There’s been a lot of talk about how Windows 8 needs a, “Killer App” to survive in tablet space; something that a Microsoft product can do better than anyone else. And while I understand that a simplified, Metro-ish, version of Office 15 would make a great case for productivity being possible on a tablet, I doubt it will blow anyone’s mind. People want to see something magical, something that makes them feel good about that PC they already have at home.
Windows Live Essentials, which has been around since the early days of Vista, includes a bevy of applications that—as the name suggests–work well with Windows Live’s online services. Did you know that Windows Live SkyDrive offers a free 25GB of online storage, and was around a year before Dropbox officially launched at TechCrunch50? Most people don’t. And with Windows Live Mesh, the Essentials app that partners with SkyDrive, it’s incredibly easy to sync files to the cloud or across multiple devices. But that’s just the start.
Windows Live Mesh also allows you to remotely login to any computer you’ve signed into Mesh on before – as long as know the user password and have enabled Remote Connections. Built off of (what I assume is) RDP, it’s fast and stable. And because Windows Live handles the connections, you don’t have to mess about with port forwarding or firewall settings. You can sync favorites and Office settings, copy and paste files across machines, an interact fully with UAC. About the only thing you can’t do is stream audio, which is a feature I’d love to see added.
Check out Windows Live Mesh, a new version was released today, and let me know what you think. It works great with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. iCloud, what?
To use Metro-style applications, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview requires a minimum resolution of at least 1024×768. Unfortunately, most netbook displays are limited to 1024×600 – an unfortunate limitation of Intel’s GMA 3150.
To get around the chipset’s cruddy native resolution, you can enable downscaling of higher resolutions by enabling Display1_DownScalingSupported in the registry. I’ve exported the appropriate key for anyone interested: just download, double-click to import, and reboot your PC.
Note that downscaling will (obviously) create some blurry-ness, as Windows is doing it’s best to emulate a larger image on what is physically less pixels.
One of the first problems I had with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was figuring out how to shutdown my netbook. Sure, you can click on your name, Sign out, and then shutdown, but there’s got to be a faster way. Hitting up the Windows forum, I quickly found this post:
The friendliest way to shutdown your Windows 8 machine is most likely from the Charm settings menu, accessible by pressing the Windows Key and I at the same time. From there, click the power icon:
Then there’s the classic, “Three finger salute” of pressing Ctrl, Alt, and Delete at the same time. Apart from offering Lock and Logout options, the Power button is also available in the bottom-right corner.
Other, more technical, suggestions I read included making a shortcut to the shutdown.exe executable located in the C:\Windows\System32 directory. But that seems less than elegant.
Personally, I think the best way to shutdown is by modifying the Advanced Power Options so that quickly tapping the power button just initiates the shutdown process:
How do you shutdown your Windows 8 PC?
EDITED on 03/20/12 to include Ctrl + Alt + Del, redact Windows Key + F