Windows 8: The 10 biggest problems so far

For two months now, early adopters, IT pros, and developers have been working extensively with the Windows 8 Developer Preview. Here are the 10 of the biggest pain points they've found, Microsoft's reaction and some easy fixes!

Page 2 of 4

2. You can't close apps

A majority of testers complained about the lack of a mechanism to close apps: Once you start an app, it remains open until Windows 8 decides to suspend it in order to save CPU cycles -- though the app is still present. While that may not be an issue for the regular user, the more professional users have major issues with this: The most viewed thread on the official Windows 8 developer forums is titled "Exit Developer Preview Apps (aka Closing Metro Apps)", with nearly all users crying foul over this obvious omission. After a heated debate, Microsoft's own Jon DeVaan, Corporate Vice President for Windows Development, weighed in:

The idea is Metro Style apps are not closed. The system takes care of keeping the apps from consuming background resources automatically. You can examine the app lifetime information in the developer documentation if you'd like.

The problem with this approach is that even suspended applications consume resources (i.e., memory). Plus, when cycling through apps, I sometimes find that apps have automatically suspended and are only available when I launch them again through the Start screen. That's annoying. I don't want to swipe through applications without knowing whether it is still active or not running. I want to be in charge of what's running or not.

Win8-2.png
Windows 8 task manager

Solution: In the Windows 8 Pre-Beta (the one WITH the developer tools, mind you) you can close apps using ALT+F4, though that's not working with the regular builds. The only current alternative is to launch task manager, jump to the Processes tab and close currently running apps.

But there is some good news on the horizon: Chief of Windows, Steven Sinofsky, briefly mentioned in one of his whitepaper-style blog posts that there will be a way to close apps more easily: "Will there be a way to close Metro style apps without going to Task Manager? (Yes there will be, but we also want to talk about why you probably won't need to use it."

I guess we'll have to wait for the beta for a perfect solution.

3. The green Start screen is driving me crazy

By default, the Windows 8 Start screen has this default green theme with no option to change it:

Windows 8 start screen

Obviously, Microsoft knows that users love to customize their screens so there is no way that they'll omit this feature from the final Windows 8 build. In fact, a screenshot of a newer (unreleased) build leaked to the public on November 5th, is pretty solid proof that there will be a personalization option:

win8colorcustomization1.jpg

Solution: For now, all you early adapters can use My WDP Customizer 1.3.0 to change not just the Start menu background and the entire color set, but also the Windows 8 Start button with custom images and colors. Take a look at my Start screen background in shown in #1 above. It took me just a few seconds using the WDP Customizer and is a great interim solution.

4. How do I shut this thing down?

Windows 8 settings menu

It's hard to believe but it took me 5 minutes to figure out how to shut down Windows 8. No kidding. Clicking on the Start button just brings up the new Start screen. To properly shut down or restart Windows 8, you'd have to:

- Log off, click on the Power button and select either Restart or Shutdown

- Hover over the Start button, click on Settings, go to Power and select your options.

I don't even dare to ask why Microsoft would put the Shutdown and Restart options in a menu titled Settings -- it's beyond bizarre.

| 1 2 3 4 Page 2
ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon