When is your PC not your PC?

By Martin Schaeferle | September 25, 2012


Since growing up in Seattle I have always been a big proponent of Microsoft. One of the key characteristics of Microsoft's software that kept me loyal was that they always gave me enough rope to hang myself with. With any operating system or software, I was allowed to get in and tweak the system to be however I wanted it to be. And over time, I could solve most any technical issue because I knew how the guts were put together as a direct result of constant experimentation.

So what's got me on edge? The Windows Start Button. I am struggling to understand Microsoft's obsession with removing it. Microsoft released a Developer Preview of Windows 8 and a Consumer Preview. In both releases, bloggers like Jake Durasamy quickly posted how to get the Start button back and life seemed normal again. But with RTM, to quote Paul Thurrott, " Microsoft has been furiously ripping out legacy code in Windows 8 that would have enabled third parties to bring back the Start button."

Really? Mary Jo Foley agrees and pointed out that clearly Microsoft has made deliberate attempts to prevent developers from circumventing the bringing back of the Start Button as well as being able to boot straight into the Windows 8 desktop. Microsoft did not comment on her observations. Don't get me wrong, I understand Microsoft's desire to move its users into the next generation of operating systems and I'm certainly familiar with the term, "sink or swim," but is that the right move? TechRepublic has an infographic regarding pros and cons of Windows 8 and listed "No Start menu" and "Need for Massive Training" as two key negatives.


But is asking for little conveniences of the past asking too much before we go cold-turkey? Is going overboard in preventing its return better than simply making it optional? As I see it, it's hard to go wrong by giving customers the freedom to do what they want.Businesses are already struggling for compelling reasons to upgrade their employee's computers.

Is Microsoft's being bullish on removing all training wheels really helping their cause? I don't deny the future and it is clear that the Start Button is not meant to be in it. The new Windows 8 style environment is here to stay and will be the new standard just like the Start Button was back in 1995.

Martin Schaeferle

Martin Schaeferle has taught IT professionals nationwide to develop applications using Visual Basic, Microsoft SQL Server, ASP, and XML. He has been a featured speaker at Microsoft Tech-Ed and the Microsoft NCD Channel Summit, and he specializes in developing Visual Basic database applications, COM-based components, and ASP-based Web sites. In addition to writing and presenting technical training content, Martin is also LearnNowOnline's vice president of technology.

This blog entry was originally posted September 25, 2012 by Martin Schaeferle