First I’ll say that every PC I use these days is running Windows 8.1. That’s my home desktop, laptop, Surface RT, and work PC.
Windows 8 is actually very good on the tablet form factor. It’s fine on PCs if you’re wanting to stick to the new Metro style apps.
But it’s horrible when mixing desktop and Metro apps. This seems to be compounded further when you’re running a multiple monitor rig. Since many people complain about Windows 8 in general without offering specifics, I thought I would.
IE Stops Streaming
So here I am doing some work in Visual Studio or Lightroom. I’d like to stream something to listen to and watch, so I fire up Internet Explorer (Metro). I dock it on the side of a monitor and get back to work. Everything’s going just fine, I can glance over and catch a peek. It’s really nice.
Until I need to launch another app, that is. So I hit the Start button to bring up the Start Screen and BAM. Audio and video pause. I suspect it’s because MS didn’t add background audio capabilities to IE, but still… it’s EXTREMELY jarring and frustrating.
Metro Apps Disappear
Many times, it’s happening right now actually, I’ll have a couple Metro apps docked but will still be working on the desktop. As soon as the desktop app gets focus, some (or all) of the docked apps disappear and leave the start screen background color. That’s it. So now I just have a gaping hole of blue. If I click on that hole, the Metro app re-appears. Give focus back to the desktop app and it disappears once again.
I don’t think it’s a driver issue, but then again I’m running all NVidia displays. Anyone else experience this?
What’s Going to Happen?
When I want to open or close a Metro app, what happens next feels non-deterministic. I can never guess where an app will open, what will replace the screen when it closes, etc.. On my Surface, my resolution doesn’t support 3 simultaneous running Metro apps, so I get prompted about which to replace. On my desktops, the new app starts full-screen and I have to move it somewhere. The result is before launching an app I have to pause and recall which machine I’m on so I can prepare for what will happen (or if I should launch it to begin with given the screen/resolution limitations).
Sometimes after closing and app, I expect the Start Screen to re-appear, but it’ll just be replaced with a blank canvas, forcing me to hit the Start button (keyboard or lower left hotspot) to bring the Start Screen back.
And why, oh why, if I’m on the desktop and launch a Metro app am I not taken back to the desktop if I dock that app somewhere? After docking it somewhere, I’m taken back to the Start screen. I just noticed this happens regardless of the starting point (Desktop or other Metro app). Don’t make me remember what I was in before launching the new app, just take me right back there. It’s ridiculous.
Did I Mention Multiple Monitors is just Weird?
Over the course of writing this, I have a situation where I have the desktop showing on one half of my left monitor and one half of the right monitor (full-screen metro app in between). You can drag a window “behind” the metro apps, to the other sides. It’s just really strange and unnatural feeling.
What am I Missing?
So these are my main gripes, coming from someone who uses Windows 8 daily and in multiple form factors. Hopefully more is done to fix these in upcoming releases, but I’m not holding my breath.
Anyone have any other specific complaints?