Thursday, 28 June 2012

Why I hate Metro on Windows Server 2012

Automate your Network Audit and Documentation

We have been testing Windows Server 2012 for a few weeks now and the latest version of the Microsoft Operating system has become a bit of a talking point especially around the new Metro interface.

Let me be clear, this is my own personal opinion however it seems to be reflected in the forums such as here in the thread New Start menu is slowing me down in Server 8

There are some nice features included too. I thought I'd list my feelings so far on the latest UI

It looks like Windows 3.11 on high contrast

You can now copy the full path of a file from the Ribbon

Microsoft are sending mixed messages by on one hand stating that we should be using Server core and no user interface but then sending a conflicting message of asking us to use a mobile device user interface to manage servers.

Microsoft seem to have doubled back and started saying we should be using Remote Tools rather than RDP as the primary method of managing servers. My problem with this is that Microsoft do not have a single management toolset or even API (as for example VMware do with vCenter and their webservices API and single VI client user interface). Therefore a range of tools must be installed on management computers and a range of ports must be opened for the likes of RPC traffic.

The start menu used to be on the same screen as the desktop. We not have to leave the desktop to find an application.

There is a separate screen with power and brightness that's not even part of the new Metro start menu.

The copy and replace files user interface has been improved. Personally I'm very happy with this. The old Windows 7 /Vista UI was terribly badly designed.

It is incredibly slow and the refresh rate of the screen is woeful. This could obviously be because it's only a release client and there are inefficiencies running on VMware Workstation 8

The new Server Manager has been Metrofied.
  • It looks terribly low resolution even running on a high resolution as I am.
  • The erm "treeview" on the left collapses sideways leaving you with hieroglyphics to decode to figure your way back up the tree. I assume this is to make it tablet friendly for when every single PC on Earth has been replaced by an Apple touch screen device of one kind of another in the near future.
  • The UI supports a view menu with 100%, 150% views that increases the size of the text in the central pane. Ironically the view menu item is tiny so if you can't read what's on the screen you won't be able to change the view size. Also changing the view size doesn't make the menu text any bigger. I think Microsoft were stuck for what to put in the View menu.
  • The Tools drop down menu is basically the start menu's Administrative Tools list (so we still have it, it's just inconveniently placed inside a management UI that takes an age to load).

The features Wizard though looking like an ugly cousin of Windows Server 2008 R2 now supports targeting multiple machines and background processing so you can close the UI whilst features are installed.

Here's the new Start menu. I feel like I'm being patronising saying what's wrong with the new Start menu as it's so obvious. So sorry. But here we go

  • It's separate from the desktop so it's like going into a different room to find your applications
  • It's got super big buttons to start the applications which is great for a tablet but then the Windows management tools aren't tablet friendly so it's just pointless
  • You can't group the applications
  • You can't search the applications from here, you have to go back to the desktop and goto the "side window"
  • It uses a totally different colour scheme and look and feel to the desktop (I like it far better than the Windows 3.11 desktop scheme)

The doubling up of clicks on some things like NTFS permissions that came in Windows 2008 have gone, the NTFS permissions dialog now opens editable

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more with all of the points you raised here. I genuinely thought my graphics driver must be messed up or need updating when I first launched Server Manager... I'm a big Microsoft fan and normally defend them but Metro is seriously the worst UI decision I have ever seen in pretty much any software I've ever used.