Tag Archives: Windows8

Windows8 Tablet Simulation

One of the key-features of Windows8 is probably the touch-centered UI. In the future most people will own a tablet or a laptop / desktop with a touchscreen.
But unfortunatly, not all of us have this at this moment, and most of us developers wouldn't like to keep switching back and forth between desktop and tablet
to check out how our application acts.

Fortunatly for us, a software engineer at microsoft had the great idea of making a tablet emulator that emulates your Desktop / Laptop onto a touchscreen senstive of any size.

To open up this emulator, Open run (Windows + R) and enter:
\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Simulator\Microsoft.Windows.Simulator.exe

This will launch the tablet similation of your desktop. and log you in automatically.


Now let's go over some functions, all the tools can be found at the righthand side of your "tablet".


As should be clear by now, this is a very usefull tool for programmers. Though keep in mind that this program is - just like windows8 - in an early stage and might act buggy.

Bugs in Windows8

A not-so-technical post.

I've been using Windows8 for a good week now, and have encountered some bugs in
doing so, I've decided to list the bugs here and keep this updated to whether there I encounter some more.

Now for most of these, I haven't actually found a fix but have found a way to isolate the problem.

1. By far the most annoying one.

When I have an application in "Suspended" mode, whenever I move my mouse past the right bar
the whole System freezes up, the only thing you can do here is "CTRL ALT DEL" and wait for about 1-2 minutes.
So the obvious problem here being the Suspended state - the best fix for this is by terminating every Metro UI app using ALT+F4 or taskmanager.
This bug is hugely annoying when trying to write Metro style applications.


2. The Icon problem.

Sometimes Icons wont be fully rendered, resulting in a part of them either
missing or turning black. This isn't a huge problem because I never relly on
how the icons look like. Also this only seems a problem on the .NET framework applications.

3. Java crash.

More preciselly a minecraft crash. Whenever I launch this game, Windows8 acts
as an anti-addiction method, resulting in a complete system crash. (It even skips the bluescreen..).

4. IE10 crash.

Now because this version of IE10 solely runs on Windows8, I can't be 100% sure
that this is a problem with Windows8. At random moments IE10 just throws an error, restarts the webpage and you can go on surfing.

5. IE10 freeze.

Sometimes a website freezes, the UI is still responsive (as in, you can change the URL) but you can't click on any buttons anymore.
Navigating to another website is disabled aswell, and the whole webpage is stuck.
A fix for this is  dragging the tab into another IE10 application. This will make the whole webpage work again and shut down the original IE10 application.

6. Logoff "freeze"

Don't know whether you can call this a real freeze. But I left for university so I clicked logoff - came back about 7 hours later just to see my pc was still
showing the "Logging off..." screen.

The only thing I could do at this point was do a restart with the power button.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think this was caused by the windows updates having been installed.

7. Shutdown..issue.

Just like Windows shuts down to avoid me having an addiction to minecraft, it avoids me shutting down Windows8 as to keep my addiction to PC's alive.
I press Shutdown, my pc shuts down and restarts himself. To make sure I didn't click the wrong button, I tried it again straightafter . No success, it just reboots.
Fixing this was well..by shutting down trough the command line. "Shutdown /s".


8. Spellchecking issue.

Now this is not related to IE10. Whenever I type something on a website in English, my spellchecker is kind enough to underline every word
(Because my mother-tongue is Dutch). This results in the whole webpage lagging, so I type about 1 character per second.
This bug is pretty common appereantly, but a way around this is by terminating the spellchecking process.

Windows8 file properties

Access file properties Windows8.

Now the convenient way of accessing file properties is by Right-clicking
and selecting "Properties".

While this still works on desktop applications, it doesn't work for Metro UI

So I went and searched around for a way to be able to access
my application's properties, and finally found the way to do so.

First you open your metro UI application, next open taskmanager. Now the application
you opened will get suspended during this, but that's not important right now
Here you get a list of all your applications running, and
when you right click on one of them, you can select "properties"again.


Eureka I thought but unfortunately, you can't access this program's folder (Piano).

Atleast I found a way to access the properties, but I don't think this is a
good way at all - you can't close taskmanager or your properties windows will
close + it's not a very convenient way to access it. Let's hope the people at
microsoft make a decent right-click menu for metro UI applications.

Enable classic startmenu (Windows8) (and a bit more)

WARNING! There is an important thing to keep in notice, you have to Disable t and then Enable it again to keep using all the other windows features!


I've installed windows8 developer preview just a few hours back, and I find the Metro UI to slow me down quite a bit.
If you're like me, and you want to work quickly and have access to all files & folder in an easy way, you'll probably find the Original Start menu (or windows 7 one (the one with a search function)) quite a bit better than Always opening metro UI whenever you click on that Start button.

Luckily, there is an easy way to get your old start menu back!

open regedit (WindowsKey + R), go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer and change the value of RPEnabled from 1 to 0

Now look at the windows button!


As you can see, you get your classic windows7 button back.

Windows8 (BUILD 13/03/2011)

Today was the first keynote about windows8, the metro UI it includes and so much more. While watching this I made some notes & screenshots that I'll be happy to share with you now. (seems like those exams in dutch-writing & listening came in handy after all.)

Windows7 today

At the moment, the most current windows version is Windows 7. This day actually marks a quite important one in the cycle of Windows7's lifetime, Windows7 overtook windows XP usage globally!

But, Win7 is like an evolving species in this cycle, since the RTM release the operating system has undergone more than 1500 product changes, this doesn't even include the security fixes!

Along with Win7 came IE9. Today IE9 is the fastest growing webbrowser and has proven quite a bit in the aspect of web development, hardware acceleration clearly matters. (Remember the fishtank?)
(for people who haven't seen this yet : http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/FishIETank/ )

And now we are on about web development, every month 542million! (that's 542 000 000) people sign in using their LIVE ID, hotmail, skydrive.

Windows8 takes what they had in Windows7, and improves on this, resulting in complete backwards compatability!


Windows8 Foundational elements.

Windows8 promises to be the biggest change in windows since Win95!

With windows8 comes a whole new user experience, the one that should catch your eye straight away is the Metro UI. The Metro UI is the main interface for all tables and PC screens with a low resolution, the PC's with a higher resolution will still be able to use the windows7-like user interface.

Furthermore at Windows they clearly care about the developers, they made it very easy to port programs to Win8, but more on this later.

Also they wanted to make Windows8 work on whichever machine you use. Tablets, Laptops, Desktop and Phone will now run the same applications, with the same pieces of code and equally smooth. One of the most amazing things to me was the auto-scale on any resolution.

And if this machine is touch-sensitive it will work perfectly under windows8 with amazing touch-recognition. But for the most of us, who still love their mouse and keyboard to much to let go, it still works smooth as ever using these for input.


Metro UI

The Metro UI as mentioned before is an important change in the way people interact with windows, they are all full-screen application and touch-sensitive. But they can be put aside each other as well just as you can do with windows7 applications nowadays.


Developing for the metro interface can be done in any programming language, due to a new way of how applications interact with eachother.
This way, no matter what language you are familiar with you can still make the same applications with the same functionality, leaving the developer to choose which one to use.

For the layout, as shouldn't be a surprise, you can either use HTML / CSS or XAML, which is very similar to how webpages are developed nowadays (HTML5 / Silverlight).

An important thing to keep in mind though is that no one is forced to use the metro UI on a normal desktop / laptop machine! I'm sure lots of people will be relieved with this, especially developers because the Metro UI does not seem handy to work on at all! Switching can be done using hotkeys (WINDOWS + Arrow_down)

But this once again proves windows8's  view: One operating system, for everyone!

Developing in Windows8

The above image is how development would of looked like under Windows. The languages live all in their own seperate worlds not knowing of eachothers existance.


In this model, you can see how metro uses a new way of handling with development. The language you choose doesn't matter at all. Whereas desktop apps, such as used everywhere up untill windows8, don't work together as easy as they do in Metro. You can't just make a C# application work together with C++ without doing some plumbing.

In the preview we've also seen Visual Studio 2011 where they have optimized this to target the Metro UI. You can notice that even at the start of a new project.


In any language you opt for, you have the same templates. one I particulary like here is the Grid application which is aimed for tablets. This brings me to the next important feature in the development of applications under Windows8.

Because Windows8 has to target many different machines, you will deal with many different resolutions. Which has always been quite a struggle in web development these days. Now there are the usual workarounds: maybe a javascript file that checks for the resolution and then adapts the whole website to that resolution. But is this the way you'd want to go, keeping in mind all the possibly resolutions for even normal Metro applications? I don't think so, and you shouldn't.

With the new development tools there's something handy that's been added to Expression Blend.


Expression blend now also targets HTML & CSS! But off to a more important part is the ability to make a program target any resolution trough a few clicks.


In the above screenshot, they centered their picturebox so no matter how the resolution changes, or wether it goes from landscape to portrait, the picturebox will stay centered. And we didn't even have to know the resolution!

Publishing your application.

Publishing your applications can be done trough Visual Studio's "store" tab. This will open up a IE window where you have to fill out some information






Windows8 Trivia

A coldboot of windows8 is nearly faster than turning on your monitor! it's just a few seconds till you see the UI.

There's a virus check when booting! If you inserted a USB with a rootkit on it, you won't be able to boot up.

Switching from metro to normal UI is quick and smooth.

Windows8 is build on hardware accelerated graphics (like IE9). The whole interface reacts quickly because of this.

New taskmanager, after 20 years they thought it was time to give it a new look, more modern.




the USB3.0 support is just amazing and you can tell the difference very well.


Desktop backgrounds can now expand on to both monitors! Both monitors can have a taskbar (optional) to show which application is running on which monitor.

Also all windows8 users will have a skydrive account bound to them. Log in anywhere and you got your files! (cloud computing).

You won't have to reformat anymore, you can just Reset or Refresh




The last thing I'd like to mention is that the preview applications on windows8 where made by 17 teams of university internships! As an IT student myself, I'd say kudos to them and let's hope I'll do the same for Windows10 😉