We’ve Actually Used It – What Does MakeUseOf Think Of Windows 8?

James Bruce 23-11-2012

windows 8 reviewIf you haven’t installed Windows 8 yet; don’t worry, we’re technology writers – it’s our job to test these things out for you. Quite a few MakeUseOf staff including myself have taken the plunge and upgraded to Windows 8 now – and had the chance to play with newer touchscreen models too – so let’s take a summary look at what everyone thinks of it in this Windows 8 review.



Like every Windows installation I’ve ever done, it was from scratch on a freshly formatted machine. However, I was unable to buy a licence key online, because that isn’t available to Europe; the system builder edition is also currently unavailable outside of the US, so the only option is to purchase a retail upgrade. Unfortunately, it then refused to activate with my “upgrade” key, so I had to reformat, install Windows 7, then run the Windows 8 installation from within there, and finally activate. I’m disgusted that Microsoft makes it so hard to actually give them money; it’s a textbook example of a badly mismanaged launch.

For me, my Windows machine isn’t my workhorse; it sits in the living room and plays games or movies – so ease of use of the interface isn’t exactly mission critical for me. I upgraded because frankly, it’s my job to upgrade, and I’d heard there are some performance gains under the hood, particular in start-up times. I’m somewhat impressed by the Xbox connectivity with Dance Central 3 party mode DJ, and the far improved handling of second screens; no more fiddling in display properties just to send a mirrored signal to the TV.

On that note – the Modern UI is great for a 50″ TV, but my favourite apps (VLC and Plex) are still stuck in desktop mode and there’s little functionality of interest to me in the Windows store (as yet). Certainly worth a $40 upgrade for performance boosts alone, but not if you want to be productive because the new UI will absolutely destroy that.

windows 8 review

I have also had the privilege of reviewing a Surface RT tablet, as a device with Modern UI only (the desktop mode is basically useless). Even after a week I find the touch gestures to be unintuitive, particularly since they’re completely different to the trackpad and mouse controls. I had trouble using the device for anything productive; even checking email was a chore I’d rather not suffer.


The hardware itself is a classy bit of kit, but with such a poor software implementation I’d advise to stay well away from Surface RT, and instead hold out for the Pro editions due later this year if you really want a touch-based Windows 8 device. As a loss-leader to tackle the low or mid range tablet market this might have succeeded; at a similar price point to the iPad, the choice is obvious.

Mark O’Neill

Our supreme editor in Germany, Mark experienced the same upgrade woes as me. After building himself a new PC and installing Windows 8 fresh, he found the upgrade key didn’t work, having assumed he would simply be able to supply a valid Windows 7 licence key to prove it was legitimate.

Mark also runs a dual-screen setup, and had this to say:

One irritating thing for me is that, having two monitors, if I have to put my mouse arrow in the corner to switch screens, the mouse arrow jumps to the next monitor screen. Getting it in the exact corner to switch between desktop and tiles is a lesson in extreme patience.

He’s also impressed by 5-second boot times, and was kind enough to share his decidely gothic start menu, full of non-metro apps.


Overall opinion – when you first start to use it, you hate it instantly. The lack of a traditional start menu is disorientating and throws you totally off-balance. You have no idea anymore how to work Windows! Like everything in life, eventually it begins to get a little easier with practice.

windows 8 features

Tim Brookes

Tim is lucky enough to have had the chance to play with Windows 8 “as intended” on some touch enabled tablets and all-in-one machines, and he’s still not impressed.

I’m rather surprised it has not gained more criticism, especially from those using the traditional mouse and keyboard setup. On a laptop the experience is jarring … The all-in-one touchscreen experience is better, and the UI makes a lot more sense in this capacity. I still can’t help but feel there’s a lot of wasted opportunity though, particularly when you get back to the traditional desktop and either have to mash the touchscreen with your fingers or switch input devices to the mouse or trackpad. That’s not a pleasant user experience, but then nor is touching your monitor and leaving fingerprints all over the screen.

If you’re looking for the traditional desktop experience with the improved boot times and superior task manager then I think the “Modern” UI is going to mar the experience in a big way. This time round many people have praised Microsoft for doing something different, but different doesn’t mean good. Different shouldn’t be a get out of jail free card, and Microsoft should not have left its loyal desktop users wondering what happened to their favourite OS.

Them sure is fightin’ words, Tim!

Chris Hoffman

Chris is a big Windows fan, and regularly writes about Windows 8 tweaks here and on other sites. He knows his stuff, so what did he have to say?


There are lots of great improvements – boot-time increases, a much better file-copying function, and the best task manager ever. Under the hood, it’s actually the best Windows desktop ever.

The praise ends there though.

That’s what makes Windows 8 so tragic. The experience on a non-touch-enabled desktop or laptop is bizarre and I just can’t get used to it. You can’t avoid the new interface entirely; some parts of it will always intrude on the desktop – for example, if you click the wireless icon on the desktop, it will take up a huge chunk of your screen in Modern-style. It’s just not consistent.

I want multiple windows on-screen at the same time. I want side-by-side multitasking with each window taking up half of the screen. I use these features all the time to get work done and I would be much less productive without them.

Ultimately though, he’s afraid that as a desktop user, Microsoft is abandoning him in favour of a closed device approach. He can easily envision a future in which the only software available is through the Windows Store.

Erez Zukerman

Erez is a constant traveller, and had a ridiculous time Microsoft Is NOT Ready To Support Windows 8: A Case In Point Windows 8 is upon us! Excited, I've installed the shiny new OS and tried to install my first app from the new Store, only to be notified that my "purchase couldn't be completed" (it was... Read More of trying to set up a valid Windows store account, having been bounced around a number of different helplines including Xbox support (he doesn’t actually own an Xbox), and has finally resigned to the fact that his main user account simply cannot purchase anything in the Windows store.

Though his situation is somewhat unique, this inability to transfer international accounts with Microsoft and Xbox have been known for a long time (I lost all my gamer points and had to create a new Live ID when I moved back to the UK), it was hoped that Windows 8 and the unified Windows account would sort this all out. It didn’t – Microsoft is still completely unable to handle anything international. Whatever you do, don’t move to a different country.


windows 8 review

The screenshot he shared summarises his experiences: he’s installed Classic Shell to bring back the old school start menu, and like most of us is impressed by performance gains and a generally snappier interface.

If I could have just one Windows 8 wish, it would be to make Modern go away for good. The part of Windows that I’m used to thinking about as Windows – the “desktop experience” so to speak – is solid. It helps that I’ve installed Windows 8 on a powerful computer, but the system is extremely responsive, fun, and easy to use. If that’s all Windows 8 tried to do, it would have been a worthy upgrade I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Christian Cawley

Christian is a rabid supporter of the Windows Phone platform, so naturally he was excited when the same concept was brought to the desktop. He likes the edginess of it all, and is excited where Microsoft takes it.

There are definitely issues with the Charms and other “edge of screen” aspects being neither intuitive nor easily used on a desktop/laptop, but there is a bounce about the OS that Windows has never had before. I don’t think the OS is perfect, but it is ideal for what Microsoft have in mind over the next few years, is easy to use after a few days adjustment and most of all it feels fun.

Matt Smith

Matt is a prolific reviewer of hardware, so he’s had the chance to play with Windows 8 on newer devices including a hybrid tablet from Dell.

On a convertible laptop the new operating system is kind of awesome. Yes, there is a learning curve… but I preferred it to my Google Nexus 7. The convertible laptop is ridiculously heavy for a tablet, so I would not want to use it on a plane or bus – which is about 1% of my use. The other 99% of the time part I use my laptop or tablet on the couch, where I can prop up whatever I’m holding with a pillow or my knees. And in this situation having a huge touchscreen is awesome.

I also like the fact that it is, well, Windows. When I use my Nexus 7 to browse the web some sites are finicky because of performance issues or because they just weren’t built with a mobile device in mind. But touch-enabled Internet Explorer works well and everything renders perfectly.

The duality of the interfaces is something we’re all having trouble with, it seems.

It’s an operating system with two different interfaces, one of which is built for touch, which I must interact with even when I have just a keyboard and mouse. I wish that Microsoft had some sort of UI switch that let users choose if they want to activate the Metro elements or not.

But overall, he’s warming to it.

There’s a lot of useful features, it’s fast, it’s stable, and it’s not nearly as hard to get used to as I anticipated.

Justin Pot

My co-host Justin succinctly identified one of the reasons I certainly can’t see the Modern UI being used productively:

From an information diet Eating Only Dessert: Why Your Information Diet Is Probably Terrible [Feature] Email. Social networks. Blogs. Online video. People today consume more information than ever before, and typically only consume the things they really, really like. Clay Johnson compares this to a bad diet. "If you only... Read More point of view, it seems designed to distract you. Because of the live tiles on the start screen, every time you go to launch a program you’re presented with emails you need to answer, photos from your friends on Facebook and the latest from Twitter. You can turn this off, sort of, but it’s going to be a productivity pit for many.

I think that summarises things quite well really – very few of us actually like the UI changes, but we’ll take any performance boost thank-you-very-much!

I hope this has given you a good Windows 8 review and some idea of what to expect if you upgrade now. For certain, this is a new product – a new direction for Microsoft – but one that may not sit well with you.

If you’ve upgraded, how’s the transition been for you?

Related topics: User Review, Windows 8.

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  1. null
    April 27, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Man Window 8 in just confusing at times. I cant find anything easily. I cant go to the desktop. There are apparently two different look IE. A few people came asked me to help them downgrade to Win 7 instead. Another person couldnt log in because she used her email and some how could not get be into the pc. I think that Microsoft is innovative but I think they force the change too soon. I dont see Win 8 being a productivity OS. Just something to play with. Windows 7 works fine so I dont know why they messed up that equation.

  2. Broken Arrow
    March 18, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Tried thrice and rolled back to Win7 within 48 hours :( Initiating for another test run today ;)

  3. Brenden Barlow
    December 14, 2012 at 2:19 am

    i really enjoy windows 8 so far. i havent seen any glaring issues.

  4. darren
    December 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    i have the upgade version and i installed it from scratch on a formatted laptop no bother !!

  5. Frank Zedmore
    December 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

    The performance upgrade intrigues me but I really can't get over how different it looks from win 7. Maybe I'll just wait until win 9 or I get used to the look of it all

  6. Eduardo Pereira
    November 30, 2012 at 5:51 am

    I migrated to Windows 8 less than one week ago. And let me be pretty honest here - there's nothing I don't like about it. I've been using Windows since 3.11 and I got to know the insides of Apple support for a couple of years - using Mac OS, naturally - and I also had Ubuntu running alongside Windows as my personal second OS. I've seen a few of each and I think 8 is superb. Let me organize a few ideas:

    1. I think of the Modern Start UI as a zoom-in on the old start menu. Instead of a small rectangle, I have a stripe of apps that I can move around with the scroll wheel on my mouse. Not that hard. Furthermore, I keep the most important apps pinned to the desktop taskbar, so everything is at hand at any given time (actually, not having a Start button makes room for one or two more apps).

    2. Music features are amazing and the possibility of streaming music I don't own to my computer for free is more than I could have hoped for.

    3. E-mail, calendar, people, messages... Let me sum it up in one word: Google. Launch browser, login to Gmail and I have it all there, just like in Windows 7.

    4. All my old software is working in desktop mode. Nothing new here but with the increased performance of the whole system, this is a plus.

    5. New OSs -like Port wine- tend to get better with time. So, if this is how it starts, I am definitely looking forward for what's to come.

    Now you can all go ahead and release the hounds! =)

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Excellent input Eduardo, thanks.

      I think if you're using a lot of internet services, the lack of productivity in the Metro menu probably doesn't bother you so much. I'm also not sure the music thing is so big of a deal really - you know about spotify right? It's just another competing service in that arena. I think you have to pay too, right - after the trial period ends, anyway?

      But yes, increased performance for games and software is appreciated on any level.

      • Eduardo Pereira
        December 4, 2012 at 2:52 am

        Hi Muo!

        Yes, I know Spotify, I just think having the service integrated into Windows is a plus. No need for more downloads. There's a limit to the service hours after 6 months, you're right about that. I don't feel like paying but let's see what kind of limit is Microsoft talking about.
        Of course, this is just a piece of candy that doesn't add much to the OS's quality - or lack of it. It's merely a nice detail.

        I would say I've been using a lot of internet services indeed. The question is: how much are we really being forced to use the Metro menu? Won't we be able to go around it by using taskbar and keyboard shortcuts? Not all the users are the same, I know. I'm just trying to see it from the "not so different from 7" point of view.

        Now I've been using it for some days, I can say there's a strange glitch that's becoming annoying. I never had HD issues before but since I installed 8 I've been experiencing temporary freezes. Everything stops for about 20 seconds and goes back to normal after that. I'm sure that's not how it's supposed to work. I can hear the HD "clicking" twice, one when it stops and another when it resumes activity.
        Funny thing is I've moved the HD from one computer to another. On a Toshiba Satellite A300-202, the system became fully frozen in a matter of minutes (mouse arrow included) and I had to force reboot. On an Asus Z53Sc, the scenario is as I described before: stops for a few seconds and returns to normal. I've let Windows "Reset" the whole system and the problem is still there. Somehow, I feel this isn't the HD, as it was working fine with both Windows 7 and Ubuntu, just up to the moment I installed 8. I hope MS comes up with some solution for this.

        • Sean
          December 31, 2012 at 10:07 pm

          I brought a samsung series 3 laptop in boxing day, which installed win 8. it has the same problem, always freeze when I open webpages, use some applications, or want to do some heavy jobs. the OS is fast, but it will freeze if it can't response, most of time I have to reboot the OS. The tablet-like screen looks ridiculous when you use mouse. I end up returning it, it's waste for a nice laptop.

      • Eduardo Pereira
        December 4, 2012 at 2:54 am

        PS - Sorry for the (inexistent) formatting. Don't know what happened there. =P

  7. Robert Backlund
    November 30, 2012 at 3:33 am

    I have not used Windows 8 nor do I ever plan on using it. I run most of my systems as dual boot with Windows 7 and currently Mepis Linux (slowly changing over to Gentoo Linux) The only reason I still run Windows OS at all is I am an avid gamer with a large Steam account. I have seen several presentations done by Microsoft for Windows 8 and read enough very negative reviews mainly concerning the so called new and improved UI that I know that I would absolutely hate using it. I would not run Windows 8 if Microsoft paid me to use it!
    There is one big danger that as far as I am aware has not gone away is the Secure Boot feature of the new Bios that are on most of the new systems. Secure Boot if you have not heard of it will prevent any OS from being loaded on your shiny new hardware so if you think you will just be able to buy that new PC or laptop with all the latest technology and just format the hard drive and install Windows 7 think again you will not be able to!!!!! Linux is being force to acquire a stupid key to be included with all the Linux boot loaders just to be able to run Linux. For Microsuck their main competition on the desktop is not from Linux, or Mac OS but from the previous Windows versions, XP and Windows 7 so they want all the new systems to block the ability in hardware from any other OS from being loaded. If this concerns you as much as it does me then we need to start a grass roots lobbing campaign with all of our respected governments so that laws get past that perhaps will begin to actually look out for the average little guy consumer. We also need to get organized and begin inundating all the OEM manufactures of PC hardware that unless they include a way of deactivating the Secure Boot feature on their hardware then just do not buy their stuff and stick to it or we are all doomed! We will concede that the MICROSUCKS of the world can do any damn thing that they please at our expense! We need to ban together world wide and send a clear message to our governments as well as the manufactures of PC hardware that we are not going to accept this outcome. Our best weapon against the manufactures is to vote with your wallet, contact Dell, HP etc and ask if they have implemented secure boot on their hardware and when told that they have ask if you the end user can disable this feature because we want to put Windows 7 on that shiny new PC or Laptop and when we are told that they do not allow this simply do not buy that new computer for Christmas. If their sales tank because of Windows 8 being forced upon us then they will quickly reverse their direction. I bet it would only take 6 months of low sales to effect real change.
    What do the rest of you think, it would be interesting finding out,

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 30, 2012 at 9:03 am

      I did a big piece on SecureBoot a while back and I think it's a mostly misunderstood beast. Apart from anything, it isn't secure at all - it's already been hacked, so that probably means linux distros will have no issues getting around it. The question is whether manufacturers will enable user override, and I think most of them will. Once we actually find a Windows 8 machine that doesn't allow booting of third party OSes, you can be sure the internet will be up in arms - but as of right now, I believe the fear is unfounded.

      Thanks for your input Robert!

      • Robert Backlund
        November 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

        Well I hope you are right, however I was looking at the new MSI gaming laptops and of course they all come with Windows 8 pre installed. I contacted MSI and asked the question if someone were able to install Windows 7 on them and they would not answer the question. I had asked them what their policy was regarding "secure boot" and again they would not answer the question, they just said you could only get Windows 8 installed on them. If that is their policy, even if you can get around secure boot you probably will not find drivers for any other non supported OS and I am not talking Linux here. They probably will not have any Windows 7 or Vista drivers available for the hardware, Linux would probably never have a major issue most of the major distros do a good job of having the majority of chip set drivers pre compiled in the kernel. Yes you might be able to hunt the web for drivers that will work for Windows 7 for the chipsets, and sound cards etc but we as consumers should not have to bother with that. I recently read a news blurb put out by the Linux foundation and said that they were in the process of obtaining an official Microsuck certificate that would allow Linux to be installed. Of course MS will provide it because they do not want to get labeled again as being a monopoly, their investment a few years ago in Apple is a good example, they did not do it out of the good of their hearts but to deflect the mounting criticism of their sales tactics. If there were nothing to the secure boot issue why would the Linux foundation even be wasting their time with getting a certificate? I do not claim to be an expert on secure boot etc, however I am a very concerned computer user that has witnessed an ever increasing loss of freedoms for the average man and woman who use computers and also access the web. I also contacted Sager and inquired about their gaming laptops and they told me that if you wanted you can still order any of their systems and ask for Windows 7 to be pre installed. I plan on going back to MSI and checking to see if they have any other OS drivers available for their new laptops other than Windows 8. I will let you know what I find out.

  8. Memento Machine
    November 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I've been using Windows 8 for more than a month now. I've first installed Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation for free, and now Windows 8 Pro. Although most of the talk around Windows 8 is about the new Modern interface, I feel the Desktop mode has improved, and looks more clean and professional. Subtle effects like the window caption bar and chrome that changes color based on the current wallpaper make Windows look much better than any previous version. Also the OS feels lighter and faster.

    I don't use the Modern interface and apps very much (maybe in the future), but I like the feeling that it's there, and there is another new "world" inside the PC ready to be explored.

    Like others are saying, I wouldn't go back to Windows 7. (I still have Windows 7 on a notebook, but somehow it now feels "aged".)

    P.S. I'm a tech person, I write code, content, blog, and I still think a Windows PC with a large screen is the best productivity machine. I can't get myself to use the Android phone and tablet for more than reading e-mails, articles, or casual research.

  9. Deb
    November 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I just bought a new laptop - a real working one, not a touch pad toy. It came with Windows 8 - not a choice. I have managed to restrain myself from throwing my new $3000 computer across the room, several times, because of this stupid OS. Most annoying: without a touch screen the touch pad on the laptop becomes a nightmare that you have to relearn from scratch in order to navigate. Old habits do die hard and when I'm in the middle of something I don't like to stop and try to remember how to work the touch pad! Second most annoying: the ridiculous "apps" don't actually open the full product, so they aren't much use. Apparently no one at Microsoft realizes that most of the market is not touch screen. This new OS is a one-size fits none.

  10. Usman Mubashir
    November 28, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I've got the genuine windows 8 pro key from my university, I must say that I agree with some critics that when you want a window to open, a big chunk appears and that gets annoying sometimes.
    But having used it for more than a month I find it way faster than any other OS I've used so far. The shortcuts that are enabled on my touchpad are very useful and I can't think of installing 7 back 'cause that'll mean leaving these shortcuts.
    One big frustration that windows 8 has (as always) is that its still unstable, I'm desperately waiting for SP1 upgrade, then it'll be awesome.

  11. Easton Wiki
    November 28, 2012 at 4:52 am

    I love windows 8. Been great for gaming and everything else. Really havent found any downside to upgrading once u get over start menu (or install the old version back).

  12. Dan Warmack
    November 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I installed MS 8 on a Quad-core 8.00 GB Ram 64 Bit Ultimate computer with a finger-scan laptop. I tried for five ( 5 ) days to get used to the new system. After 5 days I was aggravated, frustrated, and almost ready to switch to Apple. I re-installed MS 7 Ultimate and now will wait at least a year for any OS change.

  13. b23h
    November 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I am disappointed in the reviewers apparent lack of investigation before trying to install Windows 8 Upgrade. If they had looked into the issue they would realize that if they wanted a fresh install of Windows 8 from the upgrade disc, they simply start the upgrade from their current Windows 7/Vista machine and pick the "start fresh" or whatever the menu option is. That will alow for a reformat and fresh install even for an upgrade disc.

    This issue for upgrades has been with us since about Vista.... This is not new.

    Why even mention that someone fears that only Store apps will run on Windows 8. That is not true now, nor is MS stupid enough to do that in the future. If at some point in the distant future, apps like Photoshop and Nero and all such are in the Store, then at that point perhaps we might have a Store only application install, but that is an unreasonalbe fear at this point.

    • muotechguy
      November 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Sorry - "lack of investigation"? Why on earth would we assume you need to run the install from an existing Windows? Pop in the disc and you can boot from it. If this is not an intended behaviour, then why give the option? Anyone who regularly re-installs Windows wil know to do a fresh install by simply nuking everything, so why would this time be different?

      Also, you're contradicting yourself. In the same paragraph you;ve stated that MS is not stupid to only allow store installs; and then followed up by saying in the future they might do that. Which is it, exactly?

  14. Pete Hermsen
    November 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I did the upgrade and had the installer tell me "Windows could not complete the upgrade on this system. Your old operating system will be restored." This was after asking for user preferences, setting my color preferences, etc. In other words, after completely going through the upgrade procedure, I was told my system couldn't be upgraded. The second time, the installation went OK and didn't complain. I followed the exact same procedures the second time. Go figure.

    Using Windows 8 left me wondering why I went to all the trouble to "upgrade". Apparently switching randomly between Modern and Desktop drove me nuts. I ended up installing Classic Shell so I could use the system. Then it sort of came together. Now I can switch to the Modern interface when I want it.

    This brings me back to my courses on Human Interface Design (which apparently nobody on the Windows 8 team at Microsoft ever took). The tool should not get in the way of getting the job done. The tool should make the job easier. Unfortunately, that's not the case with Windows 8.

  15. Anonymous
    November 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I upgraded a while ago, and I actually like it.
    True, at first you have to get used to it, but once that has happened, it is quite OK.

    We're still talking about Windows, so there are some disadvantages, but they also have some great stuff! For example the Metro UI can be really neat, if you put some effort in it.

  16. Zeta
    November 27, 2012 at 4:37 am

    After a month or so running Win8 at work (Release Preview Build 8400) 40 hours a week as a Mechanical Design Engineer, I will be going back to Win7. Win8 is cumbersome and slows productivity. Metro mixed with a desktop that misses the old start menu is just plain awful. Adding programs such as VLC and IrfanView help keep one out of Metro, but then one is just trying to get it back to a Win7 experience, so why bother with Win8. Thumbs down.

  17. jahmusic
    November 27, 2012 at 12:09 am

    I upgraded on my laptop. I would not do so on my desktop. The tile interface may be good for tablets and hones but is wasteful of space and not suited for a mouse. MS should offer the option to go directly to desktop, but with desktop functionality. Having a choice of GUI (like linux does) would allow us the improved performance without the weird interface.
    Having said that, I find W8 works well with a touchpad and so for my laptop i'm quite happy, even more so now I have Classic start 8.
    One more annoyance is the fact that several programmes have an app and a desktop version with quite different functionality (e.g. Skype). In most cases you dont need the app version, but its difficult to know from the start screen which one you are launching

  18. HAs
    November 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Window's up grade was a pain in my butt. spent three days with Microsoft technical both level one and two. In the end I re-installed win 7 premium then installed upgrade from disk set of windows 8.
    Here is what I feel it is that finally installed the program.( I am no teck ) When w-8 says it needs to reboot to install simply let it and when system hangs, shut the power off. leave it off, for in my case over night then restart and it. It worked in my caser. Microsoft teck called me and took over my system and deleted and re installed many different applications and the the spent was very pleasant. I now have a system that works very well. I run two monitors and have zero problems moving between screens with the mouse. The system is like you say the more you use the more you will like.
    Microsoft help was both helpful pleasant and very reassuring. not only doing what needed to be done but helping me out with other concerns. I am most happy.

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 26, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Are you sure that was actually Microsoft tech who took control of your computer? this is a pretty common scam, where someone calls and says "I've identified some problems with your windows install, but I can fix it for you" - then they install a backdoor virus. I strongly suggest you check your computer for malware!

  19. Anonymous
    November 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I am still in the "when you first start to use it, you hate it instantly. The lack of a traditional start menu is disorientating and throws you totally off-balance" phase.

  20. SteveO
    November 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I can't say as I've played much with WIndows 8, but I have had it installed since the day the RTM hit Technet. I went ahead and installed it on my machine I already had dual-booting WIndows Xp and Windows 7, expecting it would add itself to the boot menu. I had a separate named partition to put it on and all the installation reviews I'd seen said it would set itself up as dual-boot with no problems.

    Much to my dismay, when I was finished with the upgrade, the only thing in the boot menu was WIndows 8. Because of this the first thing I did under WIndows 8 was fired up IE and went to Google and searched for "Uninstall WIndows 8".

    I figured out how to add WIndows 7 back to the menu manually and then found a way to add WIndows XP back to the menu. I haven't been back to playing with Indows 8 since then. I wanted to read the reviews before I really dove into it. Since I don't have any windows-capable touch devices, only Keyboard and mouse, I doubt I'll find much use for it. But it's here so I guess I need to learn it...

  21. Ishar Jay
    November 24, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I just played with Windows 8 90-day trial, confused at first but later fell in love with it,

  22. Henk van Setten
    November 24, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I am certainly not going to upgrade from 7 to 8. I do most of my work on a desktop.
    What many people fail to understand is that even if you have a touchscreen with your desktop, Win8 is still uncomfortable. Why? Because using a desktop touchscreen as your main navigation mode sucks anyway.
    When navigating with a mouse you can simply leave your arm lying motionless on the table: for minimal hand-and-finger movements are all you need. But if you need to swipe the screen, 8-style, you are forced to lift your arm from the table every time again, reaching up to the screen. So over an entire working day, you'll have to make a lot more tiring arm movements.
    In short, working all day with a desktop touchscreen instead of a mouse is simply a step backwards instead of a step forwards: ergonomically, it is plainly wrong. This (in combination with the Modern UI being forced on you) makes Windows 8 a desktop disaster.

  23. ha14
    November 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Windows 8 Touch Screen OS:) pinch to zoom:)

  24. Sean A
    November 24, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I like how it looks but the only serious improvement i see is for tablets and touch interfaces. I don't think it gives any advantages to the old desktop enviroment

  25. Josh
    November 24, 2012 at 4:38 am

    I was hoping to build a computer from scratch and put windows 8 on it too. Are there any suggestions as to hardware I should get?

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

      No specific requirements; it will actually speed up older hardware interms of boot time etc.

  26. DB
    November 24, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Terrible...simple tasks are complicated. People do not like to be out of their comfort zones but Windows 8 is horrendous.

  27. Ravi Meena
    November 24, 2012 at 3:48 am

    when i think about usability windows 8 is same as windows 7, you can do everything on windows 8 desktop which you were able to do on windows 7. plus you get integrated and awesome calender, mail client, social networking client and many more things. definitely we can do a lot more things on windows 8 then windows 7. and in some days windows store will be full of useful apps. so in my opinion windows 8 is a great upgrade. it is just that you have to learn new ways to do old things which some people will resist.

    • kevin
      November 24, 2012 at 4:12 am


    • Anonymous
      February 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      I just do not see the issue of the start button. Having the programs I want on the start screen is great.
      I put windows 8 on my computer the day it was made available and have had no problems with it.
      As to the learning curve I have had to learn new OS's from basic, c/pm, trsdos msdos 2,3,4,5,6 and all the windows versions. Guess I have learned how to learn to use the new os's as they come out.

  28. Michael Jan Moratalla
    November 24, 2012 at 3:39 am

    agree to all the comments above

  29. Jim La Fronz
    November 24, 2012 at 1:59 am

    I upgraded and gave it a try, but wound up going back to Win7 after three weeks. There were certainly no performance or compatibility issues, but I was just not learning the new interface well enough. Working everyday in the office on my XP machine, and working with the Win7 machines in my home "unlearned" the Win8 gestures that I was trying to learn.

    I found the new interface less suited to a mouse/keyboard input regime. I might feel differently presented with a touch interface, but until that time, I'm going to stick with Win7.

    Or perhaps I'll try the dual boot setup outlined in another article here at Make Use Of. I'll let you know.

  30. Ron Lister
    November 24, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Have there been any program compatability issues yet.

  31. Terafall
    November 24, 2012 at 1:19 am

    How about the rest of MakeUseOf writer? Have they tested Windows 8?

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

      These are the only responses I got; others either havent used it, or didnt have time to respond.

  32. Keefe Kingston
    November 23, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Well, i haven't upgraded, and i have no intention to either. I share the same opinion as a few of the MakeUseOf staff have said: the modern UI is very different, and I'm unable to get used to it on my non-touch devices. If i get Windows 8, it'll be on a tablet. Atleast thats what i want. By the time Windows 7 loses support by Microsoft, then it'll be time for me to get a new computer. And probably by then, Windows 9 will probably be out, in which devices would be better tied in with Windows, because they will be designed with users using the new versions of Windows in mind.

  33. kevin
    November 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Bad experience. No printer drivers available (samsung color laser), legacy aTI graphics cards (4800HD's), scanner drivers just released thanks Xerox.
    5 clicks to reboot.
    the 2ndary screen of apps is a joke, no means to categorize, its ANYTHING that has an exe file. so tonnes of junk. I have deleted every "base" app . I want my email on homescreen...NO! it must be a MSN account = FAIL. I want a chat client other than MSN, NO FAIL. Its EXTRA clicks to get to anything, all the annoying security nags are back.
    OMG, talk about walled garden. MSFT, I love oyur new p, I hate 8. I am collating all apps I use, serial #s and going back to 7. I was preparing to boot the macs out of the house for its annoying habits. But you BOTH SUCK.....really. alot. I used to love building PC's, no mas.

    • Ravi Meena
      November 24, 2012 at 3:53 am

      email must be an msn account, did you even explored it a little, and you can remove email from homescreen.....explore it a little, whatever you want is there.

      • kevin
        November 24, 2012 at 4:11 am

        kind of belies the point of the "new slick easy to use" I have to "explore it to have an alternate email account than the default Windows MSN account... why not make the options available then and there.
        I was a fan of windows, not any more. This is a big fail. There is a reason why Apples Macs are # 1 in sales for LAptops and gaining market share.
        I cant stand the OS but - it works and its mostly painless. WIN8 is not. Its is a partial step, a lazy implementation of UI.
        Fire the UI designers testers please. What a train wreck.

        • Muo TechGuy
          November 24, 2012 at 9:46 am

          Makes me wonder if they just completely ignored the UI feedback they got - such simple things that really should have been caught in initial testing - or even when hordes of bloggers and tech journalists screamed complaints at them.

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 24, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Yes, thats "all apps" screen is quite stupid - 3 steps back in terms of usability.

  34. Alexander
    November 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    If they made a version without the Metro UI, I'd switch to Win 8 in a heart beat.

  35. Anonymous
    November 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks for a very informative article. I have a simple PC that was working well with the good old Windows XP and recently moved up to Windows 7. I think I will stick to the present OS and not waste my time and money to get Win 8...

  36. Matjaz Mirt
    November 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I like new Windows Explorer, Task Manager, faster booting. Metro look should be made selectable (so that I could turn it off ;) ). I don't like it in desktop computer. I don't see real use of metro applications on desktop. But I've got used for it. And it was cheap.

  37. Candace Marley
    November 23, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    So far I'm actually pretty happy with the new Windows. I tell people it has a bit of a learning curve just because there is so much different than previous versions, but once you get the hang of it it's not bad at all. Probably my biggest complaint so far is the lack of a "start" button. I had to look up online how to restart my laptop since there is no obvious buttons to do that.

    • Ravi Meena
      November 24, 2012 at 3:54 am

      agree with you, i have learned it enough and i really like windows 8 now.

  38. Anonymous
    November 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Have you ever though about allowing people to put gaps between the things in their comments? It would make some of the bigger ones look incredibly better, and much more readable.

    • Reuben Walker
      November 23, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Oh, that's only in the comment shown after sending it. Sorry, my bad.

  39. Anonymous
    November 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I first started using Windows 8 regularly when the Developer Preview came out. Due to Dell having a recovery partition, I couldn't install it in a dual-boot, so it was all in a virtual machine. I kind of liked it, blamed most of the issues on the fact it was pre-beta.

    Back in January I went to restore Windows 7 on my laptop for the first time (I bought it the previous September, and like a fresh install every now and then), and found that the recovery partition was corrupted, as were the discs I had made from it. It only told me that after wiping my Windows 7 install, so I switched to using the Developer Preview full time.

    Upgraded to the Consumer Preview when that came out, had some sound issues with iTunes, bu mostly fine.

    Switched to Ubuntu for a learning experience (also started disliking Modern when Chrome started supporting it), then switched back to Windows 8 because I missed iTunes. (Yes, that sort of thing does happen.) I think that might have been when the Release Preview came out as well.

    I'm now running the Enterprise trial, and have 50 days left. (Out of 90)

    My Windows 8 usage on my laptop has mostly been classic desktop only, avoiding the Modern UI unless I wanted to change a setting, or try out a new app. (Which never lasted long.) I think it can be great as a start menu that gives you quick access to information, but that's about it. I always found it annoying that I had to press Windows+W to search for setting programs.

    I preordered the Surface RT fairly quickly, and received it about three weeks ago.

    The first few hours, I thought it sucked. I guess I was just used to the iPad gestures, and couldn't get the hang of it. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the little tutorial at the start.

    By the end of the first day I had gotten the hang of it, and I've been using it fairly happily ever since. I do have a number of problems with it though.

    It's sometimes a little tricky to close apps by swiping them down to the bottom. It has a tendency to ignore the motion, snap them to the side if I get too far, or press the start button. All very annoying.

    The lack of decent apps is rather bad. No official apps for anything I use (Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, etc.), with the nearest thing being the Google Search app. (It just directs me to a webpage for the other things.)

    Yes, the People app supports Facebook, but it's rather limited access. I can't find any option to upload a photo. I even checked the Photo app, and it only lets me share via email.

    Still waiting for Google Chrome.

    Desktop mode doesn't seem to have thought about the screen size, only the resolution. As such, everything seems little for the screen, which is made worse by the fact that the primary input is my finger. And I have little fingers. Imagine someone with big ones trying to use it.

    This goes for Office as well. I can understand it being in the desktop mode, but they could have made the buttons bigger. I thought I had solved my problem when I found the option to switch between a touch optimized version and one for mouse and keyboard, but that's when I discovered it was already in the touch mode.

    And the touch cover absolutely sucks.

    Apart from that, it's pretty good. Here's to Windows 9. (I'm looking forward to it.)

    Main uses include basic web browsing, and remote desktop to my laptop. I find it's a good way to use my 17in laptop in bed without worrying about the air flow being blocked.

    Speaking of Microsoft making it hard for you to give them money, you should hear my story.

    I preordered my Surface using PayPal, with my MasterCard Debit Card as the primary funding source.

    I expected Microsoft to take some money out, but nothing happened until I received my Surface and turned it on. It was then that they cancelled the original PayPal transaction that was pending, and made a new two. One for my Surface, the other for the VGA adapter I had bought with it. For some reason, however, PayPal decided that my PayPal balance was going to be the only funding source for this transaction. Being someone who doesn't use their PayPal account for anything other than basic purchasing, it's always empty.

    I didn't know that at the time, and kept checking my bank balance wondering when it was going to plummet.

    A week later, I started to track it down. I found that Microsoft had received a declined message from my PayPal account, so I went to PayPal and found the funding source issue. I managed to figure out how to change it, and set my MasterCard as the funding source.

    I waited another week. Still nothing.

    So I went to the Microsoft website and added my MasterCard details. Had a look at the PayPal options. All they've got is Remove, which I can't do because it's in the middle of a transaction, and View Transactions. That just takes to a page that only views them, it has no option to try again or anything.

    A week later, and I'm still using an unpaid for Surface. I've looked at the Microsoft site, checked all their contact options, and I think the only option is to ring them. I checked the email option, but they want me to pick my problem from a list, and they have no Other option. Apparently people receiving free things from their shop either isn't a problem, or isn't something they know about.

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 24, 2012 at 9:49 am

      That ... is crazy. But, at least you didnt have to pay for it yet. You should have waited for my Surface review to see how bad it is!

      Thanks for the story~

  40. Robert Kilkelly
    November 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    tried it and did not like it. Too much work to work and find programs on it.

    • Gordon Hay
      November 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      Too much work? Press Winkey, type first few characters, click on desired program - how much more work is that?

    • Ravi Meena
      November 24, 2012 at 3:56 am

      that is a very great comment :D

  41. Samit Tandukar
    November 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    it takes time to get used to....but at the end you will love what it is fast, stable and much more....

  42. John
    November 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Didn't upgrade, nor plan to do so in the future. Though increased boot up time and slightly better performance sounds tempting, I'm really attached to the Win 7 GUI, and not having a touch-screen seems to be the pivotal point regarding functionality.
    For now I'm staying true to the "1 every 2" Windows version, so far so good.
    (Me crappy, XP great, Vista crappy, 7 great, 8 ... you get the idea)

    • Ron Lister
      November 24, 2012 at 1:28 am

      I skipped ME Skipped Vista Probably gonna skip 8 I got the patern a while ago.

  43. Katherine Adams
    November 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Have it on my new laptop, and it's a pain in my processor. I much preferred Windows 7. Stop improving things that don't need it, Windows!

  44. Timothy Liem
    November 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    " I’m disgusted that Microsoft makes it so hard to actually give them money.
    but not if you want to be productive because the new UI will absolutely destroy that.
    Even after a week I find the touch gestures to be unintuitive.
    I had trouble using the device for anything productive; even checking email was a chore I’d rather not suffer.
    After building himself a new PC and installing Windows 8 fresh, he found the upgrade key didn’t work
    when you first start to use it, you hate it instantly
    It’s just not consistent.
    this inability to transfer international accounts with Microsoft and Xbox have been known for a long time
    If I could have just one Windows 8 wish, it would be to make Modern go away for good "

    collecting many negative comments on this shit can take my whole life. :D LOL
    fail is fai afteralll. no matter how good your hardware is, the desktop experience has been forsaken by Microsoft for the sake of this shitty Metro (I hate it since it shown on Nokia Lumia). I also hate how Microsoft dumped the Aero.
    the only option to get the pure desktop experience is to stick on Seven or switch to Linux with KDE (KDE still has the transparent parts, similar, even better, than Aero on Seven) and it surely still is lighter (less memory usage) than Seven. OSX is too dumb for me. can't do anything outside the Apple's Wall of Shame.

  45. Somaiya Ebrahim
    November 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    i like it and i think the interface is simply beautiful

  46. Bruno
    November 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Almost forgot it, MAKEUSEOF RULEZ!

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 24, 2012 at 9:50 am

      Why thank you Bruno...

  47. Bruno
    November 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I think Win 8 is great, not perfect but it is what MS needed to do to stay afloat. I bet Win 9 it´s going to be superlative, until then I´ll be using it with a magic track pad wich is a great option I you are using it in a desktop (still need to install it, saw a tutorial how to do it, will tell you how it went in a near future).

    Not to mention that you can get it for free.

    Greetings from Argetina.

  48. NotoriousZeus
    November 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Although the UI looks neat .. Anyone(My cousin) with an OCD would freak out with all those asymmetric layout of icons. I'm just saying.

  49. kxp
    November 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    The first moment I saw it.. I had no idea what to think of it. This was during different preview versions.

    When the RTM came out I decided to put W8 on both of my machines (desktop and non-touch laptop) in the end of August when I got the licenses and go for it. Pressure myself into using it as a day-to-day operating system.

    I'm really pleased that I did that. The first 2 weeks were hard but now it feels so much better than anything before. The under the hood and desktop improvements are great as most of you said, but i've also grown to live with the new UI.

    People don't like to be taken out of their comfort zone and hate learning something new that they are not yet used to. The problem is us, not the OS for the most parts.

    Right now I've been using W8 as my daily OS for about 3 months and I wouldn't change it back to W7. If I was given to choose an OS between w7 and w8, I'd go for W8. What I wouldn't do is give up my Linux dualboot. I don't really spend that much time in linux but it's a nice place to be at times.

    • kevin
      November 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      once you get past the UI top layer its just WIN 7, there is so LITTLE changed.
      The engine might be a bit faster but that is it man.

      Its the single worst OS upgrade MSFT has ever released. I've been using MSFT since the early days think V3 etc.

      • Muo TechGuy
        November 24, 2012 at 9:51 am

        Sadly, the new UI layer permeates everything - while the standard desktop is relegated to an "app". How long before the desktop becomes an "optional install" or DLC upgrade?

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          November 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

          You know, it's really tragic because Windows was the one popularizing the concept of 'desktop' so long ago. I haven't upgrade, but I think it's much better without 'Modern', with the performance boost. Windows store is a good one if done properly. Linux has software manager to browse, Apple has iTunes store, but none of them say you can't install anything else to your computer. It should ease users from having to surf the internet for scattering softwares, but not limiting.

    • Muo TechGuy
      November 24, 2012 at 9:54 am

      "The problem is us, not the OS"

      I can't begin to describe how much is wrong with that statement. Users should not be required to squirm uncomfortably whilst using something new. Yes, by all means introduce a new way of doing things - but be damn sure you teach them how to use it properly. Windows 8 has none of that, save for a non-interactive repeating tutorial gif that plays during the install. I sat there with my surface dragging around various bits of the screen while it played, wondering why it wasnt doing anything, until 10 minute later I realised it wasnt actually interactive. Not to mention it doesnt even teach a huge portion of the new gestures needed - hence why i then spent another 30 minutes trying to select apps on the homescreen.

  50. Raj Bhag
    November 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Haven't upgraded. Don't plan on upgrading anytime soon.
    Looks horrible for gaming.
    Hell, if Gabe Newell has said it sucks then it sucks!

    • Robbie Pence
      November 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      I don't even know why they said that. It works fine for all of my games.

      • Raj Bhag
        November 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm

        They haven't confirmed official support for it. In terms of Steam or games. That alone puts me off ^.^

    • b23h
      November 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Gabe did not know what he was talking about. There is very little difference in gaming between Windows 8 and Windows 7. Steam installs with no difficulty, and any game that ran under Windows 7 runs under Windows 8.

    • Usman Mubashir
      November 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      gaming experience is better than win 7 so far

  51. AriesWarlock
    November 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I have upgraded. There are things I like, things I don't like. I don't like how I have to do more work to get to windows update or how it is handled now. I like that the windows explorer is much better now with the functionality the ribbon adds.

    • Sri Vastav Reddy
      November 28, 2012 at 4:19 am

      ya, Ribbon featured Explorer is nice :)