Is Windows 8 Really That Bad?
Before I jump right into this post and hopefully get a debate started, let me just explain my Microsoft contact and level of usage. When I was medically retired from the British Army after crushing my spine, I got into tech in a big way, I knew if I was was going to sustain any kind of employment out in civi street, it would be essential for me to re-educate myself in the ways of technology. After a few simple basic courses the Army paid for me to become an MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer) and after this I took it upon myself to complete and HNC (Higher National Certificate) in computer programming. All of this was done around Windows 95, 98, and 2000; Windows 2000 was the OS Microsoft replaced NT with, or at least that was their plan. However after years of so many problems using Windows XP, 2000, ME, and 98; I decided to try other operating systems and this was when I bought my first Mac. From that point on I discovered using Macs so much more reliable and easy and so pretty much phased out using Windows. Thankfully I missed Vista, but I decided some years later that as a technology writer, I needed to become much more diverse and start using all the operating systems out there. It was at this point I purchased my Lenovo laptop which came preinstalled with Windows 7. Just I purchased the laptop Windows 8 Consumer Preview came out for download and so I partitioned my hard drive and installed Windows 8 along with another partition running Ubuntu. From the Consumer Preview on to the final release of Windows 8, I must say I found it to be pretty decent. I have since read many scathing reviews of Windows 8 and I am wondering, is it me or is Windows 8 really that bad?
Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley
For me personally, Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley are my main source of all things Microsoft, sure I read other peoples blogs and opinions on the company and their products, but I feel Paul and Mary Jo always give an incredibly balanced account of Microsoft, good or bad. Paul Thurrott of course runs the amazing Winsupersite and Mary Jo Foley writes on CNet and both appear on the fantastic Windows Weekly show hosted by Leo Laporte on Twit TV. As per the description above, Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo have expressed some concerns about Windows 8 and so have many other bloggers and tech writers. Since I have been using Windows 8, I have only good things to say about the OS and I am wondering, am I doing something wrong? am I not using the Operating System correctly? All of the experts, who before the release of Windows 8 defended the barrage of criticism from the anti-Windows world, appear to be agreeing with some of the constructively negative comments pre Windows 8.
Home Users V’s Enterprise
I can however see, from a business perspective, as to why Windows 8 has not been widely embraced. I think in the social networking world that we now live in and are rapidly moving forward to, if you still have not yet joined in on the band-wagon, Windows 8 is the perfect OS. When sat in front of your desktop, packed with live social networking tiles, you can see exactly what is changing, as opposed to other platforms where you get a simple notification, more often than not a simple numerical indication, and in order to see specifically what has been sent to you via Twitter, Facebook, Stumble Upon, LinkedIn or any of the others; you have to open the application. With Windows 8, there is no need to open the application if you are only looking at incoming traffic, obviously to reply you need to open the app. Of course there is so much more to life than simply sat in front of your computer watching what the world is chattering about. However, even now when you want to do some good old fashioned conventional work and open Microsoft Word or Excel, you can pretty much do this in the cloud with software such as Microsoft Office 365.
For me personally, as a home user, not really a so called power user when it comes to Windows; when I installed the full and final version of Windows 8 on my Windows 7 Lenovo laptop, the performance increased three fold. Initially when I purchased the Lenovo, it was only to provide me with a Windows environment experience so that I could write about Microsoft products from a real perspective as opposed to regurgitating other bloggers work, so the system did not have to be incredibly powerful. However when I started using the until out of the box with Windows 7, it ran so slow. Opening simple applications took for ever, initially I thought here we go, this was the reason I stopped using Windows and it reached a stage where I thought perhaps the unit was faulty. I turned off all the bells and whistles attributed to Windows 7 and still not much of a difference in performance. It was only when I partitioned the hard drive and installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview that I knew nothing was wrong with the laptop, as the performance increase was unbelievable. At first I just put this down to the fact that if was not the full and final version of Windows 8 and so therefore was more than likely only a stripped down product. However when I did install the full and final version of Windows 8 the performance was still superb. Application opened almost immediately and even boot up times where much faster. Although the laptop was not bought for this nor probably designed for this, my son installed World Of Warcraft on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on the same laptop. When it was on the Windows 7 partition, the game was unplayable and this was with all the game settings at lowest. The same game on the same laptop, different partition and different operating system, Windows 8; played like a dream and the game settings where set mid way. I think that in itself for me personally is a testament to a massive cleanup of bloat within the Windows operating system.
The Desktop Environment, Bring Back The Start Menu…
I think, the resounding complaint about Windows 8 is the Desktop environment, or rather lack of it. Many people have commented on the fact that on first installation, you should have the option of turning on the Metro side of the OS, others feel that the Desktop is lacking functionality, ease of use and a Start Menu. I have however noticed that the debate regarding a start menu is one of confusion, many request a start menu when they actually mean a start button and visa versa and according to Windows Weekly, there is quite a significant difference.
I must say, as a primarily Mac user, I enjoy using Windows 8 and find it a more than pleasant experience, to the point that when I first purchased the Lenovo with Windows 7, I only really used it when I needed to write an article about a Windows related topic. Now however, I find myself using my Lenovo every day and always booting into Windows 8, in fact I can’t remember the last time I booted into Windows 7.