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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.)

ss_app_bar

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

all_apps

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.

search

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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: 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.