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Windows 8 - User Impressions

I know the last post came down on Windows 8 a bit but I'm ready to move beyond and get into what the operating system itself is really like. I've had some time to work with Windows 8 and there's some things I really like and some things that I think need polish. I approached it from the standpoint of the modern user. The modern user isn't going to read help files unless something is majorly wrong. They aren't going to study how to use Windows. They are just going to approach it using the tried and true methods of the past and adjusting as they need to.

Given that approach, there are going to be a lot of pissed off users. Upon first loading into Windows 8 you see your usual taskbar but there's no start button. In fact, there's no indication whatsoever of where to go to get to anything that isn't on your taskbar or desktop already. Granted, I am using this as a Windows 7 to Windows 8 upgrade that kept all my programs and taskbar options, but there's no visual indication of what to do. Perhaps a fresh install of Windows 8 gives some sort of hint? My first steps involved:

  1. I'd heard from a friend that the PC experience of Windows 8 would actually feel kinda like using a tablet but with a mouse and would take some getting used to. The first thing I tried was various mouse gestures. Click & drag top-down, left-right, right-left...nothing.
  2. I tried clicking in the corner anyway, nothing happened.

After that point I was actually pretty much at a loss. That was all I could think of to do (although it later dawned on me that I could've just hit the "Windows" key on the keyboard). It was then as I was moving the mouse around and staring into space trying to get some way of having Windows 8 bend to my will that I noticed that was my mouse hit the very very top of the screen it changed to a hand. AHA! I clicked and dragged - the screen acted like it wanted to swipe down so I did. Nothing happened - the screen went back the way it had been. so, I tried again. This time I made sure to drag all the way from the top, to all the way at the bottom. It worked! I got the new "Start Screen". I've gotta say - it looks good and it feels good. From there I was able to right click the little tiles to change their settings and move them around,

From there my next challenge was trying to launch a program that wasn't on that start screen. I didn't seen any indication of how to do this but I figured like Windows 7 I'd just start typing. Success! It worked.

From that point I was able to get to any program on my computer and actually use the thing. It feels good. It's a challenge sometimes to break what I'm used to. I also liked the panoramic multi-monitor Windows theme that was made available. Overall I love the look and feel. I look forward to developing for this platform.

Reservations

I am concerned about the fact that there were no visual cues as to how to navigate the operating system. I have since found that there is hover functionality in the corners of the screen but for me they aren't working consistently (multiple monitors issue?). My main reservation is that you get somebody that is not as tech-enthused as I am and chances are that the user will get absolutely fed up with the interface really quickly.

Issues Encountered

  • After first reboot, none of the native applications would run - Resolution: AVAST views many of the Windows 8 apps as a threat. Turn off the "behavior" monitor.
  • Changing my microsoft account name was a huge hassle - Resolution: I found that if I reserve the alias I wanted to change my account to, verify it, then remove it that I was able to change my account name. (this is something I've been trying to do for a couple years actually).