Two Bits on Windows 8

I have two specific things to say about Windows 8. It's been getting a lot of hate since its release for a number of reasons, but I believe that it is at least in some ways a sizable improvement over previous Windows versions. Here's my two bits.

  1. The Metro UI is awful. It makes absolutely no sense on a desktop machine. I can see where it might make sense on a tablet, but the use case for a tablet is very different than the use case for a desktop. When I hit the Windows key, I want a list of my applications to come up, or at least some kind of usable launcher. What I get instead is the start screen, which is almost completely useless on a desktop. I do appreciate the removal of Aero and movement to more of a flat interface, however it's counteracted by the abomination of the start screen.
  2. In a virtual machine, it's great. I use Windows inside a Parallels virtual machine pretty much exclusively. I only need it to run a few Windows-only applications that I have to use. Windows 7 was terrible at this. It was horribly slow, didn't adapt to changing network configurations, and froze up constantly just trying to do menial tasks like copying files. Windows 8 on the other hand is snappy, light on resources, and honestly pleasing to the eye when used with Parallels coherence mode. I use it in that mode almost all the time, and it looks fantastic. Windows 7 looked and worked horribly in that mode. As a VM, Windows 8 is stellar. I won't go back unless I absolutely have to.

I appreciate what Microsoft tried to do with Windows 8, and I think it's a step in the right direction for them as a company. With further improvements, I really believe that Windows 8 can be great someday. I still would never use it as a primary OS, though.

Arthur Rosa is an engineering manager based in Sunnyvale, California.