Windows 8 RTM: Microsoft Blocks Booting Straight To Desktop

Tuesday, August 7th 2012. | Hardware News

Windows 8 RTM: Microsoft Blocks Booting Straight To Desktop

Microsoft has forced users to boot to the new tiled Start screen interface formerly known as Metro, in its final RTM build of the new operating system. While previous beta builds of Windows 8 allowed a shortcut to be created to boot directly to the desktop, bypassing the Start screen, this ability has now been deliberately disabled. This has been confirmed by Rafael Rivera, co-auther of upcoming book, Windows 8 Secrets, so it’s not just some unsubstantiated rumour floating around.

It’s so disabled in fact, that not even a Group Policy setting is available to allow administrators to configure this option! We wonder if the upcoming Windows Server 2012, which shares the same codebase is also crippled like this? We rather suspect it is. Of course, it goes without saying that there’s no option of a regular Start menu in the control panel

So, not only is the Start screen forced on users at startup, but it can justifably be described as a real nuisance for business users and potentially a show stopper. For example, a power user who has no use for the dumbed down Start screen apps and needs more powerful regular desktop apps, will have to manually select the desktop at every login – all because Microsoft is forcing this. Infuriating.

Another, more show-stopping scenario is a business user who needs to run a cash register application or a hole-in-the-wall cashpoint. All these will display the Start screen? How is this going to work for users like this? What about user training in a business context? Again, it leads to expense for no useful gain in productivity, something that businesses will hate with a passion. There are literally hundreds of other scenarios like this, too. These changes and restrictions are so controversial, that respected industry watchers are now making predictions that it will flop like Vista did, or worse. Just one example is an article entitled Five Reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, which makes for a sobering read – for Microsoft.

There is however, a very small consolation at hand – keyboard shortcuts using the Windows key. It’s not much, granted, but they help a bit. Windows + D jumps to the regular desktop, while Windows + B jumps from the Start screen to the currently active desktop application. Finally, Windows + M loads the traditional Windows desktop from the start screen, and minimizes all applications. Great, isn’t it? Better just stick to Windows 7. Or XP.

While many like the tiled Metro start screen and are looking forward to using it on touch tablets and PCs, many others aren’t keen on it — especially business users who are convinced that Metro will be a nuisance, especially on non-touch-enabled hardware, especially given they plan to live primarily in the Desktop app on Windows 8.

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