Windows 8: A View from the ESP Testers

Some of the team at ESP have been doing a bit of trailblazing as they’ve been testing out the all-new Windows 8. After giving them a few weeks to get to ‘grips’ with it, it was time to find out what they thought – good and bad! And overall it is indeed a mixed picture – we can certainly see there is big advantage to having Windows on any device you happen to own, and being able to access the same Apps on all of them. That’s Microsoft’s way of setting out a clear stall that says they are going to go head-to-head with the big players in the home user and smartphone/tablet market.

However there is still a big question over whether enough has been offered to the business user, who typically sits at a desk and uses a mouse and keyboard. From our point of view, the new interface can just ‘get in the way’, but isn’t providing anything you need. Is it really an improvement on Windows 7 then? I think the conclusion on this evidence has to be ‘not yet’…but one day, it could be… let’s see what the staff think…

Ken – IT Engineer

How long have you been using it?
A couple of months on and off.

Any problems setting it up?
No, the operating system installed fine. However, when I wanted to set up my email, I found that you needed a Microsoft Passport for it to work properly.  The ‘Live Tiles’ took a while to get working and some drivers were difficult to get hold of.

Best features?
One I understood them, I really liked the ‘Live Tiles’ on the new Metro interface, which are basically the ‘icons’ on the home page for Windows 8. They are “Live” in that they constantly update with information. So if you have a Facebook account for example, your Facebook tile will update with your friend’s latest status information. I also tested with a touch screen for a while and it feels “right”! The layout of photos is similarly good.

Any annoyances?
No Start Menu!

What do you think overall?
I like it and will be using it at home as my default Operating System very shortly.

Do you think it will be of interest to ESP clients?
It will take some getting used to. Once they get used to the new interface, I’m sure they’ll love it, but people don’t always like change!

Jason – Technical Manager

How long have you been using it?
Around 6 weeks

Any problems setting it up?
No – I got someone else to do it! Ken did the installation but there weren’t any major problems with the install except Graphics drivers were difficult to get hold of.

Best features?
I quite like the interface ‘formerly known’ as Metro, now that I’ve gotten used to it a bit and personalised it.  [Note: it was formerly known as Metro as Microsoft ran into trademark issues on that name]. I think the ability to login with your Windows Live ID is also a great feature. Another surprise was that some of my old third party tools (ie. non-Microsoft programmes or applications) also worked quite well – I used Input Director to share one mouse and keyboard between 2 PCs and to my surprise it worked like a dream!

Any annoyances?
The lack of “Metro” applications is a little annoying. I would also prefer that Microsoft Office apps were “Metro style” as it would force me to use the interface more.   By default, the shutdown command is hidden in the “charms” section, where you alter settings and searches. This is a bit annoying as it takes more clicks to shutdown the machine – the last thing you want after a long day at the office!

What do you think overall?
Overall, I like Windows 8, but there is some way to go before people other than techies will like it.  It’s a big shift in the way that people work and this will mean that non-savvy computer users will take longer to get used to it.

Do you think it will be of interest to ESP clients?
Eventually yes, but not until the Office Apps have ‘Metro-ability’!  I think Service Pack 1 will probably iron out the minor annoyances, and as long as it integrates better with the next release of Office, this might be the point at which ESP start recommending it.

Glen – Network Engineer

How long have you been using it?
Since the developer preview was released! So almost a year!

Any problems setting it up?
None at all

Best features?
Although it’s a new version of Windows, it’s really compatible with older software and hardware. Reliability – It’s not crashed once! I also like how the store is laid out. Jump Lists are quite cool too – basically a similar function to the right click function on an icon – although they were released with Windows 7.

Any annoyances?
No Start Menu, so having to use the run commands and Jump Lists quite a lot – if I wasn’t a techie, this would be quite difficult!  I had some problems when changing network configurations too which was annoying. The missing minimize/maximize/close tray is also a pain as you have to swipe downwards to minimize an app.

What do you think overall?
Overall, business wise, I don’t think it’s really needed – Windows 7 is perfectly suitable. I think Windows 7 will be the new XP – Windows 8 will have a slow uptake.  The interface is too cumbersome for daily business use.

Do you think it will be of interest to ESP clients?
No – not unless they want the Enterprise features of Server 2012 such as Direct Access. If the Windows Phone 8 and Windows Surface take off though, this could change very quickly!

Matt – Senior Network Engineer

How long have you been using it?
A month or so

Any problems setting it up?
No – very simple to install – although I completed an upgrade rather than a clean install.

Best features?
Proposed cross-platform support (i.e being able to use apps between a smartphone and desktop/laptop PC. Overall presentation of the operating system is good and to my taste.

Any annoyances?
No Start Menu. I find myself having to use keyboard a lot more than I did with Windows 7 because some things are difficult to find or navigate to.

What do you think overall?
Overall I like it, the future-proofing is something I really like. It seems that Microsoft has made a big change in the direction of Windows in response to Apple and Android.

Do you think it will be of interest to ESP clients?
Yes, the fact that people are already asking about it makes it clear that people are interested!  The fact of the matter is that – in time – Windows 8 will become the only real choice for computers if they are going to stay in the Microsoft “infrastructure” so people will have to get interested if they’re not already!

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *