Is Windows 8, now three weeks past its launch, becoming the success Microsoft envisions? While the technology giant can find some encouraging news, there are also a variety of warning clouds on the horizon.
Various analysts' sales projections are among the warnings. Over the past week, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore issued a research note that his company expects Windows 8 will have a "more muted impact" on increased buying demand of PCs because of "mixed" reviews that are due to a "confusing UI" or user interface, a lack of interest, and a complicating Windows 8 versus Windows RT positioning in the tablet market.
The Windows 8/RT tablet positioning refers to the fact that tablets are coming into the marketplace with the two different versions of Windows, depending on whether the processor is ARM-based or Intel's. As the two versions have different capabilities, industry observers have questioned whether this will create marketplace confusion.
The "confusing UI" comment was echoed also in last week's report by usability expert Jakob Nielsen, who said the interface formerly known as Metro "smothers usability with big colorful tiles while hiding needed features."
Another analyst, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, has similarly lowered sales expectations for Windows 8-based PCs, in his case based on manufacturing orders from computer makers in Asia. Microsoft has not issued sales figures to date, although CEO Steve Ballmer said in October that over 4 million upgrade copies were sold in the first weekend of general availability and "tens of millions" of copies had been delivered to OEM manufacturers.
In a story published online, Fortune magazine's Cyrus Sanati wrote about extensive problems he encountered when he tried to upgrade to Windows 8 from a supposedly compatible Windows 7 machine. Sanati said the experience was mirrored in similar complaints on Facebook and Twitter by other users, including consistent crashes by applications, driver incompatibility and other issues.
In his own personal experience of attempting an upgrade, Sanati first found that his touchpad and screen dimmer didn't work properly, audio was "spotty," the screen flickered, and the installer required to download updated drivers was incompatible. That was followed by a dead hard drive apparently caused by Windows 8 "incompatibility issues with solid-state drives," he said. After other issues made his computer unusable, Microsoft tech support eventually decided that his computer "simply wasn't compatible" with the new OS.
Our Readers Weigh In
Many of our own readers have expressed their opinions about working with the new Windows system. Following a recent story here about the lack of the traditional Start menu, for example, more than two dozen commenters expressed their mostly negative reactions to the Start-less Windows 8 and related concerns.
One reader, Vladimir Zlvadinovic, posted that the lack of a "Start menu is a major deal-breaker for me." He added that it was "absolute madness" to make ARM-based tablets that can still display the "traditional desktop" interface, but that don't have the ability to run legacy Windows x86 apps.
"If ARM was used, then there should not been a traditional desktop at ALL and Windows RT should have been called Metro 8," he proposed.
Another reader, Floske Tuf, said the Windows 8 interface was "ruined" because of no Start menu and button, no "Aero" styling in the classic interface, and "no possibility" to choose the desktop interface as the default interface.
Posted: 2013-02-06 @ 4:29pm PT
Microsoft could easily fix many of the problems and annoyances in Windows 8 interface. Unfortunately, they really aren't as concerned about users like Apple Computers is. Remember when they came out with the "Bob" interface a number of years ago? It was stupid, and the same people were involved in Win 8 UI.
Posted: 2012-12-26 @ 8:15am PT
It is vague..download with no choice to "run" program. Where did the download go? I feel captured. I loaded Firefox yesterday to escape audio and visual adds popups. My computer is my private space..no intrusive adverts!
Posted: 2012-12-23 @ 4:00am PT
Just have a new HP with windows 8 and after about a week I can say I Hate this form or lack of form.
Posted: 2012-12-16 @ 8:31pm PT
my windows 8 can't open youtube
Posted: 2012-12-13 @ 4:22am PT
I'm sure that Windows 8 would be great on a tablet style machine, but on a laptop it leaves a lot to be desired. Can I have windows 7 back, please?
Posted: 2012-12-12 @ 7:52pm PT
Sucks. A nightmare. Lost all the stuff I had on AOL. Tried to uninstall, but they blocked that. Trying to decide wheter to use my laptop for an anchor or as a target
Posted: 2012-12-10 @ 5:41am PT
First time I have ever hated a Windows update. Every other update was embraced with open arms even though I did have to learn the differences. But this cr@p they call an OS now is just a total step in the wrong direction. I mean jeesh, I've got to google to find out just how to turn the thing off. Good job keeping the thing intuitive. Like many others, Microsoft has finally given me enough reason to spend the extra money and head over to Apple. Goodbye!
Posted: 2012-12-09 @ 4:55am PT
I agree about the start menu not being present. Ridiculous!I believe Microsoft has taken some steps backwards on Windows 8. Eye Candy is a great strategy for marketing! But when you give up functionality you lose! Microsoft has had a few losers over the years, and I feel this one is headed that way!
Posted: 2012-12-08 @ 8:11pm PT
I have just recently bought windows 8 pro and I think it's amazing, one of the best things Microsoft has brought out. I say it better than windows 7 and faster. It's well worth buying and don't miss out cause when u see it for yourself you will fall in love. Yes it is complicated but when u get used to it, then you won't want to leave it alone. My rating is a five star and I give it 100% for its speed etc. Buy it now and enjoy it. I am and so are many more people.
Posted: 2012-12-01 @ 6:16pm PT
I love Windows 8, own a Surface RT, and a Windows 8 phone. I love the marriage of all the platforms and the deep integration. Finally! SkyDrive is the bomb.
Posted: 2012-11-27 @ 12:14pm PT
Upgraded to Windows 8 and have been sorry ever since.
Posted: 2012-11-26 @ 12:18am PT
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 11:33pm PT
Thanks for the balanced article. It's always nice to hear both the positive and negative comments from users trying a new product.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 9:09pm PT
The keyboard defaults to another one when W8 is first run if you are not in the States. This can be changed via the control panel. Otherwise the OS is an ugly nightmare that requires extensive beating with the old mod stick to make it usable. Love this ugly beast though, once it's tamed.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 7:17pm PT
I downloaded Windows 8 for my new desktop. Hate the absence of the start menu. When I try to enter information in a website or in an e-mail, symbols will not type out, such as: the @ sign for an e mail address, the $ sign, etc. When I try to get assistance from Microsoft, I am forwarded to an independent IT company that wants $90.00 to help me with a software issue....NO WAY
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 6:03pm PT
Do not like windows 8, too different from any prior windows systems, too big of a change for someone who's not a techie. Will not buy a new computer with the windows 8 system!!
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 4:01pm PT
I upgraded my windows 7 quad core gaming PC to Windows 8, but am regretting it. I would not recommend Windows 8 for a laptop or desktop computer, it is more for a tablet style of device.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 3:58pm PT
Hate Windows 8. Completely insane OS. Stupid. Takes 3 times as long to do simple things. If I had the money, I'd get a Macbook Pro and give the finger to Microsoft forever.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 3:40pm PT
Two new HP laptops both have issues with win 8 updating. When it updates the machines, both fail and revert back to original settings knocking out the wifi and causing you to repair the updater. So at this stage, I'm strongly looking at deleting this rubbish and running on Linux.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 3:00pm PT
Using Windows 8 since its release on a non touch desktop and it's a joy. By now, whenever I use a computer at school (windows 7), I catch myself hovering the cursor to the lower left corner and laugh at myself because I realize that nothing will happen by doing so... I wonder if there are any other users experiencing this or if I am just a really weird being :)
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 2:55pm PT
@Merril: Want to know the funny thing about hitting the Windows Key and typing the program's name? This was in Windows 7 since day one. The box "Search programs and files" is basically just that. I personally found it very obvious but I also tend to experiment around with a new OS.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 2:16pm PT
Microsoft is suffering from what Nissan did in 1999: They have stopped listening to their customers. A number of the Beta & pre-Beta reviewers were super happy with Win8 so long as they could turn off the (then called) "Metro" interface and just have a desktop. MS removed this ability during their beta cycle so now we are all stuck with the "Metro" interface.
Every complaint here clearly shows that the new Win8 UI stinks. It is not intuitive or groundbreaking. The omission of or hiding of components we take for granted (the start button, the power button, a DVD video driver, etc) simply proves that MS is short sited, not "forward thinking". With MS, most major releases mean re-learning what you already knew. No difference here.
Win8 will fall on the down-side along with Vista and Windows ME. Oh -- and Windows Server 2012 will fall short next to Windows Server 2008 (before R2), which BTW MS started GIVING to some of their Enterprise customers because (IMO) they know it was a 1/2 baked OS.
Sorry MS... Good luck with Windows 9.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 1:57pm PT
Well it seems that a lot of people are just spoiled or lazy...lol.
Windows 8 is very easy to use but you have to be willing to learn the new features and gestures of this new operating system and it appears that a lot of people are not willing to do this. I love my Windows 8 Pro and have converted it to look and operate just the way my windows 7 did. You can't be lazy people or you will miss out on this great version of Windows.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 1:37pm PT
Love the new live tile interface. Absolutely no problems with the omission of a 'Start' menu. I actually find it easier to access the programs and features I need. Hit the Windows key, start typing the program name and the index takes care of the rest. A quick glance at the home screen puts you in the know immediately without the need to launch apps. It's like a car dashboard. Clear, concise information in an instant. I opted for the upgrade from Windows 7 to 8. Process went extremely well... takes longer than a fresh install but well worth the time you'd consume reinstalling all your desktop applications.
Stability is A+ though I do take issue with ATI/AMD's stance of relegating my crossfire video cards as legacy (just use Windows 7 drivers, skip the AMD/ATI legacy package). Funny things is that ATI still sells the very graphics hardware residing on my system. If you are upgrading, note that the system WILL provide you with a list of any known compatibility issues before proceeding.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 1:33pm PT
I upgraded to win 8 on day of release and was determined to stay with it. Three weeks later I reverted to win 7. Why? Win 8 feels like half an os. Sure, you can use it as a desktop os (with Classic Shell), but you never forget all the junk straddling several screens off to the "right". Win 8 may be fast, but it is not "clean".
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 1:14pm PT
Windows 8 starts with an irritating clock screen that requires an extra click to get to the log in screen. The start button is missing. The control panel and shutdown commands require several unnecessary clicks. All these problems can be corrected by creating shortcuts, but Microsoft shouldn't have made it so hard to do in the first place.
The start page is an ADHD nightmare. The continual updates are distracting... who cares what is trending on Bing or wants to see random travel pictures. These can be downsized and moved off screen to the right.
The biggest irresolvable problem I've found so far is that the desktop taskbar disappears when in the app mode. It's nice to have reminder of the time and remaining battery power without having to consciously toggle to a clock app or the desktop. I'm not impressed with Windows 8. An OS should make things easier, not get in the way.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 12:27pm PT
Before I upgraded my laptop I used Clonezilla to create an image of my Windows 7 disk. Good thing I did that. I was able to restore Windows 7 without issue.
Problem 1: A laptop is not a tablet. The desktop graphics were degraded for no apparent reason other than they could be. When you pay for serious hardware you don't want the operating system preventing full use of said hardware. I use very expensive Adobe Products on my laptop and desktop. I expected better. Classic shell will give you back the desktop start button but why when I can just go back to Windows 7 and be done with it.
Problem 2: I don't see the difference between Android icons and tiles except size and shape. They all do the same thing. It's like everyone thinks that changing the shape and color of the same thing Android has make it different. I find it annoying to see so many people fall for marketing ploys.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 11:11am PT
I bought the upgrade for two machines a few weeks ago. My wife loves it. I have complaints about it. When you want to watch a video, it defaults to the app version. Yes it has some nice graphics when copying from one location to another or the task manager performance screen offers alot of information. The downside is the app version of a program is different than the desktop version. I feel this is a tablet only version, and I will be downgrading it within the next hour. In the future, I will not be an early adopter for a new windows os.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 10:19am PT
The no start menu complaint will be short lived once people understand how much more flexible and useful the new system is than the old start menu. More and more Start screen apps are coming, making the Start screen much more appealing. There are already over 13,000 apps for the Start screen in Microsoft's store. Further, Windows 8 has a much faster boot time. The system requires less memory and runs all Windows 7 programs. Win 8 is equally easy to use with a mouse and keyboard as it is using touch.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 9:17am PT
I have been using windows 8 for a month and I am loving it. It just takes some time to get on top of the newer interface, but I find its lots of fun to do so. The new start screen is a perfect replacement for the start menu, and I adore it.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 8:52am PT
I have 8 and find it more confusing as I see more of it. I have not found a single feature that is superior to 7. MS should offer a free downgrade to 7.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 8:33am PT
No confusion in the real world. Just hacks without any talent for original ideas.
Posted: 2012-11-25 @ 8:33am PT
Microsoft needs to start work on the ninth version of Windows soon, because most people just don't like 8. I expect them to release 9 in the next 3 yrs or they'll be crushed. People would stick with XP and 7.