Microsoft’s Weird Stance on Windows 8 Personalization

    January 27, 2012

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.