Windows

You don't really need a Start Menu in Windows 8

Greg Shultz shows you several techniques you can use to launch your Desktop applications in Windows 8 that don't involve a Start Menu.

Are you a Windows 8 user who is pining away for the old Start menu? Do you really need it? Or are you just looking for some comforting familiarity?

If you need that familiarity, there are actually several third-party Start menu replacement options such as StartW8 and Classic Shell, both of which are free. Or you can purchase Stardock's Start8 for $4.99. There are several others out there but these are the ones that I have heard most people talk about using.

However, if you really think about how much you've used the Start menu in recent years, chances are good that you'll find that you don't really need it anymore. In fact, Windows 8 provides plenty of very efficient ways to launch your Desktop applications - you just need to be aware of them. In this blog post, I'll show you several techniques that you can use to launch your Desktop applications in Windows 8.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

The [Windows] Key

If you think of the [Windows] key on your keyboard as a replacement for the old Start button on the screen, you'll find that the Windows 8's Start screen provides you with a great way to launch your applications and other desktop-based tools. All you need to do is press the [Windows] key and start typing the first few letters in the name of the application that you want to launch. As soon as you do, the Apps Search tool will launch and begin searching for an application that matches.

For example, if you want to launch WordPad, just press the [Windows] key and type word. When you do, the Apps Search tool will immediately find WordPad, as shown in Figure A. To launch the application, just click the icon/tile or press [Enter].

Figure A

Just press the [Windows] key and start typing.

All Apps

If you'd rather see all of your applications on screen as regular small icons/tiles along with descriptive titles, you can use the Apps screen. To get to the Apps screen, press the [Windows] key to bring up the Start screen, press [Windows]+[Z] to bring up the App command bar, and then press [Enter] or click the All apps button. (If you have a Microsoft Touch Mouse, you can bring up the App command bar with a two finger gesture and then click the All apps button.)

Alternatively, you can use this keystroke combination: [Windows]+X+S+[Esc]. It may look convoluted, but it is very simple. If you refer back to my Tools menu article, you'll see that [Windows]+X brings up the Tools menu and S launches the Search feature with the Apps screen in the background. Pressing [Esc] closes the Search panel leaving the Apps screen visible.

Whatever way you use to get to the Apps screen, as shown in Figure B, you'll see that the this screen shows all of the Windows 8 Apps as well as your regular desktop applications in alphabetical order on the left side of the scrollable screen. On the right side of the screen in categorical order, you'll find all of your traditional Windows desktop tools. The small icons/tiles and the titles make it easy to find what you're looking for. To launch the application, just click the icon/tile.

Figure B

The small icons/tiles and the titles make it easy to use the Apps screen to launch applications.
If you have a lot of icons/tiles on the Apps screen and are having trouble locating what you need, you can use the Semantic Zoom feature to help. To access the Semantic Zoom feature with your mouse, just click the minimize button that appears in the lower right corner of the screen. (If you have a Microsoft Touch Mouse, you can activate the Semantic Zoom feature with a three finger gesture.) As you can see in Figure C, when zoomed in, the Apps screen displays alphabetically and categorically labeled icons/tiles. All you have to do is click the appropriate icon/tile and Windows 8 will zoom back out and put those items that match in the center of the screen.

Figure C

When zoomed in, the Apps screen displays alphabetically and categorically labeled icons/tiles.

Pin to the taskbar

If you prefer to stay away from the Start screen, you can pin your applications to the taskbar. You can then launch your applications right from the desktop as well as perform a host of other relevant activities via the Jump lists.

To pin applications to the taskbar, locate the application on the Apps screen, right click on the icon/tile, and when the App command bar appears, select the Pin to taskbar button as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Right click on the icon/tile and select the Pin to taskbar button.
You can fill the taskbar with pinned applications as shown in Figure E. You need not worry about having enough room on the taskbar for pinned and running applications, as each application will use the same icon whether it is running or not.

Figure E

You can fill the taskbar with pinned applications.
If you fill the taskbar with pinned applications, Windows 8 will just add a second row to the taskbar and you'll see a small bar with arrows appear and the right edge of the taskbar, as shown in Figure F. If you click the arrows, you can scroll between the rows to access all your pinned applications.

Figure F

Use the arrows to scroll between the rows of taskbar icons.
If you would rather see both rows of icons on the taskbar, you can widen the taskbar. To do so, right click on the taskbar and select the Lock the taskbar command to remove the check mark. You can then stretch the width of the taskbar to show both rows, as shown in Figure G. When you are done, right click on the taskbar and select the Lock the taskbar command to reapply the check mark.

Figure G

You can widen the taskbar to show both rows of pinned icons.
When using a double-wide taskbar, it will take away screen space from maximized windows. As such, you may want to enable the Auto-hide the taskbar option. To do so, right click on the taskbar and select the Properties command. When you see the Taskbar Properties dialog box, select the Auto-hide the taskbar check box, as shown in Figure H.

Figure H

If you don't want to lose screen space for running applications, use the Auto-hide the taskbar option.
If you don't want to use a double-wide taskbar, you can select the Use small taskbar icons option. Just select that check box in theTaskbar Properties dialog box, and your taskbar will have room for more icons, as shown in Figure I.

Figure I

You can use small icons on the taskbar.

On the desktop

Of course, you can always resort to keeping your application icons on the desktop. To do so easily, locate and right-click the application's executable file and select the Send to | Desktop (create shortcut) command, as shown in Figure J.

Figure J

Use the Send to | Desktop (create shortcut) command to place your application icons on the desktop.
You can then launch your applications right from the desktop, as shown in Figure K.

Figure K

You can then launch your applications right from the desktop.

What's your take?

Are you likely to install one of the third-party Start menu replacement options or will you use one of the techniques shown here? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

Additional Windows 8 tips are available on this TechRepublic Focus Page.

Also read:

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

646 comments
kj_easy
kj_easy

That's exactly the point. Like on Android tablets, the "desktop" is full of colorful rectangles representing programs for whatever purpose. But even after cleaning up, like on a real world wooden desktop, I do not have all my tools on the table, most of them are put in a drawer, and the desktop table is used for the documents I work with. For me, the START menu was like opening the drawer to get a tool out, and the explorer opens the drawer with the folders and files. This "modern" approach of just cluttering the desktop with tools (apps) has no logic and looks like the idea of an app fetish.

LarryD4
LarryD4

The OS itself is quicker and more efficient, but the interface has done nothing but caused problems. The day I installed win8 was the day I installed the start button. I have to use 8 at work but I will not install it at home. Its just like Vista except the back end works and the front end sucks. I'll wait and see whats next.

cquirke
cquirke

Hi! I'd rather use a standard toolbar (e.g. QuickLaunch) to act as a Start menu, perhaps with a hard (junction) link to the still-present all users Start Menu\Programs. I'm hoping this will expand like a menu, rather than open a folder view as happens when using a normal shortcut instead of a hard (NTFS junction) link.

sarai1313
sarai1313

for pointing out that we are human and each have are own opinion. I mite not agree with what some one says.But thats OK it is a free country.

pgit
pgit

So in 7 pages have we solved or settled anything here? How 'bout that windows 9 then? ..eh? ..EH!? :D

milesbradford
milesbradford

I've come from Win3.11/Netware3.1 days throughout the Windows 2000/NT4 and Windows 7 cycles. That's a long time to account for. Steve Jobs had the correct idea about computers and electronic gadgets -- Make them dumb enough and people will use them. I think Microsoft has finally got it? I think they finally figured out that Jobs was right. I've checked out Windows 8 and I think it is just about as dumb as you can get something dumbed down to get the masses to use while being very useful in the world. You don't need a "Start Menu" on any OS of any sort. Smart people like using Command Line OS's when they can and dumb people like using OS's that give them the least amount of "resistance to gratification". Secretaries don't care if they have a Start Menu or not as long as their program comes up when they touch the Icon whether it be by Mouse or Touch Pad or Touch Icons on Monster Glass. Neither do Accountants or Engineers or Lawyers or any other Office position. The only people that bitch about Start Menus are people sitting on their beds in their bedrooms and trying to pretend they have a life. When I ride the bus to work and back I see most people loving their touchscreens or touch pads. Then at work I watch people at work going straight for the Icon on their desktop that takes them directly to their program for work. Very rarely do people at work have time at work to screw around messing with Start Menus and such just for the sake of figuring out whether or not they like Start Menus. Personally -- I like NOT having a Start Menu. I like putting the Icons of the programs that I use -- on my Desktop and try never to have to open any Start Menu. As for Leopard it's still a bit cluttered for me with a lot of unnecessary Icons that I have to change around to what I use. The same goes for Ubuntu's attempt to compete with Leopard. I like the Ubuntu approach the best -- even though Ubuntu is going the same direction that Windows 8 has gone and I think they are both on the correct track. The important thing to make note of is -- does the program that you are using have the extra Icons built into its Internal Menu to do the job that you need to get done without having to leave the program or closing it out? Back in the day when you would have to leave Lotus to go into dBase to export and import data sheets made from to another. In the new versions of Microsoft Office those clumsy ways of doing things went away. When you are working in Adobe you don't have to leave Photoshop to import/export or completely change a photocut - you can do it right there. These are things that are important. Having a Start Menu is NOT important. Having just one Icon on your Monster Glass Screen is all that you need. It can bring up all the programs that you use in Touch Screen Icon fashion and you can get on with your work. If you need to be able to do programming or commandline work then put yourself a icon in your folder so that you can get on with your day. The best computer screen is a "Blank" screen with one Icon waiting for you. Customize your folder with your Icons of Choice and be done with it. Up until Windows 8 I thought Windows 7 was the best OS in the market since computers were first built. If you're a engineer/admin/systems person then you might like UNIX/Linux/BSD and that's fine. You probably don't like Windows anyhow -- but, you like the Commandline anyhow. So I've got nothing to say for you. I am one of you. I think you all would likely agree with me anyhow. Blank screen is best and commandline rules. But, since we are talking Windows 8 here -- I err to the side of Windows 8 and get rid of all these freaking Menus. That goes for Windows/KDE/GNOME together. If we need something then Ubuntu Unity is probably a good idea. You pear it down to just a couple of Icons on the side and make them hidden to boot. Less crap running in my RAM for the purpose of my Desktop is good. Oh -- I must mention getting rid of all the Icons that Microsoft thinks of putting on the Desktop as well. That's a sad issue.

jbdoty
jbdoty

I installed Windows 8 and added the StartW8 app as a replacement for the Start button that isn't included in Windows 8. It works great...however when I jumped over to my wife's profile to set stuff up so she can see the screen better I ran into problems. I increased the font display under Personalize|Display settings to the "Large" and now the StartW8 start menu is not showing everything. I guess using the Large font display option limits what can be displayed somehow. I tried tweaking title bar and menu fonts down some and that helped some, but I still can't see the menu well, particularly the bottom of it where the "All Programs" and Shutdown is located, which was the major reason for using it. My wife is not happy so poppa isn't happy either. Anyone got any ideas on fixing it. I can't seem to find a support link on the StartW8 site, not surprising since it is free.

tony.hoad
tony.hoad

I don't care much for Apple/Macs, but their OSs are evolutionary - it is beyond my understanding why Microsoft expects users to learn a whole new way of using their computers, to do essentially the same things they did before in a way they knew and understood. I teach oldies basic computer skills and they finally have a good grasp of Win7 - I also lecture college students in IT skills and I simply cannot understand why the same things have to be hidden in new places and often accessed in far more complex ways. Think shut down, think change desktop, think . . . (where the hell is Media Player? oh, that'll cost you.) There is no way I will recommend any one to upgrade to Win 8 - there is no point to battle with it on a desktop PC

sarai1313
sarai1313

the auther and others turning this into thier own little IM posting area and fightting like kids.

myangeldust
myangeldust

What the tarnations is this?! Users of the old tiller now have to conform to this steering wheel forced upon us by the manufacturer. What could be more intuitive than a handle you can swing left and right? Every sailor knows all about it. A wheel? Please, NO! Now, these carmakers have forced upon us an ignition switch inside the car. Nothing was easier to use, or figure out, than the handcrank on the front of the car. I supposed my wife will now simply push this button and what, DRIVE the car herself?! Steering wheels, ignition switches? This is merely change for change's sake. This is Henry Ford's attempt at making all our lives miserable. Just miserable. Maybe Mr. Ford will make a Model U and bring back the tiller and crank or I can't see his company lasting that much longer. PS: I was going to do that "M$" thing but there's no "s" in Ford. Or Henry.

NerdHerder
NerdHerder

Long ago I found out that I could tap the Windows (flag) key, type a few characters, and hit the enter key. I did this in Vista, Windows 7 and now Windows 8. I hate moving the mouse through menus and sub-menus. Too often people choose the graphical mouse way over a quicker typing method. Bottom line: I'm opening programs the exact same way that I did in Windows 7. I'm happy. I like the live tiles because it functions as a dashboard for the programs that I use often.

myangeldust
myangeldust

I went to the doctor's office today, a very large, national institution. Their computers were running [wait for it] Windows XP. Wha?! I said nothing because I don't like hot doctor assistants identifying me as a nerd. (What? Everybody wants some!) Anyways, if 7 wasn't enough to get their IT off XP then it must be 8. At some point their systems will stop talking to their equipment and mobile devices. They are going to be using wireless tablets and similar stuff and XP will become their bottleneck. If Windows 8, and a similar looking 9, gets adopted by hardware makers this giant hospital will have to make the jump just to stay functional. Plus, doctors don't like to type and pushing tiles or looking at tiles that give them specific information without even opening an application would be a welcomed feature. Instead of rough-handing a mouse, their sexy little hot assistant hands can just point at tiles to do stuff. Hot chicks pointing and touching - I'll buy that for a dollar!

milesbradford
milesbradford

I totally agree. And what's more -- I believe in the near future the Windows 8 OS will morph into a Voice ONLY version with a voice actuated only screen to look at and all apps ran on it will be of the same nature. Seriously -- do you really need to touch the computer at all??? I don't think so. I think Microsoft thinks the same way. I think the population just doesn't realize it yet? In the next 3 to 5 years we'll be able to purchase little full blown computers running on ARM chips or better with WiFi -- and we'll stand around with a ear piece with microphone hanging out of an ear while talking with the computer/phone still in our pockets while we make/answer calls, dictate notes/letters, check our calendar of events or create conferences.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

There are as many different opinions about Win8 and the lack of Start menu as there are TR peers. We've also learned that TR peers are just like everybody else in taking offense when somebody disagrees with their opinion. In short, we've settled that geeks are human. Who knew? :^0

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

For the Beta to become available before I comment on it. ;) Col

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Do you know the difference between a Ignition Switch and a Starter Switch? In the Old Days they where different things and in some cars still are different switches. However in every case the Ignition Switch has always been inside the car even before they had a roof or steering wheel the Ignition Switch was always where the driver could turn it on or off while in the driving position. So when the Hand Crank was the only way of starting the vehicle they had to first turn the Ignition Switch on inside the car then go to the front and turn the Crank Handle to start the motor. They also had to go inside the car and take it out of Gear so that they could start the motor, Though in some cars the Sequential Gear Lever was mounted on the outside of the car in front of the drivers door. So blaming Henry Ford for placing an Ignition Switch inside the car is so badly out of place and misleading. :p Col

dcolbert
dcolbert

*understated applause* for you.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Even now the majority of Medical Practice Software is stuck on Windows Server 2003 R2 and XP and [b]Is Not[/b] certified for use on any newer software. The Major Hospitals here use a Main Frame back end running Unix and the common Medical Practice Software on the Front End which mandates XP as their OS for their User Interface. Even than the last time I attended an Emergency Department they printed out a Treatment Form that was to be filled in by the Treating Doctor and it had the wrong date on it exactly a year previously. They ran the request again got the same result and then finally got their IT Department to correct the issue. When the Treating Doctor arrived they wanted to know why I had walked out twice a year ago untreated with the same injury and why I had come back today. They can not remove any printed paper from the records as it throws the Indexing out and this is picked up by the Doctors/Nurses and lists you as a potential Problem. They can not write anything on the Blank Incorrect Forms as the people who print them are not Qualified and do not have the necessary Medical Qualifications and unless you know what has happened the victim has no idea of what the hell is going on and looks at the Quack with a blank look on their face saying something along the lines of [b]What the Hell Are You On About?[/b] If you do not like the Medical Profession using XP because it's not the newest then you have to accept that the software will not work right and the main thing here at least is that the Allergies do not work correctly and throw up screwy errors when run on newer OS's and generally speaking will cause Adverse Medical Outcomes where the best result is death and the more common one if a Life Time of damage. If you want to pile heaps of crud onto the Local Doctor for using XP then go directly to their Software Supplier and complain as they have not rewritten the software to run on the newest platforms. Of course they will say that the cost of doing so is prohibitive and to be perfectly honest the Main Program used here has just been certified for use on Server 2003 R2 64 Bit in the past 45 days. Prior to that it was not safe to run on a 64 Bit OS and as of March this year they just moved to the R2 Release of 2003. It takes a very long time after a new OS is released to get Certification to use that new OS for these Medical Programs and the Companies who make these programs do not start the rewrite till after the new OS is released because Microsoft has a habit of making changes from the Pre-release to the RTM Versions which adversely impact on the Medical Program. Hence they take several years to release any new updates and then they wait for the Medical Profession to start using the changes. In the case of the 64 Bit OS availability this was rushed as the Patient D Base was exceeding the ability of a 32 Bit System to run properly which means in a timely fashion so that change was jumped on and asked for for a long time but other changes are more slowly adopted. Col

dcolbert
dcolbert

I know one practice running an IBM PS/2 on Windows 3.11 as an interface server for one of their labs. Doctors *can* get blood out of a turnip. With the right Doctor, a piece of coal, and some Petroleum Jelly, you can easily manufacturer synthetic diamonds.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

are still running [wait for it] Windows XP. When you are capable of understanding why, you will have earned the "IT Consultant" label you have applied to yourself.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Touch. Voice. Kinect! MS has already put out adds showing other uses for their Kinect device. Unlike other manufacturers that only place innovations in the context of their own products Microsoft is showing their innovation's effects, current or potential, in people's lives. You won't have to touch that screen you can just wave your hand and scroll those tiles. In the near future we will all be telekinetic.

Slayer_
Slayer_

The tech has been around for a while now, and it still barely works. Even simple things, for example, my phone is convinced I have to say the word mobile as "mo-bull". Half the time it doesn't understand me when I say yes or no.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

start slamming it now; beat the rush. Plenty of people sounded off on W8 before trying it; why be any different?

dcolbert
dcolbert

Was that directed at me? If so, would you like to elaborate on your experience with leading EPM/EMR solutions, ICS repositories, HL7, EDI, lab and radiology interfaces, eRX solutions, the importance and application of fax services and how practices need to deliver these solutions for meaningful use? Are you clear on the timelines and incentives for meaningful use and when they turn into penalties if those milestones and metrics are not met? Can you elaborate on how those metrics are measured, what they are, and which ones a provider has to select as their meaningful use metric goal? Do you understand how the clinical workflow in a knowledgebase based EPM solution provides a checklist for workflow during a patient check-in process? I could go on with page after page of this very detailed discussion that only makes sense to individuals involved deeply in medical practice healthcare. Hospital and Emergency Room healthcare is generally a different, and monolithic beast altogether. Most medical care is given by general practioners in a small to medium physicians group to patients that do not require urgent clinical response. Part of the problem right now in medicine is that the lethargic and outdated systems in emergency and hospital response *are* legacy systems that cannot support ePHI portability of patient records that are gathered during *primary* care situations. Patient care quality suffers as a result, and that is where you get missed conditions, perscription incompatibility and missed or incorrect allergy alerts and notifications leading to complications. Let's not even get into the revenue, billing and AR cycle end of electronic healthcare practice. Doctors have wildly adopted iOS and OS X devices for their healthcare practices. If they can buy Airbooks and iPads for themselves and expect those to work with their electronic healthcare solutions - then we can expect them to set up their check-in desks with Windows 7 based PCs that are running something more recent than a Pentium-D. Oddly, someone recently challenged me on the claim that it is a best practice to disable the default admin accounts in Windows because of the unique RID that is part of the account SID, caliming that this is a Microsoft Official Curriculum best practice that isn't ever applied in the real world - and that merely renaming the accounts was enough of a security measure. That kind of allegation is fighting words among IT professionals. "Did you just accuse me of only knowing the Microsoft Test answer for an IT solution, and not the real world application of the technology? We're gonna have a problem..." I'm feeling a little on the defensive at the moment. :) If this was directed at someone else (myngledust), you can disregard this message. I couldn't figure out who your post was aimed at.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but your clues indicate I don't want to see how the pressure is applied.

dcolbert
dcolbert

My shop has moved somewhere under 50% of our workstations to Windows 7 under initiatives I pushed. Windows 7 is easier to support, it is more secure, it is reliable and fast and it just works better across the board for the user experience. The fact that so many IT shops stalled out on XP and refused to move forward, even after Vista... is part of what is wrong with IT leadership in the US today. Lots of things changed, including longer life-cycles for equipment upgrades in an uncertain economy - that had as much to do with the lifespan of XP as any technical merit. For us, as we brought new machines in and EOLed old machines, XP was weaned out of our user environment. With our recent acquisition and the arrival of a corporate EA license - I suspect we'll have a push to install Windows 7 on all remaining machines which will force the ones that can handle it into EOL, where they belong anyhow.

JCitizen
JCitizen

they already got it controlling jets, and skate boards.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Personally, I think that if voice dictation is not accurate 99.9% of the time, most people will give up on it. In addition, I can think of work places where voice dictation would be annoying and distracting. Who wants to be in an open office overhearing several people using it?

myangeldust
myangeldust

...in cars. On phones. On a TV ad where a cute redhead translates her intentions to a Mexican pooch. What kind of accent do you have? If say none but live in the South, you do have an accent.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Stupid MS for not adding back the Start menu, or removing metro, or bringing the OS size down to the tablet sub 200mb size.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

It was for Myangeldust who was going over the top about XP still being used. Even here the GP Surgery Software has to be certified to work with the OS and that's the real problem. Open Source is not Certified by the Authorities and Microsoft makes way too many changes with each version of Windows for the software to be transferable from one OS to another without question. Back in the NT Days they moved from one OS to another without any thought and they ran into masses of problems mostly with things like the Allergy Reporting not being correct and the potential of it killing or maiming people so that the Authorities got involved and now Certify the Software to run on a single OS and they have to re-certify that it runs correctly on any subsequent OS Release. It takes a long time to be certified with each new Windows Version and as M$ is going to be moving to a 12 month or 24 Month OS Release date it's only going to get much worse in the next few years. As things currently stand just after a SP is released for an OS the Medical Software may be certified for the OS without the Service Pack and before the Medical Software Companies have actually started the rewrite for the Service Pack. It's a nightmare to deal with. ;) Col

GSG
GSG

"The reason (primary) practice healthcare doesn't widely adopt new technology rapidly is almost *always* financially, not clinically driven. ." When a system costs several million dollars, it's difficult to justify purchasing it.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Medicine *is* a mess. Hal, You're absolutely right abou the back-end systems in large hospitals and ERs being very slow to change and built on proven legacy systems - because the systems there are almost all entirely *clincal* and dealing with urgent-care situations that have life-threatening potential (compared to what you see at a GP, anyhow). There is an over-abundance of conservative caution in those kind of situations with having redundant systems that are well tested, stable, and consistent. I think that this actually reflects some of the problems with medicine and adoption of electronic health management solutions. You've got an equal dose of clinically driven patient-care caution on one side and a cash-crunched, profit driven, penny-pinching mentality on the administrative side. The medical industry is probably 10 years behind the financial industry in really adopting electronic systems that increase efficiency, productivity and quality. So, we're both right. But Myangeldust is talking about a general practice check-in. They're one of the primary industrial use consumers of Windows 7 tablets already (The Fuji Lifebook Windows tablets are very popular portable EMR solutions in practice healthcare). They ARE early adopters of iOS tablets for EHR and EMR solutions - and they *are* the target for meaningful use. The reason (primary) practice healthcare doesn't widely adopt new technology rapidly is almost *always* financially, not clinically driven.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but it is a very pilfer-able item, so it disappeared from my shelf sometime in the 90's. I bought the book in the early 70's. It was issued to units in the field, in Vietnam for survival and to recognize enemy activities.

JCitizen
JCitizen

is another really good reference guide. ]:)

dcolbert
dcolbert

Is where I first read about the technique.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Most adapters won't use COM1 through COM4 and most of the utilities won't use a port higher than COM4. Corporate tested about seven different adapters before they found one that will use the lower ports.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

All of ours require USB-to-serial adapters. At least they'll run with W7.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

From XP. It was pretty much about time, since MS has now moved on to their next version of Windows. But while some of the OEM support utilities have new, Win7-compatible, versions, there are still a few that don't work reliably or don't work at all. Thankfully, there are browser-based work-arounds for two of them, and the third is so rarely used, the equipment may be replaced before the next time I have to use it. And I've still got potsfull of XP workstations at customer sites. And most of our diagnostic utilities will now run from USB. Maybe, just maybe, I can stop carrying the external drives (both floppy [b]and[/b] CD!) sometime in the next couple of years!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It isn't reluctance as much as other priorities. When they don't, they either get replaced with W7 systems or re-imaged with W7.

JJFitz
JJFitz

That's where mine is. :)

pgit
pgit

He was the one who got his tongue frozen to the flag pole, right? And "swipe" is how the Bumpas hounds got their teeth into the Christmas Turkey.

dcolbert
dcolbert

A flick is a quick, short movement, made from the wrist with a kind of "snap" to it. Like *flicking* through a rolodex. Imagine the movement. A swipe is a slower, longer, smoother motion - that happens more from the shoulder. And this ridiculous definition *is* part of the problem with the lack of intuitive gestures with Microsoft's solution - I'll admit that. But once you learn the difference and how to apply the different techniques, they're *powerful*. And you're right... the basic motion of pulling down until the active window shrinks and then snapping it left or right IS the same as it was in Windows 7... but now you're doing it with a finger gesture... And I'd say that move is a SWIPE down and then left or right, not a flick, for the record, after considering the definitions. It is more deliberate than a "flick" :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Want to split the screen in Modern UI? Pull down from the top, then move to the left or the right UNTIL the minimized image of your current app becomes outlined, then release, ..." That's the same behavior as 'Snap' in W7; nothing new. What's the difference between swiping and flicking? The link JJ posted with gesture videos didn't make that clear to me. Is there a mouse equivalent to flicking?

dcolbert
dcolbert

And you got it right, Palmie. Thanks for the correction. Although Windows gestures are *not* intuitive. Touch gestures are more intuitive on Android and iOS. They're more *powerful* on Windows 8. Want to split the screen in Modern UI? Pull down from the top, then move to the left or the right UNTIL the minimized image of your current app becomes outlined, then release, and it will snap to a split screen grid. This is COMPLEX... but powerful. Want to use a gesture to "alt-tab" through your apps? *Flick* (not swipe), from the very left edge of your display. Want to bring up a LIST of your running apps? Flick from the left edge, but then reverse BACK to the edge of the display with your gesture. Complex, non-intuitive - you'll need to be shown it, or read it, and you'll have to practice it. But once you *master* it, you'll like it. A 2 year old or chimp is not going to pick up a Windows 8 tablet and instantly master it. I don't think this is necessarily a BAD thing. It probably means that iOS will remain very popular among college students. :D

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

He said the arguments raised against Naturally Speaking were similar to those raised against W8. He didn't say he agreed with them.

JJFitz
JJFitz

that he could record his voice on his tape recorder, bring it into the office, play it back for Dragon and it would magically create a 20+ page engineering standard operating procedure while he relaxed and watched. Another person who spoke broken English thought that it would fix her grammar on the fly. It's not miracle software folks!

JJFitz
JJFitz

You do not need to learn a different set of commands in Windows 8 if you do not want to. The old ones still work. The Windows Key is used in Windows 7. The quickest way I have found to lock my Windows 7 & 8 screen before walking away is Windows + L. Ctrl-Alt-Del+Enter also works for both. Yes, there are new gestures to learn with a touch interface but they are optional and intuitive. For example, we skip back pages in a book by grabbing the left edge and swiping to the right. We go forward in a book by grabbing the right edge and swiping to the left. That's how you go back and forth throughout the Metro style screens. It's very intuitive. With Dragon Naturally speaking, you need to learn a specific set of commands or the system will not work. With Dragon, I say things like "Numbers Mode On", "Switch to Spell", "Command", "Dictation", and "Normal Mode". Now, imagine if I dictated the previous sentence in natural language. I would totally confuse Dragon! Who knows what mode I would end up in an who knows what to do with the punctuation?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's definitely not a tool for the masses. If you don't have a need that only it can fill, it isn't going to be worth climbing the learning curve. Basically, that means that voice is the ONLY method open to you for interaction. That means quadriplegics and people whose jobs mandate they can't transfer their hands to a keyboard; coroners leap to mind. Authors would be wasting their time.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Which is a critical part of their clinical care. It is among the best. Oddly enough, the argument here, "You've got to learn a difficult set of commands," is the same argument we're getting out of the anti-Windows 8 camp. Here is the thing, for Docs, the benefit is so significant it is worth the steep learning curve. It is all about the payoff.

janitorman
janitorman

"naturally." It was originally "simply" but that didn't work out.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Naturally Speaking? It's fine until you have to edit what it just wrote on your screen. I am constantly editing and refining my text as I type it out. There is a substantial set of voice commands to learn for Dragon. Forget trying to review and edit someone else's document. I simply lost patience with it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't think I have person to person conversations with that recognition rate. Most conversations have one or two cases where one person asks the other to repeat himself, and even more frequently over cell phones :-)

Slayer_
Slayer_

I bet after a few minutes, everyone will be yelling curse words, and they will translate across to whatever document they are dictating, or another person is dictating. "And the quick brown fox f**king computer jumped over the lazy dog"

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I don't even want to think what the VR software could do to any message I dictated while driving. I'd have to stop and proofread it, and if I'm going to do that, I might as well stop and draft it, as well.

JJFitz
JJFitz

My Bionic and my Galaxy Note 2 allow me to compose a text message, tweet, or email while I am driving. Not that I do it that much...

JCitizen
JCitizen

to trying it with my hick western accent! :^0 !

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

That's voice activation. The set of keywords is limited and there are problems even then. None of the voice activation systems I've used or seen in use are reliable if there is any amount of background noise.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Actually, I think they have trouble understanding Canadian :) Again, I don't say mo-bull.

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