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Doug's Mailbag: Windows 8 Test Impressions

Readers share their early assessments of Microsoft's test code for Windows 8:

So far I think that Windows 8 appears to be the least user friendly operating system that Microsoft has ever developed. There are numerous Windows XP users that hesitated upgrading due to the fear of change -- Windows 8 is not for the majority of PC users.

I probably haven't given it a good enough test, but its doubtful I ever will, at least not anytime soon. First impressions are blah, boring, unimpressed, toooo much switching between Metro and Desktop, annoying. This may work on a touch interface, but it seems very anti-multitasking and too similar to a smartphone OS. At this rate I will milk my Win 7 for as long as I can. I have been reasonably excited with every new version of Windows since Win 95 preview. Not this time...

I've got it running in Virtual Box on my XPS. It runs fine but I see nothing -- and I mean NOTHING that I would want with this. Metro should have been implemented as a subsystem to the desktop, not the other way around. I'm likely to stick with Windows 7 for a very long time. For my mobile devices, iOS will do the job. I still like Microsoft but it's taking a direction with this one that I, as a developer, don't believe I will support.

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Posted by Doug Barney on 03/09/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Mar 12, 2012 Den Kansas City, MO

I've been trying to give the Consumer Preview a fair shake, but so far, I'm not impressed. For instance - when I installed it, there was no opportunity to set the local time. It defaulted to Pacific Time, but even when I set it to the proper US time zone, it displays the incorrect time. For another instance, it tried to update itself three times with a driver for my nVidia graphics card. The first one succeeded, but it tried twice again to install the same driver, and flagged both those attempts as failures. And again, when I entered the Personalize window on the desktop to change the wallpaper, I used the breadcrumbs in the address bar to back out to the Control Panel as a whole. I was then confronted with a blank window - no Control Panel, even though the options for displaying it were available. I had to close the window and return to More Settings to get the Control Panel to display. In short, this is very much beta software, or perhaps slightly advance alpha software. The Solitaire game is a holdover from Windows of old, except this one is annoying in that trying to set options is just about impossible (so far as I've been able to discover). The lack of a Start button, or orb, or something besides a tiny pixel in the lower left corner, is a major irritant. And the constant switching from desktop to Metro to desktop, and back and forth, gets tiresome after a (very short) while. I haven't installed Stardocks' Start8 work-around, but I will. The whole product looks dumbed down to a massively excessive extent. I'm not impressed, and I am expecting a lot of other users to feel the same way. This is _not_ progress.

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 Ryan San Francisco

It's easy to complain and bark about how something different is 'wrong' or cast aspersions on how it will fail. I can understand the hesitation and unwillingness to change; it's natural. Microsoft needs to differentiate. Each OS since Windows 95 has been an iteration on the previous version. Vista created a huge gap in compatibility and it was clear that the resulting OS is the result of the change in direction late; developers were caught off guard; drivers didn't work. Windows 7 refined what was a mistake with Vista and made sure that compatibility - one of Microsoft's core principles - was brought back. I'm personally excited to see a MAJOR change to the OS again. I like seeing this rapid pace of innovation; making leaps in the product versus interative changes which cut out prior support like Apple does. Microsoft has tried many times to get the tablet and slate market, I think that there's a chance that they finally have a winner. Most users use ONE application at a time and often it's full screen. There are plenty of exceptions to this, and I'm one of them. I love the cross platform, same experience that Microsoft is driving from the Phone, to Xbox, to the OS.

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 Richard Cyber Space

I'm not impressed with what I have seen in W8 so far. I quit using MS Office entirely because of 'The Ribbon'. IMHO, it is one of the worst downgrades to a product in recent memory...almost as bad as Vista. I have no idea why they would make it part of the OS. It must be a death wish thing...

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 Colorado

I have it running in a VM and just started testing but like the feel of it. It does take a bit to find everything and will be a major leap for users in the Enterprise. We are still on XP so a lot of training is in our future.

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 Dobie

It takes a bit to start to understand, but once you get it running it will be the way to go - escpaceillay for folks who use multiple devices. Looking forward to more apps! Doug - I think the haters are just going to complain

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