Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good-bye Windows 8

Look at that Start button on the left compared to the new Windows 8.1 Start button. Beautiful versus flat and uninspired. The Windows Start button signifies and encapsulates the tale of two operating systems from one company. One great and one not so great.

In that vein, I am happy to announce that I made the decision to dump the carnival version of Windows, Windows 8, and go back to Windows 7 on my personal home computer. I love it. It's like coming back from Bizarro World to reality. The main impetus for me making the trip back in time to a more lovely and functional operating system was the disappearing scroll bar. If'n you don't know what I am talking about, it is the fact that the scroll bar disappears after three seconds of inactivity in many windows and programs within Windows 8 and 8.1. It may be a bugaboo or a mental problem but I really am aggravated by the disappearing scroll bar, especially in Windows mail (where it causes you to open emails you would not have opened because you click on an email expecting there to be a scroll bar where your mouse cursor is. Uggg!) and also occurs in Microsoft Office products like Word. I use Microsoft Word all the time and I want a scroll bar that doesn't disappear after three seconds. I tried finding ways to keep the scroll bar from disappearing in the settings of Windows 8 and Word and found nothing. I Googled the issue and found there is no way to resolve it. And the scroll bar that is foisted on the user in Windows 8, Word 2013 and all the current Web browsers is a flat, 2D, crappy looking scroll bar that looks better gone frankly, except for the fact that I want and need to see a scroll bar. Well, enough of that issue. You get the idea. It was enough to get me to say good-bye to Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows 10 looks like it is not going to take care of that issue either. So sayonara hachi.

Other reasons I don't like Windows 8: 
  • It is all 2D, whereas Windows 7 Aero has 3D buttons and scroll bars and see thru frames. It is functional and lovely. Many portions of Windows 8 actually look the same as DOS program screens (i.e., from the 80s). In many ways it is multiple steps backwards in presentation of the user interface.
  • The bothersome charm bar that appears when you don't want it to and doesn't come when you call it is unawesome to say the least.
  • The new Windows Start button in Windows 8.1 is also unawesome leading you only to the Windows 8.1 "start screen" which should actually be called the Apps screen. Finding an app (or software program) usually takes much longer than when looking for a program in the program menu of the Windows 7 start menu unless it is one of the apps on the first page of the App screen.

Speaking of browsers, the user interfaces of internet browsers have mirrored the look and functionality of Windows 8 lately and since they all have flat, 2D scroll bars now I have gone back to an earlier version of Firefox. (Even Google's logo is 2D now where it used to be 3D. What's up with that?) As far as browser security is concerned, I am not worried because I have an antivirus suite that I pay good money for. You can find previous versions of various kinds of software at You can't go back too far though with any software, especially browsers, or you lose too much functionality with today's websites. I tried using the last versions of Netscape, but it is basically useless on the internet now. Firefox 9 though is working out okay so far and still has the regular 3D, nondisappearing scroll bars.

Sure, I know that you can start your computer from the Desktop and work many of your tasks from there but Windows 8.1 is always lurking, waiting to spring up in all its colorful ugliness and make you interact with it. If you want to read a piece of literature you don't want to have a comic book pop up in front of you while you're reading. But that's what Windows 8 is like. Windows 8 was not designed for computer users, it was designed for people who have surface knowledge of computers. Not everyone wants to have in-depth knowledge of computers or needs to. Maybe this operating system is good for them, maybe not. It's actually more like an iPad interface than an operating system.

What Microsoft should have done if they wanted to have this Disneyfied operating system is also come out with a separate standard professional version for computer users and businesses (like when they had Windows 98 and Windows NT/2000 sold at the same time, or XP and XP Professional). 

To go back to Windows 7 on my Windows 8 HP laptop was turning into a huge hassle and headache. They really don't want you going back, and make it quite difficult to do so, so I bought a new laptop with Windows 7 already on it and sold my Windows 8 laptop. Headache avoided.

Maybe there is some critical mass number that can be reached whereby if enough users do the same thing Microsoft will get the hint and get rid of the Metro interface idea altogether and not just make some halfway fixes for Windows 10 as they are doing now. If not I am going to be happily using Windows 7 well beyond the date when it is no longer supported.

Now if I could just get my employer to get my work computer back to Windows 7.