Slightly less annoyed by Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 has reduced my annoyance a tiny bit.

If you move your mouse over the Start screen, a down-arrow in a circle shows up (until you stop moving). You get a list of Windows 8-style apps followed by the desktop-style programs. And there’s an up-arrow to get back to the Start screen. Windows 8 has almost the same list when you right-click the Start screen and click on “All apps”. What’s new is that you can sort the Windows 8.1 app list four ways: by name, by most used, by date installed, or by category.

The new desktop Start button takes you back to the Start screen. That’s all. One way it does help a bit: you can right-click on it for the management menu. In Windows 8 you have to point exactly at the lower right corner of the screen. WIndows 8.1 lets you right-click anywhere on the Start icon.

Thankfully, they’ve added Shut Down and Restart to the management menu, but still not Printers, so I have to continue getting to Printers the long way around through the Control panel. Not a huge deal, but I use Printers a lot as I work at different client offices.

Have you found anything else in Windows 8.1 to get “excited” about?

Where’s the Start Button in Windows 8?

For years you’ve clicked on the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen to get started in using Windows. But it’s not there any more! When you get into Windows 8, you see some colorful blocks with no obvious way to get to your usual programs and settings. What do you do NOW?

To easily get you started in Windows 8, here are some tips to help you find your Start Menu so you don’t feel the frustration I felt:

  • Point your mouse at the lower left corner where the Start Button used to be, making the pointer go off the screen slightly.
  • Right-click your mouse
  • A menu will appear with the Control Panel and several other useful options:Windows 8 right-click menu

 How to get a Start Button on your Windows 8 Computer

If you want to place an easy-to-use Start Button on your version of Windows 8, go to http://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/ and click the Download button to get Classic Shell. It’s a secure site so you don’t have to be worried about infecting your computer with a virus by using it.

If you’re using the Internet Explorer browser, you’ll have the choice to Run or Save the program.  Go ahead and click Run.  The Chrome or Firefox browsers will make you save it first, so double-click the program after it downloads. If you like Classic Shell, go back and donate a couple bucks to help out. (Disclosure: I’m not receiving any compensation for this. I just think it’s a good solution to the problem of placing a Start Button on your system so it feels more familiar.)

Does the idea of downloading and installing programs like a Start Button to your new Windows 8 computer make you nervous? If you live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, contact Performance Computer Services to do it for you. DIYers will benefit from TechRepublic’s well-illustrated guide to installing Classic Shell.

Windows 8 Annoyances

I admire and use Microsoft software, but I usually wait while other people get stuck on the pain points and figure out solutions. Then I benefit from their discoveries, and share it with my customers. In my experience, my clients have been content with their current setup as long as it works, and have changed only when they were forced to.  I had plenty of time to test each new version of Windows and find ways for clients to keep using older software and machines that they still needed to run their businesses.

I knew that Windows 8 was coming out this year, so I installed the beta version.  My first impressions were not positive. Microsoft has made such a complete overhaul in the look and feel of Windows 8 from previous versions of Windows, that I felt lost. I was really annoyed at being put in this position after using Windows since Windows began.  No indication of how to get to the Control Panel to check my network, add my printer…  I felt like it would be some time before I could recommend it, because the way to do everyday tasks had been made so hard to find. There’s definitely a steep learning curve for people.

Microsoft has made the Windows 8 upgrade price so attractive, that a lot of people are talking about upgrading to Windows 8 right away! Others are buying new Windows 8 computers and trying to use them with their networks, printers and scanners. I’ve already encountered some conflicts and difficulties with Windows 8 and clients’ setups. I realized that I needed to carve a block of time out of my already loaded schedule, specifically to teach myself the intricacies of Windows 8.  I needed to get started on finding solutions to the problems and questions that inevitably occur.  I began by using good ole Google.  There are a lot resources out there with good, helpful information.  While that’s great, it’s also kind of a problem as well.  With such an abundance of resources and information, it can feel overwhelming and sometimes exhausting, trying to find the specific answer you want.

I began to think of blogging about my experiences; the difficulties that crop up, the irksome changes made to Windows, and the answers that help me. I’ve got lots of information ready to share, that will keep me blogging for a long time! And, who knows, maybe the time I’m using to become proficient in Windows 8 will in turn, save others from using so much of their valuable time.  It is my aim that readers can find quick answers to their questions in my posts. I will also be providing links to other resources I find, ones that I consider worth passing on to my readers.

So, I hope that what I’ve learned, and am still learning, will benefit those of you also annoyed and frustrated by Windows 8. Please feel free to contact me with your annoyances about Windows 8 and I’ll answer them in a future article. If you live in the Willamette Valley and need help with your personal or business computers or networks, contact us at Performance Computer Services and I will find a solution to your computer problems.