We all know that Microsoft’s upcoming OS “Windows 8” is under development. Microsoft has released a Developer Preview build of Windows 8 to public in past and very soon Microsoft is going to release a Beta (Consumer Preview) build of Windows 8 to public on Feb 29, 2012. Everyone will be able to download and use it absolutely free.
Windows 8 comes with several new features and enhancements like new Start Screen which has completely replaced traditional Start Menu, Ribbon UI in Windows Explorer, redesigned and enhanced file copy/move dialog box, enhanced Task Manager, Refresh/Reset PC functionality and much more. You can learn more about all new Windows 8 features in our exclusive Windows 8 section.
Although there are many improvements and new additions in this new Windows OS but the question comes, will Windows 8 be a good OS for Desktop and laptops? This question came in my mind because it seems Microsoft is mainly targeting touch-devices like Tablets for Windows 8 development. Why? Please read below:
Windows 8 Start Screen
Lets talk about Start Screen first. Start Screen shows big live thumbnails (called Tiles) of installed programs in Windows 8. Its extremely cool to have such kind of screen in touch devices as the user needs to use his finger to select an item and it would be really hard to select an item from traditional start menu. Big thumbnails help user in opening a program easily and quickly.
But what about Desktop and laptop users? Why would a Desktop user want new Start Screen to forcefully occupy the whole screen area to show big thumbnails of programs? Start Menu takes a very small amount of screen space and the user also have access to Desktop but in Start Screen, if you want to look at Desktop, you’ll need to click on Desktop tile or use keyboard shortcuts.
Also using mouse to scroll between several program tiles on Start Screen takes much time compared to the good old start menu where it shows a list of all installed programs using small icons and text which doesn’t take much space.
So for a Desktop user, Start Menu is far better than new Start Screen.
PS: There is a registry hack to enable Start Menu in Windows which can be found here. But again its a hidden trick and I’m not sure whether it’ll work in final RTM build of Windows 8 or not? Microsoft can disable this trick in RTM build.