Thursday, January 10, 2013

My 8 Hate Cure

I’ve heard many mixed reviews since the official introduction of Windows 8 a few weeks ago. I personally can’t stand it. I’m a geek and must have the latest and greatest stuff but Windows 8 is just plain annoying to me. My office manager thinks its the best thing since professional wrestling but she is weird like that.

One of my main worries about Windows 8 was the fact that many older clients are resistant to ANY sort of change. Some have been known to hurl dirty words at us if we even think of updating Internet Explorer to the most recent version (or install Chrome or Firefox) simply because it looks just a bit different. Windows 8 is waaaay different.

If Windows 8 confuses and frustrates me, how can some of my clients ever hope to wrap their heads around it? As I stated in my last rant against Windows 8, Microsoft’s strategy is to bring the same experience to your Windows phone, Windows tablet and Windows desktop and laptop computers. If they succeed they will score a major home run on the competition. They still might pull it off but they have a ways to go.

While the Microsoft tablets and phones running Windows “Metro” are actually way cool, the experience of the desktop and laptop version is a foul ball. Many expect Microsoft to make some big changes in Windows 8 to quell the uprising from disgruntled users and make it behave more like the Windows we’ve all come to love and loathe.

But there is a cool solution that has eased the burden of the transition to Windows 8 for me. Perhaps it will do the same for you should you decide to take the plunge and upgrade to Windows 8 or purchase a new system with Windows 8 pre-installed.
There are a number of tweaks you can download that hide the most annoying parts of Windows 8: The ugly “live tiles” of the “Metro” interface and absence of a Start menu. The problem with the few tweaks I’ve tried is that the ugly parts of Windows 8 still popped up unexpectedly. One of my bestest technicians, Chris Ludington, turned me on to a freeware program called ClassicShell available from that permanently hides the Windows 8 ugliness.

This program puts a “shell”
around your operating system to give it a familiar look and feel. If you want your Windows XP system to look like a Windows 7/Vista system, you can do that. If you want Windows 7 to look like Windows XP, you can do that too. And, alas, if you want your Windows 8 computer to look and feel like the familiar Windows 7/Vista experience (or even XP), this is your savior. It’s super easy to download and install. If you don’t like it, it just as super easy to uninstall it and go back to the train wreck of Windows 8.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I bought a laptop before Win 8 came out. There is no way I want to look at a bunch of animated tiles and advertisements every time I start up my computer. It's pretty bad when even computer geeks don't want the latest os. I'm loving my aero glass on my 32in LCD in my HTPC configuration... no plans on ever upgrading to Win 8.

Jim Fisher said...

"I'm loving my aero glass on my 32in LCD in my HTPC configuration"

Oooh. Nice. ;)

Anonymous said...

The worst part about windows 8 is the lack of a drop shadow, which helps to differentiate foreground from background windows.

Other than that (and the settings') location (which no one except for geeks uses), it is essentially the same as Win 7.

Jim Fisher said...

The same as Windows 7? I beg to differ.

Of course anyone who is has lots of experience running Windows won't have much of a learning curve but that does not describe my average client or my average reader. Consider the little old lady who has been used to Windows start menu for decades and now has to learn something completely different. Even turning the computer off requires a lot of work. Elderly clients (a good 50% of my retail client base) do not like change. Move a desktop icon or update Internet Explorer to a new version (or, worse, install Chrome)and I'll hear about it for days.

Windows 8 forces the user to do things the way Microsoft wants instead of the other way around. If Microsoft succeeds in giving the same experience across the board from computers to tablets to phones, they will hit a home run. But until touch screen computers are ubiquitous, the tiles of Windows 8 is a fail.

Windows 8 will go down as the Microsoft Bob of the 21st century.