Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now
The Register ^ | 22nd October 2012 10:18 GMT | Trevor Pott

Posted on 10/22/2012 10:47:31 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Sysadmin blog Overall, I think Windows 8 is a truly wonderful operating system. The under-the-hood changes make it a fantastic improvement over Windows 7. I am completely in love with Server 2012; I can't imagine the next few years without it. Despite being in love with the technology underpinning Windows 8, I ultimately have to walk away from Microsoft's new client OS.

The overwhelming majority of my Windows 8 interaction has been with it as a workstation operating system. With months of use, I've learned to beat the OS into submission. Tools are emerging to help, but some things still have to be done manually.

Using Windows 8 as a workstation and on my stylus-driven Asus R1F has proven to be frustrating. My brief interactions with it in touch mode have ultimately not softened my mood.

Touch uncertainty

Let's put aside both the sysadmin and tech journalist parts of my day job here. I want to talk end-user to end-user for a moment. I admit that I don't have a Windows touch device of my own to play with; my interactions in touch mode have been scattered and brief. I remain open to the possibility that further interaction with Windows 8 in touch mode could impart upon me the joy, wonder and excitement that so many others feel about this operating system. The truth is, I'll probably never know.

The Microsoft Surface is supposed to be the ultimate Windows 8 device. Only a select few tech journalists - those good at staying on message - have been invited to demo the device. I am not among them. When the reviews do hit the streets, I have serious questions about who among those privileged tech journalists I can trust to be running workloads remotely comparable to my own.

At $600 for the cheapest variant with its sexy keyboard case, it is simply too much money for me to drop on a device that may or may not meet my needs. Fondling it in the store for a few minutes isn't going to tell me much about long term use, so when my Asus Transformer dies it will be replaced by whatever the latest Android Transformer is. That thing's been good to me.

I love Metro Start, but I want it on my terms

I love Metro Start, but I loathe how it's implemented. Windows 8 is two completely different (bimodal) operating systems – one touch, the other a workstation. One should not intrude on the other. If I am in workstation mode, I should have to make the choice to enter Metro. If I am in tablet mode, I should have to make a choice to drop to the desktop. I don't care if that takes mandating a user-toggleable hardware switch on all tablets, we need to be able to set which "world" we are living in.

  1. File type associations need to be context-aware. If I am in workstation mode, I don't want anything opening in a Metro app, ever. I am in tablet mode I don't want anything opening in the desktop, ever. There of course needs to be a method to override "ever" for specific exceptions, but in general this holds true. For hybrid devices that will serve as desktops when docked and then tablets when undocked, the operating system need to switch those file associations from the desktop application to the Metro one.

  2. Give me more Metro Start! I hate that Metro Start is forced on me, but in truth, I love Metro Start. I want to be able to "pin" Metro Start to its own monitor so that it could sit there being a collection of live tiles providing always-updating high information density launch targets.

    While I find the "start menu replacement" part of Metro Start completely unusable, it's a replacement for the Quick Launch bar. If allowing me to "pin" Metro Start to one screen is too much work, let me "pop out" individual live tiles and affix them permanently on the desktop. 17 years later, Active Desktop done right.

  3. Allow me to "Window" Metro applications. I don't care if they aren't resizable, let me specify a resolution for "windowed" Metro apps and let's do this. 33/66 is not enough. I need a way to get at the soon-to-be-mandatory Metro applications in a manner that suits my workflow.


I know that it's en vogue to gripe about Aero not being around anymore. If you want it, go install it. Like the missing Start bar, it isn't a big deal so long as third-party apps can still restore it. That said, there are some aesthetic niggles that I just can't get over.

  1. Provide a setting to make the Charms Bar a textual overlay with a transparent background. The "Big Black Bar" choice causes context switching when I go to pull up the control panel. Ultimately, it leads to me disabling hot corners; bad if you use your device as a hybrid.

  2. Let me log on in a manner that bypasses Metro. I shouldn't have to see Metro if I don't want to; it should be something I choose to use. When you are not in tablet mode, Metro should be a desktop app, not vice versa.

The learning curve

I've got "setting up Windows 8 into a desktop-only environment I can live with" down to a science, but I do not want to be working help desk the day this get rolled out to any of my clients. I've got four major gripes about the learning curve that I would want Microsoft to address before I am prepared to man the help desk during deployment.

  1. Revisit touch queues to make them more obvious. Failing this, touch devices need to ship with a "how to use Windows Touch" tour. For those coming from the iPad or Android worlds, Metro isn't intuitive.

  2. Every non-windows RT Windows 8 need a very prominent "how to use Metro with a keyboard and mouse without going mad" introduction video. I know it's a complaint we've all heard a million times by now ... but it bears repeating.

  3. Revisit how you "throw away" Metro applications with a mouse. It is counterintuitive and difficult for some people. Older folks, those using trackpads, and individuals with motor control issues are all people I have witnessed having difficulty here. This is a QA problem that just didn't get solved.

  4. Fix Stylus support for Metro – it's pants. Specifically, I have an issue with the fact that you cannot drag the Metro screen around. Instead, you have to drag the magic, disappearing slider, and that doesn't work well.

Next page: No. Just No.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Chit/Chat; Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: hitech; operatingsytems; server2012; windows8

1 posted on 10/22/2012 10:47:40 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ShadowAce


2 posted on 10/22/2012 10:49:02 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ((The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Posted this also:

Why Windows 8 server is a game-changer

Article is by the same suthor but published back in March.

3 posted on 10/22/2012 11:04:44 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ((The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach


4 posted on 10/22/2012 11:37:37 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ((The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

As a “power user” I’m overall pretty impressed with Windows 8.

The start menu / metro interface debacle (and it IS a debacle) is understandably an annoyance. Ultimately, I only use it very rarely and then only when I need to launch a shortcut.

I don’t use the metro apps much...Some of them are pretty cool, but think of them like 99% of the apps you download for your smart phone - Fluff of little substance. Nifty without being productive.

All of my real work still takes place on the desktop which looks like a very streamlined Windows 7 minus the “Start” button.

Windows 8, unlike Windows 7, does not have flashy translucent window panes - It’s starkly functional. Feng Shui, one might even say. None of my system resources are tied up making pretty shadows or transparent borders.

So many under the hood improvements abound, they’re difficult to keep track of. My SSD’s are automatically TRIM’d, the OS is very multimonitor-friendly, and I boot from BIOS to lock screen in about 3.5 seconds.

Most of my complaints with Microsoft OS products are also “under the hood,” as it were. I’m still frustrated that custom installations are difficult, and I can’t easily put my Users, or Program Files directories on a different partition than the root partition. There are some tricks for doing this, but the results are often ugly and difficult to recover from if not executed perfectly.

Some pluses are built in anti-virus - Not a crappy one, but a real, lightweight, robust one. I also really enjoy Roaming Profiles, where essentially I link my Windows Live account to my Facebook and Google accounts, and my profile follows me to whatever other Windows 8 machine I log into. Even if I do a bare-metal reinstall, my Windows settings are bound to my roaming account, so as soon as I log in, I’m greeted with my favorite color/sound scheme, and my Cloud-based files begin transfering onto the system.

My recommendation is to get it. I suspect the new start menu will eventually be patched to an option by Microsoft under pressure from consumers, and then we’ll have a pretty darn awesome OS on our hands.

I’m not saying I hate Metro, but it feels a bit off on a workstation without a touch screen.

5 posted on 10/22/2012 11:38:30 AM PDT by Heavyrunner (Socialize this.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Heavyrunner
Yeah this is esssentially my take as well. For the Surface, I find the dual mode OK, for my desktop, hideous. I quickly installed a TPA to give me back the start menu and never go back to the Metro Start Screen on the desktop.

One correction: AFAIK SSD's are automatically TRIM'd in Win7. In both my Win7 x64 and Win7 x86 desktops this is the case, one is Intel SSD, the other Samsung, so I don't believe this is a Win 8 "improvement."

The W8 Server is AWESOME. Maybe even breathtaking.

6 posted on 10/22/2012 11:54:52 AM PDT by FredZarguna (A bump in the road. Not optimal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Zogby has been included for a while. And, as usual, he’s been all over the map.

I think ARG is considered a partisan pollster, like PPP (which are not included after October).

7 posted on 10/22/2012 12:03:44 PM PDT by nhwingut (Single Issue Voter: Obama Must Go!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nhwingut

Oops. Had two threads open.

I am a Windows guy going back to NT Server. I personally like Windows 8. I’ve been using the tiles for quite some time, as I have a Windows phone, but I can understand the frustration from the office worker/non techie set. It’s a bigger learning curve.

8 posted on 10/22/2012 12:08:09 PM PDT by nhwingut (Single Issue Voter: Obama Must Go!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: FredZarguna

You are correct on the TRIM statement.

What had happened in my case was that I had multiple OCZ Vertex 3’s in a RAID0 config. TRIM would not work previously in Win7 in this scenario.

After installing Windows 8, I did notice TRIM was working properly, but subsequent research indicates this is because the newest IRST driver was installed, and Intel just recently enabled TRIM on RAID0 on the 7-series Intel chipset. :)

9 posted on 10/22/2012 12:15:23 PM PDT by Heavyrunner (Socialize this.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Heavyrunner

How are the OCZ’s? I had steered clear of them because of so many negative reviews at NewEgg and Amazon.

10 posted on 10/22/2012 12:35:50 PM PDT by FredZarguna (A bump in the road. Not optimal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: FredZarguna

Vertex 3 line is getting long in the tooth, being over a year old, but they have performed consistently and solidly. OCZ support is on the ball with frequent firmware updates, an active forum, and rapid community responses.

They post an 8.2 WEI score in Windows 8 for hard drive performance...Oddly, it’s my SLI’d 680 GTXs that are my lowest scoring system component at 8.1

11 posted on 10/22/2012 1:07:15 PM PDT by Heavyrunner (Socialize this.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Heavyrunner

I’d love to give it a spin, but I’m a touch typist, and don’t really like the Ipad, or the Samsung Tab. We have both here, but one is for the wifey, the other ends up being a gaming platform for the kiddies.

I’d be in the “maddened” world of wanting to use it like a normal OS. I’m waiting. My W7 is working flawlessly on my lappy, and my gaming desktop. Hate to ruin a good thing.

I might do it anyway, dunno.

12 posted on 10/22/2012 1:29:43 PM PDT by Big Giant Head
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Big Giant Head

I get that, and sympathize.

The Win 7 Start Menu was truly becoming a mess though. When you first build a system, it’s all nice and neat, and then every single program you install creates a new folder and list of programs within it.

Unless you’re VERY anal about cleaning out crap, before you know it your start menu is slightly longer than a King James Bible, and you’re constantly sliding up and down the folder list to find what you’re looking for.

Microsoft HAD to come up with a way to address that. The new Start Menu isn’t the answer I was hoping for, but it does make keeping your start menu clean and orderly...Easier. From a functionality perspective, that’s pretty much all that’s changed - The Metro Start Menu. Everything else is Windows as you’ve come to know it.

13 posted on 10/22/2012 2:15:58 PM PDT by Heavyrunner (Socialize this.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson