Don’t Fear Windows 8

Microsoft Windows 8 is coming.  For many, it’s already here.  There will be many articles and postings letting us know the reasons to love the new OS. One of Directions Training’s Senior Applications Instructors took a look on the Blogosphere and elsewhere to get forewarned about the things that people need to watch out for.  He did find a lot to be afraid of.  Below are some of the sorts of things he discovered:

(In Excel) “I open my file and proceed to move between cells using the track pad. Suddenly, and without warning, I am kicked out of Excel back to one of the Metro apps I had opened (at this point, I had not discovered how to close these, just minimize them). What? What just happened? I navigate back to Excel, try to remember what I was doing, and… it happens again! This happens about 12 times in the next hour as I am trying to get my work done. I stop trying to work on my project, and do a web search on what could be causing this. I quickly realize that Windows 8 is interpreting the move I am making on my track pad as a ‘swipe’, that is, a request to switch applications. The problem is – even though I now know WHAT is happening, that is no help. If I want to continue using Excel, there is no way to avoid this behavior.” Daily Kos

“No Start button. Really, Microsoft? Protip for PC users: in Desktop mode, slide the cursor down into the lower-left corner. A picture of the Modern Start screen will pop up. Ignore it, and right-click instead to bring up a big list of desktop options, including Run and Control Panel options that help you avoid the Modern Start screen as much as possible. It’s no Start button replacement, but it’ll get you by.” Digital Trends

“Is it really that hard, Microsoft, to allow advanced customization within your smorgasbord of squares? Sure, you can make some tiles take up two horizontal spaces, and you can shrink some of these larger tiles back to a single tile’s worth of space. And yes, you can grab tiles and slap them into new columns – yippee! – but that’s about it.” Maximum PC

“The constant switching was annoying enough. But the effort it took to switch was even more trouble. If you’re using a touch-enabled computer, going from one open Web page to another requires swiping from the top of the screen to bring up icons of your open tabs, then tapping on the tab you want—a swipe and a tap, which feels like too much for a simple data entry task. But it’s even worse with a trackpad. To bring up the list of open tabs in Windows 8’s browser, you’ve got to hit the trackpad with two fingers, and then you have to switch back to one finger to choose the tab you want. This sounds easy, but if you’ve got to do it a half dozen times in a minute, the choreography becomes wearying. Things were especially difficult when I tried to mix selecting and copying text into the tab-switching routine. Then, for some reason, my fingers would frequently bring up the tab-switcher instead of selecting text or vice versa.” Slate

“My problems started almost immediately. The interface would probably be great on a touchscreen, it reminds me of my Android phone, but on a regular non-touchscreen laptop I found it laborious to do my regular work. If I tried to scroll through a document of web-page, my cursor would activate a side “charm” menu. It sometimes took me three clicks to get back to where I was originally working. Yet the charm that activated so easily when I didn’t need it gave me fits when I did need it! It was like an Easter Egg hunt moving the cursor up and down the side trying to find my little menu.” Amanda J Rose

In Conclusion:

Now that our Senior Applications Instructor has been working with Windows 8 for a little while, he has found that most of the things he initially hated are not so bad after all.  It’s not impossible to get to your programs without a Start Button.  You can get to your internal file locations even though Windows wants you to save everything to the Cloud.  So don’t fear – it will be OK.  Just Windows 8 and see!

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