When I am writing an article or white paper, I typically have multiple windows open–a Web browser to research the topic, and Microsoft Word to write it in. I may also have some music playing, and my email is open pretty much 24/7 in the background. Multitasking is a core function of a PC, so for Day 10 of the 30 Days with Surface Pro series I examined how the Surface Pro–Windows 8 on the Surface Pro really–manages working with multiple applications.
In desktop mode there’s very little difference between Windows 8 and its predecessor, Windows 7. With the exception of the missing Start button at the lower left, everything in Windows 8 desktop mode looks, feels, and acts just as it did in Windows 7–including the ability to use Aero Snap to maximize or minimize applications, or automatically snap windows to the left or right half of the display. On the Surface Pro itself the display is too small for Aero Snap to have much value, but it’s great for productivity when I’m using the Surface Pro connected to an external 23-inch monitor.
There is a split-screen feature for the Windows 8 Modern / Metro interface as well. Instead of splitting the screen in half, though, it does more of a 75/25 split. That makes sense to an extent when using a tablet like the Surface Pro. Like I said above, splitting the display in half on the Surface Pro makes both programs too small to be very useful. The Windows 8 split-screen lets you use a primary app in the larger pane, while leaving something like Music or Messaging open in the smaller pane.
Beyond the Surface Pro, though, the limitation of the Windows 8 split screen is annoying. Most of the time, I’m using the Surface Pro connected to an external 23-inch monitor, so it would be nice if there was at least an option to do a 50/50 split.
Check out Surface Pro, Day 10: Multitasking on the Surface Pro for more about my Day 10 experience.