Taming Windows 8

Over the years we have seen many different operating systems. At times people have looked to revert to previous operating systems because the new ones just didn’t cut the mustard.

Windows 8 has been much criticised. We have already seen Windows 8.1 emerge onto the market to fix some of the issues that people have been complaining about.

In this article we’ll take a look at some of the major criticisms of Windows 8.

Broadband Has Changed Operating Systems

The operating systems that we use today have to do very different things to those of the past. We spend more time downloading applications and using the Internet than ever before.

Whereas operating systems used to be there to house applications installed from the CD, and to run email and word processing software, they are now required to do much more.

The improvements in smart phone technology and mobile broadband has also meant that we are more demanding in the performance of our desktop and laptop operating systems. The Windows 8 system looks very different to many of the previous operating systems from Windows. It is reminiscent of the mobile systems that we see today.

It seems that Windows is trying to unify its desktop and mobile principles, and for some this hasn’t worked.

With all of the other operating systems available for mobile devices,  Microsoft really does have a lot of competition. The unifying nature of the Windows 8 operating system is a gamble. However, it is clearly a gamble that they felt they had to take.

So let’s take a look at some of the major criticisms of the operating system.

The Absence of a Start Menu

The new Windows operating system did not come with a start menu. The majority of us have become accustomed to being able to click on the bottom left-hand corner and find what we need to find. The replacement of this functionality with a tiled front page is confusing for many.

There are third-party applications that can be installed in order to provide a start menu. But that really does miss the point. Windows have remedied the situation somewhat in Windows 8.1. However, it was a major mistake to do away with it in the first place.

One Desktop App Thumbnail

On the Windows homepage the desktop has just a single thumbnail for the applications that are running. In order to find out and access programs that are currently running you have to go all the way to the switch menu on the desktop and look in the taskbar.

The way around this is to use the ALT + TAB command.

The home screen really does seem like half a solution rather than a full solution.

Shutting Down the Computer

The shutting down process for Windows 8 is somewhat confusing. You have to pull out the menu from the side, go to settings, and then power off. If you want to restart, it can be really hard to find what you need to find.

You can create your own shortcuts for a shutdown by adding commands to the command line. These can be pinned to the task bar. Again, why did Windows make it such a counterintuitive process to shut down the computer when it’s something we have to do on a regular basis?

POP3 Not Supported

Some people are frustrated when they find out that they cannot easily set up a pop account through Windows 8. The way around it is to set up your Gmail, Outlook or Hotmail to check for pop 3 and then add the account through Windows mail functionality.

Slide Lock to Login

It is really annoying to have to manipulate the lock screen every time you want to boot up your computer or wake it up. You can get rid of the lock screen in the personalisation settings through computer configuration> administrative tools> Control Panel> personalisation. You have to choose the option “do not display lock screen”.

Searching With Bing

The application used to search Bing opens a new window in Internet Explorer. This is really annoying as you feel intuitively that the application should open results in the same window. You can of course just search direct from your chosen browser or you could pin the browser search box to your start screen.

Split Screen Annoyances

When you split your screen 50-50 you can’t interact with two applications very easily. One application will be shrunk to the sidebar; the other will take up the majority of the screen. There is no direct way around this problem.

As you can see there are lots of annoyances with the Windows 8 operating system. Some of them will affect you on a daily basis, and leave you feeling incredibly frustrated.

Many people have rolled back their operating system to previous versions.

 It does make sense to upgrade to Windows 8.1 as the operating system is an improvement on Windows 8. However, it may well take almost an hour to upgrade your operating system through the install process. This is annoying in itself, especially if you have work that you have to do and you start the process without realising how long it will take.

Broadband improvements have driven a new revolution in the way we use our computers. Operating systems are adapting. Windows seems to have adapted fairly slowly, although they are using a new design philosophy in the usability infrastructure.

Time will tell whether they really can get a unified platform that works across both desktops and mobile devices. If they can then it’s likely they will be able to win greater market share from Apple and Android as they progress into the future.

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