How to deal with Windows 8 (on a PC).

How to deal with Windows 8 (on a PC).

laptop windows 8

After much thought, I did the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. I read articles stating that the whole Metro UI is a horrible nightmare. On the other hand, I also read about the Windows Store and the opportunities it brings to app designers and developers. I’m learning the basics in game design and I’m starting to think business-wise  The Windows Store IS a great opportunity to be seen if you are an indie developer. However, I upgraded because I wanted a speedier OS and it’s also a great excuse to organize and backup my files (and my life).

Have you read about people complaining about Metro UI not being intuitive or lacking familiarity? They are right. My first hours with Windows 8 were very frustrating…

OMG HOW DO I CLOSE THIS!

I’m very OCD with the processes that run on my computer. In other words, I always like to know what is running and I want to be able to close any programs or apps as easily as clicking the cancel button (that X usually sitting at the top-right corner). So it was very unfamiliar to open an app and not being able to close it. I figure out that I could close it by moving the cursor to the top-left corner and clicking “Close” to the proper app thumbnail. That’s when it hit me. Is that the only way to close apps?! As it turns out, it isn’t.

TIP 1 – Somehow users will intuitively drag the app from the top to the bottom and that gesture will automatically close the app. I know maybe I should have read the manual. Who doesn’t? Alt+F4 would also do the trick.

HOW DO I TURN OFF MY COMPUTER?!

Which is the same as “where is the Window(Start) button”? Where is the button that leads me to my programs, accessories, maintenance, and of course shutdown options? I felt lost.  After a couple of minutes, my panic subdued and I found the Shutdown. It was in the settings option in the charm bar (the one that magically comes to life when users move the cursor to the top-right corner or press Window key + C). I just couldn’t handle this type of change and I wanted to be able to interact with windows 8 (desktop) without having to deal with the new UI, so:

TIP 2 – Download Pokki if you need the comfort of having a Window/Start button. It’s free, but Pokki doesn’t fix everything…

WHERE’S MY SEARCH?!

One the features that I loved about Windows 7 was the way it handled my searches within the OS. I could press the Window key, type what I wanted and press enter to run it. Of course, this could only work if the first search result was the one that I wanted. Now when I do this everything works except for the Enter part. In order to run the first result, I have to select the category (App, Settings, and Files) in which the desired result might be (because results are hidden), and select it. I guess I’ll need to cope with the extra steps. [edit-1-17-2013 – This only works if the desired search term belongs to the App category]

TIP 3 – For Searching faster (but not as fast as in Windows 7) press the Windows key, type what you want to search. If the search term belongs to the App Category and it’s the first or only result, press Enter to run it. 

WHY IS THE APP LOADING WHEN I JUST SELECT THE DESKTOP VERSION?!

After installing Google Chrome for Windows 8, I selected the shortcut that appeared on my desktop and I was forced to use the Chrome App. Yes, the Chrome app that can’t be re-sized and dragged to accommodate multiple windows in the display. Apps can be dragged to a corner to accommodate into a division in the display but they can’t be re-sized  the division is either too big or too small. Later, I learned there were some problems with Google Chrome so I re-installed the browser and forced the shortcut to run as administrator. That did the trick.

Big app division (youtube app) and small desktop.
Big app division (youtube app) and small desktop.
Small app division and big desktop
Small app division (youtube app) and big desktop.

However, today I wanted to read a tutorial for a program I’m working with and the pdf loaded on an app. Amazing. I usually read the tutorials side-by-side with the program running so I can follow the instructions. The Reader app doesn’t work for this type of scenarios; again the multiple-window display with apps division doesn’t work for me. I guess I’ll need to download Adobe Reader (desktop version of course).

TIP 4 – Be sure to have the desktop version of your favorite programs if you wish to multitask.

I know these steps can help me with my frustrations but somehow I wish it could be a more logical way to know when a user action could trigger the loading of an app.

THAT’S NOT ALL FOLKS

Definitely, the new Windows OS is not perfect. It is faster and has the potential to reach hundreds of millions of users around the world. The numbers don’t lie and developers are just starting to grasp the opportunities with windows apps. The future is uncertain but it is full of creativity and innovation.

Gretchen Ortiz