My experience getting back into the world of Windows, aka, I got an ultrabook.
I can't remember the last time I actually owned a 'Windows PC'. Sure I work every day on Windows kit as a .Net developer but I don't actually own anything Windowsy, or haven't done since the days of XP. Given a new found desire to actually start coding at home (and after a brief stint bringing my work Dell Window 7 laptop home) I decided to splash out on just over a kilogram of Sony's finest carbonfibre, a Vaio Pro 13. The hardware is nice. Very nice. The screen is beautiful, keyboard great, it's super light, fast and quiet. All good. Now here's some random experiences over the 6hrs+ or so it took me to get this thing into an actual state I was happy with.
The first thing the quickstart tells me to do is run Sony's Vaio Update app to get the latest drivers. I do so, lots of updates found, it gets stuck on a particular driver and seems to get the machine into an inconsistent state requiring a reset from the factory partition. This takes an age (and actually fails to install some bloatware game in the process), attempt the update again, same thing, updates fail. I brute force it by running it repeatedly until I appear to be in the state where everything is done. Rebooted probably 4 times.
Windows update next. This took over an hour and resulted in me rebooting an OBSCENE amount of times. I can't even remember how many.
Next up I'm told I need to create a restore disc. I've just spent almost £1000 on this thing and you didn't think to chuck in a restore stick?? It tells me I need a 15GB+ memory stick. I don't have one.
Oh well, let's try and get Windows 8.1 going. After an hour or so download, a few more reboots I'm greeted with a message telling me all the drivers I spent ages forcing on with the Vaio update app are not compatible with Windows 8.1 and new ones must be reapplied. Oh and all the swipey gestures I learnt up until this point have changed with 8.1, back to the drawing board.
I decide to try and tweak the touchpad as it has quite a few annoyances and I don't actually know how to do even the most basic things. I count 4 different places containing touchpad settings. FOUR.
1. A metro settings page
2. The standard Windows mouse dialog
3. The Synaptics driver dialog
4. The Vaio Control Panel app
I generally get very annoyed with people who don't realise new ways of doing things ALWAYS feel unpleasant but should be stuck with for at least some time. So, with this in mind I tell myself I should give the Metro interface a good go before I jump back to my comfort zone of the familiar desktop. Open IE, go to Netflix, prompted to install Silverlight, do so, am then told Silveright only works in the 'Desktop Internet Explorer'. Ugh, really? Try Metro Chrome which for some reason keeps losing all my open tabs and prompting me to restore them. Spend the next 15 mins removing the absolute swathe of bloatware strewn across my boxy Metro desktop. I have games, pictures of roast lamb and new potatoes scrolling up the page, weather reports for places I've never been, garbage apps I'll never use, a splattering of Sony's own apps thrown in for good measure. What an absolute mess. This is MY pc, why is it full of crap I don't want? Spend the next hour removing all the crap from the desktop and installing all the apps I actually want to use. Visual Studio 2013, Android Studio, some random dev tools. Every one of these takes me to the 'old' Windows desktop. There is absolutely zero reason for me to even see Metro any more. I google how to turn off Metro and get back to something resembling Windows 7. I actually really liked the swipe-in-from-the-side of the touchpad to navigate back in my apps but Windows 8 treats the entire desktop as a single app so I guess I'm not allowed to use that unless I get back into the Metro UI.
I then Google how to shut down my PC. Bottom right corner, click Settings (how is turning off my PC a setting??) and then Power and then Shutdown.
If I do accidentally launch a Metro app, every time I click into a text field, the screen pops up a virtual keyboard (I forgot to mention, this Vaio has touch) A virtual keyboard just above my *real keyboard*. How terribly useful.
I have no desire to touch the screen whatsoever. All the work based apps I use wouldn't lend themselves to touch and all my 'play' time is spent in a browser, which is also not exactly touch-friendly on a 13" high pixel-density panel.
I was given a £25 gift card for the Microsoft store with the Vaio. I honestly could not spend it if I tried.
All in all, an absolute horrid experience from start to finish. I'm shocked that in 2013 this is the state of play with Windows devices.