It would be fair to say that Windows 8 hasn’t received the warmest of welcomes among the enthusiast users who visit tech sites like Kitguru. Over the last three months we have ran several polls on Facebook and we are currently running one on the main Kitguru.net website.
The results don’t look great for Microsoft. Merging data from all our polls shows that the enthusiast gamer and hardware lover are rejecting Windows 8 as a ‘step forward’ from their beloved Windows 7.
Out of the 6,500 people who have answered so far a resounding 81% have said that they think Windows 8 is a step backwards. There have been many heated discussions among Kitguru readers and the main sticking point are the interface changes when using the operating system on a desktop computer without a touch screen.
Many of our readers are aware that it is possible to get away from the Metro UI most of the time and others have added a Start Menu system such as Start 8, created by Stardock, which costs $4.99.
Other people have mentioned some glaring interface concerns, such as placing the Shutdown option inside a ‘settings’ submenu. The list of problems is quite extensive.
Our online media co-ordinator Carl has been chatting with readers in email and one reader Gavin Wright said “I installed Windows 8 on my system and was immediately greeted with Metro which I quit to get back into the desktop. As I have a 30 inch Dell screen I don’t want to be using a touch interface designed for a tablet or smartphone. The interface is a mess in my opinion. There are so many things that need to be tweaked to get it operating the way I want.
For instance, the first time I opened a jpg before I installed Adobe Photoshop the interface loaded an image preview program built into Metro. It took me out of the desktop interface into Metro again. After I had looked at the jpg I had to go back out into Metro and quit back to the desktop again. With Windows 7 I just had to close the preview window. A step forward? The whole thing is a disorganised mess.”
Another reader Jeff Band said “They need to fix their installer for a start. It should be able to use CPUz functionality and detect that someone is running a 3770k desktop processor for instance and disable Metro completely on first start up, setting itself up more like Windows 7 – this would stop the confusion for a lot of users.
Even a check box for ‘do you own a touch screen’ would make first boot up better for most people. There is no doubt that this was designed for a mobile user on a tablet as everything is just set up immediately for those people.”
Reader Brian Johnston said “I have been using it for months, and it is alright. I set it up so Metro never loads and had to tweak the Operating System a little so I could access all my settings and options easily. The default configuration isn’t very intuitive as you often have more things to do to get to the same place you could get into easily on Windows 7 with a single button press.
I ended up learning a lot of command keys as it was easier than navigating the graphical user interface. I know some people are arguing that with command keys Windows 8 is easy to navigate, but why should a graphical user interface rely so heavily on command keys?”
Another reader Joseph Daily has spent a month running benchmarks on both operating systems. He added “The code behind the operating system seems slightly faster than Windows 7, but for playing games it would be hard to tell the differences. I have a fast 3960x system with 32GB of memory and a GTX690. Most games are within 1-2 fps of each other and sometimes I find them faster on Windows 7.
Windows 8 scores a little higher in my own gaming tests, but sometimes a game will run a little better on Windows 7, on my system anyway.”
Reader Joe Stevenson said “I installed a Start Menu. I have gotten used to it over the last 10 years. Why would Microsoft want to dump it completely all of a sudden? So we can move the mouse to the right of the screen and wade through sub menus we don’t need? Some of the design decisions are beyond stupid and clearly were meant for their Surface tablet”
Reader Lucy Ridge was miffed. She said “I use Windows 8 on my Sony tablet/laptop hybrid and I like it, but you can see the problems Microsoft are having using the same installer for both a desktop and mobile platform. I quite like Metro’s Internet explorer on my Sony Duo 11 as it makes text larger, which works well on the tiny 1920×1080 display, however if you install Firefox and it gets ‘default’ browser control then the Internet Explorer icon completely vanishes from Metro UI.
You need to go through a convoluted series of steps to get the IE icon back in Metro. It is almost as if Microsoft took offense to me trying another browser and made it very difficult to get back into IE. A google search helped solve my problem, but it is quite the mess at times.”
Some of the comments raise some good points. I use Windows 8 and quite like it, now I have tweaked it a little, but the self detecting installer option sounds like a move forward. What was stopping Microsoft including some kind of ‘detection’ system on first installation? If it detected a desktop processor the company could have disabled the Metro UI by default meaning that users would be in a better starting position. Metro UI is very useful if you own a tablet or Windows Phone 8 like myself, but is it an ideal starting point for a gamer who just set up their new desktop system without a touch screen?
Part of Microsoft’s problem is that the enthusiast community instantly warmed so much to Windows 7, that Windows 8 forces them to rethink. Some users are arguing that people need to move with the times and just give up on Windows 7, but surely a well designed operating system should be immediately intuitive to use. I have seen many first time users on Windows 8 struggling to even get into the desktop or shut down the machine – my mother couldn’t even work out how to load her games built into the system. If I had created that, I would head back to the drawing board.
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Kitguru says: Are you waiting on Windows 9? Will Microsoft rethink their design changes or will they storm ahead and make an upcoming operating system even more radical?