I’m about to bring the Windows H8.
So this weekend I was back at my parents place for a few days and my brother wanted to game together. I was running Ubuntu on my laptop so I was kind of limited for options. I happen to have a couple of Windows 8 keys handy and had a usb stick with me so I figured it would be a good time to both throw down something I could game on and show my family exactly why they shouldn’t go to Windows 8. Boy did Windows 8 come through for me on the latter.
So first are several bugs and UI decisions that I’ve noted else where in the past.
The poor UI choice with left right up down scrolling that takes place in some apps. The most notable is with the default weather app. Like all the other Win 8 native apps it scrolls left/right by default. However on the second screen of the app is a vertical scrolling column that, unless your mouse happens to beat the bottom of the screen, will get captured by this column which then scrolls up down and blocks your left/right scrolling of the app. While this isn’t a problem with touch screens it is a massive issue with mouse/keyboard use of the OS. Like MS didn’t bother to test/use the OS on standard PCs that will get upgraded.
Another little bug I’ve run in to is that in the game app my Live avatar flickers. I have no idea what this happens. It does it on both my Windows 8 VM and my Laptop with Win 8 installed.
Yet another issue is the lack of user training. The current tutorial consists of “put the mouse in the corner of the screen”. No mention of the fact that you have to right click in empty space on most apps to access most other useful features including to get to things like the menu that lets you uninstall an application. There is also no mention of how to do things like drag from the top of the screen to resize apps for a split screen view. It’s like Microsoft got in the rut of making a similar enough product all these years that they didn’t have to retrain people how to use it so despite a major over haul of the UI they made the same assumption. It took my brother like 4 minutes to figure out how to shut down the machine. How much of every ones time has MS wasted by simple lack of a tutorial? Not to mention the sky rocket of cost to businesses who now have to completely retrain their work force.
When I download an app from the browser and I choose to run the app when the download is complete the browser just sits there. And I sit there looking dumb because the browser is done with the download but there is no prompt for setup on the screen. Why? By default all installers run on the “Desktop”. If there is nothing on the desktop typically this will make the installer a new foreground window and this will yank you to the Desktop. However, for completely inexplicable reasons when you have other windows open in the foreground on the desktop(which sits quietly in the background), Steam for example, the installer window opens behind your all ready foreground window. This means it doesn’t take focus and you don’t get yanked to the desktop. Then you have to manually navigate to the desktop and then pull the installer back to the foreground to do the install.
Updates. I’ve seen folks on G+ complain about updates being to frequent on Windows 7. Let me say, if that was you, Windows 8 is your worst nightmare. The reason being that the addition of the Windows 8 app store means that apps are now semi automatic and separate updates. So now not only do you get Windows OS updates now you get to suffer through app updates. If you think app updates will work like they do on Android or iOS where they happen in the background and don’t require restarting the OS you’d be wrong. In fact an additional issue I ran in to is the fact that apps still on occasionally require an OS reboot. I install Windows 8, get my OS updates, reboot and then see that the store tells me there are 15 app updates available. I go to the update panel and only see 7 apps listed. I install the apps and then nothing happens. It tells me I still have 8 apps to update but they don’t show up in the update menu. Eventually I decided to put to test the tried and true Windows fix of a reboot. This of course did the trick and the other 8 apps showed up to be updated but the lack of a prompt that a reboot was required was baffling. Who wants to use an OS that has inexplicable problems all because the developers couldn’t be bothered to provide good prompts?
Application compatibility. I came across two applications in my short 48 hours with Windows 8. One of which claimed to be “updated to support Windows 8” that had some pretty bad issues. One of the two applications was a game which seems to validate the gaming industries general dislike of Windows 8. It’s not 100% clear if all the issues really do surround the eula issues or if there are some other programmatic issues or not. I would think there are programmatic.
Basically the general state of software is such that 80% of my time with the OS was spent on the traditional desktop since the software set for Windows 8 style applications is hardly expansive. Nor does the format of most apps lend themselves well to the touch interface. The fact of the matter is that the UI came from touch devices and does not lend it’s self well to desktop/mouse. If you own a traditional PC stick with Windows 7. While I’m tempted to suggest that Windows 8 would be good on a touch device with the state that software is in you spend most of your time in the traditional desktop with traditional apps which do not lend themselves well to touch. This being the case why bother going 8 until there is a broader set of touch friendly software?
A few people insist it’s faster because it’s faster booting. The reality is that it does boot faster but all the benchmarks thus far put it at the same speed/performance as Windows 7.
If you are ok with an OS that isn’t designed for the interface of the machine you are using, like getting interrupted by updates 2-3 times as often as you are currently, want to fight with the user interface, doesn’t prompt you for things you need to do to make things continue to function properly and doesn’t bother to walk you through how to use a nearly completely new interface then by all means run out and grab Windows 8. Till then hang on to Windows 7 and wait a little while for a spectacular OS with Windows 9. Odd’s FTW!