Windows 8 provides two interfaces through which you interact with your computer to launch programs, control attached devices and do useful work. One interface is the Traditional Desktop, similar to the earlier operating systems like Windows 7 etc. The other is the Modern Interface (Previously known as Metro) which is approached through the Start Screen. Windows 8 provides many facilities for interactions between these two interfaces.
What you can do in a Desktop.
- You can Install Programs and Run these Desktop Programs/Applications.
- Set and Control facilities of the computer, attached devices and network.
- You can run more than one program at a time. A program continues to RUN even if it does not have current focus . Minimized or non focus programs still continue to use all acquired resources.
- You can have multiple windows open at any instant each running its own program.
What you can do in the Modern Interface.
- Install programs called Modern Apps from the Microsoft Store only. These are curated by Microsoft and so are Safe. ( How to get Apps from Store )
Each Modern App runs full screen.
- Set and Control a limited subset of facilities of the computer, attached devices and network. For a more complete control you have to use the desktop facilities.
- More than one App can be started but only the App having focus is Running. Others are in a Suspended State. Over time a suspended App is removed from the System except for a small foot print required to restart the App.
(Note: There are some Apps like Music playing Apps that continue to Run even without focus. There are a limited number of Apps that can be assigned on the Lock Screen which will work in the background. E.G. Mail App which can check Mail. Also Apps that support Live Tiles can run in the background.)
What is the Start Screen
- Start screen is like a Start Menu realized through a Set of Customizable Tiles that are displayed on your computer screen instead of a text based Menu.
- These Square Tiles come in various sizes that can be set by you. Text on each Tile explains its purpose. Clicking a Tile starts an action which could be to Run an APP, Open a folder, open a specific page in a browser or take an action programed into it.
- Tiles of some APPs are live and display information from the APP. This could be current status, picture etc. This Live Tile feature can be turned off if desired.
- You can Pin Desktop Applications and Apps from the Store to the Start Screen. These can be arranged in Titled groups. A list of all installed Apps and Desktop programs can be displayed by clicking on the small arrow at the bottom left corner of the start screen. You can select Apps to be Pinned to Start Screen from this list.
- The Start Screen background can be set to the Desktop Background through the Taskbar Properties.
A representative Start Screen is shown below showing the features described above.
1. Wide Tile showing information from PEOPLE Modern App.
2. Small Tiles of Desktop Apps of Word, Excel, Skype, MS Money, cCleaner and Store Modern App
3. Medium Tile of Windows Live Mail Desktop Program
4. Medium Tile of Modern App ASPARION CLOCK showing Live information about current time etc.
5. Medium Tile of a Desktop Shortcut to a DOS Command.
6. Large Tile of Modern WEATHER App showing Live Weather Information
7. Large Tile of Modern PHOTO App showing Photos from the Picture Library.
8. Small Tiles of Desktop Programs and Modern Apps
9. Large Tile of DESKTOP.
Here are some more pictures of Start Screen Showing a Variety of Items Pinned to it to facilitate App, Website and Desktop Program selection.
1. Modern Apps for News showing Live News on Tiles
2. Modern Apps for GAMES and Pinned Items for Website Pages
2. More Pinned Items from Websites.