Win 8 first impressions — bold move by MSFT, not sure what it does for me

I’m playing with Windows 8. If you are going to go down this path, some “tips to get started”:http://www.edbott.com/weblog/2012/03/where-is-the-windows-8-consumer-preview-product-key/.

I’ve had lots of troubles installing. The “same error repeatedly writing the OS to my disk”:http://theludwigs.com/2012/03/3-failed-attempts-to-install-win8-preview-and-i-am-giving-up/, tho judging by lack of internet hits on the error code, this is unique to me. The error went away for a while but came back. My machine is rock solid under Win7, has never given me a moment’s problem, but something about the hardware is making win8 install unhappy. I reformatted my hard disk, and then replaced it with a brand new one; updated my bios; tried install off of USB and DVD media; downloaded multiple install images; tried a virtual HD instead of a physical disk; ran a thorough memtest; and it still failed. I finally moved to a VirtualBox VM install and this worked, but it really limits the experience. Some MSFT guys are trying to help me, but no solutions yet.

Maybe an upgrade install would have worked better, but I am sure not going to try that at this point.

So, impressions? Impressions:

* Despite my install troubles the product basically feels solid. Seems like quality won’t prevent MSFT from shipping.
* My multi-monitor setup seems kind of ideal. Monitor 1 is a new Dell ST2220t 21.5 inch touch screen LCD which is great for playing with the Metro interface, and then my existing 27″ monitor. This lets me run Metro on the touch screen and classic Windows on the 27″.
* As with any new version of windows, it feels a little like MSFT moved stuff around just for the sake of moving stuff around. The “fins and chrome” strategy. Maybe(?) I am getting old, but this all just kind of makes me cranky. The number of articles on the net explaining just how to shut down Win8 is kind of telling.
* Metro at one level is basically a replacement for the start menu and task bar. It is an odd experience on a big screen. 27″ of minimalist primary color blocks doesn’t seem very helpful. Even on a 21.5″ it seems wrong. I can’t say I love it. And as mentioned above, it seems different for different’s sake.
* then you have the metro apps. they are fine and if I could get 5-6 on the screen at once it might be cool. but again on a big screen they seem kind of strange and wasteful. I really don’t need a weather applet blown up to 27″.
* And then the combo of Metro and classic Windows in one system is just kind of jarring and inexplicable. Which IE version do I use and why? Which version of Evernote?

Some reviewers love it — “for instance the Chicago Sun-Times”:http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/10992191-452/windows-8-and-metro-show-true-multiplatform-os-promise.html. Others not so much — “The Guardian”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2012/mar/05/windows-8-desktop-experience. I’m kind of more towards the Guardian view.

Overall, MSFT is being pretty bold here. Win8 is certainly pushing a new UI and you have to give credit for MSFT for trying out something new. It is probably a great UI on smaller form factors, and that might be the right device for MSFT to prioritize, given user trends and MSFT’s weakness to date on those devices. But it feels like an odd fit for larger screens and for existing Windows users, and so there is some risk in selling it to that user base. I understand why the risk makes sense for Microsoft, they have to create some momentum and innovation on mobile devices. I’m not sure why it makes sense for me, I don’t see a reason to be obviously happier with Win8 than I am with Win7.