Windows 8 First Impressions: What you actually get!

I have read many articles of what people do and don’t like about Windows 8, but they usually point to just the cosmetic appearances of Windows 8 and not the really importing things that matter to the end user.

I remember the huge shift from Windows 3.11 to Windows 95 and wow the uproar over that was defining for sure, but after users had it in their hands and started to use it, every user would agree they would never think of going back to that mess of 3.11.  Change is never well accepted and we can equate this paradigm shift to the Windows 95 days to be certain.  Microsoft is completely changing the interface and will do again another 15 years down the road, so what are the three things what really entice me?  Here is the list:

1.       Windows to Go:  This could be the one thing that we all have been waiting for.  Users and Network admins alike.  It allows the user to bring their complete computer along with programs they use and love, anytime, anywhere. 

So I did a few experiments with USB2 and USB3.   I would like to make it clear I am using a laptop with no USB3 capabilities but the speed difference between the two was crazy when making the Windows to go stick.   My first attempt was 4 hours with all the bells and whistles installed in my transfer.  The file size was about 10 gig in total.   The same on a USB3 was about 1 hour.   Yes a huge difference and I believe it is because of the files extracting on the USB device itself.   The procedure was straight forward which I will post here but to a novice this will be an intimidation for sure.   This is where the IT consultant will be able to help out.   In later versions or service packs I would love to see a button that allows the user to make their own Windows to go stick, but for now my steps will get you there.

2.       Built in Hyper-V full 64 bit version: This will allow you to run multiple OS Versions should you choose, with the speed and ease of a standalone workstations.

Let’s be clear, all your windows 7 programs you currently use and enjoy will work on Windows 8.   There now that we have that out of the way what about XP?   Well just like windows 7 some of your old XP programs may have issues, this will still be the case for your Windows 8 environment, and however you can run a virtualized XP, Windows 7 or any other OS other than MAC in your VM.   This will allow you to have backwards compatibility options right out of the box.   This version will support both 32bit and 64bit environments, which the older VM did not support so now no limitation in platform options.  Another argument for Virtualization of a PC is for your work.   You may not want to attach your windows 8 environment to the corporate office which locks down your personal machine and thus puts you at the mercy of the corporate IT department.   What you could do is run a Windows 7 VM, attach that to the corporate environment and if you ever leave the company or the corporate IT dept. needs to deploy, change or lock things down tighter they can, and it will only affect the VM.

 3.       Access to Marketplace:  This is turning out to be really a cool feature.  This bridges the gap between the mobile phone/surface user and the laptop/workstation user.   By using your Windows live ID it knows what you have purchased for programs/music/video and anything else you can connect to in the cloud and give you the same experience on every device.

This is a great cool feature and will be offered on all Windows 8 versions.   The thing I like the most is users sometimes just need a quick program to make their computer experience either easier or more enjoyable.   My Father would be a great example of this.   He is on his own but looking for a recipe or just wants to watch an old movie or TV show.   Crackle allows you to watch some great old shows, and even some current ones for free.   The days of it being complicated, cumbersome or waiting for his techno-savvy son are now gone.   Oh what will we talk about now?


Most people are asking me why the change in the desktop?   It’s clear over many years of me going from company to company that people have about 50 icons on their desktop at any given time.   So if your desktop has clutter why not organize it?   The live tiles allow you to expand or shrink your experience without changing font sizes and for those of us who need to call IT every time we change our glasses this is a cool feature.   Also the tiles show you what is waiting in your Inbox, Social Media and anything else you can think of without ever opening the program.   I didn’t think I would use this feature but now I use it all the time for my business apps.   I can tell if there are emergencies of failed backups, antivirus notifications, email and appointments just by glancing at the screen.   Now the experience will be tailored to you the end user in every way.  All we have to do now is play with it, and find our new love for a new interface.  Time will tell.