Windows 8 Metro Isn’t So Bad

Windows 8 ships with a new User Interface that’s gotten a lot of flack but the truth is that I’ve found it very easy to adjust to and it hardly differs from Aero for my usage. If you look at the UI as a whole, at every part, then it looks much further from Aero, but if you just focus on the parts that the average person is going to use… it’s really quite similar.

Here’s a picture of what I’m staring at 99% of the time I’m on my computer.

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Hardly a major change from Windows Vista or 7. The only noticeable change for me is the start menu, which is now a start ‘screen’.

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That’s a fairly large difference, but not wholly unwelcome. There are benefits, such as having live tiles and the large icons are easy to read, and there are downsides, such as being taken from whatever you’re doing and being put entirely into this new menu.

It doesn’t interrupt my workflow, personally. 

This isn’t really a review of the UI but I think people should understand that while as a whole the user interface is very different, when you cut down to the bits you’ll interact with, it’s almost identical to Windows 7.

And if you’re after security Windows 8 is going to outperform Windows 7 there, especially after further hardening.

 

5 thoughts on “Windows 8 Metro Isn’t So Bad

  1. I absolutely hated Metro (or whatever they call it now) during the beta. It really is the ugliest, most ludicrously styled interface I could imagine any company developing. The way the sesame street tiles are sorted and navigated remind me of a bad Linux GUI. And while I am all for a well done “retro” style (or “modern retro” aka “Metro”), the color schemes and patterns that Microsoft chose make nauseous. Metro is UGLY plain and simple. That said, it does not bother me quite as much now that I use Windows 8 every day, mostly because I click-to-desktop as soon as is humanly possible after login.

    Like you mentioned, Windows 8 security and performance is top notch so I will just deal with having Metro. It is no more efficient then the old start menu and I do not see any real benefit from having a micro-OS (parasite) running within my beloved Windows (host). Plus, I have no use for “tablet” apps, so Metro has even less of a reason to be installed.

    If Microsoft had not included Metro then I am willing to bet that Windows 8 would have been a run away success both commercially and in the court of public opinion. It may succeed commercially (OEMs have no choice after all), but I think “Metro” will forever be linked with the words “ME” and “Vista”, no matter how good Windows 8 is at heart.

    My 2 cents. Love your blog.

    • I agree that it isn’t really more efficient. I like very few aspects of it, but I don’t find it in my way and I don’t ever really ‘deal’ with it. So I put up with it when I do interact with it because Windows 8 brought a lot of other benefits.

  2. I really do mean “deal” with it. After using it for some time now the performance is about on par with Windows 7 on a SSD. The improved security is great, but I never had a problem with Windows 7 security (or Vista, XP, or 2000).

    The deal breaker for me is the new, “improved” search feature. I used to be able to click once on the start menu, input a query and I was presented with a nice list of search hits organized by category. If I needed to compare the results with a document it was simply a matter of docking the windows side-by-side. If I needed to do simultaneous searches it was just a matter of repeating.

    Now I must enter the Metro interface to conduct one search at a time and I must choose a specific category for that search (App, Setting, File) because apparently my mind is too simple to evaluate the results and choose accordingly. Plus I can no longer put the results on my desktop; I am trapped in Metro.

    All of that said, I am reinstalling Windows 7 this weekend. I have embraced every version of Windows NT from its birth (even Vista, which was unfairly panned), but this is the first time I have no desire to use a new Microsoft OS. I am sure many users will find Windows 8 wonderful and the new interface a real gem. I am just not one of those people.

    Thanks for your blog.

    • I actually agree entirely – the search is my biggest issue as well. The need to search “app, setting, file” is what completely kills it for me, as I have to move from my keyboard to my mouse and back frequently because of it.

  3. I must admit that I was humbled by a fellow techie. I guess I could simply open a windows explorer window and type my search in the “search” bar in the top right. In my haste to hate Windows 8 I sort of forgot about that. Even though I now have to open a new window, type my search query and choose the location instead of just typing what I want, I still retract that particular criticism.

    I am now back on Windows 7 and I honestly feel like I lost nothing by leaving 8.

    By the way, that fellow techie who humbled me is quite fond of Windows 8. Some of the reasons; it interfaces with his Xbox Live account, plus he likes the Windows store and the tile apps. He also does not think the new UI really distracts him from using the desktop and he would consider buying a Windows tablet to integrate with Windows 8. That is not my opinion after using iOS and Android side-by-side with my desktop for years, but I respect his opinion.

    Thanks again and Happy Holidays 🙂

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