Ladies and gentlemen, it’s here – Windows 8 has landed and you are officialy invited by Microsoft to try it out. If you’re unsure about it, try it on your Windows 7, XP or even Vista version with WinMetro. Or, you can try Developer or Consumer Preview if it’s your first time with the latest operating system from Microsoft. Don’t get too frustrated at the beginning, it takes a while to adapt to new things.

Also, you should know the difference between Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro before you set sail onto this new journey. Because, if you’ll get a Windows RT device, such as the Surface tablet, you might be quite enfuriated that you won’t have the same user experience as someone with a Windows 8 tablet or hybrid. But let’s see what the first reviews can tell us about Windows 8. It will not be a short one, but it should help you decide if Windows 8 is right for you or not.


Windows 8 reviews roundup

TOM WARREN, THE VERGE

  • The most striking changes to Microsoft’s new operating system are evident as soon as you first switch on a Windows 8 PC. The boot process is surprisingly fast for Windows.
  • Microsoft’s Windows 8 user interface, originally referred to as Metro-inspired — a nod to the company’s internal design language — is as stunning as it is surprising.
  • Navigating this new user interface is perhaps the most controversial aspect to Windows 8. There’s a steep learning curve here, from navigation to basic tasks like turning off your PC.
  • The Settings charm is one of the more confusing aspects to Windows 8. It’s often easy to forget that an app has multiple places for settings, with some available visually within the app and others available from the Charms.
  • Another aspect to navigation is a new touch- and mouse-based Switcher. Making use of the top left and bottom left touch corners in Windows 8, Switcher works as a basic application switcher. Touch users can swipe from the left and snap back to reveal Switcher.
  • For Windows 8 to truly succeed on tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs, it needs developers to create functional and good-looking apps that work across a variety of display and input types.
  • If you’re upgrading from an older version of Windows, these new apps are certainly a fresh approach. The Windows Store offers a variety of games and apps, but with only 5,000 apps available the selection is rather limited right now.
  • Microsoft is opting to support Adobe Flash, but only in limited cases. This is particularly useful for tablet use, since rival offerings like the iPad have shunned the use of Flash. Microsoft has also enabled Do Not Track by default in IE10.
  • The Music and Video apps mark a switch in direction for Microsoft. Built by the company’s Xbox team, they provide access to the entertainment aspects of Windows 8.
  • Coupled with this, the SmartGlass app also allows you to use a Windows 8 device as a remote control to play Xbox Music content on an Xbox console or simply navigate apps. The implementation is simply stunning.
  • In terms of highlights for Microsoft’s own Windows 8-style apps, this is where it ends. Some of the other built-in Windows 8-style apps are significantly lacking functionality. The Mail app includes basic email functions but little else.
  • Microsoft appears to have rushed some of these apps out of the door half baked.
  • Microsoft’s Windows Store represents the acknowledgement of Apple’s success with a curated application store approach. Developers can submit free or paid apps and earn 70 percent of the revenue from sales, a figure that jumps to 80 percent after a paid app makes $25,000.
  • Once you tap on the Desktop tile or launch an older app from the Start screen, you’re essentially using Windows 7 again, and the desktop mode will feel a lot more familiar.
  • Windows Explorer is also improved and renamed, now referred to as File Explorer in Windows 8. Microsoft has added the ribbon interface to File Explorer, which is collapsed by default.
  • An updated Task Manager is simplified in every sense of the word. The default view will list all currently running applications.There’s simply an end task button to kill off unresponsive apps — a common use for Task Manager.
  • Another important improvement in Windows 8 desktop mode is Microsoft’s multiple monitor support.
  • Thankfully the traditional keyboard shortcuts still work, so power users can run Windows 8 on a desktop in a similar way to Windows 7.

If you’ve been waiting for Microsoft to provide better software for a tablet and catch up with the iPad, then this time has certainly arrived

KYLE WAGNER, GIZMODO

  • This is the first time that you will have to re-learn how to use Windows on a basic level since 1992.
  • Windows 8 is a dramatic change from previous versions of Windows. But only if you want it to be. The old desktop—basically everything you would see in Windows 7—is still there, with its taskbar and folders and windows.
  • Windows 8 takes that central idea, incubated in Windows Phone, and codifies it into a hard philosophy with full screen apps that make the insane levels of multitasking we do impractical. You will simplify your workflow
  • Metro apps filling up your screen radically changes how you use them. You can’t open a second window of the Metro Internet Explorer, for example. That’s a radical change from what you’re probably used to in other versions of Windows.
  • Being locked into one window in Metro IE (Metro Chrome retains its tabs) is also disorienting at first. We’re so used to multi-layered browsing that not being able to toggle between tabs and windows at once, over the same space, seems awful.
  • If you’re knee-deep in Metro apps, though, you have some new problems. There is no obvious visual cue as to whether or not an app is open.
  • One thing that immediately comes to mind is being able to use more than one sidebarred Metro app. The way Notifications work is indicative of this disconnect. Notifications look lovely, displaying in the top right corner with some information about what just happened, and then fading away.
  • The build itself seems fairly stable. Loading 25-plus apps managed to crash the Metro Party, but they resumed in their pre-crash states just fine.
  • The Charms gesture from the right side of the trackpad is especially wonderful.
  • If you’re using one of the new convertible Windows 8 computers, or one of the traditional laptops or all in one computers with a touchscreen, you’ll find yourself reaching up and touching the screen much more than you’d think.
  • Settings need work. Well, more bluntly, Windows 8 needs settings. More of them
  • The sad, somewhat predictable truth is that the fundamental act of moving a file from one folder to another—the drag-and-drop action that was probably one of the first three things you learned to do on a computer—is kind of terrible in Metro.
  • Networking is cleaner than it has been—the wireless connection pane is now tucked into the Metro sidebar options, and the desktop icon boots you there. It’s an improvement.
  • Overall, there is an over-reliance on the Search charm to navigate you around your apps, to the point where there’s no way to search from the Store’s home screen.

Using Windows 8 is pleasant, especially if you don’t have to do anything in a particular hurry. It’s a totally new way of thinking about how you want to operate in a desktop OS—and maybe not entirely in the way you think. But it also seems like a rough draft of a deeply interesting idea

ERIC ABENT, SLASHGEAR

  • More importantly, the Start screen gives you a way to access the apps you have installed on your computer with a quick click.
  • While the Start screen is definitely one of the biggest changes to be found in Windows 8, it’s only one part of a larger User Interface overhaul. Move your cursor to the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and you’ll be presented with a menu bar that pops in.
  • The settings menu will also change when you access it inside a Windows 8 app. When you do, you’ll be given individual settings for the app you’re using, which is great.
  • There’s also a lock screen present in Windows 8, which again is something that makes sense for touchscreens but seems a little out of place on desktop PCs.
  • Microsoft has made a lot of changes with Windows 8, but for the most part, the Windows we know and love is still intact. The desktop is more or less the same as it was in Windows 7 (with exception of the now-missing Start button, of course), and you can still delve into the depths of your computer by using Windows Explorer.
  • he Store reminds me a lot of the Xbox 360 dashboard, and more specifically the Xbox Live Marketplace. There are already a healthy number of apps available for Windows 8, and they’re split up into different sections right from the start, making navigation easy as pie.
  • I’m already impressed with the apps that Microsoft has packed in with Windows 8, and I’m sure that once developers are pushing out apps for Windows 8 full-time, I’ll be even more impressed.
  • Opening up the search panel and looking up a program is incredibly quick – much faster than using the search bar in Windows 7’s Start menu ever was.
  • Boot and shut down times have also been significantly decreased. Whereas it would take 30 seconds to even a full minute to boot and shut down Windows 7 (for me at least), Windows 8 boots in about 15 to 20 seconds, and shuts down in about the same amount of time.

It may not be the Windows we’re comfortable using right out of the box, but it won’t be long before hesitant users begin to realize the value in Windows 8

 

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Managing Editor

is the Managing Editor of Technically Personal. When he has some extra-time, he writes about Windows 8 apps and reviews them on Wind8Apps. Believes that technology is the main engine of civilization. Send him a tweet or make him your Facebook friend