Evaluating Windows 8

I am admittedly a much bigger fan of the Apple desktop and mobile operating systems than the Windows counterparts.  However, that does not mean I don’t care at all for Windows offers, especially in the desktop space, and I actually do like Windows 7 quite a bit.  That has all changed with the release of Windows 8.  I honestly think that Windows 8 is the worst software released in a long time, and it is certainly the worst version of Windows I have used.

I remember playing with the beta, and after about 10 minutes I completely gave up.  It was obvious that Microsoft was trying to tow the line between a touch and desktop UI, and it ultimately ending up satisfying neither audience or need.  This video was shared on Twitter, and it summarizes my sentiments perfectly on Windows 8.  Even though the video is a bit long (about 24 minutes), I highly suggest watching until the end.

Jakob Nielsen also posted his usability findings on Windows 8, and it is worth the read.  With both the article and video you can get a sense of what went so wrong with this OS.  Was this the reason Steven Sinofsky was fired?  I would’ve imagined that Ballmer signed off on this mess.

There is also news that Microsoft is taking another page out of Apple’s book and moving to a yearly release cycle with their desktop operating systems.  Whatever they might be doing, I hope that they manage to fix Windows 8.  Everyone was in an uproar over Windows Vista back in the day, but I always thought those criticisms were overblown.  But this time all criticism about Windows 8 is warranted.

4 Responses

  1. Pranav December 27, 2012 / 11:01 am

    Admittedly, there is a learning curve involved with Win 8. However, having used it as my primary OS for the last 2 months, I can personally attest that I am much more productive. The OS gets out of the way and enables me to do my job. It is worth the time investment to learn the new paradigm.

    • Chris Poteet December 27, 2012 / 11:04 am

      I’m glad you like it, but I think it’s a usability disaster. I am purposely avoiding Win 8 everywhere I can.

  2. Dennis Hasenfang December 28, 2012 / 6:10 pm

    I went through the effort to evaluate Windows 8 on a Tablet since last December. There are new things that need to be re-trained in the brain to get the most out of this new OS. My experience for the first month or two was equally not positive. Once you get over the learning curve and know how to locate items easily, it works very well. I am currently using it on a Dell Latitute ST Tablet that was originally designed for Windows 7.

    There are some things you are not taking into consideration. Just as “old school” DOS based applications were supported on Win32 OSes, the “Metro” interface brings new opportunities for developers that have been leveraged by iOS and Android developers for quite some time. Also, there is a huge device market that Microsoft was leaving on the table.

    Windows 8 deserves touch enabled devices. I’m not convinced on Windows 8 RT devices would be useful for me in a 10 inch form factor. I would love a 7 inch Dell Latitude running Windows RT. Having cloud enabled services and applications out of the box is also a new push that makes Microsoft competitive in the marketplace.

    If you follow Windows Weekly and/or Paul Thurrott, he has claimed many times that Microsoft is using the knowledge that most people will not upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 as a business case to roll these new devices out and let those who want to stay on the old platform stay. Similar to those that are still on Windows XP and using IE 6.

    The platform is new and there are going to be “nay-sayers”. The live tiles essentially is the same as the Start Menu flipped horizontally instead of vertical. The big draw here is that those live tiles are “live” and can do things in the background and present information. This is similar to having icons in the system tray.

    As for the iOS argument, Apple had their own proprietary OS for many years. Then they decided with OS X that they were going to use a UNIX core and slap an interface on it. I wouldn’t call that revolutionary by any means. Also, with the latest release of OSX, I read that it’s touch enabled and works very much like Windows 8. No?

    I think the hardest part is that Microsoft has to be backwards compatible with all of this stuff now. Windows 8 on touch is a different experience then with a mouse and keyboard. Try it on a tablet first, then move to the desktop. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a bad time.

    Cheers.

    Dennis

  3. Bismarck December 28, 2012 / 10:46 pm

    Great Review, my sentiments exactly. AND Windows Server 2012 isn’t any better either (in the UI sense).

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