In October I downloaded my update from Windows 7 to Windows 8. For forty dollars it seemed like a good deal. I had read about how Internet Explorer 10 was not going to be available immediately for Windows 7 and I had made up my mind that I needed it to test websites. I was silently applauding Microsoft for going away with the expensive upgrades on minimal OS (Operating System) improvements. I should have known better.
Once the process was completed, I was given a tutorial on how to use the system. A tutorial. I've been using Windows since 3.0. Why am watching a tutorial. The reason is that Windows 8 is radically different than any OS before it. And that's not a good thing. The tutorial dealt with swipes, gestures, and how to find the start button they completely removed from the UI (user interface) and that's part of the problem.
Windows 8 is actually two operating systems in one. The desktop as you are used, to is now an app. The new UI is the metro interface you see on the commercials.
The metro interface is garbage if you are using a desktop with a mouse. There's no reason for it to even be there. In the first couple of days I spend more time moving my mouse to the corners of the screen, because that's how you get to the desktop Start Screen, to launch apps than actually getting any work done. Then if it wasn't immediately available on the tiles on that screen I would have to right click and scroll over until I found the application I wanted to use.
On the desktop app the start button is completely gone, which means that the only way to get to the Start Screen is to move the mouse to one of the corners of my screen or click the Windows button on my keyboard.
Windows 8 is a consumption operating system. If you're using it on a tablet or touch screen device it's probably great. Because you're usually just checking email, surfing the web, or watching videos on YouTube.
While I was getting used to the new OS all the things I know and loved were gone. How do I get to my devices? Where is the Control Panel? Where are all my documents? I couldn't find anything. All I could see was this big dumb screen full of icons for Microsoft apps I probably would never use. I spent more time trying to find the application I wanted to use than using it most of the time.
I did eventually figure out that if you press the Windows button on your keyboard and just start typing it will give you a list of applications like the Windows 7 search bar. But I found that by accident when my daughter slammed on the keyboard while we were watching YouTube.
Nothing is Labeled
I wouldn't mind the drastic change if they would have at least labeled things. If you're in a metro app there are two things that really bother me. First it's full screen. Not a deal breaker as Android and IOS open apps in full screen. But there is nothing to tell me where the settings for the app are. As a new user I had to randomly click mouse buttons and test the corners to see if a menu popped up.
Then, when I was done with the app I for the life of me couldn't figure out how to close it. I had to go on the internet to find the answer. Turns out there are two ways. The first way is the one that I refuse to do which is:
Drag your mouse pointer over the left top corner of the screen
Pull the mouse pointer down just a little bit to see a list of running apps.
Right click on an app you want to close
Click close on the context menu.
The second is to just press CTRL and F4.
Shut Down Computer?
How!? Is there a shorter way than logging off my profile, pressing space to bring up the login prompt and then clicking the power button? If there is I haven't found it yet.
Microsoft should have never tried to shoehorn a touch operating system onto a desktop. From Windows 3 all the way to Windows 7 I never had to stop an figure out how to do something until now. Please give us our start button back and get rid of the metro interface. It's crap. Or at least give me the choice.
In my daily activity it seems that I have to click more menus and buttons just to do the things I could do before in a couple of simple clicks. It sucks.
WOW... I guess this turned into a rant didn't it. The point is unless you have a surface tablet, or touch computer you may want to go to a computer store and try it out first. They've made some seriously bad decisions about what I personally want in a desktop OS. If I ever find the time I will be upgrading (yup I said it) to Windows 7. This to me, is the Windows ME of the 21st century.
For a more in depth (25 minutes), and humorous look at the issues with Windows 8 I highly recommend Brian Boyko's animated review which I have embedded below.