Exploring Windows 8 in the professional environment

This past week, I got a chance to play around with Windows 8. We’ve been aware of Windows XP’s fast approaching end of life.¬†

We purchased 4 HP all-in-one touch screen desktops and one Dell Inspiron 15. The specs appear below:

Dell Inspiron 15

  • Intel Core i3 3217U(1.80GHz)
  • 4GB Memory 500GB HDD
  • Intel HD Graphics
  • Touchscreen
  • 1366 x 768
  • Windows 8
  • 8X CD / DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)

HP Pavilion Touchsmart

  • AMD Dual-Core Processor E1-2500(1.40GHz)
  • 4GB DDR3 500GB HDD Capacity
  • 20″ Touchscreen 1600 x 900
  • Windows 8
  • AMD Radeon HD 8240

First thing to note is that although these were purchased for an office, they are best suited as consumer machines. Lacking Windows 8 Pro means that you’ll have to shell out about $100 for the Windows 8 pro pack to upgrade to the pro edition. While home users likely won’t miss many of the benefits, if you company uses active directory to manage PCs, a pro version is required to join the computer to the domain. Although this isn’t a new feature for Windows, it is inconvenient.

Our core application is based on Microsoft Access, and after a few modifications to button sizing (and upgrading a plethora of bad references to old DLLs long abandoned by Microsoft), we were able to get our application running on a copy of Access 2013, which we acquired through our purchased Office 365 subscription.

While the PCs are more than adequate to replace our aging fleet of Windows XP machines, Windows 8 is, my opinion, an unimpressive attempt by Microsoft. I’ve been using Windows since 3.11, and 8 feels like a leap in the wrong ¬†direction. Despite all attempts to create a more intuitive UI, Microsoft has still managed to bungle it, confusing new users and seasoned windows veterans alike. One hopes that future versions, particularly the professional products marketed towards business users, will embrace the model established by XP for long-lasting computer productivity.