The critical importance of the upcoming Windows 8 Release Candidate (RC)

Windows Vista, it was this deluge and outpouring of negative energy regarding the OS. The beta was awful and the word on the street was that this wasn’t going to be successful. With Windows 7, there quickly seemed to be a more disciplined and positive feel to the OS. Development dates were met and what we did see, (for the most part) we liked. Correspondingly, there was an excitement and anticipation for this OS and it turned out to be a massive success.

So where are we with Windows 8?

We’ve seen a Windows 8 Developer Preview and a Windows 8 Consumer Preview and so far, the feedback has been very diverse. A lot of consumers simply seem to hate the change. The OS is very different from Windows 7 and it seems like there will be a steep learning curve getting up to speed with this OS. There have been a bunch of analysts (and a smaller subset of users) who are excited about Windows 8. Understandably, they are excited about Microsoft going in a new direction and they want to give the Redmond giant the benefit of the doubt.

How do I feel about Windows 8 today?

I think that based on what I have seen so far, there are a substantial amount of structural and architectural changes that still need to be made.
  • It needs to be more intuitive.
  • It needs to start at the desktop and not Metro.
  • The start button should come back.
  • There needs to be more separation between Metro and the traditional Windows desktop.
There are many other issues that I could identify but at this point, it would be redundant. Fundamentally, this Operating System has to solve a Windows 7 problem or enhance Windows 7 in some tangible way. At this point, I dont think it does. The new UI enhancements like more detailed file copying information or IE 10 (many of which I love) are enhancements that would be just as good in a Windows 7 Service Pack. By themselves, they aren’t a catalyst for a necessary upgrade. I cannot overstate the importance of Microsoft getting the Windows 8 Release Candidate right. Based on discussions with a lot of my peers and fellow bloggers, there is a general suspicion that while Microsoft may be paying attention to the Micro feedback (colors, UI elements, charms, branding etc), they are less receptive to Macro feedback (separation of Metro etc). If true, that would be unfortunate. The Microsoft community has shown (with Windows Vista) that they don’t have to move to a new Operating System just because it is released. Without question, there is a substantial risk of a mass boycott of Windows 8 if the RC doesn’t address both the Macro and Micro changes necessary to make this thing fly. The boycott wouldn’t necessarily be a flamboyant, open rebellion, it would probably just come in the form of a quiet indifference. In my case, I have Windows 8 on a tablet and on my laptop and (at this point) don’t see any reason to use it day to day. It has turned out to be a great source of screenshots and research but I don’t see it replacing my Windows 7 Ultimate PC anytime soon. I know at least 10 other influential bloggers who feel this way but since I don’t work for a large media juggernaut, I have the guts to say it out loud. The Windows 8 Release Candidate is possibly going to decide the fate of Microsoft Windows for years to come. I’m hoping to eat my words and be blown away by the RC. Enough from me, what about you?
  • What do you think of Windows 8 so far?
  • What are you looking for in the Windows 8 Release Candidate?
Use the comments below and let the world know…]]>

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