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  1. #1
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    A Windows veteran looks at Win8 Consumer Preview




    TOP STORY

    A Windows veteran looks at Win8 Consumer Preview


    By Woody Leonhard

    If you download and install Windows 8 Consumer Preview, released late last week, I can almost guarantee that you won't like it.
    I know only a handful of experienced Windows users (who don't work for or with Microsoft) who say they like Windows 8. But it's the future, eh?

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/top-story/a-windows-veteran-looks-at-win8-consumer-preview/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Win8 may be great for an iPad type device and even for a bit of a word processing. The problem will come for organisations like ours where we do civil engineering designs on CAD, and massive spreadsheets, and databases. You certainly can't do that with the "Greasy Thumb" of Woody's column.

    I wonder if MS won't have to split into their NT / 95 clone type OS's again to support those of us who need the platform that we have been using for so long?

  3. #3
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    Thumbs down Win 8 & Multitasking

    I installed the customer preview, and after a day or so returned back to win7.

    My main concern is not the Metro UI, like you said, I can get used to it and can see some advantages in it - especially for small-display machines.

    My main issue is that when using Metro-UI you cannot really multi-task (and I mean the user - not the computer). At max. you can open two applications on a screen.

    I ususally have an IDE opened, as well as one or more design documents and email open on my screen. And I am a by far not the most demanding - a lot of people I know have multiple documents, web-sites, emails and excel sheets opened in the same time.
    Metro UI does not support this, it is designed to work on small screens where you do not have the real estate to run more than two "apps" side by side.
    Also the app switching (what used to be ALT-TAB) does not work well when you want to have a mix of desktop and metro-style apps

  4. #4
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    I had Windows 8 installed for less than a day and reverted back to Win7. I had it installed on an HP TouchSmart tm2. It's clumsy and sluggish going between Metro and desk top. I had to use the touch pad to highlight Metro from the desk top. My finger wouldn't bring it up. I need my start button. Maybe they'll have it set up to user preference for the start button for those of us who want it.

    I also wonder how its going to affect the maintaining of a website. I use a desktop with 3 22" monitors for updating my website








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    Thanks to Woody! Not only have I been convinced to not try out the Win 8 Consumer Preview, I am just about convinced to not give the final version of Win8 a try, and to keep my Win 7 Ultra x64 systems running as long as possible. When they no longer support my requisite hardware at that time, I am seriously contemplating switching everything over to a Mac platform: HW and of course SW. I've been eyeing the Mac for a long time now for serious graphic work, but cannot afford the SW switchover fees to maintain two versions of my SW.

    I guess that deep down I'm hoping MS will realize they are making a serious business mistake with this new philosophy and put it with their now defunct "Bob".

    6rtury

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    Does M$ ever survey real world users to find out what we want and need? I can see that by the time Win 7 is no longer supported I'll be buying a Mac. Tablets may be fine for limited use, but not for spreadsheets, highly formatted docs, or photo and graphic work. I use two monitors and usually have 3 to 5 apps going at the same time. Win8 will definitely not work for me. I'm so sick of M$ shoving their idea of how we should work down our throats. I HATE the Office Ribbon and am buying a third party app to be able to go back to the 'old' menu. My employer gave us a copy to Office 10 for our home systems - I never bothered installing it. If it weren't for compatibility issues I'd be sticking with an older version of Office.

  7. #7
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    Wow. This hasn't even been in people's hands for a week and already Woody is bashing it? I also hated the interface at first and couldn't reconcile the Metro Start screen with traditional desktop computing. Once I learned a few simple and easy customizations and tricks, its really pretty decent. I'm envisioning updated form factors like a convertible laptop/tablet.

    BTW, this is BETA software. If something doesn't work right, report it. MS needs to know that there are issues on things like an HP TouchSmart.

    Quote Originally Posted by Photorer View Post
    Win8 may be great for an iPad type device and even for a bit of a word processing. The problem will come for organisations like ours where we do civil engineering designs on CAD, and massive spreadsheets, and databases. You certainly can't do that with the "Greasy Thumb" of Woody's column.

    I wonder if MS won't have to split into their NT / 95 clone type OS's again to support those of us who need the platform that we have been using for so long?
    What problem? Have you tried the desktop with your apps? Or are you making assumptions based on what you have read? I'm running several photo editing and RAW conversion apps. Not as heavy duty as CAD, but certainly not small potatoes. They run perfectly fine.

    One thing Woody failed to mention in his article is that Windows Server 8 Beta was also released the same day. The enhancements in Active Directory, virtualization, and a few other things are very telling. MS has not abandoned desktop users, especially not on the corporate level. As an administrator, I'm looking forward to what's coming for our organization in the next couple of years.
    Chuck

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    Microsoft is pushing us to go to Mac or even Linux

    Wow. I've been programming/working with computers since the 70's. After reading Woody's column, I feel like saying, "Just give me a command line interface please." If the final Windows 8 release is as bad (rigid metro interface) as the initial offering then I may move over to a Mac. I can't believe I am saying this. I don't even like Apple stuff. However their video and audio editing tools on the Mac seem to be awesome. So maybe it is time.

    I haven't looked at Linux for a while so I don't know if products like Sony Vegas or Adobe Photoshop run there. I know there are Linux alternatives (like GIMP for photo editing) but I would like to stay with products I know.

    Guess I'll ride out Windows 7 until I decide what non-Windows platform to pursue. Seems like Microsoft could keep from shooting itself in the foot by simply allowing an (easily available) option to choose the Metro or Classic user interface. Woody's decription of how to get to and use the classic interface is a non starter. If that's all the final release has, then I'm gone.

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    Hi Woody,

    I would like to add to the Win8 CP installation options a new one I just successfully employed: Create a Virtual Hard Disk (.vhd) file and install into it. It provides both the performance of a regular partition and, at the same time, the insulation of a Virtual Machine to some extent.

    I learned about this option at http://www.windows7hacker.com/index.php/2011/09/native-vhd-boot-to-windows-8-developer-preview-with-windows-7/

    I would add just one thing to the instructions provided by this link. Once the vhd file has been created, it must be initialized in the Disk Management snap-in. Right click the attached vhd partition in the lower-right part of the snap-in and click initialize. This is a one time process that is part of the vhd partition creation process. This must be done prior to installing Win8 CP into it.

    Charles.
    Last edited by ccotton; 2012-03-08 at 11:26.

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    I find it hard to believe when people have such radical opinions based on other people's opinions of products they themselves have not used. If an OS is an important tool, either professionally or for personal use, try it out for yourselves.

    As Doc Brown posted so correctly, do you realize that the Windows desktop is still available, just as in 7, for people who don't want to use Metro? If anything, that desktop will be as good as you get with 7, if not better?

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    Win8???

    I am not sure what the problem is? If you are totally satisfied with Win7, why go to 8? I am 68 and at first try said " What the h*** is this" But after a week I am getting used to it and can see some advantages. All of the other updates took time to get comfortable with. You need to give it a real try before tossing it. Personally I see no need to leave Win7. It is as good or better than XP ever was, so stay with it if you are comfortable. The younger crowd will beg to differ and adopt Win8 quite readily. Especially the smart phone/tablet crowd. Good for them. I too miss the START orb, but have gotten used to the new way after giving it a real try. But for real productivity Win7 will serve us well for a long time.

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    window 8 is going to cause the disaster they were trying to avoid

    I tried windows 8 customer preview and I hate it. You have to take two or three steps to do what I could have normally done in one step. You call that progress. Microsoft is going to see their sales of windows 8 to be the biggest flop in the history of new operating systems. How many people have a touch screen??? This is an operating system that is not geared for the public. It is a very frustrating to use. How many people use the stupid icons that are displayed on their startup page??? When you click on the icons on the start page nothing really happens.... I think this is geared for the IPAD type of user, but I don't think that 95% of the market of current systems are ready for this type of operating system. MS may think that their revenue has dropped over the last couple years, this crazy operating system will cause it to drop even further, and is going to be the biggest disaster in windows history.

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    In Woody's conclusion, he said:

    These massive changes, well under way, affect all Windows users — but they especially impact us grizzled Windows veterans. Take a look at the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to see where the PC world’s headed. Like it or not, that’s where Microsoft believes the market is. You get to decide whether you want to join.

    I've followed Woody through all his adventures for many years, have read many of his publications, and tried to keep up with his outstanding commentary.

    However, I must disagree with his conclusion: "You get to decide whether you want to join".

    As a moderately knowledgeable end user, I've never felt I had any choice, and I feel no different about W8. I do agree with Woody's resistance to change, however. Indeed, I feel that little has changed for the better since Leading Edge Word Processing, Mosaic, and Nutshell, but I have never felt that I have any choice in whether or not to accept what Microsoft keeps throwing at me, constantly adding new complications and compulsively increasing the number and variety of hoops I have to jump through just to get my work done. I've just accepted all that as part of the package, and try to keep my footing through following Woody's commentary and, on occasion, asking and getting advice from lounge members. As a technical editor, I've also gotten fairly good at plowing through to what I need.

    But do I think I have any choice? No, not if I'm to keep up with what clients ask of me. They're more helpless in the face of change than I am and usually, it's up to me to help them swallow and digest Microsoft's latest changes.

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  16. #14
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    All of this changing of UI's reminds me of another one of my pet peeves - retail stores that move departments every year or so - just enough to cause me to spend an extra 30 minutes trying to find things. I've made the transition through all of the Windows OS's other than Vista and I can see how I would hang with MS through Windows 8, unless it will not be able to run corporate software in a manner in which I am accustom. I personally like sitting down to a desktop. Unlike a laptop, it doesn't not bake the family jewels, run out of juice in the middle of something important, etc. I don't want an OS that I have to operate with "greasy" thumbs. I like my mouse and keyboard very much, thank you.
    Having said all that, if MS pitches an OS at me that I find frustrating, I'll chuck the entire system and go to MAC. They see to have some sense of continuity about what they are doing. The seem to be proactive, not reactive. Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe I'll be dead by the time such a decision comes. This I do know, for the average user like myself, I NEVER put beta anythings on my computer. I was burned once and literally had to start from the ground up rebuilding my system. No betas for me.

  17. #15
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    Personally, I think Microsoft did themselves a disservice by publicly releasing a very early Beta in the Developer Preview. It had many, many quirks and the integration of the Start Menu was broken. Since then hoards of people have had their expectations skewed by that release. The Consumer Preview is much better, integrating the Start Menu (aka Metro) and allowing very easy switching between the two.

    I do use touch devices, but not for Windows. For Windows, I exclusively use keyboard and mouse and currently Windows 8 is starting tho shape up quite well. Yes, there are a few things that need fixed, but this veteran (perhaps not quite as long in the tooth as Woody), is beginning to see promise in the upcoming release.

    Desktop is still there and all the apps I've loaded run just fine on it. I can remove all the social media junk form the Start Menu, drop "real" apps onto it. One Click and they launch.

    In my experience, the key to finding peace with Win8 is to understand that the Start Menu (Metro) is a full screen Start Menu similar to Win7, Vista and earlier. It has additional features for touch, but if you are on keyboard and mouse, it works just fine by dropping down to the desktop or by launching your apps from there.

    @mbutler205: if you have been burned using a Beta before, install it in a VM. OK, you will have a small performance hit, but that is probably not enough to kill the opportunity to experience where the OS is going. I'm keeping my installs on VM's for now until much closer to RTM

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