Again, year after year of doing the same old thing…we become accustomed to doing things a certain way. It becomes second nature. In Windows Vista, Windows 7 and even XP we clicked the Start Orb and located the program we wished to run. Either by typing it in the Search programs and files box or Drilling down the All Programs tree of life (oh, bother). Well many of us just pinned applications we used to the taskbar and did neither of the above 🙂
Windows 7 Start menu
Change can sometimes be a good thing.
From what I see, Windows 8 is designed to provide (in the near future) a familiar interface across multiple technologies. Windows Phone 7.5 all ready uses the Metro style interface as a Start screen, Windows 8 on the PC and Tablet will offer the same. If you have a Windows Phone 7.5 you are half way there…Jumping in to Windows 8 will make a bit more sense to you.
When we boot up and log into Windows 8 we are presented with the Start Screen. The Start screen displays Metro Apps that we may have downloaded from the Windows store and It can display as tiles (launch pads) all those other programs that we install.
Windows 8 Start screen
For the geeks, it is an immediate “What have they done with …”. Where’s my Media Center? Where is my Control Panel? The thing to remember is: The Start screen is our clean work area. Here we set it up to the look and feel the way we want. They don’t clutter the work area by default. We can add or remove items that we may or may not use every day. We can arrange tiles and groups to suit our needs. We can even name our groups of tiles.
So what can you do with these tiles on the Start screen?
The obvious is to click on a tile to launch the application it represents. If we right-click on a tile, we are presented with a ribbon across the bottom of the screen, with all the options that we can do with the tile or application.
- Unpin from Start will remove the tile from the Start Screen
- Pin to Taskbar will pin the Application the Taskbar of the Desktop for easy launching when working with the Desktop mode.
- Uninstall – be careful with this one. Depending on the Application it will either take you to the Add/Remove Programs dialog or will completely uninstall the app from your computer. Pay close attention to the dialogs that open when you click Uninstall.
- Open in new window Pretty obvious, it will launch the app in a new window.
- Run as administrator Lets you run the app as the administrator…duh.
- Open file location Opens the application’s location in Windows Explorer.
Windows 8 unpin an app
Most of the time when you install a program; Windows 8 will automatically place a tile on your start screen. Be careful with the Tiles that are added to your Start screen when you install an application. Unpin any Uninstaller that may get added to your Start screen. Trust me, you don’t want those easily accessed. I myself am a click happy fool, in the blur of a moment I clicked one of these Uninstallers and yes … Uninstalled a program I use from my computer.
That’s special, but where are the rest of my applications?
Glad you asked. If you right-click on a blank area anywhere on the Start screen, All apps will appear on the ribbon on the bottom left of the screen. Click on All apps. We use the Apps screen to add tiles to our Start screen or just launch them if we wish.
Windows 8 All apps button
Would you look at that. A whole pile of apps. Metro and desktop applications that I have installed. It doesn’t take long to figure out that this is the same exact thing as All Programs in Windows 7, it is just a different way of presenting it. Metro apps will be on the left and just like All Programs the App screen is sorted by application and items associated with it. I’m down with that. All those items like readmes, uninstallers and the application itself appear on the Apps screen when you install a program.
Windows 8 Apps
Pin an app to the Start screen.
When I installed my utilities for my Canon camera; not all apps that I wanted were pinned to my Start screen. On the All apps screen I can locate the utility and right-click on it. Like the Start screen options, here I can choose Pin to Start. It’s as simple as that.
Windows 8 Pin to Start
Too hard? Go back to the Start screen and just start typing the name of the application that you want pinned to the Start screen or to wish to launch. Below I started typing Corel on the Start screen; the screen changed to the Search center and all my Corel apps appeared in the left column. Here I can either click on, to launch, the application or right-click to be presented with the same options as above. Pretty quick and just as easy, I say.
Windows 8 Start screen search
Once pinned you can go back to the Start screen and “Organize” the screen or location of your application…but that is a whole other story in itself.
You can teach an old dog new tricks.
At first I wasn’t really getting it but the more I have played with Windows 8 the faster I can get around. It’s the same logic of previous versions, just a different presentation. Once you get it down, it is a pretty smooth way to do things. It did take me a week or two to get used of this interface but now that I am comfortable with it, I do like the changes.