Behold Microsoft’s Idea of a “Streamlined” Interface [Humor]



Microsoft is in the process of developing Windows 8, and the Redmond giant has posted an analysis of what it’s calling “Improvements in Windows Explorer.” We’ll leave you to be the judge of the “improvements” made in Windows 8, but we couldn’t resist showing you Microsoft’s idea of a “streamlined” interface in the new Explorer.

Laurie Voss shares this fantastic post on his personal blog. In the post, Microsoft shows what it believes to be an “optimized” and “streamlined” UI for Windows Explorer in Windows 8.

Here are the exact words:

Goals of the new Windows Explorer

We set out to accomplish three main goals with this new version of Explorer.

  1. Optimize Explorer for file management tasks. Return Explorer to its roots as an efficient file manager and expose some hidden gems, those file management commands already in Explorer that many customers might not even know exist.
  2. Create a streamlined command experience. Put the most used commands in the most prominent parts of the UI so they are easy to find, in places that make sense and are reliable. Organize the commands in predictable places and logical groupings according to context, and present relevant information right where you need it.
  3. Respect Explorer’s heritage. Maintain the power and richness of Explorer and bring back the most relevant and requested features from the Windows XP era when the current architecture and security model of Windows permits.

And here’s the screenshot:

There’s plenty of other juicy tidbits to gawk at in the post, including this screenshot of the commands with an overlay of how often users actually click.

Basically, 50% of the buttons that Microsoft proudly attributes to its ‘streamlined’ interface won’t ever be used by Windows users — and that’s according to Microsoft’s own research.

We’re sure that Jony Ive is proud.

  • prof_peabody

    Hopeless.  But funny.  

    Those click counts are always going to be a blend of the degree of utility and the degree of usability of a given item, so the data is useless.  

  • Daniel Arroyo

    Seems that Microsoft is thinking: “hey the ribbon interface was not very bad in office (of course it was) so let’s put it everywhere else!!!…
    even more incredible! In the MS blog they offer the video of “making windows 8” for your favorite media player… and guess what, the only option is MP4 for iTunes or QuickTime!!!! they even not offer it in WMV for their own Media Player!

  • Fahad Khan

    Microsoft Sucks, even if they release Windows 9999

  • Sill

    Well, it sure is disturbing, but while looking at it I think that out of the “unused buttons”, lots are new, while others, like history, shows function which were not easily accessed. Anyway I am sure  that the ribbon can be hidden just like in Office

  • UNOwenNYC

    NOTHING M’soft’s EVER done has been a ‘pleasant, simple’ (cringe) experience. More crap from a crappy company.


  • TannerBott

    …..the looks hideous, what was/is M$ thinking when then they made explorer look like THAT

  • John Holton

    Microsoft today is IBM 35 years ago. IBM’s operating systems were lousy, but they sold lots of computers that ran those operating systems, and pretty soon they were the standard. Microsoft doesn’t sell hardware itself, but there are a huge number of cheap computers that have Windows installed, and every time they come out with a new version of Windows, the hardware manufacturers sell more equipment because, nine times out of ten, the new Windows doesn’t run on the old hardware (or runs so slowly that it’s not worth it). I replaced Windows on an old laptop with Ubuntu Linux (One day I’ll try going the Hackintosh route) and it runs better than it did with XP.

  • SapirKraus

    Well,I can understand Microsoft.
    They want to help,that’s allBecause every single windows user has no idea how to actually do something,because it’s so complicated and has an awful UI,so people know only 3 actions: cut,copy and paste.
    So,Microsoft want to help them, by bringing useless features that nobody cares about to the main menu, so that the UI will look even worse than it is now(which is pretty hard,well done Microsoft,you’ve done the almost impossible)! How thoughtful and incredibly smart thing to do. 

  • prof_peabody

    Interesting also that the highest use buttons are copy and paste (not cut, which belies that criticism of Apple’s lack of a “cut”), and “Properties” which is basically a “WTF is this?” button.  


  • Robert Norris Hills

    Are you all really that stupid? 

    Windows 8 is going to be a mobile hybrid. 
    Those buttons will take over from keyboard shortcuts for touch oriented devices. 

    So yes, this is a smart move.

    I mean can you even add? Those shortcuts if the figures are correct make up for 84% of user actions, not 50%….. Therefore 84% of user actions will shrink to a one button process rather then either a keyboard shortcut or a right click – command virtually halving the amount actions required for 84% of tasks!

    Take 2 seconds to actually think about articles before you spew shit all over the web and make yourself look like an arrogant twat Alex.

  • chapps

    Take it down a notch, please. You’re not a screaming head on TV. Alex has a point, and buried in your rant may be another one. That’s what user testing can determine. But it’s worth noting that MS continues to visually complicate the interface, which I think is the opposite of what they should be doing. That’s only one opinion, albeit based on years of product development in web and mobile apps.

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    E = m*c2 (square) IS simplicity that explains the complexity of the universe.

    But Windows users, those Microsoft fanBoys still think that complexity is intelligence, look ma, how intelligent i’m, i’m a Microsoft fanboy!.

    Complexity is being dumb, is being afraid of asking question.

    Simplicity is understanding, is asking question.

  • Mel Sedat

    From first hand experience MS is too big for their own good. There are some really smart people, with really good ideas, but they get shot down by higher execs who want to prove a point. MS has way to many cooks in the kitchen, and just lacks leadership and a “one voice” strategy.

  • jpday3

    Well, if whatever the hell you just said is Apple/Mac smart, I will just say that I’m dumb

  • Robert Pruitt

    This is too funny.  They have dumbed down the OS to the point of extreme complication.

  • DrM47145

    Oh, I see… Windows Explorer, and not Internet Explorer. And that thing is supposed to do what?

  • Chase Hausman

    This is Windows Explorer, not Internet Explorer.  While I get your point, its not really relevant.

  • obamapacman

    OMG hilarious! And the MicroSheeps will say they like it.

  • Anon

    Back when I used MicroSh$t, the ribbon was one of the most annoying, clutter mess of a UI. Glad to see they’re deploying it across the product line. Millions more annoyed Americans with W8.

  • Chris Malone

    Am I the only one who actually likes the ribbons of Windows?

  • Daniel Sisco

    Robert, Alex is saying that basically 50% of the BUTTONS are never used; he’s not saying that if you add up the usage percentage it equals 50%.

    Also, I think every semi-tech savvy person would agree that keyboard shortcuts are faster than having to click a button. A cut and copy button on the ribbon would be faster than having to go to menubar-edit and then copy, but that’s why there are keyboard shortcuts. And that’s why PC and touch interface devices can’t use the exact same OS.

  • Viki Maverick

    Hmmm. So you are either off the point or don’t know the difference between Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.

  • Viki Maverick

    Get a brain.

  • GH


  • RoninTheDog

    And we’re comparing it to what, the awful pile that is Finder? 

  • Dgarant

    How good to you feel reposting somebody else’s post without attribution? And his was more complete. <http: 9549775746=”” post=”””” this-is-genuinely-microsofts-idea-of-a=””></http:>

  • revrobtimes

    I am digging the tabs. Good job Microsoft! 

    POLL: What do you think of Windows Explore 8?

  • techgeek01

    I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on a Windows 8 tablet/laptop hybrid device.

    The first true post-pc device.
    The first true tablet that can actually replace your “pc”.

    So, instead of needing to carry around my tablet and laptop, I can just carry the tablet/laptop hybrid device.

    Matter of fact, if I really wanted to, I could toss out my desktop and just buy a monitor and plug my tablet in to get full desktop experience!

    And this above just proves Microsoft commitment of making it both touch and keyboard/mouse friendly!
    Mac users, especially the fanbois, are just jealous that Microsoft (and their partners) will be rolling out tablets that will be far more capable than than their macbooks and iPads combined.  8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)

  • Arham Maher

    by your post im guessing ur a PC
    And just the fact that ur here, on CultOf*MAC* reading articals says enough about who’s jelous of who.. OS XD XD XD XD XD XD

  • charlie edwards

    Looks like Office took Explorer from behind and conceived this pile.  We’ll see.

  • Jeeves

    Yes, you are….the only one.

  • techgeek01

    Jealousy or just likes to have a good laugh, once and a while?  ;o)

  • mjrmd

    The problem is not the interface, it is the operating system. Redecorate all they want MS is not facing the music and abandoning their flawed architecture. It has been a patchwork mess since the days when they decided to cover DOS with a GUI shell. Modifying the kernel to NTFS only made it worse and the Registry didn’t help. All their software engineers know it.

    They’ve copied Apple in almost everything they’ve ever done. It’s time to acknowledge that Unix is the gold standard of operating systems, freely available to one and all and restart from there. Otherwise, they just continue down a dead-end road. 

    Apple has already demonstrated the elegance of a pared down OS for mobile devices and that it is silly to try to cram a full OS into one and, yet, they plow ahead thinking they are going to get speedy, elegant devices to run  on Win8. 

    There are a lot of very smart people working on this in Redmond, but they clearly lack leadership with clear vision and clear thinking.

    Windows 8 surely doesn’t look like the future. It looks a reshuffle of the deck chairs.

  • Mmuldoor

    @techgeek01:disqus  so how much did MS pay you to be a troll, lol? 
    2nd what the hell is the Microsoft Ribbon? I can’t really remember what windows looks like…I only use it in work situations, and still find it annoying as ever.

  • Jeeves

    As a Window programmer, I use explorer constantly. My first impression? I like that the ribbon gives quick access to common explorer operations. I also like the ability to hide the ribbon (see the arrow in the upper right corner near the ? button). Now what I’d really like to see is this window split horizontally with a command shell window, combining the command prompt and explorer together. Been waiting for that for years!

    I installed a recently downloaded Windows 8 alpha on a desktop at work and played with it for a while. It looks and feels just like Windows 7. Nothing to see here, move along…

  • TheBasicMind

    Reminds me of Homer’s car. At once dreadful but in a strange, curious kind if way, I’m impressed and I want it.

  • kriswm

    that looks so complicated. is there any way to minimize all that?

  • Jeeves

    Right on the money, Mel! Only someone who has worked at MS would know this.

  • Theyseeyoutrollin

    See the avatar for my reaction. 

  • Robert Norris Hills

    I’m an android guy.
    Articles like the above are better then most comic strips. 

    Uninformed and shallow thinking idiots spurting crap without even thinking about it.

  • Mmuldoor

    I have windows XP virtual machine on this IMac, I bust it out now and then for when I have to use something not ported to Mac or Linux. I’m gonna turn it on in one of the “spaces” on Snow Leopard and mess around for old times sake!

  • Mmuldoor

    Lol…first thing it does is ask me to sign up for windows genuine advantage….Buzz off!

  • jpday3

    No, he does not, but he does know MS will be around for a long time

  • jmaaan

    I like it tooo. :)

  • Steven Chaffer

    No he’s not. I like it as well. There is three just on this thread.

  • Sue

    I’m not even going there….dropdown menus versus flicktab ribbons….who cares which way they open? Keyboards are so last century. Desktops are so last century. I don’t want to type anymore. I want touchpad, gestures, camera and video and voice recognition.
    Natural selection.

  • Scott Gould

    It seems Microsoft is going with the cockpit interface metaphor for it’s file navigation.  Real geeks will prefer the command line, and average people will be intimidated/overwhelmed.  I guess this is designed for people in between: the flight sim market?  Maybe that’s what Balmer does in his office all day?

  • baby_Twitty

    Failed troll is a fail.

  • martinberoiz

    There’s a button to ‘select none’ for God’s sake!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • yahoo-352OEBY3Q26NIOELKK4NEU5UFY

    Maybe :) I’m not a Mac fanboy at all, though I love my Mac. There are lots of features I really like about Win7, which I use in Parallels on my Mac for a couple of Windows-only programs I have. But I can’t stand the ribbons. For some reason, they just really turn me off and I find them aggravating and a waste of space.

  • James Manolios

    Yes there is, there is an arrow to minimise it all.

  • JXChain

    they should implement a “transfer all files to OS X” option

  • Sebastian

    I like them too, looking forward to Windows 8 in fact! Its for everyone for themselved to decide :) At least on windows you get to choose ;)

  • Sebastian

    I like them too, looking forward to Windows 8 in fact! Its for everyone for themselved to decide :) At least on windows you get to choose ;)

  • charlie edwards

    Yeah, they’ve drained the NTFS well dry.  Time to move on and quit calling it precious.

  • Cheath

    Ummm.  No.  Laurie Voss missed the point.  What MS are showing is a new interface that makes 84% of the most commonly used commands even more accessible.  Which is a great thing.  “The Home tab is the heart of our new, much more streamlined Explorer experience. The commands that make up 84% of what customers do in Explorer are now all available on this one tab”.  This DOES NOT mean the other 50% of the buttons on the ribbon won’t ever be used and drawing that conclusion simply shows you’re probably just looking at the pictures and not reading the article.  The data is historical:  These commands were seldom used because 54% of users most commonly invoke commands with a context-sensitive right click, and many features in this context-sensitive menu are overlooked. Putting such features/commands on the ribbon will bring them to prominence and give users a better choice of useful commands.  And these additional commands weren’t randomly chosen:  “Next, we turned to customers and community feedback. Customers have a lot of suggestions for how they’d like to see Explorer evolve. Many of these suggestions are for things that after-market add-ons like TeraCopy”.

  • Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira

    Simplicity = is Apple pursuit?
    The pursuit of simplicity is asking question = Being Smart.
    Being Smart is a state of mind, not a result of some gene.
    That is what i wrote above, if you read in between-the-lines.

    Smart is = Apple?Did i say/wrote that?
    … Then you are DUMB!

  • João Pereira

    A great thing? Why not put some more buttons on it and make it a 100%?
    Better yet, why not make buttons that send click events to other buttons? Kinda like

  • Kuhnaydeein

    They’ve stopped copying the Mac OS, and it shows.

    If you do want to use this ‘thing’ for all your computing though, you’ll just have to W8.

  • Seppo Laine

    I am satisfied if IE complies to international standards. In that way it doesn´t lessen the internet experience for the rest of us.

  • gareth edwards

    Calm down dear.

  • gareth edwards

    I’m not a big Windows user but I can see why people feel comfortable using it – mostly this is because it’s the de-facto operating system. When I do use it however I always am struck at the general complexity of navigating around the OS, this is partly because I’m used to OSX but also in part because it just seems to have too many options or choices which appear to not appear in the right place or just make sense. I’m not wholly anti MS – they have their place in the world – but I do wonder sometimes if they have a coherent approach to OS design.

  • scapelle

    Apparently Explorer’s “heritage” is bulk and complexity. 

  • MiosLaurie

    Jony Ive not working on UI design. He is industrial (hardware designer)!!!

  • techgeek01

    Trolling or just telling the truth?  ;o)

    It’s a thing called
    Bing it.


    Google it.But I’m sorry to inform you there is no Apple it or (i)IIT.  ;o)

  • Julius Pap ?

    @ techgeek01 Your a Faggot! comparing Operating systems for a Laugh? and wtf with this ;o) ? looks like your a Fanboy! ‘WindowsTechgeekFanboy01!

  • Thedesertdragon

    You people are hilariously clueless.

    The reason they are doing this is to make it more compatible with touch interfaces (Nice, big buttons while retaining all the commands), and to provide an interface consistent with many of their other interfaces that people don’t seem too happy with. Now, I understand why Mac fanboys won’t like it, and I don’t like I myself very much either, but I do see where they are coming from,and it will work.

    And it might just bring the fight to the iPad, at long last.

  • techgeek01

    People like you, is why I like to come here. ;o)

  • sn0wskier

    If this really is a mobile interface, then Microsoft seems to have missed the memo about how file browsers — and the whole idea of storing and navigating files independently of the applications with which they are associated — just doesn’t work well on a tablet.  It’s wasteful and should be pointless.

    Apple didn’t leave the Finder out of iOS because it couldn’t figure out how to implement it.

  • Graham Briggs

    @ace23a3d9a356e4057ea9181a0e229a7:disqus right, so those tiny icons are simple to touch. The four application icons in the window title (wtf!) for example, or the ‘^’ and help buttons. Or the other small buttons. What’s up with the pink “library tools” thing – did it get loose from the tab row – which appears to have two active tabs (one dark blue, the other white).
    The ribbon itself is fine, it’s the cruft around in that needs sorting out.

  • John Ramirez

    but shouldnt they have two  separate modified OS’? it makes no sense to annoy the end user with jargon that does not fit a non-touch interface… FAIL!

  • Aaron

    This is the same “ribbon”-style button bar that Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows uses. The illogicality of the button placement is astounding. Here’s my example:

    After finally finding the “Print” command (no, I didn’t cheat and use ^P), I chose the appropriate network printer, my eye following down the dialog area to check double-sided printing, paper size, etc., I couldn’t find the actual “Print” button… ya know, something to start printing? It was all the way back at the top, next to the printer selection. 

    Your eyes logically go from top to bottom; the functional buttons are typically at the bottom of the dialog area. Microsoft is continuing to change their UI with every new version of Windows and Office, and this is seriously alienating their users. I won’t even tell you how many times my dad has vented about Office for Windows at work and how much nicer Office for Mac is.

  • markrlangston

    Where do I begin?

    Your post is designed to garner the most insane and violent replies, to which you then use as fodder to prove that Mac fans are brainless, religious zealots. This, of course, justifies your inane comments that are violently self-righteousness all devised to invoke your mighty wisdom over all other non-Microsoft devotees. 
    We both know the truth. It’s entrapment.  But, to stay on topic, here’s what you didn’t consider: the future is not keyboard & mouse AND touch interfaces. It’s just touch interfaces. While professionals will still use M&K for more precise interaction (graphic/web design, audio/video editing, etc) the casual user will likely be using only touch interfaces and voice recognition to control their digital devices. The future is also about dissolving the file system with a focus on the apps that house the documents rather than where the document resides on your HDD. Look no further for proof than studying Pages, Keynote, iMovie and Garage Band for iOS devices. These apps are defined by the documents you create within them rather than opening a finder/explorer window to find the file THEN open it. The logic is broken. If I need to change a Word file why bother searching for the file when I need the app open anyway? Do you browse your bookmarks with the browser closed or open?

    What the future certainly isn’t is a pixel guzzling, inconsistently-sized-icon-insanity ribbon at the top of an Explorer window that will likely take more time to learn than the current system most people are already familiar with.

    I could talk for two hours about how bad Microsoft’s direction is with this new Explorer ribbon but I’ll end with this: If you come here for the pleasure of getting violent, insulting rants and raves from devoted Apple users — based on your equally intelligent insulting comments — on a site devoted to Apple users/fans, you are indeed a sad individual in need of a hug (horizontal or otherwise). 

    Move along. Nothing to see here but the future of computing. Microsoft will stay in the game as an example of what NOT to do.

  • techgeek01

    Do you want a toy?  Or do you want a tool?

    Well, the choice is yours.  ;o)

    What Apple is doing is dumbing down their OS and getting rid of choices.  What Microsoft is doing, is keeping and giving more choices.

    There are some people who need keyboards and mice.  Some who need touchscreens.  Some need stylus.
    None will be able to fully replace one another.So, instead of killing two off in the favor of one, why not allow all three?  There are in some places, I need to have a keyboard and mouse.  In some instances a touchscreen will be better.  and in some times, stylus is the best choice.  So, why not allow all three?Choice,  Its a wonderful thing.  It gives you options!  And the best part, it allows people to CHOOSE what is the best for them.I like my shiny flash-enabled tablet.  You know what the wonderful thing about it is?  I have the ability to CHOOSE if I want to run flash or not.  And it all comes down to a single button. “flash enabled” On? or off? Totally depends what you want.  Ah, Choice, it gives you options.  It allows you to choose what you want.  :)Oh, another choice. I can either sync my stuff on my tablet, or drag and drop stuff through a file system! AH CHOICE!!! I love choice!Choice.  That what it comes down to.  Choice is good.  Choice is a wonderful thing!  And the amazing thing about choice is that you can choose what YOU want.  YOU are NOT DICTATED by a company. They company is not making the choice for you.  YOU are making the choice for YOU.Choice gives people what they want and need. Not what the company wants to give to the people.  Choices allows you to fine-tune your tool.  make it how YOU want to use it.   And the absolute best thing about choice?  it allows one product (in this case) to reach the maximum amount of people.  Because once you start knocking choices off, your maximum amount of potential customers are getting smaller and smaller.
    Choice.  That’s the future of computing.  Or anything.  CHOICE. That’s the future. you don’t offer choice, you will not be successful in the long run.  And by doing this, Microsoft is paving the way.  Why?  They are showing what to do.  And that is CHOICE.  You have to give people CHOICE.  And the thing is? by doing this, they can make one device fit a huge verity of people. One device that is mouse and keyboard.  one device that is also touch input and also stylus input as well.So, instead of having one device that will ONLY attract touch users, that exact same device can (will) attract stylus users AND keyboard and mouse users as well.  So, you just increased your potential market!Oh, I’m really sorry to say, but the future is NOT touchscreen.  It’s the combination of Touchscreen, Mouse and keyboard AND stylus.  Oh yes, Touchscreen WON’T kill of the Mouse, keyboard and stylus anytime soon or ever.You might want to look at choice.  Choice is really quite a wonderful thing.  ;o)  

  • yoyogipark

    Maybe, but more than that it’s taking the concept of the “ribbon” from MS Office and putting it into explorer. The ribbon is an ill-thought out usability nightmare and just sucks balls.