Windows RT: better than Classic Windows?

filecopystatusWhile the question of which is better, RT or Classic, Windows 8 on touch devices is both awesome and REALLY not so awesome. Microsoft did a disservice by not fixing the Classic desktop in Windows 8 for touch.

What do I mean?  Well, I’ve been using an Asus VivoTab Smart with Windows 8.  It’s a nice device and I’ve already written about, so I’ll spare the praise I have for the device.  I have installed a number of Classic applications, including Visual Studio, Firefox and VLC.  Much of the Classic desktop works well enough with touch, but some of it is just a pain in the butt to use with touch. So much so, in fact, that it is nearly enough to sour me on using the desktop with touch. 

The problem is that things are just too small. The desktop does not scale properly to be really useful on a touch device.  Things like scroll bars do not work correctly; the min, max and close buttons are too close together and picking from list or even trying to highlight something is just awful. It is very clear that Windows was NEVER meant to be used with any touch device.

The big problem is the graphical subsystems.  However the scaling is handled, that’s what’s broken. In order to make things big enough, you’d have to resort to lower resolution, in which case you lose precious real estate.  For whatever reason, this would be acceptable on an Android device or an iOS device. But, this is Windows and we need our massive 27 inch monitors and impossible to see resolution.  It just won’t fly on a portable device, though. On a 10 inch screen, that resolution would make things just too small. So, you lower the resolution and, bingo, you see the text and widgets.  But, then your finger is just too big. If you increase the text size, everything else increases and makes things easy to touch, but then you lose space and the text looks wrong.

There should be an easier way to make the widgets and chrome bigger, while maintaining the correct sizing for the text.  Sounds easy, but, apparently, it is rather difficult since Microsoft has yet to do so.

The RT side works well.  Text is bigger, but not too big. Much of the cruft in Windows is gone, replace by lighter weight components and fewer graphical parts.  It is touch friendly and works very well. Microsoft makes it works as it was designed with touch in mind and keyboard/mouse was the afterthought.

There will come a time when the Classic Desktop is removed altogether. I can’t wait. Hopefully, it comes sooner rather than later.


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