Every new version of Windows has included interface changes. Most of these have been minor -- an icon moved here, a toolbar added there. Windows 8 will be different, using a completely new Metro interface as the primary environment and removing important elements like the Start menu from the older but still accessible "desktop" interface. Even IT pros may need to do some Web searching to figure out some features. What questions will your workers have, and will you have the answers?
Windows 8, especially the Metro interface, was designed for touchscreens. Using a pointing device like a mouse or a touchpad is generally less intuitive and more difficult than using touch-based gestures. There are usually multiple ways to accomplish a task in Windows, so the ones mentioned below may not be the only alternatives. Also, this is a preview of Windows 8, features and the way they are accessed may change in the final release. With all that in mind, here are answers to some of the basic questions workers will be asking their first day using Windows 8.
[ Also on InfoWorld: J. Peter Bruzzese, a steadfast Microsoft loyalist, finds himself horrified by Windows 8 Consumer Preview | Windows 8 is coming, and InfoWorld can help you get ready with the Windows 8 Deep Dive PDF special report, which explains Microsoft's bold new direction for Windows, the new Metro interface for tablet and desktop apps, the transition from Windows 7, and more. | Stay abreast of key Microsoft technologies in our Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ]
How do I log on?
Unless you're the one installing Windows 8, the first thing you're likely to see on a Windows 8 device is a scenic background with an overlaid clock. Similar to using CTR+ALT+DEL to access the logon screen in previous version of Windows, to expose the logon screen in Windows 8 either swipe (slide your finger across a touchscreen) or drag (click and move with a pointing device) the Lock screen upward.
Where is the Start menu?
The Start menu is gone, no longer a part of Windows. Instead, your starting point will be the Metro interface Start screen, comprised of smart "tiles" that act like desktop shortcuts and can contain all sorts of information related to a program, such as listing your latest email messages, upcoming calendar appointments, or incoming chats.
How do I get back to Metro?
If you're in the desktop interface, either by choice or because you opened a desktop app, returning to the Start screen isn't intuitive. To get back to Metro, open the Charms Bar by either swiping in from the right edge of a touchscreen or moving your pointer to the lower-right corner. From the vertical menu that appears select the Start icon which will take you to Metro's Start screen.
Where are my apps?
Some of your apps are shown as tiles on the Start screen. If you don't see what you need there, open the Charms Bar and select search. This will reveal an Apps screen that you can scroll or swipe through, or you can type within the search bar to see apps and other content related to your search.