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My biggest issues with Windows 8

This is a bit of a ranty whine. But everyone appears to be doing it, so I’m hopping on the bandwagon so I can roll with the crowd.

I’m going to tank about Windows 8.

There’s much to be said about Microsoft’s new OS, and much of it has already been said. However I’ve got two very small specific things I want to complain about, both of which mean that, in my view, Windows 8 is just a little bit less useful than its predecessor. They are these things:

1) Keyboard ninja fail

One thing I’ve always loved about Windows is that it’s possible to drive the entire environment through the keyboard. Microsoft always put a lot of time and effort into making sure that keyboard shortcuts were both sensible and everywhere. People who do a lot of typing for a living (like me) become comfortable and familiar with these shortcuts, and they end up being hard-wired into your brain. It means that when you sit down in front of any other OS, the lack of ability to do certain things without resorting to the mouse is really annoying.

On the one hand, Windows 8 evolves this with some really useful shortcuts. Type <Win-X> and you’ll get a pop-up menu full of generically useful things appear, which lets you launch things like the event viewer, computer manager, programs and features. These are all selectable by other keyboard shortcuts, so I’ve now got “event viewer = <Win-X> + V” becoming wired into my head.

The fail side of this is how they’ve moved some other shortcuts around. For as long as I can remember, any context menu that had a ‘properties’ item was always accessible with the ‘r’ key. So you could right click on a file (or, whatever), hit ‘r’ and get the properties dialog for that file/application/thing. In Win8, ‘r’ does nothing. I get the feeling that other shortcut keys still work, because ‘o’ still ‘opens’ the file (in Windows explorer). However, they’ve removed the little underline hints from the menus, so now I have no idea what, if any, key I need to hit to get to properties.

‘Properties’ is a thing I use a lot. I didn’t realise how much I used it until Microsoft decided to prevent me from getting there with the keyboard.


2) Metro getting in my way

This is mainly moaning about the use of ‘hot corners’. While everyone knows that if you fling your cursor to the bottom left of the screen, you should get some sort of ‘Start’ experience. That’s a given since Windows 95. However, if you fling the cursor to the top right, you should get the ‘close’ button of a maximized window. Easy.

But if you’ve got two monitors, side-by-side, getting to the close button of a maximized window on the left is a bit fiddly. So you make use of the fact that you can double click on the window icon on the left hand side and that will also close the window. I believe you’ve been able to do that since Windows 3.1.

This works just find in Windows 8.

Unless…. you have metro app open. In which case a ‘helpful’ popup appears once the mouse hits the top left corner. If you’re not paying attention and click, you’re now into some random metro app.


Oh and if you by chance hit the top left corner of the right hand monitor, not only do you get that annoying popup, but it also captures the mouse movement, so you can’t move the mouse any further left onto the other monitor.