I’ve been using the Windows 8 Release Preview — on and off — since it became available on May 31. The hardware I’m running it on is a Dell Latitude E6420 — i.e., a typical modern enterprise laptop, with no touchscreen.
Why have I been using Windows 8 “on and off”? Partly, it’s to avoid the buggy-ness to be expected in any pre-release software (e.g., IE 10 crashes when I try to print from it). The other part, however, is that for someone who “lives on the desktop,” the constant switching back and forth between the Metro start screen and the desktop is an annoying drag on productivity.
I’m about to install Stardock Start8, to see how well that addresses switching-to-the-Metro-start-screen issue, but this strikes me as symptomatic of a larger issue — that Microsoft really has made the desktop a second-class citizen in Windows 8 — intentionally or otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong — Windows 8 is a “must do” for Microsoft, with the potential to move them from a far-behind to a leadership position on tablet computers and devices. As I observed in my previous blog posting, “Windows 8, BYOD, and IT Leadership,” Windows 8 is the first truly enterprise-oriented tablet OS, and it deserves a high level of uptake in this role.
I will say, however, that when it comes to desktops and non-touch laptops, businesses could be well served by treating Windows 8, like Windows Vista, as a “let’s skip this one” version. (I should point out, by the way, that I was not anti-Vista, see my SmartTip “Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc. Revisited.”) Let’s give Microsoft a chance to get it right on the desktop-Metro coexistence, which is just plain sub-optimal in Windows 8.
PS, while it is a “don’t care” from a productivity standpoint, I personally would love to see Microsoft reconsider the removal of transparency of window borders they’ve announced for RTM. I understand the rationale that it chews-up battery power, but as someone who runs on battery less than 5% of the time I’m on the computer, I’d really like the option to keep that bit of eye candy when plugged-in.