Why W8? Surface RT and discovering Touch vs non Touch

To start this off I want to set expectations properly. I never read the manual. On anything. I’ll get a new toy (from Lawnmower to Surface) and I’ll rip it out of the box and crank it up. If I cant figure out how to use it in the first 10-20 minutes then I probably wont use it. (ie: InfoPath, ugh, sorry InfoPath guys!) I honestly didn’t have many issues adapting to Windows 8 on a desktop. But now that I’m used to the non-Touch feel, the Touch took me a few hours of use to get fully (and delightfully) assimilated.

I moved my work PC to Windows 8 at RTM a few months ago and being more of a Mouse person than a keyboard shortcut user it took a week or two to get used to the new mouse movements. I found myself doing what I called the “Mouse square dance” hitting all four corners until I found what I was looking for…

I got used to the new interface. Fully adapted to it with little effort, almost unconsciously. You don’t realize how converted you are to the 8 feel until confronted with an older version of Windows:

  • By being surprised, and later a little annoyed, to see the Start button.
  • By not being able to hit start and just type the first few letters of the application you want. For Example – Calculator:


  • By having to actually check mail to see if you have anything in your inbox. Unlike checking the start menu


  • By not being able to swipe your app to the snap to the side. I love this with Remote Desktop especially:


  • By having to manually download my favorite seasonal theme on each system I use instead of it just being there. (Happy Halloween!) And, in the same setting, having my IE favorites where ever I go.

Since I was used to the Windows 8 desktop experience and my use of touch with the Win7 phone, I thought the Surface RT would be a snap. Well, honestly, it took me a few hours to get used to it. I am used to gripping my apps and swiping them down to close them. Right-clicking on start menu items to get the “Run as Administrator”, Pin and size options. Moving the mouse into the corner to get Charms.

So here’s a quick list of some behavior tweaks I’ve had to make:


While I sweep my mouse from the desktop into the right side for Charms, the Surface likes it better when I sweep my finger from the right into the desktop.


Live Tiles:

Mouse = Right click to get to the options for the tile


Finger = Tap and pull down slightly:


Which will stay selected after you release:



Mouse – Right Click to get the more options screen at the bottom

Finger – Slide finger from top edge down about 1/4th of the way


Mouse: Sweep to the top of the screen until you see the Grab hand icon. Click and drag the app down to close it.

Finger: Sweep your finger down to Mid-Screen. The app will shrink and then you can finish by swiping it all the way down.


While there are no major differences in usage between Touch and non Touch, there are some minor adjustments. It may be my failure to RTFM when I first loaded Windows 8 and now I’m dealing with learned bad behavior with Touch. But I’m pretty happy with letting the Surface reteach me.

Some links that may be useful for those who do like to read the manual:



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