Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

My First Day With Windows 8 (Part One)

This weekend I did something I am going to advise you not to do..

Just so we are clear: I have been using personal computers since the term “IBM clone” was coined. I became a “computer nerd” (Geek) with the advent of the “graphical user interface” (click-able icons). I have been building/repairing Microsoft Windows PC’s since Windows 95 was launched, and have been “in the trenches” making each new tech advancement work with our machines ever since.
Windows 3/95/98/ME.. Windows NT/2000/XP.. Windows Vista/7. (The good, the bad, and the ugly.)

Since September, I have been aware that a “Developer’s Preview” edition of next Microsoft operating system, Windows 8, was available for download and trial (see Windows 8 Developer Preview available as free download) but have had neither the time, nor that much interest, to install it. This weekend I made the time.

A Tech’s First Impressions:
Windows 8 is Microsoft’s operating system of the future, and they are adapting to the fact that that future is being shaped by tablet PC’s and smart phones. Touch-screens. Gestures.

I downloaded and installed the smallest package – the plain 32-bit – onto a partition (“dual boot) of a HP Pavilion desktop PC. Installation went smooth, and was quite quick. After the second (and final) reboot, I saw a screen like this..

Okay.. now what?

Where’s the login?

Where’s something I can click?

So I started clicking at random all over the screen. And tried all the well-known keyboard shortcuts. And pounding both fists on the keyboard. Then I threw my wireless mouse at the wall, and – finally – something happened, I saw a plain, puke greenish login screen – yay! (I found out later, this is the “lock screen”, and I was supposed to ‘slide’ it up with my finger.. or, double-click on it [which I thought I had..])(The up arrow works too.)

Double-click.. why didn’t I think of that?

[attention Microsoft: the Android and Apple lock screens have WORDS on them instructing us what to do.. why don’t you copy the whole idea?]

Well, I know how to log in, so, next I saw.. the Metro interface

Uh.. what? Where’s the Start button?

Store. Shopping. Weather. Paintplay… no thank you.

Please.. where is the Start button???

I clicked on Paintplay. Why not? It was just as irrelevant as any other secret square.

This filled my entire screen.

Yippee. Don’t care about a doodle pad. So, time to try something else.


How do I get out of Paintplay? Note that there is no “red X” in the upper right corner?

Whaaaat? No red X? Okay.. maybe the Esc key.. nope. Maybe that gray X in the lower right.. nope.


Alt+M? .. Ctrl+Z?

Maybe I could “grab an edge” and shrink the window to mere inches.. nope.

Holy jumpin catfish. I couldn’t get out of a program! So I killed it in Task Manager after I discovered that good ole reliable Ctrl+Alt+Del still worked.

10 minutes in, and I am feeling good and stupid.

Later, I went on the Internet and researched, and found out I was supposed to press the Windows key.

Why didn’t I think of that?

The Windows key! The one I practically never touched in 20+ years!

I clicked on other secret squares, and each and every time, whatever it was that opened, filled my entire screen.

This might be OK if I was on a 7″ tablet.. or smaller yet smart phone. But it is NOT how I compute and get work done. I use windows (often, side by side). I have rather large monitor.. I don’t need a 23″ wide doodle pad...
[attention Microsoft:
what is the name of your operating system? Why did you name it that.. all these years ago now??]

I simply could not figure out how to turn off my machine either. The power button has gone missing……….

Yes. I did find the “Desktop” secret square.

Out of time for today: I have run long, and out of time for today, but will be back with more on this. Yes, my first brush with Metro was incredibly frustrating, and for the first time ever, a new Windows version made me feel like a moron. (I know, some of you out there are laughing at old Tech Paul. But you take away my Start button, and it seems I am lost. The Start button has been there since Windows 3 {1990}) But I am not totally displeased with Windows 8. Not at all.
Just the Metro UI.

Hate it. Simply and utterly.

My first impressions of Windows 8 confirms what I have been reading: Microsoft is trying to make one OS fit all devices – tablets and phones and desktop PC’s.

But here’s the thing: One Size Fits All never does.

Attention Microsoft: I want the ability to completely disable Metro to be a “one click” On/Off setting (call it “Classic mode” if you must) in Windows 8 — and I suspect I am not at all alone in that. Someday, when I buy a Windows tablet, I might prefer the Metro. But on desktop machines, controlled by keyboard and mouse, Metro is .. well, this is a family website; I cannot type what I really think, so I will simply say that I almost downloaded a file from a Russian server just to make it go away. I want Metro gone that badly.

Of course, my frustration with Metro would have been greatly lessened had I read this article first.

But come on. A professional technician has to research just to do basic computing moves? Like exit a program??? It’s not intuitive for a multi-decade Windows user??????

Maybe I’m just too old.. and should retire.
nah. Windows 7 is the cat’s pajamas. I’ll just stick withit (maybe forever?). But.. I will be back with more – happier – Windows 8 (Developers Preview) articles soon. Maybe.. tomorrow?

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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November 14, 2011 - Posted by | advice, computers, Microsoft, News, PC, tech, Windows, Windows 8 | , , ,


  1. I really think you should have video taped the entire experience. We missed out learning new language skills, I am sure.

    My weekend was the worst. The NICEST thing that happened to me this weekend was spending over $600.00 on new tires.


    Comment by delenn13 | November 14, 2011 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      I am going to go out on a limb, and surmise that you are suggesting (maybe) that I may have let fly with with some .. “colorful” language. I hope I won’t disappoint readers too much when I confess I have no real aptitude in that department, and basically stick to the classics. (Not in the likes of the league of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman..)

      In hindsight, I am glad it happened, as I believe it helped me feel for the “average computer user” out there. I am not only an IT Professional, but a tech enthusiast, and spend far too, too many hours a day at a keyboard. It has been decades since the Problem In The Chair has been me.


      Comment by techpaul | November 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. Wow! a lot of unexpected work, stress and frustration…but being Tech Paul you will conquer it all!

    Thanks for the forewarning … the walk-thru with the install of Windows 8.


    Comment by Gaia | November 14, 2011 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      There is a distinct “learning curve” to the Metro “interface”, and that I found it unintuitive, after all my years of intimate knowledge of Microsoft products, was surprising to me.. yes. (In many ways, Metro is more like Android, or Apple’s iOS, than Windows. [But, I had no “home” or “back” buttons..])
      But as future articles will describe.. my initial fumbling is not a permanent bar.


      Comment by techpaul | November 14, 2011 | Reply

  3. Actually, this sounds like me setting up some of my DOS Box games..only worse. Have you seen “the cool Windows 8 blank green screen of crash” yet? Can’t remember where I read about it. Could have been Cnet, TechRepublic, Diaspora or Google+.


    Comment by delenn13 | November 15, 2011 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      My schedule has not allowed me to spend a whole lot of time on Windows 8 DE, but no, I have not seen anything yet other than a slightly improved Windows 7 underneath that Metro UI. So far, it’s quick, stable, and.. not all that different. (I have yet to be “excited” by anything.. but am very intrigued by the device syncing.)

      Which is “all good”.. as I have described Windows 7 as “the Windows Bill Gates has been promising us since Windows 95” (aka, they finally got it right).

      As for Metro.. I would probably like (and certainly had had less trouble with) Metro on a smaller, touch-screen device.


      Comment by techpaul | November 15, 2011 | Reply

  4. Tech Paul,

    I assume you have heard of the registry tweak that restores the old interface? If not, here’s an article that explains it: I personally think that Windows 8 is Windows 7 with the interface for tablets added. Basically useless for desktop owners.


    Comment by Ben | November 15, 2011 | Reply

    • Ben,
      Yes I was but I do thank you for providing the link.

      And I agree, but I am intend to experience the whole package. Since this is just a trial install.. may as well try it.


      Comment by techpaul | November 15, 2011 | Reply

  5. gee, prof TP, this new offering from ms sounds just as crappy as ubuntu’s,
    which has the punters switching to other distros in droves
    – gotta be something in the water, eh


    Comment by dar | November 16, 2011 | Reply

    • dar,
      If I had bothered to read even a little bit before diving in, the Metro “UI” would not have been quite as much of a puzzler.
      So some of that is on me. It’s just that I have never before not been able to “intuit” my way (blindfolded) around a new Microsoft OS install before.

      Underneath Metro is an enhanced Windows 7 (which is without doubt the best Microsoft OS ever) so I don’t think “crappy” is at all applicable here.. but I think it safe to conclude that Desktop PC users will have very little use for Metro, and I suspect many/most/all will turn it off


      Comment by techpaul | November 16, 2011 | Reply

  6. Wow! How did I miss this? We too found the Metro cumbersome to say the least on a desktop. Fortunately we put ours on a touchscreen and finally figured out how to navigate and close the screens and programs. You are completely correct about a classic mode button should be available for desktop users. Great article!



    Comment by TTC Shelbyville IT Department | December 6, 2011 | Reply

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