Friday, 28 June 2013

Fun with Windows 8! (Not!)

Well, the new PC is going well. It actually makes a nice change buying an off-the-shelf computer (first time in about ten years). The last three PCs of mine have all been builds specifically designed for gaming (and in some cases particular games).

Yes, this latest computer is underpowered, but then again it cost a fraction of the price that a like-for-like replacement for my last games machine would have cost and in these days of austerity I just can't justify that sort of money. Besides, there is still the slight chance I can rebuild my old machine...Maybe.

But, to the main point of this post - Windows 8.

As a PC gamer I have always been something of a hostage to fortune when it comes to my computer's operating system. Console gamers can think themselves lucky that they basically don't have to worry about 'what's under the hood'. I've had some really stinky experiences in the past - anyone remember Windows ME? Commonly known as the 'Mistake Edition' that had everyone's computers grinding to an ignominious halt after only a months us. But naturally the complex OS is a necessary evil that fuels the innovation that still makes PC gaming the cutting edge of technology rather than gaming consoles.

Anyhoo, so despite this being a gaming blog (basically) and not a computing blog it is worth mentioning my initial impressions of Windows 8, as it will dictate exactly what I can and will be gaming.

First off - Yikes! WTF with all this tablet interface crap!

 I am not a Luddite and I know tablet computing has revitalised the flagging PC market, but to build the tablet interface processes integrally into a universal OS is crazy. I am now burdened with a lot of app screens that I do not want and which at times really become a hindrance. The least Microsoft could have done was to allow desktop users to be able to turn off these feature so that they could simply use the desktop interface which is behind all these curtains of extreme fuckery.

TIP: You can get past that shite and to the actual desktop by pressing: WINDOWS + D (Windows keyboard button plus D key).

Next we have the much moaned about absence of a Start Button.

Well this is now something of a mute point as we are now told that MS will be brining back the Start Button in Windows 8.1 because of the huge negative response from users. But that doesn't help me - or other v8 - users in the meantime. So I turned to a third party tool to bring back the Start Button.

Stardocks Start8 is a small program that does some magic to your system to bring back the Start Button and the menu behind it - just like Windows 7! It set me back $4.99, but that is money well spent if it means I can now access things like my applications and control panels from a convenient menu right on the desktop task bar.

And finally, we have the mystery of the Shut Down button!

Before I discovered Start8 I was in a bit of a quandary as to how to actually shut down Windows 8. There was no obvious 'Shut Down' button like there was in previous Windows desktops - in fact to Shut Down meant a magical mystery tour into the wacky world of Win8 'charms'!

I had to Google how to do it! And the solution was a several stage process starting by activating the right hand pop up menu - called 'the charms' - going to settings,  Power and then choosing 'Shut Down'! Er, WTF?

So, again resorting to a Googled solution, I found instructions on how to make a 'Shut Down' short-cut which I placed on the desktop - and which is as such available by default by the hideous Win8 'Start' screen - which allows me to turn off my machine with a click.

Link: PC World - How to make create a Windows 8 Shut Down Tile

...>So, that's where I am at the moment. I have the ability to use a couple of functions that were inherent in the previous OS. And I now feel I can get to the actual job of using the darn OS to do stuff! I will update you on my actual impressions of using Win8 in a months time!

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