Microsoft Press's Windows 8 book for the masses, "Windows 8 Step by Step," aims to be "useful, easy to use, and understand." Bucharest-based author Ciprian Rusen is best known for his Windows 7 help site, 7tutorials.com, which has been expanded to include Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
Personally, I am happy with Windows 8, even though I have used it mostly on traditional desktops and laptops. I have used it on touch devices only occasionally. Even though many say it is not a great choice for traditional computers, I mostly disagree.
First of all, I view Windows 8 as a bold first step into a new future, where touch coexists with traditional input devices like the mouse and keyboard. And like any first step, there are great things about it as well as some rough edges.
I enjoy its performance a lot. It is faster than Windows 7, it is more secure, and it does the same things using fewer resources. I love most of the new features included in Windows 8: the Task Manager, File History, File Explorer, the simple way of managing display and keyboard input languages (I write regularly in two languages, so this is a huge plus for me), the Reset and Refresh features, the integration with SkyDrive, and the automated synchronization of your settings.
Its rough edges revolve around the new Start screen and Modern (aka Metro) apps in general. The Start screen should make it easy to do things like shut down the computer, view the time, and access PC Settings -- but it does not. Microsoft should spend more effort improving these aspects as well as the customizability of the Start screen.
Another thing that annoys me is one specific behavior of Modern apps: On the Desktop, when you have multiple applications opened and you close the active one, the previous application window is displayed. That's great. When closing a Modern app, though, you are always back to the Start screen. Then you need to use Alt-Tab or another method to switch back to the previously opened app. That's not cool at all. Also, I would like to view the icons for Modern apps on the taskbar as well as their uninstallation entries in Programs and Features.
As you can see, most of my complaints are usability issues regarding the new interface. The Desktop is more mature than ever, and it works great. Windows 8 is not perfect and that's OK. What's important is that a next step follows the launch of Windows 8 and that the operating system evolves at a faster pace than in the past. Microsoft must iterate this year and improve the way it works. Considering the rumors about "Windows Blue," I'm sure it will, and by 2014, Windows 8 is going to provide a better experience and many of its critics will no longer have ammunition for their articles.