Much like a strong, beautiful, ambitious woman Windows 8 is the subject of controversy. Some call her the Devil others call her a Diva. ( If you want to witness her in action on YouTube click HERE or on the screen shot. )
For me, my introduction to her came a week ago when I bought a new Laptop. She is a real departure from the earlier incarnations of the Microsoft Operating System. I was a bit cranky at first that I had to adjust to something so very different than my old, comfortable familiar Windows. However, Within a couple hours I was navigating the new touch / app interface like an old Mac pro. Oh, yes, you can use Windows 8 with a mouse or touchpad.
I was expecting to be switching to the old, familiar desktop very frequently. I found Using Windows 8 Start App Screen to be incredibly intuitive. Although the desktop is a touch from the Start Screen, I’ve nearly dispensed with it already. I would only need links to the machine utilities such as control panel, file directory, etc. from the Start Screen to make the transition complete. I still think of the Start Apps as icons on the new desktop. From a technical point of view they are not the same thing. From a user standpoint, I think calling them icons is just as good as calling them apps.
In 30 years, I never adjusted to touchpads – I always disabled mine and used a mouse. With the ease of use of the new touch capability, I had actually dispensed with the mouse and the touchpad and was running independently of both within a day. I began Googling for tips, tricks, and hidden features. I found a really awesome feature! I did not need to Google a beautifully professional shot for this blog. I took the screen shot shown here with one keystroke. Win-PrtSc took a screen shot and saved it as a .png to a dedicated folder named “screenshots” in the “pictures” folder.
So, she is sleek and powerful… what about functional? All those apps when not in use automatically go into a suspended state and use no system resources at all — no processor work and no memory. Also, Windows 8 is aggressively defending against viruses utilizing such features as protecting areas of memory that should never be accessed by any program other than OS functions.
Can the Diva deliver when it comes to work? So far so good. Downloading images from the internet was ridiculous — one click and its done. No waiting… not timing… *poof* and its in your picture folder. For the internet, some sites are not so “app-friendly”. I switched to the traditional desktop and opened an IE browser and encountered no further problems. Most websites perform surprisingly well in the new touch-screen / app environment. I downloaded ESET (my virus protection) and installed it with ease. I was able to install Construct 2 with ease. How do traditional programs run on Windows 8? Awesome. Windows 8 automatically created an “app” on the new desktop that opens the standard desktop and launches the application for you.
How about the acid test? Open source programs? True to form, open source is an awesome way to go, but requires a certain amount of tech savvy from the user. I decided to download GIMP – the picture editing program and see what would happen that way. The download was fine, running the installer from the Windows 8 IE App resulted in a virus threat that my antivirus caught. I switched to the traditional desktop to access the download folder. I deleted the offending installer and ran a separate copy I’d downloaded with success — no virus threats located. The installer ran ok, then it was a matter of figuring out how to launch GIMP. I was still in the traditional desktop and no icon was created. I was fumbling around trying to find the executable. I went into the folder option, got to the program files folder, did a search for GIMP, located the executable program in the bin folder (where it traditionally is) and launched the program by double clicking on it. Success! Then I went to the Start Screen where I found an app link to GIMP had been created. I tapped it and it launched GIMP from the old desktop. Oh, its running fine!
Back to my original question… Is Windows 8 a Devil or a Diva? For me, she is a Diva. The first of the next generation of technology acting as an emissary into our future. “… a true diva has dismissed that drama. A true diva’s heart is open, and she’s ready to play by her own rules – rules that are gentle and kind.” – Jennifer Lewis
- Will Windows 8.1 allow users to boot to desktop? (neowin.net)
- Why Windows 8 is the best Windows around (techathomeblog.wordpress.com)
- Microsoft Might Delay Windows 9 as Windows 8.2 Takes Shape (news.softpedia.com)
- Microsoft Surface and Windows 8: What You Need To Know (everydayfamily.com)
- FSF Says Close Windows 8 (i-programmer.info)
- Is Windows 8 Killing PC Sales (forbes.com)