On the Lambda

Programming, Technology, and Systems Administration

On the Lambda

One Simple Thing You can Start Doing Now with Windows 7 to make the switch to Windows 8 Easy

November 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Windows

The Start Menu has a been a fixture of Windows computers since way back in 1995. Windows 8 changes that in a big way. The Start Menu is gone, and there is no way to bring it back without the use of third-party software that is often quirky and not as well thought through as it could be. The transition to the new operating system can be confusing, but there is one thing you can start doing right now in Windows Vista and Windows 7 to prepare yourself for the changes and help ensure they don’t slow you down.

Windows Vista introduced a new search feature to the Start Menu. Open the Start Menu, start typing the name of the program you want to run in the search box at the bottom of the menu, and that item will appear after typically no more than the first 3 or 4 keystrokes. Bonus points if you can learn to do this without ever touching mouse; just hit the Windows Key on your keyboard and start typing, then hit enter when the item you want is at the top of the list. Don’t even wait for the menu to show; just treat the Windows Key as another keystroke. In no time, you’ll find this workflow is faster and easier than the old browse-the-menu-with-the-mouse scheme you had been using. This feature is carried into Windows 7 as well.

Here’s the trick: all of that still works in Windows 8. In fact, it works even better because of the way Microsoft handles the new menu: it’s faster, and your search will usually have better results. If you don’t have a touch screen, this is now by far the easiest way to find what you’re looking for on the start menu. It’s just that most people never learned how to use that feature on the older operating systems, and the visual cues that help you discover it are gone on the new operating system. However, if you start practicing this new workflow in Windows 7 or Windows Vista today, you’ll find it comes naturally for Windows 8… and I think you’ll find the transition to Windows 8 much easier.



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