Windows 8: Something old, something awkward

Microsoft's old Windows desktop and tablet-friendly Metro UI make strange bedfellows

By Woody Leonhard, InfoWorld |  Windows

The Windows Experience Index has changed; the maximum score has been raised to 9.9. To get there, right-click or tap and hold in the bottom-left corner, then choose Control Panel. Under System and Security, choose Review Your Computer's Status and Review Performance Information.

For those of you who take screenshots all the time, Windows 8 has a one-step shoot-and-save capability. To shoot the entire screen and store the shot as an incrementally named PNG file in the default Pictures folder, hold down the Windows key and push PrtScr.

Microsoft is finally catching up with Apple's Time Machine by introducing a very straightforward file backup feature called File History, found in Control Panel. While you're spelunking, don't overlook the Windows 8 Refresh and Reset options (click/tap the Settings charm, then More PC Settings) and the Storage Spaces approach to virtualizing pools of hard drives (back to Control Panel again). I talk about all of these in my Windows 8 Consumer Preview slideshow.

Windows 8 has a new Task Manager, and it runs rings around the one in Windows 7. To see it in action, right-click or tap and hold in the lower-left corner and choose Task Manager.

Finally, there's Internet Explorer 10. In spite of the terminology, IE10 Metro and IE10 legacy desktop are two separate apps that work in completely different ways, though they use the same rendering engine. IE10 Metro's great claim to fame is that the working parts disappear when you don't use them; Web pages fill the entire screen. IE10 legacy's interface is very similar to IE9. Microsoft has been proffering IE10 previews for almost a year now, and you can expect many more changes before the twin browsers ship with Win8.

Internet Explorer 10 doesn't play well with other browsers in Windows 8. If you set a third-party browser to be the default on the legacy desktop, IE10 Metro disappears. The only way to bring the IE10 tile back is to make IE10 the default on the desktop. It isn't clear at this point if this is standard behavior or a bug.

Unanswered questions In spite of the massive outpouring of software and documentation about Windows 8, there are still many burning questions for IT types. For example, will enterprise apps be available from the Windows Store? Microsoft has been promising for ages that enterprises will be able to load Metro-style apps from the Windows Store onto corporate PCs, but we haven't seen any details or examples.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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