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Customer Review

66 of 87 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Windows 8 review you were waiting for, December 17, 2012
By 
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8 Pro - Upgrade [Old Version] (Software)
First of all, let Microsoft themselves speak about what they thought a good UI should be like. Suzanne Hansen, a product manager at Microsoft, explains:

------

* Not every product has the same users and therefore the same UI is not appropriate everywhere
* Microsoft has such a wide range of products, it would be impossible to do one visual appearance that is a "one size fits all." For example, it would be virtually impossible to use a single UI design for Zune, XBox, Visual Studio and Bing.
* Different visual appearance of different products helps differentiate/brand them.
* Having a single UI appearance would not give individual products flexibility to evolve as needed in response to trends, customer and business needs.

Thank you, Suzanne Hansen, Program Manager, Visual Studio Platform Shell Team
[...]

Suzanne explains here why Visual Studio 2010 (the premier development software on Windows) has a different look and feel than Windows. And the explanations make perfect sense! But isn't this the complete opposite from the current Windows 8 design philosophy? And yet, this was Microsoft's credo just two-three years ago! How is it possible to trust in Microsoft's Windows 8 vision, when they were able to flip their own philosophy completely on its head within such a short timespan?

Windows 8 is clearly a "one size fits all" rushed job that was driven in a dictatorial fashion by its main-overseer at Microsoft, Steven Sinofsky (the man left the company shortly after the Win8, debute. Signs and wonders). Countless of people of people have raised the voices at the official Windows 8 blog when the OS was in development, yet the dev team and Sinofsky have demonstratively ignored the highly technical issues that were brought and only answered the simplistic ones. it went something like this:

---
Sinofsky's Blog
user 1: Hi there! I like Windows 8.
user 2: You said Aero shouldn't be in Windows 8 because it harms battery life, but that doesn't make sense because Aero can be turned off when the computer is on battery. It actually wasn't long ago that Microsoft was defending Aero as having minimal impact on battery life. Are you now going to claim that Microsoft was wrong? In fact I have multiple links showing specific benchmarks that Aero only uses 1-4% when on and.....
user 3: Will Windows 8 have a Twitter app?
Sinofsky: That's a great question that I'd be happy to answer. Yes Windows 8 will have a Twitter app.
(week later user 2 comment is gone)
---
(Quoted from the blog "Techbroil")

But let's concentrate on the product itself - Windows 8 has a new programming interface, called WinRT, and a new GUI, formerly called Metro. What's the problem with WinRT and Metro? Here's the list:

1. The desktop has multiple windows, Metro has not.

2. Desktop programs can be resized, Metro apps cannot.

3. The desktop has drag and drop between applications, Metro has not. Instead of just selecting the items you want to export and actually move them into the other program, you need to handle with "charms" which comes across far more unintuitive than just dragging and dropping.

4. The desktop has nearly unlimited multi-tasking abilities, Metro has not.

5. Metro apps are far more limited in scope, by design, than desktop programs.

6. Desktop programs have depth and 3D, Metro apps on the other hand seem to be approved by the Flat Earth Society.

7. Desktop programs are usually more colorful and vibrant, the Metro design principle consists of CGA style mono-color.

8. You can open up other programs in the desktop, through the start menu, without disrupting workflow. On the other hand the start screen is something like the "item menu" in games where you dress up your character with weapons etc. Everyone knows that it is quite distracting switching between item menu and game world in games, and Microsoft brought this concept onto its flag ship product! Hooray.

9. Desktop programs can be easily distributed, Metro desktops are locked-in into the store.

If an alien would just land on our planet and see Windows 7 and Windows 8 (and its programs) for the first time, without no prior knowledge, he would think Windows 7 is the successor, not 8. And that's just the problem of the WinRT part. The fact is that Win8 has multiple control panels and update mechanisms and is a duality monster. Win8 apologists in all seriousness propose arcane keyboard shortcuts as solution for some of the glaring problems, where previous versions worked just fine without using them. Also the Metro start screen offers absolutely no indication that it is searchable, yet it is. It's full of little news items and ad-like graphics. It resembles something like cnn.com, only that CNN HAS a search box! Would you "just start typing" at cnn.com, if the site had no visible search box?

So, fine. Use ONLY the desktop then! But here's the catch, and the reason for all this negativity - Microsoft put away the start button. If you click on the hidden start button, you're back to the Metro interface. It's a jarring experience. They want you to force going Metro, yet the whole Metro and WinRT experience is so limited and smart phoney, it's just insane to use it on a screen bigger than a tablet. No one, and I mean NO ONE was able to tell me what the heck the benefit of the start screen is for desktop and laptop users or why the Metro apps are this castrated (the mail app can't handle the most common mail protocol IN THE WORLD!), yet MS forces you to use them (the default image/video/music viewers/players are awkward Metro apps in W8.. even in desktop mode! They look as if they consist of one single code line). The explanations only come to "newer mobile devices have something like that, so.. eh.. and you will get used to it!".. And that's pretty much it. That's not a compelling argument to warrant such a hassle.

Oh, and did you know that for multiple users Windows 8 is just broken? The "All Programs" system is broken in Windows 8. Let me explain: If installers put links into the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder, they ARE NOT GLOBAL. Not really that is. The link appears in the start screen for the user who installed the program, but all other users don't see it. It's only visible for them if they right-click and chose the "All Apps" screen (yes, IT'S HIDDEN ON DEFAULT!)

That's a nightmare scenario for multi-user enviroments and completey breaks expected behavior. What for? Ironically, C:\Users\Public\Desktop seems to work as expected. Oh, and let's also not forget that W8 Metro "apps" need to be installed per user, undeleted per user and updated per user. Just try it out: Install the updates of all the default apps through the appstore, create another account on the computer and log-in to the app-store. What do you see? You need to install the updates for that user as well! Trying to manage this for multiple users is hell! At the moment, the only reasonable tactic if you have multiple users and you want to use them apps is to let them use ONE account only and lock that one down with scripts etc. BACK TO DOS, BABY

Steve Ballmer compared Windows 8 multiple times to Windows 95, yet the comparison doesn't hold water in the slightest.

Windows 8 is the anti-95.
Win32 programs didn't gave you the feeling that something is amiss compared to Win 3.1 applications. (with Metro you have this feeling constantly). Even the first generation Win95 programs at launch felt more capable than their 3.1 precursors (Corel Draw 6, Office 95). Notro provides the complete opposite feeling.

Windows 95 came with uncrippled winfile.exe and progman.exe (the win 3.1 GUI), and you were able to boot directly into it without even seeing 95's explorer.exe at all ("shell=progman.exe" in system.ini). (works in win 98 too) There was even an official option at the Windows 95 setup for that if you upgraded from Win3.1.

You also were able to directly boot into DOS with ease (just set bootgui=0 in msdos.sys, that also worked in Win 98).

Windows 95 is the anti-thesis to Windows 8. The philosphies were completely different. The team had enough courage to provide all these options because it truly seemed as if they were proud and confident about the system to stand on its own. Windows 8 on the other hand comes across as coward's darling - "the users are too stupid to appreciate our beautiful hippster GUI, let's cripple the desktop as much as we can to force them to this". Windows 95 didn't need any crippling, users chosed explorer.exe because it was better, and they had the ability to use the old GUI without compromise If they wished to do so.

Windows 95 is confidence. Windows 8 is cowardice.

(Disclaimer: I've posted parts of this review on tech forums before)
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 18, 2012 11:19:37 AM PST
John Jones says:
I completely agree.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 7:39:09 AM PST
John in LV says:
I don't completely agree; this detailed "in-depth" review requires
disclosures from the OP; I'm a life-long DOS/Windows user who moved to
OS X (MacBooks) in mid 2011; my hi-end Dell i7 Quad core had been
collecting dust till WIN 8 breathed mew life into it; but you do need a
touch pad to really use the OS to it's fullest..a conventional mouse doesn't
get it..the new Logitech T650 really shines with WIN 8 once you've climbed
up the learning curve a bit..where I DO agree with the OP is that for a business
or enterprise it makes little sense right now to move to 8; altho the upgrade for
me from WIN 7 ULT to WIN 8 Pro was relatively painless it was NOT w/o some
effort required by more than a casual PC user; bottom line..is I'm actually using my
PC again..OSX ML is great..WIN 8 will be at some point; don't forget the hue & cry when Apple brought out LION to replace a very stable Snow Leopard..you would have
thought the world was ending..

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 10:01:08 AM PST
I completely agree with FormFiller. This OS is a disaster and most people here defending it created it!!! It's dysfunctional, the more you use it the more you're surprised they would release something so broken. Thumbs down MS, fix it!!!

Posted on Jan 16, 2015 10:35:41 AM PST
cyharriscat says:
Your comment about Metro/WinRT being so limited and "smart phoney" is so accurate I could cry. And the worst part about Windows 8 on that front is that it's also true in multiple ways. Smart phoney as in it works as a smart phone as well as smart phoney in that Steven Sinofsky thought it was really smart when in reality compared to traditional desktop users it is a phoney fill in for the traditional un-crippled desktop used in Windows 7 to so great effect if you think like I do!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2015 10:52:56 AM PST
cyharriscat says:
I never really liked Snow Leopard. I liked the speech engine, but everything else was better in newer versions or Leopard, especially 10.7.5 Build 11G3 Lion, that is really a pinnacle of OS development until you put a gimped Safari 6 on there, when that happens you have to go for Mountain Lion ugh!
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