Friday, March 9, 2012

First Impressions of Windows 8

My first impressions of Windows 8 Consumer Preview can be summarized in two words: Radical Change.

Why do I say that? because this version of Windows clearly departs from earlier versions. Previous versions always provided backwards compatibility and using it was always obvious to the casual Windows user.

Windows 8 does things like force you to have an active Windows Live/Hotmail account. If that is really true, I know lots of off-the-internet secure labs that won't be happy. After you get past that, you are shown the Metro touchpad interface. While that may be all well and good if you are using a tablet or phone, that doesn't fly for a desktop installation (I put both the 32 and 64 bit versions into VirtualBox VMs). My son says that this looks exactly like the XBox interface.

So playing around with the touchpad interface with a mouse is kind of slow. The icons are huge and anything you install gets put on the right side of the default icons/pads. The two games they installed appear to rely on an internet connection (wonder how that will go over for dialup users - they still exist) and the pinball game was so slow I never even got it to fully load. This is on an 4 core, 8G ram might be faster natively installed instead of being in VirtualBox.

Going to the desktop that most Windows users are familiar with was pretty easy - there is an icon for that. But wait - the only thing on the desktop is the Recycle Bin and the taskbar only has IE and the Windows Explorer file manager. Where are things like Notepad? calculator? accessories? dare I say COMMAND PROMPT? If I search c:\windows I find the exe's but the casual home user isn't going to find me on that...I've talked to some home users that didn't know what a file was...

OK - so now I wanted to go back the Metro interface. After a long time I accidentally found that the funny looking Windows button (between ctrl and alt buttons) switches you between the desktop and metro. I never use that button - do you?

I wanted to run regedit just for kicks...guess what, no intuitive way to do that either, so I tried that win button with R. Up popped the run window. So I can do some things....grrrrrrrr

Now to the meat of things. I was able to install NetScanTools Pro/LE/basic on it, but the WinPcap driver install won't let me install. Same goes for Wireshark. The installer works, but WinPcap installer won't work - an unsupported version of Windows. Some people at Riverbed need to get to work on fixing that one soon!

Maybe I'm missing some things, but this version of windows appears to leave desktop and laptop users out in the cold.

Got any hints for me you are willing to share?

More on this topic soon...


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