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.

About the Author

I’m a Houston-based independent analyst, marketing consultant and writer. I follow news and trends across all facets of technology, and help people understand how the changing tech landscape affects them. I work with businesses to identify market opportunities and develop effective content marketing strategies to take advantage of them. I’ve worked in the trenches as an information security consultant, an IT manager and a marketing executive. That real world experience gives me a unique point of view that lets me see things from the business perspective. I’ve been a CISSP for 13 years, and I’ve been recognized by Microsoft as an MVP for 8 consecutive years. When I’m not working with technology, I’m a husband and father who loves mountains, oceans, football and golf. You can contact me directly at [email protected] For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, subscribe to me on Facebook or add me to your Circles on Google+.

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