Windows 8 Hands-on Review

First of all, I will start with my general opinion of where Windows, and Microsoft, seem to be going. Unfortunately, they seem to be deliberately moving away from Apple and OS X... trying to be different in their own 'special' kind of way. I think this was a fundamental mistake. It's not that I do not like Microsoft products, I think that Windows 7 was one of the best operating systems in the world in terms of performance - not necessarily looks - but definitely performance. But I was (not very) recently, after installing OS X Lion, struck by how well it just worked. And it does look better than Windows.

After a quick look at the Windows 8 Start Page (pictured below) one thing struck me. Windows Phone. Why would you do that to a desktop operating system? To me it makes no sense whatsoever. If you don't believe me, take a look at the photo below it.

After much deliberation on the reason for this bad idea, I have concluded that Windows 8 is intended to be run heavily on tablets. But, as with everything Microsoft makes, there are several problems with this.

Firstly, why on earth would you make a desktop operating system that is designed to run on tablets? The very idea is absurd. This is because an operating system has to be designed in a way that users of previous versions will be able to interact with in a conventional fashion. But the problem runs deeper than this. It might, just might, mean that Microsoft is focusing more on their mobile operating system because they think that is the way of the future - and therefore they could save some design work by just copying over some of the graphics files. This may sound harsh, but I am trying to get my message across.

My second problem with this idea is that Windows 8 actually can't run on most tablets, because they need minimum screen resolution of 1024x768 to run their new metro-style apps. This means that the tablets themselves have to be more expensive, because that's a lot of pixels to fit on a 5" to 7" screen. There's an article on Life Hacker, specifically about this topic here.

People may criticize this argument. But I do think there is something fundamentally wrong with making an operating system that is designed to run on tablets and desktops (and laptops, obviously) simultaneously, as the platforms are SO different. And, now it won't even run on most current Windows 7 tablets, you effectively get the worst of both worlds.

Setup

Fairly average stuff. There are three builds to download: 32-bit, 64-bit, and 64-bit with developer tools (basically Visual Studio 2011). So you download the massive (5BG-ish) ISO from their standard HTTP server,which for me took around an hour. Then you do something with it. You can either install it nativley (which I would not recommend now), or you can run it in a Virtual Machine, using something like VMWare Workstation or Oracle VirtualBox. But there is a catch. For some reason unknown to man, it is LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE to run any version of Windows 8 in VMWare Workstation 7.x . So upgrade, or give up.

Then, once you have successfully installed it, which does take quite a long time, you can finally start playing with it.

The Start Screen

I feel I have ranted about this enough, in the previous section. I don't particularly like the way it looks, and I don't really like the functionality either. I prefer the desktop, which you can only get to by clicking on one of the panels. I suppose you could be called old-fashioned. But I don't really care.

One last thing I really hate about the start screen is this. Once you have clicked on the 'Desktop' panel you arrive at the desktop. Pretty standard. So now I'm just going to click on the start menu and BAM. I'm back at the f*ing start screen again. What did I do wrong? Oh - I see. I have to hover over the start button to get the start menu. If I click on it I go back to where I just came from. NOT FUNNY.

General Functionality.

I have only got a few words to say. Internet Explorer still is not a modern browser. Everything else is the same as Windows 7. Except the fact that there appear to be two control panels, which is very confusing. And - I like the new Task Manager. It gives you more power to end them processes when Windows 8 can't cope with them. Overall, not very impressed.

Backwards Compatibility

Everything what works with Windows 7 works with Windows 8. In most cases, everything that works with XP works with Windows 8. (Let's just forget Vista shall we?)

Conclusion

Overall, although I may be called harsh, I cannot really see the point of Windows 8. It seems to fall in the cycle with all other Windows operating systems. Good - bad - good - bad. Example: Windows 2000 (Bad) - Windows XP (Good) - Windows Vista (Bad) - Windows 7 (Good) - Windows 8 (Bad) etc....

I also think that if Windows continues to continue in this direction - Apple will win. Full stop. Because, even though some features have come across from iPad to Mac, no features except for some names, like Safari, have ever gone from Mac to iPad. Apple has realized that iOS and OS X should stay separate.

Windows 8 itself is basically just Windows 7, and the world will soon be all Mac.

Goodbye.