back to article Windows 8: Thrown into a multi-tasking mosh pit

Does Windows 8 improve upon Windows 7 for the use cases that my real world customers and users demonstrate? After a week of tinkering with the consumer preview, the answer is far from simple. Now that's what I call multitasking (click to enlarge)... First up is the ribbon. For new users to a product, my experience correlates …

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Paris Hilton

Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

I think the point is that somewhere in his chain in a non-RDP client. Then, yes, this does go sadly south. Windows TS client actually handles mapping of the windows key and even Ctrl-Alt-Del (Ctrl->alt->break instead) really well.

Having suffered through no machine for a bit, I've really started re-appreciating TS client.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The sky is falling

Well Trevor. At least you do not appear biased towards Windows 8 or anything. However, I fear the world is probably rather indifferent to the fact that 'you have spent the last week testing other OSes'. Microsoft themselves probably do not fret too much about the opinions of a junior systems admin who has penned an article to try to appear cool to his equally junior techy pals. Hows about you write another article when you have worked out how to use the software eh?

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Re: The sky is falling (part 2 reply)

Mlc,

What you've missed here is that the "Windows + insertletterhere" commands do not properly translate through nested layers of remote support applications such as Remote Desktop/VNC/TeamViewer/etc.

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Gimp

Bring back the start menu and allow a configurable ribbon and Win8 would be a worthy upgrade.

That swipe left (even on my touch screen laptop) is an abortion of the highest order when other windows are in the way, and being that I use two monitors in extended mode I can't just whack the mouse into the left corner to bring up the start screen, I'm forced to radically slow down my mouse move and bring it to a perfect stop before flicking into the next monitor, doable but aggravating and annoying.

And I'd love to meet the designer who thought putting the shutdown / reboot options worked well in the settings screen, not exactly intuitive - maybe on a tablet since it's rarely turned off, but a desktop / laptop? Just dumb...

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Anonymous Coward

Impressive

Finally something that is at least as un bias as possible to do with Win8 with perfectly valid comments portrayed in a clear and un FUD like manor! well done!

Personally having used it quite a lot now, i agree with most of what you say, i find it bizzar that some folk on here seem to pass judgment and sentence after only using it for 5 min, you cant do that and be completely objectionable!

anyhow, from my perspective i see it like this, Metro maintains all the wee things that are usful, it displays a snap shot of important current events that can all be scanned over in a few seconds in a single glance. Using Metro like this (as its intended on Windows phone) is actually very productive, ive been using desktop mode to do all the important stuff, which as some folk seem to have missed, displays windows just fine for multi tasking.

Like the author, my concerns are over the start menu, and icon placment, ie clutter! which ive fed back via the response forms MS have littered about all over the OS which believe it or not were placed there to get your feedback whilst you actually test the thing, like you asked to do in the first place :)

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Silver badge

Re: Impressive

Been using it for 4 days now on a Windows tablet laptop (Tecra M7).

All the drivers were there pretty much (got some Vista 32bits for the missing ones).

After 4 days as a pretty much normal PC/Windows user I still don't know why I need Metro. Should the message from MS take that long?

That's the problem. I don't see how its making my computing life better. The main reason I have bought new operating systems has usually been the increase in performance, stability, the compatibility with new hardware and standards, better security etc.

With 8 I just see more swiping back and forth, more hotkeys, stuff in different places and metro apps. I've had a play around with them and loaded some up but the usability of them is pretty poor (the ones that work that is). I see left and right is the new up and down. How many weather and news apps do I need exactly?

Windows 8 just feels like a cul-de-sac to me.

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Lots of overreacting

Pin stuff to the taskbar or put it on the desktop and you cover most of what you were used to with the old desktop. The old control panel is on a charm if you mouseover the top right corner. A little bit different but not so jarring as warrants this sneerfest.

Metro is for new users and as far as I can see they normally love whizzbang effects over actual function. Hence the success of Apple.

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FAIL

Re: Lots of overreacting

Which new users? The ones coming from iPad or even Android? Really? You are serious? Won't ever happen.

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Gnome Wins

The only thing that makes the Unix (Gnome) desktop far and away superior to Windows is that it supports multiple virtual desktops.

Think Microsoft will ever offer that? Never!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gnome Wins

Like this?

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/cc817881

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Gold badge

Re: Gnome Wins

For bonus gloating, we should point out that although the About Box screenshot on that page has a copyright 2006-2010, multiple desktops were baked into the Win32 API around 1992 and "Windows Internals" (as they were before Microsoft's lawyers hunted them down) were offering this utility in the mid-90s, if not earlier. For comparison, you'll struggle to find a copy of Linux from 1992 and you certainly won't find a copy of Gnome from the mid-90s.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gnome Wins

Not quite 1992. The first version of Windows NT was released in 1993 and the window station and desktop APIs weren't introduced until NT 3.51 in 1995.

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Bronze badge

Re: Gnome Wins

'"Windows Internals" (as they were before Microsoft's lawyers hunted them down) were offering this utility in the mid-90s, if not earlier. For comparison, you'll struggle to find a copy of Linux from 1992 and you certainly won't find a copy of Gnome from the mid-90s.'

By 1998 I was using a CDE (Common Desktop Environment) system (X11 really) which had multiple desktops. Multiple desktops are extremely handy for managing separate groups of computers - one desktop for Development systems, another for Test systems and so on.

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Happy

Seems to me that Microsoft, Apple, Canonical etc. are making a clear statement that they are only interested in content USERS, not content creators.

Fine by me, I'll carry on as I am doing real work.

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WTF?

Dog food? Tails will tell...

Has anyone found out if the most important reality check for developers is being observed here? That is, do Microsoft Windows developers *have* to use Metro completely unchanged/unhacked to do *their* work? Wasn't "eat your own dog food" one of the cardinal truths to come out of Microsoft, or at least former Microsoft dev managers?

Oh, yes, 'former'...

Wanna bet soon-to-be former MS devs will be jamming the computer book shelves with "How to use Win8 for non-Dummies" and "Win8 in spite of Win8" and "Survive the Win8 UI Starvation Diet!"

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Anonymous Coward

I am currently in Windows 8

And I have 3 copies of Visual Studio running, two visible at the moment, one on the left, one on the right, I can Windows Key and Tab into metro apps then drop back to the desktop where my Visual Studio windows are still how I had them. Metro is nice, I think it is clean and it'll work well on a tablet and if I don't want to use it then I won't.

What exactly is the issue or is everyone just having a bash because it is microsoft and not cool as a result?

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Why? Well...

The first mistake MS made was to look at the declining sales figures of PCs versus the growing sales figures of tablets correction iPads and decide that tablets were the exclusive future. This is not a logical conclusion. It merely means that tablets are a new device for working in a new way - ie on the coffee table, in meetings or other places where notebooks aren't convenient. Many people will still upgrade their notebooks and desktops when the time comes.

MS might get some sales in business - people may stop taking their iPads or notebooks to meetings and take a tablet with Metro on it instead. I guess thats the thinking - sell them a licence for their work desktop with full office suite and also sell a licence for a Metro tablet - Ker-ching! They may also get some sales in the home browser / minimal functionality required markets if people haven't already gone " iApple, do you?".

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It sounds like Windows 8 comes from the Millenium/Vista side of the family.

I love Windows 7. I'll be waiting for Windows 9 when they ditch all the half-arsed ideas or implement them properly.

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Meh

Paradigm shift

superfluous f

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Anonymous Coward

If I was Microsoft I'd be worried

El Reg readers must be Microsoft's primary customers - the sort of people responsible for 1000's of Windows licenses in their businesses. If they are having 'reservations' about Metro, Microsoft really hasn't done its homework. Perhaps Microsoft believes it can still steamroller buyers - 'there is no alternative' - does Microsoft still have such a strong lock-in?

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Re: If I was Microsoft I'd be worried

Had El Reg existed at the time, I have no doubt a number of El Reg readers would have had reservations about the funny GUI and mouse fad as well.

Although you will never get Microsoft to admit it, version 1 of the Metrofication of Windows is aimed at consumers buying tablets. Businesses can coast by on the excellent Windows 7 until Microsoft have something better for them later.

And there will be improvements and refinements later, that much is certain.

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FAIL

Re: If I was Microsoft I'd be worried

And when will that be you reckon? The same day mainframe will get their supremacy back or when there will be dinosaurs again?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If I was Microsoft I'd be worried

Hah hah, seriously? You think that reg readers are MS primary customers? Maybe their bosses bosses bosses bosses bosses boss.......... and they will always choose MS. Just saying.

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Steve Balmer is Trashman.

I think MS have blown it with this one, as it doesn't have a single redeeming feature for Desktop use. My guess is that Windows 9 will follow, rapido, and will be a Desktop-centric OS.

The stupid, stupid people should have written at least 2 new OSes, not expect 1 to do for all three kinds of devices.

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Anonymous Coward

With the prolifieration of micro management...

... and spreadsheets recording everything you do, every minute of the day - the time of true multitasking is over for me. I for one welcome our Metro overlords.

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I'm sure it will go down well with pointy-haired managers, for whom single-tasking is a stretch, and will be irrelevant to Dilbert, who has been using Linux for years.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Round THIS, Micros~1

"Unfortunately, the take home message is that the people who will find themselves affected by this are simply afraid of change, their numbers small enough to constitute a rounding error."

The last "rounding error" I recall from Microsoft was that WSH (Warm, Steaming Heap) they lovingly referred to Vista.

You might want to reconsider your rounding algorithm, kids....

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Orv
FAIL

Lack of context

One of the big problems I perceive with Metro is, for an OS meant to help new users, it has a serious lack of context clues to tell you what's clickable. The standard of shading buttons to look raised didn't come about because it looks pretty -- it came about because it clues you in that this is a clickable button. Metro's flat squares, un-windowed text, and magic screen regions you have to put the mouse into provide few hints to the user about how to proceed. It's not very discoverable. I never would have figured out how to navigate Win8 if someone hadn't told me to put the mouse in the upper right corner, or how to log into the stupid thing if someone didn't tell me to click and swipe upward.

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N2

"paradigm shift"

When ever I hear business speak crap like that, I feel an uncontrollable urge to vomit.

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On the bright side

They (Microsoft) probably pumped a billion or few at creating W8. And given this "investment" I'd say they have a vested interest in pumping a truckload more billions into getting it to work (or hurriedly moving on to W9).

So, if you hate it with a passion, enjoy the oodles of cash Microsoft will burn fixing it or moving on. If you think W9 will be all that, be grateful for no expense being spared to fix up the eyesore that is W8.

And yea, Ballmer said, W8 is all you'll ever need, until W9 comes up (I think rather soon).

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No Gates

This is what happens when you remove Bill Gates from the MS leadership.

Ballmer, it's not weak to ask for someone's opinion. It's lame though to pass off something like this as the next MS OS.

I should have figured though since ME, VISTA, and now 8. 9 ought to be pretty good then if the pattern is as usual.

I guess we'll have to wait till Ubuntu changes first so you can copy their GUI style and get it right this time or we might just lame out twice and create another Desktop phone interface.

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Windows

It's all part of the plan

I think I've figured out what's going on here. Why do Windows versions alternate between awful and quite good? Because otherwise no one would ever buy the expensive upgrades.

If every version of Windows was just a little bit of an evolution on the last (as OSX appears to be - I'm not a Mac user so I can't comment) then no one would bother upgrading until they bought a new PC. The only copies of windows sold to consumers would be the OEM versions.

I bought my PC-before-last in late 2008. When W7 came out the following year I struggled manfully on with Vista for a while but eventually had to give in and fork out a fairly substantial sum for the W7 upgrade. If Vista hadn't been so awful I'd not have got W7 (on my home PC at least) until that PC died a few months ago.

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Not Getting Touched

Window's 8 for me is just not worth it.

If I wanted to use a touch interface and tablet styled interface then I would simply buy a tablet, which I did when I got a Android tablet.

Apparently from what I have seen if you install Windows 8, when released and you are using a UEFI bios then you won't be able to install any other operating system including older Window's OS's, without paying Microsoft a license fee but I may be wrong about that.

I will simply stick to Window's 7.

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FAIL

win2k

oh dear.... oh dear....

I'm using this nice piece of freeware

http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/

to make my win7 box look like win2k so I can actually get work done efficiently - let's hope they can create something similar for win8

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Gold badge

Re: win2k

Classicshell (sort of) supports Win 8. Nuch work is needed yet.

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FAIL

Visual Studio ?

The metro interface looks like it will be real fun for anyone trying to use a development environment like Microsoft's own Visual Studio.

What a load of rubbish - make WinME and Vista seem superb.

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Happy

Re: Visual Studio ?

Seriously?

Go and use it. Visual Studio looks exactly the same. It runs on the desktop not metro. Go and do some research and you'll discover that people are getting really excited for no reason. I've been using Win 8 since the developer preview and now the consumer preview and it is fine. You can use the desktop just like normal and VS is exactly the same.

This has some screenshots for you:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jasonz/archive/2011/09/14/announcing-visual-studio-11-developer-preview.aspx

Visual Studio, Office etc will run on the desktop, not metro.

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Unhappy

Commercial suicide?

I suspect MS has issued this metro version of Windows 8 as a Consumer Preview just to test the strength of resistence. To launch Windows 8 in this format would be commercial suicide. This Consumer Preview has to be the best case ever for not upgrading Windows for the enormous worldwide installed base of desktop users. A strategy of incorporating the best features of the new OS into a Winows7 Plus version and launching Windows 8 as Windows Metro would have a far better chance of gaining new users without destroying the existing base.

As someone who has migrated from early versions of MSDOS through every iteration of Windows this is the first time I have reached the point where if the Consumer Preview is what we are going to get then I will still be using Windows 7 long after user support has ceased.

I wish I could be sure that MS would listen. Their obstinate approach of forcing the Ribbon on Office users and leaving it to third parties to offer alternatives show how they can kill their own golden goose without even trying! I know plenty of people who cling to Office 2003 and will never upgrade just because of this factor. I have little or no respect for Microsoft's basic marketing ability.

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IT Angle

Blinkered and old fashioned

Currently yuu have many many windows open and have had to learn to switch, arrange, refocus etc etc. Surely a better way of doing things would be to have two apps open on one monitor that manage all of this for you?

I hate the way IT folk spend so much time whining about change. We force it on our users all the time in order to keep US gainfully employed but woe betide anyone that does it to us.

WHy not try seeing this as an opportunity to IMPROVE the way you work? What you describe sounds like a nightmare. Come up with a better solution rather than moaning about how the half-arsed none-solution you've duck-taped together doesn't transfer well. Everything you have just described tells me YOUR solution is wrong. If it won't scale, won't translate and can't be taught to someone else then it ISN'T a good solution.

And no. I don't claim to be any different. Just hypocritical.

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Thumb Up

Gnome Unity

Actually, now that I've tried Metro, Unity doesn't look so bad.

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Evolution

From small screens and single-task systems to big screens and multi-tasking systems to... small screens and single-tasking systems. Full circle in 30 years, a little slower than the fashion industry but still, well done Microsoft.

I blame the mobile computing hype. Everything is a phone these days, even things that are not phones.

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FAIL

Metro = MS Bob 2.0

Metro is Bob 2.0 pretty much. It will die like Bob did as well. Cheers to another OS skip. Only this is Bob 17 or 18 years later. Really MS just don't do this or have the options to completely disable-remove it. All I can see is lots of trouble.

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DN4
FAIL

Fail

So, now it is possible to publish articles here whose sole point is to demonstrate that you failed to learn how to organise windows (and work) using workspaces. How sad.

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Devil

skip it

The company I work for is just now starting to change to Win 7, only because XP support is coming to an end. It's taken months of testing and planning to check what else may need upgrading as well. (And of course they found Firefox bookmarks can't be transferred, unless they first disable the code that deliberately refuses to transfer them).

For big companies it takes so long to make an OS change, they can't do it every 12 or 18 months anyway. So they will just wait until some version comes along that is not too awful, and/or won't halve everyone's productivity for 3 months.

Many of us have replaced the ribboned Office with our own copies from home of the 2003 version that actually runs our macros.

Probably the main reason most companies won't change to a *nix OS is, it would render all the existing files unusable, because of the different file formats. But they certainly don't need to change to Win8, they can wait for the next one.

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