The launch of Windows 8 in October 2012 saw the most dramatic revamp of the world’s leading operating system in at least 17 years. Elements of the new model improved on its predecessors, yet others left PC fans longing for the good old days. Read on to learn about some of the pros and cons of the much hyped Windows 8.
Con: No More Start Menu for Mouse-and-Keyboard Users
Image via Flickr by Microsoft Sweden
The familiar start menu has been a cornerstone of the Windows brand since 1995. This compact feature helped users quickly access their favorite programs, and easily find the rest of their applications. While design changes are inevitable, doing away with the start button is perhaps Windows 8’s most divisive.
Microsoft says its mosaic tile start screen eliminates the need for the start menu, but customers with a traditional PC and mouse have found it difficult to use. It seems folks miss the start menu so much that an estimated 8 million have downloaded Stardock and SweetLabs apps which recreate the familiar feature.
Microsoft has listened to the critics and promises a comparable feature in its Windows 8.1 upgrade, due later this year. While it won’t have the start name, it promises to take users to a similar grid of applications.
Pro: Compatibility with a Range of Devices
Many of us sit down at our PCs in the evening, stay connected to our smart phones during the day, and work on tablets or laptops in the office. Whether you’re in a rural area or an urban center, you can find your familiar desktop, contacts, and SkyDrive details on any Windows 8 device anywhere internet is available. This means you can always access the files you need without the use of portable drives.
However compatibility is a bit of a loaded term when it comes to Windows 8. While the operating device technically runs on laptops and PCs, it works best on touchscreens. The simple swipe navigation is far easier and less time consuming than using a mouse.
Con: There Are Apps, But Not a Lot
Apps are big business, with 1.2 billion of us using them by the end of 2012. These numbers should swell to 4.4 billion app users by the end of 2017. It’s smart that Microsoft is acknowledging this movement and catering to the masses with its Windows store.
The stock at the Windows Store is likely to disappoint anyone used to other platforms. Even Windows chief Steve Sinofsky admitted at the Windows 8 launch that the Windows Store has limited options, commenting that “We see today as a grand opening.” (Source: Tech Radar)
The Windows Store has grown since then, with its original 5,000 apps swelling to 145,000 by May 2013. However that’s still well short of the more than 700,000 offered on Google Play and iTunes.
Pro: Windows 8 is Speedy
The old Windows operating systems seem like slugs compared to Windows 8, which boots up in just 8 seconds. Compare that to the 32 seconds it took to boot up a Windows 7 desktop, and the 40 seconds the laborious Windows XP spent.
While there’s a lot to love about Windows 8, PC fans hope that Microsoft irons out the kinks before the launch of Windows 8.1.