Monday, March 5, 2012

Windows 8

Windows 8

On the evening of February 29, 2012 I installed Windows 8 and started playing with Microsoft's latest operating system.  At 3:30 a.m. I finally shut it down and got some sleep.  In the days between then and now I've been using Windows 8 in place of sleep to the same degree.  Below are my initial reactions, which focus on these super exciting topics:

  • Metro hasn't Replaced the Desktop, Just the Start Menu
  • Upgrading from Windows 7 was a Breeze
  • Metro Isn't Terrible
  • Transferring Files Looks Fancier
Can you stand the excitement?

Metro hasn't Replaced the Desktop, Just the Start Menu

The fact that the desktop environment looks virtually the same and that Metro has only replaced the Start button menu really wasn't obvious to me when I first began seeing images of Windows 8 in action.

Upgrading from Windows 7

The process of upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 was as smooth as freshly waxed skin.  After briefly waiting for the redness to go away, I found that all of my settings and what little data I kept on my computer (I backed up and removed almost all of my files before the update) made it through the upgrade with no problems.  Only one of the applications I had installed on Windows 7 refused to work once I upgraded to Windows 8 and the updating software made me aware of that issue before I committed to the upgrade.  Since I had only used that application once several months ago, I didn't think twice about losing it during the upgrade process.

Windows 8 - Missing Start Button / The Metro Interface

I had serious doubts about the wisdom of Microsoft for their decision to get rid of the Start button in favor of the brightly colored Metro interface.  How will office workers adapt to having their beloved Start button disappear?  Will IT departments bother to adopt this software if it will only cause them to be flooded with questions about basic functionality?  Shouldn't Microsoft create separate operating systems for tablets and PCs rather than force a touch screen swipe style interface on PC users? 

The Metro interface can be accessed in the same place the Start button used to be.  Pressing the Windows button on your keyboard or moving the mouse to the very bottom left of the Windows Desktop and left clicking once will pull up the Metro Interface.

I Still Don't Like the Bright Colored Boxes.
Customizing the Colors and or Adding Custom 
Background Images is Outside the Scope of this Post 
but may be Covered Later.

I was highly skeptical about the Metro interface before installing Windows 8, but now that I've used it for a little bit I'm completely comfortable with Metro.  The scroll wheel on my mouse slides the interface back and forth nicely.  I also tried playing with the interface without the scroll wheel and found it was most comfortable to use with the arrow keys rather than clicking holding and scrubbing the slider which is all the way along the bottom edge of the screen.

A quick right click will bring up an option to make all of your applications visible.  I do find it strange that selecting this viewing mode brings up icons for each program instead of the style of boxes that appear in the image above.  I'm no Khoi Vinh but when I design a user interface I try to make it consistent. 

The rest of the functionality of the Start button appears when moving the mouse over to the right edge of the screen.

Windows 8 - Transferring Files

The file transfer window got a bit more fancy in Windows 8 compared to previous versions of Windows.  Here is a screen capture of the window during a file transfer:

The horizontal line bounces up and down as the speed of
the transfer shifts and the green graph shows the history of the
speed of that transfer.  Fancy.

Towards the End of the Transfer The Window Looked Like This

I wish the built-in options for transferring files between two folders that contain files with similar information were more elegant.  Certainly Windows came a long way in Vista, if I recall correctly, when the functionality of selecting to replace, don't move or copy and keep both files by adding a number to the end of the file name was helpful.  What I would really like to see is an option for copying and keeping just the newer and/ or larger file to be built-in.

Update March 7, 2012, 1:56 p.m.:

I was wrong in writing the paragraph above.  Windows 8 does include options to intelligently combine two folders with similar files.  See:

Yeah, I do have a folder with photos of awesome foods.


I'm about to wrap things up with this post so don't let the door hit you on the way out.

I Would Constantly Fight the Urge to Crumple this Up and Trash It

This paper airplane doorstop is made out of plastic and at only $8 including shipping to my address here in the United States it's tempting.  Here is the link to the online store where you can buy this designer doorstop.

TL;DR: I geek out about Windows 8.  As usual, you could read the material in bold to get the gist of what I'm saying.


  1. i`d seen the official release, but not tried it out yet. nice review, the upgrading sounds inviting if its hassle free.

  2. And here I am, still using xp. It sounds like it's not a complete downgrade from 7 though, so that's good.

  3. Well you are making it sound better than other people.

  4. Hmmm...I don't hate the fact that I now use a mac.

  5. HUH. Well the interface seems interesting, that's for certain...and this Metro sounds kinda cool.

    I'm diggin' on the design for the file transfer window. Diggin' that immensely!

    Thanks for the update m'man...while I may be broke as a joke and with an eight-year-old right now, I DO plan on gettin' a new system soon enough.

    Reckon this puts Windows 8 even more in my favor when it's time to rejoin civilization, lol.

  6. Interesting news man. It does sound cool but considering that I'm still stuck on XP it might take me another decade until I reach this level!

  7. Thank you for this post. My collegueas and hubby have been talking about this and within a week or so, I might have moved from Windows 7 to windows 8. Now, I maynt sound like a dinosaur. Thanks again.

  8. Ooo I like that new file transfer. The task manager is different too isn't it?

  9. I really do like that new file transfer!

  10. Awesome share. Am definitely looking forward to this.

  11. Losing the start menu sounds like a big step to take for windows 8. I am still hoping to get ahold of a tablet in the future and playing with windows 8 that way. I may be a bit more tempted to try win8 on my recent desktop I built if I had a touch screen, but, alas, i do not.

  12. Maybe it's a breeze, but this type of thing stresses me out. Usually, the only time I upgrade to a new version of Windows is when I buy a new computer (which rougly happens every time Van Halen gets a new lead singer).

  13. well at least we evolved from windows me that freezed every 10 min