of Autodesk CAD and some automation software. That is why I still have so many versions of windows still running on my computers (14 in the house). Even have a couple of linux distros and 5 android devices. I love this stuff. Now if I just knew what I was doing.:-)

  8. Gilbert Jones March 1, 2014 at 5:32 PM -

    I have a Windows 8 pc(I am using it right now to type this),as well as Windows 7 and Windows XP machines…I use Start 8 to avoid the tiled start screen altogether….The Start Screen in Windows 8/8.1 MAY be fine for young people using tablets or cell phones..I don`t use either and I find the start screen useless….It exists for one reason only….For Microsoft to make money via “The Store”…I am not interested in buying games, or other software via “the Store”….As for the Windows 8.1 “upgrade” I tried it… brand new pc didn`t like it and wouldn`t go into sleep mode automatically as it had done before…..I had to re-format my brand new computer and start over….NO THANKS on 8.1 or any other OS upgrade…I have found,over the years,that whenever an OS upgrade is installed,it ALWAYS breaks SOMETHING.

  9. michael360000 March 1, 2014 at 4:32 PM -

    I absolutely agree with Robertc. This is why I am moving to Linux Ubuntu, though i still run Win7. I am also migrating my customers to Linux Ubuntu as they replace their computers, as much as possible, as the customer will allow. So far the people I have switched over have had little complaints.

    This whole program concerning MicroShaft Windows in all its’ versions is nothing more than a fleece, a form of a proprietary *closed* operating system designed to keep the consumer dependent upon MicroShaft and their related vendors for updates. MicroShaft comes out with a new OS and all the vendors profits at the expense of the people. Very sadly, none of this is necessary and Linux proves this un-necessary every day. It’s all about money and keeping the status quo which means keeping the people locked into one OS, and scaring them into thinking there is nothing else for them which would benefit them more.

    I know a MicroShaft programmer who says nearly the same things I stated above. He has worked for MS for over 20 years. Funnily, for his own use he uses Linux Ubuntu or another version of Linux. Many if not most of the new features that were included in Win8 was not necessary and was only designed in order to keep the money flowing, keeping people upgrading, buying more programming. Apple is no different…. And all the vendors start salivating every time MicroShaft starts to release a new Windows version. I wonder why?

    Michael– Deo Vindicabamur

  10. I, too, like Win 8/8.1. After reading all the negative articles about Win 8 that began before the Beta was released, I knew the basics of getting around in Win 8. Also, during the Beta a few articles came out on how to make the Start Page into a Start Menu. I find that much more convenient than trying to access what I want from the old Start Button/Menu.

    As long as Win 8 has been out, and the vast articles on how to use it, I am amazed that some people still cling to the inane idea that Win 8 is only for touch devices, not the desktop/monitor/keyboard/mouse configuration. My bio-chemical makeup won’t let me use touch devices – they don’t respond correctly for me. So I’m using Win 8/8.1 the same, but more efficiently, as XP or Win 7 (which I did not like).

    I’ll admit that my first impression of the Win 8 Start Page was: “Hello, Win 3.” One of the first things I did with Win 3 was to group items into folders – a technique I continued to do with the Win 95-7 Desktop. Only, it was much easier with Win 8. Win 8.1 allowed me to put 4 tiles in the space of one Win 8 tile. So I can have more shortcuts showing without having to scroll. It is much easier to just press the Windows key and click on the program or app I want. The programs still launch in the Desktop mode giving me access to the Task Bar. So, essentially, I’m taking advantage of both modes to meet my needs/wants.

    Most of what I’ve read and heard is about people who haven’t really given Win 8/8.1 an honest trial. They’ve made up their minds based on what someone else has said. The increase in Win 8/8.1 sales, albeit slow, shows people are warming up to the new UI. They are finding out that the small, but boisterous, opposition is mostly full of digested food. The OS isn’t as bad as they claim.

    Anyone who doesn’t think a minority can influence the majority if it is loud enough just hasn’t been paying any attention to the news over the past several years. Boisterous minorities have consistently imposed their will over the majority. Computer products are not exempt from this behavior.

  11. I have been a loyal Windows user since Win 3.11 under Dos. I can forgive programming errors like vista, and I’ve been very happy with 98, XP, and 7. But 8/8.1 was a slap in the face. The windows store takes away all anonymity, and doesn’t allow most programs to work on a secondary account for children that don’t have an email account. I hate the metro start screen but the kids (5 and 9 y/o) like it. I will keep it on a net book for them but after me windows 7 pc needs replaced i will likely switch to linux. I have already started learning that system. Hopefully Microsoft fixes it in 10 because i have already heard 9 will be metro design.

  12. You must use a Microsoft product to do your proofreading.
    In your sentence stating “The other things is many believed the desktop was abandoned but it is still there with its full capabilities and is familiar to users of the previous versions of Windows.” The word ‘things’ should be singular since it is followed by ‘is’ instead of ‘are’.

  13. I use windows 8 and 8.1.. after initial doubts and finding where all I want to use was hidden, I actually find it easy to navigate (but then I had to learn how it works as I run a pc repair shop).. security is my problem.. not what’s built in that is adequate for most peoples needs, but I have been tasked with setting up a user account with very heavy restrictions on what can and cant be accessed without paying a fortune for specialist software.. unfortunately its giving me major problems even with extra software.. Microsoft don’t make it easy with 8.1.. like hiding search and control panel access.. was easy with previous versions of windows.. taken me days so far and still not done.. cant find much help on forums either. will be pulling my already grey hair out soon..

  14. I have two machines. One that runs Windows 8 and will not upgrade to 8.1. On that machine, I have installed Classic Start Menu so it runs very much like Windows 7, only better. It boots and shuts down much faster than Windows 7 ever did, so I am happy. On the second machine, I am running 8.1 and have tried to embrace the new Start Screen. While most of the applications I run are still traditional desktops applications, I have learned to love the Start Screen and the few ‘apps’ I use. Yes, there is a learning curve and it takes getting used to, but it is worth the effort. It is wrong to poo-poo the future just because you are stuck in the past.

  15. you are a Microsoft consultant and you are praising win 8, what a shock. of course you praise it, you get paid to praise it. I cant decide which is worse, win 8 or vista. you should not have to relearn how to use a computer. and as far as the apps are concerned, who needs apps on a desktop??? pcpitstop should not have even let you post your bs. your opinion does not count because you are being paid to say it. I guarantee you would not be getting paid by Microsoft to come on here and tell the truth about win8. your opinion is worthless. you should be ashamed for even coming on here and pcpitstop should be ashamed for allowing you to advertise on here. because that is all you are doing is advertising. go slink back to best buy while I reconsider if I want to keep doing business with them for sending you on here to advertise.

    • Thanks for your feedback on this post. All you have to do is look back on and see that I have always been a Microsoft guy. I have never hid it and have always admitted as much on my podcasts and on other posts. No one “paid” me to post this stuff, most especially Best Buy or Microsoft. I have been talking positive about Microsoft products (and criticizing them as well when necessary and appropriate) for years.

      I have heard the complaints about Windows 8 on a daily basis and nearly 100% of the time I am able to show someone the features they need in Windows 8, such as the desktop they are familiar with from Windows 7, and then show them how the Start Screen really works and that the features they liked in the Windows 7 Start Menu are still there in Windows 8. They then walk away with a better understanding of Windows 8 and are ready to start giving it a shot. That has happened with users of all ages.

      Ultimately though it is your decision to come here and read the content, comment, etc.

      You are welcome to do those things anytime and have a genuine dialog about the OS, etc. However, if it turns into a bout of being disrespectful and name calling then it has no place here and I will deal with those comments as necessary.

      • Thank goodness for Stardock with Start8 and ModernMix! These have converted my new WW8 laptop back into a useable machine so the supremely UGLY metro interface stays out of my face permanently! Beneath the ugly, awkward, unwanted tiles, Windows 8 is an improved Windows 7 OS. Stardock allows me to access the good without the bad.

    • @robertc And who made you the policeman of this site or its writers? Why can’t you behave yourself like an adult and save your insulting behavior for your offline acquaintances. Or at least check your facts – readers of this site are aware that Richard Hay always writes more or less positively about MS, just as other writers favor Apple or Linux without being called names or being accused of being bribed for it. And speaking of worthless opinions, …

  16. I am one of millions who are not tech savvy. I use my computer for e-mail and game playing (and I don’t mean heavy duty game playing). I also use Excel a lot and have not been pleased with Windows 8, even when using Excel. I guess what I hate the most about Windows 8 is that it left people like me out in the cold. I can see where younger people might embrace the new system, but for those of us who do not use all the bells and whistles it is a royal pain. We feel left out because Microsoft pushed us aside like we didn’t exist. We do! I was able to find a site that let me use Windows 8 like I did Windows 7, but I bet a lot of people didn’t find that site and are in never land now. I use a laptop and I do not have a touch screen, therefore, Windows 8 is definitely NOT FOR ME!

  17. How soon we forget. Just like all of the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast, every other Windows operating systems is a dud. I am more than happy with Win 7 and have absolutely no desire to go to 8/8.1.

    • John, whilst the original question ‘So do you think Microsoft is heading in the right direction with Windows or do they need to pull a Vista and start all over towards Windows 9?’ required two answers, the actual poll was entitled ‘Is Microsoft heading in the right direction with Windows?’ which only requires a single answer!

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