A Week With Windows 8: Day Four – Getting To Know 8

So I’ve been using Windows 8 constantly now for four days and I’m starting to get used to it. That doesn’t mean however that I am starting to like it. I’m finding myself basically staying away from Metro as much as humanly possible, but here is what I’ve found so far…

 The Four Corners

Each and every corner of Windows 8 has a different feature, which, so far as I can see can’t be changed. The bottom left is the Start button, the two right corners bring up the fabled “settings panel” and the top left corner shows you what applications are open so you can right click to close them – no crosses on the top right of windows here, oh no! Instead you have to go to the top left of the screen, wait for the popup to appear, right click on the application you want to close and finally click close – more more simple hey!

To make things even more complicated, the applications that are shown on the top left of the screen are only shown if the application is a Metro one. I still don’t know how to close other, non-metro applications like Chrome apart from going into to task manager. I don’t think most users will know how to do that though so I think a lot of people’s RAM will get full very quickly.

Being a long term Linux user, I prefer to have the task bar at the top of the screen. I would have thought that if I moved the taskbar to the top then the Start button would have come up with it, but oh no – the Start button stays right where it is. Yet more complication!

The fabled ‘Settings Panel’

 Metro Start Menu

I just can’t get used to Metro. Anything that is installed gets automatically added to the back of the ‘list’ within Metro but common sense dictates that any applications that you install are obviously needed by you so therefore why wouldn’t they be added to the start of Metro for easy access? Instead you get all the silly ’tiles’ like mail & calendar. Let’s face it 99.9% of users will either use Outlook or webmail for this.

There are absolutely no administrative icons on the Metro menu by default. Control Panel is hidden away, as are things like RDP, run and command prompt – all items that I use literally on a daily basis in Windows (as would most system admins).  Too add a shortcut to Metro is once again a frustratingly slow, convoluted process…

You have to right click on Metro, select “all apps”, find the app you want, right click on the app you want to add and select “pin to start”. It’s just crazy how slow everything is in Windows 8.

Metro’s All Apps Menu

Conclusion

Why couldn’t Microsoft have added a ‘fall back’ mode? In Windows 7, you can turn off Aero and make it look like Windows 95/98 – it’s called ‘classic mode’ whereby everything (including the Start menu) looks like Windows 95/98. Why can’t they add this same functionality to Windows 8 – it would make it all so much simple for a lot of users.

Come back tomorrow to see how I get on with personalising Windows 8.

Day Five – Personalisation —->

A Week With Windows 8: Day Four – Getting To Know 8
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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HC472HNLLQYOPSQ546HVNCIBQI Chris Lu

    Microsoft is forcing people to use Metro whether they like it or not that is why there is no fallback. Metro is more than a GUI it is a completely new framework that unites tablets, phones, and desktops. So ideally a programmer can write one program and it would work on all three platform with no or very little work.

    If there was a fallback or if you could completely disable metro like in earlier Windows 8 preview, then it would defeat the whole purpose of Windows 8. That’s why they even ripped the start menu code out on purpose, b/c they don’t want anybody rage quiting on Metro and staying in the old desktop and by extension the old win 32 framework (XP,Seven).

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      I totally get their rationale behind the move, but my point is this – I pay hundreds of pound for a new laptop, desktop or netbook. I want these devices to work how I want them to work, I don’t want to be told how to use my machine.

      Many of us have been using our machines in much the same way for as long as we can remember. What right does Microsoft have to tell us, the users how we should be using our machines? We should be able to choose how we go about using our own machine, after all, we bought them so why not?

      The point I was trying to make is not pick at the technicalities about why Microsoft did what they did, but in fact point out the restrictiveness of their new design. The bottom line is that new isn’t always better and many people don’t like change – especially when businesses have a vested interested for this change over to be seamless (which it won’t be).

      Apologies for not explaining myself well in the article – I was tired and very frustrated with my machine lol :)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HC472HNLLQYOPSQ546HVNCIBQI Chris Lu

        I agree. I understand Microsoft position, but I also hope WinRT or the Metro framework either outright fails or is humbled to the point to force Microsoft to change some disturbing policies.

        You should write in the article how arguably exploitative Metro is. Default metro programs are poorly written, some like the official Microsoft weather app have ads, others like the default music player is nothing more than layer to push consumers to buy music from Microsoft.

        Ranting on some other points I seen through the web, all WinRT programs must be approved and can only be installed from Microsoft in the store, and coincidentally Microsoft takes 30 percent cut for paid apps, which is one of the reason by game companies are complaining about Windows 8.

        This will also probably kill the freeware windows software market, which in the past relied on piggyback programs installation programs to make a profit, a imperfect practice for sure, but it sustained freeware ecosystem and there was at least a opt out. Think about what you use on your system including CD/DVD burning tools, Antivirus software, media ripping etc etc all are sustained economically by the piggyback model.

        More troubling on tablets and phones, WinRT locks out access to the API for alternative any other browser. This policy isn’t applied YET to desktop or x86 computers, but as we blur the line between what constitutes “PCs,” I would have little faith in Microsoft keeping future Windows open b/c what see seen so far is trend by Microsoft toward a walled garden aka Apple iOS.

  • Steven

    Once again, I’m seeing more reasons as to why I shouldn’t move onto Windows 8. I’m not going to use something that takes so much time to trick into doing what I want it to do.