Windows 8 Now “Charms” Your User Experience

Since many of you haven’t tried Windows 8 yet, you’re probably wondering eagerly what you should expect. The new Windows user interface will include something known as “charms,” which appear when you hover the mouse over the “Start” menu. Once you get used to them, they might come in handy when you’re trying to get quick access to a component of the operating system without having to actually navigate through the “Start” menu as you would in previous versions of Windows.

What Charms Do

As if though Windows 7 didn’t make it simple enough, the point of a “charm” is to make your experience more simple and waste less time when moving to essential components in Windows, such as the control panel, known in the newer version as the “settings” window. Honestly, the name change might cause a slight confusion to some people that were used to the control panel nomenclature since the mid 80s when Windows 1.0 came out. On a lighter note, at least the icon remained the familiar icon of a mechanical gear.


Charms were a way of preparing Windows 8 for an ultimate integration with natural user interface (NUI) technology, which allows you to have everything at your fingertips without going through a whole lot of effort. The point of an NUI is to integrate as many basic functions as possible in an environment where your body interacts with the computer by more “natural” means. To see the big picture, try swiping to the right on a tablet with Windows 7 installed. While this might not do anything, Windows 8 shows you all the options you can choose in a “charm,” which shows up at the right side of your desktop. In a non-NUI environment, the equivalent is accomplished by hovering the mouse over the “Start” menu.

Charms You Can Use

So, now that you understand charms, you’d probably be curious about what charms exist inside the main charm (the small “toolbar” that pops up). Your first charm is better known as the “Search” charm. You’re already familiar with the search functionality in Windows, so I won’t have to explain much. However, the charm also allows you to search for other things such as settings and installed applications. This brings you a unique experience that allows you to find your way if you’re ever lost in the new interface.


You also have the “Share” charm. Try writing that a couple of hundred times without accidentally spelling “share charm” as “chare sharm.” All humor aside, the “Share” aspect of Windows 8 allows you to share things using applications that automatically post your material on social networks like Twitter. Microsoft decided to make Windows 8 a more social operating system that allows you to communicate more naturally through its interface.

Other charms include “Start,” “Devices,” and “Settings.” We already spoke about the “Settings” charm earlier, and you surely know what the “Start” charm does. The “Devices” charm isn’t a device manager as you’d expect. Instead, it’s a platform with which you can externalize your media by either printing it, playing it on a particular screen, or sharing it with a device nearby.


Like it or not, charms are going to be a part of your life if you plan to upgrade. It’s best that you get used to these aspects of Windows, although you don’t have to use them exclusively. Voice your opinions, rants, poetry, or gibberish on the comments section below!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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