Windows 8 Hands On

Yesterday I was helping a friend with a new Windows 8 Laptop. Best Buy had an awesome deal for two days, about 70% off. Yay!

The previous laptop died and we recovered the hard disk and put it into an external drive case. All I needed to do was move the files over and get MS Office installed.

Since I had heard the Metro interface could be turned off, I started looking for how to turn it off. Plus there are a number of programs that purport to do it for you. One is supposed to let you switch back and forth. Well… they don’t work and Microsoft has removed the ability to turn off Metro. 

A Microsoft Support Engineer responded to the question in Microsoft Answers:

Where is the option to turn off Metro?

Mahesh B G replied on December 12, 2012
Support Engineer

Hi,

Thank you for posting your question in Microsoft Community.

Modern User Interface [Metro] is one of the main new feature introduced in Windows 8 operating system, when compared with the previous version of Windows operating system.

It is by design and cannot be turned off or disabled.

I hope the above information helps you.

I have found out how to disable Metro, but it cripples Win 8 when you do. Not a good solution.

If you have not been using a smart phone, you are in for a hard time. The user interface behaves drastically different than Vista or Win 7. Too many visual queues that users are familiar with are missing. You won’t just sit down and use a Win 8 machine. You WILL spend time learning to use it.

The Windows Store proved to be a problem too. Way too many times when I tried to do something I was asked to open my Windows Store account. Trying to install Skype was particularly frustrating. Without opening the Windows Store I could not download Skype from Microsoft’s main site. Instead I had to get it from CNET.

Trying to get the Norton Anti-Virus out of the system and all associated Norton programs off was another frustrating experience. There is still a Norton reminder to JOINsome Norton update program. Even after removing every listed Norton anything and running Norton Removal Tools.

Once you get the hang of Metro, it is not all that bad. It is lame for a desktop. No eye candy. It obviously was made for a touch screen and a smart phone user. If you don’t know about edge gestures or moving your mouse to the upper left and right corners to open side bars, you’re going to flounder around trying to find controls you are used to finding in the task bar and Start menu.

If we lived 10 years in the future and were using holographic screen projected into the air it would be a nice interface.

If you have a Launch Bar like mine, Metro is going to be a useless mess. In my opinion Win 8 is going to be useless for power users on high end professional systems. I had thought of getting Win 8. Now I am advising clients to put off Win 8 and stay with Win 7. I’ll probably eventually change out my Vista for a Win 7. But, I’ll give it some time. I’m doing more programming for smart phones and tablets, so I am somewhat accustomed to the new user interface and expect I can learn it quickly.

I cannot imagine any business changing over to Win 8. The hit in productivity would be horrendous. For that reason I expect Microsoft to eventually give in and make it switchable so one can use the more classical Win 7/Vista interface. Until then I expect businesses and IT departments to hold their companies in Win 7.

The interface is much more layered. It is harder to drill down to controls geeks are used to using. I was caught a couple of times in panels familiar on Vista that were incomplete and lacked tools and setting I commonly use. There are other ways to go to deeper menus and panels. But, previous experience just mislead me.

For now I am not a fan of Win 8.

7 thoughts on “Windows 8 Hands On

  1. It can be disjointing first few days of use on a desktop upgrade, but it’s grown on me completely. Especially since I’ve gotten a touch mouse and keyboard meant for Windows 8.

    I find myself preferring the Netflix app to Netflix loaded via the web, and Xbox Live Music app infinitely over Spotify and Rdio. Worth the 40 dollars upgrade alone that. I use the ESPN app more than I visit the ESPN site. I use the Kindle App more than I use Cloud Reader or the desktop app nowadays. I like the free One Note from the app store more than I do Office 2013’s One Note (which is to say I don’t use One Note very seriously).

    Some things I definitely don’t prefer like Metro’s Mail app and its non-POP3 support. I don’t watch random videos with the default Video app. I don’t use the Metro PDF reader. Metro’s Skype is a lot less usable than the desktop version.

    It’s a mixed bag, but apps out of the Windows store in particular are growing on me and it’s very exciting and useful to have that.

    I haven’t played any of the Windows Store games yet beyond a few but I’m optimistic towards that space as well. I wouldn’t at all mind it become a success and Xbox Live on Windows 8 become as big a community as Steam is.

    Windows 8 on my touchscreen laptop has definitely grown on me. I love the touchscreen interface and would never want to go back to using Windows 7 on a laptop. It feels more natural for me to use keyboard and screen than it does keyboard and mouse or touchpad with a laptop.

    But yes definitely using those gestures, even with MS’s new touch mouse, is inferior on a desktop and causes some dissonance at first. It goes away though.

  2. What is even worse is that Win8 is totally unstable on my i7 2700k high end system. I had a great envirnment with Win7 and already 50 black screen and 50 blue screen crashes the whole system with Win8. The LL viewer crashes within 5 minutes and so do performance tests for my core… MS released a system that has not been sufficiently tested especially on the high end side! Worst MS performance in years!

  3. Ah… I knew somehow that Win8 was a terrifying monstrosity that I should avoid at all costs… but I do appreciate you verifying for me that it is in fact a every bit the steaming pile that I feared it was. Particularly on the point that it cannot be coerced into even being remotely productive by any stretch of the imagination. I’m sorry to hear you spent good money on finding that out though. =*(

    • You might be going a bit far…

      I suspect that within a year Microsoft will have to back-off as they did with Visita. Plus people will figure out how to circumvent the more aggregious problems.

  4. I think that saying its made for a touch screen is one of the most overly used comments I have ever heard. I refuse to use touch anything except for maybe the surface. We have a lenovo twist at my store and Touch is terrible. I’ve had 8 on my machine for sometime now and I dont have problems using it. I remove half those icons on the start anyway. Lets be far most things change be changed if you dont like them.

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