Windows 8

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Windows 8 is a desktop operating system by Microsoft introduced in 2012, which had a tablet UI. Its server counterpart is Windows Server 2012, which introduced Aero Lite and bad Wi-Fi support.

Windows 8 start screen


Windows 8 was hated for the following reasons:

  • Removal of the Start button, a feature since Windows 95
  • Removal of the Classic theme, you could only get it back through screwing with DWM
  • Failed attempt to bring a tablet UI to the desktop
  • Addition of heavy Telemetry (and where all of the invasive spyware measures really started)
  • Forced updating for Windows 7 users like with Windows 10 where it smuggled itself through official Update channels and tried to silently overwrite your Windows install
  • Removal of the old Open With Win32 dialog and replaced with OpenWith.exe, a Metro/UWP based dialog where if you wanted to exit the dialog, you had to either press ESC or click outside the dialog
  • No obvious way to exit the Fullscreen Metro apps
  • Forced sign-in to an online Microsoft account
  • Start screen (Although you can bring back the old Start menu with Open-Shell)
  • Charms bar
  • File Explorer's new Ribbon being a confusing mess and a good example of bad UX design
  • Metro being a horrid idea in general
  • Minimal and flat design, keep in mind there was Aero before this
  • Not many Metro apps
  • Wasn't good for desktops

Like with other Windows releases and their absolute clusterfuck of a feature-set, you could easily disable some of the things Windows 8 added, like you can remove the Ribbon with OldNewExplorer and you can remove almost all of the Metro garbage with some tool I forgot the name of.

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 was technically a service pack and a "major" update to Windows 8. It added:

  • Start button
  • More metro apps

But the criticism was still very much valid, and it still had the Metro UI. But even then there were some issues with it:

  • There was a start button again, but it didn't remove the Start Screen
  • Did nothing to remove the atrocious Metro UI and virtually no choice to get the old Windows UI back
  • Still had just some of the same problems with the previous release
  • You could only get the update through the Windows Store for a while and you couldn't even use official update channels to get it
  • "Better for tablets", but not any better for desktops
  • Introduced more bugs and yet more exploits(?)

There weren't many notable improvements with this one other than "bugfixes" and "performance improvements", and maybe some core changes?

Windows 8.1 exists as a VM on CollabVM.