First Impressions of Windows 8 on a PC

Alright Microsoft. Windows 8 is here and it’s… okay. I have a PC that I upgraded from Windows 7 and so far I have a few issues.

The new Metro interface is alright. It takes some getting used to… it’s not the most intuitive thing. It takes some time to get used to navigating the tiles and finding how to add tiles for other programs already installed on the computer. The biggest problem so far is that because this interface exists, the Start button is completely gone and the Windows key switches to this interface when pressed. That’s a major annoyance. If I am working in Excel or something and want to open something else that I don’t have a desktop icon for, I have to flip to Metro, find the tile, and then flip back to the Desktop. While it may seem like this isn’t a problem, it is incredibly annoying. In the business environment, there are going to be a lot of irritated people.

Next, the Metro apps like Mail and Calendar aren’t easy to setup. I mean, they are… but only if you have an existing Microsoft account. Once you add that account in, you can add other accounts. I will say that I really do like the way these apps feel on the computer. I would love to play with them on a tablet. One disconnect I have with Mail on the desktop is that you can’t just drag a message into a folder if you want… instead, you have to click a different icon and move it that way. It’s not a big deal… but it doesn’t just work the way I expected it to. So far in Calendar, I can only find one way to view events. There isn’t a List mode or a Week or a Day. It only lets you see the whole month; and that doesn’t help me much if I want to see things differently. As for the Internet in Metro, it’s cool… but it’s hard to navigate if you have multiple tabs open and want to quickly switch between them.

As far as the actual Desktop goes, not much is really different that I’ve seen so far. Some things look different but function the same. A business user probably won’t have any trouble getting used to Windows 8 in this aspect. The biggest difference is the missing Start button. Microsoft did well with the Windows 7 desktop so I’m glad to see it hasn’t really changed.

Hopefully the things I described here will be changed or fixed when Service Pack 1 comes out… Windows 8 seems like it could be pretty good. It could end up being more liked than Windows 7; which Microsoft needs to have happen. I am looking forward to seeing Windows 8 on a tablet… but not that oddball Surface with Windows RT.

The make or break of Windows 8 will be the app ecosystem… hopefully there will be an explosion of apps in the next few weeks! I am a huge Apple fan and I won’t be switching any time soon; but I would absolutely love to see real competition to Apple’s products. Here’s to hoping for competition to inspire radical innovation!

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