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I’m seeing a lot of comments around the social networks from people who seem really passionate in their hatred for Windows 8.

I’ve been running it on my laptop since it launched and on my desktop (which I use for probably 12 hours a day) since last weekend, and I’m really quite pleased with Microsoft’s new OS so far. I find it to be much faster in terms of UI response, and I think the Start Screen is a huge improvement over the Start Menu (finding things on my system is way faster with the Start Screen than it was with the Start Menu, and popping open the Start Screen feels faster then opening the Start Menu), though I can still just use Fences on my Desktop if I prefer. I also am thrilled that I can have different task bars on each of my two monitors, and though this isn’t really critical, I’m happy to be able to run different desktop wallpaper on each monitor.

What’s really odd is I find I use the mouse less than I did in Windows 7. Sure Windows 8 works great with a touchscreen (well, I’m assuming that…haven’t tried it myself) but there are enough keyboard shortcuts that navigating around has me using the mouse less than I ever did (it could be many of these keyboard shortcuts always existed and I never bothered to learn them).

Anyway, like I said I see a lot of “Windows 8 sucks!” level comments but few of them with actual reasons why. I’d love to hear why people are switching to, or threatening to switch to, Ubuntu (good choice!) or Mac (awful choice!) because of the new OS.



Comments:
6
  • There are a few things I don’t like about Windows 8 but overall I agree with you, there has been a lot of improvement.

    Unlike you I’m not fond of the start screen, preferring the old start menu. (I can’t even customise the background image.) However, I’ll admit I do not and have never liked the XBox 360 tiled interface either. Personally I think the start screen is useless for business use.

    The start screen to me just seems like a waste of valuable screen real estate. Every exe (not just application) I install adds a tile to the screen. So if I install an application that has multiple executables but only one used to access the application, all of them are added and I have to remove them. Honestly the old start menu is better since it properly groups related apps without wasting space.

    Consequently, there is only one tile on my start screen and that opens the desktop.

    I am considering installing Stardocks Start8 product to re-include a start menu, but want to try to see of I can do without it. But as I go on with W8 it becomes more apparent as I load software that I’ll need an easier way to access it that just whacking icons on the desktop.

    The only other thing that disturbs me about windows 8 is Microsofts insistence on the new interface and having all apps go through them. While it is easy to use the desktop for non-store apps, it concerns me this is a step towards closing off the windows platform for all but the enterprise editions where it the only way to (currently) sideload metro style applications. At least until it is jailbroken.

  • I hit submit too early.

    But as you said, there have been speed and memory improvements. It does seem a lot more responsive, especially when opening applications. Some of them seem to start up a lot faster than on my old drive. It could be that the new harddrive is simply better or fresher than the 5yo drive that packed up last week, but it is a noticeable difference, on a couple of occasions, surprisingly so.

    Startup and shutdown (to sleep) are also substantially faster. Although, the power button no longer seems to sleep the machine. It’s probably some setting that I haven’t figured out yet.

    Other than that it has run all my applications so far without problem. Even my MYOB accounting, which MYOB themselves said “doesn’t work on W8 so you’ll need to upgrade” to a client of mine appears to work without problems.

    However there have been some difficulties getting some apps like MYOB to see the mapped network attached drives. But nothing that couldn’t be worked around.

    So my verdict for Windows 8. I don’t hate it, but there are some features I’m not fond of.

  • “The only other thing that disturbs me about windows 8 is Microsofts insistence on the new interface and having all apps go through them.”

    What amuses me is that I’ve heard this from some folks (not you!) who then declare “I’m going to MAC!” and of course Apple has had an App Store on OS X for some years now, and just like MS, they want you to use it (and most devs don’t).

    That said, I’d also be unhappy if in Windows 9 MS only allowed software to be installed through its store, but I don’t see it happening, myself.

    I have maybe a dozen apps that I use regularly and I have them all in the first group of my Start Screen. Usually I launch them via keyboard though. So Sublime Edit, for instance, I hit Windows-S-U-Enter and it launches from anywhere. I guess if I had a Suduko app I might have to do Windows-S-U-B-Enter. I can task-switch to Sublime Edit the same way, rather than Alt-Tabbing a bunch of times.

  • I’ve heard that too, and yeah it’s a bit silly.

    However, I only really need Windows for developing Windows applications (C# mostly these days, but C/C++ too) and playing games. If I didn’t need a Windows development box, and either didn’t play games or played cross platform games, then I’d probably have made the move to Linux a while ago. It would probably have made life easier a few times in setting up some rails app development.

    I don’t think Windows will close up completely, simply because the market won’t support it. Too many people depend on an open Windows to run their businesses and won’t take kindly to be forced to an Enterprise version simply to support their open applications.

    However, I have no illusions that if it could MS would close up Windows as tight as a drum and reap the 30% on all applications. The only reason Apple managed it with iOS is because that was launched as a closed platform. Closed platforms are always more profitable, at least until a ‘good-as’ open platform comes along. But MS, there is too much open software (not necessarily open-source) out there to close it up completely. At least not in the short term.

  • I have not used Win8 at all, so my impressions are based entirely on what other people are writing. My overall impression is that “upgrading” would cost me a non-trivial amount of time due to the learning curve and money (both for the software and the likely downstream effects of the “walled garden” – yes, indeed, no better than Apple’s, but no worse either). The benefits don’t strike me as worth these costs, especially as someone who does not own a touchscreen PC. Stropp’s example of fighting with the autopopulation on the Start Screen is exactly what I do not want. I know which programs I use, and that’s why I made shortcuts to them on my desktop. I don’t want and should not need to argue with Windows about which things should be there.

    As an aside, I should probably clarify that it’s not entirely accurate to say that I’ve “switched” to Mac. My primary machine is a Win7 desktop I built for myself. My secondary machine is whichever of the two Dell’s in various states of disrepair is less bothersome – suffice it to say I do not intend to ever do business with them again. We bought a new Macbook Air to replace my wife’s old mac as an ultraportable that runs Mac-only software (we have never been satisfied with the PC alternatives to MacGourmet for menu planning, and it’s hard to put a price on that given that we cook every day). The fact that it runs the native OSX clients for WoW and LOTRO is a bonus. The main reason why Win8 became a consideration in this purchase was out of concern that existing Win7 ultrabooks would dry up out of retail channels if we decided we did want to go the PC route and did NOT want to be forced to use Win8.

  • “I know which programs I use, and that’s why I made shortcuts to them on my desktop.”

    Upgrading won’t move a thing on your desktop. All my desktop icons, and in fact my 3rd party desktop wrangling software, Fences, are all right where they’ve always been. If I want to add a new icon to my desktop, I can. The desktop works pretty much the same as it always has, aside from the improvements in multi-monitor support.

    Now that said, the performance increases might not be enough to justify the $40 upgrade fee, I’ll admit. (I don’t think it’d take you very much time at all in terms of ‘learning curve’.) I use my PC a LOT and for me it was well worth the money but that won’t be true of everyone.

    My post was more sent out to people who are so mad that they are (or say they are) ditching Windows and heading to Ubuntu or Mac. I completely understand “I’m not seeing enough benefit to justify spending money on an upgrade to an existing system.”

    Basically I’m not so much addressing the “Not sure it’s worth the cost” folks as much as the “Windows 8 is an abomination and I’d die before I touched it!” people. (Yeah, a touch of hyperbole in there!)