Windows 8 Tiles

Windows 8On 26 October, Microsoft began shipping its new operating system Windows 8. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 requires its users from earlier versions some getting used to. Background is the new operating concept around the Modern UI interface, which was designed primarily for touch operation.

The difference between the looks of Windows between 95 and 7 are not much. Desktop, Start Menu and Notification Area have always remained in the same place. Therefore, the switch to a new major version of Windows was mostly a bite and the personal workflow but was mostly minimally affected. When upgrading to Windows 8, this will change significantly.

Windows 8 requires rethinking

With Windows 8, Microsoft urges to its users to use the new, controversial Modern UI surface. Windows 8 will boot without any additional programs directly into a new touch interface. Even less attractive is the current desktop model which has removed the familiar Start menu. While there are programs that restore both functions, yet one always fights against windmills and will arrive in many places of the operating system where it is back to the Modern User Interface.

Windows 8 Tiles
Windows 8 will operate mainly with the so-called tiles

Modern UI: Operation via corners and edges

Modern UI is optimized for use with a touch-screen. Of course, the interface can continue to use the mouse and keyboard. These users need to know exactly how to activate the function, because the operation of Windows 8 is often based not on visible buttons but to unseen areas in the peripheral areas of the surface, as well as menus that are visible through the hovering over such a range. Without guidance traditional Windows users will feel that it is very difficult to navigate.

Home Screen: tiles everywhere

Instead of a classic desktop Microsoft is focusing its home screen with larger or smaller tiles, which may include links to programs, websites or individuals. Here, the tiles do not work just like a static current desktop shortcut but provide the user information at a first glance from the application.  Of course, the tiles, by a long tap or click, can be dragged to move, group and change in size.

Left screen: Multitasking and Home Screen

The left half of the screen houses mainly the features in Windows 8 for controlling multitasking. A click or touch the top left corner always brings the most recently used application with a small preview to the fore. A wipe out from the left screen or shutdown the cursor from the top left corner brings the list of all applications that are running in a vertical sidebar on the screen. This can very quickly switch between applications. Clicking on the thumbnail in the lower left corner is carries one back to the home screen.

Top of page: Move programs and close

Top of page
Many Windows-8-newbies ask the question that how applications in the Modern UI can ever be properly closed. This is what the top of the screen is for. Wipes or clicks draw an application from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen, so it is closed. This gesture is a reminder of a disposable movement. If you stop the movement half-way,the application can also be docked to the right or left of the screen. This allows multiple programs to be shown side by side, but only in the third predetermined ratio.

Right screen: Windows learns magic with the Charms Bar

On the right of the screen, the new bar of Windows 8, Charms will appear as soon as you perform a swipe from the right edge, or move the mouse to the upper right corner of the screen. The “spells” are functions that are always important, even and especially when you run an application. With traditional input devices in the form of a keyboard, this is the way, also possible via pressing the Windows key. The functions can always be adapted to the respective application. Using the “Share” button,one can share interesting content from most apps directly to Facebook, Twitter or via email. The search, which is also in the Charms bar can search , both within apps and globally throughout the system.

Lower screen: Bye Bye right click

Within the Modern UI from Microsoft creates the familiar right-click menus. Each option, which normally opens a context menu when you right-click on the cursor position, you can now find always in the same place, namely at the bottom. Still found there, are context-specific functions, such as the contacts, the attachment of websites to the start screen and we can zoom in and out of the Live Tiles.

Internet Explorer 10: Everything’s Different

Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8
(Image: http://news.softpedia.com)

With the Modern UI version of the new Internet Explorer 10 some users will find it very difficult at the beginning. Like all new Windows 8 apps,the browser relies on full-screen use, i.e.,  the particular website takes up the whole screen. The address bar has now been moved to the bottom of the screen. In return, the tab index is now at the top of the screen. Both address bar and the tab index can be displayed by right-clicking.

The old Windows desktop: Also just an app?

The entire desktop mode works like a separate app. It can be just as simply be closed or docked alongside other apps. One might think that it is an “operating system in the operating system.” Apart from the lack of start button, it can be in desktop mode which we already know about. One can also find some of the new features of Windows 8 hidden, such as the Ribbon interface in the file explorer, or the completely renewed task manager. Given that still quite few apps in the Windows store, many users will initially have to work in desktop mode. However, switching between desktop and Modern UI mode is very annoying. Those who want peace should delay Windows 8, so hope that all required applications appear sooner or later as a Modern UI app.

With these basic explanations the transfer passengers can survive the first “Windows-8-shock.” If you want to know Windows 8 in a little more detail and explained in audiovisual form, the place the Microsoft Web site has some interesting and fundamental videos to operate the new operating system. And for those who want to go deep inside it, learn the  free e-book of the Microsoft Press by heart.

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