Okay, so, I gave some impressions of Windows 8 in another post, where I concluded that the new OS works fine when you have at least a Windows 8 gesture-enabled touchpad. I suggested that you avoid Windows 8 if you have a machine (notebook or desktop, really) with a non-gesture-enabled touchpad (or mouse). My reason: the Windows 8 Start Screen UI is really cumbersome without touch or gestures.
I stand by that statement, but I’ll amend it just a little. Since installing Stardock’s Start8 app, which enables a real Windows 7-style Start Menu, I’ve found myself working almost exclusively in Windows 8 desktop mode. And I’ve been liking it. Here’s what it looks like:
So, while I said in that other post that the Windows 8 modern UI is tolerable with the right equipment, I’ll say here that I really would rather avoid the modern UI entirely if I can. After all, I don’t really have any need for it—there’s not a single modern UI app that I’d rather run than a “legacy,” desktop-mode app equivalent. In short, Start8 has made it possible to work in Windows 8 exactly as I work in Windows 7, with some of the positives that Windows 8 brings along (faster startup/shutdown, a nicer Task Manager, etc.).
I don’t think I’m contradicting myself here. If Start8 didn’t exist, then I’d stick with my workflow as I outlined in the other post. But Start8 really does make it possible to completely avoid the modern UI if that’s what you want to do, and makes Windows 8 tolerable—even advantageous—on any machine.
And consider this: the app’s only $4.99. That’s a steal for all of the functionality the app provides. Highly, highly recommended. I didn’t pay for it directly, because it was included in the Parallels 9 upgrade that I recently purchased, but I’d gladly have spent the money.
Give it a try, and let me know what you think in the comments.