Dogfooding Windows 8: six long-term Windows 8 users tell all

Summary:We've all read the reviews. Many of us have installed Windows 8 in a virtual machine or on a test box. But how is Windows 8 to use, for real, day after day? We asked six users who've been using Windows 8 daily for their opinions. Their answers may surprise you.

Question #1: How long have you been using Windows 8 (and previews) for day-to-day desktop use?

My first goal was to establish a baseline, to get a feel for just how much time each ZDNet columnist had spent with Windows 8 in a day-to-day use environment.

Jason Perlow: I have been using Windows 8 for day-to-day desktop use since September 2012, since general release. I have been using it in Developer Preview and Consumer Preview for about a year.

Michael Krigsman: Since the first consumer preview release. Then upgraded to the beta 2 and now the final.

Michael Lee: About two and a half weeks.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Day-to-day? Ha. I've been using Win 8 off and on for about a year.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: I started dogfooding Windows 8 back in April of 2011 when the Milestone 1 build was leaked. Back then it looked an awful lot like Windows 7, and my hope was that it would be a "Windows 7, only better." Since then I have extensively used pretty much every build I've been able to get my hands on -- both leaked and official releases. I had high hopes that Microsoft wouldn't jinx the releases by messing with the UI too much even as far as the Developer preview.

That all changed when the consumer preview was released ...

Andrew Brust: For day-to-day use, it’s only been about 1 week. I have been using Windows 8 very casually since the Developer Preview was released in September, 2011.

Question #2: Do you use the Metro tile interface, or live completely in the desktop?

I was particularly curious about the new Start screen and what used to be called the Metro interface. Did it grow on people after they'd had a time to use the system, or would our intrepid columnists simply bypass it and go back to the Windows desktop? See for yourself.

Jason Perlow: I use the desktop about 70 percent of the time.

Michael Krigsman: Never use Metro. Hate it on a desktop although it is nice on a tablet.

Michael Lee: I use a combination of both, but only because I'm sometimes forced to use it.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Metro was, is now, and always will be an annoying desktop interface. I spend most of my time on the Desktop, with just enough on Metro to make sure it really is as dreadful as it seemed at first.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: I try to live in the desktop as much as possible. I don't see the Start Screen being any better than the Start Menu or creating a bunch of links on the desktop. Whenever I have to use the Start Screen, my productivity drops dramatically, so I try to avoid it as much as possible.

Andrew Brust: I use both, but so far the desktop has dominated. I have had a lot of desktop software to install, which is part of the reason.

Next up, Modern UI apps and Start menu replacements...

Topics: Windows


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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