out of the loop... windows 8 and media browser? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 05-04-2013, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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my htpc is kinda slowing down and could use a windows refresh. Do people like windows 8 with media browser? Or just stick with 7? I have a copy just sitting here collecting dust.
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post #2 of 31 Old 05-04-2013, 09:30 AM
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I'm sure a few people and other primates like it. But I suggest you go to Best Buy and spend a few minutes with Win 8 first so you know what you're getting into.
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post #3 of 31 Old 05-04-2013, 09:46 AM
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Congratulations, you found the best use for 8.

Keep 7.

I'd worry about the "kinda slowing down" part, though. 


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post #4 of 31 Old 05-04-2013, 10:06 AM
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Win8 works fine, but you'll have to buy the WMC add-on for Media Browser to function.

Trying out Win8 at Best Buy isn't going to work since they don't let you install StartIsBack. Once you install a start button replacement most of the crying stops.

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post #5 of 31 Old 05-05-2013, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Win8 works fine, but you'll have to buy the WMC add-on for Media Browser to function.

Trying out Win8 at Best Buy isn't going to work since they don't let you install StartIsBack. Once you install a start button replacement most of the crying stops.

One could argue that you aren't really trying it out if you immediately disable the start screen and go back to the start menu.

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post #6 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 11:45 AM
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I use 7Stacks almost exclusively in Win7 instead of desktop shortcuts or the start menu. Does that mean I'm not really using Windows 7?

Win8 is a great OS and if you miss the start menu, there are several easy solutions to fix that, just like 7Stacks improves the user experience for me on Win7.
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post #7 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 12:23 PM
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You also aren't using Windows if you use Photoshop instead of Paint or Word Pad instead of Word. Don't even think of playing a game other than Minesweeper or Solitaire...

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post #8 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ncarty97 View Post

I use 7Stacks almost exclusively in Win7 instead of desktop shortcuts or the start menu. Does that mean I'm not really using Windows 7?

Win8 is a great OS and if you miss the start menu, there are several easy solutions to fix that, just like 7Stacks improves the user experience for me on Win7.
No. That just means you aren't judging the OS on its own merits. You're judging 7Stacks, and the previous poster is judging StartIsBack. No problem with either of those, but they're not part of the OS. That aside, the Win 7 interface is still functional without any add-ons, but Win 8 is not (except for children and monkeys).
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post #9 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 12:29 PM
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I'd highly recommend you stay with 7. 8 just complicates things, and you still have to buy the MC add-on! Nothing like pushing MC to the extreme reaches of the universe. Bravo MS!
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post #10 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

No. That just means you aren't judging the OS on its own merits. You're judging 7Stacks, and the previous poster is judging StartIsBack. No problem with either of those, but they're not part of the OS. That aside, the Win 7 interface is still functional without any add-ons, but Win 8 is not (except for children and monkeys).
I put Win8 on my HTPC and think it works great. It's definitely a much smoother OS than 7. I don't like the Start screen, but I still use it for the Netflix app to get full HD + 5.1. The rest of the time I'm on the desktop or using XBMC and I have zero complaints. I didn't install anything to bring back the Start menu or disable the Start screen because there's really no need to. If you absolutely can't deal with the new setup, go ahead and install an app, but in every other regard 8 is an improvement over 7.

I can't speak to the Media Browser, though, since I didn't buy that.
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post #11 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mud sloth View Post

I put Win8 on my HTPC and think it works great. It's definitely a much smoother OS than 7. I don't like the Start screen, but I still use it for the Netflix app to get full HD + 5.1. The rest of the time I'm on the desktop or using XBMC and I have zero complaints. I didn't install anything to bring back the Start menu or disable the Start screen because there's really no need to. If you absolutely can't deal with the new setup, go ahead and install an app, but in every other regard 8 is an improvement over 7.

I can't speak to the Media Browser, though, since I didn't buy that.
How do you boot straight to XBMC? How do you operate Win 8 if you have no keyboard? How can you even read the start screen from 10 ft away? How can you find or run any apps without typing? How do you completely power off your PC (not suspend) without going completely insane? How do you control the Netfilx app with a regular remote?

I just don't see how Win 8 is usable as an OS, much less an HTPC interface, at this point.
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post #12 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

No. That just means you aren't judging the OS on its own merits. You're judging 7Stacks, and the previous poster is judging StartIsBack. No problem with either of those, but they're not part of the OS. That aside, the Win 7 interface is still functional without any add-ons, but Win 8 is not (except for children and monkeys).

Not at all. The OS is more than just the start screen or desktop. That's just the GUI. Win8 has some grat performance advantages over Win7 for instance.

Win8 is fully functional without any add-on. Just because you don't like the new GUI doesn't mean its not functional.
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post #13 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

How do you boot straight to XBMC? How do you operate Win 8 if you have no keyboard? How can you even read the start screen from 10 ft away? How can you find or run any apps without typing? How do you completely power off your PC (not suspend) without going completely insane? How do you control the Netfilx app with a regular remote?

I just don't see how Win 8 is usable as an OS, much less an HTPC interface, at this point.

The questions you are asking make it seem as if you have nevrer used Win8. ANY app can be made into a tile and Netflix adds its own tile (And its pretty easy to identify as Netflixc). Why would you completely power off your HTPC? And even if you would, how is the problem with that any different than with Win7?

As for remotes, I haven't triend an MCE remote with it, but the Lenovo N5901 works just as great as it does on Windows 7 so not sure what you are complaining about.

I could ask all those same questions about Windows 7 just as easily. The Windows 7 desktop is no more useful (or useless) sitting on your couch than the Windows 8 Start Screen. You're not making any sense.
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post #14 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

How do you boot straight to XBMC? How do you operate Win 8 if you have no keyboard? How can you even read the start screen from 10 ft away? How can you find or run any apps without typing? How do you completely power off your PC (not suspend) without going completely insane? How do you control the Netfilx app with a regular remote?

I just don't see how Win 8 is usable as an OS, much less an HTPC interface, at this point.

He said he uses it with zero complaints. You don't use it, but you have many complaints. Something seems odd. wink.gif

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post #15 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:24 PM
 
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For WMC use, Win 7 is a much better experience than Win 8. I have WMC on my Win8 machine and have a WMC Win7 machine as well. After using Win8 for quite some time now, I prefer it over Win7 for everything EXCEPT use as a HTPC. For HTPC, stay with 7.
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post #16 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:26 PM
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He said he uses it with zero complaints. You don't use it, but you have many complaints. Something seems odd. wink.gif
I posted the things that I tried to do with it and failed, so I no longer use it. Just trying to save others a little pain and expense. I understand that a few use it and like it. I just don't understand how. I bought several copies of Win 8 because it's inevitable that I will have to switch at some point. I just hope that isn't anytime soon.
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post #17 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

For WMC use, Win 7 is a much better experience than Win 8. I have WMC on my Win8 machine and have a WMC Win7 machine as well. After using Win8 for quite some time now, I prefer it over Win7 for everything EXCEPT use as a HTPC. For HTPC, stay with 7.

I agree. For a HTPC using Win8 has no real benefit over Win7 and actually costs more for two reasons. First is you have to pay for WMC add-on and second is you can only add WMC to the Pro version. If it wasn't for the free WMC upgrades and the $15 Pro offer then my HTPC would still be on Win7.

For any other computer I'd go with Win8 and if you can't live with Metro then spend the free to $3 for a Start button replacement and associate file types such as .jpg to open with the desktop program instead of the Metro app. I've set up at least five Win8 computers for friends and family since Christmas and have had no complaints at all, even from my wife.

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post #18 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

I posted the things that I tried to do with it and failed, so I no longer use it. Just trying to save others a little pain and expense. I understand that a few use it and like it. I just don't understand how. I bought several copies of Win 8 because it's inevitable that I will have to switch at some point. I just hope that isn't anytime soon.

Windows is on a yearly update cycle. I doubt you'll have to use your copies of Win 8 between now and October. Rumor is that the next version will include some sort of Start button, but more like a mini-Metro screen.

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post #19 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:36 PM
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I have no interest in getting into yet another (useless) debate on Windows 8 but you asked a question that I will answer:
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Originally Posted by ncarty97 View Post

And even if you would, how is the problem with that any different than with Win7?
With Windows 7, you can add any app to your Startup folder of the start menu and be greeted with that app on startup. With Windows 8, even if you happen to find the Startup folder, you are still not greeted with that app on startup.
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

He said he uses it with zero complaints. You don't use it, but you have many complaints. Something seems odd. wink.gif
It would be less odd if the person with zero complaints didn't use it and the person with many complaints did? (Rhetorical question)
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post #20 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ncarty97 View Post

The questions you are asking make it seem as if you have nevrer used Win8. ANY app can be made into a tile and Netflix adds its own tile (And its pretty easy to identify as Netflixc).
I know how to make tiles and shortcuts. But how do you CONTROL Netflix with a remote (play, pause, ffwd, up/down/left/right, etc.)?
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Why would you completely power off your HTPC?
Because I would fry my motherboard if I installed RAM or a PCI card or something else without powering down. Do you do that kind of thing hot?
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And even if you would, how is the problem with that any different than with Win7?
Because I can power down Win 7 with 2 clicks versus playing hide and seek for 5 minutes on Win 8 (Charms - Settings - etc, etc. You've got to be kidding me).
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As for remotes, I haven't triend an MCE remote with it, but the Lenovo N5901 works just as great as it does on Windows 7 so not sure what you are complaining about.
I don't use a keyboard/mouse on my HTPC, I use a remote. Works fine with Win 7, epic fail with Win 8. Why exactly would I (or anyone in my family) want to use a keyboard and mouse to watch TV?
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I could ask all those same questions about Windows 7 just as easily. The Windows 7 desktop is no more useful (or useless) sitting on your couch than the Windows 8 Start Screen. You're not making any sense.
Last time I saw the Win 8 start screen and the 300 or so programs I had installed, it was a screen full of unorganized, illegible text from 10 feet away. How do I navigate or make use of that with a remote? On Win 7, I can get to any program with a couple of button presses and arrows because the start menu is limited to only the categories I choose and easy to read and navigate.
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post #21 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by vladd View Post

It would be less odd if the person with zero complaints didn't use it and the person with many complaints did? (Rhetorical question)

The only way to win is to not play the game.

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post #22 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Windows is on a yearly update cycle. I doubt you'll have to use your copies of Win 8 between now and October. Rumor is that the next version will include some sort of Start button, but more like a mini-Metro screen.
As long as it's better than a wall of text and the mandatory text searches required now, it will be a welcome change. I hope they make similar improvements to the other pages, like settings, etc. Those are equally useless today.
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post #23 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

How do you boot straight to XBMC?

I love how a thread specifically about Media Browser and Windows 8 immediately got into bashing it for things like not booting straight to XBMC. rolleyes.gif And for the record, there's at least 3 other ways that I can think of off the top of my head to start a program at boot (Task Scheduler, the 'Run' registry entry, and if you want to get really crazy, replacing the Windows shell with it.)

Quite frankly, most of your complaints are nonsense. "How do you read the start screen at 10 feet?" Really? Uh, just like I read anything else, but if your eyes need the help there's a scaling option in the Ease of Access PC Settings.

But seriously, can there ever be even one thread that mentions Windows 8 without it just turning into mostly nonsensical bashing?

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post #24 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

As long as it's better than a wall of text and the mandatory text searches required now, it will be a welcome change.

Okay, I have to ask.. are you sure you're even looking at the start screen and not the "All Apps" screen? There are many ways you could describe the Start Screen, but wall of text isn't one of them.

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post #25 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

And for the record, there's at least 3 other ways that I can think of off the top of my head to start a program at boot (..., the 'Run' registry entry,...)
That method doesn't work. By that ("doesn't work"), I mean that you are still not greeted with the program. It opens behind the start screen and you still have to select the desktop to get to it.
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post #26 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

I love how a thread specifically about Media Browser and Windows 8 immediately got into bashing it for things like not booting straight to XBMC. rolleyes.gif And for the record, there's at least 3 other ways that I can think of off the top of my head to start a program at boot (Task Scheduler, the 'Run' registry entry, and if you want to get really crazy, replacing the Windows shell with it.)
Thank you for proving my point. A simple thing like starting a program at boot has gone from a simple shortcut in the startup folder to creating scheduled tasks, editing the registry, etc. Sure you can do anything you want in Win 8 with enough time and effort. How is that simpler and better than Win 7? Until something better comes along, I'll stick with Win 7.

Obviously, I hate Win 8 with a passion. I hate that Microsoft has ruined the windows operating system. I hate that every little thing takes twice the effort it used to. And I hate that I let myself get sucked into these endless, useless debates, where every problem is dismissed with "why would you ever want to do that", or "you idiot, just hack the registry or run this 3rd party program".
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post #27 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

Okay, I have to ask.. are you sure you're even looking at the start screen and not the "All Apps" screen? There are many ways you could describe the Start Screen, but wall of text isn't one of them.
The Apps screen.
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post #28 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 02:35 PM
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So much animosity towards a somewhat different GUI. I disliked it when I first started using it on a desktop I bought for my dad. But I went ahead and bought it for my new computer and think it's great.

I have a wireless kb+mouse, but I rarely pull them out from my entertainment center. I do 90% of the controlling from my couch with my Harmony remote. (Netflix must be navigated with a mouse at this stage, but play/pause work just fine on the remote.) I never power down the machine, but if I ever do need to start XBMC or switch to it from the Netflix app I just press a button on my remote. For downloading movies or soccer to watch, I add a link via uTorrent Remote or jDownloader from my tablet or phone. Renaming and unraring happen automatically. If I must interact with the machine on a mouse/keyboard level, then I just use Splashtop on my tablet. The only frustration at this point is the Netflix app. Hopefully they'll release an update that integrates remote support. But, that's a pretty minor complaint in my eyes.

Maybe Win8 isn't the best for everyone's needs, but the outright hate is completely unjustified. At its core, Win8 is much better built than 7.

Edit: If I needed XBMC to start on boot, it seems that Google provides countless options for making that happen.
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post #29 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 02:46 PM
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The only frustration at this point is the Netflix app. Hopefully they'll release an update that integrates remote support.

This might be taking this further off topic, but I'm still really hoping that the next Xbox uses standard WinRT based apps, because controller optimization would almost definitely also mean that it would work well with the cursor buttons on a IR remote, and it would increase the functionality on an HTPC because then you could get things like HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, and many others on the PC without using the browser.

Anyway, to the general sentiment of this post, I have to say that I've been using Windows 8 on my HTPC for a while now, and the interface has been the best and most customizable (and easiest customizable, since all that it requires is a right click and "Pin to Start") frontend that I've ever used on it, plus it adds a ton of capabilities that I never would have been able to do with WMC alone (Netflix with full 1080p/5.1 audio, MLB.tv, Xbox Music streaming, etc.). It did require a bit of shortcut voodoo to get everything the exact way I wanted it (as described in another thread), but it works great for me. It's not perfect (yes, the thing about not being able to navigate with a remote annoys me a ton too), but really a lot of the negativity can be at times misguided.

Now, to the original poster's question, I would say the answer depends. As already posted, you'd be spending more money not just for Windows 8 Pro but also for WMC. If everything is already working exactly how you want it in 7, then stick with 7 and don't spend any money. But if there's some ways that you feel that it's lacking, then it's possible you might enjoy 8.

For what it's worth though, a solution for the situation like you're experiencing now is built into Windows 8 though, where you would be able to refresh to a custom image (presumably from right after when you got all the programs you would need installed) using out-of-the-box tools. tongue.gif

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post #30 of 31 Old 05-06-2013, 03:09 PM
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I kind of like the start screen on an HTPC. I think it certainly has a lot more going for it than just the desktop. I use flirc with a learning universal, but the arrow keys & enter work just fine on the W8 start screen. Is this not the norm? (Truly asking, since I've no problems with flirc)
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

How do you boot straight to XBMC?
I don't boot straight to anything, but I just look for this tile and I'm there
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How do you operate Win 8 if you have no keyboard?
Mentioned above, and I've long been extremely passionate about never - ever using a keyboard with an HTPC. *I* use a keyboard and mouse to do all the setup/config/maintenance on all machines, but *anyone* expected to use the thing for consumption has to learn enter, up, down, left, right, back, pause, stop, etc. Nothing more . . . ever
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How can you even read the start screen from 10 ft away?
I don't think you realized that you can remove every useless tile from the start screen. I can read it just fine, but it also only holds about 8 tiles. Anything I thought was useless was immediately "unpinned" from the start screen
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How can you find or run any apps without typing?
The only app anyone ever uses for the HTPC is XBMC. It's the one that looks like the XBMC logo. The other small selection of tiles is for my benefit (for controlling with Teamviewer). If your frontend can't do everything you want your HTPC to do, then I'd say it's time for a better front end. If all of your woes are directed towards web browsing and netflix, then I can't say that any solution really meets those two needs and provides a good 10' interface
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

How do you completely power off your PC (not suspend) without going completely insane? Because I would fry my motherboard if I installed RAM or a PCI card or something else without powering down. Do you do that kind of thing hot?
I don't have any problem finding the shutdown sequence. I've used Alt+F4 from the desktop for a long time now

If it bothered me greatly, maybe I would use something like this

I've also got the "win" key mapped to the remote now. It used to be the 4 "colored" buttons of my remote were mapped to "Alt+F4", "Alt+Tab", "Ctrl+Esc", and "Shift+F10" but after the change I just use "win" rather than "Ctrl+Esc"
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

How do you control the Netfilx app with a regular remote?
Might be why it doesn't bother me so much, but I've never used Netflix
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