After the dismal failure that was Windows Vista, many of us would have been forgiven for thinking that Microsoft were back on track with Windows 7. However, having installed Windows 8, I can’t help but think that they have learnt nothing from their past failures. It really has to be said that the new way of working in Windows 8 is just plain awful, and they seem to have completely lost the plot again.
The “Metro Style” Start Screen
They seem to have taken the view that, if the newly designed interface (called Metro) of Windows Mobile works well on smaller screen devices such as phones and tablets, then it will work with a PC – I’m afraid to say that it really will not. On tablets and other portable devices, I can see the logic of everything being full screen, but I really do not see many businesses wanting the same thing on their desktop or laptop.
The concept of having your applications running in “Windows”, so that you can get several on one screen, seems to have been completely lost. Now, many applications, such as Internet Explorer, launch “Full screen” whether you want them too or not. Also, hitting the “Start Button” now results in the menu taking over the whole screen. It is possible to switch to a desktop view, but then the running apps aren’t even visible on the task bar!
As an example, I started Internet Explorer and it took over the whole screen. It gave me no options to shrink it down into a window, so that, for example, I could copy something (a picture or some text, maybe) from the browser into another application. Task switching via the “alt+tab” options still works, but it’s all rather messy and totally disjointed. This could be more accurately named “Screens” as opposed to Windows!
I really think they need to take a leaf out of Apple’s book (no pun intended). Apple has had the good sense to leave the Desktop alone. It has worked for many years, so why try to change it? The iPad and iPhone have a different interface because they are a different class of device and should therefore be treated separately.
On a more positive note the initial indications are that any machine currently running Windows 7 will be quite happy with a Windows 8 installation, so you should not need to upgrade your hardware just to run it. Microsoft are also taking the opportunity to launch “Microsoft Store” and are working to integrate it into the new version of Windows. This should allow for a more user-friendly way to obtain new software, but as it is currently not available yet I cannot comment further on this. It should, however, to be very much like the “Apple Store” that Mac users already have access to from the current version of OS-X (Lion).