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
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.
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.