Microsoft co-founder weighs in on Windows 8

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen publishes his view of the new operating system.

In a recently-published blog entry, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen shares a detailed, fascinating account of his experience with Windows 8. While Allen seems to like the new OS overall, he does list several minor concerns, which could discourage ambivalent users from upgrading.

Allen says Windows 8 is an evolutionary milestone in the OS's development, because it unifies Windows across multiple platforms. The new tablet features, Allen writes, are bold and innovative, and he is impressed with the OS's clever integration of tablet and desktop functions into a single, bimodal interface.

Allen even finds Windows 8 to be snappier and more responsive than Windows 7.

However, Allen acknowledges that the new interface might confuse existing Windows users, especially since applications and files can be opened in both desktop mode and tablet mode and run simultaneously.

Windows 8 does certainly require a brief adjustment period before users become familiar and comfortable with the new bimodal operating system, Allen notes.

Windows 8 is designed to force users to navigate an unfamiliar interface. Instead of seeing the familiar Windows desktop when the operating system boots up, a new tiled start screen appears, similar to the screen found on Windows phones and tablets. You can get to the old desktop screen by clicking a tile on the start screen, but you cant force Windows 8 to take you to the desktop by default a quirk that bothers Allen.

"The goal must have been to encourage people to acclimatize to Windows 8 style immediately," Allen writes. For users who don't want to acclimatize" themselves with the new interface, this design approach might look like an invitation to remain within the comfortable confines of Windows 7.

Allen also points out some less-than-intuitive elements. For example, the Charms bar which includes a number of important tools such as search, start, settings, and devices has no visual cues to inform the user how to display it. A similar absence of visual cues exists in apps that run under Windows 8 style, formerly known as Metro. While Allen finds closing a program on a tablet to be intuitive, doing so on a desktop is less so. To close a program on a desktop, the user must move their cursor to the top of the screen, wait for it to turn into a hand, and then use it to drag the application window to the bottom of the screen.

Windows 8 also suffers from some obvious oversights: there's no clock on the start screen. Also, to reach power functions (sleep, shutdown, restart), users have to go through two steps instead of one.

Allen's conclusion: Desktop PC users, with only minor tweaks and adjustments, should be able to pick things up without much trouble. I am sure most the [sic] minor issues I pointed out will be addressed in the next release of the operating system.

In other words, users may be better off waiting for SP1 to drop before they dip their toes into the waters of Windows 8.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?