October shall be a big and busy month for us at 2 Shots of Geek with Extra Life on the 20th and Windows 8 launching on the 26th. Our Extra Life Event in San Diego, CA will be epic and we still need your help, just click on the Extra Life link above. As for Windows 8, well let’s just say it shall be a big launch day! However, there is a growing group that has decided to condemn this new Operating System for the lack of the Start Menu. Why is the Start Menu so important and is it really necessary? Continue Reading to find out…
The start menu has been a familiar tool since it’s inclusion in Windows 95. At the time many pundits wondered why we needed a start menu. It stayed mostly the same over the years until Windows Vista and Windows 7 gave it breath of fresh air. It was simplified to show only your most used applications, and an All Programs button to list the remaining. It also included a search to find things easier, right in the start menu. Certainly, it has worked great for us for many years, but do we really use it?
That one question hit me the other and I thought back to my usage. With Windows 7 I have pinned to the taskbar my most frequent applications. I don’t even have need to click the start menu or those. What about my other applications? On the rare occasion I need one of those applications that is not pinned to my taskbar; I do indeed use the start menu, but not in the traditional sense. In the days of old, I would open the start menu and scroll down and search for the one application which was within another folder. This usually only took thirty seconds to a minute depending on how familiar I was with it’s location. With Windows 7, I learned an easier trick of using the search. I simply open the start menu and start typing the name of the application, file, or setting I need and bam! it was listed right up there in the start menu often before I could even finish typing the name. This saved me time and effort, indeed!
Now with the upcoming Windows 8 the start menu is completely removed. Oh No, the sky is Falling! No it’s not, not really. The new start screen, formally called Metro, uses tiles (or large icons) that link to your applications, they also can show real time information without the need to open that application. Very useful for e-mail, weather, financial, etc. applications. You can organize them very easily if you so desire. We also get a Desktop app that opens to a desktop view as we have become accustomed to in previous versions of Windows, but still no start menu. However, you can still pin applications to the taskbar.
Well, we have our favorite applications organized in the new Start Screen and pinned to the taskbar under Desktop view, but what about those applications we don’t use as often? One option is to browse the tiles, scrolling from left to right until we find the right one. Then again, could we have an easier way? Yes, we can! When at the new start screen, simply start typing the name of the item you want. Whether it’s an application, file, or windows setting. No need to click anything first, just start typing! How easy is that? Super Easy and quick. The list with populate within seconds and your on your way.
In conclusion, I must state that while the start menu was a useful tool – it has been effectively replaced my a more efficient option. Not everyone shall agree right now, but that’s ok. In my opinion, Microsoft is making great strides improving on their technologies with Windows 8 and making it easier for just about anyone to use intuitively.