OK, I suspect the title is going to give it away. I downloaded Windows 8 8250 consumer preview today, and almost immediately realised that as it stands I am going to avoid Windows 8 like the plague. As far as I’m concerned the UI changes currently make Windows 8 the worst release of Windows ever (even worse than Windows ME!)
Simply put — Microsoft have taken the excellent Windows 7, torn off the well balanced and integrated desktop UI and stitched on some awful Windows Phone 7 type interface. Given that Windows 7 for desktop PCs has been considerably more successful than Windows Phone 7, you have to wonder what Microsoft were thinking.
Another way of putting this is to wonder why Microsoft seem so desperate to put a Phone/Tablet UI into a laptop/desktop PC environment. They don’t seem to realise that the very BEST thing about a proper PC is precisely that it ISN’T a phone or a tablet. People that want those kind of interfaces will buy those kind of devices. Furthermore — people that want limited choice and childish shiny interfaces have already all bought Apple products and wont be coming back.
Unless they change course I suspect that all microsoft will do is alienate the power users and amateur techies and drive them to Linux (or in a few cases Apple). In the longer term this may prove a bigger miscalculation than MS realises. If you have moved to linux yourself what are you likely to do when you friends, family, neighbours and all those other people who rely on you for tech support ask you what they should run on their PC in the future? If they have to learn a totally new UI they might as well learn the one that you yourself use because you can help them with it. And assuming that is linux, it wont be all that hard to persuade people to move to a FREE alternative, esepcially given that current linux UIs are much more similar to windows 7 than windows 8 is.
As far as Windows Server is concerned, I don’t know if the same crackpot changes have been forced on the UI there, but I can only hope sanity set in. I’ll be trying it soon and will update this post accordingly.
In the meantime, I recommend sticking with Windows 7, and hope by the time Microsoft pull the plug on Windows 7 support they have decided to go back to a proper desktop UI.
I have posted an update with details of how to restore the traditional start menu