Dear readers: How would you change or improve Windows 8?

Criticize or evangelize: some love it but many hate it: Windows 8. Dear readers, what changes would you make before you are swayed into buying Microsoft's latest offering?
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

Windows 8 has been called many things: a "design disaster," an "unmitigated disaster," and even been likened to Vista, which is perhaps a little harsh. That said, it has also dubbed a "fresh start" for Microsoft.

The code is final, the hardware and computer makers have the finalized software, and ordinary users and enterprise customers will receive the updated Microsoft operating system later this year in October.

Yet many customers are wary over purchasing licenses or upgrading to Windows 8 in fear that the new interface is too confusing. That's the crux of the matter: people like to know where things are and on the most part do not like radical change.

In one real-life, hands-on demonstration of the barriers faced by ordinary users, Chris Pirillo sat his father down at a fresh install of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (which has since been released to manufacturing albeit with a pretty weak 'tutorial') and left him to his own devices. It's painful to watch, but it rounds-up exactly how many feel about the design of the new operating system.

The 'Start screen barrier' will flummox many, if not the majority of existing users. Had there not been a Windows key on my keyboard, I probably wouldn't have found the Start screen any faster during my own test-drive during the Release Preview window. 

One Reddit contributor's thread caught my eye. They posted a mock-up design of a semi-transparent Start screen overlaid on top of the desktop that sits behind it. Quote: "it would make understanding the [operating system] much simpler."

It would. I'd vote for it. But Microsoft's development cycle isn't a democracy, and telemetry and user feedback notwithstanding, the Redmond, WA.-based software giant appears to have gone its own way as if it's a breakaway Fleetwood Mac song.

Granted, it would "go against Microsoft's design principles of [whatever Metro is now called]," according to one comment on the thread, but considering the other design inconsistencies pointed out from other enthusiast blogs and forums, it almost reiterates the "too many cooks" and not enough designers analogy. 

Here's the deal: get involved

Many social sharers have put on a fresh pot of coffee, blown the dust of Photoshop, and envisaged their perfect version of Windows 8 in their mind's eye -- or at least attempted to mitigate some of the 'damage' caused by Microsoft in the forthcoming release -- and posted their ideas and suggestions to the Web.

Here on ZDNet, it's our place to lend a hand in news, views, opinions and analysis no matter what your role is in the IT buying cycle. You still have a few months left to balance your upgrade options and an upgrade to Windows 8 becomes a possibility in your small-to-medium sized business, enterprise, or government department.

With that, I'll leave you with one simple question:

Whether you are an end-consumer or an enterprise user, what minor, major, or feature changes would you make in Windows 8 to convince you to upgrade to the next-generation operating system?

No prizes this time around, I'm afraid, but community kudos is up for grabs to those who come up with the best suggestions, considerations, examples, and outside links to your own Photoshop designs or modified screenshots. (As long as you don't use HTML, our sometimes over-zealous spam engine shouldn't filter them out.)

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