Why I like Windows 8 on my desktop machine

I like the Windows 8 operating system on my custom built “ultimate developer rig” desktop machine:

Why do I like it when there has been a lot said about that crazy new user interface?

Performance

First, the performance is great.

I built my desktop machine in 2008. It has 8 gb of memory and while my excessive tabs in Chrome browser were slowing me down, the machine itself felt a bit slow.

Until, I upgraded to Windows 8. With Windows 8, the UI felt fast again. To quantify, it didn’t feel like I suddenly got a much faster machine but I noticed and appreciated the performance improvements in speed and memory utilization. YMMV.

Missing Start Button?

For myself, I do not miss the Start button. I didn’t use it that much.

However!

The new ‘Natural user interface’ that is key to windows does not work well if you don’t have a touch interface. I don’t have a touch monitor. However, I’m a keyboard and mouse ninja so I don’t have many problems with just:

  1. Creating shortcuts
  2. Using Launchy (Alt+Space ftw!)
  3. And, occasionally, going to the main Win8 NUI to find/do something.
  4. Btw, the shortcuts mentioned by Hanselman in this blog post are very useful (Win+I and Win+X).

Windows 8 Features

Here’s some of the Windows 8 features that I do like:

  • Dual monitor support – independent backgrounds, taskbar enhancements and keyboard support to move apps is very nice. Btw, get the Bing Dynamic theme and you’ll have the amazing Bing.com pictures as your background.
  • Task manager – There’s been a lot of nice improvements in the Task Manager. Read this post to learn how to use the Win8 task manager.
  • File Copy – The file copy dialog *seems* more accurate now. Steven Sinofsky has a good post about it here.
  • Eject USB drives – Improved because it seems when I eject from Win8, it actually works. Small but annoying little feature that helps me.
  • App Snapping – I didn’t think this would be useful for me but it has been. So far, I’ve only tried it with the MetroTwit and Google search apps. The google search app is cool because you can perform a voice search right from your desktop.

Not for everyone

Windows 8 is not for everyone. In fact, I’m not saying that it’s the best OS out there (aka, I’d love to spend a few months with a Macbook Air). In fact, I would NOT want to trade in my iPad for a Surface.

What I am saying is that if you’re like me: a desktop Windows 7 power user who is not afraid of the keyboard. Then, you may want to check out Windows 8.

Summary

Windows 8 has a lot of minor improvements in the UI and experience that all add up to a good upgrade for my desktop machine.

Did I mention the performance improvements? That is my favorite Windows 8 feature.

Overall, it’s faster and smoother than Windows 7. And being that I’m a geek, I know how to get around it. So, it’s fun for me.
Keep an open mind and try it. Hopefully, it’s fun for you as well. Smile

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2 comments

  1. I find it ok on my touch enabled ultrabook. On my regular desktop i went back to windows 7. It needs more configuration options. Grey is the only possible colour for an inactive window and when windows are stacked, i have a hard time picking up where one window starts and another ends. Aero used to make this easy with the shadows but this is no longer an option either.

    DisplayFusion by Binary Fusion makes multi monitors much more functional and (for a power user) Directory Opus as a file manager wipes the floor with Windows Explorer and lets me get away from that awful ribbon.

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