Windows 8 Interface

By Don Trauger, Kennet

            If you are purchasing a new PC, Microsoft’s Windows 7 retail availability is dwindling. Their newest operating system, Windows 8, has taken over from Windows 7 and therein lies the problem.


            You may have read that the interface for Windows 8 is difficult or unfriendly to use. The interface is explained as the screen that is presented to you after you start the computer and all the icons have been loaded.  What if I told you that there is a program that can change the look and feel of a Windows 8 computer back to Windows 7 or even Windows XP. Interested?


            In a previous article I wrote that you should get familiarization or training at the store where you purchased your Windows 8 computer. I still think that is a good idea because Windows 8 interface is a radical change from earlier versions. However, a program called Start8 from a company called Stardock makes using Windows 8 as easy as using a Windows 7, Vista, or XP computer.


            The program can be downloaded from and has a 30 day free trial. After the trial period if you choose to keep it the cost is only $4.99.


            As you may know Windows 8 removes the familiar Start button. Also, there is no program menu listing of your programs as there is in Windows 7, Vista, or XP. Start8, however, reproduces the older environment by restoring the Start button and the program listing. It also can be easily configured to boot directly to the Desktop screen so when you start your computer it works just like Windows 7, Vista, or XP. With a one click configuration change and a reboot, you can revert back to the Windows 8 interface if you wish.


            My opinion of the Windows 8 interface is that Microsoft is using it more as a marketing tool than a tool to start programs. For example, setting up the calendar feature requires you to provide your email address and password to set up a Microsoft account. This is also required for other Windows 8 features. The Weather feature (Live Tile) uses Microsoft’s Bing and the data appeared to be hours old for this area. There is also a Sports Live Tile feature and a News Live Tile, both of which are fed by Microsoft’s Bing. No other source choices are available.


            As you can surmise I’m not a big fan of the Windows 8 interface. Using Start8 makes it much easier to use your new Windows 8 computer. However, the Windows 8 operating system is a good stable system that provides faster startup, operation, and improved security. There’s nothing to dislike about those things.


            Come and see how Start8 works. It just might remove any hesitancy about Windows 8 computers. Our PC Computer Club is open to all residents. There is no formal membership or experience required. Your questions and problems will be addressed at the meeting. We meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM upstairs in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.