Discuss: Windows 8 Impressions

November 30, 2012 at 05:45:14
Specs: Windows 7, 1.4 GHz / 5610 MB

Hi all,

This week's poll is about news that Windows 8 is getting off to an "awkward" start. Discuss here if you've used Windows 8 yet, and, if you like, the poll results themselves.


See More: Discuss: Windows 8 Impressions

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November 30, 2012 at 06:03:03

I hear Microsoft is internally disappointed in Win8's market performance, and that they blame their hardware partners. I blame their attempts at mimicking Apple's policies and their one UI to rule them all.

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November 30, 2012 at 07:39:05

Just yesterday, my wife complained about the new version of Word she must use at the office. Microsoft insists on changing things unnecessarily. This causes folks to relearn how to accomplish a task that they were able to do before.

This is part of the reason why business doesn't upgrade as often as MS would like.

I have no hands on experience with 8 yet, but from what I read, it is a major change in the interface. This may be good for mobile devices but, IMO, a touch screen on a desktop is of no use. Guess I am just an old fashioned user.

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November 30, 2012 at 08:12:57

My experience of Windows 8 is positive. It makes far better use of limited hardware than Windows 7 or Vista, and I like the Metro apps. It has revived a low-powered laptop, which was a pain to use under Vista.

I think it will take a while to gain large market share, mainly because 7 is so good. 7 had the advantage of following XP and Vista, neither of which cut it to my mind.

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November 30, 2012 at 08:21:24

It's like M$ is putting all their eggs in the mobile device basket & abandoning desktop users.

I have a gov't job & we have 100's of users in my building alone, over 10,000 users state-wide, & that's just one agency. Now multiply that by 50 states. We're still running XP & as far as I know, we have no plans to upgrade in the immediate future. With the budget crunch & the cost of upgrading the hardware, software, not to mention training involved, I don't see it happening anytime soon. Then again, with XP support ending in April 2014, I'd think we'd have to make a move "sooner rather than later". And even if we did, my guess is we'd go with Win7 over Win8.

Image how much the gov't would save if they went with Linux & open source software rather than Microsoft or Apple products. Actually, it may have already begun:

U.S. Navy turns to Linux to run its drone fleet

I think Mint is the best Linux distro out there right now & it just keeps getting better & better. Vista pushed me into the world of Linux, Win8 may keep me there permanently.

Linux Mint 14 released: It’s like Windows 8, minus the bad bits

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November 30, 2012 at 10:08:17

I think the fix for win 8 is very simple.
Let user choose the UI. Make the UI selection a necessary option for every win 8 application.

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November 30, 2012 at 10:08:38

OtheHill: Microsoft insists on changing things unnecessarily.
I assume they change the UI because that's how users recognize change.

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November 30, 2012 at 10:13:27


Was there a link there at the end? Comes up with Computing.Net file not found on mine.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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November 30, 2012 at 11:06:37

Huh, the address got mangled. Not sure how that happened, but it's fixed now.

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November 30, 2012 at 13:33:02

I've not used Win8.

Just the same I am wondering if it might be the start of the contraction of forums such as this. To some extent this might have already started with Windows 7. I can still recall the depths we used to go to on here in the old Win 31 and 9x days.

With System Refresh and Factory Reset thrown in on Win 8, users should be able to get around many or most software issues.

Folk are mostly prepared to take a chance on hardware after warranty, and the throw-away society shows no sign of waning. Can't say I've fixed many cell phones lately LOL and, in the UK at least, it is darned hard to find a TV repair shop.

If we haven't got there already I ponder as to whether the thing we now call a computer will become a box of goodies that leading corporations (such as MS or Apple) have decided we will like or want, not the "all things to everyone" that was behind the early computer philosophy.

Just thinking aloud that's all....

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December 1, 2012 at 00:57:08

I've been using Win8 for a few months now and have it permanently installed on a laptop so I can find solutions to problems thrown at me and I've come to the conclusion that the overall system is fine, but it's the amalgam of small, and some very large, annoyances that make it either frustrating or totally unusable.

For example, a simple thing like trying to set up your email. For a start you must have a Hotmail or Outlook.com account, this activates the email system. The when you try to add your existing POP email account you find that POP isn't supported - it has to be IMAP which isn't an issue as long as your ISP supports IMAP, many still do not.

The stupid way of closing applications by swiping from top to bottom. Fine on a small tablet - ****** frustrating on a larger screen with a mouse.

Finding the 'Charms' bar - works 80% of the time first time, but it's the other 20% that just get the blood pressure up.

This is just a few of the real niggles, there are many more.

OK, I know there are a number of 3rd party add-ons that can help with productivity, but it shouldn't have to be a case of having to buy and install additional non-Microsoft software, just to make the system usable, but it still won't handle productivity.

If you intend to use Win8 simply for social networking, some gaming, and not a lot else then Win8 is fine, but when you consider the cost of the cheapest 'surface', then compare it to an Android in price and the iPad in both price and stability, it makes the whole thing a non-goer.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd

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December 1, 2012 at 02:01:52

I'll continue to use Win7 on my main computer. I've never been a fan of dual-interface operating systems. Windows 3.11 had a 'Classic' CLI as well as a 'Modern' GUI, and its frequent switching between the two different environments actually made me a little nervous. Back then, I used a Mac for work and a pure DOS machine for play. When Win95 finally let me play my games without kicking me out of the GUI in which my Serious Business programs ran, I ditched the Mac and procured a Pentium.

Similarly, if Microsoft lets me fully disable that single-tasking Modern crapola in some future edition of Windows, I'll gladly upgrade. I bought a 12-thread processor and 2560x1440 display so that I could cram more stuff on my screen at once.

Having said that, I'll probably install Win8 on my HTPC. The speedy performance is perfect for an entertainment PC, and the Modern interface looks right at home on a big TV.

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December 1, 2012 at 08:54:49

"OK, I know there are a number of 3rd party add-ons that can help with productivity"

The idea of having to resort to third party programs to get productivity out of MS products is nothing new.

Anyone seriously doing file sorting and renumbering in Windows 7 will have found that the automatic filing foisted on them results in it being near impossible to proceed. MS didn't listen to all the complaints, so the simple answer was to download a freebie file manager (with an auto-sort on/off switch). It is then fine, ironically just like all previous MS operating systems.

Whenever a new OS comes out, folk say the previous systems are OK "for a bit of word processing and email" - presumably they suddenly cease to do anything else. To some extent I think that remark applies to newer systems. With each new one glitz seems to take over productivity. Very pretty interface tho and you can move it around with your fingers - important stuff.

Wonder what you will move things around with in Win 9 - err better not make any suggestions on here LOL.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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December 1, 2012 at 09:56:23

I heard a rumor that their plan was to remove the desktop entirely and move everything to . . . whatever they're calling Metro now. Then Sinofsky left, so I'm not sure what direction they're headed now.

It's nice to dream. though. I'd like to think the Desktop will still disappear, so all Windows programs must be purchased though MS' App store. This, combined with Microsoft's continued insistence that traditional PC form factors don't exist, opens the door for LinuxAndroid. Windows becomes a niche product, relegated to a market that wants an iDevice, but don't think they cost enough. Microsoft is known to retail consumers by its Xbox properties; its office consumers by Office, and its programming consumers by Visual Studio (now focused on Android development).

Meanwhile, Sony finishes imploding under its own weight, and its video game department is one of the many victims, ultimately purchased by . . . Nintendo, I guess. The video game industry becomes dominated by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Google.

After 10 years, Windows Phone (now called Xphone) finally breaks double digit market share, driven mostly by teens who grew up with some generation of the Xbox.

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December 1, 2012 at 13:30:14

#10 - I have to say that I am a little surprised with your comments about closing programs and the charms. It took me only a couple of days os using Windows 8 to decide that, on a laptop, the best ways to accomplish these were <alt>-F4 (as always in Windows) and <WinKey>-i. I make extensive use of the <WinKey> shortcuts and I think these are the key to Windows 8 on a laptop. You can imitate the swipe actions that you would use on a tablet, but it's not the best way.

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December 3, 2012 at 07:13:13

#14. Sorry, I haven't yet seen a machine that comes supplied with a comprehensive list of Win8 shortcuts ;-).

In reality the majority of current purchasers will be using Win 8 on a machine that comes with a mouse or touchpad. If you ask for a demo in your local store there will not be one mention of keyboard shortcuts because the average user does not want to have to remember which combination of keys does what action.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd

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December 3, 2012 at 08:32:30

I think johnr makes a good point. We all benefit from keyboard shortcuts at times, particularly for file handling. However, far less folk have learned a comprehensive list of them (or even wish to).

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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December 3, 2012 at 08:49:43

I was not impressed with the "Metro" interface, or whatever they are calling it now. What I was impressed with is the boot speed. It was super quick. I installed the Consumer Preview when it was released. I do miss the start menu. Also, to do an msconfig you have to do it through the task manager, which is odd. Seems like a great OS for a touch system though. It's not a bad OS, just different. I will stick with 7 for now. My 2¢

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December 3, 2012 at 23:42:49

#15 I suspect you have hit the nail on the head as to why so many people slag off Windows 8. They've tried it in a store and haven't known how to use it efficiently; I suspect that many of the detractors haven't given it a proper trial. It is a problem with almost all modern software that it doesn't come with adequate documentation. You do have to learn a little to get the most out of any OS. I wouldn't say that learning two or three basic shortcuts involves memorizing hosts of arcane key combinations. Anyone remember WordStar?

But I was a little surprised that, after using it for a few months, you weren't using the shortcuts for "close program" and "open charms". Along with the <WinKey>-X combination, and <WinKey> alone, I would say those two were pretty basic.

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December 4, 2012 at 01:33:59

Part of my job is that I am a consultant to a few small companies - loosely termed as IT but often a very varied remit, & as a part of that I have had to find out what new developments are all about.

I'm old enough to have been brought up on DOS - in fact the original language I used at university was 'Fortran' - this was in the days when coding was done onto cards, you booked computer time to test it and 24 hours later were rewarded or disappointed to find whether or not your were successful.and, having gone out of the industry for a few years after graduating I swore I would never use a computer again until they could speak the same language I spoke.

When Windows came along, it was a breath of fresh air and the fact that users could start interacting with computers by just pointing at icons was great. At the time, because there were always instances when it was quicker to use a keyboard shortcut, or even necessary if the serial mouse driver failed to load, then they were just an assumed 'extra' which could be used but didn't need to be. As a result, by the time you get to XP Windows shortcuts, although still there, were rarely mentioned except amongst 'geeks'.

So now we come to Windows 8, the current pinnacle of Microsoft's OS's and what do we find? They have produced an OS that is so obviously designed for touchscreen use - I love Windows 8 mobile & actually think it is far superior to the god-like iphone - but if you go into any store at the moment, you will find the vast majority of laptop and desktop systems having Win8 installed still come with a keyboard and mouse, simply because manufacturers have not embraced the brave new world of Windows 8 and, as a result, are forced to use it primarily with a rodent.

So going back to my original comment, and bearing in mind that I am writing this from the perspective of someone who has to advise companies on whether Win 8 will work for them, do you honestly think I could go into a meeting with a brand new laptop, turn it on, and then start telling the MD 'look at this, bright new, very shiny, but to get it to work you have to press this key combination, then this one etc. etc.

This is the real world that I deal with, not the compromise world that we have gone back to. As a result, I cannot and will not recommend Win 8 to any company that asks me. On top of that, having seen the pricing structure for the Surface, when it does eventually appear, doesn't give me a lot of incentive to push for it then either.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd

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December 4, 2012 at 04:57:14

Well, I also was brought up on DOS and spent many years supporting thousands of end users on mainframe terminals, DOS, And various versions of Windows. Much of the work involved training the end-users in new programs and OSs. I have yet to meet anyone who has a problem using keys as well as mice.

You can use a mouse and an on-screen keyboard to input text to a word processor, but most people don't. So if the quickest way to close a program is <alt>-F4 then that's what I teach.

Luckily I never worked as any sort of salesman trying to sell a system to an MD or an office clerk; I just showed them how to use the computer and then supported them.

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