Hands-on: What's good and bad about Windows 8

The tablet UI seems to be forced unnaturally on the desktop experience, but on the whole, Windows 8 looks very promising

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You can see more about what Windows 8 brings to the table in my Windows 8 video tour.

What I don't like so far about Windows 8

Again reserving full criticism until I see the final product (or at least move into betas and release candidates), I'm not yet a fan of the integration of the tablet and desktop interfaces. I prefer the two to be separate. But as has been mentioned time and again, the Metro UI isn't an app: It's the Windows 8 shell. That is, it's locked in, so it can't be decoupled from Windows. According to Microsoft, it is Windows.

I can honestly say it isn't a lack of desire to move into the world of tablets that is holding me back from loving the Metro UI. I've worked with and love my Android smartphone and Galaxy Tab tablet with Android OS on it, but I don't want that look on my desktop. Also, I don't like touchscreens. It's bad enough I have had to get used to wiping off my phone screen every few many minutes to remove smudges. But now to have fingerprints all over my monitor at work? No thanks.

I also don't like that when I click or tap the Start button in the bottom-left corner, it takes me back to the Metro UI apps when after 16 years of clicking that same spot, I've become accustomed to seeing my Start menu and related options. To view a minor menu, I have to hover and fish for it. The option still is labeled Start, but it really means Switch when you click it. I suggest that Microsoft leave the Start button alone and add a new option to the right for returning to the tiles, so I can use Windows 8 like I use Windows 7. Change is good, but I don't want the company to break a feature that currently works.

Windows 8: Still exciting

Despite my initial criticisms, I'm excited. I know my complaints are minor and will be worked out once others weigh in. I'm happy with what I've seen so far and pleased that Microsoft will soon be in the tablet market with a competitive product.

My big concern is the inability of Windows 8 to run classic Win32s desktop apps for ARM tablets. Emulators are constantly made for apps to work across different platforms, and Microsoft is no stranger to this. In Windows systems themselves, you have virtual DOS and Windows on Windows and all sorts of options for running 16-bit apps on 32-bit OSes, and then XP Mode and so on. Why not build in an emulator so that ARM apps run perfectly on x86 and vice versa? There are rumors that Microsoft is working on some sort of Win32s-on-ARM compatibility feature, despite its current statements saying legacy Windows apps won't run on ARM chips; my fingers are crossed.

Aside from that, I'm looking forward to seeing the many applications that developers come up with, now that they have this preview and can get a glimpse of what the next version of Windows 8 looks like.

This article, "Hands-on: What's good and bad about Windows 8," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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