Getting around in Windows 8

Getting around in Windows 8

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A common thread we’ve seen in the feedback so far about Windows 8, on this blog or elsewhere, positive or negative, is that people using Windows 8 for the first time might need a little help getting their bearings. For me, the best way to get acquainted with a new operating system is a lot like the way I got acquainted with the moving parts in a lot of the gadgets I tinkered with (by which I mean my parents’ stuff that I broke) growing up: just start messing with it. I know other people, though, who like to read before beginning or read as they go. You might be able to relate to one of these styles, or you might be somewhere in between. Either way, I hope some of this info can help you use Windows 8 even more quickly and efficiently.

Where did the Start button go?

The Start button has been one of the best known images in Windows for over sixteen years now. I’ll admit, when I look in the corner of my screen and just see an icon for Outlook, it’s still a little jarring. And I’ve been using Windows 8 for months now. So where did the Start button go? The short answer: it’s still there, it’s just on the right, and it looks a little different now. Also, you can still use the Windows logo key clip_image001 if you’re using your keyboard.

A view of the Windows 8 desktop with the Start button and charms on the right side of the screen

But the question isn’t just where the Start button went. It’s also about how to do the things that were there before, which is a perfectly fair thing to ask. Let’s look at a few of the way Windows 8 helps you get things done.

The Search and Settings charms

I touched on these briefly in my post Introducing Windows 8 Consumer Preview, but there have been some more questions since then, and I didn’t go into depth at that point, so I wanted to look at the Search and Settings charms more thoroughly, since they relate most closely to navigation and getting around Windows.

Search (Windows logo key + Q)


Broadly speaking, there are two ways to use the Search charm. The first is to search from the Start screen, and the second is to search within apps. Let’s begin with the Start screen.

When you use the Search charm, the first view you’ll see is a list of all of the apps on your PC. That’s because by default, the search is set to Apps, and since you haven’t entered anything yet, all (or none) of the apps match your search criteria. As you begin typing, the view changes in real time to include only the things that match what you’ve entered. On the upper right are options to filter your search to Settings or Files, so you can quickly find what you need. The Settings filter (go straight to it with Windows logo + W) shows results for tasks (like “Change display settings”) as well the names of parts of Control Panel (like Windows Mobility Center), and the Files filter (Windows logo + F) contains further controls to narrow your search by file type.

Searching from the Start screen also lets me look at results for the same search in multiple apps quickly. So if I’m going to Tokyo on vacation (Hi, Tokyo! I miss you!), I can use the Search charm to easily read in Internet Explorer about the city and the best places to stay, use a travel app to check on airfare, and then obsessively check the weather every day until I leave. I just open Search and enter “Tokyo.” then I can click an app and see the results, and when I’ve read what I want to, I bring search up again, and since my search term is still there, I can just click another app and see what it gives me.

You can also use Search when you’re already in app. One of the comments on last week’s post asked how to search the Windows Store, since browsing through all the apps is a little cumbersome (and will only get more so as there are more and more apps in the Store). The Search charm works if you want to search the Store, but it does something even better: it gives you one place to do the same task every time you need to do it, in any app. Rather than going to a different place in each app to search, you can go the same place every time. To find a contact in the People or Mail apps, look at the city where I’m going on vacation (some day) in the Weather app, or even search the internet in Internet Explorer, I can do the same thing every time. You’ll notice that when you use the Search charm when you’re in an app, the results just go right to that app. Like before, you can jump right to the results from another app just by clicking its name.

Settings (Windows logo key + I)


The Settings charm contains several more things that were in the Windows 7 start menu. The very first thing that slowed me down the first time I tried Windows 8 was where to go when I wanted to restart my PC. The Settings charm has settings specific to the app you’re using – Accounts in the Mail app, for example, or Control Panel and Personalization in the Desktop. So like the Search charm, it gives you a consistent place to go to look at settings for any app.

The Settings charm also has a few commands that show up no matter what you’re doing. These include a few of the things you might have used in the Start menu in Windows 7.

The bottom of Settings contains useful commands for managing network connections, power, volume, screen brightness, inut and display languages, and notifications

This is where you can go to view and change network properties (including airplane mode), control the system volume and screen brightness, change the language you type in, restart, sleep, shut down, and turn notifications on and off. There’s also a link to PC settings that shows up no matter where you are in Windows.

The app bar

I mentioned using the app bar for pinning a moment ago, but it’s useful for lots more. The visual design we’ve used for Windows 8 emphasizes more of the content you want and less visual distraction. This doesn’t mean that all the commands you use are gone. It means that now, they can float over what you’re working on and then go away when you don’t need them anymore. Just right-click a tile or swipe down to select it, or right-click an empty space or swipe in from the bottom or top of your screen to bring up the app bar with commands for the context you’re in.

When you select a tile (swipe down or right-click), the app bar includes commands that pertain to that app. So you might see Open new Window for Internet Explorer, Open File Location for Windows Explorer, or Larger / Smaller for tiles that can be wide or square on the Start screen.

Right-click a tile or swipe down on it to bring in the app bar with commands for that tile

When you’re on the Start screen or in an app, swiping in from the top or bottom of the screen or right-clicking an empty space brings up the app bar with commands for that app (you can also use the Windows logo key + Z). This is where you can find the Accounts button in the Mail app, the News button in the Finance app, the Places button in the Weather app, and similar commands for most of the apps you use. Each app had its own set of options on the app bar, but you can get to the app bar the same way in every app.

Swipe in from the top or bottom of an app or right-click to bring up the app bar with commands specific to that app

You can use one of the commands, or just tap or click back in the main part of the app to dismiss the app bar.

Finding and pinning things

In Windows 7, you can find programs or files by just clicking Start and then typing. Results appeared quickly, and if you were after a program you knew you were going to use often, you could just right-click it and pin it to your Start menu or to the Windows Taskbar. In Windows 8, it’s pretty much the same thing. Click Start – you can also click the lower left if it’s more comfortable – or the Search charm, and just start typing. If you’re using touch, the Search charm will bring up the search bar, and tapping the search field will bring up the touch keyboard. If you’re already at the Start screen, you can right-click it or swipe in from the top or bottom to bring up the app bar (more on that in just a minute), and click to get a list of all the apps you have installed.

You can click (or tap) an app to go right to it, or if you want to pin a tile, just swipe down or right-click it for options, including Pin to Start. You can use the same steps to unpin something later if you decide you don’t need it on the Start screen anymore.

Commands for power users (nerds like us)

I mentioned the lower-left corner as another way to get to the Start screen, but it does another cool thing in Windows 8. If you’re using a mouse, you can right-click down in the corner to bring up a menu with quick links to some common administrative and power user tasks.

Right-click the lower-left corner to bring up commands for power users

Switching and managing apps

In Windows 8, you’ll notice two kinds of apps. The first is the familiar windowed programs that run on the desktop. If you’ve used Windows 7, you’re probably pretty familiar with how to switch between them. For this kind of app, the taskbar works well for switching apps, so we’ve left it where it was. The other kind of app is the full-screen, immersive app designed for Windows 8. These are designed to be full-screen, with no distracting borders or buttons. (Like I mentioned a moment ago, the app bar floats over your apps and then disappears when you don’t need it anymore.) We’ve made a few quick and easy ways to switch between these apps and arrange them.

Swipe to go back or view the list

If you want to go back to the last Windows 8 app you were using, just swipe in from the left side of the screen or go to the upper-left corner with your mouse and drag in. The last thing you used will come back up full-screen, and whatever you were just using will tuck in behind it. You can keep swiping to go back further or, if you want to just jump right to an app, just swipe in from the left (or use your mouse), and then before you let go, swipe back out. You’ll get a list of thumbnails of previous apps, and you can click or tap to go right to the one you want.

In Windows 8, these full-screen apps don’t run at all when you’re not using them. For any app that’s inactive for more than a short time, Windows will save its state, capture a thumbnail (that’s what shows up in that list), and stop using memory and processing power for it. This makes everything run more quickly so you’ll never need to close a full-screen immersive app to improve performance. When you go back to an app, it just wakes up and picks back up right where you left off.

Snap it, move it, put it away

Using full-screen apps is pretty great. It gives you more of what you want to use and less space wasted by distractions. But when we were making Windows 8, we wanted a way to look at more than one thing at a time while still keeping the beauty of clean, efficient visuals. (And we didn’t see any examples out there that we loved.) By snapping apps to the side of the screen, you can keep working efficiently, but you can also keep other information close by. So if you want to keep your stock ticker up while you’re doing some work or reading the news, it’s pretty easy to do. Just drag an app in from the left, and instead of dropping it in the middle of your screen, hold it toward to the left side. You’ll see a preview of the new layout, like this:

Hold an app to the side of your screen for a preview of the area where it will snap

You can drag it over to the right (to have the larger app on the left), or just drop right on the left to snap it there. And you can always drag the handle on the divider to the left or right to switch which app is larger, or drag the divider off the side of the screen to remove the snapped app from the view.

Take an app out of the list

Like I mentioned a minute ago, apps that are inactive will stop using memory quickly to help keep your PC running efficiently. But if you’re like me, you might be a little bit of a control freak and want to manage the size of your recent apps list. You can use Task Manager to stop the apps altogether, or PC settings to delete your recent apps history (under General), but if you want to take away one full-screen Windows 8 app at a time, you can just swipe in from the top (like bringing up the app bar) and keep right on going to take the whole app right off the bottom of the screen (with a mouse, just grab the top and drag). You can do the same thing from the recent apps list on the left of the screen. Just pull the app in like you would to snap it, but pull it all the way to the bottom instead.

Using your keyboard

When we first showed a demonstration of Windows 8 several months ago, it was clear very quickly how easy it is to use touch to get around Windows. But not everyone has touch hardware yet, and even as it gets more common, we want to make sure you can work exactly the way you want to with no compromises. One of the most efficient ways I work is with my keyboard. When I’m not using touch, I use my keyboard constantly. The more keyboard shortcuts I have, the happier and more productive I am. You might have noticed that I’ve put some keyboard shortcuts throughout the paragraphs above. Those are just the beginning.

The key I end up using the most is the Windows logo key Windows logo key. It works exactly like the Start button. Press it once and you’re at the Start screen. You can start something or search, or you can push the Start button again to go back to what you were doing before. (This is exactly how the Start button worked in Windows 7, too. Click once to see the Start menu, and again to put it away.) There are also a whole lot more shortcuts that use the Windows logo key. For example, you’re probably familiar with using Alt+Tab to cycle through apps you have running. You can still use Alt+Tab, but if you just want to cycle through full-screen Windows 8 apps, you can use the Windows logo key+Tab to go through the list using the thumbnails view.

If you’re not using touch, keyboard shortcuts are another super fast and easy way to get around Windows. In fact, they do more in Windows 8 than they have in any other version of Windows. To help you out and keep you flying around Windows as fast as your fingers can carry you, I’ve put together this handy chart, and I made it big enough that you can print it out and hang it up somewhere if you want to. (Or you can just memorize it – your choice.) You shouldn’t consider it final (Windows 8 is still a work in progress) or completely comprehensive (you might find some goodies I’ve missed), but it should get you moving around Windows pretty well. Happy typing!

Keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8
Click to view a larger image. For printing, download the PDF or download the XPS.

Try it all out

If it’s taken you some time to really get moving in Windows 8 or you felt like you were facing a learning curve, hopefully this has helped you out a little. I can honestly say that on my Windows 8 tablet and on my laptop with a trackpad (I don’t use an external mouse because it’s one more thing to carry around), I’m moving around Windows faster than ever. A little practice, and I bet you will to.

Kent Walter
Windows Team

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  • gazo
    5 Posts

    Microsoft has officially announced the release date of their next OS Windows 8 set for October 26th this year 2012.

    I am waiting for windows 8. thanks for post

  • cavang
    3 Posts

    I am waiting for windows 8.

    Windows is the bestest system.

  • Let's see...

    - W7 is awesome because I have only 1 yellow folder shortcut (which contains all my sub folders) which keeps my desktop clean/clear

    - I had my frequently used apps at a [Windows Key] + app # which is located across my task bar

    - Now W8 wants to take all that away from me and make a huge mess on the desktop along with the metro experience?  


    - No start button (where all apps are organized nicely) + metro = fewer MS Windows O/S sales and a chance for Apple to catch up/surpass Microsoft.  

    - W8 should include the option for W7 classic layout and allow to disable the metro experience, if they wish to keep their users/gain more.  

    - W8 as is, will be the end of Microsoft O/S dominance.  I've used MS O/S since MS-DOS and think MS has been great until MS Vista (MS W7 saved MS) and now W8 is about to destroy consumer opinion once again.

  • ceh4702
    6 Posts

    How come when you are in full screen IE there is no refresh button?  You have to toggle back and forth to make the black bar on the bottom to show up just to refresh the screen! Refresh should be a function that is always available.

  • ceh4702
    6 Posts

    How come flash does not work right?  When I try to go to full-screen mode it does not work!  I want to see video on a full screen not a little box!

  • ceh4702
    6 Posts

    So what happens if you have a real keyboard with no Windows Logo Button?  Not everyone wants to go our and buy a new keyboard just to use an operating system?

  • I've been using Win 8 for a few months now. No Problems..a few driver glitches..but nothing to worry about.

    I do Animation for a living and use pretty high end software and everyone seems to have updated drivers as required.

    I like it..its fluid and easy to use once you figure out where everything is. But that only takes a session or two.

    I might have a stupid question here but here goes. Now that I've downloaded the preview and happily used it for a few months.....what happens next? Once Win 8 is released will I have to go buy it?  Because I have done a lot since the download and don't want to revert to Windows 7 but I might have to...or not...but I'm curious. What are the issues coming? Will my preview version be termed invalid? Will I need to downgrade? Stuff like that.


    Mike Magnan

  • Marc
    1 Posts

    What a bunch of crap.  I stopped reading when I read, 'The Start button is still there - it's now on the right'.  Do you people EVER consult usability experts?  What do you think it will be like for the millions - if not billions - of people who have spent 17+ years moving the mouse cursor to the LEFT to click on Start?

    For smart people you are REALLY stupid...;

  • There are generally approximately 1000 games offered on the internet site at any given time. The games are laid out on a sole page with many different groups to choose from: puzzle games, girls games, car games, dress up games, games, action games, collecting games and many more random games. There really is something for every person to enjoy on the web site, for young boys and girls as well as adults. | | | | |

  • uninstall windows 8. I finally found my adobe apps, but none of them will work with windows 8.  I really like Microsoft and am an avid supporter because I think they play well with others. But this is not playing well with others, it is making an open platform closed.  I need to roll back to old windows so my programs will work.  IMMEDIATELY.

  • I had a lot of programs, all instantly available from the start bar.  Where are they?  I really need them.  Office, Adobe, other media creation programs, etc.  All gone. so when you say the start bar is accessible from the windows key, it just brings up the start menu with only a few things that Microsoft likes.  HELP HELP HELP HELP

  • Also what "redRoserade"  said

    he mentions all the things that are wrong with the new changes,and that made me rage at my win8 experience

  • WHY????????????????

    1- "look our new Internet Explorer within the Metro ui :D.. NOPE YOU CANT USE FLASH"

    2- "You are hardwired to use the start menu  since windows 95?, NOPE TABLET STYLE BUTTONS!"

    3-"You mastered the use of mouse and keyboard to navigate trough the system and get stuff done?, NOPE take move your hands all overthe screen to do the same , SLOWER


  • Neden iki internet arasında ilişki yok.

  • DB345
    1 Posts

    Just a hint guys, "Charms" is a horrible name for this menu.  What does it make you think of? Charm bracelets? please reconsider.  And another question, why is the desktop UI experience in Windows 8 CP a mish mash of Vista, Windows 7 and Metro elements.  For all the talk about UI design here it's painful to use see metro design not even incorporated into desktop window elements such as back and forward buttons, we get the vista "orbs" instead.

  • bikdav
    2 Posts

    One concern that I have is that there is no 'delete browser history' readily available. To delete my history, I have to go to the desktop tile, go to the homepage [MSN in my case], head over to the safety link in 'tools' and delete the history the "old" way. Yes, I've always been use to doing it that way. What I would love to see is a 'delete browser history' on the tile wall or in the settings tab on the right.

  • Gisabun
    8 Posts

    Errr. Here's a thought. Up until [but excluding] Windows 8, keyboard shortcuts were optional in 99% of the time. And now with windows 8, you need keyboard shortcuts to get around? Isn't that going backwards? Sort of like riding a bicycle for all these years and then changing to a tricycle.

    I'm not the only one but without the option to bring back the Start menu, Windows 8 will be doomed - not from techies [about 99% who read this blog] but from the novices out there which outnumber techies.

    Put it to you this way, if your [depending on age] mother, father, grandmother or grandfather have problems figuring the interface out on a non-touch screen, they represent the majority of users [who are either novices or not much better than novices].

  • ghorubi
    1 Posts

    My Internet Explorer and Also Internet Microsoft Applications Like: Mail, Whether,etc. Not works.

  • The lack of the Start button is jarring, even according to you. I keep hitting Paint (the left-most icon). If on tablets there is a Start Screen icon, what's the difference? I _like_ the Windows logo. I like having it onscreen. I like clicking it. At least allow me to put it back on the taskbar on the desktop and allow me to have my old Start menu. I told people that Windows 7 was the perfected Windows UI, and now it's just been utterly destroyed.

    It seems to me that the Start screen is Active Desktop 3.0. 2.0 would have been Vista widgets.

    I had to do research on this site to find out I didn't have to actually log out to restart my computer. Intuitive? Not a whit.

    IMO you need to split off the desktop version of Windows 8. Someone posted earlier that this needs to be a transitional release, not a full-blown "tablet interface on the desktop and like it" release. I agree.

    You could have just chosen to auto-hide the taskbar instead of deleting it entirely from every UI but the desktop. By far most Windows apps at this point require the desktop.

    I know you want us to use Windows Phone (I won't) and tablets, but forcing Windows PC Edition into a Windows Phone interface to further your desire to help take over the smartphone/tablet market isn't smart. Instead of extending your monopoly onto the mobile market you're going to shed users on the desktop market like crazy and lose your monopoly there.

  • RJr
    1 Posts

    I have installed WinC8 on my laptop and now my desktop. the laptop functions really smooth. No issues, initially had to figure out where all the windows functions went. I figured them out pretty quick. I do like the Metro. It is a good

    feature for tablets. Maybe not so much for desktop computers. The install was flawless.

    However, I have no audio on the Desktop. I am using a I945 Intel chipset. Audio does not come on. I tried Action

    Center, tried updating the driver. no luck.

    Under device manager / system devices

    "microsoft uaa bus driver for high definition audio" there is a yellow (!)

    Everytime I try to install the latest audio file from intels website, I get

    "error in installation, unknown error"

    not sure what to do. Please help.

  • match
    1 Posts

    Love the sharp angles in Windows 8. I'm not a developer so I have no feedback tool, but wanted to say that after installing Java (6 Update 31) , the taskbar on the desktop would no longer auto-hide.  For what it's worth.

  • No matter how hard I try I cannot share a printer that's connected to a computer running Windows 8 with the rest of the HomeGroup without it requiring a username/password.  That is especially annoying when all of my HomeGroup computers are behind a firewall and none of them has a password required.  

    Speaking of passwords, I am unable to find the option to turn off a required password for user accounts in Windows 8.  Is this intentional or an oversight?  Or is this another thing that is buried somewhere that I haven't found yet.

    I am mostly pleased with the way Windows 8 works so far.  It does take some getting used to but runs well even on a 5 year old Dell with 1 gig of ram!  Amazing.

  • @Wraakian

    You needed to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on a partition or on to a virtual machine like VMWare.  There is no way to "revert back" if you install W8CP over the default OS.  You could try to download a trial copy (if available) of Win 7 Pro and enter whatever registration key you have to see if that gets you back where you want.  That's all I can think to try.

  • Kevin
    3 Posts

    Thanks controlz. Makes you wonder why they have a Metro version of IE then.

  • @holysheyat: No it's just that using existing live/hotmail addresses seems to be comprehensively broken. It wouldn't accept my address and forced me to create a new address. This totally wrecked using all the long-ins for my pre-existing address.

    There are some long threads on the forums about this:

    I eventually gave up and reinstalled Windows 7.

  • Using a Hotmail account in the "Mail" app doesnt work when your email address isn't "".  For example, I signed up to use Hotmail using my GMail address via

    This allows you to use a non Hotmail address as a Live account.  I've then been using the Hotmail account to import my Gmail and manage my email that way.  However, the Windows 8 Mail app will not allow me to use "" when I try to add a Hotmail account, it seems like it has to be (or

    Trying to add the account via Exchange doesn't seem to work either.  It just says something like, not valid email or something along those lines.  

    This is a pain.  My windows phone works fine with using the same account via Hotmail.

  • Thanks for the tips, I've had windows 8 for just 24 hours and am getting into it better than I thought I would at first. I  do really like the interface after learning a little more on it's use and feel quite at home with it now. I realise this isn't the final product but it hasn't found my Blu-Ray DVD recorder so I can't install any new programmes I wanted to try on it. Because I use this PC for business I think I'll have to reluctantly revert back to windows 7 Pro but I am unsure just how to do that as I do not have the original disc (came fully loaded on my new PC). Does anyone know if there's a simple way to revert back ? I thought I saw somewhere in the screens where it mentioned something about restoring to Windows 7 ? If I could get the DVD working I might like to keep it awhile longer what happens after the trials have ended, do we just get a message to say we have to stop using the Windows 8 experience and then have to go back to our old Windows ?

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    Windows 8 is really the best Microsoft product yet - and I'm just using it with a keyboard and mouse! I look forward to the RC!

  • controlz
    145 Posts

    @Kevin - The metro version of Internet Explorer 10 doesn't support plugins, so it doesn't support flash. The desktop version does, however.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    I'm saving for a mac.  Yes, I'll have to gimp my training for a while to afford it, and it will set me back heavily, but it's worth it over using this Desktop monstrosity.  I'll just quit PC gaming.  I only play one MMORPG anymore anyways, and it has a Native Mac port.

    Sorry, this is unacceptable for desktop users, even if you use a Touch Screen AIO this is a freaking terrible user experience.  You guys have lost your minds.

  • I install windows 8 on my dell studio 1737 and I thank that you are doing a great job. The more I use it the more I love it.So keep up the good work.

  • Kevin
    3 Posts

    I just tried to install Flash Player plug in in the metro version of IE10. It is impossible as far as I can make out. For the plug in to install the browser has to close and it reopens in the desktop version of IE. This seems to be a real bug.

  • Solution is an "interactive desktop" instead a full screen method… this for dekstop

  • glo30
    1 Posts

    I am sure having a hard time finding things.  Like I sure would like to print that windows 8 shortcut PDF. but now with these big screens there are no menu functions like printing.  I am using the desktop IE, because I just could not find any usable functions in the IE10. I sure hope that they can have a fairly easy to use a windows 7 mode.  I hate METRO

  • I need a way to make this look and feel more like Windows 7 or XP cause I can't use this.  If I use it for more than a few minutes I find that I'm about to fly off into a rage as it is so INSULTING to me.  And so in return I'm insulting Bob 2 as much as possible as you might see in some of my posts.  There is no way I'll use this till I can get my older interface back and not have my intelligence be insulted by Microsoft at every turn.  And get rid of the "Charms" WTF really?  Feminizing it isn't making me any happier about it.  Hell I have been working with Linux and while it isn't the easiest OS to work with but it doesn't give me a Playskool computer with Bob 2.

  • Tschernobyl, Fukushima, Windows 8

    ...all Major accident     [grade 7]

    Why would a Windows user to relearn everything,

    just because you now everything is changing,

    forget it.

  • I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that Apple will use the Metro style start screen for yet another anti-Microsoft ad. You remember the "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" ad about Vista and the security guy getting in on the PC guy every time he tries to respond to Mac. It was just so spot-on. I can't wait to see the first ad about Windows 8 where the PC guy briefly turns into a Harlequin every time he tries to perform an office task, and the Mac guy being all "Wait, wait, wait", and "what was that", and the PC guy starting to get dizzy after a few transformations and putting on the look of a sad clown trying to excuse himself.

    Seriously, the next Windows version is too important to leave it to Microsoft to make the final decision about the Start button. Do you remember Office 2007 where some Microsoft usability advocate decided to get rid of the File menu? What was he thinking? Guess what, the File menu was back in Office 2010. Then as today, we had to endure the same "It is still there" nonsense. If there has ever been to chance to learn from past mistakes, this is it. I don't want to have to wait until Windows 9 to have my Start menu back. Please Microsoft, don't make Windows desktop users the laughing stock of the Mac community again. Don't make it so easy for Apple. I implore you.

  • Here's a concept from someone like myself who really loves the Metro aesthetic, but would prefer the classic desktop production environment:

    This way, Windows 8 will still take on the Metro feel on the desktop, but won't ruin the user experience in actually getting things done as jayjames mentioned so well above.

  • As a beta tester of every windows OS since the original NT, I must say my first impression of Metro is that it sucks.  Windows Server 8 is great, but unless you make some major changes before RTM the public is going to hate Metro on the desktop.

  • Personally I think that windows 8 is the best os ever it took a while to

    To sort out how to get around and find all the things I was used to

    Doing in window7 not completely everything yet, but its exciting finding

    All the things you can do. Well done Microsoft

  • They always been arrogant but at least until now they did deliver something I loved and was actually passionate about.

    There's a saying in India that goes "Vinash kaale viprit buddhi" - The dumbest ideas strike right as you are beginning to go down.

    Microsoft has already lost the smartphone race and are about score a spectacular dud on the desktop as well.

    Good thing is I guess with Gnome 3, Linux is moving in a fantastic direction.

    Yeah I know you're reading this and laughing about it now, just remember a year later when Windows 8 receives near unanimous whacking and no amount of paying off Thurott or Zheng can save your ass.

    : We told you so!

    A former Windows evangelist

  • Call me a fool, but I am willing to give beta versions a try out, call me a bigger fool I tried out Windows 8.  It really has reached a stage where Microsoft clearly have no interest in their customers anymore.  Zero assistance or tutorials to help you through this new alien landscape, no clues as to what's going on and no "get out of jail free" cards when you have finally had enough.

    The best part was inserting the recovery discs to my laptop and sending it back to Vista and the three days of downloads to make it current.

    I have the impression that Windows 8 will be far quicker in operation compared to all before it, but if you have zero idea what you are doing then it becomes a waste of time.  Congratulations Microsoft, this is one customer who will not be paying for an upgrade for many a long year.

  • afhales
    1 Posts

    The consumer preview really shows some serious flaws.  There needs to be a way to filter the apps so that you don't get a list of EVERY flipping app that is installed including windows apps that should be hidden. There should be an easier way to access control panel items.  Cludgy for desktops.

  • wp7Dave
    36 Posts

    @Panther57, for some of us (if not most) of us, it's not about change but intuitiveness and ease of use. With a larger screen (or multiple screens), it is not necessary or very usable to hide open applications not in the foreground. For me, Windows 8 simply takes more clicks to do common tasks such as shutting down the PC or logging out. As one person put it, logging in for a novice user is not intuitive at all. The charms require a bit too much precision for my liking and with multiple monitors right-hand side charm is a pain.

    I am all for change for the better. I actually like the ribbon in Office 2007/ 2010+. After a bit of retraining one's brain you find that it takes less clicks to do common tasks. That is a usability improvement that pays off in the long run. I hope to see more of that intuitiveness put into future versions of Windows.

  • After using it for about a week now...

    I am not an IT or Programmer. Just a home PC builder/Overclocker/Gamer etc. hobbiest. At first my impression was.. how am I going to get comfortable with the differences compared to the previous styles of Windows we have been so familure with? Like any new change, it is easy to just say change this change that. But taking the time to navigate around and use it, I am finding it to be very likeable.

    I was told Windows 8 is for Touchpads and Laptops with touch screens and not good or designed for Desktops. I own a Windows Cellphone, use a desktop and am loving the introduced features like I have on my windows cellphone. The charms are easy to use.. they might take a small amount of effort to use. Like the power choices, but that is something to just get use to. The ability to get apps I find to be a nice addition. Weather, news, email, messaging and othe desktop featires are also nice for a quick glance or entrance. If I use Windows Explorer, I can ahve the look and feel we are use to and open a browser with most of the choices we have always had. I do use the browser there more than the other option, so far.

    I am also finding it stable and it plays a few games I use very well, even with my wireless mouse and keyboard. Booting is fast and I am using HDD's not SDD's on the PC with windows 8. I am dual boot, both Windows XP and the Windows 8 beta. This is a new second build for me as an HTPC. I was thinking of buying another Windows 7 for it, and a friend suggested the dual OS and trying win8. So far I am disagreeing with the statement of 'not for desktops' and am planning on continuing to use win8, try to be helpful in the beta needs and most likely wait to but win8 for it.

    A small participation report. No chnages asked for. I beilive we want to stay with standards we are familure with and hard to accept change. Again, like anything new to us, it takes time for it to become the new standard and I think you are well on the way to offering a great new approach to how we use and see out PC's.

  • I would love to see the "Shutdown" menu added to the "Commands for power users" context menu.  To me that seems to be the only thing missing there. Just below the "Run" would be great.

  • So I hear that the latest super worm hit's a vulnerability that affects everything since XP, including the Windows 8 preview.  Is there a law that MS has to have major security holes in everything they release?  Is there anyone responsible for this?  No way am I going out into the world using a Windows Phone, even if I pay the MS tax and load it up with security software.  Seriously guys (and this is not coming from an Apple fan) get it together.

  • Kevin
    3 Posts

    So far I have found nothing in Win 8 to make me even think of leaving Win 7. I only have a desk top PC and my monitor is not touch able. The Metro desktop is OK I guess but as I usually have most of my program icons on the Task bar I probably would rarely use it. I also use Firefox and can't seem to get it to load in the Metro interface. The Mail program doesn't want to know email addresses other than Hotmail and Google. The Photo app is very cumbersome when trying to locate a particular photo. I much prefer Windows Gallery. It seems to me that Microsoft are trying to create two operating systems in one package here, one for tablets and one for desktops. I don't think this is going to work.

    One thing I do like is the Task Manager, a big improvement.

  • I think all the keyboard PC now should add another extra Windows logo key on the right side

  • I've surgically navigated in and out of desktop and metro modes on a dual monitor setup and still can find no logical real world use for Metro on a desktop or laptop.  It's not that Windows 8's Metro UI should be abandoned altogether, but is should not be made to be the default on desktop PCs.  The desktop UI could certainly benefit graphically from Metro-ish elements, but killing the start menu and demoting the desktop experience without great approval from most desktop users seems a bit Fascist.  I know no one using a desktop that is testing Windows 8 that thinks Metro should even be on the desktop version of Windows 8.  There are enough improvements behind the scenes and to the desktop experience to warrant a Windows 8, but the Metro UI should be designated only for tablets and Windows Phone.  It does not lend itself to efficiency.  Metro is cute, but quite counterproductive and takes the "power" out of "power user."  At most, the Metro UI should be optional, like HTC Sense, Motoblur or TouchWiz on Android.  Please leave the framework of desktop experience intact and accessible by default.  Updating the taskbar and application windows and menus to a more Metro "feel" wouldn't hurt, though.  Please share these thoughts with Mr. Sinofsky.

  • ericgl
    2 Posts

    I'm also disappointed by the fact that Windows Explorer doesn't offer a "Folder Size" column in Details view, even though this has been requested for years by many users.

  • isabena
    1 Posts

    I have read each and every point and found it very interesting | | |

  • Hi , just some feedback on Windows 8 Dev and Cust previews.

    The common theme among everyone I have spoken to is the jarring switch from Metro to Desktop, and I am afraid I share this view.

    I tested Windows 8 on a number of devices, a Samsung 700t tablet , an Acer MultiTouch All in one PC and my own 8-core workstation.

    First the tablet, loved it , perfect. Hits the spot, though the lack of indication that there's other menus or options at the edge of the screen is an obvious problem when you first encounter metro. Metro works really well on the smaller screens ( 1368x768 ), but the need to access the desktop for some things was something that I think needs to be addressed ( to many to list here )

    Next the Acer All in one, the Acer has a multi-touch screen with a bezel around it , around 1/4 an inch, this basically stops the whole , swipe in from the side functionality from working given you can never , quite , hit the edge of the screen with your finger. Windows 8, offers no way to adjust how far into the screen these get triggered so currently these cannot be accessed. So its back to the mouse or keyboard. Very disappointing. Effectively this class of touch screen is not suitable for the current windows 8 design as it stands. Again, from a navigation perspective , the lack of clear indications that there was 'something at the edge' of the screen ( hot spots , etc ) , is clearly a problem for first time users , and was a royal pain for me as an experienced user. Lots of people have said it , introduce some kind of icon so that we can trigger the charms etc.

    Desktop workstation, this was by far the most disappointing experience of all. While the new features of the Windows 8 desktop are much welcomed, the jarring start menu / full screen / charms experience utterly ruins using the machine on a day to day basis. I cannot for the life of me , understand why if I have a monitor , or monitors with 1920x1080 displays or higher , that I have to have a giant tiled full screen menu just to find things. Again the 'hot corners' thing does not work for me as a desktop user when a simple icon , or clearly marked area of the start bar can achieve the same thing.

    In terms of suggestions, I guess mine all steam from the confused nature of Windows 8, and why Microsoft would abandon solid working mechanisms in favour of consumer device functionality. So here goes....

    Start Screen, keep it , but augment with start menu on the desktop. Seriously , stop the flack your taking for it , give in please. please. No threats about 'i'll buy a mac , or Linux' or whatever, but you really are going to shoot yourselves in the foot on this one.

    Present the charms menu in the task bar on the left showing all the time in desktop mode. I am all for commonality of user experience , but this whole area is broken for desktop users as it currently stands.

    The rest are about integration :

    Allow live titles to live on the desktop, just like the old activex desktop , current gadgets etc , Honestly, your missing or have chosen to ignore a trick here. Suddenly , the gap between metro and aero blurs with that one act allowing both application types to co-exist in the same space. App revenue will flow as users move to Apps and live tiles.

    Allow metro apps to open in a window on the desktop. Again , seriously guys , WINDOWS <- this would blur the line , allowing metro apps to operate on the desktop / larger displays without having to cover everything we are doing. to run one application.

    Finally, where an application opens ( full screen or desktop ) , could simply be handled by a new feature called 'emphasis', that allows the end user to chose Full Metro , or Metroized, Desktop/Workstation mode.

    As I said at the start, love it on the tablet , hate it on the desktop.... and if I remember the headline correctly , here are over a billion of us desktop users at the moment .. do you really , really want to leave us all thinking , ' why did they do that ? '

  • I am a loyal Microsoft user and have stayed away from Apple all together. I don't mind change, I just like things to be consistent and somewhat easy to use. This is my opinion.

    I would like to see the charms bar (including the clock) moved to the bottom app bar and the history bar moved to the top like in the IE10 app. Basically I would think all of the charms would in the start screen app bar. Then the start button, settings, search and whatever other options that would be specific to the other apps in their bar. Then all opened apps would be at the top for easy selection.

    This gets the user out of the corners and leaves the sides for scrolling. All apps should scroll from the sides like the start screen and all apps screen. This is not currently the case like in music, video and people. We could also scroll up and down from the top and bottom of the screen since the app bars are click activated. IE10 could scroll in the same manner getting rid of the left and right arrows.

    Also these bars stay on the screen until an option is selected or you click on the screen. Making it much more user friendly, easier than chasing the side bars where if you don't keep your mouse just right they disappear. It also gives the user a familiar feeling because the app bar is similar to a hidden task bar.

    Also I have read how Windows 8 is supposed to transition seamlessly through metro and desktop where you could stay in one or the other. I don't feel that is the case because when I open any program in metro I'm forced to desktop. My thought is why can't metro be the new desktop? Where everything would open in full screen as if you opened an app. Then when I close the program or app I am returned to the metro start/home/desktop screen. Call it what you will but it's all the same.

    Overall I like the metro and app side and would like to see an upgrade to my wp7.5. I also like the new look and feel to the desktop side. That being said, I would like to see an all inclusive operating system but I'm afraid they are not made to be on the same machine. For instance would I have a desktop app on my cell? My cell does not have the same capabilities. And I can see the argument for the metro style start screen but may be the apps need to be left to the mobile devices and the programs left to the PC's. Some how making them sync, I think, would be the key. And SkyDrive is a good place to stay focused on for syncing.

    Thanks for listening,


  • ChefD
    1 Posts

    Have been using W8 for a week now and have a few issues that maybe, just maybe, someone out there can assist me with. The first one is simple and no one can help me with this...the folks at Microsoft should have let the public UNINSTALL THE OS if the individual was not happy with  it. The OS has disabled my laptop's ability to restore from a backup. Thanks, guys. Really. You got me.

    The second issue-that I now have to try and fix since I am stuck with this cartoonish looking OS, is iTunes. It seems that W8 does not like iTunes- it keeps closing on me. If anybody has had the same problem, let me know. Otherwise, I am looking forward to an update or something. ANYTHNIG!

  • wp7Dave
    36 Posts

    @redRoserade: I'm glad someone tried Windows 8 out on some non-technical folks (and posted the results). I would only say that if the change is more intuitive (over time) and takes less clicks, then by all means. Not everyone is going to be happy no matter what. I hope that we are not too far down the road to release to tweak this OS for desktops and laptops. Otherwise Windows 8 becomes Vista 2.0.

    On tablets, I hope the metaphor plays out well. Just don't totally mess up my desktop experience in the name of unity.

  • @ranjeetbassi, the problem is as follows:

    Who are the people who did download Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

    -Developers, tech-savvy people or just people curious enough to try it out, see what's new. The sort of people who can easily accept change and quickly adapt to the new environment. I am among this group, and I have accepted the changes. I can work without the start menu on Windows 8.

    But, WE are a very small group of people.

    The majority of people who didn't try out this new version of Windows are people who aren't curious (or tech-savvy) enough to search for their tools: they want to see them right there from the start, not search for them. They don't want change. People like (I stated before) my father. Or my neighbours, or my auntie. Or business people (although this is because the learning curve would take some time and time is money).

    They just want their next computer to work the same way and respond to the same inputs as the computer they have now. And Windows 8 doesn't do that.

    Sure, when you say that this is a beta, and that things CAN change, you are absolutely correct. But there's a problem: This blog post itself. It shows that Microsoft isn't thinking of changing it back. Or so I see it this way.

  • miro
    1 Posts

    You still don't get it, or probably you do but you're dead set on leaving it as it. It's simple windows 8 is unintuitive. And is your solution.

    So you're basically saying print this out and learn it on how to navigate Windows 8.

    I can see the next Apple ads, snarky guy whips out a giant board with those instructions and starts making of the diagram.

    What a joke.

    When you land in desktop mode there is nothing to tell you there's a Charms bar on the right side. There's nothing to tell you there are hot corners. I've run W8CP as my main OS since it launched and I'm still getting lost in metro when trying to go back to the desktop. In metro apps like the store there is nothing to tell you what the hell you are supposed to do next to get out of the app, there is no X to close, there is nothing to indicate hot corners.

    Now imagine people going to BestBuy and using this heaping mess vs seeing OSX. Right.


  • After reading peoples comments about windows 8, I am sick and tired about people complaining that is crap , its this and this. You know that, if you know how to build a better OS , then go ahead then build it. Yes this is a BETA version and its only the FIRST release. If you dont want to use Windows and feel that Mac is the real alternative, then go ahead. If Apple were to redesign their mac OS similar to their iphone, then i guess you would be in the same position right ?

    I have to say that its a great accomplishment from what they have done in comparison between the developers preview and the consumer preview.

    I just dont get it, If I can do my work day in day out windows 8 , what is wrong with you guys not working your way around it. Consider this message as a support to Microsoft and I will always support Micrsoft.


    This is the message I am reading. Modifiying the way legacy Windows is operated/works is a mistake.  

    Minimally, it should be usable in the same way Windows 7 is.  You can't change the UI with very new release of windows.   It might be hard to imagine during this rush of excitment over iPads and touch, but not everyone wants a touch interface.  Indeed, the majority of professionals may not want it at all (except on their Windows Phone:-).  

    I thought Microsoft was taking the high road, doing the smart thing by integrating the tablet and the PC.  I now am thinking Apple may be right.  Keep them separate.  Someone buying a tablet, expects a new way of interacting with the device.  BUT, someone buying a PC wants a PC.  They simply want to use the skills they already have (In no way do they want to first "deal" with the tablet interface and navigate through it to get to the desktop only to learn that everything has been changed.  Now they must relearn how to use a basic PC.)  This is bad, bad marketing and I, as others will send out a mass email telling people NOT to upgrade.  

    This may be big of me, but I suggest you need to market 3 versions:  1) tablet only (with Windows desktop safely hidden underneath), 2) Windows only which works like a traditionally windows destop PC (Windows 7) full stop. and 3) for a MINORITY of users a hybrid tablet/PC which combines 1) and 2) (but Windows perserves the Windows 7 interface).  

    Problem right now looks to be that Windows 8 assumes the MAJORITY have nothing better to do with their time then learn not only a new interface (Metro) but also relearn the Windows Desktop.  If the latter were true, PC sales would have stopped, instead of continued to grow in 2011 despite iPad and tablet success.   Give the people back their START button!  (Learn from Coke experiement with "new" coke  and bring back Classic Coke:-))  


  • jader3rd
    24 Posts

    I loved the building windows 8 blog talking about heat maps, and moving the mouse as little as possible. The app bar seems to break this principle. If I right click (or press and hold) a tile, I want to see the context menu options right there. Not at the bottom of the screen. It really breaks the movement heat map concept.

  • Kent,

    Thanks for this.  It helps anchor my legecy Windows skills in Windows 8.  But could you tell me whether Microsoft will continue to market at legecy windows interface (i.e., Windows 8:-)) version.  It seems to me that it could be a big mistake to force everyone to "get" the new metro interface ... just to get to where they left off with Windows 7.  Alternatively, some people will jump at the new touch interface/metro thing and not want to see Windows 7 desktop at all ... since they never really understood it or did more than browse and send email anyway...

    Your thoughts?


    P.S. Myself, I am excited about the hybrid 2 in 1 tablet/PC that WIndows 8 makes possible ... but I know professions who get annoyed each time a new version of Windows ships and fear this will blow them away (and not in a good way).

  • So if we memorize all this shortcuts, Windows 8 experience is a smooth one. I will print the shortcuts to paper and distribute to all my family (mother, father, sister). I am sure they will be thrilled.


  • Nice one with the father test.  I've been thinking about what a nightmare it would be to try to teach my folks what to do.  The way the charms bar keeps getting in the way would have them yelling, much less logging in and out.  Can you imaging having to push this out to all of our end users, especially ageing CEO's?  And I thought Allchin screwed up.

  • Here's my opinion, along with a simple test I made (similar to the one Chris Pirillo did):

    Metro is pretty much useless on the desktop. Sure it's pretty, but I can't find any usefulness other than the notifications it makes (i.e., the Live Tiles). I can see it working on a touch interface, but on a point-and-click interface, it's hopeless.

    The lack of both the Start MENU and Start BUTTON is a joke. You say that the Start Menu is only to launch applications, it's not true (at least for me). The Start Menu was a simple, 2-click do-everything: Launch applications, access personal folders and system info, get help, shut down the computer, search for files and so on.

    Sure, you may say that "That's what the charms bar is for", but it isn't. I can do most of the things I could back on Win7 with the Start screen and the charms bar, but why have 2 different places (and a lot more clicks and things to remember) when I can have everything in one place? And what was wrong with the Start menu?

    And even IF they worked, why are they hidden? If I didn't watch the BUILD live stream and read some blogs on Win8 features, or didn't mess around with it, I probably wouldn't know how to get around! And even after some weeks of using it, I can still feel that I am slower on most day-to-day tasks.

    I had to spend almost 1 hour configuring keyboard short-cuts, jump lists and so on just to get it to work with me.

    Most people would spend an hour, (tops) trying to find the start menu, and then give up and either buy a Mac or return to Windows 7 or even, XP.

    Remember, the perfect interface adapts to you, and not vice versa. You are doing the vice-versa (because I had to change the way I work on Windows 8).

    RESULTS of a simple test with my father:

    -I put him in front of my laptop and told him to just log in to my session (using a password). He couldn't even get to the point where you have to type the password. He spent 5 minutes just to get there. FIVE minutes. That's 4:55 minutes more than he did with WinXP, because that's the time it takes for it to appear after the os finishes booting!

    Anyway, he logged in and then I told him to just try to navigate around, install a program, and then, through the control panel, uninstall it.

    -This time, he installed the app perfectly fine, but then, he ran into a problem. There was no start menu. No start menu, no control panel. And no control panel means no way to "uninstall programs". Oops. 2 strikes already and my father was already giving up. Now, third test:

    -Open an application that is NOT on my task bar NOR on the start screen (he used the windows key to try to find the start menu). Again, he couldn't do it.

    -To finish, he also couldn't shut my laptop down safely.

    This must have been his worst hour ever for him that was computer-related.

    Heck, I put him in front of Ubuntu Unity (which is also a bad interface in my opinion) and he got around almost instantly. Why? Everything was visible! He had a place to launch apps, a place to shut down, a place to configure the system, all in easy-to reach, no nonsense places.

    Your idea to blend the tablet and desktop interfaces is not working. At least give desktop users the choice to turn metro off and give us back the good old, not broken start menu, and for the love of god, do not ship desktop mode on tablets. That would be the biggest mistake in history.

    Apple, on the other hand, is making things properly (coming from someone who isn't an Apple fan): They have realized that it'd be a bad idea to change the already known to work ways to navigate around in the os. So, instead, they introduced iOS features on the Desktop. That works, because it still works the way it did for the past 10 years or so.

    To finish: Top Gear stated that the Honda FCX Clarity, a Hydrogen fuel cell (electric) car would be the most important car for 100 years. Why?

    Take the current electric market cars: The Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf: Why are their sales slowing down? Because people don't want them!

    Even if they are economical and environmentally "friendly", they are too cumbersome on a day-to-day basis. People don't want to change the way they drive just because they bought a new car! It'd be great: You had a Ford Focus, which had a steering wheel and 3 pedals, and then bought another car which has levers for steering and 5 pedals (sarcasm).

    Our lives circle around the petrol-powered car of today, because its philosophy of "drive as far as you want, refill in a couple of minutes, drive some more" is simple and it just works. If you introduce something that has a ridiculously low range, stops miles from anywhere and takes ages to get back to life again, we would be going backwards!

    That is why Top Gear considers this car to be the most important one for 100 years. It runs on "green" fuel, it's economical and it doesn't have a completely different way to be used! "It's just like the car of today".

    Windows 8 then, is like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. And what people want is a Honda FCX Clarity. You figure out the relationship between the two.

  • ericgl
    2 Posts

    Overall, I like Windows 8 CP.

    However, I was really hoping to see some small improvements:

    1. In IE10, it would be nice to have built-in mouse & finger gestures to control navigation.

    2. In IE10, it would be nice to have drag-n-drop functionality built-in.

    3. Search for Settings and Apps is OK, but not good enough to search for certain file(s).

       I always find myself installing a free 3rd party app called Everything (, which helps me search the entire storage for any file I'm looking for and does so in an instant, especially after I assign it the keyboard short Win+ALT+F. It filters the results as I type, and it's by far the best search app I've ever used. It doesn't replace Win8's Search, but rather complements it. I would like to see something like that built-in as well, instead of resorting to a 3rd part app (even if it's free). Searching for files is a fundamental thing, and I fully expect a modern OS to have such a search facility built-in.

  • AlexNWA
    1 Posts

    Why were all the common items I use, like Start and Explorer hidden? I really dislike the Metro desktop. Metro may look good on a small screen like a phone but it leaves a lot of wasted space on my desktop. So far it looks like its only designed for people who want to use a Windows smartphone for everything. An OS should help me do what I want to do on my PC, not force me to do things their way. Windows 8 is the most limiting OS yet.

    I'm not against change. I used the Vista preview and it wasn't this disappointing. I guess I'll be learning Linux while waiting for Windows 9.

  • ct09
    1 Posts

    Now that I got Windows 8 to work with McAfee, I'm luving it.  I installed it on my 3 Computers (AMD Dual-Core Laptop, AMD Quad-Core PC and Intel Quad-Core PC), working like a charm on all 3, installations were a breeze and love the redesign.  My 8yr old, 11yr old and 16 yr old kids love Windows 8 already.

    Great job!!!  Yes, was weird getting used to not having a START button and an ALL Programs, but, have gotten used to it already, now that I figured out how to get around the OS.

  • TGS
    1 Posts

    I tried windows 8 and it seems very nice and intuitive .  The only problem was on reboot it completely hung up and I had to reformat and reinstall windows 7. You really need to trouble shoot it before it is released to us mere mortals. I spent an entire day rebuilding my new computer's software.

  • Mitjah
    2 Posts

    After some days of forcing me using only W8, I have to admit, that UI is not that bad. Certainly some tasks are faster/easier for me in Windows 7, while others are faster/easier in W8 CP. One thing regarding the new Start screen I don't understand is, why charms are auto hiding? Why do the charms autohide but taskmanager stays displayed until the users chooses what to do? Charms should not autohide in my opinion.

  • The whole Windows 8 experience is terrible. As many others have said, Metro has no use on a desktop machine.  I don't need Metro applications on my desktop with huge large fonts and lots of white space, they are unusable.  But yet I have no choice but to keep finding myself thrown back to noddy toy-land.

    Why no start button, why throw desktop users back to the Metro toy-land start page, why can't be choose to turn it completely off?  I think Microsoft are forcing everyone the Metro route in order to brain wash us into buying "apps" so Microsoft get an extra revenue stream.  I can't be believe developers at Microsoft actually use this full time on desktop PCs and like it!

    Also the Metro UI just becomes a bill board of "brands", it looks tacky and I don't want to be advertised to in such a way.

    I tried Windows 8 on a laptop with a smaller screen to give it a chance, to see if it worked better on smaller devices with smaller screen real estate.  It was worse, launching Metro apps with their large white expenses actually hurt the eyes using a laptop in typical subdued room lighting, it is far too bright, and fonts and other UI elements are still too big.  What is the point of having high resolution and high dpi displays when Microsoft force full screen "apps" and huge fonts on us?

    Microsoft also have not considered the future with OLED displays, as they draw significantly more power displaying white and bright colours.

    It's put me off anything Metro.  I don't even want it on a tablet touch screen device now.  The tiles are boring and horrible and I don't want a start  screen covered in "brands" as I install "apps", or more likely as "apps" are forced on me.  

    Unless I can turn Metro off, I will never be upgrading to Windows 8.  What a disaster.  You tried to force the desktop UI experience onto mobile devices and failed, and now you are trying to do the reverse.

    Good luck Microsoft, you are going to need it.

  • noname3
    2 Posts

    One step forward 8 steps back. Windows 8 is a great kernel with a bad user interface that makes it useless on desktops (Windows Server 8 suffers from the same problems).

    You guys have learned nothing from history, all these years you were trying to push a desktop operating system into the phones (Windows Mobile 6) until an alternative came along and took the market over.

    Now you are pushing a tablet/phone oriented UI into the desktops, it will only end up in tears.

    You have destroyed the desktop experience and you are ignoring the simple fact: A device should be adapting to the user needs based on functionality and purpose. Not the other way around which is what you are trying to push with Windows 8.

    If I have to learn your long list of short cuts and pin things all over the place just so I can do things I used to for over 20 years with ease,  I may as well move to a Unix variant. I liked all releases of Windows containing the NT kernel, even the “scatter randomly controls around” named Vista. But you must be joking expecting us to use this badly designed desktop. Microsoft you have lost the plot and you are heading for a monumental collision with your most loyal fans, those who promote you in the workplace and you end up getting the multimillion contracts.

    You can keep your metro deranged UI to yourselves; I even hate my Windows Phone 7 now because of my dislike for the Windows 8. I know it is unfair for the poor device, but you managed to make hate Metro Anything.

  • I cannot use this mess. All these tips are worthless because of many fundamental problems. Screw this. All this is going to do is piss off the public.

  • ccbob
    1 Posts

    It seems a Windows 7 in a different wrapper.  I will wait until it is seasoned before using it.  Worked with it for 3 days but had too many problems with both Operating System and computer.  Don't see any advantage in moving to 8 until they get it easier to use.  No start button is one of the major deficiencies.

  • cweyhe
    1 Posts

    where is the start menu and shut down menu.

  • mioc
    2 Posts

    It's either windows downgrade to windows 7 or mac,  

    If somebody decides to put steering wheel in the backseat, there is no need to talk about learning curve, it's useless.

    We will see if Microsoft's strategy by pushing Metro everywhere and unifying user experience will pay off in Windows Mobile 8 market share, because this is what it is all about.  

    After iPhone, iPad, this will be the perfect reason for people to switch to Mac's.

    Sorry Microsoft not this time.

  • T Windows
    116 Posts

    This is Windows re-imagined ... not Windows remembered, this movement started with the Build conference back in September, where they introduce the Windows 8 dev-preview.

    If you can look back or even remember the drastic changes from Windows 3.1 to Windows Build 95, there where massive changes to the OS that makes Windows what it is today.

    As I read the suggestions, and tutorials posted for navigating the new OS I would hope many first timers would take advantage of the info posted above the feedback.

    What you have to remember is you still have a choice, and that’s what beautiful about Windows paired with the PC.

    It’s still a personal computer, if you don’t like something on your PC just change it till it makes you happy; if you need help on how to – Just type your question(s) to

    I guarantee you a tech or someone like you has already developed a policy or registry change to bring back the old faithful features that you feel in love with.

    All in all Windows still has a lot to offer, just take the time to enjoy the FREE preview, and if all else fails just message me back I’ll be glad to help.

    - Stay Powered by Windows

  • Some feedback on your Windows 8 CP.

    i have been using Windows 8 now for week or two. and i can say im  extremely disappointed. it take me longer to find all my applications and do the tasks i needed  to do. ware as with XP and vista i could do those same tasks with ease.

    i think you guys are insane for removing the start menu . i think you should have the metro screen on the desktop and do away with the wallpapers ,desktop icons and gadgets. and have the taskbar and start menu in front of the metro screen .  

    metro apps should apper on the taskbar because their is no  close button also switching between Desktop and Metro becomes unbelievably annoying after a while.

  • wp7Dave
    36 Posts

    I am a Windows Phone user so this is not my first foray into Metro. I realize this is Beta but the OS doesn't feel intuitive in so many ways.

    I agree with Albert's assertion. If it is this difficult for the techies, how much trouble are regular users (kids and g'ma are great examples I've seen used -- although kids are probably more curious and would better navigate that a lot of adults because of that trait).

    I think if the developers were to bring Windows 8 home (on a non-touch laptop) to their parents / grandparents they would be alarmed at how non-intuitive Windows 8 is. Keyboard shortcuts were fine in Word Perfect, not so much anymore. They are not intuitive to normal end users. In the Word Perfect days, people had a cheat sheet that they could fasten to the top of their keyboard. Seriously, in today's world I don't see that happening.

    I agree with other comments about the OS feeling disjointed. I especially notice this on my dual monitor setup. It feels like I am running a different OS on each monitor with the start screen up or other metro apps running.

    Here are some specific areas I would like to see improved:

    1) charms should be obvious to the end user not have to be "discovered" by putting your mouse in a certain position. There should be some visual indicator that they exist.

    2) There should be some status bar like in WP7 with the clock etc. that is visible at all times. I miss my clock.

    3) Charms should be available on a secondary monitor. Right now I find it annoying that as I try to navigate to the charms on the right-hand side that inevitably my mouse skips to my second monitor. It's just too touchy.

    4) The second monitor running the expanded (now second-class citizen) desktop while I'm in metro on the primary feels weird.

    5) Two versions of IE on the Desktop. I know this Beta (maybe even pre-Beta) but that is just plain Dumb.

    6) I should be able to drag a screen (in a Metro application) without clicking on the scrollbar just like I can swipe with wp7 and I'm guessing an ARM tablet. For starters, the srollbar looks Windows 3.1 ugly. Having to click on the scrollbar to navigate and then move the mouse to the action area is a lot of wasted movement.

    7) I have multiple "Live" ID's that I use. I don't like one being tied into the OS and no easy way to switch to others when I'm logged into IE, etc. As an option great, but it feels too much like a requirement.

    8) Simple tasks such as rebooting or logging off are harder to find and take longer to do (no I don't think I should have to pin shutdown to my start screen).

  • Thu Win
    3 Posts

    I wish that they wouldn't move the start menu.  I am so used to it in the bottom right hand corner.  Great for tablets, not so great for tradational mouse and keyboard.

    What have they to lose by re-adding the flattened, shrinked start menu back where it belongs?

  • Metro isn't just a bunch of colorful rectangles, it's an entirely new OS--WinRT, which is pretty much old fashioned COM and callbacks. As a long time software engineer, it makes me downright nostalgic.

    Metro apps aren't desktops apps. WinRT is designed to run applications written for ARM devices, which in turn are built to run "life-style" applications. The applications I use on my workstation, whether for work or relaxation, are desktop applications (many are Microsoft products). They will never ever be ported to Metro, will never ever run in WinRT, will never ever look rectangular and green. WinRT wasn't designed to run them. Likewise, my workstation wasn't designed to run WinRT. I have multiple disks, 3 hi-res monitors, I/O devices, CPUs, lots of memory and an operating system designed to run them all. Every time I open Metro, WinRT effectively lobotomizes my platform: one screen, no visible disks, limited I/O, limited memory resources, one app at a time and a sandbox with high walls. I'll never download a Metro app to my desktop machine because the platform isn't designed for WinRT. An ARM-based tablet with GPS, accelerometers, gyroscopes, Bluetooth, cameras, touch screen and near-field  is. That's were I'll download a Metro app and be happy to use the Metro Start screen.

    So why is Metro/WinRT running on my Windows 8 workstation? I can open Process Explorer and see it running as a process in the W8 Operating System. It's just a background process that's always running, but I'll never use it to run a Metro app, so why force me to use the Metro shell when I'm sitting at my desk? Which is why it irritates the hell out of me on my workstation--it's stupid. An extra user shell on top of an existing user shell? An extra OS that provides no value on a workstation? Did anybody at Microsoft really think this through?

    Metro/WinRT on a desktop just doesn't make sense. Please offer a Windows 8 Professional version without Metro/WinRT. You can even charge a premium over the W8 version meant for the hoi polloi--I'd gladly pay  it.

  • tilmanj
    1 Posts

    There is one important thing missing: the autostart folder where I can put my chat programs and everything else that should be starting when booting up!

  • @Kent Walter

    Thanks for Pointing me to that forum:  Other having the same problem with this and other screens

  • Get ready for the new Apple commercials.  "If you have to learn a new operation system, why not learn one that's virus free..."

  • Albert
    94 Posts

    If there is this much education needed for more techy users, how are the rest of consumers going to fare? You guys need to do quite a bit of thinking on that...

  • @MikeInParadise - That's interesting feedback, and I'm sorry things aren't working as well as you'd like. This is definitely a case where hardware certified for Windows pre-Windows 8 will present a different experience than you'll get with Windows 8-certified hardware when Windows 8 is officially released. You should leave feedback at the Windows 8 Consumer Preview forum ( so that your feedback gets good visibility here at Microsoft, and it could be that others with similar experiences have some good ideas. I'll also contact the folks who made the touch features here to share your feedback and see if there's some wisdom floating around Redmond. Of course, I won't be able to comment on future plans, changes, features, etc., but if there's a good workaround, I might be able to share that. In the mean time, the forum is a good bet. Thanks for the comment!

  • Cynyster
    10 Posts

    dm stewart  WOW!!!

    That was serious harsh! But in my mind  100% on-target.

    Specifically  the bit about using keyboard shortcuts for a touch based system. ( A point I have not considered before).

    I hope Microsoft is paying attention. Some of us that are railing against these changes are the ones that decide what and how much effort we want or need to expend in support. Many small businesses do not bother to train their staff. It is much simpler to wait for something that they will not have to trouble with.

  • I have been in contact with Acer about the touch screen T231H monitor issue with activating gestures on windows 8 that start at the screen edge. (See Post a couple above this one)  Any thoughts on how to get an answer from Microsoft on if the sense area for the screen edges is adjustable some how???

    This is a link to a youtube  video where I attempt to document the problem.(You tube video RSbJZvV7a6I in case this site pulls out the link)

    Any help or suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated.

  • Feedback.

    1. You're wrecking Win32/64 with Metro. How many applications and structures do users have in Metro? How many do thay have in win32/64? its a 1%/99% split ladies and gentlemen.

    2. Explorer - You've mixed small icons and large ones. The smaller ones must have taken a special level of stupidity, and that will become painfully obvious in the post Ipad 3 retina display world you'll launch into. Congrats on this because its at a level of stupid I can't convey heavily enough about. *Fix* it.

    3. In metro with the mouse clicking left or right clcik in any dead space, I should be able to pull or drag around Metro. I can't, I have to go looking for cursor keys or the scroll wheel (which incidently scrolls in apps at the same time). Its rubbish. *Fix it*

    4. Multiple 'PR' releases are being poured out about windows key shortcuts - and 'users' not understanding Metro. Here is a serious hint. Keyboard shortcut 'fixes' and PR peddling don't fundamentally fix an OS GUI that has to be rescued by keyboard shortcuts. A further hint: Don't peddle keyboard shortcuts in correctives about a Touch based UI - its not going to be appreciated.

    5. Your ARM release is as badly broken as the Win release. Its got galloping great big horses running off into the sunset with stable door wide open. ARM will have no viable Win32/64 env. Win32/64 ceases to exist, and its not a win platform, its a metro platform. In exchange for this, you've taken a complete wrecking ball to this x86/64 based OS and enforced Metro as a default, but not only this, to underpin and enforce it, you've wrecked the old UI.

    6. I don't think MS is going to pay for user retraining in any of this. The customer will have to do that, and face directly the user hatred on the ground. Because of this, its only right you get fierce feedback levels, because Win 8 and Metro in the context of a Win 32/64 platform is vandelised, and has been butchered quite deliberatly.

    7. This release, even after hours of testing took me back to a rotting Win3.1 sensation. One of single app nature, broken multitasking (I understand within the metro technical background the reasons for this, but do not expect thanks for this on powerful desktop units.) and serious levels of clunk. The crashing back and forth in and out of the now utterly smashed desktop is abysmal misery.

    8. In an effort to be 'clever' the new OS is in Metro terms vasly simplified. Its so simplified that in reality, end users and admins are forced to learn complex keyboard shortcuts, or hidden UI elements, or better yet, forced to go and find old control panels. Thus, its not a simplified OS, its just got a simplifed crippled garbage front end, is crippled and repellent in use, and is clunky, broken, disjoined, and to long term windows users (your customers) - its vandelised, and badly affects their primary work tasks in terms of getting real work done.

    9. The billions invested in applications and in user enviroments isn't free. Its something MS should not go vandelising just because clearly some Metro lunatics got way too much say in how anything should be sold or developed. Its not 1995. Playtime ended a long time ago. If some people at MS think that this is a playground - they better have an attitude adjustment.

    10. Quit screwing around. Get the damn start menu and taskbar put back, and make that desktop a viable Win 7 workspace. I don't mind Metro being in the OS and usable, but playtime is over. You failed, it did not work, its seriously time to absorb the ton of feedback slamming MS.

    11. I've worked with MS since 95, and I've seen the ups and downs, and rode most of them. This needs pulling and a complete rethink. I'm not even going to be considerate towards it. If its released in anything like this form, its being blackballed and the advice stay away from it will be legion and enforced heavily in all discussions.

  • Feedback:

    I have put Windows 8 on several machines which are used daily by our undergraduate population.

    The majority of feedback is negative.  The lack of a Start Button is universally abhorred by the Student group.  The students majoring in Design (from a variety of disciplines) universally dislike Metro and the lack of continuity within Windows 8 and Metro. All of them have had issues navigating Windows 8 and in trying to do basic things (i.e. logging out).   The terminology used within Windows 8 is not consistent and has lead to confusion.  The student's do not use the "charm" bar and out of 50 student user's none have used the new "Start" bar on the "right" of the screen.

    All in all, I have had requests from the majority of the student user's to migrate back to Windows 7, to not migrate us as a whole or to replace the PC's with Mac's as there is near universal contempt for the lack of "Start" button. Additionally the student's consistently revert to the classic desktop - avoiding the Metro screens where possible.


  • @Mazhar - Thanks for the feedback. Re: searching with other browsers (or other apps generally), the nice thing about the way Search works is that any app built specifically for Windows 7 can tie in the Search charm. So if there's a Windows 8 version of Firefox, Chrome, or any other browser, you'll be able to use the Search charm for those as well.

  • @derickc - Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  • I have a new idea for charms...

    For charms you can just go to the right side of your screen. The thing is, you must hit it twice. Not once, but twice. Complicated? no. The movement is really simple, try. It’s much faster then the go corner, wait go down.

    Besides its perfect for dual-monitors. You just have to switch monitors twice. It might seem complicated, but it's really fast and simple and small movements.

    One Monitor  ->|      <- | ->|                                Charms appear              

    Dual Monitor ->|->    <-|<-     ->|->    <-|<-           Charms appear


    |      Right border of the monitor.

    ->    Movement of mouse.

    ->|-> Crossing two monitors

  • Yes the right area of the screen contains scrollbars for windows - true.  So instead of having invisible corners how about a pull tab or panel that you slightly see,  that lets people know there is something there they can interact with.  For instance if you plug a digital pen into Windows 7, on the left side of a screen is a pull panel that is off screen, but you see something is on the edge of the screen there - they could do the same for the right and left side of the screens.  On the right side put a pull tab that if you click/pull it shows the charms bar, on the left if you click/pull on the tab it shows the metro task manager.

    Of course ADD the start button back too :)

  • my 2cents..  I actually like the preview, IT IS A BETA!! there are drivers that aren't supported, some programs that don't work because it's a BETA!! other than that.. I think the new IE App will be fine when\if the net switches to HTML 5. the problems that I'm having are related to silverlight or flash not working on it and requiring the desktop version. the various apps(Music\photos\mail\calendar) are all in progress and I'm curious to see how much they progress into the final release. I'm finding it easier to just use the Live Essential tools(Mail) to track my email and calendar at this point, and either windows media player or windows media center instead of the Music or video aps.

    I for one don't miss the start button. if you move your mouse (I don't have\use touch at this point maybe for the Final Release) to where the traditional start button was you get a start button! granted its really a window preview which switches you to the start screen, but from there you can see what you pinned and if you right click and choose show all apps you see everything. I personally don't miss it. I think that 'restart' or 'switch user' needs added to the power charm so that you don't have to go to the start screen and click the user in the top right. but I like the direction its moving and curious what the finish\refine in the apps and settings as it gets closer.

  • chabuya
    2 Posts

    My biggest complaint would be that the charms bar is so hard to open. Sometimes it vanishes halfway through, I never know how long I have to wait before moving my mouse, I just find it very unsatisfying. The Start/Multitasking Hot Corners work great though, very very responsive and fluid.

    Oh, and the Metro music player is HORRIBLE to use with mouse/keyboard. I know this is just a preview, but this really needs an overhaul.

    Keep it going!

  • LeslieM
    1 Posts

    > But the question isn’t just where the Start button went.

    I agree with you - it is not where the Start Button went rather WHY the Start ORB went.

    Just what is gained by removing a graphic that is about 15 pixels wide which has served a useful purpose since 1995. This is just stupidity all round. But what can we expect given the disaster Microsoft made of UAC in Windows Vista.

    Lets face it, since Uncle Bill Gates took a back seat and then left, the Nerds at Microsoft do not have a clue. Microsoft are risking the upset of millions of existing users for no reason. A small button is just a small button so PUT IT BACK.

    Now onto the Metro UI. Come on guys even Windows For Workgroups was better than this effort (and thats saying something). The reason Icons are so useful is that they harmonize with the Human brain for pattern recognition. These ugly square boxes all over the place is making the little things that much harder.

    Personally I think Windows 8 is going to be the next Windows Vista. The good news is that hopefully the Microsoft Nerds will take their hands off their private parts and get it right for Windows 9 - because that is when the Business sector will most likely be looking to upgrade.

    To sum up windows 8 and to quote an old song - "Nice legs shame about the face".

  • In preparation for the Customer Preview I ordered in a touch screen in order to give it a fair evaluation.  I ordered an acer T231H which seem to have good reviews.    

    There is a major problem with the interface design with this screen that I so far cannot seem to find my way around.  Hopefully it is a simple fix that I am just missing and that someone can point me to.

    The edge of the screen has raised bezel about  1/4 high.    For the edge swipe commands it is almost impossible to get your finger (my fingers anyways)  in close enough to sense at the very edge.   This means multiple swipes (20-30) sometimes to get the edges to react.   I adjusted the display to a very low resolution and this helps a small bit but kinda ruins the nice screen resolution.     The touch seems to work fine elsewhere around the screen.

    I posted on the Microsoft forums with no response on this.    

    I tried messing around with the calibration and intentionally mis-touching the calibration points to expand the area and this can help a bit but then may the rest of the touch area unusable as the co-ordinates are off.

    Questions:   Is there a registry setting somewhere that can change where the screen searches for its edge.

    I still have to call Acer as my other thought was to squish the edges of the screen in to the center but the Horizontal and vertical settings on this monitor are not available to adjust in the on-screen display as they displayed but with no adjustment bar.

    I too fail to see the advantage of taking way the stat button.  I can give someone an iPad and they can intuitively start using it.   The home button is the safety net, when they are lost they just push it.     This is what the start button also was on the desktop to some extent.     The commands are not hidden on the edge screen commands.   My first encounter with a blackberry playbook was the same way.   Easy once you know but not intuitive at the start and certainly not something you can look a screen and see.

    I am keeping an open mind but just fail to understand the benefit to completely removing the start button.   Remember the ideological  implementation of UAC in vista and how well that went over with users, I kinda see removing the start button as the same thing.

  • Small ideas to help make w8 more easy:

    - Right-click on start button/hot corner inferior left, display the shut down options. You could also use the middle mouse button, for something.

    - Charms: Make configurable via control panel. An option when on Desktop app to change the time of activation on hot-corner. Now its 0 seconds. One can customize to change it to 1 second or 0.5s. That way the user on Desktop dont get accidental (annoying) charms anymore. This setting is needed on Desktop only. On Metro apps it make sense to be always instant. This could be only on charms on every hot corner. An time configuration activation in seconds from 0 to 2. (Just on Desktop or Desktop apps maximized).

    - Start Screen dual/shortcuts:

    When there are 2 versions of the same app, like IE10 or Photoshop Metro and Desktop you could merge the tiles into 1, and have some indication on tile. A colored Border or something like that. One mouse click->Metro App, double-click->Desktop app. The same with touch Tap once open Metro or double tap to Desktop app.

  • barts2108
    65 Posts

    Has anyone tried to open those 'charms'  on a touch device already? Actually I mean some touch monitor with a bezel. Will the user be able at all to touch on that tiny corner pixel to open it ?

    Where the name 'charm' comes from? if it comes from 'charming'... I am sorry to say but I don't think it is charm(ing) at all... better call it 'hid' or something (from hidden)