A forced upgrade to Windows 8

Because of an foreseen and ultimately catastrophic computer screw up I had to reimage my work machine and start over. To add to the misery of losing an entire day of work I realized I couldn’t reinstall back to Windows 7 and would have to use the new corporate standard of Windows 8. This did not make me happy.

Like Windows 7, the install was quite quick (it took longer than normal because this was a custom build that also included Office 2013) and in short order the new OS was up and running.

First off it presented me with a cartoon representation of Seattle and the Space Needle. Ok, now what? After starting at the screen waiting for it to do something, I realized this is the new logon screen. I thought it was still installing. Apparently the Ctrl-Alt-Delete that we’ve used since NT 3.1 isn’t there. Ok fine, a different way to log in so be it. So I did and saw the Windows 8 for the first time on a machine I was supposed to use. I didn’t like it.

After having a Start bar since 1995, Microsoft decided to take it away. After using Ctrl-Alt-Delete to log in since 1993, that was gone too. But once you log in, Ctrl-Alt-Del is there and you can use it to log off. Classy. That makes perfect sense.

It took less than 5 minutes of using Windows 8 for my hatred of it to be solidified. Everyone kept saying I need to use Windows key and X to get around. Hmm, Microsoft has been pushing the mouse since 1991. So here we are with technology we’ve had and used effectively since 1990 and Microsoft for no particular reason whatsoever ditches them all. Boy, I wish people were as quick to ditch other "legacy technologies" like the 100+ year technology we know as fossil fuels. But I digress.

Now, before anyone gets all uppity saying I’m a Apple or Mac fanboy or that I don’t like change let me offer this. I worked on the Beta for Windows 95 and 98. I worked on the new Shell for NT 4.0 that emulated the Start button on Windows 95. I did beta work for both Windows 2000 and XP. I’ve beta tested Outlook 98, Office 2000 and Office XP. I’ve beta tested Project 95 and Project 98. I’ve beta tested games up to and including Minecraft. I’ve done professional QA work for a couple different tech companies for nearly a decade. I know design docs, I know usability and functionality. I’ve also worked on web sites with tens of thousands of pages. My job was to find bugs and report on how things worked. "Can the use find and use our product" has always been the mantra. I’ll tell you this, whoever though Windows 8 was an upgrade in usability is an idiot! As a friend mentioned, changing for the sake of change is what a cancer cell does.

Windows 8 is not more usable or discoverable than Windows 7 even though Windows 7 is still nothing more than Vista SP3. The UI Windows 8 has does not work for a desktop machine. Tiles may be fun to mess with on a Surface, but they are immensely annoying on a regular screen. Hiding icons on different screens with no real understanding of how to get there is frustrating. Maybe the Start button needed an update, but this sure as hell isn’t it. I found Windows 8 to be non-intuitive and ugly to look at. The flat bars and icons look like they were made by a 6 year old with half the Crayons in the box missing. After working hard to make rendered 3D icons and glassy tones, looking at Windows 8 was like driving a Gremlin after being in a Lexus. Windows 7 wasn’t the most luxurious or best OS in the world, but it’s better than this latest offering.

I was so angry with my experience that I loaded Start8, Decor8 and ModernMix from my Stardock subscription just I could use the stupid computer. I just couldn’t take it. If the replacements had made Windows more efficient and usable I would have liked them. If it would have changed 5 clicks down to 2 or 3 it would have been good. Hiding the UI and making users jump through hoops to try and find out how something works is not good.

I hate Windows 8 and I can’t see how anyone feels this is better than what we had. Out of all the tech people I know, the best complement about Windows 8 is, "It’s not as bad as you think it is." Wow, there’s some high praise.

But I disagree, Windows 8 IS as bad as you think it is. Corporate America may browbeat me with Windows 8, but it will never be on my personal machines. You can keep that garbage to yourself.

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