I’ve tried dozens of operating systems and variations of operating systems in my 30 years of using computer technologies and there are a number of

The new Windows 8 Start Screen, making use of ...

Image via Wikipedia

things I like about Windows 8, but as a highly technical user able usually figure out just about anything in an application or an operating system, Windows 8 is a hot mess. There are a number of things to like about it, but they are far outweighed by the number of things I just can’t get past.

The number one problem is that user adoption is going to be abysmal. The interface and it’s mechanisms for interaction and how to get around will be completely foreign to everyone as they are to me. I still cannot figure out how to do numerous things in this OS and am constantly confused and irritated by the experience. Microsoft has tried to take a tablet interface and make it into a desktop OS and it just is not going to work. Yes, people can eventually learn it, but in the end I think more will give up and quit before they do.  In fact, I think this will actually increase the sales of Macs and help Apple.

  • Right clicks no longer function as they should in the browser(Internet Explorer) as they should and as we are used to.
  • Moving around and calling up interface actions to change settings, move between apps, and do just about anything else, require keystroke combinations that are not intuitive and completely different from everything we are used to after years of using Window based products.
  • Jumping back and forth between the Metro experience and the traditional desktop experience is confusing and throws off the user experience.
  • Because it is a tablet based experience, I am unable to drag a “window” from one of my monitor screens to another and my extended display will ONLY show me the traditional Windows desktop.
  • Finding my running apps requires a strange left upper window click and then a drag down to actually see what is running.
  • When I am in the Windows 7 interface, my other running apps are not in the Tack Bar.
  • This is a beta, but Internet Explorer and the email client crash constantly.
  • Figuring out how to slide apps in and out was confusing and difficult.

Bottom line is, that in order to actually gain anything from using this operating system, I have to completely retrain myself by reading online help and other articles about how to make things happen. It is completely anti-intuitive and I think it was a huge mistake to try to adapt a tablet experience into a keyboard and mouse experience and expect people to understand what is going on when it is completely different from what they are used to. Windows 8 is going to give IT departments an excuse to try out Macs and corporate adoption of this OS is going to be abysmal.

Are there any positives? It’s pretty and the immersive experience of full screen apps is a great way to work, so I am going to start using my browser and other apps in full screen mode in Windows 7.

This is a really sad turn of events. I was very excited for Microsoft when Windows 7 was released, because it finally seemed like they got it right in an OS and there is nothing to say that they couldn’t do much of the cool things they have done, but still retain the Windows interface metaphors and still give us Metro as our “start” menu, but instead they are forcing users to COMPLETELY change the way they are used to computing and it’s going to be a disaster for them. Here’s the ultimate test: would I install this for my Mother or my wife to use? No way and if they buy a new PC with it installed, I will probably wipe out the computer and install Windows 7, because I don’t want to have to retrain them and spend all my time supporting their learning curve.

I can certainly see how this could be usable on a single screen tablet and it’s probably a fantastic experience. It may even be usable for people transitioning from Windows phones and tablets to Windows 8 PCs, but for the majority of users it will be a no go.

I really wanted to like it, but I will be taking back my partition right after I post this and start using my apps in Windows 7 in full screen mode. Microsoft blew it and it could be a disaster for their bottom line unless they make it up in tablet installs.