Behind The Metro Mask: Desktop And Windows Explorer
The Metro UI is clean-looking, to be sure. But once you dig deeper, you’ll see a familiar face. Click on the desktop tile and you’re greeted with the old Windows interface. The main difference is that there’s no Start menu, at least not the one with which you're familiar.
This is where things can get somewhat frustrating for anyone picking up Windows 8 for the first time (Ed.: So, basically, you mean everyone, right?). Most of us are accustomed to the Start menu from Windows 95, 98, XP, 2000, Vista, and 7. As a result, opening an application is an unfamiliar process in Windows 8. If you’re searching for a particular piece of software, you now need to move your mouse over the bottom left-hand corner, select Search, and then Apps from the toggled panel.
Without a Start menu, simple tasks like turning your computer off become slightly different than they were in Windows 7. Now you need to go to the Start menu and select Settings. The power button in that panel allows you to sleep, shut down, or restart.
The desktop still has a system tray with volume, network, and notification support icons. They're also present in the Settings panel, mostly so you can access these function within the Metro UI.
Windows Explorer is a little different (though it may not seem apparent until you dig deeper). The file copy status window now shows a graph of speed over time, which is pretty neat, and Explorer now has a ribbon UI that's similar to Office 2010.
The Task Manager should be a familiar sight. Control + Alt + Del still bring up the lock screen where you select the Task Manager. However, the initial interface is somewhat reduced. Once you expand details, everything looks similar as before. The biggest difference is that the performance graphs appear over a cleaner white background.