Re: Did better than I did
It took myself and my boss ten minutes to figure out how to get out of Metro apps without using a keyboard without having to look it up. Ironically, we were testing on a touchscreen PC which is supposed to be the primary focus of Metro. (Hint: Drag from the top of the screen to the bottom where you get ZERO visual indication until you're right near the end that anything will happen).
The experience wasn't all that bad, though. I could see with some modifications and freeware you could basically make it like Windows 7 (which, like its predecessor Vista, we skipped because of said usability / retraining issues) with a proper Start Menu. But that's kinda the point of an OS - to be usable.
The whole Metro thing seems a misguided fad and nothing more than Active Desktop Done Even Worse. There was no need to remove the Start Menu at all and no need to forcibly Metro-ise things. Underneath, it's Windows 7, with no Start Menu option (freeware already exists to reinsert one), and some hideous "Front Page" thing that works like Active Desktop wallpaper did back in 95 (and about as successfully). You can see why you'd want that on a phone or maybe a limited-use tablet but on any PC it's just out of place and damn wrong. My first experiment was to see what happens when you "unpin" all the Metro junk. You end up with a single icon that lets you click to Desktop. Perfect. Now if we could just scrap that (now useless) page entirely, I'll be well chuffed.
Drivers were good, even on the single-DVD preview we didn't have to download anything to get it running on a Windows-7-certified touchscreen PC, speed was good, compatibility was good (I work in schools - we ran a lot of very old educational software from our existing network and it all seemed to be fine). It was all ridiculous interface issues that got in our way (we couldn't actually work out how to get it to let you log in as the same named user on different domains without having to type in the entire domain each time - try teaching that to 6-year-olds, or convincing teachers its necessary. Maybe I'll have to look into a login replacement for that) and nothing that wouldn't be fixable with ten minutes, a large hammer, and standing over a developer at MS. We were expecting an AWFUL lot worse.
I just hope the group policy updates contain an awful lot of options to get rid of the nonsensical junk that pops up and the remaining issues (dunno what that hover-on-the-bottom-right menu that has search, browse, etc. is supposed to do exactly, or the popup about changing default browsers, we want to be able to turn off Metro apps except for ones we authorised on the network, etc.) because we can't really avoid this release.
We've saved literally tens and tens of thousands by skipping Vista and 7 but now it's starting to cost more to support XP in terms of machine support (i.e. try getting it to install on Intel AHCI drivers without a lot of faffing about, large hard drives, touchscreens, lots of Windows-7-only drivers, etc.) than to upgrade. Fortunately, that saved money means the upgrade hardware should be more than powerful enough to cope with anything, so long as we have the actual OPTION to turn off junk we can't get on with - and that spare power and budget can easily be put towards virtualised XP instead if we really struggle to do so.
Metro just joins the list of "In principle: good. MS execution, timing and FORCED use: bad" ideas, alongside Microsoft Bob, Active Desktop, et al.