Ask LH: Is Windows 8 Ready To Be My Primary Operating System?

Ask LH: Is Windows 8 Ready To Be My Primary Operating System?

Dear Lifehacker, All this talk of Windows 8 has really made me impatient, but I know it’s still in the early stages. Is it still really buggy, or is it something I could actually use as my main operating system?Sincerely, Wistful for Windows

Dear Wistful,

I’ve been using Windows 8 non-stop for the past few days in an effort to see whether it’s ready for prime time, and the answer, unfortunately, is almost.

Windows 8 itself runs pretty fantastically. It has a few annoyances I really hope get changed in the final version, but I’ve seen very, very few bugs in the operating system itself. However, as the developer preview, most app developers are just seeing Windows 8 for the first time — which means not all apps are 100 per cent compatible with it.

I, personally, haven’t had too many problems, but the problems I’ve had have been deal killers. Some of my drivers don’t work at all — especially on my laptop, where they’re pretty important (like touchpad or keyboard drivers). Windows 8’s built-in graphics drivers can definitely cause some graphical issues with some cards if your manufacturer’s drivers don’t install on Windows 8. This alone can cause some frustration.

The thing that really makes it hard to use are the app glitches. Most are pretty minor, but they’re annoying enough that it isn’t worth upgrading yet. For example, Pidgin won’t let me reorder my buddy groups, which makes navigating my long buddy list difficult. Chrome also won’t let me reorder tabs at all, which is a big problem as I’m a heavy tab browser.

Even if you don’t use Pidgin or Chrome, chances are one or two of your apps is going to have a glitch in it that drives you crazy. If you’re willing to live with that, then go for it, but I recommend waiting a few months. It’s so close to being ready for real usage already, and once app developers get a chance to update their apps for compatibility — which probably won’t take more than a few more months — you can go nuts.

Of course, if you still want to test it out yourself, I can’t recommend dual-booting enough. If you dual-boot it side by side with Windows 7, you can give all your apps and drivers a test run and see if it’s ready, without losing your Windows 7 installation. If you don’t have the patience to dual boot, though, I recommend saving up what patience you do have for a few months down the road. It’s very close, but not quite ready yet.

Cheers Lifehacker

P.S. Early adopters, sound off below. Has Windows 8 proven itself worthy as your main OS already? Are you having any trouble with your favourite apps and drivers? Let us know in the comments.


  • Since when is LH a place to advertise Microsoft?

    Really, beta software is almost ready, for the general public. Next I’m going to be given advice to move into an unfinished house, drive a partially built car and eat bread that’s almost baked.

    This is not advice, it’s advertising and should be marked as such.

  • I have Win8 on my Laptop at home.
    Havent had much of a chance to play with it but any annoyances Im finding Im putting down to not being use to the new settings/layout/functions/etc.
    What I do find frustrating is using metro with the laptops touchpad (cant attach a mouse because someone rooted my USB slots jamming something in the wrong way).

    I do, out of habbit, keep hitting the start button (to open the start menu) and it keeps jumping me between Metro and the desktop.

    Is there a Metro app photo viewer or something? Like I keep seeing on web sites?
    I blame not finding it on me not looking hard enough for it.

  • I don’t get this question.

    Windows 8 is over a YEAR away from being released…even if it IS buggy, unstable, or missing design features or apps…it will change so much between now and release anycurrent criticisms now are almost unjustifiable!

  • Its is pretty solid as it is and it wont change alot from now till release. Only cosmetic and bugs fixed. For most people it would be fine as is , i have been using it for about 5 days now seems fine but has a few bugs, nothing major. From someone who has used all Major windows versions from day dot till now, what you see is what the final release will be nothing major will change, MS always have done it this way.

  • So far ive been running windows 8 dev since the day it was put on-line by MS. yes ive had a few annoyances but have worked them out by using the windows 8 taskbar changer gadget. Im running it on my laptop not dual booting it, boot time is fantastic, nvidia latest beta drivers work just fine… a few games dont run at all not even if i load with as admin and/or compatible with win 7 or even xp, they just wont load, the main games i play work just fine, only if your mouse slides to the left side of the screen behind the game your running you WILL without a doubt tab out to the desktop, hence why i change to the win 7 look. but overall… windows 8 rocks, and yes it is now full-time on my laptop and my PC. i even brought a touch screen overlay for my main PC to play around with windows 8 touch features… looking forward to the camera/chat functions to come.

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