All Apps Screen
After doing a lot of research, testing, multiple installs, and the most important part, McAfee Enterprise finally
came out with Patch 3 to support Windows 8, I officially made the jump yesterday. The version I'm running is Windows 8 Pro x64 with Windows Media Center.
As you can see by the above screens, I'm using the native Start screen. Yes, it was a bit of a shock to me when I first installed the Consumer Preview back in March of 2012. However, I took it upon myself to learn the new interface, and was able to fully customize it to fit my needs.
My desktop is clean, except for the recycle bin icon (just like I had it in Windows 7). Really outside of the missing little orb for the start menu, I feel like I am in Windows 7 when I'm looking at my desktop.
On the Start Screen, I have the applications that I launch most often. They are also grouped by function. From left to right the columns are "Windows Functions or Apps", then "Games", followed by "Microsoft Office", and finally "My installed Applications". I know there are no actual heading names, but that is how I grouped them.
Looking at the "All Apps" screen, I fully customized this as well. As I've said in numerous threads, that screen uses the directory names and folder structure found at "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs". So as I was building my system, I took all of the folders and icons that were created, and moved them all to the desktop. Once everything was installed, I setup the main folders (column headings) and put the icons inside of them, and then moved the whole works to the directory I noted above. The result is what we see on my "All Apps" screen.
In my specific case, I also have a Microsoft Digital Pro Media keyboard. It has buttons to bring up My Documents, My Music, and My Pictures. It also has a Mail, Web/Home, and Messenger button. So, I was able to configure the last three to launch Thunderbird, Waterfox, and Skype. This is why those icons do not appear on the Start Screen (but do appear on the All Apps screen if in the event my keyboard has an issue). This keyboard also has a key that opens the windows calculator as well. I use that a lot, and its so easy to just tap a key on my keyboard to bring it up.
I can very quickly tap my Windows Key to open the start screen, and then click on the application that I want to run.
The only time I actually use the charms bar is if I want to reboot or shutdown the computer. I don't see a need to use the other icons, as I can get them from either inside Windows Explorer (search), or the Control Panel (Settings and Devices). The start icon is (to me) a waste, as why would I drag the mouse to the top or bottom right, bring up the charms bar, and then click to get to the start screen, when all I have to do is tap my windows key on the my keyboard?
Overall, I am very happy with Windows 8. I like the new interface, because I can customize it to fit my needs. If I do need to make changes to anything, the control panel icon is right there on my start screen. Since the Control Panel is the same as it was in Windows 7 (with new features I'm thinking), making changes was just as easy in Windows 8 as it was in Windows 7.
Finally, if anyone is interested, I do have quite a detailed list of steps that I went through (and will use each time I re-install) to install and configure my specific setup. It shows step by step what I did, which includes the modifications I made, services I may have disabled, power options, etc, etc, etc. And if anyone is wondering, I had a similar list for Windows 7 too. I do this so that I can keep track of what changes I made to the OS, in case someone has questions about something not working, or why something may work differently for me, or why something looks like it does on my system. Its a good reference point especially when trying to troubleshoot an issue. It could also be used by someone other then me, if they wanted to setup their system just like I have it (or take parts of it for their own use).
I'm open for any questions or comments that anyone may have.
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