Windows 8 was built for touch devices. Mice and keyboards worked, but the implementation was so poor that for Microsoft’s next Windows release they skipped right to version 10. How does Windows 10 stack up? Read on to find out.
Where Is Windows 9?
When Windows 8 came out, I wrote an article lamenting the major issues with the Windows Modern interface – especially when used on a convertible or 2-in-1 laptop. Windows 8 on a tablet was decent, but as soon as you docked the tablet, the laptop became much harder to use. Let me remind you: Windows 8 on a laptop was a terrible experience. Now that Windows 10 has been out for some time and the first batch of updates were released in November, how does the convertible laptop experience compare?
I have good news for you. Whereas Windows 8 required a complete re-learning of how to use the world’s most popular operating system, Windows 10 will be instantly familiar to anyone who has used previous versions of Windows.
Laptop vs. Tablet
At the time Windows 8 released, I questioned why the touch interface was always active. Why wasn’t there a way back to the familiar Start Menu of days past? Whether you were in tablet mode or laptop mode, the interface remained the same. With the huge touch friendly icons, it became time consuming and confusing to navigate the system while docked. Users are typically docked for a reason – they want to be productive! I wanted two things from Microsoft’s next OS:
- The ability to turn off the Modern Interface – in other words – a way back to the simple start menu of previous versions.
- A way for Windows to detect when docked and use the normal start menu based interface, but when undocked to use the touch friendly Modern Interface.
How does Windows 10 operate? More good news. Microsoft nailed both requests.
Toggle Here for Productivity
Microsoft made it very simple to turn on or off the Modern Interface. Simply click on the Notification icon in the task bar and select Tablet Mode.
As soon as you turn Tablet Mode on, you will notice that windows will become full screen and the Modern Interface takes over making the experience very touch friendly.
Once you are ready to move back to the traditional interface, just turn off Tablet Mode and your start menu will be back and operating as it used to.
The great thing here is that Microsoft saw the value in the Modern Interface’s “Live Tiles.” These will still be present in classic mode, but can be arranged, resized and don’t get in the way of the classic start menu’s list of applications.
Convertible or 2-in-1 - Keep Reading
If you have a convertible or 2-in-1 where the tablet separates from the keyboard there are a few additional settings you should be aware of. Navigate to the Settings panel and select Tablet Mode.
The first setting – “Make Windows more touch-friendly…” will tell your computer to enable Tablet Mode automatically when you undock or turn from laptop to tablet.
The second setting – “When I sign in…” – should be self-explanatory. You can tell Windows to remember what was previously selected, to go into tablet mode automatically or to go into desktop mode automatically.
The third option likewise is self-explanatory. Do you want to be notified when Windows is going to move you to or from tablet mode?
The final option will let you hide the icons of running applications from the task bar when in tablet mode. If you hide the task bar, you will have to use the Desktop button to see which applications are running.
It is unfortunate Microsoft had to go through the pain of Windows 8 to get us a good operating system. Yes – I’m calling Windows 10 a good operating system! The user interface is customizable to fit most anyone’s needs and overall the OS is snappy compared to its predecessor. If you haven’t taken advantage of the free upgrade yet, do so before time runs out!