Recently I’ve been playing with Windows 8. I received a new PC recently–completely FREE, actually–as a result of a class action suit against eMachines. I had one–and had a lot of problems with it–so I was included in the suit. It took several years, but finally everyone included in the suit was offered a $365 credit toward a replacement PC. I even thought it was some sort of scam at first–just too good to be true–but after a little research I found out that it was real. I actually STILL didn’t fully believe it, even after I received my claim #, so I made sure I ordered a replacement PC (you had to order from a specific website, using your claim code) that would result in my paying nothing out-of-pocket. So, basically, a PC costing less than $365.
It turned out to be fairly easy, actually. The site offered many refurbished PCs and a few brand new ones, but that only sounded like more trouble, so I decided against that and went with a new one. It’s not quite as powerful as some of the others that were refurbished, but the 1-year manufacturer warranty game me more comfort at this point. There wasn’t much of a brand selection–only Gateway and Acer models–so I went with a Gateway with an AMD processor. Not my top choice–I would have preferred an Intel-based i5 or i7–but those were beyond my $365 limit. I could have paid the difference myself, but still having a little doubt about this being legitimate, I decided against giving them my credit card imformation. I settled on a $329 Gateway PC with Windows 8. AMD Quad-core 2.2GHz processor, 6GB RAM, and a 500GB Hard Drive. With expedited 2-day shipping, my total came to just over $362, so it worked out perfectly. I just wish I could remember the specs and price I paid for my original eMachines PC–it’d be great to compare value versus price from then to now. I really can’t recall any details about it as all, other than the power supply and floppy drive issues I ran into with it.
So now I’m playing with Windows 8, and I think I found the key to surviving it comfortably. The first thing I did, based on several recommendations, was purchase and install “Start8”. This little lightweight app adds the Start menu back to Windows 8, making it “look and feel” just like Windows 7–at least when you start it up and need to find something the “old school” way, like I do. Right now I’m finding all of differences between Windows 8 and 7, and I must say, so far I’m impressed. I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone makes it out to be, and it’s actually quite smooth and easy to use. The whole “Metro Tiles” thing seems kinda silly right now though. But that might be mostly because I’m on a standard monitor without a touchscreen.
I’ll stick with a standard monitor for now, and just see how this plays out. One other thing I’m still trying to get a handle on is multi-tasking. Using the desktop “corners” for specific features feels odd, especially for switching between apps and searching for things without using the Start button. I can understand not wanting to waste a single pixel of screen real estate though, so maybe I’ll warm up to it. For now, again probably because I’m not using a touchscreen, the good ole ALT-TAB works just fine like it always did for switching between apps and windows.
My primary complaint at this point is only with closing apps. It’s really a pain to close apps in Windows 8! WHY!?!?!? It’s something that should be as simple at pressing a big “X” icon, even with the new Metro crap. Why waste all the memory on leaving something running that you’re not going to use?? I know, I know, apps will close eventually on their own if not used, but aren’t they still consuming a little energy and CPU? Why not be as “green” as possible and allow users to easily close them out??