Windows 8 – What’s Not To Like?

imageI’ve been running Windows 8, almost exclusively, since the first (beta) release in September of last year. Despite my initial impressions (not favorable), I’ve made a 180 degree turn – I’m really into Win 8.

Despite the clunky Metro GUI, which I’ve managed to deal with by accepting it for what it is (and isn’t), and by acknowledging the fact that with a small amount of effort put into learning the navigation intricacies of this new OS, Windows 8 is “great.” I can assure you, that learning a few keyboard shortcuts necessary to take full advantage of Windows 8, was hardly the task that learning DOS 1 was, back in the day.

In my career, I’ve had to deal with 5/6 versions of DOS (each one requiring a commitment to skills development), a sprinkling of bolt-on DOS GUIs (learning required), 7 or more versions of Windows (learning required), as well as various flavors of Linux (learning required). Windows 8 (learning required), is just one more operating system in the continuing evolution of how users interact with computing devices.

It’s true that the Windows 8 user interface is a radical departure from the traditional desktop GUI. With the navigation system designed with swiping features, slider menus, and so on, it’s obviously designed with Tablet PCs and Smartphones in mind. There’s no doubt – it certainly forces a readjustment in the comfort level of experienced Desktop users – there’s that learning thing again.

Users can, of course, choose to stand pat and resist evolutionary change, But, those who continue to brush this OS aside are making a mistake, in my view. Windows 8 has a lot to offer, including – vastly reduced boot time, blazingly fast application load time , a very small memory footprint, and considerably enhanced security over previous versions.

On top of all that though, Windows 8 includes a “killer feature” – PC Refresh. Or, as some Microsoft people have been known to call this feature – “push-button reset.”

Call me crazy if you like, but I’m a firm believer in reformatting and reinstalling my operating systems regularly. It’s a relatively easy task since I run multiple drives – each of which is partitioned for specific types of data storage.

Windows 8 has made this task somewhat easier. Windows 8 “push-button reset” will automatically reinstall Windows while at the same time – keeping all personal data, Metro style apps, and important system settings. This is not a perfect reinstall solution since pre-Windows 8 programs are not reinstalled.

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Those apps that are not reinstalled can be referenced in an HTML file which PC Refresh automatically saves to the desktop.

There’s little doubt that Win 8 advances computing technology in a number of very substantial ways, much beyond the few improvements I mentioned earlier. All-in-all, I’m glad I didn’t bounce this OS off my test system after 7 days – my first response to the Metro GUI.

But, the absence of the familiar Start Menu which allows for Shutdown/Restart commands, which has been shunted aside in favor of an ineffective barebones replacement (shown below), has cramped my style somewhat.

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Working through 2/3 levels of menus to restart/shutdown is inefficient, so I’ve installed one of my all-time favorite utilities – Right-Click Extender Version 2 – which added a Restart and a Shutdown command (shown below), to the Desktop context menu. Problem solved!

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Right-Click Extender has proven to be one of the most important free utilities (considering my style of computing), I’ve yet found. It can add amazing functionality to various right click context menus.

If you missed my earlier review, and walkthrough, on Right-Click Extender Version 2, I’ve reposted it below. It’s worth a read/reread.

Right-Click Extender Version 2 – Adds Multiple Context Menu Commands

imageThe “right click context menu” in Windows is a hidden gem. I know, you’re thinking – wait a minute, the right click context menu isn’t hidden, I use it all the time. And, I’ll bet you do. But, you might be surprised to learn, that if you were to ask an average user about this menu, the chances are pretty good that you’d get a blank look in return.

If you’re a power user and a fan of the right click context menu, then you’ll be interested in the Right-Click Extender Version 2 (released March 11, 2010)  from The Windows Club, which will add a bag full of additional context menu support  in the following categories – File/Folder, Desktop, Drives, and MyComputer.

Following installation and execution of this free application, setting up and selecting the context menu items best suited to your needs is a snap – as the following series of screen shots shows. (Clicking on any graphic will expand it to its original size).

File Folder Setup.

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Desktop Menu Setup.

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Desktop Menu Options Setup.

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The following is an example, from my system, illustrating selective context menu items available to me on the Desktop following installation of the Right-Click Extender, Version 2.

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The following is an example, from my system, illustrating selective Windows Explorer context menu items available to me, following installation of the Right-Click Extender Version 2.

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If the right click context menu is a tool you use frequently, installing Right-Click Extender Version 2, should help give a boost to your productivity.

System Requirements: Windows Vista, Windows 7 (sorry, not designed for Windows XP). As noted earlier, I’m running with Right-Click Extender Version 2 on Windows 8 with no problems.

Download at: MajorGeeks.com

The Windows Club offers a range of helpful Windows freeware apps – checkout their home page here.

22 Comments

Filed under downloads, Freeware, Integrated Solutions, Windows 8

22 responses to “Windows 8 – What’s Not To Like?

  1. Darryl Gittins

    Thanks for the tip about right click extender. The biggest frustration for me in W8 has been that the Charms bar is flakey. Sometimes it takes a long time to appear or will not appear at all. It shouldn’t be so hard to do a restart. This solves the problem.

    • Hey Darryl,

      I agree- the Charm bar drives me crazy – for the reasons you have noted. I avoid it at all costs. This little app will relieve some of your frustration.

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Interesting – Since 2006 or so, I’ve migrated to OSX – and despite one or two glitches when the OS was advanced, it has been seamless, and easy.
    So – I DL’d WIN 8 consumer preview – foolishly did NOT read the finePrint – and ended up with a MESS. It’s on a 64 bit HP system that I use mostly for PC apps that have not been ported to MAC – yet.

    Many. many glitches and headaches – but his one’s a complete mystery. I run dual screens – a 19″ command monitor on the left – which is my HomeScreen, sort of, and my 24″HP on the right.

    In upgrading, the screens have reversed themselves and the mouse travel, from one screen to the other – is completely backwards. And try as I might, I can’t find a way to correct it. So, if I have the mouse on the left screen and I need to move it to the right screen, I must move it off the left side of the left monitor – at which point it appears on the right side of the right monitor. Completely frustrating and completely stupid.

    I’m almost at the point of throwing in the towel and simply, physically swapping the position of the monitors. But I do NOT want to do that….

    Anybody with any bright ideas, suggestions?

    BTW – I was going to trash the whole installation and re-format/re-install WIN 7 – but have decided to be more patient….and in reading your opinion here, perhaps that’s the wisest course – but ONLY if I can resolve this most annoying glitch.

    Thank you for reading myRant

    • Hi Michael,

      Take a look at UltraMon. Unfortunately, this is not free software and the trial version (fully functional) – is limited to 30 days. In the meantime, you’ll have an opportunity to research free applications that offer similar functionality.

      I’m assuming that you have installed the latest video drivers.

      Best,

      Bill

  3. I’ve downloaded right click extender and I’m trying it out now. Thanks for the tip. (I’m on Windows 7). I haven’t tried 8, but a few people in the office have given it a shot. The missing Start button is their first complaint.

    • Hey Writerdood,

      I know that you’re like me and time just seems to evaporate. I think you’ll find this little app drives up productivity – on top of the sheer convinience.

      For sure – the missing Start button is more than a little controversial. Dumb move in my view. But, I still didn’t sell my shares. :)

      Best,

      Bill

  4. Mark

    Hi Bill,
    Windows 8 has a lot of features that are a huge improvement. It also represents a real change for the Windows environment. The only reason I wiped it from my system was driver issues. ATI graphics drivers, were not working at when I gave up. That said I’m impressed with boot times, and the restore features which should make life easier for most people.
    What I’m really looking forward to is a Surface running Win RT. If this has iPad like battery performance, I think they will do well. The Metro UI is optimized for touch, and that is where it makes the most sense.
    Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      Had the same issue with Win 8 initially – terrible printer driver which caused all sorts of havoc. Since corrected and now works like a charm. Not the Charm Bar. :)

      Same here – definitely want to get my hands on a Surface. Have to admit, I love the touch features on my PlayBook – makes navigation a breeze.

      Don’t know if it’s hot out your way – but man, it is HOT here today. 113F with the humidity. Seems like the Weather man forgot this is Canada. :)

      Best,

      Bill

      Best,

      Bill

  5. Bill,

    I don’t know how I missed this one (Right Click Extender)… Great find!

    Rick

    • Hey Rick,

      You’ll wonder how you managed to work without this one installed. It’s the 3rd app I customarily install after a wipe and OS reinstall. Saves me a ton of time.

      Oops – almost forgot. Thanks for the linkback. :)

      Best,

      Bill

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  8. Chris A.

    Hi Bill,

    I’ve been able to try out different operating systems via Virtualbox (thanks mostly to you) but so far I haven’t tried Windows 8. I’m still running XP along with Ubuntu but there are rumours that Microsoft will be offering upgrades to Windows 8 at prices that seem to be ridiculously low – at least in Europe. The main reason that I’ve resisted change so far has been the removal of “stereo mix” from sound cards for newer operating systems although I’m aware that there are a few ways around the issue. Windows 8 is part of the future of modern computing!

    Regards,

    Chris A.

    • Hi Chris,

      The price break you mention will be world wide. A good move by MS, I think.

      Couldn’t agree more – “Windows 8 is part of the future of modern computing!” Resistance to change is a non-starter.

      Best,

      Bill

  9. Hey Bill,

    I have to agree. I had originally tried dual booting Windows 8 Consumer preview with windows 7 and didn’t like it at all, for all the obvious reasons. When the release preview came out, I decided to give it one more try.

    I ended up diving in head first and switched over totally to Windows 8 and haven’t looked back. There are still a few things I don’t like about it but for the benefits it brings, I have found myself able to work around the quirks with programs like Right click extender. It’s an awesome program that is actually more of a must have for a windows 8 user than it was in windows 7, for the reasons you already stated.

    I now look at the metro part of it as just a big start menu. Most of your work is done on the desktop anyway. The only time I even open up metro is to when I install a new program, that is until I pin it to the taskbar.

    For those people who miss the start menu, they can try out Start8, which is a program that puts a start button on the taskbar and a Metro looking start menu as well. It even has an option to boot directly into the desktop bypassing Metro altogether.

    I really think everybody is jumping on the trashing windows 8 before they have actually tried it out.
    Thanks for the voice of reason

    TeX

    • Hey TeX,

      Yep, I’m with you on that – in most of the critical articles, it’s easy to tell that the critic hasn’t run with Win 8 for any appreciable time – if at all. Sad commentary on what passes for journalism. I’ll have to give Start8 a try – sounds like a good one. Thanks for that.

      Best,

      Bill

  10. Darryl Gittins

    I’m curious to hear if anyone would like to vote as to what their favorite improvements are in Windows 8. The Jump lists and search in Windows 7 really were real standouts. What floats your boat in W8?

    • Hey Darryl,

      Great question!

      As for me – my favorite improvements are – fast boot time, the almost “instant on” app load times.

      Best,

      Bill

  11. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    A wealth of useful information here, clearly and concisely put, as always.

    So PC Reset is more than a shortcut to System Restore using restore points? If so, does it reinstall from the original OS image partition, which would more or less be a factory reset of Windows 8 as supplied by the OEM? If so, I’d be tempted to turn off System Restore and save on the space taken up by restore points. The disadvantage (if it is one) would be losing the ability to revert to a previous state that is known to work and that contained all patches and updates installed thus far.

    Am I overthinking this?

    Kind regards
    John

    • Hi John,

      System Restore will put you back where you were – including the good, the bad, and the ugly. The “ugly” might be made up of malware which one is attempting to get rid of through a System Restore. This almost never works. So, System Restore is pretty good – but, far from perfect. Incidentally, you can flush System Restore points and set a maximum limit in MB/GB.

      As you know, reinstalling from the OS partition, is a new install – with all of the hassles that entails.

      PC Refresh does the following:

      Booting from the HD (through Windows Recovery Environment), keeps all personal data, Metro style apps, and important settings from the PC, and reinstalls Windows.

      This system is designed for noobs – experienced users have a their own tricks.

      Best,

      Bill

      • John Bent

        Hi Bill,

        Thanks for clarifying this. As far as reinstalling Windows is concerned, I am definitely a novice, so will relish using this simplified method once I have Windows 8.

        Kind regards
        John

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