Common sense fixes to Windows 8


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Active.

Having used modernmix and start8 for a bit now, here's how I think a number of suprisingly simple changes each could make Windows 8 quite a bit less confusing, easier to learn, more discoverable, much more useable and enjoyable and powerful for Desktop users, without Microsoft having (or seeming) to regress or run the risk of inconveniencing touch users in any way.

For the App Screen aka "Start Screen":

- Remove the useless "Start" header, take advantage of that newly available space by putting the user name there instead

- Put a magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner, activates the search charm/ all 'app apps' view

- remove the "all apps" entry from the app bar

- put a Settings/power icon in the lower right corner, activates the settings charm (which includes power options)

- Put an option to boot directly to the desktop into the App Screen Settings (turned off by default, I guess)

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Benefits: Takes one click to show all apps or search or reach the settings and power menu, all easily discoverable. Give the user the choice as to whether he or she wants to skip the Apps Screen after a system start.

For Metro apps:

- Button and Keyboard shortcut for putting apps into a a window (possibly enforce minimum window size equal to minimum resolution for Metro apps, or equal to a minimum resolution as specified by the app creator ? promote responsive design)

- put full-screen button in a modern app's title bar to set it back into fullscreen mode

- Make an app-specific search field or button mandatory, always in the upper right corner of the app

- Make a settings button in the lower right corner of an app mandatory

Benefits: Searching and app settings easily discoverable and clearly pertaining to the current app, improved multitasking due to windowed usage

For the Desktop:

- Put a settings/power icon on the bottom or far right of the task bar, activates the global/Desktop settings charm

- Put a magnifying glass icon in the upper right or lower left corner, activates a windowed search menu

- remove windowed Metro apps from the multitasking bar on the left

- show active/most recently used/pinned modern apps in the task bar

- Charms bar applies to the active app

- allow the 'Charms' bar and its hot corners to be deactivated

- the Share charm can be activated by clicking on a window title

- Allow integration of the Share charm into Desktop apps

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Benefits: Settings/Power options easily discoverable / task bar can be used to switch between any kind of app / Charms bar hot corners don't interfere with Desktop usage / share charm becomes more useful and usable

For the Charms bar

- (optional:) remove the Search/Settings/Devices/Start charm, integrate the functionality of the Devices charm into the Share charm

Benefits: Sharing (to/with people or devices) always just one finger slide from the right away. Search and Settings reachable via the app itself, Start button unnecessary

For the new windowed search 'not quite Start' menu :

- Make a link to the App Screen the first item (as Start8 already does)

- Allow the user to select between a list of either recently used or frequently used apps or files

- put a button next to the search box to go fullscreen - activates the 'all apps' view/search charm

post-5569-0-69551400-1363090933.png

Benefits:

Windowed search option and most recently/frequently used apps/files list brings back important search menu functionality / user's choice whether fullscreen or windowed searching is preferred

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f0rk_b0mb

- I don't like the power off button in the corner. Put it under the user tile.

- Give us smaller tiles like WP8.

- New desktop icons that blend in with Metro

- Improve the stock W8 apps. No Ads!

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Active.

- I don't like the power off button in the corner. Put it under the user tile.

I guess that would work. Although in that case I'm still not sure whether a user would know to look there for the power options? But, yeah, that would sure be an improvement over how it is currently.

The placement of the power/settings icon as I proposed it would be consistent with the Ctrl-Alt-Delete screen:

post-5569-0-76637200-1363101493.png

- New desktop icons that blend in with Metro

Absolutely. The current ones are embarrassingly out of date (and imho not that pretty to begin with)

- Improve the stock W8 apps. No Ads!

Definitely. Although, to be honest, I think the train has left the station when it comes to ads in TileWorld's stock apps. And I remember many Neowinians even defending that decision and justifying Microsoft's decision by claiming that the apps weren't part of the OS to begin with. In my opinion, if it ships with the OS and is even on the home screen out of the box, then it shouldn't come with ads. Definitely cheapens the experience.

By the way, I've never used Windows Phone, how do you reach app-specific settings in that OS?

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f0rk_b0mb

By the way, I've never used Windows Phone, how do you reach app-specific settings in that OS?

I'm pretty sure there's a settings tile. I might be wrong tho.

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BajiRav

I think your changes are purely from a mouse/kb user angle. There is no way to put settings/search in a corner like that.

1. It's too easy to hit accidently when you are holding a tablet

2. They will look weird on a multi-monitor system

3. You end up with two launch points for search/settings

I still think they should put the Power button under the user menu (removing the "start" text makes sense although it might be there for the same reason we had "start" on a button until XP).

I don't use Windows 8 with touch device of any type (no tablet, trackpad or mouse etc.) but I don't see a need for "boot to desktop".

1. If you are booting for the first time, what you do when you get to desktop? you launch a program. Just do it from the start screen.

2. If you are resuming from sleep/lock etc., you are taken back to desktop if that's where you locked your PC.

In both cases, I don't see a need for boot to desktop. I guess they will end up putting that option just to silence the critics.

For desktop apps, concept of charms is alien so no point in extending it there. And putting any buttons (power or not) on the taskbar is a bad bad idea. I'd rather have the full length of taskbar for my own use.

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BajiRav

I'm pretty sure there's a settings tile. I might be wrong tho.

Each app has its own settings button in the context bar at the bottom. It can be hidden (text: settings) or always visible icon. I don't think WP has any uniform UI guidelines wrt charms on Windows8. The share, search, settings and device charms are genius on Windows 8. :)

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xWhiplash

I don't use Windows 8 with touch device of any type (no tablet, trackpad or mouse etc.) but I don't see a need for "boot to desktop".

1. If you are booting for the first time, what you do when you get to desktop? you launch a program. Just do it from the start screen.

2. If you are resuming from sleep/lock etc., you are taken back to desktop if that's where you locked your PC.

In both cases, I don't see a need for boot to desktop. I guess they will end up putting that option just to silence the critics.

I am sorry I do not have my computer on 24/7 like everybody else here. for 18 hours, there is no need for it to be on or even in sleep. I am at work for 10 hours (8 hours and 1 hour travel time each way), and I sleep for 8 hours. 18 hours that the computer is not being used. So I turn it off. Not sleep....not hibernate....turn it off...with an SSD, there is no benefit from having it sleep or hibernate.

Also, what do you want people like me to do that do only use their computer extensively for the remainder of those 6 hours? I have a mac, so I boot between OS X and Windows 8 a lot during the day. Having such an option might not benefit you, but it would benefit me and businesses I am sure. It annoys me to hell having to click Desktop 3-6 times every day to get to the desktop. I am never in the Start Screen except for that first boot.

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Active.

Thanks for your point of view, BajiRav! :)

I think your changes are purely from a mouse/kb user angle.

Admittedly I've not yet used Windows 8 using touch input, but I assumed my changes wouldn't inconvenience touch users

There is no way to put settings/search in a corner like that.

1. It's too easy to hit accidently when you are holding a tablet

If you mean the global buttons on the task bar, then they only appear on the Desktop, therefore shouldn't really be relevant for tablet usage? Plus, you'd already have that issue with all of the existing task bar buttons, e.g. the first app on the task bar?

As for the two buttons on the Start Screen, they are not quite as near to the corners, and in any case not any closer to the edge than the user picture currently is.

If you mean the app-specific settings/search buttons, then there are currently already other controls at that position, so I don't see what would change as far as accidental input is concerned.

2. They will look weird on a multi-monitor system

Not any weirder than the Start button looked on Windows 7?

3. You end up with two launch points for search/settings

Well, yeah. Because the context differs in each case. There's a systemwide settings/search button for systemwide settings/search and app-specific settings/search controls for app-specific settings/search. Does that not seem logical?

Never mind that what you mention is already the case unless you stay in the Metro environment only. Neither the search nor the settings charm works for Desktop apps. That's part of the problem. Currently, the Settings charm has the Desktop itself as its context, regardless of the app you're using. And the Desktop-specific settings charm offers both a link to the systemwide Desktop control panel as well as to the systemwide (incomplete) PC settings as part of the systemwide settings charm.

For desktop apps, concept of charms is alien so no point in extending it there.

But they have. It's there. Already. Right now. Only that it's not extended to desktop apps (let alone windowed Metro apps), but the Desktop 'app'.

And putting any buttons (power or not) on the taskbar is a bad bad idea.

So then the start button was a bad bad idea, too?

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zhangm

So then the start button was a bad bad idea, too?

It got a fair bit of ridicule when it was first introduced.

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Active.

It got a fair bit of ridicule when it was first introduced.

The problem is...sure, you can get rid of it, in fact, maybe get rid of the system tray, too, and voil?, you have the dock on OS X (the concept of the superbar was already a step in that direction) . But then you have to put the functionality of the start menu and system tray somewhere else. On OS X, for example, you have the apple menu with links to System Preferences, power options and recent items, and you have the Spotlight icon and system tray equivalent on the menu bar (plus, the date and time, which Microsoft chose to make invisible by default in Metro mode). But Windows doesn't have a menu bar. I'm just not sure that the next best alternative are invisible UI widgets?! Never mind that I doubt everybody prefers to be forced to search and launch apps in full screen mode ...?

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ahhell

Common sense fixes? :|

It looks like you just randomly moved **** around to suit your tastes which is FAR different than trying to design a UI that MILLIONS of people will use.

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Active.

Common sense fixes? :|

It looks like you just randomly moved **** around to suit your tastes which is FAR different than trying to design a UI that MILLIONS of people will use.

- both the search icon as well as the settings icon on the Start screen have merely been made permanently visible instead of hidden away in the Charms bar. The user tile was moved, since you can hardly argue that the 'Start' header has much of a functional advantage in the UI?

- the additional option to boot to the desktop does indeed suit my taste, and I can't see it inconveniencing anybody else (well, maybe the cunning strategists at Microsoft... ;) )

- the settings button was moved into the app. I think it would be hard to argue that that makes the app settings anything but more discoverable. (although I would even be fine with the current placement when it comes to that - this was more a result of thinking how you would reach app settings once you put Metro apps in a window and disable the Charms bar).

- There's already a 'Find' button in apps like Maps (which seems redundant when you have the Search Charm, and afaik Microsoft officially recommends against that). So if Microsoft is already backing down on that, why not put a search field in the app instead, consistently visible at the same position. Far easier to discover, arguably quicker to use than the Search charm. And far more consistent with Desktop apps.

- a windowed search is sorely needed on the Desktop, as far as I'm concerned. And again, hard to argue that a visible button makes that functionality anything but easier to discover. Plus, the magnifying glass is a well-known often-used UI concept that's already been used as part of the Start menu (and the Charms bar).

- much has been written about the hidden power options already...

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Dutchie64

some interesting ideas, but mostly it's all personal and no need when you actually take some TIME to get comfortable with W8.

Removing the charmsbar from the desktop is silly. Now I have to get back to the startmenu first to go to the crahrms bar again. Additional clicks...

For me adding the shutdown/reboot/hybernate etc. options to the user dropdown in the right topccorner would make more sense as an enhancement.

So most of you suggestions....for me... no.

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Hum

Shouldn't Microsoft have built-in the 'common sense' ... :shifty:

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Dot Matrix

- both the search icon as well as the settings icon on the Start screen have merely been made permanently visible instead of hidden away in the Charms bar. The user tile was moved, since you can hardly argue that the 'Start' header has much of a functional advantage in the UI?

- the additional option to boot to the desktop does indeed suit my taste, and I can't see it inconveniencing anybody else (well, maybe the cunning strategists at Microsoft... ;) )

- the settings button was moved into the app. I think it would be hard to argue that that makes the app settings anything but more discoverable. (although I would even be fine with the current placement when it comes to that - this was more a result of thinking how you would reach app settings once you put Metro apps in a window and disable the Charms bar).

- There's already a 'Find' button in apps like Maps (which seems redundant when you have the Search Charm, and afaik Microsoft officially recommends against that). So if Microsoft is already backing down on that, why not put a search field in the app instead, consistently visible at the same position. Far easier to discover, arguably quicker to use than the Search charm. And far more consistent with Desktop apps.

- a windowed search is sorely needed on the Desktop, as far as I'm concerned. And again, hard to argue that a visible button makes that functionality anything but easier to discover. Plus, the magnifying glass is a well-known often-used UI concept that's already been used as part of the Start menu (and the Charms bar).

- much has been written about the hidden power options already...

There is windowed search in Windows 8. Have you forgotten about the Search Bar in Explorer?

Also, don't judge Windows 8 until you've used it via touch, then you'll see why things are the way they are.

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Active.

There is windowed search in Windows 8. Have you forgotten about the Search Bar in Explorer?

Oh, come on. You don't really use that to launch apps, do you? It's not very convenient for quickly opening documents either. And what shortcut would you even use?

Also, don't judge Windows 8 until you've used it via touch, then you'll see why things are the way they are.

Except I don't intend to (possibly ever) use Windows 8 as a touch operating system...but I will accept that maybe I'm simply not in the intended audience then.

Removing the charmsbar from the desktop is silly. Now I have to get back to the startmenu first to go to the crahrms bar again.

What? No, you don't. You have the search and settings button permanently visible on the Desktop. The search/devices charm is useless for Desktop apps as it is, but could be integrated into the titlebar of windowed Metro (or supported Desktop) apps on the Desktop.

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firey

There is windowed search in Windows 8. Have you forgotten about the Search Bar in Explorer?

Also, don't judge Windows 8 until you've used it via touch, then you'll see why things are the way they are.

Wow, you finally said it... Windows 8 is built for touch. You keep saying it's good even for mouse and keyboard (because it works), but finally you have said if you don't use touch windows 8 isn't the same so don't base opinions on keyboard/mouse aka normal use.

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Dot Matrix

Oh, come on. You don't really use that to launch apps, do you? It's not very convenient for quickly opening documents either. And what shortcut would you even use?

If that's what you're using with Search, is there any reason why the Start Screen Search doesn't work for you? Sure you have to leave the desktop, but who cares?

If you're that tied to the desktop, create a shortcut to the old run prompt.

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Active.
you have to leave the desktop, but who cares?

You don't, I know that much. :) Yes, you have to leave the Desktop. Never mind that Windows 8 search has very limited context menu and absolutely no drag-and-drop support, and separates apps from settings from files, even when there's only a result in a single one of the (unselected) categories. But this has been covered many times before. I really don't think it's a good idea to rehash the argument here?

But you know what, Microsoft might stick to their guns. And so be it. Doesn't mean I need to see the sense in it. It just seems like it would be an easy fix to satisfy everyone, by offering the option of a windowed search (let the full-screen option be the default view for all I care). I could be wrong though...

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bikeman25

Add a Windows Defender Icon to Desktop Taskbar, for Status Checking, Updating, and right click access to quick scans, full scans or custom.

Otherwise I personally don't see many changes that Windows 8 Needs, I tend to us personally with my Desktop, Keyboard and mouse, and I spend 50 percent of my time in Modern/Metro start screen, playing games, using Windows 8 Mail app, Internet Explorer Metro/Modern Style, listening to xbox music or watching a video in video mode, sometimes snaping a metro app to the corner of my screen to see in Desktop mode as well. Desktop mode I use IE exclusively, no other browser installed, Skype, and various other games and utility programs.

Overall happy with Windows 8 here, minus a few quirks here and there, and a little minor annoyances, and issues

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BajiRav

I am sorry I do not have my computer on 24/7 like everybody else here. for 18 hours, there is no need for it to be on or even in sleep. I am at work for 10 hours (8 hours and 1 hour travel time each way), and I sleep for 8 hours. 18 hours that the computer is not being used. So I turn it off. Not sleep....not hibernate....turn it off...with an SSD, there is no benefit from having it sleep or hibernate.

Also, what do you want people like me to do that do only use their computer extensively for the remainder of those 6 hours? I have a mac, so I boot between OS X and Windows 8 a lot during the day. Having such an option might not benefit you, but it would benefit me and businesses I am sure. It annoys me to hell having to click Desktop 3-6 times every day to get to the desktop. I am never in the Start Screen except for that first boot.

where did I claim you have to have your computer on for 24x7? :huh: My 1st bullet in fact refers to a freshly starting system. I will ask you this, on your typical day what do you do after your Windows 7 system boots?

As for the two buttons on the Start Screen, they are not quite as near to the corners, and in any case not any closer to the edge than the user picture currently is.

If you mean the app-specific settings/search buttons, then there are currently already other controls at that position, so I don't see what would change as far as accidental input is concerned.

Not any weirder than the Start button looked on Windows 7?

Well, yeah. Because the context differs in each case. There's a systemwide settings/search button for systemwide settings/search and app-specific settings/search controls for app-specific settings/search. Does that not seem logical?

Never mind that what you mention is already the case unless you stay in the Metro environment only. Neither the search nor the settings charm works for Desktop apps. That's part of the problem. Currently, the Settings charm has the Desktop itself as its context, regardless of the app you're using. And the Desktop-specific settings charm offers both a link to the systemwide Desktop control panel as well as to the systemwide (incomplete) PC settings as part of the systemwide settings charm.

But they have. It's there. Already. Right now. Only that it's not extended to desktop apps (let alone windowed Metro apps), but the Desktop 'app'.

So then the start button was a bad bad idea, too?

- Fair enough. I still think having a unified charms bar makes more sense because it reduces UI clutter. I think you are overthinking discover-ability. The right-mouse-click context menu IS not obvious even today to novice users, hell even double click drives many people crazy. It just takes some time to learn and understand new UI metaphors. (I am not saying current charms are perfect just that they are not any more difficult than say right-click or double click).

- As far as I know, there are no app/system separation in charms. They are always in context. So if you used settings on start, you can tweak its settings but if you did that in an app then you will reach app's settings. I would trade consistency for a bit obviousness. It takes couple of attempts to remember charms but once you know, you are good.

- True but as I said, start button was not perfect - we just got used to using it. There is also difference between one button at the bottom of your screen and having two buttons at top and the bottom.

- Charms are not designed to work with desktop apps. Should they? It sounds like a good idea but if today people think switching between start-screen & desktop is jarring, imagine switching between search charm and Outlook. There is not a single way I can think of unifying the charms search panel with a desktop app, say Outlook, without a really bad UI transition.

They have not extended to desktop. I can not change any "desktop" settings in the settings charm. It just launches control panel from there.

- Start button was not a bad idea but system tray icons and the "show desktop" button introduced in Win7 are surely are. "It's simple, just add a button to taskbar" is a bad design - think years of system tray abuse, weird toolbars by everyone including Microsoft.

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Active.
- Fair enough. I still think having a unified charms bar makes more sense because it reduces UI clutter. I think you are overthinking discover-ability. The right-mouse-click context menu IS not obvious even today to novice users, hell even double click drives many people crazy. It just takes some time to learn and understand new UI metaphors. (I am not saying current charms are perfect just that they are not any more difficult than say right-click or double click).

Fair point. It definitely reduces clutter and is incredibly consistent and predictable for Metro apps. That's fantastic! The question really becomes whether it's worth the (fairly) steep learning curve and whether the Charms bar is a successful UI concept once you've learned it, or more successful than e.g. search fields and settings buttons consistently implemented in apps (I can only hope that's what Microsoft's user testing showed). I actually don't see any major issues there in the Metro environment (as long as your users are up for learning this new UI concept), moreso when you have to switch between the Desktop and Metro environment

- As far as I know, there are no app/system separation in charms. They are always in context. So if you used settings on start, you can tweak its settings but if you did that in an app then you will reach app's settings. I would trade consistency for a bit obviousness. It takes couple of attempts to remember charms but once you know, you are good.

You have to differentiate between Metro apps and Desktop apps. Metro apps, you'll get the app's settings, Desktop apps, you'll get the Desktop's settings, i.e. Control Panel, Personalization, PC Info (which are all more or less actually in the systemwide context). Also, the lower part of the Settings charms always contains system settings, including a link to (what used to be called) "more" settings, now "Change PC settings" (which is actually a subset of the control panel settings, plus a few other items)

Charms are not designed to work with desktop apps. Should they?

That is not actually what I'm saying. My argument is that the Charms bar is currently almost useless on the Desktop (with respect to the app-specific charms), and becomes superfluous once you integrate a Search and Settings button into the Desktop UI, whether as part of a Start menu replacement apps or as individual buttons. So you might as well deactivate it on the Desktop. But once you allow Metro apps to be shown in a window on the Desktop, you would then need to integrate widgets for searching and entering settings into their window's UI. Which makes a lot of sense, since this is how Desktop apps have always worked on Windows (though, with respect to Settings, interestingly, not on the Mac's OS)

They have not extended to desktop. I can not change any "desktop" settings in the settings charm. It just launches control panel from there.

My point is, the Charms bar and hot corners can't be disabled on the Desktop and are currently largely useless. Worse than that, where you might expect the Charms to apply to Desktop apps, they actually apply to the Desktop itself (which, like you say, doesn't really have any functionality to offer. ModernMix actually makes the Charms bar apply to windowed Metro apps, which arguably makes things a little more confusing when it works for some apps on the Desktop, but not others.

- Start button was not a bad idea but system tray icons and the "show desktop" button introduced in Win7 are surely are. "It's simple, just add a button to taskbar" is a bad design - think years of system tray abuse, weird toolbars by everyone including Microsoft.

Could "just remove a button from the task bar" possibly be bad design, too ;)

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xWhiplash

where did I claim you have to have your computer on for 24x7? :huh: My 1st bullet in fact refers to a freshly starting system. I will ask you this, on your typical day what do you do after your Windows 7 system boots?

Um, run a program where I have a shortcut on the desktop. I do not jump in the start menu right away.....so why not give us a damn choice if we want to avoid the Start Screen right away. Clicking Desktop 3-6 times a day is very very very annoying. I do NOT click anything else, or ever visit the Start Screen after that.....so why is it forced on me? Was the Start Menu automatically open with every Windows version? No. Why does the start screen HAVE to be open initially?

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Dot Matrix

Um, run a program where I have a shortcut on the desktop. I do not jump in the start menu right away.....so why not give us a damn choice if we want to avoid the Start Screen right away. Clicking Desktop 3-6 times a day is very very very annoying. I do NOT click anything else, or ever visit the Start Screen after that.....so why is it forced on me? Was the Start Menu automatically open with every Windows version? No. Why does the start screen HAVE to be open initially?

I dunno, why is it the first thing I see on my Windows Phone? Why is it the first thing I see on my tablet? Why is it the first thing I see on my Xbox?

It's a dashboard to your PC. It's meant as a startup UX. That should have been clear to you way back in the beta.

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xWhiplash

I dunno, why is it the first thing I see on my Windows Phone? Why is it the first thing I see on my tablet? Why is it the first thing I see on my Xbox?

It's a dashboard to your PC. It's meant as a startup UX. That should have been clear to you way back in the beta.

Sigh.....Windows Phone =/= PC. XBox =/= PC.

Why didn't the Start Menu default to being open then?

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      In contrast, Saved Searches can reference multiple locations simultaneously—or an individual folder(s) if that is what a user desires—based on a user's criteria such as specific names, dates, metadata, types, and words or phrases within files themselves. Also unlike Libraries, users can refine their Saved Search results with Boolean operators, natural language search (in Windows Vista and Windows 7), query composition, and / or the options offered by the column headers in File Explorer.
    • By RickC
      I don't know what to do. It is driving me crazy. None of the solutions suggested have work. I turned off the adaptive brightness feature in the advanced settings and I also disabled the sensor in the msconfig and it still lower the brightness to almost not visible. I have a Sony Vaio that came with windows 8 and upgraded to 10. It does it with both versions.