Windows 8 belongs on older PCs like a fish needs a bicycle

Windows 8 belongs on older PCs like a fish needs a bicycle

Summary: Get real! It's bad enough that you're going to have to deal with Windows 8 on new PCs, why ask for misery on your old PC?

You could try Windows 8 on an old PC, you could also try hitting your thumb with a hammer.

As it happens, I do run Windows 8 on older PCs. But, testing operating systems is part of what I do for a living. Unless that's also part of your job description running Windows 8 on an older PC is just a waste of time.

Oh sure, Windows 8 does boot faster and it has a few new features, but generally speaking Windows 8 with its “not Metro” interface is junk. I've been working with Windows 8 in one version or another for months now and there is simply nothing about it that would make me recommend it over Windows 7 or XP for that matter.

Metro, no matter what Microsoft wants to call it, remains a usability nightmare on a conventional PC. It may or may not be as awful on a touch tablet—I haven't tried that so I don't know—but I do know it's annoying as heck on my non-touch enabled PCs.  The desktop, no matter what Microsoft may want, still works best with a Windows, Icons, Menu, Pointer (WIMP) interface, not Metro's big, klutzy tiles.

Want to have malicious fun? Stick some poor sod in front of a Windows 8 system and then watch them try to back out of an application. Watch them look around for the now missing in action Start button and hunt for the windows controls on the desktop screen eating application. If they're lucky they'll eventually stumble over the invisible lower-left corner escape hatch to the main interface. Oh yeah, this is so much better than Windows 7's Aero interface.

Here's the real point. Most people upgrade their operating system only when they get something better from it and there's nothing significantly better about Windows 8. Indeed, since Windows 8 requires you to relearn a lot of what you already know about Windows, it's actually a giant step back in productivity.

If you want something better than Windows, go with desktop Linux, a cloud-based Linux desktop like Google's Chrome OS, or a Mac. Heck, try an iPad. Just don't waste your time with Windows 8.

You say you really want to try something better than Windows on your PC? OK, if you're not much of a computer wizard, download a copy of Ubuntu 12.04. Don't be scared. My 80 year-old mother-in-law can run Ubuntu Linux so you can too. If you fancy yourself a knowledgeable computer user and you want something that looks and feels a fair amount like Windows, then try Linux Mint with the Cinnamon interface. Think you can along with just a Web browser for 99% of what you do? Then give Chrome OS a try.

With all these Linux choices, you can try them out from a CD or USB stick without changing a thing on your PC.  You can also do this with Windows 8, with Windows to Go, but that requires a USB 3.0 drive with at least 32GBS of storage. Pretty much any USB drive will let you do it with Linux.

If you really must try Windows 8, and you don't have a Microsoft TechNet or Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscription, you can download a 90-day Windows 8 evaluation copy. For some reason, Microsoft has made it impossible to upgrade from this version to a real version. So, even if it turns out you like Windows 8, you won't be able to keep using it. That's not much of a problem since  I doubt most of you will still be using Windows 8 after 90-days anyway.

Related Stories:

Microsoft's Windows 8: Will it breathe new life into older PCs?

How to get Windows 8 ahead of the general public

Surprise! What you can expect from Windows 8 RTM

Microsoft is pushing users and vendors to Macs and Linux

Five ways to skip Windows 8

Topics: Windows, Laptops, Linux, Microsoft, Operating Systems, PCs

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  • Broken record

    SVJN, haven't you already written this blog post?
  • Vote this post to "Like" this blog post

    I'm try a new system here. See if ZDNet get the point.
  • Vote this post to "Dislike" this blog post

    I'm try a new system here. See if ZDNet get the point.
    • To SJVN

      Please SJVN, just do stop cover anything about Windows or Microsoft and let MJF or Ed Bott do it properly.

      Look, you're got more people wanted to vote down on you than voting up proved that you're doing ZDnet's readers a disservice. In case you didn't notice, your irrational hatred toward Microsoft is getting you nowhere and you're not fooling anyone since most readers here know much more about Microsoft/Windows than you are.

      If you want more people to try Linux, just tell people how good it is. Drop the smearing against other system. If you couldn't even cover Linux properly, you have no rights and privilege to cover other OS.

      Sincerely Yours,
      • You took the words right out of my mouth

        I couldn't agree more. It's a good thing to use Linux and it's not entirely bad, but immaturely criticizing Microsoft and its products without good grounds is just plain stupid.
        • Jabe124 - Samic - bmonsterman ...Hey you three nerds are to funny for words

          I have to listen to you three nin-kum-poops complain, but I never hear a word about all the out of contex BULL S*** Loverock Davidsson posts every time their is a article about anything Linux.

          Two bad you don't like having your eyes opened by SJVN on Microsoft OS & products.

          SJVN or MJF or Ed Bott are paid to get hits/posts on any subject they write about even if you don't agree with it................I sugest you all grow up and get a life and not worry so much about Zdnet articles..........end of story,
          Over and Out
  • Windows 8 belongs on older PCs like a fish needs a bicycle

    Stick with using XP until EOL or move to Window 7 best route for many...
  • funny

    "If you want something better than Windows, go with desktop Linux, a cloud-based Linux desktop like Google's Chrome OS, or a Mac. Heck, try an iPad. Just don't waste your time with Windows 8."

    LOL - that was a good laugh

    ......Really? SJVN

    *puts on not sure if serious face*
    • Still laughing...

      The Chrome OS one is my fave. No matter how bad Windows 8 won be close o that horror show. They sold like hot cakes those Chrome OS machines....LMAO
  • The Windows 8 desktop is a better Windows 7 desktop

    No fuss no muss, nothing to be scared of if you want just a better windows desktop. Single click to the desktop, live there, sleep your pc there, rewaken it to it there the next day, all day, everday. No trying to find new apps to what youre used to doing, now tryingto figure out how they do it. If "you can [get]along with just a Web browser for 99% of what you do" then W8 is great for you. Easy to find the broswer, easy single click to start it. After that you'll be doing your 99% in the best browser on the planet bar none. Faster than any other, yes, more html/css compliant than any other, yes. Want to try out some cool new apps. Simple windows key to a whole world of new apps for you.
    Johnny Vegas
    • So you say

      Clearly SJVN disagrees with you, as is his right. Ultimately, people will have to try it out and make up their own minds.
      John L. Ries
    • What I find odd...

      is that SJVN talks about how the change from the Start menu to Windows 8's new interface is baaaaad... yet no one should have a problem switching for Windows XP or 7 to Linux. It's just something new... it'll be fun!

      Change is change.

      Personally, I don't care for the new Windows 8 interface. And I may try something new if it bothers me THAT much. But no matter what I switch to once my Windows 7 is no longer available, it will still be a change.
  • Disgusted...

    SJVN, I'm sick of your rants. If you are a Linux evangelist, please stick to writing articles on topics you know. Stop your pointless trash that are fuelled by nothing more than your hatred for Microsoft. Your behaviour is disgusting to say the least.
    • undoing your disgust

      Microsoft deserves hatred, and quite a few people are disgusted about its long history of wrongdoing. You choose to be ignorant or interested, so don't worry. Otherwise, don't read what "you're disgusted by"
      • I'm not defending Microsoft here

        I visit ZDNet for information, not hatred. These articles don't have anything material or factual is my point.
        • zdnet? Information?

          I think that if information you're after you'd have more chance of getting that by going to a library and reading a book.

          Blogs really don't serve anything other than the ego of the blogger. They really don't push out anything that you couldn't find by going to the odd source or few.
        • Read Ed Bott

          If you want helpful and factual...Ed does a great job, right here on ZDNet.
      • Why does Microsoft deserves hatred?

        Does Russia deserve our hatred, with their long list of wrongdoing? Or does Steve Jobs deserve our hatred for his long list of wrongdoing?

        Please let us know how long we are supposed to hate an entity.
        William Farrel
        • @Willy

          >>Does Russia deserve our hatred,
          The same Russia that defeated Hitler? If you're a neonazi pro-microsoftan, it does deserve your hatred.
        • once they stop a scoundrel, the hatred will expire

          >>Please let us know how long we are supposed to hate an entity.
          As long as MS keeps perpetrating the mentioned wrongdoings: stifling competition, performing massive FUD campaigns, racketeering other more successful companies with patents, coercing to criminal non-disclosure agreements and just simply producing crappy and primitive software thus contaminating the IT culture.