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