Review: Windows 8 Developer's Preview

"TLDR" version: Meh.

If you are in to this sort of thing, you may have noticed that Microsoft has released a developer's version of their upcoming Windows 8 operating system. It's very pretty and obviously based upon the same "Metro" UI found in the recently released Windows Phone 7 OS. The general goal is to move away from the drill-down-tree type of navigation we've grown used to toward a tile and bucket look. It's the same thing, essentially, but visually, it's simpler.

"Simpler" is what it's (apparently) all about. Huge tiles in primary colors just scream "Try me! It's easy". They are, no doubt, taking a few pages from the Apple playbook, tweaking their flexibility to simplicity ratio in favor of the latter to meet the needs of the majority of their potential users without confusing them with options most will probably never use. Makes sense from a business viewpoint, but as a power user, I'm cringing.

That said, "Simple" isn't always the same thing as "Intuitive". Many of the tiles created by default do nothing, presumably because they need to be populated by the enduser. My VirtualBox installation didn't recognize my NIC, and the Troubleshooting wizard seemed somewhat puzzled about what to do with that. Finally, once you got beneath the covers, Windows 8 tools and menus looked an awful lot like their Windows 7 ancestors.

Which is fine, really, but it does beg the question, "Why should I move to this?" Windows 7 is an excellent OS that added a lot of functionality to XP and atoned for most of the sins of Vista. Having gotten used to it over the last 18-or-so months, I kinda don't see the point in moving to the same thing with an additional layer of abstraction. Maybe this is just Windows 7 for tablets. Maybe this is just a developer's version and it's too early to judge. Either way, I think I summed it up in the first line.



Realy it is great preservation and operating systems because I use it frequently without any problem