Windows 8: Something old, something awkward

Microsoft's old Windows desktop and tablet-friendly Metro UI make strange bedfellows

By Woody Leonhard, InfoWorld |  Windows

InfoWorld's Enterprise Windows blogger, J. Peter Bruzzese, described Windows 8 as "Windows Frankenstein." I'm tempted to call it a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" operating system, but I can't decide which name to assign to the Metro side of the fence and which to the Windows 7-like desktop.

Just as Jekyll and Hyde managed to coexist in a somewhat strained way, Windows 8 hangs together reasonably well -- if you buy into the premise that one operating system has to run the electronic gamut from touch-sensitive small-screen tablets to monster desktops with football-field-size displays. The abrupt personality switches take some getting used to.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Windows 8 Consumer Preview: A visual tour for IT | Blogger J. Peter Bruzzese calls Windows 8 Consumer Preview a "Windows Frankenstein" -- do you agree? | Stay up on key Microsoft technologies in our Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ]

The Metro part is cool, clean, fast, and -- as we heard a zillion times in Microsoft's Consumer Preview release presentation -- fluid. The legacy desktop looks every inch like Windows 7 and, with a few infuriating exceptions and some amazing improvements, works much the same way.

How will Windows-savvy users respond to the new touchy-feely OS? In my experience, with rare exceptions, longtime Windows users don't like Windows 8. There's too much change, and it isn't at all clear that the adjustments benefit people who've grown accustomed to mice and "legacy" programs. I've been living and breathing Windows 8 for months now, and I'm still not used to the jarring switch between Metro and legacy modes. It doesn't help that the Metro Start screen has only one level of organization.

And though Windows 8 introduces some nice new features, they're minimal. If you're looking for a business desktop OS with revolutionary improvements comparable to Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 95, or even Windows Vista, it has yet to be seen. If you aren't planning to get a touch-enabled tablet any time soon, Windows 8 should be near the bottom of your wish list.

Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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