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As most of you probably know, Windows 8 is currently under development. This article focuses on the new interfaces, the new features, and the new way to use your computer. If you don’t know much about Windows 8, then this is a good place to start. Below I have made various sub-sections of this article dedicated to new features, new UI etc.

Metro Interface

The metro interface was first introduced in Windows Phone 7. Since then, many people have picked up the metro-look to third-party applications and skins. Microsoft is now moving forward with its metro interface. They’re using it in Windows 8 and they’ll use it on Xbox Live soon as well. But, the metro interface is met by skepticism from some people. They find the metro interface too simple and basically too boring. But, luckily, the majority likes the metro interface – as long as everything doesn’t have to be like it.

Windows 8 start screen

When you boot Windows 8 you will be met by the Windows 8 Start Screen which includes a ton of different widgets (also known as tiles) which you can customize to your likings. The traditional desktop still exists though, and you can go to it via clicking the “Desktop tile” or simply dragging your mouse out to the far left side and click. But, the start screen is not the only thing that’s metro. There are metro applications as well, which you can open within the metro start screen. Internet Explorer is one of these, which you can see a screenshot of below.

Internet Explorer (Metro-based)

There’s a lot of the metro UI in the rest of Windows 8 as well – The control panel is metro, with an optional normal explorer-like version as well. The start menu is also metro, and boiled down to a bare minimum of options. The point with this is that when you click the start button, or any of the options in the start menu, you get taken to the Metro start screen.

Windows 8 start menu

Explorer Ribbon

If you have used the Microsoft Office suites, either the 2007 edition or the 2010 edition, this will be familiar to you. Microsoft is bringing the ribbon known from Office into the Windows 8 Explorer. This is a both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on who you. I personally feel that the ribbon doesn’t fit in very well with the rest of the explorer interface – but there’s a fix for that which I’ll mention later in this article.

Explorer ribbon

New UI in general

Generally, the UI in Windows 8 has changed quite a bit from Windows 7. Besides the obvious metro interface, there are many other things that have been changed. For example, the task manager, the logon screen, the preview/details pane in explorer is now on the right rather than on the bottom, plus many other things. I’ve taken a few screenshots of some of the UI changes, and you can view them below.

Task manager image 1
Task manager image 2

Windows 8 Developer Preview – First impressions

A little bit ago, on the 13-14th of September 2011 to be exact, the Windows 8 Developer Preview was released for public download. I personally, along with many others, was of course very excited about this – The first possibility to try Windows 8 on our computers without downloading it through torrents. I downloaded it, and installed briefly after it had finished downloading. When I first booted it, after having finished installing it, I was met by a metro-like logon screen. I entered my password and logged in. I was now on the Windows 8 metro start screen. I was rather amazed of how the tiles looked – They looked really fantastic. It took me a while to figure out how exactly the metro interface worked and how to get to the normal desktop, but eventually I figured it out. I was quite surprised of how much metro UI there was in there – It was pretty much everywhere. Next thing, I went exploring. I checked out the metro-style Internet Explorer, the metro control panel, the new task manager, the settings and so on. Another thing that amazed me was the lock screen. It was just awesome. All in all, it was a good experience for me and I really liked the work they had done so far with Windows 8.

The Windows Store – A game changer:

As some of you might’ve heard, Microsoft is creating an “online store” where you can download applications, and where developers can upload their newest applications. This is, in my opinion, one of the best things about Windows 8. I do kind of get the feeling that they ripped it a bit off from Apple which was first with the idea to create such an online store.

What is people’s impression of Windows 8 so far?

I’ve asked this question on my DeviantART profile, my twitter and my Facebook page. Below are some of the selected comments. I would also like to say thanks to everyone who has answered my question.

AP-GRAPHIK said

“I think everything looks unfinished, not enough customizable, but the most visible changes are great, they finally let designers do a little work without destroying everything (but let’s wait for the release! IE9 is a good example of a great beta and an horrible final release!).”

“…it’s not adapted enough for desktops, it’s great you don’t have to click on the start menu anymore to get basics options, but this options are useless and should be put in the Control Panel. There should only be Search, Control Panel (instead of Settings), Task Manager, and we should have the possibility to place a shortcut of our most used apps, the way it were in the classic start menu from Windows 7, and Finally there should be a Power option or something similar, which go to the same screen as ctrl+alt+del, to shut the PC down (log off and lock as well) more quickly.”

“…The ribbons is a step back, Windows 7 did a great job on deleting the menu bar and replacing it with the great command bar, with few options and buttons for an everyday use, and now we’ve got a huge blue File button. This also kills the work on Aero that was in Windows 7’s Explorer.”

Liampart said

“I don’t like the metro interface. It might be great for tablets and phones but for a desktop PC, which is used to work and organize stuff it isn’t suitable. The new explorer has too many options and buttons. It’d be better if you could choose the options you need and hide ore disable the other ones. It’s too cluttered this way. The best thing is the new copy dialog. I thought of something like this years ago and hoped that Microsoft would implement it.”

Seahorsepip said

“I like the new UI but it has some things that hopefully will change like, where is the all apps button?”

Drmedic said

“I don’t really know about the technical stuff in Windows 8 but from what I’ve seen it reminds me of vista in a BAD way, but I guess I’ll just have to see how it turns out.”

My personal ideas for Windows 8

Metro interface – Why not make it optional?

This would be appreciated by lots of people because there is quite a few who doesn’t like the metro interface.

Explorer Ribbon – Make it optional

Again, this would be appreciated by lots of people because there are many who don’t like the ribbon. All though the ribbon is useful, it is also not that good looking. I really hope Microsoft will make a better effort to make it fit in with the rest of the explorer interface.

Don’t change too much, yet don’t change too little either

This might seem a bit confusing but it’s simple really: We want to see changes, but we don’t want it to change completely from Windows 7. We still want to have something in it that we’re used to and know how to do. As of so far, they’re doing a good job at this.

Make desktop computers and laptops the main goal rather than tablets and touchscreens

I am feeling that Microsoft is putting all their effort into making an UI that is perfect/flawless on tablets and touchscreens. I really wish they would put at least as much effort into desktop computers and laptops.

So will Windows 8 be a success?

Whether Windows 8 will be a success or not, is not something anyone can possibly know at this point. A lot can still change before we’ll see the final version of Windows 8.  I know for certain that Windows 8 will have a lot of other great new features, and not just the ones I mentioned above. There are many many more. If they keep up their good work I think Windows 8 has high possibilities of becoming a success. Maybe even a bigger success than Windows 7 has been.

What do you think? Do you think Windows 8 will be a success, or do you think it’ll slam to the ground and have bad sales? Tell us in the comment section below.



About Bo Gjerlow

My name is Bo, and I'm a User Interface designer who has created various Windows 7 Visual Styles and other graphics. I am also a website owner, graphic enthusiast and a student. I have also written various tutorials for different sites. Some of you might know me under the username sergiogarcia9.

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Comments

  • Austin Welles

    This fits under my ‘every other OS’ theory. Every other operating system Windows has come out with has been a hit. The others were flops… Example:

    Windows 3.1 – Hit
    Windows 95 – Flop
    Windows 98 – Hit
    Windows Me – Flop
    Windows XP – Hit
    Windows Vista – Flop
    Windows 7 – Hit

    It only makes sense that this trend would continue. I think they had a couple of good ideas here, but they’re trying to change the way we use computers entirely, and people don’t like that. Not to mention, when you try and change this much, more glitches that you can imagine will show up. It’s why people didn’t like Vista. 7 was basically XP + Aero. Two good old ideas combined into one. If there’s one thing I learned, stick with what works. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” kind of deal. I don’t see Windows 8 just looks like it’s next in line to suck. And if it does, then my theory continues to be solidified.

    • Anonymous

      Only time can show if you’re right. But I see your point, if it continues like that, Windows 8 could possibly be a flop.

    • At least it’s fast and can run windows 7 apps and if u want your normal start menu back you can easily search it up on google and presto

    • Windows 3.1 was more of a tech software with Qbasic from IBM being the improvement. Wasn’t a big hit. Windows 95 was the 1st big hit as of its ease of use. Windows Vista was the 1st flop because of its extremely small fonts and inability to use older software on it. I think Windows 7 is the last version of Windows to succeed. Where just kind of waiting now for the next genuis to come along and take Windows from Bill Gates as he did Qbasic from IBM. You can’t touch a big screen Tv hanging on the wall from the couch which is where most of us have built our playtoys around. You can’t plug into that big screen with a laptop not powerful enough to power it up. There is no tower or plugins on the new Windows 8 pcs to connect to the big screen. If I wanted to write with a pen I could do that with all the other versions of windows with a simple graphics program. Elimanating the mouse, tower, & keyboards makes it a touch screen tablet. Something only kids want if the parents can afford and will buy it for them. Is it a practical business application when gas is near $4 a gallon of gas in bad economic times. I can’t see hardly any business’s besides those on the federal goverment credit card using the system or being able to afford it at this time. My personal opinion is it looks like Windows 7 starter edition with the with the Opera Web Browser layered over it. It is one ugly desktop with a lot of cheap wordpress type plugins. Nothing really useful or marketable yet.

  • Dinesh Rathod

    Great article Sergio.
     

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Dinesh :)

  • Randal Sheppard

    They have a massive hit with Windows 7, and now they are going to change it. I’m all for change, but get real…Windows 8 should be developed for the touch sensitive tablet/smart phone market, not the PC market. I would like the Windows Explorer ribbon in the next update to Windows 7…..is that possible……OF COURSE IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Well that’s where I disagree. They should focus at least as much on Notebooks and desktop PC’s as that is still what most people are using. As for the explorer ribbon in Windows 7, I highly doubt that. In my time of computing, I’ve never once seen a major UI change via an update.

  • Anonymous

    I strived to install windows-8 on my Virtual Box but my present Win-7 was replaced with Developer Preview; Win-8
    I understood problems: my eagerness which resulted that; I happen to install Win-8 on my system. Microsoft checked all my credentials; my genuine Win-7 and what not ??was checked OK check. 
    Yahoo; whole system was faster, IE-10 was faster, direct to  places to access, my documents; what not, YES security features better understood while the INSTALLATION. 

    I decided to refresh my understanding about FEATURES of Win-8 and continued for some time but saw All my other programs/applications or other paid softwares vanished and I understood that I will have to re-install; no problem; 
    yes if my software firms are registered with Microsoft till then??, 
    No BIOS and when RootKit has to find Firmware and check Signatures How much time needed??. DEVELOPER PREVIEW is use able for IT professionals

    I know how I had to re-install my Win-7, Win-8 having no support for Win-7 RECOVER features for that matter, any Recovery options 

    END result view is,
    1. Win-8 is not yet matured as yet for end users like me
    2. Other that Professionals I think when such words like FREE, Free come, means some thing FISHY behind this add FREE.
    3. I need more valuable advice from Knowledgeable persons 

    • I know how you fell same when i installed xp on seven… i wasnt concetrating any ways i had a backup so yeah… 
      Ps Dont put it on Any sort of VM k? buy a hard drive if not owned yet and create a vhd on it … install it there. Burn on disk you will need it to dual boot for the first few days i had a problem on which windows wasnt working and giving me error 0xc000000e but it gets fixed in 2 days time i dont know how i did it and you will also have a cool looking Booting screen.

  • Vagablonde

    personally i dont care for it one bit..and really if this is the final outcome I will switch to Linux or MAC

    • Stop being so … Bias … Windows 8 rocks and you will like too as soon an you start using it plus Microsoft Gave it out to DEVELOP!!! so of course there will be changes plus you could go on using it with theme-ing. I hear they have UX theme implanted in it.
      And if you hate it so much why even post just let it be.

  • Sijacl

    My two 3 year old granddaughters saw the metro “squares” and thought it was a game they could play. Taslk about dumbing down!

  • You can change it just look for it on google i did it

  • Ps i have one but i changed it back cuz i think it looks cool

  • It seems that Windows 8 will be a success, especially with its new
    features. The start-up screen has been causing some controversy with users, but
    I think new features like Explore Ribbon will generate more excitement when it
    comes to trying this version of Windows. . Do you think a lot of users will
    convert to Windows 8, or just stay with their current Windows version?

  • When I look at Windows 8 today. It is one ugly desktop. Worse than most Linux desktops. I’m predicting the death of Windows with Windows 8. It has come full circle and offers nothing new we couldn’t do with the other versions of Windows except ” TOUCH ME ” SLIDE ME ” … Big thrill for most of us buying the products. Just want we want. A sliding jigsaw puzzle with about 1 million new useless wordpress type plugins. Gas nearing $4 a gallon I can’t afford to upgrade a 3rd time since Vista came out within just a couple years. Big expense to re-train all my employee’s to use a new system. Unless the federal goverment decides to pick up the tab for it I don’t see where its possible for me. I tried it several times. Gave it a fair honest test. My 1st problem was figuring out how to shut it off. I had to google to get the anwser. Little Linux shaped dot that unless you accidentily as a tech while exploring it hover over it would never guess it was the shutdown button. I was ready to just unplug it. Pen part you can use on any graphics program almost to sign documents and email out or fax out. I’ve been using that system to save on paper and time as to electronic business. When I come home the bottom line is its just a toy then. I want the the big screen with the amazing home theater system for sound. I don’t want have to get up from the couch and go touch the screen. So where’s the Wii remote to operate that part of it?


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