Hiding the Windows Start Menu

I know quite a few people who work (or have worked) at Microsoft, and I think they are genuinely smart people, but these UI decisions present in Windows 8 are truly maddening when using a desktop:

  1. The start menu button hides unless you move the mouse very carefully in the corner that is unmarked.   When I remote desktop to a computer running this, or am running windows in a VM, it sometimes takes way too much time to hit the sweet spot to make the button appear.
  2. The right-click menu has been moved down to the bottom of the screen for some (but not all) actions.   I never really know where to look.  The right click menu should always be right next to the mouse cursor.  When pull a handle in the kitchen to open a cupboard, you don’t expect the cupboard two down to open instead of the one you’re trying to open.
  3. Menus have vanished.   This one is a particular pet peeve of mine.  Especially since a lot of things still refer to the menus.  For instance, Internet Explorer often talks about going to the “Tools” menu which is nowhere to be found.  If I didn’t know about ALT+T to get the menu, I would seriously consider throwing the computer out the window.
  4. Related to number 3: everything is hidden.   I know clean interfaces are key to get people to like something now, but when you’re used to knowing all of the possible things you can do on one screen, it is hard to get used to everything being hidden except what it thinks I should do (which usually isn’t correct).

There are other things which annoy me, but I won’t go into them.  Suffice to say that I find myself using the command prompt more and more lately, which brings back memories of Windows 3.1.

I do this already in Linux, but that’s not because the non-functional desktop makes me (Although certain desktops seem to be going the same way as Windows).  For me, I know it is all about choice, and Windows used to be pretty good at this.  Not great, but good.   With the success of Apple, however, Microsoft has moved more and more towards pre-packaged look-but-don’t-change interfaces.

That may suit most people, but not me.  I want the interface of a computer/smartphone/tablet to get out of my way and let me do what I want.  It seems that all the interfaces now are narcissistic and love telling you about how flashy they are.

God I sound old.


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