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[winsupersite] Fixing Windows 8: Advice for Users and for Microsoft

post #1 of 11
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http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/fixing-windows-8-advice-users-and-microsoft
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My recent call for Microsoft to “bring back NT” garnered some interesting and predictably fractured feedback, with some claiming that it was at odds with my approach to Windows 8 over the past year. Not so: I like Windows 8, and I’ve used it full-time longer than most, for over 15 months. As such, I think I have a pretty reasonable perspective on its strengths and weaknesses.

To be clear, the article It’s Time to Bring Back NT was heartfelt. And it addressed two issues about Windows 8, both of which I think are important.

First, I do believe that Microsoft is on the edge of a precipice with regards to Windows 8 perception and that if the company continues to do nothing—or silently fix issues only very slowly—it is simply repeating the mistakes of the past, when it behaved similarly during the first year of Vista’s lifecycle and doomed that release to infamy. And no offense, Microsoft, but customers have alternatives now beyond expensive Macs being pushed by deceitful “I’m a Mac” ads on TV. Wake up.

Second, yes, it may be an old-timey thing to say, but NT stood for something. It meant something very positive, and while pundits, users, and tech enthusiasts allied to competing platforms could blissfully slag the DOS-based versions of Windows until they were blue in the face, they could not do so with NT. It was rock-solid, always was, at least until Microsoft made the other huge mistake of “integrating” the immature Internet Explorer into this system. And that unassailable nature is what’s missing from Windows today. Windows 8 is seen as a compromise, not a choice.

Looked at broadly, both of these issues fall into the same general category: They’re really just about perception. And perception is a tough thing, as we’ve seen over the years. It hardens people’s minds for or against a product regardless of merit. You eventually cross a line and then you can’t get it back.

With that in mind, I’d like to recap some of the conversations we’ve had here over the past few months, add a few thoughts related to the passage of time—I know, I know, some numbnut will always want to cart out a contradictory statement from years earlier because experience should never change one’s opinions—and try to sort out where we’re at with this stuff. And I have some advice, both for Microsoft and for those who are using, or trying to use, Windows 8.

Dear Microsoft
You’re moving too slow. You’re being too quiet. And your decision to force users to embrace the Metro UI on non-touch devices and traditional PCs is sound strategically—after all, no one would choose a “Metro” tablet if it wasn’t Windows—but morally bankrupt. It’s insulting to the 1.3 billion users who got you here and to the businesses who may be your only viable customers in a few years.

Fixing Windows 8, however, is simple. And I’ve already written a series of articles explaining some of the reasonable steps you can take to make this system better for everyone. The best part? I don’t pretend that Metro isn’t the future and I try to work within your own vision for where computing is going.

Part 1: App Bar

Part 2: Boot to the Desktop

Part 3: Start Screen

Part 4: Evolve Metro for Pro Apps

Part 5: Built-in Apps

Part 6: Offer Desktop Apps in Windows Store ... For Both Windows 8 and RT

Dear Microsoft customers
Depending on your needs, Windows 8 is either fine already or can easily be fixed.

Are you buying a tablet today? Choose Windows 8, and if battery life really matters, consider only Atom “Clover Trail” based systems. Do not choose Windows RT, which is a technological experiment at best and is incompatible with existing Windows software and much hardware too. Things may/will change: Windows RT will evolve, ARM hardware will evolve, and the Metro app selection can only improve. Until then, skip Windows RT.

If you are buying a Windows 8 tablet, don’t fear Metro. It works great on touch-enabled devices and is in fact a very natural environment.

Are you buying a Windows 8 PC today or looking to upgrade to Windows 8?

Don’t be afraid. Contrary to the haters, Windows 8 is what I think of as “Windows 7++,” it’s virtually everything that is good about that beloved previous release plus a ton of new features you can’t get anywhere else. And yes, that’s true even if you’re exclusively using the desktop.

That said, you may want to make a few changes…

Bring back the Start button and Start menu
Personally, I can live with the Metro-style Start screen. Yes, it’s a bit jarring to tap WINKEY from the desktop and have whole display change, but … you get used to it. If not, there are a ton of third-party utilities out there, some free, some paid, that will replace the Metro-style Start screen with a more traditional Start menu, similar to what we used in Windows 7.

The one I’ve used the most is Start8 from Stardock. It’s not free, but at $4.99 it’s cheap, and it does offer some very interesting and unique Start menu functionality. So while you can enable a Windows 7-like Start menu, you can optionally change it to an in-place, menu-based version of the Windows 8 Start screen instead. I prefer this approach because it retains the usage model of the base OS without the jarring flashback to a new screen.

I wrote about Start8 in Windows 8 Tip: Boot Directly to the Desktop with Start8 in July 2012.



Run Metro apps in a window
Stardock has provided another very useful utility for Windows 8 users with traditional, non-touch PCs: ModernMix, also $4.99, lets you run Metro apps in windows on top of the Windows desktop. It’s really well-done, too: You can now pin these apps to the taskbar, it will remember each app’s window size and onscreen position, and you can pick which apps run this way, while choosing to run others full-screen if desired. I have installed this utility on both of my primary-use PCs (tower PC and Ultrabook) and it’s made a huge difference in the way I work. I wrote about this utility recently in Windows 8 Tip: Run Metro Apps in Windows on the Desktop.

So he admits to using a replacement start menu and a program that puts metro apps in a window, basically cutting out metro entirely. He has paid money to turn window 8 into windows 7.
post #2 of 11
I will read the whole thing later, very busy atm.

However, when I first got Win8, I purchased Start8, and it worked very well. As time went on though, I really became used to the new interface and found it to be more efficient and faster to use than the start menu. I have since uninstalled Start8 despite having paid for it.
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post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by W4nderer View Post

I will read the whole thing later, very busy atm.

However, when I first got Win8, I purchased Start8, and it worked very well. As time went on though, I really became used to the new interface and found it to be more efficient and faster to use than the start menu. I have since uninstalled Start8 despite having paid for it.

I had Windows 8 installed on my work comp for the second time until very recently. I keep finding myself getting frustrated with the two different UI's being used on one machine. I think I'll be waiting for Windows 9; I want Microsoft to chose a UI, and commit to it.

I think it'd be really slick to be able to knock apps free of the full screen or sidebar views into their own little adjustable window. Get rid of the task bar at the bottom, and use the metro task bar instead.

I see no reason to force full-screen applications on the PC versions of Windows.
Edited by SectorNine50 - 3/15/13 at 2:52pm
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post #4 of 11
How to fix Windows 8:
1) Be a big boy and learn how to use the new interface
2) Realize how amazing it actually is
3) Profit
post #5 of 11
Moved, editorials do not belong in the news section.
post #6 of 11

Just learn the keyboard shortcuts and you are golden!

 

LINK

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post #7 of 11
I bought Windows 8 back in October, but hesitated installing it because of all the metro negativity. Then a few weeks ago I decided to give it a try, and I actually like it a lot. I didn't like metro at first, but after using it a few times, I grew to like it more then the old start menu. I feel that windows 8 runs smoother and uses less resources then Windows 7. I even gained a few thousand ppd with Fold at Home by switching to windows 8. The only real issue I really had was getting windows apps to install on a different hard drive, but a quick google search and a small registry tweak took care of that. The store also needs more desktop apps, as most seem to be more geared toward mobile devices

So don't knock it till you try it for a few days. Its actually a decent os
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post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BackwoodsNC View Post

Just learn the keyboard shortcuts and you are golden!

LINK

This x1000...

The new Win+X shortcuts are SO convenient. I find myself trying to use them out of habit on Windows 7 machines now.
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by W4nderer View Post


This x1000...

The new Win+X shortcuts are SO convenient. I find myself trying to use them out of habit on Windows 7 machines now.

My personal favorite is win+r

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post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLawIX View Post

How to fix Windows 8:
1) Be a big boy and learn how to use the new interface
2) Realize how amazing it actually is
3) Profit

Or, if you don't like Windows 8, keep using Windows 7. It's an excellent, stable, mature OS, the same as XP was for so many years, and it's going to be supported until 2020.

I've said several times that I wish they had given people the choice of UI in Windows 8, but they didn't. Still, they didn't do like Apple does and jerk the rug out from under a massive installed base of users. The way to express your choice of UI is simply to keep using Windows 7.
     
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