Windows 8 RTM, my objective opinion

I’ve blogged in earlier posts about my experience so far with Windows 8, starting from the developer preview, going onto the consumer preview, and now finally the RTM.

The RTM (release to manufacturer) release is basically the final product. No big changes go into an operating system once it hits RTM, so this will most likely be my final review on Windows 8 as it stands.

As I write this I have the install process going on in the background on a virtual machine, for this reason I won’t be talking much about performance, simply because we all know Windows 8 is designed for a tablet environment and because of this we already know it will run quicker than Windows 7.

This review only focuses on the end user experience from a desktop computing perspective.

At this point in time my feeling are mixed, I really hated what they had done with the consumer preview and I’m not a fan of Metro, a lot of you guys commented and gave feedback, and so I believe that most of us power users don’t like the direction Microsoft are taking, some have called Windows 8 a bad joke, others scoff at it in disbelief.

I’ll tell you right now I don’t have high hopes for the way Windows 8 is out of the box, so I am going to cheat a bit and try and use 3rd party start menu apps and attempt to bypass metro as much as possible and hopefully end up with a faster operating system that is still relevant in a desktop power user setting.

I might succeed or not. This post will explain my best attempt to like this new operating system – how it will end I honestly don’t know yet.

1. The setup process. It is the best setup process in the history of MS operating systems. It did ask me for my phone number – very bad idea! Otherwise the setup was pain free. Setup is the type of thing you don’t do everyday, but it seems it is geared towards performance.

2. Ok I’m in, it didn’t ask me for a login screen instead booted me straight into Metro. Now let me see if I can install Chrome and some other vitals – brb.

Managed to get Chrome and Start 8 installed. It isn’t exactly what I expected, but it did offer me the option to boot straight to desktop after login. So let’s test that out. There has been a lot of posts on Reddit, saying Microsoft blocked this ability, let’s see – rebooting now!

I’m also going to say at time of writing start8 is simply not well polished for regular use – I think they will release an update based on the RTM code which clearly has changed since consumer preview.

Ok , another thing worth mentioning – drag up to sign in is gone – a single click works! That’s a good start!

3. Alright time to install viStart – the installer is filled with tons of adware and crapware – not a good sign, but this is a virtual machine, not sure if I would trust installing it in a real environment. Honestly doubt it, unless someone stripped down the installer.

viStart looks a bit better, lets see how it handles a reboot –

While we’re rebooting, it’s worth mentioning you’re logging into your Windows Live Account – I’m not entirely against this, but I would suspect in a work environment suddenly you’ll be required to have a Windows Live Account.

viStart doesn’t take you to desktop mode after a reboot, and I am now in Metro mode, and can’t figure out how to get back to desktop mode. Fuck! Give me a few minutes 6:48PM….

6:51. Well viStart might be the way forward. Let me check for some other options. ….

Alright there is classic shell, but it seems a bit too XP like – very old school, I’m not sure if I want to go back in time.

So here is the thing… Start8 needs time to mature and other start menu applications need to make their way onto the scene to make Windows 8 usable again.

For now let’s forget about the start menu. It is a bit of an epic failure, and indeed a show stopper – but now I need to find some value in using Windows 8.

Skydrive: I kinda expected a new drive to be available in my computer – because I am logged into my Windows Live Account, it seems strange – no drive is mapped! No OS level integration to Skydrive – I guess the best they could do was that Metro app? Mmmm ok that sucks.

The rest actually looks very similar to Windows 8 without Aero. It looks like a very simplistic skin. And now nearly identical to Windows 7.

I’m honestly not sure at this point in time Windows 8 can offer me very much. I think it is an OS trying very hard to be new and fresh, but it is an OS which is clearly not designed with passion and love for my type of computing usage.

I’m sorry I did try to like it, now I’m a bit depressed because it is fairly terrible in it’s current state.

Maybe once some 3rd party apps launch that fix the usability issues – who knows!

But I think it seems they’ve hit a surface with Windows 7, and cannot innovate beyond that.

The end! Oh fuck how to shut this thing down now! Ended up just killing the power of the virtual machine.

6 thoughts on “Windows 8 RTM, my objective opinion

  1. You know you can type to search and launch in Classic Shell too. Don’t be hasty in passing it off as an XP style menu. There is a Classic Shell skin + settings pack that makes it function like the Windows 7 Start Menu. Get it here: http://www.askvg.com/download-classic-shell-skin-to-get-windows-7-look-like-start-menu-and-start-button-in-windows-8/ Here’s how it can look: http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/images/gallery/SevenVG.png You can use search to type and launch or utilize full screen to view All Programs without scrolling. If flyout menus aren’t your style, you can set them to open only by mouse click instead of mouse hover by increasing the “Menu Delay” value so it behaves like the Windows 7 Menu even more. Totally customizable. That it takes advantage of full screen to show All Program without unnecessary scrolling of 7’s Start Menu or 8’s oversized Start screen is its best advantage.

  2. And what is wrong exactly with the “classic” XP look? XP’s Windows Explorer is the best one Microsoft has done. Same with the Start Menu. IMO

  3. Here’s my thoughts/comments/questions after using the RTM…

    1. The tutorial on how to use Windows 8 was completely inadequate. All you get is a box stating to place your mouse in any corner. That’s not going to cut it if that’s in the final product that is shipped.

    2. I install apps…like Office…and they barf all over my start screen. I have to manually remove all the irrelevant stuff every time I install anything. And the icons are all generic. Is there a way to update the graphics? An option during the install of applications asking what icons we would want on the Start screen would go a LONG way to solving this problem.

    3. Finding settings is frustrating and I’ve had to Google/Bing many simple things. Figuring out I can hover over the bottom left and then right-click is a good example of this. Is it really this unintuitive? I know I can memorize a bunch of Windows key assignments…but I don’t want to use the Windows key. In fact, on my Mac…there is no Windows key. Is this supposed to be WordPerfect for DOS all over again where we all had to memorize F key shortcuts to get anything done? “Sure mom…don’t you know? Windows 8 is so incredibly intuitive…all you have to do is select the Alt-F4 or the Win+E keys. Yeah…everyone knows that…and should memorize them along with their social security numbers. What’s that? Yes mom…I know you didn’t have to do that with your iPad…or Mac…or iPhone.”

    4. The constant switching between desktop and Metro (or whatever it’s now called) is infuriating. For example, I’m running Outlook on the desktop, I click a PDF attachment, and WHAM…I’m thrown into the single window Metro PDF viewer. I can’t even compare the PDF file to a Word document because…it’s single Window. I can solve the problem by installing Adobe PDF…but…why? Why can’t I view a PDF in the desktop view?

    5. The mail app is terrible. I don’t know what more to say other than it’s the most basic, rudimentary tool for mail I’ve seen. Is there any better Metro mail app?

    6. The People app is terrible. Doesn’t seem to work for me at all. Doesn’t import my current PST contacts.

    7. The Messaging app seems to only connect to Facebook. What no Lync support? No Yahoo, AIM, etc? Am I missing something? Twitter and Facebook only? Really?

    8. There appear to be two IE versions. When I click a link I’m constantly being thrown into the Metro IE. How can I change this so it launches in the desktop IE?

    9. The color palette choices range from acceptable to…oh my crap who thought of that butt ugly color choice? Are there other choices we can download or configure?

    10. The corner access seems to be all of about 2…maybe 5 pixels. This makes it hard to quickly choose charm or the task switcher on a high-resolution monitor. On some test tablets, it was nigh impossible to get the charms to appear. I never could close an app without the assistance of a mouse. Again…probably some Windows key shortcut to solve a problem that never existed before…right?

    11. When you click on the “Games” app it comes up with “XBOX” and shows me a bunch of XBox games? I’m running Windows 8…not Xbox. What is that all about? This is the “Enterprise” version…so why would I want my end users connecting to some XBOX store?

    12. The timezone appears to default to PST every single time and I didn’t see an option during the install to change it. What gives?

    13. I had to run the slmgr at an elevated command prompt to change the key. What gives?

    14. The Map app. It appears that I can only select a starting point and a single destination? Is there a way to select multiple points…say I want to fly into an airport, go to the hotel, and then go to a customer site. How do I do an A-B-C-D-etc pathing? The entire ¼ of the right hand of the screen appears unused.

    15. The Skydrive Metro app appears to lack a number of features in the standard desktop version. Is this going to be enhanced?

    16. The Music app. I loaded a few songs, but it appears that it launched “XBOX Music” and all the cover art and such displayed comes from the store and some are “inappropriate”…especially for some organizations (ex. a church isn’t going to want to see “Insane Clown Possee” shown when they want to play gospel stuff. Is there a way to make the music app only display the songs/albums that I have in the personal library without having to scroll to the left (and still Mariah Carey in an almost topless shot to the right)?

    17. Video. Same thing with video. It launches “XBOX Video” and I see a bunch of inappropriate stuff for an “Enterprise”. I have to scroll to the left to see my videos. How can I just display my videos without the store link trying to sell me “Battleship”, “Teen Wolf” and “The Dictator”? I can’t wait to have “The Exorcism of somebody” pull up right in the middle of a video presentation. This is going to get someone sued in a large company.

    18. How do I change the News app to pull from different sources…or is it really just “Bing News”?

    19. The Calendar app. How do I get it to sync with my other calendars…like my Outlook 2010 or Outlook.com calendar?

    20. Speaking of Outlook 2010…how do I search e-mails in the Windows index like I used to in Windows 7? it doesn’t seem to index my Outlook e-mails in Windows 8.

    21. The weather app. Can I display two different areas? Say I’m living in California, but traveling to New York. Can I display both weather reports? Also…what’s up with the down arrow and the arrow pointing to the right…not to be picky, but one looks like a standard arrow and the other looks like a triangle. Also, the top half of the screen appears blank and unused.

    22. The parental controls don’t appear when joined to a domain.

    23. Where are my local games? Why do I have to search for minesweeper?

    24. Why can I not window a metro app?

    25. Why…when I split screen with the desktop or another metro app I get a wonky 25%/75% view pane with no option for 50/50 split? Why also can I not copy content back and forth?

    26. Why can’t I run Metro apps over a VPN?

    27. If I have 2 monitors…why can’t I run 2 metro apps on each monitor? Currently, one monitor runs metro…and the others only run the desktop.

  4. Stay away, win8, I swear if you come any closer I’ll shoot you, or I’ll shoot myself!!
    I’m still in love with win7. This will be the first time I will not bother installing a new Windows release. I’ll just skip it. I dont see a real reason why installing it. They say it is fast. Yes, internally, but for the end user it is painfuly slow to work with. If you have to invest more time to accomplish a single task, then it is not really faster. It seem you have lost control over the system. This is not freedom. You are told how to do it, (a metro app) and where to do it (start screen). Desktop? Forget it. Microsoft is not listening. The begining of the end.

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