We recently posted on the ‘Top 5 Things We like About Windows 8‘. Now it’s time to examine the things we dislike or more to the point, think need a second look from Microsoft.
As we continue to study and use the Windows 8 Developer Preview we often have to remind ourselves that this is far from release candidate stage. The features aren’t all available, some hindrances or technical hiccups are very likely and overall what we see today could be drastically altered for the final release. Now on with the criticism!
Lack of Start Menu
While we actually like the Metro UI, the lack of a start menu or option thereof to enable it is a misstep for sure. Using the Metro UI will undoubtedly be great for touchscreen users and we really see the potential in that. However, use of the interface with a mouse is cumbersome and time consuming. Granted the additional time is only in seconds it takes to click, but constantly clicking left and right to find an app gets annoying. We also fear that a lot of key features will get buried without a start menu to browse through the options. Windows could always benefit from more transparency with their internal commands, but Windows 8 looks like a cloak of fluff hiding many useful programs and features. Out of sight out of mind.
Windows needs to have a start menu option if for no other reason than to migrate its users effectively. There’s going to be a learning curve and the number of users with touchscreens or those willing to upgrade will be low, likely very low. In order for this UI to work on something other than a touchscreen MS has got to add some functionality for desktop and non-touchscreen users. Note, it is possible to have a start menu on Windows 8 through a registry hack, but that’s not a realistic solution for a final release candidate.
We suggest a middle of the road solution which allows for smaller Metro UI icons. Smaller traditional sized icons will allow users to list a great many more apps on the start screen thus making it feel and act more like a start menu. With the already added feature of type to search, users can find anything not on the start screen just as they do now.
Normally a plus when listing features, in the case of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts are relied upon too much. The average user still has very little knowledge of keyboard shortcuts beyond ctrl-c. Adding more keyboard shortcuts to navigate around is a bad idea if that’s the only method of navigation. It only makes it harder to find things for those without touchscreens.
We suggest an option to add functions on the start screen.
Gone is the red X to close programs unless you are using the desktop for everything. Instead, apps are suspended when not in use. Again, we like the idea of suspending apps and believe it is an excellent feature for home users who don’t want to bother closing programs anyway. However, we have some concern for overall system resources when the suspending becomes extreme. Right now there aren’t a lot of apps which take advantage of the suspension status, but as those increase we could see the desktop environment become obsolete.
This dislike is more of a note of caution. There needs to be a failsafe for Windows to fall back on when system resources hit a specific or critical level. When the level is hit, Windows automatically closes out old suspended apps to regain resources and/or memory. A setting similar to pagefile size would do nicely. We can’t be sure this isn’t in place already, but we haven’t seen a setting for it.
This is a real aggravating task. We can only assume the shutdown and restart buttons are tucked away due to the early preview release and not a larger problem. Plainly put, the system needs those buttons to be more prominent. Add them to the profile dropdown menu with logout and lock screen. Currently, keystrokes plus settings or logout first are the only ways to actually shut down Windows 8.
Clearly Microsoft has its sights set on the home user and mobile device platform. However, businesses will certainly resist Windows 8 in its current configuration. Microsoft doesn’t continue to dominate because home users keep buying PCs, they dominate because nearly every business runs some sort of Windows environment for their workers. Currently enterprise solutions still hover above 50% using Windows XP and while Windows 7 continues to be deployed and gain ground, the numbers don’t lie. Businesses don’t like the idea of change when it comes to updating their networks. Legacy issues have often been a means of concern, just take IE6 as an example.
In order for Windows 8 to flourish there needs to be some sort of enterprise solution for businesses. Whether that is a unique OS for business environments or a revamp of Win8 we can’t say, but MS will definitely need to address it.
Customization needs to be more plentiful. The developer preview doesn’t have tons of bells and whistles so lack of customization isn’t surprising, but users like making the PC their own so we hope MS adds all the usual tweaks for the upcoming betas and final release.
If you read our ‘Top 5 Things We Like About Windows 8‘ you may have noticed that some of the five overlap. That’s because while we enjoy many of the new features and looks there are obvious flaws for certain situations. Looking at a broad range of users who’ll be using Windows 8, it’s only fair to point out even the smallest of oversights.
Overall there aren’t many glaring negatives to speak of. Once the betas get going and we see just how the OS is taking shape towards a final product we’ll be able to nit-pick a bit more.
You can read other Windows 8 related articles on our Windows 8 News page.
What do you dislike, if anything, about the new look Windows? Did we miss a glaring negative about the OS? Please let us know in the comments!
If you enjoyed or found this article useful, please show us some support by liking us on Facebook or by sharing us on your favorite social website. Thanks!