Windows 8: Does the Modern Interface Mean Diminished Functionality?

This post was originally posted during the pre-release period (  Following a recent comment to another article I decided to bring it back (updated for RTM) today.  I hope you enjoy it! –MDG

‘Mitch, I have been in love with the Search feature in Windows 7 since you demonstrated it at the House Party launch at Artisano’s… how come Microsoft took it away?’

These were the first words a community member said to me when they ran into me at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in July.  I had to pull out my laptop and show him he was wrong to appease him.

imageIt’s true, when you look at the Start screen on Windows 8 there is nowhere to type.  In Windows 7 it was so easy… you clicked on the Start button and started typing.  Life was simple, and it would find documents, applications, and even e-mails for you right away (as long as they were properly indexed, which was easy enough to do and the default for proper file locations).

So here’s the question… how often has Microsoft actually removed functionality from one operating system to the next?  Oh sure, Windows 7 saw the removal of features such as Windows Messenger and Outlook Express, but those were actually side-loaded to lighten the OS, and were put into the Windows Live Essentials bundle, a free download.

No, it’s still there, and just as easy.  From the Start screen just start typing and POOF… see what happens!

imageAs you see the Search bar appears, and what you typed (in this case the word ‘word’) appears, and the Indexed Search starts just like it did in Windows 7… but cleaner!  As you see, the Results pane shows all of the results, and the Search pane allows me to specify what I am searching for… Apps, Settings, or files.

By default we are going to see the Apps results appear first, but without starting a new search all you have to do is click the context that you are looking for, and the Results pane populates accordingly:

Once I demonstrated how easy it is to search in Windows 8, the community member smiled wide and told me that he was looking forward to seeing what kind of a launch party I have planned for the new OS.  That was three months ago, and today I am pleased to announce that across Canada we have several Windows 8 Launch Parties going on, from Montreal through Vancouver; each of these parties will be hosted by either a Microsoft MVP or, in a couple of cases, a Microsoft Technical Evangelist (or Virtual Technical Evangelist Winking smile).  I was originally supposed to host the event in Burlington, Ontario; due to my travel schedule I ended up handing that off to Ruth Morton, and I will be in Calgary for the event on the 25th (in addition to Winnipeg on the 22nd, and virtual appearances as a few more).

With all of the (well deserved) hype around Windows 8, it is easy to forget that there are still millions of people still running Windows XP.  With 532 days left until #EndOfDaysXP, I am now getting asked if I am planning to throw a party (or other sort of event) on the actual day, a celebration of XP if you will;  I have to admit, I don’t know just yet… although with so much interest so far out I think it is probably a good idea; I don’t know where I will be on the actual day that Windows XP Support ends (follow @mgarvis or #EndOfDaysXP on Twitter for the near-daily countdown), but stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll do SOMETHING! Smile

I should mention though one possible bit of diminished functionality in the Search… Windows 8 does not search your e-mails (as it did in Windows 7), and that is something I did all the time.  My expectation is that with the recent Release To Manufacturing (RTM) of Office 2013 there will be an update that enables that capability.  Stay tuned, there is always more coming Winking smile

We are now a few months into the actual RTM of Windows 8, and with General Availability (GA) coming this week I know that if you are not yet running the new OS (in a test environment if not in production) then it is time for you to start looking at it; believe me, you will not be disappointed!


2 responses to “Windows 8: Does the Modern Interface Mean Diminished Functionality?”

  1. “No, it’s still there, and just as easy” Mitch, I often use the start button in Windows 7 to search my email too. Does Windows 8 include email results, or did Microsoft remove that functionality?

    1. Hi Jeff. As I stated in the article I am hoping that with Office 2013 it will be reintroduced. I agree, it is a great functionality that I hope we don’t lose. -MDG

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