August 21, 2012, 12:09 PM — Windows 8 represents a strategic shift for Microsoft in favor of mobility. But for those of us who rely on Windows to sit down at a keyboard to do real work, the early returns on Windows 8 are cause for concern.
"Windows Frankenstein," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde OS" -- much has been made of the inconsistencies of Microsoft's two-faced UI. If there's one consistent element to all the talk about Windows 8, it's about what's missing: the Start menu, the Aero transparencies, the many details people take for granted that make Windows, well, Windows. It's little wonder then that many folks are seriously considering skipping Windows 8 altogether.
[ See our in-depth Test Center review of Windows 8 and how Windows 8 stacks up against Apple's OS X Mountain Lion in our deathmatch comparison review. | InfoWorld can help you get ready for Windows 8 with the Windows 8 Deep Dive PDF special report, which explains Microsoft's bold new direction for Windows, the new Metro interface for tablet and desktop apps, the transition from Windows 7, and more. | Stay abreast of key Microsoft technologies in our Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ]
But what if you can't? Or what if you've decided to take the Windows 8 plunge and want to know not just how to get by but to thrive in this brave new Windows world? Here we discuss how to do just that: how a legacy Windows user, with existing hardware, can make the best of Windows 8, focusing on the most immediate and pressing changes that will impact your moment-to-moment Windows use.
Coping with Windows 8 StartThe biggest change in Windows 8 is the one you almost certainly already know about: The legacy Start menu is gone for keeps. In its place is the full-page Metro-powered Start screen.