Windows 8

Big questions about Windows 8: What are yours?

TechRepublic will be covering Windows 8 from every angle and we'd like your feedback on how we can best help you evaluate it and optimize it.

Among IT professionals, every new release of Microsoft Windows generates a huge amount of investigation and discussion since Windows still powers such a large portion of the business world. When Windows 8 arrives this fall, the issue is going to amplified because Microsoft is making a bold and risky move in morphing Windows into a platform designed to power both mobile devices and traditional computers.

It's still unclear whether consumers and businesses will embrace or reject this change, but it's going to give all of us a lot to talk about for the rest 2012. As always, TechRepublic is dedicated to providing business tech professionals with the resources they need to evaluate, operate, and optimize the latest version of Windows. We'll be doing extensive post-news coverage of Windows 8 from every angle. In other words, we'll be talking about what it means, potential impacts, best practices, tips, tutorials, and providing checklists and cheat sheets to help sort it all out.

Since we're still in the planning stages, we wanted to reach out to our audience and ask all of you what your big questions are about Windows 8. What are the issues that are going to determine whether and where your company might adopt Windows 8? What are the most anticipated new features that you want to hear more about? And ultimately, what kind of content do you expect from TechRepublic to help make sense of it all? Please let us know by posting in the discussion below.

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Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

68 comments
djthomas
djthomas

What folder in Windows 8 Explorer is the Metro Start located in ? This is a big question for me because of menu customization. I know where the Start Menu is located in Windows 7, and based on other articles I've read, I don't think the Metro is going to be in the same place. Could you please address this in a Windows newsletter down the road ?

sightsandsounds
sightsandsounds

Whats to become of the millions of LCD screens filled with Mercury and Arsenic ?? This is nothing more than making present technology obsolete so everybody has to buy all new equipment ! I really hope 8 Flops on its Face !

GuyHarel
GuyHarel

This is how I have been working for the last 5 years and would like to know if Win8 will get in the way: 1. I need a lot of tools to perform various dev works, so my second XP taskbar is loaded with 38 shortcuts 2. I need to open several Excel sheets: time sheet, dev log, test log,..etc 3. I need to open several Words document: product spec notes, technology notes, customer info...etc 4. I need several instances of Visual Studio at the same time: one for legacy projects, one for current dev project, sometimes I need VC++ 6 or VB6, to trace calls. 5. I need tools to support my dev work: an advance editor like UltraEdit, a file/folder comparaison tool like Beyond compare, a folder search tool like AgenRansack, ProcessMonitor, event viewer, acces to system environment variable, acces to a DOS screen, ..etc All those need to be easy to start, and it should be easy to swith between one app to another. On XP and W7, I put my main taskbar vertically on the left side, because it allows me to see more icons. Please don't tell me I won't be able to do this with Win8...

ombm
ombm

Of course we all have grown to the classic Start button on previous Windows, but now everyone is crying foul with the elimination of the Start button on Windows 8 (it's not official yet). But just in case Microsoft does decide to get rid of the classic Start button, there's an option to bring it back and make it look exactly like Windows 7.. http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ I just installed it and it looks great! The best part is those who love the Metro tiles, you can still access it by hitting the classic Start button. I think this is the way Microsoft should go. Bring back the Windows Start button but make it advance by accessing Metro apps. Bazinga!

rickandboo
rickandboo

Simple Questions...1. What does win 8 do for my desk tops to make the users life easier and more productive that win 7 does not? 2. What does win 8 do that win 7 can't to make my server 2008 infrastructure be better managed, more secure, and my IT workers happier? How would the improvments warrant the justifications for spending XXXX$ and what can I say will be the ROI for such a move? If the answers to the above questions are not much or not tangable then it ain't happening nor will it be recommended.

sparkscomputerservices
sparkscomputerservices

I am an onsite computer technician working primarily in the residential setting, and most of my clients are ma and pa average. I can tell you with a high degree of certainty there is going to be some serious resistence on the part of the average consumer to Windows 8 for two reasons: 1. There is just plain too much new about it and many folks don't do that much new very well. 2. There is no way to regain the Windows 7 Start menu easily (apart from some registry tweaks) and this is not going to go over well. I think the average consumer is going to resist Windows 8 in a big big way.

richslab
richslab

Seems like Microsoft is willing to risk another "Vista" in the PC market to gain an "iOS" in the tablet market. It could pay off, especially if they are able to take what they learn and repeat "Windows 7 fixes Vista" when they roll out Windows 9. A risk for sure but one they seem intent on placing their bets on.

bahnjee
bahnjee

Instead swiping around the Metro screen, simply type the name of the program or file you're looking to launch. In Vista and Win7, you'd press your keyboard's Win key first, but in Win8 you simply start typing. (Only works from the Metro screen, not the desktop screen.)

sabrown
sabrown

I am sorry to say, but my first impression of a screen shot is that the DOS prompt was prettier. This probably shows a huge lack of depth in my character.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Will the final release still block it? Or has this been fixed? Or is there something special I need to do to install MDAC?

tbostwick
tbostwick

Really the discussion ought to be more about M$ being behind the 8 ball for so long (since XP really).. and not coalescing all DEV for all devices similar to Apple.... Just look at the mess they've created as well as animosity (people HATE upgrading their OS every 2-3 years) many users have now. No wonder the PC is dying - as MS is slaying it quite nicely by offering products that are still years behind in many regards

tbostwick
tbostwick

Nothing in Win 8 - any version previewed thus far, has any application in business.. and I believe I know why. Businesses need some areas to NOT CHANGE on a day-to-day routine, such as core systems, terminals and the like - DO NOT! M$ must think this change would force an overahaul for any business + training... just because "we're Microsoft" That ain't necessarily so since W7 works just fine (TYVM), especially with many companies still coming out of recession and rebuilding - the LAST item on the agenda will be buying all new shiny terminals and teaching people how to use their hands to do daily work Poorly timed

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

After my first day with the release preview; not as bad as expected but I do see the issues people are having. Alt-tab works fine if you keep the applications within the legacy desktop environment but you'll be doing gymnastics to flip back and forth between a legacy app and Metro version of IE. Managing settings seems to be designed by a monkey with sever brain injury. Video resolution affects the entire OS so why do I have to go Metro -> Desktop -> (right-click) Properties -> Resolution to change it? Why are the same complete settings list not accessible by both the Metro PC Settings and a legacy desktop Control Panel? On the up side, this is the best time for Microsoft to release a stepping stone version. Win7 won't be going anywhere for a long time so win8 can be a misserable failure and they'll simply ride win7 into a win9 release designed with some sanity.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

The question for which I have not seen any logical or compelling answer is: Why is Microsoft forcing the tablet interface? Most users control desktop PCs with a mouse and a keyboard, whereas they control tablets with finger tips. Those are very different input devices, with wildly different degrees of precision, and they require different interfaces. So why in the world is Microsoft forcing a finger tip interface on desktop users? Unifying the PC and tablet OSs cannot be the answer, because a simple toggle could allow users to enable/disable the tablet features. Instead, Microsoft reportedly is aggressively working to block third-party utilities from going directly to the desktop and from re-implementing the Start button. To this user, Microsoft's approach to the interface for Win8 is so pigheaded and user-unfriendly as to be incomprehensible.

tbostwick
tbostwick

Win 7 was a marked improvement over the dismal Vista - and now 8 switches gears completely, assumes everyone is smartphone savvy, and the list goes on and on and on. Switching to Mac OS X and will stay with that - works far better than windows, can run Win in dual-boot if needed (now a rare ocassion) and the list goes on... M$ was caught trying to be the end all be all - and lost focus at a critical time. Time will tell - but many folks won't "buy it"

gamarad
gamarad

Win 8 functionality is very good but it would be very nice if they can improve the standard apps tiles design/color/background (i.e. Mail, Messaging, Store, ) and not just limited to primary color.

rob
rob

I have found the Release preview to be a much better version than the Consumer Preview. I am running it on a desktop PC without the advantage of a touch screen for which it has been designed, which brings me to my main bone of contention, the missing start button. Actually, it's not the start button that is the problem, it is the way in which one one is forced to navigate to an application which is the the problem. Now, I can understand at having a swipe solution on a keyboard-less, mouse-less single handed device such as a cell phone, but it really doesn't cut on a device which has mouse and keyboard available. Having to drag the screen to the right in order to find the required icon is unacceptable. Yes, I am aware that the mouse wheel can assist in scrolling the screen, but while that is a bit easier, it equally is not acceptable. I am also aware that I can pin various icons to the task bar, but am I really to understand that this is a suggested mode of operation? I am at a total loss as to understand why the Windows 8 team has such a blind aversion to the use of a drop-down menu! This shortcoming is creating a lot of totally unnecessary negativity around Windows 8, a negativity which could drive this product down the same path as Vista. Please Microsoft do not be so coercive, if Metro is indeed the best desktop solution, the majority of users will migrate there naturally. The use of blind force is unnecessary and stupid and it really isn't worth betting the house on it.

amj2010
amj2010

Is Microsoft trying to sell pears as Apples, it sure looks it that way.... If, and I say with a BIG IF, they can convince the Windows Users that it will work flawleslly, maybe, and not to forget, Office included, at a reasonable price, a bit lower that the Apples, then people will adopt it, otherwise, they are in BIG BIG trouble.....

slobodan.hajdin
slobodan.hajdin

Of our 20K + machines, it might be useful on 500 max. I can see no advantage over Win7, and most of reasons why would we adopt it are weak. Common user experience across devices? We use Blackberry phones! Windows to go? Usefull to max 500 users. Push button reset? Might be handy... Faster boot time? We already konw it boots too fast on some devices... New login options? Via picture and gesture? Lol. Nothing is wrong with passwords. 3G/4G? Fine... but not on desktop. Or even on most laptops. We have own connection app. (see: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tech-manager/five-reasons-businesses-should-adopt-windows-8/7515?tag=content;siu-container) People: Fail - forbidden. Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live, IM clients are forbidden, we have some work to do. Remote desktop: Handy, but we have other ways... The Tower: useless. We're in Europe! YouCam - potentially useful. SigFig: useless. We're in Europe! (see: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-favorite-windows-8-preview-apps/1322?tag=content;siu-container) AppStore? FORBIDDEN! We have central distribution of applications to users who really need them. And I don't see AutoDesk products soon in AppStore. We do need AutoCAD...

maszsam
maszsam

Gee, I was soooo happy when win7 came out! With win7 I could, hmmm, let me think.... oh yeah, run IE9. Other than that, my three machine that are double and tripple booted with win7 get zero win7 run time unless I need to... you got it, test wtih IE9. And there is Karma: Now IE is only 30-40% of the market. Think AOL for a trajectory comparision. What will Win8 do that XP didn't? Ruin IE10? Who cares? Microsoft has a long history of not caring about what customers want. They are essentailly a "me too" comopany: IPod, Zoom, Google, Msn, Netscape, IE3, etc.. Will undoubedly get sucked into at lease looking at it but it is utterly useless to me. Maybe the business should wake up and smell the coffee. Advanced companies should never use Micorsoft since they can do all they need with open source software. If you have to have an IT department then there is no case of continuing with MS. If you company with no IT department, maybe you are stuck with second best as open source documentation leaves a lot to be desired, and there are fewer techs who know Linux/Unix/BSD than know MS. On the other hand, most open source techs know MS.

barumbado
barumbado

This looks great on Tablets but for Desktop i think it will not. This will be like a flop in desktop os, but for the tablets or smart phones i think this will be a hit vs. counterparts like IOS and Android.

PhysicsTech2
PhysicsTech2

I agree with many posters - win 8 is just another Vista. Let's go a bit further back ..... Vista was a looser, Windows ME was a looser (we went back to NT4 because it was so buggy). I can't understand for the life of me why MS doesn't look at the outside world as a real place. There is no room in the world outside MS for Win8. It will flop and the smart among us will stay on Win7(or even XP would be better! ) If as a Desktop Engineer, I threw Win8 at the average file clerk and said "go for it", I would be looking for a new job. ANYONE who is computer challenged will fight this interface tooth and nail...... There is no place in the office for this product.....period.

Vortch
Vortch

People whine about microscopic changes, then productivity tanks. The changes in Windows 8 are out of the ballpark, so it will NEVER get adopted in ALL of the companies I have dealt with. Guaranteed. No more discussion. Microsoft really blew this one.

Magiksoft
Magiksoft

Windows XP was a hit, Windows Vista a miss, Win7 a hit, and now Win8 will be a ?? IMHO Microsoft just took the wrong chances at the exact wrong time. Win8 isn't just another OS but is the 'Swiss Army Knife' of OSs wanting to be all things to all people. I want to know what's under the hood of W8. What base code did they start with? They didn't write all new code did they? No, not likely, want to bet that it's Win7 framework with only patches to nit new features to the old frame? Don't get me wrong that is a perfectly viable way to do things but I believe in a strong alpha and beta testing cycles not just some software stress testing machines for a few months. MS has released another OS too soon not giving Win7 a chance to live up to being the replacement of WinXP in the business marketplace. This will not end well for Win8.

theowlit
theowlit

Say I was running a business with 30 PC's, all on Windows 7. Win 7 has been brilliant, there are very few issues running it. With this in mind, what would be the benefit for a business to spend $x on Windows 8 considering everything works perfectly in a Win 7 environment? As rhonin has mentioned above, unless deployment of tablets is involved (and it's hardly a top priority for a SMB) I just don't think a good case can be made for Win 8 this stage.

GBITC
GBITC

Isn't the metro UI optional, or at least be disabled? then it's not too different from 7... But I agree that people who are not keen to see their PC interface change will find it frustrating. On the other hand you can't just stay behind on technology, and I think more people, including older people are realising that more and more.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

I'm all for using a flat panel monitor until it will no longer work and then recycling it. Environmentally friendly and wallet friendly!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Those monitors will eventually be discarded anyway, regardless of whether they are replaced with touch monitors or new standard, non-touch LCDs. W8 may accelerate the adoption of touch monitors (how much is debatable), but the old monitors will all die eventually. Their disposal is indeed a problem, but it's been a problem since each consumer opened the carton.

eaglewolf
eaglewolf

I saw a recent article about what today's user does with their computer: e-mail, play games, watch movies, send/receive photos, social network, and a couple other 'entertainment' options. The one use/function totally missing from the list? Work. I'm beginning to think that Microsoft would be absolutely delighted if those of us who still expect an o/s to be functional for work would just get off the train and go to Linux. Well, I was considering saying 'go to [somewhere else],' but Linux is better! Think of all the comments posted here that would go away. Think of nothing but glowing, happy posts of how wonderful it is to be instantly notified every time you get a tweet or a new FB entry. Think of the potential for increased income for Microsoft when they release Windows 8 Desktop Fingerprint and Smudge Cleaner v.1 in either a spray or wipes. Seriously, though, my question boils down to asking Microsoft if they are no longer interested in that portion of the user base that still uses a computer as a working tool, not a toy. I can't imagine, on a desktop, using a touch screen for my 10+ (social networking-free) hours per day. I can't imagine the waste of time playing clickey-clickey getting to things when, as many have mentioned, using alt+tab is almost instantaneous. I still run XP on my desktop and W7 on my work laptop. On the laptop, it took a bit of time to customize it, including putting the 'quick launch' toolbar back, but other than that, it's great. I'd consider upgrading the XP machine to W7, but it starts hissing at me if I even think about it. But it's not my primary work machine, so we're both happy. I have an iPad and a couple touch-screen phone devices, and for those, the touch screen is fine, smudges and all. I'd still not go to a W8 device .. sorry, I don't like the ugly screen and navigating on it is still a pita. Microsoft is coming across as being totally desperate to 'catch up' to the market. Interesting to note if there is a good piece of software or app that's out there developed by another company, MS simply buys the company in its' desperation to be 'part of the crowd.' Then, as we all know, they basically destroy the product and discard it in favor of newer glitter. I won't be implementing W8 .. but will see what comes out of W9.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Though I keep my taskbar on the left side of my right monitor, so that my primary monitor has more space for code. It also makes doing webex meetings easier cause I can always get to my own task bar quickly.

TsarNikky
TsarNikky

It will be interesting to see how MS responds, if at all, to questions you and others have asked.

alfred
alfred

I agree wholeheartedly at 83 I know a bit about computers having used computing since 1970. Development went in fits and starts until Win XP became the standard. Initially it had its faults but now it does everything a desktop user wants. It is for me the ultimate OS as during its long life all the programs I use reached their best performance. All programs get improvements over time but eventually they can't be improved so to sell another version the functionality must be changed. These changes often make the program less usable. For example PaintShop Pro improved up to version 9 then Corel "improved" it by getting rid of the full screen display of thumbnails. Similar problems mean that the programs I want do not work on later Windows. Since I am not prepared to spend vast sums of money to get inferior programs to run on Win 7 or 8 I must stay with Win XP to get what I need out of computing. When my current PC fails I think I am going to have to move to Linux so I have started investigating it.

scairns
scairns

"simply type the name of the program or file you're looking to launch" I remember that! It was called DOS. User interfaces are supposed to "progress" not "regress".

rob
rob

Serious??? Typing in the name of an app every time I want to run it is a step up from a couple of mouse clicks in Start? Rather you than me!

bknight4
bknight4

Its all about the money. They want to force all users into the Metro environment so they can sell you more junk software through the app store. If you boot to the desktop and have a start button, there is no use for Metro, thus one less sucker to draw into the store. I have used Microsoft OS's since Windows 3.1, but I absolutely hate where they are going with Windows 8 and Metro. My Dell Studio Win7 laptop is now a dual-boot machine with Kubuntu 12.04. I love Win7, but Microsoft has sufficiently P*ssed me off with Metro that I've decided to divorce her ugly A$$. Kubuntu gives me what I want, when I want it and I don't have to pay her or talk to her afterwards.

garret.hoffman
garret.hoffman

To me the reason Vista died was because it was so bloated, it made hardware nigh un-usable. Win 7 fixed that, but I believe Windows 8 improves on it quite a bit... I'm running Windows 8 in a VM, and I gave it a single core, and half a gig of ram, and it runs very smoothly. The operating system should not be the elephant in the room taking up most of the resources on a computer. You are correct though, Windows 8 will be difficult to adopt by a great many people because of its vastly different user interface.

Capt_Ron2012
Capt_Ron2012

Why do people look for patterns like this? just because Vista, ME, Bob, Sucked, doesn't mean the W8 will. How was Windows 1, 2, 3.1, 3.11? Should we add those to the pattern? No? Because they would break the nice 1 0 1 pattern that people like. Stop the historical patterns. Lets look at something else entirely for the comparison, not version numbers. XP was a huge hit because they changes the UI and the architecture. Vista sucked because they changes some in the UI but mostly in the architecture. The UI changes were good. The other changes weren't. Then they changed again for W7. A little in the UI, and many fixes in the architecture. Basically W7 is a "fixed" version of Vista. Now they are making another change to UI. Remember, they've always been successful in changing the UI. But what we should be nervous about are the architecture changes. What does WinRT mean for us? What changes are they making in the back end that will effect how I work or what apps I use? That is the issue. Not version number patterns.

kalanziut
kalanziut

I guess a Vista miss was intentional so as to give a opportunity to the next OS release to not only be a hit but massive. How'ver I believe they have not give Win7 a chance 2 completely replace WinXP, something MS very well knows thus it keeps me wondering what they are up to now. What ever it, it must be surely working in the their favour.

gak
gak

At the Windows 7 launch time, Russinovich disclosed that MS wants to (finally) make a kernel. That was almost done for Windows 7 and is obviously done for Windows 8. Having fixed the architecture, they could be a very successful Swiss Army Knife. What they have done with that capability is another story. Whenever I care to comment on Windows 8, I have some variation of the idea that MS have taken a very scientific approach to Windows 8 creation and it failed them. Now I have an idea why that happened. A working scientific approach is not only accurate and formal data processing, it is also peer review, free discussion, and high mathematical culture. The former two are not to be expected from a hierarchically built corporation, and the latter directly contradicts the modern idea of maximizing profits by optimizing quality.

bboyd
bboyd

Same pattern, 2000 +1 ME -1 XP +1Vista -1, 7 +1....as bad as Star Trek movies.

canewshound
canewshound

This is the same argument with each release upgrade. Is it worth it. Almost always a no for 2-3 years after release, when the old platform is sunsetting and it is time to refresh desktops for over 70% of your staff. That is when most of us do it. Windows 8 not any different, except for many features it introduces that 7 and XP don't have, especially if you are using Win tablets and Win 7 or 8 phones. More reasons to upgrade to 8 then on the desktop. We are testing the last Win 8 release and having no issues...in fact the IT guru's seem to like it.

JohnOfStony
JohnOfStony

Software is not technology. I agree that an OS may need to be upgraded to make full use of technological advances such as USB 3, Thunderbolt, tablets & smart phones, but that does not, repeat not, necessitate a change in the user interface. My current smartphone has icons very similar to desktop icons and I have no trouble using them so why go for large tiles - are we planning on reducing the level of skill needed to guide a finger to an icon? In my opinion, Metro is exactly the wrong way; it's dumbing down the user interface, which is the last thing those of us who use computers for productive work need.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

I had never thought of it like that before! Microsoft and Apple are moving towards an "app store" environment on the desktop. I think you are spot on!

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

You may be right. As 'Deep Throat' taught us, follow the money. But I am skeptical that the increased revenue from Metro apps will offset the decreased revenue resulting from lower sales of the highly-profitable MS Office. We may be about to witness the birth of Vista 2.0.

Capt_Ron2012
Capt_Ron2012

The Metro tiles are not just bigger icons. They are interactive "screens" that provide information without the user having to touch/click. When used well, they can help make the experience much more efficient. I've been working on a metro app that shows administrators alerts from our SharePoint system and the tile will display critical alerts so the user doesn't have to touch anything to see them. What I see people forgetting is that the Metro interface is alive. It's interactive and informative. Not just a screen of "dumb" icons that just sit there. The Metro apps are fairly easy to write and you can create a very immersive experience with them. I use W8 on a HP TX2 touch tablet convertible, a Dell T7400 workstation, and a custom built desktop at home. In all cases I'm finding that the experience is better than my W7 boxes. It just takes some time. MS needs to kick up the education several notches. They have an opportunity to change how we use computers for the better. Apple did it with the iPad, now it's MS's turn.

AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

Office won't be bundled with Windows 8. A basic version will be included with Windows RT (ARM based tablets) because you cannot use the full Office, which will be a legacy app in Windows 8. The next version of Office is getting some Metro-like elements, but it will still be a "legacy" app. MS cannot kill Office, it is nearly as big a cash cow as Windows.

JJFitz
JJFitz

The simplicity of the Metro calendar and mail apps are a welcome addition. Sometimes you just want to read and reply to email and see your daily calendar without all of the bells and whistles. Dual monitors also help tremendously. I can't imagine working in IT with just a single monitor.

Capt_Ron2012
Capt_Ron2012

I have a laptop with W8 on it and connected an external monitor to it. When I did, the Metro interface was only on the laptop. The monitor had the desktop. It was very easy to navigate between the two and I found that using the Windows key was a simple way to show/hide the start screen. Just like the start menu. Also, applications running in Metro do not "sap" power. Any app not on the screen is in stasis. This is to preserve power. Check it out by opening the task manager. Also Metro apps are nice. They are clean, very fast, and easy to use. Yes, most of my work is in Office and other non-metro apps, but some, like mail, calendar, and contacts are just better in metro than in Outlook (except for certain functions, which are not regularly used by me) The more I work in W8, the more I find myself liking the duality of the interface. Give it an honest try. You might be surprised.

spawnywhippet
spawnywhippet

I don't know about you, but I don't just sit there and stare at my PC wallpaper (Metro) waiting for status updates. I have an application, or multiple applications open and filling my entire desktop 99.99999% of the time. Why would I want power sapping dumb tiles sitting behind my applications chewing up bandwidth, RAM and CPU when I will never look at them? To me, Metro is in every measurable way a massive step down from Win7

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

Like you say, widgets can be very useful to provide a quick information glance and/or interactions to the user. When I look at my desktop I see: - nagios monitoring; - security warnings (port scanning and ssh brute force attacks are a constant); - to do lists; - calendar; - appointments; - weather; - contacts state; - notes; - feeds viewer; - and a clock. A quick glance at my desktop and I can obtain a wealth of information and even act on it (e.g. add notes, start a conversation, view details about a monitoring warning, create a to do entry or mark on as completed, change the weather :D) Still, I'm don't like the way Microsoft implements them. I find the layout too rigid and the widgets sizes too small. (Also ugly but that is a personal taste.) Regards.

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