Revisiting Windows 8, five months later

At the end of 2012 I did a two-part review of Windows 8 where I pretty well gave it an overall thumbs up rating.  Since then I have had a few more months to use Microsoft’s latest operating system and I thought I would compare my earlier experiences to those I have now. So here goes:

When I first opened the box and installed Windows 8 I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of learning I had to endure just to get small tasks done in this new operating system. After a couple of days I found getting around easier and was pretty well back to running at normal speed. Now that some time has passed and I am quite used to the interface I have to say that there is a lot more you grow to dislike in Windows 8 simply because it is much more task-intensive in the normal course of getting your work done.

I think the first question Microsoft should be asking when installing this operating system is, “Will you be using a mouse”?  If the answer is yes then a proper menu system should be installed – maybe with a hot button that will take you Metro if necessary. For me, an avid mouse user, a menu would work better. You can’t “folder-ize” Metro (though you can move favourite or like apps to a grouping block), so sometimes finding things in Metro can take time. To resolve this problem I moved apps I use most of the time to the task bar or the desktop so I didn’t have to spend the time hunting them down. Took a bit of time but to me it’s been well worth it.

My next gripe is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10. You would think that after ten attempts at a web browser they could get it right! Don’t get me wrong, there are several features about the browser I like. Images and text are vibrant and the browser shows pages correctly. My main complaint is that the browser either crashes, stalls or hangs on many pages — and for no reason I can find (even with all add-ons disabled). This is incredibly annoying and I have started using Chrome for much of my browsing.

So do I still have anything good to say about Windows 8? Well, although they still release system updates to address security holes, for the most part, while running alongside my firewall router and anti-virus software, my system seems pretty safe. Their networking also seems to work better than it did in Windows 7.  I don’t reset the TCP stack as much as I had to under Windows 7. Windows 8 boots quickly: I’m very happy about that though I don’t like booting into Metro each time I start Windows.

Ultimately, the takeaway is that we’re going to have to get used to Windows 8 because we are likely going to be seeing this interface for some time to come. The next OS release — rumored to be released this year (yes, this year!) — is currently code-named Windows Blue. This won’t be the name of the new system but rumour has it you will see the same Windows 8 interface. The one change, again rumoured, that I like is Windows (maybe named 8.1), will boot right to desktop. If you are curious about what might be coming in the next version of Windows check out this article at TechRadar. It has the latest information as of this writing.

So am I still a happy user of Windows 8? Truthfully, no, not really. Based on my experience, it looks very much like Microsoft, in their quest to gain some market share in the touch screen / tablet / smart phone markets, have snubbed their loyal and avid PC users by forcing them to use an operating system which is not designed to enhance the desktop and keyboard laptop performance but can actually take away from it. I know I am not the only person who has made such assertions so I hope Microsoft reads these comments and makes some real changes to the next version of their operating system – changes for the better.

Got a question or an idea for a topic you would like to see covered in one of my upcoming blogs?  Write to support@skywaywest.com and sound off.  I’ll do what I can to address your questions or concerns either personally in a reply email or on the blog.  Until next month, take care!


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