borwell evaluation of Windows 8

Evaluation of Windows 8

One of the biggest modifications that has received a great deal of attention within technology circles is the removal of the start menu, which was originally introduced in Windows 95 and has been a staple part of the Operating System for 17 years. The ‘Start Button’, traditionally in the lower left corner of the screen, has been entirely removed. Clicking in this area will still trigger the start menus replacement the ‘Start Screen’ (see image). Whilst personally I’ve found the transition to be no more than a minor inconvenience, I can certainly foresee this being a difficult change to accommodate for people less at ease with technology.

In fact large portions of the new Window interface are now significantly more gesture based, which hints at this Operating System’s intention to be at home on both desktop workstations and mobile touch devices such as tablets. This is particularly evident within the ‘Start Screen’ where there is a new breed of applications. These applications, previously called Metro applications, are designed to run full screen, having a similar feel to many current tablet applications. Personally, I still find myself resorting to the desktop and have somewhat neglected the new applications, although this may largely down to the type of user I am. For a casual user, just using internet and email you could almost entirely do away with the desktop.

The Operating System is also pushing for cloud storage, often prompting you to use your ‘Sky Drive’. Whilst I still have concerns regarding cloud storage, I think this could be a real winner with home and business users who need a simple solution for sharing information between devices. Apple has succeeded with this with iCloud.

On the whole, I quite like the changes although I wouldn’t describe it as a significant improvement. I’m not convinced the larger market will receive it so warmly. However, only time will tell.

Adam Williams
Software Engineer

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