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Windows 8: A step in the right direction or not worth the trouble?

(Photo by Microsoft)
Microsoft introduced a new Metro start screen that replaced the standard start menu.

On Oct. 26, Microsoft launched its new operating system, Windows 8, to mixed reviews from consumers. According to Microsoft’s website, the new system has a “beautiful, fast and fluid interface” that is able to be personalized with applications. Windows 8 offers new features such as faster boot times, a new Metro start screen and options to refresh a computer by automatically re-installing the operating system while preserving personal files.

The digital media director at WUOG 90.5 FM, Dillon Eversman, feels that Microsoft made the right move in creating the Windows 8. “This operating system is optimal for the new line of devices that are to come out in the future, namely, laptops that are hybrids between a tablet and a regular, clamshell laptop,” Eversman said.

Junior biochemistry major Katie Spears agreed. “I think [Windows 8] would be more useful on a tablet instead of a laptop,” Spears said. Maryville College senior Allen Brady also said the Windows 8 operating system is ideal for touchscreen systems like the Ultrabook. “Knowing that tablet computing is becoming massive, Microsoft has presented a very awesome step forward with the hybrid laptop,” Brady said. However, this change may not appeal to everyone. “For non-touchscreen devices, I think Microsoft has a lot of work to do, because it’s a huge transition from Windows 7, and not one that many people are fond of,” Eversman said.

Spears, who recently switched from using a Mac to a laptop with Windows 8, said she is unsure if she will continue to use the new operating system.

“At this point, I’m leaning toward getting rid of it. It’s too much of a hassle learning how to use it from a Mac halfway through the semester,” Spears said. Users may face a variety of other issues such as driver compatibility and lack of connection between desktop and Metro applications.

“For example, if you’re using Internet Explorer 10 on the start screen, all your bookmarks and preferences in that are completely separate from the desktop version,” Brady said. “Like any brand-new operating system, it needs some polish, but I think it’s a good step forward for Microsoft.”

“Obviously Microsoft has a lot of work to do if they want to keep their audience that appreciates their operating system for its professionalism,” Eversman said. “That’s going to be the biggest challenge moving forward.” However, Windows provides a variety of new features that Eversman and Brady enjoy.

“What Windows does with their apps is a big separator between their interface versus Apple’s and Google’s,” Eversman said. “They have tiles, but more importantly, they have Live Tiles. Live Tiles allow the app to display helpful information within the tile without requiring the user to open up the app.” Spears said the applications are one part of Windows 8 that she has enjoyed thus far, particularly gaming apps.

“It’s neat that you can sync your Xbox to your laptop,” Spears said. Besides applications, Windows 8 offers other useful functions, such as an improved security system. “Now, out-of-the-box, you have a fully-fledged antivirus and firewall,” Brady said. “We’re moving into the era where a windows operating system can be used out-of-the-box without a headache.” Though experiences with Windows 8 have varied, it is clear to Brady that Microsoft is making an effort with its new operating system to create a new, innovative operating system for the ever-changing world of technology.

“Windows 8 takes full advantage of hybrid laptops,” Brady said, “which seems to be the way forward.”