Can I use Windows 8.1 without a touchscreen?

Get the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation and others by clicking here.Even if you’ve never tried Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you may have seen the advertisements showing off the lovely colorful “touch-first” interface (previously known as the “Metro” UI).  Even some people using a traditional old non-touch laptop will reach out and touch the screen when they first encounter the start screen.  (And by “some people”, I mean my wife while using my old Lenovo laptop on vacation a couple of years ago.)  So, as lovely and colorful as the start screen is, it’s easy to assume that you might need – or at least be most happy with – a device with a screen you can touch in order to get the most out of the latest version of Windows.“Isn’t that the case?”

I’m going to argue that it’s not.  Right this very minute, for example, I’m using my Surface Pro as my work device of choice…

“Ha! Touchscreen!”

Yes, a lovely touchscreen which is currently sitting flat and closed on top of my desk, while my Surface is plugged into my KVM switcher connecting me to my big Acer monitor and ultra-durable Microsoft MultiMedia Keyboard 1.0A and Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse 2.0.  (Gotta love that name.)  Can I touch my screen?  No.. I can’t even reach it from where I’m sitting.

“And you’re just as happy using just your keyboard and mouse?”

I’ll be honest.  When I’m using new Windows 8 apps, sometimes I’d rather touch them.  And some of those apps are really better suited for hands-on-navigation or gameplay anyway, which are great when I’m sitting in my TV chair or on an airplane.  And when simply browsing the Internet using IE 11 I do prefer to be able to swipe and pinch and zoom and touch with my fingers.  But for most of my work, I’m still on the desktop apps where typing and precision selections with my mouse are still the best way to get stuff done.

“Okay, Kevin.. I’m almost convinced.  Show me how to work Windows 8.1 without a touchscreen.”

That’s where my friend Keith comes in!  Keith Mayer is the author of today’s article in our “Windows 8.1 for Business” (or “Why you’re wrong about Windows 8.1”) series.  In his write-up, he goes further to prove, and gives real examples, tips, and tricks around how Windows 8.1 is the better choice for ALL devices, whether or not you put fingerprints on your screen.


This article is part of our March 2014 series of blog articles entitled “Windows 8.1 for Business” by your Microsoft Technology Evangelists and guests. 
For the full list of articles in this series please visit the series landing page:

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