Our staff has been using Windows 8 since the developer release and although the latest release is not crashing much, it still is not very business friendly.
There are a few benefits though. Windows 8 makes it very easy to access applications from the metro dashboard, and bootup time is extremely fast, compared to earlier Windows versions. The native USB 3.0 support and the ability to mount ISO, VHD and IMG files from a right click is also very nice.
Something to keep in mind is everything in Windows 8 is an application, so if the metro dashboard is damaged, you won’t be able to open the desktop or any application that might be able to repair the damage. I am waiting for someone to come out with a virus that destroys this interface, or blocks it from loading.
Many items that used to be a simple 1 or 2 clicks to perform now require many more. Microsoft has once again made things “easier” by hiding things you might need out of sight. For instance, shutdown and reboot are no longer easy to get to from the start menu (which no longer exists and has been replace by Metro). For my clients I have added these 2 important items as metro “apps”, but this requires making shortcuts and adding them to the dashboard. Seems easy until you need to do this 100 times.
Windows update is also required to download and install, or update any application from the metro app store. Keep this in mind if you use any type of management software to control Windows updates. If the standard update is blocked, the app store also will not work. This can be problematic on new systems with apps that must be updated out of the box.
So far, my opinion is Windows 8 is great for a home user with a touch screen PC. Using Windows 8 with a mouse is a bit tedious and the interface is not very intuitive, so be ready to have long talks with your IT support just to make things work, or to find where something went. I have found difficulties just trying to open the sidebar when Windows 8 is run in a virtual environment window.
Now, there are a few tweaking applications available that restore the interface Windows 7 provided, but these are 3rd party add-ons not supported by Microsoft. Using apps like this has caused systems to crash or not work at all. Be aware! Besides, if you are going to use something like that, why bother with Windows 8 at all? Stick with Windows 7 until Windows 8 service pack 3 is available to fix all the problems. Of course, this might just fall into the category of Windows ME and Windows Vista. Perhaps in 2 years we will see Windows 9, which will provide all the nice things Windows 8 removed, plus the stuff we want to keep from Windows 8. Maybe Microsoft can hire someone from Apple to come up with an interface that has some style and doesn’t look like we went back to Windows 3.1.