Windows Server 8

Today I installed the Windows Server 2012 RC, planning to test Octopus Deploy with it.

First question: How do I open Notepad?

Where is the start menu?

(Click to zoom)

Unlike Windows 8, there's no start button near the bottom (the new looking icon is for Server Manager). How do I open applications with this? See if you can work it out.

A picture of me

Welcome, my name is Paul Stovell. I live in Brisbane and work on Octopus Deploy, an automated deployment tool for .NET applications.

Prior to founding Octopus Deploy, I worked for an investment bank in London building WPF applications, and before that I worked for Readify, an Australian .NET consulting firm. I also worked on a number of open source projects and was an active user group presenter. I was a Microsoft MVP for WPF from 2006 to 2013.

08 Jul 2012

That's simple.

Press Windows key and type Notepad, Enter, done.

08 Jul 2012

@Krzysztof I'm using Remote Desktop to a Hyper-V server, and then I'm using the Hyper-V console to open this VM. When I press the Windows key, it opens the start menu of my laptop, not the remote guest. Next suggestion?

08 Jul 2012

Press Windows key and take notepad

08 Jul 2012
  1. Open a Windows Explorer window
  2. Type notepad.exe on address bar
  3. Press
08 Jul 2012

Click on Powershell; Create a Process object; Start("Notepad")? :)

08 Jul 2012

Open PowerShell console and type:



Left click -> New -> Text Documnet

then just double click :)

08 Jul 2012

Put your mouse in the bottom right corner and click on the start window box that appears.

08 Jul 2012

"Doctor, it hurts when I do this". Doctor: "Well, then stop doing that"

First, why do you jump through hoops to get to your VM that way? Why not simply enable remote desktop on you VM and connect directly? If you do it that way, simply pass-through Windows specific keys by telling mstsc.exe do send those key to the remote instance. (Local Resources->Apply Windows key combinations->On the remote computer)

Second, if you still want to connect this cumbersome way, you can tell Hyper-V to also pass the Windows by going to Hyper-V settings->Keyboard->Use in the virtual machine.

There. Done.

BTW, you blog post question is misleading, you don't mention anything about the way you are connecting to your VM instance.


08 Jul 2012

@Magnus sorry, but the post has nothing to do with the Windows key.

It should be possible to open an application (i.e., via the start menu) without pressing any keys. And it should be obvious to the user how to do that. Expecting a user to "know" to move their mouse to a hidden corner of the screen (or open PowerShell) is just plain bad UX.

How successful do you think Amazon would be if they made the "buy" buttons transparent and expected users to "just know" to click a random corner of the screen or to press the Windows key?

08 Jul 2012


Click on Powershell; Create a Process object; Start("Notepad")? :)

This comes to mind :)

Did you just tell me to go fuck myself?

08 Jul 2012


It's always incredible painful for me to watch a PC user doing repetitive simple tasks using the mouse.

Tasks can usually be done in different ways, let's say you want to copy text in your favorite text editor of choice.

Alternative 1, doing it to difficult way. You know, selecting text in Notepad using the mouse, slowly moving the mouse pointer to the Edit menu. Clicking on the Edit menu. Scrolling down to find the Copy command. Clicking on the Copy command. Moving the mouse pointer to the intended destination. Clicking the target. Moving the mouse pointer again up to the Edit menu. Clicking on the Edit menu. Moving the mouse pointer down to the Paste command. Clicking the Paste command.

That's one way you can do it.

Another way, alternative 2, is to: Select text, CTRL+C move to destination, CTRL-V

That's another way to accomplish the same thing.

You can also apply these two different methods on how to start your applications. It's again a matter of choice. Some people prefer the 1st alternative, to hunt down the application in menus, or: WinKey, typing "Notep".. end hit enter.

The second alternative has been present in Microsoft Windows for 6 years , since November 2006, and it's still an efficient way to start applications even in Windows 8 / Server 2012.

To each his own, I'll suppose.

08 Jul 2012


Just because there is a quicker way to do things doesn't excuse the bad UX. When Microsoft added Ctrl+C, they didn't remove "Copy" from the menu. Yet they decided to hide what is one of the most important parts of an OS (being able to run apps) in a way that isn't intuitive.

09 Jul 2012

If it takes more than a couple of seconds for a user to find a way to run applications I'd say that's a UI fail..

09 Jul 2012

LOL - Welcome to craziness :) I wish microsoft had an option in windows installer to choose between consumer mode (crazy win 8 mode) or server mode (gives standard start menu)

Coming back to your question

  • Windows Key go back and type notepad or CTRL + Esc key

if that doesn't work - Move your mouse pointer to lower left corner and then left click takes you can back to win8 metro and type notepad

IMO the easiest option is to have the application search made available in desktop mode that will allow you to type anything and it picks applications/shortcuts based on it.


04 Aug 2012

I like all the responses that are "Simple, just open some other program and--". The issue is that it's not immediately obvious how to launch any application that isn't pinned to the taskbar, not Notepad specifically.