Windows 8 is not that bad actually

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 13, 2012
Updated • Jan 1, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

You may remember that I bought a new PC recently which I intended to use as a backup PC if my current machine would stop working. I may have gone a bit overboard with the specs though and decided to make it my gaming rig in the meantime. When the Windows 8 Release Preview was released by Microsoft I upgraded Windows 7 Professional which was running on that PC to that preview version of Windows 8 to play around with it for a while.

While I worked with previous versions of Windows 8 before, I always did so on a mobile device, a laptop for instance, and I did not really like the experience. On the desktop though, I have to admit that I'm beginning to like it. I'm not saying that everything is golden and that this is the best operating system that Microsoft ever produced. I'd like to address some of the issues that I personally had previously with Windows 8, and how my perception changed with use.


The biggest issue that I had was with Metro, and the switching between interfaces. One example: when I want to search for a file, I need to switch to Metro to do so. When you look close, you will notice that the number of keys you press is the same. You hit the Windows key to bring up Metro in Windows 8, and you also hit the Windows key to pop up the start menu in Windows 7 and previous editions of Windows. You then type in your search term, wait for the results to popular, and select one with the mouse or keyboard.

windows 8 search

The only difference is the switching of screens in Windows 8, which at first is highly irritating. You do get used to that however, and while I personally would have preferred a desktop based search like that, I personally can live with the search functionality and think that it is actually more versatile than that in previous versions of Windows.

I tend to ignore Metro mostly though as it is not really offering anything that I really need besides some quick links to applications that I'd like to launch. Some users on the other hand may like the startscreen, and its display of dynamic information. Other apps that users may like include the mapping app to quickly get directions or traffic information based on the PC's location or another spot that you select. Yes, you can get the same information on the Internet, but Metro provides them to you after you click once.

You can add weather information and news, and see them change in their tiles in realtime. For me though, it is nothing more than an application launcher at this point in time.

I personally think that regular users will like the Metro interface because of its simplicity and the information it makes available to them directly. Tech-savvy users will probably largely ignore Metro though, and while you can't do that 100%, you can largely ignore the new interface.

What I do not like at all is the fullscreen-only approach, especially on large computer monitors. While you can display a second app in a sidebar, you are still highly limited in this regard. I also dislike the fact that you can't close applications directly that you have open in Metro.

Start Menu

The desktop of the Windows 8 operating system has no start menu button anymore, and the functionality that Microsoft added in-place is lacking. I first thought that this was a glaring mistake on Microsoft's part, but after using the operating system for a while I can say that I do not really miss the start menu.

For applications, I either have added them to the taskbar (which I also did under Windows 7 with my most-used apps), or I tap on the Windows key to enter the first characters in the search to load them this way.

I only use the start menu on Windows 7 for two other purposes: first to launch the control panel, and second to shut down the computer. I have to admit that I personally dislike the way Microsoft has resolved those two. I have to move the mouse to the upper or lower right corner of the screen to display the charms bar to access the features from there.

If I want to shutdown or restart, I have to move the mouse to the location, click on Settings, then Power, and then finally Sleep, Shutdown or Restart.

shutdown windows 8

For the Control Panel, I have to be on the desktop to begin with, as Metro is only displaying a crippled Control Panel if you open it in the Metro interface. The real control panel is however linked directly once you hit the settings button. I can live with that.


Windows 8 is fast, which I did notice first on system start. It boots a lot faster than my Windows 7 machine, despite both being powered by a fast Solid State Drive and Windows 8 not optimized  at all. The switching between the desktop and Metro is also very fluent, and while it really depends on the PC Windows 8 is installed on, I'd estimate that it is on average faster than the same PC running Windows 7.


Feature-wise, there is lots to explore. You got new interfaces for some core programs like Windows Explorer or the Task Manager, a better file copying and moving dialog, syncing of data if you want, a refresh and reset option, and other features that are mostly good additions or improvements over previous versions of Windows.

Closing Words

If I would have a choice, I would have preferred that Microsoft would have released an update to Windows 7, with the better search menu, better performance, and with Metro functionality planted directly on the desktop.  As it turns out, Windows 8 is still a radical shift away from the conventional PC desktop, which also means that users upgrading their PCs to the operating system, or buying a new PC with it, will have to spend time adopting. It is probably the tech-savvy users who need to spend more time, while regular users will spend more time using Metro.

All in all though I can say that Windows 8 is not as bad as some reviewers have tried to make it look like. Yes, you need some time to get used to it, but once you do, you will appreciate several of the features that Microsoft has implemented into the operating system.


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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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