Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Windows 8

So why not upgrade to Windows 8? The upgrade is cheap. It's very easy, just download the updater program and the computer does it all for you. I did it the other night, but on the whole I'm still asking that question.

Windows 8 seems to run a bit faster than Windows 7 did on my Acer desktop computer, but it has crashed on every one of the four days I've had it, so it's about par for the course for a new Windows operating system.

Once the installer has done its party piece and the new system is up and running the computer reboots to give you essentially, two different GUIs which you switch between. One of them is pretty much identical to Windows 7 except that the start button is missing from the bottom left hand corner of the screen.The other GUI is accessed by moving the mouse into parts of the screen - the Right hand border or the bottom left corner and clicking. This second GUI is the array of brightly coloured patches illustrated above, each of which opens into an app. It is modern, easy to use and quite slick, although it seems to have been designed for a touchscreen computer with functionality for an ordinary desktop tacked on as an afterthought. Most of the apps work pretty well, but many of them seem to be in beta form, at best. For instance there is a map program which does absolutely nothing, and that is not an exaggeration. It has a dot which is supposed to be my present location, but it is set to some street address in Auckland, over 1600 km away and there is absolutely no way to reset it.  It gives me a standard zoomable map but there is no search function, no street view, no anything. What's the point of it? A very elegant weather app similarly assumed that I lived in Auckland, although with a great deal of effort I found a workaround  so that it now tells me what the weather is doing at my place.There is integration of my email and all my social networking accounts and my address book, but it is all a little too automatic and a little too much linked into Microsoft's Bing suite of programs for my liking. I can't even start up the computer without logging into my brand new Microsoft account. There is very smooth access to the media players, and all that side of things works quickly and smoothly, but I don't actually use my desktop computer as a media player very often. Why sit in my study when the family TV has more comfy chairs in front of it, has better speakers and can access the internet just as easily as my PC?

But here's my beef. It does very well all of the things I might want to do on a tablet or telephone, but not very well all those things I might want to do on a mouse driven desktop PC. Flitting back and forth between the two GUIs quickly becomes a pain: for example closing down the computer now involves 4 mouse clicks compared to the 2 required for Windows 7. I suppose there will be a flood of updates before long, making the system a little more compatible with desktop computing and hopefully a little more stable, but in the meantime,  as far as desk top machines go, Microsoft seem to have abandoned their roots and left the field wide open for the only remaining operating system which is purpose built for PCs, Mac OS X


Merv said...

still no comment.

Katherine said...

One is never too 'cracked on' to move to Apple.

Anonymous said...

I'm no Mac OS X fan.

However Windows 8 is lacking for sure, and may be a non starter like Vista, for the moment; - for the very reason's you've laid out so clearly in your blog post.

In tests, WIN8 can crash NZ corporate applications while one is trying to get work done on them.

Its networking side is incompatible at present, with many relational databases.

Some database managers (at universities, corporates) have advised users to hold off from logging into databases using the new windows 8 OS (as it stands) because it crashes database applications.

In my view, if you are a company of any size, remain with, or migrate to “Windows 7” until
“Win8” is fixed, or superseded. As you say it may get better with updates. It still feels like a beta.

If one is a student, perhaps work on a mac, or better yet stick to windows 7 :-)

Great review Bishop Kelvin,