Does The Keyboard And Mouse Work Well For Navigating Windows 8?

Navigating to the charm bar using a mouse.

Windows 8 doesn’t work that well with keyboard and mouse, plus having to switch between desktop and Metro is annoying. This is a popular sentiment I’ve hard across all reaches of the Internet from opinion pieces to forum postings. It is also something I’m not 100% if I agree with, at least not completely. Does switching from Metro to desktop really detract from the total experience? Yes and no.

Right now, you have two options for Consumer Preview: Use desktop mode the vast majority of the time or play the back and forth game between Metro and Desktop. For those that choose the later, yes it might detract from the experience if you are 50/50 in your desktop/Metro usage.

Still, this will change. As apps improve (after the commercial release), you’ll likely find yourself needing to access desktop less and less. If you are only accessing desktop 25% of the time, it really isn’t that annoying or distracting from the overall Windows 8 experience.

If you have to hit the Windows key every ten minutes to go from desktop to Metro, well yah, there is no argument that would be annoying. Conversely, if you decide Metro only offers you only a limited amount of enjoyment, using desktop 75% of the time shouldn’t be too distracting or annoying either.

Overall though, yes, I think the Internet community has a legitimate reason to complain a little about this constant switching experience. Just remember, when Windows 8 goes commercial this will quickly become less of an issue (or at least I am fairly confident it will).

Now, on to the second issue, using the keyboard and mouse in Metro and on charms. Honestly, I find that a good scroll mouse works wonders in Metro (or the keyboard for that matter). I imagine it is much more enjoyable with touch, sure, but I find no major navigation issues with most of the UI.

Still, I’d like an easier way to access the left-hand menu for closing out Metro apps like a hardware key (maybe there is and I’m just unaware?), as it seems to be a bit flakey with the keyboard and mouse. Additionally, this is very minor, but I find it annoying when I’m working on something and my mouse accidently scrolls to left corner and the charm bar on that side shows up.

Again, very minor issues, nothing worth crying about. Overall, keyboard and mouse don’t seem that bad of an option for Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The experience is worlds better than what I saw in the Developer Preview.

Using Windows 8 it is clear that, yes, it is certainly focused on touch first, keyboard/mouse second. This might seem annoying at first, but I am fairly certain that at least on laptops, touchscreens will soon be very commonplace. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same is said for most desktops in the years going forward.

When it comes to laptop touchscreens, how do I feel about it? I think a touchscreen would be great for launching apps and opening things like charm, but the keyboard and mouse will still be your primary input. They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

So what do you think about using the keyboard and mouse in Windows 8? For those that have installed the Consumer Preview, do you feel it is as bad as many have claimed or largely does it seem to work just fine? Share your thoughts below.

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