It is good for a technologist to have a few people around him who are not. It keeps them grounded, so that when he is thrilled with all the advancements in a new version of something they get to hear “Augh! They moved things! Why do they have to always go and move things!”
With a great many users familiarity is perhaps the most significant feature in technology. The way that they are used to doing things may be horribly inefficient, but it is familiar.
Windows 8 will be available for sale and upgrade on October 26th. I have been working with the Technology Preview version of Windows 8 on my primary workstation. It is fast, stable, and attractive but I will warn you now: Things Move. Remember how you felt when the Ribbon Interface replaced button toolbars in Office 2007? It is going to feel like that. Fortunately Office is not changing too.
And the biggest change is with one small thing. The Start Button: that friendly little square (or bubble) that has made its home in the bottom left of your screen since Windows 95. And it did not just move, it is gone. Instead when the pointer is moved to the lower left corner a tiny version of the Metro UI is shown, and clicking it brings the Metro UI to the full screen. But just think of the number of things that changes. If there is no start button how do you get to Documents? Control Panel? Recent Items? and so forth. It is like the old addage that you don’t know how much you needed something until it is gone.
So I bet you are thinking…I’ll just switch to Classic Mode! Sorry, but there is no Classic Mode. At least none that will return the Start Button.
I have seen several postings on how to change various registry settings and rename certain files to bring back the start button. None appear to work, as System Protection adamantly refuses to allow the changes to stand.
But I have found something that works because it does not try to change anything in Windows or the system. It is an old freeware program called ViStart, and it was originally designed to give a Vista Start menu to Windows XP. Later versions gave a Windows 7 style start menu to Vista and now, a Windows 7 style start menu to Windows 8!
ViStart is simply a program, but when installed it adds itself to the first item in the quick launch bar, which puts it in the new lower left corner of the Windows 8 desktop. And the icon for it looks exactly like the Windows 7 orb! Click on the orb and the program window displays, which is aligned to the lower left corner of the screen and looks and functions exactly like the Windows 7 start menu!
Moving the cursor even more to the corner still brings up the Metro UI which you will still want to get used to eventually.
There is one warning regarding ViStart. Like many other freeware programs it tries to make money by having the installation program sell you on other changes to your system, such as default search provider, that you almost certainly do not want. So when installing ViStart read the screens carefully and realize that you do not have to take the default choices even though it may sound like you do.