Windows 8 Get to like Windows 8

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I read, all over the web, comments regarding the dislike for the forthcoming Windows 8, and in particular, and in fact almost exclusively, criticism of the (as it was called) Metro.

I was urged to print my own thoughts on the subject, and I published an article which I have repeated here, in which I stated, imo, that "Metro" was a replacement for the start menu, and, for new users, if they accepted that concept, it becomes easier to use. You could regard the "All Apps" as the extra selections you get, if you open the default folders in the Windows 7 start menu.

When I booted up Windows 7 and earlier, I arrived at a desktop - fine. (exactly, even, as in a linux distribution) It has never crossed my mind that the little globe, bottom left, was any other than where I started to look to go further into my applications. ie. "The Start menu".(Unless, of course, I had all my shortcuts set up in the taskbar and desktop - not my practice.)

However, for what it is worth, this is how I see the "Metro"

My first comment is that, whilst, from the beginning, Microsoft and followers have touted the Metro as the new desktop, this was a mistake. I cannot see it as such. To me it is a new, graphical, start menu. It is designed, primarily, for touchscreens, but there is no reason why it cannot, with a little compromise, be adjusted for normal mouse use.

The following is based on those thoughts. I am indicating, solely, how I have found a use for it, or an alternative method of successfully using Windows 8. The OS is an advancement on Windows 7, in performance, but not enough, in my opinion, to warrant the purchase of it - particularly for mass purchasers.

However. here I go. two basic methods. One for those who would like to try and use the Metro Start menu, another for those who want to be more familiar in old surroundings.

Metro users.

Let me ask, here, do you, users, really have a daily requirement for all of those apps which are put into the old legacy menu, and now Metro. Those who are heavily into graphic operations may need more than me, and there are other aspects of computer use with the same need. But I have eliminated mine to ten programs I use in my daily work.

So, on the Metro screen, let us right click an app icon. A bar menu appears on the bottom, like this:

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Here, as you can see, you can Unpin it, which tucks it away. You can even Uninstall it if that is the way you want to go. Even better, which really is concerned with my next section, you can Pin it to the start.
When you have done this, you can rearrange the remaining icons, in your preferred order.

Now comes a partly hidden function. Click, over on the bottom right, the small minus sign. Now you will have a miniaturised picture of your Metro. Right click any of the groups, which you have prearranged. Another bar menu! You can name those groups.

As I stated, I have eliminated mine to a mere ten items, but for the purpose of this Demo, here is my full Metro, on a complete and new installation:

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So, there we have a graphical start menu. What about all those unused apps. - Just right Click on the Metro, and, bottom right, is some text "All Apps". Click there and you have a whole bunch of every app on your computer.
Now, if you click any app, on your Metro all "All Apps" Window, it will open in the normal way. But, if you close it, you will find yourself on the legacy desktop. Bu***ger. But click the "Windows" key, and you are back in your Metro Start menu.
That is all, in the context of this post, there is to say on the use of the Metro

You don't want Metro.

Fair enough. If you click the Desktop icon, in Metro, you will find yourself on the legacy desktop. Darn, its totally empty. No problem, it is customisable in exactly the manner to which you've been used to - right click and "personalise".

But where is the good old start menu? A big omission, on Microsoft's part, to omit that. But no problem again.
Download and install the well known "Classic Menu".

Welcome to Classic Shell

This is incredibly customisable,. It even has a choice of start orbs. Within the options is one which enables a user to boot straight through to the desktop, bypassing the Metro completely. Classic, can be set up almost 100% to emulate the old Windows 7 menu.

But maybe you would like to use one of the other third party start menus? There are several around, if you google, but I dont think, imho, that they compete with the Classic.

If, again, that is the road you wish to take, forget about the "Classic" download and install the attached little gem. Select the option to bypass the Metro. Install your own menu.

One last. If you want to persist, and use the facilities available, right click in the bottom left corner of the desktop.. This popup has become known as the "Power" menu. It is also customisable, but this involves a little hacking and manipulation, and I don't consider it to be the subject of this post.

That's about it, but a comment for your thoughts.
In Windows 7, for example, you are in and using an App. You close it and wish to go to another App.

1. Click the Orb.
2. Click "All programs"
3. Click your desired shortcut.
3 clicks.
In Windows 8
1. Click the "Windows" key
2. Click your shortcut Icon.

-See the difference.

I should also add that my personal use of a computer, often takes me to a situation where I need to have several windows open on the desktop. This cannot be done with Metro Apps - so far. To me, the solution was simple - I don't use them. You can find a wealth of alternative, non metro apps on the web, which can accomplish the same things. I have weakened and downloaded a couple of time wasters from the "Store". Card games and Backgammon as two examples.

There are other aspects of Windows 8, which users could comment on. IMO, it has a slightly improved performance. I would not consider that improvement enough to warrant its purchase, particular for an office with a multi purchase requirement. And, of course, even for a desktop user, I cannot grasp the idea of the average secretary typing on a touchscreen - lol. - but that is an otpion.

Good luck. I hope it will work for you, but do try and have fun exploring the possibilities I have mentioned

Allow me to add to what David has written regarding the Modern UI.

Much has been maligned about a missing start icon. Indeed as David has implied, it is not missing. The idea being, as he indicates that the Start icon (Bottom-Left Corner) take one to the Start screen & Tiles. It is true this/that screen can be used OR NOT... completely optional. So, as he points out is what Tiles it has on it, their size & grouping.

As too the value of certain APPs that to is subjective. But, whether those applications, any of them are accessed via the Moder UI Start screen & via Tiles OR NOT is, also, optional. To explain:

When one 1st boots into Windows8 Tiles can be hit; then Open/Active items will sit on the Switcher Bar or what I have been calling the APP Bar. Now control gets really nice from that location. Things like Calendar, Weather lie 'in waiting, can be Close (from) there or Snapped to be viewed & share the screen along w/ other things. OR one can go directly to Desktop & then, from there select any desired application in a few ways... by going back (& forth) to Start ( but, that's unnecessary); by going to WinQ & back to Desktop OR by having the (all) applications in a folder on the Taskbar (see photo), this being my preferred method as it allows never leaving Desktop. Yes, the idea is that the Start icon takes one to a 'graphical' display of start menu items. Frankly I find that more trouble than it's worth.

But, the take-away here is the incredible versatility of Windows8. No one is forced to use the Modern UI or the Start screen & Tiles, though it can work nicely for some people, some people will come to like using that & doing things w/ it. Some/ many, like myself are happier working on, in & from Desktop.

Yes, great value can come from using the so-called Power Users menu (Rt Clk Bottom-Left Corner); another helpful tip is to enable the Desktop Toolbar (Rt Clk Taskbar > Toolbars & select Desktop... the neat thing about this is any shortcut or other Desktop icon shows (here) even if you uncheck "Show Desktop Icons" & thereby have nothing on top of pretty wallpapers. Links is another handy one to enable as items there equate Favorites Bar content... Favorites Bar can be hidden & yet via Links can go to a site even w/out having a browser open 1st. Some Keyboard shortcuts are really worth learning & using, too... WinE is an example but, there are many.... I listed them in this forum somewhere in Tutorials, long ago.

At the end of the day (hate that expression, lol) Windows8 can be so fast & easy to find things, access things, navigate that it is, in a way, actually fun to use. Things can be quicker, more efficient, more @ your fingertips & direct than, even, Windows7 & certainly moreso than that old start menu thing was or allowed.

Once you get hip to using the APP Bar in conjunction w/ Desktop it gets damn cool. I tried lots of add-ins & retro-fits...all unneeded! Windows8 works beautifully 'as is', right out of the box. As David & I are point to it can be a personal hybrid of it's Features & abilities as you discover what's available & possible & how all they forms your particular 'comfort zone'. Many APPs are useful, some are silly & some, true enough have & have always had similar more conventionally accessible alliterations that are web-based.

Oh, BTW, @ boot, you can go to Desktop 3 ways:
1. Clk Desktop Tile
2. WinD
3. Put the Desktop Tile as Top-Left most & hit Enter... whatever Tile is in that position, upon hitting Enter, that's where you will go.

Actually there's a 4th.... if say something like Outlook or WL Messenger is a Tile, hit that & it will open on the Desktop.

Here's the promised photo. You just scroll up/down & click on the application wanted. This or WinQ means you can actually have no Tiles on Start except Desktop, if you wanted. Myself, I think having everything on Start as Tiles & scrolling looking for a Tile is ridiculous but, each to their own. If you are going to use Start & Tiles, tailor it so no scrolling is needed.
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This doesn't exist, by default but, it's easy to create. I put the instructions in the forum, already, also. Be glad to tell anyone how or point you to the instructions. Myself, I really like this 1.

As for the technical goodies under the covers & what you consciously or unconsciously gain from them in Windows8... that's huge... for both End Users & certainly for Enterprise.

Oh & although there are several ways to get to things & Search... it is kinda neat how you can begin typing in the middle of nowhere on Start & whoosh it goes to the sought item & way before you finish typing, lol.

Lastly, never think the lack of a touch-screen impedes the Windows8 experience... it does not, @ all!

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Gotta tell you, honestly, with no bias towards either of you, especially Drew (I want to make that very clear). This is solely from using the OS for hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks... I like the speed optimization.. I like the memory deduplication even though I've got 24GB of RAM and can't tell the difference... I like the desktop. But I've got to tell you, if people are endlessly going to be downloading Classic Shell mods to disable Metro because it really sucks that bad, and let me tell you, I use it as quickly as possible and GTFO... I use it to get to a program and never look at it again... I have no interest in any app except the Kindle reader, and thats just looking at it to see if one day I'll ever read a book on a 27" monitor...

I've got to tell you the Start Screen, to me, is a fail. Here's a story:

"Windows 8... to summarize: there used to be an option for that called "Run in Full Screen Mode". Well I've been in Windows 8 RTM since it RTM'd and I've used the Start Screen about 5% of the time that I use my computer. My Visual Studio Metro/Runtime apps were rejected for pointing to third-party websites by some automated system or a bean counter since you can't link to a 3rd party website; only use APIs... I'm sure this will be a hit, especially at the $15-$25 price range was it? Once it becomes $150 like seemingly every version of Windows, I think Windows 8 is going to find itself in some real trouble. My 27" Samsung monitor isn't going touch screen any time soon, and I'm not developing apps for a store that has more content requirements than Walmart on an album inappropriate for minors... If my backup was still relevant, I'd probably go back to Windows 7 right now... if the desktop is eliminated in Windows RT, forget about anyone using it. The metro apps are absolutely hilarious on a desktop computer and even a 14" laptop.."

"Maybe an XBOX Controller for PC would be good versus a USB monitor digitizer (invented and sold by noone in this universe)? You could always wave at your computer with Kinect... nah.. I'm sorry. Even as an MVP I cannot say I like the system at all. Funny, I didn't write those Windows 8 apps in Visual Studio with a touch screen."

Of course, these are all my off the cuff remarks... but I've just had it. The weird thing is the Windows Phone OS isn't even really Windows 8, so what the hell was the point of this unified platform?? Windows RT with no desktop is going to be hell on wheels.

And then there's this... I don't care if I lose my award for it.. its the truth:

Windows 8 Apps: Reality for Small Developers or Machinations of a Wet Dream?

At a store, shouldn't the consumers determine if they don't like what's on sale? (This was free, too). Something is wrong with this story, and it's called a bunch of devs getting yelled at to make a version of Windows as good as Android and iOS. This is the result... and I can't say I truly enjoy it.

As Rich Prescott (admin) mentioned, Valve, the major game company that operates Steam, recently announced it probably will not support Windows 8 in any major way other than rudimentary functionality. Games should not be expected to run on Steam properly if they do not meet the system requirements. 99% of which are Windows 7... It is probably a good thing Windows 8 didn't ship with DX12 with the way this thing was developed. Also, I can't use FRAPS (the most popular screen capture software on the planet) or Camtasia Studio due to the Start Screen interfering in how the desktop (now whatever you want to call it - Start Screen/Metro/Runtime/Desktop) display numbers are assigned internally by Windows. At the end of the day, that means I can't make a single video about Windows 8 in Windows 8, and I've got the entire Adobe CS6 Master Collection.

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Ok Mike. No offense here. But, of course, my post was merely a help to those who seem to feel the Metro was the only way to go. - Far from it. The small improvements in most aspects of it's performance, have probably created a desire in many to go for it. That group are the one's I was aiming at.
Frankly, with the method I have outlined, I am looking through the registry for quite the opposite reason to most- I want a way to return to the Metro start menu, after closing a legacy app! Without that, like yourself, I find myself more on the legacy desktop, using my "old" apps, than dodging back into Metro. Should MS come with an update to have Metro apps in anything other than full screen, I might be tempted to try a couple iof those, also.
I haven't been into Visual Studio for a while, so cannot comment on your disasters there!
I am strictly a desktop user, with an occasional use for a Laptop when doing my rounds. I do not see any advantage for me in having a touchscreen. Most of my applied work is followed by a large amount of typing - no go on a touch screen.

LOL. I do not see a real problem with renewal of your MVP status, when the time comes. Mine is up for renewal as we speak. On my side of the puddle, it does seem that they go into the subject of renewal quite seriously, but, surely, your post must be taken in context as a sincere criticism, if the MS readers are mature.
Only thing which gives me food for thought is that, with you posted comments, as the owner of this Windows 8 site, perhaps it doesn't advertise itself too favorably - just a thought, no criticism.?

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I understand, but even I have kind of grown nauseous of the interface. There are people who despise it much more than me. It was supposed to be great because it accepted JavaScript, HTML, and Runtime libraries to let you make 3rd party apps... what is with the Gestapo integrity check? Launching IE is a security violation of a program now? After you download it? I'm not buying it. Some won't, quite literally...

I really despise it. I love the os the interface not at all. So will continue using Classic shell on it. I find the new interface gets in my way and reminds me of active desktop and Microsoft BOB. Each to their own though.

Gabe Newell's right. It's a catastrophe for PC developers.
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