A sample of the WIN 8 Metro Interface

In case you haven’t been listening, the users’ howl over the new Metro Interface in Windows 8 is getting louder by the day. The consumer preview has been out for a while now and folks are discovering that they can’t disable the Metro Interface like the could in the earlier Developer Preview. The much maligned Metro Interface is geared more to smart phones & tablets but requires a HUGE shift in thinking if you’re a traditional desktop user like Dr. Data. The interface will be great for those of us with touch screens but if you’re a mouse & keyboard person, not so much.

Early reports on Win 8 indicated that Microsoft was going to offer both Metro and the classic Windows desktop that many of us know and love but this choice has yet to materialise in any of the preview versions. While it is still early days in one sense, there’s a bit less than six months between now and the official release sometime in October, 2012. Add in the fact that Win. 8 will be released to manufacturing most likely in August and suddenly it’s later than we think.

Some commentators have argued that Microsoft is more intent on giving Metro a test drive than putting a tried and true interface out on the road for a spin and Dr. Data is somewhat inclined to agree with them. On the other hand, the folks in Redmond have had a habit over the past 15 years of alternating good and bad releases. Remember Windows XP? Remember Vista? Windows 7 was a big hit so it’s now time for another Vista-esque debacle.

Other commentators have said that they’re going to move to Linux or a Mac. These may be folks who have been looking for a good – or any – excuse to move to a different platform but where does that leave the rest of us? If you’re like Dr. Data who has scads of Win applications that he does not want to run under WINE on his Ubuntu machine, you may find yourself sticking with Windows 7. This is OK but we will have to hope that Microsoft releases a “good” OS to follow Windows 8 before support ends for Windows 7.

In the meantime, we can draw comfort from the fact that there is something that we can do to get around this potential impasse and I’m not talking about complaining to Microsoft. A software package called “Classic Shell” is available to all right-thinking people who don’t want to go Metro. This software was introduced back in the bad old days of Vista to get around the changes/problems introduced in that operating system. The software is FREE but Dr. Data is concerned about those Windows users out there who boot up mainly to check e-mail or go on Facebook, Many of this segment may be better served by migrating to a tablet but the rest may be hard pressed when it comes time to decide.

There is some more commentary at Tom’s Hardware and ZDNet.

And just for fun, have a look at this video of a real live person trying to figure out Windows 8:

[tube]v4boTbv9_nU [/tube]


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