Even though I was not quite satisfied with Windows 8 during the release previews, I still purchased it immediately when it was launched. I used the Upgrade Assistant to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.
The upgrade process went quite smoothly. The installation took close to 40 minutes. All my programs and files were as I had left it. Everything was working well and good. It was when I closed the lid of my laptop to take a break when the problem started. The laptop just wouldn’t go to sleep. [The same problem I was facing with the release builds] One would have thought that Microsoft would have solved this problem in the final built. I pressed the power button for 8 seconds to shut the laptop down and then tried to boot it up. Now it wouldn’t start up. I tried the same thing three time before finally I got the Windows start logo. Then Windows declared that it had ran into some problem and wasn’t about to load Windows. It suggested that I restart my computer again or try the advance repair options. The restart didn’t work so again after three boot up failures I selected the advance repair options and choose the Automatic Recovery option. The Automatic Recovery option said that it couldn’t figure out what the problem was.
Then I chose to Refresh My PC. It is one of the Recovery options Windows 8 has. Before the refresh, Windows warned me that all my desktop application will be uninstalled but that will make a list of all the applications that has been uninstalled [How Helpful] and all my setting, files and Metro apps I installed will remain. The Refresh took 20 minutes. This time round, the first thing I did was to go to the PC Setting and update Windows.
The problems I have been facing was because of drivers, more specifically – the nvidia graphic card driver. Once I upgraded all the drivers via Windows Update, all the problems were solved.
NOW ON TO THE REVIEW
Let’s start from the start. On my laptop Windows 7 takes 40 seconds to boot up. Windows 8 takes less than 25 seconds to boot up. There is visible performance improvements, maybe because Microsoft removed the Aero from Windows 8. As soon as you enter your Microsoft username and password – you’re Gmail and outlook mail, all your contacts in twitter, Google, Facebook and Outlook, all your files in SkyDrive, your pictures in SkyDrive, Facebook and Flickr and all your personalization settings comes to Windows 8. It is really cool how everything is nicely integrated into the OS.
The start screen does make sense –
There are these live tiles which keeps giving you information about the various things going on like what the weather is, which new mail has arrived, what your next appointment is, what music is playing, how many updates you have in store, any new chat messages, any mentions on twitter and Facebook, Skype missed calls or messages, word definitions etc. It is nice to see the tiles live and moving, constantly updating you.
You think you will miss the Start Menu but you wouldn’t. Look at the above screenshot, all the programs that I have installed are right there. Launching apps actually takes less time in Windows 8 than in Windows 7 if you have all the apps pinned to the start screen. Removing the start button was the most controversial change that Microsoft did in Windows 8. I’d say use this Start screen for a month and you actually would never feel like going back to start menu. And if you still can’t get used to it, just install some of the 3rd party apps that not only add start menu to the desktop but also lets you start directly to the desktop, thus avoiding the start screen completely.
The Aero theme is gone but all the aero stuff like Aero Shake, Aero Peak, snap etc. still work. This is actually great because the aero stuff lets you multitask and navigate the Desktop mode very efficiently. Again everything is really fast here. Programs start and respond quickly.
The Ribbon interface finally comes to File Explorer. I am a fan of the ribbon interface, it makes everything just a click away. The ribbon in File Explorer is hidden by default so it is not going to bother you if you don’t like it. The Ribbon is context aware and presents you with the things you most likely would want to do with the file selected.
Task Manager can be as simple or as detailed you want it to be –
This is another feature that is very helpful – it is no longer a tiny notification that you might miss and your laptop goes into sleep mode. This one demands your attention.
Refresh and Reset your PC are very important. [It has already saved me once]
Some of the puzzling aspects of METRO (Yes. I will keep calling it METRO)
- 4 Steps to shut down PC (well you can just hit the power button) – first you have to bring up the charms menu, then click on settings, then click on power and then shut down.
- There are no search bar inside the apps. You have to bring up the charms menu and then hit search. Why the additional step?
- Why is the metro stuff (charms, time, task switcher) in desktop mode using the black colour instead of the theme colour?
Windows 8 is a good upgrade because of the performance improvements alone. It also has great security features (I don’t even have to install an antivirus), features like refresh, reset and file history are really cool. I think Microsoft is going to get on a faster upgrade cycle – they are not going to continue Windows 8 for the next three years, I think there would be constant major updates to the Metro platform. Anyway, it just cost $40 no matter which version of Windows you are running.
Windows 8 is not perfect but it is a pretty good operating system.