Saturday, June 8, 2013

Stop the windows 8 hate / Zinio: editorial, Maximum PC | Jul-13


Gordon Mah Ung

AFTER SIX MONTHS of using it (including the previews), I’ve fully mapped out the five stages of Windows 8 adoption: Denial. Confusion. Anger. Depression. Acceptance.
First comes denial. “I mean, really, the Start button isn’t really gone, is it? It can’t be. Medic! Don’t die on me you son of…! Nooo!!!”
Confusion then sets in. Whether you’re an octogenarian octocore-overclocker or a skinny-jeaned hipster sitting in a café with an Ultrabook, confusion will reign. “Wait, why does it keep going to full screen? How do I get this to dock? How do I shut down the PC? How come the app controls aren’t uniform? How do I close apps? Wait, Modern apps are different than desktop apps? Huh, what?”
The longest stage is anger, which I’m betting the vast majority of users are still in. It lasts for months and will occasionally simmer over into bouts of screaming at the screen, murderously gripping your mouse, and pounding on that innocent victim—your keyboard—until keys pop off. “Why is it so hard to reboot my computer?!” “If I had an actual Windows 8 disc, I’d smash it to bits! Wait, I’ll actually burn a Windows 8 ISO to disc and then smash it!”
Eventually, depression sets in. Hell, what else explains dismal PC sales this last quarter? Many analysts (and PC makers) blame Windows 8 for putting the plane into a nose dive.
The good news, I’m happy to report, is that eventually acceptance sets in. I spent months in the anger stage and additional time wallowing in despair and depression. On a recent new desktop box at home, though, I had the option of going with Windows 7 or Windows 8, and actually opted for Win8. I installed the Enterprise version and didn’t initially activate it because I wanted to see if I could stand it on my primary gaming and content-creation box without a touchscreen. In the end, however, I committed, and, amazingly, I’m OK with my choice.

I even opted to stick with the much-hated Modern UI because I wanted to suffer as others have. While I’m a bigger fan of Windows 8 when paired with a touchscreen, the lack of a touchscreen on this gaming box hasn’t been a deal-breaker. How did I go from foaming-at-the-mouth anger and deep despair over Windows 8 to a level of acceptance? I’ve really started to appreciate all the little things Microsoft has done to the OS. The Windows Task Manager, for example, is one of the more accurate tools for determining my machine’s current clock speed. I’ve put it against Intel’s own utilities and it’s been spot on. Switching back to the Windows 7 Task Manager feels like I’m in Windows XP or Vista. My new SSD needs to be Trim’d? Not a problem with Windows 8, either.

There are enough improvements to Windows 8 that at this point in my life, I’ve decided to accept it, and maybe even prefer it.

Gordon Mah Ung is Maximum PC’s deputy editor, senior hardware expert, and all-around muckraker.
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