Are You Afraid of Windows 8?

Unless you live under a rock somewhere, you’ve probably heard someone complain about Windows 8.  “The new screens are UGLY!,” or “I can’t use a computer without a ‘Start’ button!”

The truth is the screens are different and the Start button is indeed gone.  But the bottom line is that these two changes take about 10 minutes to get used to.  There are lots of improvements that come with Windows 8 – and they far outweigh the minor change in the interface.  Windows 8 is just an improved Windows 7 with a new wrapper.

Windows 8 is also the operating system you will get if you buy a new computer today (unless you buy a Mac.)  The real problem here is that people (me included) don’t like change.

Do you remember when Office 2007 came out?  Microsoft replaced the toolbars and menus we spent years committing to memory with the “Ribbon” – a context-sensitive system that offered different choices depending on what you happened to be doing at the time.  In the end, this was a much more workable system that required fewer steps to get to what you wanted – it made our lives easier.  The real reason that we all memorized the previous menu system in the first place was to make our lives easier!  You want to print an envelope?  That’s Tools, Letters and Mailing, Envelope.  I was able to rattle off most any combination over the phone without even looking at the menus after a while.

When the Ribbon came out, it made our knowledge of the menu system useless and we had to start all over again learning the new system.  This was frustrating to be sure – but we did figure it out.  And…after all was said and done, we were able to get all of our work done on the new system, usually with fewer trips through the labyrinthian menu system.

Windows 8 is no different.  We are in the difficult “my old knowledge has been devalued!” phase of the transition.  In a couple of years I’m sure we’ll all have forgotten that there used to be another way of doing things.  Well, all except the small percentage of folks that for some reason get stuck in the past.  I know someone who is still using Windows 98 and Lotus 123 on an ancient computer – there’s just no hope for him.  :-)