So I semi-recently (as in a few weeks ago) bought myself a big, fancy, Windows 8 computer. And I was thinking: “Hey, why not talk about Windows 8 and my thoughts on it for a desktop?”
So this is my semi-review, semi-tutorial (basically, some brief instructions on the things I had the hardest time figuring out).
Why Not Buy It?
Let’s start by covering the cons of a Windows 8. Firstly (and mainly) Windows 8 would not be nearly as fun without touch, and there aren’t that many good touch screens for it yet. When I was shopping, the two monitors I ended up coming down to were an Acer and a Dell.
I bought the Dell. Why? Because from what I’d read online, the Acer had a poor quality control, and if you got a bad apple, it was nigh impossible to get it replaced/fixed. The Dell was practically equal in every way: 23 inch, ten touch, etc., etc. The two main differences were: The Dell has a lower contrast ratio than the Acer, and a better tilt. The Dell screen can go from ten degrees forward to completely flat. I’m not kidding. The Acer had a better contrast, but couldn’t even get up to 90 degrees (straight up and down).
Of course, a touch screen is not absolutely required for using Windows 8 — in fact, sometimes I prefer using the mouse. But admit it: it’s really, really, really fun to swipe your finger across the screen and watch things go flying by.
The most annoying thing I’ve encountered so far is that practically all the apps my computer came with (including Skype) need a Microsoft account. It’s not so bad, but that is my biggest dislike. Though, I suppose, it’s easier than making different passwords for everything. And it probably makes more sense on a tablet. So yeah… not really a biggie.
Anyway, now I shall mention the really nice features of Windows 8, and why it is cool:
Why To Buy/The Neatio Features:
There are a few things that take a bit of figuring out, such as how to switch between screens, or (this is one I saw people complaining about, but is really not that hard at all) how to shut down/restart the computer without using the little button for it on the computer itself. How to search your apps. How to shut down your windows.
Most of the complaints I saw about this were that the people couldn’t find where to shut down or restart their computer. Turning off is easy: there’s a little sidebar thing that you go to (Windows shows you how to use the sidebar during set up), and then you click “Settings.” This gives you access to many things, including the power button, which has “Sleep”, “Shutdown”, and “Restart” options. Now you know where to find it — it’s easy.
Moving Between Windows
Also, many Windows 8 apps and such are designed for things such as tablets, and because of this, they open up a whole ‘nother screen for themselves. And I don’t mean a new window on your desktop bar. I mean completely separate, like your desktop is separate from your start menu. To switch between these screens with your mouse, just move the pointer to the bottom or top left-hand corners of your screen, and then a small icon thing will pop up. If it’s the one you want, you can just click it. If it isn’t, then move your mouse pointer up or down the side of your screen. A sidebar will pop out, showing all your open windows, and you can click which one you want.
Moving between windows is even easier with touch: just swipe from off-screen on the left, and the computer will scroll to the next screen, and then the next, and the next — which is quick and easy, as long as you don’t go past the window you were looking for.
Closing Said Windows
If you right-click the window icon, it will pop up a little… well… right-click-menu thing, which gives you the option to close that window (and a couple other things I won’t go into).
When it comes to closing a window in touch, I tend to swipe down from the top. Basically: Just drag it to the bottom of the screen. Or, if the window is not currently open, you can swipe it in from the side and then drag it down. You can also do this with a mouse (most of the time) by moving it to the top of the screen. A little hand will appear, and if you click on it, the hand will close. Then you can drag the window around, just like with touch — and, incidentally, drag it to the bottom of the screen to be closed.
Note: when I said that the mouse method works most of the time, it’s because when you’re on the desktop, if you have a program open full-screen (like now, I have Firefox open to write this post), then the mouse won’t work until you shrink the program. Touch does work, if you swipe from off-screen. But otherwise, the mouse just grabs whatever thing is open and makes it smaller. Basically, on the desktop window, it helps to have the top of the screen free.
And Some Stuff About This Thing Called a “Start Menu”
One of the best features of Windows 8 (in my opinion) is the Start Menu. It lets you pin way more things than the earlier versions, and it gives more reason for the little Start Menu button on your keyboard. Before, you might as well move your mouse over and click it on the screen (btw, the bottom left corner is still the place to click to get to the start menu — it just doesn’t have the little round symbol anymore) since you would need your mouse over there anyway. Now, between touch capabilities and the fact that the Start Menu takes up the full screen, there is no point to moving your mouse when you can just tap a button. And tapping it again takes you right back to the desktop.
Also, you should know you can’t just swipe the Start Menu in from the left, like the other screens. But if you swipe in the little sidebar thing that I mentioned earlier, there is also a button for going to the Start Menu.
There’s a lot more I could tell you, but I think those are the main things. Mostly, Windows 8 is just a bit of a challenge to learn, and after that it’s great. (And I’m loving having my own desktop, instead of having to borrow Mom’s!) If there’s any other features you have questions about, ask!
But overall, I think Windows 8 is a great system. I mean, it does take some getting used to, and obviously we live in an imperfect world, so of course there are going be problems. But so far, I’ve liked it a lot, and if you’re searching for a new computer, don’t go out of your way to get a 7 instead.
P.S: I should mention, the biggest reason I’m enjoying my Windows 8 so much:
Because it’s MINE! Haha, lol. And now I shall go play with it more…