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 #3: Are you using relying on any Modern UI apps for day-to-day use? Which ones?

This is probably the question I was most curious about. If our columnists had fallen in love with the new Modern UI apps, then it was likely that the whole Metro thing might have legs. But, as you can see, there's almost no real interest in the Windows Store apps. This isn't necessarily surprising at this early stage, but it also might not bode well for those vendors relying on selling a pile of Modern UI-based apps vs. old-school Windows applications.

Jason Perlow: Primarily I use the Modern UI version of Internet Explorer, Skype and Windows Messenger.

Michael Krigsman: Avoid them like the plague. If one starts, I still can't figure out how to get rid of it.

Michael Lee: I've experimented with a couple, but for the most part, I'm still using applications that don't use the new scheme. It's less of an issue around choosing not to do so, and more that the applications I use haven't yet jumped on the Windows 8 train.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Not a one.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: Games don't count, right? I agree with Nielsen --  Win 8 apps have a far too low information density. When I'm using my PC, it's to get information. I don't want a UI to feels like a Robert Redford movie.

I've accused Apple of putting form ahead of function many times, but a lot of the Wind 8 apps feel like they're all form. It's almost as though the designers forgot that they needed to be useful. Yeah, they look good ... but then you try to use them.

Andrew Brust: I’m not relying on any of them. I probably have the New York Times and Netflix apps as my most frequent “Modern UI” apps.

Question #4: Do you miss the Start menu or have you replaced it?

I was really curious about whether the new Start screen, which does have some interesting capabilities, would overtake the old Start menu, or whether our team would simply restore the Start menu using an add-on.

Jason Perlow: No.

Michael Krigsman: I use Start8 from Stardock Software (thanks Jason Perlow for the recommendation). Does a great of hiding metro and booting directly to the desktop.

Michael Lee: I miss it. The traditional way I used to use the Start menu was to hit the Start key on my keyboard and just start typing the name of an application. Now I use the Windows key + Q combination to do pretty much the same thing, but it's never been obvious to me where these shortcuts are documented, and it completely bypasses the new Start screen anyway.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Stardock's Start8 is my Start menu replacement of choice.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes: Yes, I miss it, and have toyed with adding it back -- the best app for this is Start8 -- but unless Microsoft finds some sense and puts the Start Menu back into Win 9 then I don't see a point.

Andrew Brust: I’ve been using Start8 heavily. Again though, part of the reason for that is I have had a lot of desktop software to install. Once everything’s set up, I may use the Start screen instead.


Next up, Windows tweaks and touch hardware...

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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