Defending Windows 8

This is my second post about software this month, mainly because life is appreciably boring at the moment.

When I say in my title ‘defending’, I’m not talking about installing security software for Windows 8 (in fact you could get away with not doing that as there is some reasonable default security there), I’m talking about putting out opinions contrary to critics.

I like Windows 8. Maybe even love it now.

A fair number of people would think that that’s a straitjacket-able offence, or that I’m a Microsoft shill (I have an iPod and a Linux netbook), but no, I really think that Windows 8 is a fine operating system that requires a little time.

The things I want to do here are to shoot down some shibboleths:

No Start Button? Argh!:
For the first time since Windows 95 there’s not been a Start button but a tiled start screen where you can click apps or search for them by typing. But here’s the myth-busting bit: Move your mouse to the bottom-left corner of your screen and that little thumbnail tile to click is analogous to a Start button. I’m going to be uncharacteristically rude here now: If you can’t move your mouse a little lower than where the Start button was, don’t use a computer. Just stop it, unplug. No need to get any Start button adding software.

Closing apps by holding and dragging down?:
It’s true that Windows 8-specific modern UI apps need to be closed by clicking and dragging the top window border down which is less economical than clicking X, but you can also invoke the hidden taskbar by moving your mouse to the bottom-left of your screen, moving up, and right-clicking on the app and selecting close. That’s virtually identical to how things are done in previous versions of Windows.
Also bear in mind that Microsoft probably don’t want you to close apps unless you really need to free up memory, hence the tablet style default closure. Being a 64-bit OS, memory issues are set to be no big problem for an age.

Full-screen apps?:
Windows 8-specific apps all run full-screen… But here’s the thing, tell me how many apps you don’t run full-screen in previous versions of Windows? Cascading window stacking looks fancy but is of no use. Admit it. Side-by-side app stacking is more useful!

Where’s the traditional desktop?
One click away on a live tile. This is also where you can use file explorer. We need this divide of old and new desktop currently because Windows 8 is a transitory OS. That is to say, until Windows 8 and its successors are the dominant OS, it has to respect what came before it. Plus, if the traditional desktop was killed in this release entirely there would only be more… bitching!

Where’s the battery indicator and clock in the Start screen?
Apart from seeing these in the traditional desktop, just move your mouse to the top or bottom right corner of your screen to display the Charms menu and these features. Oh, and while you’re there, explore and try to frequently conjure the Charms bar.

It takes more clicks to shutdown/restart the computer!
Not really. If you press Alt+F4 in the traditional desktop (with no application selected or you’ll close that) you get the shutdown dialogue just as in previous versions of Windows. The power button on my laptop is solely reserved for sleep/hibernation functions during use, but even in the Start screen, there’s only 1 more step, say, compared to Windows XP:

XP: Start button | Log Off/Turn Off Computer | Select relevant option
8: Charms show | Click Settings | Click Power | Select relevant option

So, all those  foaming negatively about Windows 8 are either a) people who haven’t used it and like to spell MS as M$, b) people who haven’t used it long enough, or c) are serious Apple or Linux shills. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Defending Windows 8

  1. Nice job in defense of Windows 8.
    I think some just want to complain about it being different. They don’t like change, and if they don’t, why complain (some just like to complain), just use the older version instead, doesn’t bother me. Once you get used to it, the changes matter little and you may find the benefits.
    You mention about the Start Menu which is probably the biggest “complaint”. I wonder why many don’t just hit the Windows key, its on every keyboard, and tons easier than moving the mouse anywhere. It makes even more sense now on Windows 8 to use that key.

    • That seems to be it exactly, change almost always meets resistance, and of course no one is forced to upgrade from a previous version.

      And yes, the Windows key… I think too many people ignore the value of learning a few keyboard shortcuts.

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