Old 20-08-2012   #1
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The Alternate shell thread for Windows 8

For those of you (including myself) who don't want to be dragged into the new user interface of Windows 8, there are several alternatives to be considered.

Right now I have the 90 day trial version of Windows 8 installed on an older computer, just testing how it works. I dislike the Start menu and the way the apps work in it. I also dislike being herded into Microsoft's little scheme for controlling applications in this operating system, so I have a built-in bias towards the whole thing.

Trying to work with the apps using mouse and keyboard is unintuitive, but can be managed. It simply isn't an improvement, and without some sort of improvement in work flow, there isn't an incentive to use it.

So, back on topic. It is possible to use this operating system in a manner that mimics Win 7. In fact, it is hard to distinguish it from the earlier operating system. Right now I am trying out Classic Shell, using the Win 7 emulation. Here is a screenshot showing the start button and Programs list that it adds.

Name:  Desktop 8-20-12.jpg
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When you boot up the system, you will see the Start screen for a couple of seconds, but then it goes over to the Desktop. I've been keeping my Start screen fairly clear, unpinning apps there, but I don't think it is really necessary. If you need to get into the other interface for some reason, it is easy enough to go to the Charms bar by moving the mouse to the bottom right corner.

This solution is working quite well for me, including the Search function. I suggest trying the 90 day free version of Win 8 and see if one of the alternative shells will suit you. The only downside is that this installation is definitely a temporary one, and cannot be upgraded or extended.

So what's the point of this, if I prefer Windows 7? $40 for a Pro version of the operating system, plus 3 years of improvements under the hood. And anytime you feel up to it, you can tinker with the new interface. If they come out with an app you want that has to be used in the new GUI, its still there, available if you need it.

There really isn't much of a downside.
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Old 21-08-2012   #2
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The way you show it,Win 8 becomes more and more appealing to me......
I was pretty shure that there would be workarounds for the missing start menu and the ugly Metro style,but from what I can make of your screenshot,seems that you already can transform it back to a workable desktop.
Too bad that the M$ guys themselves don't offer that solution anymore.....
But this changed my mind,and I think I'll spend that 40 $......
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Old 21-08-2012   #3
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I had thought Windows 8 official RTM is different than preview regarding shell replacement allowances. Is this not true?

I do not want to use Windows 8 at all. I hope Windows 7 will do for me for many years to come. It may not be supported long like XP, but I hope for at least 5 to 7 years?
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Old 21-08-2012   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubZero View Post
I had thought Windows 8 official RTM is different than preview regarding shell replacement allowances. Is this not true?

I do not want to use Windows 8 at all. I hope Windows 7 will do for me for many years to come. It may not be supported long like XP, but I hope for at least 5 to 7 years?
Classic Shell works in the RTM version of Windows 8, so there won't be any issues using it in the ones released to the general public in October.

Windows 7 should have mainstream support through January 13, 2015, and extended support to January 14, 2020. This can be confirmed at the Microsoft Support site.
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Old 07-09-2012   #5
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I wanted to pop this up to the top again with the question: "What is the goal of Win8's GUI?"

Is Microsoft telling us they believe the PC is dead? Since James Bond can do everything from his cellphone (well, at least in these last two films, and Pierce was driving his Beemer thru a parking lot with a touchpad), is Microsoft telling us "Traditional PCs are dying so get used to a 3-inch touch-screen at 2500x1440"?

The Operating System side of this OS Release is undoubtedly offering superior foundations for more hardware, but the UI's obstinate enforcement of the 'Tablet-Touchpad One-App-At-A-Time due to teeny screen sizes' makes me wonder.

Or is Microsoft dipping its toes into the "Let's give up on UIs and toss folks into the deep end, and maybe they'll decide to use their own UIs, or shut up and realize PCs are just oversized Cell Phones"?

One thing is fun to watch - Vista's pre-release was greeted with some hoopla and curiosity, quickly replaced by a tsunami of less-favorable reviews upon commercial release. Win7 was being talked about within a few months.

Win7's release was generally hailed as a vast improvement (over a dismal Vista, though) and there were a lot of reviews, within 6 months, saying, "Don't bother waiting for SP1 - make move now." And that never faltered. (I still hate so many things about Win7, though...)

Win8's pre-release hoopla has been divisive but not dismal - the Hate-It Crowd has been specific and focused, while the Hopeful's often argue "Try it maybe you'll like it - and the $40 price can't be beat".

Still... I wonder what Microsoft's purpose has been with the UI. Are they believing that all CAD and programming functions can be reduced to a Tom Cruise film of him waving his magical hands along holographic air-displays? Or that Bond-James-Bond 5G cellular subscriptions will teleport our keyboards to and fro? That every office-worker that has games running unbeknownst to employers can quickly tap the right corner of his screen to bring up the spreadsheet again?

If MS is thoughtful, they could be creating hooks to prompt a whole new 3rd Party UI industry.
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