First Windows 8 CP Observations

I’ve had a full day to work with Windows 8 exclusively and have had a few minor observations, some of which might have been different if I didn’t also have a Windows Phone.

1) Email.

I have Yahoo!, Google, and Exchange email accounts but only Google and Exchange are supported natively by Windows 8 CP. As I’m trying to phase out my reliance on Yahoo! Mail (which would phase out my reliance on AT&T internet service since it’s tied to it) this has been a relatively easy loss. This has also shown me just how little I need to be worried about what comes in on that account, when previously I felt it was a big deal. I was tied to this notion that as email came in, I either unsubscribed from it, or updated the email account on the site/service it came from. I’m finding most of the important ones are already done and obsessing over the other non-important emails is not a big priority.

2) Internet.

The full screen Internet Explorer is still somewhat troublesome. It seems to be tied to the windowed Internet Explorer you pull up while in the Desktop app. Passwords are shared, browsing history, and any other info you would expect. But you (or rather, I) cannot seem to keep the windowed IE browsing one page and the full-page IE app browsing another and be able to Alt-Tab back and forth. Also, Alt-Tab seems not to function well when you have multiple “tabs” in the full-page IE app as well as several open apps. Alt-F4'ing the full-page IE app closes all tabs without confirmation which caused me to close some pages I didn’t want or thought were on the windowed app. Partially my fault, but still, I think some synchronization issues lie there.

3). Multiple Monitors.

So far the multiple monitor support has worked well. I have one portrait 32" monitor and a landscape 24" and setup was minimal at worst. I’m pleased that the task bar (minus the system tray) appears on both monitors and not just the main one. It is also very nice having a full-page app on the main monitor and basically a desktop extension on the second. I sort of get the best of worth worlds with that functionality.

4) Time.

I absolutely do not like that there is no local time displayed anywhere on the Windows 8 Start screen. I have to go into the Desktop app and look at the system tray on the primary monitor (since, again, it’s not displayed on both monitors, just the task bar is) to see what time it is. This is a pain and hopefully will be addressed before shipping.

5) Start Screen Customization.

I have been happy with the rearranging aspect of the Start page. The column group works well as does the dragging of icons. I’d like to be able to force two columns instead of having a required 6 item height but I can live with that. There is always adding another column to get around that if needed.

6. Messenger.

Not having built-in messenger support for anything but Windows Messenger is very limiting for me. I only have two regular contacts I chat with on Windows Messenger, the rest are AIM or Yahoo!. I had to install a normal client to get back to functioning in this realm, but even that is limited unless my chat window is on my second monitor and therefore not hidden by a full-screen app. With Windows 8’s approach to one app for all services, like their People, Mail, and Messenger apps, I can only hope these natural extensions are coming soon.

However, with everything said, nothing yet is so insurmountable that I can’t use the new OS. So far I’m enjoying the challenge of using a new, and radically different, OS. We’ll see where it goes from here.