Windows 8 – Installing Normal Programs. Not every program you run will be a new Ul app, and there was at first some confusion regarding the installation of normal programs or non-Windows 8 apps. Lets put this straight: you can download or install from disk any program that you would be able to install if using Windows 7 or XP. There are no restrictions or anything preventing you from doing this. The only thing that will happen is that when launching the program, you will be flipped out of the new Ul and into the desktop for the program to run in.
You dont even need to exit the Ul and enter the desktop manually to execute the program, as has been stated on one or two websites. As I mentioned earlier, by right-clicking on a program icon and selecting Pin to Start from the menu, the icon will be displayed on the new Ul ready for you to move, group, uninstall or open as an administrator should you so wish.
Obviously, having the same program as a Windows 8 app will yield a better visual experience and may very well include some other functionality, but that depends on the program and the developer behind it. Therefore, the rumours of Windows 8 having to go into some kind of compatibility mode when trying to run a non-Windows 8 app are greatly exaggerated. It makes you wonder, then, why have the likes of Steam got their knickers in such a twist over Windows 8.
If it can run a normal program, then why not simply keep Steam as a normal program? I installed Steam and it worked flawlessly, updated games and itself, and launched games without any problems. In fact, it did so noticeably faster than it previously did on the same PC with Windows 7 installed, although to be fair that was a rather aged installation and contained all sorts of extras.
I Miss My Start Button!
The lack of a Start button is bound to throw many to begin with. Indeed, how does one get the Control Panel or the System screen? Microsoft appears to have thought of such things and, as in the previous examples of Windows 8, by moving your mouse into the bottom-left corner of the screen and right-clicking, a rudimentary menu will appear, giving you access to the Control Panel, Power Options, System, Device Manager and all manner of extras.
Of Clouds And Connectivity
Microsoft is really pushing the cloud storage and integration with online services for Windows 8. With the likes of SkyDrive being integrated into the operating system and having an app displayed as part of the default set, along with all users being granted a fairly impressive 7GB of free space, its very hard not to succumb and sign up for the all encompassing Microsoft Windows 8 sign-in process to help tie everything together, in one neat package.
Not everyone wants to be a part of the cloud, though, and many have already created accounts with Google Drive and DropBox, but as of yet there are no apps that support these available for the new Ul. Its not a problem, as you can easily install the traditional versions and run them successfully from the Explorer or the desktop.
Oddly enough, despite the push for cloud integration, theres no option to include SkyDrive in File History. You can choose other local drives or even a networked drive, but theres nothing that combines SkyDrive or any other cloud-based service with a local, automated backup of files or even the system image. It seems a strange thing to exclude, but maybe this is something Microsoft will add in later, once the SkyDrive servers have taken a pounding from the millions of users taking advantage of the free 7GB of space?
Of Charms And Toast
Finally, we have a few new naming conventions to get out of the way. Firstly, the menu that appears on the right of the new Ul when you move your mouse in that direction is known as a Charm or Charm Bar. Charms are the cornerstone of Windows 8 and will grant you access to pretty much everywhere and everything youll ever need.
Secondly, we have Toast or Toast Notifications. These are the messages that will pop-up (like toast) on either your desktop or the Ul whenever something has happened, such as an app being installed, for instance.
It all makes perfect sense. Honestly.