Windows 8 – is it any good?

I’ve downloaded and run the pre-release version of Windows 8 and personally found it very good. It is however a little different on first use with the new interface but, having also operated a Windows Mobile 7.5 phone, I found it not totally unfamiliar. Some people will take a little while to get used to it, as you really do need to start using the Windows key on your keyboard to get back to the main user interface.

Having said that, you can run a Windows desktop and it looks just the same as you have today on Windows 7 without the start button. Positioning your mouse on the left and right of the screen starts Options and once you are familiar with this, then it is quite easy to run.

One good thing about the new UI is the tiles can show information or be animated. For example, the UI could display your calendar or LinkedIn, with information on the contacts or meetings visible via the tile without actually going into the application. Also, regularly used applications can be placed directly on the UI.

The stability of the product was fine and comparable to Windows 7. In my tests it never once failed or locked up, not bad considering this is a pre-release version.

The challenge for Microsoft has definitely been to get it working with both mouse and touch screen and I think Windows 8 probably lends itself better to a touch screen. The advantage of this is to enable a true single device. Docked in the office you can use a large screen and conventional keyboard. On the train you have the touch screen. Then at home either the touchscreen or docked. But all using the same single device and the same business applications you use today. If Microsoft get Windows 8 right, Apple may have a true fight on its hands in the business tablet market.


David Tuck, Principal Consultant

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