Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Windows 8 Frustrations

I picked up a new computer this weekend and it came with Windows 8 pre-installed. I had been dreading this. My workplace doesn't yet support Windows 8, so I hadn't had any time to investigate it before it arrived in my home office. I had no idea what to expect, aside from the usual learning curve that accompanies any new operating system. I'm still learning the ropes, but, as of right now, there are a number of Windows 8 frustrations that are easily identifiable.

Problems With Windows 8

  • Windows 8 Start Screen. The new start screen, sometimes referred to as "Metro" (How very 90s!) , is, in theory, a great idea. I actually like having the Start Menu displayed in a more graphical interface. The problem is, the Windows 8 Start screen interface is designed for a tablet. So, in order to scroll through it, I have to roll my mouse-wheel up and down, which moves the screen side to side. It's counter-intuitive and is really annoying.
  • Windows 8 Media Player No Longer Plays DVDs. I guess I can understand the reasoning behind this one. The codecs that a computer needs to play DVDs and Blu-rays cost money. For every copy of Windows 7 that was sold, Microsoft had to pay $2 to the patent holder of the playback technologies as well as an unspecified amount to the holder of the Dolby Digital license. So, it's a money-saving decision. Still, it's annoying. Yet, it's easily fixed. You can either purchase the Windows Media Center upgrade or you can download a free program like VLC.
  • CMD.exe Is Missing In Windows 8. No longer do you have the option to go to Start->;Run in order to open up a command line interface. There's a quick way around that, though. You can either type cmd.exe in the address bar of any folder or you can hit Windows-R, or you can move your mouse pointer to the lower-left corner of the Desktop screen, right-click and then select "Run" in the Quick Access menu. 
  • Windows 8 Wants You To Sign In Via A Microsoft.Com Account. Again, this is indicative of the tablet-style interface that Microsoft is pushing. You can still sign in via a locally-created account on your computer, but Windows 8 doesn't make it immediately obvious that you can do so. 
  • The Shut Down Button Is Three Clicks Away. Supposedly, shutting down your PC only to restart it later is like wearing white after Labor Day. Studies have shown that just leaving your PC on rather than constantly shutting it down and powering it back on saves energy in the long run. So, I guess Microsoft thinks that you won't need to shut down your computer much, so they buried the Shut Down function in Windows 8. In order to shut down your computer, you have to gesture your mouse over to the far right of your screen, which will pull up your Charms menu. Click "Settings". Click "Power". Select "Shutdown". Screw that! Here's a way to add a "Shutdown" shortcut to your Windows 8 desktop:
    • Go to your desktop
    • Right-click anywhere on the desktop
    • Select New -> Shortcut
    • Type shutdown /s /t 0 where it says "Type the location of the item"
    • Click "Next"
    • Enter a name for the shortcut and click Finish. The shortcut will appear on your desktop
    • Once that is done, you can right-click the shortcut and Pin your Shutdown shortcut to the Windows 8 Start menu or the Task Bar
  • The Bing App Opens Results In Another App. Not that I use Bing much anyway, because, well, BING SUCKS! But, if you're compelled to use the Bing App to search in Windows 8, once you click a result, you will be transferred to IE 10. But, when you hit the "Back" button in IE 10, you won't be able to go back to your search results because they are still in the Bing App. 

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