Winter of Windows 8 Discontent

windows 8 LenkaWe’ve all seen the lovely Windows 8 commercial with Lenka singing and prancing to her song Everything At Once. I love the song and I love the irony of using it to promote Windows 8. The problem with Windows 8 is just that, it is trying to be everything at once, both a desktop operating system and a tablet operating system, pretty prancing tiles on top of a serious business operating system. All the flourishes get in the way of getting work done.

I have been labouring with Windows 8 as my main operating system since the end of October. I did not give in to the temptation of the various third party add-ons you can get now buy to ditch the tiles start menu (the interface formerly known as Metro before somebody sued Microsoft over the copyright) and go straight to the old fashioned Windows start menu.

No, I have honestly given Windows 8 a chance as is. And after six weeks, I spend almost 95% of my computer time on the good old desktop. App tiles may be pretty but they are not really functional if you are used to sharing information across multiple programs. For example, I often test web site functionality across multiple browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera). It is not as time effective for me to go from tile to tile (particularly with the non-intuitive mouse gestures you have to use, really bad design) compared to moving from window to window.

The quality of the third party tile apps has not been very good. I gave up on the Skype app after using it once as it was so difficult to find the command functions I use all the time. The Netflix app I gave up on in record time: abbreviated favourite list that didn’t actually have my most favourite genres anywhere and l couldn’t get it to move to my larger monitor (aka my tv) there were no options for video or changing monitors.

It’s not the dog that Vista was but definitely irritating to users.

The one improvement I really love is an under the hood thing, the new Task Manager, something 80% of normal users never touch. Microsoft has finally provided a complete listing of everything that is running on the computer with details that make troubleshooting much easier.

Warning for touch typists, keyboard commands have changed in Windows 8 and a single mistype can land you at the tile Start Menu, or the not so charming Charms bar or Redmond if you’re not careful.