Call for Common Sense in Windows 8

Paul Thurrott’s rant has some merit. There has been a lot of whining and moaning going on in the various forums. My thoughts are this:

It’s a beta. Some things won’t work. It’s a new OS – it’s DIFFERENT. If you want it to look and behave like Windows 7 – stay with Windows 7. There is a lot of changes, and it takes some getting used to. But, once you get used to them (I’m sure not… yet), it will become much more efficient and easier to use. Maybe they made too many drastic changes in such a short time, I don’t know. But, as more people use it for longer periods, I expect a lot of the bitching to go down.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s 100% a better OS than Windows 7. Some of Paul’s complaints are off base for some users. Media Center may only be used by 1% of people. But, those 1% really like it. It’s a very well designed piece of software. Those 1% may just end up throwing Linux on a new box and run XBMC as a replacement (which is also a great piece of software that runs on Linux or Windows). Since Windows isn’t required, you can save a hundred bucks by going with Linux for a dedicated HTPC (which is probably less than 1/10th of that 1%). But, then you’re working on getting a new Linux convert for their other PC’s. It may not be a large demographic, but small changes in MC would satisfy those few and keep them loyal.

I also use the shutdown button on Windows every weekend. There are a lot of times when Windows Updates requires a restart. Why not just shutdown on the weekend, restart on Monday morning (work PC, of course – home PC can be once or twice a week) – that would save you time instead of interrupting you in the middle of the day while you’re working on something important. This may not be 1989, but Microsoft still hasn’t honed the process of updates to not require a restart to replace essential Windows files.

But, all in all I agree with the guy. It’s not Windows 7. Get used to it. If you want Windows 7, stay with Windows 7. You may not need to switch to a new OS. People are complaining that they will move to a Mac. Fine, it’s a whole new OS with a different UI, too. It will take a lot of time and effort to learn it. And, your old Windows programs won’t work with it, either. Also, Windows 8 is designed around MetroUI. Aero will not be updated. Again, if you want a full Aero and no Metro, stick with Windows 7.

I do miss the Start menu, though. I can honestly say that I miss it because after 17 years, it’s familiar. That’s it. I don’t miss it because it’s the only way and it’s easier. That’s how I’ve launched my programs, found the Control Panel, etc.. It’s been replaced, and after a couple months, I’ll wonder how I was ever able to use that stupid Start button. Times change. Maybe the removal of the Start button is long overdue. Maybe it was Microsoft’s greatest invention and was a very easy way to access programs and the MetroUI is a step backwards. I don’t know yet. Because we were so familiar with the Start button, Explorer desktop and other Windows 95 era components, it will be difficult to let it go and learn a new interface. It may be a lot easier to use, faster and more efficient. It has to be learned and given time.

I’ve been using the Windows 8 Consumer Preview for over a week now, and have been listening to the bitching and moaning on Twitter and via email since, oh, about 6:45 am PT last Wednesday. (You know, roughly speaking.) And as I write up front in my Windows books, maybe it’s time I establish my expectations. For you.

Yes, I’m going on a rant here. And, yes, this time it’s personal.

I’m sort of amazed I need to communicate this. After all, you’re a power user, right? But I am distressed at the absolute lack of sophistication I see here. And it needs to stop.