Windows 8’s Anatomy (Part 2)

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Windows 8’s lock screen

In Windows 8, your computer will boot, popping up lock screen which is seen in Windows RT tablet, too. To remove lock screen, you need to slide onto touchscreen or press a key on the board. This will reveal user accounts that have been configured on the device, similar to what you used to see on previous Windows versions.

The lock screen shows date plus time and your custom app’s info (Weather or Mail, for example). Many third-party apps come up with this feature.

Windows 8’s Start screen

Old Start disappeared, even on Classic background. Now it is replaced by Modern UI which is considered as entire screen’s Start menu. Don’t give up on it in case you are not accustomed. Just spend some minutes navigating and discovering things.

Start screen is well designed, delivering more information at first sight. Some Tiles display direct info and inform you of forecast without requiring you to enter Weather app or enable you to read titles without opening browser.

You can move Tiles by holding and dragging them to places. Then, surrounding apps will automatically rearrange themselves. Some of them may become smaller or bigger.

A new Tile is created for each installed app. You can add Tiles in form of shortcut to existing apps, including legacy ones. When the screen starts adding, you need to scroll rightward to see full list of apps or pinch to zoom out and find app.

If your PC doesn’t have any touch-screen, hold Ctrl key and scroll you mouse’s wheel to zoom in/you. Plus, the same process can be carried out on laptop via Ctrl key with +/- key.

In view zoomed out, clicking a group of Tiles lets you move them into a new position. Right-clicking it offers you to an option of renaming the group. In view zoomed in, pulling one tile among groups creates a new group.

In standard UI with cursor, scrolling wheel will move the screen sideways until you click on vertical information box for, list of emails or websites. This lets you wander around Modern UI without much mess or buying new hardware stuff like Microsoft’s Touch Mouse.

Admitted by Microsoft, it can be denied that touch sensitivity is most concerned, in Windows 8. The operating system is not much fast or interesting when used with mouse and keyboard. However, shortcut keys make compensation.

Windows 8 Search

To show list of all apps installed, slide upward (from bottom) or right-click in order to bring out Options bar lying below then choose All apps.

To have a neat shortcut, if you know what you are looking for, just type its name on Start screen. This will open Search box then you can filter your results in Apps, Settings or Files.

You can search for a specific app (Internet Explorer for instance) by clicking or typing app’s name in Search box.

Windows 8 Search

Windows 8 Search

Modern-UI-styled windows

Clicking or tapping on an app will open it in full-screen mode. Dragging from the top then from the left/right to resize app’s window and fit it in a small sideways column. The rest of screen’s space is room for the second app. To change apps’ positions, user is required to drag the bar, which is separating them, to the left/right.

This operation is much more limited than conventional one which allows you to open as many windows as you like, in any cases. However, on Windows 8 tablet, viewing two apps concurrently is an undiscovered field.

For instance, you can place Twitter or Mail in a small column while continuing any main task which are carried out in main screen. Through this way, you will see new tweets or emails instantly. Windows 8’s notifications functions similarly though they only pop up for a while.

There’re ways to switch apps. The easiest is via Windows short key, Tab, to show a vertical list of apps. To select a running app on screen, use Alt, Tab and cursor.

On the touchscreen, you need to drag from the left to bring out list of apps. In case you are using a mouse, point it to left or bottom-left area on screen then move up or down to view the list.

Many Modern-UI-styled windows

Many Modern-UI-styled windows

Windows 8’s Charm bar

Charm bar is a new feature. It turns up when you slide your finger from the screen’s right edge or point cursor at left or bottom-left area of the screen.

From top (of Charm bar), you’ll find Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings.

Search Charm is a replacement for search box in Windows 7/Vista yet it is more powerful.

Share Charm lets you share items, with available options depending on apps. More share options will be available when you install content-sharing apps, such as Twitter.

Start Charm bring you back to Start screen (if you are in an app) or switch to recent app (when you are already in Start screen).

Tap or click Devices Charm to display connected devices. Printer, speaker, display and network devices will be listed. You can click on one of them to change its setting or deploy its abilities.

Finally, Settings Charm gives you access to configurations involving Wi-Fi, volume, brightness and notification. It also links to new well-arranged control panel which is simply dubbed Settings. Tapping on Settings Charm shows specific settings for current app thus you will see common options, like Help and About, for most apps but Accounts option, for instance, for Mail app.

Shortcut keys in Windows 8

Alt + 4: close current app. You can click on top of the app and move it to the screen’s bottom

Windows + C: open Charm bar

Windows + D: reveal classic background; repress to minimize all windows on the screen

Windows + H: open Share Charm

Windows + I: open Settings Charm

Windows + L: lock the device

Windows + Q: open Search Charm which is set up for any app that is being used. You can quickly move to a search option for file with Windows + F or setting with Windows + W.

Windows + X: open administration menu

Windows + Z: display list of apps and options specialized for each app

Windows 8’s performance

In Windows 8, web pages are loaded faster than they used to be in any Windows 7’s browser. In fact, given the same hardware configuration, Windows 8 generally runs faster than Windows 7. Fast interface, fast loaded apps and fast shutdown/startup!

On an old Sony Vaio (featuring Core 2 Duo processor and 3GB of RAM), Windows 8 starts in 21 sec and shuts down in 20 sec. This is such a considerable improvement while Windows 7 took 56 sec and 43 sec for startup and shutdown respectively.


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