Jan201328

As the title suggest, Windows has gone off the deep end, well at its core anyway.

Today I installed a test run of Windows 8 Pro in a virtual environment just to see what the OS had to offer… within the first 5 minutes I was pulling out my hair and screaming for Windows 7.

When you first install Windows 8, you are presented with, well, as their commercial theme song would suggest, “Everything At Once” which to some, like myself, is considered information overload. When I first saw the Windows 8 Menu, I had no idea what I was doing.

win8-01

Where was the familiar Windows Interface that has existed since Windows 95? You know what I mean, a desktop with a taskbar at the bottom… Did Windows 8 completely remove it, replacing it with this “Everything At Once” bombardment of icons, none of which I want at this particular point in time… The good news is no they didn’t, its there, just hidden behind the overload. Took me a while to figure out how to get to it too.

So as I mentioned, on first install I was presented with the Windows 8 Menu of Bombardment, not knowing what to do, I clicked on Store, in hopes of getting something of familiarity. And I did get something familiar, just not “Windows” familiar… What I saw was something more akin to my XBox:

win8-02

So here I am thinking my PC looks more like a Mobile Device or a Gaming Console than a PC. So I start to get a little flustered… Not only was I now in an XBox like environment, I could’t figure out how to get back to the “Everything at Once” look. I right click, it gives me a Menu to go Home, or view My Apps… So I click Home, thinking at the default view I had seen, the “Everything at Once” screen, was “Home”… unfortunately for me, this was not the case, in fact, it thinks that the Store’s main view, was the home view.

So how do I get back to the previous view? How do I get to Games, How DO I get anywhere??? CURSE YOU WINDOWS 8!!!!!

Ok, so I had to calm down a bit. Took a deep breath, realized that to navigate this behemoth of a labyrinth that Microsoft calls Windows 8 (despite the fact at first glance, it is nothing like windows), I figured a GPS of sorts would be nice. In comes Google to the rescue, using the search term “How to Navigate Windows 8”. THANK YOU GOOGLE! Apparently, “Windows Key + D” brings you right to the desktop… A key combo that doesn’t seem to be mentioned AT ALL in the OS… (I wonder how long the first person took to discover this, thankfully they posted it online to save the rest of us from suffering).

Ok, so now I am at the Desktop… Something familiar… but something’s missing… something Very important… I cringe… Where is my Start Menu… what have you done with the bloody START MENU!!!! This little yet very functional button has been a staple of every Windows version since it began, you click the start button and access to every application, command, control panel, etc was at your finger tips… And Microsoft decided it was no longer useful? Seriously? WTF!

windows-8-desktop-gadgetsThis is not one of my own screen shots as I decided to take screenshots after moding my windows 8

So Microsft is on a downward trend… In vista/Windows 7 they forgot to add the Quick Launch Menu, something almost everyone I know uses, now in Windows 8 they not only forget the Quick Launch, but they forget the Start Menu…

What were you thinking Microsoft?

So back to Google… Search Term “Windows 8 Start Menu”. It came back with a few articles on what best to replace the start button with. Sadly this seems to imply Microsoft did actually remove the start button. They didn’t hide it like they did the desktop, the actually removed it all together. So at first I looked at StarDock’s Start8 application, which by far is the most accurate, however it carries a $5.00 fee, not much, but it is nice, and has a 30 day trial if you want to try it out. If your too cheap to pay the $5.00 there is a relatively close 2nd, IOBit’s Start Menu 8 which looks somewhat like the old Windows 7 menu (not as close as StarDock’s though) and since its free, it also installs some other apps like Advanced SystemCare Ultimate (watch for this when installing, I didn’t). Ultimately,  for $5, get the Startdock version, its cleaner. Installing these apps also disables the Windows 8 Menu from hitting you square in the face at start up (goes right to the desktop instead, avoiding information overload). The Stardock Start8 app has a link to it though making it easy to get to (the Windows 8 menu is not all bad, but I would rather have it when I call for it and need it, then have it blasted in my face when I don’t), where the IOBit app does not (at least not visibly)

StarDock Start8 ($5.00):
win8-05-stardock win8-06-stardock

IOBit StartMenu8 (Free):
win8-03-iobit win8-04-iobit

 

So as I said in the title of this subject, Windows 7 is the last of the great Windows OS’s, now please don’t mistake my words, I am in no way saying Windows is great, Its a virus ridden, security hole that’s doomed from the start, Go linux!. However as pretty much anything I want to do runs primarily on Windows, we’re stuck with it.

What I am saying is, for the last 20 years Windows has been Windows, and although you can get back to that feel with Windows 8, its not ready out of the box, you have to modify it. The Desktop and Start Menu are what has powered windows since Windows 3.1 (I know I mentioned Windows 95 earlier, but this is because most people never used 3.1, but I had, back in High School). Windows 8 makes it a challenge to get to the desktop, and removing the Start Menu makes it a very hard OS to navigate. But thanks to 3rd party companies who are looking out for the users (StarDock and IOBit as well as many others) Windows 8 is salvageable with a little elbow grease and some effort.

Will I be upgrading any of my system to Windows 8? Maybe, my main machine is due to be formatted once I buy its new hardware. Will it be a stock out of the box install? HELL NO! Microsoft’s bombardment of “Everything At Once” can kiss my fat behind. Its an abomination that should have stayed on the mobile devices and game consoles. It has no place on a PC.

Conclusion: Windows 8 is NOT Considered Normal!

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