ActiveWin: Windows 8 Consumer Preview


For the past 3 months I have been running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. This has given me a unique perspective on the OS, its pro’s and cons’. Windows 8 is turning out to be a dramatic release, while certain functionality might come across disconcerting, others are delightful and make the OS feel a lot more personal. Personally, I have come to a decision that Windows 8 is really a mobile operating system which will work best on Tablet based devices. Although I like using it on my desktop, I have become a bit jaded by the Start Screen since I am not using it to its fullest. Pretty much 99% of my time is spent still in the desktop app.

The new Charm bar menu which conveniently list menus for Start, Settings, Share, Devices and Search makes it easier to operate in key parts of the Windows 8 user interface. The Settings menu for instance provides quicker access to the Power Options along with general PC functions such as Control Panel, Personalization, PC Info (System Properties) and Help. The thing about the Charm bar on the desktop is how you have to access it, the quickest way I find is through a keyboard command (Windows + I). When using the mouse, it is not so obvious, since you have to hover the mouse pointer over the right top or bottom corner of the screen to bring up the Charm bar.

Not intuitive to be honest. Another thing if you want to access some power user features, you might be a bit lost at first if you are not told where to look. For instance, if you want to open Command Prompt with Admin privileges, you might search for it through the Start Screen, right it and click ‘Run as administrator’ from the App bar (which appears at the bottom of the screen). In the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft has added a hidden contextual menu just for such Power User features, when you right click the left hand corner of the screen, a menu pops with common options for Command Prompt, Admin Tools, Control Panel, Run, Windows Explorer, Network Options many common tools you would normally have to dig through the Start UI to find. Very convenient, but not easily discoverable and I must say schizophrenic in a sense, since you will be moving all over the UI unless you have developed a good memory map of how the Windows 8 UI functions.

Read the entire preview HERE


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