I'll give you my opinion from the standpoint of someone who works in IT:
I loaded up a beta copy of windows 8 in the office, we all did, and I didn't like it. Here is why:
Completely different GUI that is cumbersome to navigate, and even with practice not as efficient as windows 7 and before.
No real keynote features that sell the OS to me since 7. Being able to mount an .iso natively doesn't impress me, it isn't hard to download and install a free .iso mounting program.
It's main selling point is the ability to have touchscreen functionality.
I don't see why I would want this on a laptop or a desktop. This OS is almost purely made for a tablet or something similar. If it was on a tablet, I wouldn't mind it at all, as it would have functionality that would actually make me consider getting a tablet. Not enough to actually do it, but it wouldn't feel out of place.
The other thing is that while it does have a way to revert to the classic menu style, it does it by essentially virtualizing it into a separate window, almost like a program that is running. That is a highly inefficient and costly(resource wise) approach to giving consumers the GUI they are familiar with.
Microsoft has been trying to find ways to force people to use Microsoft ID for ages in their games, and now they are doing it with their OS. I hate this. A lot. I use Hotmail for my email, so I do have a microsoft ID, but the less omnipresent username/password sets I have kicking around, the better. I don't want my entire computer personality linked together, that screams privacy issue to me, and it's just an invasive pain in the ass.
The "Metro" UI fucking blows. Just want to reiterate that.
Now, on the lighter side..
is a program that brings back the start button on your desktop, and there are also ways to boot directly to the desktop and skip metro altogether, thus giving you a normal and familiar windows OS, more or less.
Windows 8 is essentially a smartphone/tablet interface. Regardless of what Microsoft tells the consumer, it isn't meant for desktops and normal laptops. At all. If you're using a tablet however, it's a good and solid OS. I've tinkered with it on both.
Right clicking the lower left portion of the screen opens a start menu of sorts, for admin functions. It lets you have quick access to control panel, command prompt, the task manager, windows explorer, and more. All with one click. For people like me, this is useful.
The Charms bar. It's essentially like the taskbar when you pin applications to it, which is something I always use anyway. Only now it's mandatory to have on there, and you move the mouse to the top of the screen to have the charms bar slide out and act as a quick access toolbar. The charms bar has a cool context feature for devices and printers, allowing you to jump back and forth between alternative screens, printers, and connected devies/hard drives a la My Computer.
The touch screen gestures available are pretty exhaustive, and allow you to navigate very quickly through everything that isn't a third party app. Essentially for everything that isn't gaming, you can navigate the UI on this computer flawlessly and efficiently using the touch screen once you learn the gesture system and a few keyboard shortcuts. The learning curve is sort of steep though.
The Start8 program by Stardock(Same people who made sins of a solar empire, lol) is a program that lets you do what Startfinity did, and get the start menu back, but it also gives you the option to boot straight to the desktop right out of the box. The difference is that Start8 is a 30 day trial or 5 dollars for the actual program, and startfinity doesn't let you boot to desktop in the free starter version, you have to buy it for 15 bucks.
So in other words, you can, if you are determined, bypass the shortcomings of windows 8 with third party programs that don't cost much, and also leverage some of the cool features that come with the OS.
Or you could take my advice, and just shop online for a laptop with windows 7, if none of the physical retailer locations have them.
edited 26th Oct '12 6:20:10 PM by Barkey
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.