May 14, 2013

What does Windows Blue need to change to make Windows users happy?

More details have come out about Windows Blue: it will be a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 for Windows 8 users. One thing I wasn't expecting is that it will also be available for Windows RT, which could be a nice upgrade. What does Microsoft really need to change on Windows 8.1 to make users of the most recent version of Windows like it more?

Simple. Go back to a real desktop interface, and leave the mobile/metro mess to mobile devices. If they don't do that, then Windows Blue will be as big a bomb as Windows 8.

One thing that people forget is that for all the negative press Windows 8 has gotten, it has actually sold reasonably well. I do have to wonder how much of the complaining is magnification of the normal resistance people often have when face with change. That's not so say it is a perfect OS, but considering the Windows UI has been very consistent from Windows 95 to Windows 7, I am not surprised that people are slow to accept the "metro" interface. 


The new Start screen is the most common complaint I hear (I don't love it myself), but that's not likely to change. Here's an article on the 10 biggest pain points regarding Windows 8. Among them are the inability of users to close apps, the difficulty in figuring out how to shut down Windows 8, and the failure of some programs and drivers to run.


Here are some rumored enhancements, courtesy of Wikipedia:


  • Internet Explorer 11: Includes WebGL and SPDY support and redesigned developer tools.
  • Windows PowerShell v4.0: Features a host of new commands for managing the Start screen, Windows Defender, Windows components, hardware and network.
  • Additional apps: a calculator, alarm clock, sound recorder,video editing app and a file manager
  • Updated PC Settings component: Includes more options that were previously exclusive to Control Panel
  • Start screen:
  • The "All Apps" section, now accessed with a hidden downward arrow or upward touch gesture, features a visible search bar. It is dismissed by similar button with an upward arrow.
  • Start screen tiles can now be locked in place to prevent accidental shifting of tiles that results in frustrating loss of organization.
    • More size options for live tiles on Start screen: small, medium and large plus an extra large size for Desktop tile The "small" size is one fourth of default size in Windows 8.
    • Expanded color options on the Start screen, which now allows users to customize a color and a shade of one's own choice instead of choosing from limited colors
    • Start screen's uninstall command allows Metro-style apps to be uninstalled from multiple computers.
  • Windows shell:
    • Improved multi-tasking in Metro-style environment: The size of the columns that snapped apps occupy can be changed, although the minimum remains Windows 8's 320 pixels. Snapped apps may occupy half of the screen. Large screens allow up to four apps to be snapped. Upon launching an app, Windows allows the user to pick which snapped view the app should open into.
    • kiosk mode to lock down the device to a single Metro-style app for an embedded-like terminal experience.
    • "Take screenshot" option in the Share charm
  • Increased SkyDrive integration, including automatic device backups




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