An Average Joe’s View of Windows 8
- I didn’t install any of the Windows 8 beta releases and I haven’t been quick to upgrade following the general release.
- My computer is several years old.
- I’m not a gamer.
- I never buy the latest gadgets.
- Most importantly, my family is fairly typical in its computer use, and since we share the primary computer, I can never get too crazy with its setup.
I hadn’t planned to upgrade to Windows 8. One day I realized that if I didn’t upgrade soon, I was going to start seeing those annoying dialog boxes. You know the ones. You go to try a new piece of software or install a new device and it says that your operating system is too old. I don’t always jump on the newest version of each operating system, but I hate being told that I’m running an old one. With Windows 8 being delivered on all the new machines, I knew the time was coming soon, and that prompted my cautious upgrade over the holidays.
It was a five-hour affair. If I’d actually planned the upgrade instead of deciding on a whim, I definitely would have kicked it off overnight. Everything went smoothly, though, and I have no complaints about the upgrade process. When the upgrade was finally complete, guess what? I still had the same cluttered desktop that I had under Windows 7.
- Windows 8 feels like a stronger version of Windows 7.
- Startup time has decreased.
- The search features of the new Start Menu make it very easy to find application shortcuts.
- Antivirus software is built into the OS.
Ignore the pundits. Unless you focus on the differences, Windows 8 is very similar to Windows 7. You can spend most of your time on the familiar desktop.
If it’s so much like Windows 7, why upgrade?
- OS Improvements – This OS seems more solid to me. A lot of time was spent optimizing it for performance (to run on smaller devices) and it shows.
- Start Menu – It really is a better way to find your applications. The search algorithm is very good and I can usually find apps in half-the-time compared to the old start menu.
- The Future – More things are going to focus on Windows 8. You don’t want to start seeing the annoying dialog boxes. Upgrade now before you’re forced to upgrade.
You Didn’t Mention Windows 8 Apps
Honestly, I’m still a little on the fence when it comes to the new applications. Most of the apps are pretty-to-look-at and usually they’re easy to use. Some reviewers have argued that the tablet-aimed apps don’t translate well to the desktop. I don’t find navigation to be a major issue, but I think I’m still thrown off by the fullscreen nature of the apps. I’m used to Windows apps running in, well, windows. These apps want to consume your screen, which makes switching between them a little less natural. I’m using Windows 8 Apps a little more each day, trying to push my use of them. The good thing is, at this point anyway, no one is forcing you to use them full-time.
The Marketing Failure
After reading all of the reviews, hearing the doomsday announcements, and seeing the predictions of utter failure for 8, how does the Average Joe see the product? Frankly, Microsoft made a huge mistake…but not in the way you’d expect. Oh, Windows 8 is just fine. The system is stable and we’ve experienced no issues since the upgrade. The problem with Windows 8 has been Microsoft’s marketing of the product. They made a huge mistake in how it was presented to existing Windows users. Windows 8 is a good, solid upgrade from Windows 7. In fact, we spend most of our time on the desktop in Windows 8. If it wasn’t for the start menu, we’d barely think about the upgrade at all.
If I were the head of marketing at Microsoft, I would have come out with a very simple message:
Windows 8: A Reimagined Start Menu and Fullscreen Gadgets
You know how the Start menu is getting a little cluttered? It’s hard to find things, right? We’ve made that easier. The new Start Menu goes fullscreen and all you do is start typing. Within a few keystrokes, the application that you need will instantly appear. Want to switch between the Start Menu and the Desktop? Just hit the Windows Key. Simple.
You remember Windows Desktop Gadgets? They’ve been fused into your new dynamic Start Menu and they’re now full-blown apps. We have apps for news, weather, email, and a whole lot more. Just like gadgets, the apps provide their own updates, all on the tiled start screen. Click on a tile, and the gadget will open up into a fullscreen application!
Since I’m a programming guy, I realize my descriptions aren’t technically accurate, but that’s the experience for the Average Joe. If I’m not using a tablet, I don’t care about swipe-enabled interfaces and NUI revolutions. Could this simple message sell Windows 8? I think it could. My message is certainly better than the current one. People are scared of the perceived changes in 8. The “hybrid OS monster” message that I received prevented me from considering an upgrade until now.
Like a Movie
My mom says that some of the best movies are panned by the critics. It’s reached a point where she’s more likely to go see a movie that the critics disliked. While that may not be the most sound logic, critics do have a different lens than most ‘regular folk.’ For my family, we like Windows 8 and we’re definitely not missing 7. Given the choice, this Average Joe would perform the upgrade all over again.
data-text=”An Average Joe’s View of Windows 8 (Shannon Whitley)”