Windows 8 has been constantly hit with critisism since it was first announced back in CES 2011. Many people were concerned about how Microsoft was going to launch the next major version of Windows with a tablet-in-mind user interface. This post will explain my thoughts on how I think Microsoft has gone wrong with Windows 8, and how it isn’t too late to fix it.
Windows 8 was first seen a the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011, where we were introduced to an ARM version of Windows. Many were impressed and were willing to give it a go. ARM support gives Windows 8 such a bright future. It was only when Microsoft officially announced Windows 8, that things started going down hill for the company.
Windows 8 was officially announced at the Taipei Computex 2011 conference, and further looked into at the D9 conference. Microsoft had, for the first time, revealed its new user interface that would change the way every Windows user used Windows. Some liked this new change but others could see the problem right away. The new user interface may have been designed for tablets but the interface is set to launch on both tablets and PC’s.
Since the Windows Developer Preview, Microsoft has been trying hard to make the Metro interface friendly with the good old mouse and keyboard. The company has stated that the Windows 8 beta will include enchanced support for mouse and keyboard which will make your life easier when using it, the only thing is that the UI is still for tablets. Microsoft can try as hard as they can to make Windows 8 compatible with a mouse and keyboard, but they are not going to achieve 100% perfection when using a tablet designed user interface.
Microsoft’s idea of releasing a major version of Windows with two user interfaces is risky, especially when Aero and Metro don’t go well together. Users don’t want to have to switch between UIs just to achieve simple tasks such as changing mouse settings, which is accessible through the Aero control panel, which is only accessible by launching the Metro user interface and launching the Metro control panel, where you can select an option to launch the Aero control panel.
One option for Microsoft is to marry both Metro and Aero together, have the start screen, desktop and Aero windows showing at once. Instead of having it all seperate.
The removal of the Start Menu is going to be one of the biggest concerns for consumers, since its where almost all tasks are started. The Start Screen in Windows 8 doesn’t suffice to what the Start Menu was and is currently.
Now, I’m not saying Windows 8 is bad in any way, in fact, its a fantastic improvement to touch devices, the problem is that Metro doesn’t work without a touch device, and Microsoft will not sell if they continue down this route. Windows 8 should have never been a major release, except a side-release which could be compatible for tablets, and only run on ARM. Windows 8 should have been an improvement to Windows 7, not a feature filled new operating system.
We’ve all heard it, Microsoft has said Metro was designed for tablets, but made it ‘compatible’ with a mouse and keyboard.
So, how can Microsoft fix this mess? It’s actually pretty simple. Allow the user to disable Metro, or marry both UI’s together. Thats it. It isn’t hard, the user should have an option to either use both Aero and Metro, just Aero, or marry both UI’s without having to even think about it. There should be a little tick box in the control panel which allows you to just disable Metro, never seeing it again until you re-enable it. This doesnt mean the store can’t be used, launching a Metro app from the desktop will be like launching a game in full-screen, it doesn’t have to be bundled with a Metro start screen.
As I keep saying, Windows 8 is great, the improvements to the core system are interesting changes. The only thing keeping Windows 8 from being a success is the Metro UI.
Windows 8 hasn’t even hit beta yet, so anything can change from now and RTM. But will Microsoft see the problem that Windows 8 is causing and fix it before its too late?Further reading: Microsoft, Windows 8