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Navigating 8


I’m sure that you’ve all either played with Windows 8 or at least seen the ads for it on TV.  This is the latest new shiny version of Windows, and really the first major overhaul to Windows since it was introduced thirty years ago.  As a matter of fact, this is the first version of Windows not to use… well… windows.  Instead, because of the burgeoning touch-screen market, this new version features the much more touch-friendly “tiles”.  As a matter of fact, for an old curmudgeon like me, who grew up with Windows, this version should be called “Tiles 1.0″.  For those who have been living under a rock and haven’t seen it, the new interface looks like this:

This interface is great for touch-screen devices.  As a matter of fact, it’s very similar to the Windows Mobile operating system that was introduced several years ago for Windows phones.  It has the same type of “tap and swipe” interactivity that we’ve all come to know and love (or, in some cases, know and loathe) on our portable devices.  One way to interact with this new version of Windows is to simply tap (or click) on an app to open it.  Another way to interact with the system is to summon a new feature of 8 called the “charms”, so named because they resemble the charms on a charm bracelet.  To summon the charms on a touch-screen device, you simply swipe from the right side of the screen to the left.  If, like me, you’re not quite ready to get all touchy-feely with your computer and still use a mouse, you simply move the cursor to the upper or lower right hand side of the screen and the charms will appear.  The charms menu, once summoned, looks like this:

This gives you access to such Windows classic features as SEARCH and SETTINGS among others.  Then you simply click on the charm that you wish to use.  

What Windows 8 doesn’t do spectacularly well, however, is work with a mouse.  And there ARE those of us out there who like our touch-screen phones and touch-screen tablets, but aren’t wild about the idea of a touch-screen computer.  I mean, I’m a freelance writer… have you ever tried to type anything longer than a short note on a touch screen, especially if you learned to type on a typewriter and then transitioned to a keyboard?  Heck, I have a hard time typing on netbooks because the keyboards are too small.  So, I have great news for those of you that, like me, aren’t ready for a touch-screen PC or laptop.  Search your Windows 8 tiles until you find one that says DESKTOP and click on it.  It should look something like this:

Once you do that, voila and presto-chango your screen changes from the new Windows 8 interface into this:

Better?  I think so too.

I hope that this helps.

Randal Schaffer

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8 Responses to “Navigating 8”

  1. kathy k says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I made a terrible mistake – I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought a pc with Windows 8.

    I have probably typed much longer than you and have never been afraid to use either Mac or pc, but now I won’t even attempt use of my new pc.

  2. Ray Le Moine says:

    Have win8 with keyboard and mouse and after a few adjustments; got the hang of it and enjoying it. Mostly its an attitude situation. you like it or you don’t. I use the desktop app and I am just as happy using the mouse because I don’t have to be so close to the screen

  3. Randy Bauer says:

    I left a previous comment re win 8. It pretty much said what you did. I can understand how MS wants to jump on board with the touchie feelie thing, but why put win 8 on non-touch computers. I had to buy about $1000 dollars in new software because win 8 was not totally compatiable with my old software. I HATE IT

  4. jenny says:

    I’m happy to stay under my rock with XP. – dread the day I have to change to Windows 8– but this article will probably help when the time comes.

  5. Bill says:

    I liked the article….Have no desire to use anything with a touch screen…..Just a better way to spread germs ! And at my age , my Windows 7 will last longer than me !
    -Bill B.

  6. Genise says:

    I love my XP Dell and my Windows 7 Dell and I am dreading when I have to windows 8. It is beyond me why they would want to do a touch screen with all the germs and such. I would still much prefer the mouse. I use a droid and hate typing on it. I learn to type also on a type writer and then keyboard so I am good at it not on a flat glass/plastic type screen. However sadly they did not check with me or us older folks that prefer larger things. Seems everything is for the younger generation these days that live in a wired world and we are kicked to the side – we will learn to use it or give up computers is suppose.

  7. David M. says:

    I am experienced at computer operations and repair. Windows 8 is in my opinion a intuitive well designed operating system. It’s not for everyone such as those who do not like change or learning new things since it does have a learning curve. It boots faster,shuts down faster and gives you more options than previous versions of windows and I have had them all. It does work well with a mouse and you can install a start button so it works like XP or windows 7 and have the best of both worlds. Just like anything new you need to have patience to learn the system. I would recommend windows 8 if you want to stay modern.

  8. Randal says:

    Hi, Guys.

    I wanted to drop a clarifying note in here after reading your comments. I’m sorry if my article left the impression that Windows 8 could ONLY be used as a touchscreen system. My comment was that it is great for touch-screen systems. Really, it was designed to be forward-thinking to a time when all devices will at least have the option of a touch interface. It does work as well.

    As far as us older folks go, yes change is hard. My mom still has stacks of 8-tracks that she’s convinced that she’ll listen to again. She keeps talking about how she wants to find a player that will play Blu-ray and VHS. That’s just the way technology works. They have to look forward to people who will be their customers for the next twenty or thirty years.

    And David, thanks for your input. It’s readers like you who can fill in the blanks that we leave, either accidentally or through our own ignorance that make us better, more informed writers.


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