In the months leading up to the Windows 8 launch, rumors about the new operating system swirled around the Internet like tweens circling a glittery vampire. The speculation spawned myths with enough traction to survive the system’s October launch. Below are 5 common Windows 8 myths, and the reasons why they’re bunkum.
1. The disappearing desktop
People started accusing Microsoft of destroying the traditional Desktop as soon as they saw Windows 8’s new Start Screen. Not only has the Desktop disappeared, they piled on, but so has the Start button. In the immortal words of Dorothy Parker, what fresh hell is this?
Relax folks: the traditional Desktop survives. You access it by clicking the clearly Desktop tile on the Start Screen, a little detail many people have overlooked in their rush to lambast this new OS for tweaking the status quo.
As for the old Start button, yea, it’s traditional form is gone from sight. Or, rather, it mutated. If you right-click the lower left corner of the Start Screen a pop-up menu appears. The menu offers access to Programs and Features, the Desktop, the Control Panel and many of the old Start button features. Sound familiar?
2. Windows 8 apps never close
This rather silly myth has proven very tenacious, despite claiming the only way to close a Windows 8 app is through the Task Manager.
Not true. Using a touch screen or mouse you close apps simply by dragging the app down to the bottom of the screen. You can also click the upper left hand corner of an app to access a sidebar listing all open apps. Right-click the app you want and select close from the list of options. Alternatively, click the open app and hit Alt + F4 to close it.
3. Windows 8 won’t power down
Oh, come on, really? We understand that Microsoft’s had its share of stumbles along the way, as have many large software companies, but they’re not going to design an operating system that can’t shut down. However, without the Start button, where this feature once lived, some people got really, really confused.
Consider the confusion dispelled: You shut down Windows 8 by accessing the Charms bar. On a touch screen, swipe across the screen from the right. If you’re using a mouse, position your pointer in the upper or lower right screen corner. When the Charms bar appears, select Settings, click the Power Icon, and select Shut Down.
4. You can only use Windows Store apps
The Windows store adds a layer of security to app use–Microsoft vets everything in the store for malicious files. While Microsoft certainly wants you to buy from the Windows Store, it’s still possible to install programs from CDs, online sources and other locations.
5. The smartscreen security feature is all I need to be secure
Smartscreen checks websites and downloads against a list of known malicious files. If the program detects a possible threat, a screen pops up asking if you want to proceed.
How is this not a good idea? Unfortunately, users have an atrocious track record when it comes to making security decisions. Many people will dismiss the warning, trusting to their security software from protection. Smartscreen runs the risk of becoming another Windows “Security Warning” popup annoyance ignored by most users at their peril.
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