Windows 8 Has Ruined My Life…Oh Wait Maybe Not

If this title sounds familiar, you’re likely to be someone who reads the technology media.

I mean let's face it, ever since Microsoft announced its new operating system it had more than its share of critics appearing from every corner of the globe offering up their opinions (much like I'm doing now).

Microsoft has released screenshots confirming the return of a Start button to Windows 8

I don't understand what the negativity is about.

I’m a Windows 8 professional user and I’ve been very happy with my upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

Before I continue, I just want to clarify a few things about myself and my history with Operating Systems because I’m not like the average user.

Like most, my first OS was a Microsoft OS (DOS 3.1 to give you an idea of my age) and I stayed within the Microsoft ecosystem for many years until one day in 1998 I decided to run a test to see if Linux was ready for the desktop. That test failed miserably but it instilled a love of all things Linux in me which I still have today.

In 2000, I moved to a fulltime Linux desktop as all the work I was doing was consulting and working around Linux systems. This continued to 2004 when a consulting project I was involved in required documents to be created in Office 2003 (Project and Visio). At that point I migrated from SuSE Linux 9.1 to Windows XP with Office 2003. That project completed and in 2005 I started working at Mimecast. My machine stayed on XP as I didn't have the time to dedicate to migrate my data again.

My work at Mimecast brought me closer to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook and when they released Windows Phone I was excited to see what their re-imagining of the user interface would be like. The change from my BlackBerry Bold 9000 to the HTC HD7 was remarkable. Never before had I handled a phone that was so intuitive, user friendly and functionally useful to me. Sometime later I got “upgraded” to an iPhone 4s and - in what my wife and many others thought was a backwards step - I returned the iPhone and went back to WP7, this time to a Nokia Lumia 800. The iPhone wasn't anywhere near as user friendly and intuitive as the Windows Phone was for me.

So when Microsoft announced Windows 8 and that it would be a similar experience to the Windows Phone, I was intrigued. I soon had a Lenovo Twist, a nice little machine with a touch screen that folds over and turns the laptop into a tablet and I began using it and reporting back to the IT department any problems I had or things I thought might be problematic for us as an organization to support.

I love being a guinea pig.

Anyway, barring basic issues like desktop AV clients not yet properly supported and drivers for my obscure Boogie Board Rip not yet working properly, everything has worked pretty much perfectly from day 1.

Yes, I’m not a basic user, but I ‘m a person who uses a lot of applications and is constantly moving between them. I’m someone who should, if the people who cry about the lack of start buttons and booting to desktops are to be believed, be miserable with this new OS.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

All in all, my life hasn't really changed. I use the machine almost exclusively in desktop mode. Not because I don't like the apps in the new UI, but because the tools I use on a daily basis are all on my desktop. I use Outlook, not the mail app, I use Word, not some note app, I use Excel not some calculator that can be obtained from the marketplace.

When I start up, I get dropped into the new start screen. Shock and horror, in order to begin my day I do what I’ve ALWAYS done. I start my mail client, Outlook. This is done by clicking or tapping the Outlook tile that I’ve positioned neatly in my direct line of sight on the start screen. Outlook starts and takes me into desktop mode.

I don’t miss the start button at all and it amazes me how much attention this insignificant little feature is getting. The start screen easily replaces the start button but if I am too lazy to jump around, I just use shortcuts. My taskbar in desktop mode has shortcuts to all my frequently used apps on it. (Microsoft have just announced that Windows 8.1 will include a start button but no start menu, among other much more exciting features but more on that later).

Both in my home office and my work office I’m connected to external displays and in almost every instance of using the machine I’m working with my keyboard and mouse.

My son uses the touch interface to play games. I don't play games on this, I prefer to save the battery for more boring things like connectivity and spreadsheets.

That's not to say I don't go into the new UI ever because I do. My password management app is in the new UI.

So let's recap.

I can do everything I need to do.

I don't care that I’ve no start button because it doesn't impact me in any way.

I work in desktop mode all day and the start screen doesn't magically stop me being able to do this.

I switch between new UI and desktop all the time and I haven't gone crazy.

So why’s everyone so anti this new operating system?

Beats me!

FILED IN