'Radical change' in Windows 8 user interface could require training

The new Windows 8 user interface is so different that IT might have to spend significant time and money on training to get employees up to speed.

Corporate early adopters of Windows 8 might want to start making plans to train staffers on Microsoft's new-look operating system.

Windows 8 training could prove daunting for the millions of workers already familiar with the ubiquitous Windows user interface -- and expensive for IT shops. Factoring in the cost of training courses and employees' lost time in the office, it could easily cost $400 per employee, per day, said Paul DeGroot, principal consultant at Pica Communications LLC, a Windows licensing consultancy in Camano Island, Wash.

Other analysts are concerned about how long it will take for employees to become comfortable with the new UI.

"It's going to take quite a bit of retraining because everything in the UI is different," said Carl Von Papp, a computer instructor and Windows 8 beta tester at Bellevue College in Washington. "It will constitute a major learning curve for users."

The Windows 8 user interface trades the familiar start screen and desktop icons for touch-enabled tiles, which Microsoft used to call Metro apps but now refers to as the modern user interface. The OS does offer a desktop mode, which more closely resembles the traditional Windows look, but switching between the two interfaces can take some getting used to.

Windows 8 user interface: A 'radical change'

The San Antonio Kidney Disease Center has no plans to upgrade to Windows 8 immediately. When it does -- probably next year, the center will most likely eschew outside classes in favor of informal training among end users, said Philip L. Moya, Jr., IT manager for the Texas physicians group. "If I wait long enough, users will probably start using it at home," he said.

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Even then, the rollout will be slow as new Windows 8 machines gradually replace aging Windows XP PCs. "It's going to take a long, hard look, because it's such a radical change," Moya said.

Not all observers agree that training users on the Windows 8 user interface will be all that costly or time-consuming, however. "I appreciate that it's significantly different, but I think people will be okay with it," said Michael Cherry, a research vice president at Directions on Microsoft, an analyst firm in Kirkland, Wash. "After about a week, I'm moving back and forth between the two user interfaces with no problem."

End-user training isn't the only cost organizations can expect to incur with the move to Windows 8. Training systems administrators and help desk personnel can run to $2,500 or more for a five-day class offered by Microsoft training partners. Partners also offer Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and Microsoft Certified IT Professional exams starting at approximately $150.

Windows 8 a giant question mark

The need for more expensive touchscreen devices, to fully take advantage of the Windows 8 user interface, is another drawback, Cherry said.

Whether or not an organization needs touchscreen capabilities will be a determining factor in moving to Windows 8 or staying on Windows 7, said Ajit Kapoor, principal and managing director at The Kapoor Group, a global consultancy in Orlando, Fla. That leaves Windows 8 as a giant question mark on many IT departments' to-do list.

"It isn't even in the planning stages at most companies, so although senior management knows it has to plan, I haven't seen much thought put into it yet," Kapoor said.

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Will your company offer formal Windows 8 training to employees?
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no extra-time available
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Why offer training, I'm upgrading pc's not staff, if they are unable in this day and age to adopt to new technology, get a new job!
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We probably will wait and see what the next OS looks like.
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Just having a look
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This is the way things are heading, we do what we need to do to keep things moving forward!
Windows 8, while very different, is not as difficult as many would make you believe. With a little work & tweaking (and use of some very helpful after-market utils, a lot of them free...) you can make Win8 look & feel like Win7 & still have the new benefits of Win8, especially the speed of things!!!
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Why upgrade to a inferior OS? The headache this will cause me as the IT guy is not making me happy at all.

I think Microsoft will take a big hit for this one because the interface is so radically different compared to previous versions of MS Windows. I simply do not have the time nor the money to spend on retraining my entire office staff on Windows 8.

Thanks but no thanks!
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This is another scam by MS & Hardware vendors to force people into purchasing New more expensive equipment as well as there $&!+ software.
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It will be a while before Windows 8 becomes our company standard, but we do have key groups that will upgrade right away in order to prepare our own products to support Windows 8.
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Are you kidding?
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It is a disaster, decreased productivity for IT staff and no real advantage for a traditional PC user
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Users can't handle Win7 as it is.
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There are ways to get the conventional taskbar back in 7 AND 8, it just takes a bit of plotting by IT on how to do it on a master copy and then duplicating that exact setup on all new deployments. I did that with our win7 deployment and it worked perfectly, even having the traditional Quicklaunch bar back too (I SO dislike the stacked window/pinned icon look of standard Win7).
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Stop and think. The new ui is no different than putting all those shortcuts on the windows desktop (like most users do)! duh. You can switch between both interfaces by simply hitting the windows key on the keyboard. You can start an application from the new screen by simply typing it's name and hitting enter. alt-tab between all open applications etc still works between both desktop and metro interface. You can pin an application to the start screen by simply rt clicking it on the dekstop. I could have people using this in 5-10 minutes? Maybe most of you should not be in IT.
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The new interface is more radical than the Linux migration. If Microsoft not provide an automated "change view" with the same code, Linux will grow. Long life to Win7 and the Wine emulation.
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The radical changes are unnecessary, unwelcome, and too confusing.
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With any luck, Win8 will be DOA. Yesterday I, unfortunately, was forced to use Excel in Win8 on a touchscreen laptop, no mouse available. An absolute abomination, miserable experience. And no scrollbars for the touchpad.
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We are fine with Citrix i really don't see the need to upgrade, XP and Windows 7 are ok. With Citrix the operating system doesn't really matter. Future apps will convert to webbased (javascript and html5) so why do you need an expensive operating system when you can do everything in your browser.

Sorry for my english, a dutch IT Manager.
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I am waiting with the upgrade as long as possible.
//Ben.
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Really the negativity here is a bit mad. Windows 8 runs as smooth as windows 7, there's change but it isn't like trying to fathom some impossible puzzle. Anyone here pooping their pants over the interface should get out of IT. Did you all run scared from Android and iOS or did you just work it out applying familiar concepts? Sheeesh....
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Having upgraded to Windows 7 last year there is no short or long term plans to migrate.
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We are a branding company so we have to stay up to date with technology and our staff cannot be seen to lagging behind. Training is essential for us.
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we aren't going to install win8 EVER, same goes for Server2012 - MS just pushed themselves out of the running with the Metro UI & NOT giving the user base a choice to use AERO. I am actively exploring the move to a MAC environment - Apple listens to the user base.
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we still have Vista XP and W7
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No way on earth will be be upgrading.
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The fact that Microsoft need to keep producing new revenue streams (and are trying to neutralize increasing competitive pressure from Apple) has blinded them to the fact that the majority of business users would prefer to stay with XP. Since the Vista debacle, MS have continued to develop operating systems which are further and further removed from the needs and preferences of serious business users. By all means, pump out this bling-laden bloatware to consumers with nothing better to spend their money on but, if you want to retain your business user base, give us something relevant and useful - or leave us in peace with XP.
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Too disruptive a change for the next 1-2 years.
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I wrote a very similar article on our company blog here http://www.itsimplified.co.uk/information/blog/53-windows-8
However, we have since found some suberb shareware http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/ that adds the start menu back. So far every single windows 7 driver seems to work on windows 8, so as and when our clients insist upon having it we are in a good position to enable them to work with it.
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I am very Anti Apple anything but after downloading the W8 evaluation, I would serioulsy consider moveing to a Mac platform with a UI that is usable. I've been in the IT feild for 30 years and this is the first UI I actually had problems with.
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So if there's all this extra time and expense involved in retraining with Windows8, they might as well move to Linux. For far less than the cost of a Win8 upgrade and re-indoctrination cycle, they could implement a Linux solution that works and looks the way *they* want, not how MS wants to *tell* them how it will work.
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The migration to Windows 8 is a couple years away, at best.
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