How Windows 8 Grew On Me!
I’ve been running Windows 8 for quite a while now. At first, it was a bit of an anti-climax after the much hyped launch but then again, I was running a laptop, not a tablet, so I wasn't making the best use of Windows 8 and its sliding tiles.
But it has definitely grown on me, in this blog, I share my opinion on Windows 8 from a user and IT Administrator point of view and tell you about my new favourite feature – Windows To Go.
Windows 8 - From a User Point of View
Yesterday, I needed to modify some Visio for a cloud deployment design and compile a report based on a list of services living in an Excel spreadsheet, I was working in user mode (not IT Admin mode) with strict deadlines to meet. I required a fast searching Visio library, dynamic pivot tables to get a better understanding of my data and I wanted to assemble it into a presentable format – so the operating system was essentially irrelevant. You see Operating Systems; Windows 7, Windows 8 – Windows whatever, seem to matter less and less to users (or so I started to think) – I can’t downplay the importance of the UI (User Interface) too much, but as a user, how much do we really care about the operating systems behind the Apps?
Windows 8 - From an IT Administrator Point of View
As an IT Administrator I love Windows 8 – it’s more secure, it can leverage 64-bit architecture even more effectively than Windows 7, it virtualises better, and so on. From an IT Admin’s point of view the operating system is still a critical management factor but let’s face it, as IT Admin, I’m the minority – the end users are the driving force in the development of IT and their real focus is on the applications – the services. Of course, we have to launch those apps from a super performing, highly stable and secure platform, but there I go back into admin mode again – the users have stopped listening. The end users want the apps presented clearly, easily accessible, and if the UI can deliver that in the form of something that's quick, visually pleasing and easy to navigate – their boxes are ticked.
Windows 8 achieves the sexy GUI with Metro, but I’ve found that Windows 8 is actually an enhancement of the OS I most recently loved, Windows 7, with its remote server administration tools, enhanced remote client, Hyper-V support....it gives us IT Administrators the tools to effectively manage an IT infrastructure.
I like that Task Manager in Windows 8 has been beefed up giving us performance stats on CPU, memory, storage and networking, for both wired and wireless networks. We can also use AppLocker to manage standard desktop Metro apps.
Windows To Go
My favourite new feature has to be Windows To Go, I've tried it on a few devices and it seems to work on just about anything which supports a 64-bit architecture. Essentially you plug in your Windows To Go loaded USB drive, boot from it and you've got a Windows 8 desktop complete with BitLocker (in case you lose that USB drive) your apps, even your full corporate desktop if you want. You don't have to install Windows 8 to use it, and when you unplug the USB, there's nothing left behind! You can save files to SkyDrive or to the USB itself if required, but removing the USB drive and rebooting the computer, returns the computer to its native OS.
Forget your laptop, bring a Windows To Go USB stick and 'borrow' any available machine – you have to try this feature.
I'm interested to hear your experiences of Windows 8 and your favourite features, leave me a comment below!