Windows 8 Annoyances

Written on Surface RT Touch Cover.

Last updated: 3/9/2013

I’ve been using Windows 8 regularly on my Surface RT since launch and overall I enjoy it and find myself using the Surface much more than my desktop for my day to day computing. As good as Windows 8 is, there are some minor and a few major annoyances that I hope are corrected soon. The two major annoyances I have, since I know you’re interested, are XBOX music and the lack of Tell ME integration. Those two items will have separate posts. So on to my minor annoyances. You’ll see me make comparison to Windows Phone a lot below, but that is because I believe that Windows Phone is a more mature experience. This will be updated as I continue to spend more time with the platform.

  • Inability to “Share” to multiple social networks via the people hub. In Windows Phone 7 you regularly saw a share to “social networks” which allowed you to choose one or many of the natively integrated social networks and post to multiple places at once. Interestingly I have yet to see this ability in Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8. You could use a third party app such as Flip Toast to do this, but it needs to be native.
  • Playing music controls only available by hitting the physical volume rocker (or the source app). Wished I could get to those quickly via the charms bar also. The volume rocker is just a bit inconvenient in its location (on the Surface at least).
  • Lack of a Windows 8 tips app from Microsoft. Yes, you get the how on OS installation or set up but for the average consumer you need that available as a standalone app. This could act as a refresher or a “hey look it’s easy” when you pass your new Windows 8 tablet off to someone who’s unfamiliar. Also, this really needs to include how to for selecting items in a list with touch. I won’t lie when I first got my Surface it took me about 3 days to figure out how to select multiple playlists with touch from within XBOX music.
  • Quick access to the “My Pictures”, “My Videos”, etc. folders from within the pictures/ videos metro apps. I have my surface connected to my home group so when I open either of those apps and tap pictures library I get all the folders from my Home Server in what seems to be an arbitrary order. While that is mostly awesome that it aggregates everything its more difficult than it should be to find my way to that local folder. If I want to find a screenshot I just took on my Surface, which gets saved in the local My Pictures folder I have to tap the breadcrumbs and find my way back to that specific local folder. It is not ideal. Maybe there should be a shortcut in the right click application menu to the local folder.
  • You have to manually launch the on screen keyboard in desktop mode. There should be an option to make it act like it does on the metro side and pop up automatically in desktop mode.
  • No option to automatically install app updates from the Windows store. Yes, I get notified of updates via the counter on the tile and it is only two taps to install it from there, but there should be an option to just install those automatically as they come in.
  • There is no equivalent to the jump menu’s you got via IE9 pinning when you pin a website to the start menu. Let’s face it a pinned Facebook website in IE9 has more of a live tile feel than does the pinned Facebook website in Windows 8. With no official Facebook app, they need to push an update to IE10 to make those work again.
  • No 50% screen on metro. The 70/30 split pinning (or whatever the ratio is) is nice, but I should be able to pin 2 apps side by side splitting the desktop, especially with the widescreen resolution of the Surface. Even if it just shrank the full screen apps that would work.
  • There is no jump list in the all app list, I have a lot of apps and when clicking a letter in the app list I’d like to be able to select another letter like on Windows Phone.
    (edit: If you click on all apps, pinch to zoom out (or click on semantic zoom button) you get a picker similar to windows phone. Thanks @kennedyneil. Although I believe that is an extra unnecessary step.)
  • Tap and hold cursor. This should work exactly as on Windows Phone. Yes you can select the word and use the arrow keys on the virtual /physical keyboard but it’s not as smooth as on Windows Phone with the tap and hold cursor.
  • No Bing vision. I had to download a QR code reader app to scan tags with the camera on my Surface. Want to scan’s Microsoft’s own TAG format? You can’t as they don’t even have their own TAG app available.
  • You cannot run Windows Phone apps snapped in Windows 8. They look like they’d fit right? As I said before the Windows Phone platform and most of their apps are more mature than their equivalent on Windows 8. If I could run many of the apps of Windows Phone in Windows 8 snapped to the side the platform would feel more complete.
  • Bluetooth device management. It is easy enough to add or delete a Bluetooth device by navigating to the charms-> settings -> change pc settings -> devices. But let’s say you are currently connected to a Bluetooth device but want to disconnect from it and connect to another? The easiest way to do it is remove the device, which is not ideal. Unfortunately there are no third party apps to help with this issue either. Once again Windows Phone is the more mature platform and shows how easily this can be managed.
Posted in Microsoft, Surface, Windows

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