Windows 8 reminds me of a drop-dead-gorgeous woman who’s also a violent psychopath: you want to touch, but it might kill you.

Windows 8 is so bad that a major shift is about to hit the PC world. That shift will hurt people who make their living on Microsoft-based PCs.

What’s so bad about Windows 8?

It has two distinct UIs, as different from each other as night and potatoes.

Windows 8 Desktop UIWindows 8 Metro or Start UI

The two UIs look and feel completely different.  The Desktop side looks like Windows 7’s desktop without a start button.  The other UI (formerly called “Metro”) looks beautiful and elegant and intuitive.

You’d think that you could work in the desktop side and play in the Metro side.  But you can’t.  Microsoft blocked your ability to work in only one operating environment.   Instead of a start button, you have to navigate to the Start page (the Metro UI) to open a program. Productivity killer. Every shift in environment interrupts your brain.  In other words, Microsoft won’t let you focus on your work: it demands that you multi-task.  Microsoft forces you, the customer, to work around its engineers’ failures. That sucks.

Here’s an example.  I was on the Desktop UI.  I wanted to start a blog post.  I had drag the  mouse to the lower left-hand corner to expose and click the link to Metro.  In Metro, I found the tile for Windows Live Writer and clicked.  FLASH! I’m back on Desktop UI. Then Live Writer loads.  Horrible. But it gets worse.

It has two distinct versions of IE, and the pretty one doesn’t do very much.

The old looking IE with thick, top tool barThe awesome new Metro IE with NO TOOLBAR

Internet Explorer on the Metro side is fabulous.  They’ve moved all the controls and URL bar and all that garbage to the bottom of the pane so that the important stuff rises to the top.  I love that.  Plus, that bottom tool bar slides away when you’re not using it, devoting 100% of your screen to the thing you’re working on.  Brilliant!  Awesome!  Best Browser Ever!

But about half the time I’m working in that beautiful browser, I’m told that I’m requesting services only available in the (ugly) old Desktop browser. Click. FLASH!  Desktop UI. In other words, the beautiful new IE doesn’t really work, but Microsoft shipped it anyway.

I want to work in the Metro environment, so every time I’m jerked back into the semi-functional Windows 7 desktop, I’m frustrated.  Teased.

What about performance?  Who cares?

Windows 8 Task Manager

It feels about the same as Windows 7, but, in Windows 8, I’m always so frustrated and angry that I don’t really care how fast an app opens.  Everything requires many more keystrokes than Windows 7 did, so everything takes more time, energy, and thought.  But the new Task Manager is fun and useful for geeks who like to know what’s going on under the hood.

Windows 8 Is a Disaster

In short, Microsoft has ruined the PC and driven millions of PC users closer to Apple. Yes, it’s usable, but it’s a giant leap backward for PC users.

I could go on, but why?  Windows 8 sucks.  I am sorry I upgraded to it.  I feel bad for people who make PCs and the many programmers who imagine, design, and code desktop application for Windows. Microsoft’s utter contempt for design has put all these people’s jobs in jeopardy. This OS is so awful that I expect computer makers will give customers the option of Windows 7 to prevent a complete sales disaster at Christmas.

Can Microsoft fix it?  Windows 8 is software by committee. Designers, engineers, and users got equal say.  And the result just sucks. So, Yes, Microsoft can wake up from this nightmare.  They need to leave design to the designers, complete the Metro design, and kill the Desktop.

But they might not have time.  People have put off buying a new PC. They won’t wait much longer. And they won’t buy a PC running this crappy OS.  They’ll buy a Mac.

On the other hand, Microsoft’s Outlook.com email system is so awesome that I fired gmail.

Note:  I’m using Windows 8 RTM on an HP Pavilion with 8 GB of RAM and quad-core AMD processor.

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6 thoughts on “Windows 8 Will Destroy Microsoft and a Bunch of PC Makers, Too

  • September 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm
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    I’m pretty sure that Windows 8 is NOT a desktop OS. It’s fine if you don’t treat it like one. It’s not. It’s a Hybrid OS for Hybrid computers, like all of the ones shown off recently at IFA. The Sony Duo, the MS Surface, the Samsung Ativ. They’re not supposed to be a desktop or a tablet. It’s one device to do the work of many.

    Reply
    • September 2, 2012 at 12:12 am
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      Perhaps. We’ll see. I’ve not tried a hybrid computer, but in the demos I’ve seen, users were still jerked back and forth between environments. And if you’re locked into the Start or Metro (or whatever it is), you’re very limited in what you can do.

      I’ve been a Microsoft fan since they helped me out in 1993. About 90% of the code I’ve written since then has been VB or C#. I don’t root against Redmond. But using an iPad and iPhone, I’ve come to expect more from the design—and this design is just awful no matter what platform you run it on. Just look at the two screenshots. Those are the defaults running on the same laptop. They clash. They contradict rather than complement. It’s an affront to my sensibilities.

      I’ll be pretty shocked if this doesn’t hurt MS and manufacturers. Sure, it will increase market share for hybrids and tablets, but it will shrink the overall sales of Windows-based systems. That’s rarely a wise business move.

      Reply
  • November 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm
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    I installed W8 on my old e-machine last week. Sucks! Can I still “upgrade” to W7?

    Reply
    • November 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm
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      Unfortunately, no. You’ll have to do a fresh install of 7 and move your files.

      The way I do that is:

      1. Get a SugarSync account.
      2. Sync all the folders containing stuff you want to keep. (You may need to buy an upgrade for space. SugarSync is reasonable, and you can always downgrade to the free version when you’re done.)
      3. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALL THE LICENSE KEYS FOR YOUR APPLICATIONS. You’ll need to reinstall everything. Gathering your keys before you start makes life easy.
      4. Perform the Windows 7 install. You’ll have to choose a new install. (If you’ve been using your computer awhile, you may want to wipe the hard drive and start from scratch. That makes backing up files even more critical.)
      5. Defrag if you don’t have an SSD hard drive.
      6. Manually run Windows Update 3-4 times to get everything up-to-date.
      7. Reinstall your software. (For me, this takes about 3 hours.)
      8. Run Windows Update again if you install MS Office.
      9. Relish the joy of decrapified, defragged, fresh computer.

      Reply
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  • October 11, 2013 at 6:14 am
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    Kill the desktop seriously. Alot of people like desktop and alot more hate metro. I like them both but metro simply put doest belong on a desk top it does however work on phones and tablets. Also you say technicaly start buton is back, no the start buton is not back. They have however put a shortcut to metro next t where it was anyway and then renamed the shortcut the star button. Im guessing that microsoftvknow most of their customers are idiots and the press will just go with it for the clicks, but make no guesses the start buton isnt back.

    Reply

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