How do YOU feel about Windows 8?

It’s been a while since I’ve actually written about Windows 8 and my opinions so I wanted to opine a little about where I see this thing going.

This will be a little free form as I feel that the truth comes more naturally that way so bear with me a little.

First of all, I have to admit, the more time I spend with Metro, the less annoying it looks to me. It’s starting to grow on me in that “yeah it’s not so bad” kinda way.

The problem is, after all this time, I still want to spend most of my time in the desktop and I haven’t found the glue to keep me wanting to stay using the Metro interface consistently.

It’s clear to me that a lot of this heartache would have been avoided if Microsoft had done the following:

  • If your device is a desktop, server or laptop – default to the “desktop app”
  • If your device is a tablet – default to Metro

I understand the rationale for not doing this (full speed ahead, the desktop is just an app, Metro is the future, blah blah) but it’s just painful this way.

On the other hand, I am starting to dig the attention to the level of detail being shown to some of the tiles. I think that will also help with selling Metro – having a very beautiful, next gen face on the product.

I think that there are a lot of really cool features in the desktop app and a lot of them will be very attractive to the average user but Metro will be the X factor that may turn a lot of people off.

It’s taken a long time for someone like me to grudgingly show some appreciation for the metro desktop and I have been looking at this thing since the very first time we saw it at the BUILD conference.

Less than one percent of one percent of people care about Windows 8 right now, I wonder what they’ll think once they see it for the first time? It’s going to be controversial for sure.

Microsoft have done the right thing with the pricing of the product. At $40 for an upgrade, price won’t really be a factor for most people. I’m not sure for most technical users, that will be enough.

As a tech head, I have building and tinkering with computers for over 25 years. I honestly (honestly) can’t remember the last time Windows 7 crashed on me.

That’s amazing. Windows 7 is the (IMHO) best OS that Microsoft have ever developed.

Windows 7 is so stable that my desktop feels like home to me. I have installed all my apps, folders, drives and shortcuts. The very thought of messing up that situation is nighmarish to me.

The truth is for technology heads like me, stability and familiarity are waaaay more important than new and cool. Also, I have 8 gigs of RAM and a multi-core processor so speed and performance are not an issue.

I have gone through the entire OS (Windows 8) and we are creating tutorials for you guys. It does have a lot of value to bring to the table and is pretty awe inspiring up close.

The question is will consumers want to take that deep look?

What about you guys and girls? It’s been a while since the Windows 8 Release Preview.

What’s your take?

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • 1stkorean

    I too like you have had Windows 8 since Build and in those early days my profanity vocabulary increased 10 fold, however as we have moved forward through the various builds I have grown to (whispering) ‘like’ Windows 8. Also like you I believe on Desktops and Laptops the default should be well the Desktop Interface complete with Start Button|Orb and Start Menu, and for touch enabled devices default to the Metro UI. For me Metro is so reminiscent of a patchwork quilt and lacks any real thought it is so Helter Skelter.

    Windows 7 on the other hand has been a true charm. From the first time I loaded one of the early alpha versions I would have paid money for it. Fortunately I have gotten 4 free copies of Windows 7, I would still have paid money for it. It is that GOOD!

  • ServerManDan

    In the months since the developer preview, of the hundreds (at least) comments on Metro I have seen, the most positive ones have been like yours – “damning with faint praise”. I believe you are exactly correct – default to Metro for tablets and phones, but to desktop for workstations and laptops.
    However, Microsoft does not appear to be listening, which begs the question “why bother with a preview, anyway?” In fact the only change they have made in regard to all these complaints has been to remove the registry key from the developer preview which some had found to turn Metro off!
    I can’t imagine giving this OS to my users. HelpDesk would be obliterated, and I’d soon be out of a job.

  • Bobby Ketcham

    I too have been using windows 7 since the first publicly available preview AND I have been “off and on” using windows 8 since the first available public download..

    I agree with the metro on tablet “only” as a default interface but the desktop for the…well…the desktop and laptop….would have been much appreciated.

    Also…there’s a lot of driver issues…I have a Dell Vostro 1520 “3yrs old” and the graphics are not updated in windows 8 64bit…the default W8 uses leaves the faces washed out on the cheeks and foreheads when looking at videos at youtube…movies…etc.

    Doing a search turns up ZERO…

    This O/S has a very large drvstore….but that’s ALL there is…I use intels mobile chipset 4 for my laptop and it’s sad that the out of the box experience is much less than desired!

    The “fix” for the metro gui boot being disabled and booting directly to the desktop…does NOT work here.
    I do like the quickness of the boot…files opening…apps opening…search being so quick…but none of this is readily apparent as to accessing these tools…the tiles on a “Non-touch centric” laptop screen is just plain A HUGE PITA…I mean HUGE!

    It’s annoying, frustrating, and doesn’t make ANY KIND OF SENSE. Microsoft states that the start button is “gone for good”. So now we’re reduced to third party apps to add the start button and menu back in.

    I agree that there’s a lot of polish needed…there’s NOT any way to improve work flow…and ergonomics while utilizing the O/S and it takes a administrative level tech to figure out how to get around a LOT of the features that are hidden in this O/S.

    Not using a mouse but using touch instead? using a laptop OR desktop monitor….even if it was touch enabled..HOW…reach directly ahead of yourself to perform tasks in the O/S…typing is fine but on a desktop…what a huge pain to add the extra movements to use touch…it’s being reduced to keyboard OR Lay down your monitor??? Say What???

    I am NOT against using this O/S because of the file system improvements, memory utilization improvements, responsiveness of the apps in the O/S, boot times…recovering from sleep in a split second…security enhancements…the O/S has massively improved on the Windows experience in a lot of places where it matters to IT folks like me…but what you left out or insisted on changing for changes sake…sure hurts the experience for those who do NOT use 4″ phones or 9″ tablets.

    One more issue…I have very large hands and fingers….this touch isn’t an easy…default…method of input for me…it’s a PITA and that’s why I use phones to make phone calls…and I use a table to read or listen to music in places other than at my desk or work space.

    So thanks but NO THANKS MS…this one isn’t for a LOT of folks both in the IT industry and in the general population older than 25!

    IMO…that’s how a whole lot of folks with access to new O/Ses or money to purchase new equipment yearly will be seeing this O/S…it’s aimed at a completely different segment of the market and support for legacy is very poor…the requirements for the hardware are pretty steep..anything older than a couple of years or with less than stellar level performance isn’t going to get much sympathy or support from MS….are you listening out there “VENDORS?”

    Respectfully,

    Bobby Ketcham

  • http://www.iezzimatica.com.ar John IEZZI

    Hi folks,
    tx 2 God & some 3rd party apps I’ve been able 2 convert the Metro’s Windows 8 look into da charming Windows 7 style.

    First step has been da one 2 remove ALL da Metro apps from da “Metro desktop”.

    Then I customized the two Windows 8 “Start menus” (“C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms”
    “C:UsersxxxAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms” (they’re now mirrors -no differences between ’em; “obviously” each time I install some piece of software I’ve 2 go there 2 customize my own start menu -the way I lik it-)

    Once did it I used “Classic shell” app which brings me back da old “Windows Start menu”, n, da most important thing is that this app lets da user further customize it’s menu -via drag n drop / delete / rename- n booting directly from da real desktop gettin’ rid of da Metro style one.

    Another steps have been: using “My WCP Watermark editor” 2 remove da watermark on da left bottom desktop corner n “My WCP CharmsBar editor” 2 get rid of da charm sidebar as well.

    Resuming:
    1) no more Metro apps on Windows 8 RP
    2) no more Metro Desktop
    3) customized start menu
    4) old style start menu (+ Orb) back (open 2 b freely customized)
    5) quick launch bar enabled
    6) charm bar disappeared

    I suppose that’s da way da desktep user wanna get Windows 8, isn’t it?

    Best rgds.

    John

  • Michael

    Hmm, I am using Win8 now exclusively (I thought this is the best way to give it a fair go), and well I actually don’t mind the Start Screen but even so I still find myself asking Why?

    I guess I’m old hat, I use a phone to make, well, phone calls, I use a PC to do works stuff, I use a TV to watch movies, and usually listen to music only when I am driving the car, and I don’t really need a tablet. So for me even though some of the Metro Apps are pretty cool, I just find them gimmicky! I look at them once, think hey that’s cool, and then realisation sets in – I just don’t need it!

    I think the desktop actually looks better with less gradients, but I don’t go for the metrofied icons that much. In fact I just started using the new Office, and all though I will likely get used to it’s metrofied interface, I actually think it is quite ugly. And since Office 2007 still does everything I need and more, I doubt I will pay money to keep using it.

    I can’t say I miss the Start button, but I do know this much: I used Windows7 from the first available build, and immediately began using it exclusively, and just like 1stkorean would have paid money for it right away. And like Onuoro I have not had Win7 crash once on any of our three PC’s, not even the half cooked versions. So Windows7 was a winner from day one.

    Now Windows8 does indeed have many fine features and refinements. I guess the most obvious is the quick startup. However in my experience it is not without flaws. Sometimes it just hangs for minutes before getting to the start screen, and I have also had issues with graphics drivers.

    Now I know that this is to be expected in a pre-release OS, but I find myself comparing the Win8 experience with the one I had with Win7, and to be honest, while I was absolutely sold on Win7 from day one, with Win8 there are question marks in my head. So I am thinking maybe wait for Win9.

    I hope this works for MS, and I actually think it will.

    So in summary:
    I think it is definitely an advantage to have both interfaces at your finger tips.

    Metro looks great so if you are under 25 then I am sure a plethora of gimmicky Apps will woo you.

    As for the desktop, I cant’ remember the last time I saw a software company deliberately try to make their product look ugly, it just defies logic, but trying to the two interfaces blend just seams like an impractical dream. The fact is the Desktop is once horse and Metro is another, but they are not ever going to be the same.

    So will I buy Windows8?

    Maybe. But MS will have to release another more refined Preview first before I make that decision. I doubt I will go for it off the back of the current build. Which of course has me reflecting back on the Win7 experience – for which there was never any doubt…..

  • CiÇãO

    The Metro Interface is just awesome. I’ve been using touch computers (convertibles) for the last 3 years or so, and they’re just much better than non-touch ones. And since the very first Windows 8 preview, man, it’s awesome. And not only awesome, but incredibly fast. Windows 7 was “OK” with touch, it supported gestures and flicks and multi-touch, but this Windows 8 thingy is just a pleasure to use and it works almost flawlessly (some hiccups that will probably be fixed on RTM). And that’s not all, I mean, the thing is extremely fluid, it integrates with services pretty much the same way as my Windows Phone does, it’s always available and it just works. I just really like it.

    I think this is gonna absolutely rock. And I’m sure buying a Windows 8 tablet / convertible / something like that as soon as one comes out

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WJGC7242GFDP2QXANKF5WTMEA Rex

    I love windows 8. I feel like it has added years of life to an old laptop that I had been planning on retiring. The UI is good, easy to use and very efficient. And I love how it gets out of your way.
    My complaints are: I can imagine Metro tiles becoming a big mess with Desktop tiles, Metro Tiles and IE10 shortcut tiles all mixed around. I hope they have some autoarrange abilities if not on release, at least by SP1. And having recently added a second screen, I found that Metro apps can only be opened on one screen. You can move them from one screen to another, but you can not have one app on one screen and a different app on another. This needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
    All in all, I would say it is the best OS, I have ever used. I find it strange the amount of rancor that is out about it. Most complaints I read seem quite evident that the writer has not really used it more than a few minutes. While they say they have tried it, I am reminded of my daughter sticking a new food on her toungue and spitting it out. That said, it is true that it is not an OS that grabs you the first time you try it, letting you know how good it is. You have to use it extensively and learn its ins and outs. Then it really grows on you. You find it moving faster and faster as you learn to control it better. And before you know it, you find that it is the most responsive OS ever. You find yourself doing something and you realize a shortcut to do what you just did. Years of previous versions have taught ways to do things that are just wrong.

    • Coker

      Why do you find it strange of the amount of rancor that is out about Windows 8? It’s similar to those who prefer Coke over Pepsi, McDonald’s over Burger King, Ford over Toyota, etc. There needs to be a diversity of devices on the market. Microsoft does not have to be the only one.

      I use Windows every day at work and have been using it ever since it came out – before that, DOS. Just because it is the operating system that businesses use, doesn’t mean that I have to like it. I prefer UNIX/Linux. I preferred Borland C/C++ over Microsoft C/C++ at the time. I program in Visual Studio now, because that is what the market wants. Now, I am learning XCode (Objective-C). Why? Why not!

      The bottom line is choice. People now have a choice of hardware. Some will prefer iPad, some will prefer Android, and some will prefer Windows 8.

      Microsoft Windows is not the only one in town, now, and the consumers have noticed.

  • timiteh

    What do i think about Windows 8 ?
    Pros.
    1. It is fast, fluid and requires less ressources than Windows 7 in most cases.
    2. It has a great support for multi-monitor
    3. Improved task manager
    4. Improved copy, cut and move operation
    5. Ribbon enhanced explorer
    6. Built-in Hyper V3

    Cons.
    1. Whatever way i look at it i find Metro too flat and Ugly. The metroified Office give me headaches (long life Office 2010) and i am pretty sure the metorified desktop will give me even more headaches.
    The tile and horizontal browsing aspect of Metro is great but the flat/oversimplified icons, design are awful and suck !
    2. Too much optimized for tablet at the expense of traditionnal laptops/desktops and server.
    The dashboard like aspect of the start screen is amazing but it is not really taylored to replace the start menu for servers and traditionnal PC as it completely lack the tree structure. Thus all the icons are spread in a very unpleasant way.
    Just see what happen when you install the alike of Office or Visual Studio.
    So Microsoft should find a smarter/better replacement of the start menu than the current Start screen.
    3. Not enough improvement of the desktops (Where the heck is the virtual desktops native support ?)

    So overall, Windows 8 is a major improvement for mobile devices, expecially tablet and convertible, put it is a poor replacement for Windows 7/Windows 2008 R2 for both traditionnal PC and server U.I wise.
    Windows 8 U.I annoy so much, that i am clearly considering staying on Windows 7 until Windows 9 and try some Linux distribution, and why not move to Linux in a close future.

    • http://twitter.com/JohnFCanning John Canning

      I agree 100%. $40 is fair, but I’d rather put it into a new mouse (remember those MS?). Give me Windows 7 and a very few ‘tweaking’ apps and I agree with Onuora: it’s very hard to throw away a very sharp knife.