Monday, January 28, 2013

What Microsoft should have done with Windows 8

Windows 8 Metro UI
Windows 8: The most game changing Desktop OS since Apple released OS X Leopard.

With the growth of touch screens, the new tile based "Metro UI" will be the future of computing. Especially with full fledged desktop replacement tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro (that will be the demise of the iPad if Apple does not soon merge iOS and OS X). But on the traditional "mouse and keyboard" desktop, Windows 8 simply sucks.

It's just too hard to navigate. Having the traditional "desktop" and the Metro-based UI both running in the same session is hard and confusing to use, even for the tech savvy. When I ran it it was very "I just had this open....where did it go?"

Even more common, users will have 2 versions of the same app open, the metro version and the desktop version, this happens to me a lot in the browser. By default pages open in the "Metro" version of Internet Explorer, but when I'm working in the desktop, I open the traditional version. Then if I jump to another app, I have to go back and hunt for my's just to sloppy.

Microsoft should have...given traditional desktop users the option to choose at the log in screen weather they wanted to launch "desktop" mode or "metro" mode. Upon setup on the first boot the setup wizard should ask you (or detect) if you are using a touchscreen or not. If you are it would run as is. However, if you are using a standard desktop is should ask you at the log in screen which GUI you would like, Desktop or Metro. Similar to how Ubuntu gives me the option to use different Desktop Environments, like Gnome or Unity, right at the log in screen.

Hopefully next time around (which could be fairly soon), they will hear users complaints and make it more user friendly for us mouse using folk. Maybe they will take the Apple route, and just force us to adapt to what they want to sell us (touchscreen only devices, ie, Microsoft Surface Pro). Only time will tell.

If your using Microsoft Windows 8 I will suggest to you what I suggested to my tech illiterate mother. Either abandon/avoid the Metro UI at all costs. Or, for the time being, look to another OS that better handles traditional desktop users needs, like Apple's OS X, or a Linux distro.

I have nothing against Windows 8 as an OS, like I said on touch screen devices it is beautiful...but not on a traditional desktop. You can read my post on Linux, and Install instructions

I'm sure many of you have found ways to avoid the UI hangups, and confusion I discussed. If so please post in the comments!

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