Modern UI’s, Windows, And Flags

The new Windows 8 ‘Start Menu’. A bit bigger than the one we’re used to.

So, it’s that time of day again. Or maybe that time of year? I could never quite pin that down. Anyway, today, yesterday, and the day before that have been very productive indeed. Especially if you count productive as getting Windows 8 Pro, and Microsoft Office 2013 Professional Plus. To be honest, it’s been more of a hassle than I expected, and even now, my faithful Windows Store is having to re-install the Photos app, due to some…err…technical difficulties. Now, I’m not sure what this post is going to come out as, seeing as I’m typing on the bare minimal WordPress Modern UI app, but hey, I’ll check it out once I’m done, so no big deal.

Anyway, so I mentioned hassle, and oh was I serious. For starters, it took me countless DVD’s (I only have 5 left…thanks Microsoft), numerous re-downloads of my ISO files, and the patience worthy of a saint just to get the damn operating system to upgrade from Windows 7 without an error popping up at the last minute telling me it had failed. After I had managed to get the golden combination of good ISO + good burnt DVD, I installed flawlessly. Maybe I did a little dance of joy when it did…but that’s for you to figure out. So, after the numerous screens (including the ‘eye destroyer’), I ended up at my very own start screen!

After I had gotten over the initial excitement, I decided to customize my goods, and went about testing my apps (new & old) setting up software, tweaking settings, and doing what I do on a daily basis till everything was just right. Then, after I had uninstalled Office 2010, and cleaned my registry, I decided it was time to give Windows a little gift, and put the gloriously square Office 2013 onto it’s desktop. So I did.

The newest incarnation of the office’s favorite software. Square, is it not?

After that, I found out that I had run into an even bigger snag…and this one will explain why I didn’t insert photos as I went. You see, due to my use of the Tune-Up Registry Cleaner, it seems to have deleted a very empty, and seemingly obtuse key…which actually enabled Modern UI apps to use the file system.

Oops.

So, I can’t change my lock screen without considerable effort, insert photos into this post, or…well…do a lot of things that TIFKAM (The Interface Formerly Known As Metro) Apps should be able to do really.

Not that it bothers me, to be honest. Oh no, I’m quite happy sticking to my good old desktop, thank you. In fact it’s the only thing on the entire system that I’ve had an issue with (bar Photos, but we’ll come to that). Hey, maybe in three months time someone will have worked out a registry fix for the rest of us. Or maybe I should go spelunking myself…but that never has ended well for me…

Now onto the Photos app.

It sucks.

In fact, the only thing it’s good for is setting my lock screen picture. I much prefer using good old Windows Explorer (C:\Windows\explorer.exe LOOK IT UP). The Photos app…is so pitifully basic…well…even the Apple built in photo app on the iPhone 3G would be classed as several leagues above. Sure, once you get past having to re-install the app once a week, seeing as photos mysteriously fail to show in the library (explorer.exe has no issues), it’s alright for browsing, but if you want to crop, straighten, or just do a decent slideshow…you’d better shuffle along to your desktop, cause this thing can do not one thing to help you. No wonder it’s got a two point five star rating in the Windows Store already.

The other TIFKAM apps, I’m alright with. I’m bearing in mind that the system is still somewhat young, so I’ll give them some leeway on the fact that if you play music in the TIFKAM app…you have to switch back to it to stop it. Plus, there’s the issue of the messenger…I don’t use it anyway, so it doesn’t bother me, but the fact that is refuses to load anything may tip some users off. The ones on the store, however, have great potential. Take the Wikipedia app, for example. It’s clean, it’s tidy, it matches the OS look, and more importantly, it does what you’d expect it to. Some apps have sacrificed functionality to match the signature OS look, but somehow the guys/gals over at Wikipedia have pulled it off. Nothing has been left out, which means I can browse the app without worrying that the web version will have any extra info. Remember though, not all TIFKAM apps are like that. I could name a few, but I think that’d be too many spoilers.

So that’s the TIFKAM apps done.

How about taking a trip down memory lane?

Think of Windows 95, or even 3.1, if you were like me. Yeah, it all comes back, doesn’t it? You remember that thing? Start menu, was it?

Gone.

Yup.

Gone.

Make no mistake, I knew what I was getting into when I got Windows 8. How could I not? I’ve been following the production since the earliest builds known to man! The problem is, the start menu is an integral part of a Windows user’s every day life. You pin your favourite programs there, your frequently used ones appear automatically, and it’s a handy shortcut to those all-important places like ‘Network’, ‘Computer’, ‘Control Panel’, and also the all programs list.

It made no sense to remove it…but I guess this is the sacrifice of bridging the PC, Laptop, and Tablet.

A sacrifice I wasn’t ready to make.

So I made plans.

Start 8.

Yeah, I know the name means nothing to you really, but it has that word in it. A word by which you can probably guess what the whole program does.

It brings it back.

Back from the dead.

Better than ever.

Shinie- Ok, maybe not shiner…it’s actually quite matte, to be honest.

Anyway, the point is that ‘Start 8’ brings the start menu, and all it’s glorious functions back where they belong.

It actually brought tears to my eyes.

Sure it’s £4.99 from the makers (Stardock), but when you’re as desperate as me, nothing matters. I had to have my start menu back. The start screen just isn’t the same. I know it’s not meant to be either, but it’ll never replace it like Microsoft are hoping for.

Start 8 brings it all back. Jump lists, shortcuts, the lot. Plus, it’s got that shiny (matte) new Windows flag to boot!

So, as you may have guessed, I’m not a Windows fan boy, and I could give Windows 8 some even meaner hits if I wanted to, but for now, I’ll treat Microsoft like a young child, and allow them to get back on their feet, make mistakes, and help (review & suggest) them where possible. I mean, it’s only fair, with Apple currently looking to dominate the market.

Right?

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