Microsoft pushed the envelope a bit too far with Windows 8, and one of the features most users never understood was the Share charm.
With Windows 10, the company might be backpedaling on some Win8 features, but it appears that the maligned Share will become more functional for traditional Windows users.
Merging elements of Metro and classic Windows
Based on Windows 10 Technical Preview, Microsoft is clearly attempting to meld the Windows 8 experience with Win7’s traditional conventions and capabilities. The new Start button and smaller Metro/Universal tiles are obvious examples. (Note: In Windows 10, the native apps formerly called “Metro,” then “Modern,” are now called “Universal.”) Another example of this delicate balancing act is the addition of the Share icon in File Explorer.
In Windows 8, Share is a charm that lets you “share” content between applications that support the tool. For example, it can make selecting a photo in Win8 Mail and then sharing it on Facebook or Twitter faster and easier.
As useful as that might be, Share never really got off the ground. Most Win8 users quickly decided that the tool was virtually useless and for the most part simply ignored it. (Even Microsoft’s descriptions of how Share works are often obtuse.) And to make things more confusing, there’s a different Share function in Win8’s File Explorer.
Fortunately, in my opinion, Microsoft hasn’t given up on Share. In Windows 10, you’ll now find its icon — a circle with three dots — among the menu options in File Explorer (see Figure 1). With the new Share, you can easily select one or more files and then click the Share icon to view your options. Using Share can eliminate the more convoluted process of opening a file in separate applications or copying/pasting the file. It’s a streamlined approach to file management from within an app you use frequently — File Explorer. In other words, for those who prefer to work on the classic desktop, Share becomes another integrated tool that can be accessed quickly and easily.
If Share is to reach its full potential, it must first overcome a significant hurdle. In a blog post highlighting the Share button’s capabilities, Microsoft explains, “Installed apps that enable sharing will work with this button; it will open the share experience just like in Windows 8.1 when the Share charm is used. For example — you can select a few photos directly in File Explorer, press the share button, and share directly to Facebook or Twitter if you have these apps installed.”