When it comes to Windows 8, there is no denying that most of the changes are focused on Metro.
In reality though, there is certainly more than Metro, when it comes to key differences between Windows 8 and Windows 7. While many of these features are quite simple and easily left unnoticed, there are three big differences that are quite important to me, as a writer.
If you aren’t a writer? The first and third will probably still appeal to you, but the second feature might not be that big of a deal for most users.
The first of these has to with internal spellcheck. Every writer out there would love to pretend that they never make typos, but we do, and when we do we feel awful. Luckily, Windows 8 has system-wide spellcheck so even that Facebook update or blog post in Metro is covered. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is extraordinarily helpful.
The next little change that makes a world of difference has to do with how Windows 8 takes screenshots. In Windows 7 you have to press the “print screen” key and then paste that print into a program like Photoshop, or if you are really cheap like me, MS Paint.
In Windows 8 this would be even more annoying because I’d constantly have to pop out between Metro and the desktop, just to save a couple JPEG files. Instead, Windows 8 just needs you to hit the Windows key and the print screen key, and just like that you have a saved screenshot file in your Pictures folder.
For those that have never had the real need to take a screenshot, you probably won’t grasp how important this can be. For those in the business world, particularly a tech field, both system-wide spell-check and the new screenshot ability can actually prove quite useful though.
The third reason why I really enjoy Windows 8 that has absolutely nothing to do with Metro (at least not directly), is a feature that we might not think about but it affects all of us. Speed of use is vastly improved in Windows 8. Don’t get me wrong, Windows 7 was a fairly snappy experience for me, and much better than the performance found in Vista.
That being said, from start-up to just everything I do in Windows 8, I feel like I’m getting it done faster. While this has nothing directly to do with Metro, I suspect the speed gain is because MS had to be very careful to make sure that this version of Windows had modest requirements. Why? So that it can play nice with the less-powerful ARM counterparts that will soon be flooding the tablet world.
While there are likely other changes to the desktop that aren’t Metro related and worth mentioning, this are three most useful changes that I’ve encountered so far. Even if I never end up using Metro beyond an occasional urge to play some random app, I am still quickly becoming confident in Microsoft’s ability to provide me enough key features in Windows 8 to make it useful as a desktop upgrade.
For those that have used it, what do you think of Windows 8 so far? Outside of Metro, are there any great new desktop features that I didn’t mention? Please share below, as I am fairly confident there are plenty more great things about the Windows 8 desktop that I have yet to stumble upon.
Windows 8’s desktop might look like the same as what we saw in 7 (except the lack of start button), but I am starting to realize that at the core it has very much evolved, even if these evolution isn’t nearly as distinct as the Start Menu’s evolution over to Metro.