Saturday, 3 March 2012

Windows 8 Customer Preview REVIEW

Well, I've been playing with Windows 8 since the customer preview was released around 3 days ago and I thought I would share my experience so far with you lot so you can get an insight to what Windows 8 is like and what my personal opinions are about the OS.

First Impressions
Well after booting it up I was confronted with the new Metro interface (pictured below) and I have to say it's different, VERY different. I can see where Microsoft are going with the single User Interface (UI) across all of their applications but I just can't see it taking off on their PCs.


Usability
Well, as you can see above, the Metro UI does look pretty cool but (and it's a big but) I can't find my way around things. I am a certified Windows professional and it took me around 5 minutes to work out how to shut the machine down (you click on your name then select sign out, then drag the lock screen up and press the power button....convoluted or what!).

The UI does look a lot less cluttered and is customisable by right clicking on the blue background and selecting 'all apps'. But I just can't see this interface taking off, on a home computer or tablet then yes but not on a business or enterprise level machine it looks to 'toys r us' for my liking.

As you can see from the screen shot above, I have installed Firefox on this machine as the version of Internet Explorer (IE) that comes on Windows 8 is horrendous to use! The whole process is counter intuitive for a 'normal' desktop (i.e. keyboard & mouse) and doing simple things like opening a new tab is a few clicks away and pretty hidden behind a right click (which brings up the menu's) and I can't for the life of me work out how to do simple things like saving images from web pages or setting a new home page. Here are a couple of screen shots of IE:

No menu's at all on the 'normal' screen



Right Click menu in IE

Because of the poor mouse & keyboard integration and clear design for touch screen devices, I had to install Firefox to have a normal browser again. EDIT: I've since found out that you can run IE in a normal mode by running it from the desktop. I can't even work out how to close applications in Windows 8 so I have a feeling that system memory would fill up fast when multi-tasking because of all the applications running in the background.

Now it's not all doom and gloom, there is the desktop feature on Windows 8 which give a more traditional desktop environment, one which I find myself in most of the time. Unfortunately there is no start menu in the traditional environment and if you press the Windows key on the keyboard then it shows the Metro interface. Here is the default desktop on Windows 8:


A really good feature that Microsoft have implemented is the ribbon interfaces in Windows Explorer. I think this is a great idea as it ties in brilliantly with Microsoft Office and gives users a very fluid feel throughout the operating system. Here are some screen shots:


 

Conclusion
Well unfortunately it's a big thumbs down for me. I loath the Metro interface, I think that Microsoft have catered for the touch screen interfaces rather than the traditional desktop (screen, mouse & keyboard). It's very difficult to navigate around, very different and I think that a lot of users who are used to Windows will get lost at first. I really hope that Microsoft decide to put some kind of 'traditional' mode that users can log into to have a traditional desktop. I think this will be even more prevalent for business customers.

I'd like to stress that this is only my personal opinion, I think Windows 7 is an excellent Operating System and I really hope that Microsoft make some changes for the final release in order to keep the vast majority of their user base (traditional desktops) happy.

If you want to try the Windows 8 Customer Preview for yourself then take a look at the link below (you will need silverlight installed):




4 comments:

  1. i totally agree with you all my frinds and family hate it. they all say they are keeping windows 7 till 2020. if they dont allow an option for traditional desktop they will surely loose $ and drive people to mac. LISTEN MICROSOFT LEAVE THE TOUCH OS FOR TABLETS AND HAVE A TRADITIONAL OS FOR PC LOOK AT HOW APPLE HAVE DONE IT !!!!

    WHY DOES ANY ONE NEED WINDOWS EIGHT WHEN WE HAVE WINDOWS 7 ??????

    WINDOWS 8 TOTAL FAIL = VISTA 2

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  2. PS no start button WTF u guys really are stupid

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  3. No start button is a big mistake. I am an experienced windows programmer, and the productivity hit I took simply by MS removing the start button is horrible. I don't want Microsoft or anyone else telling me how they think I should use a computer.

    I have all sorts of stuff pinned to my start menu. I don't pin it to the task bar, because it takes up too much room, and I like to reserve that for running programs. I still find the Windows 7 paradigm of pinning unstarted programs to the task bar to be disconcerting. I use it occasionally, but I still end up with unexpected starts and duplicate instances running.

    I loathe the dichotomy of apps and desktop applications, as if there are two tiers of programs now. And one set always goes "full screen"! What's up with that? Being able to quickly switch between two or more running apps, or to see all or part of multiple apps all at once is a powerful feature, introduced in Windows 2.0. Now, they're deprecating that? You can sure tell that Microsoft no longer has the vision of its founder, Bill Gates. For all his faults, he knew what he was doing with Windows. I do believe he would kick their asses if the UI team presented him with Windows 8 Customer Preview.

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    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree with you more Karl. It's great to see that other Windows power users are feeling the same kind of frustration with Windows 8 as I am. I really do think that this will be Vista II for Microsoft, which is unfortunate after such a great OS like Win 7.

      Anyway, great to hear the views of another of my blog readers, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment :)

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