Last week my colleague Colin Beatty wrote an article on Windows 8, with information and statistics gleaned from 3 months of our poll statistics. Many of the comments posted in the article were actually emailed to me directly from Kitguru readers via our Facebook page system.
Since we published The ‘Windows 8 a flop with Kitguru readers‘ article on February 22nd, we have been inundated with emails from Kitguru readers who really like, or have grown to enjoy the latest Microsoft operating system. Bear in mind, none of this is the viewpoint of Kitguru, but an overview of votes received via the main Kitguru website and Facebook over the last 90 days. Some of Kitguru’s editors hate Windows 8, and some, like myself use it on a daily basis.
Windows 8 seems to share the ‘Marmite’ syndrome, it polarizes opinion right down the line.
On a personal level, I have used Windows 8 on my Microsoft Surface Tablet now since it was released and have also recently picked up a Windows Phone 8 powered Nokia Lumia 920, which I have enjoyed immensely. There is no doubt that Windows 8 makes a lot of sense for mobile platforms, but is it really a step forward for a desktop system when compared directly against the immensely popular Windows 7?
I have been wading through a couple of hundred emails I received over the last week and wanted to give the happy Windows 8 users a little room to post their views, in complete contrast to our previous article which is still available to read.
Reader Jake Torrance seems to feel that many readers are just bashing Windows 8 based on what they have read, rather than trying it themselves.
He said “I seem to find that Windows 8 is one of those things that people hate before even having tried it.
Myself, as an avid PC gamer, did see Gabe Newell bash Windows 8 early into/before its release. Lots of people took that to heart, and didn’t even try Windows 8. Many people see the Metro UI and go “OH MY GOD IT’S MADE FOR TABLETS IT MUST BE TERRIBLE FOR DESKTOPS” and that’s incredibly annoying for me, can people not use the damn search bar to find their programs? I use it a lot more than i did with Windows 7.
I will say though that i was a user who barely ever used my start menu as i tend to pin all my favourite programs to my taskbar. The ones i need to find i just use the search, it’s fast and also finds any control panel setting i want to find (mainly audio devices!).
Other than that, Windows 8 boots faster and who doesn’t want that!
People who want to buy Windows 7 today should have a good look/try Windows 8. It’s great. It’s fast. There isn’t anything wrong with it other than people who just cannot deal with change.”
Another reader who is active on our Facebook page, Colin Ford mirrored some of Jake’s comments. Colin by self admission isn’t a computer guru, but he spends time with things and makes the effort to learn.
He added “I have just read with interest the piece about Windows 8. Where I can agree with some of the complaints some just seem to be a case of afraid of change. From reading some of the comments the majority of people seem not to of tried to get used to it and have just given up. By simply moving the mouse to the top left hand corner of the screen you can easily switch between the Metro screen and your desktop.
As to paying for an app to allow you to load up your desktop and by-pass the metro screen, there are numerous free ones out there. I got one from Micro mart magazine. The best one I found was called ‘ Classic Shell’ . You can get this from ‘ http://classicshell.net/ ‘ This is the one I favor and have installed on mine and my kids computers, (they all now run Windows8). This gives you the start button back but more importantly it by-passes the Metro screen completely.
I can understand and agree with the point made by some people that it would be nice to have the option during install to opt in or out of having the Touch Screen option enabled or not.
To sum up, I agree that it’s not perfect but is certainly better than Windows Vista and maybe slightly better than Windows 7 due to the speed of boot and slightly lower using of CPU and RAM. Stick with it and try to set aside a hour or so to play around with it and it starts getting fun to use.
I am by no means an expert on computing I got everything I know from websites like Kitguru and being able to spend some time playing about with it.”
Reader Brian Best is certain that Windows 8 runs faster than Windows 7, but he made the point that it was not because he just reinstalled Windows 8 fresh and was using a ‘year old’ build of Windows 7.
He commented “Hi Kitguru, I have been reading with interest your articles on Windows 8 and how unpopular it is with the enthusiast audience. I have to admit I have ran into a few problems since installing it, but with a little trial and error you can get everything running the way you want. Are we all so lazy now we just give up immediately?
I never used the Windows 7 Start Menu system, so I don’t miss that, I like using command keys for speed and always have done. I think the biggest problem with Windows 8 is Microsoft’s insistence on forcing Metro UI on the new user. I liked the comments from Kitguru editor Colin Beatty who said that Microsoft should have used a ‘self aware’ installer, recognising the processor as a desktop model and with a simple “Do you have a touchscreen” they could have forced Metro UI into the background on first start up. I also think they could have included an option for a ‘Start Menu’. I don’t agree it is necessary, but it seems to be a sticking point for a lot of people who are getting confused with the radical new interface decisions. including a check box for ‘Start Menu on/off’ seems like a missed opportunity for MS.
Personally, I have found that Windows 8 starts up faster and it has a much better caching system which enables programs to load quicker and many commonly accessed applications to reload almost instantly. I thought initially it was because I had moved from a year old install of Windows 7, but after a clean install of Windows 7 again, Windows 8 is certainly faster. I love it now and would never go back to Windows 7. It uses less resources than Windows 7 so the code underneath is great. It is really not so bad’.
Reader Andi Sabin Roman from Romania however is still not persuaded. He emailed me on Friday and said Windows 8 has three major problems. He broke them down into bullet points.
He said “The Windows button on the keyboard isn’t as powerful”. While working in the OS, I use the mouse as an accessory for the keyboard, I barely use the mouse at all. Let me give you an example: If I want to uninstall something I press the keyboard’s Windows button, type ,feat” and hit Enter. In Win8 this dosen’t work anymore, as you have to type features, then select with the mouse where to search for that, than use the mouse again to select ,Programs and Features”. So I have to use the mouse two times to do the exact same thing. Waste of time. This applies for so many situations and it’s frustrating.
2. Windows 7 boots up in 8.3 seconds on my machine, while Windows 8 in 32 seconds. If all programs close properly, Win7 shuts in ~1-2 seconds. Win8 takes more than 5.
3. And the biggest problem, the deciding factor that made me downgrade my OS back to Win7 was the Alt-Tab time. As an OC enthusiast and hardcore gamer, switching a game from fullscreen to windowed happens instantly in Windows 7. And this also happens when I do something on another monitor while gaming. Some games can be played in borderless mode, or Fullscreen Windowed, as Blizzard calls it, but for the others I really care about the time it takes to take me out of fullscreen and back to fullscreen.
Windows 8 has a memory saving function that adds a program to background when not used, so it takes about 3 to 5 seconds every time I switch between programs. This function cannot be shut off for what I know. While this could be ok for tablets and such, it sucks for desktops. I mean, you have to be on the same page with me on this one: if I ever need more memory, I’ll buy more memory. As simple as that.”
So there you have it. We may have recorded a staggering 81% against Windows 8, but there are some users who are very happy with the operating system.
If you would like to share your views with us, either join us on our Facebook page and discuss, or ping me an email @ email@example.com. I can’t guarantee I will reply to everyone, but I do read all the emails you send over.
The best advise I can give you, is to at least try Windows 8. You never know, you might actually like it.