Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


My Mini Win 8 Review as a desktop user

  1. #1


    Posts : 7
    Win 7 Pro and Win 8 Pro

    My Mini Win 8 Review as a desktop user


    After a few hours with it, though I am still setting it up... I don't see what ALL the hate is about. Some hate, sure... but it is certainly not as bad as Vista was since its actually a bit faster than Win 7 and can use Win 7 drivers so hardware compatibility isn't that big a deal. The hate is really all about the UI and of course the writing on the wall about where the OS is going.

    The main problem I see is that it is really 2 OSes cobbled into one. And MS did not do a good job explaining the differences.

    The start menu is replaced by the tiles interface and Windows RT OS UI (ie. the tablet OS, ie. the Xbox360 UI)

    However there is a desktop tile. Hit that and you are basically back in Win7 OS land, minus the start menu. In its place is an icon that takes you back to tiles. You can right click it and get a very handy menu though. I think you can even default Win8 to logging right into the desktop tile somehow so you never have to see the tiles if you don't want to. If anyone knows how to do this, I would be glad to know.

    The other big stumbling block is understanding the difference between Apps (capital A apps) and desktop applications aka legacy apps.

    Starting with the desktop, its the same Win7 desktop we all know and love. It is traditional multitasking and multi-threaded and does its thing with desktop programs, services, steams games, etc. but there are also capital A Apps. I think of them like the old widgets. They also run and you can switch from them and the desktop pretty easily, however it is here were the UI interaction falls down a bit, at least with a mouse and keyboard.

    The Apps and the tiles basically live in the foreground.... they really have no interaction with the desktop, can't be pinned to the desktop taskbar or the desktop itself or alter it in any way. They can be pinned as a tile and the start bar but that acts an overlay to the desktop. Its like the desktop runs as an app itself. Its the interaction between desktop and Metro that feels odd, probably perfectly natural with a touch screen but kludgey with a mouse. For example to close a Metro app is cumbersome with keyboard and mouse. I'd naturally X it or right-click close but instead you have to select the top of it and pull it down, mimicing the touch gesture. At least it can also be closed by starting taskman and ending task, so that is not that bad but an x in the corner when mousing over the top right would have went a long way for mouse users.

    Likewise desktop apps can't interact with live tiles either, save the desktop tile, which shows a thumbnail of your desktop, though it isn't "Live" but a thumbnail of your background. You can use and see the Apps as an overlay on the desktop (think hitting shift-tab while in a game running through steam, you get the overlay where you can do some things... only this includes launching a mail app, netflix, etc. The sky is the limit depending on whats in the app store). This is neat. Especially since you can pin a metro app, such as netflix to the side as 1/3rd of the screen, and pin the desktop to the other 2/3rds... work and watch netflix on one screen. ;-) Not sure how this would work multi-monitor but that is neat. It seems like it would lend itself well, but it all comes down to how MS handled it (I don't use multimonitor so...)

    However they really did gimp it in an important way. It would be much better if you could have desktops apps create a live tile or RT apps interact more with the desktop. However, desktop apps aren't curated via the app store and they have the arbitrary restriction of no desktop apps with live tiles. I think they really missed an opportunity here (or artificially created another one depending on how you look at it.).

    Otherwise, so far so good. Im giving it a qualified nice BUT no reason to upgrade from 7 if you are happy with your current functionality.

    I didn't touch on storage pooling, etc. and a few other nuts and bolts that make it nice as a home server (which is my intended use). That and acting as my HTPC frontend with the eventual media Metro apps (such as Netflix and Hulu) combined with desktop XBMC make it a nice upgrade over Win7 I think.

    However, the one app I tried extensively, other than the Mail app (linked to my hotmail account) was Netflix. The Netflix app is hardware accelerated so would allow HD playback on an Atom ION or E350 box. Nice for people with small settop HTPCs. This is an upgrade over their regular PC interface via the website and silverlight. However its UI as designed requires a mouse for some functionality and is optimized for touch. It is a snazzy app but its not meant to be used with a PC I think. That is not MS' fault, its lazy Netflix app makers not making it work with just the keyboard. It would be even better if it could use the MCE remote. The UI of the app itself would lend itself to a 10' UI but with no practical way to interact with that UI its useless at 10'. The MCE Remote works fine in XBMC in Win8 desktop but I am not sure if the MCE Remote can interact with Windows RT apps, it does work for selecting between tiles, so it might be allowed, I am not sure of the Metro app UX requirements. Only bonus would be DD/DD+ 5.1 output support, its currently stereo only (which corresponds to its tablet oriented use). I hope we see more apps designed with remote and 10' UI in mind but it is still early.

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  2. #2


    Posts : 5,360
    7/8/ubuntu/Linux Deepin


    Rich, ( are you a drummer? )

    The issue that thinking people have is not to do with the UI itself.

    It is more about the direction MS is moving with win8 - taking away control and choice from the user and pushing them way MS wants them to go.

    To someone who only clicks/jabs at the screen and does basic things like browsing, emailing, going on twitbook, etc - they won't notice.

    Therefore it is easy for MS to lead them where MS wants them to go - and that is not a good place.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRich
    The hate is really all about the UI and of course the writing on the wall about where the OS is going.
    Exactly. If you take Metro, that's the very thing I wouldn't want as a computer. Beside this W8 is ok in its present form. As long as they don't make Metro and its big A Apps the main OS.
    We, W8 bashers, don't understand the lack of option to enable/disable Metro Start Screen and the disapearance of the Start Menu. (to have these options, download Start8 from StartDock or do a search on the internet about it. There are several third party software available for the same effect. You need a thrid party software to have the option. It doesn't come with the original W8)
    This feeds our fear that Windows will go more and more the Metro way. Microsoft is very extreme about it.
    It's also Microsoft attitude (oer blog comments and such) which we hate, more than the OS itself.
    Microsoft doesn't want to admit that Metro Apps are merely Vista's widgets redeployed. The Metro Start Screen running them is a very minor add on to the OS. It's cool, it's fun but it's not the future of computers as they claim, and it's not the shape of the Windows OS of the next decades neither.
    Poeple didn't make much use of the widgets in Vista. (To the point they were removed from W7.) It's not clear whether they will use more the widgets on W8. Despite the fact that they try very hard to pop them up at your face everytime you boot your machine.
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  4. #4


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    The issue that thinking people have is not to do with the UI itself.

    It is more about the direction MS is moving with win8 - taking away control and choice from the user and pushing them way MS wants them to go.
    The fact is, Microsoft owns the operating system, and they can do anything they want with it. As a consumer, your only choice is whether or not to use it. If it doesn't do what you want, then don't use it. It really is that simple. If enough people agree with you, then Microsoft will change.

    Would you buy a car that didn't do what you wanted? Would you buy a house that didn't do what you wanted? Would you rant like a lunatic about how the latest Ford Escort no longer has the same radio as the last model? I doubt it.

    The fact is, this is the first version of the future of Windows. It's not going to be perfect, and it's going to need to mature. Windows 1.0 wasn't nearly as good as Windows 3.1. Windows 95 wasn't nearly as good as XP. Windows 8 won't be nearly as good as Windows N.

    You can't take one data point and deduce a trend. Just because Windows 8 has limitations, you jump to the conclusion that this is intentional, ignoring the possibility that it's just that the first version doesn't have all the features they want yet.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 142
    Windows 8 Enterprise 64-bit (7 Ult, Vista & XP in V-Box)


    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    It is more about the direction MS is moving with win8 - taking away control and choice from the user and pushing them way MS wants them to go.......

    ......- and that is not a good place.
    This has concerned me for some time.

    Getting around the 'limitations' in Win 8 is easy, and the OS itself is great.

    But I am strongly opposed to the 'push to the cloud', and won't be going there.

    And I'm equally, if not more opposed to 'subscription' software.

    I'll 'pay once - use forever' or simply not use at all.

    There is always open-source or freeware as a perfectly viable alternative.

    And of course, there's always the 'P' word......
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  6. #6


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by Fredledingue View Post
    We, W8 bashers, don't understand the lack of option to enable/disable Metro Start Screen and the disapearance of the Start Menu.
    What's there to understand? This isn't the first time Microsoft has done this. Windows 7 (which everyone loves) no longer allows you to go back to the classic start menu, or the classic UI. Office 2007, 2010, and 2013 don't let you go back to the old menus. Microsoft has basically given up on supporting such legacy things because doing so is an incredible support burden on them, and doing so greatly reduces their ability to make real, meaningful changes.

    There were real reasons behind all these changes. They weren't arbitrary.

    Sure, it may not seem like a huge deal to keep the old UI around, but consider that they have to pay someone to maintain it. It's code that has to be factored into every patch and upgrade. It's code that forces them to compromise on where they want to go because future code would have to take the legacy stuff into account.

    Microsoft is making huge changes to Windows. Not just the UI, but under the hood as well. And this is just the first steps. It's going to happen, no matter how much you yell and complain. You have no control over it. So either get with the program (no pun intended) or get out of the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredledingue View Post
    This feeds our fear that Windows will go more and more the Metro way. Microsoft is very extreme about it.
    It's not "Fears" if it's fact. Yes, Windows will go more and more the Metro way. It's going to happen. Complaining will not change that. This is, in fact, the future of windows. That doesn't mean the legacy desktop will go away anytime soon (as in, the next 20 years or more), but this is a clean break.

    The thing you are not taking into account, however, is that Metro *WILL* mature. It will get better. It will add more and more functionality, and will likely, at some point, become just as powerful as Win32. The single screen limitation will probably go away, if not in a service pack in a future version. The full screen requirements will probably change over time. They may develop and all new way to deal with apps. Whatever happens though, things will change.

    Too many people seem to think that the Metro of today is all it will ever be. That's simply not the case. Look at this as an opportunity to shape how a future version of Windows will look like. Give Microsoft constructive feedback (don't just complain on boards like this), and you may be able to help shape the way things go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredledingue View Post
    It's also Microsoft attitude (oer blog comments and such) which we hate, more than the OS itself.
    What attitude is that? The only attitude here is that Microsoft has made some difficult choices, and they're moving forward with it. They're not going back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredledingue View Post
    Microsoft doesn't want to admit that Metro Apps are merely Vista's widgets redeployed. The Metro Start Screen running them is a very minor add on to the OS. It's cool, it's fun but it's not the future of computers as they claim, and it's not the shape of the Windows OS of the next decades neither.
    They don't want to admit it, because it's not true. Gadgets actually were used quite a bit (I used them a lot actually), but there were security flaws in the system, which is why it went away. Yes, Metro is a replacement for gadgets, but they're MUCH more than what gadgets were. It's certainly not a "redeployment" of gadgets, that would imply that they're the same thing. They're not.

    How exactly can you claim to simultaneously fear that Metro is the way Microsoft wants to go, and claim it's not the way that it's going to go? That seems like a confusing stance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredledingue View Post
    Poeple didn't make much use of the widgets in Vista. (To the point they were removed from W7.) It's not clear whether they will use more the widgets on W8. Despite the fact that they try very hard to pop them up at your face everytime you boot your machine.
    Metro is far more than gadgets. It's an entire ecosystem of applications, already 9000 apps strong, a number of which are full-fledged applications (like EverNote, or various games). Metro is a full fledged operating system within the Windows Operating system (and that idea isn't new, Microsoft has done it several times already, such as with Services for Unix, OS/2 subsystem, and POSIX subsystem). What we know of as "Windows" is just a "personality module" of the real Windows OS, which is known as NTOS.

    It's fine that you don't like Metro in its current form, but the fact is, Win32 is still there, and will be for the foreseeable future. It's more likely that you don't like Metro apps because they're immature at this point. Give it time.
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  7. #7


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by Kat View Post
    But I am strongly opposed to the 'push to the cloud', and won't be going there.

    And I'm equally, if not more opposed to 'subscription' software.

    I'll 'pay once - use forever' or simply not use at all.

    There is always open-source or freeware as a perfectly viable alternative.

    And of course, there's always the 'P' word......
    I'm sorry, "P" word? Do you mean Piracy? I've never understood the justification people make for piracy. "I don't like it enough to pay for it", yet you still use it... If you use it, you should pay for it, whether you like the software or not. If you don't want to pay for it, then you shouldn't use it.

    It's like saying to the owner of a restaurant. I didn't like my meal, so I won't pay for it. Yet, you ate it, and cleaned your plate, ordered desert, and drinks... If you didn't like it, you should have said so on your first taste.. then you could maybe argue for sending it back and not paying for it. But to actually eat the whole thing... That's stupid.

    In any event, subscription software makes a lot of sense for a lot of people. Not everyone, for sure.. but suppose you only needed the software for a month. Would you like to pay the full price for something you may never use again? What if you don't have the $3000 to buy the complete Adobe suite, but you do have $50 a month? What if you own a company, and the number of employees changes wildly during different parts of the year. Do you want to pay for licenses for 3000 people when you only have 200 who are full-time employees year round?

    Some software will likely go to subscription only. Particularly if it includes a data component (some kind of ongoing service). But single purchase software will be around for a long time. You will note that Windows Store apps aren't subscription based. They're single purchase (although some apps do have a monthly service fee, such as Netflix).

    As for the cloud, again, for a lot of purposes this makes sense. The ability to store all your music in a single location and access it from any device is very attractive. The ability to ability to store all the documents you want to access from anywhere is also attractive. Having all your browser bookmarks available in any browser you use is a great idea.

    That doesn't mean you have to store everything on the cloud. And that will never be the case, because it will violate various privacy laws, particularly in fields like law, financial services, and health care. There are also laws about storing government data outside the country they reside in.

    The cloud will continue to be leveraged when it makes sense. That doesn't mean you have to use it. And if you don't like it, don't.
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  8. #8


    Posts : 7
    Win 7 Pro and Win 8 Pro


    I actually like the Live Tile interface, however I really think they missed the boat on locking it down as they have done.

    It would be awesome if desktop apps could create live tiles but they can't and a lot of current desktop apps won't go the app store route, to say nothing of the more serious use cases that require more access to the various windows subsystems than metro allows. Of course if they did that, they would lose out on moving desktop apps to the app store, where they presumably won't get a cut, which is what forcing Metro is all about.

    Metro is great for consuming content, but less so for creating it.

    I do wonder if they push to remove the desktop more and more, what what you use for Business/productivity, a development env, content creation, file server duties, command line batch stuff?

    Maybe MS will open it up in Windows 9 but I doubt it.
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  9. #9


    Metro isn't that great on desktops. I haven't seen one ad of Windows 8 being used on a Desktop with a keyboard and mouse. They're focusing too much on the tablet UI instead of both.

    What I would do is give the option to people to decide what to boot to. Desktop or Metro. And what to disable and enable. Give them choice.

    Because, to be honest. Not being biased, Mac OS is a superior OS in general. Windows 8 isn't better to me. Heck, they FINALLY added a way to save a screenshot without using Paint. -__- Mac had that for 5 years now. But a better way of doing it is the Gnome way. Just press PrtnScrn and it will let you save the screenshot wherever and whatever name you choose.

    Also. The Store in Windows 8 sucks. They're all tablet friendly. Why can't they do what Apple did and have it all separate? That way they'll be desktop friendly apps.

    Seriously, not hating Metro, just don't think it's good for a desktop. It's great for a Tablet and HTPC possibly, just not a desktop using a mouse and keyboard. You can use a mouse and keyboard. But, that can be said about any tablet UI.

    I got Windows 8 on Friday and am loving it except Metro. I'm staying with Windows 8 since it's easy to ignore Metro using third party software. Just wish MS tried to at least make it desktop friendly.

    Edit: Not buying a Mac ever due to it's price and Windows being better for PC Gaming.
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  10. #10


    Posts : 534
    Windows 7, Windows 8 RP


    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRich View Post
    Of course if they did that, they would lose out on moving desktop apps to the app store, where they presumably won't get a cut, which is what forcing Metro is all about.
    Why is Microsoft getting a cut such a bad thing? They built and maintain the infrastructure that houses all the apps, they ensure that these Apps aren't pirated so that the developers can code in confidence and make their money, they ensure that the Apps are clean of malware etc. They even drop their take if the App sells well to encourage better apps to be made. It's funny that non developers complain about this but the many developers that create Apps don't have an issue with it. Also, if you're against it then simply don't by Apps, you're not forced to.
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My Mini Win 8 Review as a desktop user
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