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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gravatar CRob

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.

gravatar Jon 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.

gravatar Wes

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”?

gravatar Johnny

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.

gravatar M 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.

gravatar Pj 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.

gravatar H.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.

gravatar Diogo 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.

gravatar Jon 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

gravatar gts

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.

gravatar Ihatewindows8

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.

gravatar Killerwhale

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

gravatar Chris 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.

gravatar Tim

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!

gravatar Richard 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?

gravatar Felipe

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 =)

gravatar peeved

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….

gravatar Jimbuntu

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.

gravatar Thomas Gak Deluen

Yeah, I think the same thing. The new Windows8 UI is awfull.