So the days of Windows 7 appear to be coming to an end as Microsoft is beginning to release consumer previews of Windows 8. I have downloaded build 8250 and been using it for about 2 weeks now. So far I like it for the most part as it is still Windows 7 at the heart but there are a few items that I’d like to see changed. There is no longer a Start Menu button on the task bar; instead you get to it by bumping your mouse along the right side of the screen in either the top or bottom corners. When doing this it gives you the option of selecting: Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings. Of course you can still get to the Start Menu by using the Windows key on the keyboard or ctrl+esc keyboard shortcut but the quick click of the icon is gone.
Now what I’m calling the Start Menu is not anything what you are expecting if you are used to any previous Windows versions with it. It now pulls up its own screen and is actually the first place you go when you power up (log in) to your computer instead of the desktop.
One of the distinct things that I don’t like about this new Start Menu is that there are no folders, so any shortcuts or programs that you put in there will be scattered out like an old iPhone desktop before folders were adopted into their system.
These shortcuts are called “live tiles” and they can be dynamic icons showing things like the current date for the calendar tile or how many unread emails you have for the email tile.
Another addition that has been brought online with Windows 8 is applications. Windows 8 now has these applications to manage, check, and use things like: email, photos, weather, videos, internal camera, instant messaging, maps, web browsing (yes, Internet Explorer is now an app), contacts, music, finance, reader, and store (where you can buy apps and get your system updates). Some of these features are cool but limiting depending on your usage habits.
One of the other distinct changes is not being able to shut down your computer while logged in. The only place you can do this without using keyboard shortcuts is at the login screen. It seems that while the graphical interface has been given some face-lifts, there have been steps added to do some of the regular day-to-day tasks.
Overall I’d say I like the new style Microsoft is going with and look forward to seeing the final product.