I've had both joys and frustrations using Windows 8. Many things feel like a throwback to ages gone by.
Microsoft boasts that Windows 8 has faster boot times. But this isn't the case if you use a multiple boot OS. Instead of the quick prompt style boot menu, you are presented with a graphical interface which takes considerable time to load, then you have to wait for the OS you choose to boot. The simple prompt may have been ugly old and DOS like but it was lighting fast compared to the new boot menu screen. Now you have to mouse over to the choice and choose the OS you want.
The new Metro start screen reminds me a lot of the days before Windows where we used a program called QEMM. For those who don't know, QEMM was a DOS based memory manager that allowed you to run multiple DOS applications on the same system. Once you loaded your DOS apps, you could tab between them but never see both at the same time. Much like Metro does now though much more limited.
Windows 8 is more square than a teenage Bill Gates. Yes this is faster but it feels like I am back to running the old Windows NT 4.0 interface. The rounded edges and 3D effects have been stripped from the OS giving Windows 8 a very 2 dimensional feel. Many of the fancy designs introduced in Vista have been tossed in the trash. Even tabs are so razor sharp you could shave with them. Perhaps this is an attempt to move away from the Candy Apple coated computing that the Macintosh systems introduced but it leaves Windows feeling somewhat edgy and outdated. And short of buying third party apps, there is no real options. You must use the razor edges. Even Windows Vista & 7 gave you the option to switch to the older sharp edge NT 4.0 style screens.
You can only run a single instance of Metro. So even if you have dual monitors it's impossible to multitask Metro apps. Rather than make Metro a windowed application that can run multiple instances, Microsoft has chosen to make Metro work on a desktop as if it was on a tablet or phone. It seems MS has forgotten that the name of the product is "Windows". Metro has nothing at all to do with Windows. It's a full screen, one app at a time OS and not befitting of the name Windows as there are simply NO windows at all.
Metro and many of the apps are simply MASSIVE on my 24" displays. Most of the tiles take up massive amounts of real estate on the screen for no real reason. With only two size options for icons even the typical Ctrl + Mouse wheel only gives you two sizes on the Metro desktop. Most apps do not take in to account the size of the screen and you are faced with 1 to 3 inch fonts. Even browsers in Metro are slow to acknowledge the Ctrl + Mouse resize and it feels real clunky. Launch a typical weather app and you can see maybe 2 or 3 tiles spanning 1920 pixels wide. Simply put Metro has turned my 24" displays in to a giant 7" tablet screen.
Metro's All Apps menu is a mess, in part due to the way previous versions of the operating system worked with folders. When displaying All Apps you see everything, including ReadMe files, What's New, Uninstalls, Help files, basically anything the software developer chose to put in their Start menu is now scrolled across one screen all at once making it very confusing to view much less navigate.
The Charm bar is anything but charming with the search feature being perhaps the one exception once you figure out how to use it. Finding the Charm bar with a mouse on a 1920 x 1200 display is challenging. You have to hit just the right spot. Even the Metro Star screen (very lower left) has to be precisely placed. As for the Charm bar, on a dual monitor it's easy to slide right past it onto the next screen. Thankfully it does work on both screens. Your best bet is to forget about the mouse and just use the keyboard shortcuts.
Devices on the Charm bar is a joke. With a Wacom tablet, wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, two printers, network, external hard drives, the only thing that shows up on my device list is my Monitors allowing me to treat the dual monitors as if it were a laptop and external display. Granted not a lot of people run dual monitors outside of a laptop. However it seems odd that with all the devices attached to this system the only "Device" Windows seems to want to deal with are the monitors. You might think that this would be left up to developers but even my Natural MS Keyboard and Mouse are not recognized as devices. Odd note on this is that Windows 8 tells me I need to install the latest version of the Intellipoint software. If you attempt to do so, the software tells you that you have a more current version installed. Perhaps a new release is in the works but gone for now are the special functions of Intellipoint.
Settings on the Charm bar also have some quirky issues. For one there is a brightness icon that states that is grayed out and Not Available. So why show the icon at all? It would be a simple matter to allow desktop systems to adjust the brightness though the included nVidia drivers but instead it's just another thing taking up space with no function. We now actually have a use for the term "Dunsel".
Uninstalling an app depends on the type of app it is. Metro apps do not show up in the Control Panel under the Uninstall a program. Metro apps can be uninstalled easily enough but why not list them in the Control Panel as well? Some apps such as browsers (Chrome and Firefox) must be uninstalled from the Control Panel even though they have a Metro version installed.
Which brings me to my next issue. You need to be aware that your desktop browser is NOT your Metro browser. They appear to be completely separate and settings in one may not be reflected in the other. Such things as History or favorites may not show up. If you have security set up on pages like Facebook, you will have to register both the Metro version and the Desktop version. There is no unification of the program.
The overall clear message that I seem to get is that MS badly wants to get in to the Phone and Tablet market and they hope to push the Metro issue upon everyone whether they use a Windows mobile device or not. One could foresee this as another issue MS will have to deal with legally as they did with IE's integration in to the OS. It could be argued that they should allow the installation of a iOS Start menu, Android Start menu, even a Blackberry Start menu if the president has his way, that runs apps designed for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.
Gadgets have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Gadgets and the Live Desktop were always problematic for MS but not because they were bad ideas but because they were never implemented properly nor updated. With Windows 8 you can reinstall the gadgets but they are a hack and no longer supported by MS. The excuse we got was that they were prone to viruses and malware but that is the case for most applications and as long as you run a descent antivirus / malware program you are just as well protected. And worst, there is no way to pin a Metro tile to your desktop. I will really miss my Pandora gadget along with my moon phase, network monitor and other gadgets that gave me information at a glance without having to switch screens.
With all this said, you might think I hate Windows 8. I do like it in many ways. But I feel it, like many previous versions of Windows will suffer from some of these issues and I cannot see large IT departments jumping on the Windows 8 bandwagon as it seems it will cause a huge number of headaches. Perhaps Windows 9 will address some of these issues.
The good news is that if you want Windows 8 the price is right at least for the moment and Media Center is currently free. There is increased security, speed, an much improved search function but if you plan to work with the desktop, you will be forced to deal with the tablet / phone interface of Metro.
Try not to flame me too badly.