Windows 8 First Impressions
I got adventurous over the weekend and installed the developer preview of Windows 8 on my desktop. Not in a virtual machine, mind you. I actually backed up, wiped the hard drive and jumped in with both feet. I’m still getting some of my lesser used programs installed, but things are working just fine.
Despite repeated claims by Microsoft and journalists covering Windows 8 that the underpinnings are quite different from Windows 7, the interaction is similar. Sure, the new Metro interface is completely different from anything I’ve ever seen on a desktop, but it’s pretty much how I used the Start menu before. I don’t find it nearly as obnoxious as I thought I would, and I actually find myself moving back and forth between the Metro screen and my desktop. I’m a hard man to convince, and I don’t do well with change, but so far I am finding this a step up.
What else is different? Not much, yet. Last night I was transferring some files from one drive to another and noticed the file transfer dialogue box was different – rather than the annoyingly inaccurate box we used to have, we now have a box that shows us, in graph form, how the download speed has changed over the time of the download. Sure, 99% of people won’t care about this, but a true geek like me appreciates all data he can get. Oh, and setting up my network printer took 17 times longer than it should have due to the new Add Printer setup.
That’s not to say that there aren’t more differences. I just haven’t run into them. I’ve found the system to be moderately stable, which is to be expected. I might have some driver issues I need to explore, which is on the docket for later this week. The system absolutely will not wake up from sleep mode without crashing. Probably a bad default video driver.
Care for a shorter opinion? Windows 8 is good so far. I expect it to be more refined when it is released next year. If you have Windows 7 you won’t need to upgrade. If you have a touchscreen Windows 7 computer, like the ones HP has sold, you will want to. If you have XP now, you will hate it for a few months, but then you’ll be fine.