Jamie recently shared his business-focused experiences with Windows 8, so I thought I’d add my more casual views to the mix…
In summary (for those who don’t want to read any more than they have to!) – I like it. As with any new operating system there are things that I haven’t quite got used to, but weighed against these slight annoyances, are a bunch a nice changes:
Being a Windows Phone user (and advocate!) I like the
metro modern tiles. This screen replaces the Windows 7 Start menu, but in my opinion, having used it for a few weeks now, it’s no slower than using the start menu and you get the added benefit of live tiles.
I also like being able to snap the apps to one side of the desktop. This is great for when your using one monitor and want to keep an eye for any emails coming in.
2. The New Look Windows Explorer
Windows Explorer now has a ribbon just like Office 2010. This puts a lot of the options, such as show/hide hidden files, file name extensions within much easier access.
Microsoft have also brought back the ^ button next to the address allowing you to quickly navigate to the folder above the one you are currently in.
I’m an XBOX gamer and I’m not afraid to admit that I’m slightly addicted to achievements. So what can be better than getting some easy and free achievements from the standard Windows games like minesweeper and solitaire? Awesome!
4. The New Task Manager
I love access to more detailed system information and the new task manager gives you just that. It starts with a simple list of running applications and their current status, but click the more details tab and you get a nice presentation of the running processes and system performance. Under the user tab you can even see running processes grouped by user.
5. More Accurate Progress Bars
This may seem like a trivial point, but it always irked me that when transferring files the progress bar constantly changed it’s estimate and never seemed correct — 5hrs remaining, 2hrs 30min remaining… right. The new presents more information about the speed of the transfer and gives you a more accurate (as far as I have tested) estimate of the time remaining.
6. Startup and Shutdown Times
Windows 8 loads and shutsdown quicker than any previous Windows (that I can remember).
–WHAT I DON’T LIKE–
1. Closing Apps
Why is it so difficult to close an app? I don’t like a cluttered desk, or a cluttered desktop. Equally I don’t like applications running unnecessary in the background, even if they are in a suspended state.
Apps don’t have a cross/close button at the top right. Instead you have to move your cursor to the top of the screen and then drag (holding the mouse button) to the bottom on the screen . Alternatively you can use the shortcut Alt+F4
2. Navigating Between Apps
I also don’t understand why when you close an app it doesn’t go back to either: the last app you had open, the home screen, or the desktop. I find that quite often it will leave me with a blank screen.
So when you close down Internet Explorer after viewing a link someone sent you in an email it doesn’t automatically go back to the email.
3. The Messaging App
This little app is supposed to make sending messages over your favourite social networking sites easier. But it’s clunky and in my opinion unnecessary. The feature should have just been built into the people app, which does an excellent job of combining your contact information from a number of sources.
The whole Windows 8 Experience is designed to be touch-friendly. This is great if you are using a touch device but if you’re not I find that everything is scaled unnecessarily large. These can be tweaked slightly – you can tell the new start screen to display more tiles for example.
A couple of Shortcut Keys that might come in handy:
Win+Q: Search apps (or just start typing from the home screen)
Win+W: Search settings
Win+F: Search files
Win+D: Open desktop
Win+,: Peek at desktop
Win+B: Back to desktop
Win+Z: Get to app options
Win+.: Snap app to the left
Win+Shift+.: Snap app to the right
Alt+F4: Close an app
Win+X: Open system utility settings menu
Win+PrntScrn: Take screenshot and save to Pictures
Win+Tab: Open switch list
Win+T: Preview open windows in taskbar