Microsoft’s Weird Stance on Windows 8 Personalization

    January 27, 2012
    Chris Richardson
    Comments are off for this post.

How does it make you feel when a company tries to sell you something, but then, try and tell how to use it after you’ve paid for it? If you’re a PS3 fanboy, you might approve of this tactic, but what if you’re just a regular Windows user who wants to control the look and feel of the operating system you just purchased? Should you have control over how it’s personalized and customized?

Not if you’re going to buy Windows 8, apparently.

There are reports showing up that future Windows 8 owners will not be able to customize the Start Screen with their own images. While this might not seem like a big deal, Microsoft’s explanation as to why this option has been removed stinks hands-on control, even after the purchase is made, as well as an attitude that they know what’s best for users, not the users themselves. According to The Next Web (via TechRadar), those at Microsoft who make such decisions believe allowing users this level of customization could damage the user experience.

In other words, the Windows 8 developers want consumers to use it the way they designed it instead of “ruining” the experience for themselves. From TechRadar’s paraphrasing of Microsoft’s Chris Flores:

[Y]ou wouldn’t want a photograph as the background of the Metro-style Start screen. Not only would a photo not stretch and scale as you add more tiles and groups and zoom in and out of the Start screen, it would also be covered up so much by the tiles that you’d never see it.

Isn’t that up to the user/consumer/owner to decide? If someone wants to see a poorly resized image on their start screen, isn’t that their choice, seeing how they, you know, own the software?

But yet, Microsoft appears to be acting like a “father knows best” figure in relation to Windows 8 personalization, and that, from this perspective, entirely oversteps their boundaries as a software developer and distributor.

  • http://www.justoutsourcing.com JOSourcing

    I probably wouldn’t mind Microsoft’s stance HAD the images been more inclusive of the people who pay for its products. None of the photos in your screenshot (I don’t have Win8) represent me, my family, my friends, or the activities we enjoy. And that’s nothing short of offensive.

    • http://aspiringpilots.com Andrew

      The article is referring to the BACKGROUND, those pics are probably ones from the photo album, but they don’t let you change the background photo…

      • slava

        I heard a whiles ago that the beta version (right now its the developer preview) of Windows 8 will allow you to change the background. It’s true I read it on the news!

  • http://aspiringpilots.com Andrew

    Sounds like Apple……

  • joe

    I think what Microsoft is trying is topush the user towards an optimized future. It might be useful to think of it as Microsoft wants everyone to live as they do in their commercials and the new future products on their Youtube. Microsoft can’t get you to buy their products if they don’t look perfect, and when you bring it home and put your cat, grandkids, bike, or landscape as the background you will be not be satisfied with the result. So pushing the user to do as Microsoft pleases is really just what Apple has done, and honestly if people aren’t using products to their full capacity, should they really be allowed the freedom of cat photos? I mean that in jest.

  • Grom

    I agree with the reasoning, such as the image will not scale and will be covered up with tiles, plus its just a Start Screen after all. One can have a beautiful picture Lock Screen or a Screen Saver if the want their pictures. Also I am not even worried because there will more than likely to be a hack or tricks to change this, its Windows!

  • Stocklone

    I really don’t see it as a big deal. You can change the color of the wallpaper you do choose. Do you really need something beyond your favorite color?