Great Idea Microsoft, Let’s Turn Windows 8 Into… Windows 7!

Great Idea Microsoft, Let’s Turn Windows 8 Into… Windows 7!

Unbelievably, or so it may sound, that really does look like the best response Microsoft can come up with as it desperately tries to boost sales of its failing Windows 8 operating system. Basically, Microsoft has decided to allow users to ‘revert back’ to Windows 7 in its upcoming Windows Blue update, pegged to arrive sometime this summer.

According to a report from ZDNet, Microsoft’s ‘great idea’ is to give users the option of booting directly to desktop, allowing them to skip past the much-derided Metro interface that acts as the OS’s current launch pad.

But the Redmond firm’s innovation doesn’t stop there – their geniuses are also considering bringing back the Start Button as an option for Windows 8, in an effort to address one of the biggest gripes among those who have actually used it.

These plans haven’t been officially confirmed, but ZDNet points to a couple of different forums that raised the possibility of this happening, as well as an “unnamed source”. These claims are backed up by The Verge, which mentions references to a “CanSuppressStartScreen” option in the registry of one of Windows Blue’s early builds that was discovered on the My Digital Life forum.

Further evidence of this move was spotted by PC World, which reported stumbling across additional signs of a boot-to-desktop option found within a leaked version of Windows Blue.

Reports of the Start Button’s return to grace are less conclusive. ZDNet says that Microsoft is currently considering the idea, while The Verge claims that Microsoft is more likely to stick with its “hot corners” that allow users to bring up the modern Charms Bar and Start menu with a simple swipe of their touchscreen.

Is Microsoft Admitting Defeat?


By bringing back the traditional Start Menu, this would allow users to avoid the new “tiley” interface entirely, as it brings back full control of the PC’s functionality back to the desktop mode, something that many would argue is its rightful place anyway.

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In other words, what we would have is Windows 7 again in all but name, albeit with touchscreen controls for anyone that owns a modern Windows 8 laptop.

From one perspective, such a move would make sense as Microsoft seeks to get business users to adopt its new OS without having to make any major alterations to their workflow. But on the other hand, reverting backwards is a clear admission from Microsoft that a great deal of its customers despise the new interface and don’t want anything to do with it.

Publicly, Microsoft continues to insist that most people “quickly adopt the new features of Windows 8”, but speaking from experience I can hardly count myself as one of them. I actually do use Windows 8, and spend about 99% of my time in desktop mode, only very occasionally switching to the Metro interface and using the apps when there’s a need to do so (not very often). Perhaps I’d be more inclined to use Metro if I wasn’t a writer and didn’t need to use Word all the time, but if that was the case then in all likelihood I wouldn’t have bought a laptop anyway.

That basically sums up the predicament Microsoft is in right now. The majority of laptop buyers these days use their machines for work because Windows (at least, on desktop) is still the only real platform to do so, but no one’s going to get any work done with the childish Metro interface. This could change if Microsoft brings out Metro-style Office applications along with Windows Blue (they have been rumored), but unless these offer the same level of functionality as their desktop varieties, it’s unlikely that anyone will be greatly impressed.

Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is a senior staff writer at SiliconANGLE. He loves to write about Big Data and the Internet of Things, and explore how these technologies are evolving and helping businesses to become more agile.

Before joining SiliconANGLE, Mike was an editor at Argophilia Travel News, an occassional contributer to The Epoch Times, and has also dabbled in SEO and social media marketing. He usually bases himself in Bangkok, Thailand, though he can often be found roaming through the jungles or chilling on a beach.

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  1. Well, you can congratulate whiny little idiots like yourself. Guys like you, completely reluctant to any sort of change, are dooming Microsoft to a certain death. It might be a long time coming, but it will happen.
    The fact that people like you don’t understand that Microsoft can’t succeed and survive by pumping out an old, antiquated Windows 7 style OS every three years with minimal changes, in a world dominated by touch, tablets, and smartphones. What this means is that nobody will learn to use Metro, developers won’t develop for the Windows Store, and Microsoft will be left with a withering OS that does nothing to address or compete in this changing world.
    So congratulations are in order. You got what you want.

  2. @hhammack There’s only one person who comes across as a whiny little idiot around here and I don’t think its me.
    All I did was explain why I can’t use the Metro interface – as a writer, I CANNOT DO MY WORK within Metro. Just try to write an article within Metro, I dare you, and do let me know how you get on…
    Fact is, unless Microsoft develops the productivity apps we need, Metro is quite useless I’m afraid, and of course regular users will look to cheaper Android devices for browsing the web etc.
    That’s not to say I’m not happy with Windows 8 when its in Desktop mode, it works just fine and I love having a touchscreen. But the fact is, Microsoft should have taken a lead in developing the productivity apps for Metro first, rather than hoping developers would do so, and making some half-assed attempt to do so a year later.

  3. I’m a bit concerned that what they are doing is not really enough. When I first became frustrated by Windows 8, I added a start button program which could take me directly to the desktop. But there is more… various app are setup to switch you into Metro mode [photos for example]. And the screen corners are a problem, and the sides of the trackpad are a problem… etc. It took a while, but I finally seem to have gotten it to behave like Windows 7. I made a post detailing what I did on my personal blog:

  4. @hhammack  @Mike_Wheatley Windows is bloated because Microsoft added useless crap to it and they keep doing it. At any point in time there’s sh*tload of background programs doing logging and god knows what that grinds away at the HDD, even more so when you’re not doing anything at the computer.
    Metro is not bloated because it was developed mostly from scratch.

  5. @hhammack  @Mike_Wheatley Easy buddy haha

  6. @hhammack  @Mike_Wheatley Easy buddy haha

  7. @hhammack  @Mike_Wheatley Haha love this guy…quite clearly works for Microsoft and can’t take the fact that they just designed a very bad experience. We all know they need to move with the shifting tech but to execute so badly and not consider the majority of their users now (average joes) and how to transition them intuitively is a clear example of their failings of late. Obviously they have to align with the new world of interaction but they just did it so badly it’s comical.

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