With the latest release of Windows coming later this year I though it was about time I had a good look at Microsoft’s latest operating system.
I had originally looked at Windows 8 earlier in the year but that was just installed on a test machine in the office and never booted up again. This time round with Microsoft releasing a nearly finished version I decided to wipe my home office PC running Windows 7 for the last three years and install Windows 8 from fresh. This way I would force myself to use the new operating system for work and play.
The first thing you’re going to notice is what is called the Metro interface that is presented as soon as you login. Microsoft’s wants Windows 8 to run on tablet devices and other touch screen interfaces. So hence they’ve design this chunky button interface or titles as Microsoft call them.
One of these titles is called Desktop and that takes you to the traditional interface you all know. Its then you realise that the Start Menu has disappeared, yes thats right the Start Menu has in fact been replaced by the Metro interface. To move back to the Metro interface you can hit the Windows key or hover the mouse where the start menu once was.
Within the desktop interface pretty much everything feels like Windows 7 with only a couple of new features that caught my eye. A tab user interface which is found in Office 2010 is used in Windows Explorer instead of drop down menus. Then one feature I particular liked was the file copy dialogue box which produces a graph of the transfer speed. I’m often coping things over the network at work and clients offices.
Okay back to the Metro interface and below is the email client that can hookup to most systems with it only requiring your email address and password.
You have a number of other built in apps allowing you access the basics such as address book, calendar, internet, weather, news and social media items. Over time you can install new apps via Microsoft app store which is quite sparse at present.
New app is a very nice touch
This is the Facebook type interface which I’m guessing will also connect to other providers in the future. Your address book can also be connected to social media sites allowing your contacts to be pre-populated.
Internet Explorer 10 for Metro interface is nice but does share your settings or history from the desktop version.
Conclusion so far
I think Metro will work well for home users special on new hardware. For example in the morning you check your email, weather and news via the TV before heading to work. Although with such a radical change to its interface I can’t see us recommending it to every business customer at least not for a while yet. I feel Microsoft is trying to fulfil one operating system to fit tablet, laptop, desktop and any other device. They tried this on Windows mobile and failed very poorly a number of years ago. Apple is doing something very similar but very slowly introducing features from iPad and iPhone that uses can choose weather to use or not. One thing I must commend Microsoft on was the fact that my five year old PC boots up to Windows 8 very quickly. I can only imagine new hardware will almost seems like a flick of the switch and Windows is ready to go.