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5 Step Program to Treat Windows 8 Start-Button Depression Syndrome

By Lam Le posted March 14, 2013 20:31 | 0 Comments

By Lam Le posted March 14, 2013 20:31 | 0 Comments

For a few months now, I have been running Windows 8 Consumer/Release Preview on both a regular desktop for development (love the new Hyper-V capability built in to Windows 8) and on an ASUS EP121 tablet in a mobile mode. Admittedly, I'm an early adopter mostly because it’s our job here to learn about new technology from Microsoft’s stack, but more so because I’m very curious about the Metro vs. Desktop split personality of this version.

I’m still working about 80% of the time in the old desktop mode, and every few minutes, my mouse would automatically move to the lower left corner of the screen, looking for the old Start icon.  You know, the “let me bring up the command prompt window” moments, which always leads to, “what the #@$! are they thinking?”  Along with many other people, I felt my productivity has decreased because some Product Manager decided to be cute and forcing a “tablet mode” on my desktop.

I’ve met and talked to a few PMs at Microsoft on a fairly regular basis, and for the most part, these guys and gals are pretty smart (smarter than me for sure), so they must have thought about this problem, right?  As survival instincts kick in, I started down the road to find a cure for my Start-Button-Addiction, and I’m happy to share my 5-step program with you here in this blog.

Step 1. Admit that you have a problem.

Yes.  Step one is to admit we have a problem (at least from the MS point of view).  The real issue is that the “Start button” on Windows 8 is not the same Start button on Windows 7.  It’s a bad practice from MSFT who is fond of recycling old names to signify something different every other release (Surface, anyone). So, if you are looking for something in Windows 8, you can browse through a flat one dimensional sheet of shortcut icons, or you can (and should) do a search.

Step 2. Create short cuts to your most frequently used program.

This is the old true and try method of adding the most frequently used program to your task bar on the desktop.  I also learn how to group the most frequently used metro apps at the begin of the "Start" (which should be name Home) screen. How do you know which ones you use the most?  There is this little nifty new feature in the task manager that shows you how often you use certain (metro) apps:


Step 3. Learn to search

As I said above, the Start button is now the Search feature.  When you get to the search charm, the default will be searching for apps.  Type in a few letters and you can filter down the list of apps that contain that text in the name:

Some of the Metro apps are also designed to be search-able, so if you bring up search (Windows Key+Q) while using the app, you will be able to search for content inside the app:

Search is also integrated with Internet Explorer 10 metro app, so you can perform web search directly in the Search charm:


Step 4. Learn the short cuts

Here is the list of the shortcuts that I use most often while navigating around Windows 8:

  • (Windows logo + Q) = Search
  • (Windows logo + F) = Search File
  • (Windows logo + F) = Search Settings
  • (Windows logo + R) = Run
  • (Windows logo + X) = Admin Power User Commands
  • Esc = Go back to previous screen

You can learn the current full set of shortcuts from the Windows Team blog here.

Step 5. Practice

It's different.  But it does work.  And it will probably be the most effective way to navigate once you start to install hundred of apps on your computer.  If you do a key stroke count, these shortcuts are actually a quicker way to get to your app.  One thing I did notice is that I don’t miss the start button at all while using the tablet.  Using touch and swipes on the tablet feels much more natural.

Feel better now?

No? Well then try one of these from those who are more old fashioned (and talented) than I am.

 


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