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Help Microsoft and Get Free Software in Return

By - Source: Windows Experience Blog | B 32 comments

Microsoft wants your help shaping its products, and is even willing to dish out free software and Xbox games for your feedback.

Microsoft is calling on consumers to join its Windows Feedback Program, and is even offering free software as an incentive. According to Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc, the program was created so that customers can be more actively involved with providing direct feedback to the Redmond company. Does this mean consumers have a new tool for complaining about the lack of a Start button/menu in Windows 8? Probably not.

"The program is invite-only and only available for customers in the US," LeBlanc said on the Windows Experience Blog. "We are actively seeking volunteers who are using Windows 7 or the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to participate. The program is not a way to submit bugs for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, but rather a way to help us build better software by getting a broader understanding of your perceptions and experiences with our products."

Once consumers are chosen for the program, they can offer their input in two forms: through surveys or automatically by installing a special client on their PC that collects data. While the latter option sounds somewhat scary, there is a nice little payoff: free stuff. For those who stick with the program for four months using either method, they will be eligible for free software and Xbox games such as Microsoft Office 2010, Kinect Disneyland, and Forza Motorsport 4.

To join the program, head here. The link leads to a Microsoft-hosted sign-up page that requires an email address for notification of an open spot on the panel. "By participating in the program, you can help us focus our work on the features that you use most often, or tell us where to simplify our services when they're too difficult. Depending on your level of involvement, you could qualify for free software or could be entered into sweepstakes to win prizes," the page states.

As Microsoft indicates, consumers chosen on the panel will be able to directly influence how Microsoft design Windows and Windows Live services, including Hotmail and Messenger. You never know -- enough user feedback may convince Microsoft to implement some kind of Start button/menu in Windows 8 after all. Or maybe not.

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    p05esto , April 14, 2012 11:45 PM
    I've tested Win8 on a desktop (VM) and TOTALLY hate it. There's zero chance I will use this OS in the future. Unless MS reverses course and eliminates Metro it's a non-starter for me. I found it very cumbersome, not intuitive, slow for power users actually trying to get work done and generally like something made for little kids. The big stupid boxes filled with options and tools I could care less about was the last straw. Why would I would to open this pointless screen by default when I really just want to open my programs (dozens at a time) and start working. Stop putting UI CRAP in my way to getting work done!
  • 16 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , April 15, 2012 12:40 AM
    I have a novel idea. How about a Start button on Windows 8 and an option to boot into the Desktop instead of Metro UI?

    Can I have my free software now, please? :D 
  • 14 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , April 14, 2012 11:24 PM
    Too late! Microsoft already reached their quota of volunteers.
Other Comments
    Display all 32 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    el33t , April 14, 2012 11:05 PM
    Good opportunity for Metro haters(which includes me) to express their disappointments directly to the developers....
  • 14 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , April 14, 2012 11:24 PM
    Too late! Microsoft already reached their quota of volunteers.
  • 6 Hide
    ltdementhial , April 14, 2012 11:28 PM
  • 11 Hide
    CKKwan , April 14, 2012 11:35 PM
    Trust me, I hate Metro the first look, but now I am getting used to it.

    Anyway, I still using Win7, no point in upgrading yet. Unless I get Win8 for free.. :D 
  • 17 Hide
    p05esto , April 14, 2012 11:45 PM
    I've tested Win8 on a desktop (VM) and TOTALLY hate it. There's zero chance I will use this OS in the future. Unless MS reverses course and eliminates Metro it's a non-starter for me. I found it very cumbersome, not intuitive, slow for power users actually trying to get work done and generally like something made for little kids. The big stupid boxes filled with options and tools I could care less about was the last straw. Why would I would to open this pointless screen by default when I really just want to open my programs (dozens at a time) and start working. Stop putting UI CRAP in my way to getting work done!
  • 8 Hide
    drwho1 , April 14, 2012 11:57 PM
    Not this, nor any other trick will save Windows 8 of its own doom.
  • 6 Hide
    razor512 , April 15, 2012 12:28 AM
    ffffffuuuuuuuu microsoft, I want my free office 2010 :) 

    Was willing to use it with windows 7 (not with windows 8, I tried to use it for a while and just cant without getting angry. They should replace every error message in windows 8 with "Windows 8 messed up on something, to fix this issue, please install windows 7"
  • 16 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , April 15, 2012 12:40 AM
    I have a novel idea. How about a Start button on Windows 8 and an option to boot into the Desktop instead of Metro UI?

    Can I have my free software now, please? :D 
  • 7 Hide
    razor512 , April 15, 2012 1:42 AM
    metroUI is the most useless crap, It takes up the entire screen and displays fewer icons, entries than the standard start menu. (while you can zoom out on it, it doesn't use the space to fill vertically, it just makes everything smaller. This makes it entirely useless as it is very inefficient to use, especially on a desktop. (it at most uses half of the screen and as you zoom out, it uses even less of the space as everything gets smaller vertically)
  • 8 Hide
    richboyliang , April 15, 2012 1:47 AM
    already closed wtf???
  • 4 Hide
    DroKing , April 15, 2012 1:49 AM
    Aww look at that... They try to sound so sincere making typical consumers overlook their stupditiy with metro ui on desktop pcs....
  • 3 Hide
    afrobacon , April 15, 2012 1:52 AM
    This mean I can finally own a legit copy of Office, YAY!

    Too bad the slacker in me couldn't care either way.
  • 8 Hide
    RealBeast , April 15, 2012 2:05 AM
    Last time I got something free from MS, I also got a 1099. :( 
  • 10 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , April 15, 2012 2:16 AM
    i wouldn't install windows 8 if someone gave it to me for free. i'd sell the disc and product key on ebay instead.
  • 6 Hide
    Gundam288 , April 15, 2012 3:35 AM
    SteelCity1981i wouldn't install windows 8 if someone gave it to me for free. i'd sell the disc and product key on ebay instead.



    I think you would end up paying more for the shipping than what it sells for if Metro is unable to be disabled.

    if someone gave me a free copy of windows 8, I would hang on to it until windows 9 comes out. If windows 9 is good I would upgrade to 8 then upgrade to 9 if there was a vast improvement over windows 7 and it had a desktop/start button.

    who's idea was it at M$ to even remove it in the 1st place? o_O
  • 3 Hide
    dreadlokz , April 15, 2012 3:50 AM
    my opinion for free Windows8 or console games? No ty! They are all crap, and I say it for free =)
  • 0 Hide
    guardianangel42 , April 15, 2012 4:16 AM
    I don't mind metro, is the unintuitive and unresponsive access to system settings and programs that bothers me about Windows 8 so far. In order to access any program or setting not available from right clicking the desktop you have to hover your mouse over the bottom right corner and hope the UI notices and pops out a bar that gives you access.

    It is unintuitive because it is so radically different from every other OS out there that I know of. Linux doesn't do it, no other version of windows does it, and I believe neither does OSX. It's unresponsive because sometimes the OS doesn't recognize that you're hovering the cursor over that spot and so it doesn't react properly.

    I can live without the Start menu but Only if they fix that problem.
  • 8 Hide
    ddan49 , April 15, 2012 4:21 AM
    Quota met... thanks a lot, tomshardware. Should've just told me -.-
  • 6 Hide
    tomfreak , April 15, 2012 4:24 AM
    they are going to have a really hard time making people change from win7 to win8. My main reason upgrading winxp to win7 is 64bit OS/DX10/DX11. Nothing else. Otherwise I would have still stay @ winXP.
  • -1 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , April 15, 2012 5:28 AM
    Well Windows 8 takes a step backwards in battery life. Windows 7 is actually better so for portable devices it would actually be a big negative going to windows 8 considering battery life is the most important thing for mobile devices. You know what is going to happen is we are going to end up seeing Windows 9 fixing all of Windows 8 shortcomings just like we did with Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista. I just see MS doing the same thing 2 years from now with Windows 9 listing all the improvements and fixes it has over Windows 8. Funny thing is MS could still fix these problems before Windows 8 is final theyt can bring back the start menu, they can give a person an option to totally disable metro or hell even better to not even install metro durign the installation process or being able to remove it altogether, but they won't that won't happen until prob Windows 9 as apart of a market scheme of sorts.
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