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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: All Apps Comes Of Age March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: All Apps Comes Of Age

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If you’re familiar with Windows Phone, you know that this system presents a dual view user experience, with a primary screen called the Start screen that is filled with pinned tiles and a secondary screen called All Apps that lists every single app installed on the device. In the Windows 8 Developer Preview, however, only the Start screen was readily available. To get to All Apps, curiously, you needed to instantiate a search.

Guess what just got a lot easier?

In the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft has fixed All Apps, making it much easier to access and, as important, making it even more useful than the similar feature in Windows Phone.

To access All Apps from the Start screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the new App Bar and then tap the All Apps button. (With the keyboard, you can tap WINKEY + Z. Or, with a mouse, just right-click the Start screen.)

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The new All Apps interface, shown below, includes a few improvements, too.

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First, as you install new applications, the All Apps screen will segregate each of the app’s various executables into groups so that they’re together. As you can see above, there are groups for internal items (Windows Accessories) as well as applications that were installe separately by the user (Microsoft Office).

Also, the presentation is denser than it was in the Developer Preview, providing more apps onscreen at once.

Microsoft tells me, however, that one more change is coming. What’s missing, currently, is a way to easily get back to where you just were. So between the Consumer Preview an RTM, Microsoft will add an App Bar to the interface with a button to go back.

Note that you can still search for apps as before, and that’s true whether you’re in the Start screen or the All Apps view. To start a search, simply start typing any letter.

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts

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With the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft has completely overhauled the system of keyboard shortcuts that utilize the ubiquitous Windows Key, and as you’ll soon discover, virtually ever letter in the alphabet is now assigned to some function. This change is in keeping with the company’s desire to make Windows 8 highly usable not just by beginners with touchscreen-based devices, but also by more experienced users on traditional PCs.

Here’s the complete list of Windows Key keyboard shortcuts in Windows 8. Unless otherwise noted, each is attained by tapping and holding down the Windows Key on your keyboard while striking another character…….

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The True Story Behind the Missing Start Button March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The True Story Behind the Missing Start Button

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In the past few weeks, screen captures emerged showing that the Start button, a fixture in Windows since 95 when it debuted in Windows 95, would be removed from Windows 8. Enthusiasts acted as if it were a betrayal, a final nail in the coffin of the desktop UI they just know is being herded out to pasture.

None of it is true. Well, the Start button is being removed from the Windows 8 desktop, though as I wrote about in tongue-in-cheek fashion in Windows 8 Secrets: Windows 8 Is NOT Dropping The Start Button, any Windows logoed device or PC will have a Windows key (on the keyboard) or Windows key button (on the device itself) that will accomplish the same thing. What I couldn’t tell you at the time, sorry, was that this is only part of the story.

So here’s the true story behind the missing Start button in Windows 8.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Improvements to Mouse and Keyboard Navigation March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Improvements to Mouse and Keyboard Navigation

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While I probably had more experience with the Windows 8 Developer Preview than almost anyone–I used it as my primary PC platform for several months until the release of the Consumer Preview–it didn’t take much time with that version of the OS to realize that something was missing. And that’s because it was missing. Yes, Microsoft had nearly fully realize the touch experience for Windows 8 in the Developer Preview, because that was essentially a new interface paradigm for most users and the company wanted to get it right. But users of PCs with traditional keyboards and mice–i.e. almost everyone–noticed that the Developer Preview was quite lacking. And the complaints pored in as expected.

Folks, it’s all fixed…….

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: User Experience and Fit and Finish Improvements March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: User Experience and Fit and Finish Improvements

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With the Windows 8 Developer Preview, Microsoft made a promise about the future of Windows, a promise that is only now coming to fruition in the Consumer Preview. And that promise is this: While the major user experience changes in Windows 8 are indeed inspired by, and tailored to, multi-touch, they will work equally well with traditional PC interfaces, including keyboard, mouse, and trackpad.

Users who braved the Developer Preview hoping to garner some hint at this future, as I did for several painful months, came away disappointed. But that was by design, in the sense that Microsoft knew it had a certain amount of time to get the new, touch-based interfaces right, and it thus focused its efforts on shipping the new user experience first, while knowing that the keyboard and mouse/trackpad improvements could follow in a subsequent milestone.

But the Developer Preview wasn’t just incomplete from a user experience standpoint, it was also in some ways fundamentally incorrect. That is, because there were unfinished user interface bits, Microsoft had to implement small hacks just to get the Developer Preview out the door in a way that could be used………..

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Top 8 Features February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Top 8 Features

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Anyone using the Windows 8 Consumer Preview will be struck by how much more complete the experience is this time around, how the seemingly disconnected strands presented in the Developer Preview are all coming together suddenly, and wonderfully. Yes, there will be lingering questions from power users about the interoperability of the Metro environment and desktop apps. But really, the sheer amount of polish on this release should be a wake-up call to anyone who thought Microsoft would never pull this thing off. Windows 8 isn’t just real. It’s in great shape.

As you probably know, I have a ton of content for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and tons more to come. But before moving on to the next stage of my coverage, I thought I’d take a step back and reflect on the handful of things–OK, 8, what the heck–that really stand out in this release.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: What’s New in the Consumer Preview February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: What’s New in the Consumer Preview

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According to Microsoft, there are literally of thousands of improvements in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. But if you’re familiar with the previous milestone, the Developer Preview, and only want a high-level view of the major changes, go no further. Here’s a comprehensive list of the most important changes Microsoft made to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Some are obvious, sure. But some may surprise you.

Note: This is by no means a complete list, and of course you should check out my many other Windows 8 Consumer Preview articles for even more information about the changes in this release.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Welcome to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Welcome to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

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For weeks now I’ve been biting my tongue, watching what I say and write about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. But with the release today of this most eagerly-awaited Windows 8 milestone, the shackles are off. This freedom takes a few different forms for me. I can reveal that work on Windows 8 Secrets has already begun in earnest. And I have a ton of content to post here on the SuperSite for Windows, with more to come in the days ahead. Best of all, I can guarantee that you’ll find out things about Windows 8 here you won’t see anywhere else.

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know that I often write lengthy reviews of Microsoft products, including pre-release versions. With the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, however, I’m going to do things a bit differently. This article will serve as a high-level introduction of sorts, providing you with a basic overview of what’s new and different in this second and most crucial milestone on the way to Windows 8. But scattered throughout the discussion below, you’ll find links to numerous other articles about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the vast majority of which are immediately available and dramatically expand on the overview provided here. This isn’t just information overload, it’s a tsunami.

Ready? Good, let’s dive right in.

Windows 8: For IT Professionals February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in Microsoft, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8: For IT Professionals

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Get Started with the Springboard Series for Windows 8

Metro style app development February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in Microsoft, Software, Windows 8.
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Metro style app development

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Download the tools and SDK

Get the tools to build Metro style apps for Windows 8. Our free download includes Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express Beta for Windows 8 and Blend for Visual Studio 11 Beta to help jumpstart your project.

Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Experience the newest version of Windows and see for yourself how apps are at the center of the Windows 8 experience.

Explore the documentation

Our docs are optimized to make you more productive. Discover everything you need to plan, build, and sell great apps.

Read the developer guide

Windows 8 Consumer Preview introduces many powerful features for developers. Discover the new features for Desktop, Web, and Metro style app developers.