The Quick Launch bar has also been eliminated. In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, that bar made it easy to quickly launch the applications you most commonly use. In Windows 8, you can no longer do that, because the bar is gone.
Because the Start button has been killed, so has its search box, and that's a loss. To do a search, you now have to move your mouse to the upper right or lower right portion of the screen, and select the Search charm.
And the search you can perform simply isn't as good as the older version. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, the search displayed multiple results in a small, easy-to-scan list, and let you quickly switch between searching your computer and the Internet. Not so with the Search charm -- it drops you into a Metro interface in which each result takes up more real estate. The new Search charm does let you more easily narrow your search -- still, Microsoft should have kept the old Desktop search, to give you a choice of different search methods.
The Desktop also isn't integrated well with Metro. Inside Metro apps, for example, the Settings charm is context sensitive -- those settings are specific to the app you're running. But inside the Desktop, the charm isn't, and doesn't relate to the app itself. Rather, it relates to the Desktop.
On the plus side, the Desktop seems to run Desktop-based Windows applications with no problems. I ran SugarSync, Microsoft Office and Libre Office with no trouble.
Navigation and mousing around
Although the large tiles practically cry out to be touched rather than clicked upon, Metro is still navigable using a mouse. If you're like me, at first you'll find it takes some getting used to. But after a full day, I found myself comfortable with it, so much so that when I went back to my Windows Vista and Windows 7 machines, I occasionally found myself using the Windows 8 mouse movements (to no avail, of course).
Apps themselves are launched with single clicks rather than double-clicks. Although the navigation inside Metro apps varies on an app-by-app basis, generally you'll find yourself using scroll bars. (On a tablet, you'd be swiping to your heart's content.)
Windows 8 employs global navigation, usable when you're in Metro, the Desktop, a Metro app or a Desktop app -- in other words, no matter where you are.
To switch between where you currently are (such as inside a Metro app) and where you were, either press the Windows key on your keyboard, or else move your mouse toward the lower left-hand corner of the screen and click. Hover your mouse there and you'll see a thumbnail of the last place you were, so that you know ahead of time where you'll be switching. If you move instead to the upper left corner of the screen, you'll also see a thumbnail of your last app -- and if you then move your cursor down, you'll display the thumbnails of your other open apps.