First Look: Windows 8 - Love it or Hate it?

Windows 8 was launched, with much fanfare, on October 26.   In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft has dramatically revamped the user interface and Windows doesn’t look like Windows anymore.   It’s now a touch-centric interface made up of “live” tiles that take the place of desktop short-cuts of earlier Windows versions.   Depending on what they represent, the “live” aspect of the tiles means they give you a peek inside the app they represent.  For example, the mail tile will scroll through recent messages in your inbox.  The calendar tile will display your upcoming calendar appointments.  Tiles that represent news apps (check out the USA Today app) will scroll through news headlines.

The biggest complaint so far is that the familiar “Start” button is gone and Microsoft insists it isn’t coming back.   Some third party developers are already creating apps that simulate the Start menu.   Personally, I think that complaint is over-blown.   I’ve been using Windows 8 on both a laptop and a tablet for the past few weeks and I don’t miss it.

Clearly, Microsoft has designed Windows 8 for the emerging mobile computing world - phones and tablets.   I’ve tested it on both touch and non-touch devices and, while the experience is better on touch devices, there are mouse and keyboard short-cuts that, once you take the time to learn them, make the non-touch experience work well.  

My recommendation?  Don’t run out and upgrade all the systems at your office to Windows 8!  While from an application compatibility standpoint, there doesn’t seem to be many issues, your staff will need orientation and training.   You won’t be able to plunk this in front of people and expect them to figure it out on their own.

Your first priority should be to get rid of the old Windows XP systems many of you still have hanging around (see my earlier post about the 2014 Windows XP sunset).  Get your desktop systems to Windows 7 first and we’ll talk about Windows 8 (or 9) later once the dust settles.  

As usual, I welcome your comments!