Windows 8 was just released and I was recently able to get my hands on a copy. Here are some thoughts on what sys admins and technical support staff will need to deal with as organizations transition to the next Windows operating system.
Yes. Microsoft has designed most of the OS level interactions to be touch based. In fact, every device (including phones, tablets, notebooks, and desktops) sold in the retail Microsoft stores has a touch screen. Instead of questioning the wisdom of this decision, lets just dealt with the real question: How to accomplish the OS level interactions with only a mouse?
Start - The start button is gone. However, a swipe from the top of the screen straight down the middle of the screen will get you the “modern” UI version of the start menu. To access this with just a mouse, you will have to put your mouse in the lower left hand corner, wait for the start icon to appear, DON’T MOVE, then click. Your reflex to move over the icon will be strong. When you move to hover your cursor over the icon; it will disappear. Resist the urge!
Settings - Many different hardware interactions that existed on the Vista and Win7 start menus are missing from the “modern” start UI. All settings, device properties, search, and sharing have been moved to the… (sigh) ‘charms’ bar. The charms bar is normally accessed by swiping in from the right side of the screen into the desktop. With only a mouse, you will need to move your mouse into the upper right hand corner and then move straight down when the bar moves out from hiding.
Minimized Programs - In Vista, windows introduced aero with the ability to hover over minimized programs in the bottom task bar and see a miniaturized version of the window. These programs have been moved to the left side of the screen and they are now hidden. To view running or minimized programs, use a swipe in from the left side of the screen into the middle of the desktop. With only a mouse, this is done by moving your mouse to the upper left hand corner of the screen. This will reveal a portion of a rectangle. Moving your mouse over these shapes will reveal the mini representation of the window.
For fearless and intuitive users, knowing those locations will help you to get through most everyday tasks and 80% of administrative tasks. More casual users will need some guidance and perhaps even training to regain their comfort level and productivity.
Where is the (fill in the blank) ?
Easy answer? It’s in there somewhere…
This is confusing and is likely to leave even the most seasoned techs and super users extremely frustrated.
After about 8 hours of testing, I’m now able to reliably find the old control panel. One important thing to understand is that the Settings Menu can deal with two different types of settings: (1)settings in the legacy style for desktop and (2) settings that relate specifically to the Modern UI.
If you are looking at your desktop, you should be able to summon the ‘charms’ bar and click on “Settings”. The menu that opens up will have the Control Panel listed near the top.
If you are in a Metro app or at the Modern UI start screen, summoning the ‘charms’ bar and clicking on “Settings” will only get you Settings that relate to the “Modern” UI.
The desktop as it is presented in Windows 95 through Windows 7 is still present, albeit without a start button. If you need to find your way back to familiar territory, the desktop is a large tile in the new start menu.
The selections for restart or shutdown are no longer part of the start menu. You can find shutdown in the Settings portion of the ‘charms’ bar. Unlike the Control Panel, it is persistent through both the desktop settings and the “Modern” UI settings.