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Paul Allen likes Windows 8 -- well, except for a few things

The Microsoft co-founder says the new tablet features are "particularly bold and innovative," but he calls some aspects of the new operating system "puzzling."

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 will run Windows 8. Lenovo

Paul Allen, one of Microsoft's founders, is weighing in on Windows 8. What he's found is he likes it -- mostly -- but some features are pretty "puzzling."

Microsoft will be releasing its latest iteration of its operating system later this month. Unlike prior versions of Windows, the newest release is the first to have two modes and to integrate touch capabilities. One mode, formerly referred to as the Metro interface but now called "Windows 8 style," is geared at tablets, while the other is more traditional looking and is targeted at conventional PCs.

Paul Allen Allen

Allen in a blog post provides a pretty thorough analysis of Windows 8, including screen shots and tips for helping users customize certain features. What he concludes is that it's a lot "snappier and more responsive" and that the new tablet features are "bold and innovative." But the dual modes may be pretty confusing for users, especially when two versions of the same application, like Internet Explorer, can be opened and run simultaneously.

"Windows 8 does certainly require a brief adjustment period before users become familiar and comfortable with the new bimodal operating system," Allen noted.

For one, Windows doesn't allow people to start their systems with the desktop as the default view, something Allen says should be an option. Instead, they start in the Windows 8 style. And the "Charms" bar, which offers access to important features like search and settings, isn't easily obviously to users.

What Allen found most "puzzling" was adjusting to the new features as a traditional desktop user. For example, he had a hard time using multiple monitors, and the system would sometimes switch between the two modes when he didn't really want it to.

"Personally, I would almost always prefer for Windows to leave me in whichever mode I was already in," Allen said.

But, he said desktop PC users, should be able to pick up the changes without much trouble, while Windows 8 on tablets is "elegant," responsive, and stacks up nicely with other tablets on the market."

"I'm confident that Windows 8 offers the best of legacy Windows features with an eye toward a very promising future," Allen said.