Every time there’s a new version of Windows someone will complain that it’s tougher to use than older versions or messes up the user interface. But for the most part Windows has looked pretty much the same since Windows 95, with a start menu, desktop, and taskbar.

Windows 8 will change all that when it launches on October 26th. You can still access a taskbar and desktop, but the start button and menu have been replaced with a new Start Screen and Microsoft has put a huge emphasis on touch-friendly gestures.

Windows 8 desktop

At the very least, the new user interface will take a little getting used to. So it’s clear that Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 marketing campaign won’t just be showing off new features… but also how to use them.

Israeli blog Techit has posted YouTube videos of several Windows 8 ads. These videos and more showed up on the Amazon UK product listing for Windows 8 recently, and were posted in the WinUnleaked forum last night.

Update: Unsurprisingly, the videos have been removed from both Amazon and YouTube.

But I have to wonder… do these ads make Windows 8 look appealing? They certainly show a UI that looks like it could compete with iOS or Android, but what about Windows 7?

Sure, you can still run desktop-style apps, but to perform some basic functions you have to switch to a full-screen Start Screen or drag out a charms bar or search tool from the side of the screen.

What’s more, there are basically two different user interfaces to learn. You have to get used to closing desktop-style apps by tapping on an X box or scrolling by moving scrollbars, while closing (or scrolling) in full-screen Metro-style apps by swiping.

After seeing these ads, what do you think ? Are you looking forward to Windows 8?

via Neowin

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14 replies on “Do these new ads make Windows 8 look easy?”

  1. I started using Windows 8 during consumer preview, and it took me about a week to forget my Windows 7 habits. I started using the Start screen as a super-enhanced Start menu, not as the Metro that it is meant to be. Almost none of my time is spent there unless I am bored.

    Switched back to Windows 7 and deleted the other partition when the release preview came out, as I did not feel like reinstalling again. At this point I began to miss the features of Windows 8 such as tiles and notifications revamp, along with the lock screen (I use a fingerprint reader so I never have to type the password).

    Been using 8 since RTM came out via Dreamspark and I love it. Microsoft has been constantly releasing fixes and my system runs smooth on generic drivers minus display and trackpad (nvidia and synaptics). Once the initial shock is over it is a really great OS and almost wholly better than Windows 7. My biggest problem is that they got rid of the start BUTTON. People will be very confused at first as the icon is missing. The screen isn’t a problem, but the fact that you have to find it is.

  2. May as well remove the links to the videos from the article. YouTube has already taken them down.

    1. Looks like they’ve been pulled from Amazon UK too.

      I thought it was pretty ballsy of the Israeli blogger to include ads in the videos… clearly TechIt doesn’t own the copyright.

      Not sure if going ad-free would have helped them keep the videos online, but having them probably didn’t help.

  3. So is this going to flop?

    Windows has struggled for years. Vista was a shocker from day one. I bought a friend a new laptop and it ran so slowly compared to his old one. Ended up installing XP to make it perform credibly.

    Win7 is OK. Better than Vista. I hate the way they just move things around to frustrate longterm users. So things are just plain complex to do. It should be getting easier, not harder, with each iteration.

    Win8 looks fine for tablets. Why they are pushing though for desktop use is the question. I can see way to many people struggling with it upon release and downgrading or jumping ship to Apple. Or just keeping their Win7 machines for longer.

    The ribbon interface in Office still drives me crazy. Have it by all means but the older menu should still have been there. Microsoft seem to make decisions to annoy longterm users.

    The upgrade path from XP to 7 was stupid too. The multiple versions of 7 also sucked big time. And the price. Apple’s yearly updates seem a bargain and they refine their UI in small steps. Much easier to deal with a few big changes and many smaller ones than a wholesale dumping of the long established “Start” button.

    I dont want to have to Search for an application. I want a desktop where I control things. I want my documents and files where I can see them. Perhaps really basic newbies will enjoy Win7’s method of doing things.

    I look forward to seeing the general reaction during the weeks after release.

    I have a feeling it aint going to be pretty no matter which way they try to spin doctor it…

    1. I highly doubt we’ll see many people’s jumping ship to Apple over this. That would require at least as much re-learning of user interface elements (Where’s the start button? What’s a “finder”? Where did my application menubar go? What happened to the other mouse button? Why don’t my normal keyboard shortcuts work? etc.). What’s worse for many people, none of their old software would work either. There’s a big difference between “some of my old programs don’t work correctly after the transition” and “none of my old programs work at all anymore.”

      People will get used to Windows 8. There will just be a lot of griping along the way.

  4. The steepness of a learning curve is an issue. I’m a big fan of the (IBM) Lenovo Thinkpad’s “trackpoint” (nub, nipple, etc) and still find it strange that it never really caught on over the ubiquitous trackpad we see everywhere these days.

    Usability testing has long shown that the trackpoint device is the equal of and often surpasses the trackpad for typical input device tasks (when measuring accuracy, speed, etc.) yet somehow it’s never caught on. The explanation is the learning curve. Usability testing found that while expert users of the trackpoint device gained an advantage over trackpad users, it took appreciably longer to master, and users’ initial experiences of the trackpoint tended to be poor.

    That’s the hurdle Win8 has to overcome. Not having used it, I have no idea whether it will or not (probably yes), but the stakes could hardly be higher for MS. This is their big push into the mobile space (several years late) and they have a lot riding on the success of Windows 8.

    1. MS is going to try to address the learning curve, it just remains to be seen how effective those efforts will be but they will be offering a variety of options to end users.

      First time install will give a basic user instructions, then after setup you can download instructional videos and tutorial apps from the app store.

      While MS will be opening a bunch of temporary Windows 8 stores that will have their version of “Geniuses” like Apple has for their stores that will help answer and demo Windows 8 to all potential customers that come their way.

      3rd parties are already set to publish self help books, like the For Dummies publication has already posted excerpts from their upcoming Windows 8 for Dummies book.

      So unless people are resistant it looks like they could fast tract the learning curve but we won’t know until after launch and we see how it all works out…

      1. Oh, I don’t doubt they will spend a lot of time and money to make sure people will persevere with Windows 8, and naturally, they have the advantage of every new PC being shipped out with Windows 8 by default, so people will get it whether they really want it or not.

        But they want people to want that interface everywhere, on their phones and tablets and TVs too. That’s why they’re doing this. They’re several years behind Apple and Google and want–need–to catch up fast. At the very least, they appear to have convinced many of the OEMs that this is something they need to support, with all those tablet announcements, and that helps MS too, since it is in all their interests for W8 to succeed.

        It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

        1. Well, custom system makers can still provide Windows 7. It’s just pre-configured systems will start to be Windows 8 only, at least once the old stock gets sold out.

          While for a short time at least they’ll be offering the option to downgrade to Windows 7 as well.

          Along with providing support for both for businesses. So MS intends to allow a transitional period.

          While Windows 8 will also help better support newer technology, which will help with its adoption.

          But yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

  5. I’ve been trying out Windows 8 on my laptop since the first preview and fully since RTM. Only recently have I gotten over the differences to the point where I’m starting to forget the initial confusion I had. That is weeks if not months of transition. I think people are going to have a really hard time.

    However, now that I’m used to Windows 8 when I use Windows 7 I find myself trying to do things that are possible in Windows 8 that are not in Windows 7. Mainly the Start Page is really nice for finding apps. Just hit Start then start typing. Windows 7 could do this too, but it did not find nearly as many apps as 8 does for me. If people can get past the initial shock of change I think they will like it over 7.
    These videos actually make me look forward to Windows 8 more because up until now I’ve been using the non-touch interface. The potential of tablets is exciting and it looks like Windows 8 can really work well on tablets.

  6. It does seem like there’s a learning curve like any new UI but what’s really going to determine if and when I switch to Windows 8 is official support for the software I use. I have software that completely skipped Vista (compatibility mode doesn’t work either) or takes at least a year to put out an initial release for a new OS not including the time to fix the usual issues of initial releases. I won’t be seriously considering Windows 8 until at least next Fall.

    I guess for people who don’t use much 3rd party software will switch earlier. Then again, an Android or iOS tablet might work just as well or better.

    1. Same here. There’s always a learning curve when new things come out. You can’t get rid of that. As long as after learning to use the new UI it’s just as or better to use than the previous one then what really matters to me is when software I use officially supports the new OS.

      I’ve always had bad experiences with running existing software on new Windows versions. At least the ones I use. Compatibility mode doesn’t make any difference either.

  7. The cuts and transitions in those videos are way too fast. I’m a tablet user already and I was going “Wait, what did you just do there?” and “Where did that come from?” and so on.

    Now, I’m sure that Microsoft has spent a ton of time and money on the new interface and brought thousands of users into their usability labs so I would be shocked if the new UI was a total flop, but I was left completely cold by those ads. (MInd you I only moved off WinXP a couple of years ago, so maybe I’m not to their target audience!)

  8. I guess not anymore than videos of the same length that would have tried explaining the traditional window and mouse cursor GUI.

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