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After my recent Acer Aspire S7 (2013) ultrabok purchase, I immediately upgraded the operating system to Windows 8.1. Based on conversations with friends and colleagues with Windows 8, there is a learning curve before feeling as comfortable as if it were Windows 7. My only other experience with Windows 8 was at the Microsoft Store. Now that I've used the laptop for three days, here are my opinions (in no particular order):
The Microsoft Store for apps is incredibly lacking. If there were more options, I'd open to the idea of live tiles. Currently, a very small number of websites and companies that have Android and iPhone apps have Microsoft apps. Google apps on the Microsoft store are non-existent (and I'm a heavy Google user).
Metro (Window 8's replacement for the Start Menu) isn't as negative as I've heard from others. Since I was already launch applications in Windows 7's start menu by searching via typing, the change to Metro was straightforward (it is identical).
Other than Windows 8 apps, Windows 8 Pro works very similar to Windows 7. Software installations are unchanged. The Control Panel is exactly the same. If there is an application or feature you can find, odds are you can search for it in Metro (the new Start Menu) by pressing the Windows key. The taskbar is also unchanged.
My overall impression of Windows 8 isn't of hate. Some early reviews of Window 8 were to drastic (I believe with the intention to create an uproar). I agree with people who say the learning curve is steep, but I also don't have a problem learning new features and setups. Most people with complaints like only dislike the Metro portion. My opinion on Metro is that if your laptop/desktop/tablet isn't a touch screen, then having Metro does make the UI more confusing and is completely unnecessary. I believe that Microsoft eventually foresees all laptops (if they are to survive against tablets like the iPad) to be touch screen. And having a touch screen makes Metro much more usable over a Start Menu. If Microsoft wanted to please everyone, they should have given the option to toggle between the original Start Menu and Metro.