Microsoft wraps ribbon around Windows 8 Explorer interface

Think Windows 8 is all about tablet-centric tiles? Think again. The Building Windows 8 blog has an interesting post on changes Microsoft is making to Windows Explorer. The old look is out, and an Office-style ribbon is in. Before you get too worried, note that Microsoft has attempted to "respect Explorer’s heritage" by bringing back some features from the Windows XP Explorer, including the "up" folder navigation button.

The post has quite a lot of information on how frequently various Explorer commands are used and whether those commands are invoked via the toolbar, hotkeys, or right-clicking. According to Microsoft, the new ribbon UI will put the most commonly used functions up front, while keeping the rest of Explorer’s commands in "scenario-focused groups" that won’t require users to drill down into multiple menus. As an added bonus, everything in the ribbon will be accessible via keyboard shortcuts. The ribbon can be minimized if you don’t like it, and users will be able to configure a single-line Quick Access Toolbar to serve in its place.

Tabs feature heavily in the new Explorer interface, which has sections for sharing, viewing, and managing alongside a default "home" view. Microsoft has also optimized the UI for wide-screen displays, moving the details pane over to the right and getting rid of headers entirely. The end result, Redmond says, makes better use of available screen real estate. The ribbon purportedly works better with finger-based input than traditional nested menus, too. You didn’t expect Microsoft to hype Windows 8 features without at least mentioning tablets, did you?

As an old-school Office user, I’ve never liked the suite’s move to a ribbon interface. That said, I’m digging Microsoft’s approach for Windows 8, if only for the keyboard shortcuts and Quick Access Toolbar. Thanks to TR reader Dave for the tip.

Comments closed
    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    I’m going to post a world changing idea here…

    Why not instead of a ribbon or just lists they have lists with visuals associated with them as in the lists themselves… Like when you click file, edit, insert, etc, when the menu pops out and it shows the command like ‘paragraph’ it would give a small visual representation of it.

    That would maintain the list hierarchy that advanced users are so fond of and at the same time add a helpful bit to new users that can’t find anything. Woaw, I know.

    I don’t know why microsoft jumped off a simple ship like that besides to make it obnoxiously noticeable.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 8 years ago

    I would almost never use my mouse to do any of the tasks to the left of “new folder.” So that’s a whole lot of wasted space. On the very rare occasions I would use my mouse, I definitely wouldn’t use a toolbar. I would just right click, or for things like copying a file, I would just drag the file like people have been doing since Windows 3.1.

    Holding alt and seeing all the keyboard shortcuts was pretty nice though.

    The view ribbon was actually useful, so that’s nice.

    Also, if Microsoft has added the ability to open a command prompt in a specific directory as it seems to be implied at the end, that is really awesome. I never understood why Gnome got rid of that feature, one of the first things I do whenever I install Ubuntu is chase down a plugin to re-enable that feature.

    • DarkUltra
    • 8 years ago

    Shell extensibility! Please make it better and leaner, and document it better. Many developers have problems with explorer thumbnails for their programs. Maybe a video preview while hovering a video file, but this would be best if Explorer utilized Direct2D. The possibilities are endless.

    OK I’m done :>

    • blastdoor
    • 8 years ago

    While I hate the ribbon in office 2007, I must confess that I have come to like it in office 2011 (the Mac version). Two reasons:

    1. I still have the menu bar. This means that I can always immediately get to the things I want to get to, located where I expect them to be. Initially, I used the menu bar exclusively. But over time, on my trips to the menu bar, I have noticed things in the ribbon and I’ve started to use it. I would say that its about fifty-fifty now between using the menubar and the ribbon for me. The area where e ribbon is strongest is in providing context-specific tools and introducing me to some features of office that I hadn’t noticed before. And I guess that’s the whole point of the thing. But by keeping the menubar, I get the benefits of the ribbon without the cost of giving up the menubar.

    2. The Mac versions doesn’t look like ass. This is totally subjective and I’m sure all the windows fans here will disagree, but I think the ribbon just looks way better on the Mac. It even appears (but maybe this is an illusion) to use less vertical space. Jobs was right — Microsoft has no taste.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    Hooray! A ribbon! \o/

    I love all the Microsoft ribbon implementations. I particularly like how they take up twice as much space as a menu bar and introduce at least one extra click for every action.

    The fact that a Ribbon mandates more subcategorization isn’t a problem, because everyone loves category views like the control panel where, rather than having to find the icon you want, you get to have FUN guessing which of three ambiguous categories your function could be classed under.

    It’s certainly a big improvement over the days when everything was in a horrible list format. Damn, sometimes those lists used ALPHABETICAL ORDER – how were we ever supposed to find our functions then?

    • link626
    • 8 years ago

    needs bigger, and more, buttons….

    seriously, just let me shrink and remove buttons, or move it to the side of the screen, and I’m good.

    I can’t afford to lose vertical space on my dinky 1366×768 laptop screen.

    • cygnus1
    • 8 years ago

    [url<]http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/08/30/accessing-data-in-iso-and-vhd-files.aspx[/url<] Looks like they're adding in native virtual cd drives for mounting ISOs too

    • Aveon
    • 8 years ago

    I welcome the feature assuming that copy-to and paste-to is what I normally do a lot of times.

    And there is always a way to disable this ribbon.

    Also right click and rename and refresh is very faster than left click select and then click the options.

    Finally I am sure Third party vendors will start clogging that ribbon with their own apps.

    • Thresher
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve been using Office 2010 pretty much since it came out and I can pretty much declare definitively, at least for me, it sucks. I hate it. I feel like I am fighting the interface at almost every step. Things that took two clicks now require me to look at the bar, evaluate which bar its under, click, evaluate the change in interface, then find the thing I am looking for, then do whatever it is. This is NOT an improvement. Top that off with some of the arbitrariness of where a certain function or task might lie in the ribbon and it’s just a mess.

    One thing that should not be underestimated is that time for your mind to adjust to each change made in the ribbon. So if you switch from Home to Insert, it takes a tick for your brain to realize the change and then change gears. I find this very disruptive and frustrating, even though it only takes a few tenths of a second. It’s even worse when you cannot figure out where the thing you thought was on the Insert tab is and realize you have to switch to another tab or that the task is buried in a submenu.

    As cumbersome as the old interface was, I never had to waste time going from tab to tab.

    • jstern
    • 8 years ago

    Judging from the images, the Ribbon can be completely minimized, just like in Word. When it’s all said and done, all the complaining is going to turnout to be a complete waste of time, with the ribbon being something that those who don’t like it will never come in contact with, except when they 1st minimize it. Kind of like those who thought Windows 8 UI couldn’t be used like Windows 7’s.

    • willyolio
    • 8 years ago

    is that an “up” button beside the file path? FINALLY.

    why in hell’s bells did microsoft think that a user would require a “refresh” key more than an up key? when does anyone need to manually refresh when they’re moving stuff around in windows explorer?

    occasionally i have folder name lengths are so long i can’t even move up one single level without maximizing my window. give me that damn up button.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah Alt+UP is too hard to remember, like math.

        • willyolio
        • 8 years ago

        was that added in an update? I remember trying it and having it not work and being royally pissed off when i got my first vista computer.

        still doesn’t explain why it needs a refresh button, though.

          • indeego
          • 8 years ago

          Network additions.
          Drives that come online.
          Files that change properties and you want to see status (like date)

          But yeah power users will just use F5. It’s so minimal it doesn’t bother me.

            • willyolio
            • 8 years ago

            i don’t even use F5, it SHOULD just update itself automatically and immediately. When i plug in a USB drive or other stuff it just appears immediately in explorer. There’s no refreshing event i can ever think of that shouldn’t be automatic if it’s common enough to warrant a button.

            and yeah, power users will use a keyboard shortcut but those buttons aren’t made for power users.

        • DarkUltra
        • 8 years ago

        My right hand is usually on my mouse, thus it is much faster to click an Up button than move it to the keyboards arrow buttons. I also use the refresh button very often

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        And command line is easier then a gui?

        Somethings are about being convenient. Putting a feature that is used quite a bit by the user on the page is beneficial to them then burying it behind commands and panels. In this case Up definitely trumps Refresh.

          • indeego
          • 8 years ago

          Then use the link in the address bar? You have the previous folder and subfolders available to you to the left of the refresh button.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            Read his post in full and mine… there is more to it then just clicking back in a toolbar… like the size of your folder names, folder depth, and speed at which you can accomplish it.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<] "why in hell's bells did microsoft think that a user would require a "refresh" key more than an up key? "[/quote<] I think because Apple has a refresh key. And Apple is a success. So, they imitate Apple. Such imitation can work sometimes, but not always. If you imitate, you have to do it in a clever way. Not like a dump copy machine.

      • DarkUltra
      • 8 years ago

      You can’t breadcrumb to the desktop, and it is faster using an up button since one rarely breadcrumbs to the same place.
      I can also quickly go up to the desktop that way I don’t need the Navigation sidebar and see more with multiple Explorer windows.
      [url<]http://jooh.no/web/Windows_7_multiple_small_explorer_windows_file_management.png[/url<]

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      I agree. I definitely miss the up arrow, but I made a post on this a few years ago when Win7 came out and people on the forums were poopooing about how I should use the address bar instead, well it’s a lot faster using an up arrow when sorting through a lot of directories and I sorely miss that feature

    • oldog
    • 8 years ago

    Bring back Vista I say.

    Now there’s an OS to bring a tear to my eye.

      • WaltC
      • 8 years ago

      What do you think Win7 is?…;)

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    for those complaining about vertical space, extremetech has a write up showing that the new version has IMPROVED vertical usage.

    [url<]http://www.extremetech.com/computing/94264-windows-8-explorer-returns-to-its-xp-roots-picks-up-the-ribbon-ui-on-the-way[/url<]

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      The [url=http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/windows-7-vs-windows-8-explorer-640×366.jpg<]space removed [/url<] from below was contextual, [b<]very valuable[/b<] information. FACT: The ribbon uses up more space at the expense of losing critical information about drives, file or files selected above.

        • DarkUltra
        • 8 years ago

        To me the details pane removed the all files size usage I used daily and added things I rarely used. And it didn’t display the same things for jpg and png files making it impossible to get used to. Please bring back total file usage and free disk space while still keeping the status bar small one line height.
        [url<]http://jooh.no/web/Windows_7_explorer_windows_file_sizes.png[/url<]

      • Wirko
      • 8 years ago

      So nice, I see a couple of nice features reinvented – the customizable toolbar and the narrow status bar. Let’s hope that someone backports those to Win 7, too. And I too hope that MS introduces customizable key bindings with Windows 9.

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 8 years ago

    I am neither impressed nor averted by these changes; so far it just seems that Windows 8 is adding a lot of fluff.

    I simply don’t see anything that Windows 8 is offering that makes me feel compelled to upgrade when it arrives.

      • LaChupacabra
      • 8 years ago

      If you can run both UIs at the same time on separate screens. I am going to be in heaven. Imagine having all your live tiles and basic applications on a smaller screen, next to your mouse.

      Playing a full screen videogame and want to que some music? BAM, touch the tile and you have your music. Watching a movie and you get an e-mail? BAM, you’re checking e-mail without the movie being interrupted.

      I’m sure Microsoft won’t get this right on their first try, but at least it gives me something to look forward to.

      BAM =P

    • smilingcrow
    • 8 years ago

    Did the guy in the demo have a sweepstake going in the office around how many times he said the word ‘cool’ during the demo? I lost count once he reached double figures.
    It looks pretty good though all the same.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      These videos have a PR team that probably ask the tech to include keywords.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 8 years ago

    This ribbon addition is either going to make people love it or hate it.

    • crsh1976
    • 8 years ago

    As a UI designer, I’d like to personally punch every member of the team responsible for the ribbon UI in the face. Repeatedly.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t understand all the hating here.

    Open up Windows Explorer in 7 right now and look: top of screen = huge waste of space.

    I have no particular love of the Ribbon, but at least it’s not a waste of space. There’s stuff up there. There are buttons up there that do things when you click – even really useful things.

    And you know what else – better than half of the haters here will end up with Windows 8 on their computers. And it’ll probably be truly better than Windows 7.

    If MS doesn’t change they get criticized. If they have the audacity to change: criticized.

      • crabjokeman
      • 8 years ago

      It works the same way in the Linux world, e.g. KDE4.

        • PenGun
        • 8 years ago

        That’s just windose copy stuff. Midnight Commander owns file management. Just owns it.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      One of the stupid things at MS is that they always change they WAY you have to work with MS, not WHAT you can do with it.
      I have no objection against adding a feature.
      But I have a strong objection of placing older features on other places. Or against changing features so that it works differently

      Exemple:
      previously the icons on the desktop were oriented in columns: the first icon on the top left, then down, then at the end of the first row, up again so the next icon was the first icon ont the top of the second column counted from the left.
      Like this
      1 4
      2 5
      3 6
      Than they changed it to orientation in rows, like this:
      1 2 3 4
      5 6 7 8
      Now, why the hell did they do that?
      I guess because they wanted to “promote” the broader screens.
      But it means I had to re-orient the places of the icons on my desktop screen.
      Moreover: selection icons doesn’t work in the same way anymore. It has become much worse from a logical point of view.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        Is that really how Windows 7 works? Just looking at my desktop right now, it certainly seems to alphabetize into columns.

          • PeterD
          • 8 years ago

          My W XP Pro works that way: in rows instead of in columns. But the rows don’t fill up the entire screen from left to right. Very odd. But it’s especially selecting which is odd. And I can’f find any setting which makes it working normal.

      • ModernPrimitive
      • 8 years ago

      While I’ve just been exposed to the ribbon the past few months, mostly in AutoCAD. I find it daunting and time consuming for myself, but I’m set in my ways from the old days of CLI DOS, keyboard quick keys and pulldowns when all else fails…. I think (and i could be wrong) that a ribbon interface may be great for new users…. dunno.

      With the subject at had though, IE… I tend to like very little clutter but I’m a “casual” user and probably my own worse enemy at being efficient. Either way, I’m glad MS is doing something different and innovating.

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        Keyboard quick keys will always be the fastest way to do things.
        But it demans
        a) to remember the keys – but that doesn’t take long
        b) to be able to use the keyboard – maybe. And lots of things nowadays are done with the idea that people can’t type.
        Rather good is the quick context menu with the right mouse button.

          • ModernPrimitive
          • 8 years ago

          Nice mention of quick context menus. Those are a daily lifesaver for me.

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            It is amazing to watch my GF in AutoCAD and using the keyboard. She just flies on that thing.

        • flip-mode
        • 8 years ago

        Don’t get me started on Autocad. Autocad is carrying 30 years of baggage, not only in its code, but in its user base and its feature set.

        Autocad is a WWII fighter plane that has had more and more features strapped to it to try to make it into a modern-day Joint Strike Fighter (which is incidentally hard enough to make using all-modern technology). Seriously, that analogy fits.

          • ModernPrimitive
          • 8 years ago

          I would thumb you up several times on that post if i could…..

      • axeman
      • 8 years ago

      Look at the gaping space on the right side, it’s like a massive whiteness of nothing, at least in “details” view, which is the only one that’s very useful. They could at least make the defaults show additional columns, but no, unless you’re running 800×600, it only takes up 2/3 of the window.

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    Ribbons aren’t better. They are just different.

    The real reason why people complain about ribbons is because they are so used to the older layout. They don’t want to spend the time to learn an new UI layout.

    Muscle memory is a fierce mistress.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t believe that’s the case at all. Older menu systems are overall more logical and they take up less space, you can view more in less time. I spent time messing around with the ribbon before I went back to 2003 and after you figure out where everything is there is no advantage to using it. It takes quite a bit more time to get to the same thing.

      The only people it benefits are those that have absolutely no idea what a button does and are afraid to click it.

        • cygnus1
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]The only people it benefits are those that have absolutely no idea what a button does and are afraid to click it.[/quote<] And those people out number the people that do know what the button does. And anything that lessens the learning curve is an overall improvement to the product in question. If somebody can be a pro at the old menu system they should be intelligent enough to breeze through ribbon. And if they do bitch about the ribbon, let's remind them of DOS systems that didn't even have drop down menus, like old WordPerfect where everything was a command of some sort. People used to the commands complained when drop down menus showed up, just like they're complaining about the ribbon. What's easier for most, not the hardcore few, is the direction software goes. That's how it works...

          • PeterD
          • 8 years ago

          An UI is not about being intelligent enough to be able to use it.
          It is about developping habbits which makes interacting with the programs a matter of reactions, not of thinking.
          I can type without having to look at my keyboard, but don’t ask me WHERE a particular letter is on the keyboard. I don’t know. My fingers know. And that’s fast enough to outpace speech recognition – really.
          It’s the same with UI. And if you go about and change UI’s, you’re doing nobody a favour.

          • Ricardo Dawkins
          • 8 years ago

          Bingo.

      • faramir
      • 8 years ago

      “Ribbons aren’t better. They are just different.” QFT, which makes the rest of your post even more meaningless than your usual ramblings.

      Why implement the change if it is just for the sake of being different, rather than being more useful ?

      Unlike what you claim the problem is not in people not willing to learn the new interface, it’s the people forcing others to the change for no reason.

        • Chrispy_
        • 8 years ago

        Damn straight! Forcing people to change for no benefit is the problem.

        IT professionals will adapt regardless. We are complaining ON BEHALF OF the vast majority of users who can’t find the button they’re looking for because it has been either renamed, moved, or both.

        Case in point (one of the more stupid ones): Outlook 2010 – A user wants to add a second mailbox to their account, pretty much the standard behaviour for anyone working in a team or any PA/Secretary.

        What used to be two clicks,
        “Tools > Accounts” (menu)
        is now four clicks, assuming you only have one existing account, otherwise it’s six.
        “File (tab) > Info (category list option) > Select account (drop-down-selection) > Accounts settings (drop-down-selection) > Account Settings”

        As if that wasn’t bad enough, the new GUI just hides the old dialog boxes, carried over from 2003 – Once you get there, you still need to click on “Account Settings > Change…. > More Settings… > Advanced (tab) > Add… > Add mailbox (field where you need to know the exact alias of the mailbox as per the exchange server)”

        No user is going to remember all that File/Home/Category crap but they might have eventually remembered “Tools > Accounts” if Microsoft didn’t keep arbitrarily changing it for no good reason.

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        Microsoft wants to justify the existence of Office 2007 and newer.

        Office suites reached their perk back in late 1980s. The only difference from then is that UI became more pretty and supporting new coding and file standards (HTML and PDF).

        • A_Pickle
        • 8 years ago

        I think the ribbon [i<]is[/i<] more useful. Tiny-ass buttons and cascades of menus are symptoms of [i<]lazy[/i<], 1990's interface design. Now, don't get me wrong: They work, but they are awfully hard for new users to understand and use. The ribbon is intuitive and friendly to mouse, keyboard, [i<]and[/i<] touch inputs -- and it also gives Microsoft (and Microsoft developers) a good, consistent UI upon which to build applications on. Improving the learning curve so as to maximize the number of users who are deriving maximum functionality is far more important than catering to power users who know how to use computers, and can (and will) adapt to just about any interface thrown their way. People who hate Office 2007 "because of the ribbon" earn no sympathy from my end. You are not entitled to an interface for any software application that isn't explicitly designed by you. If you so desire your menus and tiny icons, you might try LibreOffice.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    “…while keeping the rest of Explorer’s commands in “scenario-focused groups” that won’t require users to drill down into multiple menus.”

    Yeah, till you need to find a command that isn’t in one of those ‘scenario-focused groups’ or the normal ribbon. Then you have to drill a mile down in shit to find a command that was once easily available… if you find it at all.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t care if they dumb down windows, just let me customize how it looks for once.

    I like having as much vertical screen space as possible, and having rows of menu buttons is highly annoying.

    That ribbon is huge, ugly, and everything thats on there I can already access using a hotkey or using one click (right click menu for most stuff).

    Opera is very nice because it lets you move buttons anywhere you want and it lets you add/remove buttons at will. Microsoft should just copy that.

    In any case, I probably won’t get windows 8 unless it uses less ram than windows 7, but for now I’m sticking with vista 🙂

      • danny e.
      • 8 years ago

      exactly. do whatever crap you want with defaults, as long as you allow users to customize.
      I hate the stupid Win7 “all programs” menu being constrained. Fortunately you can still make Win7 work somewhat like WinXP with toolbars.

      however, scrolling through hundreds of programs is always more annoying than a menu that grows and opens all at once.
      MS makes some good decisions but then they go and make dumb ones sometimes too.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t care if they dumb down windows, just let me customize how it looks for once.

    I like having as much vertical screen space as possible, and having rows of menu buttons is highly annoying.

    That ribbon is huge, ugly, and everything thats on there I can already access using a hotkey or using one click (right click menu for most stuff).

    Opera is very nice because it lets you move buttons anywhere you want and it lets you add/remove buttons at will.

    In any case, I probably won’t get windows 8 unless it uses less ram than windows 7, but for now I’m sticking with vista 🙂

    • phez
    • 8 years ago

    What’s wrong with ribbon?

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      There is nothing useful that it adds. In many cases, you are required additional clicks to do tasks that were one click away in office 2003. As well, it takes up more space. I personally don’t want my word processor to look like internet explorer 6 with 9 search bars installed.

        • phez
        • 8 years ago

        Can you give me an example of these tasks that take forever to do compared to 2003?

          • indeego
          • 8 years ago

          Customize the toolbar the way you prefer it with thousands of commands you use frequently.

          Need I even go on? There are people that have Word setup very powerfully for their workflow and the ribbon breaks that.

          The ribbon makes more sense with Excel and Powerpoint.
          The ribbon isn’t even in some of Outlook 2007’s menus. They knew it was a mess back then.

          Office 2010 fixes many of my complaints with the ribbon. Let’s face it 2007 was slower than ’03, it was a PITA to get working, several patches borked the performance of Outlook (and O07 without a service pack was nightmarish.)

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t see anything true here. The ribbon is meant to make 90% of what you do available in 2 clicks or less. And it does that admirably. Plus it’s collapsible, at least in Office 2010, and takes up as much space as the menu bar.

          • Thresher
          • 8 years ago

          It sucks because it is disruptive. Let’s say that I do click quickly and efficiently from the Home tab to the Insert tab in Word. I find immediately what I am looking for and complete the task.

          However, the next thing I need to do is change the fonts. The user with a bit of experience knows he/she can right click and do it from there. But a lot of people don’t, so they have to click BACK to the Home tab, where all the basic functions are. And why are fonts on the Home page rather than the page layout? For the average user, that seems awfully arbitrary. Why would a Font or Style choice be on the Home tab when it has to do with the look of the document, which sort of seems like what Page Layout might be all about.

            • holto243
            • 8 years ago

            Surely you just use your scroll wheel? I had the same initial problems when I first encountered the ribbon but using the scroll wheel has actually made my formatting much faster despite the fact that I haven’t customized it at all.

            • DarkUltra
            • 8 years ago

            Scroll wheel? hmm didn’t think of that. Must try it out, maybe ribbons isn’t so slow after all, just too big vertical (remove the descriptions please).

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            It’s just like using a menu in that regard, and one menu is always available to you.

            • Ricardo Dawkins
            • 8 years ago

            “And why are fonts on the Home page rather than the page layout? For the average user, that seems awfully arbitrary. Why would a Font or Style choice be on the Home tab when it has to do with the look of the document, which sort of seems like what Page Layout might be all about.”
            Haters gonna hate, man.
            Lets do the same thing you did but in Adobe Indesign.
            If I want to change a Font or Style, there is the Type menu (bold, size change, hyphenation, paragraph, etc.)
            For Page Layout duties, there is the Layout menu. It is the menu option just to the left side of the Type menu where I change page size, margins columns, etc.

            WTF a font /style change has to do with Page Layout again?

          • PeterD
          • 8 years ago

          That might all be true, but I do know a lot of people who switched back to older versions of Word after trying the new one for at least a week.
          That shows there’s something wrong.
          I’ve said it earlier: there is too much marketing involved in the development of new computer goodies. The problem is not only an MS problem. Other companies have it too.
          An example of marketing thinking: the recent version numbers of Firefox.

            • Farting Bob
            • 8 years ago

            It shows that people have been using word for years every day at work and since the first GUI version of word they have been pretty much the same in terms of menus and toolbars. Then suddenly they change it and people try it briefly and surprise surprise, they are more comfortable with doing it the way they have done for the last 10 years. Thats not exactly surprising. For someone who hasnt used the old menu system for years though i wouldnt be surprised if it just makes much more sense for them. My sister is at school and she uses word 2007 i think and using the ribbon just comes naturally to her so having a similar layout for explorer will be easy for her to adapt to.

            Its all about what you are comfortable using and what you learnt from. People dont like change.

            • A_Pickle
            • 8 years ago

            >That shows there’s something wrong.

            It does no such thing. Most Office users are whiny and ill-informed of how to use it, and then complain when Microsoft [i<]dares[/i<] to change [i<]their own product[/i<]. I don't mind at all, I think nicer, slicker user interfaces are wonderful. I can sympathize with the disenfranchised Office 2003 power user, with all of his/her toolbar customizations and layout preferences -- but even he or she [i<]won't[/i<] lose much in the name of productivity because of an interface change. No, the people whom I witness complaining about the ribbon are, more often than not, simpleton Office users who're apparently convinced that they're entitled to be the sole focus of the one of the world's largest software company's most prolific products. I do not feel sorry for them. If they took two seconds to realize that computers are not and will not be static, and that as such, a little bit of re-training is necessary [i<]and often beneficial[/i<]. The ribbon single-handedly made me able to use Office. I could get around, compose good Word documents, make my Excel spreadsheets in 2003, but if there was a feature that I knew existed but couldn't for the life of me find it, I was out of luck. With 2007, that scenario rarely ever presents itself anymore -- and it's thanks to the much cleaner, much nicer-looking, much easier-to-use Ribbon interface.

      • gerbilspy
      • 8 years ago

      ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! The Ribbon is one of Microsoft’s best features ever! With the HOME tab visible, a properly customized Quick Access Toolbar, and the Mini toolbar, ALL the tools you need are visible or accessible with a right click. NO wandering around through menus or adding tool bars on the fly. It’s ALL right in your face if you do it right–no need to even switch tabs. It’s a god-send to all users who are properly trained how to use it.

    • Vrock
    • 8 years ago

    I miss Office 2003 and its accessible user interface that millions of people knew how to use. The ribbon pisses me off every time I try to do something. Does this make me a Luddite?

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      FWIW I don’t care much for the ribbon either.

      OpenOffice could’ve probably gained significant market share if they’d played up the “we don’t got no steenking ribbon” angle around the time that MS Office 2007 was released. By switching to the ribbon interface, Microsoft nullified one of their best arguments for sticking with MS Office — namely, that people didn’t need to learn a new UI.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        the best and only reason to stick to MS Office forever was and forever shall be document compatibility. Open Office still mangles complex documents created in Word.

          • PeterD
          • 8 years ago

          Quite right.

          • just brew it!
          • 8 years ago

          Yes, I agree this is a factor too, especially in corporate environments where documents are often edited by multiple people. But for personal use it doesn’t matter as much; you can always export to PDF if you’re sending it to someone else to read. (PDF is a better choice for document distribution anyhow, provided the recipient doesn’t need to edit it…)

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      No… I don’t like the ribbon either, it’s counter-intuitive and designed solely for new users that can’t find anything… which doesn’t help because they don’t learn anything if they’re just as unlikely to find the hidden command as someone that has been using it for years.

      I still use Office 2003 and Open Office. It’s hard to sell someone something for something that never really changes… like word processing. Once you have all the features there really isn’t anything to add unless you can beam words from your brain directly to the paper.

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        I disagree.
        The ribbon was not designet “for new users that can’t find anything..”
        It was designed for marketing reasons: if you want to sell something, it’s easier to sell something new than to try to sell the same thing again.
        That’s why they developped the ribbon: it was a desparate attempt to give potential customers the idea that the new Office would be a product that would add something new that was worthwhile to buy.
        The hunt for “newness”, for the feeling of “novelty”, for the “this is new” marketing approach, is turning into the development of cranky products.
        The days are over that hardware limitations forced “bad” software on us.
        In the old days, better hardware meant that you really felt limitations were less restrictive and could give better computers.
        That does not mean it was better then. On the contrary.
        It’s much better now than it has ever been.
        But marketing demands “new” things to sell.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    The ribbon of Office 2007 was horrifying. The ribbon of Office 2010 isn’t so bad, honestly. I won’t mind this too much in Windows 8.

    Alot of what’s in the video is how Office 2010 works, right down to the Alt key showing shortcuts and the quick access toolbar.

      • Dazrin
      • 8 years ago

      After getting used to the ribbon, I actually like it (I use 2007 at work and 2010 at home). I wish it had some more flexibility (only being able to customize the “quick access bar” is bad!) but overall it is nice. The special tabs that come up when you click on specific items are great.

      My wife hates it though. Oh well.

      One co-worker hated it enough to make his own which he tried to get everyone else to use. He made (or took the old icons) all the icons found on any of the different tabs and added them all to a single tab. It doesn’t take up any less space, is harder to use because it isn’t organized well and has no words (some tooltips though) and very daunting for anyone to try to start with. Not a step forward.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        I do as well. it’s faster for the more basic tasks. if you hate learning new, faster, more efficient ways to use your computer, go back to msdos for EVERYTHING. you had to learn new stuff along the way.

    • Farting Bob
    • 8 years ago

    They seem to take up far more vertical pixels than they should ideally. There is no need for a tall icon for every action, a nice small mini-icon would suffice and take up far less room which people with laptops in particular will like.

    • mutarasector
    • 8 years ago

    The ribbon *blows* – EOS.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      in other news, old man rager, continues raging. nobody cares.

    • cygnus1
    • 8 years ago

    score, I’m TR reader Dave and I endorse this message.

    I like what they’re doing quite a bit. My only concern is about the speed with which it will run or the resources it will constantly consume. Ever notice how long a computer can churn generating the right-click context menu? Now, all that is basically on all the time and generating on every file you click on. Hopefully they optimize the hell out of it and that it doesn’t need 8GB of ram and an SSD to be smooth.

    edit: dang, -3

      • axeman
      • 8 years ago

      I agree, sorry for the downvotes. The problem with every modern OS, is well, there’s just too much THINGS In there I think. This is not unique to Windows. Just the other day I fired up a computer in the garage that had Win2k on it (Athlon XP).. Jeebus is the UI responsive on that thing, I can guarantee it’s snappier than a fresh install of Win7 on an i5 with 8GB of memory (part of this might be just design, you’re not waiting for things like fancy animations). As soon as you start using say, flash-heavy websites, it’s garbage because of CPU limitations, but I do miss the days of less bloated everything.

    • Cuhulin
    • 8 years ago

    I am glad to see them going to the ribbon interface. It’s more touch friendly, and that is where we are headed.

    I think I’m going to like having a device the size and weight of an Ipad but with the usability of Windows. Whether that will be with Windows 8 or an improved IOS, I don’t know, but this is a move in the right direction.

    • Madman
    • 8 years ago

    I guess it’s a good thing I’m learning and using Ubuntu a lot now. By the time Windows 8 is released I will have no problems promoting Ubuntu as my default OS.

      • BlackStar
      • 8 years ago

      Already done that, myself. I’ve moved all my systems to Ubuntu and keep a single windows dual-boot for the odd game I might wish to try. Given how little time I have for games, that partition doesn’t get much uptime. In fact, it probably spends most of its time downloading security upgrades from microsoft.com than doing anything worthwhile.

      (And it doesn’t help that the Windows UI is ugly compared to, well, anything else on the market).

        • cygnus1
        • 8 years ago

        Are either of you actually happy with that god awful netbook interface Canonical made default?

          • End User
          • 8 years ago

          I love Unity. I’ve got it running on both my workstation and netbook. It works very well.

          • just brew it!
          • 8 years ago

          Nobody’s forcing you to use Unity if you don’t want to. (FWIW I still use GNOME.)

          • Madman
          • 8 years ago

          It’s a bit largish for my taste, but at least it’s not a ribbon. Also, it’s pretty polished, the 11.04 leaves an impression of a commercial product, which I couldn’t say about all nixes some time ago.

          And you can’t beat Linux in terminal and system usability. Also, desktop switching is amazing.

          Once you give it a spin, the Ubuntu is pretty damn productive, usable, fast (boots 2x as fast on slower PC than W7) and I really, really want to use it as my primary. But I have to buy a new HDD first.

          I do disable zeitgeist though, and that disables fancy search. So this is a little concern. Other than that, I’m amazed how far Ubuntu has progressed.

          It’s only DeusEx:HR and something like that, once in a year, that would force me to boot back into W7 otherwise.

          And oh, did I mentioned Ubuntu is free? 🙂

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        it’s nicer than osx.

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      I’ve already done exactly that. I never made the jump to Vista/Win7; my primary OS went straight from XP to Ubuntu. When I first switched I kept a separate XP system around “just in case”, but found that I never turned it on so I eventually gave it to my son. I do have an XP VM for those occasional Windows-centric tasks; unless you need robust 3D acceleration a VM is much more convenient than a second system or dual-boot.

      The release of Serious Sam 3 may force me to set up a dual-boot though… 😀

        • Madman
        • 8 years ago

        Yup, those few amazing old-skool PC centric games… Serious Sam and Deus Ex, and they run only on Windows 🙁

        I will have to look into Wine project, I heard it was an alternative for some games back in the day. Wonder if it still works.

          • just brew it!
          • 8 years ago

          Yeah it’s still around, and still being developed/maintained. Ubuntu includes it in their official repositories.

          IMO the biggest problem with wine is that they’ll always be playing “catch up”, since the Windows API (and DirectX in particular) is very much a moving target. I give ’em a lot of credit for making it work as well as it does though.

          My last attempt at using wine actually did not involve gaming; I decided to see if Office 2007 on wine was usable. Answer: Sort of… but it was flaky enough that I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

            • axeman
            • 8 years ago

            Yeah I think you’d have to pay to get CrossOver office for it to work really well. I think the rationale being the majority of the work into the Wine project.. goes into getting things that can’t be substituted easily with a free alternative…. like games. Steam works pretty well, although the actual games are pretty hit and miss.

    • ianworld
    • 8 years ago

    I like the direction a lot as I am a fan of the ribbon interface in Office. Even though i’m a keyboard shortcut using power user I found new features I didn’t know existed when they switched to the ribbon. I do hope they make it collapsible like it is in office now though. I think in explorer I will use the buttons even less than I do in office and I think there will be a net gain in vertical real-estate if it can be collapsed.

    The one thing I hope they work on is making that “share” ribbon much more powerful and extensible. I know my parents are going to click on it wondering if they can post their pictures to facebook.

    Lastly hallelujah for the easy command prompt shortcuts. Currently the easiest way is to shift-right click on a folder to open a command prompt, which is painful.

      • designerfx
      • 8 years ago

      what’s wrong with shift rightclick for command prompt? That is perfect and for a reason – it’s less obvious to the end user and available for the technical.

      I’m not at all happy with the ribbon being made more widespread. I don’t like the ribbon at all, and although “consistency” is probably MS’s goal now, the end result is “horrible UI on everything”.

      • cfroese
      • 8 years ago

      I think the easiest way to key a command prompt is Start->”cmd”->Enter. Or Ctrl-Shift-Enter if you want to run as an admin.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 8 years ago

    I am a user that hates the ribbon interface, and I have no problem with people calling me a whiner. It’s a step backwards in almost every respect. Win8 is looking like another WinME.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      What’s amusing is WinME’s interface was so very much Win98SE that it’s not funny. What ME failed on was the technical end. If Win8 fails, it’ll be a UI thing.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        I have a feeling that Win8 will work great for certain things (basics) on certain devices (touchscreens and low-resolution netbooks), but fail to be intuitive for everything else.

        God forbid that my lifelong dream of a completely gutted windows boot, which is only for gaming, with minimal outside application interaction; ever come true. Basically I want the console experience (software atleast), but with a KB+M…and no DLC bullshit obviously.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          i don’t think it’ll be bad on any device. the geeks who hate ribbon will dl some kind of classic shell. for everyone else, and touch screen devices, it’ll be hugely better. it’s an improvement on every front.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Well there’s the “classic” shell built right into Windows 8. Nothing wrong with using that. :p

            • DarkUltra
            • 8 years ago

            If you want a touch friendly UI, make a seperate UI. You will never be able to combine the power of a keyboard+mouse with a touch friendly UI, without adding loads of bloat. In this current case of the File Explorer, most items are not very usable for touch, but with a few touch friendly features standing out like a moose in an urban environment.

            If we could remove the button group descriptions like Clipboard, Organize, New etc and the button description, the ribbon menu height could be reduced to two lines (one big button or two small buttons), it would be almost as small as the QAT, making QAT unnecessary and preserving the power of the ribbon system. Hovering would produce a description like everywhere else. Otherwise QAT will likely be very welcome. Vertical space is unfortunately scarce in computers due to the recent 16:9 trend.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            well, that’s why there is the alternate gui for touch.

          • axeman
          • 8 years ago

          There is a thing floating around the net that was a very gutted, customized version of XP, for a gaming machine it was excellent in my experience. Maybe someone really clever will (has) come up with that for Windows.

      • shalmon
      • 8 years ago

      i hate the ribbon -> i still use office 2003 with service pack 3 and the office 2007 file compatibility patch…it works well for me.

      actually, pretty much all of my friends and family continue to use it as well; granted they’re all virtually ludites

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t like it they call people ludites because they want to stick to an older software version because they know the new one sucks.
        New computer things are too often about marketing instead of about usefullnes, added value or higher productivity.
        Why, for God’s sake, to the blokes at Redmond want to forgot about the desktop user only to gain market share in the tablet section?
        Why aren’t they smart enough to treat desktops and tablet pc’s as two different markets?

      • A_Pickle
      • 8 years ago

      You’re a whiner. Go back to your precious Windows 98.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    I’m liking what I am seeing.

    I have never used Libraries or Home Groups at all, and I’m not a big fan of Microsoft’s “Ribbon” interface, but I do think that they have come a long way with it.

    It doesn’t help that the ribbon has to fight against aspect ratios of monitors these days, though.

    The best news is that Microsoft seems to be giving hard thought about exposing important functions and putting them one click away and also the keyboard shortcuts are a huge bonus.

    Windows 8 looks like it’s just going to be a highly polished Windows 7 – and I don’t see any reason to complain about that at all.

      • flip-mode
      • 8 years ago

      I really didn’t see a -3 coming for that post. Lol.

    • glacius555
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t know, i have mixed feelings about this.

    Sure, I like that some of the commands are more visible and “exposed”. Once, and quite recently, one of the staff in an Apple reseller store was convincing me that Mac OS was much more friendly compared to Windows. All commands and programs were right in front of you, while in Windows they were buried in many “windows”..

    On the other hand, when I look at this with a fresh look, as a new customer, the sheer amount of commands and buttons ends up scaring me somehow, too complex and confusing at first glance 🙂

      • tay
      • 8 years ago

      I totally agree. I like the ribbon on Office 2010. But there are so many buttons on here that it looks messy.

    • evilpaul
    • 8 years ago

    Ugh.

    Firstly, the Ribbon is rubbish. It’s just replacing rows of buttons (in Office) as well as Menus and instead moving all those buttons to pages reflecting what was already in the menus. The buttons just get to be bigger because they’re separate pages.

    Secondly, I realize that a lot of people like the Libraries and Home Group stuff Microsoft added to Windows 7. I don’t use it. Like most people who builds his own systems I’ve got more than one HDD and partition in my rig and have for going on ~15 years now. Arriving waaaaaaaaaaay late to the party with something that should have been around from the start doesn’t make me want to switch over to it.

    And this brings me to my last complaint specific to the new Explorer. I’ve got a Gmail account. I don’t use Outlook or whatever Email client MS’s “Email” button will likely invoke (that also probably won’t work with Gmail.). It’s nice the Search feature can find a photo, but right-clicking it and picking “Set as Desktop Wallpaper” is a hell of a lot faster than clicking it, going up to the menu, clicking a different tab, and finally clicking a button. Showing the keyboard shortcuts is nice, but also kind of undercuts the point of ditching the File/Edit/View/Help menu for the Ribbon.

    Also, I’m not sure how making the Quick Launch icons tiny, and rather generic so it’s hard to tell what they do, makes them terribly useful.

      • ChronoReverse
      • 8 years ago

      If you have multiple partitions and hard drives, Libraries is a godsend.

      For example, I have enough videos to outstrip the 1TB drive I originally assigned to it. No problem, I have a second videos folder on another drive and they’re combined seamlessly into one single library.

      As for the Email thing, have you used it before complaining about it? Even in the old Explorer, right-click=>Send to=>Mail Recipient simply opens up your default email program which can be anything you want. For me, it brings up my Gmail account in Windows Live Mail (the program). It looks like that’s exposed in a button bar people will see instead of hidden in a context menu.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 8 years ago

        And for those of us who don’t use an email program but use our browser instead? 😛

          • ChronoReverse
          • 8 years ago

          I’d like my computer to make toast too but I realize there are limitations.

          With that said, there are programs like Afixa that extends the functionality to do what you want. Since this Email button is almost certainly the same thing as the context function, it would also apply.

          • mutarasector
          • 8 years ago

          >Why?<

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      My problem with libraries is that they’re not nearly as useful as they could be. It keeps the directory structure of the directories you’ve added, which removes 70% of the reason for libraries that you could create a 2nd system of organization. That way you have one for consuming and one for adding new stuff.

        • Thresher
        • 8 years ago

        This. I tried Home Group and it is indeed more trouble than its worth. I just haven’t seen the point in it when simple file sharing does it well enough. Especially when you tend to keep all your media on one box.

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    I want Quicktime prevented from stealing associations on install/upgrade. Stop letting applications steal associations without [b<]explicit[/b<] user permission. Ribbon top left is a mash of icons no sane user would understand at a glance. Contextual icons are fine, except it comes at the expense of screen real estate, and a lot of that "context" gets in the way of content for 90% of tasks. i.e. If I'm using Control+C constantly at the keyboard, I don't want to see the equivalent graphical representation fill up my real-estate.

      • BlackStar
      • 8 years ago

      You installed the application as admin == you gave it permission to modify your system. It already asked you [b<]explicitly[/b<] and you said yes - end of story. What you need is a portable version of quicktime.

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t know of many applications that do this. Even IE, Chrome, Firefox now politely ask you after install to take association, and then they shut up thereafter.

        [quote<]What you need is a portable version of quicktime.[/quote<] What I need is Quicktime to simply stop stealing embedded tiff associations on update. It doesn't even display tiffs correctly, and never has. I have no control over Quicktime, the sheeple here want iTunes, and Quicktime is therefore mandatory. I would never let Quicktime or iTunes installed on any personal system I use. I am 100% confident that Apple self-sabotages their own software on Windows to make a migration to Mac more attractive. That is evil incarnate.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 8 years ago

          You can actually get iTunes to work with QuickTime alternative. I’ve done it before. It is kind of hackish though, and I don’t even remember how I got rid of quicktime without iTunes bitching.

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            QTA was abandoned and doesn’t play mov files properly anymore.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            Well there you go, this was a while ago when I accomplished this.

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 8 years ago

    FWIW, I think thats a lot better than what we have now. Haters are going to hate though, regardless…

      • Vulk
      • 8 years ago

      Does it make a difference if people have legitimate complaints? Are they still haters?

      For instance have they modified the Ribbon to go to the right or left of the screen instead of just across the top?

      The Windows 7 Explorer had issues, not the least of them was the visual bulk of the dialog with a slightly confusing folder hierarchy to the left, and extraneous information that you don’t need 99% of the time to the right (assuming that pane was even active), but all the wasted top space over the interface, and especially the breadcrumbs were just awful. Now they’re going to ‘improve’ it in ways that makes it even less useful in this day and age of 1366×768 laptop screens.

      With 768 vertical rows, I don’t want to give up one freaking pixel, so a HUGE top ribbon that allows me to click copy and paste instead of just using the shortcut keys does absolutely nothing for me. The box with display modes instead of a drop down list, for instance, is just needless space sucking. If they could have made a more compressed version without these needlessly huge buttons, or travel for work so much, maybe I wouldn’t be so against it.

      It’s nice that they’re making some things require one or two button presses that used to take a right click or two. Keyboard shortcuts for everything is AWESOME, but -1 for making me hit Alt+Shift to get them (hopefully I can go into the settings and enable it). I love the fact that they’re going to display meta data properly (FINALLY)…

      But those small quality of life advantages still limit how useful this is. Especially if they haven’t fixed it so I can freaking copy and paste between my local explorer and a remote machine viewed in RDP.

        • cygnus1
        • 8 years ago

        Except if you actually read the blog post, you’d realize they optimized specifically for 1366×768 since it is the resolution of over 40% of the user they gather Windows 7 telemetry from. It’s 4 times more common than the next closest resolution.

        Even with the ribbon on, you see 2 more lines of files than the old Win7 Explorer. And if you collapse/minimize the ribbon you get even more room. Also, they took all the metadata that used to show up in a rather large bottom status/info bar and moved over into the preview/info pane on the right

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      And this ‘hater’ hates faggoty worn out lines such as ‘Haters are going to hate’…

        • 5150
        • 8 years ago

        This ‘hater’ loves the banhammer.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Homophobic bitch.

          • atryus28
          • 8 years ago

          I’m not seeing the severe irrational fear of anything here. Rude, inconsiderate, untactful, sure but phobic…. I don’t think so. I’ve only met one or two people who could be called “homophobic”. The term homophobic is used ridiculously out of context and it’s annoying.

          phobia: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation

          [url<]http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phobia[/url<]

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            Thought it was pretty well understood that those that were the most publicly homophobic were also the most likely to like it backdoors secretly?

    • 5150
    • 8 years ago

    In before the whining about Office 2007/2010.

      • LauRoman
      • 8 years ago

      What about 2012?

      Anyway… why the hell won’t they change those idiotic, out-of-place looking forward and back buttons… They did change them in IE…

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