I should have known better – I had read the terrible reviews of Windows 8. But Microsoft had responded to the criticism and improved the user interface in 8.1, hadn’t they? Well, up to a point. Or to put it another way: not really - they still think they know best.
I have been using Windows since version 3.1 - back in 1992. I did try using a Mac, but found OSX frustrating. Windows isn’t perfect but I could generally find my way around, at least up till now.
I suffered with Windows ME, but Microsoft must have realized what a mess they had made of that, and Windows XP came along soon afterwards – one paid upgrade that was money very well spent.
I kept well clear of Vista, and waited for Windows 7. Sure enough, it was stable and usable.
Clearly, there’s a pattern here of the stupid element in MS wresting control and then being beaten back by the sensible faction (even during Steve Ballmer’s reign of idiotic management initiatives).
On the evidence of Windows 8.1, the battle is still on. As I have never used Windows 8, I can’t say how much stupidity has been removed, but I can just about live with the new Start screen with tiles. Haven’t we been here before, though, with the “active desktop”? Whatever happened to that?
No, the biggest problem (in both senses of the word) is the way that “Modern apps” fill the whole screen. Yes, on a tablet it makes sense, but on 21” (or bigger) monitor? No, Microsoft, no.
OK, so you can split the screen to have two whole apps visible (or one app and the traditional desktop) – but they have to be left and right, so you can’t have one landscape window in the top left, for example, and they can’t overlap.
Fair enough…on a tablet. But on a desktop or laptop I had got quite used to having as many windows as I want visible, and different sizes and shapes. It’s been one of the key features of Windows since back in the days of 3.1 when we had smaller screens and insufficient memory.
Thankfully, MS Office isn’t a “Modern App”, at least not yet, so most of the time I can have more than two windows open. But then you get plunged back into the world of stupid “Modern Apps”. Thanks very much, Microsoft.
Another problem (for me) is that they seem to be trying to copy the OSX user interface, presumably to make it more “user-friendly”. I didn’t like OSX, and I don’t like Windows 8 hiding things away where I can’t find them.
Why is Microsoft changing something that is already working well enough? Is this the same mistake Coca-Cola made with “New Coke”? Why copy OSX when it has a tiny market share? Why try to make it work like a tablet when the vast majority of Windows users have large screens and use a keyboard and mouse rather than a touchscreen?
This isn’t the first time - I still haven’t forgiven Microsoft for that ridiculous trick of maximising ordinary windows when you move them with your mouse in a certain way that I still don’t understand. I think it’s called the Aero Shake and I don’t like it.