Living with Windows 8: One month later

With Windows 8 essentially done, I thought I’d slow down the pace of the Living with Windows 8 series a bit. The way I use Windows 8 hasn’t changed all that much over the last month, with the notable exception of Internet Explorer. While writing the review of the web browser, I decided to try changing the defaults to Internet Explorer on the desktop, rather than the “Metro-style” version. This, essentially, removed the “Metro-style” browser and made all of the live tiles open up the pages on the desktop. While I’m not completely sure I’ll stick with this, I kind of like the experience on a desktop PC.

Coming from Windows Phone, the experience of discovering Xbox LIVE-enabled games is very different. Whereas Windows Phone gives the Xbox LIVE titles a special place in the Store, Windows 8 mixes them I with the rest of the games. This is much better for other developers, but it can make finding the “top-notch” games a little more difficult. Thankfully, the Xbox LIVE Games app has a special section dedicated to showcasing compatible apps in the Windows Store.

Taptiles, Adera, Pinball FX2, and Wordament have joined the three PC staples – Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Mahjong – on the Windows Store, and many of the achievements can already be unlocked. Sadly, most of the games are somewhat limited until the developers release a special add-on closer to the official launch of Windows 8. If you currently have access to the RTM version of Windows 8, I highly recommend checking out the two newcomers, Adera and Taptiles. Based on the short preview of Adera, it looks like it’ll be a fantastic game.

All of this talk about Xbox LIVE on Windows 8, however, only serves as a reminder that the Xbox Music and Xbox Video experience is, at this point, somewhat unfinished. The apps work well enough as they currently are, but many features still have yet to make their way into the apps. Things have been mostly quite on the Xbox entertainment front since E3, so we’ve got to be in store for some exciting announcements in the near future.

Finally, I did want to point out that if you’re using the new Skype 5.11 Beta, you can now take advantage of the increasingly unified service to simultaneously manage your presence on Skype, Messenger, and Facebook Chat across nearly every compatible device. This might seem like a small improvement, but it’s already changed how I use the three IM services for the better.

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William Devereux

William Devereux is the former Microsoft editor at Pocketables, as well as a Microsoft MVP and SkyDrive/Outlook.com Insider. As his title implies, he wrote about all things from Redmond, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. He is currently carrying a Windows Phone 8X by HTC and a Microsoft Surface with Windows RT tablet.