The debut of the Windows 8 Release Preview yesterday was a key milestone in Microsoft’s march to release its new operating system later this year.

I’ve been using different versions of Windows 8 off and on since last September, when Microsoft released the first preview for developers, and I’ve received guided tours in the past from the people in charge of designing the user interface.

In short, while I’m certainly not the biggest Windows expert on the planet, I’m far more familiar with Windows 8 than the average computer user will be when it’s released.

And yet I’m struggling to get comfortable with the idea of using Windows 8 to power my primary desktop computer.

I’ve been using the Release Candidate since it came out yesterday. The difference this time is that I’m testing Windows 8 on a traditional keyboard and mouse, not on a touch-screen tablet loaned from Microsoft, which was my primary (though not exclusive) way of testing Windows 8 in the past.

Bottom line, I’ve spent the past day feeling lost, and a little grumpy. (Grumpier than usual, at least.)

The Metro apps are beautiful — and there’s a lot of slick new ones to check out in the Windows Store, to Microsoft’s credit. But my biggest struggle, as a user, is that the full-screen approach to the apps is disorienting. There’s no immediate context beyond the application I’m using. It feels like driving down a highway without seeing the shoulder of the road in case I need to pull off.

How do I get out of this app again? Oh, right, I have to point my cursor at the corner. Wait, not that corner, the other one.

Yes, I can hit the Windows key to quickly go back to the new tile-based Start screen. And yes, I can click one of those tiles to go to the traditional Windows desktop, minus the familiar Start button. But then I have to switch back to the Start screen to launch one of those cool new apps. Then I’m back on that shoulder-less road. And then where do I go again?

Speaking purely for myself, it’s not instantly intuitive. It feels like a forced mashup of a desktop operating system and a tablet interface. (Maybe Apple’s Tim Cook is right about toasters and refrigerators?) Microsoft will contend otherwise, but that’s how it feels to me as a user.

No doubt it will feel more comfortable over time. But I wonder how much patience other users will have with this when the finished version is released.

Microsoft likes to use the words “fast and fluid” to describe Windows 8, but two other words keep popping to my mind: “New Coke.”

Update, Saturday: GeekWire reader Mike Whalen was inspired to do a dramatic reading of this post. Enjoy. (And thanks, Mike!)

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Comments

  • Rob Roland

    To be fair, many parts of the previous versions of Windows were not instantly intuitive either.  You just have to realize this is a new UI paradigm and be open-minded towards it.  You’ll learn to be really fast with the mouse and keyboard gestures, but it does take a bit.

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Rob, that’s true, but shouldn’t the bar for Windows 8 be higher? People have grown accustomed to picking up new phones and intuitively understanding how to use them. (At least in the case of some phones.) Given that trend, I wonder how much patience they’ll have for a non-intuitive UI.

      • Galileo Vieira

        Don’t necessarily agree with the smartphone point, especially given all the different UI’s (I don’t buy that there is UI consistency on Android). I think it takes the same amount of time for folks to learn how to work the basics of a modern smartphone (make a call, look up contacts, send a text, browse the web, find and download apps) as it takes to do the basics of Windows 8.

        • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

          But part of the problem isn’t just learning a new UI. It’s learning that new UI, having to remember much of the old UI (and learning changes to it), and using each in different contexts.

          I think if the old UI were completely gone it would be less of an issue because people would eventually learn and adapt.

          • Guest

            It’s interesting that at a time when many people, including older ones, have had no trouble learning entire new OSes like iOS or Android, we think a few changes to Windows will be beyond their ability to cope, no?

          • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

            Learning and using two different UI paradigms at once is a different thing.

            Beyond that, though, talking specifically of corporate use, it’s a different thing to learn something new because you choose to for fun and being made to so you can get your work done.

            It’s very enlightening to do end-user support during rollouts like this. It’s completely different than home usage.

          • Guest

            I’ll bet that just today you used multiple OSes, a half dozen different UI paradigms at least, and didn’t think twice about it.

          • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

            On different devices yes. But I’ve not seen two different UI paradigms quite like on one device.

            We’ll see, but it does seem to be a consistent point coming up in reviews.

          • Guest

            Run a command prompt on W7 or terminal on OS X.

          • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

            Its not a few changes.  Read the article you just commented on.

          • Guest

            Not only have I read the article, I’ve actually used the product. Go troll elsewhere.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rico-Alexander/1238539776 Rico Alexander

            And that would be stupid. The attraction is the combination of a desktop and a touch interface. No one wants to have to buy two different devices to get things done. That’s just an apple fanboy fantasy.

        • http://twitter.com/Fourthletter58 Fourthletter58

          “currently works at Microsoft”

          (I don’t buy that there is UI consistency on Android) 

          Nice try – ICS is the best looking mobile OS out there.

        • David C

           But why make it difficult to learn the basics of any new appliance?  And if that’s MS’s attitude, there is going to come a point, as its customer base ages and gets grumpy about learning new systems, where people just say no to the endless two to five year update cycles.  We’ve seen the beginnings of that in the rejection of Vista and the clinging to of XP. (I hung onto XP until W7 shipped.  Vista was roadkill and died too slow a death.))

        • denbo68

          I don’t understand this Microsoft mentality.  Someone tells you something is wrong with your product and the Microsoft employees’s first response is to tell the customer how wrong they are.
          The Metro release from a while back was terrible on the desktop.  Maybe this new one is better but the author of this post is right on:  using Metro takes more than a month or two to get used to if ever.  It’s horrid.I know we have no choice since most applications are written for Windows but non-intuitive UI’s are not how you gain customer share.  Maybe I am wrong and the world will love the new Metro interface but so far it hasn’t panned out for you in the cell phone market has it?   And I’d lay off on picking on Android.  I just visited the new Microsoft Store and they wanted to compare one of their phones to my new Razr MAXX.   Even the guy working there really liked my phone.

          Just saying.

      • http://twitter.com/crossslide bam!

        Doesn’t the main specific point you raise – not having any on-screen indication how to leave an app – apply just as well to all the phone platforms including Apple’s, though? IIRC the iPhone and iPad don’t have any on-screen close button, switcher, etc.

        • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

          No.  The home button always brings you back and multi-tasking gestures can do the rest.

          • Guest

            The home button isn’t on-screen. His point is valid.

          • http://twitter.com/crossslide bam!

            Uh, that’s more or less the same as Windows 8 as well. Home button or Windows key takes you home, there are other gestures to go back an app etc. which are easy but not necessarily initially obvious.

        • Halfrack

           So the whole idea of having Excel and IE up at the same time transposing data from one to the other doesn’t work?  How about multi-monitor, how does – or can – Metro deal with 2 or 3 displays?

          • http://twitter.com/crossslide bam!

            For the most part the answer in those situations is “just use desktop apps”, which work as before. There’s no Metro style version of Excel anyway. If you’re using Metro style IE you could snap it to the side of the screen but that unfortunately doesn’t work terribly well as there’s not enough space to see much in a web page. If you’ve got multiple monitors you can have a Metro style app (only one) on one monitor and the desktop on the rest. But in general, just use the desktop apps. 

          • xmrawesomex

            Metro deals just fine with 2, 3 displays. I know because I’ve actually used it in a multi-monitor setup. You can only use Metro on one screen at a time, but that’s just fine with me. It’s just another “app” for me to use on the side.

      • Guest

        The bar should have been much higher. First, MS should never have waited almost three years to respond to iPad. That was a fatal move that speaks to MS’s ongoing arrogance and inability to learn from past mistakes, even when those should have been fresh in their mind (having just lost the mobile market to iPhone). Second, if they were going to delay that long, which in technology is the equivalent of a lifetime, the resulting Desktop/Tablet hybrid OS should have been jaw-dropping. It should have pawned iPad/iOS as badly as iPhone pawned Windows mobile. That clearly didn’t happen.

        I recently read the epic tome on Windows’ evolution that the developing W8 site published. What I took away is this: instead of thinking about what OS was needed in 2016 and releasing it in 2012, they instead looked at what they were missing in 2009 and delivered that, albeit in flawed fashion.  

        I used to feel sorry for MS. But now I think they deserve their continued decline, which is going to gain momentum exponentially when W8 fails to make much of dent in tablets while simultaneously alienating scores of desktop users.

        Well played Steve and Steve. Everyone else, invest in Apple since they’re going to be the biggest beneficiary.

        • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

          Microsofts problem all along is they want everything to be Windows everywhere so even with Metro you still get dumped into the old interface which is crazy.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rico-Alexander/1238539776 Rico Alexander

            You’re both wrong. MS solution is what people have been waiting for.

      • Rob Roland

        I don’t think that people actually find new smartphones intuitive.  I think using them has to be learned.

        Having used an Xbox 360 and a Windows Phone, I don’t find this necessarily non-intuitive.  There are a few features that didn’t click at first, that’s for sure, and there were pleasant surprises (you can dock a Metro app to the left or the right of the screen and it stays there in desktop mode!)  If Microsoft had ditched the desktop metaphor entirely, Windows 8 would surely be a failure.  I consider this a transition period.

        Android is, by far, much worse, as far as consistency and intuitiveness, yet people still buy those phones, so that argument really isn’t relevant.

        Maybe Microsoft sjpi;d put out some sort of app that teaches you to navigate Windows 8.  Apple had to do the same with “natural” scrolling in Lion to explain it to people.  Palm OS had the Giraffe to explain Graffiti, etc.  Solitaire in Windows was meant to teach you to use a mouse!

      • JohnDoey

        No. Microsoft is the low bar in tech. Similarly, you can’t go into Wal-Mart and complain about low bars.

      • http://twitter.com/Zoob Jason

        I’ve been walking through Best Buy lately, and I’m seeing an overwhelming change to desktop PCs that are not much more than a small keyboard attached to a thin, big *touchscreen* monitor. If that’s the market direction, I can see Windows 8 thriving — but on my old set up, it’s leaving me feeling confused. It definitely seems like it is a touch-screen world it’s built for.

    • http://twitter.com/samvscat Samantha Watson

      The last time the Windows UI changed significantly from the previous version, throwing out the old metaphors and adopting new ones, was Windows 95. At that time, many people did not yet have personal computers in their homes. I don’t think there’s any fair comparison between this radical shift (Windows 8) and anything else that has happened in the last 17 years.

      • JohnDoey

        Many people do not have ARM tablets in their homes. The Wintel PC is niche compared to where ARM tablets will be in 5 years.

        • http://twitter.com/samvscat Samantha Watson

          It’s one thing to make a brand new Metro interface for Windows 8 or “RT” on tablets. That makes sense, fine. The issue is bringing that same UI designed for tablets to the desktop PC.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rico-Alexander/1238539776 Rico Alexander

            And that’s what a lot of people have been waiting for, dual UI that’s touch compatible that allows you to be productive without having to buy two separate devices. Ipad people don’t get that.

    • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

      Its a mix of the old and new paradigm which is really bizarre.  Then the Tablet versions is different from desktop.  Heckuva job Microsfot.

  • Guest

    Seems the inherent conflict is that a desktop or laptop (or ultrabook) are used by people entirely differently than a Tablet.  So, while Win8 may be fine for Tablets, it just creates extra work and is disorienting on “real” computers, where we do our work and, you know, run programs, not “apps” – Sound right?

    • Guest

      I guess I don’t see a difference “programs” and “apps” — a program is an Application and an App is a Program

      • Guest 2

        No, generally, you can’t run real programs on a device built for apps (smartphones,tablets) simply due to processing speed and memory…and perhaps the need for some drive space.  Run Eclipse on a Tablet lately?  I didn’t think so.

        • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

          Times are changing. Applications used to be executable programs. Now, Applications are now just “apps” and are tablet/smartphone specific.

          I feel old.

          • TheWakeUpCall

            No, Apps are just applications/programs… you’re not old. People who think otherwise are just idiots who buy into hype.

            At every level they are fundamentally the same thing.

          • justd80010

            Yeah, applications and programs are synonyms… anyone that says different is kinda dim. . 

          • Guest

            Nooooooooo!. Apple invented “apps”. They’re magical ;-)

          • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

            Your previous comment already showed that you don’t know anything about Apple or iOS.

          • Guest3

            You need a “program” to build an “app” 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1231820481 Andrew Johnson

          Couldn’t find much in the way on specs for Eclispe, but here are the JRE requirements from Oracle. 
          http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/webnotes/install/windows/windows-system-requirements.html   Pretty sure my ipad has that covered. 
          I would guess that the reason software like this won’t play nicely on tablets has more to do with the file structure and the fact it can’t create virtual servers on the machine than the specs. 

          • Paul

            Eclipse http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/ and other IDEs are processor/memory intensive hogs once you start running your projects locally.  Regardless, not sure you can even set up a JRE on an iPad?   Anyone tried?

        • JohnDoey

          Apple’s apps are as real as they get. They are native C/C++. On the Mac, you see Photoshop.app and iTunes.app. On iPad and iPhone they are the same apps. They are not applets like on a Java phone or Android or Windows Phone. iPad has the real iMovie and the real Avid from the Mac, only with touch interfaces.

          • AnotherGuest

            If I’m reading correctly, the point is you can’t “make” an app on a tablet, you need to “make” an app (develop/engineer) on a laptop.  Likely with more processing, more RAM a keyboard and some drive space.

            So, yes, I agree. You need a program to build an app.

  • http://twitter.com/hrhmedia Hanson Hosein

    Interesting.  I’m looking forward to trying out the Preview on my convertible tablet computer.  I think Guest’s comment is astute: can you have a one-size-fits-all OS for both tablet and PC?  iOS and OS X may be merging, but they still have distinct qualities specific to their host devices.

    • Guest

      iOS is OS X, as Apple initially took pains to point out in their marketing. Man, the Apple RDF is in full force.

    • JohnDoey

      iOS and OS X are not merging, because they are already the same operating system.

      - BSD Unix is the command-line user/app interface for OS X (1969)
      - Mac is the mouse user/app interface for OS X (1984)
      - iOS is the touch user/app interface for OS X (2007)

      … doesn’t matter which interface you choose, it is the same operating system. The kernel is xnu, the graphics are CoreGraphics, Web rendering is WebKit, and so on.

  • Mikech

    I think it is just wrong, on any level, on any device, to get to a place in the UI, and have no idea what you can do.  What options you have. Why should I have to reimagine what to do next.  No excuse.

    • Gurn

      I assume you’re not an iPhone user, then.

      • Guest

        The iPhone is far from perfect in that regard, but even it doesn’t do something as silly as having a lock screen with not a single visual clue about how to unlock it. And that’s just one trivial example. While less clutter can contribute to simple, MS seems to have gotten confused and think they’re synonymous.

        The bottom line is you can hand an iPad to a six year old and they can use it without trouble. There is no way a six year would be able to navigate W8 without either getting stymied or into real trouble quickly.

        • Gurn

          There are many places in the iPhone without “a single visual cue” about what to do. Top of the list is the original complaint above: when you’re in an app, there’s no clue how to exit it or switch. None.

          You have to know to use the Home button. I’ve seen first-time users absolutely stymied – but once they’re shown, they’ve got it and love it. Same for turning the phone on/off. Same for multi-touch zoom, there are no cues whatsoever, you just need to know.

          And that’s the point. Despite that lack of explicit cueing, people figured it out and love their iPhones/iPads. The reason 6-year-olds figure it out faster, of course, is they a) have less years of habit to unlearn and b) are less shy about pushing, prodding and trying things.

          Is Win8 really so different in that regard? Or is our complaint that its uncued need-to-know gestures differ from Apple’s uncued need-to-know gestures? E.g. are we holding it to an unfair standard. Perhaps my 7-year-old will be the judge.

          • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

             Agree. I bought an iPad (first Apple product) and I love it. But, at first I was in ‘newbie-mode’. I was asking my kids and my wife how to do things. I’ve learned a lot, and I really enjoy using it. But, there are many things that you just ‘have to know’ because that’s just the way things are and how they have been.

            I took the time to learn it, and it became a great experience (and turned me to the Dark Side! Yea, I like Apple iPad’s now). I was on the fence with WP7 (with Metro) because of the past experience with Windows Mobile. I took a chance, learned it and I love it. I’m hoping its the same with Windows 8. I hope people just give it a chance instead of following the crowd opinion and saying it sucks without even trying it (and more than just 30 seconds and saying it sucks).

          • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

            Once they “learn” to use a single button that does the same thing every time.  Thats a real barrier isn’t it…

          • http://twitter.com/crossslide bam!

            Just like the home button (new devices will have one) or Windows key in Windows 8?

            btw, http://ipod.about.com/od/iphonehowtos/a/iph_home_button.htm

            “Did you know that the iPhone’s Home button, the button at the bottom center of the phone, has more uses than just returning you to the phone’s default screen? It can also be used to control the iPhone’s phone and iPod app, search, and more with just a few changed settings.”

        • http://twitter.com/crossslide bam!

          There’s a visual clue on how to unlock it: when you tap or click the screen, it bounces up. Though there’s unfortunately no clue to the actual better way to unlock it with mouse and keyboard (just hit any key).

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1231820481 Andrew Johnson

        Rephrasing to be accurate “I assume you’re not an > user, then”.  

        I think the fact that you can give just about any kid a tablet and they can figure out what the heck to do is a sign of the usability in most modern tablet OS’s

      • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

        Home button
        Multi-tasking gestures.
        I assume you’re not an iPhone user, then.

      • JohnDoey

        The idea that iPhone is as hard to use as Windows is asinine.

  • http://cobaltpm.com Ben Ferris

    Personally I really don’t like the new Start screen and prefer to stay in desktop mode.  I found a great tweak to restore the start menu to the way I liked it in Windows 7.  Once I stopped using the Start screen I find Windows 8 much more usable and enjoy some of the UI improvements over previous versions. 

    Microsoft should allow us to decide if we want to use the new Start screen or revert back to classic Windows 7 mode.  I would not be surprised if they reinstate a native Windows 7-style Start Menu option.

    Here’s the link to the Start Menu that I think looks great on Windows 8: http://www.askvg.com/download-classic-shell-skin-to-get-windows-7-look-like-start-menu-and-start-button-in-windows-8/

    • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

      I agree. I think for corporate environments having the ability to control the UI to  minimize disruption would be a huge benefit.

      • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

        More than that they won’t accept anything less.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bill.wardino Bill Wardino

      Using classic shell is like asking women to start wearing girdles again!

    • TheWakeUpCall

      I would be very surprised if they reinstate the old start menu.

      You have two options:

      1) Use Windows 7/Linux and stay stuck in the past
      2) Move on. Understand that in a couple of years most of your programs will be Metro (i.e. on the new start screen), and tbh most of them will probably Metro at launch, and you will drop the old fashioned desktop for good.

      I’m sick of seeing people who are unwilling to move on with software. I bet you’re still wishing for the old Facebook back, and you probably still use Office XP and Photoshop 7.

      • Guest

        3) Go iPad, like everyone else.

        • TheWakeUpCall

          lol what? Then you might as well just get Windows 8 on a tablet. 

          • Guest

            Except that iPad has apps, content, and momentum.

          • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

             Wow. Windows doesn’t?! Windows on a tablet (at least x86 tablet) has a HUGE library of applications already. That’s one reason I’m excited about it. Tons of software already for it.

          • Guest

            How many are touch based or for modern uses? Oh right, almost none.

          • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

             Does it matter? Do they still work? Sure do. I can do a LOT with those programs on a touch screen device. Network monitoring, Office, emulation, VM’s, etc..

          • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

            Its almost like the Windows 8 Tablet proponents know nothing about it.  

          • Guest

            Of course it matters. That’s like saying if only Mac had run DOS apps, they would have been competitive with Windows.

          • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

             Doesn’t matter to me. If it works, it works. If my iPad ran Windows applications, I’d use it to run them. Sure, they aren’t optimized for the iPad, but it doesn’t matter.

            If my Win8 x86 tablet can run Windows 7 apps, I’ll run them on there. No sense in saying “dammit, no Metro version. I give up.”. MANY people run programs designed for XP in Windows 7. They work just fine, they don’t go out and upgrade to the Win7 optimized version…

          • JohnDoey

            It is ridiculous to suggest that Windows RT is in any way a replacement for iPad. Not only does Windows RT have less than 100 apps, it is not even available on any hardware for months yet. It will be years before it is viable, if it ever is. Given Microsoft’s history on ARM, do not hold your breath. iPad has been the best-selling low-cost PC ($400-800) for 3 years. It outsells HP. It has apps in every category.

            Only 10% of Windows users choose Windows if given a choice. The other 90% have switched or are in the process of switching to iPad. In 2012, Windows had 90% of the overall PC market, but today it is 75%. Windows shrinks every year, while OS X (Mac OS, iOS) doubles every year. Do the math.

          • TheWakeUpCall

            Get lost troll

      • xmichaelx

        “I’m sick of seeing people who are unwilling to move on with software.”

        For most of us, software is a tool, not a faddish movement or bandwagon to jump on.

        There’s no need for me to throw away my old wood/steel hammer just because the new ones have carbon fiber grips.

        Thinking of computers as simply “Hey, shiny!!” is great for the profits of computer companies, but does little for productivity.

        • TheWakeUpCall

          If UI paradigms are allowed to move on then developers can make software that’s easier and faster to use.

          It’s not about being pretty (although it is partly that, there is no reason for computers to be ugly); Metro gives users clean and simple software that removes the clutter making them more productive.

      • http://cobaltpm.com Ben Ferris

        I’m sure the Metro UI and all of its full-screen goodness will look nice on a touch-based tablet.  I think it will do great on that platform.  I also think it might have a chance of eventually getting accepted on the desktop and have a good selection of Metro-style apps available that most people will want to use.

        However, it doesn’t make sense to abandon the Windows 7-style start menu completely for those power users and those who are reluctant to adopt the new UI interface.  Not to mention that it seems like it might be challenging to force adoption of Metro-style apps on on enterprise environments, at least initially. 

        I think that the current and new can coexist for a while until Metro proves itself through adoption.  Ripping out the old start menu completely is a poor decision.

        • TheWakeUpCall

          Well let me ask you this, do you use the command line? You can do a lot of stuff on there in half the time a GUI would take you.

          Also, when the Start Screen replaces all of the functionality of the Start Menu, then why would you need the start menu? Just uninstall all Metro apps and have all your desktop apps on the screen.

          Power users will just search for whatever they want anyway, right?

          • http://cobaltpm.com/ Ben Ferris

            I guess I just don’t like having to go full-screen to find the app I want on the start menu, which goes hand-in-hand with my lack of desire to go full screen for Metro apps like the new Internet Explorer Metro app.  There’s a time and place for it (tablets, laptops) — it just doesn’t make sense on large desktop monitors.

            BTW Have you ever gone to the “All Apps” view to find something on the new Start Screen?  I realize there are other ways to access hard-to-find apps like by using Search, but that’s just a cluttered mess.

            I’m really not arguing whether or not the Start Screen is useful/functional in certain scenarios — it clearly seems useful on small screens.  But why force me to use it on my desktop dev machine with larger monitors?

        • JohnDoey

          Microsoft does not have “power users.” In 2005, they did. Since then, they have all switched to Intel Macs. Apple has over 90% of the PC market above $1000. That is why Gartner now recommends to I-T staff that they fully support Macs. Gartner surveyed their “power users” and found they were all on Mac.

          The ASP of a Windows system is like $395. Windows 8 is a netbook OS, not a power user OS. Mac OS X is the only power user OS left.

          Here is what today’s PC market looks like:

          • $999 and up: 90% Mac OS X, 10% Windows

          • $399-$899: 75% Windows, 25% iOS

          … when you remember that $999 and up is only like 10% of all PC’s, you can see that Windows 8 is designed for the $399-$899 low-cost PC market, not for the power user market. That market is long gone for Microsoft.

          Further, the low-cost market is going to ARM because ARM is 10% of the cost of Intel and ARM can already run an Avid HD video-editing session on iPad. Consumers don’t need an Intel chip that doubles the size and weight of their PC.

          • Guest

            “Microsoft does not have “power users.”

            Please stop embarrassing yourself. Oops.. too late.

          • anonymous

            Tablets and phones are consumption devices, a simplified UI like Metro works well for that predominantly single task at a time use. 99% of PC users use them as consumption devices so Metro makes the same sort of sense while consuming media.

            It makes little sense at all for other more creative/productive uses.

            Are you suggesting that Microsoft should only cater to the majority of consumers and abandon the creators and workers? Although that’s what it’s beginning to feel like in practice.

          • Uksussex

             Apple prices are inflated as they can command a higher profit margin due to lack of competition running the OS, unlike Microsoft OS which runs on many manufacturers platforms, it’s nothing to do with “power users”

        • thtechnologist

          I have been supporting “regular” users for about 30 years. The start menu was confusing, too small, and too difficult to organize, the metro start solves all of these. Why shouldn’t it be full screen? When the start menu is open are you looking at / actively using anything else?

      • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

        The Start Menu will go down in history as one of the worst user interface designs ever.  It screams designed by committee.

      • http://twitter.com/samvscat Samantha Watson

        It’s a mistake to label the whole idea of multitasking on a computer, with more than one application on the screen at the same time, as “old fashioned.” Most casual users who are just interested in browsing might be OK with it, but power users, writers, researchers, designers, developers, etc. will continue to need it. Full-screen tablet/touch apps won’t come to dominate those markets.

        • TheWakeUpCall

          You may be right about full screen making multitasking harder. They’re offering the split screen view which should make multitasking somewhat better, but I have a feeling they’ll offer more options in a later release.

          I do however think it’s a mistake to call them “tablet/touch” apps. Metro full screen apps are developed for all screen sizes with several input methods in mind. They are “touch first”, not “touch only”. The developer guidelines are very strict on this.

    • justd80010

      These types of hacks will be blocked in the final release.

      • Guest

        If they are, someone will work around it and product a new hack. It’s inevitable.

        • justd80010

          I hear rumor that MS is actually deleting the code so the start button can’t be resurrected and you can’t point directly to the desktop app at start-up. 

  • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

     Prepare for the flood of “incompetent user” comments. I have posted questions regarding how easily would it be learned by users? What about those users that only use PC’s lightly and just log in, check email, word processing, etc.? How are they going to do when they first power it on? I love Metro UI, but I’m a geek that gives it time and effort to learn it. It’s not a pick it up and do what you’re used to. It’s a huge shift. It’s easy to use, yes. But, it’s not your old Windows interface anymore. Nothing wrong with change, but there are a lot of people out there that aren’t prepared for such a drastic change.

    There are impatient users that want to get in, get the job done and get out in as little time as possible. Once past that initial learning curve, it’s possible. But, how will they take that learning curve? :S

    • http://www.facebook.com/bill.wardino Bill Wardino

      How can you state in the same breath that “it’s easy to use” and it’s “a drastic change?”

      • Guest

        The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Think iPad.

      • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

        I went to an iPad. It’s very different than what I was used to (Android). Did it make it difficult to use? No. It was actually very easy (after my initial newbie moments).

        • http://twitter.com/snookasnoo Idon’t Know

          iPad was very different from Android?  

          • JohnDoey

            He means there were apps.

    • TheWakeUpCall

      I reckon setting up your account and sending an email on a new computer will be far far easier with Metro than the traditional desktop.

      And as for word processing, if anything that will be the same or easier.

      People who aren’t prepared for the change of being moved to a system that’s easier to use probably miss VHS and analogue TV.

      • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

         And there are a lot of those folks around. Older people that use their PC’s to check their stocks, email from the great grandkids, etc.. I’m not worried for the geeks or even the average person under the age of 40.

        It’s easier to do things, but not at first. I’m a computer geek, and know Windows fairly well, but I was put in front of a Mac and I couldn’t do much. I was lost. After a day or so, though, I was doing pretty darn good. I knew the command line (BSD based), but the UI had me confused. I was a newbie again. I figured it out, though. It’s an easy to use OS, but it’s not Windows. Windows 8 is different, but it doesn’t make it more difficult to use. It just means that there will be some time needed to re-learn the interface. I’m good after using DP, CP and now RP. But, I’m a geek. What about the millions of others? How are they going to do? I guess we’ll find out in ~4-5 months. I don’t think either of us can say whether or not the Average Joe will find it easier or difficult or want to even try. I’m all for it, though. I like it. I fell in love with Metro with the WP7. It’s easy to use, very efficient, and a great OS. So, I’m sold. But, I’m not the Average Joe…

        The Desktop app seems like a safety net for those that aren’t ready to go full Metro.

        • TheWakeUpCall

          Those kinds of people figured out iPads easily enough.

          I think the huge paradigm shift might actually help. When something is so different that you can’t apply any previous knowledge to it, you have to start from scratch, and so people do. That’s what happened with iOS, Android, WP7 etc. They did it with Windows 95 too, just watch the videos MS posted about people first learning to double click and to use the start menu.

          I would say it’s better to do to make it new and completely unfamiliar rather than making almost the same but annoyingly different to how it was before.

          I think the biggest problem will be the fact that people will find the desktop and therefore expect that they can use it how they used it before. That’s the only time I’ve seen people get stuck when using Windows 8. Tbh, for those people they would be better off never seeing the desktop at all.

          • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

             Yea, I hope it’s an easy transition for them. :)

          • Guest

            Not to mention mastering Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and dozens of other apps with completely different UIs and conventions. The problem for MS is that any normal learning pains will be amplified by the generally anti-MS echo chamber. And that could result in enough early bad press to create its own reality and a DOA product.

          • TheWakeUpCall

            For individual apps, they still follow the same paradigm. I think people will manage.

            And as for DOA, It has already happened. Look at this comment board. Most people are declaring Windows 8 a failure. Everywhere I am reading that Windows 8 is terrible. Of course it’s not, it’s just different, and not aimed at tech fans. Like Vista, this crap talk will filter into the general population. Windows 9 will pretend to fix these non-issues and make tech people a bit happier and that will be declared a success.

          • xmrawesomex

            Surprisingly, the more I use Windows 8, and as more applications are developed for it, I’m really starting to like it. I see a lot of potential, but it will really be up to the app developers to take advantage of it.

        • JohnDoey

          Older people are buying iPads. Nobody is going to buy Windows 8, do not worry.

    • justd80010

      light users should have the easier time converting… need to send an email – click on the email tile staring right at you from the email tile – there ya go. What you consider a curve I would consider a lazy bend. The thing that will take some getting used to is navigating to the corners, but accessing contact, mail, news, no problem for even rank novices. 

      How intuitive is Apple’s four finger swipe – are you kidding me… why isn’t the tech world knashing their teeth about that little gem of a gesture? 

      • thtechnologist

        It’s not really that difficult, lower left for start menu and to switch / kill apps, right corner for “charms”, right click for in app options. A 5 minute introduction video handles this.

    • xmrawesomex

      I’ve actually installed Windows 8 on my mother’s laptop (who isn’t the most tech-minded) and she’s actually picking up on it quite well. It really isn’t as hard as most make it out to be. I think people will get the hang of it fairly quickly given the right guidance.

      • Dustin Harper

        Yea, I’ve been hearing a lot of that. Even my 11 year old son figured it out pretty quickly. I think now that more have had exposure, it isn’t looking that bad for those type of users. Now, I only see the hard core geeks that might have issues with it (fear change, etc.).

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.harding2 Bill Harding

    I thought this post made some very good points on the nature of Win 8, reminds me in many ways of your impressions:

    http://mobileopportunity.blogspot.com/2012/05/fear-and-loathing-and-windows-8.html

    “I always get scared when a designer talks about the inevitability of people accepting a change. It’s like you’re counting on some mystical law of nature to cause a migration, rather than enticing people to move by giving them something that works better than what they have today.”

    • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

      That’s a good posting, thank you for sharing.

      To be fair, “inevitability” has worked in the past (look at Windows 95 and the Office ribbon).

      But there were effectively fewer options which made adapting necessary in those cases.

      I’m concerned that the rise of BYOD approaches are lessening the strict control that IT had to force adaptation and giving IT the means to give up that fight by sticking with what’s already known (Windows 7) and telling users to figure out what works for them for anything else.

    • Guest

      Yeah, I always like reading the thoughts of Ive-loving former Apple employees to get an unbiased assessment of MS.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    Thanks for this. I was wondering your take, especially on the Metro and Desktop interactions.

    I’ve seen others, including avowed Microsoft advocates, detail much the same, calling the jumps between the two interfaces “jarring”.

    I haven’t tried it myself, I’ll admit. But as someone who’s done onsite support for rollouts (Ah, WIndows 3.1 and Word 6.0 on a Banyan VINES network…those were the days) I’ve been concerned by these reports for what they mean for corporate buyers.

    What I’m hearing is that not only are they two different interfaces but two different UI paradigms. That’s potentially a huge hurdle for corporate deployments because that’s going to make it harder for those very conservative desktop users. They’ll have to understand two different ways of doing things and switch back and forth. That’s a steep learning curve and corporate buyers will look at that and see increased training and helpdesk costs. When you’re looking at having to roll this out to 100,000 users worldwide that becomes a real worry.

    I’d be interested if there’s a way for IT to turn off the Metro interface and keep their users on the more familiar desktop. Even there, though, the loss of the start button alone will be a hurdle and cost.

    Add to this that Windows RT (which is where the Metro interface makes the most sense) will have very limited management capabilities and I’ve got real concerns that enterprises will skip this one. We could well see a repeat in that space of what we saw with Vista where enterprises were looking for WIndows XP downgrade licenses with enterprises wanting to stick with Windows 7 on the desktop. In that case, Windows RT would likely be part of the pack of options for “BYOD” policies, rather than being the “standard tablet” that’s paired to the “standard desktop”. Ultimately, that goes against the stated Microsoft goal of people using Windows 8 across devices, at least in the enterprise.

    To be clear, I hope I’m wrong. I want this to succeed as much as anyone.

    • TheWakeUpCall

      One way to look at it would be an employee idiot test.

      Anyone who has troubles with moving over to the new system, despite basic training and clear instructions, is clearly an idiot and should be fired? If they can’t keep up with change in the technology world, how will they keep up with the competition in the business world?

      Too harsh?

      • xmichaelx

         I realize you’re trolling, but I’ll answer that: Nothing in business is as expensive or as important as training new employees. That’s why replacing existing employees is always a last resort.

        If your answer to every challenge is to start all over at the beginning, I suggest you enjoy your job as a burger flipper — you’ll be doing it for a long, long time.

        • TheWakeUpCall

          I was only semi-trolling, xmichaelx. Obviously you wouldn’t fire people, but I would hope that people in a company I was working for would be able to adapt to new situations.

          • JohnDoey

            I wouldn’t hire a Windows user, but if I did, I would hold their work up to the same standard as my Mac or other Unix users. The problem is, Windows users will send you ANSI instead of UTF-8 (15 years behind) and they’ll send you photos with no color profiles and they’ll miss deadlines because of viruses and other instabilities and then shrug like it is not their fault. “Computers!” they will exclaim like my Mac hasn’t been running for 2 years straight without a single issue. It is not 1995. There has been a store at your local mall for 10 years now that sells crash-free, virus-free computers. How can I possibly hire someone who still uses Windows in that case? Over the course of a year, they will do half or less of what they would have done on an Apple system. And they’ll send a virus to a client.

          • TheWakeUpCall

            I don’t use Windows, but I don’t think you’ve used it in a long time. I’m guessing you still think it’s like Windows XP right?

            But I agree. Windows is vey difficult to run and maintain atm. Windows 8 is finally going to fix these issues with Metro and people complain.

            Argh.

      • Joe

        Perfect example of how Microsoft employees think and why the company is failing…

        • TheWakeUpCall

          aha under what stretch of the imagination are Microsoft failing?

          • JohnDoey

            2005:

            - low-end PC’s are 99.9% Windows
            - high-end PC’s are 75% Windows
            - phones are 10% Windows
            - 3rd party native C/C++ development orbits around Microsoft
            - Web development orbits around Microsoft (IE6)
            - Windows user base grows every year, and faster than any other user base

            2012:

            - low-end PC’s are 74.9% Windows and 25% iPad
            - high-end PC’s are 90% Mac, 10% Windows
            - phones are less than 1% Windows, and Windows Phone 7 sells in fewer units than 6
            - 3rd party native C/C++ development orbits around Apple
            - Web development orbits around Apple (WebKit)
            - Windows user base shrinks every year, while OS X doubles every year
            - the best-selling phone, media player, low-end PC, and high-end PC all run OS X, and the users hardly use any Microsoft software at all

            … plus look at the stock price, the operating losses in online, and the disaster that Windows development has been (7 years of XP) — how is Microsoft not failing?

          • TheWakeUpCall

            “high-end PC’s are 90% Mac, 10% Windows”
            “3rd party native C/C++ development orbits around Apple”
            “Web development orbits around Apple (WebKit)”

            Where are you getting these facts? You are talking crap. Nearly all of them are wrong or insignificant, but I cbb to go through them all.

            Firstly, MS has sold way over 500 million licenses of Windows 7. A very generous estimate of the number of Macs sold last year would be around 20 million according to this article: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/04/20/how-many-macs-did-apple-sell-last-quarter-2/

            Not to mention that article mentions the growth rate of Macs is 25%, not 100% as you suggested.

            3rd party C/C++ development is just completely and utterly wrong. OpenCL, Boost, C++11, C++AMP and the like are definitely not aimed at Apple in the slightest. I don’t know of any C and C++ libraries that are developed mainly for Apple. They’re compatible with Apple products, but that’s different.

            Web development may be largely effected by Webkit, but that is not an Apple product. Apple’s implementation of Webkit barely scratches the surface in terms of market share (i.e. Safari). By far the thing that has made Webkit popular is Google’s Chrome.

            As for your first point, there is no evidence to suggest that most people are using iPads as their sole PC, and so you can’t really compare low end sales of PCs to iPads.

            The operating losses in online are minimal compared to the success in enterprise, PCs, Office, gaming and home entertainment. They also do incredible research.

            So basically you’re just pulling facts and figures out of thin air and you’re talking a load of crap.

    • justd80010

      Yeah, one dunderhead blogger used the term “jarring” and the next day all the others had picked it up and run with it in typical, bucolic fashion. I went from Metro to the desktop and back again (maybe I should have T-Shirt that says that)… didn’t get lost, nothing jarring about it, works just fine. No different than going from Word to Lightroom, two completely different “UI paradigms.” Is that “jarring.” Anyone with a computing device has this “jarring” dozens of times each day. In fact Metro seems to go furthest is providing a more consistent look and feel across multiple apps and the ability for those apps to FINALLY communicate between one another and not just the OS… a “unified paradigm.” The desktop is just another app like Office, Chrome, Spotify etc. People are rubbed that the OS doesn’t START in the desktop application, but that’s like being rubbed that Win7 doesn’t start in the IE application or the Excel application, you call them as you need them, you close them when you don’t. 

      It’s not difficult to understand and it’s not “jarring” either. When you use a Mac do you expect every app, even those authored by Apple, to be stylistically the same as the OS, of course you don’t. It’s called a “start” screen for a reason. 

  • Cmmntb1

    My main concern with Win 8 is that it seems to be largely focused on beating (or catching up to) Apple on the consumer device front.  But as an Enterprise user it just doesn’t seem as productive as the past UI.   Granted, I’m not an expert yet in Windows 8 navigation but the comment about it not being geared toward mouse/keyboard interaction seems to be on point.  For instance the focus on having to scroll horizontally seems like it works better for touch interface than for a mouse user.   
    I fear that this is a release that will help Microsoft eat incrementally into an already somewhat saturated consumer tablet/phone market at the expense of opening the door for Apple and Google to drive into the Enterprise market if Enterprise customers are not impressed by Windows 8.   If that were to happen it would jeopardize Microsoft’s core position of strength (revenue from Enterprise customers) at the expense of incremental gains in consumer use of its tools. 

    • TheWakeUpCall

      Using the scroll wheel on the mouse scrolls horizontally in metro apps I believe, so it’s not necessarily slower (although perhaps the first few times you’ll do it it will feel a bit strange).

      If you use trackpads then newer laptops will allow you to scroll left and right.

      And I think MS are just going to keep selling Windows 7 to enterprises who don’t want to upgrade, and then they’ll address enterprise more directly with Windows 9. That’s my guess anyway.

    • JohnDoey

      Enterprise users stay on 7. Windows 8 is focused on iPad because that is its only competition. The Mac took the whole high-end market already — that is why even $899 Windows PC’s do not sell. Microsoft needs a PC that can be built for $200 and sold for $300 and it has to be 750 grams and 10 hour battery and require no training, because that is the standard now in low-cost PC’s.

      It is all iPads and MacBook Airs over the next 5 years. Over 90% of PC sales will be those form factors. Microsoft currently sells zero units in iPad class and almost zero in Air class. The high-end is so few units that they are not even trying to get that back. Windows RT is the focus, so that is why Metro is so pushed to the front. Wintel is legacy. The Intel tablets are not going to suddenly become viable after 10 years of failure. iPad has raised expectations, not lowered them.

      So if you are not into Windows RT it is time to finally Get A Mac.

      • Guest

        Are you finished shilling for Apple yet?

  • Jacob perry

    Maybe it is true that old dogs can’t learn new tricks because being young I use windows 8 daily as my usual pc and I find myself in metro more with this new release than before. I still use desktop a lot for photoshop and websurfing but I don’t get lost very hard. I just get left is switching apps and right is charms. If I get lazy I can alt tab to something. And for me I have the mouse keyboard setup and prefer it to tablet since it haves me more control I feel.

  • rohitharsh

    Muscel memory is a strange thing. MS is asking you to forget what you knowe for last 20 years and move on. And if you felt right at home in the new UI then they basically evolved the old one.
    I went into the Music app in W8 CP and instantly understood that I can never go back to old desktop for my day to day needs.

  • Bryan Mistele

    I couldn’t agree more Todd.  I’ve been playing with Windows 8 for a while and the metro UI for a desktop/laptop is disorienting and counter-productive.  Take shut-down.  It used to take two clicks of a mouse, not it takes 5 clicks/movements.

    There is a reason Apple has one UI on mobile devices and a different one on the desktop. Mobile devices are different.  A tablet is for primarily consuming content.  A desktop/laptop is for creating content.  They are two different primary user tasks.

    Metro is fine for a tablet or mobile device, but I predict a big backlash from consumer and companies for using metro on the desktop.

    • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

       The backlash will be there initially. But, in 6 months you won’t hear a peep. At least if it follows previous Windows complaints on the UI.

      • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

        Right, just like people stopped complaining about Windows Vista after 6 months. :)

        • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

           Ouch. :) I meant about the UI, really. Windows 95 – Start menu was hated. Windows XP – “Fisher Price designed the UI.” Vista/7 – “UI is different? I hate it.”. Office Ribbon? People hated it. Of course, some people are still complaining about it.

          The UI is what the consumer sees and is what they are most familiar with. That’s where the complaints are initially. After that, and once they start using it, then they start complaining about the speed, stability, compatibility, etc., but the UI complaints usually stop as they get used to it.

          • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

            Understood, and sorry, couldn’t resist. ;)

          • john

            Interestingly, in terms of the underlying OS, I have heard nothing but positive things. Vista’s problem was that it was foundationally flawed, at least in the beginning.

            This does not seem to be the case with Windows 8.

          • JohnDoey

            Vista’s problem was it was made for high-end PC’s but had to run on low-end PC’s because the Intel Mac took the whole high-end in 2006-2007, right before Vista. Microsoft expected Vista PC’s to have discrete GPU’s and lots of RAM but instead they were mostly netbooks. That is why Windows 7 got smaller and more optimized and Windows 8 is on ARM. Windows has been going more and more low-end since Intel Mac. Nobody buys high-end Wintel anymore.

          • Byebyetroll

            Congrats. Every single statement you made there is false.

        • Mike Lewis65

          +1 Todd

      • Bryan Mistele

        Funny.  That’s what Microsoft said about Vista too.  Not sure the customer “peeps” ever really went away…

        • TheWakeUpCall

          You understand that Windows 7 is almost identical to Vista with a few changes and a change of name?

    • Wyn6

      I’ve been using Win8 since the CP. I breeze through it like nothing. It took me a few minutes or so to learn the major navigational functions and a few days to get most of the keyboard shortcuts down.

      In my opinion, it’s faster, I multitask as easily as I did before, I can switch between apps at the snap of a finger which includes the desktop. Universal search from the Charms bar or the Start Screen is light years beyond anything that is or has been. Oh! And, universal spellchecking.

      I spend most of my time on the Metro side with Metro apps and Metro IE. Desktop apps I use I open from the Start Screen mostly. I barely even notice the transition between desktop and Start Screen now (which has subtly improved animations).

      By the way, shutdown is a move and 3 clicks. Whereas in 7 it’s a move and 2 clicks. MAYBE it takes ONE second longer. Maybe.

      • justd80010

        @Bryan Mistele – Modern devices power themselves down. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or newer laptop will have no problem with this concept and won’t go clicking around for the “shut-down” command. Why not just press and hold the power button anyway? Crisis averted??? 

    • Bzibricky

      Yet another “Shut down” complaint.  My God…am I the only one that hardly ever shuts’ their PC down?  What are you constantly shutting your PC off for?  Have you heard of Standby?  I just don’t get this complaint at all – BTW, it’s three moves to turn off your Win8 PC, not 5, and if you’re counting the mouse move then count the mouse move in Win7 as well.  And if you’re complaining about Shut down timing why not mention that Win8 STARTS UP about 5x faster than Win7?
      I appreciate the fact that some people are going to be thrown with the new UI, but a major move in how Windows PC’s work is going to garner some collateral damage.  Unavoidable when you are dealing with 20 years of baggage.  To me, Win8 is a marvelous marriage of two work styles that allow you to have a common – and FUN – interface regardless of what device you’re using.  I’ve been on it for months as my main PC and it’s fast, fluid, and easy to use once you get past the shock of the “newness” of it all.  
      All I know is when I’m forced to use Windows 7 for something (which isn’t much) it feels like I’m leaving the party behind.  Win7 is boring is comparison.  Comfortable, but really boring.

      • Bryan Mistele

        Mouse moves and gestures do count if you’re trying to assess the simplicity of a UI.

        With regards to shutdowns, apparently you don’t take your laptop between home and work and travel a lot.  For those of us that do, we shut down A LOT (at least two times a day).  Why not just put it in standby?  Have you ever tried moving a laptop between a work and home environment using standby?  Let’s be generous and say that Windows hasn’t quite mastered the wake up when plugged into a different docking station.

        • john

          I do it all the time, it works fine.

    • TheWakeUpCall

      In regards to shutdown, MS have done a lot of work to make new Windows PCs (inc. desktops, laptops, tablets) very efficient when asleep, and so basically they don’t ever want you to shut down.

      Personally I prefer to shutdown my laptop and desktop atm because it definitely saves battery and energy, but my tablet I don’t bother to turn off ever really. Devices nowadays are so efficient when asleep there’s just no point.

    • Guest

      “A tablet is for primarily consuming content”

      That’s a view that has already been disproved in the market. And it will only continue to in the future.

      • Bryan Mistele

        Funny.  I really haven’t seen a lot of people write documents, create spreadsheets, create presentations or do a lot of  data entry on an iPad.   What do folks *primarily* do on an iPad?  They read mail, check Facebook, play games, read the Wall Street Journal, etc.  These are all content consumption activities, not content creation activities.  A simple look at the top 50 apps on the iTunes store confirms my original assertion. 

        • http://blog.nordquist.org Brett Nordquist

          I write blog posts, email, and use my iPad for presentations quite often. It feels natural and quite fun. Actually, I create quite a bit of content on my iPad. 

          • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

             I’m buying a BT keyboard just so I can use Quick Office to create documents, post blog posts, etc.. I find the touch keyboard too slow. I can use it, but not for large posts. OneNote is another good example.

    • JohnDoey

      iPad is better for content creation than the typical Windows PC, which is almost always only a typewriter and Web terminal. The music apps alone on iPad put Windows to shame. It is ridiculous. And the iPad office suite is what MS Office users pleaded for so long for: simple, fast, productive. Keynote on iPad is the best presentation setup ever, bar none.

  • GogoGodzilla

    Todd,
    The thing about Windows 8 is that it isn’t really different. 
    Alt-Tab works as it should, with and without metro apps.
    Win-Tab works even better.
    Win-I and Win-C handle the other tasks. 

    I do have to say that Win8 on a multiscreen setup is much better than a single screen, but I find myself moving faster in 8 than I did in 7.  Keyboard shortcuts are king.  If you are used to mousing everything, you will struggle.

    Hope that helps!

    http://www.groovypost.com/groovytip/windows-8-metro-keyboard-shortcuts/

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Great, just a second, let me get my mom on the phone so you can teach her those keyboard shortcuts. 

      • TheWakeUpCall

        Get her a laptop with a touch screen, or a tablet, and she can do gestures for everything and never touch a mouse again…

      • john

        Your mom can learn to hit the giant, circular windows key on the keyboard to get back to the homepage. My mom can as well. If they cannot learn to hit one button, or move their mouse to the bottom left, then they have bigger issues to address then simply a new OS UI.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.hayat Ben Hayat

    Very well said Todd: -but two other words keep popping to my mind: “New Coke.”-

    I think the “New Coke” will hurt Win8 success.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.wardino Bill Wardino

    I disagree with you; I think MSFT has created a winner this time around.  It would really have to work hard to screw it up.  I think the new OS may give APPL competition in the tablet market, and Windows Phone 7 is already doing well in its short exposure. Will users experience a learning curve with the new OS?  Absolutely!  But what’s so bad about learning new and better ways to enjoy, produce, and create?  I’m rooting for the software giant this time out.

  • Disgustingdesigns

    Another hack job designed by the chick team at Redmond. Get some real designers and have a real UI paradigm shift, not a kludge. By focusing so much on the tablet market, they truly missed a chance for anything new. I guess we will have to wait for Apple’s new UI so Microsoft can figure out what direction next. I’ve been using Windows 8 for months and I still wonder how so many people can produce so little innovation. Microsoft hires and operates so political correct, they will never innovate.

    • TheWakeUpCall

      Let me guess. You work for an innovative design company?

      • Guest

        From the sound of it, he was fired by a female mgr at MS.

  • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

    Typo - 
    Bottom line, I’ve felt (spent) the past day feeling lost

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Thanks for the help! Just fixed that.

      • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

        :-)

  • Jonathan

    I’ve used Windows 8 on a tablet, and from this I can definitely see why they’re going in the direction they are. Where it doesn’t work so well is when using Windows 8 on desktop PCs with mice. I love the Metro apps and start screen, but switching apps on a PC is very clumsy.

    I think what would help this cross over, and give more comfort to existing Windows users would be keeping the taskbar across all apps, showing both regular desktop and the new Metro apps. This would keep usability similar to Windows as we know it and make it far more usable on a desktop PC with a mouse.

  • http://twitter.com/talkingfrog1950 Michael Templeman

    Only variety can address variety. An iPad information consumer interface on your laptop/desktop is cumbersome. And, if you work like me, you have several apps up at the same time and go back and forth between them to get your work done.

    Can I return to the Windows 7 UI? Wanna bet how many people do that?

    • TheWakeUpCall

      Either use alt-tab or stay with Windows 7.

  • Adamvmlv

    I have Windows 8 on no systems now.. Back to Windows 7 on both systems which is where I will stay until MS gives up on the Metro Folly.. It’s awkward, the new start screen intrudes on the desktop and I hate having to think where to click to get what I need… If I have to cling to Win 7 until the last day of support I will.

  • William Garrett

    People still haven’t gotten used to the ribbon in MS Office. As someone who spends a fair amount of time helping people with their computer issues, and far more frequently with Windows machines, I can say that many users will not get used to it, they will just do far less with it.

    Then probably go buy an Apple product.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulcwatts Paul Watts

    I’m a Mac user and haven’t used Windows 8, so take these comments with a healthy bowlful of salt:

    I’ve been using full screen apps on OS X Lion for a while. I also find myself using a mouse a lot less: most of my interaction is on the trackpad, where I can switch between apps or see all my open apps and spaces with various swipes and gestures. I’m fairly certain I’d get annoyed at the UI if I had to use a mouse for navigation, because it’s simply not designed for that interaction. (I can use keyboard shortcuts, but who aside from power users actually does that?)

    Apple has had an advantage here because they’ve been slowly training their users to use multitouch gestures, and because they can ensure all devices using their software have the requisite hardware to support this new interaction model. So when they decide to completely switch the scroll direction in their latest OS, it was weird and disorienting for only a few days before feeling “natural.” It was just like an iPhone.

    As far as moving desktop Windows away from the mouse, I’d love to see what will happen as Kinect hardware becomes smaller and more ubiquitous. 

    • Guest

      “As far as moving desktop Windows away from the mouse, I’d love to see what will happen as Kinect hardware becomes smaller and more ubiquitous.”

      Me too. I was surprised that W8 apparently doesn’t integrate that is some significant way. Seemed like a no-brainer from a user, innovation as well as marketing perspective. Apple owns touch. MS could have owned gesture.

      • http://www.garymoncrieff.co.uk garymoncrieff

        You should read up on Intels Clovertrail SOC 

  • Adamvmlv

    II think the best option rather than downgrade to Windows 8 and complain is to just not buy.. We have Windows 7 on 4 systems and they all work beautify on it. I used Win 8 long enough to decide that there was nothing in it that justified the time and the expense of making the downgrade.. And yes I do call it a down grade because of that fugly Metro UI and the awkwardness of it.

  • http://www.garymoncrieff.co.uk garymoncrieff

    To be honest this whole debate is rather ridiculous, on a traditional PC/Laptop all that has effectively changed is the start menu has chanced to a start screen. Once enough quality Metro style apps are in the store, your average user will probably almost never need to use the desktop. The only element I don’t like about metro on a traditional non touch laptop is closing Metro Style apps! But if I could just get in the mentality of letting the system manage them the way it’s designed it wouldn’t be as bad!

    As an IT teacher to adults, I deal with people who have never even used a mouse before and people forget, even how, what we consider to be a simple concept, can be quite intimidating to the complete beginner. Tablets have shown us that the average person’s computing requirement doesn’t need to be as complicated as Windows is today.

    Windows 8 will be much easier for complete beginners to grasp that a lot realise currently, even the ribbon in Explorer will make the surprisingly complex task for beginners of file management much easier.

    What if by default the taskbar on the desktop comes as minimised, and all apps are full screen as such, then the ‘jarring’ effect between both interfaces would hardly be noticed, a bit like Microsoft is doing with the new office suite. Try setting the taskbar on desktop to auto hide to see what I mean by this. Once Aero goes away fully in the RTM version the effect will almost be seamless.

    Will the desktop be even included with Windows 9? I don’t know but I would hope not, we have kind of reached the stage now where we need to move away from that paradigm of computing to something much simpler and Windows 8 is the beginning of this, as Microsoft say the birth of a new dawning!

  • http://twitter.com/hagrin hagrin

    Unlike the majority of the comments here, I have actually used Win8. 

    I think 

    • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

       I have since the DP. I really like it. But, it’s not perfect. I think MOST users will be able to transition well if they put in a little effort. Someone else commented earlier and basically said if they didn’t, it was more or less laziness. Great point, and pretty much spot on.

      Windows 8 on the tablet is #1 perfect. It’s great. Desktop, it takes a little more work, but it still works just fine.

      But, anyone that has used Windows XP can pick up Windows 7 and use it right out of the box with no instruction or learning curve (for most tasks). It uses a very similar interface. Going from XP or 7 to 8 introduces a new interface, charms, etc.. How are some people going to react? I did fine. As did many others. There will be a few “Micro$oft Windoze suxxors” out there, and then some legitimate people that just don’t get it. I’m not sure how big of a group the latter will comprise of, and those are the ones I’m concerned about. It’s more about the user than the OS in that respect.

      Of course, with Windows 8 my biggest beef is the lack of customization in the Start Screen. I’d like to use a custom background, customize the tiles a bit more than allowed currently and add a clock. :D

    • Guest

      A non-starter in the enterprise? Because it requires separate policy management and contains separate modes? That’s just plain silly. iPad also requires separate management, and it lacks the standard Windows management tools. It also lacks any ability to natively run legacy WIndows apps. So in the enterprise, which is more valuable, an imperfect union or none at all? I’d say the former. I don’t think enterprises will be rushing out to buy W8. But then they don’t rush out to buy any new Windows version. But does W8 have a viable chance of being adopted in enterprises in tablet scenarios? Absolutely.

  • Guest98

    Come on Todd.  It’s way too easy to hate on something you are not familar with.  Write an article about what you do learn from using it.  Those of us who have been using the previous versions and stuck with it could all come up with can’t live without and will not go back to Win7. 

    For instance (I’m running on MBA):
    - Improved battery life (3hrs -> 5hrs)
    - Quick boot and restore from sleep.  Seconds.
    - Right-click lower left corner; all the commands you really want.
    - Roaming settings; IE favorites being my personal favorite.
    - Close a program by pulling down from the top of the screen.  Just fun to do.
    - Metro. It’s just sexy.

    Don’t fall into the lazy hater group.  Exerpience and enrich your audience.

    • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

      Even a cold boot with an SSD is around 10 seconds. VERY fast.

      I love the roaming settings (which really helped when coming from the CP to the RP).

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Thanks for the comment. As I mentioned, I’ve been using Windows 8 off and on since the developer preview. I’m certainly familiar with it. I agree with (and have written about) several of the improvements you’re talking about. 

      That doesn’t change the fact that the UI is disorienting and unnecessarily confusing for the average new user, or even for the person (like me) who knows the commands but can’t get them to become second-nature.

  • Guest

    I’ve been using it since the DP. Haven’t tried the RP yet. I don’t know whether it will be a winner or a dud. I’m leaning towards minor success. The larger concern is the dearth of vision and innovation. This is very likely the most important release in MS’s history. The stakes associated with failure have never been higher. For the first time in decades, MS is facing a viable threat to its future, and not just from one camp (Apple) but two (Android). They needed a masterpiece here. And being this late to market they should have had ample time to deliver it. Instead we get a weaker implementation of Metro than is found in WP, charms and related bars ripped off from Vimeo, a ridiculously jarring transition between old and new, and some overdue fixes to longstanding Windows shortcomings (like slow boot). Color me unimpressed.

  • Jane doe foe

    User experience is a design solution.  
    The marriage of form and function is design.  Microsoft is run by programmers who are like contractors without an architect.  design is essential to good products – user experience in a car or software is dependent on good design – good design is intuitive.  Microsoft thinks the user should invest and will in learning their way weather or not it makes sense.  This shows a lack of respect for the users time. 

    • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

       Apple believes the user should invest in learning their OS (OSX and iOS) as well. Kind of disrespectful for the users time, too. I came from Windows to iOS and it took me a bit to learn the nuances, but it was worth it. Same with Windows 8.

      • Jane doe foe

        my 75 year old mother can use an i pad – she never could learn how to use e mail on her PC.  

        • http://www.mstechpages.com/ Dustin Harper

           What?! Is it the double click part? I think this is suitable for the “Not sure if serious” meme….

          double click (email opens). Read…. Read… Click X (email closes).

          iPad:

          Touch. (Email opens). Read. Read. click home (email closes).

          Very similar. Just a double click vs. a touch.

          • Jane doe foe

            Again – it is about design – the i pad has an inviting simple, playful interface.  a pc does not, start – find application, move mouse over, click, open e mail, find the reply button etc.  

          • Guest

            Huh? It has a wall of icons. That’s about as inherently inviting and simple as the notification area of the Windows taskbar. What’s appealing about iPad is touch, because it was many people’s first experience of that. Your example of email really isn’t any easier in one vs the other. Both require about the same learning curve.

          • Jane doe foe

            again with the building analogy -  Buildings have bathrooms with toilets that flush, but which do you prefer using the one at the gas station or the one at the Four Season’s?
            My example is a real person and not the first I have met of that generation who can master an iphone or an ipad, but not the PC.  Why do you think Microsoft is now creating a new OS that mimics the ipad so closely?

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo
  • http://blog.nordquist.org Brett Nordquist

    Microsoft’s “no compromises” feels like a party full of compromises. I agree with your “driving down the road without a shoulder” analogy because that’s exactly what it feels like. I suspect that Microsoft is feeling so much heat to get into the tablet game, they decided it was better to error on that side and be willing to piss off millions of Windows desktop users because, well, what are those users going to do about it? Move to Linux or Mac? I’m sure some will. 

    I feel as though I’m being forced into learning Microsoft tablet OS while running a desktop.  Windows 8 is two entirely different personalities tossed into the same cage and both of them come out bloodied and beaten.

    • Guest

      yet you love your iPad. Go figure.

      • http://blog.nordquist.org Brett Nordquist

        Yep, because the iPad doesn’t try to do everything. It does exactly what it was created to do. Much harder to do than to create a device that does everything sort of OK. 

        • zato

          “because the iPad doesn’t try to do everything”
          I think Microsoft’s original plan was exactly that – a tablet that could run standard Windows desktop apps, and a desktop OS that could run tablet apps. Somewhere in the dev timeline, it became clear that they couldn’t make it happen. What you have now, with Win-8, is what is left after the “killer” feature was killed. 

  • http://www.3pmobile.com/ Peter Cranstone

    Have to agree with you. I tried it yesterday and then removed it. It’s too much of a shift and i don’t know what problem it solves for me, other than to make me grumpy too.

    • Guest

      Well, at least you gave it an entire few hours before deciding…

  • Cerudolph

    I’ve owned the Asus ep121 for about 8 months and have been running windows 8 for a couple months on it. Works great. Last month I bought the Nokia Lumia and the two integrate amazingly well. I’m also running my xbox360 as my primary app interface on my tv. I think the interface between all three work well, very user friendly and intuitive. I control much of interaction on the Xbox 360 using Kinect. I have twin boys age 3, and the Xbox comes on every night to watch an episode of Diego or Mighty Machines on Netflix. We also rent movies from Zune. I feel equally at home in each environment and feel comfortable switching from each. I also run a desktop at the office running windows 7 and am not planning on switching.

    I have no skin in the game at Microsoft other than they are a fantastic employer in the NW.

    I like the direction Microsoft is going with this. I like the idea of using Kinect and touch screens to interact with my computers, specially at home. Pairing Windows 8 (or 9) with a system similar to Kinect that handles my media and computing needs and home seems ideal.

    Cliff Rudolph @cliffrudolph

  • SilverSee

    Wow.  148 comments already (about 20x normal for GW I’d say) and surprisingly not all of them knee-jerk Microsoft hate. 

    I’m not sure how I feel about Windows 8 yet, but you have to give MS credit for sticking to its principles (for once) and not caving to the enterprise/IT/power user lobbies. 

    Like Windows Phone it may be polarizing, but it’s good to see MS taking risks with its “franchise” products, something that would have been unthinkable before Apple and Google started eating its lunch.

  • The Werewolf

    I think the people who are arguing that it’s not that hard to learn a new UI or that we switch UIs regularly don’t really understand the issue.

    In a way, Win8 hits two different uncanny valleys at the same time. When you’re in Desktop mode it’s *mostly* like the old desktop – except when it isn’t – then it’s entirely different. And it’s not at all obvious where that line is. That’s why removing the Start button is such a HUGE deal for so many people. They could have lived with everything else – because going to the Start button is such a basic action that you do it without thinking about it. Now, you do have to think about it.

    But if you switch from say Windows to Android, it’s actually less of a problem because Android doesn’t really look much like Windows. Your brain switches gears and turns on a whole new set of behaviours for that environment. They’re not triggered by the same things and you get different reactions.

    When you flip to Metro though, it’s not only an entirely new experience – it has very little in common with the other, more familar platforms. Which means you’re starting over and learning everything *at the same time* you’re trying to deal with the weird uncanny valley and frustration of Desktop mode.

    It would have worked if Microsoft had simply released Windows Metro and made it ‘tablets only’ and left Win7 exactly as it was. It would have worked if they’d made it ‘Metro first’ on tablets and ‘Desktop first – exactly as it was in Win7′ for desktops. But instead, they made it Metro first on both.

    So we have a UI that’s designed for tablets as the main screen for mouse/keyboard systems, and a Desktop mode that’s barely more usable than Win7 was and it’s still running on tablets.

    This is the worst of all worlds.

    • Guest

      As an ex Apple fan boy I don’t understand the people that post things about W8 and the metro user interface and wonder if they have truly spent any time with it? Because it surely seems you have not. I made the switch to Microsoft a year ago when my friend showed me WP7 (pre Mango) and I knew it was better than any iPhone or Droid I had owned. It is much more intuitive, easy to use, fun to use, and more appealing than any other OS. This is more or less a known fact if you read any reviews from noteworthy tech experts (or just ask Steve Wozniack, co-founder of Apple). Many of you don’t understand Microsoft’s new philosophy behind Metro. The full-screen apps utilize you’re entire screen as to not waste space with silly icons or taskbars that you don’t need when using them. It also allows for a much quicker and simpler experience. Except when we run legacy apps on the desktop (Photoshop, MATLAB, Visual Studio, WinAmp, etc) the apps only have one screen size, making them operate much quicker than they would otherwise. Microsoft wants to make everything easier and quicker for you, bringing the information you want to your screen via live tiles. So I have a news app with a tile that consistently updates with the newest article, so rather than opening the app I can quickly see if I would be interested in reading the article and move on. We have the people hub which updates us with facebook, twitter, linkedin notifications, so rather than getting annoying push notifications I can quickly glance when it is convenient FOR ME. Not when I’m in the middle of doing a project for work and my phone or computer (lion OS X) keep popping up that I have another like on my status (cool, I really don’t care at the moment).
      I will admit Microsoft needs to have a tutorial on some of the features. Although for me its much more exciting when I continually learn new things about the OS I am using. For example, the universal search, share, settings. These are all charms located on the right side of the screen (all brought up throwing mouse in right-side corners, really not hard to remember and easy to get to as you need minimal accuracy (Win+C is the keyboard shortcut for those that love ‘em, I do). The whole point is that you can be in any app (if on the Start screen you can just start typing) and search something in any other app without opening it. The settings charm is where you go to for settings on any app you are running, or for the whole computer in general.
      Once people get the hang of windows 8 they will realize it makes using a computer easier and faster than ever. Boot time in under 10 seconds for a FULL OS (not a web browser…cough Chrome cough). People enjoy hating on Microsoft and I understand that as most people just put their heads down and follow the pack. For those that truly want the best ecosystem, product, and user experience they will choose Microsoft.
      I don’t understand either about Microsoft “forcing” this on people. When do users really have that much of an option. Apple sure doesn’t give you one. Android gives you options, but it can be too many and it’s a messy OS and I don’t want to waste my time with that. Google is also realizing it and Adobe Flash won’t be supported in Jelly Bean and I believe they will tighten down on it as security is a constant issue with Android.

      • Jason, admin

        Short sighted…
        I’m testing Win8 from an admin and business use perspective before my end-users start asking for it on their machines. It’s terrible… I’m not going to write a whole article about it but I’ll give one simple example. The default PDF reader that comes on the OS opens in a full screen window which is impossible to utilize the PDF in a multitasking environment to actually try to get work done (like referencing a map/chart/instructional document etc…) Now of course you can install another PDF viewing application to correct this, but if you think about it that’s just avoiding Microsoft’s crap product so you can go about your business and get work done. Bottom line is, it’s inefficient and counter-productive so users spend more time finding ways to avoid using the Microsoft features in the OS.
        By the way… Don’t like the Reader coming up in full-screen mode restricting your abilities to view it with some other document or files? Just try hitting the alt key to explore options and configuration settings… LOL NOTHING HAPPENS! HAHAHAH!
        Say goodbye to customizable multi-tasking functionality and say hello to the single task sheep environment of Win8

      • grouver

        the fact that you have to explain MS’s point behind Metro should be a proof enough that MS has definitely screwed the pooch!

        Also the one things that you clearly state but seem to not understand is that icons are visual indicators and road stones that actually improve usability and do not reduce it.

        If you want to know where MS got their design queues for Metro you should really take a look at some screenshots of tmux sessions … And no offence to MS but tmux is NOT an example of how to design a usable GUI. It’s an example of how to still get work done when you cannot use a GUI and somehow even that is better at multitasking than the Metro UI …

        Also before you start talking about that Apple forces you into, you should maybe think about the fact that MS has nasty and extremely prohibitive OEM contracts. In fact, even if users hate Windows 8, OEMs are required to put it on all new computers after it gets released. Apple is just 1 manufacturer and unlike what you’d like people to believe, their OS looks largely the same way it did 10 years ago. And no I am not suggesting it’s better than anything!

  • Watercon

    To be Far a lot of time has gone into Bob 2.0 or is that Vista 2.0

  • Aerodame

    “Be open minded” ????  I think that captures the general milk toast reviews typical of M$ new releases.  Current market forces basically demand that a user should be “blown away” by new advances that reduce the friction of humans interfacing with technology (user experiences).  Essentially this is what Apple has done consistently in release after release of BOTH their mobile platforms and OS for the Mac.  MacOSX and hardware are so unbelievably well developed, you can migrate your entire collections of apps, settings, data and even VMs (containing windows environments) by performing a simple TimeMachine restore in about 2 hours .. even across major versions of the OS (*like Snow Leopard to Lion).   In human terms, that is solitude and peace of mind from your computing platform.

    But, I guess if enough billions of $s are thrown at this, perhaps Windows 9 will get it right (does anyone remember the Windows Millenium debacle?)

    This whole concept of “forcing people” to see the wisdom in this new UX is baffling.  Thank goodness this is America where people have a choice.  TIme will reveal how they ultimately choose and may the best competitor win! 

  • Earthworm

    My big issue is there is no way to discover the actions I need. In the past they might have been buried but at least I knee I could look for them.

  • Bill Sleeper

    Just one man’s take. New is fun!

  • http://twitter.com/Fourthletter58 Fourthletter58

    Just use Stardock’s start menu changer – it’s what most users will do who don’t own a touchscreen laptop/tablet.

  • GoW8

    That is how it is supposed to be, any new system is always like that. You are falling for the most common misconception of familiarity vs intutiveness of anything.

    If your point is that more gestures and options is making it complex (relative to IOS) then your perspective is that of a generic user. For example there are numerious short cuts that you can use while browsing and still 99% of the general population doesn’t even know about their existance. Just due to that fact the experience and ease of browsing doesn’t deteriorate. If you choose to use those shortcuts then your browsing experience improves many folds.

    I know a friend who didn’t know how to use IPhone voice feature (prior to Siri on iPhone 4S), he had to look it up on the web to use that feature. Another had the phone for a few months and didn’t know about multitasking and he always had all the apps running in the background. Granted they are not difficult to learn but it definetly means they needed to familiarize themselves with the feature and thus in this case 0% intutive. Point being there is certain degree of effort involved in any new OS. If you need to put in more effort then, in todays world, it means there are more features. You can choose to stick to iOS way of single button do everything and use Windows 8 (tablet version) by ignoring all other gestures other than the button and your learning curve is done and your experience will be equally beautifull. Any other additional gestures gives you that many options, its upto you if you are going to use them or not.

    In windows 8 no one is forced to use both desktop and tablet versions it is a choice and a fantastic one at that. You can have both distinct experiences if you choose so, if not then you can completely ignore the other. That I believe is a wonderful thing.

  • JohnDoey

    People always struggle with Windows. What has changed? There are alternatives now. The best-selling PC in the low-cost $399-799 market (iPad) does not run Windows. The best-selling PC in the higher-cost $999 and up market (MacBook Air) does not run Windows. All of the interesting new apps of the 21st century are on the Web or on Apple systems, not on Windows.

    So Windows sucks as usual. But this time, users have no right to complain. If you use Wndows 8, you CHOOSE Windows 8.

    • Deeply Shrouded

      While Microsoft may think it has a winner with Windows 8, I have to disagree.
      There are many people like myself who suffer from low vision to the point of
      being too blind to drive a car. Sure we can see things up close, and the Start
      button was always on the lower left hand corner. Then the start button became
      an orb in Windows 7. OK, that change I can understand. There is a piece of
      software out there called Jaws. It speaks everything on the screen and can
      tell you where your mouse is. So my question is, how is Microsoft going to
      explain finger swiping etc. to a person who has difficulty seeing the screen?
      On Windows 7, the screen icons could be made as large as needed.
      Since I’m a PC technician and help a lot of seniors on the phone, it’s a lot easier
      telling them, “see that little button in the lower left hand corner?”
      Because MS is coming out with a new OS, I’ll have to buy it in order to support
      people who come to me looking for help because their new PC comes with it.
      Switching screens on a blind/low vision person is akin to telling them, ok
      meat is at 8:00, veggies at 10, potatoes at 2, dessert at 4, then turning the
      plate on them over and over as they attempt to eat their meal.
      Granted, Windows 8 is a fundamental shift from the way people do things
      now, but Microsoft should have left the start button and taskbar as an option.
      I’m sure older people would appreciate it.

  • Dave Small

    There seems to be quite a bit of head scratching and push back such as in this article.

    That’s what happened with Vista and that’s why so many users just stuck with XP and stayed away. Now we have a large percentage of the Windows user base still using ten or eleven year old XP. 

    Windows 7 could be the new XP

  • http://molvray.com/acid-test/ quixote

    Except for a very few comments, people are missing the point. The interface I use isn’t about what works for you. It’s about what works for me.

    Which means that different interfaces have to be there for different work styles. And guess what? These aren’t typewriters. We’re talking about computers. All you have to do is provide different skins.

    Telling the user, “Do it my way or else” is plain arrogance and disrespect for the user’s time.

    It’s particularly disrespectful when the new way does nothing but achieve the same result as before, but now with different clicks / gestures / grunts / whatever. That is not progress. That is stupid.

    • xmrawesomex

      You have the option to pick whatever way you want to work. That’s the beauty of Windows 8. The applications are full-screen to make efficient use of memory, not to make you happy. It works great for tablets, and actually works really well on desktops too. I have a 22″ monitor and am perfectly happy with the way things are turning out. I can’t wait till more applications take full advantage of it.

  • thtechnologist

    899 pc’s don’t sell because they processors have become so powerful, you don’t need to spend near that much for a great experience. I just hooked up a business with 599 laptops and they couldn’t be happier.

    I just got the GF a similar model and it does everything she needs it to. The only things you need real gobs of power for are serious video editing (casual is ok on a lower end model) or serious pc gaming. Anyone that creates anything or does work still needs a laptop, still needs keyboard and mouse. Try typing an 8- page legal document on a 10 inch screen with no keyboard. There is also a new class of hybrid devices that are a laptop, convert to a tablet, and then dock at home with full size keyboard and mouse to use as a desktop, with desktop class storage. That’s worth 1200 bucks to me instead of a tiny screen, single purpose device, but hey, it’s thin!

  • thtechnologist

    Also, move mouse to lower left, then move it up, there are all your running programs, ready to be switched between!

  • thtechnologist

    What we as tech people see as “customization” the average user regards as “complexity” sad but true.

  • JimBuba

    Yo, dude!  Win-8 is a touch-screen ready product.  No point in driving the ViewSonic 19″ monitor or using wires and stuff like that.  Go out and buy the HP Touchscreen or equivalent and/or upgrade your desktop to join the 21st century. Then it will work with the regular M/S bugs.

    Cheers

  • Dirkp

    Well for the moment I want to stick with XP. Do not want to buy now a new computer or Windows software. Where can I find how to do that in a safe way?
    (I was thinking about running it on a free OS in a vm, isolated from the internet. And the dangerous thinks, mail and surfing could be transfered to the hosting OS. Would that work?)

    • http://twitter.com/MikeCleveland Mike Cleveland

      Wow, man. You’re in the stone age.

  • http://twitter.com/cormacfoster Cormac Foster

    The tablet and the PC are different devices with which we interact differently. I don’t see any good reason to try to cram both paradigms into one UI.

  • Guest

    Where’s the advanced speech recognition from Tellme that makes Siri look obsolete? MS paid a lot of money for Tellme. Was it wasted? Was Apple able to spend less and acquire more? What about advanced gesture recognition with Kinect? Apple has already won touch and voice. Surely MS should have made an effort to win in gestures by making a strong Win8/Kinect link? Or is it going to cede that to Apple too? Even some of the included apps aren’t nearly as good as even their WP8 counterparts? Huh?

    All in all, W8 appears to be 80% backward looking. It improves Windows performance, which has been a competitive disadvantage for years. It improves the slow boot process, which again has been an issue for years. It finally makes Windows a full touch-enabled OS, which was necessary only because it was so poorly implemented in Win7. What’s there for users? When is MS going to figure out that buyers pay for the user-visible innovation and not the mostly invisible infrastructure improvements?

    To have any chance of reversing MS’s rapidly declining growth and fortunes, Win8 needed to be nothing short of revolutionary. Instead, it’s at best evolutionary and at worst a step backwards. Fail.

  • Degazmatic

    you people are either stupid or plain ignorant. the metro takes 15 minutes tops to understand. yeah its different but I like that plus I get to integrate my Xbox, lumia and computer.. simple. if you don’t like metro.. simple. winkey + D. and you have the old normal regular desktop that everyone is already(I assume) accustomed to. I agree that the new windows comes with a difficult hurdle right off the bat but I installed it on my lil sisters laptop and she is no computer wiz and she barely asked me a question. I had to ask her if she wants help… and would you know, she didn’t. so folks. the choice is yours. spend five minutes and learn some very simple point and click action with metro, use the normal desktop(where you still point and click except its not all in full screen), buy a mac, install Linux or invent your own os. M$ is not forcing you to use it. hahaha. some people are simple amazing.

  • oliversl

    Vista 2.0

  • jdm

    I have a smartphone, and a tablet. when i go to my desktop, its for serious work. i dont want this “for children” opening screen in my way. I have always updated windows right away. but now i guess i’ll give up w7 when they pry it from my cold dead fingers. :)

  • begi

    im struggling to go online with this windows 8 can anyone help me or tell me to do

  • red

    Look people on here are comparing and complaining about win 8 metro. Personally I have tried it and I do not care for it. In my opinion ms needs to get back to doing things like they used to do, making good os. Now sure they had some real stinkers like vista, but over all they are not bad. They need to think about the tablet and desktop future and decided what they want it to be and then make it happen as best as they can. But they need to really listen to windows users both desktop and tablet (when they are ready for sale that is). I do not think that they are really listening to us. It seems that a lot do not have for metro stuff on the desktop, ok fine. If they like it on the desktop and or the tablet, fine. But ms needs to listen.Many people have experience with the way windows 95 to 7 is used for the most part. True with each new os there is a little learning curve, but for the most part people see it and can at least draw on what they know. With win 8, on the desktop, you are having to learn something totally new and some what alien to what we are used too. Introducing a new ui is fine but please do not do it like win 8 is being done. Most people that have tried it are totally confused. My personal feelings is to offer both to customers. And for ms to listen to the customers more. Remember the customer is always right, as the saying goes. If they do not like it they will not buy it or upgrade or will return it.

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