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back to article Windows 8: Is Microsoft's new OS too odd to handle?

The big question. You are happily trundling along with Windows 7 and everything is fine. Should you upgrade to Windows 8, at Microsoft's tempting price of £24.99, or $39.99, for a downloadable copy? There is always the safe option of leaving well alone, but tell that to anyone who regretted installing Windows Vista and had to …

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Re: Building a new PC

Sorry, you mis-read. It's not for me. I've still got a Windows 7 install on my machine.

I realise this isn't strictly in the upgrade rights, but the old copy of 7 Home Premium is to find another home anyway, so in reality, there was nothing extra paid for in this particular circumstance.

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Re: Building a new PC

Also, the upgrade version is pretty cheap.

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Mushroom

I can predict an Angry Birds port..

(if it doesn't already exits), in which case I go to bar, come home and see it installed..and am force to destroy my PC with my anger. For this reason alone I will forgo the update for a decade.

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Re: I can predict an Angry Birds port..

I hope you don't have chrome installed on your pc:

http://chrome.angrybirds.com/

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I tried the beta

And I can sum it up with the words "incomprehensible mess".

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mil
FAIL

Windows 8 sucks

Windows 8 Metro UI cr@p has negative value in the desktop form factor. Sticking with Windows 7 and waiting for Windows 9.

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Meh

For the most part I really want to upgrade.

The deal breaker for me though is the whole "invisible corners that do stuff" concept. I use RDP and dual screens extensively and in these environments you NEED visible buttons to click. Even relying on keyboard shortcuts is flakey for RDP (expecially over a mobile device).

Give us a start button & menu and give us a way to access the charms bar et al from a button and I'm there. Till then I'll stick with 7 at least on my desktops. I might give it a go on the media PC (the taskbar on dual monitors looks great for my particular setup) and on my small laptop (better boot time and battery usage would be good there).

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Flame

Windows 8 cannot win...

Windows 8 is a difficult sell even for a tablet OS IMHO. There are no apps, half the apps that do exist are sorely broken, and trying to do anything useful requires coming out of a touch-screen friendly interface. Even setting up some wirelesses takes you to the desktop, and the metro apps that DO work are heavily neutered to the point where I cannot even set a custom fucking Pictures folder without going into desktop!

This is before we even get to the PC side. No start button, Windows key takes you to the metro screen (where there is NO indication that you can type something to start searching), all methods to the control panel seem hidden away, vital functions such as shutdown are hidden away in a retracting sidebar (again, no visible indicator to show this thing even exists). Oh and the only way to attempt using a Metro app on a netbook is a to force the resolution to 1024x768 (netbooks are typically only 1024x600, and thus Windows locks you out of metro apps). So immediately after installation and i already have to do registry hacks (and suffer bleeding eyes) to so much as test the fucking Metro side of things!

Oh and did i tell you most settings dont carry over from desktop to Metro? even where possible?

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Re: Windows 8 cannot win...

And yes i do realise that Windows 8 is barely out the gate, with regard to the quantity of apps. Doesn't excuse the fact most dont even start up

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"tell that to anyone who regretted installing Windows Vista and had to wait until Windows 7 arrived."

And then for a extra insult they had to pay the same amount to upgrade to Win7 as the people who stuck with XP.

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"And then for a extra insult they had to pay the same amount to upgrade to Win7 as the people who stuck with XP."

That would be... zero... in my case. I have an academic account with what used to be the Microsoft Academy, and I can, and have, got various MS OSes for free. I have DOS 6, Win 3, Win 98, Win NT 3.5 and 4, W2K, XP, Vista, 7, Server 2000, 2003, 2008, 2008 R2, all parked on disc somewhere around here. All free. All legal. I could get Win 8, too, same source, just as free, just as legal.

Microsoft will have to pay me to take it off their hands. I tried out the last beta. That abortion will never go near any of my machines.

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Facepalm

No start button... boo hoo

No start button, WTF are MS thinking - imagine the meeting as MS. "Yeah, this start button thing really isn't working for our users. It just seems silly to me... 'start... run...' or 'start... type app or doc name..' it's plain crazyness and as for 'start... shutdown' what the hell were we thinking. TEAM it's obviously more intuitive to hide the start button and replace it with a 4x4 pixel mouse-over area... and I've had a call from my pal who desinged the ACPI power off function and he'd like to see more people using the power button to switch of their machines - he's a really clever bloke - so, lets hide the shutdown function. Oh, and one more thing, we can test how many users are adopting our flagship product by analysing our YouTube stats for the keywords 'how the fk do I lauch an app and shutdown Windows 8?'"

Windows 3.1 & 3.11 - Great

Windows NT - GOOD but basic

Windows 95 - Great

Windows 98 - Ouch

Windows 98 SE - Great

Windows ME - Ouch

Windows XP - Great (in fact super great)

Windows VISTA - Ouch

Windows 7 - Great

Windows 8 - Ouch

Windows 9 - Great

Windows 10 - Ouch

Pattern developing???

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No start button... boo hoo

Windows 3.1 & 3.11 - Great

Windows NT - GOOD but basic

Windows 95 - Great

Windows 98 - Ouch

Windows 98 SE - Great

Windows ME - Ouch

Windows XP - Great (in fact super great)

Windows VISTA - Ouch

Windows 7 - Great

Windows 8 - Ouch

Windows 9 - Great

Windows 10 - Ouch

You forgot the BEST version of windows that MS have ever made !!!! (no not WFWG)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No start button... boo hoo

They never "made" Mocrisoft Bob, it was all but a dream. :D

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Windows

Re: No start button... boo hoo

2k? If so, then I am with you.

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Re: No start button... boo hoo

Agreed, but then it was so quickly subsumed by XP that most people wouldn't have had a chance to play with it. I actually keep a copy running in a VM for some old software titles. Frankly, if they could bring that system back with a nice Powershell GUI (akin to the OSX terminal), that would be marvellous.

I suppose I could install and run Windows Server 2012 with Minimal Server Interface to get the same feel, but that would be like shooting a fish in a barrel with a LOIC...

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In the olden days...

...we always said that it was best to wait for the odd numbered releases...

Just sayin'

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Love WIn8. Not so sure about Metro

so I've been using WIn8 preview releases for as long as they've been public and I'm looking forward to playing with it properly on an ARM tablet to see how well the touch-only experience is (though I really want a stylus)

but on my current laptop (even with it's touch screen) I avoid the lego layout as much as I can and stick to the properly mouse and keyboard driven desktop world where I love the tweaks and fine tuning that's gone on. It's more stable, faster, things like the copy dialogue are more useful and the experience is so much better ...I don't really miss the start button but I don't like the jarring transition to Minecraft every time I want to open a new program (so my desktop is now littered with icons!)

Win8 won't be a flop, and I'm sure MS will continue to iterate. I wonder if early adopters will be burnt in the same way that that WP7 users have been with dead-end hardware and limited app support (though WP8 at least comes with a new set of "trust us" promises)

in 6 months time all this fuss will be over, it'll be business as usual and we'll be hating on the changes Win9 is going to force on us and wishing they'd just left Win8 alone!

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Angel

MSDN people not using keys

If you're not going to use it how about passing a key my way? I'd like to try it but not enough to pay for it.

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Re: MSDN people not using keys

Was going to, but couldn't find a way to send a private message - guess the Reg doesn't have this feature? Pity.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Re: MSDN people not using keys

We don't do commenter to commenter messages - we have had hardly any requests for this facility.

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Anonymous Coward

W8

When it comes to upgrade decisions, I will do as the product name tells me...W8

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NB

ah the knees, methinks they doth jerk too much

I've been running Win 8 on my laptop since the customer release preview was made available and after you install Classic Shell in order to get your start button back and relegate metro to the lowest pits of hell (from whence it is never seen again), Win 8 actually becomes a very good OS.

I only run instances of Windows for gaming and Win 8 has not disappointed me. When I'm not gaming I dual boot into whatever flavour of Linux I'm using at the time (lubuntu atm, I like my desktop minimal and Unity is even more annoying than metro).

I most likely will be upgrading my desktop shortly after release but I'll be doing the usual research into whether or not all my hardware will be well supported and I'll double check my software as well to make sure there aren't any mission critical applications that might be broken in the process.

All this knee jerk hate spewing from the commentard community is, frankly, disappointing. But then I expected reason and temperance, mostly what I see here is a bunch of cry babies screaming for a waaaaaambulance.

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WTF?

Re: ah the knees, methinks they doth jerk too much

Here, I have a crock of shit to sell you. The crock is really good after you clean out the shit.

No, I'm not going to take the shit out of the crock. It's critical to my strategy that everyone gets the shit as well as the crock.

What do you mean, you don't want it? The crock is great! Everyone says so!

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Anonymous Coward

This is a U.I. based on what Microsoft wants for it's business strategy, not what is good for the user. That's a formula for failure. The only reason it has worked for Microsoft in the past has been the belief that there are no viable choices... and other platforms are slowly poking holes in a belief.

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Pirate

The solution is simple

When Windows 98 came out, everybody hated it. Not because it was different (which it was just a bit) but because it was slower. The hacked solution was to add back the Windows 95 UI, which a lot of people did - myself included. You got all the benefit of the under the hood improvements, plus the speedy older UI. I have already seen similar trend for Windows 8. There are people making a program/patch/hack to change the UI back to windows 7. (one example here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/forums/forum/1049755)

So, if you are a in a position of being required to upgrade and dreading the learning curve (and in my case the teaching curve) this is a good solution. Not a great one mind you, but it will get you over the hump.

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Re: The solution is simple

> When Windows 98 came out, everybody hated it.

There were a couple of things that I 'hated' about 98. The first was that installing IE was not optional even though it was a separate install. On the first reboot after installing 98 it went to IE install with the Cancel button deactivated. The second thing was 'Active Desktop'. I did not want any 'channels' and hardly ever see the desktop anyway, it is covered by what I really want to do. Fortunately that could be turned off.

Windows 8 recombines those things that I hated, not-Metro tries to be active desktop but without the option.

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FAIL

They had to ruin it didnt they.....

I have been testing the consumer preview one for a while, my observations....

The disconnect between metro and the desktop is horrible,jarring and pointless. There was nothing wrong with the start menu in the first place.

Having the metro apps scroll horizontally whilst you move the scrollwheel vertically==more disconnect.

The power menu is hidden in the most illogical place for no obvious reason.

Having to drag that stupid clock screensaver thing out of the way instead of just clicking it.

Why do you have to toss about with the registry to get metro to function on a 1024x600 screen? I really dont understand this little foibble as its only a flag in the registry ,so quite why you cant just select 1024x600 in the ui is puzzling.

Most of the apps (i fucking hate that word in the context of a desktop os, bloody Apple) in the app store are either pretty uninspiring or just dont work right. The weather and map ones were pretty though.

On the plus side, it boots quickly and is actually quite fast.

If they let you remove the metro part, it would actually be very good, but they havnt, so its not.

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Confusion

I think the whole Metro thing has really confused everyone. I know it has with me. There are metro apps, and then "desktop" for legacy apps. Does desktop support normal window controls? Can I have half a dozen windows for different apps open on the screen at the same time? Can I re size the windows? I just found out in these comments about 1280x1024 causing issues with metro. One guy said he could even get it to install.

These are the kinds of things you shouldn't even have to think about when you install an OS. I run Vista and Ubuntu 12.10 on a 1280x1024 monitor. Everything works fine.

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Anonymous Coward

Why did MS never include a simple EXPERT / NOVICE mode toggle switch to its UI?

Question: Am I the only one????

#1. Can someone tell why MS never included an EXPERT / NOVICE toggle button on the windows UI?

I'm bored having to expend the same wasteful energy whether its helping out girlfriends, friends or neighbors every time they have a PC problem or buy a new one :-

A. Uncheck hide extensions for known file types.

B. Change all default file folder views to DETAILS view!

C. Show hidden files and folders.

D. Hide unused folders in the left-pane of explorer and expand necessary ones etc.

E. Disable bland security notifications and endless tray icon balloon notifications.

F. Change System settings to 'Adjust for Best Performance'.

#2. Why is there no toggle button for a Safe PC Mode i.e. OS wide PRIVATE-MODE where the following are all disabled :-

A. All SCHEDULED TASKS including Facebook Voice, Google, Adobe, Java Updaters.

B. All browser add-ons & plug-ins in all installed browsers especially the most cracked: Flash & Java!!!

C. All unnecessary SERVICES especially the most hacked: VNC Server, MS SQL, Remote Access RDP.

D. All Registry Run / Runonce key commands.

E. All Pointless windows sounds.

F. All Remote Access.

#3. I also wonder, why is MS is not forced to include a switch to revert W8 to a more W7 looking model? After all 3rd parties have already coded shell revisions. It seems strange that something so fundamental is always down to 3rd parties...

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Stu
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The most annoying fact here

All this seems to have come about for the sole reason that the iPad and others are doing pretty well right now.

MS have adopted it full steam ahead, thereby ignoring, nay, shitting on, the many software development investments (billions of dollars worth) from nearly two decades ago, in a single stroke devaluing probably the best and most important reason in the world to buy Windows - backwards compatibility.

Metro is apparently the vomit inducing way forward, it's like sod the past and PAY ME.

What with all the problems with modern society, MS really don't need to add to it by dumbing down and psychedelic re-colouring everything - don't get me wrong, I'm all for ease of use and the tablet form-factor, but most certainly not at the expense of the power that a full Windows app might have had prior to it being Metro-ised.

This just ain't not right I tells ya!

.

P.S. Have you ever tried to use Windows 8 RTM in a windowed Hyper-V console? I have, it's an utter joke even trying to get to the top level menus.

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" upgrading for desktop-only users is a mixed experience; there are real benefits,"

Name

One.

Boots Faster?

Is that the best you got???

More secure?... like we haven't heard that one before.

Easier/more intuitive/simpler?... Hell no!

Lighter/faster?.. Not an issue with Win7.

What? name me ONE thing, on a pure desktop, that Windows 8 does better than Windows 7?

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A few things.

W8 has a 'time-machine' like File History application built in. Point it at another drive and you can go back and see a change history of your files, and they're protected from your main drive crashing. That's one thing.. I guess.

I like W8 other than the stupidity of the UI related to Metro, charms, and hot corners. It's really sad they messed up a good operating system with it. That said, without the Metro controversy, W8 wouldn't be too much more then a W7SP2.

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Unhappy

> Presuming you have the time and patience though, there are some solid gains even for

> desktop users. Performance is better. Windows 8 boots faster ...

Since I think the UI changes they've made are terrible, it doesn't help me if it's terrible at a faster speed...

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I installed the preview on an old single core Amd 4000 (2.4ghz) with 2 gigs of ram and was impressed with how snappy it was. Much snappier than 7 which runs reasonably well on the old beast. So, as Jason 7 said, if you can upgrade an older XP or Vista machine to this for 40 bucks then go for it.

Sure it took me 5 minutes to figure out how to turn it off and I never really fell in love with Metro but I didn't spend a lot of time with it because it wasn't on my main machine. For forty dollars I'll probably give it another go.

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> if you can upgrade an older XP or Vista machine to this for 40 bucks then go for it.

I wouldn't 'upgrade' even if they paid me. As far as I'm concerned this is a downgrade. On top of that, MS are trying to lock you into having to pay them a cut for every piece of software you buy...

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Anonymous Coward

All about apps

It looks very much like Microsoft have taken a look at Apple and just thought "ooh yeah, app store" in the same way uk.gov looks over the pond, sees ideas that appear to work, but only pick the headline components rather than the bits that make it work as they take time and money. They've seen Apple taking a slice of the post OS sale profits action and want a slice, only in typical MS fashion they haven't thought it through very hard at all, leading to a mish mash system designed to support something they want to sell (surface + app store), rather than designing something punters actually want. Inevitably, nothing really joins up properly and as usual users are expected to do things the MS way for no better reason than 'just because' - the ribbon in office still causes much wailing, and for no real gain I can perceive.

They might just change their minds for Windows 9; they have recent form here. Having discontinued their incredibly successful (and profitable) Flight simulator series with the tenth version - a successful ecosystem, but one in which MS did not profit from the addons, only the original game. Then, out of the blue, MS suddenly did a bit of an about turn and released "Flight" . Yes, a flight sim with an attached "Marketplace, AKA app store. It looked pretty, but the underlying model was extremely poor and simplistic, there were virtually no add ons at launch (meaning you were stuck in a rather pretty Hawaii), and with the "we approve add ons and take a fat slice of your profits for no benefit to you devs" model, the small developers - often working for free - that had made previous FS iterations a success were clearly not biting at all. To nobodys real surprise (after an extremely lukewarm public response), only 6 months down the track, they pulled it entirely, after what must have been a great deal of work and money spent.

I think it says a great deal about where MS are; except in fits and starts (kinect for one) they don't really have any big, quality ideas of their own any more, and they don't even have the attention to detail to get the ones they borrow from elsewhere to work properly. They're happy to routinely dump things without thought (MSFS; visual basic in Mac office, now reinstated four years later,; WHS; prior to that Drive Extender in WHS 2011) or put out half baked, half finished ideas (app store with everything) as finished product, then like as not pull it. The list of swift 180s is endless, and as for Windows mobile...

If Win 8 is "incoherent" as the article subhead suggests, its a good metaphor for pretty much everything MS does these days. The real danger, with everyone so sadly reliant on their output, is that they become like a steroid charged Yahoo from hell; another vast, cash rich, influential company with no sense of direction rampaging across the IT landscape, picking up and dropping ideas without rationale and doing very real damage to users, businesses and IT as a whole on its way to the grave.

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FAIL

Mail cannot open

Get (no) help with this error

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Mushroom

Suboptimal junk.

I've used/put up with every version of Windows since 3, every NT version since 4 - if MS thinks I'm installing this fuck-ugly heap that looks like Win2000 running in safe-mode (judging from the color scheme), they can blow me. I'll patiently wait until Win9 when they realize what a terrible mistake they've made and realize that some of us don't want 27" widescreen monitors treated like 720x480 phone touchscreens.

Until then I've got Windows 7.

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Happy

After running Win8 for a couple of weeks I quite like it. Initial reaction was horror at the Metro interface & installation of Start8 to avoid it, but once Start8 expired I didn't bother trying Classic Shell or another workaround, just stuck with the defaults and you know what, it's absolutely fine.

It's quicker than Win7 on the same hardware and there are lots of little tweaks and changes that make it a nicer OS to use - I was pleasantly surprised to find native support for mounting .vhd and .iso files.

It's easy to ignore the inbuilt MS apps (which are poop) and the lack of a start button is an irrelevance after a day or so - 99% of application use comes straight from the metro start menu and for that remaining 1% you just start typing the name and voila, there it is.

It always amazes me how many techies are luddites when it comes to embracing change in OS design. Give it a try with an open mind, don't try and make it fit your current way of working, but see if it offers a better way to work, you might like it.

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Mushroom

Seen it all before

Microsoft seem to have become what all large companies eventually become, bereft of any coherent leadership and ransomed by ambitious senior managers and their continual infighting. Steven Sinofsky seems to smell strongly of the latter as he has taken Microsoft from a very strong position with the immense popularity and acclaim of Windows 7 and vigorously thrown the baby out with the proverbial bath-water simply so he (and his internal followers) can try and steal some of Apple's thunder while getting the credit for it. I'm sure he will do a lot of harm to the company before he is ousted.

Internally Windows 8 is good but the removal of popular and attractive interface features was egotistical and unnecessary.

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Bronze badge

Bandwagon

The impression I get, from previous software output and reading all the Win8 reviews etc. is that Microsoft is in a panic, following the sellers of the "shiny shiny" toys locked down so that tightly and selling only the products they can make into a revenue flow, rather than looking at what the person sitting at their desk and doing a job actually needs, i.e. MS have forgotten about trying to produce good software that really aids productivity.

The Office Ribbon is a case in point. Most users need a handful of functions most of the time and will draw on some other bits as needed on occasion. So they stopped them from hiding the crap they'll never need, but made it much harder to find the stuff they might sometimes need.

Maybe they needed something better, but that wasn't it.

And Metro sounds like it has the same mentality behind it.

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I love Windows 8

I have been using the RTM version since day 1 and it took me a few days to adjust to all the Windows 8 features. But I can honestly say that I love it.

I was never particularly worried about the old fashioned Start Menu disappearing and it soon becomes apparent that it was a very smart move to remove it. The new UI is brilliant and I cannot understand why people insist on installing Windows 8 and then ruining it by installing a third part Start Menu app.

The Start Menu concept was good in the late 90’s, it was still usable in the early 2000’s but clearly Microsoft worked out that there is a far better way to do things and they’ve implemented it very well.

The live tiles are genius and there can’t be a user on the planet that doesn’t find them useful! Really, what negatives to the tiles are there?

The changes to things like Explorer make Windows 8 quite a significant update. All these changes to Explorer alone make Windows 8 a no brainer for me.

After spending time using Windows 8, I do find going back to my work machine (Windows 7) a pain in the arse.

I don’t think Windows 8 is perfect, but since when has there ever been a perfect flawless OS?

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Im safe my PC is deemed to archaic according to Win8 installer so it told me to sod off. so staying with 7

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WTF?

why change?

Still can't stand the new ribbon interface (the most unintuitive abstraction I've ever seen),

why should I be wanting to waste my time on metro now?

What's in it for me Microsoft???

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Facepalm

what's the big deal with the GUI?

if you don't like the new GUI, just use the old one...i still use the 2000/XP classic GUI...sheesh...

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Window 8, not Windows

since they want everything full screen and make it difficult to have multiple screens.

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Bronze badge

UI Reminiscence...

-- The Price is Right

-- Let's Make a Deal

-- Brady Bunch

-- The Partridge Family

--Peter Maxx

Whoever made the. New UI decisions must have traveled back into the 70 and then gliffing snue and doking smope from a salon hair dryer working in reverse.

Oh, throw in Toss Across to the list of reminiscence....

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