Monday, September 2, 2013

Need assistance understanding Windows 8?

This past couple of weeks I've had calls from people who required assistance with Windows 8. Both users were totally lost with the new interface in Windows 8. One user wanted to return their computer to Officeworks, because after two weeks of struggling felt they were getting nowhere. Both users were experienced Windows users. One even spent time reading Windows 8 for dummies and was still none the wiser.

This shows just how badly Microsoft has done with Windows 8. It really is an appalling design change which makes little to no sense for the user. For Microsoft it probably makes sense, but to alienate current users for whatever their goals are, would not generally make sense as a good business move.

The problem is when you first face Windows 8 and go into the Desktop, it is a barren land and nothing is familiar. When I first opened Windows 8 and then wanted to set up a shortcut to the Calculator I was lost and didn't know what to do. I'm an IT Consultant with over 30 years of computing experience and I was lost. Over the coming weeks I adjusted Windows 8 to make it easier to work for me. Dare I say it, but only after a couple of months had I worked out technical solutions to issues that spoilt my experience.  I came up with concepts that would enable me to train others to quickly come up to speed. A few simple concepts is all it takes for people to become comfortable, but the concepts aren't obvious and need to be learnt. I also developed techniques which I can share with users to make their use of Windows 8 more productive, or should I say, as productive as Windows 7 or even Windows XP.

Microsoft in my opinion have shot themselves in the foot (perhaps even both feet), but that doesn't help users. Users will put off upgrading or buying new computers and that will hurt Microsoft and computer suppliers in a big way. Some will consider moving to an Apple Mac because a friend with a Mac will say how good it is, but the reality is the change to a Mac is just as big a change so this isn't the solution. I shudder to think that some may even be coerced by a Linux diehard to try Linux through their frustration, but I'd suggest that is a path best avoided for most people.

I suspect many people will consider keeping their existing computer for longer and purchasing a tablet to do many of the things they previously did with their computer. As long as the computer doesn't die they'll get a much longer period of usage from their computer and that's a good thing.

Ultimately many people will be faced with buying a new Windows 8 computer to do things tablets or their ageing computer can't do. I'd suggest skipping Windows RT because it really is nothing more than a lock-in device, and contrary to the Windows name, shouldn't be consider a compatible device. Going Mac is one path but then you'll lose compatibility if that is required. So Windows 8 is still the answer for most people for the time being. Accept that you may need some assistance to get over the initial learning curve, but once there, you can move on.

If you need assistance coming to terms with your new Windows 8 computer please feel free to contact me.

Kelvin Eldridge
Online Connections
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

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