Bringing back the Start Menu in Windows 8

Windows 8 logoNow that Windows 8 Consumer Preview is with us, I have to say that in using for the past week Windows 8 on my Netbook and getting to grips with Metro UI in a work and play situation, I’m finding it easier to use on a PC opposed to just my Windows 7 Phone.

There are a few there are a few things I would like to see changed and improved upon, as in Email, Search, Shutdown, yes you can in Desktop area use Alt+F4 to bring up a Shutdown dialogue box, but this should be IMHO part of the option in Metro, but these are topics for another time.

However and love or hate the fact that the Start Menu Orb has gone in Win8, I like it in part but I know that corporate customers and a fair amount of home users will not, Startdock have created a really good option in Start8 which as you can see below adds not only a Start menu option but they make it blend in very well with the look of Windows 8.

 Start8

Basically what it looks like it is doing to to combine the All Apps option in Metro, which shows all the apps loaded in a sideways scrolling list and the Search option in one menu it seems to work ok.

A big issue in the above is that the so called Start Menu addition in Start8 is actually in Windows 8 already, if you hover with mouse over the right hand lower area that you get a menu in which search is available and its the same the same thing.

W8 Metro Start

Ok the Start8 menu is easier to get too but I would advise that you give the native Metro UI a go and in a short time of usage you will no doubt get used to it, I know i have.

I do hope that Microsoft give us a Metro Search Icon Tile as that would be perfect.

 

Download from HERE

Only works in Windows 8

Windows 8 Consumer Preview

windows-8-logoWell its now here and I have to be honest while I do not think the Metro UI will appeal to many and certainly not to businesses (Microsoft will have to release a patch to restore the Start Menu UI for these users) its a very good OS.

Its very good on low powered laptops or netbooks as I have it installed on my Samsung N110 Netbook and clean install was 20mins from USB stick and all drivers ok apart from needing to revert to an older Intel GME graphic driver to take advantage of 1280×768 resolution as without this you cannot open the Metro Tile apps without being at 1280×768 resolution.

WIN8 001

I did take my netbook into work this week and the IT tech who works in our dept (Jeff) was impressed and to impress him is a good signal of a great OS, as we looked past the UI of Metro and looked more at the backend apps and Task Manager is superb a tool for troubleshooting. The app for SkyDrive impressed us both and it may need the ability to allow multiple accounts as well as possibly the ability to auto sync the File Versions backup to SkyDrive. 

 WIN8 005Win8 009

The ability to backup to not only a portable USB drive or another Hard Drive (HDD) on your PC is great, but also is the option to use a network drive and setting up a network between PCs is really now easy, in fact so easy you don’t need the family geek to help you out.

Win 8 007

Storage Spaces allows you to use a pool of HDDs, to save your files too so backup is seriously covered in Windows 8.

Win8 010

The boot up of my netbook to usable status was with Windows 7 about 2 mins, with Windows 8 its 20 seconds!! yes I said 20 seconds, with really great battery usage.

I was massively impressed at the driver location and installing for hardware as I have a HP Envy 100 Network printer I turned it on to test how the install of a network enabled printer would be but by the time I got back to the Windows 8 PC from switching on the printer the driver had already loaded…. impressed was I!

Wireless connectivity is improved in the management of as you can now see how much data you have used, good for those on a limited data contract as you can use the Metered option, you also have taken from mobiles the Airplane option to turn off Wifi and Bluetooth.

WIN8 002 

Task Manager is really improved into what now can be used more and more as a troubleshooting tool, not only does it now give you a great graphical representation of the applications usage, it will highlight high CPU, Ram using applications which will make spotting issues easier. It will also allow you to look at App history to see what applications may having been causing any issues.

WIN8 004 WIN8 003

You can also manage start-up via Task manger now as it will let you know what impact a start-up program is causing on your PCs boot up.

You can download applications (apps) from the Windows Marketplace which is the same type of thing that I have for my Windows 7 Phone, it looks like it may be a great PC version of the Windows Phone Marketplace, Apple Store and Android Store but for PC.

WIN8 006

I really love the main feature which is that if you use the login option of using your Microsoft Passport ID (email and password) then you have the ability to share data from multiple PCs and a Windows 7 Phone so items like email addresses, calendar items are shared between devices. 

Windows 8 has many great features that many will like when they look under the skin so to speak, I think this is a great OS even at this early stage so it can only get better, it will not appeal to all in the Metro UI look but that is a debate for a later date.

DO remember that if you install this Consumer Preview version that it is not a finished product and should be classed as beta and only installed on a spare PC or Virtual Machine and not a production or main household PC as in some cases not everything as in hardware and software will work normally as your current Windows version does.

Download from HERE  and do download the Product Guide HERE

Windows 8 Preview

windows8WOW what can I say but even this bit of news sneaked up on me and I did not have a heads up on this, which is unusual but I guess that given past experiences with the likes of Vista and the public and press perception of it has caused the Windows Product Group to keep the information on next generation Windows versions close to their chests.

But from the video in the link below I have to say I love the “tile” aka Windows Mobile 7 Metro style layout of the main screen, I have a Windows 7 Mobile HTC HD7 and its superb.

Windows 8 Preview

I would love to have a beta version of this new Windows to play with but alias sadly Microsoft do not have one available yet, I would imagine the only viable test version will be a Release Candidate (RC) later in the year, but this will be a near finished version with no main chance for the likes of Microsoft MVPs or TechBeta testers to affect change.

More information HERE from Microsoft Press.