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Xanather

Goodbye Start button?

63 posts in this topic

I think it was back in winxp days that someone introduced me to a MacOSX program (whos name I now have forgotten), which let you type a program name and it would launch the program, having previously pre-indexed certain locations.

 

Since I don't use Mac, I found a windows version of the program - http://www.launchy.net/ - which I've been using ever since then. I hardly bother with the start menu, though Launchy actually DOES index the start menu as one of my places where it looks for .lnk files. So, as long as I can get my Launchy to work on Win8 and later versions, I'll be happy (I'm quite used to pressing Alt+Space and typing in stuff, including simple math problems :) )

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FUD

 

 

Well, you've managed to describe half of these incorrectly, so it's no surprise to me you're so against them. You're also pretty sweeping with your statements that these things are "shit nobody needs" and then go on to describe how one feature is bad for power users and  another is bad for causal users completely ignoring the fact that they address the opposite audience. 

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As far as desktops go, I find the Metro interface to be anywhere from slightly to dramatically worse than Win7, depending on what exactly I'm doing. (The start screen is on the "slightly" end of that scale.) At no point is it ever an improvement. The odd thing is there's a lot of shoddy Metro interface, but once you go digging the old interface from 7 is always lurking in the shadows and works way better. So I just work through the management panel and control panel when I'm doing system stuff.

 

There are a variety of small but nice improvements to the non-Metro areas of the system, like the explorer dialogs or the task manager. These are welcome improvements but they are by no means life changing. tstrimple's list of Win8 improvements is mostly bullshit, of course. Storage spaces is nice but it's not "smart" anything, it's just software raid. We've had that. Hyper-V's been around for several years. Several of the other entries are things that have been advertised repeatedly with every iteration of Windows. (And including secure boot on the list is comical.)

 

My current state of mind is that if Win8 is already installed, I'll leave it. But I certainly won't choose it over 7.

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What worries me more than the missing start button or ugly UI is the DRM-BIOS that gets pushed onto people. If you buy a computer it should be your choice whats running on it and not of some company holding the key.

 

All secure boot does is require a signed binary to boot. There is nothing preventing you from providing your own certificate for whatever binaries you want, or to disable secure boot from bios entirely. This is just more FUD around Microsoft restricting your choices.

 

Except that is not true at all. To begin with, "safe boot" cannot be disabled on the ARM architecture at all according to "Windows Hardware Certification Requirements", unless the motherboard doesn't plan to certify as Windows compatible (very unlikely).

"ARM" includes not only 90% of all mobiles, but also future server/desktops that you maybe want to build when AMD's ARMv8 processors come out next year.

 

Also, the way how UEFI works is different. Refer to chapter 27 of the specification, which is not FUD around Microsoft, but reality.

 

Initially, the computer is in what the specification calls "setup mode", that is, there is no key installed. When the Windows 8 installer secretly, and without user consent, installs its certificate, the computer switches to "user mode".

Installation of another key in "user mode" is exclusively possible if that key has been signed by the installed key. Also, an installed key can only be removed by installing a zero key that must be signed by the installed key.

 

We are talking about a key signed by a key owned by Microsoft, not some arbitrary key from Verisign. An implementation that adheres to the UEFI standard and that is not "broken" is not allowed to do something else. Which means no more and no less than the concerns are very valid.

Edited by samoth
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As far as desktops go, I find the Metro interface to be anywhere from slightly to dramatically worse than Win7, depending on what exactly I'm doing. (The start screen is on the "slightly" end of that scale.) At no point is it ever an improvement. The odd thing is there's a lot of shoddy Metro interface, but once you go digging the old interface from 7 is always lurking in the shadows and works way better. So I just work through the management panel and control panel when I'm doing system stuff.

 

There are a variety of small but nice improvements to the non-Metro areas of the system, like the explorer dialogs or the task manager. These are welcome improvements but they are by no means life changing. tstrimple's list of Win8 improvements is mostly bullshit, of course. Storage spaces is nice but it's not "smart" anything, it's just software raid. We've had that. Hyper-V's been around for several years. Several of the other entries are things that have been advertised repeatedly with every iteration of Windows. (And including secure boot on the list is comical.)

 

Completely agreed on the first point. Unless I'm on my tablet, I almost never use a Metro app. There are, however, some significant differences between software raid and storage spaces, and each has it's uses. Storage spaces promise to be much easier to setup and manage, as well as easier to expand in the future. I haven't compared, but I'm sure RAID is going to be faster at the cost of a more complicated and rigid setup. Sure hyper-v has been around, but it hasn't been on the consumer version of the operating system.

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What worries me more than the missing start button or ugly UI is the DRM-BIOS that gets pushed onto people. If you buy a computer it should be your choice whats running on it and not of some company holding the key.

 

All secure boot does is require a signed binary to boot. There is nothing preventing you from providing your own certificate for whatever binaries you want, or to disable secure boot from bios entirely. This is just more FUD around Microsoft restricting your choices.

 

Except that is not true at all. To begin with, "safe boot" cannot be disabled on the ARM architecture at all according to "Windows Hardware Certification Requirements", unless the motherboard doesn't plan to certify as Windows compatible (very unlikely).

"ARM" includes not only 90% of all mobiles, but also future server/desktops that you maybe want to build when AMD's ARMv8 processors come out next year.

 

Also, the way how UEFI works is different. Refer to chapter 27 of the specification, which is not FUD around Microsoft, but reality.

 

Initially, the computer is in what the specification calls "setup mode", that is, there is no key installed. When the Windows 8 installer secretly, and without user consent, installs its certificate, the computer switches to "user mode".

Installation of another key in "user mode" is exclusively possible if that key has been signed by the installed key. Also, an installed key can only be removed by installing a zero key that must be signed by the installed key.

 

We are talking about a key signed by a key owned by Microsoft, not some arbitrary key from Verisign. An implementation that adheres to the UEFI standard and that is not "broken" is not allowed to do something else. Which means no more and no less than the concerns are very valid.

 

You're conflating two things. Windows 8 tablets running on ARM devices and Windows 8 desktops / laptops / tablets running on x86 processors. All x86 devices are required by Microsoft to have an option in bios to disable secure boot. As you mentioned ARM devices must not have an option to disable the secure boot. This may or may not change when ARM desktop processors come out, but until then it's mostly a non-issue. People who care about this will not buy Windows 8 ARM tablets. 

 

And no, you are incorrect. The signing isn't done by Microsoft and doesn't have to use Microsoft's key. The benefit of using the Microsoft key is it will boot on all devices that run Windows 8. You could always disable secure boot, or change it from standard to custom mode (both of which are required options) and provide your own keys.

 

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/windows/hardware/jj128256

 

Mandatory. On non-ARM systems, the platform MUST implement the ability for a physically present user to select between two Secure Boot modes in firmware setup: "Custom" and "Standard". Custom Mode allows for more flexibility as specified in the following:
 

  1. It shall be possible for a physically present user to use the Custom Mode firmware setup option to modify the contents of the Secure Boot signature databases and the PK. This may be implemented by simply providing the option to clear all Secure Boot databases (PK, KEK, db, dbx), which puts the system into setup mode.
     
  2. If the user ends up deleting the PK then, upon exiting the Custom Mode firmware setup, the system is operating in Setup Mode with SecureBoot turned off.
     
  3. The firmware setup shall indicate if Secure Boot is turned on, and if it is operated in Standard or Custom Mode. The firmware setup must provide an option to return from Custom to Standard Mode which restores the factory defaults. On an ARM system, it is forbidden to enable Custom Mode. Only Standard Mode may be enabled.
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Oh really? http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57431236-92/microsoft-bans-firefox-on-arm-based-windows-mozilla-says/

Now that this UEFI crap got onto computers its only a small step to do the same as on tablets. Just taking away the option to disable it and maybe just not signing other bootloaders and suddenly you cant use alternative OS on PC.

 

Yeah really.  This isn't slashdot; throwing around the phrase "DRM" and expecting everyone to nod sagely and agree isn't going to fly.

 

Secure boot can be disabled.

Far from blocking Firefox, Mozilla are actually joining the party.

Secure boot is not a DRM mechanism.

Secure boot is not a Microsoft technology.

Secure boot is not about blocking applications; it's about verifying integrity of system components during the boot process.

Even Linus is describing the nonsense floating around about it as "fear mongering".

 

You know what this is like?  It's exactly like the FUD that was spread over OpenGL on Vista, that's what it's like.

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You know what this is like?  It's exactly like the FUD that was spread over OpenGL on Vista, that's what it's like.

Oh man, I had totally forgotten about that incident.

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And no, you are incorrect. [...]

(blah blah)

 

Yes, very nice, some stuff from MSDN, but irrelevant. The UEFI specification does not contain that clause. Unlike the contents on MSDN which changes almost daily, it is the published, official standard that really matters.

 

Who knows what this particular paragraph MSDN is about and what validity it has, but since it contradicts the UEFI specification, it is quite probably deliberate misinformation (you could say "anti-FUD").

 

You're conflating two things. Windows 8 tablets running on ARM devices and Windows 8 desktops / laptops / tablets running on x86 processors.

 

No. I never mentioned x86 in this context. I was talking about desktop ARM.

 

The facts, which are the same no matter how much you try to discuss them away, are: In order to get the little blue "Windows 8" sticker which every manufacturer wants, a computer must comply with Microsoft's compliance document. At least insofar as to make the auditor happy.

 

This document says that on the ARM platform, secure boot may not be disabled. It does not say "ARMv6" or "ARM mobile devices", or "ARM based phones", or "Surface". It says ARM platform, that simple. ARM platform includes desktop computers running on ARM CPUs (present or future). You can discuss about whether that may or may not change in the future, or how it is probably meant (in your opinion), but that does not change the fact that the wording includes any and all ARM platforms.

Edited by samoth
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So we've gone from Windows 8 is a "disappointment", "designed for touchscreens" etc, to Windows 8 has some "welcome improvements" but it's just not "life changing", and that some people personally find Windows 7 good enough. I'm astonished at the level of hate when it simply boils down to MS already providing you with something that's good enough for your needs, and you're not interested in the new features. That could be said for any OS update, or any software.

I also note how some are flip-flopping between what they personally want, and what a "normal" user wants. Which is it? Yes, there are some features that are for normal users, and some features for advanced users. It doesn't make sense to dismiss the former because you don't want them, and dismiss the latter because normal users don't want them...

samoth: "if Windows update wasn't nagging you every fucking 10 minutes for such useless stuff"

You'll be glad to know that Windows 8 does have an improvement you'll like after all - Windows update no longer nags you for updates/reboots! smile.png

"A true improvement (though of Explorer, not of "Windows") would be if moving/deleting/copying files was not implemented in such a darn stupid way alltogether (think of deleting a folder with 50,000 files)."

How do you mean out of interest? (And even if there are better ways, it's still improvement, even if having a pause button was long overdue...) Explorer is a part of Windows.

My boot time went from around 24s to 14s, which is significant. Given the way Chromebooks are advertised with "10 second boot", and people still unfairly view PCs as being slow to boot, I'd say that plenty of people do care.

File History is about simple backup. Yes I'm happy with my more advanced backup software, but this is a good thing for your average user. And if it'll shut up Mac users going on about "Time Machine", all the better smile.png

Same with anti-virus - another thing that Chromebooks are advertised that you don't need to install, and that PCs are often criticised for. Well, users no longer need to faff about install anti-virus with Windows 8.

On Metro: there are some cases where running fullscreen is useful (fullscreen is nothing new in Windows - do all your games run in windowed mode?) I also like for some applications the new split screen mode (e.g., running a calculator down the side, without it disappearing under other windows). For all cases where I prefer windowed applications, those run just as well as before.

"I was talking about desktop ARM."

Wait - Windows RT is a different OS. I'd entirely agree that I dislike the way the hardware for that is locked down. And yes, it's true that it's only really for touchscreens - because that was what it was intended for. I'm not sure there is such a thing as "desktop ARM" devices yet? (And if they are, don't buy them if you don't like it.)

I thought this thread was started about Windows 8 (x86) given the comparison to Windows 7, and talk about non-touchscreens - if there are criticisms specific to Windows RT, we should be clear which we're discussing.
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No. I never mentioned x86 in this context. I was talking about desktop ARM.
 
The facts, which are the same no matter how much you try to discuss them away, are: In order to get the little blue "Windows 8" sticker which every manufacturer wants, a computer must comply with Microsoft's compliance document. At least insofar as to make the auditor happy.
 
This document says that on the ARM platform, secure boot may not be disabled. It does not say "ARMv6" or "ARM mobile devices", or "ARM based phones", or "Surface". It says ARM platform, that simple. ARM platform includes desktop computers running on ARM CPUs (present or future). You can discuss about whether that may or may not change in the future, or how it is probably meant (in your opinion), but that does not change the fact that the wording includes any and all ARM platforms.

And man, that's going to be such a massive problem for all the ARM desktop PCs out there right now... OH WAIT.

See, what you've done is you've taken a spec written against how things are RIGHT NOW and gone "THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE AND I REFUSE TO ALLOW FOR THE CHANCE IT WILL CHANGE REGARDLESS OF HOW TECHNOLOGY PROGRESSES! LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING WHICH CONTRADICTS MY RAMPENT PARANOIA AND CONSPRIACY THEORIES!" which is... well.. insane.

When those docs were drawn up 'ARM platforms' implicitly means 'phone and tablet' which was the intent; to stop people being allowed to disable the secure boot on EXISTING arm platforms.

If, when the ARM Revolution comes to the desktop, and you can even BUY a desktop ARM version of Windows this hasn't changed in some way, yeah, you'll have a point, but right now The Facts are that 'arm platforms' are mobile and you can't even buy a stand alone copy of Windows 8 for ARM, it can only be obtained via buying a device with it pre-loaded.
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"A true improvement (though of Explorer, not of "Windows") would be if moving/deleting/copying files was not implemented in such a darn stupid way alltogether (think of deleting a folder with 50,000 files)."

How do you mean out of interest? (And even if there are better ways, it's still improvement, even if having a pause button was long overdue...) Explorer is a part of Windows.

I'm also interested as, after installing Win8 and a new hard drive I copied my 500gig Steam folder from one drive to another... it was some months back but the copy process was blindingly faster, I'm pretty sure that by the time it was done Win7 wouldn't have even got done 'discovering' files yet.

On a side note; the graph which indicates copy/io speed amuses me greatly biggrin.png
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Enhanced Search
More shit that nobody needs. An useless service that takes away system resources, costs write cycles, and offers very little in return.

I haven't used the Win8 search, and the Win7 one does suck... but, I challenge you to go and download Everything, bind it to a hotkey (I use ctrl+alt+shit+~), use it for a month, and then still say that great search is a useless service (and BTW everything for me uses 30MiB of RAM, and only consumes CPU for a few seconds after boot, or for an instant when I type into it's search box).
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However, seeing how much useless crap is being animated, blurred in and out, and being blended in and out all the time I very much doubt that the "better battery life" claim is true at all (assuming you actually use the computer for something). Unless of course the GPU on your mobile magically runs pixel shaders without consuming energy because of Windows 8. If Windows 8 can truly do that, I apologize, in that case it is awesome.

From what I've seen, the effects on Metro do seem to be less resource intense than AERO, so I would imagine there is some merit in the claim. 
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bind it to a hotkey (I use ctrl+alt+shit+~),

man, it must suck everytime you need to use it.

Jokes aside, why such a long hotkey? That also seems like it'd be a bit difficult to activate easily(unless your using your right hand for ctrl+alt+shift, and left for the ~).
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bind it to a hotkey (I use ctrl+alt+shit+~),

man, it must suck everytime you need to use it.

Jokes aside, why such a long hotkey? That also seems like it'd be a bit difficult to activate easily(unless your using your right hand for ctrl+alt+shift, and left for the ~).

lol @ typo unsure.png My office stinks when I'm searching... ohmy.png 

I find it very easy to hit that combo with my left hand without looking (pinky on ctrl, thumb on alt, ring on shift and middle on tilde), actually easier than Task Manager's Ctrl+Shift+Esc (thumb on ctrl&shift, middle on esc)...
I chose something with all those modifiers because it's a global hotkey, so I don't want it to conflict with any other applications.

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(ctrl+alt+shit+~)

man, it must suck everytime you need to use it.

 

Windows 8 parapraxis :-)

 

@ mdwh:

About my thingie on deleting files: Deleting a folder with 50,000 files (and a few hundred or so folders) inside is the most obvious and easiest to explain example of how what Explorer is doing is a stupid approach. It applies to all other operations (move/copy) too, however.

The correct approach for deleting a folder would be to rename the file record ("inode") representing the folder to something that Windows does not display (or to a different location, similar to $RECYCLER). This does not delete the files within, but from the user's point of view they are instantly "gone", which is what the user intended (you can indeed manually get this effect by moving it to the recycler first, and then emptying the recycler -- except that this can spectacularly fail as below, and except this will also delete everything else in the recycler, which is probably just not what you want).

 

Explorer could then access check the files in a background thread, and if they're all accessible, delete them one by one. Since NTFS has transactions, you can probably even skip the access checking alltogether (I have admittedly never used NTFS transactions, but if they work as I'd expect, you could do all deletes in one TXN and this either fails or succeeds).

Finally it removes the stale folder. It does not matter how long this takes, and if the computer crashes/reboots in between, it can just continue its work afterwards, safely and consistently. If access check fails for one or several files, optionally prompt for UAC to override, or fail the operation (which renames the folder back to its original name, or if that is taken, to an alternative visible name, so it pops back into existence -- with its complete, consistent contents).

Instead, Explorer first traverses the entire folder hierarchy only to show the stupid "found 50,000 files, deleting file 1 of 50,000..." message which nobody wants to see in the first place. You want the folder and the files inside gone, *poof*, you're not interested in spending time watching a message and a graph of how awesome the computer is at deleting a single folder, which takes so long you wonder if it's working punch cards.

 

Gathering the metrics alone can take a second or two (it's admittedly faster under Win8, but bleh). Then Explorer deletes each and every single file one by one, and only after this finally removes the folder. This can take minutes, and worse, it can fail.

This is of course a kind of correct and acceptable behaviour for network or removable media like an USB stick, since you cannot control whether the user will just pull the plug the next second without doing a "safe remove" (though in this case whatever happens is the user's own fault, and deleting files one by one will not work reliably in that case, either). It is not really acceptable for local, non-removable store or removable store where you have control over the tray (like DVD), however.


If accessing or deleting a single file fails for whatever reason (sharing conflict, write protect, access rights) it all completely fucks up. Half of the files are deleted, the other half isn't. This is not so much a problem with deleting files (the user wanted them gone, so who cares if they're messed up, you can always delete the rest again), but it also happens with copying/moving files and what's worst with moving files overwriting existing ones.
If anything goes wrong, Explorer leaves your files/folders in some inconsistent state with half of them overwritten and half of them not touched, or some other thing in between. And, there's no easy and straightforward way of reverting this mess to some sane state -- both the source and the destination are now unusable (though I guess NTFS transactions should probably be able to trivially handle such a thing).

There is also no way you can use the folder's name or copy files to it (unless you're positive that they don't conflict with existing ones, which would cause great grief) while this is running. From a user's point of view, there is no good reason for that -- I've told the computer that this folder is "gone" 2 minutes ago already, why is it still doing something and why can't I still use the name?

Copying and moving is admittedly somewhat more complicated, but not impossible. What's needed for "instant" copying is already 90% implemented in junctions. You would only need to add some kind of copy-on-write logic on top of that, in case someone modifies the original while you hold a junction instead of a deep copy. Add transactions onto move-overwrite, and you're almost there (this entire paragraph is a gross simplification, it's indeed a little more complicated, but you get me. There's ten thousands of man-hours being spent on "improving" Windows with stupid animations and unnecessary messages, it shouldn't be much trouble implementing such a thing instead).

That's where one could truly improve, not by adding fancier animations, more stupid progress messages, and a pause button. If things happen "instantly" (or nearly so) you have no need to pause and you have no need for a progress graph. That would really make Windows more awesome.

I'd really prefer the copying/moving/deleting being awesome rather than a fancy dialog telling me how awesome it is.
 

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Just out of curiosity - can anyone tell me what is the mean frequency an unladen swallow deletes a folder with 50000 files in it?

 

I'm not inquiring about people, because us people do stuff like that on a regular basis.

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If it's possible to have faster file operations, then sure that would be good (though not an argument for Windows 8 being worse than 7, or for touch, or whatever). But:

That's where one could truly improve, not by adding fancier animations, more stupid progress messages, and a pause button. If things happen "instantly" (or nearly so) you have no need to pause and you have no need for a progress graph. That would really make Windows more awesome.
I'd really prefer the copying/moving/deleting being awesome rather than a fancy dialog telling me how awesome it is.

Most of my file copy/move operations are across devices - e.g., between two hard disks, to/from a USB device, or across a network. So those things are still useful. Edited by mdwh
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