Reworking Windows with Windows 8

When you’re rebuilding something, you have to start at the beginning. Or, in Microsoft’s case, turn your attention to the start button.

According to a report from The Verge, Microsoft has killed Start button. Based on leaked images, the report says that the button and its functions have been taken over by a hot corner.

In a video interview with Gizmodo, Microsoft’s director of User Experience for Windows, Sam Moreau, showed off a little bit of the redesign that seems to confirm some of this report. Moreau, using a tablet, zips around a very clean homescreen and calls up the start menu by resting his thumb on the right-hand edge of the screen. Moreau also mentions redesigning the start menu in the full interview — saying that while he’s excited to tweak things like the start menu, doing so also gives him “an ulcer.”

The full conversation is worth a close read and contains a lot of tidbits about Windows 8 and the challenges Moreau faced in tearing down the Windows interface and creating a new one.

Windows 8 will have the same “Metro” interface that’s in Windows Phones -- an interactive, tiled user interface with bright blocks of colors and clean text. Elements of Metro have also crept into Xbox Live and will soon be the default user interface for all of Microsoft’s products.

People don’t always like it. Head over to the “Building Windows 8” blog helmed by Microsoft spokesman Steven Sinofsky, and you’ll see vehement criticism of about every part of the Metro interface, from the tiles to the decision to add a ribbon to the Explorer. Among the complainers, the consensus seems to be that the layout is great for a tablet, but not for their computers.

“I need to see a switch between Classic and Metro, or I’ll skip 8 as well as future Windows versions,” wrote one user. “I supported you with Vista and 7 against XP, now I can’t. Metro for tablet, not for mouse.”

Moreau and Julie Larson-Green, the vice president of Windows, address this in the Gizmodo interview, saying that the new interface will work well with a mouse and keyboard.

Users will soon be able to judge for themselves — at least in part. Rumor has it that Microsoft is planning a consumer preview soon to show off the basics of Windows 8. In a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show, Windows pr director Janelle Poole said that the company would be releasing a consumer preview in “late February” to follow the developer preview that was released in September.

Related stories:

Windows 8 adding ribbon to Explorer

Microsoft BUILD: Windows 8, Microsoft’s big gamble

More technology coverage from The Post: Google removes content in India

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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