I’m going to write a few articles on this topic I think, to avoid writing a word wall. The topic of this article is First Impressions. The file installation portion of Windows 8 is very similar to Windows 7. It’s fast, streamlined, and simple. Most of the same menus are there, and the process felt very familiar. That is where my familiarity with Windows Setup, a history that goes back to Windows 3.1, came to a screeching halt.
Pardon the first two ‘screenshots’, they were taken by camera on a LCD screen. I didn’t want to run this in a VM for various reasons. Mostly because I had a laptop I wanted to install it on dangit! Anyways, on with the show.
After the initial installation finishes, you are greeted by this. The idea of a ‘Local’ account is dying. What you’re creating here is a local account that is deeply tied with an online Windows LIVE account. It will be used to sync your data between the cloud and this machine, and even your desktop settings, data, (and apps perhaps) across multiple machines. Gone also is the ‘password reminder’ field. After logging in with a LIVE account, you can set up your mobile phone to receive password reset requests.
Once you are logged in, you will be placed at your new desktop replacement. Owners of an XBOX 360 or Windows Phone probably probably won’t be as shocked as others will be. It is a step away from the traditional Windows Desktop the same way the moon was a step for mankind. This is a concept that will take MUCH convincing to get diehard desktop users to convert. I can see what they’re going for here though. Instead of a desktop full of icons and documents, you have a task-oriented plate of things. “What do you want to do?” instead of “Where is the file?”. I’m not sold yet, but I’m keeping an open mind.
Apps now run Full Screen in a beautiful F11 kind of way. (If you don’t know what that means, hit F11 in your browser right now, and again to revert the change) No task bar. No context menus lining the top. I haven’t yet been able to shake the feeling that I’m missing something, like there’s not enough places to click. The two screenshots in this paragraph have not been trimmed. WYSIWYG. Also, Apps now ‘drag’ much like you might expect in a touch interface. For example, here is me dragging right in the Weather App. Start, A little Right, More Right.
Overall, I’m cautiously excited by this big change in Windows. The one thing many people may be asking is ‘How do I access the normal desktop?” Click the ‘Show Desktop’ tile, and you’re there. It’s a little different though. Notice the complete lack of the start menu. I have to admit, this is the thing I have the most trouble letting go. I truly love Vista/7’s method of hitting start, typing the first few letters of what I want and up it comes. That functionality still exists, and I’ll cover it next time when I write about the Apps Menu, the PC settings menu, and how exactly you move around in Windows 8.