UPDATE: I found this link to some tweaking software for the Developer Preview which fixes a few of these problems. You can add shutdown, restart and sleep buttons to the start menu now and also completely remove the Metro Start screen. Here is a link to the download
By now we've all had a chance to play around with the Windows 8 Developer Preview. Now, I know this isn't the final version but there are several things which Microsoft has done which annoy me to no end.
Firstly, there is the placement of the shutdown button. One of the most known commands on every single computer is usually kept in the most conspicuous place possible. What puzzles me to no end is why Microsoft chose to put it in the Settings menu. It makes no sense and to most people who think logically, it is the last place they would look. Clicking on the username gives the user the option to log off but not to shutdown. Obviously tablet users will not be bothered by this since most will just put their tablet to sleep but since this is meant to be a full blown desktop OS, many users will want to shutdown at the end of the day. It seems like a bit of an oversight to me.
The new Metro interface seems pretty cool when you first try it out but it's only when the fun is over and you need to do actual work that you realize how useless it is for productivity. First, it is not very clear what applications are currently running in the background. If you have 2 apps open you can easily switch between them by dragging from the left side of the screen but when there is more than this, it just becomes annoying. You have no idea what you are doing and having to keep returning to the Start screen to open new apps and search just adds an extra click to every process. A feature similar to Expose (but not a copy) on Mac OS X would be awesome for this purpose so I could have a birds-eye view of everything which is happening.
As well as this, Windows 8 offers both a Desktop mode and Metro mode. The Desktop mode is for compatibility applications but ends up being used quite often anyway. But what bothers me is that there seems to be absolutely no integration between the two. An app which I open on desktop mode cannot be dragged over to Metro and made full screen, it will just change that monitor to desktop mode as well. If I wanted to take a Metro app out of full screen and make it windowed, there is no way for me to do this either. To add insult to injury, there are TWO versions of Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer, one for each interface. Neither has any connection with one another and they seem completely different. Essentially this means that anyone who is new to computers is going to have to learn how to do the same thing on both modes in two different ways. Something which is honestly just stupid. It seems kind of like using two different operating systems at once and I don't think this is the way to go. It adds confusion and basically shows that Microsoft isn't really sure what they're doing. Finally, there is the lack of a list with all of your programs in it. You only have a choice of manually pinning it to the Start screen or searching for it. All this again requires an extra click or an extra two clicks if you are on Desktop mode.
So, quite obviously, the Metro interface is almost specifically designed to be used with touch screens. But since it is meant to also be a full blown desktop OS, it should also be keyboard and mouse friendly. Unfortunately, I often find that the mouse isn't two suited to Metro. It feels very out of place with all the random gestures and flicking, scrolling etc. Maybe there should be a few more options about how the OS handles the mouse, making it more mouse friendly when someone prefers to use that rather than an awkwardly placed touchscreen. I mean, let's face it, How many people actually have touch screen computers?
I feel that the new Metro interface is nice to look at but productivity is where it falls short. Everything you are used to doing takes an extra click. It feels more suited to tablets and phones rather than proper computers. I think there are quite a few improvements which can be made to improve the OS and it isn't a total lost cause. There are still plenty of aspects which I like about it but obviously those don't really fit with the title.
So what do you think about the new developer preview? Is it something you would like to use on a daily basis?
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