Windows 8 Release Preview Part FourRegister Today!
"Windows 8 Release Preview Part Four" continues to explore the new features built into Windows 8 as seen in the Release Preview. In this installment we look at more of the goodies built into the Start Screen as well as the updated Windows 8 Desktop.by CaptainPC Sep 5, '12
In this fourth installment of Windows 8 Release Preview, we will look at how to tidy up the Start Screen and at least one more new feature of the Windows Desktop. The Start Screen offers two sizes of tiles for some Start Screen Apps, simply named "Larger and Smaller". Right clicking an App tile will place a checkmark in the tile and produce a row of options along the bottom of the screen. To unselect the App, simply right click the tile a second time. These options vary with the App, but as far as I can discern, only some Apps available from the Microsoft Store offer the Larger and Smaller tile options. The standard fare of Windows applications I have pinned to the Start Screen offer some options, but so far none offer the choice between Larger and Smaller tiles. Even the Smaller tiles take up much more room than the Desktop icons all of us are accustomed to viewing on all earlier releases of Windows. Considerable clutter will develop as we add Apps as well as pin standard Windows Applications to the Start Screen. Fortunately, there is a way to group our tiles in order to keep similar Apps and Applications together. The very nature of the Start Screen makes it inevitable, at least on the limited size of laptop screens, that we will have to scroll left and right to be able to view all the tiles. However, moving the screen left and right is as simple as moving your mouse over to the left and right edges of the screen, which flows smoothly in either direction. However, to further reduce screen clutter, I prefer to place most standard Windows application icons on the Windows Desktop and the Desktop Taskbar.
Some of the Start Screen App tiles are called "live tiles", because they are constantly updated via the Internet. Some "live tiles" are the Weather App, News App, and the Finance App. One of the options presented by right clicking on one of the "live tiles" is to "turn live tile off". On modern computers, it really should not matter leaving live tiles on, but it is handy to know you can disable them if you are running several applications at one time, and feel the need to cut unnecessary demand on the CPU while doing so.
I have created three groups on my Start Screen. I have named the groups "Online", "Productivity", and "Windows Games". The Online group contains several Apps that depend on an Internet connection in order to function, such as the Weather, IE10, Finance, Mail, SkyDrive, etc. My Productivity group contains my Word Processor, Spreadsheet, and Quick Note Applications, and my Windows Games group contains Solitaire and Mahjong. Creating and naming groups is easy. Look to the bottom right side of your scroll bar to locate a small square with a "-" inside. Click once on the square, and your Start Screen zooms out so you can see easily see every App tile. Left click to select and to drag any tile to where you want to relocate it, placing all tiles in a separate cluster that you want to designate as a group. Next, right click on the unnamed tile cluster, and you will be given the option to name your group. Click the "Name Group" icon, type the group name into the offered text field, followed by a click on the "Name" button, and you have just named your new group. A quick click of your mouse anywhere away from the groups on the screen takes you back to the normal Start Screen. You can name groups of similar Apps, or name groups that reflect projects upon which you are working. Let your imagination be your guide.
As noted in a previous article, moving your mouse to the bottom left hot corner of the Windows Desktop will cause a thumbnail of the Start Screen to pop up. Left clicking the thumbnail (called the "Start tip" will take you to the Start Screen. Right clicking the thumbnail will reveal a context menu of choices such as Programs and Features, Power Options, Control Panel, Device Manager, Command Prompt, Task Manager, Windows Explorer, Run, as well as a few other choices. You can access the same context menu in the same manner on the Start Screen as well.
While the jury is still out on Windows 8, and I still prefer Windows 7 to what I have seen thus far, I can see Windows 8 has a number of useful features and benefits. As far as performance, Windows 8 has that in abundance, and remember that I base that on the Release Preview, and the final version should improve on its strengths. I can only imagine how well it runs on a current generation PC. After using the Release Preview for a few weeks, I do not think of Windows 8 as another Vista. Still, I wish Microsoft would at least restore the option to boot directly to the Windows Desktop. I know that would make potential Enterprise customers happier with Windows 8, and I would imagine home users would more willingly adapt to Windows 8 down the road as well.
Your comments are very welcome.Last edit by Joe V on Sep 12, '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. (Sep 5, '12). Windows 8 Release Preview Part Four. Retrieved Sunday, May 19, 2013, from http://allnurses-breakroom.com/showthread.php?t=781583