Windows 8 consumer preview got released a couple of days ago and here I am with my impressions.
Windows 95 – Bad
Windows 98 – Good
Windows Me – Bad
Windows XP – Good
Windows Vista – Bad
Windows 7 – Good
Windows 8 – (Are you getting my point yet?)
Well, it’s not necessary that Windows 8 should be crap. Maybe Microsoft has finally learned. Or maybe this new operating system will provide a good joke to Mr. Jobs who is resting somewhere above.
Anyway, I used Windows 8 at a friend’s place and here I am to share my experience with you.
Let us start with the Start menu. This is no longer that rectangular/circular icon you see at the bottom left of your screen. Instead, it is now a whole screen with rectangular/square icons. This is the screen that you are welcomed with when you first start up the operating system. These icons on the start page take you to their respective applications when you click on them. Take the weather app for example; this is no longer the small widget that you had on your desktop in Vista or 7. It is a whole app now. Although I did not confirm this, I am pretty sure there will also be a weather widget as in the previous two Windows.
So, this weather app basically shows you the weather forecast (obviously). Similarly, other applications such as Calendar and Finance give you the updates you need. While using these apps, you will notice that there are bars here for scrolling. And they’re somehow… poorly designed. What I mean by this is that when you move your mouse wheel, both the vertical and horizontal bars will begin to move. At first I thought there was something wrong with the wheel itself, or maybe I was doing something wrong, but it turned out to be a genuine issue. No matter, since this is only the consumer preview, there are bound to be some problems.
Moving on, you can now buy applications from the Microsoft store. Once you purchase an app, it will be shown on the start page. Just like in Apple’s iOS, the purchasing and removal of applications is very simple. All this can be done in a few clicks. Thank you Microsoft for making some things simple. No more hassle with the Control Panel!
However, this menu looks like it should be used on Tablets, and not PCs. It felt very awkward and wrong to be using these applications by a mouse. It would be better to use it via touch.
Through the start page, you can go to your desktop, which looks completely like a Windows 7 desktop, but without a start button. However, by clicking the bottom left part of the screen, you can open up the start page. Hence, I do not see a point in removing the sleek looking icon which has been a symbol of Windows for a very long time. Almost all the icons on the desktop and the taskbar are exactly as they were in Windows 7, which is pretty upsetting since I was expecting a new look for the icons. Even minor changes would have sufficed.
Moving on to my favourite part: file managing. Copying files looks cooler, and is more efficient than before. I copied 2 files from one hard drive to another, and it displayed the speed with the use of a graph to show how fast the copying was being done. Furthermore, I was able to pause the copying of one file, to make the other one go faster. This was a great idea and is very useful for those who copy multiple files at once, but would like to give particular files more priority. I’m sure all of us have faced this dilemma before.
Now, you can even view the actions that are available for the files (Copy, paste etc.) on top of the explorer. This is congruous to the layout of Microsoft Office 2007 onwards. Although it is helpful, I don’t understand why they had to make it look like we’re using Office. Those of you who find this annoying, and know the short cuts for such tools can easily close the bar at will.
And finally, the best thing about Windows 8… is the revival of the ‘back’ button! Yes folks, that valuable button is back. For those who do not know what this button is: It takes you back to the mother folder of the folder that you’re viewing. This seems insignificant as I write about it, but we all know how important that button is.
One other thing worth mentioning is the task manager which is now, for some, simpler to use. Details can be hidden to avoid confusion, and tasks can be carried out just as before. Also, now you can select which programs to open at start-up, instead of searching for this option at the Control Panel.
Overall, I think Windows 8 is an improvement, but Microsoft made a few silly mistakes that may cause some users to avoid upgrading, such as the removal of the start button that we have all come to know and love.
If you have used Windows 8, what do you think about it? Will you be upgrading? Let me know in the comments below.