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Windows 8 Consumer Preview Software Tour – Login & Lock Screens

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview review on BYTE was an interesting journey for me. There's a lot to like, and there's a lot of stuff that will likely make you scratch your head.  It was clear, however as I was going through the review process that there was more than could be comfortably put in one of our reviews.  I still wanted to share it with everyone, though. Windows 8, while very stable and quite likely able to handle its own in a production desktop setting, isn't feature complete, and there are issues still left to resolve. Not every app ran for me on my Asus Eee PC T101MT netbook. Once released, however, I would assume and expect any piece of mainstream hardware and software to either work, indicate the required steps to get it to work, or state that it will not work. Example: my Asus Eee PC T101MT netbook's camera wouldn't work under Windows 8. The driver activated the camera, but the Windows 8 Camera app consistently crashed and wouldn't run. There's no reason why the 0.3MP camera in the T101MT shouldn't work. This is clearly a beta OS driver or camera app issue. The following software tour is of Windows 8's Lock, Login and Start Menu screens. You'll notice that they're completely redesigned and totally new to Windows 8. They also make a large contribution to Windows 8's new MetroUI.  Let's take a quick look at some of the new stuff you'll find in Windows 8 in this brief Software Tour.

Lock & Login Screens

The Windows 8 Lock Screen has been completely redesigned. The icons on the bottom of the screen, in the Metro Apps Notification Area, will change as system events trigger notifications, in real time.

The standard Login Screen has been redesigned too. During initial login, you enter your Windows 8 user account password. Each time you restart or login to Windows 8, you will log into your Windows Live Account, as Windows 8 will use it to sync your key account attributes (settings, favorites, etc.) so that any Windows 8 computer you log into will have your consistent look and feel.

Start Menu

Those familiar with Windows Phone will recognize the new Start Menu and Windows Live Tiles. Each tile is a shortcut to the associated program and is updated with notification information as new/updated data is received by the connected program. Notice the weather information on the Weather Live Tile.

Getting Metro Apps to run can be a bit of a challenge on legacy equipment, especially if you’re using a netbook, or a display that isn’t setup for at least 1024×768 resolution. Metro App screens are static and not resizable below 1024×768, so if your screen is smaller than that and you can’t force the resolution change, as I did, you may be out of luck. (The Start Menu above is displaying 1024×768. The one immediately below is 1024×600.)

If you’re looking for the rest of your installed programs, and you don’t see them in a Live Tile, don’t worry. The Start Menu can still get you there. Simply bring up the Start Menu and start typing the name of the program you wish to run. Windows 8 will search your entire computer, matching all the executables to the character’s you’ve typed. The count of the different matches will be displayed on the categories under the search field.

Start Menu and other related settings can be found by dropping your mouse cursor to the lower right corner while the Start Menu is displayed. From here, you can get access to Start Menu specific settings, help, screen and volume settings as well as the power button. The Metro App styled Control Panel is also accessible by clicking the More PC Settings link.

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