Iowa company aims to improve experience for Windows 8 users

When Microsoft released Windows 8 in October it caused some users, as the New York Times wrote, to scratch their heads. …

RetroUI brings the classic desktop view of Windows 7 to Windows 8.

When Microsoft released Windows 8 in October it caused some users, as the New York Times wrote, to scratch their heads. “It made me feel like the biggest amateur computer user ever,” one person told The Times.

A Milford, Iowa company is out to help confused users with an enhancement to Windows 8 called RetroUI. The company, Thinix, which has a history of creating user interface software for Windows, released the software in September.

“Windows 8 represents some great technology, but with these new features comes the challenge of how to adopt it without disrupting business operations,” Thinix CTO Don Van Oort (right) said in a recent email interview. “Our goal in producing RetroUI was to empower users to adopt these new technologies on desktop PCs and laptops as easily as possible.”

RetoUI brings back features Microsoft removed in Windows 8, such as the Start Button and Start Menu. It also includes “Enforce,” a patent-pending Thinix technology that allows Windows 8 apps to run in resizable windows on the classic Windows desktop, something the latest version of Windows does not allow.

“This is game-changing, revolutionary technology that no other company has,” said Van Oort. “It eliminates the need for desktop and laptop users to be forced to use Hot Corners, and makes Windows 8 immediately intuitive.”

RetroUI, which starts annual licenses at $4.95 for consumers and $9.95 for businesses, has seen tens of thousands of downloads since launch, Van Oort said.

The maker of RetroUI, Thinix, is a division of R & D Industries, a nearly 30-year-old engineering and technology integration company. R & D created Thinix nine years ago with a mission to make low cost, reliable computers for hotel guests. Today, the company manages kiosk computers around the globe and churns out user interface programs for Windows. It has offices in Des Moines and Ames, as well, each with about a half-dozen employees.

With future versions of RetroUI, Thinix plans to add features that make Windows 8 smoother and more robust, Van Oort said. However, he made an important distinction: RetroUI aims to enhance Windows 8, not replace it.

“We don’t think we are Microsoft, we aren’t trying to subvert people away from the Microsoft App Store and we want people to be able to use and experience the benefits of Windows 8,” Van Oort said. Thinix, he said, is a long-term Microsoft Partner.

For more on RetroUI, see the promotional video below.


Note: Danny Schreiber contributed reporting to this article.

Credits: Screenshot from Don Van Oort photo courtesy of Van Oort.


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