aNewDomain – I had tested the consumer preview of Windows 8 when Microsoft first released it in beta and was largely underwhelmed. The formerly-named Metro user interface promised to draw consumers into an intimate and user-friendly experience with interactive tiles instead of icons. I just didn’t find that to be the case. I’ve since downloaded the Windows 8 upgrade and have made an effort to give this new Microsoft product a fair assessment. Sadly, I’m still not adept at using it. I find myself stumbling around trying to find items or perform functions. Fortunately, the Charm feature in Windows 8 has proven to be helpful.
The Charm menu is a right side menu to allow searching, sharing and other setting configurations to be run on a particular app in Windows 8. It even allows you to go back to the tiled start screen. Sadly, it’s not obvious on how to access it. The Charm can be accessed by hovering your mouse cursor over the upper or lower right corner of your display. Or you can access it by pressing the Windows Key+C (for Charm). I’ve found the Charm menu to be my new right-click function in Windows.
After launching an app from the Start screen in Windows 8, the app is displayed in a full screen view. You won’t find your typical File/menu from previous versions of Windows. This can be a hindrance if a consumer is attempting to edit the preferences of an app. This is when the Charm menu becomes useful. When inside any app or the desktop (even though the desktop is an “app”), access the Charm to see more ways to adjust settings via the control panel or operating system settings menu.
The search feature of the Charm is convenient. Want to search for a specific term or file name? Allow the Charm to look for you. You specify the Charm to search for your term in either a specific app, settings, files or even in all apps at once. Here I entered the term “team” and it displayed any app with that term. This feature reminds me of the Ubuntu Linux Dash search feature within the Unity desktop.
The Windows 8 operating system is bound to continue to make news over the next few months. Consumers looking to get new home computers and laptops will likely have this latest operating system from Microsoft pre-installed. This can be good news or bad news. Some consumers will battle with the change of a totally revamped interface, others will tinker until the interface is mastered. Fortunately, a hover over the right corner of the screen or the shortcut Windows Key+C can rescue lost users in Windows 8.
Based in Charlotte, NC, Anthony Pruitt is an IT pro, a columnist and the podcast captain at aNewDomain.net. Follow him @ihavnolyfe or on Google+ and email him at Ant@aNewDomain.net.