Pushing Through Windows 8's Learning Curve
I upgraded my main desk computer at my office to Windows 8 so I can push through the learning curve. Some of the things I do for work every day are quite a bit faster than Windows 7, which is surprising. Some networking applications are a lot faster and copying files to/from servers is as fast as it should be without the frustrating delays to start copying that Vista and Windows 7 always had.
I've learned a few things "by accident":
- Right clicking on the new Start menu gives quick access to most of the things that we IT people use often like Programs & Features control panel, Power Options control panel, Event viewer, System control panel, Device Manager, Computer Management, Command Prompt, File Explorer (instead of Computer), and the Run dialog box.
- In the Start menu, I type to find everything I couldn't find before including the Computer window, a.k.a. File Explorer. Once you find something you always use, you can right click it to pin it to Start Menu or Task Bar.
- You can right click an EXE to add it to the Start Menu, delete it from Start, run as Admin, or other options.
- You can drag items that are pinned or that you find through the Start Menu to the left "most important" area so they are always there. I deleted a lot of the apps they include in the Start Menu in Windows 8, then dragged my important applications to the left.
- In the Start Menu, you can left click on your name in the upper right corner to lock, sign out, or switch to another account on the computer.
- Everywhere I've seen, you can move your mouse to the upper left of the screen, then click to "tab" between the desktop (and it's applications) and other apps you have open. If you move your mouse there, then move it down along the left of the screen, a choosable list of apps (including the desktop and its applications) are shown so you can just click on the one you want. It's kind of like the iOS' open app list at the bottom of the screen when you double-click the home button, but the standard Windows desktop seems to be one of the apps. That seems intended more for tablets, but works on standard computers.
I'm sure I'll learn more as I use it day-to-day. I just can't believe they don't have a "tour" or "tutorial" app included with Windows 8 instead of expecting people to figure this stuff out. Maybe they should resurrect Clippy or Microsoft Bob to teach new users.
I've found no way to really change the incredibly ugly user interface. Every change I make in the Personalization control panel is like putting lipstick on a pig. I think it's an 80's retro thing, mimicking UI's from back when Windows didn't really have one, but some people are calling it Windows 1.0. I think that's a little too generous to Windows 1.0-3.11, because Windows 8's UI is more like an old Amiga computer. That's still not good in the 21st century.