Windows 8: Do the Pros Outweigh the Cons?

Guest blogger Jared Moats writes:

Microsoft will be releasing its newest iteration of the Windows operating system on October 26th to much consumer anticipation. Three years have passed since the release of Windows 7, so Windows fans are itching for a new operating system to wrap their hands around. Although a new operating system is very much desired by everyone who likes the shiny and the new, many people — whether they’ve experienced the consumer preview or not — have already decided if they think Windows 8 will be an impressive feat or a complete dud. But for those who haven’t yet been influenced by one camp or the other, we’ll take a peek at the pros and cons of Windows 8 so that the choice to upgrade may be that much easier.

Con: No Start Button

Since Windows 95, the Start button has been with us, and is something that some might argue has made Windows Windows. The Start button is even where the Microsoft logo has been harbored for 17 years. To many users, it seems sacreligious to eliminate such a long-lasting icon so unceremoniously. Does Microsoft have no respect for tradition and nostalgia?

Con: New Interface

I hope everybody has seen the video where Chris Pirillo’s father tries the consumer preview of Windows 8 for the first time (and, if not, it’s included just above). In this video, Mr. Pirillo uses the preview of the operating system with a look of confusion on his face the entire time. He managed to ditch the Metro UI early in the video and find the desktop, but he could not find his way back to the Start menu. Several videos have arisen on YouTube with people having the same result: average consumers do not know how to find their way around the new interface. This steers Windows 8 toward catastrophe and begs a single question: Who would own a computer that he or she cannot use? I see a lot of product returns in Microsoft’s future unless the new interface somehow becomes more obvious by October 26th.

Con: Poor Desktop Support

This is another issue with the new Windows 8 interface. The latest preview still feels like it was made with a tablet in mind and ported to a desktop later. Windows 8 does work with a keyboard and mouse, but it does not flow well. Consumers seem to be more lost when average input devices are put in their hands than when they use a computer with a touch screen. Microsoft is trying to make an operating system that can be used across all devices, but it seems that more work needs to be done before the experience is enjoyable on every device.

Pro: Easy Application Development Process

It is very easy to develop Metro applications for Windows 8. The only languages a developer would need to know are JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5. These languages are simple and quick, which means developers will create new applications efficiently.

Pro: Microsoft App Store

Microsoft is releasing its own App Store along with Windows 8. Not only will developers be able to create apps quickly, but now they all have a central hub through which to distribute them. Despite how good the Microsoft App Store sounds, one must remember that Microsoft has tried something like this before and failed. Will this be another flop?

Pro: Improved Task Manager

The Task Manager in Windows 8 has been majorly improved with a focus on ease of use for regular users without reducing its usefulness for power users. For regular users, the interface has been better organized and designed to be more intuitive. Upon startup, the only thing the user will see is a list of running applications and applications that are not responding. The Processes, Services, Performance, Networking, and Users tabs have been stowed out of sight. Now you can just select an application and click End Task, and the application immediately closes without prompting. Power users can click More Details and an improved selection of the aforementioned tabs will be displayed.

Conclusion

This is a small list of what I believe are the most important pros and cons of Windows 8. There are numerous more improvements to the operating system, but there are also many more flaws. We can only hope that Microsoft continues to improve Windows 8 until its release on October 26th. What do you think the pros and cons of Windows 8 are? If you were in the developer seat, what would you improve? Let us know in the comments.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1082035824 Nathan Michael Alvarez

    I can agree with the author of this article in all of his points. Microsoft tried to hit a home-run with Metro but seemed to hit a foul ball instead. Metro looks bright, shiny and new as the author has stated, but it seems to be very one-way in terms of it’s usage. Unless consumers have a Windows 8 ready tablet device, there’s not much point in switching from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

    • http://www.keelstech.com/ Lee Keels

      It doesn’t look bright, or shiny or new…it looks like something from the early 90s.

  • http://twitter.com/KarlNU Karl Newark

    The start button isn’t such an issue as when a user first uses a Windows 8 machine they will be greeted by a quick video guide explaining things such as this now work.

    • http://www.keelstech.com/ Lee Keels

      Nope…didn’t happen. The final has a one-sentence tutorial that says “move your mouse into any corner”…that’s it.

  • Patrick

    I think the fact apps are made with CSS, JS, and HTML are ridiculous, it could be very slow. And the app store is nothing new, already on Ubuntu and Mac. The task manager isn’t great.

  • Fujimacat

    when i was looking at this i thought it still needs more work”. but the i saw a nexus 7 ad under the conclusion title and i thought “yep there is your conclusion, just buy a nexus 7 and say whatever microsoft.

  • http://www.billp.com Bill Pytlovany

    I agree it’s easy to create applications but how productive, complex will these applications be. What about the performance of these application?
    There was a reason programming languages went from top-down to modular to class oriented. The combintion HTML, CSS and JavaScript is a kin to what we used to call spaghetti code. To remain useful source code for a program needs serious structure.

    • http://anythinggeek.net/ Colin

      Luckily, I can still use VB!! ;)

  • SkywardKing

    Some of the points on this list i don’t agree with. Because why would they think MIcrosoft wouldn’t have some walkthrough during set up of Windows 8 (like Karl Neward said in the comment before mine) and all Chris had to do in the video was tell his Dad how to get back to the start menu like he most likely did when his father first started using Windows or OS X and he helped him through that and everything else would have went smooth i bet, but to get his point across he let him go around in circles when in most cases it won’t go down like that.

  • SkywardKing

    Also i seriously MIcrosoft is going to have an option for some sort of symbol for folks in his fathers position because not all will catch on right away, because this is in some ways a completely new OS. On the Metro side at least.

  • Ben High

    Pro: New password types

  • Todd Werginz

    Totally disagree. Installed it today and it’s a piece of cake to get around. It is also lightweight and smooth. Remember that this will be a fully functioning tablet laptop replacement with Surface. Unlike the kindergarten iPad. 20 minutes to wipe and install from a thumb drive. I will swim against the current and say homerun.

    • http://shanx.com/ NearlyNormal

      Kindergarten iPad meanwhile is leading the pack in sales. Clearly, not everyone wants a full fledged computer in a tablet with a clunky UI, as you do..

    • http://twitter.com/KarlNU Karl Newark

      I completely agree, there are some changes such as the start menu and features that have been moved, but a few hours in when you have gone through the learning curve, the advantages of Windows 8 start to shine through, on desktop and Metro!

  • Jason

    I think MS heart is in the right place but they seem so desperate to catch up with apple and android (yes I know android is not a desktop OS) in the tablet wars that they threw this hail Mary pass. It’s an evolution but only by drastic mutation and not a more natural evolution like it should be. I have a MAC so this doesn’t affect me but like a lot of us it matters to my parents who run a MS PC. I absolutely will not buy nor install win 8 because they barely get win 7 and my parents have an iPad and 2 kindle fires so they’re not completely lost but I can tell win 8 scares them a bit. My father works for a very large company and they stay very current with their laptops and it’s OS. This massive ($300 billion) company is very concerned as well.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4LWPDM4P37C7MNN7QZWSXZ22XA Phillip

    I think windows 8 is great actually. (Even on a traditional desktop computer) I’m excited about it. Don’t get me wrong, I wont be replacing windows 7, but i will be getting 8. I disliked it at first, but after a day or so of running the consumer preview in a virtual computer, I really started to appreciate the snappy interface and improved parts like the task manager. Yes windows 8 is different and will be disliked by many, but i think the good will in fact outweigh the ‘bad’

  • Kids Party World

    After reading this article I think I am going to try Windows 8. I love how you listed the pros and the cons. Well done!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1163280561 Lizzy Leff

    So, how DO you get back to the tiles?

    • corp890

      That is one of many things that this OS has wrong with it. No one can find where the hidden bars on the corners are. It is tough for some people to work on Windows 8 if they can’t entirely manage the sidebars… At least Apple devotes resources and effort into getting their user interfaces to work naturally in unison with the end user.! 8 will fail in many ways but it will also succeed in many ways. I happen to be one person who will have to wait and see…

    • frostythesnowman

      Click the bottom-left corner, exactly where the start button was. Or hit your hardware Start button on the KB.

      • http://www.keelstech.com/ Lee Keels

        It’s called the Windows key or Win key…not a start button.

        • JustSuds

          If we’re being pedantic and technical, the blog post also mentions that its where the Microsoft logo has been harboured. The Microsoft logo is a word that says Microsoft. The start button (and win-key) has always had a stylised version of the windows logo.

          • http://www.keelstech.com/ Lee Keels

            I prefer to call it being precise and accurate.

            Sent from my Android phone with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.

  • xinu

    Actually to many the Microsoft App store could also be a con. If microsoft creates a completely closed system (maybe in Win 9) and only allows users to install apps from the app store then it will be bad news for developers and possibly users. We are currently observing a similar thing with apple and their new gatekeeper which prompts users when they are trying to install an app which is not from the app store. This will be an important thing to watch out for!

    • http://anythinggeek.net/ Colin

      This is something App will (and already is doing). Windows, not so much. Microsoft allowing desktop software to be shown in the store proves that there are not going to do that any time soon.

  • pp81

    I am sure that Windows 8 is a great tablet OS, but as a desktop OS it seems to be huge failure.

    Start button. I don’t understand why Microsoft is against making it obvious and simple how to get in the start screen from desktop. Just put the start [screen] button on the corner of the screen, stupid! Tablet does have a physical home button, but desktop computers do not, so there needs to be an obvious start screen button on the screen!

    • http://anythinggeek.net/ Colin

      1. Press the Windows key. 2. Enjoy Windows 8!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671769846 Joshua Day

    The average Joe will be quick to judge it and for that reason alone, Windows 8 will fail miserably for the regular desktop/notebook market. As for the tablet, both hardware and software aspects, I can see it being much more of an expensive ‘luxury’ piece of tech rather than an everyday-everyone type thing.

  • Gregil10

    I had no problems with Windows 8 other than some mild annoyances that I eventually figured out. That all changed when my cable and broadband went out for a few days. I could not get into my PC unless I was online at the time I tried to log in using my Windows Live ID. Who thought that was a good idea? Not everything I do requires being online.

    • Khat

      Oh, terrific. Not so great, then, for those of us out here in the boonies who have only dial-up access (yeah, we DO exist!). As it is, I have to drive 47km round-trip to get my Windows updates on the nearest wireless connection. And I’m not moving from my little piece of paradise just to get Windows 8 to work!

  • frostythesnowman

    Thank goodness that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Release Preview! That would have been a fail.

  • Daniel Anderson

    Windows 8 is actually very intuitive. When you first start it will teach non techy people how to use it anyway. This video does not give it a fair chance. If I got onto a Mac I would be totally lost. This is a completely new os.

    • http://www.keelstech.com/ Lee Keels

      The final version does NOT teach the user anything. It has a single sentence tutorial…”move your mouse into any corner”…that’s it.

      • http://anythinggeek.net/ Colin

        It’s pretty bad. About as bad as Apple changing the way the mouse has worked since it’s introduction and making a video to teach people how to use it their way.

  • Curtis Coburn

    I think Windows 8 will actually be good. One of the biggest pros is the App store. I believe that Microsoft now knows how an app store should be made. That is a really good thing, because now, I can just browse what is in the store, for software that I might want to get straight from my computer. I am also guessing that they will allow apps that contain no viruses. So downloading apps from your computer will be safer. Thats a great pro. Simple, and safe.

    Another thing that people are saying is that it is not built for a desktop, and only a touch screen. Well, you can build a computer, with what ever you want on it, as long as you have a touch screen monitor, which cost about $200 – $400. For Windows 8 is should be worth it. Also, Samsung, Gateway, and other computer makers have already been making all in one computers that are touch screen. So, with Windows 8, All in one computer will become bigger for Windows 8, just like a iMac. Still, people can build their own computer just by having a touch screen monitor.

    About the con as it being a new interface. Yeah it can be a con for a lot of people. It can really suck for a lot of people, but when you get used to it, on a touch screen monitor, or a all in one, then your experience will be better. Lots of people hate change. But sometimes it is for the better.

    I believe that Microsoft is creating a whole new way of computing. Like this is the beginning of a revolution for computing. Like what you see in the “Microsoft in 2020″ videos. Where things are sooooo high tech, Touch screens everywhere.
    To the haters, just give Windows 8 a chance. Who knows, you might like it.

  • http://anythinggeek.net/ Colin

    Have you not seen the cool new video in the RTM? ;) Seriosuly though, it take about 5 minutes to learn. If it takes any longer you’re holding it wrong. Also, you never even need to find the “hidden” menus. There are keyboard shortcuts for all of them if you like. Finally, do you not think Microsoft is worknig hard on their UI? Windows 8 will not only be the best looking, fastest desktop operating system, it will be the best on tablets as well. Even as someone who loves this operating system so much the only thing I worry about is the apps. This could fail like the BlackBerry PlayBook that has an amazing OS but hardly any apps (sideloading Androd apps has fixed that for me). The only difference is this is Windows. It will have tens of millions of user really fast.

  • http://anythinggeek.net/ Colin

    After using Windows 8 since the developer preview listing the improved task manger as a pro seems kind of weak. For example, my pros: Boots (not including POST) in 5-7 seconds, on a hard drive. On an SSD it is supposedly almost instant. Much better multi-screen support than Windows 7. Syncing settings across computers (really useful!) And then, Metro apps. They are just really beautiful. MetroTwit for example.

  • Lindy

    Will it have Windows Movie Maker like Vista? If not, I don’t want it.

  • Dan

    windows 8 does in fact look snappy and yes the task manager is awesome. probably my favorite feature. the Windows 8 RT tablet being released on 10/26/2012 will not include windows media player or center. Will not have the ability to use Bitlocker Drive Encryption unless you purchase the PRO version. These features are nit picky of mine – but i use the Windows OS to its max at times and i like having access to its features for security, performance or accessibility. i do not believe Windows 8 RT will allow remote desktop support. But Ironically will have hyper-V included into its OS which is a Server application feature of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Server 2012. So that is cool. I would assume that right out of the box – the availability of game Apps, or Apps in general will not be as wide of a variety of the Android market or Apple’s App store… MS is new to the game still on app development. have tried and failed. So in my opinion they tried recreating the wheel on Windows Vista and failed miserably. but turned around and brought us Windows 7 which is fantastic ; maybe they have it down this time. Windows 8 is not for me until Professional is released in 2-3 months.

  • maxpert

    @lockergnome you forgot to mention the Gorilla Arm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touchscreen#.22Gorilla_arm.22 I see Microsoft and all other laptop manufacturers like MSI, Samsung, (and list continues) doing same mistake! You can’t do prolonged touch interactions on screen like ATM!

  • http://twitter.com/rudolfiam Rudolf

    “Improved Task manager” Really? REALLY?!