I have been using Windows 8 casually for a while now and have tried to embrace the new start screen. I can see the value in the new UI, but I find that most of what I do, even using built-in Windows tools, resides in the desktop environment. For that reason, there is a lot of friction in using the start screen because most of what I need either isn’t there or can’t be found easily. Since the beginning I have praised all the work Microsoft has done under the hood to improve Windows and so really the only issue I have with Windows 8 is the usability with start screen.
Enter Start8 and ModernMix. I love these tools. These two pieces of software have made Windows 8 a dream for me. Start8 makes it so I can rule the desktop once again and find everything I need while still allowing me to drop into the start screen whenever I feel like it. ModernMix makes it so I can put any windows store app into a window. I do work on machines with large displays and multiple monitors, so this makes using these apps more enjoyable. At the time of this writing each tool is $4.99 or $7.99 as a bundle. I think this is a solid investment if you are a desktop Windows 8 user and are struggling with the new UI.
Windows 8 is an amazing piece of software and worth the investment and the new UI is well…new. It will take time to work out the kinks so in the meantime remove the friction.