During Microsoft's Windows 8 Consumer Preview Event at MWC today, Microsoft demonstrated some of the new features in the CP release out today. While the Metro UI obviously lends itself to use on a touch enabled tablet, Microsoft was clear to point out that it works just as well with a keyboard and mouse. Bezel gestures and regular multitouch gestures on the screen make sense on a tablet, but how do you get access to the multitasking UI, charms bar or other Windows 8 features if you have a traditional (non-touch) notebook? Through hot corners of course.

The traditional Start Menu is gone and has been replaced by a hot corner. Move your mouse to the lower left screen corner and you'll get a tiny popup that you can use to launch the Start Screen. The lower right corner lets you zoom in/out of the start screen, while the upper left corner lets you quickly switch between apps (just click to switch to your last app, or click and drag to reveal the task switcher). Finally, the upper right corner is used to reveal the Windows 8 charms bar.

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  • Duraz0rz - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Pretty much how I perceive it. It's still going to be the same desktop, but the replacement of the Start menu with the Metro Start screen is a great improvement from a usability standpoint.

    Currently, I have all of my apps I want to access quickly on my taskbar. My desktop is clean, and I hardly use the Start menu save for accessing a few applications that I don't use as regularly. Now I can move all of that off the taskbar into the Start screen and also add apps that are developed with live tiles in mind (e-mail and a reddit browser come to mind).
    Reply
  • n0x1ous - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    what about quickly getting to specific folders? this is an efficiency reduction for traditional desktop users.

    For mum and pop media consumers and browsers it won't make a difference but for getting real work done this sux.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Add them as a shortcut to the metro interface. Reply
  • dcollins - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Search. For getting work done, search is absolutely the fastest way. Reply
  • cbutters - Thursday, March 01, 2012 - link

    Windows + E? Reply
  • DarkUltra - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Not at all. With the Win7 Start Menu I can right click files and quickly find their location. I can drag files to other programs. It is compact so I can reach every app and search rest with a single click. All these usability features is not possible with the Metro UI and its start screen.

    Having a big 24" monitor and several applications open and quickly shift between them with task bar. Think running OC your pc and running OCCT, IBT, GPUZ, AI suite to monitor temperatures and a text document to note progress. Impossible with Metro UI.

    The classic UI in Windows 7 lets the user grow and learn new ways to organize and be more efficient. The Metro UI will hold people back at smart phone level. I love the windows phone and it will be a huge advantage to have access to file system and desktop programs on a Windows 8 tablet, but the Metro UI has very little to offer desktop users.

    I want the new explorer in Windows 8 so I can minimize the ribbon and use the quick access toolbar, and the unified file transfer dialogue. Unfortunately these vanish if I enable the classic Start Menu. I hope this has changed in the Consumer Preview. Best of both worlds!
    Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    The "4 Corners" thing might work for those using a mouse/trackball as it's easy enough to whip the cursor around the screen and into the corners.

    But what about those using trackpads, the Lenovo cursor nub thingy, or other pointing devices that take a lot of effort to move the cursor around a screen? It's bad enough watching those who don't know about keyboard shortcuts try to use a laptop's trackpad in Windows 7 and earlier. I can just image the pain and suffering these people will experience trying to use Windows 8.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    There will probably be a keyboard shortcut Reply
  • rs2 - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    Sorry but you're wrong. If Windows 8 does not include at least the option of enabling the standard taskbar and its realtime window previewing on mouseover for running apps, I *will not* upgrade to Windows 8.

    I don't care *at all* about whether or not I can utilize every possible square inch of screen real-estate for displaying my running application(s). I care about the ability to quickly and efficiently switch between multiple running application instances. The Windows 7 taskbar supports this far better than any other alternative on the market (mouseover the taskbar icon and a live preview appears for each running instance of that application, mouseover the preview and the associated window is brought into the foreground, click and it becomes the active window). If Microsoft takes it away, I think they will be facing a repeat of the XP vs. Vista debacle where people chose, in droves, to stick with the older OS version.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - link

    I thought the Metro interface was the default, but there was still the option to go to the traditional desktop. If not... then I guess I'll be a Windows 7 lifer. Reply

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