Windows 8 Review

Windows 8

The Good, The Bad and The Improvement

Introduction

So I won’t deny that I went into Windows 8 very skeptical. In fact, I was expecting it to be terrible and fail horribly. Boy, was I surprised. After using it, I can easily say that it is the best revision of Windows yet, and here I will explain why.

The Good

There are a number of good things. Where should I begin?

  • Speed

    – Wow, is it fast. I have a Corsair Force 128GB SSD in my computer currently. Windows 7 goes from end of BIOS loadup to lock screen in 3-5 seconds. Windows 8 goes from end of BIOS loadup to lock screen in a second. It uses less processing power and less RAM so impedes your computer less. It wakes up faster, loads applications faster and overall outperforms in speed any other (modern) revision of Windows.

  • Task Manager

    – The improvements in the task manager are profound. The whole new look allows for much more information to be given, including ram and percentage of processor being used by each application, complete breakdown of CPU, RAM, Disk, and Internet usage/traffic and lastly, access to all of your startup applications, with the ability to disable each one individually.
    Application usage
    Breakdown
    Startup

  • Keyboard shortcuts

    – The number of keyboard (and mouse!) short cuts that there are is outstanding. I won’t list a whole list here, but there are a number of new (and useful!) shortcuts. The mouse has shortcuts too, to help you avoid the ModernUI if you so wish. Right click where the Start Hotbox is gives you a context menu of a number of useful things.

  • Personalizaiton

    – This topic is a little bit iffy. While Windows 8 gives you a number of new personalization capabilities, a number of people said that it just isn’t quite enough. The main concern is text color, however we will get more into this in The Bad. The great features are numerous:

    • Modern UI

      – Lots of customization here, background color and image and with a nice tool called OblyTiles, you can create your own fancy tiles.
      StartMenu

    • (Yes, I blacked out my desktop background)
  • Lock Screen

    – You can set your own image for it and designate what Modern UI apps can be running on it. Extremely nice/useful in cases such as mine. I live in a dorm with college students going in and out, and when I am not on my computer, I would rather they aren’t on it. Because of this, it is locked very often. With the Windows 7 lock screen, not only was it slow, but it just wasn’t useful or interesting. Now I have a nice image on it, with useful information such as the weather and how many facebook messages I have as well as the time.

  • Multimonitor

    – Since moving to college, I haven’t had two monitors, so I can only talk about this with what I have seen on the internet. Multimonitor support is great. Having one Modern UI app on one monitor, while running Desktop mode on the others, taskbar on each monitor showing what apps are on that monitor and better support for multimonitor backgrounds. Easily set up seperate backgrounds or extend one background across all your monitors.

  • Microsoft Account

    – This can be looked at in two ways, but I strongly feel that it is a benefit. With it, all your computer settings are saved, including lock screen and wallpapers, across each installation of Windows 8. This allows you to, if you so wish, have all of your Windows 8 devices having the same wall papers and lock screens. Of course, you can still change it on a device by device basis, but it allows for much faster setting up.

  • Modern UI

    – *GASP!* How could I say such a drastic and horrid interface is good?! Well, simply… it is a very useful addition. Metro apps such as weather, twitter, messenger and mail, once set up, are very handy if you lock your computer a lot. You can have this posting notifications on your lock screen. It has high amounts of customizability and organizational capabilities.

  • The Bad

    Now this is a section that pretty much everyone probably goes to a review to see. They expect this to be super long with lots of hate towards Windows 8. I am sorry to disappoint you, yes you, who came here to see hate for Windows 8, but it really doesn’t deserve the hate it gets. There are some bad things though, and they will be addressed here.

    • Windows Store

      – I hate the idea of this at the same time as liking it. I feel it is too restrictive and far too tempting. It is very tempting to release games on there and not Steam, while steam is a far better service, and yet Steam will never be able to be on it. It also requires programs to be written a very specific way to be allowed on it. It is terrible to find things on it, however with the smaller library of apps, it isn’t a big deal. In the future, however, it will become hell to use. Any app that is a desktop app on it, requires that you visit the publishers website, opening up your web browser so that you can get it from there, even if there is a Metro and Desktop version of it.

    • First Attempt

      – First time anyone that has used previous versions of Windows will have trouble with Windows 8 if they haven’t done research in preperation for it. The new paradigm for its use really throws people off. Having to use the Charms Bar to shut down, the lack of the start orb, and other things will really confuse those that aren’t prepared. It will be especially daunting for people who don’t adapt to technological change very well. Still think a 1Mb/s router is the best for internet speeds? You may have problems with Windows 8. Change happens, and sometimes it is difficult to move with the change.

    • Ununity

      – That is a really off word. Well, it isn’t even a word, but describes this problem the best. There is no unity between Modern and Desktop. If an app has both a desktop and Modern version, there is no easy way to move between the two while keeping what you are doing. If I am running chrome in ModernUI mode, and want to bring that to the desktop mode, I have to copy and paste the URL from each tab in separately. Skype in Modern is missing a number of features compared to the desktop version, however if you have both installed, it won’t connect the two together. Making a call in the Modern app won’t let the desktop version know that you are in a call.. There is a huge split in the options between Modern and Desktop. There just isn’t any connect between the two. I believe this problems stems from the Desktop technically being a ModernUI App now.

    The Improvement

    You can always improve, and for some people that means adding old tools back, and for others, that is adding tools that haven’t existed. In this section, I will go over things that I feel could be improved to make it even better and things you can do to improve your experience with it.

    Improvement Ideas:

    • XBox Controller

      – The Modern UI is great for Tablets. That is what you hear a lot. Despite me saying that it is also a nice addition in general, just think about how nice it would be for HTPCs (Home Theatre PCs)! The Modern UI is very similar to the Xbox UI, however a full PC has a lot more capabilities than an XBox. Having Youtube and Netflix and Hulu apps also makes it very promising for HTPC use. Now, we have merely one problem. It has no support for an Xbox controller. What if you could use an Xbox controller (or remote!) to control the Modern UI (and Modern UI apps). Have the Xbox Button (The center button on the controller) be used as a Windows key, and you now instantly have a really nice controller for your HTPC.

    • Desktop Mode

      – This mode doesn’t force the Modern UI down your throat. Basically it would be a built in version (that is optional) of Start8. Would help those that don’t adapt to change well.

    What you can do to improve your experience:

    There are a number of apps that you can use to make your transition easier or to make your Windows 8 venture more enjoyable, here are a few

    • Start8 – This nifty little addon puts a start orb in its usual spot and makes it so that you never have to use the Modern UI if you don’t want to, however still allows you to enter it. It disables the hot corners though on the Desktop as well.
    • Classic Shell – Open Source version of Start8.
    • OblyTiles – Useful program to create fancy tiles in the Modern Interface for your applications, instead of having the ugly link tiles.
    • Picture Tiles

      – No link for this one, search for it on the Metro Store. This is a great way to add cool wide tiles that hold images. That is all they do, hold an image. When clicked, they bring you back to the app. It isn’t for usability, just to draw cool things on your Modern UI Start Screen.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, Windows 8 is a wonderful step forward for Windows, however it has quite a bit of progression that is required to make it perfect. I hate to compare it to Vista, however I will have to make this comparison. Vista was a new paradigm in UI for Windows, while not as drastic as Windows 8, it was still something new, but it took Windows 7 to make it really fantastic. Windows 8 doesn’t have the problems of Windows Vista, being a janky piece of garbage, however it does have the problem of young and not fully fleshed out UI paradigm. It needs improvement, and a lot of people will be hesitant. This doesn’t mean it is bad, just different and young. It is a very positive addition to the line, not another black spot.

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