Windows 8 Still Baffling to Non-Geeks

    October 17, 2012
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

Way back in March of this year, when the Windows 8 consumer preview was released, Chris Pirillo, aka LockerGnome, had his father sit down with the new Windows. What followed was an instructive four minutes in which the man struggled to understand the operating system and questioned where the Start menu had gone. His father actually said, “They tryin’ to drive me to Mac?”

Back then there was still hope that Microsoft would modify the OS slightly to help those who have been using Windows iterations since the 90s. Unfortunately, with its October 26 release day approaching and pre-orders on sale, Windows 8 remains pretty much the same it was in March.

To prove his point once again, Pirillo took to the streets to show off Windows 8 to non-geeks and see if they can accomplish tasks that were simple in previous versions. As with his father, the lack of a start menu and task bar really threw people, and several of them compared the interface to a smartphone UI. He then asked them to turn off the computer using Windows and the real confusion began to set in:

To be fair, I’m pretty sure it would have taken me a while to find the shutdown button too (In the Settings menu? Really?).

While the interface may work beautifully on a tablet or other touchscreen device, the business customers Microsoft relies on will not be happy having to purchase all-new equipment or spend the money and time to retrain all of their employees, as one woman in the video said she would need. It may be a bit too early to call Windows 8 a flop, but Microsoft will need a huge marketing push for consumers to even consider switching to a completely unfamiliar OS.

  • Robert Marsh

    OS8, maybe the biggest mistake Microsoft has made. I previewed it at Best Buy and hated it! Other computer techs at repair places are also not impressed. In my case,I messed up the most stable platform they have made–XP, and geeks had to put in win7–I am starting to at least live with it, but 8 no-way. I understand from several of the large retailers, Win8 is going to be the only basic windows machine on the sales floor. My guess is this is Microsofts way to get more into the Smart Phone and gaming business–As though there are not enough people in it already. In today’s economy, I don’t envision a lot of businesses hurrying to replace what they have and retrain people for Win 8. Give Apple another star for increasing, what I still consider a very expensive toy.

  • http://www.engage-2012.com/ Engage 2012 Conference

    While Widows 7even was a success the new Windows 8 is such a fail. Microsoft has been building his corporate identity for decades and now, with the introduction of Windows 8 they will just throw it away? I don`t think that this is how you treat your own company history.

  • Dom

    Window 8 is the last straw for me. I am done with micrsoft.

  • H. Campbell

    The trouble with techno-geeks is—they have no idea when to LEAVE THINGS ALONE. If something is causing problems for a given user, by all means change it. If, however, the item (or set of items) is already cost effective & working beautifully, then the answer is obvious. LEAVE THE THING ALONE!!

    • Luke

      Ok so explain why normal users struggled to find the shut down button…

      • Dan

        Because they are not expecting users to keep shutting it down. It’s like an iPad, they are expecting you to just pick it up and put it down and let it sleep on it’s own accord.

        Therefore shutdown is a specific function you should never normally need to do.

        That said, the amount of reboots you have to do when you have a Windows machine… well need I say more!

      • Thomas

        Who are these “normal users” who “struggled” to find the shut down button?

        I heard of one joke post where one person said that they couldn’t understand why they have to press “Start” to shut down their computer.

        Your post suggests that people are getting counseling because it is such an issue for them!

  • Neal

    I’m definitely sticking with Win 7. What drugs were they smoking when they made Win 8?

  • Major Mess

    Change for the sake of change. Apple didn’t force iOS onto the Desktop, clearly these clowns are forcing one look and feel across the board. Why don’t we see rudder pedals and a stick inside of an auto? If Microcrap had their way and provided software to both cars and planes they would. Take that multiple screen crap, yeah, people with big ego have multiple screens where one would do, where I worked they did, basically management out to lunch on the cost, and that setup is to impress people from other departments, most times you find them playing online games on company time. Most home PC and small businesses are not going to invest in that expensive. You betcha I want a screen just for that startup replacement, seriously. These clowns spent too much time on useless crap, how about a registry that doesn’t need cleaning, or better yet, dump it, or fix the problem of the anti virus tax people have to pay to keep the Microsoft crap box working.

    A tablet that has a hinged keyboard doesn’t impress me, not with Bluetooth keyboards available where I can pick and choose and frankly I use a tablet for what a tablet is go for and a desktop for what it is good for. Anyone remember that car/airplane they tried to bring to market? Did both functions, but neither very well. You now have Windows 8. Time for Steve to go.

    Gee, the amount of relearning this crap for 1,200 employees in terms of lost productivity should have us running to Linux or Apple.

  • SN

    Gee I hate that cramped square app look, looks cheesy, looks like an old worn out UI design for a small cell phone screen to save real estate, form over function, buttons/Icons hidden for screen space, just because it is now displayed on a bigger screen doesn’t make it better, just “fresh” I guess to the naive. This isn’t going to be something that wears well. This setup looks like you going to have to click, mouse move, your brains out to get anything done in the Windows mode. Have you noticed that most of the reviews on devices built to use this cow patty has no mention of the weight, battery life. Nice thing about a true tablet is you are not hauling around a car battery, 42 inch plasma screen. I hope there is someway to turn that live crap off, if you are using any kind of data plan, should put a nice bite into it.

    Guess the real hidden golden goose for Microsoft has always been bloated each new OS release so users need new hardware to run it, now it is totally add touch screen as the dominate look and feel, drive new computer sales. gee, you sell two copies of this, one for the old hardware, another when the users realized what a dog it isis and has to buy a touch screen device. Didn’t they sucker us enough with Vista, had to buy Windows 7 on my 64 bit machine to get rid of the problems, the double purchase, again.

  • Rick

    Slapping a smartphone interface on a workstation/desktop/laptop computer operating system is absurd. Sure, it’s novel and fun for a couple of days, until you realize how silly it is. It’s ultimately pointless at best and a clunky time waster at worst. Unless you want to play on a smartphone or tablet, the Metro interface–yeah, I’m still calling it that–is a waste of time and money. If I had wanted such pabulum, I would have purchased a tablet long ago.

    I use my computers (desktop and ultrabook) to actually get work done. I have no interest in fingering, twiddling, swiping, poking and smudging my computer monitors. (The argument about just clicking the desktop tile is disingenuous, and those who would make that argument know it, so don’t bother. Why not just keep Windows 7? At least in that case you’d still have a Start button.)

    The Metro interface is a great toy. On a tablet that you take on vacation, or on a smartphone, it’s fun, at least for a while. Even so, consider how many “apps” are nearly worthless. How many star charts, recipe organizers, bartender helpers, music lyric finders, games and so on do you really need? There is almost nothing worthy of note, at least not for adults. Even Mail and Calendar are cut-rate versions of the mostly excellent Outlook.com, which you can access via any Web browser. (Calendar won’t even allow you to delete an existing appointment.) Xbox Music and Xbox Video are simply front-ends to Microsoft’s store.

    On a desktop, it’s even more ridiculous. Do you really want those full-screen-only Metro apps on your laptop or desktop display? (After all, as one PC pundit wrote, “Windows is called Windows because it has windows.” Someone in Redmond must have forgotten about that.) Even if your display happens to be touch-enabled and you actually like Metro apps on your primary computer system, I think you’ll change your mind after using the touch interface on a large monitor. Try it and you’ll understand what I mean.

    I’ve been using Windows 8 since the earliest previews, hoping that Microsoft would actually listen to the feedback that it requested from users. I’ve uninstalled the final version on all computers in the house except for my wife’s laptop, as she has completed her degree, uses few standard software applications anymore, and “likes the pretty tiles.” However, unless you have a tablet or smartphone, I advise against installing Windows 8. Save your money and avoid the annoyance. It serves no useful purpose on a real computer on which you intend to accomplish work throughout the day.

  • Larry

    Windows 8 may drive more users to Apple OS X than Apple ever could. Nice job Microsoft!