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Windows 8 a flop with Kitguru readers

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.

Do you want to share your views? then email carl@kitguru.net. We don’t mind if you rant, or have something good to say about it.

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?

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  • Alex

    I dont like it, I still run it dual boot with WIndows 7, but I always get annoyed at some stupid interface decision when I use 8. Can see no speed benefits either with my machine and I see people saying ‘OMG its much faster’.

    Thats because a clean OS install ALWAYS IS FASTER!

  • Anusha

    It isn’t as bad as people are making out, although ive seen some of the problems listed in the article and some of my own.

    I think it works much better on a tablet than a desktop. out of the box. Its not a huge step forward over Windows 7 however, just the interface is such a change t hat people think it is.

  • Fat bloke with beard

    Absolutely hate the interface, its a dogs dinner of disorganisation

  • Doleon

    Windows 8 users are normally the kind of people who get all excited about a change that they can work with, thinking they are superior to people who cant be bothered.

    My friend installed Windows 8 and said it is SO much faster than Windows 7. A two year old install which was never kept tidy. Of course its faster, just like a new Windows 7 install would be faster. What a bunch of idiots.

  • Dannie

    ive really no love for any Windows OS, but I think Windows 8 appeals to users who just like changes for the sake of them. There really was no logistical reason to move the whole interface around. I think Microsoft just get bored rather than moving things forward.

    No need for a shut down option inside 2 tiers of settings. Why is shut down considering a ‘setting’?

    They did the same thing with office. they try to copy apple and fu*k it up bady.

  • Richard

    How many people remember the launch of Windows 95 and hated it, the ditching of Programme Manager and the launch of the start button caused a lot of debate, just like the ditching of the start menu and the launch of Metro is now, and from what I remember the comments are very similar.

    I reckon that, just like with the launch of the start button Microsoft will press ahead with Metro now, and so will developers and in a release or two of windows we probably won’t have a desktop anymore.

    I remember making Windows 95 feel and behave like Windows 3.1 for a short time. This time I upgraded to windows 8 and forced myself to use it out of the box. I like it, I wouldn’t say it performs particularly better than Windows 7, but the larger start icons, the ability to customise your own favourite programmes screen rather than windows choosing for you, or having very limited space for them.

    I use keyboard shortcuts a lot, and fortunately I haven’t found any that have been changed yet 🙂

  • Bag of dicks

    It’s time for another company to step forward with another OS.

  • Ryan

    The only reason people do not like it is because of CHANGE but after 2 weeks of having windows 8 Ii got used to it and it is MUCH better than Windows 7.
    I as a Tech geek will know, the start menu was one of Microsofts best and yeah they did replace it….it is no longer a button, it is a whole page so it is much easier and to search all you do is press the start button and start typing or go to the charm menu and click on search.

    In my opinion this is innovation at its best!

  • Ben

    So, I installed Windows 8 on my new build just to test it out, have heard mixed reviews about it. within a day I ripped out my SSD and put back Windows 7. It is such a chunky O/S, at one point it had used 50Gb’s of a 60Gb SSD (Thats with Page file turned off.) When playing some games such as crysis 3 or far cry 3 errors started popping stating that i was out of memory, apparently all 16Gb of RAM was being used so tabbed out and checked task manager and low and behold the only application that i had running was Crysis 3 and all 16Gb has being used on it…Baffled :s
    On the Plus side, the task manager interface on Windows 8 is amazing very detailed and very useful, But that’s about all i can say is good with windows 8. So went back to Windows 7 no issues machine is running sweet as.

  • Drivechain01

    The GUI looks like it belongs on a Leapfrog, but the other features, such as being able to view RAW phtographs, are a step forward.
    This is the real dillemma; Microsoft have made the best selling OS for the past 20 years, pretty much a requirement for PCs. On the other hand, Google simply made a *free* search engine. Why is it that Google continue to impress with cars that drive themselves, voice actrvated webcams you can wear (Glass) and first-person roadmaps, while MS has nothing to show except the world’s 20th richest man?

  • I love windows 8 the simple design, the 2 second boot and shut down times.

    the faster browser rendering.
    better troubleshooting….

    its ticked everybox that vista and seven flopped on for me…

    being a web developer i need constant access to my emails and skype windows 8 has live tiles integrated on its metro menu and i still have the full flexibility of the desktop for my developing needs,

    Why alot of people are deciding to hate i dont know, its about personal preference what you can do with a OS — NOT — what other are doing.

    im not saying in anyway that windows 7 was not a good operating system (but im usuallya linux user anyway) the main reason i tried windows 8 was because of the developer preview.

    i increased my productivity by 9% when compared to linux.

  • JeremyLavine

    Mathew, I’m happy that you’re happy with Windows 8, but to say Windows 7 flopped is laughable. Windows 7, like XP, is one of Microsoft’s best operating systems. Windows 8 is a disorganized mess on laptops and desktops.

    If you prefer the stone ages, then I can see why you prefer Windows 8. The only way to get things done quick on Windows 8, which is slower than Windows 7, is to type out key commands. Using the mouse in Windows 7 is faster with less clicks compared to using the mouse on Windows 8 or it’s key commands.

    Don’t get me started on touch!

  • JeremyLavine

    Mathew, I also like to have constant access to my emails and other messages, but I don’t need Windows 8 interrupting my productivity while I’m on my desktop computer. That’s why I have a mobile, a Linux dominated market as Android.