Windows 8 Release Preview Part TwoRegister Today!
"Windows 8 Release Preview Part Two" continues a series highlighting some of the features of Microsoft Windows 8. While the default graphical interface, formerly called "Metro", may take some getting use to for many users on traditional desktops and laptops, Windows 8 does offer some improvements over previous Windows versions for users willing to invest a little time into learning about the new OS.by CaptainPC Aug 22, '12
Previously, we discussed some thoughts in the article titled, "Thoughts on Windows 8 Release Preview". Today, we will continue to look at some of the features in Windows 8 Release Preview to get some idea of what to expect in the final version available for purchase later this October.
When you boot into Windows 8, you no longer see the Desktop that we are accustomed to in previous versions of Windows. For years, Windows users have booted to the Windows Desktop with the familiar Start menu and task bar at the bottom of the screen. The Window Desktop is still available in Windows 8, but you first must greet the "Start Screen". The "Start Screen", previously dubbed as "Metro" is a screen full of tiles representing Apps and Applications.
Fig. 1 Windows 8 Start Screen
Microsoft more or less considers Apps and Applications as synonymous, as both are software tools that enable people to get some work or tasks accomplished. But Apps and Applications are really not the same. For example, if your click the tile labeled "Internet Explorer" you will find yourself in the IE App that looks similar to the Internet Explorer you have been use to seeing in Windows. However, navigating in the App version of Internet Explorer is very different than the application we have all been accustomed to using. If you click the "Desktop" tile, you will find yourself on the familiar Windows Desktop containing the Task Bar. By clicking the "Internet Explorer" icon on the Task Bar, you find yourself in an application that looks very much like IE9, but is in fact the new Internet Explorer 10, and it looks "normal". The reason it looks and operates so familiarly, right down to the option of displaying the "Menu" at the top of the screen, is that the Desktop version of Internet Explorer, and the Start Screen Internet Explorer are indeed two distinct software programs. The standard Desktop IE10 can be customized easily, as its interface is a familiar one, but the Start Screen version of IE10 is "Modern" (formerly "Metro"), and not as easily customized.
Another point in considering the difference between Apps and standard Windows applications, such as Microsoft Office, is that you cannot find the "Apps" that come by default within Windows 8 in the listings under "Programs and Features", where you can uninstall them in the traditional manner. This is also true of most of the Apps available by clicking the "Store" tile. The "Apps" such as Mail, People, and Calendar, etc., must be uninstalled by right clicking their respective tile in the Start Screen.
As mentioned in the earlier article, Microsoft has seen fit to remove the Start Menu from the final version of Windows 8, and Windows 8 RP reflects this as well. If you hover your mouse in the far left lower corner of the Start Screen (Microsoft calls it the Start tip), you will see a thumbnail of the tiled Start Screen appear rather than a menu. However, an easy way to view all your installed Apps and standard Windows applications is to click the Search icon on the Charms panel. Also missing from the final release is the ability to boot directly to the Desktop Screen bypassing the Tiled Start Screen. Many are unhappy with both of these features fading into the sunset. About the best option I can see to quickly get to the Desktop is to click the Desktop Tile on the Start Screen. Once you get to the Desktop, you can toggle back and forth between the two screens by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard. Another option to switching back to the Start Screen is to click the Start Screen "hot corner" in the lower left corner of the Desktop where the Start Menu use to reside. Yet another option is to activate the "Charms" panel on the right side of your screen by placing your mouse in the lower or upper right corner hot spots. The Charms panel contains Search, Share, Start Screen, Devices, and Settings icons. Note that as you click the Settings icon, your settings options will depend on which screen you are currently working from. For example, on the Windows Desktop screen, invoking the Settings Charm will give you an option to start the Control Panel, where you can adjust many settings in Windows. However, you will not see the Control Panel option on the Charm Panel Settings option while you are in the Start Screen. One common area of the Settings panel is the bottom section labeled "Change PC Settings", which contains several commonly used icons such as your Internet signal strength, speaker volume, and the Power button among others. The Power button provides the options of Sleep, Shutdown, and Restart. Another method of shutting down your PC is to click on your User Name bar at the top right of the Start Screen to select "Sign Out". This takes you to a screen where you can log out, restart or shutdown your PC.
We will continue our discussion of Windows 8 RP next time.
Your comments are very welcome.Last edit by Joe V on Aug 26, '12
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CaptainPC has been hanging around computers since 1982, when audio cassette tapes were common storage media in home computing. He is the Administrator of his church network, and holds Comptia's A Plus Certification for PC Hardware Maintenance & Repair, as well as Comptia's Network Plus certification in general networking. The Captain spends his time maintaining computers and cleaning malware infections.
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CaptainPC. (Aug 22, '12). Windows 8 Release Preview Part Two. Retrieved Monday, May 20, 2013, from http://allnurses-breakroom.com/showthread.php?t=775779