Windows 8 optimize

It's time to think differently about Windows 8

The Developer Preview version of Microsoft Windows 8 asks users and IT pros to think differently about their operating system.

Once upon a time, a technology manufacturer asked users and IT professionals alike to think differently. Well, now one of that company's rivals is asking us to do the same thing about their flagship product. There is no escaping it, Windows 8 is going to be a much different experience from what we have come to expect from Microsoft.

Of course, the first thing most IT pundits and journalists want to do is declare Windows 8 a success or a failure, but I believe it is way too early to pass judgment. I can see some positive aspects in Windows 8, and I think Microsoft's strategy of creating one operating system that can run on any device makes perfect sense.

However, I can also see some obstacles down the road that Microsoft is going to have to manage if Windows 8 is to be truly successful. The first is a practical consideration, and the second is much more abstract.

To get a glimpse of Windows 8, check out the TechRepublic Photo Gallery: A First Look at the Windows 8 Developer Preview.

Practical

The information technology world has changed -- economic realities have increased the product life cycle of just about every piece of computer equipment. Companies just don't make massive all-at-once upgrades to their information technology systems anymore. That means most companies (at least according to our polls) are still using Windows XP extensively and just now starting to migrate to Windows 7. Migration to Windows 8 is likely to be even slower if for no other reason than economics.

Well, that is to say, the migration will be slower unless the abstract obstacle turns out to be a sea change that users embrace wholeheartedly.

Abstract

The abstract obstacle revolves around the way Microsoft has designed Windows 8. The Metro Interface, with its use of a tile system metaphor, is actually very intuitive and works really well -- if you are using a tablet. On the PC, however, like the one I have been testing Windows 8 on (see the photo gallery), the Metro Interface is proving to be very challenging.

The user's interaction with the PC via the Metro Interface is so completely different from the familiar desktop metaphor that I question whether it has any traction with users in the PC market. I am not convinced there is any real benefit over the current and well-established desktop. Microsoft would argue that there is, but I will need convincing.

However, as a jaded technology blogger, my bias is most often toward the familiar, at least initially. So maybe I am completely wrong and users will demand Windows 8 and the Metro Interface, and IT professionals will be forced to make adjustments to accommodate the masses. It's possible, but let's just say I highly doubt it.

Bottom line

I give Microsoft credit -- Windows 8 is a major change of operating system philosophy. And I now understand Steve Ballmer's statement that this is the riskiest operating system Microsoft has ever attempted to develop. Time will tell how successful the project turns out to be, and I, for one, am more than willing to keep an open mind. But I think Microsoft has some work to do and some obstacles to overcome. I'll be very interested in how this all shakes out.

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

84 comments
SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

the only real place you can find a majority of favorable reviews of Windows 8 is from Publishers, -TR included. Media plays a significant role in the success of any product. Granted, Microsoft's shove-it-down-your-throat-whether-you-like-it-or-not attitude didn't help matters much in the case of Vista. Personally, I believe that the typical review of Vista by published media had it wrong. However, it wasn't hard to understand why MS had it coming. Still, I am curious what is so different about this path than was the case then. I believe publishers are wrong about Windows 8 too. I reckon it will all boil down to the masses. I like to think consumers in America are not as stupid as corporations seem to think we are. Bottom line to me is this. Windows 8 isn't about protecting current market share or even looking after a loyal consumer group. (Please spare me the rhetoric about the necessity of revenue for a company's survival as I am well aware of it) No, it's quite the opposite. It's about a massive change in licensing schemes. The opportunity to gain licensing revenue based on TIME, not SEATS. Further, it is about closing doors to the old ways of doing business by eliminating choices. Why would anyone need a desktop computer when everything is stored on the "cloud"? Hey MS, if you're listening, what happened to innovation? Stop following and try to be a leader again.

DonG43
DonG43

A good O/S for business should be transparent. It should be simple to use and consistent, like a hammer. Just because Home Depot comes out with a titanium handle hammer this year for $65, I look at my 40 year old steel shaft hammer and say, "it probably drives nails as well as the new one." So much business productivity is lost as users struggle to learn the new "User Interface" for each application. My biggest challenge in teaching college students is to find their data. They think they know how to use a computer because they "surf the web" and use email. I see Windows 8 as a titanium hammer.

JnM_Bronson
JnM_Bronson

I cannot believe, after reading these comments, that this is actually a technology website! Windows XP is not the end-all, be-all of operating systems or UI design! It will be TEN YEARS OLD in a few months. Just how long are you folks planning on keeping it? Do you still have DOS applications as well? What will you do when drivers are no longer written for XP? Or when 64 bit applications become the norm? That day is coming, and it's coming sooner than you think. Time changes and technology moves on. The newer OSes have a LOT of great features for businesses, it's not just for the consumer. We rolled out Windows 7 64bit in our organization and our users have been extremely positive about it! I personally think it is head and shoulders above the XP/2000 UI and I find that I can get my work done much faster and find things much easier. It's years ahead on all our laptops, it just about awakes instantly from sleep mode when you open the lid, and it can actually authenticate against a domain through WiFi without having to use some junky third-party client to do so. No more searching for programs through endless layers of Program menus, either. I just type in the program I am looking to run and boom there it is. I could go on and on with this stuff but I suppose you're getting the picture already... If the point of some of these posts is to tell the reader that an old dog can't learn new tricks, you're doing a pretty good job of it. Back to the original topic, Windows 8, I didn't care much for the Metro interface either and I have to think that this is a long, long way from completion. I carry a Windows Phone 7 for work and Metro does a pretty good job as a mobile platform, but without a touchscreen as in the Win 8 developer preview, it's not so satisfactory. At any rate, I think Microsoft will get the product much better polished as the release date draws closer.

les_ismoore
les_ismoore

Did anyone notice the chess board screen shot? It's set up wrong (x2). Okay, now back to pertinent things.

Dethpod
Dethpod

Strong options by people who don't know what they are talking about. Look, you will end up using Windows 8 an much to your chagrin you will end up liking... a lot. Windows 8, and most of the world for that mater, operate entirely independent of your opinion of it.

jfuller05
jfuller05

Why change the desktop? Granted I haven't tested Windows 8, but my first impressions from your article and picture gallery leave me thinking windows 9 will have a PC and tablet edition. The desktop format works great for the PC and I'm sure metro is great on a tablet. Different worlds, different needs. Windows 8 will be the collision of worlds. It will be interesting to see how it plays out for PC users, business and home alike.

mjc5
mjc5

Once again, Microsoft playing around with the UI. It's been said before, but if they made cars, every 5 years we'd have a totally different way of steering, stopping and making the car go. So what happens five years from now when MS decides we need a completely different OS, with completely different control? Ribbon systems stink, so something new? Maybe a piece of tape that pulls out of the computer and the apps go flashing by until the one you want shows up? Then you let go to launch it? Ridiculous for sure, but that Commodore 64 Interface they have on W8 is a nice start along that path. What's with that anyhow? Does this mean that everyone is going to have to buy touchscreens? Using the mouse is just putting one more interface layer in the way. I want an OS that lets me do what I want to do, then gets out of the way. Programs, not OS are what is important. At one time they got it, the 95 through XP era had an OS that for the most part, didn't get in your way. A few quirks, but manageble. Vista was a shot across the bow of the nightmarish future they had in store for us. W7 was an improvement, but now we're allowing Smartphones to dictate how we work? Smartphones are popular, but as a work platform they suck. They can be a useful tool, but they are like a crescent wrench compared to a socket set. I've got Linux, Mac OSX and Vista and XP machines. As the Microsoft machines become either too slow or die off from lack of support, I'll transition to Linux and Mac only. I made up my mind to do this in the Vista age, W8 has shown me the decision was sound.

pschulz
pschulz

This removes the only reason people would want to use Windows today - they want to get some real job done. The iPad may be good for looking at news (which is why executives, journalists and editors like it since that consumes most of their day) but for us others real-world people, we want something we can work with. So we look at the iPad and say "nice" and turn around and get back to work on Windows. And now? No more chance to actually do something instead efficiently? Microsoft should realize that if they do this Windows 8 stuff this way, then there is no more reason at all to use Windows. The iPad does the same as Windows 8, and it does it nicer ...

Ryan_Fischer
Ryan_Fischer

After testing it on my Asus EP 121 I believe the new GUI is great for tablets or other touch screen devices. I love my Windows 7 phone, and this has a very similar feel to it. However, hopefully the OS will be smart enough to detect when it is installed on a traditional PC and turn the new GUI off on installation. For some reason I have faith Microsoft will include this option.

midiman57
midiman57

The business world and, I think, most of the home user core will be using desktop systems for years to come. The world is not going to turn upside down over tablets and smartphones. 24" tablets will not be feasible. I won't even mention phones.

javierreparapc
javierreparapc

It is normal that it does not recognize me the tape recorder sata from where he it installs 8 to the windows preview developer The audio chip corregi with the drivers of the manufacturer. Someone has some response or since it is possible to solve Thank you very much from Argentine

benkwondo
benkwondo

It's computers for kids. I imagine there's alot of sophistication there and it will fly with the kids and the gamers, yes even the 40 year old adolescent one, and when those kids are adults maybe we'll have some fantastic computers because that's what kids are doing, right?

tvanderkooi
tvanderkooi

I think that you will find that the main reason companies are still running XP as opposed to Win7 is not because of economics, but rather because of Microsoft's inability to create an upgrade path from XP to Win7. This lack of direct upgrade has created a larger than average learning curve when migrating from XP to Windows 7 and this is what has held back uptake of the new OS, not economics. If there is a quick and painless way to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 I think you will find companies jumping in rather quickly as each new OS actually realizes economic savings due to increased power efficiencies and faster responsiveness. After all, time is money.

Derek Parnell
Derek Parnell

The Win8 GUI looks like a pretty version of Windows v1.0. It also has a definite kindergarten look to it. I know of some applications that are loved by the people who use them day in day out, because they do NOT use a mouse or touchpad - just keyboard. Productivity is high on the 'character-based' apps because they are fast, responsive and the user doesn't have to continually context-shift their input mechanism. GUI is fine, but it is not the tool for every task.

angelo.cook
angelo.cook

Honestly, Microsoft should concentrate on Windows 7 before going and screwing up another operating system. They are now playing catch-up with the rest of the pack and are missing the whole idea of the game???

vmeck
vmeck

If this is what the interface will be like, I shure as hell won't have anything to do with it! I've spent last 6 years trying to get away from Microsoft and Windows because of this kind of crap, and now I'm actually in a possition to go to Linux. If this hows the dips -sh1ts at remond are going to go with Windows they F-off, C"ya!

seanferd
seanferd

This is a Fisher-Price Active Desktop Redux. I'm just glad the "classic" desktop is still available. The "tiles" (a revamped but very old UI concept) is probably good for phones and other non-PC devices, I expect, but wouldn't know.

dtrnelson
dtrnelson

"and I think Microsoft???s strategy of creating one operating system that can run on any device makes perfect sense." ...just as it did when the MS evil empire was just a gleam in Darth Gates' eye, and Gary Kildall[RIP]'s ~real~ (as opposed to cynical) strategy for the industry-leading CP/M OS was to have it run on any device. Of course, IBM balked at that (may they slide into oblivion, oh, wait, they have) and found a little man willing to prostitute his OS to run "differently" on the "Pee"C than on all others. May his company live to suffer a similar fate to DRI's and IBM's (oh, wait, Ballmer's in charge, no worries).

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

You would have thought that Microsoft would have learned something from Vista. People hated it and overwhelmingly stayed with XP. People will try 8, they may like it or not. There may be a 7 like interface available but if people don't like it, they will pull an XP on them and just stay With Windows 7. I see this happening in the business market for sure, paying for the new one but using the older OS because it's familiar. Those who do not learn from History are doomed to repeat it.

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

Will we have the option to use The Windows 7 style interface? Surely they will let us use a non touch screen interface on a traditional PC. If not won't somebody come up with a program or hack to give us a non tile based interface.

bloognoo
bloognoo

Office getting the ribbon menu bar gave office an image change that differentiated it from the very competent free office clones; If they could move enough people off office earlier versions of MS office they could retune the habits of their users, and open/libre office is nolonger a drop in replacement when you don't want to pay the same for your office software as I've paid for a car. (not a very good one, granted). The same could be said of the windows8 shift (and a lot of the interface mangling that vista and W7 got upto), that they're trying to change user habits so you can't just sit a frustrated user in front of Gnome3 and say 'here you go, everything is, more or less, as you expect it to be'. Additionally they still need to break the inertia that is a decade of XP, and on that front, I think they're in trouble. machines that have been running XP fine for that time are effectively useless for Vista, never mind W7. They have to show the world that there's a compelling reason to octuple their RAM, and so on, and completely changing the interface might be the way. This said, I left MS behind about four years back, to live in Gnome on ubuntu, running on 2002 hardware, and it's still running as slick as the day I started. The only thing stopping me migrating at work is Adobe Flash (yeah, my ofiice's desktop policy is that cool). How on earth can MS buy back loyalty from me and people like me?

jeff
jeff

What's on the (used to be) desktop is minimally important. When I'm working on my computer, I have apps on the screen and I can't and don't try to look at the desktop. I can't see widgets and creating a 'main screen' that includes a stock ticker or a news feed is completely USELESS. I would like to see Microsoft use a frames metaphor for a new type of desktop so things that are on the 'desktop' can reserve a portion of your screen(s). I typically don't need 2" to 3" of the side of one or more screens for my apps. By reserving an area for a usable 'desktop' the desktop can actually become usable.

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

I will not rant about past MSFT changes that are considered blunders by most intelegent users... nor will I rant about how much wasted time and money MSFT has cost us with garbage, shoved down our throats. Just a short little note on what should be brought to market: 1) Build a robust OS platform (a solid foundation) 2) Build numerous GUI's for all the types of users. It's that simple. Back when RAM was $100 per MB, we were slashing AutoCad down to a smaller run package, by not loading up as many modules... MSFT could do the same for different hardware devices. @bboyd ~ "...clean the massive code base they have." Check! @GuardianBob ~ I can not believe you got any negative votes on your post... we must have some non-tech posters on TechRepublic... I guess we have 'tech-inclined' people who post as well. @Frank Poster ~ "I see no reason why MS could not structure Win 8 in this way to have options on an XP desktop, Win 7 desktop, and now the new "Fisher Price" desktop for the kiddies and anyone needing a more mobile experience." Check! They seem to be bringing back "Microsoft Bob" LOOL :D @john ~ "If Win8 doesn't have an easy way to change the GUI to traditional at boot, it'll be a bigger fiasco than Vista." Check! @Ron007 ~ You hit the nail on the head! (even if 'Duke E Love' (is that a user name, or what :/) doesn't realize there is a majority of REAL users that work in an efficient world... neither DOS or Eye Candy Store. (Oh, and btw, I removed one of your negative votes, and am appalled that there were not 10 positive ones, for your obvious intelligence.) @Frank Poster ~ "They can spew out work at a fantastic rate, highly efficiently, so WHY change something that works so well?" Check! @LeMike ~ "Using Windows XP on two screens will have more of a positive effect on a user's abilities than this new GUI." Check! @PasiPLT ~ "There is this neat Ctrl key in my keyboard that switches the screen to normal windows type, at least in my PC except some of the traditional task bar buttons that I don't need." Sounds promising... but should be a one-time choice on installation, as to the type of UI the persons needs/wants. @daanbrg ~ "This would be one of the ideal interfaces for a tablet. But not for a desktop." Check! @trashmail ~ " Not to mention it's due when.... 2013? And how many people develop for it now if it's a brand spanking new OS? How much will I have to pay for compilers and development tools? How much training?" Check! @t.rohner ~ "I don't want to be Ipadized on my desktop or notebook." Check! (Another 'real world' user heard from.) @gerbilio ~ " ...using the same interface on all platforms is a bad idea." Check! @michaels.perry ~ "Why do Micorsoft think users want something so different that they need a total re-education to do what they already do successfully?" Check! Now, here is the real reason 1) It is all about greedily increasing the revenue. The companies (and not just the computer industry) have brainwashed the masses, eliminated common sense, and removed any resistance to more garbage down the throat. They are rapidly dumbing down the OS/GUI, to meet the needs of a dumbed down populace. A very few, of the majority of true users, will speak up, simply because they would like to quit having to worry about what flavor the OS or GUI is going to be next week. These are the people that make (or try to, anyway) our day-to-day lives better. Most all are great comments... Hope everyone has a productive and stress free week!

ben
ben

I don't want to "think differently" about my PC, I want to get my work done. The PC is a tool for professionals like me, not an end. The investment in new hardware and software is trivial compared to the cost if I have to spend considerable time figuring out how to do get the capability I have now, before the upgrade. To justify a considerable investment in my time (and the loss of productivity in the interim), there better be a significant ROI. The considerable improvement in capability and stability of Win 2000 over it's predacessor was worth it. The marginal improvment in PnP with XP was balanced with the incremental learning curve. The transition to Win7 was actually easy, and it's been more reliable than XP. The transition to Office 2007 was painful and I am not convinced that I can do more, more quickly, than before...so I will resist an "upgrade" to the next Office increment. The way you describe Win-8, it seems like a no brainer: way too much risk and no potential up-side. Perhaps the RoI is in there, and just not yet properly explained...but until I see the investment in 'retraining' is justified by increasing my productivity (*spelled "more billable hours" thank you), the bottom line is I simply can't afford even if the capital cost were zero.

michaels.perry
michaels.perry

I've tried it and hate it! Why do Micorsoft think users want something so different that they need a total re-education to do what they already do successfully? A great many users are more concerned about getting the job done without the OS 'getting in the way'. Users have been slow to migrate away from XP because Vista was a big headache and W7 was too different in use (what's wrong with folders/directories and what's the need for 'libraries' they ask?). So W8 seems to be a further step away from what users actually want - a system that helps them do what they need to do productively using the applications they need. The OS should just be a vehicle for that efficient productivity with little retraining needed.

gerbilio
gerbilio

I've had a try of two interfaces in the Linux world that are presumably designed to be run on a wide range of platforms: Unity and Gnome 3. They're both slick, but both are very ponderous to use on a desktop. One gets the impression, however, that they'd be great on a tablet. In the same vein, the iOS-like features of Lion are pretty superfluous as well. From what I've seen so far, using the same interface on all platforms is a bad idea. The feel and capabilities of large and small screens--not to mention mouse vs. multitouch inputs--are just too different.

t.rohner
t.rohner

Working with software, that costs 3-5 times HW+OS, it better makes some money. I really don't need a PSP, but a multi highres screen configuration with lots of information. This is important in graphic and cad work. Maybe they should differentiate between home and pro versions even more. I don't want to be Ipadized on my desktop or notebook.

trashmail
trashmail

Windows 8. That alone, says it all. While it is POSSIBLE to rabbit hunt with an aircraft carrier, it's not the tool for the job. Sure, it's got mobility, firepower, accuracy, but you can't run through a field with it, nor turn it on a dime. Windows, to the extent that it either tries to add horsepower to mobility or ease-of-use to the stationary platform may be mixing metaphors a tad much. Whatever they do is an obvious REACTION to tech world events. I will observe that a while back.... just a blink of an eye, the two biggest names in mobility were Nokia and RIM. Both are on the ropes due to Apple. Now, we hear "MS has a 90% market share and it's not going anywhere". Pardon me, but I have heard that before and recently. As far as the consumer is concerned, they are losing a lot RIGHT NOW. I'm with XP, and did not buy into the hype of Vista nor Win7. I sure as hell won't buy into a non-need for Win8. I really don't care what the features are. I'm done with Windows Genuine Advantage and mandatory cycle penalties for the anitvirus crap, the animated paper clips, and have seen Microsoft's own 20 page "How to migrate from XP to Win7" document? I have 35 years of experience, and could not follow those instructions. Redmond is clueless. I won't completely write them off, but man, the psychopath dating my sister is unlikely to change if he marries her. You can tell a lot from past behavior. Not to mention it's due when.... 2013? And how many people develop for it now if it's a brand spanking new OS? How much will I have to pay for compilers and development tools? How much training? This is not a pretty sight, regardless of the eye candy.

daanbrg
daanbrg

I like what Microsoft is doing, and I love the Metro interface. It is very good at getting your information quickly, and even has multitasking support. This would be one of the ideal interfaces for a tablet. But not for a desktop. You see, desktops are used with keyboards and mice. A mouse doesn't work very nicely with Metro. It works, but it just fills the screen, while the average computer (desktop/laptop) user would like to use as much of his/her screen real estate as possible. I'd like to see how this would work out in a business environment, if Microsoft decides to make no changes in this, and RTM a version so that all computers boot in Metro, and people have to click the Desktop tile to get to a limited version of the desktop. (For instance: logging out / changing users / shutting down / restarting goes through Metro.) Interesting.

PasiPTL
PasiPTL

I'm a little surprised for these comments. I have now used this version for few days and I love it and no I'm not using metro because I don't have to. There is this neat Ctrl key in my keyboard that switches the screen to normal windows type, at least in my PC except some of the traditional task bar buttons that I don't need. From there on I can go doing what ever I need to do and because I'm old XP user the change is quite amazing including the speed. What comes to the older generation users, I believe that I'm a one being past 60. I also been using PC's since early 80's and used almost every version of Windows except Me and Nt versions. Some Mac and Linux and we all have different preferences, but so far mine is MS and Window 8 seems to be very nice program allowing me to install almost all my old programs that I need. The fact is that so for far only one refused to instal. So at least for me and my family this seems to be program for our 4 PC's

LeMike
LeMike

This may be a great thing if you're using a small tablet, but if you're actually working with a computer then spending the money on a second (or third!) monitor is more worth while. Using Windows XP on two screens will have more of a positive effect on a user's abilities than this new GUI. Don't forget: the OS' name is "Windows" (plural), NOT "Window" (singular). Lots of people open a program and maximise it immediately right now - multitasking actually isn't much needed for most users! Maybe Windows 8 will be good for those people. Me? I'm going to get a really powerful machine, run Ubuntu, and run Windows XP in a VM for my work - the company I'm working for has 300,000 Windows XP licences and doesn't look like it's changing anytime soon!

Ron_007
Ron_007

Metro is a repeat of the Ribbon "Gooey" (boy am I ever sick of it!). MS has come up with eye candy exclusively for newb's. It ignores the needs of loyal customers who have years and decades of experience with the old UI. I hope to heaven that this time (unlike the ribbon) they include an easy toggle back to the old UI. Just let me get on with work. I am a keyboard person. I use the mouse, but hate having to take my hand off the keyboard. Now with Metro, am I going to have to add a touch pad too to be able to use it?

Hazydave
Hazydave

.. rather, a survival ploy. I think Microsoft is having their "Google Moment".. or maybe their "Internet Moment" all over again. Back in 2005, Google seems to have realized that, the way things were going, search -- their bread and butter -- would be migrating off the desktop pretty quickly. And now, six years later, it's hard to argue. I still use search on a PC all the time, but I never walk to a PC to use search -- it's on my phone and my tablet. Google realized that every mobile device (RIM, Window Mobile, Palm, SymbianOS) was proprietary, and could shut Google out of default search overnight, if they wanted to. Thus, Google bought Android, and did what they needed to do to make Android popular, and thus secure an open platform for search on mobile. I think Microsoft has noticed, a bit too late, that computing is now moving to the mobile device. This doesn't mean PCs vanish, but that the percentage of computing done on PCs will shrink. And that's doubly bad. If 50% of computing moves off PCs, then Windows, as of today, would drop from 94% or so of consumer computing to 47%, practically overnight. Not only that, but once you spend most of your time on a mobile device, maybe you don't think of needing Windows on your PC. In fact, Apple's made some progress in boosting Mac sales on the iPhone coattails (only lower end Macs, to the extent that Apple seems about ready to give up on the high end stuff and go 100% consumer-as-end-user). So Microsoft needs mobile. And yet, they don't have it. Windows 7 Phone is out, and by some reports it's not too shabby. But they're still losing market share on phones. Conventional Windows will never be happy on a tablet: it doesn't do touch, it doesn't have enough storage for 100-1000MB program installs, and it doesn't have the CPU power or battery life for gigantic mega-applications. Enter Metro. The Metro interface works on the tablet and phone, as everyone's seen. Metro apps are written in web technologies: HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Silverlight -- all interpreted. So they run on any platform, ARM or x86, 32-bit or 64-bit. But how to make these popular? Make them part of standard desktop Windows, and drag this interface along to the tablet. This will set up two completely different families of applications on the desktop: Windows applications and Metro apps. And the apps will only be sold via the Zune appstore (or whatever they call it once they realize what a turn-off "Zune" is these days). Windows users will buy these, download freebies, etc. simply because they're cheap and useful.. and that peppers the application base for the tablets. The problem, of course, is that the tablet market will have another year of settling, unless they really rush Windows 8 out. Android will be stronger, iOS just as strong, and chances are, no one else will be very competitive. Microsoft will have the cash to play the long game here, but they'll have some work to do. I noticed they've already been courting WebOS developers for Metro apps --- WebOS also wrote apps in Javascript, HTML, and CSS... The could rush this out, and here's how. In essence, Windows 8 is Windows 7 plus Metro. And pretty much nothing else. They integrate the alternate app environment, spin out the Windows 7 desktop as an obviously separate application shell (it always has been, but you never saw it that way), etc. That part's pretty fast. And they're not porting all of Windows 7 to ARM, just the parts needed to support Metro... many if not most of which already live in Windows 7 Phone, one way or another.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

Its kind of there. I have the developer addition and it boots to metro then one of the panels has a desktop panel you click and it opens what looks like a classic desktop with icons but if you click the start button looking for what you know its all gone just opens the metro ui again. I am hoping this changes otherwise without it being hacked and skinned it really will suck.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

If Microsoft would just take that summary post and do those things listed they would have a clear cut winner. Its that simpl,e but appearently balmer isn't that bright.What a shame.

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

If you think it's hard to navigate and find anything quickly in Windows 7, you have problems. I loved XP and still think it will go down in history as one of the all time greats. But Windows 7 is so much better, stable, secure and more advanced than XP, there's no comparison. If you insist that your computer operating system stay exactly the same with no changes or advancements in any way, forever. You will end up being left behind. It takes very little effort to learn to be fast and efficient with Windows 7. I install Windows 7 on very old low powered computers and just spend about 1 minute changing to the performance setting and it's fast, and it stays fast. Did you know you can find most things by just clicking start button and typing usually about 3 letters? And with just a little bit of one time configuring you can make things even faster. I can single click an icon in my taskbar and have Task Manager open. And then there's the jump list. If you look at it with an open mind instead of saying all change is bad, it's obvious that Windows 7 is a far superior OS to XP. I think that Microsoft being willing to support XP for 14 years is pretty amazing. Apple would never do it.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

In your version when your in desktop classic look and click your start button do you have your folders and such or does it take you back to the metro page like mine does? thats the killer for me. I want the classic look desktop and the classic startbutton of xp as it makes things so much easier but when I click the start it just opens the metro UI which is annoying as hell. So far I am hating this entire os. I still prefer xp but I do have some nice windows 7 machine I skinned with xp UI so usabilty is back. the metro and start button need to be removed and a good familar desktop with start and folders an option or its a no deal and I will have to start looking at a linux covered in windows theme option to get work done.

aprilia1k
aprilia1k

I've been a developer for almost 30 years. In the 90's I was doing low-level (RDBMS engine internals, drivers for 8 or 9 platforms' (unix variants, windows, even some M/F stuff like CICS, lu62-tcp, bla bla). Point is, I'm not a NOOB. I've been using Word since OS/2 tanked, and for me - the "Ribbon" (which is a variant of tabs for sure, and yeah - more "visual", was a huge improvement over the classic n-dimensional, drilldown menus interface. The point is, people are different. Some are more visual, where color and shape and arrangement have a more tight coupling to memory and thought process. Other folks conceptualize without much of a visual component, plain text and hierarchic "tree" structure is all they use in the way of visualization. I still type about 140-150 wpm, and when I'm coding, of course it's just me and the keys. For many other things, like word processing, the "dryness" of memorizing all the shortcuts (and I did) was just necessity. I found that 2007 (the first ribbon iirc) was a great new interface. And there were definitely conveniences and features that weren't in earlier versions. A tab and a row of icons with contextual menus (never very deeply nested) was a huge improvement - FOR ME. I know that it'd be awesome if everything always stayed exactly the way it was; the way we are used to things being and comfortable with. I think they sold a gazillion copies of '07, despite all the hating - and probably sold plenty of '10 (didn't bump from '07 yet - the shame :-) Eye candy is not exclusively for newbs. Some of it is, to be sure. But purely logical, keyboard shortcut based UIs are not popular with everyone, not even developers like you and me. IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT THE BACKLASH IF WORD'S NEXT RELEASE LOOKED MORE LIKE 2003 or earlier. And we're not talking just "LOOK"... all the "candy" is gone, the visual cues for doing things like altering line-spacing, margins, fonts (which are PREVIEWED with a mouseover in the "eye candy" version. Boy THAT SUCKS doesn't it? Who would want to see what a font looks like by mousing over the name? What a DRAG!!!!!). Heh. Pretty tough to argue against something like font preview, right? Or - do you have an argument against it? Cheers. Be Happy. Or, --- enjoy your displeasure, if that makes you feel good. Ciao, Aprilia1k --- maniacal twisty carving is a great weekend release. But you've got to have good health insurance for sure.

Duke E Love
Duke E Love

No really. You sound like a troll who pines for the days of DOS and UNIX. Tech is moving forward at breakneck speed that is leaving you in the dust. You know you don't have to use it right? The is always Vi, notepad and Linux and gasp... Mac's that still have text editors.

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

"If 50% of computing moves off PCs, then Windows, as of today, would drop from 94% or so of consumer computing to 47%, practically overnight." 50% of computing, would probably be refering to the social and communications segment. That's not 'real computing', though it seems to be a 'must have' in todays world.

billybonds
billybonds

Some people just have an agenda and want to complain. I have been using MS software since Windows 95 and am delighted with Windows 7. It is wonderful to navigate around. I love being able to pin applications to the task menu and then being able to pin files to their corresponding application. One right click followed by a left click and I am where I want to be.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

Windows 7 is great but you have to kill the windows 7 ui and skin it with xp for it to truely shine. The start button change without a classic option killed windows 7 until a few skins cameout to give you that quick abilty xp had. Windows 7 just takes to long to hunt around for things that used to take one click. The metro ui which i have been palying around with just makes no sense at all and is horrible.

blarman
blarman

I've been using and supporting Windows since 3.1. I've seen all the flavors, all the mantras, and all the users. And the most important thing about an operating system is enabling me to effectively use my APPLICATIONS. Why did people move from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 - better applications due to a 16-bit platform. Windows 98 then bumped that to an initial version of 32-bits, but didn't substantially alter the UI, which was a GOOD thing. Windows NT was a disaster for users and only OK for servers. Windows 2000 was a great product, but again - MS DIDN'T completely overhaul the desktop. Windows 2000 also had good support for USB devices and was very stable. Windows ME was a disaster of stability and was trying to address a niche market in PC use for a Microsoft-centered media room. Then Microsoft decided to permanently fork their software into strict server and desktop software. Windows XP was the next client OS to be released, and while it was decent and provided better USB support, the UI really didn't do anything but change colors. I used it with the standard 2000 interface because the IE look was a joke and didn't really add any functionality - it just spent hardware resources. Enter Windows Vista. Microsoft tried to change too many things and rush it to market. They should have done a Windows 95 -> Windows 98 change and stayed with the same UI, just gone to supporting 64-bit operating systems to start with, then waited until that was stable before moving to a new GUI in Windows 7. They also rushed it to market without giving application vendors a chance to re-write their software for the security overhaul. Now we get back to the original point and why Vista was such a bomb: users couldn't run their applications. Now I run Windows 7, but I have to say that boot times are slower (and I don't have ANYTHING loading on boot), and I really don't find anything in Windows 7 that boosts my productivity. I'm glad they traded out the ill-named "Start" button for the Windows button, but really, I can get by on XP just fine. The biggest thing Microsoft keeps forgetting is that the operating system ISN'T the reason people buy computers, the applications are. MS will do better to focus on technologies that allow people to better use applications (like support for multiple desktops) the way THEY want to and not the way Microsoft wants them to: their users will be more satisfied.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

Actually Duke your statement sounds stupid as yes technology advances but at the same time the user base you have brough along and that have kept you going is still there. To completely change the familar and cost users and companies tons of money and time in complete retraing resetting it guys and the new os to work with machines not inended for this kind of UI is stupid. I have the developer version and as many have stated the metro UI just does not work for windows users with desktop or laptop computers. It just doesn't function well and it lacks the efficiency and familiarity that makes windows users keep using windows. If you take away what has kept your users with you 20 plus years they will look for what they know and thats either old os versions or others who make a useful product they can relate to. I would skip a windows 8 tablet using the metro ui and I did skip the WP7 due to the tiles. It just bad all the way around. Microsoft needs to stop take a look around and actually talk to its customers who will use it te most. Companies and workers and home users with long time windows ties.. With metro integrated windows 8 is just no good.

cavehomme1
cavehomme1

that in business, and indeed life, some things just work or reach a peak. They are highly functional and work in a particular way.Essentially they evolved to become good at what they do. Same goes for the people that followed that evolutionary path, they are fine-tuned / integrated to XP / Office 2003 for the sake of my example. They can spew out work at a fantastic rate, highly efficiently, so WHY change something that works so well? If you knew anyting about engineering you would understand design, function and form perhaps better. Yes there are other people who may wish to do things differently, and they need to be supported, but "throwing away the baby with the bathwater" is not the way to go.

JnM_Bronson
JnM_Bronson

The Windows 7 UI is a great improvement on Windows XP's UI, for many people. Your desire for the XP UI is personal opinion, just like my preference for the Windows 7 UI is personal preference.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

My windows xp machine do start faster then my windows 7 machine but xp takes longer to close. My vista machine takes forever to open and close about 5 to 7 minutes either way.

aprilia1k
aprilia1k

I've had 3 different machines with dual-boot of XP and 7. Identical startup, drivers, etc.. XP is 30 - 60 secs slower AT BEST. Because it doesn't perform things like "Parallel driver initialization", and several others. AND -- if you look at hibernate/wakeup times... Win7 jumps right awake, almost instantly. XP, if it even manages to wakeup properly, takes forever. Sorry man - you are totally wrong. ;-) Also - frankly - The OS currently, and into the foreseeable, is both the Application runtime AND the USER INTERFACE to accessing their computer. People buy a PC over a MAC (the homogenization is underway, of course, ... but still) for the OS _and_ the Apps that are supported _BY THE OS_. Not about chip architectures and chipsets so much now, but the OS is still a major factor in the computer purchase for certain. The OS, and _improvements_ in the OS, are to benefit (obviously subjectively) usability and application runtime environment (access to hardware and newer architectural offerings for memory access & mgt, threading, communication (IPC, etc..) and _access_ to: The USER through the UI). Any application's performance and usability (subjective) is extremely tightly coupled to the runtime. For local apps - that's the OS. For Web apps, "cloud" (I hate that too, got to admit), etc ... it's also true. Just that their runtime environment is not an OS, but a browser which provides (quite limited, relative to an OS of course) analogous access to the USER. It's all undergoing the trend towards equilibrium... almost everything will run almost everywhere with little variation, and it's going to get pretty boring. Eh, I understand the need to satisfy the attention-deficit en masse... with flash and candy, and admit that there's been substance intermixed, but... I also agree with a LOT of what you said, so I want you to know that. Just that I don't agree about the argument around OS and why people buy computers, and also need to say that Microsoft isn't doing anything that all the others aren't (i.e. it's not just MS); hell, I like Linux; I installed my first Linux in '95, back when you had to pretty much be an engineer to do it (+/-, it helped to know how the 'ell to line up your components, homegrow your "distro" and compile it all to your liking). Still, again -- Windows 7 was/is, largely, a huge step forward, in the right direction. Vista was a mess for sure, but everyone seems to forget: the XP you're so fond of? It's at least SP2, right? It's two service packs in... Win7 utilizes today's machines and resources far better. There are many under-the-hood improvements. The guys who write the digital multi-track recording software that interfaces with gazillions of h/w components _and_ has to provide extremely tight timing and synchronization, get access to large amounts of memory and combat even minute amounts of latency... these guys are embracing Windows 7 (for Windows PC platform obviously; they love OS/X and the typically far superior Firewire of the Mac as well). Anyway - MS has always been and always will be the "evil empire", but truth is that lately the OS has been improved, and this is a "pre-release", and will likely change substantially going forward. Soapbox being put away.