I’ve been using Windows 8 for months now, first with the developer’s preview (admittedly, did not use this much) then with the consumer preview and, now, the release preview. With each release, the operating system became more and more usable as well as nicer to look at and experience.
While the removal of some of the stalwarts of Windows does nag me a bit, I cannot say that I will entirely miss them. Except for Aero, which I will miss, I don’t think I’ll miss anything. Aero, however, I will. I love the way Aero looks in the Release Preview. I also like the flattened look, so I am a bit divided, but I do like the live window previews and all of the other Aero bits. I’m hoping that Microsoft will only do away with the Aero Glass…while I do like that, I could live without it.
I won’t, however, miss the Start button. I have been waffling back and forth on this, but, finally, decided that, no, in fact, I won’t miss it. Why? because the Start screen has what I need. The hot corners and the right click will give me most, if not all, of the Start button functionality. The neutering of the desktop is just fine with me.
Metro is gorgeous, as far an operating system is concerned. The clean typography, full screen layouts, loss of the ‘chrome’, the gentle colors all add up to a very pleasant and easy to use OS. I hope developers fall in line and develop Metro apps that live up to the potential of Metro.
Metro, in many ways, is a step back in time to Windows 1.1. Windows 1.1, for those of you who do not know or remember, did not have overlapping windows. It presented them in a quadrant like display or, if only two apps were open, half and half. It was also flat. There were no shadows or three-dee like buttons. Typography, however, was not its strong suit. Machine requirements, as well, have not increased with Windows over your average Windows Vista computer. Hell, even some XP class machine will run Windows 8. Windows 1.1 had rather modest requirements as well: CGA (remember that?) graphics, 256k RAM, Floppy disk. Mouse. That was it.
So, with Microsoft recent announcements, Windows 8 is poised to become the must have upgrade. It will be at the heart of Microsoft’s mobile strategy with Windows Phone 8, the Surface Tablets and who knows what else. Metro will be on those as well as the XBOX and, presumably, its successor. So, what will this cost for existing computers? Well, no a whole lot. $40. And, the best part? You can upgrade from all the way back to Windows XP, if your computer will support it, that is. My guess is it will if that computer is five years old or newer. And, if upgrading from Windows 7 or the Windows 8 Release Preview, your programs and settings will remain intact.
I am also quite pleased with the compatibility as well. So far, I’ve not run into any application that won’t run. Some are not as smooth, but they do run. As a rule, if it runs under Windows 7, it will run under Windows 8. I am sure there are exceptions, but I have not run into them.
Microsoft is still being dodgy about a release date, but all evidence points to an October release. I can’t wait. I thought Windows 7 was Microsoft’s best, but, that might just be Windows 8 instead.