Unhappy with Windows 8? Here are your options

If you're having a rough time with your new Windows 8 computer, you have several options to smooth the ride

Over the holidays I visited my father-in-law, a former disaster recovery manager for a bank, who mentioned he had recently bought a Windows 8 computer. "It was the worst mistake I ever made," he groaned.

Judging by the more than 110 comments replying to Bill's Snyder's Jan. 3 InfoWorld post, "Microsoft's aching Windows 8 hangover," my father-in-law is not alone. A few of the more scathing comments include the following: "It is Vista times ten," "Windows 8 is a great advertisement for the Mac," and "you don't kill your flagship product and replace it with a half-baked mess."

[ Woody Leonhard delivers the bottom line in "Windows 8 review: Yes, it's that bad." | Cut straight to the key news for technology development and IT management with our once-a-day summary of the top tech news. Subscribe to the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. ]

But this sort of venting doesn't help the millions of people who innocently got a new Windows 8 computer and found themselves confronted with a tile-based Modern UI designed for smartphones and tablets that simply gets in the way on laptops and desktops. (If you haven't read Jakob Nielsen's report on exactly why the Windows 8 UI is so disappointing, it's worth a look.)

If you have a Windows 8 laptop or desktop and you're not happy with it, there are three ways to go: Try and make the most of it, buy a Start menu add-on, or downgrade to Windows 7.

Option 1: Accept the inevitable
This is the "get over it" argument, which has its points.

There's little question that Microsoft has gone all-in with the new tile-based Modern UI, so you might as well get used to it now. Yes, some of us may grow disgruntled and switch platforms, but others may not have either the inclination or the luxury. Over time, the Windows 8 UI has nowhere to go but up.

Up for biting the bullet? You could do worse than start with Brad Chacos' PC World article "8 worst Windows 8 irritations (and how to fix them)." For further study, allow me to recommend "Windows 8 All-in-One for Dummies" by InfoWorld's own Woody Leonhard.

If you can't stomach using a mouse or touchscreen with Windows 8, you might consider trying an add-on touchpad, such as the Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650 reviewed by ITworld's Peter Smith. It supports Windows 8 gestures -- as of course do the touchpads on Windows 8 laptops. If you prefer to stick with the keyboard as much as possible, Tim Greene at Network World has "12 essential Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts" for you.

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