Kinda funny on two levels.
Lockergnome's dad sounds like Lockergnome
and I do predict this is what many clients will say about Windows 8....
"How do I go back?"
"Are they trying to drive me to Mac?" - classic!
My prediction is that MS will give up and allow us to use a "normal" desktop as default. They would be crazy not to!
It's not a question of going back, just don't go forward and stick to Windows 7 for now...!
It's interesting to see all the gloom and doom around this transition.
If you have a traditional desktop with keyboard and mouse, the new start screen paradigm is a tough transition.
But -- if you have a touch device like a tablet, the reaction can be dramatically different. The reaction of one of my customers may say it all -- after using my tablet running Windows 8 for five minutes, his reaction was "Wow, when can I get one?"
Let's give it some time. Manufacturers have only started to figure out how to take advantage of the new platform - we could be very surprised at how well this works out if we give it a chance.
"How do I go back?" - relating to Windows 8 Start Screen, not "How do I go back to Windows 7?"
"You figure it out"
Not exactly a telling situation.
Sit someone in front of a computer that has never used a computer, and boot up Windows 7 and it's the same story. Take someone from Windows XP and put them on Windows 7. No different. My Mom doesn't know how to use a computer, but I put Metro in front of her and put Internet Explorer (she knows what that is from her last few years working as a nurse in the hospital on a locked-down XP computer, but never touches one at home), and some apps on the Start Screen and within 15 minutes, she had downloaded the Cookbook app from the Store app on her own and was finding recipes for what to make for supper.
People need to learn how to use a computer. Period. Put a touchscreen Windows 8 device in front of them and they'll likely pick it up faster than any Windows 9x-7 PC. Everyday people don't "get" the desktop/file/folder metaphor on their own - they have to be taught how to use it. Metro is far more discoverable.
Charms is more discoverable?
These are people that already know how to use a computer.
Yes, Charms are more discoverable. Try sharing from one application to another in Windows 7. Either you have to know how to copy and paste (try explaining that to someone that doesn't already know how to do it, and you'll understand), or you save a file, have to find it, and then somehow open or link it to another program, or you just hit Share in the Charm bar in Windows 8 and all of the apps that accept that data type show up in a list without any confusion. Every Metro app's settings are also there, so you don't have to go meddling around trying to find it in a different menu in every single app. Search filtering by app (ie. by relating data type) is also far more intuitive - just type from the Start Screen (or hit the Search charm from within an app) and click an app in the list to filter the data by app/type.
Everybody that has had to learn how to use a computer has had to understand where things are located on the screen though, so arguing where something is on one piece of software over another isn't valid. What I see is everyday computing for the layman becoming uber-simple. Say the guy switched to a Mac: he'd have to relearn everything all over again anyway. How fast could he find where applications that aren't on the Dock are located on a Mac system tho? By having to navigate to the Applications folder from the "Go" menu? Are you kidding me?
Just FYI: the Windows 8 CP site has videos that show you how to use Windows 8, not just by touch, but also by mouse and keyboard...exactly like the Discover Windows 7 link in the Getting Started Start Menu shortcut in Windows 7. As they state in the video: the general rule of thumb is "edges for touch, corners for the mouse". I imagine Windows 8 will ship with similar online video training links too. "You're on your own", indeed!
But that's still my point. Microsoft constantly builds for the new server/the new user and forgets all those that have a server and have used a computer. For a tablet agreed, there needs to be a reinvention. I'm not convinced that this is wise on a desktop without some modifications and acknowledgment of legacy.
See that's exactly what I'm arguing: "it's easy because it's familiar" doesn't make one bit of logical sense. It isn't easy or intuitive at all (certainly not compared to Metro). It's only familiar. Having more than one UI is exactly what they are avoiding here because that's exactly the scenario that drives users mental about switching between devices. The desktop is still necessary for legacy windowed applications though, but WinRT is far more attractive to the more innovative developers. Apps don't have to have a Metro-style UI. Dialog boxes and menus are the biggest cause of software feature bloat and undiscoverability so that UI concept needs to go away. The old methods are broken.
When Windows came out, you had to relearn how to do things over what you knew about DOS. This is no different. The learning curve is far less steep in Windows 8 though, not just for using the operating system and getting access to apps, but now for using a computer in general. Security, mobility, and device integration are all just better in Windows 8. What we need now is application developers to keep working on getting the new apps out the door and start taking advantages of the new technologies.
So what's the answer? How do you go back? Is it dependent on physical keys like my Windows Phone? What happens if you press the Windows key on the keyboard (which is how I always get to the Start menu on W7)?
Watch this video (this is the one I was referring to in my comment): windows.microsoft.com/.../get-started
Repeat after me: "Edges for touch, corners for mouse"
The Start Button on your keyboard brings up the Start Screen. It actually toggles between the most recent Metro app or Desktop (whichever was the most current) and the Start Screen. The Desktop is treated like an app in this respect, although technically, the Desktop is still part of the same shell. Background apps on the Desktop aren't suspended when you switch apps like Metro apps are though. Metro apps have background process API's that allow for networking, audio, general processing, etc., much the same way that iOS does it, so they can still do some work behind the scenes where it makes sense to. However, a fully suspended app will still take up RAM. Metro apps are designed to be shut down automatically and gracefully (meaning saved states, or however the developer wants to do it) by WinRT when resources start getting low on the system. This is a much smarter way of doing multitasking and resource allocation over the old methods though. You shouldn't have to worry about how much RAM your system has free, or how many processes are running at once - to do it manually is just dumb. You shouldn't need to know how to do this, and I know far too many people that think they should micro-manage these kinds of things, but shouldn't. Call me old-fashioned, but the OS should be micro-managing all of the minutia on a computer. Let me just use the blasted thing!