I confess that I have been somewhat taken aback at the amount of negative press that Windows 8 has been receiving, both from technology pundits and users, because I’m finding Windows 8 rather exciting. I’ve been using it on my main desktop PC since the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released in February, and I’ve never thought for a moment about uninstalling it and going back to Windows 7. Indeed, I’m looking forward to the Release Preview of Windows 8 that will be available in a couple of weeks.
It’s true that my joy over Windows 8 has not been entirely unalloyed. At the moment, I have a list of three negatives:
- I really dislike the marketing decision that Microsoft has made concerning Windows Media Center. However, on the upside, it means that I won’t be upgrading my HTPC to Windows 8. It will remain on Windows 7, running Windows Media Center, until something better comes along.
- I consider that the Windows Explorer in Windows 8 is more clumsy than the version in Windows 7. I find it’s a step backwards in usability.
- Windows 8 takes full advantage of modern PC hardware, such as UEFI for firmware and GPT drives. However, Microsoft’s dirty little secret is that their Windows Home Server 2011 product cannot backup or restore any system using UEFI and GPT drives. [Update 4th March 2013: Microsoft has at last issued a Hotfix to add backup support for UEFI-based computers to back up to servers that are running Windows Home Server 2011]
I can live with the first two, but the last does worry me. New PC systems are increasingly based on UEFI/GPT technology, so I am likely to be faced with a problem in the future if Microsoft don’t fix this. Update: I’ve gathered all the bugs, quirks, and WTFs that I’ve found in Windows 8 thus far into one place: here.
It seems to me that with Windows 8, Microsoft has a chance to move personal computing into a new era, one where not only can a range of computing devices (PCs, Tablets, Smartphones) share a common operating system and applications, but where the hardware itself can have a range of flexibility that goes beyond what we have seen so far.
I got a taste of this with my old HP TX2000 Tablet PC, but running Windows 7, it couldn’t deliver what will be possible with Windows 8.
Paul Thurrott touches upon this in his latest opinion piece. I think he is right. My next PC purchase is unlikely to be a Desktop PC. It will be a Slate, running Windows 8, based on Intel’s Broadwell. It will have multitouch and a pressure-sensitive stylus. I will be able to carry it around and take notes/photos/videos on the move, and I’ll be able to plug it into multiple monitors, a keyboard, and a mouse for my next generation Desktop.
We are at the dawn of Origami Computing. Apple and Android are way behind.