Posted by: bhalley | 03/06/2012

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Review

My favorite line from the move Pentagon Wars is this exchange about the Bradley Fighting Vehicle –

Col. R. Smith, “In summation, what you have before you is…”
Sgt. Fanning, “A troop transport that can’t carry troops, a reconnaissance vehicle that’s too conspicuous to do reconnaissance…”
Lt. Colonel J. Burton, “And a quasi-tank that has less armor than a snow-blower, but carries enough ammo to take out half of D.C. THIS is what we’re building?”

This about sums up what I think about Windows 8 and what I have seen from Microsoft on this consumer preview.  I have been trying Windows 8 and there are some things I do say I like about it. But to say this is a desktop and tablet OS, let’s step back and think about what we are trying to accomplish. When I started working with computers it was during the wonderful easy days of DOS 3.2.  We did not have Windows at that time.  I must Windows was 3.0, and I was never so glad to upgrade to 3.1 with many of the feature changes that were incorporated.

I fought from having to load Windows 95, especially as an upgrade, because of the horror stories I was hearing.  My machine was so Plug-n-Play that I finally had to bite the bullet and did so with Windows 95 as a fresh install.  Windows 98 improved on some of the problems of Win 95 but was essentially the same OS.  I used Windows NT in the work place and it functioned much like the server back-end. Windows ME, mistake edition as it was affectionately known, I by-passed for Windows 2000, Microsoft’s first attempt to bring the home and business environment together with a base kernel.  Windows XP helped solve many of the user complaints and slow loading of the workstation.

Then came Vista.  This is one OS that I have helped some on, but never used myself as what I say I didn’t like and XP did all I needed.  You still had a multiple OS tier with the Workstation Kernels a server Kernel.  Enter Windows 7 and Server 2008.  And for the most part and all those I know Microsoft had finally gotten it right.

So now here we are with Windows 8 and an identity crisis.  Is it a Workstation that is a Tablet, or Tablet that is a Workstation?  Must you have a Touchscreen or can you get away with a Mouse? To say it is a little bit confused is only stating the obvious.  Now I like to judge a system by how easy it is to sit down and be able to use it without instruction.  After all, if a person has to read a memoir to understand the operation, you lost them.  Even a small book will discourage many.  My first issue was figuring out how to get it loaded to begin with. I found on the forums I wasn’t alone and after much work one night (all night), figured out had to load as an upgrade to a working OS. And I hate to think about those that tried it and then go reinstall their old OS and try to register the license again.

After finally getting loaded, then came logging in.  A nice picture comes up with the a clock but no place to login. Clicking the mouse moved the picture up slightly but still no login. Then remembering this was based for a tablet you click and slide up and there is the login. With the new home screen you can quickly access any of the items listed, but since there is no start button finding the settings and apps and how to shut it off it was like I was Lewis and Clarke on the desktop trying to find the new route to the West.  When you do click on one of the icons on the new interface it opens up nicely, but when you close it you are at the desktop and the new interface is gone.  Can we say oops, someone forgot to give my interface back.  And to have only a desktop with a couple of buttons on the task, non of which get you to your apps you may want, well, let’s just say I was getting a little frustrated.

The kicker was a post I sawfrom someone at Microsoft saying that the preview isn’t the final release but for customer feedback. That one threw me for a loop as isn’t this what they were pushing as the new look of Windows. So this is the new look but it’s not?  Again refer back to my quote from Pentagon Wars if you need help understanding my confusion here. Well, maybe we will know what the new Windows will look like eventually, but until then, here is the consumer preview.




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