Well, like it or not, the latest version of windows is finally here and Microsoft have once again thrown something slightly new into the mix.
My early look into Windows 8 was via proxy as I had neither the time or the inclination to install the preview version. This may not have been the best choice as I was quite turned off Windows 8 after reading several reviews of the new ‘touch centric’ interface. I mean COME ON! I have a gaming rig for goodness sake, you don’t use touch screens on a gaming rig!
the problem for me is that I work in software development, sure I’m no longer actively laying down lines of code on a daily basis, but I need to be aware of the operating systems in use and the challenges they bring to my profession of choice. So I bought the upgrade, I bit the bullet and forked out my early adopter price and went through the pain of upgrading.
First thing to note is that, apart from some expected teething problems with drivers I needed to re-install, and an odd drive scan issue, the upgrade was pretty swift and painless. My first 20 minutes with windows was not, however.
Where the hell did all my apps go? how do I get a command prompt? why do my screens look flat and grey like when the video drivers crash and the graphics reduce to a basic mode? It was not looking good.
Forward through to 24 hours later and I’m actually getting used to it. Once you figure out where things are it seems more natural, or at least feels clean. the START screen is incredibly odd at first, but if you are into the various social sites and like to grab news quickly, it suddenly becomes useful. Google search is swift and easy through the new Google apps. you can open anything you have installed by simply typing the name, you don’t have to click a key or a mouse button just type. But then here comes the oddness again. If your app is not a so-called ”modern app” it will need to open via the desktop, you remember that right? you know? the desktop, the thing we all use daily now in Windows 7, in fact we’ve used it since windows 95 when Microsoft threw the rulebook in the fire and did something extraordinary, they gave us a start button!
The difference this time is that the same old desktop that has been around for almost 20 years has a bald spot, right where the Start button used to be. other than that it’s the same desktop with the same shortcuts – Windows Key + R to run, Windows Key + E for Explorer etc… and this is where things got interesting for me, as soon as I figured out that the Start button is the only thing that got a makeover I relaxed. no longer do I hit a dot in the left corner of the screen, now I get a whole screen to play with. Hit the Windows key in Windows 8 and you don’t get a menu, you get a rich interface where you can interact with social sites like twitter and Facebook pretty neatly, you can get the news or search the web – in seconds. then if you want to go back to the good old comfortable well-known way of working, simply hit Windows key + D to get to the desktop just as you did with Windows 7.
Microsoft have done a decent job of cleaning up several old dusty apps like Explorer and Task Manager, which is nice for geeks like me. There’s also nice integration with your Windows Live account and the email client in windows is actually not bad this time, especially as it hooks into Gmail real easy, fantastic for an Android fan like me.
There’s a lot to like about Windows 8 but don’t expect an easy ride to start with. your first few hours will leave you baffled for sure, but persevere and you will be rewarded. The CaffeineCoder view on this one is – Not as revolutionary as Windows 95 but still a worthy upgrade.