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Windows 8 is Great – Don’t Listen to the Naysayers

I have a two year old ASUS K52 laptop with an I3 processor. I’m also a developer and two years is about all I can ever get out of a Windows installation before it begins to severely degrade from misuse. I install and evaluate software on a daily basis, so the OS just gets mucked up over time. Normally, I would just re-install Windows on a clean drive and move all my stuff over, but this time I took a slightly different approach.

First, I took the leap to the cloud. I moved all of my documents to SkyDrive and a handful of close-at-hand documents to Dropbox. I used SkyDrive for the larger set of documents because it’s less expensive than any of the other services out there (at a glance). I also trust Microsoft not to go out of business. Of course I made sure that anything that might be construed as a copyright violation is not in that content. I will backup kids DVD’s after buying them and make ISO’s for later use…kids tend to destroy DVD’s quickly. I’ve heard people’s accounts getting shut down for having ISO’s in their accounts. I have not moved my MP3’s up yet and I have to evaluate what the rules are before I do that. I do not plan to move my pictures into the cloud outside of a very small subset of private PicasaWeb albums. I have digital family photos from 2000 forward. Some of them are of the toddler in the bubble bath type. I know they’re just my kids being silly, but they could get flagged. Why test that nightmare? I moved my pictures to a wifi-enabled external drive. They’re there when I need them and they don’t take up working disk space.

So now that my non-OS files are safely backed up either in the cloud or on external drives, I swapped out the drive (I never erase a disk…too paranoid that I forgot something) for a brand new Intel 180GB SSD. I then proceeded to install Windows 8. It took exactly 17 minutes to install. I have no comparison to a standard drive, but 17 minutes is pretty damn fast.

I installed Offfice 13, VS.NET 2010 and 2012, Dropbox, Skydrive, and a few other programs I need on a daily basis. I quickly organized the Metro (sorry – like the Sears Tower, it will always be Metro to me) interface with Main, Office, Dev, Util, and Misc.

So this is my first review of Windows 8. I had not played with the beta and pre-release software at all. I’d seen it, but that was about it.

I have to say I think all the critics are narrrow-minded pansies. Change is often a challenge, but if you actually use the system for a few days, it becomes very natural to know where to find things. The Metro UI is just a big menu and frankly a much faster menu than the Start Menu ever was. I can throw my mouse into the lower left corner, click, find an app, click and I’m where I need to be much more quickly than using a start menu. Now, I did make extensive use of the toolbar in Windows 7, but that option is still available on the desktop.

The one thing you will love about Windows 8 is that it is smoking fast. Maybe that’s partially the SSD, but it’s so fast you’ll freak. A sleep to awake is under 5 seconds. Reboot in 15 seconds. Opening up the laptop from sleep shows the start screen nearly instantly.

The other thing you’ll love is that everything just works. I have had absolutely zero installation or support issues, and this is on a two year old laptop without any touch capability. It took me a few days to learn the ropes, but once I figured out everything, it’s all smooth sailing.

Don’t believe the naysayers when they talk about horrible user experience. It’s different, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s highly usable and very fast.

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