Windows 8

Learning to love Windows 8

The future is coming whether you like it or not, and it's called Windows 8.

Way back in the mid-Eighties and early Nineties, I had a number of conversations with IT professionals who lamented the onset of GUIs and the downgrading of the command line. I had experts tell me that word processing would never succeed, as all that was needed was Tex. The advent of the Windows interface was the death knell for the command line elitists, and it introduced a standard interface to the chaos of DOS-based applications.

The desktop analogue with its icons of filing cabinets and manila folders became ubiquitous, and apart from a few small differences, the same interface is in use today on Windows, OS/X, iOS, Android and Linux.

A crowded desktop became the norm for most users, until the advent of the Start menu in Windows 95. This provided a method of accessing commonly used programs and direct access to commonly used storage, such as documents and pictures. This eventually gave way to the use of a Windows Task Bar or the Mac Dock, where commonly used applications could be directly started.

Today, our desktops are a little like icon graveyards, with most functions accessed by a task bar, dock or a Start menu. It's also becoming more common to simply type in the name of a tool to run it — due to the increase in the number of tools/apps available.

Two other factors are also pushing for the evolution of our common GUI, and that is a need to bring some order to the increasing chaos of our applications/data and the evolution of multiple input methods.

Windows 8 and the WinRT (Metro) interface is a first attempt to provide an OS that uses multiple input methods, and makes an attempt at organising our data and apps.

Just like last century's DOS users, many people are resenting the coming retirement of the Start menu. While I can understand why some people object (it is a change after all), I don't really understand the reasoning behind their objections. The Windows 8 Start Screen is simply a combination of the Start menu and the Task Bar that is always visible — taking up the screen real estate where we used to put our unused icons.

In addition, the Windows 8 Start screen is dynamic. Those bigger icons/tiles will display information from their underlying applications, without the need to start them. It also provides a degree of organisation, so my Mail will be under Mail and my pictures under Pictures, despite the myriad of applications that produced them. Best still, I will use the same GUI on multiple platforms and form factors.

When it comes to input methods, I don't want to be constrained. Yes, my tablet or phone may be primarily a touch device, but I should also be able to use voice, a mouse/keyboard, stylus, game controller and gesture, depending on the hardware available. If I'm using a Microsoft Surface tablet, I want to be able to use all these input methods. When I'm working, I may switch from touch to mouse/keyboard, or lean back and use voice or gestures — Windows 8 will give me that ability.

It may be that I have been using Windows Phone for a year and have used the developer and consumer Windows 8 previews, but that grid of static icons is starting to look very old. With Microsoft now preventing Windows 8 booting to the old desktop, it looks like we'll all be dragged into the future — me with eager anticipation, and a few of us screaming and kicking.

About

Tony is the owner and managing director of Microcraft eLearning and is one of the creators of the AUTHOR eLearning Development System.

126 comments
RTWatkins
RTWatkins

Since I got it through my college, I took the plunge and installed the release version of Windows 8 Pro RTM over my existing Win 7 Pro install. Installation was pain-free, with the minor exception of having to re-download an ATI Catalyst driver, which worked fine after a reboot. Watching the short tutorial on what mousing to the corners did showed me most of what I needed to know about the UI changes. My findings: 1) The Desktop is (as we all knew) still there. All my Win 7 program icons were right where they were prior to install. All my programs worked, including Adobe Master Suite 6 and my games. No problem. In fact, I got a 5-6 fps boost in Diablo III. Minor, but noticeable--and a boost is a boost. 2) It is EASY to switch back and forth between TUFKAM (The User-interface Formerly Known As Metro) and the Desktop. Tap the Windows key. Done. Tap it again to switch back. Takes less than a second. 3) True, there is no "Start" button any more on the Desktop. But if you move the mouse a little lower to the left, into the corner, you can get to the TUFKAM Start screen and do whatever you wanted to from there. Right-click to access the All Apps list instead of the All Programs list. 4) You aren't FORCED to use TUFKAM exclusively. It is, however, a fairly nice way to keep up on the "light" computing tasks you'd normally use a tablet for. (Email, web surfing, Facebook, solitaire and other simple games--which are gorgeous, btw) The constantly-updating Tiles are a nice way to get info-at-a-glance on weather, stocks, sports, news, etc., but all your Desktop ways of getting to those things are still there and they still work. Would I want to work in TUFKAM exclusively? Not yet--I'm still too used to the old way of doing things, so a Surface tablet is not in my immediate future, but if Surface Pro gives me the same Desktop option, I'll definitely look at it when it comes time to replace my iPad 3. In short, I just don't see what all the doom-n-gloom is about. It's not a "disaster"; the sky is not falling. It's less of an abrupt shift than Win 3.1->Win95 was, and it appears they've gone to great lengths to make the hybrid experience as smooth as possible. When I want to work, I work on my Desktop just like I did a week ago. When I want to take a break and surf, I tap over and enjoy the simplicity of the new interface. But when break time's over, switching back takes all of a second, if that much. $40 for an upgrade is a steal--until they take the deal away in February. I plan on upgrading all my Win 7 machines to it in October (I only got one free key through DreamSpark, otherwise I'd go ahead and do it now.)

DonBaun
DonBaun

I guess I can be resistant to change, but I wholeheartedly agree with the problem of scrolling across light-years of desktop looking for icons is a killer experience. And I constantly open a specific window, such as Control Panel, and look for the program I need whose name I can never remember. So typing in the name of an app I want just cannot work. Also, I do a lot of video and audio work, so touch-screen isn't an option, much less any under-powered tablet or something. I need to maximize efficiency, not water my PC down to "pretty pictures" that delight casual users only interested in browsing something. I need to get some serious work done, and Metro makes that painful. Someday I may have a device with a touch screen and use Metro just fine, but that will be because I then own something (for some reason) with limited use and applicability for times when I'm not at my computer. I like what I see so far in Windows 8, but I really need the start menu back. Other than that I'm good to go...

Dyalect
Dyalect

And Windows 7 load disc for those preinstalled systems.

dmenglert
dmenglert

I have been running Windows 8 for 4 months at home and at first I had a hard time adjusting, but I didn't run out right away to trash the interface, I stuck with it, and I find some of the critisim is hyperbole. I can uderstand you get used things and you like the way things are, and I can understan you don't like the aestetics, I don't agree but to each their own. The Start menu is just the old start menu exploded onto one screen, and that can be confusing if leave it there. I have a lot of applications on my system and to see them all i have to scroll, (I have to do the same when I hit start menu in Window 7 however), but its just a small middle mouse wheel swipe back and forth, and I don't get a finger cramp. If you leave applications in the default position after install, yeah, you might have a hard time finding things, but I move the tiles for the most use applications to the first and second grouping of tiles, thus eliminating the arduous wheel scrolling, to me this isn't much different than pinning things to the taskbar in Win 7 to avoid the start menu. Alt+Tab and Windows+tab work fine, and the ability to start typing to search out of the start screen is nice once you know its there. I'm not overly fond of the file browser in "metro" or it may be just Google implementation of it in Chrome. After 4 months I have gone from skeptical to seriously considerding upgrading my work machines when it is released.

rich3page
rich3page

The author says, "While I can understand why some people object (it is a change after all), I don’t really understand the reasoning behind their objections. " The reasoning is that I have tried Windows 8 (both publicly released versions). Microsoft has hidden key functions in various places (lower left corner - left click, right-click on a blank part of the desktop, do something on the right of the screen, hunt for the shut-down command, etc). I'm sure it all makes sense to the programmers, who know where they hid most of the icons. The fact that the start screen is ugly is irrelevant to me. What I object to the the massive size of the icons on the start screen, using valuable real estate that I would like to use for what I want to appear on the screen. Sure it is easy to get to the more traditional desktop, but it is an additional step that shouldn't be required. I don't resist change, but I do resist stupid change. I regularly use PCLinuxOS, CentOS, and Ubuntu (both desktop and server editions). Those three operating systems are much more intuitive, easier to use and navigate, and configure than is Windows 8. I currently do most of my computing on Linux. I do have an audio editing program, Picasa, and an invoicing program on a Windows XP platform (running on a virtual machine under Linux). I will probably have to setup one computer with Windows 8 so I can experiment with supporting clients with Windows 8 (training, setup, configuration, and troubleshooting). Unless Microsoft introduces a method to bypass the Metro interface, I will switch to a Windows 7 platform for my few Windows applications. In the experimentation I have done with Windows 8, the OS appears to be solid in working with legacy Windows applications. As for the "demise" of the command prompt, I have to use that tool on a regular basis to change file security setting (via CACLS) which just can't be done with the Windows GUI tools. There are a number of other commands in all versions of Windows that require the use of the command prompt. Unfortunately, software manufacturers take a long time to figure out how to program for each new version of Windows. It was only after XP was obsolete as a supported operating system that some software could be run by a standard user and not an administrator. I am sure the problem will reappear for some applications when installed on Windows 8, although I had not encountered that problem with the programs I experimented on Windows 8.

rustys
rustys

make it clear ....... I will not be using a touch screen for my main systems and the 'Metro' desktop is crap when using a mouse. I want - nay, I insist on having a clean desktop and do not want all that crap polluting my space. Seriously people - there is far too much emphasis on looking cool and trying to be hip. Productivity wise this appears to be a big flop and is only going to make a lot of business users want to hang on to XP even longer.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

It's name will either be Apple or Linux.

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

"It’s also becoming more common to simply type in the name of a tool to run it" Does anyone see the irony of the trend to start programs the way DOS users did, or the way *nix users do?

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

The desktop in your illustration is most typical of a Mac user on a Windows machine, but many Windows users have something similar. For the record, I have exactly zero icons on my dual-monitor desktop. Ugly icons don't belong on top of my lovely background.

terradon
terradon

I have to confess to working with a preview of Win8 for only a short time. I didn't spend any time learning about the metro interface before booting into the system. I was lazy, just like I imagined a majority of users that I support would be. First I was frustrated that I couldn't find a way to start my commonly used programs, so I started exploring what was new on the desktop. That's when I really became frustrated. I couldn't figure out how to close the program. Then to make matters worse, I couldn't figure out how to close Win8. I ended up ending the virtual space. An inellegant shutdown if there ever was one! Determined to try to reason my way through the interface, I tried again and again and again. Only then did I search for resources to learn how to "tame the beast." Armed with more knowledge, I found many things to really like about Win8. But, I'm an experienced techie. The people that I support are not. If I was frustrated, I'm quite certain that those that I support will be even more so. If I had a way to disable the metro interface during installation, I wouldn't hesitate to install it for everyone. But, if I have to try to teach them how to get past the Metro interface, I can wait and install Win7 instead.

Regulus
Regulus

No, it isn't. Resistance IS NOT futile either. There are many options and even better choices available. Talk to any MAC or Linux person. You should start NOW, you may desperately need their help getting you out of an MS Hole it the near future!

Gerry_z
Gerry_z

Living with a wife who was only recently dragged grudgingly from XP to Windows 7 and still isn't crazy about it, I feel the biggest obstacle to Windows 8 success is the fact that people will HAVE TO CHANGE to use it. You may be able to change Windows 8, but many users won't know how. It will be interesting to see what happens in usage of alternative operating systems as a result. If you have a steep learning curve on a program you have to pay for, why not invest the energy learning something that is free? Only time will tell.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I am a bit disappointed that so many people posting about Windows 8 seem to have not figured out how to use it efficiently. Is it that so many people haven't tried it for long enough? So many people complain about the Metro style start screen so vehemently that they seem to not be aware that the desktop is one click away. Click the desktop tile and you are back in your comfort zone. So many people think you need a touchscreen to use Windows 8. [i]You absolutely do not need a touchscreen.[/i] You can take advantage of the touchscreen features if you have a touchscreen but you can still use a mouse and a keyboard. So many people seemed to have not noticed the direction that Microsoft has been moving in since Windows XP. For example: 1. The use of the Run dialog box for running applications. While it was originally used mostly for "regedit", "cmd", and "msconfig", it has evolved to the "Search all Programs and Files" dialog box and it is extremely quick for finding files and opening applications. Now, with Windows 8 you don't even need to open a dialog box. Just type a fragment of the name of the file you are looking for on the Start screen. 2. The use of the taskbar for frequently used applications. It's still there in the Windows 8 desktop. In addition, you can also make tiles for them on the Start screen. So many people seem to think that the placement of the tiles is static. It is not. Organize your tiles by categories. Move the most frequently used ones to the front. Remove the ones (unpin) you don't think you want or need. So many people seem not to have an appreciation for live tiles. The ability to see my calendar or incoming email without opening the bloated Outlook client is great. So many people seem to not have an appreciation for Metro-style lightweight apps. The calendar and mail apps are so clean and uncluttered and do 99% of what I use the Outlook for (make appointments and read/reply to mail). I will spend less time in the Outlook client. Don't get me wrong. I have my complaints too. I wish I could resize all of the tiles to my liking - not just have the ability to choose a big or small size for some of the tiles. I wish I could set my own background colors for the tiles - not just pick from a theme. I wish the tiles were stackable so I could drill down through a series of related applications. And they could have made shutting down more intuitive but you can make a shutdown icon and tile. I did. Frankly, clicking Start to shut down never made much sense to me. I encourage everyone to try Windows 8 for at least 3 weeks before posting complaints about what it can't do because it probably can do it.

inet32
inet32

Without editing the Registry is there a way to boot directly into the conventional desktop?

RTWatkins
RTWatkins

That the Control Panel is now two clicks away from anything? (Hover in the right-hand corner, click Settings, click Control Panel.) Works in either Metro or Desktop. And clicking on audio/video apps like, say, Adobe Premiere, takes you right back to the classic desktop and launches them there like they always did under Win 7. No touchscreen needed, unless you just want to try it. It's easy.

inet32
inet32

"I have a lot of applications on my system and to see them all i have to scroll," Why? I don't have to scroll to see all my apps on my Windows 7 desktop. My desktop is neat and clean with about 30 apps on it, all organized by purpose - sw development apps here, graphic-design apps there, etc. 30 apps probably take up about about 10% of the screen real estate. I have no objection to "new" as long as it's an improvement. It should REDUCE the amount of clicking and scrolling needed, not increase it.

Gerry_z
Gerry_z

If it takes an experienced user 4 months to adjust to the new interface, how long do you think it will take the average, less tech savvy user, and how many do you think will take the time? I haven't used it since I don't use Windows in any flavor on a regular basis except at work (They still use XP). I'm sure that for a $40 upgrade fee I'll upgrade the Windows 7 partition on my machine, if for no other reason than curiosity and the ability to be ready if we upgrade at work or I buy a new machine. I still think MS might have an uphill battle getting widespread acceptance of Win8.

inet32
inet32

... any human factors or UX expert knows this. Touch screens only make sense for smallish devices - phones and tablets. Because the swipe and similar gesture use fine motor control that you execute with your fingers and wrists. If you try to do the same thing on a large screen in a vertical orientation like a 24" monitor of a desktop PC you have to use large muscle groups in the upper arm and shoulders to hold your arm out. This results in what people in the human factors and UX community call "gorilla arms" resulting in rapid fatigue, back pain, etc.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Because a scroll bar is a new concept for computer users? You did see the scroll bar at the bottom of the Metro style screen - didn't you? and if you can't get the knack of moving your mouse to the right edge of the screen, you can call up the "charms" by pressing Windows-C

inet32
inet32

Who says typing is becoming common? I don't know anyone who does it except for a few old graybeards who are still using Unix with a cshell and who edit their programs with emacs. The idea of invoking a desktop program by typing its name went out with "dial" telephones.

JJFitz
JJFitz

You had to know where the program resided in order to run it. Remember CD (change directory)? Then if you couldn't remember exactly how the file name was spelled, you had to ask for a list of files in the directory (dir). Then if the directory list took up more than one screen, you had to remember to add the pause switch. (dir /p) Or you had to narrow your search to a specific file type. (dir *.exe) Now you just need to know [i]part[/i] of the name. haha yeah, good times....

JJFitz
JJFitz

it really depends on what the user needs to do. My lovely wife, (God bless her soul) uses our laptop for only a few things. 1. Email through the Outlook Client 2. Browsing 3. MS Word (Frankly, she could get away with WordPad but I won't hurt her feelings.) She does not venture any further than those three -EVER. I think she is an ideal candidate for Windows 8. I can set up 3 tiles, hide the rest and call it a day. She might even be able to get away with Windows RT but she might not like the small screen.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

since I touched on others in my replies to you further up. No, I have no appreciation for live tiles, any more than I had for widgets in Vista or 7. I don't engage in social media. I don't need the temperature. I start Outlook at the beginning of the week and leave it open until Friday. Besides, my open applications cover almost all of my screen so I'm not likely to see them. Most of my users maximize all their application windows, even if they'd be much better off tiling them side-by-side-by-side. Don't Metro apps cover the entire screen anyway? As to the Metro apps, unless those lightweight calendar and mail apps tie into the corporate Exchange system, I'm going to run the Outlook client at work anyway. Like the widgets before them, I haven't found any I had a use for or don't already have 'traditional' equivalents. I agree that many mistakenly point to things they say aren't possible; heck, I did it earlier in this discussion. However, it didn't take me three weeks to decide there was no immediate benefit to me or my desktop and laptop users. Deploying W8 on those platforms won't be a priority for us before 2014, at the earliest.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Can I: Resize all the tiles so they are about 15x15 pixels big, and have a text name beside them. And give them a customizable unique static image so I can tell the application at a glace. stack them vertically, not horizontally. Maybe 2 or 3 columns vertically on 1 screen. organize them into groups and folders. highlight newly installed programs. be able to automatically sort a subsection of programs by most frequently used. Remove the full screening of the start menu, so I can read instruction manuals or work on remote sessions at the same time. Wait... if I did all that, I would be back to the Xp start menu. Oops!

Madcap_Magician
Madcap_Magician

Put the Desktop tile in the top left, and all you have to do is hit "Enter" on your keyboard at boot - tada, no clicking or swiping or registry tweaks needed. If you've been booting directly into a conventional desktop, you have some serious security concerns. You've always had to step through hoops (authentication mostly, on every OS) to get to your desktop, and this is nothing new. Enter your password and press enter twice.

RTWatkins
RTWatkins

It is really quite simple to move from Metro to Desktop and back on the fly. Takes one button press, and you're done. I like having Metro as the startup screen so I can see if there are any email/social/whatever things I need to take care of at a glance, then tap over to the Desktop to work with all my regular Win 7 programs. It literally takes all of one second to switch back and forth.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't think there's a way to do it WITH editing the Registry. There was in the first beta, but MS took it out in subsequent versions. We'll start with Metro and damn well like it, apparently.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

He said he's been running it for four months. He didn't specify how long his adjustment period lasted.

inet32
inet32

Why should anyone have to scroll? I don't have to scroll to see all my applications on my Windows 7 desktop.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You didn't have to know where the program resided except for the single time you added that directory to the PATH= parameter in ... CONFIG.SYS? AUTOEXEC.BAT? I forget which one. If you can't remember how the file name is spelled, the search in modern versions isn't going to find it either. Typing 'Axcel' ain't gonna open your spreadsheet app.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

That's not 'ding' on W8 or MS. She'd dislike the small screen regardless of OS or manufacturer, wouldn't she? The screen size is one reason I've ruled out tablets for personal use.

JJFitz
JJFitz

The nice thing about the tiles is, just like shortcuts, If you don't need them, you can remove them. If thy tiles offend thee, pluck them out. I'm a three monitor guy. (yeah one of those) The Metro Start screen is on one monitor. The desktop is on the other two. You can see two Metro style apps side-by-side provided your screen meets the size minimum requirements. Yes, the calendar and mail apps are linked to my corporate exchange account. Since Win 8, I find myself in the Outlook client only to periodically archive my email.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Win 7 will remain under extended support until January of 2020. ;)

Slayer_
Slayer_

Locks only keep honest people honest, getting passed windows security when your at the machine locally is child's play. There is even an article on TR on how to use Linux to defeat a windows password.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and my e-mail is in Outlook, over on the classic desktop. I haven't seen anything on the Metro desktop yet that is of use to me. I realize that's me, but Metro is just something I'll have to bypass repeatedly.

Gerry_z
Gerry_z

why bring up the 4 months at all if the adjustment period was much shorter? It's be nice to hear from him how long it actually took before he felt comfortable. Personally I don't care much as, while I'll get a copy, I doubt it will ever be my daily OS of choice. Win7 is nice, but after 6 years of running Linux I can't conceive of ever going back to Windows. I do, however, have to use it at work.

inet32
inet32

I have to go through extra step to get it. How is that better? What I have now on Win7 is my 30 or so icons organized neatly around the edges of my edges of my desktop so that apps I open that take up most of the screen don't obscure them. This is what I see when I boot up - nothing I have to click to see that desktop. How is Win 8 better?

JJFitz
JJFitz

it is still there.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

One aspect of the project under discussion is using a tablet to complete forms online, instead of writing on paper.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I can't think of any command gestures specific to the Win 8 OS. It's just swipe up, swipe down, swipe to the left, and swipe to the right. Lehnerus2000 is correct, right click still performs some tricks. One of my old tablets used gestures to call up programs. For example, draw a "g" would open the browser to google and "w" would open MS Word. I don't think that was part of the OS though. You can do that kind of stuff on the Android phone. One thing I highly recoomend when getting a tablet is getting one that provides dual input support (Finger and Stylus). The finger is good for large buttons and links where the stylus is perfect for the small buttons you might find in legacy apps. The sylus should also act as a mouse. The stylus makes using a tablet much more fluid. I draw diagrams a lot and would be cursing up and down if I had to use my finger.

lehnerus2000
lehnerus2000

IIRC, you can right click on the bottom of the Metro screen to bring up the "All Apps" screen. [b]Update[/b] It actually brings up a bar at the bottom of the screen with an "All Apps" button.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Are there mouse equivalents to swiping? Are there other touch movements besides swiping? Are any specifically unique to W8? This is a whole new field for me. Obviously they won't do me any good on my desktop, but we're considering W7 tablets for a couple of specific applications. I'd prefer not to lug a mouse around with me to use these devices, since they're obviously designed to operate without one. I'm not even sure what to call these touch control movements; it makes Googling them difficult.

JJFitz
JJFitz

If there is a touch gesture, there is a keyboard shortcut that does the same thing. You can press Win+Z instead of swipe. It calls up All Apps on the Metro style home screen and app-specific functions when you are in an app. App-specific Example: While in the Mail app, press Win+Z and you have the option to move mail, provide feedback, pin to start, mark unread and sync.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

This may be one area where I'm getting left behind. Many of these new behaviors are rooted in touch devices, specifically smart phones with touch screen. I had no practical exposure to swiping prior to W8, and had no reason to expect this behavior to be present in a Windows OS. Ditto 'hot spots'. Hell, I still open a Run dialog box before typing an executable name. I've started removing the Run option from my Start menu on new systems. I still work with more systems that have it than not, and not having it on the Start menu doesn't eliminate Win+R. Too many ingrained behaviors, too much indoctrinated baggage. I'm going to wind up in a re-education camp in the mountains of western Washington, where the cadre will beat and brainwash the new doctrine into me. "What is this Start Menu of which you speak, comrade?"

JJFitz
JJFitz

I forgot about Path. True, typing "Axcel" will get you nowhere but typing "Micro", "2010", and "ex" will put it on the short list and "xl" will list all of your excel files where you can jump to Excel. Swiping up on the Metro style screen and clicking the all apps ico will show all of your apps as small icons with the program name next to them. Try that with DOS. ;)

JJFitz
JJFitz

I may sound like a broken record but the old style desktop is still there in most of it's glory. But then again, no one is forcing you to switch to Win 8. My wife would probably be fine with a tablet. Unfortunately, like many users, she is set in her ways and prefers the laptop layout. Maybe I could get a Surface RT or Pro for her but I fear that she would not like the smaller screen.

inet32
inet32

"I told her about this discussion. Her reply? "Really? I can have just my three icons? That's all I want. That's awesome!" " And those people would probably be happy using tablets. People who have simple needs - email, contacts, calendar, web-browsing, watching videos, etc, shouldn't be using desktops. Desktops are for production, design, heavy creative work, etc. CAD systems, professional software development, professional image or video editing, and so forth. I use a tablet or a phone for email, calendars, facebook, web browsing, etc, because I always have one with me and these are simple lightweight apps. Metro is probably great for stuff like that. But why should someone doing professional work on desktop workstations be using an OS not optimized for a desktop? This makes no sense.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I'll put Win 8 on our laptop instead. I told her about this discussion. Her reply? "Really? I can have just my three icons? That's all I want. That's awesome!"

dogknees
dogknees

Again, you're the first person who answered the question instead of telling me "most people don't want that" or something similar.

JJFitz
JJFitz

You will be able to have exactly what you describe on the Windows 8 desktop screen. Don't confuse the Win 8 Metro style screen which is basically a large start menu with live tiles with the Windows 8 Desktop screen. The Windows 8 Desktop behaves exactly the same as the Win 7 desktop. You can pin things to the task bar, save files and shortcuts to the screen, add widgets, play with your computer settings, etc.. The only thing missing on the Win 8 Desktop is the start button. You can approximate one though.

dogknees
dogknees

My normal layout is to have a window for DTV from a tuner card in the bottom right third of the screen, in the left two thirds I have the browser, above the DTV I have several gadgets showing live data. When I start an app, it's from an icon on the taskbar, so it doesn't hide what's already on the screen. Simple question, will I be able to have this layout in Windows 8? Not some approximation, not something where I need to switch to see the live data in the background, but the same functionality as I currently have. Of course, if I can layout even more active windows and control the size of the gadgets more precisely, that would be even better.

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