I'll be posting a write up sometime in the next day. Just wanted to create a thread so I'd be sure to follow up.
Random comment 1 - I'm pacov. I came to follow and love SD via Demigod. After the impulse sale, the performance on the DG forums for posting has been rot. Help me ob1. That said, I usually post through joe user after realizing this.
Anyway, the short version is that my experience with windows 8 was about what I thought it would be. And what I thought it would be is a goldmine for SD if they moved quick enough. Will follow up with details about my install, etc, tomorrow. I'm very, very experienced with installing os's on pcs (I've literally done it more than 100 times). I'll write about what happened on day 1 of my installing the OS. My wife needed to print out a cover letter for her resume and I wanted to setup streaming on for my LoL stream. So comment if you like or wait for the full blahblah. Night all!
OK then. So, I'll start off by saying I had little to no intention of picking up windows 8. I'd heard enough crap about the UI to take a pass. But - good old amazon decides to throw a decent deal my way for windows 8 pro (the version I need for remote desktop, etc), so I take the plunge. 1 caveat, though - I'm going straight back to windows 7 the moment any software I consider critical does not work. That happens and gg.
The install was a complete breeze. I did the upgrade within windows (eg toss DVD in, indicate I want to install). I choose the don't keep any files setting. Anyway, I walked away for a little bit. I can't imagine setup took more than 20 minutes tops - probably quite a bit less, but I was multitasking at the time. Anyway, no real complaints from the installation process. I normally would have done a completely clean install, but choose to skip that this time around as I wasn't sure if I would drop the OS or not and wanted the fastest possible option. If I decide to keep using the OS, I actually might go back and try a clean install in the very near future.
One more thing - at the end of the install process, you need to put in a user name/password. They want you to use a Microsoft or live ID. Now this can be any email address you register, mind you, but they want an email address and password. At the time, I couldn't remember what I had setup with M$ in the past, so I took a shot at that email address/password and failed. It then told me I could add that this email/pw later and took me to a more traditional screen where I could just setup my own username/pw. I mention all of this crap for a reason I'll get to shortly.
First time using the OS
Well, I did not, at any point, check out any of the betas, etc, of Windows 8. This time around I just read up on it. To me, I expected the interface to be quite clunky. It is. It looks clean and semi organized at first, anyway, but you almost immediately end up saying... ok, how do I get to control panel? Does that still exist? Where is my computer? How the crap do I get to the desktop? More on my world of confusion in a moment.
Back to what I was saying about the email address/pw - Now, on the start screen, you'll see a cube for the store, for skydrive, for photos, for games, etc. Every single one of those things I listed requires that email address/pw to utilize. To make it more fun, they each require that you enter that email address/pw the first time you run them. Meaning, after I figured out what email address/pw I used, I had to go back and enter this every single time into every single little applet. Nothing carried over, even though they appear to be unified. Now, I'm guessing that if I used that ID when I setup my computer, it might have carried over. As I did not, it did not. So, minor annoyance anyway.
Back to my world of confusion - so, to find anything, you need to use their search bar. You just mouse to the right side of the screen and that comes up. And when I say anything, I mean anything that a power user would want, you kind of need to start there. So, I search for control panel. It pops up, I click on it, and it looks exactly like it did in windows 7. Instant familiarity. If you right click on whatever you found in the search context, you can pin it to main clunky ui page or you can pin it to your taskbar. I have no idea how I can get a shortcut of something like my computer or control panel on my desktop itself at this time. I'm sure you can, but its not intuitive to me anyway.
Getting to the desktop is easy, but lacking the start button makes it significantly more difficult to navigate. It literally looks EXACTLY like windows 7 except there is no start button. Eg they took away one of the nicest, most common sense things to force you to learn how to use their new ui.
Installing my apps was pretty simple. Same process as normal. I've encountered no compatibility issues or performance degradation on any of my apps so far. I did have a strange problem with steam not being able to connect for a bit, but I'm quite unsure why. After I installed my AV, it was able to connect. Peculiar, but not so bad.
Lackluster built in apps
Some of the things they choose to bake into the OS are a little underwhelming to the point of being shitty imo. For instance, there is a "reader" app that can view acrobat files. I could not figure out how to print a document using it, so I had to install adobe's acrobat reader and use that. Could be I'm just bad, but I didn't see a print option anywhere. Another lackluster program is their picture viewer/movie viewer. If I view my photos, it pulls up all my pics. I actually like the interface here and how that works. But the damn thing somehow can't even play mpg files if there are any (eg I group my pics and short vids from that time together as it seems logical to me anyway). Not sure how, or why, but I'd wager I'm not the only person that groups vids their camera takes and pics it takes together. Seems pretty silly that I have to exit the crappy ui to load up another viewer/player to see those vids. And we are talking mpg files here... pretty much the old standard. The built in mail app through me a bit as well. I use a pop account through my ISP and it was not easy to setup and I have not successfully configured it yet. Mayhaps today...
Where I am today
I'm going to continue to explore the OS. I have not yet finished installing all the apps I need and making sure there are no deal breakers, but I should have that wrapped up today. If that goes well, I'll either just leave things as is or go through with a full install now that I'm a wee bit wiser. My biggest gripe at this time is that its still not intuitive - and do you know what makes it unintuitive...
Where's muh start button?
While I haven't picked up start 8 I'm about 99.99% sure that I will in the extremely near future. SD adds back a no brainer feature for $4.99 - see the vid on the page I linked to for a better idea. It's almost like Brad made a deal with those amazing UI designers over at M$ to keep the start button out of windows 8 so his company could make some money. Anyway, I think its completely idiotic to have that start button removed. I will say that I like it being gone for now so that it forces me to learn the new UI interface, but its just so silly to not have - or not have a simple baked in option to add the start button back built in.
If I find anything worth jibbering on about today, I'll post an update.
Update 11/28/2012 3:06 PM
So, I decided to make a clean install. Had no issues booting to the DVD and choosing to format the old partitions. Interestingly, windows 8 makes a total of 4 partitions on a clean install. 3 quite small ones (less than 128 meg) and then your primary partition. I believe windows 7 created 2 partitions. Anyway, I even timed the install. From start to finish (being able to do things inside the OS normally) took 15 minutes and 43 seconds. All pretty smooth. I also tested out signing in with my M$ email account/pw. I was instantly connected in all of those spots I previously had relog into, so that simplified the process quite a bit. Well see how the rest of this goes, but looking good. Thinking I'm going to putz around a bit after I set this up and then pick up start 8.