Why Windows 8 is Windows 7’s Superior


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Forenote: This article will rustle some feathers and create controversy. For the faction of bandwagoning contrarians against Windows 8, things that you’ve heard or religiously devoted yourself to believing will be factually challenged and often downright de-bunked in this article.

Before we start, let me say a bit about myself and who I am. As my primary job, I am the lead of software programming and web development for a multi-focused organization branching out from Hazelwood, Missouri… but as a secondary; I work a job where I’m tasked with being a technical consultant, hardware/software salesman, and a computer repair technician in a retail environment.

This mandates that I must know a lot about a lot. Because of the highly specific nature of my primary job, my profession doesn’t particularly allow me to deal with any environment where I must make sacrifices, so the operating system I use will have to be competent for me to do my job… but at the same time, my secondary job means I deal with a public full of extraordinarily dynamic wants and needs. What must also be made clear is that the salesman aspect of my secondary job means that I can’t really afford to be uneducated regarding Windows 8. I really have no option but to know it and I have to understand it. Often, my clientele wants to know that Windows 8 will not compromise the integrity of their professional uses… and some just want to see if the new iteration of Windows finally gets a grip the sense of casual-friendly simple operation that – in all honesty – has been iffy these past two decades.

In my humble opinion, I’m more than fit for the job of being a judge the character and design of Windows 8… and I plan to pack this article with enough information to make this adequate were someone to take this as the definitive judgment for Windows 8.


windows-8-logo[1]Before we start, the first thing we must do is dispel the non-truths and reveal the easy solutions to common complaints. The statement that any publicly-in-tune computer literate person can attest to is that misinformation spreads through the grapevine like wildfire. With a public so easily influenced by what they hear (secondhand, not through actual firsthand experience), it’s common that information that’s simply and totally incorrect can become ferociously widespread. As I established earlier though, I can’t perform my secondary job without knowing Windows 8 because all of the hardware we sell runs it… so my foundation for knowledge has to be stronger than just believing what’s heard through the grapevine.

Personally, I have daily scenarios where I’m told about some deal-breaking flaw of Windows 8 that someone heard about. In every case, what they’ve heard turns out to be extremely false and they tend to wear a (quite comical) deer-in-headlights  facial expression when I perform a live demonstration of the very thing they heard Windows 8 couldn’t do.

To preserve the focus of this article, I’m going to simply put the qualms about Windows 8 in a table format.

Windows 8 is an un-ideal option for those without touchscreens.

A tidbit of information that not many seem to know is that every gesture introduced for Windows 8 has it’s equivalent on traditional mouse and keyboard setups. On laptops, we can find all those gestures that are originally thought to be exclusive to touch screens baked right into the trackpad – accessible to anyone curious enough to approach their trackpad with the same two-finger gestures we use on smartphones. Even more astounding though is the second revelation. With so many of the aforementioned touch gestures relying on swipes and long-presses, the fact I’ve discovered is that there’s even some cases where a mouse and keyboard work better as a time-consuming “finger press hold” would simply be replaced with a right click… and this doesn’t even break the mold of how many of Windows Store apps work well with traditional mouse & keyboard setups.

The classic UI that made windows what it was is gone now.
I sometimes feel silly – embarrassed even – whenever I have to demonstrate this because it’s such a basic thing. But seeing as most Windows 8 skeptics don’t even put forth enough effort to learn this before criticizing Windows 8, I do have to establish this – the classic windows interface (as well as all essential elements of Windows 7) still exists in Windows 8.While you may ‘see’ metro, there’s an icon on any given start screen that says “desktop”. Clicking on that is the only step necessary to access “legacy windows” in all it’s glory
The Windows Store lacks content.
A note I’d like to make is the date in which this claim was prevalent. With the October 2012 release of Windows 8, there were stories abound regarding the ‘lack of content’ on the Windows Store which all relied heavily on the fact that it was in it’s infancy.But just as we evaluate educational progression on an incremental system of time advancement, we can’t logically use outdated figures to form conclusions later on in a platforms life. Look at more recent figures and what facts do we uncover? The notion about Windows Store lacking content simply and absolutely does not hold true today.At the time of composing this article, a story was released noting that the Windows Store had reached a landmark of 100,000 apps. And it did so in just eight months after it’s release. Do you know what that means? The Windows Store is not only growing faster than the Google Play Store(Android Market) and mobile Windows Marketplace did, it’s also exceeded the rate of growth of the industry standard – the Apple AppStore. Even users of Windows 8 RT have a healthy ecosystem.
The Start button is no longer there and ‘apps’ cannot be windowed.
Even the complaints that are seemingly valid reveal that the user in question did not do research before trying to use such a statement to invalidate a platform.Those users too stuck in the past to realize how much more efficient start screen searches must still be aware of the fact that Windows is a very open and customizable platform. Those wanting to have their classic start button back can easily download Classic Shell or Start8, and those wanting to have Metro apps windowed must look no further than ModernMix.
Because it’s the new thing, it must not work with older software.
A popular demonstration I like to do for my clients is installing an old AMR to WAV converter that was made for Windows 98. No one would blame you for being unfamiliar with the AMR format because it’s a dinosaur. The point of that demonstration; though, is introducing clients to “compatibility mode”. It’s a tool that’s been baked into Windows for ages that allows newer operating systems to reach deep into older NET v3.5, v2.5, v2.0 and earlier frameworks to make older software run on newer machines.While most older software will run on Windows 8 without even needing to tweak compatibility settings, this proves that support exists to make Windows 7 software work without a hitch on Windows 8… and it has software support dating all the way back to Windows 95.

We can play this game of debunking myths all day though. Lets shift focuses to what Windows 8 does better than Windows 7.

EASE OF USE

The more I learn Windows 8, the more I learn that tasks that once took multiple steps to do are now greatly reduced in complication. For example; my profession in web programming puts me in a situation where I have to use multiple webmaster email addresses that span across many separate mail host clients. The windows mail client offers a solution to that which is much more streamlined and aggravation-free than any iteration of Outlook or Thunderbird. My megaton of business and college emails can go into one unified application with my personal email without the need for having to load up each individual website for each individual email client.

Additionally, accessing local content is made worlds easier. From the start screen, you can literally start typing and have the content you want streamlined to you. On past iterations of windows, any application you want that doesn’t have a shortcut on the desktop had to be accessed via clicking on the start menu and going through multiple steps of multi-tiered windows to access the application… and users who have to have many applications installed will be quite familiar with how long it’d take to load that list (and the shifty reliability/slow operation of the search bar that made it’s debut in Vista). If I want to get to my Control Panel, I simply start typing… and before I’ve even finished typing “con,” the results (including my desired destination) are brought to me in a fashion that I can access quickly and efficiently. It’s easy to get in the habit of accessing typically hidden things like regedit, diskmgmt and the like through simple start screen types searches because Windows 8’s method of doing this is much more efficient than 7 or any other iteration.

Charms are also a lot of fun to use. Things like sharing content and connecting wireless devices have actually had entire minutes shaved off their process. Before, if you wanted to share a webpage to an e-mail contact, you’re opening up a new tab in your web browser, signing into your e-mail, composing a new email, selecting your contact and copy-pasting a link. What’s that process turned into on Windows 8? Access charms, select share and choose the contact… and that comparison’s nothing compared to how easy connecting wireless devices has become in Windows 8.

STREAMLINED CONTENT GAINING

Another huge game changer is the Windows Store. Aside from being an outlet for Windows 8 apps, the Windows Store is also breaking another mold – removing the convolution of finding legacy applications. A process that once involved having to launch an internet browser and go on a world-wide-web sized hunt to find software is quickly being replaced with a simple and easy-to-use central database that gets users to where they can get their software without all the hassle.

GAMING & MULTIMEDIA

For those of us who have been following Windows 8 long before it even had an open-public developer preview, seeing credit given towards gaming may seem odd, but there’s a lot about Windows 8 that makes it quite appealing for gamers. Exclusive to Windows 8 is full-featured Xbox Live integration. All the social gaming aspects of adding friends, chatting with your in-game friends, leaderboards, are there, and we even have the ability to buff our achievements/Gamerscore through Xbox Live titles on the Windows Store. That means Windows 8 makes PC gaming closer than it’s ever been to being something we can plug into an HDTV, link to a 360 controller and use for gaming.

It gets even better though, the days of having to download space-hungry, resource-hungry, codec-overdependent multimedia programs can be put to rest for lightweight apps like Multimedia 8 or PressPlay Video that handle tons of file formats with all their subtitles and insane media encoding. Add that to an operating system that also offers a traditional filesystem and we have a multimedia juggernaut.

RESOURCE EFFICIENCY

Despite how the grapevine reputation would make it seem, it’s actually extremely common that people with Windows XP, Vista and 7 want to move on to Windows 8… and as a part of my repair technician job, I’m no stranger to having to wipe hard drives and install operating systems. A couple traditions that are too consistently true to ignore are that computers upgraded from Windows XP, Vista or 7 to Windows 8 operate more efficiently. Software loads faster in Windows 8, the operating system itself boots faster, and thanks to it’s overhauled internal infrastructure – we see significantly improved battery life in Windows 8.

SIMPLICITY WITHOUT COMPROMISE

Let’s face it, if you prove competent enough to even get rid of any level of virus, you’ll become the go-to guy for troubleshooting and helping people get started learning their computer. And as anyone who’s experienced enough to speak on the matter can attest to – user-friendliness has never been an asset of Windows. Windows 8 does something that’s actually quite re-markable in the sense that it makes things easier to learn for newcomers. This kind of simplicity has indeed been mastered by media consumption devices like the iPad before – but where the iPad would cripple a professional’s ability to do real work – Windows 8 platforms bring simplicity to casual users without that compromise to professionals.

“Simplicity has been mastered by media consumption devices like the iPad before… but where the iPad would cripple a professional’s ability to do real work – Windows 8 platforms bring simplicity to casual users without that compromise to professionals.”

The metro tiles interface does a job that no windows before does – bringing content to the user that they’d originally have to go to. Teaching an older person with no computer experience how to use Windows 7 was a nightmare of step-by-step instructions that were often far too complicated to remember… on Windows 8, the most challenging part of getting setup with is creating a Microsoft Account – but from thereon, all the streamlining of the messaging, the Windows Store, contacts and email clients are easily accessible. Older crowds that would typically become infuriated by having to deal with atrocious mail reliability from loads of wacky services can sit back and enjoy having a notification tell them when they have new mail, then access it in one click. And this is all a lot easier to teach then having to go over accessing the internet browser, web maneuvering basics, going to the website, signing in and fetching new email – and a similar fashion of simplicity-without-compromise lies beneath near every aspect of Windows 8. Even with me being quite far from a computer newbie, it brings a lot that even I appreciate since it simplifies day-to-day tasks.

SECURITY

Security is an increasingly prominent concern for everyone. With reports that even Apple admits their virus-free Mac OSX platform is actually quite far from being virus-free and similar showing that iPhone apps leak more personal data than it’s competition, everyone feels the need to have protection… and Windows 8 comes with an unprecedented level of security such that specialists recommend that people wanting premium security should upgrade their Windows 7 setups to Windows 8.

By far and large though; the most important aspect to reiterate and emphasize upon is that nothing was sacrificed in the upgrade from Windows 7 to 8. All the core control panel elements are still there, group policy tools are there (and accessible in any version of Windows 8 instead of being restricted to the higher priced versions), the classic desktop interface is still there, VPN and business applications are still present… and the compatibility mode is still present – ready to accept legacy software from Windows 7, Vista, XP, ME, 2000, 98 and yes… even Windows 95.

So we can conclude here that users upgrading to Windows 8 will not only retain everything that once was, but GAIN longer battery life, GAIN more effective resource management, GAIN improved performance of our computing experience, GAIN a level of stability that far surpasses that of Windows 7/Vista/XP/2000/98/95,  GAIN a more streamlined app shopping experience, GAIN faster startup times, GAIN a level of baked-in-security that Windows 7 and all it’s predecessors never had… and most importantly… GAIN convenience and unified simplicity.

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22 responses to “Why Windows 8 is Windows 7’s Superior

  1. Pingback: Window 7 Tech | The Truth About Windows 8 and Why it's Superior to Windows 7 …·

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. Ill probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

  3. Im impressed, I have to admit. Really seldom do I experience a blog thats the two educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have struck the toe nail on the go. Your thought is excellent; the issue is something not enough folks are speaking smartly about. I will be very happy that I stumbled across this in my look for something about it.

    • Saying that this was educational actually means a lot because that’s one of the goals I wanted to accomplish with this… teaching.

      Insulting Windows 8 critics would only start a flame war, I actually aimed to help people learn why common criticisms were wrong… so people would know that they weren’t making any huge sacrifices, and letting people know how to use Windows 8 without a touch-screen so that hopefully ignorance will stop flowing through the grapevine.

  4. It is crap, the windows freeze or occasionally when you are writing an email, posting feedback on Ebay, posting onto Facebook, the window suddenly jumps to another window or looses the page that you were on altogether. When you get back to the page you were on the data is gone and you have to start again. Very poor. if Windows want to improve W*, then they need to remove all the bugs.
    Oh and the sudden zooming in on pages without asking for it, another very annoying feature of the is program.

    • Spontaneous window changes and sudden zooming in doesn’t “just happen”. They’re invoked via the user with gestures. As a technician, I see this happen all the time where someone thinks their cursor is exhibiting erratic behavior, then I find that their hands are brushing across the touchpad invoking all kinds of gestures. User operation error. This is just as bad as blaming the OS because you made a typo on a document.

      If you’re on a laptop, learn the hotkey to toggle your trackpad on/off so that you don’t invoke gestures when typing…. or better yet, learn the gestures so that you can use them to your advantage. The same spontaneous window change is what I use to quickly go between my digital college textbooks and my notes.

  5. This article is total propaganda and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was sponsored by Microsoft. Window 8 is total garbage. In 6 month of use, it still surprises me with things I can no longer do. All of the businesses I deal with are hoarding Windows 7 to avoid being forced into W8 and are making long range plans to dump Microsoft altogether. If I had wanted a %&*@# tablet, I would have bought one. Tiles are of NO use to me on a PC/laptop.
    Also, since we can no longer use things like Photo Editor or even a simple Solitaire game with out being logged in- how much information is Microsoft collecting about us??

    • You make a lot of statements that you provide no factual backup for. Why? I’ve backed up everything I’ve said. This site has no sponsorship from Microsoft or anyone. It’s only ally is reason and it’s only enemy is foolishness… and that’s what this article exists to combat; foolishness.

      For example; you say you can’t even install a photo editor or solitaire without being logged in. This is completely and totally false. Photoshop, Photoimpact, Paint.NET, and even the classic solitaire that’s available all over the internet… not a single one of these requires you to even HAVE a Microsoft Account. With an alleged six months of experience under your belt regarding Windows 8, it’s really disappointing how little you know about Local Accounts. Guess that really goes to show that time doesn’t make one experienced if they aren’t learning anything over that amount of time. All the software you mentioned can be installed using only a local account… so the crazed conspiracy theorist push that “They’re collecting info about us!” is out the window.

      I do appreciate that you posted this comment, because it further illustrates the point of this article… that most of people’s “problems” with Windows 8 have easy resolutions that they don’t even try to figure out before they start foaming at the mouth.

      By the by… if you don’t have a need for live tiles, why act like you’re subjected to them? You can download Classic Shell for free. It’s a tiny, quick download… and it automatically defaults you to the legacy desktop on boot.

    • If Win 8 is making you cry, I’d seriously suggest you get training from someone who’s been using it for a while. Every time a coworker gets frustrated, I spend 30 seconds of my time to show him or her quick shortcuts that often result in a “Wow, that IS easy!” response.
      I also remind the person that many new vehicles have new features like blind spot notification and heads-up display that need to be learned. Like the new features contained within Win 8, those new car features help us in many ways.

      • One who has been using PCs for 15 years should not need formal “training” to use their new home PC. That is what you and Microsoft don’t “get”.

      • I’ve been driving cars for over 30 years and yet I needed some training before driving a new car with keyless start and lots of new electronics. Should car manufacturers keep making 90s-type vehicles so no one would need training?
        The answer to that should answer your question.

      • Kathy, your logical process is horrid on a level I can’t even imagine. If the world thought as you did, windows wouldn’t even exist because no one using the computer prior to UI operation would want to learn anything outside of terminal line commands. Technology improves, new standards are introduced… and people have to learn to use them so that they don’t fall behind. Thinking like yours would single handedly kill stem cell research and the world would never progress beyond punch card operation.

        …Windows 8 haters seem to be incapable of logical coherence, it seems.

      • Well im sorry Richard and Dave that im stupid and cry. maybe one of you can send me a link on how to scroll thru the GD photos like win 7 does. When i put 150 photos in i want to scroll thru them quickly to kinda have a look, but win 8 will not let me do that. No it has to have this fancy black backround with no forward or back arrows. No i have to go to the top left corner and go back to the photos then double click the next one one and wait for the fancy black backround again. So on and so forth.In win7 the start menu has everything i need or need to find even if i dont know what i want. Win 8 is a glorified tablet, well i want a computer not a tablet. Now you can either stay off this thread and stop being such smart wonderful know it alls or put your money where your mouth is and help out. Win 8 is not user friendly to me. :-( Praying my win 7 machine never dies….

      • Debbie, did anyone call you stupid? It appears Kathy took most of the heat for a comment that wasn’t well thought-through, but it doesn’t appear any of the users have given you any reason to feel stupid or feel insulted… if anything, it seems they want you to realize that the exact things that you think Windows 8 won’t allow you to do are possible.

        In Windows 8.1 (free upgrade) your pictures are automatically put into an easily scrollable view whenever you click on an album. On previous versions of Windows 8, you can hold down Ctrl then press the minus key to obtain the same result so that an album’s contents show a grid view of thumbnails.

        You also mention there being no back/forward buttons, when they actually are on either side of the screen once any individual picture is clicked on (the arrows on your keyboard can also be used to quickly sift through pictures).

        Now, if you’d prefer not to use the “metro” style picture viewer at all, you can even click on the desktop tile and be right back to the familiar Windows 7 UI where you can just use the old school My Documents > Pictures method.

        The biggest thing to take from this is that any version of Windows 8 can be utilized to it’s fullest regardless of whether or not you’re doing it on a tablet. Check out some YouTube videos and you’ll find that everything that can be done with a touchscreen can be done without.

      • Thank You TLRtheory, That the most help i have gotten with any of this so far. I will try again. But with that being said, i have never had to look up how to use win 7. I got my machine in 2010 and even bought a dummy book because i hadnt had a home computer in 10 years. But that was a waste of money, have never had to use it. LOL I bought this little acer to use with a telescope for pic’s and didnt realize it had win 8. So im like ok i can do this cannot be that difficult, but, it is. I installed IObit start menu on it as soon as i heard about it. Yes it is the metro and having to ‘find” the corners that i dislike. So if i cant get past that part of it I’ll never know what is so good about win8 OS. My brother even said he doesnt have a problem with it. I said good you can help me out with the pic’s then, he says he doesnt know anything about that part of it. Like great. (rolls eyes). So i’ll try the upgrade, didnt know there was one. And yes those kinds of comments make me feel stupid. When i said win8 makes me cry and that i hate it, id rather have someone ask if they could help out. I do it on FB all the time with OS’s i have not a clue about. Love Google!! ;-) LOL

    • Debbie,
      I often switch between the metro screen (to quickly open programs, check news, etc) and the desktop screen by hitting the Windows button on the keyboard. Your file manager folder icon is there to use as you did in Win 7.
      Honestly, once you learn 8, the urge to stay with 7 will dissipate like an early morning fog.

  6. Pingback: Windows 8.1 offers an apology to the upset… but Microsoft proves they still don’t “Get it.” | Very Technical·

  7. Pingback: Why Windows 8.1 isn’t converting Windows 8 haters | Very Technical·

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