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Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

17 Sep

Here are a few keyboard (and mouse) shortcuts for Windows 8 when in Metro mode:

Application Search Win+Q 
Settings Search Win+W
Files Search Win+F
Settings Charm Win+I
Rotation Lock Win+O
Time/date and start menu Win+C

Of course you can still use the old keyboard shortcuts such as Win+D or Win+R or Win+L.

If you’re using a mouse you can activate the charms/options by putting the mouse at the bottom left edge. Mouse mode also lets you active in-app options by right clicking.

You can use the keyboard’s arrow keys and page down/up to pick tiles. Use Enter to launch them. The menu button will let you select them.


Dual boot with Windows 7 and Windows 8 (VHD)

16 Sep

This is the second post in a series following up on the //build conference.

All attendees got a Windows 8 based tablet after the first day keynote. The tablet is running a technology preview of Windows 8 and got some developer related applications like Visual Studio 11 Express (preview) preinstalled. The tablet is a Samsung 7-series with some really cool hardware specs including a docking station and a slick keyboard from Samsung as well. PC world have written a review here.

I got a few extra applications installed pretty fast – Visual Studio 11 Ultimate was among the first. So the tablet is really cool and can easily be used for development. However that was not enough for me. I had to install Windows 8 on my primary laptop (Lenovo T410s) to get the full development experience. After hearing and seeing some failures doing this, I took some pretty slow steps to make sure everything would work alright.

I followed this guide from Mister Godcat and it works great! I did not have any issues during the installation process at all. I got the same dialog asking me to enter license key but just skipped it. As soon as it got online it automatically activated using a predefined key.

I have already tried to slide on the start menu using my fingers. Only problem is that my Lenovo is not a touchscreen which makes me feel a little bit stupid :)


Windows and the new Metro UI

15 Sep

This is the first post in a series following up on the //build conference.

At the keynote we were introduced to Windows 8 and the new Metro UI. We learned about the thoughts behind it and how we as developers could gain benefit from it. At the keynote on the second day Steve Ballmer  talked about the importance of a success in getting the stuff implemented throughout the entire Microsoft organization and products. This appears to be a huge investment for Microsoft.

The presentation of Windows 8 at the keynote was impressive. It was well presented and the demos explanatory. From a UI perspective Microsoft is adding a layer on top of the existing desktop UI targeting tablets. This new UI is called “Metro” and is very much similar to the UI used on Windows Phone. It’s simple, clean and easy to use. There are still some work to be done e.g. regarding navigation. It’s really important to keep in mind that first and foremost this UI is targeting tablets. The desktop as we know it today is right underneath. The way the world is today and the way we work with computers there are many scenarios the Metro UI will not be the correct solution for. As we see more and more focus on NUI based interaction I think we will see a wider adoption and user scenarios for the Metro UI in near future.

With the introduction of Windows 8 and Metro UI Microsoft also introduced WinRT (Windows Runtime). WinRT is a new layer making it easier to talk to Windows Core OS Services. With the WinRT APIs a lot of concern have been removed from the applications making it faster and more productive to write applications. Lots of code demos will follow in a later post – I promise!

Building applications for the Metro UI you have three opportunities:

1. C++ and XAML,
2. C# and XAML or
3. JS and HTML/CSS

All three methods gain the advantages of WinRT and makes it possible to create some stunning Windows 8 (only!) applications. The WinRT is only targeting the Metro UI part of Windows (at the moment) but it is still perfectly valid to create ordinary desktop applications as we know them today. Any application that can run on a Windows 7 box will run on a Windows 8 box.

Microsoft have released a preview of Windows 8 and a preview of Visual Studio 11 that can be used to develop the new Metro UI applications. Both are not even in beta yet so be aware – there are bugs! Don’t let them in on your production environment!

I hope to see Windows 8 in beta within the next 3 months and hopefully in RTM during Q2 2012.


Follow up on //build

15 Sep

At the moment I’m attending the Microsoft //build conference. It has been some exciting months leading up till this point with very little information from Microsoft. As a contractor and MVP with focus on Silverlight and WPF it has been extra exciting. Will Microsoft totally kill Silverlight, will Silverlight become first class citizen in Windows 8, will there be a new technology replacing the client side perspective that Silverlight have done so well. The questions were many before the keynote.

During the next few blog posts I will give my thoughts on what we will see in the future based on what I have heard at the //build conference.

Windows and the new Metro UI
The future of Silverlight

Tips and tricks to Windows 8

Dual boot with Windows 7 and Windows 8 (VHD)
Disable spell checker in Windows 8