Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So Far)

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Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So Far)

Post by maximus » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:57 pm

Microsoft in August said Windows 8 would be the most significant reimagining of its trademark operating system since Windows 95. But all those changes may not be for the better, at least based on what we know so far. There are some interesting innovations headed your way such as a new touch-centric interface, a version for ARM-based processors, and deep SkyDrive integration.

But Microsoft also plans to exert more control over how you use your PC thanks to its new iOS-style app store. The software giant is also making some significant changes to how common Windows user interface elements operate, such as the Start button. And it's not clear what Windows 8 on an iPad-like tablet will look like.

Windows 8 is still in its early development phase, so some of Microsoft's changes may be modified or thrown out altogether. But based on what we know so far, here are four concerns about Microsoft's latest refresh of the world's most popular operating system.

Benevolent Dictator

Microsoft's Windows Store will be the sole source to purchase, download and install Metro-style apps for Windows 8 devices, the company recently confirmed. There will be an exception for enterprise deployments that want to distribute their own apps and third-party developers for testing purposes. But home users will only be able to get Metro-style apps from Microsoft's Windows Store.

No big deal, right? Apple does the same thing for iOS devices, creating a great user experience overall, so why shouldn't Microsoft do this for Windows 8 tablets? The big difference, however, is that Windows 8 isn't just for tablets, it's also for PCs. That means Microsoft is exerting control over your primary computer in a way it previously didn't. Microsoft is positioning itself as the sole arbiter of what kinds of Metro-style applications you will be allowed to install on your PC. Does that sound like a good idea to you?

At least traditional desktop programs can be installed from third party sources on Windows 8 the same way they are available today on Windows 7.

App Killer (Beta)

Microsoft is including a kill switch in Windows 8 Beta that will allow the company to remotely disable or remove Metro-style apps from your device. "We may change or discontinue certain apps or content offered in the Windows Store at any time, for any reason," Microsoft's Windows Store terms of use says. And if Microsoft does remove a Metro-style app that has a bunch of your data tied to it, Microsoft warns you'd better have that data backed up. "If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored. We have no obligation to return data to you."

To be clear, the Windows Store terms currently apply only to the beta version of Windows 8 due out in February. When contacted, Microsoft declined to comment on whether it would retain the ability to kill Metro-style apps in the final release of Windows 8.

If Microsoft does retain its ability to remove Metro-style apps from your device, this is another sign of the company's attempt to exert more control over devices running Windows 8. Sure, Apple and Google both have the ability to remote wipe troublesome apps from mobile devices. But PCs are not the same as mobile devices, unless you subscribe to Apple's vision for iCloud that is.

Despite the growing popularity of online storage services such as Dropbox, Google Docs, and SkyDrive many people still rely on their PCs as the hub for their digital lives. It's the place where you store some of your most important and precious files such as photos and personal documents. Given the PC's "mission critical" importance, no company should have the ability to remotely wipe anything from a PC without prior approval from the user.

Start Shock

In the Windows 8 developer version, the traditional Start menu including links to programs, "My Computer" and the control panel is replaced with the Metro UI start screen. So whenever you hit "Start" in Windows 8's traditional desktop you get kicked back into the Metro interface. It remains to be seen if disrupting the Start button's expected behavior will be better or worse for the overall Windows experience.

But for longtime Windows users this is probably going to be one the biggest and most jarring changes to get used to. It's possible, however, that Microsoft may include an option that lets you disable the Metro UI entirely. And if Microsoft doesn't let you disable Metro third-party software probably will. In fact, there are already apps that claim to disable the Metro UI in the Windows 8 developer preview such as Windows 8 Start Menu Toggle.

Tablet Confusion

Microsoft has yet to declare whether the traditional PC desktop will be included in the version of Windows 8 for devices such as tablets using ARM-based processors. Current rumors suggest Microsoft plans on cutting the desktop for ARM devices so that Windows 8 slates can better compete with the iPad and Android tablets.

Whether or not to cut the desktop for ARM devices is going to be a deciding factor in how Microsoft sees Windows 8. Is it trying to create one single operating system that will be the same across every possible device form factor? Or will Microsoft go along with the currently prevailing view that touch-centric tablets and PCs are fundamentally different experiences requiring different interfaces?

The public beta version of Windows 8 is due out in late February, but if you'd like to give the developer preview a try you can download windows 8 here.


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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So F

Post by m8internet » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:12 pm

I have always been a great supporter of Microsoft Windows and other MS products
Primarily this was due to the OE systems purchased having all this software included

However, then I bought an orange SPV M2000 and I changed my mind
This came with MS Pocket PC 2003
Even in basic format there was just something wrong with this
Almost once a week I had to reboot the device, and twice I lost data

A similar issue then occured with Windows XP and IE6
This combination was a disaster, so much so I had to roll back to IE5
IE7 wasn't much better
Now main computer has been left in the past as it cannot be updated any more, although MS do still apply occasional security updates
I had my concerns when Windows XP was first launched as I read of many people not being able to load software which previously operated on older versions , but I never experienced any such problems
Although one game has now refused to load, but I suspect that was my error after reformatting my version from 32 to 64 bit version

I have a feeling my laptop will follow this same path shortly, with Vista being left behind for dead
This too had to have IE upgraded from IE8 to IE9, I didn't notice much difference to be honest
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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So F

Post by maximus » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:35 pm

Been running Windows 7 since it first appeared as a beta and run it ever since on all machines. Can't really say I have had any problems with it but then never had many problems with XP :)

Running older games can be something of a challenge of course but you can get most up and running in a virtual machine or something like DOSbox. Of course now having much larger screens than 10-15 years ago many of these games are not as good as I remembered...well they were good then but of course expectations have moved on a bit. I do still like to run some of these games though. Nostalgia can be a great way to appreciate what you have now :)

As for Windows 8 I'm not sure it will be the success MS are hoping for. Most people still do not have touch screens on their home computer so will they really be rushing out to upgrade just so they can navigate the OS the way MS want them to?

From what I have seen on the developer preview, which I have installed on one machine here, I was not at all impressed but to give MS the benefit of the doubt it is just a preview and may bear no resemblance to the finished article. Will definitely try the beta in Feb though.
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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So F

Post by m8internet » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:17 pm

maximus wrote:As for Windows 8 I'm not sure it will be the success MS are hoping for. Most people still do not have touch screens on their home computer so will they really be rushing out to upgrade just so they can navigate the OS the way MS want them to?
This is the con, that goes hand in hand
If you need to update your computer then it makes sense to go for the latest version
However, if you do not then forcing people to update is seriously out of order, hence why my support for MS has been reducing over the last few years

A touch screen on my home computer would be a joke
I use a 50" plasma TV, are they really suggesting I get every time I want to process an input, walk the 12 feet to the TV, touch it, then walk back...

However, I can see the benefits on a laptop
However, as above it would mean yet another hardware upgrade to simply apply a software upgrade
I really think HP have made a serious mistake here!

Finally, touch screen
Just another piece of technology to wrong and be expensive to fix / replace
We use touch screen PDT at work, and about 10% of these are out of service due to touch screen faults
No matter what you tell people, not to use pens, etc., the damage still occurs
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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So F

Post by maximus » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:27 pm

Well touch screen has it's place. I like it on my phone and on the iPad but not entirely sure I need it on my computer and then you have the constant cleaning of the screen to remove finger prints! It's bad enough with the screen on the iPad and my phone. It will be a complete pain in the ass on a 24"/28" screen!
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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So F

Post by Dexxa » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:32 am

Brought a dual core pc with windows 8 pre installed, kept on rebooting my pc for no reason what so ever.

it had 4 partitions on the hard drive for the "oem" software and had to re install windows 8 via the hard drive. no disc included. Tried sticking windows 7 back on the new pc but wouldnt because of the other partitions with oem. so deleted every partition and created one big partition and windows 7 installed.

Windows 8 seems to be more for the touch screen systems more then the home use, and i didnt like clicking a link to go to the desktop either,

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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So F

Post by maximus » Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:06 am

It was designed for touch screen which makes it all the more odd why they default to the metro interface when the vast majority of people do not have such a screen. You can actually set it to default to the desktop with a registry hack but that's a lot of faffing around to do something that should have been a simple user option.

Overall Windows 8 is a nice OS but it's also a very confused OS. Often when you click on something from the metro interface you end up with a bog standard Windows XP/7 screen. So what's the point? Seems they just stuck a pretty interface over the normal windows os and think that's enough to get people to switch?
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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So F

Post by Dexxa » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:16 pm

Yeah just looks a cover over xp. but what i think what would of been better. On installation of windows 8 they should give you a choice either to use the interface for touch screen and just the normal desktop for non touch screens.

Now makes me think what are they going to do with windows 9...

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Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So Far)

Post by macboy81 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:38 am

from the brief test ive had it seems great if your using touchscreen without touchscreen well not very practical i dont like the missing menus etc

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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So F

Post by maximus » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:39 pm

I'm not sure what the thinking behind Win8 was. The majority of new computers that come with Win8 pre-installed don't have touch screens so what exactly was the point of sticking a touch screen interfaces on it which mostly only leads you to the normal windows dialogue boxes? Unless of course they are pinning their hopes on conquering the tab market with the 'Surface' tab. But that being so they need to half the retail price and actually get the thing out the door!
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Re: Windows 8: Four Big Concerns (Based On What We Know So Far)

Post by kenedy » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:00 pm

What all you said is correct and I personally agree with you ideas and suggestions.well said.
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