30 Days with Surface Pro: Day 4

Windows 8 is not your father’s Windows operating system. Unless you’ve been on a sabbatical living in a cabin in some remote part of the Rockies, you’re probably aware that Microsoft has drastically revamped the Windows experience. In an effort to bridge the gap between desktop and mobile, and compete with the tablet revolution, Microsoft designed Windows 8 to be a primarily touch-based interface. And, since the Surface Pro is a touch-enabled mobile device, it’s a fitting platform for testing out what Microsoft has put together.

We talked on Day 3 of the 30 Days with Surface Pro series about the process of just logging in to Windows and setting up a user profile. Today, I’m digging a little deeper into figuring out how to get around in the OS.

If I use the Surface Pro as a tablet, I’d expect to have to learn the touch and swipe gestures necessary to navigate the OS. But, for now I’m still using the Surface Pro as a “desktop PC”, and using a mouse to get around. So, I’ll just click the Start button…oh wait! There’s no Start button any more. The horror!

I’ve seen a variety of articles out there in the technosphere with tips and tricks to turn Windows 8 into Windows 7, including tools you can install that will somehow circumvent the Windows 8 Start screen and take you directly to the desktop, and applications that promise to restore the precious Start button. I’m not interested in any of that.

It reminds me a little of when my iPhone was having issues with battery life, and the Apple Genius told me I should disable Location services, and turn off some other things that might be using battery life. While it might technically work, it also reduces the functionality of the device at the same time. It’s like going to an auto mechanic and telling him that your car makes some kind of grinding noise when you turn right, and him suggesting that you just make only left turns…problem solved!

No, I want my Windows 8 to be Windows 8. And, if being Windows 8 sucks, or doesn’t meet my needs, I’ll just use Windows 7. I won’t install additional software or jump through hoops to make Windows 8 be more like Windows 7 if I can just install Windows 7.

Enough ranting. The reality is that in half the time it would take me to reconfigure Windows 8 to be less “Windows 8-y” I can just spend some time learning the new navigation techniques and get comfortable with the unique conventions of Windows 8. Check out Surface Pro, Day 4: Navigating Windows 8 for more about my initial experience getting around in the new OS.

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