19windows 8 logoWindows 8: Horrible Horrible Horrible Metro UI

OK, I sus­pect the title is going to give it away.  I down­loaded Win­dows 8 8250 con­sumer pre­view today, and almost imme­di­ately real­ised that as it stands I am going to avoid Win­dows 8 like the plague.  As far as I’m con­cerned the UI changes cur­rently make Win­dows 8 the worst release of Win­dows ever (even worse than Win­dows ME!)

Simply put — Microsoft have taken the excel­lent Win­dows 7, torn off the well bal­anced and integ­rated desktop UI and stitched on some awful Win­dows Phone 7 type inter­face.  Given that Win­dows 7 for desktop PCs has been con­sid­er­ably more suc­cess­ful than Win­dows Phone 7, you have to won­der what Microsoft were thinking.

Another way of put­ting this is to won­der why Microsoft seem so des­per­ate to put a Phone/Tablet UI into a laptop/desktop PC envir­on­ment.  They don’t seem to real­ise that the very BEST thing about a proper PC is pre­cisely that it ISN’T a phone or a tab­let.  People that want those kind of inter­faces will buy those kind of devices.  Fur­ther­more — people that want lim­ited choice and child­ish shiny inter­faces have already all bought Apple products and wont be com­ing back.

Unless they change course I sus­pect that all microsoft will do is ali­en­ate the power users and ama­teur tech­ies and drive them to Linux (or in a few cases Apple).  In the longer term this may prove a big­ger mis­cal­cu­la­tion than MS real­ises.  If you have moved to linux your­self what are you likely to do when you friends, fam­ily, neigh­bours and all those other people who rely on you for tech sup­port ask you what they should run on their PC in the future?  If they have to learn a totally new UI they might as well learn the one that you your­self use because you can help them with it.  And assum­ing that is linux, it wont be all that hard to per­suade people to move to a FREE altern­at­ive, esep­cially given that cur­rent linux UIs are much more sim­ilar to win­dows 7 than win­dows 8 is.

As far as Win­dows Server is con­cerned, I don’t know if the same crack­pot changes have been forced on the UI there, but I can only hope san­ity set in.  I’ll be try­ing it soon and will update this post accordingly.

In the mean­time, I recom­mend stick­ing with Win­dows 7, and hope by the time Microsoft pull the plug on Win­dows 7 sup­port they have decided to go back to a proper desktop UI.


I have pos­ted an update with details of how to restore the tra­di­tional start menu

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19 Responses to “Windows 8: Horrible Horrible Horrible Metro UI”

  1. gravatarCRob

    Win­dows 8 is going to tank Microsoft. For the first time in 20 years I’m think­ing about an altern­at­ive OS. And another opin­ion of mine is that the desktop PC is not going away. It’s used in busi­ness and has a huge gam­ing com­munity. MS totally dropped the ball with this metro inter­face. No-one I know likes it.

    • gravatarJon Scaife

      It will take more than 1 fail­ure to put them to the sword. Look how well Win 7 recovered them from the Vista dis­aster. I agree that stand­ard PC’s will still be around for a good while longer, but innov­a­tion has moved away quite a lot. If, in 5 or 10 years time, you can sit at your desk which has a mon­itor, mouse and key­board only, and they wire­lessly con­nect to the smart­phone in your pocket, I think that will kill laptops and desktops.
      In the nearer term though — just keep using Win­dows 7 — it’s excel­lent and does everything Win 8 can do.

  2. gravatarWes

    Win­dows 8 is bey­ond bad and frus­trat­ing. Microsoft has blown it big time and they know it. We were in a Best Buy two weeks ago and three other couples were also look­ing for a com­puter with Win­dows 7. We exchanged con­tact inform­a­tion when we found Win­dows 7 com­puters con­tac­ted the oth­ers with inform­a­tion. Ever heard of the “New Coke”?

  3. gravatarJohnny

    Win­dows 8 is full of ads. It’s like a kids c**p pop up all over the place. I hate it. It’s total junk.

  4. gravatarM Widdy

    I had to buy a new machine, and picked up a desktop with Win­dows 8. Oh boy. I have to reboot a couple times a day. Apps lock up. Inter­net con­nec­tions quit work­ing. Etc…

    I should have looked for a desktop with Win­dows 7. Grrr.…. My advice — Wait until Win­dows 8 is either ‘cleaned up’ or wait for the next OS.

  5. gravatarPj Patton

    Win­dows 8 is the most intol­er­able sys­tem I have ever worked with and I’m a soft­ware developer from the stone age…maybe that’s the prob­lem but.…“oh my god guys…you screwed up! I want my money back or a revi­sion of some kind.

    • gravatarH.S.

      PJ, Don’t feel bad. I love new tech­no­logy, but I have to agree that Win­dows 8 is hor­rible. It has SO many bugs, glitches, and issues that it makes me want to go back to Win­dows 7 des­per­ately. When the PC goes to sleep, it doesn’t want to “wake up” half the time. Pro­gram glitches appear through­out the pro­gram, such as when Pho­toshop is open, you have to change some of the “Per­form­ance” set­tings as Win­dows 8 causes glitches within the pro­gram, as well as title bars going all retro when there is no need for it. The real prob­lem is that com­puter man­u­fac­tur­ers are try­ing to push every­one towards cloud data, and frankly, I like know­ing my inform­a­tion is safely stored on my com­puter. It’s sad to see this down­ward spiral of tech­no­logy, but if we look at “Star Trek” (I’m sorry, but it coin­cides with this), it’s some­thing that has been com­ing for a while. In the shows, all of the com­puter sys­tems are integ­rated so that inform­a­tion is shared with pretty much any­one. Think Face­book, Chrome OS, iCloud, etc. This OS is not user friendly, and is full of problems.

  6. gravatarDiogo Pinto

    The level of stu­pid on this page is unbe­liev­able. All of you are spout­ing “OMG CHANGE BAD I WANT SAME WINDOWS FROM 95 PLS”, This release was meant unify the Microsoft eco­sys­tem, its intu­it­ive and easy to use. You can down­load add-ons that dis­able the Met­roUI you guys hate so much but I find it easy to use and much faster than Win­dows 7.

    Win­dows 8 shows that Microsoft does more than just repack­age an old OS and try to re-release it. They try to innov­ate and add new fea­tures. Unity desktop for Ubuntu didn’t give you the option to get the old sys­tem back, you STILL have the desktop in Win­dows 8 and because of how open Win­dows is, you can install your own mods and add-ons to make it look the way you want it to look.

    I’ve been using the 8400 release since it was made avail­able and let me tell you, I haven’t used a bet­ter OS than this one.

    • gravatarJon Scaife

      Well, thank you for your com­ment, altho I prefer things not to get personal.

      I’m delighted you like the Win­dows 8 user inter­face. Do you also think it is suit­able for a server OS (e.g. Server 2012)? There is an art­icle on this site detail­ing how to dis­able the metro UI — and to make Win­dows 8 prop­erly usable with a mouse and key­board this is what is pretty much required. How­ever the work­arounds are clunky and I see no good reason for Microsoft not to have given end users, or at least admin level end users, the choice. How would includ­ing the choice have harmed any­one? They could have learned from the mis­takes made with Unity on Ubuntu — lots of former Ubuntu users switched dis­tros pretty damned fast. The fail­ure of Microsoft to take note of this makes their decision even less sensible.

      I’m not “stuck in the past” when it comes to new tech­no­logy — I loved android on my old HTC desire from day 1 — and I’d moved from a Nokia clas­sic 6300 so the change couldn’t have been much more stark. I also loved Win­dows XP when that first came out and upgraded from Win­dows 2000 straight away. Lots of people didn’t like the visual styles of XP at the time, but that was OK because Microsoft left the option to turn them off and go back to a Win­dows 2000 style. I’ve never had much of a prob­lem with “User Account Con­trol” either — but again, Microsoft gave people the option to turn it off. Last but by no means least there is STILL a com­mand shell avail­able for those people “stuck” in the days of DOS. The Win­dows 8 inter­face looks pretty decent for touch­screen devices — i.e. tab­lets and phones. I par­tic­u­larly like the look of the “Sur­face” and am very temp­ted to get one. But I don’t want my lovely desktop IPS panel to be touch screen — I want my full powered professional-use desktop to have an inter­face prop­erly optim­ised for a key­board and mouse — Win­dows 8 just doesn’t offer that, but there is no good reason for it not to. This is doubly annoy­ing as Microsoft HAVE added some really excel­lent fea­tures to Win­dows 8 — “stor­age spaces” to give but one example.

      Per­son­ally I still think Win­dows 8 is Microsoft try­ing to “out-Apple” Apple. This is doomed to fail­ure because people that want simplistic rub­bish will always buy Apple, and even Apple didn’t try to put the iOS inter­face onto their Macs

    • gravatargts

      The ori­ginal com­menter may not want to make things per­sonal but I am more than happy to oblige. I am sorry to say, that only someone who looks at out­ward appear­ances would think that the new Metro UI is the best ever. Either you are a troll, or you are just plain super­fi­cial. There is no func­tional improve­ment to the new UI, espe­cially for PC users who do not use touch. And BTW, some of us actu­ally prefer to use the mouse at home, and the key­board. I like to actu­ally press a but­ton and feel some feed­back, plus typ­ing and actu­ally being able to feel home row under my fin­gers. I’m not say­ing there’s NO inter­face for this, but it cer­tainly is much much poorer than before… And with thou­sands of oth­ers say­ing the same thing, how can you pos­sibly make this a valid argu­ment. I could waste time all day inval­id­at­ing, but I think you get the point. We aren’t cry­ing for old inter­faces, we just don’t care for stu­pid new changes with mean­ing­less and unus­able fea­tures and removal of fea­tures that have been a defin­ing aspect of win­dows since the very start. And like I said, i don’t mak­ing it per­sonal by adding the most obvi­ous fact that you must be an idiot to think such things.

  7. gravatarIhatewindows8

    unbe­liev­able, ms doing worst thing every time, they changed all what use have been knows. now if you using win­dows 8, you are the new born.

    I think all the new born baby work­ing on the windows8.

  8. gravatarKillerwhale

    There’s no way I’m going to switch to Win­dows 8 as long as it “fea­tures” this hor­rendous UI.

  9. gravatarChris Williams

    dear oh dear what is this abso­lute mess called win­dows 8? i make a liv­ing out of fix­ing pc’s and help­ing divs who can’t fathom out the simplest of win­dows xp — 7 com­mands yet in win­dows 8 i feel like one of these divs. i tried look­ing at some pic­tures and could barely find my way out. i ended up with two identical pic­tures show­ing side by side but only 50% of each vis­ible. i was com­pletely lost and if this is the future of win­dows OS then i give up, i don’t want to sup­port it.

  10. gravatarTim

    One of the sup­posed bene­fits of Win­dows 8 is live tiles. After play­ing with the Win­dows 8 pre­view, I don’t see any bene­fit of them.

    Take the mail rect­angle. It cycles through some of my most recent email on the tile. Okay, so for that to be of bene­fit to me, I have to sit and watch the rect­angle until it changes to the next mes­sage (and the next). The next mes­sage may be spam or irrel­ev­ant, so that time is wasted. I have yet to glance at it and say wow, that was use­ful not hav­ing to go into my email! And if you see an email, you still have to click on it to actu­ally read it. It’s a gim­mick, plain and simple.

    To make mat­ters worse, if you’re in an office envir­on­ment (espe­cially one covered under HIPPA), you have to be aware that leav­ing your com­puter on the Start screen could release sens­it­ive inform­a­tion. Or if you’ve got a per­sonal email com­ing in, it might be quite embar­rass­ing. So when you walk away for a minute, what state do you leave the com­puter in?

    Win­dows 8 is just ill thought out. It reminds me too much of the old menu sys­tems that were cre­ated BEFORE Win­dows to make life easier for users. All Microsoft has to do now is add a key­board short­cut num­ber to each tile and the circle of com­put­ing life will be complete–welcome back to DOS!

  11. gravatarRichard Dale

    I’m a mac user but I use Win­dows to test web­sites on and use the occa­sional bit of CAD. I’ve just installed the latest build of Win­dows 8 as of Mid April 2012.

    Its the most unin­tu­it­ive OS I’ve ever used, why have they removed the Start But­ton that has been the bed­rock of the Win­dows OS for so many years???

    Apple have also taken this idea of brin­ing what they have learnt from iOS to the Mac OS and I don’t like it. At least Apple have done it with some sense of style and usab­il­ity, what Microsoft have done is a joke.

    Why is every OS these days designed for dummies?

  12. gravatarFelipe

    I agree here, now I am much less shy at recom­mend­ing people to migrate to Linux because Microsoft is mak­ing these hor­rible UI changes which require a lot of relearn­ing anyway.


    Well, I think it is not fair to say that Linux is doing the same thing. Ubuntu is on the wrong way and going Microsoft-style with a hor­rible UI change to this crappy Unity. But Linux is not Ubuntu. You have choice in Linux, use another dis­tri­bu­tion! I use Mageia Linux and I am very happy with the tra­di­tional inter­face without Unity =)

  13. gravatarpeeved

    I totally agree, what a total piece of garbage. I can’t stand this thing. After 30 years of using com­puters I feel like a total noob that has to learn how to use a com­puter all over again. The only thing MS is good at is annoy­ing me. I wish I had a nickle for every time I cursed MS while using my PC. Win­dows 8 REALLY s***s!. Hid­ing everything, drag­ging win­dows left, right, up, down. Totally stu­pid. Some­times things get full screen and you don’t know how to get out. MS always tops them­selves with each and every new OS more stu­pidt than the pre­vi­ous. I think someone else made Win 7, it’s ok and I finally thought MS got it together but now, blaaaa.…

  14. gravatarJimbuntu

    I tried the Cus­tomer Pre­view for the last few days and I have to say, I abso­lutely hate it! What used to take 2 clicks now takes 5 or 6. It is as if every­one has gone full r****d try­ing to cram tab­let OSes on Desktops. In Linux they are try­ing the same thing. Ubuntu rolled out Unity, which is attempt­ing the same concept. Still I COULD live (tol­er­ate) Unity, but could never live tol­er­ate Win­dows 8 it is just too awful.