Friday, 4 January 2013
starting windows again?
I've obtained a replacement for the little PC laptop that died a couple of days ago. It came with Windows 8 on the desktop.
What I've found with this Windows 8 'Modern UI' aka 'Metro' interface, is that it's quite good if you want to concentrate on single tasks which take over the whole screen. Great for use with a tablet, phone or interactive television type environment.
However, this clean big button interface falls down for someone like me who is used to working with several things open at once.
Take the internet browser as an example. In Windows 8, it can easily be fired up in a kind of 'sealed unit' mode where it takes over the whole desktop. It is very clean and simple to use and would no doubt appeal to a certain type of user.
But if you are used to working with Word and dipping in and out of the browser and maybe a spreadsheet to check things, then it's not as convenient. I also find that every so often I carelessly bump the cursor against a screen edge and after popping up the so-called 'charms' it can flip back into single focus mode.
I have a simple (and some would say Luddite) fix. I have re-installed the Start button onto Windows 8. That way I can run Windows 8 but when I want to I can bypass the Metro interface and use Windows in the traditional manner, with multiple applications open on the desktop. I don't think I'm alone with this approach.
Microsoft appears to have removed the original Windows code related to the Start Menu. I can see that this makes sense for a touch screen / Surface kind of interface, but I wonder how it will play out for more conventional laptops and desktop systems?
It's hard to estimate precisely, but some of us have been using Windows interfaces for many years and we get used to how to do things. This can create a frustration when a familiar approach is no longer available.
Maybe a start button return for Windows 9?
Posted by rashbre at 20:40