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Microsoft: You Are the Reason Why We Killed the Start Menu

By - Source: PC Pro | B 194 comments

You're the reason why Microsoft yanked our beloved Start button out of Windows. For shame.

One of the big negative issues surrounding the upcoming release of Windows 8 is the lack of a Start button, one of the standard Windows-based features we've used since the release of Windows 95. It was assumed that Microsoft ditched the familiar tool in order to force users into accepting the new Metro interface. Heck, Microsoft event went so far as to remove code from the OS that would have enabled a third-party Start button.

But now Microsoft is blaming the actual consumer for its removal. Chaitanya Sareen, principal program manager at Microsoft, said during TechEd in Amsterdam that users began to fall out of favor for the Start button in Windows 7, preferring to pin their favorite applications to the taskbar instead. This observation was based on telemetry gathered by the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program.

"We’d seen the trend in Windows 7," Sareen told PC Pro. "When we evolved the taskbar we saw awesome adoption of pinning [applications] on the taskbar. We are seeing people pin like crazy. And so we saw the Start menu usage dramatically dropping, and that gave us an option. We’re saying 'look, Start menu usage is dropping, what can we do about it? What can we do with the Start menu to revive it, to give it some new identity, give it some new power?'"

"So I’m a desktop user, I pin the browser, Explorer, whatever my apps are. I don’t go the Start menu as often," he added. "If you’re going to the Start screen now, we’re going to unlock a whole new set of scenarios, or you can choose not to go there, stay in the desktop, and it’s still fast. You can’t beat the taskbar."

Sareen also said that Windows 7 users are taking advantage of keyboard shortcuts to open applications rather than digging them out from the Start menu. For instance, by pressing the Windows Key and "1" once Internet Explorer is pinned to the taskbar, the browser loads. It's not as quick as simply clicking on the icon pinned to the taskbar, but it's quicker than digging through the Start menu.

In addition to talking about the lack of a Start button, she also reportedly dismissed complaints about how the Metro interface is more focused on touch-based devices than the desktops and laptops that make up the majority of Microsoft's business. Even two Microsoft presenters were struggling to make gesture controls work on laptop trackpads during the show.

According to Sareen, the touchpad drivers were still "very, very early" and were "still being refined." He also said the Metro interface "really works well with the mouse and keyboard."

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Top Comments
  • 41 Hide
    offerings12 , June 28, 2012 5:15 PM
    Most people that enjoy the Start Menu Probably didn't even have the Customer Experience Enabled. I am an IT administrator and i know for a Fact that most Users turn that crap off... So your gathering your information from uninformed users that are too stupid to turn the Micro$ information gathering off...
  • 40 Hide
    DarkenMoon97 , June 28, 2012 5:04 PM
    They must be crazy and coming up as to why they had to remove such a great feature of Windows, so what do they do? That's right, blame us!
  • 38 Hide
    Anonymous , June 28, 2012 5:10 PM
    TL;DR - My opinion is better than yours.

    I don't care if some random manager at MS prefers the taskbar over the start menu. That doesn't mean you turn a blind eye and alienate the majority.

    I haven't tried Metro yet, and I'll reserve judgment on Win8 until I do, but Microsoft should know this is BAD PR. A company should never point the finger at its customers, it can end only in backlash. While somewhat off topic, if anyone here knows anything about the Mega Man Legends 3 fiasco, they will most certainly know what I'm talking about.
Other Comments
  • 40 Hide
    DarkenMoon97 , June 28, 2012 5:04 PM
    They must be crazy and coming up as to why they had to remove such a great feature of Windows, so what do they do? That's right, blame us!
  • 37 Hide
    evan1715 , June 28, 2012 5:08 PM
    well u say we want it taken away.
    well i guess we changed our minds and want it back?
    so... put it back!!
  • 38 Hide
    Anonymous , June 28, 2012 5:10 PM
    TL;DR - My opinion is better than yours.

    I don't care if some random manager at MS prefers the taskbar over the start menu. That doesn't mean you turn a blind eye and alienate the majority.

    I haven't tried Metro yet, and I'll reserve judgment on Win8 until I do, but Microsoft should know this is BAD PR. A company should never point the finger at its customers, it can end only in backlash. While somewhat off topic, if anyone here knows anything about the Mega Man Legends 3 fiasco, they will most certainly know what I'm talking about.
  • 31 Hide
    hotroderx , June 28, 2012 5:11 PM
    Whats wrong with company's now days? This sounds like blizzard with Diablo 3 and the rage it has started "Your not playing the game how we intended" . Microsoft will its your fault we removed the start button its what we thought you wanted so you have no one to blame but your self's.

    I remember when company's use to adept designs to consumer wants and needs. Today it seems its "use it the way your told and if you don't like it to bad its your fault".
  • 22 Hide
    whooleo , June 28, 2012 5:11 PM
    Well you see I wouldn't be complaining if they would have replaced it with something that works on mice and keyboards and doesn't act like gnome 3.
  • 28 Hide
    Tmanishere , June 28, 2012 5:15 PM
    Microsoft, mouse and Keyboard works well for most people. This big ugly interface sucks.
  • 41 Hide
    offerings12 , June 28, 2012 5:15 PM
    Most people that enjoy the Start Menu Probably didn't even have the Customer Experience Enabled. I am an IT administrator and i know for a Fact that most Users turn that crap off... So your gathering your information from uninformed users that are too stupid to turn the Micro$ information gathering off...
  • 21 Hide
    JamesSneed , June 28, 2012 5:15 PM
    I'm not sure if Henry Ford actually said this but this reminds me of Microsoft.

    “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
    ― Henry Ford
  • 31 Hide
    daglesj , June 28, 2012 5:15 PM
    No we are not the reason. It has nothing to do with improving the UI feel for the end user.

    The reason is you need to push as many of us as possible into the Metro environment so we buy buy buy apps in the millions.

    You need to make a money spinning Apps market. And you are prepared to screw over as many possible to make it work.

    Ballsy but it shows a lack of respect for the customer really.
  • 0 Hide
    olaf , June 28, 2012 5:17 PM
    I use start to quickly find aps, and i do use the quick launch menu in it , why fucking get me used to it since windows xp if you are removeing my quick launch menu, and just how many things whould i pin on my taskbar, at a full hd resolution yes the screen is wide but you are loseing to much screen realestate if you use a double taskbar like with windows xp and old CRT displays that could go as high as 1600x1200 at 120hz :D  to bad they used up almost as much electricity as my whole pc :D 
  • 26 Hide
    KidABear , June 28, 2012 5:18 PM
    Whatever helps you sleep at night, Microsoft...

    Is it really that hard to just keep the damn start menu and make it a user-toggle option?

    Continue straying from your roots, MS, and see what happens.
  • 20 Hide
    kcorp2003 , June 28, 2012 5:22 PM
    The blame the consumer? i started LOLing
  • 23 Hide
    xaephod , June 28, 2012 5:25 PM
    The same idiots who would use the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program are the same idiots that would pin all their programs to the task bar. I am sure someone will program a widget that works like the start button. But, I will stick with Windows 7 till its no longer viable.
  • 29 Hide
    jcoultas98 , June 28, 2012 5:33 PM
    That's a load of garbage. Do we like to pin things, yes. So, naturally start menu usage is going to go down. I see absolutely zero justifcation for REMOVING it.
  • 17 Hide
    supr3m3justic3 , June 28, 2012 5:38 PM
    They are right, no one dug through the start menu, because some other PM decided to add that handy thing called "search" to the start menu. Which i use everyday, multiple times a day. So like someone else said, they are using data from apple user that like to have a PC aswell, but dont really know what they are doing on the machines.
  • 15 Hide
    Camikazi , June 28, 2012 5:40 PM
    I do pin some often used programs to the taskbar (useful feature BTW) but there is no way I would get rid of the Start Menu for it. The taskbar will never hold as many programs as the Start Menu nor will it ever be as useful in finding thing. I use both the taskbar and the Start Menu daily to find what I need and if it is gone I won't be going to Windows 8.
  • 25 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , June 28, 2012 5:42 PM
    What a load of crud. Sure, I can see that their Customer Experience Improvement Program could very well tell them that 90% of the time, users start their applications from the task bar. I would pin my most commonly used apps there - internet browser etc. 90% of the time I'd launch those few apps. The rest of the time I would use my carefully organised Start Menu to start the app I need. That doesn't mean that I don't want the Start Menu, far far from it!

    What next, the government cancels all rail and plain services and dismantles rail lines and airports because people choose to drive for 95% of their journeys?!
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , June 28, 2012 5:44 PM
    All this article is saying is that Microsoft gathered hard user driven data and designed based on it. Even the link to the source article doesn't show any evidence of blame - merely explaining why decisions were made.

    But you'd never get that impression with a sensationalist title like this one, nor would you get it by reading the article which is loaded with purposely inciting word choice.
  • 17 Hide
    ricdiculus , June 28, 2012 5:46 PM
    Face it Microsoft, most of us thought there was nothing wrong with the gui in windows7 and are actually kinda fond of it (those of us who use there pc's for more than casual web browsing, anyway). Why would you ram this tablet os down our throat when its obvious you realize the people dont really want it? Or at least let us choose how to set-up our desktops.I guess the customer is never(?) right.
  • 9 Hide
    dxwarlock , June 28, 2012 5:48 PM
    First they remove the "quick launch bar" in favor of that annoying "pin" feature, so I had it add it back as a toolbar to get it.
    (I myself prefer only things RUNNING to be on the actual task bar, not 50 things 'pinned' to it). I even wish I could get rid of annoying "pin this to taskbar" option. as I hit it too often trying to right click close a window.

    Now they want to take the start button away? with no way to re add it? Windows 7 for me until whatever version comes out after the god awful 8.
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