Posted by: crudbasher | July 29, 2013

First Impressions Of Windows 8

I bought a new laptop this weekend. While I do have a Macbook Pro, I typically like to use a Windows based machine more. I guess I’m more used to it.

I purchased a Samsung ATIV Book 8. It’s their top of the line model and comes with all the goodies. Typically I don’t buy the latest and greatest in technology but I keep my laptops a long time so it makes sense to me to buy something beefy. I am also replacing my desktop computer too.

Bottom line: I love the computer and hate Windows 8.

Ok maybe hate is too strong of a word. I reserve hating things for special occasions. When I went to purchase this machine, I looked up info on Windows 8 and read about it a lot. I wanted to like it! I admired Microsoft for trying something different and wanted to see what they were thinking.

Here are some things to avoid with computer interfaces.

  1. Don’t put things that are related in different places.
  2. Consistency helps hugely in learning how to use it.
  3. If there are things not apparent, embed a little quick training.
  4. Try not to make things not apparent.
  5. If you have an established user base, don’t alienate them without a very good reason.
  6. Don’t have it do things unexpectedly.
  7. Don’t force users to do things a new way unless it makes the experience MUCH better for them. (see #5)

Ok, as far as I have seen, Windows 8 breaks all of these. What just frustrates the heck out of me is the Windows 7 interface wasn’t broken!

Heres’ the stuff I like and don’t like.

Likes

  • The Modern interface seems pretty and clean. I’m not sure how useful it actually is because I’ve found no real use for it. Oh wait, I watched Netflix for a few minutes until I wanted to web browse at the same time. Then I went to the desktop and launched Netflix in a browser.
  • Everything I want to run or do I have to do to the desktop to do. It also seems to run pretty snappy but that might have to do with the fact I have a quad-core under the hood.

Dang, I really can’t think of anything else I like that wasn’t in Windows 7. Moving on.

Dislikes

Let me just hit my top few.

  • The Modern tiles interface is non intuitive. I wanted to remove some of them and had to look up how.
  • There are two completely different interface paradigms on the computer now. I really feel sorry for people who are new to Windows. I knew I was in trouble when I was able to popup a software keyboard on my screen, despite the fact I have a laptop with a real keyboard.
  • The system controls are spread out into many different places.
  • There are programs and then there are apps. These are different, they live in different places, they are uninstalled differently, and they update differently. You run them differently, you close them differently. Get the point?
  • It took me 2 days of trying to get the Apps to update. They just kept getting stuck on Pending. I then discovered there is a tool called Troubleshooter which was able to fix the problem. So, rather than make it so the updates just worked, they gave up and just made a tool that fixed it? Ugh. I rag on Apple a lot, but they would never have shipped something that ugly.
  • It keeps sending me back to the Modern interface. For example, I was on the desktop and double clicked on a photo. On previous Windows versions, it popped up the photo in a preview windows quickly. To my surprise it opened up the Photo app in full screen mode, then showed the photo. To close it you have to grab the top edge of the window and drag it all the way to the bottom of the screen. Then you are back in the Modern interface! Then you have to click on the Desktop button to take you back to where you actually were before. This is insanely cumbersome. (I was able to eventually change some settings so it popped up in a preview window)
  • My worst problem with this is the lack of a start button. Holy cow Microsoft, I have 20 years of muscle memory using Windows version going back to Windows 95 where every thing I want to do starts with “Press Start”. All of that just went out the windows (see what I did there? lol). Very very dumb idea.

For the life of me, I can’t understand how they didn’t see this in testing. Well, I’m sure it was discovered in testing, but evidently Microsoft has no functional communications to the management.

The big problem is they are trying to take an interface designed for tablets and force it on a laptop. The problem with that is tablets are limited as to capabilities and inputs. Therefore the interface has to work around those limitations. What Microsoft has managed to do is bring the same limitations to a laptop, which is quite an achievement.

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Responses

  1. I feel ths same way about Windows 8. Is there a work around where I can using Windows 7 instead?

  2. I feel the same way about there almost being a dual-personality in Win 8, but like anything where you try to do two things at the same time, it fails a bit at both. They are in a bit of a bind though – to your point – they can’t alienate their base, but they also need to advance their cause.

    To me the more troubling element is how you called out that the grouping of information is not coherent or helpful – they could have had a slam dunk if things were more strongly intuitive.


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