Getting Used to Windows 8

Windows8

I like to think I live on the bleeding edge of technology, willing to try any new tool as soon as it comes out. And that’s true when it comes to novelty software applications. I set up user accounts and play adding the ones I like to my routine and moving on past the ones I don’t.

The one exception? My computer operating system. My fear of change dates back to the upgrade from Windows 95 to 98. (Yes I do know how long I have been carrying this issue around.) The Windows 98 was so unusable, I deleted it and reinstalled 95. I skipped Vista completely and hung on to XP as long as I could.

We made the upgrade to Windows 7 and after a few confusing moments, I happily settled in with my Windows 7 and my Office 2007. Sure there were newer versions out there, but we are primarily Internet-based, and I didn’t want to take the time to learn a new platform.

Then my laptop crashed.

Normally I would have hopped on Dell.com, bought a refurbished unit with Windows 7 and been quite happy for several more years, but the crash happened on Saturday and I was leaving for a road trip on Sunday, so no time to wait.  Wandering the aisles at Fry’s, I discovered that my choices were Windows 8 with or without touch screen. So here I sit writing my first blog post on my new laptop with Windows 8 and Office 365.

Since I won’t read a manual, I am figuring this out as go. What do I think so far?

I like the start screen. After several years as an iPhone user, the concept of scanning through apps makes sense . It is easy to move the apps, making the ones I use most often larger and more prominent, dragging my favorites to my task bar and hiding the ones I don’t think I will ever use.

It is going to take a while to get it customized the way I want it, but when I do, I think it will be much faster than looking for things in the app list. I am beginning to think the touch screen would have been really nice. I am grateful that my keyboard commands still work so when I  get lost, I can still find my open windows with the alt-tab command.

I downloaded Office 365. Yes, I know I will be paying $10/month forever, but that’s just the cost of doing business these days. It’s worth it to be about to really integrate my home, office and laptop computers so they all look and feel the same. I also like the sky drive function, which comes as part of the package. It seems to work just like Dropbox so I can store documents and access them from anywhere. This is a nice feature if you don’t already have a Dropbox account.

I appreciate that Microsoft didn’t make me get an MSN email account. I am completely happy with my Gmail and can use the same passwords to log on to my email, desktop, laptop or Microsoft.com.

The whole swoosh thing is annoying. Thanks goodness for the Windows key. It is much faster to simply push the key and get back to the start window than hold your mouse in exactly the right position to get the window to open. I do like that the two finger “Apple commands”  to make things larger and smaller with Microsoft 8.

The bottom line: It’s going to take a while to get used to, but I am really going to like Windows 8 for a very long time

  • http://gregoryamcmullen.com/ Gregory A McMullen

    We recently bought my wife a Win8 touch screen laptop. She’s adjusting to it well. Her favorite part? Having a working battery again.

  • Tamre Mullins

    A working battery is definitely more important than the operating system! Is the touch screen worth the extra money? I’ll be in the market later this year.

  • http://gregoryamcmullen.com/ Gregory A McMullen

    From my limited experience with it (she’s quite protective) it makes the laptop and OS more usable. Since Win 8 was developed to be a tablet OS, it’s much more intuitive and functional with the touch screen.

    The only “downfall” is you will constantly question, “should I use the mouse or the screen.” Regardless, it was worth the “upgrade.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/lorraine.roundpeg Lorraine Ball

    I actually wanted the touch screen. It was less, but they were out of stock. After a few weeks, I am sure I want a touch screen next time. After two years with an iPad, the touch screen is very natural. I find myself going to the screen, and then remembering I need to use the mouse pad.