A laptop screen showing the new Windows 8 interfaceOther than that, Windows 8 seems fine.

Metro Apps are those funky looking boxes you see plastered all over the start screen, as shown in the graphic to the right. If your computer is touch sensitive they are just a finger tip away. The apps themselves seem OK, but apparently they only run in full screen mode, and when they lock up they pretty much lock up your computer.

I’ve only added a few of them, both games (solitaire and mahjong to be precise), and they both lock up a lot. The old standby, CTRL ALT DEL brings up the Task Manager menu, but since the game is in full screen mode the focus remains on the game, meaning you can’t actually use the Task Manager.

To make sure it wasn’t just me screwing up (been known to do that) I went to the old standby, Google, to search for something along the lines of “Windows 8 locks up.” Sure enough lots of people have the same problem. One post mentioned a work-around, which is to set the Task Manager attributes to be Always On Top. Have not given that a try yet, but it will probably work. Still, I should not have to implement a work-around for killing an app.

These glitches, Metro Apps locking up and the Task Manager problem, sort of take the glow off my brand new computer. I realize Windows 8 is new, but come on Microsoft, the Metro Apps represent your whole new computing paradigm, you best get it right. I anxiously await your update that will fix both these problems. But I’m not holding my breath.

PS, I also was unable to get screen capture to work, something I do a lot of on my old PC. Also Googled that, and supposedly it works just like I’d expect it to, but it doesn’t. I’ll let you know if I get it figured out. ~jon

Image from Microsoft under the Fair Use doctrine, for commentary, criticism, and reporting.


My old dog, Bebo.I just got a new shinny toy, a Toshiba Satellite P-55 running Windows 8. While not quite as warm and fuzzy as a new puppy, it’s still exciting, and it doesn’t pee on the carpet. Like a new puppy, it sort of gives me a warm glow inside.

I desperately needed a new computer for some time now. My old Dell, may it rest in Hell, was giving me fits. It had gotten to the point that the only web browser that worked was Opera. I have nothing against Opera, but it is not the browser of my choice.

The Dell from Hell had other significant quirks – it took forever to boot and shut down; Acrobat Reader would only work with Protected Mode Disabled (whatever the heck that means); Opera would not open a PDF (great fun when trying to print your Turbo Tax returns), software would occasionally just shut down. But the single biggest annoyance was the flaky touch-pad, which would randomly reposition the cursor while typing. For a writer, that’s a big deal, particularly if you don’t notice it right away.

I ran that dog through all sorts of virus scans, disk defragging, and diagnostics, but nothing helped. It is my belief that the Registry had simply gotten so out of whack over time that the system needed to be wiped and reinstalled. Since distribution DVDs were not included with the purchase, rebuilding was not really an option.

Like a puppy, this new laptop does need some house training. Right now I’m playing around with the Windows 8 Metro interface. I have heard horror stories about it, but they seem to be overblown. It takes a few minutes, and maybe two or three YouTube video tutorials to get around, and you can always just go to the desktop. My current desktop looks an awful lot like my old desktop, so I’m happy.

My first download was Chrome (trying to make the leap from Firefox, the jury is still out), followed by LibreOffice (I’m a writer, a need a writing app!). Then I had to get Solitaire, and Mahjong (both free Metro apps) for some down time.

Next I’ll need to move my iTunes library (another YouTube tutorial), and get a decent graphics app. I’ve been using PaintShop Pro since version 3, but feel like it is getting a bit long in the tooth. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

If you’ve been contemplating a new PC, but dreading the move to Windows 8 quit fretting – YouTube cures all.

Oh, and that old Dell? Can you say Ubuntu?

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