Windows 8: Love or Hate?
We test the new Windows OS so you don’t have to.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: July 12th, 2012
indows 8 is the first step in Microsoft’s grand plan to have an single computing landscape for all of its devices. From desktop to smartphone, from Xbox to tablet, Microsoft wants to tie everything together into one vibrant ecosystem for integrated computing. This sounds like an amazing concept, which we are excited to see come to life, but how does the new OS perform on an old-fashioned desktop computer?
Microsoft has taken some bold new steps with the latest version of Windows. The company has been losing its edge in the consumer market for some time now, and Windows 8, along with the Windows Surface Tablet and the Windows 8 Phone, all powered by the new OS, are Microsoft’s response to the changes in climate.
When you first login to Windows 8, you realize that the whole game has changed. Microsoft has implemented a new user interface dubbed Metro, which people are either going to love or hate.
Metro is a new visualization of the desktop PC. There is no more desktop with icons to launch your regularly used programs. There’s no more “Start” button in the Metro UI, which could leave you feeling stranded and alone in this new, unfamiliar landscape.
When you first login to Windows 8, you realize that the whole game has changed.
Metro has a whole new take on applications in general. The home screen contains groups of colored tiles, many full of streaming information, giving it the look and feel of the main window of a smartphone or tablet. At one glance you can see the time, forecast, email inbox, and Facebook notifications. Launching an application takes you to full-screen mode. When you minimize or close the application, it goes back into its live tile placement on the Metro screen. Even the applications for Windows 8 have been reimagined to utilize a new minimalist approach. Microsoft opted for solid colors, and there is no more bar at the top with “close,” “minimize,” or “maximize” buttons—these have instead been integrated into each application’s theme.
Not only is Microsoft reimagining the look and feel of its applications, but Metro is also trying to change how we approach multi-tasking. Live-tile applications are attempting to prevent a desktop riddled with 10 open windows and 25 Web browser tabs. The idea is to keep people more on task and focused, rather than flitting from task to task aimlessly. Some people may enjoy the streamlined interface, but we felt alienated from our usual workflow, and weren’t able to be as productive as we used to be on Windows 7 or OSX. In other words, this OS has a learning curve.
In true Microsoft fashion, they are trying to please all parties at once, and just in case you find the Windows 8 Metro interface too drastic of a change, you can flip over to a very Windows 7-looking version of the OS, where you get your traditional Windows experience with a desktop, a start button, and a bar at the bottom of the screen that contains your minimized windows.
We found this alternative option in the OS more confusing than anything else. It’s like having two operating systems in one, neither of them containing much compatibility whatsoever given the minimal selection of applications we were able to test on the OS. We realize this ensures backwards compatibility with legacy applications, but to us it came across as a bit too disjointed.
The desktop version of Windows 8 left us feeling alienated and confused. Windows 8 Metro is a bold move for the tech giant, and we see opinion being divided, with people either loving it or hating it, although we haven’t seen all that much to love.
The decision to implement a legacy interface for those who wind up hating the changes is something of a cop-out by the company. It’s as if Microsoft doesn’t have enough faith in their product.
Frankly, Microsoft has its work cut out for it convincing people why they should upgrade to this new OS on their home or work computers. For now we will stick with Windows 7 or OSX on our laptops and desktops.
The Windows 8 operating system will be available for purchase and upgrade, will be on sale for the general public in late October this year. Early adopters of Windows 8 for their home PCs will only be charged a $40 upgrade price for the first few months of the launch. There’s no word on what the price will be after the promotional period, but we assume it will be the typical $200 OS price.
If you would like to test out the Windows 8 Release preview for yourself, head over here and download a copy today.