Posts Tagged ‘Windows 8’

Do you need the Start button in Windows 8?

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Microsoft, Windows 8

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There has been a lot of controversy over the fact that Microsoft decided to remove the familiar Start-button from Windows 8. The Start button arrived with Windows 95 (Start me up – anyone?), and the fact that you had to hit the Start button in order to shut down Windows have been derided many a time, although that seems to have been forgotten recently.In Windows 8 it is gone… or is it?

Some of Microsoft’s decisions on whether to change or remove features from their products are based on user metrics. When you agree to participate in the so called Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program you shared your usage metrics with Microsoft. One of the findings there was that not so many users were actually using the Start button in Windows 7 anymore

Which brings us to today. As can clearly be seen in the following screenshot of the taskbar on the desktop there is no Start button anymore:

 

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Muscle memory is a fact, so what does a poor guy do, when something familiar is taken away?

Well, the Start button is gone, but the functionality is still there:

If you hit the Windows key, which previously would activate the Start-button you are taken to the Start screen in Windows 8:

 

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And here is my point: The Start screen is the new Start button. Yes, it is completely redesigned. It takes up your entire screen, and it looks “different”. But it provides you with access to everything you could find through the Start-button previously, although in a slightly different way. The information presented to you on the Start-screen is engaging with its live tiles, and everything you want is at your fingertips.

One of the more touted features of Windows 7s Start-button is the ability to just hit the Windows key and start typing away to find the program, folder or file you are looking for. Guess what – it still works that way.. Hit the Windows key, start typing and you are immediately given results;

 

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In the screenshot above the results are filtered as you type, and in this example also filtered by the Apps category,. If I would rather find settings or files I just have to change my selection. As also is evident in the screenshot above, I can also directly search the Windows Store, Bing, Pictures, Maps, and so forth. I personally find that this is an improvement to the way it worked before.

As before, you can also pin your most favorite programs to the Start-screen, as well as to the taskbar. On the Start-screen you now can move the tiles and icons around, sorting them into the groups you want, instead of using the predefined ways of older versions of Windows.

Remember the screenshot of the Start-screen above? Well I moved things around , and now it  looks like this:

 

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Yes, yes, I know that all the apps I have under the Office name, is not part of the Office suite, but you know what? It is my Start-screen  Winking smile

 

There are of course other ways to get to the Start-screen besides hitting the Windows key;

1. Mouse or touch the lower left corner of your screen (left part of where the Start-button resided previously) and the Start-screen Icon will slide in from the left. Hit it and you are there.

 

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If you the slide the mouse up you a bar will slide in which shows you the running applications

 

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2. If you mouse over to the lower right corner (or upper for that matter), the Charms-bar will slide in from the right, and there you will see the Windows 8 logo, which brings you to the Start-screen.

I am demonstrating this in this short video:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion?

I am the first to admit that jumping from the Start-screen to the desktop and back is a bit jarring at first. It takes a while to get used to, but I did get used to it, and a lot faster than I initially believed I would. Now it is starting to grow on me, and I honestly think that the new Start-screen is an improvement over the previous one. I strongly recommend against installing third-party apps that sort of bring back the old Start-menu and the Start-button. You don’t kneed it, and once you get used to the new ways, it actually works better than before.

I guess some of you won’t agree, and that is fine. Share your thoughts and comments below.

A visual guide to clean-installing Windows 8

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Screenshots, Windows, Windows 8

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In this screenshot-gallery I will show the process of doing a clean install of Windows 8. The process was done in a virtual machine on my desktop, and thus took longer than if I had done it on a real machine. I did a clean install on my sons laptop earlier today, and that process took approximately 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshing Windows 8

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Software, Tips, Windows 8

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In my previous post I described the process I went through in order to upgrade both my laptop and desktop computers from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Both apparent success stories, except that it really was not on my laptop. After using it for some hours and few days I discovered a bug related to the desktop version of MetroTwit. When I tried to open up the application the process would start up, consuming up to anywhere between 15 and 20 MBs of RAM, and then just freeze up. There was no splash screen, and the application itself never showed up on the desktop. I tried uninstalling both the desktop and Metro-version, then reinstalling the desktop application to no avail. I searched online to see whether anyone else had encountered similar problems, without finding anything. The problem probably had nothing to do with MetroTwit itself, as it ran just fine on my upgraded desktop PC.

I took a hard look at what I had on my laptop, and contemplated formatting the C drive and doing a clean install, but decided against it since I have too much data on that drive that then needed to be moved off it before proceeding (I have back-ups of everything – both on and off site). Lets just say that the sheer size of the workload put me off. I know that Windows 8 comes with some new features allowing you to refresh your operating system, while keeping your files and settings. This meant blowing away all applications, but still not as daunting a task as a complete reinstall would entail. So, as I mentioned in the previous post, after some short contemplation I decided to try this out on the laptop.

In order to start this process you navigate to the Charms bar by either moving the mouse to the lower right corner of the start screen, or by hitting Winkey + C.

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You choose Settings which brings up the following;

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Here you choose Change PC settings, which brings you onto this full-screen environment

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Click on General and scroll down until you see these options:

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As you can see, you can choose between refreshing your PC without affecting your files or reinstall Windows while removing everything. I chose the first of the two.

The screen then dims down and you are presented with the consequences of your actions. What to do…

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The OS then starts preparing for the operation

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As it found it my case, it needed some of the files I have on my Windows 8 USB key

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After popping in the USB-key and restarting the preparation face, I was notified that it was now ready to refresh my PC

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Then it is just to sit back and relax while the system refreshes itself. It will reboot the system, and you will eventually have to go through the intro and setup of your fresh Windows 8 install (as described in my previous post).

The outcome? A fresh copy of Windows 8 on your machine, with no other applications other than your Metro-style apps (eh Windows 8 modern UI apps – whatever). But, all my files and settings were still there. To give an example: After installing a fresh copy of iTunes onto the laptop, my whole library was there, and I was able to sync both my iPhone and iPad without having to wipe them and start over, which I would have had to had I done a complete reinstall of my system. Sweet!

And Windows 8 had also done me the service of putting an html file on my desktop with a list of all the applications I had installed previously. Let’s just say that I have not reinstalled every single one of them, neither will I. But what about MetroTwit you ask? I headed over to the website, downloaded the desktop version, installed it and it is just running as beautiful as it always has. Success!

All in all a perfect way of making sure your system is running like its new, without loosing any of your data. A total win for Windows 8. Killer feature!

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