Over the week-end I installed Windows 8 on my laptop. For the most part it was a pleasant experience. Setting it up was quick and painless. For me, this is the first installation of Windows that felt new since Windows 95. Most of the Windows versions since 95 have been the same implementation, with just some tweaks or superficial changes. Windows 8 attempts to break the mold that it’s predecessors created. For proof of this look no further than the removal of the start button, the once iconic symbol of the Windows OS line.
That break from the norm does come with a cost however. The system does feel a little disjointed. Having some applications run in a desktop view, while others run in a full screen metro view contributes to this feeling. There are reasons why desktop apps had to be designed this way based on the current desktop application architecture, which are mainly centered around accessing system resources. However it would be nice if in the future they could come up with a solution that allowed desktop applications to run in their own Metro view, and just remove the desktop all together. The start screen would be considered the new desktop, and you would work with your applications within this environment. I believe that would give the workflow a more unified feel.
The look and feel of the system is nice. It has adopted a minimalist approach, with a very concise use of space. The data that an app considers to be the most important is presented foremost at the left of an application. Extraneous information that needs to be accessed a little less frequently is typically off screen, and can be accessed by scrolling the view. The interface does take some getting used to, but once you memorize where to put your mouse to invoke menus like the systems menu, it becomes fairly easy to use. The metro apps do have a bit of an Android feel to them, as they explain the resources that they will be using while they are running. The nice added feature to this is you can actually disable access to unnecessary services.
Overall my experience with Windows 8 has been fairly positive. I am enjoying exploring this new take on their OS. I look forward to seeing where they take this down the road.