How-to: Windows 8 Start-tip Power-menu

Windows 8 Start-tip Power MenuWindows 8: bluff old traditionalists without a Slate, sorry, Surface (ha ha ha – no? Really?) sorry, tablet are going to stick with the conventional Windows desktop.

And I hear you say; “Metro, sorry, Modern-UI apps are going to force out the conventional desktop.” No. There are too many corporates with legacy applications, without touch screens, with older hardware, without the training budgets.

Modern-UI and the conventional desktop are likely to co-exist indefinitely. The new versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop due in 2013 will be desktop applications, not Modern-UI apps. Can you imagine Photoshop in a low-resolution, Fisher-Price Modern-UI interface? No, neither can I. That means incremental improvements to the familiar Windows desktop will continue.

Count up the improvements to the Windows desktop that we looked at already; the ribbon interface in Windows Explorer, the new Task Manager, the file-copy improvements. The desktop has the edge and corner navigation controls. The new Start tip replaces the old Start button. Cunningly, there’s a right-click power menu that brings most of the control panel and management settings right to you:

  • Programs and features (software installer)
  • Power management
  • Event viewer
  • System – overview
  • Device Manager
  • Disk Management
  • Computer Management – top-level admin console for management tools
  • Two command prompts – regular and Admin
  • Task Manager
  • Full top-level Control Panel
  • File Explorer – file management
  • Search – apps search
  • Run – run box
  • Desktop – show desktop and minimise all running apps

Windows 8 Search apps screenA lot of these features used to be buried fairly deep within the Control Panel sub-basement levels. Now they are right there with one click from Modern-UI or desktop.

To my mind, the biggest and best of these is Search. This puts all your apps within easy reach; it effectively flattens the old Windows Start menu and makes it searchable in one full-screen display. No more blind rummaging through hierarchies of menu groups. Right out of the gate. That, dear friends, is progress. AJS

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