Randy Guthrie – Microsoft Technology Evangelist
One of the new features in Windows 8.1 Preview is the much requested option to boot directly to the traditional Windows 7-ish desktop instead of to the Windows 8 Start Screen that features the tiles. In other words, when your computer starts up; after logging in the first screen you see can see this:
instead of this:
Changing the settings isn’t hard, but it’s not something you’ll find just searching for it. Note: this only works with the 8.1 preview; it is not part of the production version of Windows 8.
Go to the Desktop, then right-click in the taskbar, and select “Properties”, then click on the navigation tab to open up this menu:
Check the box in the Start Screen list that says “Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in”. Then click the “OK” button. Next time you start up you’ll go to the desktop first. incidentally, the navigation part of the properties menu is new; some of the other options look interesting. I may end up un-checking the “search everywhere” option since the results are sometimes too broad and include Internet search results as well. I’ll have to play with that one and see.
When I first heard about this feature I enabled it on one of my laptops since I use it primarily as a desktop computer connected to a large monitor. It doesn’t have a touch screen so I figured going to the desktop would save me a step. It turns out that more often than not, once I log in, I hit the Windows Key on the keyboard and go to the Start Screen to launch the apps that I want and then go back to the desktop. Yes, I can pin the Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. ) and Visual Studio icons on the taskbar and not have to go to the Start Menu, but more often than not I end up wanting to go to the Start Screen first. I like the live tile notifications that appear on my favorite apps, so for the way that I use the computer now, it works better for me to launch to the Start Screen instead of the Desktop, even though I don’t have a touch screen in front of me. I am starting to think that the Windows UX designers may have been right all along, and that over time this option will end up being one of the most requested and least-used features in the new release.
What do you think?