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Three Tips to Make Windows 8 Less Annoying

Windows 8 gets a bad rap.

Admittedly, Microsoft could have done more to ease the transition. They made some significant changes to the user interface – changes that are both jarring visually (i.e. the tiled Start screen), and confusing to use (the “removal” of the Start menu). Throw in a couple of design decisions that can at best be considered questionable and I can certainly understand people’s confusion.

Recently, I was helping a friend who works at a library and is faced with trying to answer Windows 8-related questions without actually having any Windows 8 computers at the library.

I asked myself, “What are the top three things that I would tell people to make using Windows 8 a little easier?”

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Just start typing

“How do I find my programs?” is a very common question. People see the Windows-tiled Start screen and aren’t able to find the Start menu on the desktop, so they feel lost. If there’s no tile for it, it can be extremely difficult to locate and run the program that you know is on your machine.

Windows 8 Start Sceen

The solution is amazingly simple.

Just start typing.

With the tiled Start screen visible, just start typing the name of whatever program you’re looking to launch.

Windows 8 Start Search

In the example above, all that I’ve done is type two letters: “c” followed by “o”. (I’m looking for Control Panel.) On the left, Windows 8 lists apps1 that either start with, contain, or somehow relate to what’s been typed so far. The second item down is Control Panel – exactly the program I wanted.

Classic Shell?

I do still use and recommend Classic Shell for those that prefer the more traditional Windows 7 approach to Start menus and the like. However, some choose not to install it and as a result, these tips for living with Windows 8 are even more relevant.

You can see the search box that automatically appeared as I started typing on the right and beneath that, a count of the number of apps that match (the seven currently displayed on the left), the number of settings that match (162), and the number of files (713). If I were to continue typing, the results would narrow. (If I finish typing the word “control”, for example, the results narrow down to three, 12 and 31 respectively.)

Finding that program is easy. Just start typing.

Swipe to close

When looking at one of the newer tiled apps, it’s not at all clear how to close it or get rid of it. There’s no title bar, no little “x” at the top to click or tap. In fact, there’s no visual indication of how to close the app at all.

In true Windows fashion, there are several ways to close an app: a couple that are old and one that is new.

On a touch screen, if you swipe your finger from just above the screen all the way to the bottom, the tiled app is closed.

Don’t have a touch screen? If you move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen, you’ll see it change to a hand:

Hand icon on tiled app

Left-click and hold, and then drag the mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen. Just like the finger swipe, the app has now closed.

Are you a keyboard person? Don’t like swiping and mouse manipulations? No problem. ALT+F4 – which has been a standard way to close windows for years. It still works, even with tiled apps.

And while we’re at it, ALT+TAB still works as well to cycle through the running apps and applications, whether they’re full screen or not:

Running Programs in Alt-TAB

Use the other Internet Explorer

This is that questionable decision that I alluded to earlier.

What many people don’t realize is that there are effectively two different versions2 of Internet Explorer in Windows 8: full screen/tiled and traditional.

The tiled IE is easy to identify. It has the address bar at the bottom.

IE Tiled with Address Bar at Bottom

I’m sure this is a fine version of Internet Explorer, but it seems like a “cut rate” version lacking many of the features and options that we’ve become accustomed to in a browser.

Fortunately, we can get the “real” Internet Explorer back.

Click or tap the Desktop tile. On the task bar at the bottom, you’ll find an icon for the real Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer on Windows 8 Taskbar

Click that to get a much more familiar – and full featured – browser.

Fortunately, we can also make that the default. In the desktop version of IE, click the gear icon to the right and click Internet options:

Internet Options item

On the Programs tab of the Internet Options dialog, check the option to Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop:

Open IE on desktop option

And click OK.

Now, even when using the tiled Start screen, clicking or tapping an Internet Explorer tab or link will first take you to the desktop and then fire up the full version of the browser.

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Footnotes & references

1: Unfortunately the term “Apps” is used inconsistently here. In Windows 8 “Apps” typically refers to the new style tiled/full screen Windows 8 programs, where as “Applications” typically refers to more traditional windowed programs. In this case, however, “Apps” appears to refer to both.

2: Whether they are two distinct programs, or simply two different user interfaces on the same program is immaterial.

83 comments on “Three Tips to Make Windows 8 Less Annoying”

  1. Will we still be able to have Mozilla and Chrome on this Windows 8? And WHY do they have to go and change everything, just when we get used to the old version?

    • They change it because they can. Why did they move the “show desktop” icon from the left lower corner to the right? Not for any reason I can think of except that they thought it would be better there.

      • If you just need to peek at the desktop and don’t have to work on it you can use “windows key+,” for a quick look, then when you release the windows key you’re back to where you were. If it is the tiles you can just start typing what you were reminded of and the program comes right up. Don’t expect to fine web pages unless you have them on your computer.

  2. Hi Leo,
    Want to thank you for what you do you have been a big help to me.
    I teach the elderly computer use and many of the things you write
    about have helped me teach and use my computers.
    Ron Stevens Point WI.

  3. Classic Windows APP is the solution to MS’s insanity to make such a radical change. Their step to Vista was bad enough, then dropping the support for XP, which was/is their best OS says they are losers. I’ve learned to deal with Win 8 on my laptop once I loaded “Classic”.

    • Jim, you have the right to criticize… but if you start, JUST START using this new 8 version, you will see it is simple. Do you like win7… well you’ll like 8.
      I believe that being close minded (not saying you are) makes it that much harder to learn, I believe the learning curve here is a very small one.
      The start menu is exactly like a start menu, except it’s in tiles. You can build it to be to your taste. Once you try the 8.1, with the start button… all you will now have is a second way to go to the start menu (tiled).
      Although XP PRO was an excellent OS, Win 7 was better. And even better… Win8 and better yet, again… version 8.1. To my opinion… Win8.1 IS THE BEST MS has ever made. IT IS JUST AN OPINION!
      I’m retired… and I’d say I spend 80 hours a week just trying out software. Test just for the hell of testing, read blogs and try to help those that ask.

      • It’s (Win8) NONE of those things Mario but thank you very much for your assistance to other folks with questions. I think MS will be able to develop the product and pull themselves out of this mess, but it’ll be a while yet.

        • Everyone is entitled his/her own opinion. Personally, I agree with Mario – except the part abut Win 7 being better than XP (speaking only of the UI).

          I’ve had to modify every version of Windows I’ve used since Win 3.x. I didn’t like the UI, so I changed it to be more like the DOS based LaMenu I had been using. I found XP to be a most user modifiable OS. Win 7 wouldn’t let me make a lot of changes I could with XP, but Win 8 does allow them – and more. Note that I’m not talking about appearance, but the ability to give better access to my programs/documents and make the OS function the way I use it. My setup in Win 8 is actually better than what I had with XP; but couldn’t get with Win 7.

          It all boils down to how a person uses a computer, his/her expectations, and how much effort (even a little external reading – such as Ask Leo) she/he is willing to put into learning something new. As Leo has often pointed out, the most important issue is a person’s attitude.

      • Mario, I have used W8 for seven months and am still not pleased with it; and, further, my prior experience was with Vista, then W7 and then W8. However, I am 73 and I notice that I no longer learn quickly and intuitively nor, once learned, is the education retained.

  4. Windows 8 gets a bad rap because it deserves it.

    There are idiots in Redmond who thought that retraining their hundreds of millions of users was a good idea, and many of us deny the *need* for the retraining ever existed. Why would a business, esp a large one with many thousands of employees, ever decide to upgrade to Windows 8? The retraining expense would cost more than the hardware, and be a total waste of company time & money.

    The motivations by Microsoft to force, yes FORCE, the new interface of Windows 8 upon the world is a breathtaking example of arrogance bred by an overwhelming fear of Apple and Android devices taking over their world. A fear that I think is not quite justified: PCs are not going away as much as getting little brothers and sisters known as smartphones and tablets. A 20 million drop in PC sales from 250 million, but that 20 million drop will likely be recovered in the next couple of years (or more), according to IDC.

    Windows 8 and its touch interface is simply not needed or wanted on my PC. It doesn’t help me, it hinders me, it slows me down, it fights me, it makes me feel like an idiot because Windows 8 does not look or act like the Windows I know. I find it irritating and aggravating, a example of useless change, with no foreseeable payback or purpose to my learning it.

    I don’t hate Windows 8, per se, but I sure hate the process the minds behind Windows 8 used to justify their creation.

  5. Windows 8 is the worst thing MS has ever produced. I have a desk top and hate touch screen. It make the screen dirty especially if you are eating fried chicken or glazed donuts while on the PC. Windows 8 is for note and I pads. If you use a mouse windows 8 will drive you crazy. This is why when I got a new desktop PC and demanded windows 7 as an OS.

  6. I think you have just answered the question as to why Windows 8 will go down as a marketing disaster. Namely that it requires a guru like yourself with 18 years experience at Microsoft and who spends his days in computers, to explain how to get the thing working to do even simple tasks such as closing a window of finding the program you want. What hope is there for the ordinary (non-touch) user who just wants to get on with his day job?
    It could be a triumph for the touch / tablet market, but it could cause Microsoft to loose its grip on the regular mouse’n’keyboard desktop market.

  7. Another observation:

    Microsoft wants us to believe Windows 8 is about touch, but we have to use the keyboard more to compensate for the lack of mouse friendly classic start menu?

    Why should I need to rely on my keyboard *more* in Windows 8?

    • I’ve pointed that out almost from the beginning with quite a ironic snort I must add.

      Windows 8 touch, just start typing on your keyboard!

  8. I think that under the hood, Windows 8 is Windows 7 perfected. However, the extremely awkward interface just does not work well for business people using traditional computers. Rather than offering 3 tips to make it easier, I simply put classic shell on for my clients and it gets them up and running instantly. They even get the start button back in addition to solving all the other interface issues. I also tach them about Alt+f4 to close any full screen programs or apps and how to get back to the desktop if classic shell fails to kick in upon startup.

  9. Leo:
    Bad rap…????? Anyone care to express an opinion on whether there are significantly MORE users who ‘dislike’ Windows 8 than those like yourself who think this MS stumble is a bad rap…??
    Or did MS just decide to back pedal (…I think too late…) out of pity for those like me..??

    • Ian… you’ll discover that MS has not really back pedaled. Version 8.1 adds the start button, but this start button brings you to the tiled start menu. SO… you now have the win key to go to the tiled start menu and now you also have the start button.

      • Actually as I understand it, right or shift click (not sure which) will bring up something VERY similar to the start menu that everyone is looking for, including clear shutdown options.

  10. I am in my senior years and have used nearly all versions of Windows. After listening to all the complaints about Windows 8, I decided to give it an honest try. I think others should do the same instead of listening to the complaints. I don’t have a touch screen laptop, but it is new. After using Windows 8 for several months, I like it. I wouldn’t want to go back. The shortcuts mentioned here as well as many others, make 8 just as fast for me, maybe faster in a lot of cases. Remember the users that like Windows 8 say very little, the negatives get all the attention. (¯`·._.·ns¢ävË·._.·´¯)

  11. I heard that the Windows 8.1 update was to take care of those little pesky things that most people didn’t like about Windows 8. Should be out in the fall but Isn’t there a preview of it on Microsoft?

  12. If Microsoft was smart (they proved that they are not) they would have designed 2 versions of Windows 8, one for all existing users and the second for new touch users.
    I disliked using Windows 8 on my laptops and desktops (I have many models) and none them are touch. I hate touch screens and monitors as they are not precise and practical as a mouse and on a desktop touch monitor the user will soon tire their elevated arm and eventually cause pain, who needs that. Touch monitors will fail because of this painful reason, I am surprised these engineers and designers have not thought of this critical point.
    Shame on Microsoft for abandoning us (current users) and forcing on us their impractical, infuriating and aggravating ways to use the garbage and poorly designed Windows 8, and the new 8.1 version is not any better. I hate Microsoft.

  13. With just two inexpensive add-ons you can make Windows 8 behave more like Windows 7, but on steroids. We’ve found Windows 8 Pro to be faster, more stable, and more forgiving than Windows 7. But since we use our computers for work, not play, we rarely have any interest in the Modern User Interface. So with Start8 and ModernMix from we get our Windows 8 computers to behave more like WIndows 7 (these utilities sell for $4.99 each and Stardock often offers them as a pair for $7.99). Start8 enables you to boot directly to the desktop, restores the Start button AND the Start Menu. ModernMix enables Modern UI apps to open on the desktop in conventional resizeable windows with the minimize, maximize, and close buttons restored. With them you get the best of both worlds.

  14. Since Windows 8 involves relearning a new Operating System, why not consider Ubuntu (linux). If your needs are basic browser (Firefox), email (Evolution) and Office (Libre Office or Open Office), it works perfectly. Oh yea, and it’s free (forever).

    By the way, the NASA space station just switched from Windows to Linux.

    • I recently spent the best part of a year, learning ubuntu and other linux systems. If your needs are basic, it may be for great for you. However I have gone back to windows {8} and am loving it. All of the fighti….., err experimenting with linux really makes me appreciate windows.

  15. I think David says it all with “Why did they move the “show desktop” icon from the left lower corner to the right? Not for any reason I can think of except that they thought it would be better there.”
    Logically, there is no good reason.
    I like to use the most recent version of Windows for no other reason than I assume it’s the most secure and stable. But why should I learn a new way of using what essentially is the same as the last version? Since XP, I’ve used the Classic settings, and made the look and feel as much like XP as I can. Thank goodness for Classic Shell, so Windows 8 can look and feel just like 7 and XP. I wonder how many like me set 8 up to look & feel like an older version?

  16. No one complains about using touch on their smart phones. What’s the big deal about using touch on their computer touch screens? If you don’t have a touch screen Microsoft has given you a work around using your existing peripherals and thrown in the Windows 7 desktop to boot. The Start button issue has been blown way out of proportion.

    • Because, sitting at the comfort of my desk, I’m not going to lift my arms to reach out to a touchscreen monitor when my mouse is closer. I don’t want to be forced to sit 12 inches from the screen. That’s a big deal to me.

      Out of proportion? Nope, don’t think so. Multiply all the minutes and hours expended by those learning it, and it must be huge. Many people (myself included) have decided the learning curve serves no real purpose and is unnecessary, so we’re skipping Windows 8. All because of these stupid little decisions by Microsoft … so no, it’s not out of proportion at all.

      • I’m at a loss. I don’t understand why so many people believe that they must use touch functionality. Windows 8 is completely usable without ever touching the screen.

        • I’ll say it yet again. My problem is not with MS providing a touch interface. My problem is with MS trying to force everyone to use it. They could have given the users a choice with a control panel app:

          Default interface – METRO/DESKTOP
          Enable Metro – YES/NO
          Enable Charms – YES/NO
          Enable Win7 Style Start Button – YES/NO

          My first experience with Windows 8 was in a virtual machine and it seemed that I was always getting tossed back into the Metro interface.

  17. I think the best thing you can do to Windows 8 (besides dumping it) is to install Classic Shell. That makes it both familiar and workable. My one continuing gripe is that I can’t make the nagging “Sign up for a Microsoft account” banner go away. I don’t want a Microsoft account, I don’t want to work “in the cloud”, and I hate the fact that I’m being bullied daily to change. My computer; my way. Other than that, Windows 8 takes some getting used to but if you tweak it enough (even though that shouldn’t be necessary in a perfect world) it actually works pretty well.

  18. I’ve used every MS OS since DOS3.0 and have never seen one–until Win 8–where users ask, “How can I make it like the previous version”?

    • I definitely recall that sentiment for Windows Vista. Seen it to lesser degrees for most any change, but Vista definitely created the most vocal reaction before now.

        • Windows Me didn’t have the same level of reaction from its users. It was a failure for other reasons. (It was mostly a marketing “checkbox” release that didn’t really offer any value over its predecessor. As a result, it was largely ignored by existing users.)

  19. When most people buy a new computer they want to carry on where they left off from their old computer they don’t want to learn all the new stuff, and who wants a computer that looks like a big mobile phone.
    Thank goodness they came up with “Classic Shell” my computer now works how I expected it to work.

    Microsoft should listen to its customers and not the “experts” otherwise they may have another Vista on their hands.

  20. Leo, Thanks for the tips. Helps with the ‘transition’ for those that have no choice or folk that choose to continue with Windows 8.

    But “Just start typing” ?…. Easy for you to say. That’s assuming one even remembers (whatever it was called!).

    MS getting a bad rap. No way! They are getting what they deserve! LOL

    Not everyone has total recall. Nor are typing experts. We get by the best we can. Via the learning curve we already went through.

    I have a saying (Belief?). “The computer should work for me. Not I, working for it.”

    Just start typing is a good example of me working for it. I should be able to create shortcuts at MY leisure. And feel that is what most of us have done over time. So we don’t have to ‘Just start typing’.

    When looking up a telephone number. If one “Just starts typing. What numeral does one start with?

    How many folks remember all the telephone numbers in their cell phone? Kinda why there is a place to look them up. That feature didn’t immediately appear. The functionality grew over time and was improved upon. Same way we learned to use the computers. Making adjustments, shortcuts and tweaks. For OUR convenience. Not the manufactures.

    Seems “the bad rap” opened some MS doors/windows/MINDS. Search ‘windows 8 changing’ and find a few examples.

    Here is one culled from:

    “Microsoft changing Windows 8 to address ‘learning curve’ Changes may incorporate more elements from earlier Windows versions
    The Associated Press Posted: May 7, 2013 10:19 AM ET Last Updated: May 7, 2013 6:02 PM ET”

    And this further into that article: “Microsoft’s decision to tweak Windows 8 so soon after it went on sale may reinforce perceptions that the product is a flop.”

    I’ll wait and see if it’s worth the coin to upgrade a perfectly “working for me” computer.

    • That’s exactly what I think about W8.
      I’m 74 now and worked on a PC running DOS.
      I have still a computer running on W98 SE Plus, just for the fun.
      I never had a computer from an official constructor, allways use custom made ones.
      My actual computer runs on W XP Pro…. and I intend to keep it.

  21. With 8.1 Microsoft is basically completely overhauling the Metro/Start interface, including the Store; good, it badly needs it. They are also doing things in both interfaces so there is less need to go to either interface to complete a task, good, small progress in the correct direction. Still no option for the start menu but at least they haven’t removed the option for a user to install a replacement start menu.

    In a year of two maybe MS will have the two interfaces completely independent as they should be, each has a very appropriate work or play; home or mobile environment and Microsoft should never have tried to “weld” them together or try replacing the desktop with the start screen…whatever the heck they were trying to do.

    There will be a lot of overlap; where folks can get along perfectly well with just a touch interface and I think that’s just fine, just don’t encroach on the desktop interface for those of us who find that far superior in many other work and play environments.

  22. For the price one pays for Windows 8, perhaps Microsoft should publish a book on how to use their operating system. Car companies still have manuals—microsoft should have one too. Don’t leave it to third parties to provide what MS should do.

  23. Funny how everyone’s got it right, you have 80 hrs. a week to play with your PC, then Win8 works.
    But just for giggles, imagine the fun every-time you bought a new car of relearning how to drive.

  24. My computer came with windows 7 when that was the latest. I was a newbe to computers and no instructions were supplied with the laptop. I thought. I went to library and got “Computers for Dummies” but it only explained up to Windows Xp which of course was different than Windows 7. Played with my computer for months, begged friends for help, went to blogs like “Ask Leo” to understand. One day I discovered the instructions for my computer was in my computer. !!!Great!!!! I have to know how to use my computer to learn how to use my computer. The (((” TECHIES ” )))) don’t understand that us “common folk” aren’t Techies. Even if 5 year olds can get it, they were raised with it. The rest of the world has to learn from scratch and the Tech world is moving ahead faster than we can keep up. You invent new programs, phases, names, operating systems and tell no one what they are or what they do. I bought a smart phone – not a single instruction sheet. Not even how to turn it on or off. Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Ginger Bread, Android, Ios, Kernel version, baseband version, Google, Google Chrome, Bing, Mozilla, Firefox. Not one of these things explain what they are, what they do – Crap Silch. We are supposed to step into know Quantum Physics before we have been taught basic arithmatic.
    A “friend” put Windows 8 on my computer. Holly shit. I took several hours just to figure out how to get anywhere. I wanted to throw my computer out the window. Start button hell. How do you shut the computer off. No shutoff anywhere. Moved my curser all over the computer – nothing. Instructions – nowhere. Techies – FULL OF THEMSELVES.

    • Actually that’s a pretty good tip… to always remember to look through the instructions that are on the computer itself. Of course, you have to know what words to search for, and that often is difficult!

  25. Calm down folks,windows 8 is good;when i bought my new pc,i used it as a dummy for about a month to learn all the tricks;once mastered,i did the real work and i must admit,windows 8 is the best!!

    pierre veldhoen,south africa.

  26. I started reading some of the posts, then ran into the same old broken record I find on other tech sites. Mostly stuff that doesn’t make any sense at all and really has nothing to do with the article. It’s just people spouting off that should read Wendy’s comment on your article about computers making people idiots.

    As for your article, I really liked your tip on how to make the Start Page IE open with the Desktop version. That is a real help for me. Now I can access it without first having to go to the Desktop – one less step and makes my Start Page/Menu a little more functional.

    Something you didn’t mention is that all open programs can be accessed by pointing to the upper left corner on the Start Page/Menu. At first, they appear as thin boxes, but dragging the pointer (mouse or finger) down expands them all. Right-click one and there is an option to close it. Click on the next one you want full screen. I forgot about Alt+Tab to switch between open programs. Since I learned to use Alt+F4 to close them, I’ll try Alt+Tab to switch instead of the upper right corner method.

    I already use the typing method to find programs faster. I wonder what effect the change in Win 8.1’s search will have on that. I would hate to type “m” to get to Minesweeper and end up with Internet articles about Madona, Minerva, malware, and every thing else starting with an “m.” When I do such a search, I’m only interested in what’s on my computer. If I want external information, I’ll use the program appropriate for what I want (IE, SkyDrive, etc.). Unlike some people, I’ll wait until I get the final version before complaining about it.

    Thank you for your tips.

  27. My most favorite scene in Star Trek is where Scottie is on earth back in time and needs to use an old computer, which he speaks to . “Computer” … no response, he is then handed a mouse and states “How quaint.” We need to get with the times, its 2013, in the 1970’s ours was the era of speeding hover cars and vacationing on Mars.

    Has anyone here complaining about Windows 8 purchased a new car or even a second hand car? Some have the gear stick with reverse forward, others back. Some put the indicators and washers on opposing sides of the steering column which makes us turn the wipers on when we turn a corner :) and some hide the high beams on the floor! But hey! We adjust! We don’t waste time writing about how our last car had this or that and complain about the manufacturer for making us adjust to left hand indicators!

    Truly guys, you have to evolve with the technology. I remember my grandmother saying how hard it was for her when grandad bought her an electric refrigerator, took her ages to adjust not having to put an ice block somewhere.

    Come on. I’m sure is we went far enough back we would read exactly the same complaints about the transistion from Windows 95 to XP.

    It’s here, it’s staying and there ain’t nothing you can do about it so get on board and enjoy the journey. Who knows, Windows 10 maybe voice activated!

    • I use touch to work the microwave oven every day; it would not work nearly as effectively using a mouse. It’s not the technology, it’s the mash-up.

    • At one point my former boss decided that any maintenance procedures I created should not use the command line because the GUI had effectively replaced it. Just because many systems now come touch-enabled does not mean that there is no longer a place for older interfaces. Just as there are some things that are more quickly and easily done via the command line, some things are more easily done using a mouse and a desktop (non-Metro) interface than by tiles and touch. My problem with Windows 8 has always been the fact that Microsoft had denied me a choice when it comes to the type of interface I wanted to use. It was a choice they could have easily provided but they decided I should not be allowed that choice.

  28. @ OLD MAN Speaking of a broken record. You say “I already use the typing method to find programs faster. I wonder what effect the change in Win 8.1′s search will have on that. I would hate to type “m” to get to Minesweeper and end up with Internet articles about Madona, Minerva, malware, and every thing else starting with an “m.” When I do such a search, I’m only interested in what’s on my computer. If I want external information, I’ll use the program appropriate for what I want (IE, SkyDrive, etc.).”
    Does that read that you use it. But something doesn’t work for you?
    Then add ” Unlike some people, I’ll wait until I get the final version before complaining about it.”
    Sounds like you didn’t wait and are already complaining about it.

    • To answer your “Does that read that you use it. But something doesn’t work for you?” No, if I was already using it, I wouldn’t be wondering about it.

      I wasn’t complaining. I was just commenting on what I heard. Note that the comment on search started with “I wonder what effect …” Stating a condition that I may not like is not “complaining.” It’s just explaining why I’m wondering.

  29. @W8CONVERT You say, “It’s here, it’s staying and there ain’t nothing you can do about it so get on board and enjoy the journey. ”

    Really? Seems you may have missed a previous bit of information that may not agree with that. Culled from:

    “Microsoft changing Windows 8 to address ‘learning curve’ Changes may incorporate more elements from earlier Windows versions
    The Associated Press Posted: May 7, 2013 10:19 AM ET Last Updated: May 7, 2013 6:02 PM ET”

    And this, further into that article: “Microsoft’s decision to tweak Windows 8 so soon after it went on sale may reinforce perceptions that the product is a flop.”

  30. I already use Alt + tab and Alt + F4, but didn’t know about just typing from the tiled screen.
    Brilliant! thanks for that Leo :) (I can’t help wondering why on earth Microsoft didn’t make that blindingly clear however).

    • “Just start typing” was also in windows 7. I think it is based on the pre-indexing of the computer. Do you remember in windows xp when you performed a search looking for something on your computer. It could take “forever”. The computer would completely search whatever you told it to before returning control to you. Now the computer has already been pre-searched and indexed so a search in windows 7 and 8 is almost instantaneous. Big improvement.

  31. I like Windows 8 WITH Classic Shell for my desktop computer. But I still feel like a bought a new car and then had to buy a windshield for it. A motorcycle without a windshield is great, but a car without a windshield is just annoying. Windows 8 is a great system, but I still feel that the Windows 8 should have come with one interface optimized for desktops (cars) and another optimized for tablets (motorcycles).

    • Narhan:
      I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration. A windshield costs several hundred dollars. Classic shell is free. It’s more like a car company discontinuing including GPS (the start button is for navigating Windows,) but still having the option of getting a GPS for free.

  32. I installed the pre-release candidate last year about the last month you could on a new PC that I built. Upchucked on it and installed Win 7 Ult. instead. . If I wanted to use a phone to do my work I’d use a phone. If I want to use my PC I want an OS I am comfortable with. Removing the Start Button was the work of some arrogant group at MSFT that thinks you’ll take what they write and like it. As to the idiotic browser setup. Sure, you can manuveur your way back to the full browser. Just what I want to do. I built a new pc because my old one had become outdated and a bit slow. Now I should take the new one and slow down what I do by having to hunt for my programs and hunt for my browser. Dumb, really dumb. MSFT did this as part of their plot to make their OS ubiquitous accross all devices. OK for them but a phone is a phone and a PC is a PC.

    In the end I still think the best way to make Win 8 acceptable is to remove it and install Win 7.

  33. If you don’t like the metro interface, just drag the desktop tile to the first position on the screen, then when your computer has loaded up to the metro screen just press the enter key and your back to the windows 7 desktop.
    I am getting used to windows8 but still end up going back to my desktop…..

  34. I agree totally with Nathan Valles. In the meantime, I just told myself that Windows 8 is Windows 8–get over it.

  35. I’ve been using W8 for several months and whilst I didn’t like it at first, it’s been a case of practice makes perfect and now, I don’t have any problems whatever. I tried Classic Shell and, yes, it gave me many of the W7 features but, hey, that’s not what W8 is all about so I uninstalled it. It takes time and you need to persevere but… in time you’ll learn to accept W8 and the benefits it brings.

    • “but, hey, that’s not what W8 is all about so I uninstalled it”

      Apparently what W8 is all about is removing choices and functionality. You liked the Start Button? Guess what? It’s gone. You liked the desktop? Guess what? We’ll toss you back to Metro every chance we get. You liked all the functionality of Aero that we told you was so wonderful when we released Vista/Windows 7? Guess what? It’s gone. 2D is in. And now we are told to “just start typing”. A GUI should not have people typing a program name to start running it.

      “It takes time and you need to persevere but”

      Sorry. I already know how to operate my computer. I shouldn’t have to relearn it just because some oiks at Microsoft decided to change everything so they could sell us a new OS that we didn’t need.

  36. New, hot rod HP desktop came with Win8 and I struggled to get the hang of it. Then I took Leo’s advice and installed Classic Shell, including its optional extras. Now I have the best of both worlds because I can have either the familiar Win7 look and utility *or* the new look, as you can switch back and forth instantly with the Windows Key. So if you try Classic Shell but later find the “Win8” interface more appealing there is no need to remove Classic Shell. I’d just leave it installed for any possible occasion when the Win7 interface makes life easier, for you or someone else.

    My laptop and my bride’s desktop still run Win7-Pro. Though both are very capable quad-core machines I find Win8 loads much faster…about 22 seconds from a cold start until the desktop is populated, internet is available, Norton is happy, and programs like Outlook can start. I can’t say Win8 is faster than Win7, because my new HP is very robust. But I concluded the Win8 interface does not seem to add any drag. And, after reading Leo’s latest comments on Win8 features, I plan to get more familiar with it, as touch (and gesture) screen mobile devices are where the industry is heading. A decade or so from now you may hear, “What’s a mouse?”

    • “What’s a mouse?”

      Just try editing a Word document using just a keyboard and a touch screen but no mouse. Try selecting a block of text starting in the middle of a line. It’s much quicker with a mouse than a keyboard and much more precise with a mouse than a finger.

      Microsoft used to say “where do you want to go today”. Now they are saying “F**k you! You’re going here.”

  37. It’s finally dawned on me why Microsoft is trying to force people to use the tiled interface. It’s basically an ad for the RT OS to sell Windows phones and tablets. They are gambling that people will get used to that interface and desire a similar experience on their phones. Unfortunately, since the Modern interface adds no value to the Windows experience, and in fact, causes a lot of confusion, it will probably have the opposite effect. Sure, you can work around all of the confusion, and with Classic Shell, I’m just as comfortable with Windows 8 as with Windows 7. But I pity the poor casual users, business users and the IT support staff that has to deal with the changeover.

  38. I’ve a win8 pro pc when i open the financial tab from start menu it says ‘your computer running in a problem and need to restart’ and it automatically restarts.why?

  39. All I can say is… THANK YOU!!! I was about to give up and install the Classic Shell, but after reading this, I think that I can give Windows 8 tiled interface another chance. What annoyed me the most was the tiled IE (I almost pulled my hair out every time I used it). This was a good article… very much appreciated.

  40. I am increasingly annoyed with one of the new features. I cannot for the life of me figure out how or why my computer switches screens when I’m moving my mouse around on the page. I tried to only use a certain part of the pad, but that doesn’t really seem to help, either. It’s also inconsistant. So, I’ll make the same “swiping” motion a second time after it changes to another screen (like from my desktop to a PDF file I was reading or a picture or even skype if I have that open) and NOTHING will happen. I work on the computer 8+ hours a day, this happens so often in a day that I feel like selling my laptop and buying one of the older versions. Is there a way that I can turn off this insane addition!? This addition, in my opinion, makes just about as much sense as a person putting carpeting in a dining room while young children live in the house. It is pointless and annoying!

  41. My partner has bought a Windows Surface Tablet running RT8.1. Internet Explorer on this seems to be a real pain and I am wondering if this is because it is running the cut down version of IE11. if so is it possible to to access the full version or perhaps even better as not all sites support IE11 are there any other browser options – can’t see any in the Windows store (surprise!)?

    • The thing to realize about Windows RT is that it’s not really Windows. It runs on a different processor, and programs written for “normal” PCs that run Windows XP, 7, 8 and such WILL NOT run on Windows RT. The only software available for Windows RT is that available in the Windows Store.

  42. I’ve found that it my case it worked out to be the opposite. I’ve been using Classic Shell for many years as I preferred the Win 98 Start Menu to the one with XP. After using Classic Shell for a few months with Win 8, I decided to take off the training wheels and disable Classic Shell from starting with Windows. I find the “Just start typing” option in Windows 8 to be far superior to anything that has come before, including Classic Shell. I still think MS should have included the training wheels, as it all comes down to taste and it seems to me, the more people they make happy the better.

  43. This is a soddin nitemare! My Toshiba Laptop came with Windows 8 already installed. I didnt buy it myself nor would I have done so given a choice.. It was a present from my wife to help me with my accounts whilst working away from home. I feel that I need a Degree in Laptops and Windows 8…….. As for just typing anything to get things going … Nope ! Not on this laptop……… ..
    I have had this from Christmas day and still really no further down the road to getting it to do what I want. For example how the hell do I get all my videos into a compatible folder or file from “Photos” as they have all been sent to “Photos” from my GoPro and iPhone but I cannot transfer them to anywhere sensible even though I am given a menu with a host of options….. Just to confuse the issue further. I am not exactly thick, as I fly the A320 Airbus for a living, which up until now was probably the most difficult thing I have ever undertaken………. Windows 8? Pass me the Razor Blades

  44. Edited to say this Laptop has 1 Terabite of memory, so that is not the issue. When I click on the video it just goes to the start up page……. TOSHIBA Leading Innovation >>>>>>>> yeah rite

  45. “Just start typing…”

    Really? Are you kidding us? And, without someone like you to tell us so, just who do you believe is going to think of that…?!

    Nobody is going to think of that on their own! Good Lord! No wonder people are complaining! :(


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