Windows 8 First Impressions for CIOs and IT Pros

Microsoft's new operating system has received mixed early reviews. Get past the missing Start menu and the 'ribbonized' File Explorer, though, and you'll likely find a faster OS that should make workers more productive -- especially if you give them new Windows 8 tablets.

By Jonathan Hassell
Wed, October 10, 2012

CIO — The Web has been abuzz with mixed reviews of Windows 8, Microsoft's latest client operating system, which will be available on Oct. 26. It's a departure, at least initially, from the staid user interface that has been with us, in one incarnation or another, since Windows 95. As always, first impressions aren't always the same as lasting impressions.

I was quite critical after my first couple of days with Windows 8. I found that many of the changes to the operating system's design really degraded my initial experiences using it. I even commented at one point on Twitter, "I'm in IT and I failed the Aunt Minnie test," referring to a process of activating the OS that used to be simple but seemed needlessly convoluted mainly because of changes in how you access the Control Panel and its options.

Windows 8 logo

I apparently had a faulty installation as well, since I experienced several hardware glitches, and even the software seemed unstable. For instance, after installing the .NET Framework 3.5 so I could load the latest Quicken 2012 release on my machine, all Metro—sorry, "Windows 8 style UI"—apps simply stopped working. Mail, Calendar, People and other apps available out of the box with the Windows 8 release version simply loaded, froze, and then closed.

I was so frustrated that, after about 72 hours, I reverted to Windows 7 via a backup I had made. However, I had a nagging feeling that I hadn't given the new operating system a fair try, so I re-installed the OS and re-committed to using it for an extended period.

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That was several weeks ago. I am somewhat pleased to report that, after a three- to five-day acclimation period, I have come to like Windows 8. I definitely appreciate some features and conveniences that are present in the new version that weren't in previous versions, and I've come to live with some of the changes that I don't find useful or pleasing. Some of these impressions have takeaways that are important for businesses considering an upgrade or a desktop OS refresh. Here are a few conclusions Ive reached after my first few weeks using Windows 8.

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