the things I really like about Windows 8:
1) it's definitely faster to boot and faster to wake up. a lot less processes are loaded than with Windows 7. On my desktop, Windows 7 would boot to the desktop pretty quickly. But then it spent the next couple of minutes still loading all the things into place. Windows 8 will get me to the desktop in a "done" state much faster.
On my laptop, Windows 8 on a HDD will boot in about the same time as the same laptop with Windows 7 and an Intel 80GB SSD. I kid you not. The reason I know is the enterprise evaluation version of Windows 8 would not install on this laptop hardware with the SSD and I was forced to use the 500GB 5400RPM HDD. Alas, I can't install Windows 8 on this laptop as it's too old and will never get WDDM 1.2 drivers for full functionality. And of course the problem with the SSD is a clincher.
2) The Windows Store is pretty awesome. I already downloaded a ton of completely free software. The days of having to buy overpriced software is over. I remember way back when, I was shopping for a virtual keyboard for my TabletPC and people were trying to charge $15+! for a virtual keyboard! something that would cost $1-3 on a mobile device. and these aren't freeware level quality (well, some of them are), there are a number of really great apps for free.
3) Xbox integration is great and getting better. I downloaded the slick new Microsoft Solitaire app. All the solitaire variants including my favorite, Spider Solitaire, but now it looks like a modern game with all the slick graphics and sound. You can even substitute your own background wallpapers and even wallpaper the playing cards. Minesweeper never looked better. And there's a bunch of new free Microsoft games that are great like Wordament. Plus there are achievements and it all ties into your gamertag achievements total.
I can use SmartGlass now and it was pretty nifty with the GPS feature of Forza Horizon on my laptop while the main game was on the main screen.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nW26qsI-c8
4) Xbox Music is very slick! Now, as a player for my own old music, it sucks. Functionality sucks compared to things like WinAmp. BUT... the streaming and ability to add streamed music to your library is just plain awesome. Any song you listen to and like, you can add to your own library and it feels like you own it. You can arrange your playlist with the songs you added to your collection. You get slick bios and wallpapers for all the artists. I learned things about Nicky Minaj that wasn't even in Wikipedia.
5) Windows Media Center is faster and more responsive. There's some lost functionality such as the Internet TV. So no more CBS streaming. Setup is a little different and faster. Otherwise, WMC looks nearly the same and has nearly the same functionality.
6) I really like the new Start screen. Back in the Windows 98/XP days, I used to organize the Start menu by changing the nesting. Then with Windows 7, the search was good enough that I didn't organize anymore. You just start typing notepad and then load it.
Windows 8 has the same functionality. Hit the start key and start typing. But now I can easily organize the Start screen the way I like it. And it's easier than before. You just drag and drop. With Windows 98/XP, I'd open up the explorer view and reorganize. Here, it's kind of easier.
7) the sports app, the news app, and the weather app are awesome! the weather app beats any weather program I had in Windows 7. the presentation is super slick. the sports app is amazing how it can not only present the sports articles in a nice format, but it can collate articles for your favorite teams as well as shows stats and other neat tidbits.
as for the newsreader, this is how a newsreader is supposed to work. you choose an article and it's properly formatted in the reader. In Android ICS, for example, when you select an article to read, it launches the web browser. what's the point? If I wanted to read it in a browser, I would simply choose google news in the browser. what's the point of a newsreader that just launches the browser?
a point I totally forgot was synced settings. I first installed Windows 8 on one machine, setting it up exactly how I like a machine (even simple stuff like showing hidden files and showing file extensions). I then went to my second machine to install Windows 8 and everything was already set up! I didn't have to show hidden files again. Even the wallpapers were synced! Though there was a slight bug as my primary machine has a vertical portrait monitor as the primary display with vertical wallpaper while my laptop is horizontal of course. So the wallpaper on the laptop only showed the breasts. Which made me look like a perv. An easy error to fix but amusing.Okay, now for things I don't like:
1) Mail sucks. it's so basic with so little functionality. I can't even choose to print a single page of an email. There was an email that was 1 page and spilled over a little onto the next page. I didn't want to waste a sheet on what was basically a footer but there was no option to only print the first page.
2) messaging sucks. same reason. so basic with so little functionality.
3) this is a design philosophy thing that will take adjustment on my part. in the old windows days, every program was "self-sufficient". meaning, that I would load a program and I would use features specific to that program. so I would have to browse the file menu, the edit menu, etc. you learn the program.
well, in windows 8, some of the features become system features rather than within the program. for example, I'll use Wikipedia as an example. In the web browser, you launch the Wikipedia page and look for the search text box to type your argument and find it. it's within the web browser. you're not using the windows 7 search box for wikipedia.
well, there's no search box in the wikipedia app for windows 8. which confused a ton of people, including me. however, you bring up the context-sensitive search that's in windows while you're in wikipedia and it knows to search wikipedia. so when you bring up the windows search feature in windows store, it searches the windows store. if you bring up windows search while in the Xbox Music app, it searches Xbox Music. So no longer are you using a search function built into that program. You are using the exact same technique at a system level and it knows where to search. Really cool. But really confusing when you're coming from an old Windows paradigm. Which means that once you do understand how things are done in Windows 8, it should become easier because now you can use the same universal features.
If you read the reviews for the wikipedia app, the people who gave it low scores said the app needs a search function. however, they later changed their view on the app once they learned how search works now.
take the search feature of firefox. If you hit ctrl+f in firefox, the search toolbar pops up within firefox and you do your search. hit ctrl+f in chrome and a search box drops down and you do your search. but you're learning on an app-by-app basis. you hit ctrl+f and then you have to search for that search box specific to that program. but now, once a metro version comes out, if they do it the windows 8 way, you go to the windows search and no matter what browser you're using, you get the same result without having to find out the specific implementation of search is for that app.
that's the stuff off the top of my head.