I recently installed the latest Windows 8 “preview”, the Windows 8 RTM. The RTM or “Release To Manufacturer” is supposed to be the almost final version and one would, normally, expect only very minor changes between this one and the final product.
Unfortunately not much have changed since I first wrote my post about the Windows 8 Customer Preview and then later about the Windows 8 Release Preview. For Desktop users and people mostly using their computers for professional purposes I fear this is a disaster in the making.
The main problem is that Microsoft have two good things, the existing Windows OS with the Windows Desktop and the new Metro interface. Yes I know you’re not supposed to say Metro any more but that’s just another one of Microsoft’s screw-ups lately and since everyone are used to refer to it by that name I’ll call it Metro as well. However, they force them together without letting the user choose. Not only that, they really want to push the Metro interface down your throat so they are doing their best to lobotomize the Desktop environment. Metro is excellent for phones and tablets but it’s not a usable Desktop replacement and just to piss people off even more, you’re still forced to flip-flop between the two all the time unless the only thing you do is read a few mails and some news.
The Metro apps have not really evolved much. Most of them are just toys that looks like they where quickly whipped together by some student. The email app have become almost usable but still lacks features you would expect. For instance it has no way, that I have found, of making a combined inbox. That’s just unacceptable. The photo app is useless for anything else than as a rudimentary photo browser and that’s just barely. The calendar flips back to monthly view every time you open it.
I can go on for some time. None of these apps are really usable during a professional workday. The only app that’s almost decent is the OneNote app although that one still smacks a big “preview” logo in your face when starting it.
To do any real work you have to rely on your existing Desktop software written for Windows 7 and then you’re immediately faced with a lobotomized version of the Desktop with a missing start menu and ugly windows.
There’s of course good things in Windows 8 but for most non-tablet users the negative issues are probably going to overshadow them. Most users do not care about or even understand the improvements made to the file system management of file history/backup architecture for instance.
I do not see my workplace, CERN, upgrade to Windows 8 in the foreseeable future since, knowing the people that work here, I think we would have a riot on our hands if we tried to force this upgrade onto them without having someone else to blame, and that someone else will most likely be Microsoft for eventually stopping support for Windows 7 some time in the distant future.
Quite a few of the decisions that Microsoft are taking these days are definitely cause for concern in my mind. The forcing of Metro and lobotomization of the Desktop simply have no valid justification in my mind. Nor can I find it justified to rush out a new operating system with a set of default apps that stinks as much as these ones.