Goodbye, Windows 7 – Hello, Windows 8

I installed the final version of Windows 8 on my primary production machine last night. This was a leap for me after having been so terribly disappointed with the Consumer Preview. Today, I stand before the world a man of a changed mind. Windows 8 is, thus far, my favorite version of the operating system.

While I risk being called a Windows fanboy, I’d like to point out just a few things before I go into the details about my experience installing this completed version of the new OS.

To start, I was very displeased with the Consumer Preview. After having made the switch from Windows 7 to Windows 8 with all intentions of sticking to the new OS until launch day, I found myself having to reinstall Windows 7 after just a week. The interface was clunky, and apps were few and far between. It wasn’t ready.

I do believe that Windows 8 is a step in the right direction for Microsoft. This is a bet for the future, and Microsoft is (in my opinion) absolutely correct in assuming that tablet computers will play a major role in the next few years as more users are buying tablets as their computers of choice.

Let’s get down to details.

Installing Windows 8 Was Very Easy

I put the DVD in my optical drive and hit two buttons. After a quick check of my existing software (and a removal of Microsoft Defender), the installation process initiated and took over from there. During installation, Skype notifications continued to appear, which was curious because I always assumed installing an OS upgrade like this would close everything down. It didn’t do any such thing aside from two reboots.

When installation was done, I entered my Windows Live ID and was ready to go about my day.

Something About the Final Version Feels Less Jarring Than the Consumer Preview

I can’t place my finger on it, but something about the release version of Windows 8 makes it much less jarring for me as a user. It could be because more of the Modern UI elements appear to have made their way to the old desktop, or that I’ve had some time to get used to it, but I’m finding my experience thus far to be much more natural than it was during the Consumer Preview.

The learning curve for me was about 30 minutes while I adjusted to switching between apps, setting up panes, and getting used to flipping between the desktop and Start screen. After that time, everything has been smooth and predictable.

I’m writing this article right now using Google Chrome while listening to music on Spotify. Calendar notifications from the Calendar app in the modern UI overlay in the upper-right corner of my desktop just as they do in OS X. I haven’t had a single issue with hardware compatibility (a welcome relief from Consumer Preview) and my software all appears to run just fine, save Fraps not capturing the desktop.

Why You Should Get Windows 8

To me, the greatest strength of Windows 8 is the apps. You still have the advantage of all the programs you’ve come to enjoy thus far. Having access to a growing library of optimized apps that really do look and work quite nicely within the Modern UI is a bonus. You don’t have to upgrade just because Windows 8 is out, but I honestly believe the built-up dislike for Windows 8 is based largely on early experiences with the Developer Preview and a constant barrage of negativity on social networks.

For me, Windows 8 is a minor transition. It’s much less severe than I originally thought it would be.

What about you? Have you (or will you) make the upgrade this week? What are your thoughts on the release version of Windows 8?

Image: Screenshot by Ryan Pierson

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/gpowerf G.Power

    I’m so glad the World is coming around to Windows 8, seems like Microsoft were right all along to stick to their guns.

    Sadly I won’t be upgrading, I’m using my main PC for a number of development projects and upgrading right now is out of the question.

    I hope to be in a position to buy a new PC to be used exclusively for fun early next year. Waiting a little bit will probably be a good thing, it’ll give manufacturers a chance to polish their new touch-screen laptops.

    • xinu

      Im in the same boat. I use Windows for productivity and development as well as casual gaming, and Im currently testing windows 8 on my laptop. Unfortunately I found that quick and simple tasks take me longer with the windows 8 interface, and I found myself less productive and unable to multitask as quickly as I can using the desktop interface. I will stick with windows 7 at this moment, and see where things from from there. I think for productivity, and multitasking on a desktop and laptop (with no touch) windows 7 is still a better choice than windows 8.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/gpowerf G.Power

        I agree with you, no tablet UI where apps load full screen lends itself to high multi-tasking productivity as much as a traditional desktop UI yet. Specially so when you consider multi-screen desktop setups.

        • http://www.facebook.com/allen.pinkley Allen Pinkley

          You know there still is a desktop and you can launch things in desktop mode so it will act like previous Windows versions?

          • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

            So, the OS being schizophrenic is a valuable feature?!

          • Adam Smith

            GPower, you absolutely hit the nail on the head .. “no tablet UI .. lends itself to high multi-tasking productivity as much as a traditional desktop UI yet”
            I ask the question:
            Why on earth are we leaving the desktop behind ???
            I would argue the majority of businesses, offices and personal users multitask – with up to 10 applications running
            My prediction ? Windows 7 is here to stay, and thats not a misstype

          • randy williams

            Where is the Desktop going?? It is still there even in the RT version but in Windows 8 it is still there and will be there for a very long time. It is still part Windows 7 with a new Start Menu, more functions, and is much much faster.

          • randy williams

            Schizo how because you flp to the desktop only for the Office apps which is the reason why I think that they restricted the legacy apps so much for the RT because it is not only not powerful enough but would take away even more when this is hailed as a ARM Tablet first.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1430310093 Wolfee Darkfang

    I wont be saying goodbye to windows 7 any time soon, and if that day comes, I’ll be saying hello to Linux or Mac instead. I don’t feel right giving more money to a company who knows the product they made has flaws which is causing half their users to abandon ship but is doing nothing to resolve the situation. This geeks waiting for the next flight.

  • dwick_OR

    Nope. I installed it on a Dell Optiplex 755 system I had around and immediately ran into problems with the Microsoft-supplied driver for the Intel NIC not supporting Wake-on-LAN. I Googled around and found other people having the same problem with no apparent resolution other than perhaps wait for Intel to release an updated driver – which may or may not happen given the NIC is several years old. So pfffft – not wasting anymore time fooling with it. Otherwise, I’ve no real problem with Modern UI from the other preview releases but don’t really feel Win8 offers enough to make it a compelling upgrade over Win7.

    • Mike Loeven

      you should be able to download and install the windows7 driver for your network card during early testing of windows 8 you used the same drivers as windows 7 because the 8 versions weren’t out yet vista 7 and 8 pretty much use similar drivers the only thing you have to worry about is is it x86 or x64

      • dwick_OR

        Thanks but no go… The preview release was temporarily installed on a different system. On the Optiplex, Win8 wouldn’t accept the Win7 x64 Intel 82566 driver as an upgrade voluntarily (it insists the MS driver is the most up-to-date…) I tried forcing installation of the Intel x64 Win7 82566 driver and ended up trashing the Win8 installation entirely. (I didn’t run across anyone via Google who reported success with Intel’s Vista/Win7 drivers either…) Like I said, I don’t see enough benefits over Win7 to justify more of my time fussing with it further right now. Win8 is okay for a tablet or brand new system but to me not a compelling upgrade from Win7.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ayu-Natsume/100001718070465 Ayu Natsume

          Uninstall and delete old drivers.
          Install Win7-based one in Win7-compatibility mode?

  • Curtis Coburn

    I am going to wait for Windows 8, because I really want to get it for the Windows 8 tablet. The full version of the tablet. Still I’m going to the Microsoft store to experience Windows 8, and get my many questions answered.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PuyallupHero Jeremy DeForrest

    I’m definitely excited for Windows 8 but I also understand why some people would not want to upgrade. I’m still not sure whether I’m going to upgrade or not. I’m pretty happy with Windows 7 for what I do.

  • Mike Loeven

    the issue i have with the metro interface is that it repersents what i like to call the Device Mania. it is a mentality that more and more companies are trying to move away from open systems and convert desktop computers into Devices. Transfer to APP centric computing where the user is locked out and restricted from doing whatever they want with their own computers the introduction of metro UI and the apps is more proof of this they want to go the way of apple and make it so software can only be distributed through these services. windows 8 is not in any way BAD it is stable and can function just like windows 7 but in some respects they are hiding functionality behind the start screen certain system utilities will not show up on the start screen search unless you type the full exe name i am guessing this is to prevent the casual user from accessing advanced tools that can break your computer. additionally windows8 is more click happy the same complaint i had when i first upgraded from xp to 7 in Microsoft’s attempt to make a more user friendly OS they repeatedly try to simplify and sort the control panel menus and other things. as a result what would take a skilled technician a few clicks to do now takes that same tech 10 clicks to navigate through the asinine patronizing menu screens and wizards Microsoft added. i find myself using the COMMAND PROMPT to do a lot of my system configurations because it is actually FASTER to enter the commands in text form than to click through the myriad of menus. this is a completely backwards step for Microsoft they have stopped caring about efficiency and speed and moved towards user friendliness and ease of use which granted it is much easier for a new computer user to figure out where things are and what to do but frankly i dont like the time consuming navigation and not being able to boot straight to desktop is insulting. additionally after some briliant programmers found a way to bring back the desktop and start menu microsoft went on the warpath intentionally removing legacy code and putting blocks to intentionally disrupt start menu utilities. if it wasent for Microsoft’s petty antics and removal of legacy start menu support (which was in the release candidate. i would upgrade to windows 8 but i made the decision to boycott it because i don’t like the direction the company is going and i personally disagree with the above post that the metro UI is progressive it is limiting and hides the full power of the operating system however i do agree that windows 8 is epic for a tablet PC however microsoft should have packages it as a Tablet operating system with a more clasic version of the windows 8 kernel for desktop pc’s rather than trying to push a mobile OS onto the desktop market

  • Mike Loeven

    the issue i have with the metro interface is that it repersents what i like to call the Device Mania. it is a mentality that more and more companies are trying to move away from open systems and convert desktop computers into Devices. Transfer to APP centric computing where the user is locked out and restricted from doing whatever they want with their own computers the introduction of metro UI and the apps is more proof of this they want to go the way of apple and make it so software can only be distributed through these services. windows 8 is not in any way BAD it is stable and can function just like windows 7 but in some respects they are hiding functionality behind the start screen certain system utilities will not show up on the start screen search unless you type the full exe name i am guessing this is to prevent the casual user from accessing advanced tools that can break your computer. additionally windows8 is more click happy the same complaint i had when i first upgraded from xp to 7 in Microsoft’s attempt to make a more user friendly OS they repeatedly try to simplify and sort the control panel menus and other things. as a result what would take a skilled technician a few clicks to do now takes that same tech 10 clicks to navigate through the asinine patronizing menu screens and wizards Microsoft added. i find myself using the COMMAND PROMPT to do a lot of my system configurations because it is actually FASTER to enter the commands in text form than to click through the myriad of menus. this is a completely backwards step for Microsoft they have stopped caring about efficiency and speed and moved towards user friendliness and ease of use which granted it is much easier for a new computer user to figure out where things are and what to do but frankly i dont like the time consuming navigation and not being able to boot straight to desktop is insulting. additionally after some briliant programmers found a way to bring back the desktop and start menu microsoft went on the warpath intentionally removing legacy code and putting blocks to intentionally disrupt start menu utilities. if it wasent for Microsoft’s petty antics and removal of legacy start menu support (which was in the release candidate. i would upgrade to windows 8 but i made the decision to boycott it because i don’t like the direction the company is going and i personally disagree with the above post that the metro UI is progressive it is limiting and hides the full power of the operating system however i do agree that windows 8 is epic for a tablet PC however microsoft should have packages it as a Tablet operating system with a more clasic version of the windows 8 kernel for desktop pc’s rather than trying to push a mobile OS onto the desktop market

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      Honestly, more people just want to drive their car – not tinker with it.

      • Mike Loeven

        on that logic fine make a car people want to drive but what Microsoft did was selectively and intentionally stripping certain nuts and bolts so that the enthusiasts Could not tinker with it. windows 8 could eaisly have legacy support but Microsoft intentionally removed it for the sole purpose of being petty

        • http://www.facebook.com/allen.pinkley Allen Pinkley

          There is a lot of options hidden in the OS, just press the Windows Key and X and you’ll see a menu with a lot of tools you may have thought were gone.

          • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

            Totally intuitive and discoverable.

            Great tip, but what dumbass thought THAT was an intelligent thing to do? “Let’s bury something such that the people who want to find it can’t find it unless they find it, even though they might be looking for it and never find it.”
            Genius. Pure genius.

            I don’t understand how people are HAPPY with this.

      • MacFan

        That is what Mac have been doing for years. You don’t have to tinker with Mac’s to get them to work properly, they do that from start. It is good to see that Microsoft are finally coming to the same conclusion.

        • zhirow

          How to know you’ve jumped the shark: When Mac users think its a good idea you’ve officially made Windows F.U.B.A.R.

        • zhirow

          How to know you’ve jumped the shark: When Mac users think its a good idea you’ve officially made Windows F.U.B.A.R.

  • llsee

    As a retired IT manager, the one IT rule I use in my home life is; Never, Never, Never install a .0 release! I spent so many years avoiding the ‘bleeding edge’ in my work life, that it has become a habit in my home life. Now, admittedly, I did break that rule with Win7. I did install it before the first service pack, but not on day 1. I waited several months before taking the plunge, and Win7 had virtually no detractors during the public beta. Win8 has had far more mixed reviews. So, I won’t be taking the plunge anytime in the near future. I’ll wait until more people that I trust agree that 8 is a worthwhile upgrade. I too, decry the ‘dumbing-down’ of the o/s. That’s why I am not attracted to Apple. I want to be able to tweak, to make the experience unique to me. My first take on 8 is that Stardock is going to sell a lot more interface upgrades!

    • Adam Smith

      Im also yet to be convinced to buy a Surface version 1.0. Please when Lockergnome writes the full review of Surface, can we have all the usability issues discussed in the one article without omissions, so I stop getting the creepy feeling issues are deliberately being overlooked, denied or simply not tested
      1)Battery life. Amazing how many reviews dont comment on this. Its the most vital aspect of any device. How long does the battery last, and how does it compare to the other tablets
      2)With the lack of apps right now in the Windows store, the line “the apps will come” is getting very tired. Let me know the 10 apps that make Surface a better buy than the competition. I hear even Facebook version 1.0 for Surface hasnt been released yet !
      3)What is the problem with saving Word documents and having to sign into Microsoft during the process – see the YouTube video “Saving a Word doc in Microsoft Surface RT” to have your eyes opened
      4)Keyboard. Honestly, I have used external keyboards before, both cheap/nasty and effective. The standard clipon “fabric like” keyboard that can be bought with Surface doesnt look like it is comfortable for long essays. Please describe. Yes,we know there is an alternative with proper keys, but that isnt the question
      5)How touch friendly is Office 2013
      6)How responsive is the touch screen, and what is the error rate
      7)How quick does Windows 8 boot up after being powered up in real world testing, I dont mean booting up from sleep mode either
      8)How good is the speakers
      These are very basic questions, questions I generally find the answer to within 1 hour with any device.
      However check out the current reviews and see why its frustrating to differentiate ‘previews’ from ‘reviews’, when deciding whether or not to make this purchase. Regards

      • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

        Here’s all you need to know about Surface with Windows RT based on my experience: don’t buy it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/allen.pinkley Allen Pinkley

          I’m interested to hear your feedback on the Surface. While it will not completely replace my iPad at the moment due to WiFi only I haven’t had many issues using in place of my pad, granted I only have a second generation pad.

        • Adam Smith

          Chris, my thoughts exactly
          The concept that “Hey, here is Windows 8 RT. Its a new version of Windows, that doesnt run any current Windows software” is strongly offputting
          I am so sure that there will be many newbies purchasing Windows 8 RT, who arent warned about this, get home, try to run their current Office, or Photoshop or whatever, and find they cant install it.
          Then find that there are very few apps currently available compared to the competing device platforms (IPad, Android, etc)
          Then choose to get a refund
          All I suggest is that these RT devices have a sticker on them warning “These Windows 8 RT devices will not run previous Windows software”. Its both accurate and giving fair warning to potential buyers.

        • http://twitter.com/petermurph Peter Murphy

          The desktop graphics performance is rather reminiscent of Windows 95. I’m not quite sure how that’s worth $499.

        • Randy Williams

          Wow Chris I follow you on Google + and I now see that you flipflop more than Mitt Romney. If you was going to say such things you could have said it on the live unboxing. I so need to see how is it that bad??

          • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

            I haven’t flip-flopped on ANYTHING.

      • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Ryan Matthew Pierson

        I’ll let you in on a little well-known secret. Reviewers (even a lot of corporate ones) are cautious about speaking ill of Microsoft. Just ask Chris what happened to him when he called out Microsoft for Windows Vista. I don’t have enough of a reputation to worry about spoiling it, but I could see how so many people are unsure what to think about the Surface.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bitemore.gfotwo Bitemore Gfotwo

    Microsoft has always chosen “new” over “improved.” Not buying it this time. Don’t know what I’ll do if my two Win 7’s quit on me, but since they’re barely over a year old as of now, they’ll probably hold out for another couple of years, and by then there may be a Win 10 or 11 or even 200 at the rate MS spits out garbage. Maybe, just possibly, there will be Linux for Non-Geeks and I can switch to that over MS or, heaven forbid, Apple.

    • Mike Loeven

      if i recall microsoft has the iso for windows 7 available for download with a existing key unless that was just for office :/

    • http://twitter.com/Makavelli_Jrw Mr.InTernaTionaL

      WHAT?? Are you serious they just came out with Windows 7 just 3 years ago and has now came out with a great enhancement that you could benefit from greatly. It is definitely improved but to get where they are going to still be relevant MS needed to evolve the OS and not just bring minor improvements with the same GUI.

      You want to see someone spitting out garbage time after time over and over look at Apple and their iPad. They just came out with an iPad not too long ago which could have had all the new features that are included in the iPad 4 and have saved a generation with something awesome for next year.

  • James the random IT person

    I’m waiting till atleast Windows 8 SP1. This way bugs and long-term opinions are set in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1292299949 Nino Brunori

    You have to look at the bigger picture when considering MS methods to their madness.

    Every newer version of windows has become much better than previous aside from Vista.

    Even Vista was an improvement over XP except they released it too early.

    Windows 7 had to be better than what had already been established as MS best OS, XP.

    Now, they can just improve Win 7 and how are they going to sell that when Apple is gaining speed and Linux can run Windows apps through wine or some other emulator. No, they couldn’t just do an upgrade so their hands were tied.

    Windows 8 was born from that and an increasing tablet market dominated by Apple.

    I seriously believe that there is room for PC’s and tablets but the price for Surface or Windows 8 devices have to drop in order to match Android OS devices because tablets are NOT PC’s and have no business trying to take over. MS has to compete against a portable market but they have a PC pricing and domineering mindset and that’s the bottom line. In reality no one needs them anymore.

    I for one enjoy my 2 46″ monitor’s which are nothing but cheap Vizio televisions from Wallmart and sorry, I’m not going out and spending a fortune for touchscreen monitors that don’t exist.

    I would change over to 8 if I didn’t have to buy third party apps just to use what I’ve already come to rely on which is really Rocket Dock instead of the start menu anyway.

    I work with a huge amount of files so I need ShellFolderFix as well which is another gripe against the changes. The new layout which clutters up folders with that ribbon which I have absolutely no use for.

    They have maybe improved the function but ruined the experience.

    Lastly, do an honest assessment and seriously, how many apps do you really use?
    I watch video’s so I need my codecs updated on occasion, emulators and gaming.
    I don’t need 50 different things that go beep and boop simply because I’m engaged with real life. They make these things artificially important just to make money.
    My android phone, I use it to call my girlfriend, kids, sometimes Yahoo messenger and replace the Car radio so I don’t have to listen to 15 minutes of commercials with 2 minutes of songs I have no control over.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      “They have maybe improved the function but ruined the experience.”

      BINGO.

      • http://twitter.com/Makavelli_Jrw Mr.InTernaTionaL

        How so you can do most of the exact same things that you could do on Windows 7. The only thing that is changed is the Quick Access changes which has changed from the Start Menu to Start Screen and from what I remember from you is that you loved the Modern Interface without the Desktop. So which one is it Chris do you just love it or hate it completely because it is not like it is your first time knowing about the changes.

        • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

          I have no choice but to love AND hate it.

          You fail to see the schizophrenia, and that’s not my problem.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/gpowerf G.Power

    I expect most business to do that. I’m certainly not upgrading my work machine yet!

  • jimp

    Why call it windows? i mean pretty much takes everything full screen, and it really does suck there, feel like i can’t have two windows open or multitask anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bigstevee Steven Pell

    till windows 8 is fixed right and they get the start menu back i’m stopping on win 7

  • http://www.facebook.com/agenchev Angel Genchev

    It (the UI) reminds me an Android (yes, google`s os) phone.

    So if One likes it so much and wants a pile of working apps, why not just install Android and go for their app store ?!