Windows 8 – Not As Scary As You Might Think! Part II: The Start Screen

Windows 8 Start ScreenYou’ll remember that yesterday I waxed on about how the Windows 8 desktop experience really isn’t too different from the Windows experience you’ll get if you use a Windows 7 or Windows XP PC? And that is true! Working via the desktop side Windows 8 PC really is very similar to the old Windows experience you’d get while opening, closing and saving files on Windows XP, Vista or 7 computer.

However, and insert drum roll here for dramatic effect….

The other side of Windows 8, the Start Screen side is very, very different from the experience you’d get from using any computer running any of the previous versions of Windows. And you can see the difference just by looking at the photo included with this posting!

The photo of course shows the Start Screen of a Windows 8 computer and although it looks very different it really is a cool side of Windows to use and if you’ve used a smartphone or tablet in the past then you’ll find yourself very quickly at home when using the Start Screen side of a Windows 8 PC.  And the reason you’ll be very comfortable with that side of Windows 8 is because it really is set up like a tablet or smartphone with apps! And if you purchase, or use, a Windows 8 computer that has a touch screen*1 you can touch the apps to open them or move them from one part of the Start Screen to another just the way you would on a tablet or smartphone. And likewise if you want to get new apps on your Start Screen than just as is the case with a smartphone or tablet you go to your app store – and in the case of Windows 8 the Windows 8 app store is simply called Store ( you can see the app for it in the photo it features a big shopping bag on the bright green app) and if you touch that app to open it (or click it if you are using a Windows 8 computer without a touch screen) then you’ll enter the Windows app store and you’ll find apps like Netflix, Skype, Amazon Kindle, Angry Birds and the Oprah Winfrey Network that you can easily install and use on your Windows 8 computer.

So there are three basic things to remember about using Windows 8:

  1. There is a Desktop side of Windows 8 that is very similar to the Desktop side of previous versions of Windows (Except for the fact that there is no Start Menu and you open the Windows Explorer folder to access your files);
  1. There is Start Screen side of Windows 8 and it is very similar in the way you use it to the experience you get if you use a smartphone or tablet that has apps
  1. Windows 8 computers (not tablets*2) come in two hardware versions: A. a touch screen version which is desirable as Windows 8 really is made to be used with a touch screen computer; and a standard non-touch screen version which allows you to do the same things as you can do with a Windows 8 touch screen computer but in a different way (and it does usually take you more clicks to get from point A to point B if you’re using a non-touch screen Windows 8 computer that you’d have to use if you were using a Windows 8 touch screen computer but you’ll get where you want to go in the end!)

Have a great evening!

Linda R.

*1) You can buy a Windows 8 computer without a touch screen and those non-touch screen models are generally cheaper than their touch-screen brethren; however, Windows 8 really is ideally experiences at its best if you have a touch-screen computer running Windows 8. So that is Linda’s two cents worth on that subject! If you’re thinking of buying a Windows 8 computer I do indeed suggest that you buy one that has a touch screen!

*2) And I should point out I am only talking about the Windows 8  laptop and desktop models – Windows also has two tablets out the Surface RT and the Surface Pro. The Surface RT is the cheaper model (the entry level version costs $499) and runs a light version of Windows 8. The RT also does allow you to install new Windows software but you cannot install any old Windows software on the tablet. In contrast, the Surface Pro costs more money at $899 (for the entry level model); however, it runs a full version of Windows 8 and will allow you to install old Windows software if you wish. So just FYI on the Windows tablet front!


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