Saturday, December 22, 2012

Two Months In with my Windows 8 PC

When Windows 8 launched at the end of October, my wait to get a new PC was finally over. I was really looking forward to the upgrade. I ended up buying a mid-range Dell laptop...but without a touchscreen and not a convertible.

The Metro UI is the first thing one notices after boot up and is certainly different for a PC. At first the live tiles were neat. However, I soon realized its diminishing value since my desktop screen is not idle a lot. Unlike a tablet or mobile that likely sits idle for a period, when I am on a PC, I am actively doing stuff and not wasting time staring at live tiles updating. I could also see this being great for a touchscreen kitchen appliance (or having a tablet propped up serving the same purpose). As a result, I always immediately pop out of Metro and back to the classic Windows desktop mode after boot up.

Speaking of boot up, I am so glad the boot up time is under a minute now. I also like the fact that you can have a nice background image greet you on the login screen. I've been staring at the beautiful skyline of Seattle the past few weeks because I haven't figured out what I want to replace this default image with yet.

I also like the built-in integrated email program, allowing me to sync up and see my various email accounts in one place. The same is true for the built-in calendar program. Neither of these however is a new innovation as this has been around forever on smartphones for a few years. It just took Microsoft to get it right on the desktop.

One downside I've noticed is my Google Calendar doesn't sync well with the built-in Calendar program. Old items don't get deleted in Windows 8 and new items I add in Windows 8 don't show on my Google Calendar -- even hours later. So, I only use it to check something quickly, but I more often just launch Google Calendar from my web browser.

Windows 8 also has Microsoft Essentials, which includes a photo manager and Movie Maker, is ok, but it feels like they are paying catch up to other programs like Picasa and iMovie.

"Under the hood," the operating system seems more stable (knock on wood!). It doesn't seem to crash as much and when I went into Task Manager, there's a new UI and a lot more features.

My 3 biggest pet peeves are the following:

1. Why did they take away the Start menu in the lower left that also had the list of all Programs? How am I supposed to launch the programs I use, like PowerPoint? This took me a while to figure out some options. I ended up creating a new custom toolbar on the task bar that basically pointed to the Programs folder. A very easy trick. I also realized I could customize tiles on the Start screen to list my favorite programs, but the beauty of having the Programs menu was it had everything and didn't require me to do any customization!

2. I also don't like the menus and screens that pop up from swiping from left to right that switches apps accidentally. Or some times when I am working in Word or any program that has scroll menus on the right, I accidentally activate the "hot" menu on the right because my cursor is too close to the edge. Annoying!

3. Without my familiar Start menu in lower right, I couldn't figure out how to shut down at first. Then I discovered it's less intuitive now and feels like it takes more steps. You have to pull up the "hot" menu on the right of the screen, then click Settings, then Power, and finally choose Shut Down. I also discovered I can do Ctrl-Alt-Delete, then select Power button on lower right, and then choose Shut Down.

What am I going to do about all this? Nothing. Just get used to it until I discover a hack to change things. =)

What do you think of Windows 8?


No comments:

Post a Comment