Windows 8 Series – Features and Bugs in Windows 8 Release Preview

The Windows 8 UI, renamed from Metro UI to Modern UI, is pretty efficient in terms of the number of clicks and keystrokes needed to accomplish the most frequent tasks. Opening apps and searching for files and programs takes just a click from the Start Screen, which opens at start-up. You can also open the Task-bar shortcuts by exiting to the desktop. I’ve placed shortcuts to frequently used apps in the start screen, so that I don’t need to open the desktop all the time. System icons like network, battery/power status and options for mobile devices, system settings etc. can be accessed by moving the mouse pointer vertically at the right-most part of the screen. Similarly, you can access the open apps by hovering over the top-left corner, and go to the start screen by hovering over the bottom-left corner. These are technically called hotspots in the Windows 8 or Modern UI.

Windows 8

Some navigation and editing features in Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 have been incorporated in the Windows explorer app, such as copy, paste, new, delete and properties in addition to show/hide, rename, next/previous etc. This will help avoid several clicks for users who don’t regularly use keyboard shortcuts. The file transfer/copy window has been completely re-invented, with a detailed speed/progress chart and the option to keep, replace or rename files based on name, size and date of modification.

After using Windows 8 Release for just a few minutes, I had come across the following UI (user-interface) bugs:

The active window is sometimes de-activated automatically, and control shifts to a suppressed/lower window. In this case, you can’t move the window on top! Also, left- or right-clicking inside a window sometimes doesn’t work at all. These bugs seem pretty elementary and obvious, so I hadn’t expected them in a Release Preview of Windows 8!

Web browsers in Windows 8 – Internet Explorer or IE, Google Chrome as well as Mozilla Firefox – frequently crash, typically when there is a lot of flash content on the pages, even after installing the latest flash player and browser versions. Clearing local data, disabling hardware acceleration and enabling Hyper-V don’t seem to solve the problem, since I already tried these fixes after reading about them on other blogs and forums.

The ability to mount CD/DVD images and inbuilt security features definitely make Windows 8 a more attractive option than otherwise, as do the interface modifications mentioned above in addition to the PIN and Picture password feature. I’m currently using a picture password with simple gestures like straight lines and circles on an image of my own choice.

I hope Microsoft’s Windows 8 team fixes the bugs soon, if it aims to make inroads into the OS market within a year.

Have you tried Windows 8 yet? Please share your experiences with us.

Samir Saurav Majhi
I'm a rolling stone, with diverse interests from Theoretical Physics to Ubuntu Gaming, Nature Photography to Buddhism. Basically, if you want to talk about ANYTHING, I'm your guy!
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