Disable Metro in Windows 8

The Windows 8 launch is right around the corner. People that have purchased PCs recently will get incentives for upgrading to Windows 8 by either getting a license for a lower price or even a free upgrade. While the new Metro interface brings Windows to new tablet devices, its not the best interface for desktops or even laptop computers. The horizontal scrolling makes it tedious to use the Metro screen with many non-touch devices. Some users might want to use the good old Start menu in Windows 8 and disable the Metro screen completely. Windows does not have a setting for this but there are third party applications that let you do this.

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A dive into Windows 8 RTM

Microsoft just released Windows 8 RTM (Release To Manufacturer) today. This is the version this is given to the manufacturers and will be shipped to consumers. This means that I had higher expectations from this release. When I first boted into Windows, I noticed the new blue logo (yes, the colored flag is not the logo anymore). The interface is completely Metro – feels like a Windows Phone device. The first startup screen asked me to login with my Microsoft Account (Hotmail/Windows Live Passport) and then I got an SMS asking me to confirm the association with Windows PC. I clicked on the link and confirmed the computer. After a few minutes, my desktop was setup. The first thing you see is the Start screen with Live Tiles and Apps. This version also has the Windows Store (which is separate from Windows Phone Store). There are a few apps published, I downloaded Box and iHeartRadio from the Store and was able to login and use the apps. I also used Connect with Facebook and the app worked as a mobile app would. The Desktop is similar to the old Windows desktop with a few UI changes. But the Windows 8 focus lies on Tiles and the tablet functionality.

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Windows 8 Developer Preview released to all

Microsoft had unveiled Windows 8, its next generation operating system for PCs some time ago. Today, Microsoft has released a Developer Preview version of Windows 8 so that developers can take a glimpse at what Microsoft has in store. This time, Microsoft has released it onto the web so that anyone can download it without having a developer account for signing in with a Live ID. The download page just went up and according to the twitter stream, thousands of people have already begun downloading.

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VisualCron brings automation to Windows

Automation is one of the several features that makes a Mac special and more useful. However, I came across a software called VisualCron that gets automation to Windows. Not just basic task scheduling, but advanced automation like setting a list of tasks and mentioning the occurrence, exception and processes of the task. This can bu done just with a few clicks using the user-friendly ribbon UI of the application.

I gave VisualCron a try and was impressed. It allows you to do the most basic tasks like sending a mail or restarting your computer to advanced tasks like taking a backup of your blog using FTP and e-mailing you when its done. You can also set time intervals such as every month and add exceptions to adviod the task to occur at a particular time/month, etc.

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Windows 7 editions revealed

Microsoft had released 3 versions for Windows XP (Home Edition, Prefessional and Media Center Edition). However, they had rolled out several versions of Windows Vista that finally confused buyers and made them switch editions after purchase. Vista had 6 editions which include Vista Starter Edition, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate edition. After learning from their mistakes, Microsoft has decided to roll back to 3 version for their upcoming Operating system, Windows 7. The 3 versions are Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.

Besides reducing the number of versions, it is said that they will also be offering a new speedy way of upgrading the OS. An upgrade from one version of Windows 7 to another would on take about 5-10 minutes. Personally, I think that this is the stupidest mistake as Windows 7 Home will have all the features of Ultimate edition but will be locked. The upgrade would simply unlock the features. This would give rise to hackers making patches that change the registry values and unlock all features of the OS.

UPDATE: Windows 7 is said to have 6 editions now. Here’s the list.

  • Windows 7 Starter Edition (for emerging market and netbook users)
  • Windows 7 Home Basic (for emerging market customers only)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (the main “Media Center” equivalent)
  • Windows 7 Professional (the business SKU for home users and non-enterprise licensees)
  • Windows 7 Enterprise (for volume licensees)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (for consumers who want/need business features)

Via ZDNet Blog