(Many) Arguments Against Windows 8 Are Crap

The forums are a-raging, fanboys splitting an already thinning fanboy line, and magazines tentatively putting themselves at either of two extremes: loving or hating Windows 8.

Well, the problem with those feelings is that, they come from MANY misconceptions, a lack of knowledge, and generally, just not wanting things to change (even though they don’t have to). Let’s go over some details that people “whine” so much about:

Lack of a Start Menu/Button

First of all, the “start” menu is still there in the form of a start screen but I know that a lot of you don’t like the lack of the button and the menu that’s been with us (in one way or another) for over 15 years. So, why don’t we add it back?

Wait..what? Oh yeah, you CAN add it back via a cute little program called “Classic Shell”, or “Start8″ or “Pokki”. Let’s look at those:

Classic Shell

So, Classic Shell is probably the coolest one out there. First, it’s free, and is officially supported on Windows 8 RTM. It also packs:

  • 3 different menu styles from “classic” to “xp” and “vista/windows 7″
  • has various different skins
  • classic shell packs some other features like hot-corner disable, boot to desktop, etc.

Go ahead, try it out. You can basically bring your Windows 7 experience back.

Start8

Start8 is a button replacement made by those cool people at Stardock who brought you some other tools like fences and blinds. Well, so what does start8 pack?

  • windows 7 – like start menu
  • Modern UI start menu (basically an “all apps” view with a search view and some shortcuts).
  • skin that changes with your desktop
  • direct boot, disable of hot corners etc.

Pokki

So Pokki is much different and very interesting, it packs not just a new start menu but some other things as well:

  • unique start menu replacement.
  • an appstore with extra apps to use

It’s definitely not a typical windows-esque start menu and that may be refreshing to some of us.

So if your friend is raging on about “Well, if it had a start button!” send him/her to this article and tell them to STFU because you CAN have that stuff!

Being Forced To Use Modern UI

No, microsoft does not readily offer a setting that disables hot corners, brings back your windows 7-esque interface, and disables boot to modern UI but, there are plenty of apps and hacks that WILL do that for you:

So, out of the box, you may be forced to use Modern UI and this is done on purpose so that people are more likely to switch over to the new system, love it or hate it. But if you’re REALLY against it and are a hardcore Windows 7 lover (I don’t blame you), you can take steps to get out of that.

So again, got that raging friend? Point them here because seriously… these are the main topics of discussions of pros and cons of Windows 8. “Only if I could boot to desktop” they whine well there you go.

It’s basically Windows 7 with a Modern UI

Well, it may look like that. Remember Vista? Didn’t it kind of look like an XP with a small facelift? Or XP looked like 2000 with minor changes? and so on. Okay, okay, let’s backtrack. Here are the things that Windows 8 LARGELY improves upon outside of UI:

  • Faster performance – It really is noticable especially on low-grade devices like my laptop. Upon installing Windows 8 over my W7, I noticed a significant boost. Also, the ability to decouple Modern UI and Desktop is great because while an app is taking FOREVER to load (eg. photoshop with a 200mb file), I jump into modern UI, experience no lag working with my apps there
  • Cloud sync – basically save all your settings and personal data to the cloud and use it anywhere. This is really damn useful and I can’t tell you how many times (back in the days of XP) I hated reinstalling my computer just to spend hours reconfiguring everything back
  • new task manager 
  • built in Security Essentials – renamed to “Windows Defender”, we finally have a GOOD built-in anti-virus program that updates with windows update. FINALLY, no need to think of McAfee, Norton or what have you
  • multi-monitor support – that got upgraded with the ability to run Modern UI on one side and desktop on the other, or desktop on both. Also, taskbar extends to both monitors. Very badass
  • iso mounting – YES. I use it quite often, love the fact it’s built in (similar to how zipping became built in)
  • file explorer - much more attractive with context-related options. For example, if you have an image, you get an image menu. The explorer window is not based on the ribbon UI introduced in Office 2007. It’s very cool ;)
  • windows store - like it or not, it’s a great place to get good apps (if you don’t hate modern UI). It has automatic updating, fast app installs/uninstalls etc. similar to how a phone works
  • general UI update on desktop - so, the UI WAS updated on the desktop to be a bit flatter. To be honest, it’s a bit strange because you have an aero taskbar with a modern-like UI for windows. I might have to find some app to change this part (shouldn’t be hard, right?)
  • upgrades here and there - check out what people have compiled in wikipedia.

Windows RT is crap, I don’t even know why they made it!

Because of ARM. RT is made for ARM and that doesn’t make it a bad system. RT, in fact, has some advantages over regular Windows 8. First, let’s discuss what RT is:

  • a tablet OS with a UI that works on desktops, laptops, and tablets as well
  • an OS specifically designed to run on ARM rather than on x86 systems
  • a locked down OS that comes only preinstalled and cannot be installed separately on any system

Okay, we have that out of the way. For simple-minded folks, Windows RT is to Windows 8 like iOS is to OS X for a mac except (and this is the confusing part), Windows RT behaves and looks 99% like Windows 8. This puts people in a weird position of “Looks/smells like desktop but can’t run any regular windows programs on it!”. Yes, this is due to ARM which requires different software architecture.

So what does RT offer over Windows 8?

  • well, ability to run on ARM processors and ARM devices which are generally cheaper than x86 devices and are generally used for tablets, phones, phablets and so on.
  • it has a smaller battery drain. It’s specifically made to speed up your work and lower battery consumption

Okay, that’s all I know but those are the basics. Some people may feel ripped off and put off by this especially since tablets are now coming out in two flavors: Windows RT and Windows 8 with several hundred dollars between them.

One more thing to realize is that Windows RT is really all about tablets. What do you run on tablets? Tablet applications. What are those? Modern UI apps and those run both desktop-wide and tablet-wide which is awesome. You may not be able to access photoshop but photoshop isn’t made for tablet use (and for that matter isn’t fully available for Android or iOS either) but there most likely will be an app for it soon enough.

So why bet on Modern UI and hope that developers use tools to create those rather than fully desktop apps? Easy. Wait, yeah, ease of development. Modern UI apps are much easier to create and there’s also the prospect of easier distribution (Windows Store) and a wider audience. So unless an app is geared specifically toward desktop use (Adobe’s creative suite, programming tools etc.), you’ll most likely see a Modern UI app pop-up.

It’s expensive and cumbersome to update

Don’t make me laugh. So, first of all here’s Windows 8 pricing:

On top of that, if you’re upgrading from Windows 7 (I speak from experience), you’re unlikely to lose anything. I haven’t lost any of my programs, settings, files, or anything! It’s quite awesome actually :)

Should I get it?

Don’t care. It’s your own personal choice. I’m not here to be a fanboy. I’m not “pro” something forever and fight to death about it. I enjoy Windows 8, and that’s good for me. I enjoy a plethora of other platforms as well. I don’t use a Mac, doesn’t mean I hate it or find it inferior in general. Nope. I just have my wee $400 laptop with my wee Windows 8 to play my games on, write, browse and so on. Windows 8 gave me a little performance boost and made it more fun for me to work. That’s my take on it.

What’s your take on it? And are there any other arguments I may have forgotten?

Comments

  1. Classic Shell is the most customizable one and free! MS should be ashamed open source software is fixing their OS.

    • unanonymous says:

      I agree, Classic shell is great.
      If MS put the Win+X Menu in Win 8, they could have at least, let us modify start menu shortcuts there, but no, we have to get a third party app Win+X Menu Editor from Winaero site, to do that.

      We all know MS wants us to move to the new tile start screen layer.
      That is why they took out desktop solitaire, sidebar gadgets, media centre, start menu, and heaven knows what else,
      leaving the cupboard bare. Luckily, all can be put back, with a little help from net.

    • I don’t feel like it’s “fixing” anything, simply offering something that others desire which Microsoft is trying to stray away from (namely the start menu). For those wanting the old experience back, they can download an app but by not having this built in, Microsoft is “forcing” people to get used to the new system.

  2. This article is flawed. Yes, you can modify windows 8 to make up for its shortcomings. However, that doesn’t change the fact that unless you are using a tablet, it provides a poor UI for a desktop experience out of the box. There is a reason why iOS and OSX look different, yet run the same kernel. It’s a shame because the idea of a unified gui across their product line in theory is a good one, however proper execution is apparently very difficult. They aren’t that far off with windows 8, however out of the box it’s pretty miserable in its current state.

    • The article is not “flawed” per se. You’re looking at the wrong thing. I’m not advocating W8 as perfect or that it’s superior to everything. I am simply countering the arguments which make/break the system. When I hear someone say “Well, if Windows 8 had a start menu, I’d use it”, I reply “Download classic shell and you’ll get to enjoy W8 as an upgraded W7 experience”. So to hear people say shit that I described in the article as their reasoning why they will “never” upgrade, is maddening since they CAN have what they want with minimal effort.

      I think that “misery” is individual. I have spoken to a lot of people that gave W8 a chance, used it and actually liked the desktop/modern UI mix (except for a couple of short-comings). I’ve spoken to a lot of people that never used it and criticized it to death. Everyone has something different to say about it which means it’s not entirely a failure.

      We’ll see how people feel about W8 after christmas because all the new hardware will have it and a huge number of people will start using it every day.

      • Windows 8 is like the four generations of English speaking people taking a written drivers license test. Each generation had to learn more about road rules and regulations but the foundations remained the same. Red light means stop, green means go, speed signs dictate the maximum speed to travel at. The youngest generation figures out the basic driving requirements from childhood from observing their elders drive and therefore trust the advice they are given before they sit for the driving test. Now lets sit all the generations for the test. First of all they notice that the test is written in Latin, some words are familiar, but you are lost, if you go for a driving test then things get worst. For example; the simple method of indicating went from pushing a lever up or down, is now you have to put the car in neutral, find the lever hidden behind the back seat, put the car in first gear which means the lever has disappeared because you can not do the two tasks simultaneously. Folks, Windows 8 is a huge puzzle as a pc operating system. If you love puzzles you will have fun for months.

  3. I’ve been in IT for many years and always looked forward to a new OS – This is by far the WORST OS!

    Everything is slower.

    And I didn’t buy an OS to have advertizing in it that I can pay $1.50 to have removed.

    You think the millions Microsoft has made by putting an OS on every freaking computer that we don’t need to be nickled&dimed with ads that we have to pay to have removed.

    - did I mention It takes you twice as to do anything…even just to shutdown

    - why do I (or anyone to that matter) want a bunch of crap little apps on the desktop that they’ll seldom or never use
    - hey…you want to play a game…just download an app…hey…you want this or that…just download an app
    I’m up to my ass with apps…Have you tried the Ebay app? Some apps scrool horizontal…another vertical….where’s the

    standard. I think it’s APPS to go under control.
    - have you tried to boot using F8 ? That’s been replaced to – and it’s much more difficult

    -it’s crazy switching back and forth to desk top classic.

    - IE 10 is all but useless

    Even having only paid $17 special for it – after having used it for 4 days I had to get rid of it as I couldn’t stand it.

    I can go on and on how much I dislike it. I for one am staying on Win 7 as long as I can – hopefully by 2015 they will have improved it or enough people will have complained and we’ll move to a real OS.

    • unanonymous says:

      Ouch!
      I just bought Windows 8 pro, but did not install yet. Have been using trial RTM version.
      After reading Richard’s comments, I wonder, did I make the right buying decision?

      Then I started thinking, advertising has and will always be with us, in some form or another.
      Not sure where the adverts are showing up,

      maybe the seller had to make back money from selling system for $17.

      I want the best of both worlds, the old Win 7 wild, and the slowly growing Win 8 safe playpen area.

      The desktop IE10 seems to work better than IE9 alternate compatibility feature.

      If you don’t like useless apps, unpin, delete shortcut, or uninstall them. My Win 7 menu had the same problem.
      All it takes is some menu pruning.

      I tried Halo on Win 8- just as fast.

      It’s just the shortcut links, that we have all grown used to, are in different places or not there anymore,
      that slows us down. I put them back in.

      As for the F8 key at boot, did not try yet in Win 8.
      Anyways, even F8 safe mode in Win 7 hardly helped me with any problems. I would usually have to boot from the Win 7 repair disc to repair, restore, or recover image.

      I’m sure an IT person of many years experience knows other Windows systems were just as hard to get used to at the beginning, then can be blindfolded later and cruise through so called issues.

      Can Richard or anyone else come up with more substantial issues?
      Prove to me, a good reason to return Windows 8 for a refund:)

      • * The adverts are in free apps. Similar to how mobile applications work.

        * IE10 IS better than IE9. I still rarely use it, force of habit rather than technical decision

        * I did this,e xactly this. I got rid of all the apps I didn’t use (travel for example). I love the easy uninstalls!

        * I play several different games, the boost is not noticeable but there sure as hell isn’t a slowdown!

        * I never used safe boot, usually a repair as well

        I work as a developer (obviously) and have tried a plethora of systems and UIs and have found W8 pleasant. With that said, i do find myself using the desktop profusely. The Modern UI however does get its usage as well ;) especially when it comes to pandora and instagram. :)

    • Again, from personal experience:

      * everything is actually faster. Less lag, less problems.
      * I see no advertising? If you’re talking about 3rd party apps, it’s the same as mobile apps. It kind of sucks but you’re not required to install these. Official site apps will provide great functionality without ads. I had no issues here however
      * again, everything is faster which I find very refreshing :) The only slowdown I experienced was boot time when I had Ubuntu installed via Wubi.
      * again, you don’t have to use the apps. i found them useful. I enjoy having full screen applications and use the pandora app quite often. The instagram app is great too (especially for notifications)
      * Not sure what boot via F8 does, can you enlighten me?
      * not crazy at all to me. Quite fluid and works well for me. I also like having the desktop 2/3 view and having 1/3 view another app
      * I actually haven’t really used IE10. I’m TOO used to Chrome and its extensions. I’ll give you this one ;)

      I disagree with most of your statements, but we are all entitled to our own opinions. I hope things work out better for you in the future and with the next OS release.

  4. ok lets put the “whining” aside. The major mistake Microsoft made was not allowing the user to choose between classic destkop and modern UI. This is the only problem I can think of with Microsoft’s new OS. I mean ok you can download lets say classic shell, but keep in mind this is not supported and in a corporate environment is a pain in the arse. So the so called “whining” is a normal reaction. If you do not give end user a choice you will have complaints. I would not be suprise that sooner or later MS will add ability to choose your GUI. Just as you hate whining I dislike people who defend MS knowing that the company did make a mistake by forcing its new way of interacting with the OS.Not to mention that they did the same thing with windows 2012 and 99% of administrators will have to install 3rd party software otherwise the server system is unusable.

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