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I made a quick attempt to try out Windows 8 in VirtualBox, non-fullscreen mode. I found it difficult to bring up the new interface elements (for example, from the desktop interface, bringing up the right-hand menu thingy). Is there a reliable way to access each of the elements that normally requires moving the mouse to a corner/screen edge?

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It might be easier if you use Remote Desktop. – ZippyV May 10 '13 at 10:23
@ZippyV thanks, but I'm running VMs on Ubuntu, so I'm looking at this specific scenario; out of interest, how does RD handle screen edge interaction better? – d3vid May 10 '13 at 10:26
Can you tell VirtualBox to send the Windows key to the VM? Then you could just press win+c. I'm sure there's another combo for the other side. – Louis May 10 '13 at 10:26
@d3vid The title bar has a little menu with a shortcut to open the charms:… – ZippyV May 10 '13 at 10:30
@d3vid You use keyboard shortcuts. This is the best way to get the charms even on the actual host also. – Ramhound May 10 '13 at 14:10

You can disable mouse pointer integration. Just go to the bottom right corner of the VirtualBox window in the status bar. There should be an round-ish icon with a green arrow on it (it will probably be right before an icon with a down arrow). Right click on this and you will be given the option to disable mouse integration. You should now be able to use the hot corners. You will however have to use use a shortcut key to get back to your host's desktop.

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Most of those have shortcut keys. The Windows key itself brings up the Metro UI, Windows+C will bring up the "charms" on the right, Windows+Tab brings up the app list on the left and allows you to switch between them.

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