Windows 8 Review–The Pains…

In my last posting, I mentioned the things about Windows 8 that I liked. In using Windows 8, I have been able to get it to work as my everyday operating system but despite all its cool features, it does have some issues.

Some are easy to get by or find workarounds to; others, not so easy. So, below, some of the things that arched me about this new operating system. I will start with the ones that are easy to live with, and move on to those that really made my life living hell!

Shut down

I know. The above subtitle makes me look petty. The fact that it took me an entire fifteen minutes to figure out how to shut down the system really annoyed me. Windows is supposed to be intuitive. And for me, a power user, it should be a no-brainer to do something as simple as shut down or hibernate the pc. But no. Not this time.

The shut down button has been moved farther away from where we have been used to it. I suppose the reason for this is that Microsoft really do not want you to shut down your system per se. This does play nicely into their plan of Windows 8 being able to work well as a tablet OS but for mouse and keyboard users…tough luck. I have however, gotten used to where it is located now (somewhere in the Charms menu/icons) but it was still a bother.

Start Screen

The start screen is wow….but the lack of a start button in the desktop mode threw me off a bit. Functions like searching for applications and straight running of commands whilst still in desktop view are finished. Now these searches occur in the WinRT / Metro-UI interface. It is not so bad once you get used to it, but unfortunately, that happens to be the problem – it takes getting used to, and it can get on ones nerves.

UI Switching

Now this was a bit of a challenge to get through. It has been a month and I am still getting used to it. Here is the deal with UI Switching.

Windows 8 comes with two user interfaces. The fly looking Metro-UI and the ordinary Desktop UI that we have become accustomed to over the years. Now, the Metro UI is still very much 1.0 software; and for anybody who knows Microsoft, their 1.0 versions of anything are just never good. Always buggy and in very many ways, not complete. And so is the Metro UI.

There are many things you cannot do in the metro interface, and as expected, to do those things, one would have to shift back to the Desktop UI to get it done. The annoying bit is that in as much as quite a bit can be done while still in the Desktop UI, some settings and functions are strictly done in the Metro UI – with Application Searching as an example.

Some of the integrated Metro-UI features are cool, like the Notifications and Network Selection features. Others just get in the way like the adding of a Bluetooth device off the menu options in the System Tray, and the setting of some User Preferences like User Image and password changing. Why these are engrained in the Metro-UI and have no Desktop UI equivalents, only God knows.

I know and appreciate how hard Microsoft has worked on their new UI. I also appreciate how simple it is to use once one learns how to use it. But we are still a very long way away from having that interface as the ‘production’ interface. It is very much a ‘consumption’ interface. I bet you the next version of office will not feature Metro-UI capabilities simply because you simply can’t work from that UI yet. It is nice that the Desktop UI exists to allow us all to use the PC as it was meant to be – a tool to get work done – but the forcing of the Metro-UI down users throats can get quite annoying.

There is a theory that Microsoft is forcing this UI on Windows’ users to force it to succeed. Since the UI is on the most popular OS on the planet, we as users will simply learn how to live with it. That may be the reason why they will not offer Windows 8 in any version where you can get rid of the Metro-UI. I mean, Windows Server 8 has a Start Screen too! So, will the Metro-UI succeed just because it is on Windows or will it go the way of other fatal failures like the Zune? Only time will tell on this one.

Compatibility

In my previous post, I mentioned how it was a plus for Windows 8 that legacy applications work on it just fine. In case you are wondering why I am stating compatibility as one of the pains of Windows 8, here is why.

In as much as legacy apps will work, most need a bit of work to get them to work. Most of the work applications I installed did not work out-of-the-box. Simple clicking next-next-finish was not a remedy to get some apps to work. Drivers are especially affected by this. Most have to be installed in compatibility mode for devices to work like they are expected, if the device does not have explicit Windows 8 drivers.

Small application utilities, that one may use for work (WAMP, Putty, DosBox, Livezilla, even iTunes) simply do not work smoothly out of the box. At least not yet. I am sure if there is anything that this Beta Test is helping Microsoft solve, it is those issues. And I am playing my bit in submitting information to them on these issues. But until then, well, it is at the moment, the worst pain I have to deal with in Windows 8.

So there you have it. The other side of Windows 8 according to me. Watch this space for a few tips and tricks to for Windows 8, as that is what is coming next, in what is quickly becoming a series of articles. Till then…later.

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2 comments

  1. My question here is why if I had partitioned my C drive to run windows 7 on one drive and Windows 8 on the other , I wouldn’t be able to toggle between the two..
    I have my movies and videos in one operating system but i can’t work in another yet they are apparently made by the same outfit.

    As well, I have to install all the files i have on one platform onto the other one as..I’d rather we were able to “share” between the operating systems..

    talk of printer drivers, etc..

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