Windows 8 (W8), MicroSoft's (MS) new flagship OS. I've been wanting to get one of those new "transforming" laptops since the first CES event that showed them off! I resisted, wanted to wait until prices go down, glitches were worked out etc etc... However, I picked up a new SSD (Its pretty sweet, highly recommend the upgrade) and had a copy of W8 just sitting there. The Transfer kit I got with the SSD refused to do what I wanted and in the end I just said, "meh, why not?" and installed W8.<!-- more -->
The installation was smooth. First impression is that the new UI is far more refined than any previous version of Windows. This is without even finishing the installation. In terms of process it is pretty much the standard Windows install wizard.
Once that's finished, it asks to create an account and not just a Windows account but a "Microsoft" account. Yes, Your Windows and MS accounts are very much one and the same. What surprised me even more is they didn't force me to create a "Live" account. I was well happy with that, to be honest I think if I was forced to create a live or hotmail account I'd have blitz the SSD and went back to Windows 7 (I was looking for an excuse to slag it off for some reason, can happily report I found none. Well done MS).
The metro look is bold but design and business wise. It runs the risk of alienating users who are so familiar with the old Windows UI but at the same time it seems like a necessary step if Windows is ever to improve its look and feel.
I get the feeling it is totally geared for entertainment, presumably MS as concluded a large enough of their market uses Windows for entertainment most of the time?
It is very flashy, has some real slick transitions between "modern" W8 apps. It is great work for the mindless tasks a lot of people use PCs for.
Flip the coin however, being a developer the flashy UI has actually started to be more of a nuisance when it comes to productivity. Typically having a large monitor or multiple monitors we tend to have several things in view at the same time. IRC,IDE,Browser and perhaps Skype. Being MS owned now, Skype has been integrated "nicely" but this integration forces the application to take over the entire screen...annoying because I speak to people about work (and not) while being in the IDE or Browser etc... Maybe there is a way to force Apps to snap to the side or be a custom size, I haven't found it yet.
There are a few other subtleties that are beginning to get to me but I think those are down to years of Windows doing something else for a particular action, it'll take some getting used to.
P.S you guys might want to do a bit more usability research...it's an improvement but, some way to go still.
Coupled with my brand new SSD, things just happen! I hit a button and bam! Response! It is still early days but I have complained so many times about spending a large portion of my life waiting on Windows...not anymore it seems.
The responsiveness is excellent. And kudos on the commitment to metro design (I'm personally not a big fan but it does wear on you, you begin to appreciate the improvements it brings to the Windows UI after a while).
Startup, Sleep and Shutdown times are impressive to say the least. From the moment my BIOS screen disappears to being presented with the sign in screen is somewhere between 2-5 seconds.
This one I'll put down to the SSD instead of W8 but I'll mention it anyway, I used JetBrains' Intellij Idea for Java, Scala and a few other things, start up time before was on average, minutes. Now, its about 5-10 seconds.
The first major gribe I had with Windows 8 was finding stuff. It wasn't immediately obvious how it could be done.
After a while I realized the single search bar provided is "contextual", if you're in the start screen it searches for Apps, if you're in the MS store it searches the store and so on... I think that's a great way to do it, what I think could have been done better was the introduction to this. W8 is brand spanking new (...well kinda), it certainly introduces some new concepts for old Windows users. For that reason, MS should have done a "walk through". By that I mean, think of Twitter, when you first register and sign in, if you attempt to do something new it pops up a little notification to say, "Hey there new user, a 'Tweet' is xyz, it is the blah blah blah", which works great. "Tweeting" may be an entirely new concept for the user, this makes it easier to "get it".
I think this was a well needed step for Windows. There was only so far they could get with the old UI. Finally, Windows 8 users can look a Mac owner in the eye and say "You got nothing on me bi**!". No more holding your head down and hiding around the office because you're the only Windows user. If you are, you can actually try to make an argument now and defend Windows (Not sure you'd win but you can try)! Far as I've ever cared the only thing Mac has had on Windows was the superior design. No more! (Well maybe, some things still need hammering out but its certainly a step in the right direction).
The next step I imagine is integrating existing Apps into the new design. The switch back to what is essentially Windows 7 is only acceptable for Windows 8, the next version of Windows should provide full integration to the point where it isn't immediately obvious what was built in C#,C++ or HTML5.
In short, I am not disappointed. I will have complaints but I actually have quite a few good things to say for a change (as opposed to previous versions of Windows where there were no compliments and a lot of bashing).
Now, If only I could get Ubuntu to stop trying to ignite my laptop, I'd be rocking Ubu and W8!
Have you tried W8 yet? If not what's holding you back? What are your thoughts? Hate it, love it?