I'm very much looking forward to getting Windows 8 Pro, not for its oft-discussed "re-imagined" graphical user interface but to reap the advantages of the many new functional, stability and security advances that have been widely explained by Microsoft in their Building Windows 8 blog, the Windows 8 app developer blog, and elsewhere.
As with the earlier Consumer Preview version, I installed this pre-release not on a dedicated PC but on a virtual one (running under Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager, which you may know came to Oracle as part of the Sun Microsystems acquisition, but originally was developed by a small German group, some more about Germans at the very end).
Here are my first impressions starting with a snapshot of my copy of Windows 8 Release Preview, running in desktop mode. I've been diving in deep to test some of the finer details of Windows 8, but want to restrict this particular discussion to the "re-imagined" Windows 8 user interface at the broadest level.
It looks fairly similar to the Windows 7 desktop, but I reckon that the application windows have lost their glitter appear rather drab, now that in a change-for-change's- sake exercise Microsoft has made them less glossy compared with the Windows 7 transparent aero style:
All in all, so far I’ve found it extremely awkward to use via mouse and keyboard, compared with Windows 7 (and all previous Windows releases that I’ve used, back to Windows 3.0 in 1992).
Keep in mind that I’ve been testing, evaluating and reporting on all sorts of computer systems and software, from mainframes down, since before joining IBM in 1970, before Microsoft was born, and more recently in my post-IBM years as an independent operator -- so hopefully can claim a fair degree of credence in the field.
I certainly do understand that Microsoft's position, trying its very darnedest to maintain its revenue stream by moving its huge Windows user base along into the touchscreen world. This makes a lot of sense for a sizable proportion of the emerging market. However I have a strong feeling that conventional Windows desktop users (consumers and enterprise) are going to suffer far too much pain and lose far too much time (with the concomitant expense) as a result.