The Metro- The start page on Windows 8 has caught quite a lot of flak over the past year. The change was an unwelcome (for consumers) departure from the traditional Start button that led to a detailed list of all your programs. At first glance, I’ll admit its a little confusing, but its cooler than it looks. Start typing any program or file or picture folder like “Christmas 2009” and within a few seconds you have three sections on the right hand side, App’s, Settings, Files where you’ll find exactly what you just typed.
Apps- Over the past few years, apps have taken priority over traditional programs and Microsoft has designed the new Windows to be app centered. The interface is actually really simple. The news app is designed to be visually arresting and enrich the smooth text content with high quality photos. You can customize each native app to your liking, choose your sources and decide what content you want to see everyday. The games are better, and after setting up a Microsoft account (which takes a few clicks and filling in a few forms) you can download free content from the Microsoft store.
Multitasking Experience- Another nice feature is the new multitasking capabilities designed to go hand-in-hand with the new app-centric OS. As I’m writing this article I’m swapping between a tech news app, the store and back to this blazing fast Google Chrome App. On the top left hand side you can drag your mouse downward and see a nice list of “live tile” open apps including your desktop.You can then drag out an app and place it on the left or right hand side, making a separate “pane” that keeps your work nice and organized. I use this feature every day to read the news, surf facebook or just browse the internet.
Windows to Go- This feature allows you to take a large capacity flash drive, which are relatively cheap on places like Amazon.com, and easily create an exact copy of your system. Thats not all, you can then take your flash drive copy and connect it to any Windows 8 computer and boot it right up. Thats pretty magical right there! One area this might come in handy is if you’d like to make a copy of your healthy system in case of a nasty virus that prevents access from your computer to even clean out. If bringing in to Gadget Grave is not an option at the moment, having this backup would be the next best thing. Just pop it in, boot it up when given the boot options and BAM! Your back in business.
The Windows Key- Although largely overlooked in the past, Microsoft has brought an enormous amount of focus back to the Windows Key. This key now functions as a flip-flop between the app/search oriented Metro, so that you can easily pull up an app, document or any file quickly with a few keystrokes. This compared to the old way, which was to right click start, click explore, click pictures or the countless other click, click, click that used to be a staple of Windows. There are quite a few combinations with Windows key that make it even more useful. Combined with X, you get a master list of all the most important menus and tools on your computer. No more hunting though Control Panel to uninstall a program!