Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

What do you think about Windows 8, Mary? Have you thought about it much?

Funny you should ask ;-) My in-depth, full-length, yes-I-have-a-few-things-to-say review of Windows 8 RTM is up at TechRadar.

(Because of the structure of the site, it replaces the reviews of Developer Preview, Consumer Preview and Release Preview that I wrote, as well as some of the early news and rumour pieces; there are lots of other Windows 8 pieces I've written and I'll be putting a list of them up soon.)

Basically, I have been writing about Windows 8 since October 2009, looking at Windows 8 code since last September and using it as my main, full-time OS for the six months since CP came out. A back of the envelope calculation suggests I've spent at least 1,500 hours using it already...

What about this different interface then? How can you work without the Start menu?
I was fairly negative about the disruption I expected from having to context switch to a full screen interface instead of peering over at the Start menu. I mean I can get so distracted by Twitter that I forget why I switched to my browser in the first place. In practice? Not so much. Pressing the Start menu takes me back to where I was, pinned programs mean I can just work in the desktop nearly all of the time, the charm bar is so much faster as a way of getting to the control panel and other settings. yes, it's a different way of working in the Metro-style, WinRT apps, but no more different than an iPhone or an Android app and we all got used to those. Yes, that kind of app works much better with touch, but no, it all works perfectly well with a mouse and keyboard.

What do I miss?
Spider Solitaire; the deck in the desktop Spider was so much prettier than the XBox Live Spider I have in Windows 7. Love the animations when I win FreeCell though.

There are a couple of apps that need updating for 8 and I hope that happens quickly. The big thing I miss is a search result showing me emails and documents and results in OneNote all in the same search window.

Unified search in Vista and 7 was very useful. Now I have to do 2/3 searches in the desktop (I could quickly repeat a search in the Start screen but I can't search OneNote there and I don't get previews of document content). I called that a showstopper at once point, but there are so many other things about Windows 8 that I put up with losing it to have the advantages (faster boot, an extra hour of battery life being my two favourites; some lovely features in Explorer too).

Media Player doesn't see the Sonos as a Play To target any more, but I know that works for other people so I'm calling that an early issue. Media support is something that has to improve but that's device certification and polish in the apps rather than the fundamentals.

But won't businesses hate it? Because they'll have to train users and it's different?
I'm going to argue that if Windows RT is as big a success as the iPad, the training issue will solve itself. Businesses will love the improved security (the shift to managing by EAS/people & info centric security is certainly a jump but what we have now is so broken that it's pain either way), users will like the performance and battery improvements and the issue is then user acceptance around the interface. Great Windows RT devices and apps are what's needed most there.

Microsoft has indeed made a big bet, a bet-the-company bet here. Could it crash and burn horribly? yes, but I'll argue that if Microsoft hadn't done something this bold they've have gone out with a whimper instead of a bang anyway.

Why did you call it the Modern UI in your review; isn't that as un-final a name as Metro?
You have to call it something ;-) I did ask if I could put it in quotes but that doesn't look good in headlines, I think...

Tags: articles, microsoft, reviews, technology, techradar, windows, windows 8, writing

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