Windows 8 Myths Debunked

Windows 8 has sparked a flurry of excitement, speculation and good, old-fashioned doom-saying. What’s real? What isn’t? We investigate.

Online commenters, never shy about airing their opinions, offer both praise and condemnation for the new operating system (OS). In such an environment, it's perhaps unsurprising that Windows 8 myths abound. These myths include half-truths, carefully thought-out (but dead wrong) predictions, and one or two rumors that are off-the-charts insane.

Here are a few of the more common misconceptions people have about Windows 8.

The Death of the Start Button

Yes, the familiar Windows Start button has indeed disappeared. That part of the myth is true. However, all the functions formerly accessed with the Start button are alive and well.

If you right–click on the lower left side of the screen you get a pop-up text menu that allows access to Programs and Features, the Control Panel, the Desktop and other features you used to find on the Start button. The functions are still there, even if the “button” has vanished.

The Desktop Is Gone, Too

It's easy to see where this myth came from. Screenshots of the Windows 8 Start page show blocks of application tiles, which seem to have replaced the Desktop. If you check the app blocks, however, you'll find that one of them actually is your Desktop. Click on this tile to open the Desktop.

You Can't Close Open Apps

This myth probably began because the app tiles don't have an obvious "close" option, but closing applications is fairly simple. All you need to do is position the mouse pointer in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. A sidebar appears that shows all active applications. Right-click the app you want closed and select "Close."

Forget the Apps, You Can't Even Power Down

Okay, at this point the rumor mill starts to get silly. Really? We're expected to believe that Microsoft would design an operating system that needs a hard crash in order to shut off the computer?

This myth developed because Windows 8 changed the location and appearance of your power-off options. In the lower right–hand corner of the screen is a small box. Hover the mouse pointer over this box (or touch with your finger, if you're using a touch screen) and the right-hand side bar, of Charm Bar, opens. This bar includes features such as SettingsNotifications and, of course, Power.

Windows 8 Hates Mouse Users

This was an inevitable myth. Microsoft designed Windows 8 to work with both touch screens and computer mice. Some people immediately decided this meant the company was throwing mouse users to the virtual wolves (or, this being the Internet, LOLcats).

The argument goes like this: "Microsoft wants its piece of the tablet pie so they made Windows 8. If Windows 8 supports touch screens, then it must focus on touch-technology and ignore the needs of mouse users." This is despite Microsoft's insistence that the operating system works well with both technologies, because, according the conspiracy theorists, you can't trust what they say.

To be fair, this is less a myth than an opinion. Mouse skills vary widely from user to user. If you have difficulty pointing, clicking and dragging items, then Windows 8 comes with a steep learning curve. You won't necessarily be using the mouse any more than you do with Windows 7; you'll just be using it differently.

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