The Windows 8 Release Preview, with improved Metro style apps, a modified (and soon to be gone) Aero interface in the desktop, and lots of bug fixes and revisions became available yesterday. While we’re still not convinced that Windows 8 improves a desktop non-touch experience enough to move up from Windows 7, and as of yet we can’t buy a touch enabled Windows 8 laptop or tablet with a compelling enough set of features to make it worthwhile, we’re making the leap of faith and running full blown Windows 8, and learning our way around a new way of doing things.
Are you? Is Windows 8 getting you excited? What are your experiences so far? If you’ve been running Windows 8 from day one, or just now getting around to installing the Release Preview to see what all the fuss is about, we’d like to hear what you think. We’ve posted a poll in our sidebar, and would love to hear what you have to say in the comments.
For non-touch users, using Windows 8 seems to require a greater reliance on keyboard commands – we’ve found that hitting the Windows key is much easier than trying to zero in on the lower left corner of the screen (especially with a dual monitor setup, where the left hand side of the screen isn’t anchored). Alt-tabbing has suddenly become more important, and we’re on the lookout for more useful shortcuts.
At Build last year, when we were allowed the use of one of the developer tablets running Windows 8. We found that even in a laptop-like mode, using the provided keyboard and tablet stand, that combining touch and keyboard was simple and intuitive, so much so that we quickly began touching our (decidedly non-touch) laptop’s screen after only a few minutes use of Windows 8. Windows 8 is made, and meant, for touch. But can it work in a desktop only environment. So far it’s a struggle, but we’re beginning to get retrained.
Windows 8 is decidedly faster (and easier on battery life) than its predecessors, and we’re enjoying that right out of the gate.
The apps formerly known as Windows Live are growing on us, too, although there’s something distressing about having a full screen messaging app running while we just *know* we’re missing something important on the desktop or in the browser.
But these are only quick first impressions after only a few hours of real, regular use. We’re hoping to learn to love Windows 8 on the desktop, but there’s definitely a learning curve.
So what do you think, are you loving Windows 8 right out of the box? Let us know.