23 July 2012

Windows 8: First Impressions are Poor

I've been waiting to try Windows 8 until it was at least in pre-release stage. Previous incantations of the Windows OS have taught me there is very little point in doing anything else as it's often not even ready when they actually release it! Anyway with the release date now set I felt it was time to experience the new interface.

To Windows Live ID or not to...
Installation was easy, just a matter of downloading the iso and choosing the language etc. Then I was provided with Windows Live ID login. I run an Active directory so I setup a local admin account first to gain access to the computer then join it to the Active directory, setup another (active directory) user (me) and join it to my Windows Live ID as per method 2 in this post by Paul Thurrott.


  • Network stuck on 'Public': When I went to Computer properties and attempted to add my machine to the domain it couldn't find my domain controller. Looking at the Network and Sharing center, Windows 8 had marked my network adapter as Public which I knew would mean it wouldn't find the DC and there wasn't an immediately obvious way to change this. After an internet search I discovered you click on the network icon then turn the sharing on for that connection. Of course... how intuitive.
  • How do you Shutdown: After I managed to persuade it onto the domain I needed to restart it... but without a start menu how am I suposed to do that? I really don't think MS have thought this through. A quick internet search revealed I wasn't alone in not understanding how to achieve such a basic function. It also showed a lot of references to people As one commenter put it: "Its so stupid, that I as a POWER USER of the PC, has to GOOGLE HOW TO DO THIS!!!!!!".
    [UPDATE] You hover your mouse in the very bottom right hand side corner and the 'Charms Bar' should appear, you cand select shutdown from that.
  • Windows Live ID assigned to wrong email address: I do have a Windows Live ID but I set it up eons ago with a hotmail address. I don't want to use that as my primary email address but when I tried to change it on Windows Live (http://www.passport.com) it just said "[my email] not available". This is part of the problem: they have chosen to leverage the old Windows LiveID accounts which would be fine if those interfaces where also modernised and unified. When I login to that url I get one interface one time and a completely different one another time on the same browser with the same username and password! Some housecleaning required here methinks.
Whilst I'm excited about the possibilities created by a unified user experience/operating system across multiple platforms (Windows 8 on a tablet, desktop, xbox, whatever), this certainly isn't it. All the basic old Windows stuff is still there, just hidden under an unintuitive veil of modernity. I was hoping for a completely new approach to user experience and interaction. Windows 8 is not. However this does leave a big gap in the market for a new member of the Microsoft, Apple and Google oligopoly!

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