The Windows 8 Start Screen, Will it Work?

There has been a lot of discussion about the Windows 8 Start Screen and the lack of the Start Menu. So much so that there are those that want Microsoft to bring the Start Menu back. So this does beg the question, Will the Start Screen Work? Well, the first thing I say is to try it.

It should be no surprise to my usual readers that I fit in the group of a computer power user. I make Windows work for me no matter what version and feel right at home from Windows 3.0 to Windows 7. I even still remember many DOS commands, of course, being a Windows guy my favorite is still Win, but what about Windows 8.

I started using Windows 8 with the Developer Preview in September and have not since moved on to the Consumer Preview in February. The Developer Preview did knock me off of my game at first but I was quick to adapt and I liked it. The Consumer Preview makes me feel right at home, they did a great job at getting the keyboard and mouse interfaces smoothed out.

As time goes on I do believe that touch will be the primary interface for computers. I used to work for a major electronics retailer in their tech support department. One of my responsibilities was setting up new computers for customers and these new All-in-ones are really popular. They all, but a few models, come with touch screens. I will say that using the Start Menu with a touch screen in Windows 7 is a pain. It takes a lot of practice and every touch screen computer is different in calibration I noticed. Most of my other techs would just pull out a mouse and keyboard instead of fiddling with it.

I was also a long time Windows Mobile user and both of those phones were touch screens. Even here trying to use your finger to touch a menu item was at times difficult. Now Windows Mobile 6.5 was a great improvement over Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.0 or 5.0 which I had used at some point. When my Windows Mobile 6.5 device was giving me some issues recently I really took a good look at Smartphones and was not impressed. Yeah, there was iPhone which does feel like playing whack an app, Android is the new Windows Mobile with a lot of the modding community heading that way. Blackberry feels stuck in a time warp, Nokia was non-existent in the American market (which I was upset, they are back now, yes!), and Palm had an interesting operating system but their devices were just horrible. The Chicklet style keyboard was too small and the raised plastic around the keyboard made me want to take a file to it. So I stuck with my Windows Mobile device and thought about going back to a regular cell phone or at least a feature phone. Then my roommate got a Windows Phone.

I used Windows Phone 7 for ten minutes and I knew this was love at first touch. It was so fluid and fast and really reminded me of my Wife’s Zune HD. I really actually like the Windows Phone interface better than the Zune HD in fact. I was done and knew that was my next phone. And after getting one and using the apps on it, I was sold. I just love how easy to used it is. It is many levels above and iPhone and worlds better than Android.

Now what does this have to do with Windows 8, well the Developer Preview was devoid of a lot of apps and the Metro interface felt unfinished because is was. The Consumer Preview, however, has some App Previews and the App Store is now up and running. With the apps and the revised Metro interface, I felt right at home like I am using my Phone. I can already tell and will go all in and say that Windows 8 will be every bit as great as Windows Phone. It makes my day-to-day general computing stuff easy and enjoyable. And when I get into my power user mode I still have the Desktop. I can still pin apps to the Task Bar and I can pin Desktop apps to the Start Screen. If I really want I can add a new toolbar to the Task Bar and point it at the Start Menu folder under ProgramData (I will explain this in a post later) Windows 8 for me is really the best of both worlds. It is slick, fast, fluid, and dare I say enjoyable.

So what am I using now? Well on my Desktop I still just have Windows Vista and Windows 7 as sadly I have run out of room on the desktop and am planning a complete storage upgrade on my workhorse. I also plan on making a Windows Home Server so my data is more central and my desktop can have a break. On my laptop, I am running Windows 7 and Windows 8 and I find myself spending more and more time in Windows 8.

Now as I close this rant of a post I will be covering a lot of Windows 8 material, but I will also still be covering Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and even on occasion Windows 2000 or earlier. As for the question yes, I think it will work just fine and I am excited.

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