Last week I gave you Five of My First Thoughts on Windows 8.1. As with any move to new software and/or operating system, there is a learning curve. Thanks to installing Start8, the learning curve wasn’t as painful since I have the familiar Start menu that Microsoft refused to deliver. One reader suggested I should have installed Classic Shell instead simply because it was free. I have no problem paying a company that delivered something of value to me $5 for that product. Yes, I was aware of alternatives for providing a Start menu and I chose what I felt was the best choice for me. Only you can choose the best option for you.
Another reader suggested I should get ModernMix from the same company that makes Start8. Actually I did get this utility that allows you to run the Windows 8 “apps” within a window on the Desktop (the interface we all know and love from previous versions of Windows). There was actually a discounted bundle of ModernMix and Start8 for $8 so I got both. So far I’ve yet to find any apps that I want to run and thus I haven’t yet had a need for ModernMix. I’m sure that day will come, just not sure when or what apps.
One thing I really missed on Windows 8.1 were the desktop gadgets that existed in Windows 7. They provided me with information I found extremely useful such as a clock, calendar, weather or resource usage. While these may be available using the new-fangled Windows apps, they want to run full screen. Yes, ModernMix can run them in a window, but it still takes up a lot more real estate than it should. In digging around a bit, I found 8gadgets as a free tool that allows you to run the gadgets from Windows 7 on Windows 8. Heck, it even supplies some the most popular gadgets (some are shown in the dialog box above) so you don’t even have to go hunting for them.
Now that I have my gadgets back on the desktop, Windows 8.1 is starting to grow on me just a little.