Jul 31 2012
I wanted to give Windows 8 another shot and installed a fresh copy of the Release Preview on a clean hard disk on a Dell notebook. The installation went very fast and all the hardware was recognized out of the box. 64-Bit Windows 8 feels fast on that Core 2 Duo machine with only 3 GB RAM – faster than Win7 and light years faster than Vista (which is not difficult, to be frank).
The last time I touch Win8 was several weeks ago, and after I’ve read reviews from people who apparently liked Win8 and its Metro interface, I psyched myself and now wanted to like the new software.
Well, I didn’t.
I still find Metro confusing and disorienting. I cannot get used to it, I do not find anything and it feels like playing the old “memory” game on a bad day or when you’re hung over. You don’t remember where things were and start all over again even for repetitive tasks. You feel like the dog that just doesn’t learn any tricks, no matter how many treats you use. The interface is counter-intuitive and in no way works as you’d expect it, which makes it nearly impossible to remember even the most basic things.
Just go on YouTube and watch that video in which Chris Pirillo’s father is using Win8 for the first time, it’s a testament to the huge design failure that Metro is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4boTbv9_nU
But even on the desktop side of Windows 8, things became uglier and messier. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I hate “ribbons” – you know, this horrible menu concept that Microsoft first introduced with Office 2007. And ribbons are now everywhere. Even in Paint and Windows Explorer. It’s horrid.
But what, did I say “desktop side of Windows 8″? Yes, I did. The fact that Windows 8 is a hybrid between a tablet interface (Metro) and a “classic” desktop makes it even more confusing to use. There’s no clear concept, nothing you can grasp and hold on to.
The worst thing for me as a person who makes his living in IT is that they even put that design failure on the new Windows Servers. As if you would ever have or want to use a touch interface in a COLD server room. That’s extraordinarily clever, Microsoft. I’m sure that this will perceived very well by the IT crowd.
Somehow, it’s sad. Under the hood, Windows 8 feels right – it’s feels very fast and stable. I could even forgive Microsoft the god-awful ribbons. But they should bring back an official method to deactivate Metro and bring back the old Start menu.
No matter how often I try, I cannot imagine myself or anybody else in my company using Windows 8 on a daily basis on a non-tablet device. I just can’t. And all the people that I know who have seen Windows 8 in the real world don’t see themselves using it either. So far, I have not yet met one exception. Nobody wants Metro, just like nobody ever wanted the damn ribbons. So this is not just me.
But once again, Microsoft isn’t listening to anybody. They have put this in their heads and they will see it through. Everything else would surprise me. It will be interesting to see if Win8 will turn out to be another Vista disaster or if the system will find a welcoming audience. Windows 8 is different, very much so. That makes it interesting. The downside is that almost everybody that I know does not think that it is useable.
Of course, I will visit Win8 again when it is released, and hopefully I will also find the opportunity to use it on one of Microsoft’s own Surface machines. That would be very interesting.