Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Observations, the good and the bad.

  1. #1


    Posts : 219
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit

    Observations, the good and the bad.


    Having now used Windows 8 for about a day, here is what I think is working, and what I think still needs to be improved before release.

    The Metro start menu is growing on me, but it still has a ways to go. Most of my critique is going to focus on this, as this seems to be the main thing that is different. From my perspective, more customization options are badly needed. I think if folks had more room to make their start menu their own, they would complain a lot less. Let the end user have some fun with look and function. Here are some thoughts:

    -I am not a fan of the colorful fruity colors that appear to be the only options available for the icons, and I think giving us the option to customize the color of our icons, not to mention more options with the color of the background, would be a big win. Not everyone wants their home page to look like Rainbow bright.

    -Heck, let us customize our icons on the start page in general. I can see a whole new crop of development centered around start menu icon development. Instead, there are the basic crop of apps that come with the release, and every other program I run is just a hollow box with the name of the program pasted on it. Let me use a custom photo instead, or even a custom animation...

    - Let us customize the background of the start menu. The OS so far gives us the choice between about 5-10 different nearly identical backgrounds, the only difference being a pattern of squiggly lines. Boring. Let me use my own custom picture please. How hard can this be?

    -Please let me show the date/time on the start menu. This too cannot be that hard, and is important imo.

    Now on to some of what works.

    -I can actually see some nice potential with the start menu apps that come with the OS. Some of them are nice, and actually might get used by me, once they are a bit less buggy... I can see developers creating more apps, even better apps to replace, enhance the field, and I see the potential this will give the end user. If the apps were a bit better, if we had an easy way to exit out of them without having to open the task manager (maybe an x in the upper right corner, that hides until we mouse over), I can see this being a big hit, once people start making use of it.

    Now some more suggestions.

    -Need an easier way to exit out of apps that does not involve the task manager.

    -More room to customize the apps themselves. The weather app defaults to a town that is about 10 miles east of my home location, and I have no way to change my home location as near as I can tell. I can add it as an additional location, but cannot find a way to make it home.

    -I still think the start menu needs to be left in the OS as an option for those who cannot stand the metro start page. I also think the start button should still be in the bottom right of the task bar, even if its only function is to bring up the start page. I cannot see an easy way to get back to the start page with the mouse if I am on the desktop, and this seems silly. I think a lot of the haters would come around to liking the metro start page if the suggestions I listed above were implemented. If I was able to customize the size, look, and feel of what displayed on my start page, I can see myself really getting into it, and liking it far more than the start menu of old..

    That is about all I have for now.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Which version of Windows 8 did you install? The Release Preview gives you many more backgrounds than that, there were about 20 last I looked.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 219
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit


    I am running build 8400. At present there are exactly 6 background options, all of which look nearly identical once the color is selected. My opinion of this OS could be completely improved if a little more control was given to the end user as far as the start screen goes.

    One of these days, one Operating system company or another is going to learn that people inherently love freedom and hate feeling trapped. Knowing this, they will build an OS that gives ample options to the end user when it comes to customizing both look and function.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 5,360
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    people inherently love freedom and hate feeling trapped. Knowing this, they will build an OS that gives ample options to the end user when it comes to customizing both look and function.
    Let's hope.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 219
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit


    Everyone has a different way of doing things. I have always seen it to be a strength of windows, that there are multiple ways to get somewhere in the OS; multiple ways to accomplish the same thing. If the avg user gets used to doing something one way, and you come along and tell him he cannot do it that way anymore because you have 'improved' things now, and this new way is better, get ready for some upset avg users. People are creatures of habit, but our habits are as varied as can be. We are not cattle who just need to be herded into the promised land, so quit treating us like this. The solution is simple. Give us choice. If that does not work, give us more choice. Make the motto of the OS, "Make it Yours", and watch as the stellar reviews come pouring in... Just my 2 cents...

    If anyone has figured out a way so far to accomplish any of the things that I mentioned in my first post, please let me know.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    -Need an easier way to exit out of apps that does not involve the task manager.

    Alt + F4
    - the old "Close Window Key" closes Apps too

    Location - mine in the UK is really good because it uses my Postcode - but if I have not given a postcode in an installation, it uses my Internet host server location, several miles away. So your zip code may be needed.

    I make my Metro background as bright as possible, because it seems dark compared to desktop applications, and make the tiles smaller, and move the "fruitiest" unused ones - either by unpinning them, or swapping their position with the more useful, less bright, desktop application tiles. I don't spend much time in the Metro environment.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 219
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit


    So.. no more snap function in 8 either. Using the windows and right arrow on the keyboard, which used to snap an explorer window to the right, now just brings be to the start screen. hmmm
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    I still find that it snaps for me - the windows key on its own toggles between desktop and Metro -windows key plus right or left arrow once snaps to side, twice snaps to other side 3 times makes the window rather small, +down arrow minimizes, +up arrow maximizes
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    To close a metro app, move the mouse cursor to the top, a little hand appears. Click, and drag down. It gets kind of fun after a while...

    Click image for larger version
    I want to show you my Start Screen. There aren't a lot of fruity colors since I've customized it.

    Also, Windows 8 brings a new way to interact with the mouse, like hot corners. The left corners bring the app switcher while the right corners bring the Charms bar. I used to wish for the time on the Start Screen and some other things, but the Release Preview changed that. I think the Charms bar is easier to bring up and see the time or hibernate or search. One of the design concepts of Windows 8 is be more...out of way to say. There isn't chrome or other UI elements that get in the way of content or whatever. But to bring them up takes a simply swipe down to a corner and a little swipe out of it to hide them.

    With the metro apps, you will either right click or use the Settings bar from the Charms UI. In the Weather App, you right click and hit Places and you should be able to find the town you want. Right clicking in an app brings the app's command bar up or down depending on the app. The Charms bar is used to search, share, or change settings within that app. It's different and kind of cool!

    A tip though, if you want Desktop items like a Library or a folder or a hard drive, right click on that from Windows Explorer and hit Pin to Start. Makes things that much easier!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 55
    Windows 7 x64


    I agree with the Start screen customization. What really bugs me is that they dont make it easy to set up the tiles how you want them. They make it such a chore.

    And I really dont believe ill use the metro apps much, until I get a Microsoft Surface. I have no need for them when im using my desktop/laptop. The functionality of regular programs will always trump a metro app.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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