Windows 8: Some Brief Thoughts.

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I have a Dell Inspiron 1720 I keep around the house and use for watching Hulu/Netflix and playing video games. It is getting fairly old (for a techie like me), but it still works decently. When Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview I decided to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 8 on the Inspiron 1720. Here are my initial thoughts based on limited interactions with the new OS:

User Interface:

  • As a techie I’m used to being able to figure out just about any application fairly quickly. You can intuit what is going on with the UI and pick things up fairly quickly…ummm…Windows 8, not so much.
  • Can someone tell me how to exit out of these darn applications? No, I’m not going to Google how to close an application…what a waste of breath! There is no way I should need to google to figure out how to close an application. I did do it once – but not sure how I did it…though Task Manager always works. =)
  • Did Microsoft move the navigation bar in IE to the bottom just for the hack of it? What’s up with that?
  • The user interface is semi-cool…but ummm, what is I don’t have a touch screen? And while this is some decent eye candy it isn’t helping my productivity.
  • What happened to the start menu? And you mean there isn’t an option to change back to the classic Windows Start Menu / Desktop in Windows 8?!?
  • Click on Windows Explorer and the Metro UI goes away – wow, rough transition…but don’t expect to get a start menu item.
  • How do I turn the dang computer off?

Problems:

  • If I closed the lid the laptop goes into a hibernate mode (I’m guessing) and when I turn it back on it takes forever to start back up again…sometimes I’ll just power it off and power it back on – it is faster!
  • Each time I reboot the computer and open Internet Explorer and go to Hulu I have to download Adobe Flash player again and install it again. Not sure what that is about.
  • So….I thought I got to keep my programs when I did the upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 Consumer Preview…but apparently now…all of my applications are gone! So are most of my files…good thing this computer didn’t actually do anything.

Conclusion:

I’m excited about a number of the technical features included in Windows 8, but I’m VERY unhappy with the user interface. I expect the problems I mentioned to be cleared up by the time the RTM is released.

I know Microsoft wants us to move forward – but most of us don’t have touch screens – and while I can see their efficiency in some situations, I don’t see the end of the mouse or keyboard for a long time yet – especially in work situations.

Microsoft needs to at least offer the ability to turn off or switch from the metro ui to a class ui that includes items like My Computer and the Start Menu.

Unlike many folks, I’m a fan of Microsoft. I think they have moved a long ways towards openness, incorporating user feedback, and building robust products – but Windows 8 from a UI perspective is a disaster. The underlying tech is awesome – but Microsoft needs to get off its high horse assuming that we want a single UI across all our devices and that it is best to push us this direction whether we like it or not…if they don’t, well, it might be the push I need to move off of Windows and onto Linux.

3 Replies to “Windows 8: Some Brief Thoughts.”

  1. Hello! I found problem with installing windows 8 on my inspiron 1720. The problem is that windows installer doesn’t see my hard drive. I downloaded drivers from Dell page, but they don’t work(the error prompts)

    Do You have any solution?

    1. Jarek – Sorry, I don’t have a solution…I have seen this before though with servers. In that case, using a Dell Build CD seems to fix the issue, but I don’t believe Dell includes those for laptops/desktops and I don’t think the ones for servers will work with them.
      …Hmmm…I also seem to recall something about changing the status of the hard drive in the BIOS. e.g., it may be set as SATA and instead it should be set at ATA or IDE, at least until the install completes…Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

    2. You need to set your hdd as active. Bring up command prompt, run:

      DISKPART

      LIST DISK

      SELECT DISK 0

      LIST PARTITION

      SELECT PARTITION # (replace # with main partition)

      ACTIVE

      EXIT

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