When it comes to Windows 8 there has certainly been a fair share of mixed emotions. Some seem to love it and find the changes, namely Metro, refreshing and innovative. On the other side of the fence are the folks that seem to nearly cringe at the very mention of Microsoft’s new start menu replacement. The big picture here that Windows has traditionally been an operating system that caters to many different types of users. With Metro, however, does this still apply? This is a somewhat loaded question. Yes, the power of the desktop is still there. Honestly, there isn’t much changed about the core way that Windows works, the start button and start menu just happen to be gone. I am personally mixed about this change myself, and I do think it will certainly anger many of the ‘power users’ out. Will they leave Windows behind as a result though? I’m sure that some will, but I don’t think Microsoft has to worry about mass flocks of users leaving to Unix-based operating systems like Linux or OSX over this change. Why? With Windows 8 you really only have to deal with one major change, and that’s Metro. All your favorite Windows applications still run with relative ease and even things like the control panel have largely remained the same. So, users are going to abandon Windows over one feature but are perfectly fine with excepting the hundreds of changes they will have to deal with if they switch to Linux or OSX? For most the effort for a full switch to another platform is going to be too much, though I suppose for some it is more of a principle of the thing that would drive them to drop Windows completely. At this particular moment I don’t use Metro more than 10% of the time I’m on my PC, though starting this evening I am attempting an experiment to use Metro primarily (at least 75%) until this Friday, of course I may still have to use the desktop for screenshots and such. As I type, I’m using Office Word’s online app, and must admit it is actually VERY good. I am shocked just how useful this online app is, and am looking forward to the day that a native shell for this exists within Metro. What I am already starting to realize is that if I let go of my reservations and just truly jump onto the new interface, it isn’t half-bad and there is little to be that upset about. Is it the perfect platform for business and power users? Probably not, but if you don’t want to use it Microsoft doesn’t really force you (other than you must start into it every time your PC boots). Another secret that is if you are willing to accept just a little change, Start Menu still pretty much exists, just in a very modified format. So where is it and how do you access it?
If you hover to the lower left corner where the start button used to be, right click. Doing so will reveal a menu that has access to things like device manager, command prompt, run, control panel, power options and more. In fact there is even a way to still see all your programs like the old start menu (at least it is sort of like the old start menu’s programs). Clicking the search option on this taskbar menu brings up an app screen that has all Metro and even many non-Metro apps easily displayed.
As you can see, it is even still categorized in a manner very similar to “Programs” in Windows 7 and earlier, just running in full-screen mode. So, with Windows 8 you get Metro and everything you liked about Windows 7, except you have to put up with a little bit of change to the way certain things like start menu work. This may be a deal-breaker for some, and I totally respect that. My best advice? Microsoft has likely made up their mind and they won’t be including an official start menu behind the alternative methods I mentioned above. So you are stuck with either finding a decent 3rd party start menu add-on or you should just stick with Windows 7 until you are forced to make the switch for program compatibility reasons. Windows 7 brought major change because they saw that users didn’t take well to Vista and were sticking with XP. Windows 7 wanted to finally get users to move on to XP. If enough users truly find they are unwilling to deal with Metro and stick to Windows 7, it is at least somewhat possible MS would add a start menu option to Windows 9. For the rest of us though, Windows 8 is shaping up to be a powerful OS. Sure, it introduces some changes. Ultimately though, I’m really starting to like what I see. What do you think about Windows 8 so far? Will you be switching to Windows 8 or hanging on to older versions of Windows as long as you possibly can? Or conversely, are you making the switch to Linux or OSX as a result of Windows 8? Share your thoughts below.