Windows 8 ‘Issues Report’

We’ve tested Windows 8 and talked with a number of clients about the OS from Microsoft. Some of them have returned Windows 8-loaded computers because it’s too much of a change. We’re still concerned about hardware interfaces. Here’s what we’ve found so far.

Humans are creatures of habit, especially when using their computers. Pressured to be productive, we really don’t like being moved away from processes we know and follow as second nature. Sure, some of us like the “latest and greatest” in technology, but Windows 8 isn’t great for a lot of users.

The key issue is the look and feel. The new OS looks and feels like a tablet, and Microsoft’s strategy is to “tabletize” desktop and laptop computers to be like tablets and smartphones. That should make it easier for users to operate Windows-based computers and devices. It may happen over time, but not now.

Long-time Windows users have grown accustomed to trays along the bottom of their desktop that allow them to launch commonly used programs or applications. They can also click on the Start button to see and launch all programs, reboot (or restart or shutdown) their computer, open the control panel and access any function.

All of this functionality is not so easy to find with Windows 8. You need to press the “flag” key – the key between the Ctrl and Alt keys – to access the Start menu. The functionality is there but not in the place most users expect to find it. It’s just not the way most people want to work.

Hardware compatibility is another issue. Using the full version of Windows 8 requires a touchscreen monitor. That’s OK if you’re getting all new systems. But if you have a fairly new monitor that’s not a touchscreen, are you willing to spend money now to replace a perfectly serviceable peripheral? We doubt it.

We believe Windows 7 still has a lot of life. If you are in the market for a new Windows-based computer, we can help you get the Windows 7 OS and support it for you. We also support Windows XP. Microsoft will end its support of XP in 2014, but we’ll be able to help you with work-arounds and other steps to keep you going. By the time XP’s useful life ends for you, we’re betting Microsoft will have its next operating system on the market, resolving those Windows 8 issues.

Need help? We do Windows. Just call us at 973-433-6676 or email us with your questions or problems. We’ll clean them up – streak-free.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.