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I thought I’d post a few first impressions having actually used a Windows 8 machine for a day after setting my laptop up to boot Win 8 from VHD.

I like the fact that you can search just by typing in the start screen, although it seems a little unintuitive, and sometimes it appears to have found nothing, when actually it has discovered some matching applications and you need to click again to actually see the matches.

The new task manager is very cool. I’m especially pleased that you can bring a processes child windows to the front with it, which is something I used to need SysInternals Process Explorer for. It helps you to recover applications that appear to have hung because they are showing a message box or save as dialog that is not visible.

I’ve only briefly played with the default applications. I like the fact that the Sports one lets you specify your favourite team. It still needs a bit of tweaking as there are confusing ‘results’ shown for future fixtures, but its a good start. The Weather application using my location to find where I am is also a nice touch. I also like that it comes with a SkyDrive app by default as well.

My biggest annoyance so far is that when you use Alt-tab or Windows-tab to cycle through open applications, it includes the Metro apps as well. This is a pain because you can’t close Metro apps. If you’ve clicked through a bunch of Metro apps, then they will forever clutter up your alt-tab experience.

The Windows Store is rather sparsely populated, and once again it was not obvious to me how to search. Hopefully it will have good search capabilities as I doubt any app I create will ever be one of the top apps in any category.

The lack of a start menu in desktop mode still feels weird to me, and I still would like the metro interface to be available as a floating window in desktop mode, but I’ll give myself a bit longer to see if I can learn to live with this new way of working.


Comment by Anonymous

Note that booting from VHD disables hibernation and hybrid boot which noticeably speeds up boot time, so you're missing one of the best features of Windows 8. To close metro apps drag the mouse from the top edge to the bottom and the app won't appear in Alt-Tab anymore. To search in apps simply use the Search charm, works like this in every metro app.

Comment by Mark H

thanks for the alt-tab tip Anonymous, very useful to know.

Comment by Anonymous

I also found that you can go to the very top left corener of the screen, and then right click on the app that appears and chose close (or the x - can't remember). this "closes" the app properly (kinda ! )