Lenovo responds to questions about its partnership with SweetLabs (Pokki)

Last week, we learned about Lenovo’s decision to partner with SweetLabs and install a piece of software known as Pokki on all Idea and Think line units. The 3rd party software adds a traditional style start menu to Windows 8 in an attempt to help customer transition from Windows 7. This week, we reached out to Lenovo for more details about the partnership and their intentions going forward.

Lenovo declined to comment on the length of their Partnership with Pokki, but did state that they intend to keep shipping Pokki with Windows 8.1 later this autumn. The latest operating system update includes a new start button, which does not bring back the tradition start menu, but instead creates an easier way for users to return to the new start screen – it is a change Microsoft made in hopes of making the OS easier to use.

Users will not have the option during machine customization on Lenovo.com to choose whether or not they want Pokki installed – it will be preinstalled on all units; this decision is a blow to Microsoft who is being completely sidestepped in the process.

Lenovo did not give us a statement on how they felt Pokki would affect their relationship with Microsoft, but instead stated that "by preloading Pokki software on our devices, we are giving users a new way to get acquainted with the features of Windows 8…. Making the computing experience even better.”

Lenovo has also stated that Pokki has “imbedded discovery points” for the Windows Store allowing users to consider using Windows 8 modern applications, but the major concern with Pokki remains - users might decide to forgo using the Windows Store completely in favor of the Pokki app library.

Lenovo reminded us that they “are fully committed to Windows 8, which is preloaded on many of [their] devices across [their] Lenovo and Think brands” and that they “look forward to implementing Windows 8.1 on upcoming devices”.

The company shows no intentions of removing Pokki for a while to come.

Do you like the idea of Pokki or do you think Lenovo is butchering Microsoft’s latest operating system?

Michael Archambault
  • What are pokki apps? Android?
  • I got this one everybody, "read the article".
  • way to be a bro man
  • Good move. MS must take note and give users option to install it as well. Start menu is iconic Windows feature since Win 3.1. Really, there is not a single reason why MS take it away.
  • I've been shouting this all over the web. This is also part of why I am happy Ballmer is leaving. The decisions they made were like FREAKISHLY absurd! I've looked at Microsoft in recent years with my jaw on the floor.
  • In your world we will just sit still and not move along...
    I personally (as well as the majority of "non shouters") rarely used the start menu which was a mess of cascaded menus....most people put apps on their desktop as icons because navigating the start menu was a disaster since it was released...
    I'm in no way saying WIN8 is perfect but I'd suggest you guys are more absurd for thinking a company can move forward by staying the same..
  • In your world, with your lack of vision, the only way to introduce a touch enabled interface is to remove a productivity tool with no proper replacement, and add numerous issues for traditional input methods including:
    - Jump lists are gone with no replacement. You can't have apps open their most recent files with a single click,
    - The Start screen doesn't list your most recent apps anymore,
    - Charms are introduced on the desktop with no usable functions there (no share, no devices),
    - The Charms bar appears whenever you want to work with the buttons of any window while being completely useless,
    - Right clicking the Start screen tiles brings out a menu on the bottom that would need you to move the cursor all the way down to the bottom to cick a rather tiny circle, so you can do anything with the tile. Do that on the laptop's touchpad and you got yourself a nightmare,
    - Selecting multiple tiles to remove (because all apps put their useless shortcuts right there) requires you to keep right clicking the tiles and then move along to the nightmare in the previous item to remove the useless tiles,
    - The OS has dual personality now with the two interfaces having nothing to do with each other also described as "jarring" even by WPCentral guys right here, and the desktop looks "forced-metroed" with all the subtleties of Windows Aero sucked out of it and replaced with solid colors, and all the usability features like the shadow letting you see which windows was on top taken away,
    - The Start screen is distracting when you want to focus on a task on the desktop and the Start menu wasn't,
    - To shut down the PC especially on laptops you have to move the cursor to the top right or bottom right corner, move up or down, click "Settings" (?!), click Power, then click either restart, Shutdown or Hibernate (simple and easy, isn't it?),
    And all of this for what? For introducing a touch friendly screen that could have very easily been accessed through a shortcut in the Start menu, or by holding Windows Key + T, for example. You could easily switch between the two modes without having them interfere with each other, and could have avoided all the drama with doing LESS.
    A company moving aimlessly around isn't moving "forward". Not all change is good change. Design principles aren't there for you to use or throw away willy nilly. THESE are what I have been shouting all over the web.
  • And MS listened. Almost every gripe in your list has been addressed in 8.1. But something tells me you just like to be mad anyway.
  • Actually "almost" none of it is solved. Maybe the hotspots can be disabled and you have the option to view recent apps, but the split personality and major usability problems are still there.
    Windows 8 is good on tablets - almost - but the desktop and traditional input have been ruined.
    Oh, I forgot to add how lacking the built in Modern UI apps were and how you couldn't even create a VPN connection using the new side panel. You want to copy the password from notepad and the panel is gone and you need to type the username again. Basic UI design is neglected in this OS.
    Did I mention how many times you have to move from the touch UI to the desktop to perform basic operations like file copying?
    Maybe a year later some of it is becoming better, but that doesn't change the fact that Windows 8 was a management disaster when it launched, hence my original comment about Ballmer.
  • VPN is a no brainer on the side panel. I do it and have done it since 8 dropped. If you don't know how it's done,  you can't learn. File copy is no different in 8.1 than 7.  My kids and my wife can perform this simple task without even trying. I've never seen so many excuses to fail in my life. This is not your fault. its google dumbing down users.  No need to think, just complain about the need to think.
  • I am a technical user and software desiner, that's why it hurts me even more than the average user who thinks "that's how it works, if I can't do it it's my fault". I know exactly how it works, and I know exactly where it has failed. A typical user can't even come up with those 10+ legitimate points the way I did. Those are not complaints, those are VIOLATIONS of design principles.
    Do this for VPN: You have a complex user name, and a complex password supplied to you in a text file. Try to create the VPN connection by copying first the user name into the side panel, and then the password. Tell me how that goes.
    File copying ON THE TOUCH SIDE was what I was talking about. Try to fumble around on the desktop with your fingers on the Surface, again, and see what happens.
    I've heard this really weird argument from fanboys mainly, that your computer device shouldn't be easy to use! You obviously haven't worked in the computer industry. Simplicity is one of the most valued qualities of a UI and every single designer boasts about how simple and easy to use their product is. For hell's sake, we are mostly WP fans because navigating it is an elegant and hassle free experience! And somehow when your favorite company comes under attack suddenly solving puzzles and spending time and effort on the device to do a simple thing becomes very positive, and any easier to use product is "dumbing down users"! (Google is dumbing them down? Really? Is Android really easier to use, you think, than Windows Phone?)
    A little intellectual integrity is a good thing.
  • By the sounds of it you dont like change and are stuck in your ways. I work in the IT industory and 3 out of the 4 of us use windows 8 on our none touch laptops and not one person has said they miss the old start menu. 2 of us use the new start screen and the other one uses his taks bar for pining things to. The other guy in the office has stayed with Windows 7 because he is stuck in his ways to and did not like the look of it so decided not to upgrade.
    We have also startied rolling windows 8 out to some of our customers who were using Windows xp or 7 before and after showing them the general usage of how to use windows 8 they have all said they would rather use it then windows 7 or xp as it is quicker and easer to find things now everything can be pined to the start screen.
    I do think MS should of left the start symble in the bottom left though which they are doing in 8.1 and I also hope they manage to bring in a quick open in a program from the start screen as this was handy but it is really not a major issue as I only use this when I 1st open the program and then use the one in the program from then on.
    Also I know 6 People who now have a Surface 3 fo them have come from a Ipad 1 from Android and 2 have never had a tablet before and they have all found it easy to move to and all replaced there home pc and Ipad/android tablet with the surface as it offers them more than the other OS for day to day use as well as work.
    Windows 8 is not perfect but no OS is but Windows 8 is the only OS that will work and work well on both Touch and none touch devices.
  • Yes, of course everything is as rosy as you said and there is only one guy who didn't like it. That's the one guy who has caused all this upheavel around the world.
    And yes. He is stuck in his ways. What other explanation could there be? To you, Windows 8 is awesome and anyone having any problems with it is just an old guy who "has a system" of doing thing. Let's look at it another way: Windows 8's overall experience is bad, and anyone saying it's good has no sense of design or is a Microsoft fanboy or, is content with whatever Microsoft throws at them because they have no expectation and have become used to MS. Why take your explanation over mine?
    No reviewer on the web has praised the overall experience of Windows 8. Not even the OEMs have been enthusiastic about it. No one knows why all the unneccessary, drastic changes happened but yeah, your 2 guys at work represent all these reviewers, OEMs, and pretty much the majority who have been using Windows.
    Address the issues I mentioned. Show me how I am wrong in those 10+ points. Don't bring me circumstantial "evidence". Your users wouldn't notice a thing if you replaced their Windows machines with Linux and that's why they are OK with it.
    Surface RT owner here, by the way. I applauded Microsoft for the vision of unifying the desktop, laptop and tablet. But it is their execution that I am critical of.
  • I never said he did not like it he has just been reading on the web about the bad things in Windows 8. it is a change to Windows 7 but its not that big of a change. People are making a bigger deal than it should be. I am no fany boy or even side with one company. I use or have used most OS's on the market and out of all of them Windows 8 has worked the best for me on none touch and touch devices.
    IOS and Android are to limited for what I need them to do in my day to day tasks and Android is to hit and miss with its Apps as alot of them are made for mobiles not tablets. Windws 8 RT has replaced my desktop at home and I dont take my work Laptop home anymore as it will do everyting I need it to do work and home side. Most people I know who use a pc are home users and Windows RT is more than good enough for them to use and also replace there pc and other tablet.
    You do have some good points like the VPN side and the open a document from the start screen with a quick tab which I put in my last reply but Windows 8 is not as bad as you are making out esp the start menu side. In fact pinning what you want to the start screen is quicker and easer than navogating through the old start menu as the old start menu was limited.
    As I said it is each to there own but windows 8 is not as bad as you are making out and MS have taken into account some things users have said and are looking to improve windows 8 with 8,1 like smaller icons on the start screen which is a welcome addition as it will let us fit more on and haiing a better split screen when using Windows 8 apps.
    I will also go through your points,
    1: Jump lists as said this is one thing missing in the new start screen that I hope MS add to an update but its not a msssive issue for me as I only ever used this when I opened the 1st document then I used the jump list in the program.
    2:The Start screen doesn't list your most recent apps
    This has been added into the 8.1 start screen as you can sort it out into the most used but why do you need this list when you can pin any app to the start screen and have your most used at the front of the start screen?
    3 Charms are introduced on the desktop with no usable functions there
    I have never looked to use this on my work pc so unsure what you would use it for but could be a good point if you need to use it for some thing.
    4 Right clicking the Start screen tiles brings out a menu on the bottom
    Good pont but again I dont use a mouse pad on my laptop as I have a external mouse could be somehting to add in if MS can find a way of knowing if your using touch or mouse.
    5:Selecting multiple tiles to remove
    Im confuded by this. If you mean you can only move one icon at a time that is kind of true. At the moment you can move them if they are in the same group but have to add them into another group one by one but again in 8.1 this has been added in to select as many as you want and move them all togther. If you mean selecting more than one tile/icon to remove from the start menu you can right click on all the tiles/icons you want and then click on remove.
  • 6The OS has dual personality
    It needs to have this as one is a tocuh UI the other is the old UI that is needed for all the exsisting 32/64 apps to run on it I not get why people bring this up.
    7 The Start screen is distracting when you want to focus on a task on the desktop and the Start menu wasn't,
    Again not quite sure what your getting at here just go to your desktop and Windows 8.1 lets you boot into your desktop and not the start screen.
    8 To shut down
    Again not a issue for me but I can see why people dont like it. But you can down load a tool to give you a shutdown button and pin it to the task bar or start screen it you dont like it that much.
    As i have said before no OS is perfcet and some people will love it some people will hate it just like any thing in life. If you dont like it dont use it rather than going on and on about why you dont like it. I go on a gaming site that is full of people who just moan all the time about something they dont like rather than enjoying what they like, If you dont like it its fine if you love it its fine but like I said everyone has different tastes and needs and for me Windows 8 fits better than any other Windows OS before it.
  • This is a technical site. We here discuss the good and bad of Windows Phone, and Windows occasionally. Someone needs to go on and on about the shortcomings of the product we're fans of. I am not saying all this merely as a consumer. I am saying this as someone who cares about Microsoft and what they do. That's why I am not just going to stop using it. But if the fans of a company or product just obliged and said nothing, where would it take the company?
    About selecting the tiles: you have to individually right click numerous tiles to select and then remove them. I remember this was the 2nd thing I noticed when I installed Windows 8.
    About dual personality: the question is not whether it was a good decision to create a unified OS for both touch and non-touch devices. We both know this is a good decision with obvious benefits. But the way it should have been done is that Microsoft should have created two different, totally unrelated modes and allowed the hardware manufacturers to specify when, which mode should be used. As an example with Surface: attaching the keyboard could signal Windows to switch to desktop. Detaching it, or folding it backwards could tell Windows that the user wants to use the device as a tablet therefor jumping to the new Start. It would have created an elegant system no other device could even come close to. They could have kept the desktop with its productivity tools, and avoided all these perception problems at a time when the PC industry was desperate for reassurance, instead of introducing drastic changes that pushed many even more towards the mobile market and away from Windows. This is what pains me.
  • Dear sir,
    Although there are many thoughts I wish to share with you (such as the fact that most of your complaints are either totally wrong or blatantly opinionated ideas) the lengthy discussion in which you continue to propagate blind hatred was too much for me to finish reading.
    As I cannot, therefore, produce a cohesive argument I would like to simply leave you with a thought:
    I am quite disgusted every time I hear a self proclaimed "technical" individual speak as you have. More so a "software designer." Lovers of technology and science ought to embrace change, not cower from it. No one is saying Windows 8 is perfect, but to say that the new "start menu" is inferior to the old one is as idiotic as arguing that the addition of the start menu in Windows 95 was unproductive.
  • Good to here somone with common sence again.
  • +1 there should be an option or different version that isn't so touch-focused. It really is more inefficient and cumbersome to use with a mouse compared to W7. You are basically forced to use keyboard-shortcuts to stop screaming with frustration
  • Don't agree. Their job is hardware... Leave the software to Microsoft & stop forcing spamware onto the consumer. Microsoft is taking care of the issue.
  • Agreed. Preloaded software has ruined less informed people's view of what Windows is. Lenovo is stepping on the toes of MS's vision.
  • Totally agree...
    The Taiwanese and Japanese hardware makers fail horribly when they make decisions when it comes to software...this is just yet another piece of crap that one has to uninstall... Another reason to only buy from the MS store as they will not sell computers with crap like this
  • Windows 3.1? A little too early.
    Well, not for me... After Win95 came out I replaced Program Manager on my work machine with a Start button I coded myself.
  • MS never 'took away' the option. That's why Lenovo can install it.
    They can bring Clippy back, as long as I can unistall it, along with any retro-start-menu they choose to spam us with.
  • Simple reason. The computing world is moving to touch and the desktop can't be adapted for touch. So they expanded the start menu to a full screen, made the icons larger and introduced swipe gesture. It is now very easy to use with touch and works perfectly fine a mouse. The start screen is you're favorites area. You should pin your most used apps here. The scroll wheel and pointer is easy to use to launch apps. The only time the mouse won't work well is if you pinned all your programs to the start menu. Then the scrolling and searching for the icon becomes a hassle. The all apps area is the same as All programs on the start menu except that you don't have a bunch of folders you have to search through. It works fine with touch and a pointer and allows Windows to at least compete in the mobile and tablet markets.
    By the way, the start menu started with windows 95, not 3.1. From what I've read, there were people who weren't happy with the start menu back then either.  People were used to the program manager. I'm sure some of them said there isn't a single reason why MS should take the program manager away.
  • I'm okay with any program I can uninstall as long as it's easy to uninstall like an APP.
  • Start menu was not in Win3.1, it debut with Windows 95.
  • Is this sarcastic? Start menu was never in 3.1 ... It first showed up in 95 and NT 4.
  • dude... Start menu didn't come until 95... (unless that was a joke then u can ignore me)
  • "MS must take note and give users option to install it as well" - Ummm?  You do have the option to install it?
  • Even I thought that it's a Great move by Microsoft..... I like using Windows 8 .. It's Fast .. :) But I don't want it to use it like my mobile (Windows Phone), in Phone, we have a lot of restrictions .. For Mobile, it's acceptable, we can use apps ... it's Handy... But when I want my work done, I would not go to the Apps in Windows 8, I go to web browser... see, I have one browser, there I can open imdb, wiki, fb, etc .. :) I wouldn't go to app.... I want computer to be computer and must not be made similar to mobile... working on computer has a different feel .. :) Also, Windows 8 will not be a success in Work environments cz there you want to work fast and openly... that's my personal experience... :)
    After release of Windows 7, you must have seen many awesome videos where the desktop is same, but easiness is increased, graphics and different different shortcuts just to make your work easier....
    Windows has it's Own charm ... :) Yesterday, I was using Ubuntu.. I took a screenshot of something and I wanted to edit it... I had to work a lot to snip that particular thing.. couldn't find Paint or any app for snipping... finally, I started my Windows and opened "Snipping Tool" and work was done... So, my point is that No body can provide Easiness like Windows :) That's what People want... we ppl are techies, so we'll find a way to resolution.. but think about people who are basic users and can't find an easy way... Now people have habit of working in Windows and they are used to it, it's very difficult to move them to windows 8.. It's difficult to accept it in one Go.... Even I found it a bit difficult and kept going to left corner for Start button, but when I kept using it for a week, I got used to it... now i like Windows 8 and can't work on Windows 7... :) As a whole, normal users won't accept Windows 8 soon... I think Lenovo made a right decision to preinstall pokki.. it's like you're not stuck with new Windows 8 Start... :)
  • Really❔
  • Stop that you troll.. I hate you.
  • Who you calling troll, bitch.
  • Am I the only one who thinks nimati's post was an anti-Android joke?
  • Stop sensationalizing this. Lots of OEMS add extra stuff to their windows devices. This is just another of those things. Also
    Some OEMS even install docks that compete directly with the task bar or complements it. This is bloatware yes but its uninstallable
  • I think this is different because it is changing the user interface of the OS and not just another application that the user uses for work or play. Its one thing to include DVD burning software or a note taking app, but removing the single most recognizable feature of Windows 8 is pretty extreme in my opinion. I think it should be turned off by default or maybe a window pops up asking the user if they want to use it.
  • If Microsoft allows such changes then so be it. If they wanted to force everyone to do things a certain way then they would not have made it possible to tweak the Start menu like this.
  • How is it 'changing the user interface of the os'? And how is it 'taking away the single most recognisable feature of windows 8'? Seriously have you installed Pokki on a Windows 8 machine? Or will you pretend you have?
  • What happens when you push the start button? I'm guessing the Pokki start menu pops up. So, how do you get to the metro start screen? I guess you would need to drag the desktop down to close it to get to the start screen. Many people might not recognize that they can do that. It's a dangerous precedent. If other oems do this, developers might stop making apps for metro. Then Microsoft chances in the tablet market will be none existent.
  • Guys, if u must know, Windows 8.1 is fixing all this with "Search" .... anywhere you are in windows 8, just write what you want to open, e.g. Word ....... The search will bring all the suggestions from sw programs/installed apps/windows store.. :) , it solves everything :) Why people hate Windows 8 right now? Because search is not that good.. and they miss Start button! What if, people just write and they get their program right there, cz Ultimately, we used to search for the program after clicking Start button. :) I'm using Windows 8.1 and I'm Loving it!!! :) :) It's beautiful .. :) Also, You can apply wallpaper behind start screen and many color designs :) :) I'm telling you, it's Great! You can try installing the preview RTM of 8.1 and you can rollback as well in case you find any issue... :)
  • I don't remember an OEM directly bypassing a major change by Microsoft, one which that have actively tried to make the new norn
  • I tend to agree. HP does it all the time. I think for those modifications might help them to move product. I would allow them that. Just don't preinstall google chrome. I'm good with the rest.
  • HP is at or near the top of the worst when it comes to taking over how Windows does printer/scanner device installs. Talk about overdone, user-hostile, system-hostile bloatware. Everything works so much better if you throw away the install media and let Windows handle installing the necessary device drivers.
  • I'll take your word for that. I know this the HP J8600 is the best multifunction printer ever produced. Drivers work on w7,8 and 8.1. No hassle just works.
  • I hate how overbloated the HP software is that comes with their printers - really like crapware! I never install them!
  • And that is why Windows is not the OS of choice for most people wanting a high end system. I love Windows, but I hate having to remove all of the crapware that OEMs get paid to pollute my system with. On my Mac machines there is no third party crapware (just first party like iTunes, lol).
  • All you have to do is reinstall the base OS and with 8 it has virtually all the drivers already so no driver hunting. Choosing Mac's Desktop OS over Windows 8 because of crapware put on by the OEM is a terrible reason to do so. If you want an non-OEM crapware experience out of the box buy a Microsoft Signature device... Pure Windows; no crap. 
  • Which is exactly what I did for my systems up until I started buying Signature systems from the Microsoft store.
  • Hey, what factual basis do you have for saying "Windows is not the OS of choice for most people wanting a high end system". Sounds like you just created that because it does not jive with reality.
  • Apple❔.. Really❔.... You're killing your WP device.. Please tell me it's not a Lumia..
  • Do you have any numbers to back up that insane statement? Windows has a 90% market-share so it would almost always be the OS of choice. Most top-end gaming PC's run Windows. Heck, even my top-end work PC is Windows. Just because a Mac is overpriced doesn't mean it's "top-end". Only certain OEM's install crapware anyway - I've never had any on my PC's. A lot of people do their own installs too, so also no crapware.
  • Yes and this is the reason Windows gets a bad name often...
    My father in law picked up a really nice Asus laptop...there was so much crap installed on it I spent a good 2 hours trying to get rid of all traces...much of it they hide so that it's never fully uninstalled...
  • As long as it can be uninstalled... its just bloatware. Nothing new.
  • Ditto, this is just another unnecessary warez that will be wiped off by IT pros or eventually ignored as people complete the learning curve
  • And how many bloatware programs have a fully functional uninstaller. I used to always reimage every new windows computer I bought because I like to start with a clean registry. Fortunately the Microsoft Store enables me to get a CLEAN new machine.
  • I think it should be an option and not forced. I personally love W8 as is.
  • Awesome! More bundled crapware!
  • So where does the pokki menu button sit in 8.1? To the left or right of the real Start button?
  • Replaces the start button.
  • It doesn't 'replace the windows 8 start button' since it doesn't exist currently. And when the start button appears in 8.1 it will be doing the same thing
  • yasinlumia920, your right that it doesn't replace anything in Windows 8 because the start button doesn't exist. But your wrong regarding Windows 8.1, it will be replacing the icon of the start button that MS has decided to put back on with 8.1. My original response what the fact that most people will not be buying Windows 8 laptops since 8.1 just went RTM. So come Oct 18th, many people will be doing the free upgrade to 8.1 or they will be buying new hardware that comes with 8.1. I certainly think they should make the install optional, there are too many people out there that do not know what is crapware and/or they don't know how to remove it.
  • No big, just uninstall or turn it off. Its not fragmenting the OS or the ecosystem.
  • After working in retail technology stores, I can confirm that "uninstalling" for the average user (aka: not us) is considered complicated. Sad, but true...
  • ^^ this, some users just can't go beyond opening a browser and word. I have at least 2 friends that can't even unistall a piece of software through the control panel after I emailed one of them a detailed guide with screenshots.
    I still don't understand how some people can be so computer illiterate and still survive in todays workplace, but the sad truth is there are those who just can't do simple tasks like unistall bloatware that came pre-loaded on their new PC.
  • That's pretty darn sad. All you have to do in W7 (and I would imagine W8) is type in "uninstall a program" and click enter, then you just uninstall whatever program it is you want to uninstall.
  • Come on willied, I'll buy you a beer. You just make too much sense man.
  • Thank you, good sir.
  • Back in my retail days, I had a customer ask me if a laptop "came with The Vista" and if his other computers would get it should he install said laptop on his home network.  Then there's all the customers asking about how many jiggabytes a computer came with...
  • Instead of seeing this on the negative, why not see the positive out of it? I mean... if W8 get more market share with Pokki and Lenovo.. than why not?
    I think MS should make a similar Menu, but one that could link you to Modern Apps as well as desktop apps. Why should MS kill the Desktop? they should embrace it, while mixing it with the Modern UI. The biggest problem about MS is that Ballmer is a conservative guy acting like a game changer. MS simply needs someone who doesn't lack vision. 
  • Sigh... The worst is (other than the OEM crapware) the fucking evaluations. Of Norton generally.
    And also unninstalling crapware is more complicated than normal software, because it's generally deep in the OS, hidden, or secured. Or in a hidden folder (that the average user doesn't have turned on), generally AppData
  • Oh I agree. Norton is the worst. Right up there with "trials" for Spyware Doctor and "optimization tools" by the OEM. Nearly impossible to remove without scanning files/folders/registry and even then you'll find remnants of it. Everytime I see "Samsung Fast Start" boot up on my computer, I feel like burning down the software division at Samsung. How could you not shoot yourself in the face after making something as disastrous as that?
  • Well, I won't be buying directly from Lenovo. I will buy from the MS Store for a native experience.
  • Just make sure you skip the Lenovo offerings when you do...if Microsoft doesn't make that easier for you by pulling Lenovo products.
    I'm actually finding myself surprised I'm saying this, but this may well kill Thinkpads for me.  I've been a fan of the Thinkpad line for over 15 years now, but after seeing them increasingly bundling bloatware on their machines (starting after Lenovo bought the line from IBM), my disappointment with my Thinkpad Twist, and now this, it's probably safe to say I'm done with Lenovo.
  • Its adware not a star menu!
  • If Lenovo really wanted to help users they would go with Start 8 from Stardock not this Pokki ad bloatware that is completely useless.
  • If someone butchered Windows it was Microsoft by removing an essential feature which is the star button menus. So I welcome and support Lenovo's move and hope other OEM's follow their lead.
  • If it is an essential feature, then please explain to me how I am operating my WIndows 8 PC without the pressence of the Start orb in the task bar.
  • +1
  • +2
  • True dat. Shame that with 8.1 it will ruin the minimalist look of win8 :(
  • Hopefully we will be able to disable the start buttom that does nothing in Win8.1 other than take up space on the taskbar.
  • You won't be able to without a 3rd party tool.
  • Because you don't work with the PC. And I mean proper work, not recreational work.
  • oh fuuuuuck you.
  • and you do "proper work"? please... stop your stupidity. you dont even know the person above, I know alot of people like myself who work in 3d industry and they dont go around saying "oh WIn8 sucks because i cant model 3d anymore" and im talking about a president of a division at NewTek, Rob Powers. same with other people you probably dont even know
    even the guy from HexChat uses windows 8. but wait, he doesnt do proper work anyway? even though he is obviously programming hexchat?
    or are you special you are the only one who does real work?
  • So... programming in VIsual Studio 2012, editing icons/images in GIMP, managing open-source software through git, using Skype in the background to communicate with others, playing games occasionally, browsing through multiple websites every day, and managing webservers isn't possible with Windows 8?
    I must be doing some magic, beacuse I've managed to do all that so far without any pain.
  • :troll on:
    Photoshop cs6 does glitch like hell on win8 (If you haven't set the Opengl prefs to basic) :P
    :troll off:
  • I'm a software engineer.  I do real work on business applications.  I use Windows 8 on my work computers, including my four monitor dev box.  I have no Start button, nor do I need one.  In fact, I like it without.  My Windows key works just fine, so I call BS on both you and the OP.  It's not an essential feature whatsoever. If you can't use your PC without a Start button, you probably shouldn't be doing any "proper work" with a PC.
  • But this person complains about new Start screen as well. and while its fullscreen now, the functionality is pretty much the same. its simply a fullscreen app launcher. so i dont know how a not so efficent old start menu, can give more "productivity" or make you do "real work" if win8 start screen works the same!
    its just laugable how some people think about win8 around the internet. but that "real work" conversation its the worst and dumbest one. since win8 doesnt take any skill or anything from you, and it can be the same if not even faster than win7. 
    Its like people want to believe so much Win8 is so much worse than win7... i really dont understand why they talk so much crap sometimes. Im still trying to find, how win8 can take away my productivity and how win7 allows to do real work!  But to me, its the same if not better.
    Win7 start menu of course was nice and all, but comparing it to win8, and now 8.1... I dont like going back to 7!
    I use mouse to navigate around pretty much always, i dont like shortcuts, not even Alt+tab. and I dont use windows key, so being a mouse user like that, I find it win8 really faster and better.
    of course "to each its own", but all this "proper work/real work" - "im a desktop user" (etc etc) - "so windows 8 is crap", excuses, are really stupid in my opinion. I dont even know how there is someone who says you, me and others dont do real work because we use win8! its just... so funny and stupid.
  • I see. Coding using Visual Studio 2013, image editing using Gimp, and any other work I have done using Windows 8 without a single use of start menu is a recreational work (I take that recreational means some kind of hobby, or activity that we like. So even hardcore work still can be recreational if we love it). Savvy? :p
  • Since it can be recreational if we love it, there wouldn't be any difference between recreational and hardcore besides the fact that we either like it or hate it. Which then also says that "And I mean proper work, not recreational work." would make no sense. If I apply that logic, that would mean that for the work you despise you use a start button and the work you enjoy you use a start screen.
    I don't get it, why can't we stop calling each other names like 5 year old children over a button in a GUI? If you don't like it, fine, as there are some that like orange juice vs. apple juice. No need to say that you do real work and others are people who screw around 24/7.
  • And I don't get it either that people who want the Start Button back say glibly that those of us who work on our W8 computers without the benefit of the Start Button don't do "real" work, just recreational work. That is the basest name-calling I could think of because it's looking down your nose at other people without realizing you are in fact incorrect about your assumption and could never climb out of it because you don't see your mistake!
  • I'm actually saying some sarcasm against DJCBS (note my ":p" emoticon there). Actually, recreational or proper work, it doesn't really matter. We can do with or without start menu. I basically doesn't really care if start menu is back (as long as it's an OS level, not adware like this one). What I don't really like is people shouting each other over trivial feature like start menu.
    And for this one (Lenovo's decision to add pokki by default, as opposed to optional install), I don't really like this practice.
  • You must be one of those illiterate users who can't uninstall a piece of software and refuse to accept change. I've implemented over 100 optiplex 2010AIO and XPS 12 units and everyone loves the including people over the age of 63
  • No, actually you're the idiot if you don't know the use of the menus. Then again, you're probably a fat 'murican who spends his time eating chips and looking at adult content featuring something you'll never get: women.
  • Wow, I can't believe I defended you in a thread yesterday. And here I thought you were a cut above the usual tripe.
  • I'd rather be a "fat 'murican" than an unintelligent troll like yourself. You apparantely can't even use Windows 8 productively because there's no start menu, that just shows how dumb you are.
  • "fat 'murican"? What a racist doucebag you are!
  • Start menu? That's When Microsoft destroyed windows! Don't they realize that all users really want the old program manager from windows 3.1 back?
    That displayed a nice grid of icons and then some other icons which opened other groups of icons! That's what everybody wants, not some new stinky start menu! Want proof that people want the program manager back? Just look at the sales figures for iPad. 130+ million sold speaks for itself. The iPad apparently gave people what they wanted! Grid of icons and no stinking start-menu! So begone you believers of the false start-menu good. Return to the true holy program manager... :-)
  • All hail Program Manager!
  • Not interested in the slightest, as I've said before, I love my Surface RT and if we continue to coddle people they'll never look beyond the antiquated view of a PC OS.
  • No Pokki on RT :)  No Malware at all for that matter.
    Wonderful thing, RT.
  • I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but I actually like Pokki. Im quite the MSFT fanboy, I own a 920, and have windows 8 on all my machines. Metro on windows 8 is a bit lacking for trackpad input. I own a Lenovo gaming laptop and I dislike the metro interface when using a track pad. If I have a actual mouse its not that bad, but without that its a pain. I find Pokki to be unobtrusive, it integrates with the Windows Store, has no ads, and is easily disabled. Most users either want a start menu, or have been convinced they want the menu, so I think this is actually a good idea that will help sales.
  • And is incredibly hideous. So, effectively, you have a piece of software that doesn't do much (except please those who can't change old habits) and looks hideous. Yup yup...
  • This is all about living in the past, and avoiding change before giving it a chance to prove itself superior. This software should only appeal to people who don't like W8 as it is, and those people might do well to open their minds just a little before insisting "different" is "worse". They may be right, but it's more likely they haven't properly considered the alternative. That's the shame.
  • Butchers. Plain and simple. First thing I'll remove if I get my hands on a Lenovo.
  • I do not know how that pokemon software from lenovo works but I like the idea of start menu that does not cover entire screen. Full screen start menu on 24 inch monitor is the only thing that irritates me in win8 ... and that dumb metro image viewer. Grrr
  • One more reason to only buy windows based machines at the Microsoft Store if you ask me. Just what I don't want: Some freemium crapware on my machine.
  • Disgusting bloatware is disgusting.
  • One of the stupidest idea.. Don't know what's the problem without a start menu , they just destroy Windows 8 with that ugly shit. Don't know why people don't get the advantages of metro and want a stupid start menu, they really must have an fetish...
  • Wait, so this isn't just some "old style start menu" next to the new start menu, but completely disables the new start menu, and the App Store it has within it, with no way of accessing it? And instead there is now Pokkis "PC App Store", whatever that is? I once installed one of these app suits, I think it was from Pokki, where you install a program and then within that program you can download "Apps", which are basically bullshit. I uninstalled it right as I was done installing 10+ of these Apps and then starting to try them out...turns out they are complete crap and did nothing but leave traces all over my OS and registry even after I uninstalled it all. This is ridiculous. I am very worried because this could mean the start of the Androidization of the Windows PC, which is a horrible picture.
  • A way for Sweetlabs to sneak crap onto your computer without you knowing it.
  • If I bought a Lenovo laptop, first thing I do will be uninstalling this Pokki thing.
  • So frustrating reading comments from people who have never used pokki. I consider myself a power user who uses win 8 for music production, graphics work and general use. If a small bit of software bloats your system than honestly the 1990's wants its complaints back. Pokki is a really handy bit of software. Install it before you crow.
  • The point is, there's no reason to install it.  Windows 8 functions just fine without this.  It's not like I'm going to install it and miraculously realize I've been missing all this power and functionality since moving to Windows 8... Because I'm not.  If anything, I greatly prefer the Windows 8 start screen and search. Bloatware doesn't necessarily mean a single, small piece of software is going to make your system lag...  it's more a matter of unnecessary (often completely crap) apps being installed without a consumers consent.  If many such apps have been installed there can in fact be a real world effect on system performance, generally and most noteably start up times. There are reasons that Microsoft Stores sell "Signature" computers and on of the biggies is to keep all the crap off them that manufactures typically add in.  Yes, us technically savvy users just tend to uninstall that stuff or better yet do a completely clean install of Windows on new computers to ensure they are as streamlined as possible, but the average consumer has no idea how to do any of that.
  • You have no use for it, so what? Most people have no use of most of the features in Windows. Shall we get rid of all those features? Calling it bloatware is just a crude way of something you most likely have never used or at least dont find useful. That's pretty arrogant. The average user will either use it, or ignore it. Just like they do with any other software that Microsoft has bundled with operating systems. To pretend you care for the average user is just silly.
  • They won't "ignore" it because it replaces the Start Screen for them. Before making a coherent argument, perhaps you should put some effort into realizing what that means for the OS. Just means that this new mask that Lenovo is putting on will become the face of Windows 8 on its machines.
  • Ms signature or format reinstall win 8 would be what I would do. Start clean then move on
  • It is not embedded into anything. Just uninstall Pokki. It's easy. Then...move on.
  • Well, I was kind of considering Lenovo for my next laptop - but not anymore! What do they think they are doing? Not that it matters to me, as I immediately format any computer with a preinstalled Windows and install a clean Windows instead. That does wonders for speed and stability. But this - this is just way over the top. And Lenovo of all OEMs, I mean, I could understand if it were HP, but Lenovo...
    Microsoft would do wonders for the reputation of Windows by simply disallowing any crapware once and for all. Essential drivers, yes, but not anything else.
  • Are people really that dumb, that the small button in the bottom left is such a big deal? Dont they get that pressing the win button is the same thing? Dont they get that what opens is just little bigger "start menu", and its possible to have even some animations there? Win8 is not perfect and it has the problem of "having 2 things in 1", but the missing button does not matter at all!
  • I installed Pokki on every one of my Windows 8 laptops when I first bought them. I fully embrace the new Windows 8 UI and look forward to 8.1. I just find myself still needing to work in Desktop mode for several applications and find it is much faster and convenient to simply click Pokki to perform various tasks like getting to the Control Panel, Programs, Shut Down and Restart from the Desktop then it is to navigate my way back through the Window 8 UI. Not here to fight one way or the other...just saying it has made the transition to Windows 8 much easier...especially for my wife.
  • When in desktop mode, Right-Click in the lower left corner of the screen where the start menu would normally be and gaze upon the Quick Link Menu.  It is also accessible by using the Windows Key + X keyboard shortcut.  You can now uninstall Pokki.   You're welcome.  :)
  • Here is a fix to the pokki app. https://twitter.com/surfacegeeks/status/372453241746763776
  • I use only desktop mode and have no problems navigating without start button. Yes, power off was first weird, but I just put that to the power button, so pressing that closes the machine. At least on laptop, its better than pressing anything on software side. I always do a clean instal to all my systems, or systems I setup.
  • Another alternative is to use the old Shutdown.exe command.   If you create shortcuts for these shutdown and restart commands you can give them a nice icon and then pin them to your start screen for fast access.  It's pretty slick.
    C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /p /f
    Shuts down the computer immediately with no timeout or warning and forces running apps to close. Restart
    C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /r /f /t 0
    Restarts the computer with 0 second delay and forces running apps to close.
  • Thanks for this.
  • Right click on 8.1 start button offers shutdown.
  • Can it be uninstalled? I don't want the bloat.
  • A PC manufacturer has loaded a piece of Junkware on their device. Color me surprised.
  • Bloatware, but I couldn't care less what people do with their devices.
  • FDisk is a wonderful tool.
  • If they don't make it easy to uninstall, I guess no Lenovo for me, but who am I kidding, I would never keep their installation anyway
  • This move by Lenovo made it clear to me that I can remove them from consideration for future hardware. I have easily transitioned to Win 8 and don't need some corporations idea of a third party program to alter the interface.
  • My sentiments exactly. I don't care how easy it is to uninstall.
  • I wouldn't remove them from consideration entirely, but it definitely has a negative impact on their chances with me. Unfortunately, I suspect that we are not typical and most consumers will prefer anything that lets them keep on keepin' on.
  • Shame on them for trying to make the transition easier for average joe then? It literally takes 15 seconds to uninstall...
  • Glad im building my own PC. So I don't have to deal with crap I don't want. Also it'll be much better hardware wise.
  • Man Lenovo was looking good in my eyes before this crap. Now I doubt I will ever purchase a Lenovo branded computer.
  • That's a bit rough! Its uninstallable just like those crapware wifi managets etc, if you dont want it i can promise you it takes about 15 seconds to remove it!
  • But... Windows 8.1 is already handed to manufacturers, will these PCs then have two start buttons o.O
  • A bad move. If not readily removable, I will buy a MacBaook Air next. I have three ThinkPads and a ThinkCentre, and have been using Windows 8 for about 15 months smoothly on all. I do not need bloatware training wheels...
  • It is readily removable mate, just go add remove programs and remove it like any other program if you dont want it
  • I would prefer to have it as an option. I probably wouldn't buy Lenovo anyway.
  • This is why MSFT needs to make there own ultrabook/laptop/desktop. 
  • Microsoft should thank Lenovo for doing what they didn't have the balls to do! Kudos Lenovo!
  • Will poki be able to have its start menu customized for different commands?
  • haha at least somebody prefers normal start over windows 8 full screen joke :)
  • Still think Lenovo should've went with Stardock instead, pre-loading Start8, Decor8, and ModernMix. Hell, every PC manufacturer should. Windows 8.1 might render it redundant, as Start8 essentially places a Start Button back into the taskbar (but still has the classic Start Menu), Decor8 can be used for custom imagery in the Start Screen (when 8.1 will allow the desktop wallpaper to be used, but Decor8 can blur the image, which I'd rather have), and ModernMix allows Modern apps to be loaded in a window.
  • I hadn't heard of Pokki till this Lenovo business so i decided to install it and have a look! Its actually really good! Its not an exact replica of the old start menu, un fact it is much neater just allowing a set number of set links and the rest in all apps and you can search it to easily find! I am a power user of Windows 8 (A developer non theless) and I have no issues with an absent start menu, however I really enjoy the alternative provided by pokki! I mean the apps like ebay, outlook etc are just the web pages inside a flash box, however the advantage you get is push notifications so when you have an email it gives you a little notification in your task bar which you don't get from the site. From a developers perspective, anything that gets people into the Windows 8 ecosystem is a good thing, if it takes an alternative start menu so be it, lenovo would have done their user research, I'm certain (even based on feedback I get from people) that the abrupt removal of the core UX of windows since what windows 3.1? Is stiffling adoption of Windows 8 and so I say hats off to Lenovo for being prepared to listen to consumers and fight tooth and nail for Win 8 adoption!
  • That's what you get (windows 8) when a couple of bitches are in charge (Tammy and Julie). Need more balls and less estrogen on next windows 9 release.
  • Can't we all just get along? :)
  • Lenovo is butchering Microsoft’s OS.