Windows 8 is out now in the market. If you are using Windows 7 (or even Vista or XP), there would be an obvious question hovering in your mind, should I upgrade my OS ? You must have heard that Microsoft has completely redesigned the user interface of the operating system to make it a better fit for touch sensitive devices(Microsoft calls it Metro UI).
Many are of the opinion that the interface is indeed a breeze on a touchscreen device, but might be a pain if you are using a pointing device like a mouse or a trackpad. One of the most annoying (and perhaps the most radical) changes is that the start menu is gone and is replaced by a start screen. The start screen is the first thing you see when you login on a PC running Windows 8. The start screen has the same functionality the start button had in earlier versions of the OS, but the main difference is that, while on clicking the start button a small menu just popped up on the bottom left corner of your screen, whereas the start screen will take up the entire screen of your monitor as it uses tiles instead of traditional icons.
Switching to full-screen mode just for launching an app might be touch-friendly, but many traditional PC users (including me) doubt if the UI will be of any help while using a mouse or a trackpad. There are also many others (Microsoft fan boys), who believe that its just about getting used to. They say, after a couple of days of using Windows 8, you’ll get used to its tiled UI.
After coming across these mixed reviews about Windows 8, one would surely like to test the new UI before permanently adopting it. For that you can obviously download the developers’ test version of Windows 8. But that involves a lot of hassle and is only recommended for advanced users (and developers). What if you want to test the Metro UI without taking much pain ? Well, fortunately enough, if you are currently using Windows XP (Media Center Edition), Windows Vista (Home Premium or Ultimate) or Windows 7 (Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate), you have an application preinstalled on your PC, that uses the tiled Metro user interface. And the application is Windows Media Center, which you probably never use unless you are watching a movie or television or using your PC with a remote. You can easily use Windows Media Center to get the feel of the Metro UI and to decide weather you’ll be comfortable if you were to use the same UI for launching every single app on your PC ?
Personally speaking, I’m not very comfortable with the tiled UI, if I’m using a pointing device like a mouse or a trackpad. Though I must also add that the interface is really very intuitive for touch based devices.