Windows 8–A Catastrophe or Sheer Genius?

Well, here we are back again and just in time as we are on the cusp of the next Windows revolution? Or are we? Others are voicing some concerns and seem to feel that we may instead be on the cusp of the next Windows revolt?  So, where do we really stand with all of this? Let’s take an objective look…..

But first, a small digression. As of late, I find myself apologizing  more that writing on the blog as updates became more and more scarce.  I hoping to improve that a bit, so hopefully more content will be appearing on here on a regular basis.  Now, on to the good stuff.

Windows 8 is surely going to be the most controversial Windows release of all time. That is clear. While many will point to major changes in  Windows 95, Windows XP, and Vista, never before has the UI been revamped in such a radical and unfamiliar way. Undoubtedly, many consumers will be left somewhat bewildered when they try and perform routine tasks like “opening My Computer” or “launching the Control Panel” The fact is, the operating system now relies on some fairly subtle gestures to perform some of these routine actions. Admittedly, when I installed the Developer Preview, I actually called up Paul and we both had simultaneous and mutually identical reactions and with a gasp we exclaimed “What have they done?” The truth is, I hated it when I first started using it and quickly uninstalled and replaced it with Ubuntu – which at the time was looking like it might be my next new OS.  At this point I let my interest in Windows 8 sit, digest, regurgitate and I thought evaporate. Whew….glad it went away.

News of the consumer preview was to follow. I had to check it out. I installed it on a Dell Latitude D620 (read – old hardware). The computer booted and it was sluggish and performing poorly. The screen resolution was terrible.  I knew that the video driver was obviously and issue, but this particular model of Dell only has Windows XP drivers available from Dell. My attempts to force those drivers onto the system resulted in all sorts of system errata. Windows update did not return any results for a good driver either. I then went to Windows catalog and began the hunt for a driver with a similar PCI dev/hardware Id. After some hunting, I found a Windows 7 driver. To my delight, this installed. Alright, reboot time….

As the machine spun down, I was expecting the old laptop to groan under the weight of the new and beta quality OS. Much to my surprise, the OS booted in a fashion that was shocking to say the least. It was as if the laptop now had an SSD drive installed it booted so fast. Was this for real?

The speed of Windows 8, truthfully, is nothing less than phenomenal. Despite fumbling my way around the new desktop, it was shocking to see the speed at which applications were launching. Anecdotally, this laptop, despite its age, was orders of magnitude faster than Windows 7, Windows XP, and the Ubuntu install running on it previously. Magnificent.  But speed alone wasn’t going to win me over. Lucky for me a true test for the OS was about to present itself  and even better yet, the test subject was a non-geek, common salary man.

To be continued…….

Copyright © 2010 Paul Guenette and Matthew Sleno.