Microsoft launched their flagship tablet yesterday – The Microsoft Surface, and along with it came Windows 8. I made sure when the family PC was getting upgraded a few months ago that we got a touchscreen so we can make use of the many touchscreen capabilities that Windows 8 brings with it.
I part with my £50 (considerably cheaper than older Windows OS – Apple influence?) and head home to update my Windows 7 computer. To my relief, upon running the setup I find that I can update to Windows 8 from Windows 7 without loosing any settings, files or applications – brilliant!
This is where things start to go downhill. I have to uninstall a program before being allowed to update because it isn’t supported on Windows 8 – understandable. I install Windows 8, go through the setup process and then the proverbial hits the fan; the touchscreen doesn’t respond when I tap on it.
I don’t know whether this is a problem with my install or what. The touchscreen is recognised by the computer but I just can’t use it. I go onto Windows Update to see if there are any driver updates that may help. There are 5 updates available, and I install them. After repeated error messages and failed installs. Still no touchscreen love.
But alas, that’s just my problem so let’s talk about Windows 8 in general. I’ve used it for about 3/4 hours now, installing various apps and just generally trying to use all its features. Microsoft have tried to make Windows simpler, with the same metro UI as their phones and tablets but I don’t like it – it’s so hard to get into the nitty-gritty settings if you have a problem (like I did with my touchscreen). It’s easy enough just to change simple settings and customise your account, but anything past that becomes a giant headache.
The Windows Store is a good feature to have though – you have access to amazing games and apps that make the Windows 8 experience that bit more bearable – you have various Twitter apps designed with the same metro theme as Windows 8, as well as games that have become a household name on Android and iOS such as Cut the Rope and Angry Birds.
I love the Live Tiles in Windows 8 – tiles such as the Weather and the News will update and change as you’re on the computer, no need to manually refresh. You can also change the colour scheme of Windows 8. It’s all so personal to the user. Don’t worry if you miss the old desktop style, you can still get onto that by tapping on the Desktop tile on the Start menu.
There are shortcuts that you can use to make the experience better, especially when switching between apps. You can tap/click in the left hand corner (both top and bottom) to change app, tap/click on the top right hand corner to enter a quick menu to go to Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings and if you tap/click on the bottom right hand corner on the main Start menu, you can blow up your whole screen to see all your apps. The favourite shortcut that I’ve discovered is when in an app, you can click and drag from the top and move it to the left or right & you can go into split screen mode where you can be on two apps at once. Amazing.
There are more features to Windows 8 that I haven’t mentioned as I haven’t used them properly yet. This is just my impression of Windows 8. If you want to get Windows 8, it’s available now for £50 at most computer retailers! Also, if you got a Windows 7 PC/Laptop after 2nd June 2012, you can click here and get Windows 8 for £14.99! Do you have Windows 8? What do you think of it? Innovation or a waste?