As is commonly the case when upgrading to a new operating system, particularly one as controversial as Windows 8, many users are understandably concerned about some of the changes. Windows 8, like its predecessors is certainly not a perfect operating system and most people will likely experience some of the following common annoyances when it comes to getting used to the new platform. With its completely redesigned interface, Windows 8 brings about some of the most profound changes to Microsoft’s line of operating systems since the launch of Windows 95. If you find yourself facing some of the major changes with frustration, here are some workarounds that you may want to try.
1 – Replacing the New Start Screen
With its large tiles and streamlined interface, the new full-screen start menu replacement is the bane of many users of traditional, non-touchscreen computers. Back in the Developer Preview version of Windows 8, it was possible, through a simple registry tweak, to completely bypass the new start screen and use the start menu from previous versions of Windows. However, in a mission to encourage users to leave the old ways behind, Microsoft has completely removed the original code so that there is no way of getting the old start menu back again without using third-party software.
Fortunately, there is third-party software available which gets rid of the clunky start screen and returns the start menu while still allowing you to run the new full-screen, interactive apps. Two of the most popular modifications are Stardock’s Start8 and Classic Shell. Both programs are completely free and offer an improved and more customizable version of the start menu interface of previous versions of Windows.
2 – No Obvious Way to Shut Down or Restart
A very common complaint about Windows 8 is that there is no quick and obvious way to shut down the computer. Unless you look on the Internet for instructions, you will likely find yourself trying to figure this out for quite some time. For something which should take just a couple of clicks, it is a major nuisance for many. To shut down or restart your computer in Windows 8, you need to move the mouse the right-hand side of the screen, click “Settings,” click the power icon and then choose your preferred option. Fortunately, you can do away with this cumbersome and inefficient method completely by adding shutdown and restart shortcuts on the desktop and/or the start screen.
To add a shutdown shortcut, right-click on the desktop, click “Shortcut” and type “shutdown.exe -s -t 00” (without quotes) into the box. Click “Next” and then “Finish.” To choose a more suitable icon for the new shortcut, right-click on it and go to “Properties” and click “Change Icon.” Click “OK” when you receive a warning message and choose an icon from the list which appears. Click “OK” to save your changes and then close the properties window.
To create a restart shortcut, follow the same steps but use the “shutdown.exe -r -t 00” command instead.
To make your new shortcuts appear on the start screen, you will need to copy them to the following directory: “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs” and they will immediately appear on the start screen.
3 – Removing the Lock Screen
For some, particularly tablet computer users, the new lock screen might be a pleasant sight since it can display the time, date, weather, unread emails and various other things. However, before you can log in to the computer, you need to click the mouse or press a button. If you find this irritating, you can easily disable it.
To do this, press the Windows key and “R” or right-click in the bottom-left corner of the screen and click “Run” to open the Run Command. Type in “gpedit.msc” without the quotes and press Enter. Navigate to “Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Control Panel/Personalization” and double-click on “Do not display the lock screen.” Choose “Enable” and click “OK.” Next time you restart the computer or sign out, the lock screen will be gone and you will be able to start typing your user account password immediately.
4 – No DVD or Blu-ray Playback
In a time when many people use their computers for playing movies, the lack of support for DVD playback in Windows 8 may seem ridiculous to some. While Windows Media Centre is available for free from the Microsoft Store until January 2013, many people would rather not use the program on a traditional laptop or desktop PC. Fortunately, there are plenty of third-party media players to choose from which can play DVDs, Blu-ray disks and also support a great deal more digital video and audio formats than the extremely limited Windows Media Player or Windows Media Centre. One of the most popular is VLC Media Player, a free and open-source application which plays just about every video and audio format out there.
5 – No Confirmation Prompt when Deleting Files
When you delete a file in Windows 8, whether by clicking on it in Windows Explorer and pressing the delete key, or right-clicking and choosing “delete,” you won’t be asked to confirm. Instead, the file will be immediately moved to the Recycle Bin. While some users might welcome one of the few aspects of Windows 8 which actually makes everyday computing tasks simpler, others would rather not take the risk of accidentally deleting something important.
To get the confirmation box back, right click on the Recycle Bin on your desktop and click “Properties.” Check the box beside “Display delete confirmation dialogue” and click “OK.”