Windows 8…What No Start Menu??

At first glance most long time windows users will ooh and aah at the new metro interface in Windows 8. But when those same long time Windows users sit down and start using Windows 8, you suddenly feel really stupid. Like what happened to my Start menu? How can I get to a command prompt if I need to? How do I display printers or the control panel? All excellent questions for the Windows 8 newbie. After all the Start menu has been around in Windows since the Windows 95 days. Seems that the folks in Redmond decided to turn up the heat on the user interface and human factors team who designed the latest and greatest Windows 8. Windows 8 is definitely a better experience with a touch screen as its new "metro" interface screams to be touched by hand. For those with only a mouse and keyboard, you'd better get used to the new start button, metro interface, and charms.

By default Windows 8 starts on the Metro tiles interface. If you wish to get to the dekstop, you click the button labeled desktop. To get a familiar command, start typing the command. For example to find the control panel, from the metro interface start typing control panel and your match will appear for selection to start the control panel. To get to printers, type printer, and you will see the printers selection,etc. The desktop is still similar in Windows 8 to its older Windows 7 brethren with one exception. No start menu. The start menu is now a start button. But it is hidden. To find it simply move the mouse to the lower left corner of the screen until the Start image appears and then click the start image. This will launch the metro interface again, not a start menu as you may have expected.

The Metro interface can be customized to suit your needs. For example you can re-arrange the metro tiles in any order or category you desire. For example you can arrange all of your games in one section, your business stuff in another section and your commonly used productivity apps in another section. You can move your mouse to the left side to review open application windows and move from one application to another quickly. Some of the tiles called live tiles can update dynamically with new information. For example the weather tile can flash the latest local weather or a facebook tile can flash the latest activity from your facebook account or twitter account. These dynamic tiles give you a quick preview or dashboard of information you may deem important or relevant to you without having to launch separate applications.

Everyone's experience with Windows 8 will vary depending on how adaptable you are with new technology. While we don't think the designers in Redmond, WA will bring back the Start menu any time soon, we do think that manufacturers will begin shipping more touch screen enabled Windows 8 devices to make the transition easier for users.

Share your experience with Windows 8 and post your questions and we will try our best to find an answer for you.

-Richard Young