Goodbye, Windows 7 – Hello, Windows 8

I installed the final version of Windows 8 on my primary production machine last night. This was a leap for me after having been so terribly disappointed with the Consumer Preview. Today, I stand before the world a man of a changed mind. Windows 8 is, thus far, my favorite version of the operating system.

While I risk being called a Windows fanboy, I’d like to point out just a few things before I go into the details about my experience installing this completed version of the new OS.

To start, I was very displeased with the Consumer Preview. After having made the switch from Windows 7 to Windows 8 with all intentions of sticking to the new OS until launch day, I found myself having to reinstall Windows 7 after just a week. The interface was clunky, and apps were few and far between. It wasn’t ready.

I do believe that Windows 8 is a step in the right direction for Microsoft. This is a bet for the future, and Microsoft is (in my opinion) absolutely correct in assuming that tablet computers will play a major role in the next few years as more users are buying tablets as their computers of choice.

Let’s get down to details.

Installing Windows 8 Was Very Easy

I put the DVD in my optical drive and hit two buttons. After a quick check of my existing software (and a removal of Microsoft Defender), the installation process initiated and took over from there. During installation, Skype notifications continued to appear, which was curious because I always assumed installing an OS upgrade like this would close everything down. It didn’t do any such thing aside from two reboots.

When installation was done, I entered my Windows Live ID and was ready to go about my day.

Something About the Final Version Feels Less Jarring Than the Consumer Preview

I can’t place my finger on it, but something about the release version of Windows 8 makes it much less jarring for me as a user. It could be because more of the Modern UI elements appear to have made their way to the old desktop, or that I’ve had some time to get used to it, but I’m finding my experience thus far to be much more natural than it was during the Consumer Preview.

The learning curve for me was about 30 minutes while I adjusted to switching between apps, setting up panes, and getting used to flipping between the desktop and Start screen. After that time, everything has been smooth and predictable.

I’m writing this article right now using Google Chrome while listening to music on Spotify. Calendar notifications from the Calendar app in the modern UI overlay in the upper-right corner of my desktop just as they do in OS X. I haven’t had a single issue with hardware compatibility (a welcome relief from Consumer Preview) and my software all appears to run just fine, save Fraps not capturing the desktop.

Why You Should Get Windows 8

To me, the greatest strength of Windows 8 is the apps. You still have the advantage of all the programs you’ve come to enjoy thus far. Having access to a growing library of optimized apps that really do look and work quite nicely within the Modern UI is a bonus. You don’t have to upgrade just because Windows 8 is out, but I honestly believe the built-up dislike for Windows 8 is based largely on early experiences with the Developer Preview and a constant barrage of negativity on social networks.

For me, Windows 8 is a minor transition. It’s much less severe than I originally thought it would be.

What about you? Have you (or will you) make the upgrade this week? What are your thoughts on the release version of Windows 8?

Image: Screenshot by Ryan Pierson