Time for a rebuild, Win7 or Win8?

Started Sep 27, 2012 | Discussions thread
John Mason
John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 5,769
Win8 with opensource classic shell added on

I've been playing with Win8 for some time.

I've not found anything that ran on Win7 that doesn't run on Win8.

Many aspects of the desktop experience have been improved.  For instance copying is faster between folders and long copies you now get a live graph showing bandwidth and how long it'll take and where it is in the process.  Little improvements like that abound.

HOWEVER - the Metro UI in the default win8 installation replaces your start button making what used to be very simple desktop tasks a nightmare.

The problems are as follows:

1. the win8 metro start page makes your current screen vanish, then you select your new app to launch which if it's a desktop app moves you back to the desktop.  This loss of visual continuity of your desktop and running apps, while is something you can get used to, is brain jarring.

2. when you do get your metro page up to pick and launch an app, the apps are not organized into a nested folder structure like you can easily setup your start button to be, but they are in a flat list.  On a typical busy photographically oriented desktop like mine, the app page could go on literally for pages and pages to locate my app.  Or you can type in a name of an app to get it.  Either way is far inferior to the old start button in both time and the steps it takes to launch another app.

3. Duplicate choices in metro to the desktop do not do the same thing.  For instance, if you want to do something with your printers, in Win 7 you just hit start, settings, printers or start, printers.  On Win 8, lower left corner 'click' to bring up metro, far right corner 'click' to bring up the charm bar (oh and it's a very small area you must click to pull this up too), then you pick settings/control panel.  If you pick devices on the charm bar that won't get you to any desktop devices but only your tablet devices which you won't have because you are on a desktop installation!  Oh, and typing the word printers in the app search won't get you it either.

The solution is to get your start button back.  Google classic start shell and you'll find an open source free (but donate a bit to them because this is a lifesaver) and install it.  You have the option to skip the Metro UI and go right to the desktop.

Now you have the best of all worlds.  Your desktop productivity is not crippled by the force need to run the Metro UI or have your operational flow interrupted by it. And, if you do want to pop to Metro to run an Xbox live arcade game or play with the weather tile or any other neat content rich apps that might become available, you can still do it.
The speed of most operations are much faster with Win8.  If you have an up to date motherboard with a UEFI bios, the operating system will install 'hardened' against rootkits.  Boot times with an SSD are in the 5 sec range.
It'll be interesting since the general public won't be thinking about adding a little program to get their start button back, what the general acceptance of Win 8 will be.

Another way to think of this whole thing is:

How much sense would it have made for Apple to 'improve' OSX by forcing the users to pop through an Ipad operating system to get to their productive desktops and to be repeatedly forced back to the Ipad operating system everytime you want to do anything other than simply run the program you're using.  Of course Apple would not even conceive of doing something so utterly silly.  Nope, it takes the inventors of WinME, Bob, and Vista to come up with such a lame idea.
Oh, if you do virtualization, hyper-v is now built into Win8 pro but you have to have an I5 or newer chip and not the 'k' versions but the ones that support VT-X.  Yeah - at a technical level under the covers Win 8 is really quite nice.  Just don't like being forced to have a mobile phone front end to get to where I can get actual work done.

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