I’ve been using Windows for what seems like ages, guys and girls. I first started off with Windows 95 on a friend’s computer, and stared in wonder that this alien concept that was staring back at me, unblinking. Towards the end of my High School career, I tinkered and toyed with every computer I could find, even down to VHS players. I was even called into the headmaster’s office one day to help with duplicating VHS tapes – I programmed both Phillips units in during a biology class in Grade 9 and got three copies rolling for them. By that time my mom had her own computer that she bought for the family, and I tried learning everything I could about Windows XP.
As I started helping others find their way around in computer class, I began to write instructions for them and they all started with “Click the Start button”. Years later at my ex-girlfriend’s house I first toyed with a Longhorn beta and began using the search feature extensively in later builds on my laptop. In college I got my hands on Windows 7 Beta, and things since have never been sweeter. However, I still find myself having to teach people to remember that the Start Orb in 7 and Button in XP were fundamentally the same thing.
As things got on with 7, people started to get used to all the new features including Aero Snap and the extremely useful Search features now built into every part of the OS. Vista was all but forgotten, and people who upgraded from XP were satisfied because everything was still in place.
But Windows 8 changes all of that by removing the Start Orb, and leaving nothing in its place. If you think about it, its one of the most recognisable features of a Windows operating system – heck, Windows 95 had one prominently displayed on the lower-left of your screen. The fact that it appeared still there fourteen years later is a testament to how much people have gotten used to it being there. And now that its gone, a lot of things have changed, especially perceptions ti Windows 8.
I’m still busy getting my own review/overview of the OS done with, so I’ll launch my full thoughts then. But simply based on the fact that Windows 8 is designed for touch screens changes the game entirely.
With a traditional mouse and keyboard you have to either start learning swiping gestures or keyboard shortcuts. You have to remember that the start menu is still there, but you have to hover all the way into the lower-left corner to pop it up. You can’t invoke it by pressing the Windows key – that takes you back to the Metro interface.
Hell, one of the biggest hurdles users migrating to Linux have to get over is the lack of a Start Button. Because of that, many just gave up at the first boot and went back to their comfort zone. To combat this, Microsoft has stuck to their guns and forced users to get with the program by offering a tutorial to learn the new features of Metro and Windows 8. Except, its not going to help. The main reason is below:
Yes, the QWERTY keyboard. Or, in fact, any keyboard designed for the Windows standard. The fact that we still have this as our main input device halts back everything Metro tries to achieve for both tables and desktops/laptops. In fact, had we migrated to touch devices much earlier, we wouldn’t have this problem. For those who still use the keyboard on a daily basis, even for Microsoft’s own engineers and programmers, Windows 7 is far more intuitive and easier to work with. The Seattle Times calls Metro’s mouse usage “unintuitive and clunky” and that’s exactly because they had it on a desktop.
It might seem like a stupid thing to say for a hardware and software enthusiast, but my primary desktop won’t be running Windows 8. If I absolutely have to, I’m using my Logitech G11’s feature to turn off the Windows key because the move from the traditional desktop to Metro is jarring. I’ll maybe keep Windows 8 in a virtual machine for research purposes or maybe on another drive, but until I’m comfortable with it, I’m not buying it.
Source: Tom’s Hardware