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The Metro hater's guide to customizing Windows 8 Consumer Preview


Night Hawk

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#1
The Metro hater's guide to customizing Windows 8 Consumer Preview
By Ed Bott
March 9, 2012, 5:19am PST


Summary: Why has there been such a negative initial reaction to the Windows 8 Start screen? Maybe it’s because the default presentation is so ugly and impersonal. If you hate Metro and want to use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview mostly with desktop apps, try my five-minute makeover and see if it helps.


I’ve been following the ongoing debate over the Windows 8 Start screen with amusement and genuine sympathy. The common complaint goes something like this: “Touch-optimized Metro apps are great. The improvements to the Windows desktop are solid. But the Start screen, which serves as the hub between the old and new Windows, is too much new and not enough old. The transition is jarring, and ultimately doesn’t make me more productive.”


OK, I understand that point of view. In fact, I had a similar complaint when I first looked at Windows 8. Personally, after using the new interface for a while, I have come to like its overall design, but I also get how someone can look at the Windows 8 Consumer Preview with a much more jaundiced eye. I also see its long-term potential and expect it to improve and be refined over time.


Frankly, I think a lot of the reason people have a negative reaction to the Metro style Start today is because the default presentation is so ugly and impersonal. Here, see for yourself:
more

UPDATE: Nothing like looking over the guide linked to in the report there for seeing a few changes made in how the Start screen appears. Even added shortcuts for the Restart, Logoff, and Shutdown options without the need to logoff first! Pinning the Programs folder to Start however leaves a bit to be desired.

Desktop Customized to User 2.jpg
 
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Coke Robot

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#2
OK, seriously, if you're logging off to shut down or restart, you need to really not use Windows 8. Those settings are in the Settings sidebar, or Win+I, or pulling up the Charms UI, clicking on the Settings icon....
 

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Night Hawk

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You have log out first when using the defaults. Once you are at the login screen then you go over to the options wheel at the right to select which one. These work right from the Start screen or you can add them to a quick launch addon toolbar or pin to the taskbar once the shortcuts are created.

With a dual boot here with 7 once I exit 8 I generally reboot into 7 long before shutting everything down entirely. Without the Start screen even up but tucked away while at the desktop I have another option for either one of the three logoff, restart, or shutdown options.

Programs Toolbar with Restart.jpg

I simply dragged the three shortcuts made up two with the article's info and one made directly from the logoff.exe file to add those in.
 

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jimbo45

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#4
Hi there
The tip on Grouping is good for example Office Apps EXCEL / Powerpoint / Word etc.

The tip on the "De-Uglification" of the tiles is also a good one --I think that's probably the main gripe --the start screen looks really HIDEOUS when "Bog standard" apps are installed --the normal Icon looks really sad and forlorn when sitting alone in a Large tile.

I really don't think anybody who is prepared to try W8 for a few days will really find the navigation a problem.

Even Power users will just get into the app they use most such as EXCEL and get on with it.

I rather like the idea of having a selection at the 4 corners of the screen -- top left is the one to CLOSE an app once you've got back to the desktop from using a Metro app.

It's a PREVIEW -- not the finished article.

I'm sure once the desktop can be customized a bit more and PLEASE some devices only have 600 px wide resolution so support for these LOWER screen resolutions must also be supported.

Fortunately most of the apps I use will work on a small netbook --If I'm mad enough to want to use photoshop for example on a tiny screen --'nuf said.

Some people will always complain no matter what -- I reckon if I threw 500,000 EUR worth of 50 and 100 EUR notes into the street some people would STILL complain .

It's an interesting exercise to see what people were complaining about when W7 was in the preview stage -- and as for the remarks about XP on ITS launch you should just read some of THOSE remarks too -- in spite of the fact it's STILL probably the most popular OS of all time.

I think W8 is a WINNER --needs a bit of tidying up though.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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Coke Robot

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#5
You have log out first when using the defaults. Once you are at the login screen then you go over to the options wheel at the right to select which one. These work right from the Start screen or you can add them to a quick launch addon toolbar or pin to the taskbar once the shortcuts are created.

With a dual boot here with 7 once I exit 8 I generally reboot into 7 long before shutting everything down entirely. Without the Start screen even up but tucked away while at the desktop I have another option for either one of the three logoff, restart, or shutdown options.

View attachment 4233

I simply dragged the three shortcuts made up two with the article's info and one made directly from the logoff.exe file to add those in.
Screenshot.png I figure this to be default settings in either Start Screen or Desktop.
 

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Night Hawk

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#6
It doesn't take me long to find my way around! :D Already have the Start screen organized somewhat as I continue some compatibility tests on more programs.

Start Screen Present.jpg

The fun part comes when you go to add a new device! Here I finally got around to adding on a printer.

Adding New Device.jpg

That shows an unknown going through the detection process.

Added Device IDed.jpg

It identifies the printer by make and model accurately over the previous need to select make and model and then search for drivers. Despite taking up the entire screen that's one improvement for hardware detection.

As far as customization of appearance being that the CP is equivalent to a beta you would expect some limitations in that area. The Start screen only allows change of color and pattern with the slide bar while the Lock screen allows you to browse a specific folder not the entire drive for any others you eventually add in. The folder will most likely be found under your user account with a look.

And as for shutdown options,

Shutdown Options.jpg
 

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Colonel Travis

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#7
the normal Icon looks really sad and forlorn when sitting alone in a Large tile.

haha. Yeah, also I wish there were a way to make up custom icons and throw away the tiles. Maybe one day....
 

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Night Hawk

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All of that in time! People are always looking for ways to customize things! I think by the time 8 reaches RTM several will have already found some options in those areas.
 

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    WD Caviar Black Edition Sata II 1tb two OS drives
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