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Old 08-03-2013, 03:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Windows 8 Review

tl;dr Win8 is a great OS but with some stunningly bad UI mistakes that with some effort can be fixed.

I just installed Windows 8 and have used it for a couple days.

First the good.
It is fast and stable. It is my #1 OS of choice at the moment - BUT ONLY IF you first take the time to fix all of the horrible UI design problems.

It comes pre-installed with a great anti-virus program.
The task manager is nicely improved.
They included the ribbon from Office in file explorer. I don't like this but I think it is probably just because I'm an old fuddy dud. If you are used to the ribbon then it might be a nice new feature but it slows me down.
Lots of little things like improved defrag, disk checking, memory optimizing, aesthetically pleasing flat design style.
The flat UI design is a huge improvement over the default Vista/7 Aero glass design BUT they removed nearly all options to tweak it in Win8.


And the bad.
Oh my freaking god what the hell were they thinking. The user interface is absolutely horrendous.

The entire UI department needs to be fired. Or it seems they just hired a bunch of 3rd graders so "flunked" is more appropriate than "fired".

It is a desktop operating system entirely designed around touch. Even if you are one of the 1% that has an option of a touch screen monitor on your desk or one of the maybe 5% using touch on a laptop you still want the option to use a mouse most of the time.

Adding their new touch interface "metro" in addition to the start button might not have been the worst idea but completely deleting the start button with no option to re-enable it is insane. Balmer said removing the Start Button was "betting the company". If that is true I'd love to play poker with him because he has no idea when his hand is crap.

The start button is hugely functional and the entire target audience is comfortable and familiar with it and it has almost zero resource drain. There is no negative to including it.

Why did MS do this? Because iPhone and Android are kicking MS butt in the new smart phone market. To compete in phones MS needed to pull weight from their desktop monopoly. They tried to have a similar interface on both phones and desktops. Developers would then make apps for the MS phone because they would also have instant access to the huge desktop user base. And users would feel comfortable using a MS phone because it was just like their desktop. The huge problem is, you use a desktop and a phone for different reasons and having the same user interface on both is fail.

So much fail that MS admitted their mistake and said they would offer a free upgrade to fix the problem. That upgrade hasn't been released yet. Hopefully it will fix all of these problems and make Win8 a beautiful OS. I have no idea why it is taking them so long to release it.

The switch from the start menu to metro is by far the biggest problem with Win8 and that may not seem like much is wrong but they try to incorporate metro with the entire OS. By default nearly every file opens in metro. It is one of the hugest user interface design flaws I have ever seen.

One other huge and obvious flaw, the scroll bar is light gray on white. Almost white on white and nearly impossible to see. That wouldn't be so bad but they also for the first time since 1995 removed the option to customize the colors of UI elements. I can not imagine how screwed up their quality control department must be to allow such a fundamental and easy to spot problem make it to production.

I don't plan on using any metro apps but they obviously want apps to be the main way you use your desktop. Metro Apps run fullscreen - no option to put them in a window. The OS is called "Windows" and they are trying to remove the option to run programs in windows. Why! How did product testers not stop this.


My biggest complaint of Apple has always been that they don't respect power users. They treat their users like they are grandmothers. It now looks like MS is moving in this direction. They removed many customization options that have been part of Windows since 1995. The only reason to remove them is they don't respect the typical user's intelligence.

How to fix these problems.
MS didn't make it easy to fix these problems but with 3rd party software it is possible.

There are a couple different options to add the start button. I went with Windows 8 start menu returns with Start8 from Stardock!
But you can also use anything from here
For more information and alternatives.
How to banish Metro from your Windows 8 PC forever | PCWorld


For the scroll bar I only found two solutions.
1. Get a wheel mouse and accept that you will never have a visual que for the page position.
2. Install Skin the Windows desktop interface with WindowBlinds
3. Use another OS.

I wasn't really happy with any of those options but I went with number 2 which does fix the problem.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

Interesting review. I'm not too familiar with Metro myself as my phone runs on Android (Jellybean 4.1.2). I heard there was an easy way to disable the app-style OS a more normal style Windows OS.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

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Originally Posted by Tenser View Post
Interesting review. I'm not too familiar with Metro myself as my phone runs on Android (Jellybean 4.1.2). I heard there was an easy way to disable the app-style OS a more normal style Windows OS.
There is desktop mode which is like a normal windows desktop minus the start button.
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

I think your third fix was the best option.
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Old 08-13-2013, 04:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

I bought a new PC about a month ago, and it came with Windows 8 installed. Here are my thoughts:

-With no experience with Windows 8, it takes a lot of getting used to.
-Initially I had to google how to find a lot of stuff, including how to turn it off or restart.
-You will spend 95% of your time in desktop mode as anything that isn't a live tile launches from there anyways
-It's really not all that bad once you get the hang of it, though searching for things is a royal pain
-You'll probably have to add icons like My Computer to the desktop so you don't drive yourself crazy trying to find things.
-If you take the time and set up desktop mode as much like it was in XP/Vista/7(I'm talking without modding it) Windows 8 and metro won't really matter that much to you IMO.
-Some of the live tiles are great. I really like the weather, sports, and news ones because you can instantly look at them and see the headlines without having to open them or open new windows.
-The live tiles can be pinned to the left or right of the screen while you do other things in desktop mode, though only one at a time. Problem is it takes your widescreen monitor and essentially makes your main window of focus the old square way monitors used to be.

To me, I kind of like it. I'd have liked it more if it was like normal windows but once I got used to it I have no real issues with it.
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Old 08-13-2013, 04:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

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Quote:
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3. Use another OS.
I think your third fix was the best option.
Nah, it actually is a very good OS once you fix the problems I mentioned.

The part that baffles me is those problems are so glaringly obvious that they should not have even made it into the release candidate, much less into a final release. And they are so easy to fix that an update should have already been released.

Windows 8.1 is supposed to fix the issues but it is not being released until late this year. That is way to long of a delay for this type of issue.

Another stupid problem when you uninstall a metro app it just deletes the shortcut, the files are still there. Some of the apps are several GB (but most are small) and encourage you to just install and try them out the same as you would try a new webpage - often use it for a few seconds then leave and forget it ever existed. That will eat away at free hard drive space fast.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

I'm really interested in the Google Chrome OS myself.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

Close everything on your computer. Open Chrome. See how long you can get without wanting to open any other program. If you can make it a month without regrets then switch to Chrome OS. I personally would never want to do that.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

oh, so it's not a full OS, just something that only runs Chrome?
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

The idea is that a web browser can do nearly anything an OS can do and so they replaced the OS with a web browser.

When you aren't browsing the web you will usually be in docs.google.com.

You can watch movies including Netflix and play music all through Chrome.

You can run some graphics programs through a browser.

You are not going to be running Photoshop or playing Mine Craft or anything similar in Chrome.

For some people it makes sense but before you commit, see if you can do everything you want through Chrome alone. I cant.

The benefits are it is free, it runs on slow computers, and while some apps will be buggy the entire system will be pretty stable since nothing is ever installed.

If email and web surfing and MAYBE movies and music are your ONLY computer tasks then it is definitely worth checking out.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

I think I'll hold onto 7 as long as I can and hope they release a better one down the line.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

Windows 8.1 late this year should be pretty good out of the box.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

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I think I'll hold onto 7 as long as I can and hope they release a better one down the line.
I agree, I have a perfectly working 7 so no need to upgrade.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

I'm sure whatever Microsoft releases next will have a whole new array of problems that'll need to to be fixed.

Does anybody have a link to the specifics of what will be changed in v8.1, I didn't get much from watching the hands-on previews?
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

You can download and install 8.1 beta for free
Meet Windows 8.1 Preview - Microsoft Windows

List of changes
Windows 8 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sounds like they are making Metro more optional.
They are bringing back the start button.

Looks like the scroll bar will still be nearly invisible.
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:59 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

LEAKED: German Government Warns Key Entities Not To Use Windows 8 €“ Links The NSA | InvestmentWatch

---------- Post added at 06:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:57 PM ----------

Google Translate

---------- Post added at 06:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:58 PM ----------

From the second link, translated a bit weird but I think we get the gist:

"The operating system contains a back door in their view, can not be closed. This backdoor is called Trusted Computing and could have the effect that Microsoft can control any computer remotely and control. And thus the NSA."
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:56 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

Will computer running Windows 8 be able to interface directly with the Xbox One and other Xbox game consoles? I haven't read anything to the contrary sofar but it seems like it would probably be an interesting feature.

I saw that with Battlefield 4 players will be able to connect with the server they're playing on with a tablet app and directly affect in-game gameplay (live minimap feed, select loadout, target bases, etc.).
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:12 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

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Originally Posted by FudgyDRS View Post
Will computer running Windows 8 be able to interface directly with the Xbox One and other Xbox game consoles? I haven't read anything to the contrary sofar but it seems like it would probably be an interesting feature.

I saw that with Battlefield 4 players will be able to connect with the server they're playing on with a tablet app and directly affect in-game gameplay (live minimap feed, select loadout, target bases, etc.).
I has the XBox live tile that will log into your xbox account, so I assume it will.
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

What do you mean by "interact".

I think it has a shared login. You can use one skydrive account on both. Share and play media from both.

Not sure about any game interaction.
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:37 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

What I mean is that rather then connecting to the current account, have the computer talk directly to the console like how current handheld systems do. So be able to share all data on the console with the mobile device or laptop without connecting online.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:55 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

I ended up having to download something that allows for using the start button like you do in Windows 7 because the start setup for Windows 8 really annoyed me.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:27 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

After the initial shock of no start button I think Windows 8 is all right. My laptop with it installed boots and is ready to go a lot quicker than my desktop with Vista.

It'd have been really nice though if they hadn't pushed so hard for the new tablet interface and "app" style programs, those are useless.....hopefully the flop of the Windows Store will reduce their focus in that area.
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Old 10-12-2013, 04:12 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

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Windows 8.1 is supposed to fix the issues.
I tested 8.1. It does nothing to fix any of the issues. They are still trying to change a desktop into a phone. Ridiculous.
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Old 12-01-2013, 01:24 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

tl;dr: Win8 is still my OS of choice. It is fast and stable and a few of the new additions are actually nice but man did they screw up the simple stuff.

More gripes. In every previous version of Windows you could right click a tab on the task bar and select move and use the keyboard to move a window. Very handy if you need to retrieve a window that is off screen which common if you use dual screen then turn off a screen. This feature is now gone. Just deleted without reason or replacement.

All of the Win8 problems are from removing core components that have worked in every previous version. Makes no sense. Even less sense that after a year of bad reviews they haven't re-enabled any of these basic features which would be very easy for them to do.

Also, other software, such as Windows Update or any other random exe, can still force a reboot against your will. I can't believe in 18 years they haven't fixed this. Under no circumstance should your computer ever decide to close all your work without asking for permission, especially without a chance to save. Windows Update makes it even worse by taking a very long time to reboot. What if you are under a time crunch - have to send an important email before running out the door to meet your boss - and your computer closes everything and spends 30 minutes rebooting. They leave this "feature" but remove the ability move lost windows back onto screen.

I could understand if the problems were glitches and bugs but these problems are all deliberate choices to remove small functions that worked perfectly for nearly 20 years. Any user testing at all would have shown these issues.

I've read a few Windows forums, comments and reviews. They are full of debates, the metro menu complainers vs people saying things change get used to it.

The debate misses the point. 1.) When people upgrade Windows they want something that fundamentally works the same as their previous computer. If they were ready for a complete overhaul then they would upgrade to Linux, not Win8. 2.) Replacing the start menu is not the only thing they butchered. Most of the things they removed, they did not add replacements for, they simply removed them.

Last edited by Kong; 12-01-2013 at 03:32 PM.. Reason: added tl;dr
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:43 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Windows 8 Review

Sounds like I'll be waiting for Windows over 9000 before I get a new PC.
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