Windows 8 RTM Experience

Average reading time - 5 minutes

2 days ago I installed the Windows 8 RTM free trial on my desktop PC and have been using it as my primary OS since.

I have used the consumer preview and release preview in the past but only briefly for a few days before returning to Windows 7. Whilst i was impressed with both of the previews, I could not make the permanent switch as they were far from being complete, and I had only intended to check up on the stage of development anyway.

However, now that Windows 8 has gone to RTM, i decided to spend as much time as possible using it, and now cannot see myself going back to Windows 7 at all! The OS has progressed leaps and bounds since the release preview and I think MS finally managed to perfect the keyboard/mouse input. In the release preview I was a little skeptical and felt Windows 8 would be best with a touch-pad on a desktop, but in the RTM version its an absolute dream! The charms and hotcorners are responsive and makes navigating the OS just so fast! A number of people dislike the tile-based UI and large targets to aim at due to the waste of screen real estate, but i personally love it, I have less distance to travel with my mouse pointer and with the click+drag down to close apps i find myself in and out of apps within a split second! While i understand that may not be to everyone's taste, for me i find it so much easier than aiming for the good old tiny red X to close an app, then navigate the old start menu as we did in Windows 7.

To my surprise I have found myself using the Metro/ModernUI side of the OS much more than the desktop, perhaps at 90% -10%. Even though the Windows Store is scarce due to developers adding the final touches to their apps until release day, the apps that are available are looking good so far.

One of my favorite aspects of the Start screen is the Windows Search feature. For example, if I want to check the train times at a local train station, I just type the station name, then select "National Rail Enquiries" in the search pane on the right hand side, then the app launches and displays the departure board. Something which on Windows 7 would take me three times as long opening Chrome > Typing site name > Choosing Station > Choosing day/time, etc.

Another pleasant surprise has been IE10. I have been stuck in my ways using Google Chrome for a while now, and even though IE9 was a massive improvement for IE and in my opinion the best looking browser, it was slightly slower than Google Chrome so i never bothered with IE9. However, both IE10 desktop and Metro versions are so fast that I haven't even contemplated installing Chrome yet. The only trouble I have is choosing which one to use! They are both great, with the desktop version more visually pleasing in my opinion, but I prefer to avoid the desktop and the metro version just does the job!

I could go on all day about why I love Windows 8 but this post would be far too long. But in a nutshell:

- Speed
- Reliability
- Beautiful UI (To my taste at least)
- Live Tile functionality
- Cloud capability

My only gripes at the moment, which I hope/expect to change by release day and the apps are updated over the air are:

People Hub - unable to post to a contacts Facebook wall. This has been possible in WP7 from release day
METRO IE - when playing a youtube video, if you switch to another app the music stops. This could be an issue for tablet users, and i can do this on my iPad (which is soon to be sold!)
Mail App - incredibly poor at the moment. I hope it is transformed to be identical to At the moment I have pinned to my start screen instead

I have not intended for this post to become another Windows 8 love/hate, "WINDOWS IS GOING TO DIE!!!" thread, i just wanted to find out other user's experiences, likes/dislikes with the new OS. May i just say I also cannot wait to hear about how well WP8 and XBOX Live are going to integrate with W8!

So guys what do you think?


Disclaimer: if i have used the term "metro" a lot. I apologize for not being correct and using "Modern UI" but having used WP7 for almost 2 years I am finding it hard to shake off using the word Metro, haha.