It’s been almost a month since I made the switch to Windows 8, and my feelings are mixed. Here are some of the things that, so far, I like and others that I’d like to ditch.
Windows 8’s integration with touch screen devices is undeniably cool. Being able to touch to launch an app, slide a program left or right with your finger, pinch to minimize or spread your fingers to zoom, or drag a program down to close it takes some of the frustration out of getting used to the new look and functionality of the OS.
I love the faster boot up time – I’m up and running within seconds of pressing the power button. While it’s no fault of the OS, beware of the load that certain programs can put on your system. I installed Spotify, a music streaming service, and it began starting up automatically every time I booted up my PC. This added at least two minutes of sluggish or unresponsive lag time to my start up time while Spotify loaded and started to run. Luckily, Windows 8’s Task Manager has a “Startup” tab that shows you a list of all programs that auto launch when you boot up your system and their “startup impact” (none, low, medium, or high). I was able to select Spotify in the list, right click and choose “disable” to stop it from starting up automatically and restore my system’s speedy start up time.
I like the look of Metro’s scrolling apps and images – it’s far more exciting than the static desktop page. Unfortunately, I spend most of my time on the Desktop page. This is most likely a function of familiarity, but I’m more annoyed than smitten with the process of jumping between the Metro start screen and the Desktop where I do my work. I still haven’t gotten used to moving between programs in Metro. I find it easier to switch between active applications by clicking the icon in the bottom taskbar (in Desktop) than having to remember just the right way to click and in which corner to access running programs in Metro.
It’s pretty convenient that whenever you are on the Metro Start screen you can just start typing to automatically pull up the search menu in the right side of your screen. This lets you quickly find programs, apps or functions that you may otherwise waste time clicking around to find. For example, typing “task” while on your Start screen will cause the search bar to appear and resultant “Task Manager” icon to pop up on your screen, like magic.
The Windows logo button is linked to a bevy of new functionality. Click it at any time to be returned to the Start Screen; click again to toggle back to the last program you were using. This is surprisingly handy when you’ve navigated into an app that doesn’t have a “_” to minimize or “x” to close in sight. Windows logo key + D lets you toggle back and forth to your Desktop. For a more hot key options, check out Window’s list of new keyboard shortcuts.
I’m not enamored with the inability to easily work within two programs side-by-side in Metro. You can left click an app or program and choose to “Snap left” or “Snap right,” but the program you aren’t actively working in is relegated to a small fraction of your screen that I find relatively unusable.
More Tech articles from Business 2 Community: