30 Days with Surface Pro: Day 12

For Day 12 of the 30 Days with Surface Pro series, I examine the Charms Bar.

If you’ve used previous versions of Windows, you’re probably familiar with the Start button. It is the hub for just about everything you want or need to do on Windows 7 (and earlier versions of Windows). It always seemed a little counter-intuitive to click on a button called “Start” when you want to shut down Windows, but we quickly got used to it and forgave Microsoft for the oxymoronic approach.

There is no Start button in Windows 8. The absence of the Start button has been a cause of great consternation for many. But, if you spend two minutes familiarizing yourself with the Windows 8 Charms Bar, you’ll soon forget the Start button.

But, what do you do if you want to shut down Windows 8? Shutting down Windows 7 was a two-step process: Click the Start button, then click Shut Down. Restarting involved one extra step to open a sub-menu from the Shut Down button. In Windows 8, it’s a four-step process: Open the Charms Bar, tap the Settings Charm, tap Power, and choose Shut Down. Restarting involves the same four steps, but you choose Restart instead of Shut Down.

Four steps is twice as many as two, but we’re talking about nanoseconds of effort that you won’t even think about once you get used to it. Besides, I almost never shut down my PC. I occasionally restart it as a function of installing updates and security patches, but that is generally automatic and doesn’t require me to go through the process of manually restarting Windows. My PC (PCs actually) is on 24/7, but falls dutifully to sleep when not in use. It’s much more efficient and effective than shutting down and booting back up, and uses barely any more power than shutting down.

Read Surface Pro, Day 12: Getting to know the Charms Bar for more about my experience with the new tool.

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