Windows 8 – Is It Ready For Prime Time?

If you are thinking about buying a new computer with Windows 8, for now you had better think twice. I had no choice because of my day job (Webmaster at a small company) but unless you need to keep up with the latest operating systems give Windows 8 a pass. Remember what they used to say about pioneers… they are the guys with arrows in their backs.

Below are the some of the surprises I’ve had since inviting Windows 8 into my life.

If you upgrade your computer from Windows 7 (a very good operating system) to Window 8 you will not only have to install Windows 8, you will also have to install all the drivers for it. Some laptop manufacturers, like Sony, make it fairly easy as they have bundled all the drivers into one zip file, others, not so much. Be prepared to set aside a whole day for the upgrades, I really didn’t have any problems with the upgrade and setup and still it took me most of a Sunday to get the job done. Make sure the drivers are available before you get started.

No more Flash video player. Initially Microsoft didn’t plan to support Flash at all, instead they planned on using the native player built into HTML5 (HTML5 is supported by IE10 the new browser that is embedded with Windows 8). Apple made this same decision and it has worked out okay for them, so why not Microsoft? In my opinion Apple gets away with it because Safari supports HTML5 very well, while Internet Explorer 10 doesn’t. HTML5 videos that work on Apple won’t necessarily work with IE 10. To get around this problem Microsoft decided to support Flash after all, but only for sites they have “whitelisted”; meaning sites they deem safe. Many websites stream their videos specifically encoded for the Flash video player but aren’t yet on the Microsoft whitelist so this can be a real problem.

No more Windows Live Mail. Now the native email program is simply called Mail. It doesn’t support POP3 mail servers. That means if you have an account with Verizon, Mediacom or any number of Internet Service Providers you are out of luck. The best you can do is set up a gmail or Hotmail account online and then link the Windows 8 Mail program to it. Not only is this a pain but any email you send from the Mail program will use the gMail or Hotmail account “From” address instead of that of your ISP.

Windows 8 does have some good points but it is way behind Apple OSX or Google Android as an operating system. Hopefully they will put updates out quickly. I’d be interested in learning what other users think of Windows 8, please feel free to leave a reply to this post.