Windows 8: The (not) missing startmenu

Before we start with a series of blogposts about developing Windows 8 Metro-Apps with XAML and C#, we  take a look at Windows 8 and its missing startmenu Bin gleich zurück. Windows 8 which will be in RTM-state in the first week of august. I’ve read many articles about the missing Startmenu in Windows 8. I’ve heard many people saying “Microsoft tried for years to bring a desktop-os to mobile devices, now they go the other way around trying to bring a mobile-os to the desktop”. Most of them have never tried Windows 8. Maybe none of them. And all of them said that the missing startmenu is a big loss. I’ve used the Release Preview version of Windows 8 since it came out, so for far more than 1 month. And I don’t miss the startmenu. I really don’t miss it. Let’s figure out why. In Windows 7, I used the startmenu like this: I’ve pinned my favourite applications to the taskbar and the most favourite ones also to the startmenu. But I found out, that I was always using the link on the taskbar, never the one over the startmenu. For non-favourite applications, like e.g. mspaint, I used the search-box in the startmenu. The searchbox is the most used feature of the startmenu from my point of view. I think 70% of my personal startmenu-usage. Additional 10% for manually browsing programs and the rest of 10% to open the control panel and 10% to shutdown. With that in mind I switch to Windows 8, and now I don’t have the startmenu anymore. Instead of I have the Metro-Screen. The Metro-Surface in Windows 8 The Metro-Surface is not only a startmenu-replacement, it’s much more. In fact its a dashboard with your favourite applications, showing up current information via live tiles. And in fact I can use it the same way as my Windows 7 startmenu by just start typing: image When opening the mspaint-Application my computer jumps to the desktop. I can fastly switch between my “dashboard” and the classic Windows-Desktop. In Metro, I can order my applications in groups, e.g. social networking for facebook, twitter & Co., developer tools for Visual Studio, Expression Blend (I don’t have a “Designer”-group Zwinkerndes Smiley), Reflector etc., and so on. So I’m really fine with the Metro-Surface instead of the startmenu. Ok, I have to say, I really love the Metro-Surface, it looks so fresh and excited and gives me all the information I need in a single place. And for that it uses not only a part of the screen, but the whole screen. If you search the web, there are already many tools around that allow you to create the registry-setting so that the classical startmenu appears again. You can even boot windows 8 directly to the classical desktop instead of booting to the metro-startscreen. What about you. How do/did you use the Windows 7 startmenu and do you think you’ll miss it? Thomas

Windows 8 goes RTM in August and is general available in October

Today Microsoft provided first details about the availability of Windows 8. Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller confirmed that Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM). Enterprise customers will already have access to Windows 8 in August. With the RTM developer’s are able to earn money with their apps. In the current Release Preview all apps are free so that the preview-users can try everything. Windows 8 will be available for all people in October. That means also that devices with Windows 8 are already available in October! Smiley Woohoo!!! Read more on this topic on the official Windows team blog: Article on

What’s coming next? XAML, WinRT, HTML5,…

It has been really quiet for a long long time on this blog. I've had many amazing projects in the past half year. All about Windows Presentation Foundation. In my sparetime I focused on the HTML5-part, because I'm very interested in the development of mobile apps. I've also looked at the HTML5-part in WinRT. I've published an article about developing Metro-Apps with HTML5/JavaScript in a special edition JavaScript-magazine (German). You can order it here: Later this year I had talks at conferences in Germany (BASTA!) and in Switzerland (Trivadis TechEvent) about Windows Phone, WinRT, Silverlight, HTML5. What's coming next:
  • series of blog-posts about Modern UI-Style Apps with XAML and C# (will start in about two weeks)
  • some WinRT-articles for the German Windows Developer magazine
  • some talks at BASTA! and TechEvent in September. And maybe on other conferences
  • Upgrading WPF-book to .NET 4.5
  • Writing a new book about developing Windows 8 Modern UI-Style Apps with XAML and C#. Will be available next year.
So stay tuned! Thomas