Early reports about Windows 8 Consumer Preview called it “feature complete”. That, hopefully, was just a stretch. Many of the applications are marked “APP PREVIEW”. These programs are, to be generous, little more than placeholders, but they do present some tantalizing new features.
With the “Metro” Start screen, Windows 8 has become much less intuitive. For young folks, who are eager to explore and try everything, this may be a thrilling experience. For us older folks having to figure out that you must run the pointer into corners – there are no hints for that – to get to various options, is, well, unwelcoming.
But let me start with some of the nice first impressions. Once Windows 8 CP was installed and I was registered, Windows 8 quite by itself went out and found my mail, my SkyDrive, and my photo albums on SkyDrive. The Mail tile on the start screen shows a recent email (but not the last one), SkyDrive shows the files and folders, Photos found my SkyDrive photos.
Some of the tiles on the Start screen updated to show recent information like the Weather and Finance tiles. The tiles are easily rearranged by dragging them to new locations. The Start screen tiles are rather large on a monitor, they can be resized, although there are just two options: large, about 250×120 pixels, or really small, about 60×30 pixels. You can change the size with the mouse scroll wheel when the Ctrl key is held down – really obvious, yes?
Windows 8 CP comes with some of the tried and true Windows applications, Notepad, WordPad, Paint, Calculator, and more as well as the standard management tools. These are “desktop” applications. There is a tile, “Desktop” for getting to the old, familiar Windows desktop. Everything there works pretty well as we are all used to from Windows 7 and before with one significant exception: There is no Start globe on the taskbar. You get to the Start screen by pressing the Windows logo key. How to you get to one of the familiar, old programs? Why just right-click on a blank spot on the Start screen, obvious, isn’t it? There appears a bar on the bottom with an “All apps” icon. Click that and the installed programs, oops, apps, are displayed.
Windows 8 is, or will be, and acquired taste. Some will love it from the start, some may never get fully used to the new-fangled “Metro” style. It will work beautifully, no doubt, on smallish appliances, but on the big monitors of desktop computers the Metro Start screen as well as the Metro apps look outright childish.
I will review some of the new features and ways of working with Windows 8 in coming posts. For now, let’s shut down. How is that done?
- Run the pointer into the right top or bottom corner to bring up the “charms” bar.
- Click the Settings charm.
- Click the Power icon.
- Click Shut down.
Yep, it’s a bit more complicated than in Windows 7.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck