Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Getting comfortable with Windows 8 Start screen

Windows 8 new Metro Start screen biggest problem is that it looks different. In reality, it operates similarly to the way the start menu did in previous versions of Windows. Just think in terms of a full screen start menu.

After you boot your computer and get past the lock and log in screens, you will see something like this.

As you can see I have configured my Windows 8 Consumer Preview to run mainly old fashioned desktop apps. I use the Google Chrome Browser, around which is shortcuts to my file system. Dropbox has replaced "My Documents" in all my computers. I have a shortcut (or rather Tile) to the Download folder, a folder I call Pending, which is actually actually a sub-folder in my Dropbox folder and a link to the the good old fashioned Windows Explorer. I also have shortcuts to the Windows applications I use, like LibreOffice,, Notepad and Google Earth. Bing Maps is not updated in my country.

I use the Metro app to manage my Sky Drive account and the Evernote Metro app is great. I do not use the People or Mail apps much, and still use my browser for Twitter, Facebook and email access. I placed them there for decoration to break the monotony of my shortcuts which unfortunately are all in one color.

I opted no to use all the available space, but actually you can even more Tiles than fit on the screen and scroll left and right to reach them. But I see no need for that.

On the Start page, if I want to access an app for which I did not place a shortcut, I just have to start typing it name with the keyboard.

There are the results after I type "me". I you will notice, this search result extends to settings and files as well. 

Another way to access you apps not pinned to the start screen is right click and click the All Apps button.

It will than display all apps this way.

Once you launch an app all you have to do to go back to the Start page is to click the Windows Key. Another way to do this is to move your mouse to the bottom left of the screen, and a small Window will pop-up. Left click or tap the touch pad and you are back to start.  

You can navigate around the Start page and Apps pages with arrow keys if you want to.

Forget that it is different. Just imagine that the old Start Menu was converted into a full screen Start Menu, and navigating around Windows 8 is easy.

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