I recently download the consumer preview of windows 8 (The new operating system from windows) and this is my personal experience of using it for the first time. It is worth noting that this is a preview version and things could change before launch.
First I downloaded the ISO from Microsoft for the consumer preview and burnt this to a DVD. Installing the operating system was very easy and very quick. The steps are very similar to installing any other operating system and the UI when installing is very intuitive and clear.
This is where windows 8 let me down on first impressions. The first screen is not what you expect (see below) and seems a mash of things I personally don’t want and I can’t help thinking that I am looking at an iPad rather than a desktop computer.
It all seems cluttered and irrelevant to what I want to do. I am sure it must be customisable somewhere but the initial screen leaves me a little confused and disoriented.
There are a collection of boxes each linking to some other boxy type animation overlaid on top of the start screen. For example if I click on Photos I get the below
To get back to the start screen you have to move your cursor back to the bottom left of the screen and you get a little box that says start that you can click. It takes me a few attempts to actually click it as your cursor has to be right at the bottom corner.
Now we can get to the desktop by clicking the desktop square on the start screen which will present you with your desktop. If you move to the right of the screen you get the right side menu. I hated the default fish background and luckily right clicking on the desktop and selecting personalise is still there so I’m changing my background to something solid.
Now let’s have a quick look at the desktop. The first thing you will notice is that there is no start button anymore. The only 2 buttons we have on the taskbar are internet explorer and a shortcut to your library. I have already in the 10 minutes I have been on the desktop opened internet explorer by accident trying to get the start menu box to come back up which is getting a little frustrating.
For the purpose of this tutorial I need paint to actually paste screenshots into and it has taken me a good 5 minutes to find it. There does not seem to be any program type list where you can easily select the program you want to load.
I eventually find that by going to the right side bar and then selecting the magnifying glass I can get a list of apps by selecting apps then by scrolling along. I have now found the paint program.
Now although this sounds simple enough actually getting the sidebar to come up and keeping your cursor in the area so it does not disappear is terribly frustrating. The number of times that the sidebar disappeared or I could not get back to the option I wanted have been numerous already.
Now I have found paint I do not want to go through this process every time so I want a shortcut somewhere (Preferably on my desktop). By right clicking on the program you get a menu bar along the bottom allowing you to pin to taskbar and start menu but no option to create a shortcut to desktop.
But I think this is a bit of a pain in the neck to get in the start menu and I don’t want to fill my taskbar with tons of programs so I am now searching for a way to get a shortcut to my desktop. After 10 minutes of looking at the settings and options it seems the only way to create a desktop icon is to find the program file and right-click to create a desktop shortcut.
At this stage I am already highly frustrated after an hour fighting to get the thing to work how I want it to so time to take a break from it.
Time to shut it down….. hmm wait a minute how do I do that now I have no start menu and no obvious way to shut down the computer from either the start box or desktop. Firstly I look in the start menu and after 5 minutes clicking options have no luck.
I decide to try to right sidebar and go to settings and there it is a big power button that allows me to shut down. Unfortunately while I am here I decided to look at an option that says “more PC settings” I am then taken to a screen I don’t seem to be able to get out of whatever I press. I should also say that on these animated metro screens there is no minimize or close button so you are relying on your escape key to get back. Unfortunately for me that does not work and it takes me a further 5 minutes to finally get back so I can shut it down.
I think part 2 will be in a few of days after this experience…..
First Impressions conclusion
Although I understand that Microsoft want to make it new and fresh I can’t help but think they have over complicated things and overcrowded the screens. I want my desktop to look like a desktop computer should not look like a mobile device.
I have used windows, Linux, Mac OS and I have never found an operating system as frustrating as this on first use. All the other operating systems I have used have been consistent and although having some big differences you always knew where you were. For example I don’t find switching from windows to Linux or my Mac a difficult transition but I cannot say the same about windows 8.
My concern is that I am an experienced user and it really frustrated me and if this system is rolled out to the general public I know I will be receiving many calls of frustration and anger especially from my older customers who have only just got used to the transition from XP to windows 7.
I will give windows 8 another chance there is no doubt about that you can’t make your mind up in only an hour it may have other features that scrub out its obvious pitfalls. Having said that the first impression it has given me personally is not good and it is not something I am looking forward to in its current form.