Updated: September 7, 2012
Well, you know how I felt about the Developer Preview. I loved it. You know how I felt about the Consumer Preview. I hated it. Then, I came across the Windows 8 Enterprise 90-days evaluation, Build 9200, the Release-to-Manufacturing (RTM) edition. Either way, it's much closer to the final product than the other two versions, so I decided to give Microsoft one more chance and see what gives.
Now, do not expect any miracles please. Microsoft has decided to kill the registry key switch for disabling the Metro interface between the Developer and Customer editions, which is what started the hatefest for me. Hence, my original article explaining how to get rid of the tiled interface and work in the desktop mode only is no longer applicable. But we will have something new coming soon. Anyhow, let's examine the Enterprise evaluation and check what Microsoft has in store for users and itself.
All in all, simple and quick. Very much like Windows 7 installation. You have the same steps, with only the user customization being somewhat different. Therefore, if you have successfully followed the earlier guide, you will manage just fine here.
You just need to use customized settings and carefully check on/off what you want. For example, you can turn off SmartScreen filter, which some people feel might be spying on them, without really understanding how things work. You can also disable location-aware stuff, too. It's entirely up to you, so conspiracy lovers, go back to your caves.
Now, here's the annoying part. Microsoft wants you to configure your box with an online account, much like Google wants you to do that on your Android devices. However, unlike its competition, Microsoft lets you use a local account. Still, they do try to highlight the would-be disadvantages of using a local account, like your inability to sync settings between different devices. What they fail to add is - using an internal Microsoft service, that is, because you can easily sync settings by other methods. It's just the matter of setting up some backup software.
After this step is completed, Windows will "prepare your PC" for use. Which instantly tells how failed their logic is. If you're setting up a PC, why the whole always-connected and touch thingie bullcrap? None of that is needed here.
Moreover, while you're waiting, the screen changes colors, from black to blue and green and violet and orange and all kinds of hues. This is done slowly, as not to induce seizure, but it still feels a bit like Commodore 64 loading games. Speaking of trends and looks and all that related nonsense.
You will see the lock screen first. It's new and futuristic.
The new desktop is a little more polished than before, and it sports a more reasonable wallpaper than the betta fish thingie. The windows decorations are also more flat, to make them appeal to the smartphone generation. Personally, I find the change neutral, neither good, nor bad, simply different.
User experience (or rather not)
While Windows 8 RTM comes with a bit more finesse, it's still a crude product with the user interface designed by the Asperger's Elite Turbo Task Force. The tiled screen is the one that will flip over 180 degrees like an electronic turd burger every time you hit the Super key.
This new Start menu is also populated with useless applications for people with IQ less than 65, because nothing screams oligophrenia more than big icons titled Music, Video, Weather and such. Now, again, comparing to locked-down Android devices, Microsoft lets you remove all this away, except the Store, where you can find and purchase Metro-based programs, as if anyone sane would ever do that on their computer.
But having a ton of useless applets that weigh almost one whole GB means the entire flow of execution is slowed down, with extra steps to what you wanted or needed. Allow me to demonstrate once and for all, and you make sure to quote me far and wide.
Example: Windows 8 is stupidly slow compared to Windows 7
Let's open Windows Update. On Windows 7, hit Start button, type windows update, hit Enter, the program launches, the full interface, where you can check for updates manually, restore hidden ones, change settings, review history, and more. Quick and painless. Overall, two clicks, so to speak, and one typing of the needed string.
On Windows 8, the same procedure goes as follows. Presumably, you are working in the desktop mode. You hit the Super key, flip over, start typing, then you see the following happen:
As you can see, nothing shows under Apps, as they are the default highlighted category, so nothing for you to hit Enter or select with the mouse cursor or even your slimy finger if you're so inclined. So you must select Settings.
This will give you six related items to the left. If you click on the first highlighted item, this will open yet another menu, which only lets you check for updates and install them, without any ability to deselect some of those, hide or else.
Now, if you go back to the menu and select Install optional updates or any of the other three options in the right column, this will open the classic Windows Updates menu where you can configure everything without leaving the interface.
So, every time you run Windows Update, you will have an extra mouse click, which means 50% more work. But the very first time, you will probably open the basic Windows update option, close it, go back to the search and select the right one. This means at least 100-150% more clicks and actions than you would need in Windows 7, to say nothing of the flawed logic that separate the same functionality into two different categories with different GUI.
Then, in Windows 7, the menu is on the left, the search items are on the left, as expected anywhere in the world where writing logic is left to right. In Windows 8, the eye focus is to the left, the flip is left oriented, the search box shows on the right, the results are shown on the left, two flips between desktop, search and results. Bloody mental disaster. An insult to intelligence. Or rather, anyone striving above IQ 70.
You see, your "smart" future flow is not so smart. It's the embodiment of the Bay Area mentality imposed on the entire world, where whims of teenagers who had never had to cope with anything as remote serious as hunger, water pollution, war, or similar calamities, are projected as the future of computing.
But in the end, what you get is 50% more effort to achieve the same results, which kind of stands to logic, after all. If you build operating systems for morons, morons tend to be less efficient than us conservative, non-trendy geeks, hence their activities will take more time for the same effect. At work, people ask me how I manage to do so many things, like work full time, write my book, run the website, still have time for social activities, and everything else. My answer is simple - I am efficient and I choose efficient tools.
Microsoft Windows 8, Enterprise edition, RTM, with its Metro curse, is not an efficient tool. Oh sure, you get big shiny icons that would best work for old people with impaired vision rather than young people with excellent 6/6 vision. And sure, you can be online always, but what does this shitty slogan really mean? What? How's being online different from opening a browser and looking up what you need? Idiots. Dear reader, if you are looking for some kind of productivity, look elsewhere. Having to perform extra clicks and suffer your entire workspace flipping over all the time is the last thing anyone needs.
You know what else can be flipped - check my Android article toward the end. It rhymes with singer and it's attached to your hand. One of five. Usually. That's it.
Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise evaluation is very similar to the last two editions, with some extra polish. From the product perspective, it's ready for customers. From the user experience perspective, it's ready for failure.
This Build 9200 strengthens my belief that this is crap par excellence in every shape or form. As you know I'm always right, for example check the recent news on Gnome 3, then go back to my Gnome 3 article, it's only a matter of time before this one comes true, too. You will remember I skipped Vista. Was it a success? No. Windows 8 is going to share the same fate, and don't let "unbiased" reports fool you as to percentages, adoption rate and all that nonsense that big companies must pump out to convince themselves they are doing just fine.
With a normal start menu, this would be a very sensible Service Pack for Windows 7. But then, you don't need a whole new operating system or a new name or a new price. Without the Start menu, this is like a car without wheels. An empty useless shell. Somewhere, somehow, I was hoping Microsoft might pull their things together. But then, if Steam flourishes on Linux, as we all hope it will, you don't need Microsoft anymore. So there you go, the reality, uncensored, raw. Feel like crying? Don't. It's just software. Silly, stupid software.