Leaked Windows 8 shots show missing Start orb

Microsoft seems to be erasing all traces of the Start menu we all know and love, at least in Windows 8’s default configuration. Last year’s Developer Preview already responded differently to a click on the Start orb in Desktop mode, bringing up the so-called charm bar with a link to the Metro tile screen. Now, screenshots of a fresh Windows 8 build gathered by Neowin show the Start orb has disappeared.

Neowin suggests the orb can be summoned back by moving the mouse cursor to the bottom-left of the screen, although that simply brings up the Metro UI. In effect, the taskbar in Windows 8’s Desktop interface will work chiefly as a launchpad for commonly accessed apps. With the old Start menu gone, being able to open applications quickly without having to switch to Metro will presumably be useful indeed.

I’m still not crazy about the Start menu’s disappearance, but I can understand why Microsoft would ditch the orb: it invites users to expect an old behavior that’s been excised. (I was surprised myself when clicking the orb brought up Windows 8’s charm bar in the Developer Preview.) I just hope power users have an option to restore the old functionality in its entirety, at least if they intend to spend most of their time in Metro.

Comments closed
    • Anarchist
    • 8 years ago

    “Leaked Windows 8 shots show missing Start orb”

    gasp … what will they think of next?!

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    >mfw people don’t realize that Windows 8 is really Windows 7 Mobile 2.0

    [url<]http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRC2ERc5livI1s4Nwet9LHecLgKxVD6xTpUaoBj4AMjXdMe2i2e[/url<] It is Microsoft latest stab at Apple's stronghold in the mobile market.

    • humannn
    • 8 years ago

    Windows… now in RED!

    • TEAMSWITCHER
    • 8 years ago

    Microsoft has finally lost it. I guess when another company goes from computers to music players, then to media players, then to smart phones, and now tablets, amassing hundreds of millions of loyal customers along the way, and after a whole decade you still have nothing (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) that can stop them, this is what can happen.

    The lowly “Start” button isn’t their biggest problem….it’s their CEO.

    • LaChupacabra
    • 8 years ago

    I’m still planning on buying a second screen with touch capabilities for Windows 8. I haven’t decided if it should be a large screen (so I could use it for movies or web browsing while working on the main) or a small screen that will just be an app launcher. I think it would be sweet to have it off the the side of your desk, next to your mouse, and whenever you want to launch an application just smack the thing. Imagine playing a videogame and queuing up some music on your super-awesome touchscreen app launcher while respawning. It sounds pretty exciting =)

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    I will change to the Windows 8 way of thinking as long as Windows 8 isn’t a kludge of backwards compatibility and workarounds.

    I want to see 32-bit OS versions die. Seriously.
    64-bit has been around for a decade, basically, and an application limit of 2GB (or 3GB with the /3GB switch) is just dumb when 16GB of RAM costs less than a soundcard, hdd, or even some keyboards.

    I want to see the file system, unhindered. Some people can benefit from libraries and junciton points, but for the rest of us, they’re a monumental [i<]nuisance[/i<] I want to see aspect ratio and dpi independance in every aspect of W8. If this OS is supposed to be useable on everything from a 2" touchscreen to one of the new 4K displays, then [b<]it had better bloody well ditch[/b<] the worn-out 96dpi raster-based UI of the last century.

      • thefumigator
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed on everything you said. Except perhaps the file system, where my technical knowledge has some missing spots as I don’t know what is “libraries” and “junction points” and why are a monumental nuisance for some. Didn’t get it, I don’t find my file system problematic for me. I just use NTFS and several folders are compressed, but did I miss something?

        • Chrispy_
        • 8 years ago

        [b<]Libraries[/b<] are virtual folders spanned across multiple locations. Theoretically useful, but it undermines a file system by re-indexing the way you get to files, rather than having the files in the correct place to start with. Rather than knowing that your holiday photos are in D:\Media\Photos\YYYYMMDD-Holiday, they could be anywhere across one of several drives and folders that make up your library. You become dependant on windows search, which is one extra step every time you want to find something. EVERY TIME. I understand that most people don't know how to file things in a logical way, but preventing them from filing is not the solution, and it encourages them to become [i<]more[/i<] disorganised than they already are. How is that helping anyone? [b<]Junction points[/b<] are a backwards-compatibility feature for old programs that complain if they can't find legacy paths such as "program files\common files" and "documents and settings\all users\application data". They're effectively shortcuts to the new programdata and users folders but it's possible to create infinite loops of shortcuts and again, it's masking the real filesystem as a kludge fix to incompatible old ways of working. If something isn't W7 compatible, it should be updated. Anything written in such an inflexible way that it's hardcoded to now-obsolete paths needs to DIAF and get re-written properly, with configurable paths. I long for the days when applications kept all their files in their own folder. Now they spread their crap all over the drive(s), cluttering the Windows folders, user folders, program data folders, and don't even get me started on the Registry.... :\

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    You know what… as long as I can turn this shit off and go back to a normal start menu I honestly don’t care. It’s when MS decides that they need to impose these changes on users and you can’t change them that shit hits the fan. And I really, reallllly don’t want to have to scroll through 14 pages of giant icons just to find what I’m looking for.

    This is all about options. You can butcher your OS gui how you want MS as long as you give us ways to go back to the way we like… like the UP arrow you removed from the file browser in Win 7 and you couldn’t turn back on.

    • IronHalik
    • 8 years ago

    I love the Ubuntu Unity/Gnome Shell ‘start menu’. Now Ubuntu is pushing it even further with their HUD.

    You punch the meta key, you get the most used apps in the first click, or you can type in first one, two, three letters and get the thing you’re looking for. In my opinion, that’s the next step – we had CLI, then shiny GUI, now, we could make a hybrid.

    • esterhasz
    • 8 years ago

    After having used Quicksilver as “hotkey + type” app launcher and Witch for super-fast “alt-tab” app switching for three years now on my MacBook, I really don’t understand why anybody would want to start an application by clicking on an icon. The whole concept of a bar with icons (dock or taskbar) now seems just… pointless and soooo slow. Granted, there has to be a way to access applications whose name you don’t remember but that can be handled in many different ways without eating up precious, precious pixels!

    • Mystic-G
    • 8 years ago

    I honestly hate having quick launch icons. Maybe that’s just me. I just like the clean look. Some icons on my desktop and some icons in my start menu and I’m good.

      • Malphas
      • 8 years ago

      Same. Most of the Windows 7 GUI features I like, but I tried using pinned quick launch icons when I first got the beta, but ultimately it just didn’t work for me and I switched towards using a clean taskbar for organising/switching between applications that were actually running.

      I’m reserving judgement on the Metro UI until I use it. The Start Menu still works quite well for me, but the way I have it set up is completely different from the default ones – basically I just have the programs I use 90%+ of the time pinned to the left hand column and most of the default entries removed from the right hand column, leaving only the most frequently accessed ones (Computer, Network, Control Panel). If I need to access anything else, I use the Search field.

    • Frith
    • 8 years ago

    How I work is:
    My five most commonly used applications are on the Quick Launch bar.
    Seventeen frequently used applications are pinned to the left panel of the Start menu.
    Rarely used applications accessed from All Programs.
    Nothing on the desktop (the desktop is worthless because you have to minimise everything to access it).

    The Start Menu provides very rapid access to commonly used applications without wasting space of the taskbar or having to switch to the desktop. With small icons it provides a very concise list of frequently used applications. I also use the Start Menu for Run, Control Panel and My Network Places.

    Removing the Start menu and replacing it with a big Metro screen that takes you out of the desktop every time you want to start a program would be utterly retarded. I just hope Classic Shell is modified so you can add the start menu back again.

    I have to say though, I think this is a good thing. It’ll piss of people to no end and will turn them against the already unpopular Metro interface. The more disliked Metro is the sooner it’ll be removed from the desktop version of Windows.

      • cygnus1
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<] a big Metro screen that takes you out of the desktop [/quote<] this is the opinion/attitude i don't understand. do you use the start menu without looking at it? how are you taken any more 'out of the desktop' with metro than the start menu? as soon as you click on the start menu your focus is taken off whatever else you were doing to access the start menu to go do something else. why have that menu constrained to an arbitrary, small amount of space? are you a toddler that can't handle peek-a-boo and are worried your desktop will never come back?

    • IntelMole
    • 8 years ago

    I thought we’d got past this. The building windows blog showed pretty decent research that the concept of the the start bar was great when you had three or four applications, but didn’t scale, and was full of kludgy anachronisms.

    Burn it I say. This seems like one of the best ways to expose the new start screen straight away. Though making it hidden by default is going to increase the number of support calls computer support gets for a long time.

    [quote]As you know, Microsoft is going all out with Windows 8, itโ€™s changing the mold and with that comes some new changes.[quote]

    Heh. Sounds like microsoft </troll>

    • Neutronbeam
    • 8 years ago

    So when this month do we all get to try it on our non-production machines?

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    I am ACTUALLY not freaking out about THIS specific aspect.

    I’m still freaking out about the Metro thing though.

    (I haven’t tried Windows 8 though… so will reserve judgement till I can actually play with it).

    As long as I can press windows key + start typing and hit enter and bring up whatever program without touching my mouse then THIS works for me I don’t need no orb.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      it still does that

    • d0g_p00p
    • 8 years ago

    I like the “orb” and start menu. I use it all the time for the run command. I also like to keep a clean desktop with no icons if possible and same with the taskbar. With the start menu gone where are application shortcuts going to go? I used Win8 for less than a hour and installed a few apps to see where the application shortcuts end up, no where to be found. I really hope I don’t have to manually navigate to the program files folder to launch applications. Lame MS, lame.

      • yogibbear
      • 8 years ago

      Can’t you just go windows buttons -> “run” -> enter? (haven’t tried windows 8 myself to confirm)

        • Sahrin
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah, since the searchable start menu with Vista I haven’t clicked the start button in…years.

        • d0g_p00p
        • 8 years ago

        none of the keyboards I use has a “windows” key.

      • Ifalna
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed, I hate Symbols on my Desktop as well.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      obviously the final plan is not going to have people going to search for exe’s in explorer. that would be crazy.

      • cygnus1
      • 8 years ago

      again… developer preview. applications will end up with tiles on the metro interface. clicking the start/window button will call up metro, you can still type to search just like vista/7. things will actually be easier for the majority with metro. the tiles are easier targets to hit, even with a mouse, than the text entries on the start menu. also, apps aware of metro can get bigger, active tiles that will convey useful information at a glance as well.

      the start menu really is an aged, obsolete ui concept. metro will be better for the vast majority of users.

      edit: also, the window+r combo still works to pull up the actual run box if you want that instead of typing to search on the start menu or metro

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]pplications will end up with tiles on the metro interface[/quote<] Is every application going to have it's own tile? Because that sounds like a mess to me. A line of text might be hard to click for some, but I like the compact nature of it. Also, I don't think a [url=http://www.kirsle.net/creativity/articles/doswin31.png<]window of icons[/url<] is any newer of a GUI concept than a menu.

          • cygnus1
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<] Is every application going to have it's own tile? Because that sounds like a mess to me. A line of text might be hard to click for some, but I like the compact nature of it. Also, I don't think a window of icons is any newer of a GUI concept than a menu. [/quote<] generally yes, every app will have a tile. you'll be able to have groups of tiles and even separate pages. some apps can have bigger tiles, or even multiple tiles. tiles can also be widgets. it's pretty flexible. you may like the compact nature of the start menu, but i (and MS) see it as dated and a waste of space as it was conceptualized for much lower resolution displays. besides, when i click the start menu, i'm looking at the start menu. my attention is no longer on any running app while i use the start menu. why is it limited to a tiny fraction of my screen? why not have it go full screen so i can more easily find what i want (more tiles will be shown on the average screen resolution than the start menu is capable of without resorting to folder trees) and they're easier to click because they're bigger. and no, a window/screen of icons isn't really a new concept. however, the tiles aren't just icons. for old apps, yes, they won't be much more than icons. but for new apps they will be able to convey information at a glance without launching the app, saving time for all and battery life on mobiles.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            I understand some of the advantages of Metro, I just don’t understand why it’s the only option, or why Microsoft is going full speed into this change.

            I think I would actually like start menu-metro hybrid. Where you click a button and then a window of tiles comes up. I doubt I’ll get that option though.

            Also, I have well over 100, probably over 200, programs on my computer. That is a lot of tiles, and I don’t think that is an efficient way of organizing them. Oh, and most of them are going to be “old” apps that don’t give me any fancy features or even couldn’t. What is a tile going to tell my about a text editor or Half-Life 2?

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            first off, if you have 200 programs, you probably use search quite a bit. probably almost all the time. it’ll work the same. because you use old software, windows should never update? that makes no sense. did you complain when we updated to x64 cpus? “what? why do that?! all my old x32 bit software won’t get anything extra!”. point is moot. for NEW software, it increases usability, and productivity.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            Most of the time I search, but sometimes I can’t quite remember the name of something and a list of text is the easiest way to do a “manual” search.

            As for 64 bit CPUs, they didn’t take away any features from my 32 bit applications, which Microsoft is doing, which is my complaint.

            Also, I think Metro is ugly and have always gone for a clean desktop myself.

        • d0g_p00p
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t plan on using metro interface at all. None of my current installed apps use the metro interface and these are the apps I will use with Win8 and as I have said, I don’t have a window button on any of my keyboards.

        edit|: and I use the start menu and desktop like Frith posted.

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      I have found the W7 search bar as an almost perfect “Run” dialog. The “Run” command has been useless since then.

      The “Run” dialog requires you to type the whole application in, eg “winword” or “calc”
      The W7 search bar does exactly the same thing, only it’s better, because it allows typos (to some extent), partial maches (in case you forgot the exact application name – word, msword, winword?) and finally because at any point during the command you enter, you can change from a CLI to a GUI by simply clicking on your list of results it’s found so far.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t know what impact that has, but before anyone freaks out, I think we all know that we don’t need 14 desktops.

    The start menu is just yet another desktop-like window of shortcut icons.

    Swap the word “desktop” out of that sentence with quick launch, task bar, et al. and you might notice that for the past 10+ years, Windows has just been doing the same thing a gajillion different ways, but without any of it being uniform.

    One horizontal or vertical bar can do the same thing as multiple different horizontal and vertical bars, and better.

    What people really need to ask for instead of more icons all over the place is more adjustability. Everybody is different and the best improvement to the OS would be dropping any real convention of how it’s “supposed” to work and letting people decide for themselves.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      and then we should have no design standards, and everybody can do whatever they want! that’ll work great!

      oh wait. that’s linux. it doesn’t work for consumers. excepting android, it has failed to gain market share because it’s TOO disorganized, and different. Even WITH android, the biggest complaint is the lack of uniformity (besides the crashing, malware, bad graphics stack, etc). MS wants to solve this problem, because you’re right, it hasn’t been consistent. That’s why they’re making EVERYTHING use the metro UI. It’s tight, controlled, and easy to use. and you people can complain, but shortly ALL laptops will have touch screens, and then it will be clear that windows needed SOME kind of ui change for it to continue to be relevant in the next stage.

        • PenGun
        • 8 years ago

        Linux, I can set it up any way I want. You would rather it be some other way. Yeah that’s why the last windose I used for anything but games was NT 3.51.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          exactly. you’re a geek. i use linux periodically as well, but i’m not the norm. i’ve installed it on well over a dozen of my friends and families computers, and guess what, they ALWAYS go back to windows. EVEN though they can set it up how they want, they don’t want that, they want familiar, and consistent. MS is moving to make it MORE consistent, which is long overdue. That’s not going to hurt them in the long run.
          I’m not disagreeing that some people like the freedom linux brings, but for your average consumer, it’s simply not desirable. I think the marketshare supports this.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      The start menu is a very compact and highly organized way to find programs you don’t want to vomit all over your desktop in the form of icons. The function is completely different then ‘just another desktop’. It’s where you go when you mean business.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 8 years ago

    3 years ago I would have been outraged at this news. Actually, I was outraged at Windows 7 when they got rid of the “classic” start menu. Then a funny thing happened.

    I used Windows 7 and got accustomed to the “orb” really quickly and now find the “classic” start menu to be “old”. Then I ditched my “power rig” for an AMD E-350 as my desktop which also doubles as my HTPC. Then I got a Windows 7 mobile phone and have come to really like the Metro interface.

    And then I realized that I’ve lost my hardcore geek and just want something shiny and simple. And I think Windows 8 will do just that.

      • pikaporeon
      • 8 years ago

      but Apple sells shiny and simple with I-SPS displays!

        • geekl33tgamer
        • 8 years ago

        That also make a huge dent in your wallet…

        • Byte Storm
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah, but if his Hardcore Geek ever finds him again, he wouldn’t want to receive a beating now would he. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • mcnabney
      • 8 years ago

      So why get Windows at all? Just what is it that Windows does that you still need it for? About the only thing Microsoft seems to do well anymore is suck up license fees.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        right….

        • cegras
        • 8 years ago

        Games, and user friendliness. The file system is transparent and I have complete control of the system, compared to the convoluted Linux and black box OSX.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      So… you like the interface because you primarily use a tablet/HTPC now?

      I think that’s who it’s targeting… I don’t think the rest of the market who isn’t in that situation will be as thrilled.

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