Can you use multiple “windows” with Windows 8?

Of course you can, particularly with the Desktop.  Yes when you live primarily in the Desktop then the Start Screen is more jarring then the Start Menu was.  I would likely pin more things to the Task Bar or put my shortcuts on the desktop to reduce the use of the Start Screen in this environment.  But hey, take a look:

Windows 8 Desktop

And of course you can run a Metro app and the desktop at the same time too:

Windows 8 Desktop while playing a Metro Vimeo video

As I learn new little tricks, for example right-click in the lower left corner of the desktop makes some frequent power-user tasks more accessible, Desktop-style use gets more acceptable.  I’m still not comfortable with Windows 8 on a traditional desktop PC, but I only have a couple of hours doing so with the Consumer Preview.  Will I hate, tolerate, like, or love it?  Only time will tell.

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14 Responses to Can you use multiple “windows” with Windows 8?

  1. John Owens says:

    Nice! I wonder why all of the windows except your “Desktop” window have Glass effects, but the Desktop explorer window looks like Aero Basic?

  2. Mary branscombe says:

    Windows-x does the start corner right click without the precision mousing; I find that if I can break my start reflex I get to choose when I metro and when I don’t. Not sure how discoverable the right mouse start corner menu is, or the wiggle-to-find switching pane, but they’re hugely more usable than DP.

  3. cpsltwr says:

    There’s no precision mousing involved* – just throw the mouse pointer to the lower left and right-click. This seems to be one of the most common misconceptions I see – people try to “aim” for the corners and actually make it harder than if they just moved in the general direction of the corner without thinking. The whole point of putting the hotspots in the corners is that you can overshoot them and still stay at the right place.

    Similarly, when using the Metro style apps switcher (on the left edge) or the charms bar (on the right edge) with the mouse, instead of doing it in two discrete motions (move to top/bottom corner, then move down/up), try just swinging your mouse pointer around the corner in one fluid motion. With a bit of practice it becomes a lot faster and actually kinda fun and addictive (or maybe I’m a weirdo). I wish the animation for the charms bar appearing was a little faster though.

    * except on multimon which is horrible, but hopefully that will get fixed before release

    • Alique Williams says:

      100% agree here. It’s much easier to get to what you want with Metro than in desktop in my opinion.

    • Michael says:

      “The whole point of putting the hotspots in the corners is that you can overshoot them and still stay at the right place.”
      Except when you have multiple monitors, then overshooting moves your cursor to another monitor.

    • it actually varies between systems; on some Ms-provided systems it’s easier to get those ?3 pixels for the right-click menu than not; on my other three test machines, it’s almost impossible to click in the correct place. I’m a huge Fitts fan, but the corner hotspots are the same. this is a CP, so I’m not complaining, but the keyboard shortcut is far easier on at least *some* systems – and some people are keyboard shortcut people ;-)

      multimon; I do hope so!

  4. Alique Williams says:

    Metro is easier to use with a mouse and keyboard than the desktop was. It’s much easier to search for any application/settings by simply typing it out on the start screen than what was possible on the desktop.

  5. Brendan Green says:

    The big thing that surprised me in this post is the side-by-side desktop and metro.

    Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but this is the first I’ve heard about it.

    I would have thought this would have been talked about a little more, as for me, this makes the whole desktop vs metro much easier to swallow.

    • halberenson says:

      It’s been mentioned and demo’d ever since Build, but it isn’t what Microsoft PR (or most evaluators) have focused on.

      With the exception of the Start Screen itself one can pretty much ignore Metro if you want. And between the Taskbar, Desktop Shortcuts, being able to customize the Start Screen, and the new hotkeys it is looking like you can create a very productive desktop environment. It really is growing on me. The one thing I don’t like is that when you pull up the Start Screen it pushes everything to the background. So if you are watching a video in the snapped Metro app while trying to get work done on the desktop bringing up the Start Screen stops and occludes the video as well. This is not good.

      • Eolirin says:

        I don’t ever find myself on the start screen long enough or frequently enough for everything being pushed to the back to be a particularly big problem, at least, it wouldn’t be if the Video app *actually stopped playing*. In fact, the video app doesn’t even stop playing if you swap it out with another app. A little weird.

        I’d hope that there is a lot more improvement in the Apps before launch, these feel a lot more beta than the rest of the OS.

  6. Eolirin says:

    It was the Metro app, but I expect that desktop apps will be even worse off in that regard, since I doubt there’s a way for them to tell that they’ve been moved away from. And yes, the audio stops, but the video doesn’t, so when you come back to the app, it’s progressed by however long you were gone. Needless to say, that’s *very* bad.

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