Microsoft reached the final version of Windows 8 some days ago and I decided to put it on trial and to share some thoughts.
One of the things that stands out with this new iteration of Windows it's the Metro interface. And the main reason why it stands out so much it's because Microsoft forces you to use it.
But first things first.
The boot is faster. I didn't measure it but I could notice some difference in comparison to Windows 7.
Once you boot you are taken to the Metro interface, and no, you can't change it. If you want to go to the Desktop Interface you will have to click on the respective tile in Metro.
The first time using Metro is a bit of a shock. In previous Windows, if you wanted to get out of some kind of program or situation you would hit the Windows key and you could have access to your desktop, it was like an escape route. Now you are kindly sent straight to Metro, like when you hit the Home key on your smartphone.
The old start menu was completely replaced with the new interface, but you can still use it the same way as before: press the Windows key, type the program name and press enter to open it. The difference is that now instead of occupying a small portion of the screen, it takes the whole screen.
But the Metro it's not only a replacement for the start menu, it's a replacement for your whole desktop. Actually, the Desktop Interface is treated like if it was one of the Metro apps. And what are Metro apps?
You have the main interface of your new and shiny operative system, the Metro, and then you have simple and nice applications, like Mail and Meteorology, that the default action when you leave them, it's staying frozen in the background, exactly like in your smartphone, they are Metro apps. You can Alt-Tab between them or you can move you mouse to the upper left corner of your screen and display a list of Metro apps opened.
This one of the things that I didn't like, after you open some Metro apps, they stay in the background and clutter your Alt-Tab and mess with your current desktop programs.
Metro apps are nice... for a tablet. They make no sense on a normal computer, but it seems that Microsoft wants you to use it. You are on a desktop, open a simple image and BAM! Metro comes up. You receive a document, let's say, a PDF, you open it and guess what... Metro comes up once again. The good thing is that when this happens, it also pops up a small notification asking in what application do you want to open your file, but since I'm running Windows on a normal computer, why it is unable to guess that I do not want Metro apps?
There are great design inconsistencies in the operative system due to introduction of Metro. For example, in the Desktop Interface, when I click on the battery icon of the tray the Windows shows me the typical pop-up with my power plans, but if I click on the wireless icon it shows me a Metro bar that has no relation whatsoever with the design of the rest system.
Another thing that I didn't like was the default theme on the Desktop Interface. In Windows 7 we had the Aero Glass theme, quite beautiful, now you have a somewhat uglier Aero Basic.
But there are great improvements: Windows Explorer is better than ever, it now includes the Ribbon interface and it works very well. If you want a simple file explorer, you can still hide the Ribbon if you want.
The new Task Manager was vastly improved too, it's amazing how useful and simple it is now. The same thing with the new file transfer dialogs.
You can now login into your computer with a Microsoft Account and sync you settings with the cloud. There is a Windows Store where you can download and buy applications. This things, and some others that I'm still exploring, make a great experience in relation to Windows 7.
In general, Windows 8 it is a solid operative system but It's too bad that Microsoft is trying to impose an User Interface clearly designed for touch screens to normal computer users. Metro is nice for showing off but it's not so great to do normal stuff, it doesn't enhance your productivity and Metro apps are still in early stage and don't do much yet. #windows #metro #windows8