Microsoft launched the shiny new Windows 8 in October, and I knew what to expect – actually, to put it more correctly, I knew what using Windows 8 would be like, since I’d been using it back when MS unveiled the Developer Preview. So, in all, I was using Windows 8 for more than a year, already, before the final version was out. I loved the upgrade to bits – it ran faster than XP and Windows 7 Ultimate did, and a lot, lot faster than Ubuntu. There’s no reason to dislike it, for me. The desktop has been cleaned up a lot, and is a lot, lot easier to use, and is light on the eyes. That’s what Windows 7 lacked – there was a lot of gloss everywhere, and it’d bring the entire computer to a screeching halt. Windows 8 seemed to address all of my concerns with the desktop, but it also brought with it something new, something really nice – Metro UI.
It’s inspired from Windows Phone, and being a Windows Phone fan myself, I had no doubt I’d buy Windows 8 the day it’d become available – I did. But here’s the deal – I don’t know why’d I use Metro apps. I’ve found and am comfortable with the desktop apps, the ones without the Metro UI – the old-school apps. They are powerful, and can do what I want. But with Metro apps, there’s some compromise – hidden menus, actions, a lot of scrolling around, and more than anything, you cannot resize the “window” size – they’re all full-screen. Oh yes, there’s the snap feature, but that’s as much about it. I don’t know what is happening outside of the app, and that’s not what I want. I would use a tablet or a smartphone if I did not want to multitask. I can get in and out of apps at a breeze, but then that’s not something I want to do, again.
To say that I’ve been using Windows Phone for well over a year, and Windows 8 as well, and that I still don’t feel at home with the Metro UI on the latter, surprised me as well, when I first realized the fact. If ever you find me using the Metro apps on the computer, it’s because I’m forcing myself to get used to it, to use the new stuff more, to forcibly like it, to forcibly ditch the desktop apps, to forcibly move along in the new direction Microsoft has taken.
I understand they’re trying to unite the mobile and computer spheres, but it seems like a lofty goal to me, for now. In spite of using Windows 8 for well over a year, I still can’t seem to use Metro. I can’t use it even when I want to while away my time, nor when I want to be productive.
It’s going to be a tough ride for you, Microsoft. As long as there are Windows XP, Vista, 7 or the desktop Windows in any form, you’re going to have a tough time migrating your user base to Metro.