I have been getting my first experience with Windows 8 for about 30 minutes now. My first impressions are ones of frustration. I thought I had the perfect machine for testing this out – a Lenovo S10-3t with 1 GB of memory. This was a machine I originally received (for free!) at a MeeGo conference just under a year ago, and it was one of the few machines available at the time with touchscreen support (something MeeGo was keen to show off).
First off, the touch experience in Metro is excellent – scrolling is nice and smooth and it does feel like an environment which is much more suited to touch interface than Windows classic. The problem, as I soon discovered is that the new Metro interface doesn’t like any application with less than 1024 X 768 resolution, and my S10-3t is really a 1024 X 600 machine.
It took a little while for me to figure out hy the metro apps were not loading. I was just touching the tiles, and they were responding – but no application launch. I hope that a future Win 8 build will provide some feedback to users as to why the metro apps are not loading.
So I googled to see if there were any hacks out there for the resolution problem, and found this registry hack, which works also for Win 8: http://www.netbooklive.com/how-to-get-better-resolution-on-your-standard-10-inch-netbook-2772/.
After a quick restart, the metro icons now do indeed load the underlying applications, however they seem exceedingly slow. The weather apps works, but it’s slow. I’ve given up wating for the stock and piano apps to load (tip: the Windows key brings you back to the main metro page).
So, back to Windows classic then. Well, the first thing is the above registry hack screws up the touchscreen interface, so if I want to use the touch screen with the traditional desktop, then it needs to go back to 1024 X 600 resolution. Not that you’d want to use touch in classic mode, though, as this is really designed for keyboard and mouse interface, and seems no different from Windows 7 in my view (i.e. not good for touch!). I know Win 8 classic probably wasn’t meant to improved for touch, but how frustrating is it that using a pretty standard notebook resolution, I can only use touch in Win 8 classic mode while I can do little with Metro mode which is supposed to support touch! I thought this new OS from Microsoft was supposed to start bridging the gap between desktop and mobile devices. From what I can see, it hasn’t. Both Ubuntu and MeeGo flavours of Linux work just fine in touch mode on this same machine without any resolution hacks.
30 minutes in, I’m frustrated!