I’m definitely happy with it

November 15, 2012

It has now gone over two weeks where I’ve exclusively used Windows 8.
Yes, I’ve also upgraded my work computer, or actually, I did it the second I got the chance to. And I would’ve been a fool not to do it. My work computer is less than two months old, and thanks to Windows upgrade offer the upgrade only cost $14,99.

Be warned, this will probably be one of the longest posts I’ve ever written.

What I’ve disliked

Message app

Feels like I should start with what I really don’t like with Windows 8. And my biggest pet peeve’s got to be the Message-app, I think the idea is great, but the execution, not so much. The big problem with the message app is that it doesn’t really sync with facebook (and the same problem exists with Windows Phone 7.5) messages that you’ve read on facebook are still marked as unread in the app, and sometimes, it just drops a few messages, and this I can tell you, have been very confusing in some discussions I’ve had with people.

Task manager malfunctioning

As a developer, I got to do lots of fun stuff, which sometimes lead to crashes. Thankfully, the task manager has always been there to kill any rogue process, except that in windows 8, you might not always be as lucky. In this particular case, I was working on a spotify app and I had to restart spotify, to window hang and I couldn’t kill the application. I went into the task manager, quickly browsed to “details” and chose “End process tree” and to my surprise I was greeted with a “Permission denied” dialog. I found this quite funny considering the process owner was me. The logical thing to do in this case is to start the task manager as administrator, but again, permission denied, as a last resort I restarted the computer, which worked.

Closing apps with touch pad

I’m used to work with the keyboard and using shortcuts for as many things as possible, and the button Esc is almost universally the go-to-button when you want to close full screen applications, but sadly, Microsoft wanted to be a trend-breaker. There’s only two ways (which of I know) how to close a Metro app, by hovering in the upper-left corner of the screen, right-click the thumbnail and choose close (or just middle mouse click on the thumbnail). Or you move the mouse to the top of the screen, hover until the cursor becomes a pointer, and then drag the window down to the bottom of the screen. The latter usually ends in frustration because they’ve decided that there should be a little bump before you can drag it down, and this becomes increasingly hard when using a touchpad.

Fonts seem blurry in metro dialog’s

This is more a “feeling” then actual truth, but the font rendering on bold text look like misaligned text in flash. The text is, in a hard-to-explain-way, blurry or unfocused, even though when you zoom in on the text in an image manipulation program it’s razor sharp. The only thing I can say is, I wish they would change the font-face for it.

Settings page in metro

It just feels like a huge waste of space. Most of the items could’ve been packed together much better. Because of the large items, and that the screen is split in an almost 50-50 combination, where the left part is just a list, I have a really problem getting a overview over what settings exists. I do understand the need for it to be big when it’s run on a tablet-pc, but my god, give us the same options under control-panel.

Email client not syncing

Even though I’ve read that people don’t generally like the email-client, and in some ways I agree, I don’t like to send things with it, but I like it for the notifications. But these same notifications are the cause for some of the frustration. The same problem that exists with the message-app exists with the email client, it doesn’t always sync as expected. If I read a new mail-post on my phone or in the web-interface, the computer will fail to sync this and still flag the message as unread.

Windows Phone 8 App

The application does work, and I haven’t found any problems per se with it. But it’s the lack of functionality I hate. The basic things are there, you can sync music and videos to the phone, but what I would really like would be the possibility to, in lack of better term, remote control the phone, i.e. I’d like to read and compose text-messages, make a phone-call (with headset) and similiar things, without the need to actually use the phone. I know this can be done, the old Nokia E90 even had this functionality in the Nokia Suite.

What I’ve liked

And now to the things that I’ve enjoyed with Windows 8.

The new Start menu (or screen)

The distinct difference between the start screen and desktop is one of the biggest (or noticeable) differences between Windows 8 and earlier flavors of Windows. The thing that I really like about it is that it’s not as cluttered as the desktop. I’m one of the people how dump a lot of documents and files on the desktop, telling myself I’ll remember to delete them when I’m done with them. This usually ends with disaster, a few months go by and the desktop is in complete anarchy. Because of this I’m unable to use the desktop as a place to have my most commonly used applications. Sure, there’s always the option to pin things to the taskbar, which we’ve been able to do since Windows Vista, but there is only so and so much room on the taskbar.
So the new start screen, aka Metro, aka Modern, gives me a new place to pin commonly used programs while I can continue dumping stuff on the desktop.

Search function

I’m not sure if it’s something of a placebo effect because of the larger area, but it really feels like the search function is a lot faster than it was in earlier versions. Files, applications and shortcuts appear almost instantaneously. Though this could be attributed to a clean system (I did a clean install) and that both my personal computer and my work computer runs on SSD’s.

Login screen

Now I don’t really fancy the login portion of the login screen, which is a little contradicting, but the login splash is something I like. It gives the computer a personal touch, and as I earlier said, I really can’t see much of my desktop (because of a large amount of documents). I also like the small notifications and the clock. The notification bar is sadly effected by the syncing options that I earlier mentioned, but it’s a great idea.

Cloud syncing settings

I usually don’t like saving things to the cloud, as you’ve might have noticed. Which is why this point is quite funny. I loved the fact that after I installed Windows 8 on my work computer, connected my Microsoft account to my domain account, all my settings from my personal computer got synced. Color scheme, desktop wallpaper, log in splash screen etc.

The flat look

I liked Aero, both the Vista edition and the improved (and more transparent) 7 edition. But these things have been done, and in all honesty, it’s becoming kind of boring. The flat look of Windows 8 applications (though the taskbar is actually semi-transparent) gives a fresh breeze in an otherwise repetitive OS look.

Dual screen support

The dual screen support has been improved vastly. Finally are we able to have the taskbar on multiple screens, to accomplish this in older versions you had to rely on third-party applications like ultramon.

Hyper-V

In no-way a new addition to the Windows software line-up, it’s nice to see that it’s included in the client version from the get go. I’ve replaced Vmware player on all my computer in favor for Hyper-V, and I couldn’t be happier. I won’t go in to details about hyper-v , considering I’ve already written quite a lot about it already.

Transfer dialog

Not too much to say about it, but it’s such a good feature it had to make the list.

Task manager

The improved task manager gives more information about the things that you actually care about instead of lots of things that you either don’t know about, or things that you don’t care about. One of the additions I really like is the network column, in earlier versions you could only get an overall status of the network utilization, now you get a per process utilization, which is vastly more informative than the overall speed.

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