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  1. #1
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    Win8 - Start is the word

    Hi.

    Everyone these days is throwing their opinion at Win8. I certainly read a bunch of reviews, both negative and positive.
    But, as with most everything in this life, trying stuff is better then reading about it.
    So, I figured I just install Win8 on my laptop and see what's the fuss all about.


    INSTALLING
    The installing process went fine and smooth. It begins with a Win7 feel, but then it's shorter at the end, less unwanted info and settings.


    STARTING UP
    It starts with the Start screen. Immediately, I felt lost. But I remembered the "mouse pointer in the top-right corner" info presented during the install process. It goes to show a sidebar on the same right side. A useful one, where you can reach the Control Panel by way of Settings cog icon.

    But then I discovered the Desktop tile and things started to look familiar... almost. What, no Start button? Again, my feel was that something is not right.

    I start looking into IE10. Nothing spectacular. And then I go and install Firefox.


    GETTING USED TO
    After a few minutes, things start to click. I get the hang of the WinKey, it's what you use to switch between the Start screen and the Desktop.

    Then I start to play with the tiles in the start screen. Right click on them and you get a bottom bar with options (the context menu). Right click on another one to form a tile group. The options in the bottom context menu are now for the grouped tiles.

    After a while it's starting to make sense. I need more time with the Start screen, but I think I like it now. Still, 75% of the initial tiles are gone now.


    HARDWARE
    It's still not quite right. The problem is with the video cards drivers (I have a Intel HD 3000 and a GeForce 540M). I go and download the latest drivers, and things start to be even more attractive.

    Nothing else more I need. It's snappy and smooth.


    MORE SOFTWARE
    I begin prospecting the use of Win8 as a replacement for Win7 now. So I install a few more things: Skype, K-Lite. It turns out the video experience is better on Win8. I delete a few new tiles in the Start screen and reorder a few things there. It's starting to look like Win8 is not that bad after all.


    GOING BACK TO WIN7
    It's time to get back to Win7. A restart shows something interesting. Win8 boot loader starts Win8 and a screen let's you choose between Win8 and Win7 (I installed them as dual boot).

    Choosing Win7 results in a reboot, this time straight into Win7.


    WIN7 SUCKS
    That was my first impression.

    It turns out the desktop in Win7 in unattractive now. Too many icons, gadgets and so on. Win7 feels now like the overweight and slow relative of Win8.

    Sure, it has the Start button... but after a while, it appears I'm no longer missing it in Win8.


    FINAL THOUGHTS
    While running the Win8 tests, I was under the impression that there were some lags. My laptop is pretty well rounded, it has 8Gigs of RAM, an 2.4 GHz Intel i5 Sandy CPU.

    But returning to Win7, now it seems like Win7 runs slower instead. It seems that the tile interface and animations may have something to do with my perception. Manually installing video drivers seem to also have a part in it.


    CONCLUSION
    At start, it may seem like it's missing out on some stuff like the Start button, or the bottom bar in Android.

    But, after what, 30 minutes of use, even though I have to admit I started a little biased against Win8, and after returning to Win7 from Win8, it seems like Win8 managed to change my mind and it looks like an improvement from Win7.

    That's my personal opinion, of course. Feel free to add more info from your own experience.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy TomB's Avatar
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    Interesting! Would you mind posting a screenshot of your start screen/desktop? It'd be interesting to see what it looks like after someone has tweaked it away from defaults. I might give it a try. I am sceptical but it sounds like you were too so perhaps it can win me over yet!

  3. #3
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    It's possible that win7 was slower after using win8 because of some way the two interact, to be a fair test each windows version would have to go onto its own computer (both identical hardware), with a brand new hard drive so that there's not any remnants of another os to have any affect.
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  4. #4
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    I haven't used Windows 8 for long, but I found the jarring of moving between the metro and aero ui's really bad.
    At first glance, it felt like Windows 7 with a fancy new dashboard but I'm sure there's deeper changes than that.

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    frankly speaking i never used windows 8 and after this thread i think i will never even try)))thanks)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomB View Post
    Would you mind posting a screenshot of your start screen/desktop?
    Here you go: http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/...-win8-test.jpg

    Now I'm installing BitDefender Internet Security 2013 Trial. I guess I have 30 days now to decide upon both.

    I tried to install Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, but it denied it, based on some compatibility issues.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    It's possible that win7 was slower after using win8 because of some way the two interact
    Could you be more specific, please? I'm not sure how an offline OS would get in the way...

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot tim@getdim's Avatar
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    Looks like *****. a start screen with tiles? stupid. the start button has always worked perfectly fine. if you want to change that adapt a dock system like Mac OS (for the record im not a fan of Mac in general - but there are elements i do like).
    this whole tile thing looks like the xbox dashboard. Im fairly sure the Xbox dashboard was a prototype/pre-launch version of win 8.
    The tile system does not make sense for a desktop (or game console) OS.
    Tiles like that belong on touch screen devices only.

  9. #9
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    Win8 looks fresh and interesting. I'll definitely give it a try, but only after it goes through a half year testing phase )

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim@getdim View Post
    Looks like *****. a start screen with tiles? stupid.
    Hey! No need to get so fired up.

    Your classic windows desktop with classic shortcuts is the same with the Start screen with tiles. The fact that you can scroll the tiles in the Start screen looks pretty good, as opposed to the rigid desktop.

    Quote Originally Posted by tim@getdim View Post
    the start button has always worked perfectly fine.
    It still does. If you want your desktop experience together with a Start button, it can happen: http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/...start-menu.jpg

    But that's not the way. Win8 tries exactly this: a separation from of these three classic concepts: desktop, taskbar, shortcuts.


    Quote Originally Posted by tim@getdim View Post
    The tile system does not make sense for a desktop (or game console) OS.
    Tiles like that belong on touch screen devices only.
    I'm not so sure about that.

    Tiles can be big or small.
    Tiles can be grouped in distinct tile screens, that can be swiped or scrolled individually.
    Just like Android 4 screens or Linux multiple desktops, only in a different manner. Which is good. If it's a plus, we'll have to wait and see.

    You can easily access all your apps by right clicking the Start screen and clicking on the "All Apps" in the bottom context bar: http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/...8-all-apps.jpg, where you can pin/unpin, uninstall, along with a whole lot more other operations.

    Everything seems like it has a whole lot more space to bread. You just have to understand things in screens and tiles as opposed to a single desktop with shortcuts.

    The Start screen and the clutter free Desktop and the much clearer taskbar certainly add more dynamics to Win8. I admit it's a little confusion to be fought against at first, but I still haven't given up yet because it's not that hard really, to understand this new way.

    For me, performance wise, it's something like Win7 is Win'95 and Win8 is Win'98. Let's wait and see if it needs a Second Edition.

    You should learn a thing or two from Android users. They don't take the changes so badly, like, for example, from Gingerbread to ICS. In fact, they welcome every new version with great enthusiasm. And I certainly enjoyed my jump from Gingerbread to ICS.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot tim@getdim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itmitică View Post
    Hey! No need to get so fired up.
    Just like Android 4 screens or Linux multiple desktops, only in a different manner. Which is good. If it's a plus, we'll have to wait and see.

    Everything seems like it has a whole lot more space to bread. You just have to understand things in screens and tiles as opposed to a single desktop with shortcuts.

    For me, performance wise, it's something like Win7 is Win'95 and Win8 is Win'98. Let's wait and see if it needs a Second Edition.

    You should learn a thing or two from Android users. They don't take the changes so badly, like, for example, from Gingerbread to ICS. In fact, they welcome every new version with great enthusiasm. And I certainly enjoyed my jump from Gingerbread to ICS.
    I am an android user (phone), i just dont think my LG Optimus+ can upgrade to ICS.

    it just seems to me win8 is better suited to touch screens than desktop pc's.

    As much as i have issues with Apple, i think they proved a good point with Lon - Multiple desktops works extremely well (something linux has done before, i know) and the dock system (in all OS X versions) seems to be a very reliable way to keep your desktop uncluttered. i think Win should adopt a dock-like system where you can put shortcuts to your most used programs/apps and have a start button on the left end like they have always done with their toolbar.

    I think it would be much better suited for desktop devices and they can still run their xbox-dashboard-style win8 for touch screen devices.


    oh and Win98 was CRAP. it was still better than vista but it was the vista of its day. 98 had so many errors and necessitated so many re-installs it was pathetic.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim@getdim View Post
    the dock system (in all OS X versions) seems to be a very reliable way to keep your desktop uncluttered.
    I don't have much experience with OSX, so I can't really make a valid comment on that. But it seems to me like you're saying "dock it" while I'm saying "pin it".

    A "pin it" that's different from Win7, with a lot more real estate (the Start screen) in Win8 and with a lot more options.


    Quote Originally Posted by tim@getdim View Post
    oh and Win98 was CRAP. 98 had so many errors and necessitated so many re-installs it was pathetic.
    There were a lot of improvements from Win95, and Win98 SE certainly was a successful OS in my book. It's just that Win98 got off on the wrong foot, the famous BSoD. After all, if you don't make mistakes, then you're not working on hard enough problems.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Jeff Mott's Avatar
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    On a PC, I feel like the metro interface will only be useful to casual users. I often have several programs and windows open, and I need the taskbar to flip between them easily, in addition to needing those programs to *not* be full screen. Do you know if Win8 will allow us to skip the metro start screen and just boot straight into the desktop app?
    "First make it work. Then make it better."

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mott View Post
    I often have several programs and windows open, and I need the taskbar to flip between them easily, in addition to needing those programs to *not* be full screen.
    http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/...8-task-bar.jpg

    The Desktop tile gets you to the desktop. The only thing missing is the Start button. You can have your shortcuts on desktop as in previous versions. You can have stacked windows in the desktop, the same way you did in previous versions. And the taskbar is there too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mott View Post
    Do you know if Win8 will allow us to skip the metro start screen and just boot straight into the desktop app?
    http://windows8themes.org/how-to-boo...rt-screen.html

    Or tools like Classic Shell: http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/

    It looks like this: http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/...assic-shel.jpg

    It seems that Accessories, for example, is missing from the Program menu in the Start menu. I don't think is a big issue.

    After you install Classic Shell, Win8 starts with the Start screen but it automatically switches, after a few seconds, to Desktop. You still have access to Start screen, but not with the WinKey, which now opens up the Start menu, the classic behavior, but by moving the mouse in the upper right or lower right corners to reveal the side bar.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by itmitică View Post
    It seems that Accessories, for example, is missing from the Program menu in the Start menu. I don't think is a big issue.
    It seems to be under Windows Accessories now.


    Quote Originally Posted by itmitică View Post
    [...] by moving the mouse in the upper right or lower right corners to reveal the side bar.
    ...or the charms bar as they call it, each token there is a charm.


    My experience so far, is that even thought the Start screen has somewhat replaced the Start button, there are still too many clicks involved in the Start screen to get things done properly, every new program installation adds too many garbage tiles to the Start screen and accessing the full Apps screens is, again, a few too many clicks away by default.

    I really like the ICS few buttons that make the difference: the Menu button in the upper right corner is one of them.

  16. #16
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    Win8 is looking pretty awful from a business and IT standpoint. It seems like a fisher-price operating system.

    Somehow, I see Windows 7 taking a similar position to that of XP until Windows 9 arrives.
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    I suspect they're going to make a few changes in the distros until October.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy TomB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Force Flow View Post
    Win8 is looking pretty awful from a business and IT standpoint. It seems like a fisher-price operating system.
    OSX has been playing that card for years and getting away with it. Most users aren't competent professionals. They need hand holding and things to be as simplistic (yet limiting) as possible.

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    I agree. Simple is better for the average user. Not sure if power users would accept it as a default from Windows though. But I am a little attracted to keeping things separate like the Start screen tries to.

    And there is the question of whether or not those paying for an upgrade from Win7 to Win8 are in fact paying for what should be a free Win7 SP2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mott View Post
    Do you know if Win8 will allow us to skip the metro start screen and just boot straight into the desktop app?
    I've tried another one, Start 8 from Stardock: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

    It's actually a very good one. It brings the Start screen as a Start menu callable by the added classic Start button:
    http://i1054.photobucket.com/albums/...n8-start-8.jpg

    It may be just what I need if I want to keep the Desktop experience when switching to Win8. Looks pretty stable so far and it has the option to boot into Desktop, bypassing the Start screen.

  21. #21
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    Continuing with my Win8 testing, it turns out that the Firefox issues with the latest Flash plugin are worse in Win8 than those I (still) have in Win7.

    As it turns out, I may become one of those lost users for Firefox. I even gave Pale Moon a spin, but still, crashing occurs so often. Not to mention the fact that myspace stopped working months back.

    I turned over to Chrome. So far Chrome has the basic add-ons I am so much fond of on Firefox: Firebug (Lite), AdBlock, ScriptNo (NoScript).
    My internet runs now like "Bolt... Usain Bolt".

    EDIT: I wanted very much to like IE10. I'm afraid it has nothing on any of the other browsers. It's one piece of software that feels deprecated.

    EDIT EDIT: Start8 does a pretty good job of keeping the old Desktop feel, while making the Start screen accessible and even more attractive. It's certainly versatile enough to meet most everyone's needs.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Jeff Mott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itmitică View Post
    EDIT EDIT: Start8 does a pretty good job of keeping the old Desktop feel...
    I'm curious, for those of us who plan to keep using the desktop, what does Win8 offer that's new or better than Win7? Usually the only news I hear about Win8 is the metro tiles.
    "First make it work. Then make it better."

  23. #23
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    Well, it does offer a new and improved scale for the Windows Experience Index: 1.0 to 9.9

    Just kidding.


    From what I've experienced so far, it brings along some performance improvements. I don't know if it's the dynamics in the UI, but it feels faster then Win7.

    Everybody notices the Start screen and the tiles being forced as the default way to interact. It has the potential to be a good thing, because it makes the old shortcuts desktop (and the old Start menu) look dated, but it misses by not providing those few buttons for quick(er) access to some (key) areas.

    One thing that made me loose some time and made me a little unhappy, is the lack of basic themes. For me, the basic themes were a quick way to universally disable DPI virtualization. But it's nothing it can't be fixed.


    With all the new mobile OS's and with OSX and Ubuntu and others bringing "new" concepts forward to get user's attention, it seems to me like they wanted to make a statement: we can also play the UI game. Otherwise, it's like a Win7 SP2. If they never release a real one for Win7, I think we'll all be forced into Win8.


    As far as the interaction and UI goes, I think that if they would've managed to make the mouse emulate some of the touching interface features, something like when moving the mouse to the sides, it will automatically scroll, like in swipe, and maybe some other simple mouse gestures for similar faster experience for non-touch machines, tiles and the Start screen would have been a BLAST on desktop too.

    But, like with IE10, the mouse and keyboard interaction feels deprecated. Too many clicks and right clicks, and longer travelling paths for what used to be simple and fast to access items.

  24. #24
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomB View Post
    OSX has been playing that card for years and getting away with it. Most users aren't competent professionals. They need hand holding and things to be as simplistic (yet limiting) as possible.
    The only time I consistently see Macs in a business environment are when the graphic designers request (or beg) for them.

    I have noticed that in the last two years, folks have started to become disillusioned with apple and apple products for various reasons (cost, loss of quality in support, various hardware/software limitations).

    Windows 8 doesn't appear to be much better as it is starting to develop some of the same "features" that have been leading to disillusionment of apple products. I really dislike it when software developers force their design preferences on users. I'd much rather see more built-in customization options, not just a one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter operating system.
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    I haven't tried W8 yet, but it sounds like Microsoft got a bunch of gnome3 designers to work for them.
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