Windows 8 Review

13 Mar

We’ve been using Windows 8 on our home PC since it was released last October. After four months I can honestly say that Windows 8 hasn’t really changed the way that we use our home computer. 90% of what my wife and I do on the computer is via the internet. Email, social networks, shopping – we don’t use apps, we use the internet. We don’t stream music or movies. We don’t play games.

Adjusting to Windows 8 has been just that, an adjustment. 99% of the time we use the traditional desktop rather than the Metro UI. With Microsoft’s removal of the Start button, we’ve simply had to learn the new navigation, which didn’t take long and hasn’t been a big deal. Need to find a document? Launch File Explorer from the desktop taskbar. Need to access the control panel? Mouse to the right side of the screen and select Settings. Need to open an app or find a file that isn’t on the Start screen or the desktop? Just start typing on the Start screen.

Yes, it’s different than Windows 7 (slightly) and it feels more connected to the mobile world (slightly). Is Windows 8 an OS with an identity crisis? Yes and No. Microsoft needs a mobile OS to compete and the tile interface is it. Like it or hate it, Microsoft feels that grids of static icons are boring. I like the way that tiles can be sized and arranged to personalize the experience. And while I don’t use the Metro UI often on my home PC, I have sized and arranged the tiles for organized access (of both Metro and non-Metro apps).

(We use a local family “local” account. I have created a “personal” account linked to my Microsoft Account, but signing in an out and locking and unlocking can be a pain. Call me lazy, I don’t care).

As pointed out by Brad Hill, Microsoft’s computer OS market share is enormous and with Windows 8 “Microsoft is singing with right tune with some wrong notes.” Hill advocates returning the Start button and making boot to desktop an option – basically saying provide an option for those, like myself, who use a mouse and keyboard to interface with Windows 8 to bypass the Metro UI that we don’t really use. Providing options isn’t really a bad thing.

Go read Hill’s article. Regardless of your feelings for or against, or ambivalence toward, Windows 8, Hill provides an objective and productive take on what Microsoft is doing right and how they can do better.

Oh, and if I could find a $200 Windows RT tablet (a la Google Nexus 7), I’d totally jump on it.


Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Tech


2 responses to “Windows 8 Review

  1. enginerd

    March 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I think windows 8 is a miss (theoretically – I don’t want to spend $80 to try it). I have Vista installed on a laptop (dual core 1.2 Ghz, 2GB RAM 80GB HDD) and it was super slow. I installed Linux Peppermint 3 on it and it boots in15 seconds, now.

    Yesterday, I installed Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on it. I boots in 24 seconds, and I have instant access to the web, can use my touchpad as a quasi-touchscreen and it has a super slick user interface. I’m typing this comment on it right now. And I didn’t have to spend $80 for a wonderful improvement in my computing experience. App support for intel processors isn’t the norm, but enough apps are available (so far) to do what I need to do.

    With most computing these days being web centric, there is no longer a need for super fast computers with huge operating systems- this is what makes tablets a viable option. In fact, an offering of a stripped down operating system by microsoft would give new life to PC from 5 years ago, like mine. Andriod 4.2 installed inside less than 300MB! I can still boot to Vista (at last resort) and to Peppermint (for more traditonal applications) – that would be quite the niche market.

    I have Peppermint 3 running on two seperate Pentium 4 single core 2.8 Ghz machines and they are still faster than Vista on the dual core laptop.

    Microsoft should learn that bigger is not better and offer something new and exciing to turn the industry on it head. I don’t think that windows 8 was that.

    Andriod on PC, however, just might catch on….

    • Reese

      March 26, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Google is trying to move that direction with Chrome OS. I think that a lot of the initial bugs in Windows 8 will be worked out in Blue, the next software release. If you look at what Microsoft is trying to do, it’s an uphill battle.

      How do they maintain their current market share in the PC world, while growing market share in the mobile world (tablets & phones) while having a unified product line? Apple didn’t have to do this because they never had a majority in the PC world and Google has been nothing but mobile. I applaud Microsoft’s efforts. And like the author said, Microsoft has shown that it is willing to take the long road just to have a seat at the table.


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