Think Windows 8 is optimized solely for touchscreen displays? Think again. In its Building Windows 8 Blog, Microsoft has detailed numerous enhancements aimed to improve the user experience for multi-monitor desktop and notebook users. The most important improvement is smart taskbar functionality, a feature that has been sorely lacking in previous Windows releases. With Win8, users will be able to set each monitor’s taskbar to show only the apps running on that display. There will also be options to have all apps visible on all taskbars or just the one associated with the primary monitor.
It’s about time. The post notes that most Microsoft developers and testers have multi-monitor setups at their desks, which makes me wonder why it took so long for this feature to make its way into the OS. Third-party software has provided similar functionality for years.
Along with the much-needed taskbar upgrade, Windows 8 will offer better background options for multi-display configs. The Start menu and charms bar will be accessible from multiple monitors, and Microsoft has tweaked mouse tracking around the corners of the display that share edges with adjacent screens. The video embedded below has a good demonstration of how shared corners “catch” the mouse cursor as it passes by.
I’ve never really had a problem with overshooting the corners of multi-monitor setups, but Microsoft does seem intent on having users targeting those regions more often in Windows 8. At least the sticky corners are only six pixels wide and tall.