Upon release of the new Microsoft OS (Operating System), Windows 8, consumers have been very skeptical of its practicality. The most
significant change for Windows 8 comes to the Start Menu or rather the lack there of.
‘Metro’ has been added in to replace the Start Menu and has recieved mixed reviews in the market.
Many find the transition from the familiar Start Menu of pinned and recent icons to an alien view of tile-apps which open full-screen in Metro to be unnecessary. Along with this major change from 7 to 8, Windows also added more subtle changes. These include a default and free Anti-virus called ‘Defender’, the transition from ‘Windows Live Mail’ to a new ‘Mail’ app, and a new IE (Internet Explorer) 10 app to compliment the still existent program as an Internet browser. Along with these changes is a neat addition of the ‘People’ app, which collaborates contacts from Facebook, Skype, Mail, etc. into one collective place for easier access.
Is the Start Menu/Metro the Make or Break Feature?
Delving into the major topic of the new UI (User Interface), the highlights of the positives and negatives of this revolutionary new feature in comparison to Windows 7 can be gathered. Metro is more than helpful for the new touch-friendly desktops, which are becoming more and more plentiful. The tiles of Metro simplify finding programs and apps to create a more modern-looking version of desktop shortcuts. This increasing accessibility to shortcuts can lead to clutter on the Metro interface. For the non-touchscreen users, Metro can still function as a slightly less useful Start Menu. If it truly is a useless feature for some, there are third party programs to recreate the traditional Start Menu such as Start8.
The new Windows OS compliments Metro with another tool called Charms. Accessed by mousing over the right side of the screen, the Charms, which are Search, Share, Settings, and Devices, provide an expanded multitude of ways to access parts of the computer with a simple click of the mouse or tap of the finger. The Settings Charm takes some of the Start Menu activities and Taskbar processes and combine them.
This Charm gives access to volume and brightness, as well as power options and shutting down or restarting one’s PC. The Devices Charm is self-explanatory, showing connected devices, but the Search and Share Charms have significantly more depth. The Share Charm allows Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn updates and a peek at the most recent events on any of the three sites. The Search Charm will allow a search of virtually anything, even searches within a program or app will appear. Web searches can be completed from the Search Charm, along with all the other native search options carried over from the previous Windows 7 OS.
Is Windows 8 Better?
Despite the draw-backs of Windows 8, it is seemingly an improvement upon its predecessor, unlike the popularly hated Windows Vista (Ironically, Vista is operating on more computers than Windows 8 [netmarketshare.com]). Windows 8 is a slight improvement in speed and appearance on Windows 7, but does not appeal to the majority of the computer users as Windows 7 and Windows XP did.
This is mainly because of the fact that the necessity for a touch friendly UI is not necessary when many consumers have not upgraded to touch screen computers yet. The only caveat to Windows 8 is personal preference of the traditional Windows Start Menu or the new Windows Metro.
Posted by, Ross Deprey