According to Microsoft, it's revolutionary. Some tech bloggers are more critical, however. Much has been made of Windows 8, the tile-heavy replacement for Windows 7 - is it really the next big thing, or is it another Vista? Honestly, it's a little of both.
I didn't want a new operating system. I was perfectly happy with 7, but my old computer died, and I needed a replacement. And, I'd have to pay extra to get a new desktop without Windows 8, so down the rabbit hole I go.
Day One: Where is the start button? Where are all my programs? These tiles are pretty, but I don't want xBox Live on my desktop. Programs are called apps now? What do they think this is, a smartphone?
Day Two: Oh, you have to right click on the screen to see all your programs? I can just add anything as tiles? Wait, how do I shut down the computer?
It sort of went like that for most of the first week. I think this operating system will eventually make sense for most home pc users. If all you do on a computer is access the Internet, occassionally type up a Word document, and store or look at your pictures and video, you honestly will never have to leave the tiles of the "Metro" interface. But honestly, if that's all you're using the computer for, why do you need this big desktop, with all the operating system behind the tiles? Why aren't you using a tablet, or smartphone?
Nonprofit staff and office workers, however, will likely never use the Metro interface. It's new , it's different, and it's certainly not designed for productivity. Instead, with your news feed, pictures, and Facebook all pinned to the screen, it's designed for distraction. There's literally no reason for you to upgrade all your existing work computers to Windows 8 at this point.
At this point, I'm already used to the new operating system, minus a few annoying little things that Microsoft made extra confusing, in the grand scheme of making everything easier. On the one hand, I have a nice one-stop shop for all the programs (I will NOT call Word an "app") that I use regularly. But, on the other, why do I have to sign out in order to shut down or restart the computer? Seriously. I'm fairly competent with computers, likely more than most people, but it's been a week, and the only ways I know to turn the computer off are to go to the lock screen, or hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete.
Microsoft has a very clear and obvious goal with Windows 8, and that's to compete with Apple and Android, who have taken a big bite out of their customers, and dominate the mobile market. And I'm okay with that. It's good that they're evolving and innovating. Eventually, we'll all get used to it, but for now, we're all just going to keep looking for the Start button.
If you're thinking of switching to Windows 8 (or were forced into it like I was), Lifehacker put together a pretty useful article of shortcuts and navigation back when it went live in October, which you can find here: http://lifehacker.com/5955162/how-to-not-get-lost-in-windows-8-the-best-shortcuts-and-tricks .