Windows 8 First Impressions

Windows 8 First Impressions

I’ve installed Windows 8 Release Preview on my Mac Pro. I’ll talk about how I did that in another post – this one is about my reaction to the system upon first boot. I have done literally no research on Windows 8, so I’m interested in how this goes. This is all stream-of-consciousness, as it happens, so deal with it or get out.


OK, it’s finished installing. Asking for the usual customization info – I can choose colors! Also seems like you now log into your machine using a Microsoft account, which will sync things across computers (like Chrome does, I guess). You can do logins the old-fashioned way, if you’re a chump.

…now I’m wondering, as I create this account: how will this work for businesses, with domains and such?

Alright, logged in. Metro! I have dual monitors: left is a bunch of squares that seems like a quick nav, right is a fairly standard looking desktop with task bar.

I click on the IE icon in the taskbar.

Well, the quick nav is gone now – hope I don’t need that, since I have no idea how to get it back. There’s no Start menu.

Opened up IE, it seems good at downloading Chrome. Chrome downloaded, installed, IE now closed forever.

Chrome seemed to install fine, I logged in and it synced (sunk?) all my junk.

Now to install my Wacom drivers…wait a minute.

Shut the front door.


No, not the Wacom, the other things. Like my dual monitors – on first boot, everything came up proper resolution, and set to DualView. And my sound works (remember, I’m on a Mac Pro, and I did NOT install Bootcamp drivers). And my printer…yep, it prints! No crazy popups in the bottom right, no searching Windows Update for drivers – these things are simply working.

That’s pretty amazing, for a Windows machine.

Alright, downloading Wacom driver (Intuos4)…installed and working, no issue.

Now I’d like to see just how many drivers magically installed on their own.

…where is the Start menu? Or that weird quick nav thingy?

AHA! Windows key. Got my square quicknav. Ooh, recently installed items.

Alright, this quicknav doesn’t seem to have a Control Panel. Back to the desktop.

Aha! Put the mouse in the lower-left corner of the display, and a little Start button pops up.

…which brings me back to that square quicknav.

Not helpful.

…but if you mouse over the lower-RIGHT corner of a display, you get a weird side nav, which seems to have Settings in it.

THERE’S the control panel, in the Settings menu. Control Panel looks the same as Win7, no way in hell am I going to spend an hour charting differences.

From Device Manager, it looks like the only things missing drivers are the expected: some video capture gear, an iLok, and an RF controller. All the stuff a normal person would have has drivers, and they appear to be correct and functioning fine.

Now to install Steam.


Huh…close and relaunch, and now it works. Weird. Alright, I’m going to let it download Loadout and go to sleep.

First impression of Windows 8: seems cool. Still have a lot of questions, but it seems like they didn’t make it completely horrible.