This Windows 8 mini-review is an older review I wrote close to the time the operating system was released so it's interesting in a historical sense (for the grammar purists amongst you I am one of those who doesn't say "an historical") and inasmuch as, I am sure, there are still people using it. Windows 8 as first released was sorely lacking but Windows 8.1 was a vast improvement... Windows 10 of course, is pretty much what Windows 8 should have been all along and, in my considered opinion, is far and away the best OS Microsoft has ever released. RSQ has no problems whatsoever in recommending Windows 10 as preferred OS for the PC platform.
There’s a lot of invective flying around out there about “Windows Hate” as one reviewer referred to it so I thought I’d have to see what I thought of the beast.
My system isn’t bad as such things go … ASUS motherboard with Intel i7 2600K, 16GB, nVidia GTX470, 120GB SATA3 SSD [C:] and a 1TB SATA2 [D:]. Wanting to be sure I had some kind of roll back path I decided to buy a new 240GB SSD (to keep the 120 SSD as my roll back) so last Saturday I downloaded Windows 8 Enterprise from MS Technet & rebuilt my system with Windows 8 and Office 2013 (preview).
My general view, despite the savage criticism going around out there, is so far not bad and I'm learning more things about it all the time.
My Major Issues
- I found it quite difficult to get the thing to activate and ended up having to use “slmgr /ipk [Product Key]” in an Administrator level command prompt.
- Getting it to join my Server 2008 domain wasn’t easy but then that’s probably because DNS was pointed to the router … reorienting it to go via AD solved the issue.
- I found, indeed still find to this day, the Metro interface (in my view MS’s attempt to “Mac”ify the OS) irritating and a brief search of the internet revealed Stardock’s “Start8”, an installable utility which gave me back a Windows 7 style start menu but still allowed me to use Metro should I need to.
- A few legacy applications (notably CPU-Z) completely locked my system.
- My machine is a domain client and I have several drives connected permanently including my documents but Win 8 doesn’t seem to use the default client (domain) credentials … I mean it does but it won’t remember them so before I can use any of them I have to enter my credentials again.
- I’ve not been able to get drivers to work for my networked HP C410B All-In-One printer/scanner (no sign of them on the HP website and the Win 7 ones don’t work).
The base install identified all my PC's hardware (including two screens which it runs with separate theme screens nicely) with no issues and, if past behaviour is anything to go by, MS has tried to design it to be easier ... for me (as a geek and techy) I’m not convinced they’ve succeeded but I think it may be easier for non-techies.
As I say above, a lot of invective flying around about “Windows Hate” and I really do sympathise but most of them are not irreconcilable… Windows has always been highly configurable and it’s looking like Win 8 is no exception. I think I get why MS has headed in that direction… in order to have a uniform OS on all platforms, it’s way of beating Apple but it’s kinda insane because PC’s aren’t tablets or phones. People are (in some ways justifiably) complaining. Of course, some of the complaints will be from those who never liked Windows in the first instance (the usual Linux and Mac evangelists), some will be just because it’s different from Win 7 but that, as I say above, can be largely got around. Unfortunately, it seems some problems (such as my HP C410B) are not so easy to overcome and, until HP decide (update: they have) to write a driver I may have to resort to some kind of Win 7 virtual solution.
Of course, I look forward to version 8.1 when the majority of issues are likely to be solved but, to be fair to MS's latest baby, I've largely got everything going (just those few niggles now) so I'm going to stick with it partly because I'm in IT (server deployment) so it kinda goes with the territory to support/use Windows (I need to learn it and using it is probably the best way).
Naturally it has occurred to me that maybe this is the end-run for MS… I mean every company has its day (look at what happened to IBM) and I wondered if MS would start a slow slide into obscurity once Gates (in my opinion the heart, soul & driving force of MS) departed. Maybe another OS, perhaps some Linux variant, can effectively exploit the gap it leaves or maybe another company will but, whilst I am not in any way religious, I feel it may be time for prayer so, "Please dear Zeus don't let it be Apple.