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Windows 8.1- Keeping my fingers crossed

Windows 8.1 Preview

Windows 8.1 Preview

I’ve been using Windows 8 since November of 2012, and I really want to like it, but as much as I try to enjoy it, I really find it frustrating.

I’ve been using computers since the days of DOS (Disc Operating System) , and I skipped the move to Windows 3.1 and fought Windows 95. By the time Windows 98 was released, I had accepted that we were going to move forward with a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and mouse, but I continued to use command prompt and keyboard shortcut keys. When I finally embraced XP, it was awesome; and I can still whip around the interface with or without a mouse. XP was straightforward, nothing fancy, and did what it was supposed to do, which is why it’s been around as long as it has. I was even one of those few people who liked Vista (it ran beautifully on my Apple MacBook Pro). Windows 7 was – and is – solid, and again, I could navigate the system without the use of a mouse. When I replaced XP systems with Windows 7, a quick how-to lesson was all that was needed and my users were able to get back to business in no time. So when it was time to replace my last Windows 7 laptop, I decided to order it with Windows 8, since I had to learn the new operating system so I could assist my clients as they move off of XP. (See my first impression of Windows 8 here).

(Really if you are still on XP you NEED to start planning to move off before April 2014.)

My new system arrived and I planned to spend a few hours getting used to Windows 8 (it shouldn’t take more than that to get familiar with the operating system) and setting it up. Two hours in and I was beyond frustrated and I had clients needing assistance ASAP, and I couldn’t figure out the basics. By the time my husband arrived home that evening, I was fit to be tied. I complained about some of my struggles with Windows 8, and how I was under the gun to help my clients, and I couldn’t; and he said I was a “such a user”. Well guess what, I am a typical business user and I don’t have a day off to learn a new system.

After having to Google how to restart the system, then figuring it out, I couldn’t imagine how my clients were going to deal with it on their own. The very thought of  plopping a Windows 8 system on a client’s desk and walking away from it was terrifying. As I start replacing/upgrading XP systems, I am still recommending and installing Windows 7 for my clients.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some really cool things with Windows 8 which I really like, but as it stands right now, I know my clients will hate the interface and will experience some of the same issues I did. The biggest complaints I have about Windows 8 are:

1. Too many clicks to get access the application/file I need. Overall, I find it takes longer to get to where I need to be.

2. Too many shortcut keys that don’t make any sense

3. That horrible “modern user interface”. This interface makes no sense for business use. I never use it, and curse loudly, with words that would make a trucker blush, every time I am popped into it.

For the sake of my clients, and many others, I hope Microsoft has taken a serious look at how corporate users use Windows 7 and make the operating more business-friendly. From what I have seen so far, it looks like 8.1 will be more business user friendly.  Looking forward to trying it. My 12 yr old son has already installed the preview and is enjoying the new features.

What are your thoughts on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1?

  1. 07/02/2013 at 10:21 am

    I really tried to give Windows 8 a fair shake, having worked with it since the 3.1 days, struggling through the Windows ME and Vista releases and quite happy with Windows 7.

    My home desktop/erver is due for a replacement so I figured I would include Windows 8 on some new all-in-one hardware with a touch screen, to maximize the touch-enabled utility of Windows 8. In brief, it was a disaster. What might work well for touch-enabled tablets does not work well for a device typically operated with keyboard and mouse.

    In trying to bring the PC and post-PC worlds together, Microsoft has created a split-personality monster that is very frustrating, trying to bring you back to it’s multi-coloured tile world when you really just want to stay on the desktop.

    Like you, I experienced similar frustrations trying to find simple things with the OS offering no clues about where to find them. I really hope Windows 8.1 can address the key frustrations or it might just be time to buy my first Mac.

    • 07/03/2013 at 11:15 am

      Thanks for your comment. I love your reference to split personality. Hopefully 8.1 will have some of the functions back help make our lives easier.

  2. 07/11/2013 at 8:01 am

    I have a similar business to yours in Toronto, and am advising all my clients to avoid Win 8.
    After setting up a few home systems, I’ve seen first hand the frustration in trying to do ordinary familiar tasks. In some cases, when it could be done, I’ve wiped hard drives and re-installed Windows 7.
    And, for people wanting/needing new systems, this is a good time to get one with Windows 7 factory installed. Prices have been forced lower thanks to Win 8 and with support ending for XP, this is a great time to upgrade.

    By the way, I don’t think ver 8.1 is going to make an appreciable difference. The big issue: the Start Button and Menu. It will be back but really only in appearance. Clicking it will take you to the dreaded “Metro” screen again.

    I like your blog a lot. Please keep it up.


    http://www.reluctantcomputers.com for a few posts of my own on Win 8.

    • 07/11/2013 at 8:22 am

      Thanks. I have just had my first business client with Win8. The system is going back not because of Win8, so she didn’t get to use it therefore no user feedback.

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