Was Windows 8 really that bad?

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview arrived nearly 5 years ago. When I saw it, I was pretty surprised at how different it was. It felt like Windows 7, but with another shell added on.

 

Was Windows 8 really that bad? 

When Windows 8 came out in 2012, it created a divisiveness in the Windows community. Many people hated it, and stuck with Windows 7. Some loved it, and said they will never go the desktop again. There were some people who assimilated and tried adapting using programs like Start8. 

As brash as Windows 8 was with the schizo dueling interfaces. It was technically a huge leap forward for Windows. It brought Windows into the modern age of computing. First off, Windows 10 brought in modern apps, which cleanly install and uninstall, and don’t have acccess to everything in Windows. Secondly, Windows 8 introduced a reset option, which allowed users to reinstall Windows without the need of a DVD.

Microsoft also brought out significant system performance improvements in Windows 8. Before Windows 7 really needed 4GBs of RAM, but could run on 1GB, and a fast dual core processor. Windows 8 however, could run on 1GB of ram with a lower powered processor. It ran especially well on 1GB using modern apps. Windows 8 also brought new Directx technologies and many other technologies that made Windows much improved.

Windows 8 also introduced much improved security. For the first time, Windows included anti-virus, Windows Defender. Windows 8 also added other security features like secure boot.

Windows 8 also elicited new forms of computers. They ranged from 10″ tablets, to 2 in 1 laptop computers, small 8″ tablets, laptops with lids that flip 360 degrees and more. I would say, Microsoft’s tablet, the Surface Pro, inspired it’s competitors to release similar things. 

Windows 8 despite being divisive and different, brought out many positive changes. Without it, we would not have Windows 10, and the different forms of computers we have today. We would arguably still be using the Windows 7 desktop. 

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13 Comments
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  1. 2 | Reply
    FalseAgent - 2 months ago

    Windows 8 was a solid release, but the fullscreen start screen, and the way metro apps relied on undiscoverable gestures, ruined it.

  2. 2 | Reply
    wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 2 months ago

     I found it an improvement over Windows 7, I ran the preview and then updated all my machines on the week of launch. I never regretted it. 8.1 was what 8 should have been, but 8 offered enough to make it a worthwhile update for me.

    Another plus point was the app store. I had to install every application on Windows for my wife, on her PC. Within 30 minutes of upgrading her machine to 8, she proudly announced that she had managed to install some applications on her own, from the store.

  3. 1 | Reply
    TEAMSWITCHER - 2 months ago

    Windows 8 was complete garbage for the first year.  Windows 8.1 was better but the damage was done.  Looking back, there is no way to sugar coat this ...  Windows 8 damaged the Microsoft brand in ways it will never fully recover from.

  4. 1 | Reply
    wunderbar Alpha Member #290 - 2 months ago

    The problem with Windows 8 was that microsoft hedged that we'd all be using touchscreen tablet devices as our promary computers within a year or so of it arriving, and that clearly wasn't the case.  Windows 8 had significant issues when you wanted to use it on a bit desktop class monitor.

     

    I liked the idea of the product, but it missed the mark because it made a poor assumption that was a reaction to the metoric success/rise the iPad had at the time.

  5. 0 | Reply
    Hondo - 2 months ago

    I had no problems with Windows 8 and it was solid.  However, I'm happy with the change and except the move to Windows 10.

  6. 0 | Reply
    ldsands Alpha Member #642 - 2 months ago

    I always said to everyone that hated or said they hated windows 8 was, "It only took me a couple of days to get used to the new UI and once I got used to it  I really didn't miss the old windows." You should however know that I never really used Windows 8 I upgraded after 8.1 was released so... I didn't have t miss as much from windows 7.

  7. 0 | Reply
    inlocoabsentia Alpha Member #1634 - 2 months ago

    I don't think it was that bad, but it was a big shock at first. I remember when I first installed the Alpha, I was very WTF at the full screen UI, but I got over it. Indeed, even though Windows 10 has a start menu, it opens more slowly in response to key presses than the start screen did. I'm glad to have modern apps in windows, but I do miss how much lighter on resources it was.

  8. 0 | Reply
    rlcronin Alpha Member #1704 - 2 months ago

    Windows 8 was fine with Start8. I had no use for metro (and still resent that the stupid tiles live on in Wondows 10, but at least they're not taking over my 30 inch full screen anymore, so I've made my peace with them).

  9. 0 | Reply
    davidD Alpha Member #2138 - 2 months ago

    I still maintain that Windows 8 was a brilliant idea, "just" flawed in its execution, where only using touchscreen devices could one really appreciate its good points. That, combined with general perception of MS & Windows back in 2012, was what made Windows 8 bomb. Don't get we wrong, parts of Windows 8 were justifiably criticised, but equally I think too much of the public opinion was more what they had heard, rather than hands-on experiences. Arguably however, MS should have done much more to communicate what Windows 8 was about, and why, although talking about MS's lack of effective communication is a whole different blog post, even nowadays, despite improvements.

    Personally, having to use Windows 7 at work, I find it so old-fashined having used 8,8.1 and now 10 at home. They were certainly going in the right direction with 8, but just went too far too soon.

    tl,dr: No, it wasn't THAT bad, although it was flawed, far from perfect and only fully made sense with touch.

    1. 1 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 2 months ago

      One thing above all else deserved cristicism: lack of a Windows 7-like Start menu as a BUNDLED alternative UI. Like Windows 95 and NT 4 both shipped with Program Manager/File Manager to let those who wanted use the Windows 3.x UI. Like Windows XP shipped with a Classic theme/Start menu.

      Instead, Sinofsky and Harris went from forcing an entirely new UI on Office in Office 2007 to doing the same with Windows in Windows 8. It kinda worked with Office, though there was much grumbling. It may have been something MSFT could get away with only once. And unlike with Office 2007, Windows 8's new UI was OBVIOUSLY intended to force familiarity with the Windows Phone UI on as many PC users as possible. MSFT treating their PC customers like sheep may have been the wellspring for a bit of the adverse response to Windows 8.

    2. 1 | Reply
      wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 2 months ago

      It is funny, for years people complained about the Start Menu and how it was the tool of the devil and that Program Manager was the only true way to use Windows. Then, when MS finally came up with a hybrid between the Start Menu and Program Manager and an information panel, people complained.

      Just goes to show, you can't please all of the people all of the time.

    3. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 2 months ago

      You can please a lot more people providing at least one backwards compatibility level. Providing only the new Start screen in Windows 8 was as highhanded as MSFT has ever been. At least with the Office ribbon UI MSFT could argue they were promoting discoverability. With Windows 8, MSFT reduced discoverability.

      As for Program Manager, I don't recall that many preferring it to the then new Windows 95 Start menu. Still, bundling both satisfied as many people as possible rather than begging for complaints

  10. 0 | Reply
    hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 2 months ago

    Nothing prevents any software from installing and uninstalling cleanly aside from developer inexperience and/or indifference. Also, consider portable software, which shows that installation beyond unzipping was never really necessary except for software meant to be tied closely with other software through automation. If you want to assert that the Modern app mechanisms are necessary for Adobe software, you'd have a point. For GNU R, say, not really.

    I have VMs for 7, 8.1 and 10. Windows 8.1 uses the fewest system resources, but I wouldn't say it runs well in 1GB RAM.

    As for antivirus, yes, it's good MSFT bundles it with Windows 8.x, but was there ever any TECHNICAL reason MSFT couldn't have bundled it with earlier Windows versions? Still, a plus for Windows 8.x. Then again, how much more secure is Windows 8.1 with Windows Defended vs Windows 7 with Kaspersky?

    As for small tablets, 8" and smaller, how many actually sold? In fairness, I though the Nokia Windows RT tablet (I forget the #) was very nice, but not many sold. How many 360 degree laptops have sold? Heck, I'd love to see MSFT's telemetry to see the breakdown between systems with touch and nontouch monitors. I suspect touch screens are still under 40% of all Windows PCs. Less subjective, the advent of touch screen PCs didn't arrest and reverse the decline in PC sales. Best that could be attributed is that it may have slowed the decline.

    All that said, I prefer Windows 8.1 WITH CLASSIC SHELL to both Windows 7 and Windows 10. On my VMs, Winfows 10 uses more system resources than Windows 8.1.