First, let's get something out of the way. Most of what's really new in Windows 8 relates to the Metro-Touch interface, which is Microsoft's biggest bet on this generation of operating systems – a bet that is risky but necessary as the company is on the growing tablet Market is not present. In this way, Redmond employees have also assumed that the smartphone business ("Windows Everywhere"), which lags far behind the market leaders iOS and Android, could get a necessary boost.
This review is based on my experience with Windows 8 using a desktop. Hence, I treated Windows 8 like most computer fans: as an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 on my custom computer, just like I did with Vista, XP, 2k, and other earlier versions of Windows.
As you've heard repeatedly over the past year, the new Windows Start screen is replacing the Start menu, and that's a radical change for the platform. A few months ago we wrote an editorial about using the home screen to replace the home menu. The feedback was overwhelming and obviously shared. I don't think the home screen is perfect on a desktop, nor is it a fully competent replacement. However, once you've got the idea up and spent time configuring the screen the way you want it, it's a viable solution for quick access to programs.
The home screen
Performing basic tasks on the home screen can be done simply with the mouse. Scrolling horizontally feels natural, although certain operations, like removing a program from the home screen, are not intuitive enough and show the user interface's tendency to favor touch. In that case, you'll need to right-click a tile and choose an option from a menu that appears at the bottom of the screen. On a mouse-oriented interface, you will get a context menu that you have clicked on.
Software installed in the Windows Store is added to Start with just a few clicks. This shows how these new and often simpler apps have been optimized for Metro. Conversely, traditional desktop programs get ugly shortcut tiles, and some applications that Windows 8 doesn't know can add lots of unnecessary tiles to the Start screen, such as: B. Links for deinstallation or program help. This problem is repeated when you use the All Programs menu. Until the third-party software is updated, you will receive an alphabetical list of all possible shortcuts of software installed on your PC, not just programs.
For less demanding users who want to find out what the new operating system and user interface has to offer, Windows 8 has a healthy list of free software that you can easily install from the Windows Store. Think of the first time you used an iPhone or Android smartphone and downloaded something from their respective app stores. A few taps later, you can successfully download a handful of programs to try. It's the same here, and it's a first for Windows.
User accounts, social media and the cloud
During installation, Windows 8 will ask you to set up a user account for the first time. As usual, you can start with a local account and password. However, now you also have the option to sign in with your Microsoft account (Hotmail, Xbox, etc.). One of the advantages of choosing the latter is that you can sync settings across all Windows 8 devices, on your lock screen, wallpaper, open tabs and history of Internet Explorer, color scheme and your tiles among other things would have been ideal.
When you sign in with your Microsoft account, the Mail, Contacts, and People apps are also populated with appropriate information that some may find useful. If you have a Skydrive account, photos can be seamlessly backed up to the cloud. This is one of the ways Windows 8 takes advantage of the cloud and makes Skydrive ubiquitous. The People app can also work with other social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn. The calendar can also add your Google Calendar data. In these applications, Microsoft has apparently done an excellent job of incorporating popular services, although all of the apps' options remain spartan.
I've spent little time with Metro-style apps because they're a bit unconventional on the desktop.
For example, the built-in weather, news, and inventory tiles can show useful and interesting information at a glance, but I rarely stop seeing what's there while I work. The Mail app is well designed, but the fonts are too big in terms of usability and on the desktop you don't need a Mail application to take up the entire screen, especially not on a large monitor. A novice who needs basic email access might find this handy, but any standard email program works better on the desktop.
This last scenario plays a big role in most "modern" Metro style apps. You get a bold face that turns your PC into an appliance. This can be a good thing whenever you want to do a specific task at a time. However, if you want your PC to act as a PC, come back to the desktop. And if you want to live on the desktop, we need to fix the lack of the Start button.
Note the difference between the Start button and the Start menu. The former could have stayed part of Windows even if it had been added as a shortcut to the Start screen. You may recall a video from Windows 8's first public preview where an average dad couldn't get around Windows without a Start menu to navigate. There's also a joke about how not to turn off a Windows 8 PC (it's hidden in the Charms bar and it takes a few clicks to get there).
I've been using Windows 8 for a few months now (counting the betas) and sometimes I feel the same way. Stardock and Pokki offer a Start Menu add-on that works fine, but that goes beyond the point. For such a customizable operating system – heck there are even two settings menus, one in Metro and the usual control panel – it lacks the option to add a start button if you don't want the lower left hot corner to access Start.
Hot corners work just fine when you are on a single screen. I imagine they'll work fine on touchscreens too, but they're clumsy to use when you're using two or more monitors. There would be no more room for the Charms bar if Windows remained a desktop operating system. In Slate mode, however, it acts as a context menu for settings, searching in an app, and for returning to Start.
You can remember how Windows 7 deleted the most annoying balloon notifications by grouping them into a single configurable icon on the system tray. Windows 8 notifications take a different approach as they are based on the Metro. This means that they are a little bolder and go with your color theme. I'm not particularly fond of them so it's great that there is still a way to manage them, but I think I should mention this as it's the kind of dialogue that pops up and the visual environment in Something may be bothering you in some other cases. In some other cases, "Metro" prompts appear on the desktop, such as: For example, if you try to open a file without a program assignment. It's like the developers wanted to force a fusion of both sides of the operating system, but the end result doesn't feel as natural or polished as it could have been.