Windows 8 – It’s really easy to use

Windows 8 is out and laptops are flying out of retail businesses.  End users are complaining about navigating in Windows 8.   It is really easy.  Truly designed for touchscreens and tablets, Windows 8 menus are in the corners and on the side.   Here is a basic setup of Windows 8 in VMWare and a few shortcut clues.   Think of Windows 8 as two operating systems.   Think of the applications on the front as one OS and the desktop as a super performing Windows 7.

Remember you can find your programs on the application front or in your programs under Windows 8.

You should find Windows 8 very smooth and reliable.  Here’s our performance ratings –

——————————–Windows 7          Windows 8 in VMPlayer

Boot Time                          38 secs                   19 secs
Shutdown                          17 secs                   10 secs
200 MB file copy             14 secs                    13 secs

(See the PCWorld article on “Windows 7 to Windows 8: The system’s biggest improvements”.

Remember you can get alternate menus if you don’t like touching the corners with your mouse.   (Menus mentioned on Whats On My PC – Thanks Rick and any sources credited in his article.)   There will always be updates and changes to operating systems.

To say Windows 8 is a disaster before truly using the operating system usually comes from people who don’t like change or who have not given the operating system time to mature.   Yes, they need a desktop version and a tablet version.  An easier to use menu should be available for end users.

There were huge changes from DOS to Windows 95 and we have came a long way as far as usability, performance and with communication.  If you are fragile to change, use the menus above.   You’ll find the operating system to be one of the fastest and most reliable on the market.    Do some research on Windows 8 and you will find articles that appear to be biased, negative and against the changes Microsoft has made.    Read the comments on the articles and you will find many end users who love Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform.   It has always been this way.

If I go back 20+ years and look at menus and usability of operating systems, I’ve just about seen it all as far as change goes.   If we wrote articles on stepping back in time,  we’d find the flaws with every operating system and wonder how we got where we’re at today.   However, at the time, it was all state of the art and it is a fun ride.

Technology is changing daily.   Download VMPlayer or VirtualBox and use them all.    I love the differences in the operating systems that are on the market.

For this installation, I installed the OS into VMPlayer.  (See our article on Windows 7 Installation in VMPlayer)

The initial screen shows the new Windows logo during the boot-up process.  You will experience a two to three minute delay depending on your memory CPU, Hard Drive and memory (resources).   On this VMPlayer, I used 2 GB of RAM and 30 GB of hard drive space.

1 Booting

The installation has a period of time that it will appear that your computer is doing nothing.  The files are being installed to your computer at this time.

2 setup starting

After 3-5 minutes (depending on your computer’s resources) you will see an installation that looks like Windows 7.

3 Looks like 7 setup

Once the installation has unpacked files and begins the installation, the computer will reboot and you will be greeted by the Windows Logo and a “Getting Ready” message.

4 Getting Ready

An unfamiliar ‘Hi’ message will appear and messages will begin to appear including how to find menus.   Microsoft will alert you to where the menus are.  (They are on the sides and corners.)

5 Welcome

Although you will receive a message to Swipe in from any edge, this is for touchscreens and tablets.

6 Swipe

If you are using on a desktop, simply move your mouse into any corner of your screen and hesitate just for a second or two.   A menu will appear.

7 corners

Be patient during this time, the desktop information and Windows is still loading.

8 ready

Once your computer is ready, you will be brought to your application or login screen.  If you have the login screen click and drag the mouse upwards will reveal the login.

9 menu with applications

Because I used VMPlayer, the VMWare tools are installed after my installation.

10 start menu

Below is the login wallpaper that you will see that appears over the login.  Click and drag your mouse upwards.

11 Front menu

The login screen.

12 login

If you want to see your documents, libraries, computer, recycle bin, network and control panel (desktop icons), simply right click the desktop and select personalize.   (The desktop app is on the application screen if you landed there.)

13 Desktop menu

Moving your mouse to the lower left corner where your Start Button or Windows Orb was before will present you with a application menu.   You can right click this menu to access Program and Features, Power Options, the Event Viewer, System, Device Manager, Disk Management, Computer Management, Command Prompts (regular and Administrator), the new Task Manager, Control Panel, File Explorer (navigation through your files – this is new and easy to use), Search and Run (to run a program by typing in the command).

14 menu by right clicking

In order to register Windows 8, I use the command line which never fails if you have a network connection.

Open a command prompt as an Administrator and type – slmgr.vbs -ipk ‘Product key – 25 alphanumberic characters’

15 registering number

16 Registered number

The right menu allows you to Search, Share, go to the Application Menu (Start) Device and Settings.  To access this menu, move your mouse to the right side of the screen and hesitate just for a moment.

17 rightmenu

The PC Settings found in the menu allow you to customize the look and feel of Windows 8.  You can also adjust Notifications, manage users, use the search function, Share and use other PC settings.

pc settings

Below is the Search function found in Windows 8.


Windows Explorer now offers a view that gives several dozen options.

18 Explorer

The new menu can add things such as quick launch menus by right clicking and adding this feature in explorer.

19 Quick Access toolbar

The control panel has all of the options of Windows 7 and a few extra features.

20 Control Panel

The Task Manager offers a very detailed view of Processes, Performance (shows your CPU, Memory, Network and Hard Driver Performance).

21 Task Manager

22 Performance Monitor

23 Disk

The system information contains familiar menus found in Windows 7.

24 Performance Information

The Advanced Tools which are found in Windows 7 are also in Windows 8.   Users do not utilize these tools like they should.

25 Advanced tools

Disk Cleanup in Windows 8 is the familiar Windows Disk Cleanup.   You can download your favorite utilities on Windows 8.

26 Cleanup

Here I am installing CCleaner from Piriform.   An excellent cleanup utility that can be used on Windows or (new) Apple.

27 New apps

Internet Explorer 10 which is really fast and stable can be used with your new installation or you can install your favorite browser.   Below, you’ll see I installed Chrome.

28 Default 29 Chrome in Windows 8 30 ccleaner in 8

Under the settings (right menu – from above), you can also manage Applications.


Once you get Windows 8 installed and tweaked like you want it, you can also use the Storage Spaces (if you have multiple hard drives) to make your computer even more reliable to use.  See the PCWorld article “How to master Storage Spaces in Windows 8”.

If you want to restart or power down, click the menu in the lower left corner.   Then click on your user and select Sign out.

You can then hit the Power button on the lower right corner.

31 Signing out

32 Power Down

The golden question is should you upgrade when Windows 7 does basically the same things?  This could be the reason PC sales are down.  But with the Windows 8 Pro tablet coming out,  the OS will find its place in technology.

PCWorld’s “Why you should upgrade to Windows 8”


About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
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3 Responses to Windows 8 – It’s really easy to use

  1. Ramblinrick says:

    Excellent tutorial… I can tell it took a lot of work to put this together.

    Thanks for the link back!


  2. Jon Ward says:

    I’m skipping Windows 8 just like I skipped Vista. Win8 has seriously hurt Microsoft and they know it. My money’s on the Start Menu returning in Win9.

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